CEO and founder
Naomi Whittel got the idea for Reserveage Organics while she was in the south of France contemplating the French paradox. It’s a belief many have that centers on findings showing the French have a relatively low rate of coronary heart disease despite a diet rich in saturated fats.
As she looked for clues, she began to research the benefits of daily consumption of red wine. This ultimately led her to develop exclusive relationships with seventh-generation organic vineyard farmers to purchase raw materials for a line of health and wellness products.
Whittel, the company’s CEO and founder, has built a sophisticated team of leaders and advisers to conduct research and get access to cutting-edge ingredients that can help people feel better and be healthier.
This team plays an integral role in the company’s operations, and leaders have the opportunity to make a difference on the front lines. When the company succeeds, Whittel wants her people to share in the glory.
One reason for this kind of culture is that Whittel knows what it’s like to have to fight for recognition. When she started the company, she was one of the few female CEOs in the health and wellness industry. She knew there would be challenges in marketing women, but also knew that it was crucial to the business. That was a driving factor in lining up female leadership to help guide her company.
Of course, there have been other challenges too. As more and more people become familiar with wellness products, the industry has become more scrutinized to ensure products are doing what they claim they can do. Whittel has a strong legal counsel on hand to advise her and to make sure that she never makes a false claim about one of Reserveage Organics’ products.
The result is a company that continues to grow and a culture that is thriving with new ideas and determination, limited only by the creativity of the people who work there.
How to reach: Reserveage Organics, www.reserveage.com
Distribution & Manufacturing
Gator Cases Inc.
Crystal Morris, president of Gator Cases Inc., embodies the essence of entrepreneurship, innovation and social responsibility. Morris traces her successful career with Gator Cases to her passion for the company, the employees she is responsible for and the music industry as a whole.
Gator Cases was started with the goal of serving the music industry by selling different types of instrumentation and instrument cases. Dealers did not have one source for all their needs so Gator Cases became that one source. With innovation into new product segments and diversification to a global customer base, Gator Cases has grown to a multi-million dollar corporation.
Morris leads Gator Cases by example. She is positive, knowledgeable of Gator Cases’ products, and is a hard worker. She does not hesitate to roll up her sleeves to get the job done. In the earlier days, when her father became ill, she had to take over the sales side of the business. This was difficult since the music industry is male-dominated.
At first, no one took her seriously because she didn’t take the old-fashioned fast-talking sales approach. Instead, she sells through demonstrating her product knowledge and finding out how to solve the target customer’s problems. She identifies what her customer’s purpose is in the market and in turn, she finds ways where doing business with Gator Cases could improve their business.
Based on their unique business model of innovation and convenience to the music customer, there is no one equal competitor to Gator Cases. The closest competitors are only competing for business in each independent line of Gator Cases. Because the company services several markets, it can bundle value to address the various needs of its clients.
The future is bright for Gator Cases and under the leadership of Morris, success is sure to continue. Future expansion includes new and exciting innovative products and manufacturing processes in the U.S.
How to reach: Gator Cases Inc., www.gatorcases.com
Distribution & Manufacturing
George Hernandez Sr.
Solo Printing Inc.
Before Manny and George Hernandez started Solo Printing in 1985, they were sales representatives for a print shop enterprise — and they learned that customers came back not only for the product but for the service and the quality.
So the brothers set out on an adventure to bring their own high standards of service and quality to a competitive and demanding industry. Since they were now independent from big corporation attitudes and planning methods, they could make their own decisions and implement techniques and strategies.
One last hurdle remained: no one would readily lend them money for the equipment required for even a small commercial print shop. They finally found someone to believe in them and began printing letterhead stationery and fliers in a 1,400-sq. ft. warehouse. It was a simple beginning but it allowed them to remain committed to their vision. Success came immediately and they were able to preserve their business idea unaltered.
