How to really be there when your people need you

Rick Solon, President and CEO, Clark-Reliance Corp.

Matthew Figgie was in urgent need of a kidney transplant. Fortunately for Figgie, his friend and colleague at Clark-Reliance Corp., Rick Solon, was going to do whatever he could do to help. It turned out that the answer to Figgie’s need was closer than either he or Solon realized.

Another Clark-Reliance employee, Dave McKee, was tested and turned out to be a match as a kidney donor to Figgie. The transplant was done and two years later, both Figgie and McKee found themselves walking in the Cleveland Kidney Foundation Walk chaired by Solon.

The walk raised a record-setting $185,000 and as part of its role as a sponsor of the walk, Clark-Reliance contributed $7,500 as a scholarship donation.

But Solon, Clark-Reliance’s president and CEO, doesn’t stop there with his philanthropic efforts. He and the company helped Cleveland Public Theatre raise more than $200,000 for its 2010 annual fundraising effort. The contributions help promote the work of local artists and enrich the lives of at-risk children and youth, creating an outlet for those often excluded from participating in the arts.

Such efforts are indications of the belief that Solon instills in his employees to leave their mark and make a difference. Employees view community involvement and contributions as a portion of their overall mission.

Solon’s leadership skills have helped develop a corporate culture that empowers employees to be as compassionate about their community activities as they are about their work. The commitment to community is integrated into everyday activities as it generates feelings of respect, giving and enthusiasm. Many employees are involved in numerous community activities.

But perhaps the most rewarding act of compassion was within the company itself when one member of the Clark-Reliance team saved the life of another.

HOW TO REACH: Clark-Reliance Corp. (440) 572-1500 or