Friday, 30 November 2012 20:01

The 2012 Pillar Award for Community Service

The Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service, presented by Smart Business, honors businesses of all types and sizes that make outstanding contribution to their community. Its purpose is to encourage a charitable enviroment, recognize creative efforts that make a difference and demonstrate the ties between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.

This year's winners will be honored at a special banquet on December 5 at LaCentre Conference & Banquet Facility in Westlake, OH.

Take a look at how these kind and selfless individuals and companies do what they do:

An introductory letter from Rick Chiricosta, President and CEO, Medical Mutual

Pillar Award for Community Service finalists:

AkzoNobel

ArcelorMittal Cleveland

BlueBridge Networks

Brand Muscle, Inc.

Enzoco Homes dba Handyman and a Hammer for Our Troops

GE Capital Retail Bank

Home Instead Senior Care

Huntington National Bank

Improve Consulting & Training Group, LLC

InfoCision Management Corporation

Majestic Steel USA

Nordson Corporation Foundation

Olympic Steel, Inc.

PartsSource, LLC

PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP

Sequoia Financial Group, LLC

Smith Medical Transportation Systems, Inc.

SS&G, Inc.

University Hospitals

Nonprofit Board Executives Of The Year:

Debby Zanglin, Guidestone

Tom Laird, Jr., ACE Mentor Program of Cleveland

Doug Weintraub, Jump Start

Mike Crislip, New Directions, Inc. & Crossroads

Rea & Associates Nonprofit Executive Directors Of The Year:

Mary Alice Frank, American Red Cross

Kathleen Crowther, Cleveland Restoration Society

Steve Friedman, Ph.D., Cleveland Sight Center

Elizabeth Fowler, Cleveland Zoological Society

Kathryn Kazol, Emerald Development Economic Network & Eden, Inc.

Dennis Allen, Hattie Larlham

Youth Supporter Of Philanthropy:

Cal DiJulius & Taylor Banc, All Kids Relay for Life Team

Tara Coury, The Safe House

 

A list of our fine sponsors

 

Published in Akron/Canton

I am bullish on Houston and proud to be part of a "can do" attitude in Texas. The bottom line is that our Houston economy continues to remain healthy, with overall leasing activity strong in the second quarter of 2012. The main driver in the Houston market is simple — strong job growth.

Our city added almost 90,000 jobs between May 2011 and May 2012 and our unemployment decreased to 6.9 percent, from 8.1 percent one year ago. Landlords continue to report strong velocity in leasing activity, resulting in over 1.4 million square feet of positive absorption in the second quarter, pushing the year to date total to 2.4 million square feet.

With all the positive news, the key is the energy sector. Some of the recent growth includes the expansion in North Houston and Woodlands, including Exxon Mobile's North Houston Campus, which is under construction, and Anadarko's second corporate tower in the Woodlands. Other submarkets are growing, including Phillips 66's recent announcement regarding plans to build a headquarters in West Houston, along with Apache's acquisition of the Galleria area land for a new headquarters building.

Although obviously one of the strongest office markets in the country, I believe the Houston market still will face some challenges due to mergers and company consolidations that will result in new sublease space hitting the market. At the end of the second quarter overall, we had almost 1.1 million square feet of sublease space available citywide, and in the CBD there is 360,500 square feet available, primarily in the Class A properties.

With the strength in our economy, our clients are now making longer term lease commitments (5-10 years) compared to a year ago. Landlords are now evaluating their tenant mix in their buildings, and if the tenant prospect has solid credit, they are offering aggressive tenant allowance packages to entice them to commit long term.

John S. Parsley, SIOR, is the principal and director of the Houston office of Colliers International. Reach him at (713) 830-2140 or john.parsley@colliers.com.

Published in Houston
Thursday, 12 April 2012 15:43

A spirit of enterprise

For over 50 years Colliers International has provided real estate solutions to many of Houston’s leading corporations, institutions, and small businesses.

