This year’s Business Longevity Award honorees are proof that hard work and a commitment to excellence can pay off. These 25 companies were built on timeless values and principles that set the stage for generations of economic achievement.
Some of these businesses have recognizable brand names that are imbedded in the communities they call home. Others have maintained a low profile while consistently offering a great product to their customers.
When things didn’t go their way, these organizations regrouped and bounced back stronger than ever. They are part of the Northeast Ohio business community’s rich history — and are well on their way to being part of its future.
CELEBRATING 146 YEARS IN BUSINESS — The Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland
Major Evan Hickman
Divisional Commander of Northeast Ohio
The Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland
The Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland works every day to elevate individuals from despair with hope and assistance. By teaching life skills, the nonprofit provides individuals with an opportunity to maximize their physical, emotional and spiritual being to effect permanent change.
As a local organization under the leadership of Divisional Commander of North East Ohio Division Major Evan Hickman, The Salvation Army works to provide tangible assistance through programs with a dedicated staff and committed volunteers. Its programs are designed to provide the right assistance needed at the right time to the right people.
The organization provides basic needs, such as food, clothing and shelter, and invests its time in the human spirit by offering counseling, education programs, recovery/support programs and spiritual support for those willing to accept it.
The Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland has five corps throughout the area, each offering a variety services to the community. Those locations include East Cleveland Corps, Miles Park Corps, Ohio City Corps, Temple Corps and West Park Corps. Each is dedicated to serving anyone at-risk and in need of financial, social and spiritual support. Services offered vary by location, but include food pantry, community centers, learning zones, after-school care, music instruction, energy assistance, soup kitchen, Christmas assistance, Bible study and more.
CELEBRATING 130 YEARS IN BUSINESS — Eliza Jennings
Richard M. Boyson Jr.
President and CEO
Eliza Jennings dedicated her life to helping others and was fortunate that she had a lot to give. Her husband, Simeon, was a successful banker in the 1800s and the couple shared a passion for philanthropy.
When Simeon died in 1865, his wife was the sole heir to his estate worth more than $1.5 million. Eliza set the foundation for what would evolve more than a century later to the organization that bears her name, Eliza Jennings.
Motivated by the plight of an elderly, homeless and incurably ill friend, Eliza donated property and funds to the Women’s Christian Association to establish a home to care for indigent and ill women. The Cleveland Home for Incurable Women at 10603 Detroit Ave. opened in 1888. Although Eliza died in 1887, her passion and philanthropy were such an inspiration that the home was renamed in her memory to the Eliza Jennings Home, which remains at the original location in Cleveland.
A $6.5 million, 72,000-square-foot renovation of Eliza Jennings Home was completed in 2003. Led by President and CEO Richard M. Boyson Jr., it has become a nationally recognized expert in aging services, offering the full continuum of residential, home and community-based care and services.
CELEBRATING 125 YEARS IN BUSINESS — Thompson Hine
Deborah V. Read
Thompson Hine LLP traces its origins to 1893, when an enterprising, self-taught attorney, Amos Burt “AB” Thompson, was admitted to the Ohio Bar and established a commercial law practice in downtown Cleveland.
The firm has since grown from a small office in Cleveland to one of the largest business law firms in the U.S., with approximately 400 lawyers and locations in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, New York and Washington, D.C.
The firm has evolved and adapted to changing times by continuously innovating to better serve its clients’ needs. For example, when economic upheaval forced businesses to examine their operations, reduce expenses and increase efficiency wherever possible, clients began questioning why they could not ask their law firms to do the same.
The firm created Thompson Hine SmartPaTH®, a comprehensive approach to managing and delivering legal services to achieve efficiency, transparency and predictability without sacrificing quality. Launched in 2014, it has strengthened partnerships with clients by facilitating open, honest communication, eliminating surprises and ensuring that Thompson Hine is helping them achieve their goals cost-effectively without sacrificing quality.
By embracing change and responding with inventive strategies that resonate with clients and set it apart from other firms, Thompson Hine, headed by Managing Partner Deborah V. Read, hopes to not only survive, but thrive for another 100 years.
