2018 Pillar Awards for Community Service – Akron/Canton

Celebrating the culture of community service

Medical Mutual, along with co-founding partner, Smart Business, is proud to present the 21st annual Pillar Awards for Community Service.

The Pillar Awards recognize organizations that set the standard for outstanding service to their communities.

These organizations’ service efforts take many forms, including volunteer time, charitable giving and pro bono support. What all our honorees have in common, though, is the culture they have built where service is ingrained in their values and employees are empowered to support their communities.

At Medical Mutual, we strive to embody a culture of service. As a company dedicated to our Ohio customers and employees, we have a responsibility to support the local communities where we live and work. When businesses help those in need, we strengthen our entire community.

One of the Pillar Awards that will be presented is a special honor given to a company whose employees best exemplify the values of Medical Mutual’s own Employee SHARE Program. SHARE stands for serve, help, aid, reach and educate.

Our SHARE Program is the heart and soul of Medical Mutual’s community service effort. Through our employees’ generosity and passion, the program coordinates more than 50 events in support of nonprofit and community agencies. Last year, our employees spent more than 5,800 hours aiding area organizations.

We are proud to be in the company of extraordinary organizations that improve the communities we serve. Together, through our culture of service, we are building stronger communities.

On behalf of Medical Mutual and Smart Business, we congratulate all our 2018 Pillar Award recipients.

Rick Chiricosta
Chairman, president and CEO
Medical Mutual of Ohio


LeafFilter Gutter Protection
Matt Kaulig, CEO and owner

The strength of LeafFilter Gutter Protection lies in its local connections, and having a leader in CEO and owner Matt Kaulig who has empowered his employees to get involved in their communities. With 52 offices and over 1,500 employees across the country, this impact has spread on a large scale. LeafFilter establishes projects in the communities it serves either by working with local organizations or developing relationships with the community itself.

In May 2018, Kaulig and his LeafFilter employees organized a walk to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Team LeafFilter raised $5,375 at the 5K event through the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Two months later, the team was back at it supporting the LeBron James Family Foundation and the I Promise School in Akron. LeafFilter supplied backpacks filled with school supplies for every student at the school.

Kaulig is a founding member of Santa PICsU, a 501(c)3 organization that brings the “healing power of giving” to children and families in traumatic situations on a year-round basis.

Santa PICsU raises money to fulfill wish lists for those who are in pediatric care. The team works with the pediatric intensive care units to find children and parents who are most in need of this support. All the gift buying, wrapping, delivering and accounting, along with the management of the foundation, is done in-house and on a volunteer basis. All the money that is raised goes to children and families in traumatic situations. LeafFilter has also made donations to Akron Children’s Hospital to support its neonatal intensive care unit. ●


Hard Rock Rocksino/Northfield Park Associates
Mark A. Birtha, president

Mark A. Birtha is a highly regarded gaming and hospitality executive with more than 25 years of experience in the world of casino resort hotels. At the same time, he understands the importance of giving back and has brought his philanthropic spirit to his role as president of Hard Rock Rocksino/Northfield Park Associates.

Since its opening, Rocksino has donated over $3.3 million in gifts and in-kind support to various philanthropic organizations in Northeast Ohio. The company has been a success operationally, as it was named Hard Rock International’s Casino of the Year in 2014 and 2016. As president, Birtha has overseen the Rocksino’s multiple expansions and successes, paving the way for more opportunities to give back.

Birtha not only gives financially, he also makes time for mentoring students, hosting charity events and supporting veterans, as well as participating in various charitable activities in the region. He has been a board member at Susan G. Komen® Northeast Ohio since 2017, was an honoree and speaker for the Human Rights Campaign in Ohio in 2017, and served as honorary chair of the 2017 Urban League of Greater Cleveland’s 100th anniversary gala.

Outside of work, Birtha has a passion for mentoring future leaders. In 2011, he was appointed president of the national executive board of the Cornell Hotel Society, the 90-year-old alumni association that represents 12,500 Hotel School graduates from around the world. Birtha has been a regular lecturer at the Hotel School, which is now part of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. ●