Dustin S. Klein
Those four words underscore the Westfield Center-based insurance company's commitment and style of giving back.
"We feel particularly vested in initiatives that positively impact youth, education or those in need," says Joyce, the company's chairman and CEO. "Insurance is about providing security and protection for the future. Through sponsorships, charitable contributions and volunteerism, Westfield further demonstrates its commitment to making a difference."
Joyce says one of the company's main goals is to support and provide opportunities for young people to learn the skills they need -- whether it is confidence, gamesmanship, etiquette or integrity -- to succeed in life.
Westfield sponsors Academic Challenge, a television show that features the best and brightest students from 78 Northeast Ohio schools and airs for 26 weeks each year. At the end of the competition, the 10 top-scoring schools share grants totaling $34,000.
The company's Westfield Group Foundation hosts several golf-related events as its company-owned Westfield Group Country Club. Four years ago, Westfield partnered with The PGA of America to become the host and title sponsor of the Westfield Junior PGA Championship.
Since then, the tournament has grown into the nations' leading event in junior golf. Each year, more than 300 of Westfield's employees, retirees and community members volunteer their time to help with the event.
In 2001, Westfield founded its Junior Golf Academy. Members of area high school golf teams are invited to the country club for a free half-day of group and individual lessons conducted by the region's top PGA professionals. Nearly 600 young golfers have benefited from the program.
Next year, Westfield will partner with The University of Akron to introduce the Westfield Cup, a national collegiate soccer invitational. Proceeds raised from the event will benefit youth soccer programs across the region.
Westfield's community service efforts reach beyond sports and youth, touching organizations such as the Neighborhood Housing Services of Cleveland, Cleveland Housing Network, Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp. and the Medina County Performing Arts Foundation.
Last year, Westfield employees pledged nearly $63,000 to the Medina County United Way annual campaign, while Westfield donated a corporate match of $50,000. And recently, Joyce was named the Honorary Campaign Chairman for the United Way's 2004-2005 fund-raising campaign.
How to reach: Westfield Group, (800) 243-0210 or www.westfieldgrp.com.
The president of John Robert's Hair Studio and Spa thinks about it 24/7. He travels the nation speaking to other business owners about how they can instill a culture of customer service in their own companies.
His company has been nationally recognized for its customer service; Di Julius has even written a book about it.
More important, he's found a way to transform his staff's top-notch customer service into a well-ingrained commitment to community service that has earned his firm the 2004 S.H.A.R.E. Award as the organization that best exemplifies employee-driven philanthropy.
The S.H.A.R.E. Award is named for Pillar Award co-founder Medical Mutual of Ohio's employee-based volunteer committee. S.H.A.R.E. stands for Serve, Help, Aid, Reach and Educate, and the employees at John Robert's demonstrate their ability to do that every day.
A class of 1999 Pillar Award for Community Service winner, John Robert's mission statement says it best -- "To enhance the quality of lives around us." Says Di Julius, "It's only eight words, but I know that all 130 of our employees know it and appear to live it daily. It's about a commitment we made to share our success and, hopefully, we have inspired others to do the same."
Among the employee-directed activities, every year, each of the salon's managers pick a charity for which he or she would like to organize an event. Staff members then choose which team they would like to be on.
John Robert's most prominent charity is Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital. Once a month, several of the salon's employees go to the hospital to play with the kids, provide hand and arm massages, paint their nails and, says Di Julius, just spend quality time with them.
Di Julius says when people accept jobs with the company, they understand that community service is nonnegotiable. It's expected, and a key part of the decision-making process for hiring.
To recognize employees who go above and beyond, each month John Robert's features "above and beyond" stories in its employee newsletter. The executives also tell stories about those employees during morning "huddles" before the work day begins.
How to reach: John Robert's Hair Studio and Spa, (216) 839-1430
Art holds a special place at Duane Morris. The firm's marketing materials compare the law to art, saying it is "seen differently by different people, constantly changing, and in many instances open to interpretation." But the real explanation is that the artwork, which is quite literally everywhere, is simply a reflection of Bonovitz and the firm itself.
"It's kind of edgy," Bonovitz says. "What you really want to do is create a physical environment and intellectual environment where there is a lot of energy."
Duane Morris is a 100-year-old organization with more than 550 attorneys and 20 offices nationwide. It prides itself on, of all things, innovation and entrepreneurship, in an industry in which case law, precedent, high-profile clients and billable hours are the typical driving factors.