CELEBRATING 122 YEARS IN BUSINESS — Eliza Bryant Village
Danny R. Williams, JD, MNO, LNHA
President and CEO
Eliza Bryant Village
Eliza Bryant Village has evolved from offering health services to nine seniors in a single-family home on Giddings Avenue in 1896 to providing quality health care and other supportive programs and services on its 17-acre campus to more than 1,200 seniors annually.
Today, services include affordable independent housing, a senior outreach program that includes adult day care with transportation and healthy meals, a dialysis center, a rehabilitation program and skilled nursing services. Eliza Bryant Village also has a robust volunteer program, further reflecting the organization’s ability to evolve with the times to meet the needs of Greater Cleveland’s aging population. The organization is led by President and CEO Danny R. Williams.
Nearly one-third of Cuyahoga County residents will be over the age of 60 by 2030, according to projections by Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University. The Eliza Bryant Village Inez Myer Senior Outreach Program has proven to be a great resource for seniors in the community that includes adult day care, transportation and a nutritious meal plan. In addition to program expansion, the staff continues to increase with the Lady Board of Managers, auxiliary members who provide leadership and countless hours of service to enhance the quality of life for seniors.
CELEBRATING 111 YEARS IN BUSINESS — W.F. Hann & Sons
W.F. Hann & Sons
In 1907, W.F. Hann and his sons opened a small storefront on Euclid Avenue. They serviced boilers and carried a line of plumbing and heating parts. The business was successful.
The Hann family sold the business in the 1970s and the new owner moved the operation to Bedford Heights. In the late 1990s, the company was purchased by a national consolidator that merged W.F. Hann & Sons with another company, Havsco Heating and Cooling.
The company’s reputation and success continued as the business grew by acquiring a number of smaller local heating and cooling companies. Today, W.F. Hann & Sons is once again locally owned and operated. Two years ago, as a result of continuing growth, the company moved to larger, more modern headquarters in Warrensville Heights.
Back in 1907, the company serviced only residents of Cleveland. Now W.F. Hann services clients in over 150 cities and has a strong and growing commercial service business, in addition to being the area’s leading residential home comfort company.
But perhaps the most significant change for W.F. Hann & Sons is that for the first time in the company’s 110-year history a female president, Karen Johnson, heads the firm.
CELEBRATING 108 YEARS IN BUSINESS — The City Mission
The City Mission
The City Mission opened its doors 108 years ago in 1910 with an aim to minister to the needs of the poor, homeless and hungry.
Initially, it served an out-of-work immigrant population and provided programming for children. City Mission continues to provide emergency shelter, food, hygiene items, mental health services, case management and transformational programming for those who come to the nonprofit because of homelessness, addiction, broken relationships and other crises.
Its downtown campus, Crossroads, serves the needs of men ages 18 and older, while its west side campus, Laura’s Home Women’s Crisis Center, serves the needs of single women and women with children. City Mission has an outreach and correspondence ministry to those in jail and prison, and an in-house program for school-aged children who are staying at Laura’s Home. Services are free of charge and supported mainly by private donations.
Led by CEO Rich Trickel, City Mission provides a stable, safe environment to people in crisis, helping them meet their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. It also provides counseling, case management and programs that help them figure out how they got in crisis in the first place, set goals for the future, and design a pathway by which they can achieve their goals.
CELEBRATING 108 YEARS IN BUSINESS — Forest City Tree Protection Co.
Lauren S. Lanphear
President and owner
Forest City Tree Protection Co.
Since Forest City Tree Protection Co. Inc.’s founding in 1910, the company has faced tree pest problems, whether it be insects or diseases. For a long time, treatment options consisted of applications of chemicals to the foliage, branches and trunks of trees.
With the growth of environmental awareness dating back to the 1960s, new and improved chemicals were developed for the care of trees that did not persist as long in the environment and were not carcinogenic.
The greatest improvement in this area has been the development and use of systems, which allow tree care medicines to be delivered directly into the sap stream or roots of trees.
Under the leadership of Lauren S. Lanphear, the company’s president and owner, Forest City Tree Protection has been a pioneer and national leader in the use of tree injection processes to treat insect and disease problems.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the company investigated new techniques to combat the fatal Dutch elm disease. Technology was found that not only provides protection for elms with direct sap stream injections, but also protects ash trees from the emerald ash borer insect and oak trees from the oak wilt fungus disease.
