Business executives searching for a corporate home in the Dallas-Fort Worth area should take a close look at Frisco, especially if they do business in one of the sectors that Frisco’s economic development team deems a good fit: technology, finance, energy or recreation.

“We’ve developed seven industry targets,” said Jim Gandy, president of the Frisco Economic Development Corp. “These include companies that are in computers and electronics, medical devices, telecommunications, software and media, financial services, entertainment and recreation, and renewable energy. Those are the types of companies we’re most interested in attracting to Frisco.”

Gandy said his group has comprehensively analyzed Frisco’s economy and demographics, and those seven sectors make the most sense in regard to the types of companies to attract to the city.

“Over the years, we’ve done numerous studies, sort of an internal audit of Frisco’s strengths and opportunities,” he said. “And when you look at all the things Frisco has to offer, from location to low cost of doing business to the availability of a knowledgeable, skilled work force, these types of companies match up really well.”

Gandy emphasized Frisco’s demographics as the key asset it provides companies doing business in the North Dallas suburb.

“Our average age is 34, and over 50 percent of our population over the age of 25 has at least a bachelor’s degree,” he said. “So our citenzry is very young and very well-educated. It’s a readily available, skilled work force.”

And that pool of workers is growing quickly: The U.S. Census Bureau ranked Frisco as the fastest-growing city in the United States for the period 2000-2009. And on top of that, Frisco has abundant undeveloped land for companies looking to build new headquarters.

“In the 2010 census, our population was about 117,000,” he said. “In 2000, it was 33,714. So from 2000 to 2010, we grew by 247 percent. And we have 72 square miles of land, of which 54 percent is still raw land, so there’s a lot of development that will occur in Frisco over the next 20 years.”

Finally, Gandy says location is always a key factor in deciding where to base a business, and Frisco offers advantages there, as well.

“It always floats to the top that we’re talking about our location,” he said. “Our ease of proximity to or from anywhere in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and our proximity to DFW Airport. Also, being located in the Central Time Zone gives you a lot of conveniences for traveling to the East Coast or West Coast, which in most cases can be a day trip — out for a meeting and back in one day.”

How to reach: Frisco Economic Development Corp., (972) 292-5000 or


Counties: Collin and Denton

Incorporated: 1908

Population: 116,989 (2010 Census)

Land area: 72 square miles

Government system: Council-Manager

Mayor: Maher Maso

City Manager: George Purefoy


Published in Dallas


One of the emotional benefits of owning or leading a business is the sense of fulfillment that comes with using your size and scale to benefit a worthy cause.

There are certainly compelling business reasons to build a corporate charitable partnership, but when doing so, be sure to keep your No. 1 goal at the helm: help the cause.

Know that the ROI will be difficult to calculate on a balance sheet. Make the choice to be OK with that, and move forward with the partnership because it is the right thing to do. Trust that the financial benefits will be felt over time.

Philosophically, no one would argue that supporting a charity is awesome, but when it comes to asking colleagues, clients and business partners to contribute their time and money, you’ll often find not everyone is leaping out of their seats at once to pitch in.

Take that in stride. Relationships are built over time. The key to building a successful charitable partnership is choosing the right cause, getting the internal team on board and encouraging consumer participation.

Choose the right cause

There are hundreds of fantastic organizations out there, but you want to pick the cause that is just right for your company. What unique goods and services can your company offer a charitable partner?

It’s important to pick an organization that can truly benefit from the level contribution that you are realistically able to provide. Oftentimes, the consumer reach that a corporate partner can offer to spread a charitable organization’s message is its most valuable asset. What assets can your business bring to the table?

The emotional connection with the cause is equally as important. Putting a face behind the fundraising inspires participation. Can the charitable organization offer a spokesperson that will resonate with your audience?

If your company is national, your charitable partner should be national. If your company has local outlets and connects with local communities, your charitable partner should have local chapters, as well, and the money that is raised local should stay local.

In other words, determine what your company is able to contribute (time, services, goods, cash, etc.), then decide what factors will be most important to the constituents you expect to support the cause.

Get the team on board

Donating to a cause means writing a big check. Creating a charitable partnership is a much bigger undertaking. First you’ll want to get your internal team on board. This means clearly communicating the details of the partnership, the attributes of the cause (once again if you have an actual spokesperson, even better) and what is expected from the members of the team. Before you can get your customers involved, you’ve got to get your team to be emotionally invested in the partnership. The best way is to lead them in a hands-on project with the organization. Reward people who take a leadership role in participating and make it a fun, team-building activity. Now it is no longer just a cause they have read about on paper, but they have actually worked with the organization and personally contributed.