"We promote our entrepreneurialism, and it carries through our lawyers," says Bonovitz. "Lawyers join our firm because we do this."
But Duane Morris isn't innovative because it looks at the law in a different way than its competitors. Rather, Bonovitz and his staff look at the entire practice of lawyering through the eyes of their clients. They apply lessons learned to the launch of new businesses in industries that are in need of creative thinkers.
"We're probably the leading firm in the country in fostering ancillary businesses," Bonovitz says. "The strategy is to leverage our infrastructure and resources to generate another source of revenue from our knowledge base. That sort of entrepreneurialism filters down into the lawyer force."
Among the businesses Duane Morris has launched through a wholly-owned subsidiary are a malpractice insurance company, American Health Care Provider Services, and a money management firm, Westcott Financial Advisory Services. Both arose from needs that were not being served by others.
Smart Business hit the law books with Bonovitz to discuss how Duane Morris fosters entrepreneurship and innovation throughout its ranks.
As CEO, how do you nurture innovation?
We talk about what our philosophy is and how important it is to understand what being an owner is; what making money and losing money is, because that's what our clients do. We tell our lawyers to put themselves in the clients' position and act like them. We have a contingent fee program, and they (the lawyers) know we're risk-takers.
We look at things in terms of time value of money, and risk-adjust our proposals. We also have a very aggressive sales and marketing force. That reflects our innovation.
Our partners meet three times a year face-to-face, and we have programs that feed on this. They meet in practice groups and interdisciplinary practice groups, so they're meeting to discuss marketing and business generation. That's all entrepreneurial; they're not talking about the latest case.
When recruiting, we stress the innovative environment. We're very long-term-thinking and invest 10 percent of our income in our growth. That's money that would otherwise be income (to the attorneys). We expense about $7.5 million a year in our growth, and we invest about $2.5 million to $3 million in firm capital.
We're investors and we're builders, and when we're recruiting, that will resonate with a certain group of lawyers, so we get people who want to build an institution.
Does this innovative philosophy contribute to a collegial culture?
Yes. The other aspect of it is that when we bring lateral partner candidates in, we intensely spend time with them, so that not only do you see the objective tests - like the fact that we cross-sell into our clients with no territorial thinking -- but we also talk about our 'no jerks' rule. We want to get people in who are nice. We're not interested in jerks, no matter how much business they may bring in.
How do your firm's attorneys learn from their attorney/client relationships and translate that knowledge into new business opportunities and revenue streams?
Our businesses are run by professionals who are not lawyers and are stand-alone businesses. They're really walled off from the firm. One group practices law, the other engages in various business aspects.
Our health care lawyers recognized a need in Pennsylvania on the part of physicians who needed medical malpractice insurance. Companies were going out of business, so doctors were being left without insurance alternatives. And those that were left were outrageously priced and increasing.
So our health care group defined the need. Our insurance group devised the structure to satisfy that need, which was the formation of an insurance exchange -- an insurance company regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance, like any other insurance company, but the capital is provided by the physician insureds, who contribute 50 percent of their first year's premium to capital.
That provides the capital base to fund the insurance company. The insurance company is a virtual insurance company with no employees. Duane Morris, through two tiers of subsidiaries, owns the company that provides the services to the insurance company -- the claims administration, underwriting of risk, placing reinsurance, financial operations, staffing in terms of records. The service business is paid a percentage of the gross premium of the insurance company.
This is our second full year, and the insurance company will probably write about $20 million of insurance premiums and the management fee is a little over $4 million. We've replicated this in Florida and just filed in New Jersey. We have a very qualified, very senior staff who have equity in these businesses. Virtually all the profit will be gleaned with a very small investment on the part of the firm.
We also have a joint venture with a health care consultant that we're just forming that will enable the new company created to enter into very large and substantial contracts with hospital and health care systems throughout the country that will help them with innovative ideas to save money. The other partner is a 20-person health care consultant. We have 32 or 33 health care lawyers, who have the network and relationships.
How do the nonlegal service businesses operate in conjunction with Duane Morris?
Duane Morris is a law partnership, a Delaware LLP. It owns an LLC called Westcott Holdings LLC, 100 percent. Westcott Holdings LLC owns the various businesses that are stand-alone businesses that we've helped create. One is called American Health Care Provider Services, which is an LLC, which is our parent service provider, which owns New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida health care service providers. The executives in each of those service organizations own a percentage of them.