CELEBRATING 105 YEARS IN BUSINESS — United Way of Greater Cleveland
August A. Napoli
President and CEO
United Way of Greater Cleveland
The modern United Way was created in Cleveland in 1913. Over the past 105 years, nearly 1 million citizens have contributed over $2.2 billion to help alleviate the effects of poverty by focusing on basic needs, health, education and financial stability.
But this record of achievement is no guarantee for future success. If United Way of Greater Cleveland is to stay relevant, immediate and dramatic change is needed. A new three-year strategic plan was launched in July 2017, and United Way of Greater Cleveland is undergoing a critical transformation through innovations in fund development, communications and fund allocation.
United Way’s new allocations model focuses on solving problems through convening agencies. It prioritizes people’s needs, not the systems delivering the services. The nonprofit is becoming a data-driven organization, and is turning to social media and marketing partners to engage the broader public.
The workplace will remain a critical source of funds, but the nonprofit is aligning its corporate campaigns with the philanthropic, social responsibility and human resource priorities of its companies, while giving more attention to companies in the mid-level markets in Northeast Ohio.
United Way, under the leadership of President and CEO August A. Napoli, is also committed to providing a singular donor experience that builds relationships with donors over a lifetime.
CELEBRATING 100 YEARS IN BUSINESS — Tile Layers and Finishers Local 36
Tile Layers and Finishers Local 36
Chartered during one of the greatest building booms in the history of Northeast Ohio, Tile Layers and Finishers Local 36 started off strong, laying tile in many of the iconic buildings constructed during the 1920s.
Chartered in May 1918, the tile setting union, based in Cleveland, has been operating for 100 years. Its members perform residential, commercial and soft floor work. It works with over 25 different contractors in Cuyahoga, Lorain, Medina, Geauga, Ashtabula, Lake, Portage and Summit counties.
Local 36 is honored to count the most highly trained and skilled tile layers in the region among its members.
Many of the men and women who belong to Local 36 were trained by their father and/or grandfather. Generations of knowledge has been passed down and will continue that way as new apprentices learn the trade.
Through the Great Depression, World War II, anti-union movements, strikes and times of high unemployment, Local 36 has survived and grown stronger, and stands as the only independent tile laying local in the nation. Helped by Business Agent Matthew Neeson, it continues in its steadfast support of the advancement of its brothers and sisters, as it will continue to do for another 100 years to come.
CELEBRATING 99 YEARS IN BUSINESS — Meaden & Moore
James P. Carulas
Meaden & Moore
In the 99 years since its founding, Meaden & Moore has grown to over 225 employees in 18 locations in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. The firm expanded beyond individual income tax preparation to advising a wide array of public and private business clients on various accounting, tax, technology and business consulting matters. Led by CEO James P. Carulas, the firm has added new service lines and focused on a variety of industries and markets.
Niche areas of expertise have evolved into substantial business operations, such as the growth of the firm’s investigative accounting group. Started in 1959, today this group is now one of the foremost forensic accounting advisers in the areas of business interruption, damage assessment and litigation support services in the Americas and Europe.
Meaden & Moore has been able to adapt, expand and thrive for over six generations of ownership because of the culture of professionalism and entrepreneurial spirit created by its founders. Each generation has been able to cultivate the firm by enabling employees to develop the professional skills necessary to support the changing needs of clients. The focus is always on ways to create future opportunities for the firm’s clients and its people.
CELEBRATING 98 YEARS IN BUSINESS — The Millcraft Paper Co.
Travis M. Mlakar
The Millcraft Paper Co.
The Millcraft Paper Co. is a fourth-generation, family-owned business specializing in the distribution of premium paper, packaging and graphic arts products.
Founded in 1920 by Harold and Pauline Keil, the company began as a specialty stationery and wedding invitation business to eventually, over nearly 100 years, grow to become the a leading Midwest distributor of paper, packaging and graphic supply. It has 15 locations in 12 cities and serves Ohio, Michigan, New York, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and select East Coast markets.