Encourage consumer participation

It is no secret that consumers are attracted to brands that support a cause. According to a recent study conducted by Emory University with 1,600 Moe’s Southwest Grill consumers, seeing a charitable message at the point of purchase will increase return visits, intent to recommend, brand trust and satisfaction. It’s meaningful to get your charitable message in front of your customers. Encouraging participation connects your brand with their desire to contribute to their community. If a guest can feel that he or she has contributed simply by choosing to affiliate with your brand, then that is a win for all parties. 

Moe’s Southwest Grill selected the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, whose mission is to cure and treat type 1 diabetes, because we felt that it met our criteria and offered an opportunity for our corporate team, our franchise partners and our customers to get involved at a variety of levels.

When you are ready to commit to creating a charitable partnership, be fearless and jump in with both feet. Resist the urge to do an ROI analysis and keep in mind that you are making a positive impact on a nonprofit organization that needs your help. Trust that your genuine intent will resonate with both internal and external audiences, and when your bottom line feels it, too — well, that’s just an added bonus. 

Paul Damico is president of Atlanta based Moe’s Southwest Grill, a fast-casual restaurant franchise with more than 400 locations nationwide. Damico has been a leader in the food service industry for longer than 20 years with companies, such as SSP America, FoodBrand LLC and Host Marriott. He can be reached at

Published in Atlanta
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

Published in Columbus
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 15:02

From the hearts of our sponsors

The sponsors of the 2011 Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service support the program because they believe in its mission — to recognize the critical tie between the for-profit and nonprofit communities. Here is a little bit about each of this year’s sponsors:

Duke Energy Center

It is the goal of Global Spectrum at the Duke Energy Convention Center to provide our clients with an experience that goes above and beyond their expectations. Our commitment to service, attention to detail, ability to listen carefully and respond to every request will enable us to achieve this goal one event at a time. We are fully committed to delivering the highest level of building management and operations in the industry. We take pride in our facility and the community it represents and understand our role in bringing people to Cincinnati and helping them experience all the great things the city has to offer.

Although it originally opened in 1968, the Duke Energy Convention Center experienced its third grand opening in 2006 as the city of Cincinnati unveiled the results of the most recent expansion. At that time, Global Spectrum was hired by the city to manage all aspects of the more than 750,000-square- foot Duke Energy Convention Center. Featuring more than 750,000 square feet of exhibit, meeting and entertainment space, we are the ideal destination for your next meeting, conference, convention, trade show or banquet.

As part of its corporate responsibility programs, Global Spectrum is committed to reducing the use of natural resources and the amount of waste that results from the

various activities and events that take place at the Duke Energy Convention Center. These efforts are part of a corporate initiative called the Global Spectrum STEP UP Program, which is a program designed to distinguish us as a socially and environmentally responsible organization.

Our efforts to develop of buildingwide recycling program to increase the operating efficiency of the Duke Energy Convention Center began in April 2008. As the program has continued to evolve and expand, we have developed strong partnerships with Hamilton County Environmental Services and The Recycling Group to grow our support and promotion of recycling. Since the inception of our recycling program, Global Spectrum has diverted more than 350,000 pounds (as of Dec. 31, 2009) of post-consumable material from the landfills.

Learn more at

Colortone Staging & Rental Inc.

Colortone Staging & Rental is a premier audiovisual and staging company with expertise in event design and production. We stage a multitude of events, including corporate meetings, awards banquets, special events, trade shows, concerts, webcasts and videoconferences. CSR also manages audiovisual equipment for hotel properties and operates a full-service equipment rental division. The solutions we provide, combined with our highly trained technical staff, ensure the success of every event. Our quality is unmatched and our attention to detail is unsurpassed.

The staff at CSR consists of the best in the business. Our technicians have an average of five years in the audiovisual and event management business. Their diverse backgrounds allow us to think on our feet, act quickly and provide flexibility and creative problem solving to every situation we find.

The company is also an active member of the community, consistently finding ways to give back where it can.

Learn more at

The Eisen Agency

The Eisen Agency has a longstanding tradition of community service and giving back to our community – some in visible ways and others that are truly behind the scenes. Every member of our firm is part of some local non-profit organization, where we do far more than simply sit on boards and committees – we proactively “do.”