The brothers believe a successful business is all about teamwork. The employees at Solo Printing have enabled the company to differentiate itself from the competition. By having skilled workers want to work for a company that has quality equipment, is busy and treats them well, the brothers ensure a reputation for quality, service and price competitiveness. In 2012, for instance, the 130-employee company set record sales.
Among the incentives Solo Printing offers employees is a quarterly bonus program, annual raises and bonuses even throughout the tough economy. The brothers are on the print shop floor on a daily basis making sure that everyone is happy and teaming up to define solutions should issues arise.
One of Solo Printing’s crowning achievements was receiving an industry award of G7 Master Certification, granted to printing facilities required to use the G7 Proof-to-Print Process and use the most modern technology, techniques and printing press controls to produce a close visual match from proof to print. Solo Printing has been recognized by the South Florida Business Journal as one of the region’s fastest growing companies.
How to reach: Solo Printing, www.soloprinting.com
Distribution & Manufacturing
R. Charles Murray
PPi Technologies Group
In the mid-1990s, Charles Murray was inspired to use his knowledge of plastics, which he obtained through working in the plastic shrink-binding industry, to expand the use of plastic as a packaging material. At the time, Murray felt plastic was undervalued by American companies, which tended to use aluminum, glass or paper products.
So in 1996, he founded PPi Technologies Group, a supplier of StandUp pouch and tray machines used to package food, drinks, drugs, household products and chemicals. His business model was based on more than 30 patents to give customers an advantage over competitors and to keep the U.S. pouch machine market ahead of global competition.
He took a new approach to the pouch machinery industry by signing long-term supply agreements or investing in or with global machine suppliers to make parts of the American designed machines and then deliver these back to the U.S. for finishing with his patented technology.
During the last 16 years, PPi Technologies has expanded from producing pouch machinery to producing its own pouch beverage product. Murray, who is CEO, started Redi-2-DrinQ Group in 2008 for packing beverages into pouches and launched his own brand of shaped Redi-2-DrinQ ShotPak cocktails and STR8UP premium spirits in a patented hip flask shaped pouch.
The traditional wine in a box segment came under attack next with the launch of his patented BarrelPaQ pouch without the box. He then rounded out the beverage industry with a CarboPouch for draft beer and Chilling Rocks water pouch.
In 2008, the company was included in the Inc. magazine list of fastest growing private companies. Murray plans to lead the company into its next stage, focusing on expanding its Redi-2-DrinQ Group and providing safe, environmentally responsible beverage products to consumers in addition to going after products in the refrigerator that can be packaged and stored in one of the company’s innovative pouches.
How to reach: PPi Technologies Group, www.ppitechnologies.com
For 27 years, Ernst & Young has championed the entrepreneurial spirit of men and women pursuing excellence in their businesses, their teams and their communities. Ernst & Young founded the Entrepreneur Of The Year Program to recognize the passion of entrepreneurs and to build an influential and innovative community of peers.
We received more than 1,680 national entries for this year’s program from the country's most deserving entrepreneurs. Their triumphs stand as a testament to the role they play as visionaries and leaders.
In 25 US cities, we are gathering to toast their commitment to succeed. We applaud them for taking risks, breaking ground, opening new markets and fueling job growth.
Let’s celebrate their achievements, their perseverance and their unwavering commitment to winning in the marketplace.
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Program Partner
Ernst & Young LLP
2013 Entrepreneur Of The Year Florida
Distribution & Manufacturing
Solo Printing, Inc.
Power Grid Engineering, LLC
Retail & Consumer Products
Denise E. Dickins, Ph.D.
Michael K. Ferris
Steven T. Halverson
Mark A. Llano
The Ohio safety council rebate program created by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) rewards employers for their active participation in a local safety council. It also provides an additional performance bonus rebate for reducing the frequency or severity of workers’ compensation claims.
“With the number of safety councils available across the state with a focus on a variety of industries, employers are able to not only receive information on new safety techniques, products and services to assist their businesses, but also reduce their premium for simply attending these helpful meetings throughout the year,” says Russ Hocutt, vice president at CompManagement, Inc.