Westcott also owns Westcott Financial Advisory Services, about 55 or 60 percent. The executives own about 40 percent. It's a money management firm with between $800 million and $1 billion under management.
If you took our family of businesses, about 90 to 95 percent of the clients are nonlaw firm clients, so we don't really sell into our (law firm) client base.
What unique challenges do you face because of this philosophy?
A decade ago, we had about 200 lawyers and were a regional law firm that, on average, probably grew 2 percent to 5 percent a year. We had revenue of $60 million to $70 million. This year, we'll have about 575 lawyers, and our revenue will be in excess of $260 million. We're a national firm in 11 or 12 major markets.
The challenge 10 years ago was to do what you're doing and continue to do it well. If we did that, we'd be profitable. Today, the challenge is to manage our growth so that we can be a full-service provider of legal services throughout the country, getting quality lawyers in these various offices.
We've probably grown faster than any other law firm in the country that's grown other than by merger. We haven't had any mergers. It's all been by adding twos, threes and fives. One of the challenges is to manage current expectation of the partners, as well as build for the future.
The firm boasts more than 20 offices. How do you effectively communicate with your staff, and how do you present a clear, unified vision of the organization's goals and objectives?
With the Internet and e-mail, you really can almost do things seamlessly as far as providing a client with services from any office. We break into practice groups, so virtually every one of these offices has a member or more in a practice group. That practice group meets anywhere from weekly to monthly.
Our partners meet monthly. The partners meet three times a year at weekend retreats that are working meetings. It's been very successful.
Many law firms specialize in only a small handful of practice areas, but Duane Morris is very diverse. How does that position you in the marketplace.
Our strategy is to be a full-service firm and service the complex and specialized needs of a broad client base. The diversity gives you a certain cushion in a business that's very cyclical. Generally, in a law practice, if you have a conventional law practice, your corporate and real estate practices are very cyclical because when the economy is weak, those two practices are generally weak.
And in a weak economy, your litigation and bankruptcy practices thrive. There are some practices that are more neutral, in terms of being affected by the economy. One of the advantages of diversity is that you're buffeted against the cyclicality that exists in the economy.
We also adjust our expectation levels for the practice groups based on the cycles almost on a quarterly basis. Right now, bankruptcy is slowing down and the corporate practice is picking up.
What criteria do you use when determining where to open new offices?
We say, 'What are the major markets, and what are the markets that will help the international practice? What is the greatest opportunity for synergy among markets?' We measure the flow of business between offices, and overall, more than 20 percent of our revenue is interoffice.
Out of $260 million, more than $50 million of revenue is obtained because we have a particular office. We don't care if an office is an importer or exporter, we just want to see the interrelationship and synergies of that office as it relates to other offices.
How do you measure their success?
We expect our offices to be cash flow positive once they get past their start-ups. That means you take our cash revenue, minus our projected cash partner compensation and all expenses, including overhead, and we expect the revenue to exceed compensation plus overhead.
We disregard the first four months and expect them to be cash flow positive after that. How to reach: Duane Morris, (215) 979-1000 or www.duanemorris.com
(Downs) to the city of Lorain. The looming loss of 230 manufacturing jobs from the Marconi Communications complex as a result of Marconi's sale to Emerson Electric is a major blow to the city's already beleaguered manufacturing base.
(Ups) to CareerBoard LLC. Its acquisition of Columbus-based JobBoards.com not only increases CareerBoard's annual revenue by 35 percent but also expands the company's reach and continues its nationwide expansion. In an industry filled with consolidation, it's encouraging to see a Northeast Ohio firm on the acquiring side.
The plot fails, and the husband gets caught. Among the clues that help tip off the crime is the husband's bank ledger, which reveals the slight -- but not red flag-worthy -- increase in money withdrawn over time. If the investigators had not been looking for any unusual financial activity, they would never have noticed the small increased amounts.
While your employees probably aren't plotting murder, they could be robbing your business through carefully plotted fraud, a little at a time, says Andrew T. Clark, senior manager at Meaden & Moore.
Left unchecked, he says, fraud can easily cost your business thousands of dollars a month.
"The No. 1 cause of fraud is the trust factor," says Clark, a forensic accountant and certified fraud examiner. "In privately-held companies, you're dealing with a small accounting department, or even just one person, handling most of the accounting functions. They may have incompatible duties, such as custody of assets, authorizing certain transactions and also record-keeping functions.