Its longevity stems from knowing when to change and when not to. It honors the customer relationship and believes in the entrepreneurial spirit, accessibility, flexibility and creativity. The company proudly supports its local communities because they’re not only where it does business, but they’re also home.
Millcraft believes in innovation and evolution, but it stays true to the values that are central to its long-lasting relationships with clients, suppliers and communities. The company is relentless in its drive to find fresh solutions for clients. Often it’s clients’ demands that drive Millcraft’s expansion into new markets.
Led by President Travis M. Mlakar, the company holds strong to its principles of honesty, loyalty and integrity, and always strives to find ways to make doing business with its clients easier.
CELEBRATING 83 YEARS IN BUSINESS — National Safety Apparel
National Safety Apparel
In 1935, Wally Grossman started manufacturing heat and thermal protective apparel in his parents’ basement. Together, father and son developed a great business. George and Wally Grossman worked together for almost 30 years, despite the Great Depression.
The business evolved over the years with Wally’s son, Charlie, running the business from 1966 to 2005. Charlie’s son, Chuck, joined the family business in 1998 and has been running the company as CEO since Charlie retired in 2005.
Opportunity has knocked several times over the years. One of those opportunities was getting into the electric arc flash protection business in 2001. In 2002, the company implemented lean manufacturing technologies from the Toyota Sewing System. This lean transformation cut costs significantly and allowed the company to stay in the U.S. while most other sewing jobs have gone overseas.
Since 2012, NSA has acquired five companies and expanded its product offerings to now include FR Rainwear, new knit and woven fabrics, and most recently, T-shirts union-made in Chicago.
In 2017, NSA expanded into a more than 60,000-square-foot fulfillment center near its 90,000-square-foot headquarters on Industrial Parkway in Cleveland. With almost 500 U.S. employees, the company’s future is bright.
CELEBRATING 80 YEARS IN BUSINESS — R.W. Sidley
Robert J. Beuscher
President and CEO
The story of R.W. Sidley begins with a wheelbarrow, a pickaxe and some land in Thompson, Ohio. From those small beginnings emerged a company that has spanned across multiple generations, businesses and states. Established in 1933 and incorporated in 1938, R.W. Sidley will celebrate its 80th anniversary this year.
Robert J. Buescher, president and CEO, represents the third generation of the family to lead the company. Bob Sidley, an 83-year-old board chairman and former CEO of 57 years, still comes to the office every day, including weekly management meetings, driven by the pure passion he has for the business.
R.W. Sidley’s evolving product and service offerings over the years represent the successful use of vertical integration. Beginning with sand and stone, founder Robert W. Sidley quickly realized he could use the silica sand and gravel for many additional offerings to customers
Today, led by Beuscher, the company is driven to help people not only make their project easier, but also elevate a regular project to something special. The various product and service expansions over the years are examples of R.W. Sidley’s management team continuing to find opportunities to help its customers, whether they’re builders, homeowners, or tradesmen and tradeswomen. The company strives to be a one-stop-shop for its customers’ construction material solution needs.
CELEBRATING 77 YEARS IN BUSINESS — Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland
Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland
Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland has built a legacy by providing life-defining experiences for students, teachers, community members and business leaders.
Its classroom lessons are designed to add octane to school curriculums and help shape a student’s future contribution in a global economy. The three pillars of the organization are career readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. All programs focus on one or more of these three essential economic elements.
Today, Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland’s influence reaches over 41,000 students annually in classrooms across Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Lorain counties. When Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland was established in 1941, Cleveland’s industrial economy was at full throttle. The city was second only to Detroit among American cities in the percentage of workers employed in industrial jobs.
Junior Achievement USA, founded 22 years earlier, was creating satellites throughout the nation including Cleveland, to supplement standard high school curriculums with after-school programs that prepared students for those vocations.
Today, these same programs have grown to empower students of all ages to explore the roles people play in the economy. Led by President Joe Faulhaber, program offerings have expanded dramatically to serve the organization’s mission of educating and preparing kids for success in the world.
CELEBRATING 75 YEARS IN BUSINESS — Apple Growth Partners
Apple Growth Partners
Apple Growth Partners has undergone several changes since it was founded in 1943 by an accounting student named Jay Heinick.