We donate literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in in-kind work to non-profit groups that could otherwise not afford our expertise. We help local schools, and twice annually do a large food drive and cleaning product drive to help those less fortunate.

As Cincinnati’s premier and most awarded public relations firm, we believe whole heartedly in the power of community relations to foster further brand communications with current and prospective clients, business and community leaders, and in building a positive image of our business and creating a positive work environment. We believe that professionals want to work with and work for organizations that are actively engaged in the community, and strive to help out.

It can be said that “it’s just PR,” as if PR was a bad thing. We would say “darn right it’s PR, it’s what our firm is, who we are and we’re proud of it.” Because, in the truest sense of the term, we are blessed, through hard work, tenacity and determination, to be a in position to be able to relate to our publics through a series of community relations and philanthropic programs that provide children toys for Christmas, food on tables, and volunteers and donations for several of Greater Cincinnati’s most recognized non-profit organizations.

Learn more at

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 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
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:49

A focus on family

John Silverman has been engaged in numerous projects and fundraising efforts for Talbert House, a communitywide network of social services, since joining the board in 2003. But as a father of two who learned by his father’s strong example, no project has ignited as much passion in him as the Fatherhood Project.

The program assists men in their efforts to become responsible, committed, nurturing fathers through classes, coaching and fellowship support meetings. Striving to strengthen the connection between fathers and their children, especially for men lacking a strong father role model, Silverman has pushed the program beyond its initial conception.

The 2009-2010 board chair began his commitment to the program by chairing the Fatherhood Luncheon, a fundraiser that honors fathers in the community — including a graduate of the Fatherhood Project. Silverman assembled a committee of dedicated community and business leaders to support the effort. The luncheon’s success in 2010 prompted Talbert House to broaden the program’s reach.

Silverman envisioned a communitywide event that would honor dads and provide an opportunity for families to celebrate fatherhood. Raising private funds through Silverman’s committee, Talbert House was able to host its first Fatherhood Community Celebration on Father’s Day 2011. This event provided fathers the opportunity to spend the day with their children enjoying free refreshments, games, zoo animals, live music and sports challenge activities with the Bengals and member of the UC basketball team. Not satisfied with the estimated 1,000 attendees, however, Silverman is already planning to triple that number in 2012.

It’s estimated that Silverman has raised over $150,000 to support the Fatherhood Project over the past two years. This is in addition to his support of Talbert House’s other programs and initiatives, which provide social services in community corrections, mental health, substance abuse and welfare to work.

How to reach: Talbert House, (513) 751-7747 or

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:43

Giving from the heart

Community service has been personal for law firm Rendigs, Fry, Kiely & Dennis LLP since its founding in 1946.

Co-founder August A. Rendigs donated funds to build the Alfred J. Rendigs Memorial Center of United Cerebral Palsy of Cincinnati in honor of his son, born with cerebral palsy. He also established a memorial fund to support the operation of the center, which continues to provide UCP’s adult services today.

The company, led by Managing Partner Tom Evans, is still commitment to the United Cerebral Palsy of Cincinnati. Rendigs’ attorneys have served on the board for more than 40 years and the firm still provides financial support through the August A. Rendigs Foundation.

The Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati is another organization close to Rendigs’ heart, as both a founding partner and current partner have children with Down syndrome. The firm has had associates serving the DSAGC and its board of directors for years. The company supports the nonprofit with donations of time and money, most recently participating in its 2011 Buddy Walk fundraiser.

Rendigs’ support extends to a variety of other organizations, as well. The company sponsors three walks in the month of October that benefit Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Surviving the Teens program, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Wellness and the American Cancer Society. The company’s annual Rendigs Thanksgiving Luncheon brings employees together to provide canned and boxed food donations as well as monetary support for the Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank.

In addition to a commitment to corporate philanthropy, Rendig encourages community service at the employee level. The firm promotes company participation in one charitable effort per quarter, such as making cards for Ronald McDonald House or making food at the Kids Against Hunger factory. Employees are also involved in the community on an individual basis, supporting more than 80 organizations.

How to reach: Rendigs, Fry, Kiely & Dennis LLP, (513) 381-9200 or

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:39

Casting a wide net

Under the leadership of President and CEO Bernie Stevens, PowerNet Global will celebrate its 20th anniversary in the telecommunications industry this year. What makes this achievement even more significant is that the Fairfield, Ohio-based company continues to operate and live by the same values it was founded on in 1992. That includes a commitment to taking care of its customers and also its local communities.