Leading companies such as 3M, Crown Castle, Talisman, Christus Health, Fidelity and The Coca-Cola Company rely on them for strategic guidance and creative solutions. That’s why Colliers International is ranked the second most-recognized commercial real estate brand in the world by the Lipsey Company.

Smart Business spoke with J. Patrick Duffy, ICSC, MCR, the president of the Houston office of Colliers International and chairman of the Colliers retail services group, about how the company overcomes obstacles and employs innovation to be on the leading edge.

Give us an example of a business challenge your organization faced, as well as how you overcame it.

The commercial real estate market saw a significant drop in business after the capital market meltdown in 08. While A drop in volume was predictable, the length (time before recovery) and depth of the decline were very difficult to predict. We knew that we needed to tighten our belts and get ready for a few years of substantially decreased revenue. At the same time we saw the downturn as an opportunity to improve our efficiency and potentially grow our market share while our publicly traded competitors, who had more short term earnings pressure, were forced to make more drastic cuts. We made the decision to cut any luxuries from our operations but maintain the core support services that our clients and brokers required to achieve the best results possible despite the current market conditions. Our partners agreed that short term losses, while not preferred, were acceptable if required to maintain our services at a high level and to keep the skilled people with the organization.

We had cash reserves and no debt going into the downturn which made this decision possible and when we made the decision to acquire a friendly competitor and obtain a new office location in Sugar Land, our partners opted to add additional capital rather than use capital reserves for the expansion.

The result of this action was that we kept our brokers and clients happy, managed to break even while we grew the firm in a depressed market environment and grow our market share. We implemented weekly training and streamlined many of our processes during the downturn and are enjoying the fruits of those efforts now that the market has recovered.

In what ways are you an innovative leader, and how does your organization employ innovation to be on the leading edge?

Colliers has a robust international platform and is investing globally in training and information technology which gives us a real edge over most of our competitors. I was given the opportunity to be a trainer for Colliers University classes and have leveraged that additional training to bring the best practices of our global platform to Houston in weekly one hour training sessions. We are taking the best ideas from around the world and where appropriate, applying them here at home in Houston.

We have embraced social media and technology but a great deal of our “innovation” is just acknowledging that there is always a better way to do everything, looking for examples and embracing positive change.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned and how have you applied it?

Making sure that there is alignment within the organization as to who we are, where we are going and why is critical. We have a running two year plan that every person has a copy of and has had the opportunity to comment on. Having clear vision and a plan to make it happen energizes most people and makes work more fun. We try to keep it light but focused.

How does your organization make a significant impact on the community and regional economy?

We help companies acquire and dispose of the real estate that supports their business. That may be a single asset or a portfolio of properties. We assist existing companies expand or relocate to improve their profitability and prosper. We guide companies that are considering the Houston market understand the dynamics of this area and make good decisions about where to locate and how to control their occupancy costs for long term success.

We also take an active role in the community through work with charitable and community organizations. As an example, we hold a golf tournament every year to raise funds for a selected charity (new one each year). This year we are helping “Kids’ Meals” purchase and distribute over 20,000 meals to Houston pre-school aged children, living in poverty who are in need of food.

How have you added “value” to the products and services you provide to customers and clients?

Real estate is one of the largest expense (and asset) line items for any company after their payroll costs. By bringing our experience in locating the right real estate for their particular business and negotiating the best terms for the control of that real estate, lease or purchase, we can have a significant impact on the profitability and growth of a company.

In many cases we help our clients with creative solutions for disposing of assets that they no longer need or in the case of investment properties are ready for conversion to the next asset or cash. Our professionals average over 18 years of experience and work collaboratively to make sure that we bring the best ideas and implementation to whatever commercial real estate problem our clients may have.

What is your philosophy on going “above and beyond” for customer service?

There is nothing better than getting a “wow” out of a client. Put simply, that is our goal. Our mission statement is that we will “deliver a superior commercial real estate experience with an absolute dedication to exceeding our clients’ expectations.” That mission statement is framed and on everyone’s desk. We try to live it.

J. Patrick Duffy, ICSC, MCR, is the president of the Houston office of Colliers International and chairman of the Colliers retail services group. Reach him at (713) 830-2112 or Patrick.Duffy@colliers.com.