Different leaders, service offerings and company names dot the firm’s timeline, each telling a different part of the story that would shape the company’s future. Seventy-five years later, Apple Growth Partners has more than 100 accountants, business advisers and other experts in place and continues to grow.
Chuck Mullen joined the company in 2008 after the merger of Apple Growth Partners and Brott Mardis & Co. Mullen first joined as a shareholder and became head of the tax department a year later. In 2016, he was named chairman, replacing Dave Gaino as the firm’s leader.
One of the keys to Apple Growth Partners’ enduring success is its ability develop its own leadership candidates. In 2013, the firm created the Growth Acceleration Program to fill its leadership gaps. Six internal candidates were provided with soft skills, management and business development training, which helped solidify the firm’s future leadership group.
Acquisitions are another part of the equation. Apple Growth Partners focuses on who it is acquiring and not how many dollars it is adding toward its revenue goal in its M&A strategy.
CELEBRATING 73 YEARS IN BUSINESS — The Rogers Co.
The Rogers Co.
The Rogers Co. was founded in 1945 by scenic artist, Van Rogers, a pioneer in the display industry. For over 70 years, Rogers Co. has been an award-winning designer and manufacturer of branded environments, such as trade shows, and any place where communicating brand is vital.
With a mission to remain experts in experiential marketing, the company offers state-of-the-art solutions, lightweight fabrics, LED lighting and an array of digital products. Process improvement is vital to the continued success of Rogers Co., and the company is continually investing in advanced software for its designers and engineers to add efficiencies to its exhibit processes.
The company, led by President Rick Busby, has an extensive rental inventory, which can be combined with a client’s existing properties or used alone. Rogers Co.’s clients will attest that the company is expert at designing and building unique displays that dramatically highlight their products.
Very early on, Rogers Co. offered an online ordering and inventory system for clients’ portable displays and graphics. In addition, the company is capable of serving as the show general contractor for private events and proprietary trade shows.
Rogers Co. has shown that it continues to stay true to its core values while evolving and expanding its support for its employees and clients.
CELEBRATING 69 YEARS IN BUSINESS — Hy-Ko Products Co.
Michael Bass, CEO and co-owner
David Kaufman, COO and co-owner
Hy-Ko Products Co.
Hy-Ko Products Co. has been solving common, everyday household problems since 1949, supplying over 100 million products every year to help get customers back on track. This family business has grown from manufacturing and supplying letters, numbers and signs to regional hardware stores to become a global company that supplies and services some of the world’s largest retail businesses. Its products are sold in more than 25,000 retailers worldwide.
Hy-Ko is in its second generation of family management and is led by co-owners Michael Bass and David Kaufman. Bass serves as CEO while Kaufman is the company’s COO. The business is headquartered in a 120,000-square-foot facility in Northfield and employs about 180 people.
Hy-Ko has invested in engineering and design, resulting in state-of-the-art patented technologies. Creative, customized merchandising systems maximize retail space and computerization has allowed Hy-Ko to expand its numbers, letters and signs business and grow its retail merchandising design.
Acquisitions are another part of the company’s growth strategy. Hy-Ko bought a former supplier, Accurate Wire, which led to the formation of Budget Wire & Display. The purchase of Jandorf Specialty Hardware helped Hy-Ko expand into the hardware, electrical and plumbing categories with over 5,000 additional items.
CELEBRATING 68 YEARS IN BUSINESS — Shiloh Industries
Ramzi Y. Hermiz
President and CEO
Dominick Fanello founded Shiloh Industries in 1950 in Shiloh, Ohio. After moving to Mansfield in 1955, the tool and die manufacturer expanded its operations into steel blanking in the early 1960s, formed its first joint venture with MTD Products in 1977, and introduced pickling, slitting and heavy gauge blanking.
The 1980s and early 1990s saw the company further expand its operations into cold-rolled blanking and steel processing with two additional joint ventures. With the acquisition of Sectional Die and Sectional Stamping in 1987, the company entered into the stamping market. In 1993, the company went public and became Shiloh Industries. By 2000, Shiloh had locations in Georgia, Michigan, Tennessee and Mexico.
