Acquiring growth

Tony Manna has a gift for understatement.

“We’re real busy,” he says casually. In the past five years, Manna, chairman of Janna Industries Ltd., has acquired more than 15 companies. His goal is a simple one; he wants to reach $1 billion in revenue.

His most recognized project might be Canal Park, home to Cleveland Indians AA farm team, the Akron Aeros. But his reach isn’t limited to Northeast Ohio. Manna has projects in Florida, Iowa, Texas and Illinois. And he says he is considering going international for the first time by building a manufacturing plant in Asia.

The company has experienced 50 percent growth in recent years, says Manna, a former partner in the firm of Amer Cunningham Brennan Co. law firm. He still maintains offices at the firm.

Several operations comprise Janna Industries, covering a wide range of businesses — real estate, manufacturing, insurance and construction. The company started to take root when Manna purchased a six-unit apartment complex nine years ago. Two years later, he acquired Curtis Professional Group Inc. The venture now includes Preform Sealants Ltd., Unity Rubber Co., Signature Sealants Ltd., Universal Plymer & Rubber Ltd., Signet Development Ltd. and Hallmark Construction Management Inc.

This is the second time Manna has made it to the finalists’ round in the Entrepreneur Of The Year competition. He was also a finalist in 1997.

“Being chosen as one of the finalists for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award is an honor in itself,” he says. “I am proud to be among such a strong caliber of finalists who have been so successful with their businesses.”

After missing the nomination process last year (he was so busy it passed him by), Manna says he was reluctant to go through it this year. “Then I got to thinking about all the great people that I met.

“I thoroughly enjoyed it. You meet a lot of great people. They’re good people. It’s a lot of fun.”