Smart Business spoke with Hocutt about how this rebate program works.
How much of a rebate can be earned?
Currently the incentive program enables employers to receive a rebate of 2 percent of their annual workers’ compensation premium through program participation and an additional 2 percent performance bonus based on the reduction of the frequency or severity of claims.
How can a local safety council be found?
BWC’s Division of Safety & Hygiene sponsors more than 80 safety councils across the state, organized through chambers of commerce, trade and manufacturing associations, American Red Cross chapters or other local, safety-minded organizations. A list is available at www.ohiobwc.com.
What are the requirements for the participation rebate portion?
An employer must enroll in a local safety council by July 31. Once enrolled, an employer must attend 10 meetings or events between July 1 and June 30. Two of the 10 meetings may be external educational options such as BWC Safety & Hygiene training courses or industry-specific training. The chief executive officer must attend at least one safety council-sponsored function or meeting. Semiannual reports must be submitted for the calendar year to document attendance. The documentation must be an official certificate of attendance or transcript. Only employers that meet the participation eligibility requirements will be eligible for an additional 2 percent performance bonus.
How is the performance bonus calculated?
Employers that reduce their frequency or severity of claims by 10 percent or more compared to the previous year’s frequency or severity, or employers that maintain both frequency and severity at zero, will receive an additional 2 percent refund of their annual premium, assuming the participation portion of the safety council program is met.
BWC calculates frequency by multiplying the total number of claims reported in the measurement year by 1 million and dividing by the employer’s total reported payroll for that year. Severity is determined by multiplying the total number of days absent during the measurement year by 1 million and then dividing by the employer’s total reported payroll for that year. The measurement period for private employers is claims and payroll reported between July 1 and June 30 compared to the previous year. For public employers, the measurement period is between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31.
What impact would the program have on a midsize company’s premium?
Assuming the participation requirements are met and the employer was able to reduce the frequency or severity of claims as indicated above, a midsize service company could expect the following in annual premium savings, assuming the employer is participating in no other alternative rating programs:
- Payroll — $3,990,000.
- Individual discount — 16 percent.
- Individual premium — $14,683.
- 2 percent safety council participation rebate — $200*.
- 2 percent safety council performance rebate — $200*.
*Based on pure premium which does not include assessments for DWRF and administrative costs for operation of BWC/IC
Savings reflected above do not include the additional savings that can be realized by also participating in programs compatible with the safety council program such as Destination Excellence, Drug Free safety Program, Group Rating (performance bonus only), Group Retrospective Rating (participation bonus only), Large/Small Deductible, Individual Retrospective Rating, or One Claim Program. Always have your third-party administrator conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the best savings options available for your organization.
Russ Hocutt is vice president at CompManagement, Inc. Reach him at (800) 825-6755, ext. 65619 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Save The Date: Safety council enrollment ends July 31 for the 2013 policy year.
Insights Workers’ Compensation is brought to you by CompManagement, Inc.
Jonathan Brett Klein
CEO and co-founder
CEO and director
In a decidedly old-school industry, oil and gas, Jonathan Klein and Luis Luque are a breath of fresh air. They have worked hard to build Cimation as both a company and a brand with a specific identity and corporate message unlike many of its competitors.
Where other companies may scoff at marketing as expensive and unnecessary, both understand the importance of a cohesive, modern marketing strategy. This initiative enables Cimation to compete with Fortune 500 technology companies for top industry talent and has helped earn business accolades even beyond the energy sector.
They have created an energetic environment where people truly love to work. All employees are encouraged to pitch new business ideas and are rewarded for their success along the way. Employees are not confined by their job title; instead, they are urged to seek out training opportunities and develop expertise across multiple areas.
The collaborative work environment at Cimation encourages employees to offer critical insights and constructive feedback. Recently, in a strategic rollout across all of Cimation’s offices, Klein, Luque and their executive team launched a series of focus groups centered on key business areas. These contributions to the overarching company goals increased engagement at the grassroots level and improved employee satisfaction.