In 2012, Ramzi Y. Hermiz joined the company as president and CEO. Under his leadership, Shiloh has more than doubled revenue and transformed into a global innovative solutions provider with a strategic focus on designing, engineering and manufacturing lightweight products. That focus on lightweighting has helped it become a key player in the global mobility landscape and one of the largest automotive magnesium suppliers worldwide.
The company has evolved from a local tool and die shop to a global technology leader with a clear vision to create innovative solutions for sustainable mobility and a safer, healthier environment.
CELEBRATING 66 YEARS IN BUSINESS — Dove Die and Stamping Co.
President and owner
Dove Die and Stamping Co.
Jerry and Norma Wagner met at Dove Die and Stamping Co. in 1964, married in 1968 and purchased the company in 1979 at the onset of a deep, global recession. Jerry’s fortitude, and often luck, coupled with Norma’s strength and common sense, forged through that recession, the late 1990s and the Great Recession that hit in 2008 by building a company people could retire from.
Dove Die is a high-volume automotive and HVAC parts stamper with a low-stress corporate culture. Customers and vendors not only like Jerry, the company’s president and owner, they seek his counsel. Customers remain from Dove Die’s inception, along with additional customers who have become well-known and helped pave the way for enduring success.
Earning ISO certifications, buying capital equipment at pennies on the dollar, investing in employee education and succession, attention to preventive maintenance and building a self-contained double disc grinding operation is truly what sets Dove Die apart from other stampers that have gone by the wayside. But mostly, customers say they go to Dove Die for the engineering and expertise not offered elsewhere.
The couple’s children, Peggy and Jim, have adopted the same ethical business practices displayed by their parents and the company’s employees.
CELEBRATING 65 YEARS IN BUSINESS — Hughie’s Event Production Services
President and owner
Hughie’s Event Production Services
The company now known as Hughie’s Event Production Services began in 1953 as a 900-square-foot storefront on East 12th Street in Cleveland.
Hughie’s Flowers & Film Service was a full-service florist that also sold Kodak film, cameras and had a film developing service. Soon, the business started renting cameras, as well as slide projectors and screens to view the pictures. In 1955, motion picture film and cameras were added to the mix and the company has been growing and expanding ever since.
When founders Hughie and Marilyn Callaly sold the business to 17-year employee Dave Wheeler in 1994, his first order of business was to move the audiovisual side of the company to a separate 11,000-square-foot building on East 17th Street. In 1997, Hughie’s bought an audio-visual rental company in Columbus that became Hughie’s Audio-Visual and Staging to emphasize that all facets of equipment needed for events could now be acquired from one source.
Hughie’s has always been ready to invest, whether it’s digital technology, larger spaces, new territories or additional services. Most recently, the company, led by Wheeler as its president and owner, has added scenic design capabilities by acquiring an additional lighting designer, event producer and scenic designer to the staff.
CELEBRATING 64 YEARS IN BUSINESS — Robert P. Madison International Inc.
Sandra Madison, AIA
CEO and chairwoman
Robert P. Madison International Inc.
Robert P. Madison opened an office for the practice of architecture in Cleveland in 1954. This was the first African-American-owned architecture firm in Ohio and only the 10th in the U.S.
In 2016, Sandra Madison, AIA, became majority owner, and the firm’s new CEO and chairwoman. Along with her two business co-owners — her husband, R. Kevin Madison, AIA, who is president, and Robert Klann, AIA, CFO — the firm embarked on a new chapter of the Robert P Madison International story.
Today, the firm is the largest black female-owned architecture firm in Ohio, remarkable considering that only 0.4 percent of all licensed architects are black females.
The firm’s greatest challenge adapting and evolving over its past 64 years has been related to technology. When Robert Madison started, the tools used to create architectural drawings were pencils, T-squares and stencils. Today, firms are beginning to incorporate virtual reality, giving clients the ability to virtually walk through a yet-to-be-constructed building.
This next phase excites the new owners of RPMI. Just as Robert Madison was a trailblazer for blacks in architecture, Sandra Madison is working to make the firm a trailblazer of technology.
CELEBRATING 57 YEARS IN BUSINESS — Berea Moving & Storage Co.