Published in Houston
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 16:10

Difference maker

Outside of school leaders, few people in central Ohio make more decisions that impact the lives of area youth than Edward Cohn, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio. It is the positive impact of his decisions that spurred his nomination for the 2012 Rea & Associates Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year.

Cohn’s strong business and financial background have helped to build the strong financial foundation, which has helped Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio to weather the nature of the nonprofit environment. Cohn has effectively adapted the budgeting process to manage within the unpredictable nonprofit environment, especially during the challenging economic climate brought about by the recent recession.

Cohn is extremely connected to and invested in the Big Brothers Big Sisters mission. His connection to the mission has led him to become a mentor himself. He has also incorporated a strong environment of collaborative decision making, working closely with his leadership team in making decisions that are aimed at the best possible results for the agency and all of its constituents.

Cohn utilizes a research and development approach to launch new initiatives, and his performance-based approach ensures that all staff members are performing at high levels to achieve the organization’s stated goals and objectives. His focus on evidence-based impact and outcomes has led to many program enhancements that continue to strengthen Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring matches and keep them together longer.

Each member’s time and talent is utilized for maximum impact by Cohn and his team. Most recently, Cohn worked with a board member from Cardinal Health to help bring lean-based training to the entire organization. Lean training became a valuable addition to the management of Big Brothers Big Sisters, leading to new ways of doing business.

How to reach: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio, (614) 839-2447 or www.bbbscolumbus.org

Published in Columbus

The Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service, presented by Smart Business, honors businesses of all types and sizes that make outstanding contribution to their community. Its purpose is to encourage a charitable enviroment, recognize creative efforts that make a difference and demonstrate the ties between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.

This year's winners will be honored at a special banquet on January 18 at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, OH.

But before that great event takes place, we welcome you to take a look at how these kind and selfless individuals and companies do what they do.

An introductory letter from Rick Chiricosta, President and CEO, Medical Mutual

Pillar Award for Community Service honorees:

Medical Mutual SHARE Award honoree:

Nonprofit Board Executive of the Year Award honorees:

Executive Director of the Year Award honorees:

Rising Star honoree:

Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award honoree:

A list of our fine sponsors

Published in Cincinnati

The Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service, presented by Smart Business, honors businesses of all types and sizes that make outstanding contribution to their community. Its purpose is to encourage a charitable enviroment, recognize creative efforts that make a difference and demonstrate the ties between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.

This year's winners will be honored at a special banquet on January 26 at The Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, OH.

But before that great event takes place, we welcome you to take a look at how these kind and selfless individuals and companies do what they do.

An introductory letter from Rick Chiricosta, President and CEO, Medical Mutual

Pillar Award for Community Service honorees:

Medical Mutual SHARE Award honoree:

Charles Penzone Salons Nonprofit Board Executive of the Year Award honorees:

Rea & Associates Executive Director of the Year Award honorees:

CVG Samaritan Award honoree:

Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award honoree:

A list of our fine sponsors

Published in Columbus
Thursday, 01 December 2011 00:07

The 2011 Pillar Award for Community Service

The Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service, presented by Smart Business, honors businesses of all types and sizes that make outstanding contribution to their community. Its purpose is to encourage a charitable enviroment, recognize creative efforts that make a difference and demonstrate the ties between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.

This year's winners were honored at a special banquet on December 7 at LaCentre Conference & Banquet Facility in Westlake, OH. Check out our live blog of the event.

Take a look at how these kind and selfless individuals and companies do what they do:

An introductory letter from Rick Chiricosta, President and CEO, Medical Mutual

Pillar Award for Community Service honorees:

Medical Mutual SHARE Award honoree:

FirstMerit Nonprofit Board Executive of the Year Award honorees:

Rea & Associates Executive Director of the Year Award honorees:

Fairmount Minerals Sustainable Business Practices Award honoree:

Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award honoree:

For a full list of all the award nominees, please see: The honor roll

The judges who had the unenviable task of picking the winners

A list of our fine sponsors

Published in Cleveland