Living through another’s experiences gives new perspective

Imagine that you came home each day to a 64,500-square-foot, three-story manor house with 65 rooms. Now imagine that you didn’t have to clean it.

That’d be your reality if you lived in Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, the former home of Frank A. Seiberling, the founder of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. This month’s Uniquely Akron/Canton feature looks at the sprawling homestead, along with some facts that you may be able to use during your next trivia night.

Now, imagine sitting at the helm of an organization that translates more than $34 million in donations into a means to distribute 24 million pounds of food that is used to stock 500 food pantries across eight counties. That’s the job of Daniel R. Flowers, president and CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank, who you can read about in our Building Stronger Communities feature. Flowers talks about the support he gets from the business community, which donates money and time to the organization that provided 7.8 million meals to Summit County alone in 2013.

Industry perspective

Take a minute to think about what it’s like to guide a company that’s been around for 125 years. Mike Baach, president and CEO of The Philpott Rubber Co., knows that feeling. In this month’s feature, he talks about the creative ways the company has found to get the most out of its workforce. The manufacturing industry in the U.S. is facing myriad challenges from foreign competition and an aging pool of workers. Baach reveals his perspective on addressing these issues, and how it’s the responsibility of manufacturing companies to find their own solutions to stay competitive as long as Philpott has.

On the same theme, columnist John Myers, executive-in-residence and president of the Akron Innovation Campus at the University of Akron Research Foundation, discusses the need for manufacturers to take control of their future. He outlines what he believes is the reason for the shortfall in available qualified manufacturing workers, and challenges the industry to find its own solution to a persistent problem.

Through their eyes

Have you ever heard of the gray market? I hadn’t until I interviewed Marshall Dahneke, CEO of Performance Health, for this month’s cover. I’m not sure he knew about it until he discovered, four months after he joined the company, that the company’s products were being sold through it.

Imagine being the new guy and discovering this, then trying to convince your organization not to fight the assault to its strategy, but to embrace it, to go with the flow.

It’s these stories from behind the scenes that we think give our readers a chance to walk in someone else’s shoes, to see what they see and hopefully gain insight into how to manage what are often trials of patience and intellect.