Many organizations have benefited from the financial contributions of the PowerNet as well as the personal contributions of individual employees.

PowerNet continually gives back a percentage of its profits to support local communities and ministries around the world. The company’s Global Social Committee also hosts events and fundraisers that consist of fun and often team-driven activities throughout the year. This gives the company’s employees opportunities to support local charities as well as build a spirit of camaraderie with colleagues. Some examples include sponsoring employees to participate in the “Heart Mini Marathon Run or Walk” each spring and hosting a companywide “Biggest Loser Contest,” from which half of the proceeds went to the Fairfield Food Pantry. Last summer, the committee also put on a series of summer social events for employees that included activities and incentives such as free ice cream and poker walks to motivate employees as well as a canned food drive.

PowerNet also encourages its employees to give freely to their local communities outside of work, whether it’s through financial donations, fundraising or volunteering time. Employees of PowerNet participate in a variety of charitable organizations, including the American Heart Association, The Healing Center, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and others. To support people in their individual efforts, the company offers employees “Charitable PTO,” which allows them to allocate up to eight hours of time on their calendar annually to give back to their preferred charities and nonprofit organizations.

How to reach: PowerNet Global, (800) 860-9495 or

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:34

In it together

When Tracie Metzger was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 30, she went through a journey that included multiple treatments and surgeries. Yet even with the help and support of her family, she still wished there had been an opportunity to connect with other young women like herself. As a young survivor, Metzger created Pink Ribbon Girls with the mission of helping other young women with breast cancer by offering this network of support for them and their families from diagnosis, through treatment and recovery.

With its national, searchable database, Pink Ribbon Girls helps women with breast cancer connect and share their experiences with one another. By offering a forum where these women can share their experiences and get answers to their questions, the organization shows them that they are not in it alone. Metzger knows that bringing hope and a positive outlook to women with breast cancer is incredibly important, especially when they are first diagnosed and may be facing a dark time in their lives.

In October 2011, Pink Ribbon Girls celebrated its 10th anniversary. What began as several small coffee shop gatherings has grown into a national network through which more than 1,000 women come together to find woman-to-woman support, comfort and education.

As the organization has grown, so have the services that it is able to provide to the young women it serves. Through fundraising initiatives such as merchandise sales and charity events, Metzger, the organization’s executive director, leads its efforts as the co-founder and executive director, working to inspire every person to become a supporter of women with breast cancer. Today, Pink Ribbon Girls is also able to provide resources such as meals, cleaning services and even babysitting for many women who badly need these services during diagnosis and treatment. The organization also offers educational grants to survivors who are inspired to learn more about breast cancer.

How to reach: Pink Ribbon Girls, (513) 207-7975 or

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:30

A helping hand

Joseph S. Byrum has served Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries in a management capacity for more than 34 years. As president and CEO since 1979, Byrum has expanded the organization’s programs and services to meet community needs.

During his tenure, Ohio Valley Goodwill has served more than 50,000 men and women with disabilities or disadvantages and helped a significant percent to obtain economic self-sufficiency. Examples of programs and services implemented by Byrum toward this end include the creation of the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program in the early ’90s, exponential growth in facility- and community-based services for individuals with developmental disabilities in the past 20 years and the launch of the award-winning Center for Advocacy, Recreation and Education (CARE) program.

Under Byron’s leadership, Ohio Valley Goodwill has also recently opened six new satellite work training centers, initiated the launch of a recreation/leisure program in Butler County, supported the development of the PAC program to provide job placement services and initiated a new youth mentoring program in collaboration with Goodwill International Industries.

To fund programs and services, Ohio Valley Goodwill operates 16 retail stores and has 28 donation center locations throughout the greater Cincinnati area, numbers grown under Byrum’s direction. The organization has also launched the most successful Goodwill Auto Auction program in the country. These efforts have allowed Goodwill’s employment and training programs to increase by more than 30 percent in the past three years, despite a challenging economic climate. In 2010 alone, the organization provided services to almost 3,000 persons with disabilities and veterans.

Byrum’s commitment to ongoing quality improvement practices has maintained Ohio Valley Goodwill’s excellent reputation within its community. The organization has received 12 consecutive CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) Accreditations, the most recent of which places Ohio Valley Goodwill in the top three percent of similar organizations nationwide.

How to reach: Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries, (513) 771-4800 or

Published in Cincinnati