"Ownership thinks that person would never steal, and thus physical controls are overlooked. Those three duties are extremely incompatible and equal fraud risk."
Problems occur when a fraudster has access not only to money that can be stolen but also the ability to cover his or her tracks by altering books and records and burying the money as a legitimate company expense.
"When I'm called in to investigate fraud matters, where there's smoke, there's usually fire," he says. "I always look at, among other things, expense reimbursements. Typically, there will be misstatements, overstatements and wholly fictitious expenses in addition to other fraud committed by the same employee."
Clark says there are many schemes employees use to defraud their businesses. They include:
* Fraudulent dispersements. This may be simply taking money and accounting for it elsewhere in the books, hiding the crime.
* Billing schemes. One of the most popular schemes, says Clark, is creating fictitious vendors. Fraudsters write checks to themselves or fake vendors, then convert that check for their personal benefit.
* Payroll schemes. Fraudsters have been known to create a ghost employee or, in the case of overly ambitious criminals, multiple ghost employees, and establish separate bank accounts that the fraudster controls and has the paychecks deposited into.
However, Clark warns, employees who commit fraud, in any of its forms, aren't your typical criminals.
"Most fraudsters are first-time offenders," he says. "But they become accustomed to the supplemental income they've established for themselves and rationalized the act of fraud, meaning they might believe they're entitled to the money."
And, if the fraudster has the ability to alter the books, he or she may be able to continue the fraud for a long time before anyone notices.
So how do you know when your company is the victim of fraud, short of suddenly finding out you've run out of cash? Clark offers these warning signs.
"If you identify an employee who has a brand new car in the parking lot, is taking extravagant vacations or is living a suddenly elevated lifestyle without any solid reason, those are obvious signs," he says. "And when it comes to identifying the fraud on the books or records, review expense accounts, accounts receivable and your accounts payable."
The most important thing you can do, he says, is to keep your eyes open and recognize that fraud can happen to any business. Even yours. How to reach: Meaden & Moore, (216) 241-3272 or www.meadenmoore.com
Protecting against fraud
Don't look now, but your company is being robbed. And it's not by crooks clad in hooded masks, forcing themselves upon your coffers with guns. It's by your own employees, who are quietly -- and effectively -- stealing from your business.
Fraud, says Andrew T. Clark, a senior manager and forensic accountant at Meaden & Moore, can cost your company thousands of dollars each month. So what can you do to prevent, or at least deter, employees from turning into fraudsters? Clark offers a few simple preventive tips.
* Tighten internal financial controls. Review the books regularly, looking for anything out of the ordinary, such as irregular expenses paid to new vendors or patterns of exceptionally high employee expense reports.
* Segregate duties. In many middle-market companies, accounting duties are handled by a few individuals, sometimes only by one. By segregating the duties of asset custody, transaction authorization and record keeping, you will decrease the opportunities for fraudulent activity and the ability of fraudsters to cover their tracks.
* Increase companywide perception of fraud. Make your managers and staff aware that you're trying to prevent fraud. Clark says this doesn't mean you'll need to install security cameras around your offices, but consider setting up an anonymous fraud hotline, voice mailbox or e-mail address where employees can pass along tips when they suspect fraud.
"Most fraud is identified by someone providing an tip to suspicious employee activity," Clark says.
Downs to the city of Cleveland. Director of Strategic Planning and former Chief Development Officer Tim Mueller's exit underscores the troubles Mayor Jane Campbell's administration continues to have when dealing with the local business community.
Ups to Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Ohio. Six Ohio schools are among the 18 in the Midwest that will receive a total of $5,000 in grants from the health care insurer to promote heart healthy habits among students. To determine the schools, Anthem worked with the Ohio Association of School Nurses to solicit grant application from school nurses.
(Ups) to Hawk Corp. The friction products manufacturer, which earlier this year told Smart Business it planned to expand its brand through retail stores, last month inked a deal with Pep Boys auto parts and repair chain to launch a national rollout of the complete line of Hawk Performance street brake pads.
(Ups) to Diebold. The North Canton manufacturer, which was criticized for selling electronic voting machines while Chairman & CEO Walden O'Dell raised money for Republican political candidates, has banned its senior executives from making future donations. In June, the company's board of directors passed an amendment to its business ethics policy stating that top Diebold officials "may not make contributions to, directly or indirectly, any political candidate, party, election issue or cause, or participate in any political activities, except for voting."