Lisa M. Holly
Berea Moving & Storage Co.
Berea Moving & Storage Co. has stood the test of time through constant change and new ideas. It all started in 1961 as a part-time job for Cleveland Police Officer Willard Melton and a full-time job for his wife, Ardella Melton, who served as owner, manager of operations and logistics and mother to two young children.
The company grew over time and the two children, Lisa and Woody, grew up with it. When their father died in 2002, their mother took charge and the company began handling medical and telecommunications equipment, in addition to moving furniture.
Tragedy struck in 2006 when Ardella Melton died in a car accident, leaving Lisa and Woody in control of the family business. Without a succession plan or formal leadership training, Lisa, who took over as president, searched for a solution.
After a series of interviews, she hired Maximum Value Partners, as well as a team of accountants and attorneys to keep the company on track. By 2011, Berea Moving was ready to add to its offerings and created Wood-Lee International Art Handler to serve clients who needed to move and store artwork. This new division has grown to become 30 percent of the company’s gross revenue.
CELEBRATING 51 YEARS IN BUSINESS — College Now Greater Cleveland
College Now Greater Cleveland
College Now Greater Cleveland has grown from a scholarship program to a robust college and career advising organization.
Though the mission has remained the same — to provide low-income, underprivileged students with support to access postsecondary education — the methods, tools and even programs offered by College Now have evolved throughout the years to meet the changing needs of students. There have also been changing demands with higher education and a changing profile of the typical college student.
Without this ability to adapt, grow and recognize the areas in which more services are needed, College Now would not have been able to reach the milestone of 51 years in existence.
To accommodate an expanded range of services that includes an innovative web-based mentoring program for College Now scholarship recipients, the organization has had to increase in staff to about 160 employees.
Under the guidance of CEO Lee Friedman, College Now is one of the largest college access organizations in the nation, serving about 27,000 students and awarding $3.5 million in scholarships each year. It has a presence in more than 80 high schools across Northeast Ohio and 185 total venues across the region. More than 50 people sit on College Now’s board.
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS IN BUSINESS — Ganley Auto Group
President and CEO
Ganley Auto Group
Kenneth Ganley took over day-to-day management at Ganley Auto Group in 2006 and has guided the company to sales and revenue records every year since 2009. The company sold nearly 60,000 vehicles in the last year alone.
When Tom Ganley passed away in August 2016, he left behind a company that ranked No. 27 on the top 150 dealership groups in the U.S., according to Automotive News. His son is committed to taking the company to even greater heights while continuing to honor everything his father had built.
As he climbed the leadership ladder, the younger Ganley learned that managing so many independent businesses and employees can be difficult. Now serving as president and CEO, he has focused on bringing strong management to each location and fostering a culture and a team that can manage high expectations.
Through continual employee education, he has created a better customer experience at each location. As his father would say, “The proof of ability is results.”
Ganley now proudly represents over 30 automotive franchises throughout Northern Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. The company has been aggressive in building new facilities all over its expanding territory to ensure a great experience for its valued clients.
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS IN BUSINESS — Weber Wood Medinger
Gerald B. Medinger
Weber Wood Medinger
In 1968, Bill Weber, Alan Wood and Jerry Medinger started the industrial brokerage of Weber Wood Medinger, and soon developed suburban office buildings in Beachwood, Pepper Pike and Independence. Its real estate development and syndication business continued through the 1980s.
Concurrent with the downturn in the real estate market in 1992, WWM decided to exit the development business and focus on corporate advisory services, and developed relationships with a variety of institutional enterprises, most often in collaboration with local brokerage relationships.
WWM elected to stay small by design, which allowed the firm to be nimble and responsive to the ever-changing real estate market. Despite its boutique size and stature, WWM has completed significant transactions and build-to-suit projects in over 35 states, Mexico and Canada.
The greatest value of its service offerings came from working as a team before teaming became common among commercial real estate firms. WWM had different strengths, as people and professionals, and that was and still is what sets it apart from peers and competitors.
While the firm has established a national brand, WWM, led by President Gerald B. Medinger still focuses on Cleveland-area real estate requirements and opportunities with local developers and commercial office and industrial occupiers.