Klein and Luque believe — and Cimation’s sustained success attests to it — that empowered, engaged and appreciated employees are more productive and work harder to support the ambitions of the entire company.
The duo cofounded Cimation in 2009 at the height of the recession when most businesses were struggling to remain open. Nevertheless, theyhave led the company to success from day one, increasing revenue, profits, head count and industry accolades year upon year.
They recently spearheaded an intellectual property initiative that will see Cimation developing new packaged technology solutions and other forms of intellectual property in the near future. Although a risky move in an industry overcommitted to underperforming technology, their vision of Cimation as a truly “great” company demands that they continue to push the envelope.
How to reach: Cimation, www.cimation.com
Founder and CEO
Joel Bomgar was great at fixing computers, but the unbillable time he spent traveling from one client site to the next was making it pretty tough to make any money.
He decided there had to be a better way and after realizing there wasn’t a good product on the market, he went to work to develop his own solution.
He developed his own remote support software that enabled him to troubleshoot customers’ computers through the Internet from the comfort of his own desk.
More importantly, he didn’t have to drive anywhere to identify these problems.
Over the past decade, that piece of software has evolved into the Bomgar Box, a robust remote support solution now used by nearly 7,000 organizations in 65 countries worldwide.
As the founder and CEO of the company which he named after himself, Bomgar has forged his success by focusing on the niche remote support market versus diversifying. He targets large enterprises instead of consumers and produces an appliance-based solution instead of software as a service.
The company itself has a positive, fast-paced culture that is family friendly and is based on Bomgar’s own values and desire to work in a place he believes to be “the best place on the planet.”
Innovation is a priority for Bomgar and he gives employees the freedom to create as long as it feeds the company’s primary goal of improving tech support. This freedom within focus approach allows product engineers and developers to explore futuristic ideas while keeping everyone moving toward the same end goal.
There is also great freedom when it comes to choosing philanthropic causes to support. Bomgar wants employees to support causes that are important to them personally. The Bomgar Care Network is a rotating team that solicits ideas for philanthropic activities from employees and then leads activities in support of those programs. The company also donates its technology to nearly 100 missions around the world.
How to reach: Bomgar, www.bomgar.com
Peter M. Duncan
Founder, president and CEO
Peter Duncan has led multiple start-ups over his long career in geophysics. In his most recent venture, Microseismic Inc., he has created a company that utilizes cutting edge technology to help customers monitor their reservoirs.
He had the vision and work ethic to commercialize an idea for passively monitoring seismic activity from the surface, which many industry experts thought at the time was impossible. Further, he was able to adapt his technology to meet the demands of the market as the U.S. shale plays came online and the recent domestic natural gas and oil boom began.
At the time of Microseismic’s inception, the demand for frac monitoring was virtually non-existent, but seeing the opportunity for his company’s technology to enhance customer value by monitoring their growing number of non-traditional, enhanced recovery wells, he has pioneered a new industry that has much larger companies scrambling to replicate.
Microseismic competes with organizations that are far larger in size, and recently competitors have taken notice of Duncan’s success and competition is heating up. Duncan, who is founder, president and CEO, believes that competition is what will make his company even better, which is evidenced by the continued growth of Microseismic.
However, one of the biggest challenges that he believes his company faces is the need to convince users of his services and that his technology can provide additional critical data to make their drilling programs better.
According to Duncan, just a few years ago, only 0.5 percent of all fracked wells were monitored and recently that number has grown to just 4 percent. Obviously, there is room to grow, and Duncan views this challenge as a great opportunity. He is actively working to analyze and present the data that his company collects to convince engineers how valuable this relatively new technology can be to their drilling programs.
Today, Duncan’s willingness to take risks and go against conventional wisdom has given Microseismic a 95 percent share in the market.
How to reach: MicroSeismic Inc., www.microseismic.com