So it's that much more impressive that Chuck Rotuno, president and CEO of OEConnection, was able to bring together General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler to form a joint venture that provides auto dealerships and their wholesale parts customers with business-to-business Internet-based logistics and parts procurement products and services.
Rotuno's vision arrived in 1999, when he took a job at ProQuest, an information technology company that owns and operates a substantial automotive division that commands $100 million in annual revenue, more than 500 employees and a customer base of more than 30,000 franchise car dealerships. Rotuno envisioned multiple Internet-based solutions that could improve efficiencies within the highly labor-intensive original equipment replacement parts industry.
He served as the primary catalyst, leading the team in negotiations with the Big Three automakers to launch a joint venture with ProQuest in 2000.
Today, as president and CEO of OEConnection, Rotuno's vision has become reality. The Richfield-based firm's signature product, D2Dlink, has revolutionized the workflow and infrastructure of dealership parts departments by connecting trading partners for the timely location and purchase of OE replacement parts.
And, its CollisionLink product has transformed how collision repair shops validate and purchase replacement parts by providing faster and more accurate information about purchases.
Rotuno says the next issue OEConnection plans to tackle is data mining and reporting. Later this year, the company will launch a product aimed at plugging dealerships' profit leaks that come from not having solid information about sales and inventory at their fingertips. How to reach: OEConnection, (888) 776-5762 or www.OEConnection.com
Over the past several months, thousands of new jobs have been created, and the number of CEOs and executives who say they're hiring or spending money again continues to climb.
Whatever happens in November's election for president, it's a pretty sure bet that, come 2005, the U.S. economy will be healthy once again. It's imperative, then, to begin turning your sights from today's corporate survival to tomorrow's potential opportunities and begin to develop strategies to expand.
There are numerous issues to consider. Here are two.
Now is the time to reward vendors and customers who stuck with you and worked with you through the tough times. That doesn't need to translate into a new hard cost just when your company's finally staring at black ink again.
Think simple. Consider a one-time or period-of-time discount. Knocking off 10 percent or even 20 percent on your goods and/or services for a month, a shipment or a designated period can go a long way toward strengthening your business relationship and thanking the vendor for its continued support.
Conversely, if you felt taken advantage of by a stronger business partner that seized the opportunity to collect higher fees, increase interest payments or demand lower rates, it's time to repay the favor and seek out more favorable relationships with more ethical partners.
Look to the future
Dust off the obsolete strategic plan you commissioned during the go-go '90s. Then toss it in the trash can and start from scratch.
Unless you were one of the very few businesses that benefited from the battered economy -- such as mortgage brokers, who reaped the rewards of miniscule interest rates and those flooding their offices to refinance -- odds are your business operates drastically differently now than it did in 2001.
You're probably running a leaner operation, with fewer employees and tighter fiscal controls. And, depending on your industry, your prospective customer base may have changed or even shrunk.
Either way, you'll need to take a hard look at your company, its resources and its competencies, and consider pursuing new opportunities you hadn't dreamed of three years ago.
"We've reached an inflection point as we've begun to emerge from the trauma of the last two to three years," Weinberg says. "I've had to make some hard decisions."
Hawk, which manufactures friction materials used in brakes, clutches and transmissions, as well as powdered metals used in numerous industrial applications, recently moved from the New York Stock Exchange to the American Stock Exchange and announced a strategic repositioning action plan. Hawk will move its Brook Park production facility out of state, pulling 200 jobs from the region, and sell the company's Motor and Tex Racing business units.
It's all been done with one goal in mind, says Weinberg.
"These moves will position Hawk to put our full force and effort into carrying out the long-term strategic initiatives of our Friction Products and Precision Components segments. Each are leaders in their field and will be the key to reinvigorated growth as the economy improves."
Weinberg is so confident that Hawk's two-unit focus is the best solution that in the fourth quarter of 2003, he decided to take pre-tax write-downs of $6.3 million connected with the closure of its Brook Park facility and the discontinued operations of the company's motor segment, difficult decisions that caused the company to report a loss rather than a profit to end the year.
With 1,700 employees worldwide, Hawk reported year-end revenue of $202.6 million, a 9 percent increase over 2002. Smart Business sat down with Weinberg to discuss survival during a manufacturing recession, innovation and how to make the hard choices.
It's been a tough economic climate for manufacturers. How has Hawk weathered the storm?
We're at the tail end of a very difficult three-year period, and as I look at where we've been and what we're doing, it's an interesting juncture. We had great growth during the '90s -- in the double digits -- and we responded well after 9/11.
During the late '90s, we perceived that the boom was not going to continue forever, so we were fairly cautious about our acquisitions. We never paid more than five or six times EBITDA dollar. And, we had a $50 million unused bank line going into 2000. The plan was, when things got difficult for the rest of the world, to have some liquidity.
Then 9/11 happened. The management team responded very fast. As the economy sunk lower, everybody in management, 35 people, took a salary cut. I went off payroll completely for six months. It made a good statement of leadership, and we came through relatively unscathed, where a lot of industrial manufacturers were hurting.
We managed our balance sheet very aggressively, watching our working capital closely. And we repositioned our liabilities on our balance sheet and did an exchange on our high-interest notes. We also watched our projects and tried not to take on more projects than we had the working capital to do.
Was this the impetus for the company's recently announced focus on key core parts of the business -- friction products and powdered metals?
We had to get stuff behind us, and that meant addressing some of the divisions that don't have the strength that they should. So we announced we were selling our Hawk Motor segment, which makes components for motors, and we're examining the alternatives for Tex Racing, which makes transmissions for NASCAR race cars. That will probably be sold as well. That puts the focus on Friction Products and Powdered Metals, which is now called Hawk Precision Components Group (HPCG).
We have a broader mandate now because we have another technology in HPCG, metal injection molding, where you use metal particles and make parts quicker with high precision, such as making parts for pacemakers.
It's a very good business, growing as fast as any of our divisions. And, the markets it serves are attractive -- medical and high-tech. They also have strong positions worldwide. We're on Boeing airplanes, sell to Parker Hannifin and are installed on military aircraft.
What does that do for your R&D?
We are at the cutting edge of friction technology. The company just produced a brake material for mining trucks that will last four times longer than the existing material, and we're starting shipments to Caterpillar now. On the powdered metal side, we've been making many technological advancements.
It's a much more efficient process because you're forming the product out of powder without having to machine or mold it. We're also getting more involved with the aftermarket. We're already in the fleet business and in street performance because we manufacture braking material for auto racing.
The good news is that our brand name is getting recognized.
You moved to the AMEX at the beginning of the year. A lot of small and mid-cap public companies are going private because of the cost of remaining public. Did you consider this option as well?
Yes, we considered it. But we rejected it because we didn't see the right way to pull it off right now. I can understand why some companies are doing it; being public has gotten very expensive. Also, I've been adding to my ownership position within the company the last few years, so that's a dedication of the stock.
The AMEX has been a good place for us -- there are many companies there our size. And, our stock is doing well for a couple reasons. One, the recession is coming to an end. Second, small cap stocks are the last to benefit from a recovery. And finally, we come up on a lot of profiles (people's lists) because we have strong management positions of ownership. That shows we care about shareholder value.
Also, we're making hard decisions that people can appreciate. Our revenues are heading in the right direction, we're winning customers and building market share. Put those together and you can see why we're starting to expand into the aftermarket business. There's been a bit of pain in the short run but we're moving past that.
Talk about the hard choices you've made, such as moving the Brook Park facility, which will take 200 jobs out of Northeast Ohio.
One of our core values is integrity. You can't B.S. yourself. I talk to our people all the time about being realistic and candid, so when there's a problem, I face it and try to solve it.
There were tough choices, but our corporate culture made it easier. One of them was to focus on the two larger divisions. The upside is we have greater opportunities. The other is we had to take writeoffs of $5.1 million. That was a hard decision. I would have rather been announcing that we're buying 20 companies.
The other thing was that we announced we're looking at moving that plant in Brook Park. It's particularly hard for me because I live in and like Cleveland. But I realize that we've got to do what's in the best interest of the company. If we can locate ourselves in an area where we have business incentives and a climate to be successful, we need to do that.
We've pretty much made the decision that the plant will be moved. We're talking to Oklahoma and have a letter of intent with them (nonbinding). I wish Ohio would replicate the business climate that's been developed in some other states. I don't like to close a plant. But there will be opportunities for people to apply to work in Oklahoma.
The good news is that I have a management team proven by fire. The guys we've got now are battle hardened and know how to work through difficult issues. How to reach: Hawk Corp., (216) 861-3553