Cincinnati (1116)

Wednesday, 25 June 2008 20:00

A different animal

Written by

Gerald Borin once had to make a decision between taking the CPA exam and working with a bunch of wild animals.

Naturally, he chose the animals. And since then he’s been dedicated to improving the surroundings for those animals — and their visitors — at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Since he became general manager at the zoo in 1985, Borin, now the executive director, has helped boost visitor attendance from roughly 700,000 to more than 1.5 million per year. That growth has come from Borin’s unrelenting effort to improve the nation’s third-largest zoo by expanding the park’s property and his creativity in maximizing its capabilities. Today, the zoo sits on more than 580 acres — it was roughly 120 acres in 1986 — and has added a water park and a golf course to attract new people to the animal kingdom inside.

This unique business model is part of Borin’s vision to turn the zoo into a complete vacation destination for families, and the result is a successful structure for the for-profit portions of the business like the water park and golf course as well as consistent funding for the nonprofit portion of the business that supports the wildlife.

Around the time that Borin was making his decision to pursue a life with the wild animals, a zoo was just a zoo. Today, fueled by Borin’s passion, more people than ever see the Columbus Zoo as a vacation and learning destination. It’s a good thing he passed on taking that CPA exam.

HOW TO REACH: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, (800) MONKEYS or

Wednesday, 25 June 2008 20:00

Practice what you preach

Written by

Elli Workum knows a few things about working hard for your cause. A decorated athlete in both field hockey and track and field in college, Workum is in the athletic hall of fame at Miami University.

The tenacity, hard work and diligence that helped her in sports now helps fuel Technology Recycling Group. Workum is one who truly practices what she preaches, as her company, which specializes in the reuse and recycling of technological equipment, runs an operation that is 99 percent recyclable. In a time when more and more companies are looking for efficient solutions to recycle and reuse, TRG is able to not only offer up solutions but also to show clients how to walk the walk.

Moreover, Workum helps lead the charge for recycling in the community, donating working computers and monitors to underprivileged schools and TRG also offers a complete computer system to any student in the area for only $100. Beyond that, Workum recently realized that the company often received older but functional computers that were meant for use in hospitals. Rather than selling these computers, they’ve been sent to test markets in India to see if they would be able to be used in third-world hospitals. If they are, TRG plans to send them along so those hospitals can use them to better provide for patients.

Leading that push for more recycling everywhere gives Workum the ability to truly talk the talk, as few people do as much as she does for the cause.

HOW TO REACH: Technology Recycling Group, (513) 761-5333 or

Wednesday, 25 June 2008 20:00

Building relationships

Written by

Even though he’d already had more than 35 years with the company, nothing had prepared Vince Corrado for what happened at Shook National Corp. in 2004. Corrado was named Shook’s CEO in 2003 just as things turned ugly in the industry. With a perfect storm of events mixing together — including subcontractor failures, underperforming jobs and unforeseen litigation — the company and its new leader suddenly found themselves in a scary patch.

But Shook, who believes in strong relationships with his people and his community, had the tools to dig the regional professional construction solutions company out from under the muck.

He took a step backward. Refocusing on jobs with trusted owners, the company had the experience to better gauge expected cost and financial stability. Being more careful with the type of customer the company would work with led to smaller, more productive jobs.

At the same time, he turned up the internal pressure on accountability, opening up communication lines to get more feedback from front-line employees to figure out what things could be improved upon to get things running the Shook way. As he developed those relationships with more and more employees, he created a program dubbed “Beyond the Bottom Line” that focused employees on their duties, not just to the company but also to the community it serves. This new focus both internally and externally led to the kind of relationships that eventually meant more jobs, more accountability and a better balance sheet.

HOW TO REACH: Shook National Corp., (937) 276-6666 or

Wednesday, 25 June 2008 20:00

Navigator Management Partners LLC

Written by

David K. Schoettmer got his start and his

early success at a traditional ‘Big 6’ firm,

but his talent has really shown through in

his vision for a regional consulting services team that focuses on local markets to

eliminate unnecessary travel and overhead costs to differentiate itself from others in the market.

With roughly 50 consulting professionals focused solely on Navigator

Management Partners LLC’s home market, the company is able to deliver superior project delivery and return on

investment to clients it knows well.

But having a client-focused company in

the services industry is not enough.

Schoettmer realized that in order to win

his team would have to have the most talented and experienced people. So he created an atmosphere at the company that

focused on being a top place to work,

making work-life balance the forefront of

the culture. That mindset manifests itself

in the training and personal development

budget that is 30 percent of the total compensation based on the individual’s ability

to become engaged in entitywide decision-making, consulting engagements and

through devotion to the local communities Navigator serves.

Schoettmer’s approach to his clients

and employees has enabled him to have

better than 90 percent client retention

and satisfaction while keeping his

turnover rate of less than 10 percent. In

an industry with traditional turnover

rates around 15 percent, Navigator has

been able to retain its top people and put

the tools together to grow quickly and

truly serve its local clients.

HOW TO REACH: Navigator Management Partners LLC, (614)

796-0090 or

Wednesday, 25 June 2008 20:00

Central Ohio Primary Care Physicians Inc

Written by

Thomas Bishop could have left well

enough alone. After more than 30 years in

the medical field, including stints as a

CFO and a CEO for clinics around the

U.S., he didn’t need to prove that he could

start all over again at Central Ohio

Primary Care Physicians Inc. and shoot to

the top.

But after joining the company as CEO in

2000, he’s helped lead COPCP’s unique business model to new heights by leveraging a

smarter network system that takes advantage of numbers to give physicians better

choices for their independence.

COPCP has developed a primary care

medical group, providing the advantages

of a single tax ID organization while providing the individual practices the autonomy to function almost like a private


Those who join COPCP’s group get better

reimbursements, buying power, administrative services and employee benefits that

they almost certainly couldn’t provide on

their own. Beyond those basic functions,

the group opens up revenue opportunities

from laboratory, radiology and cardiovascular services. All of these perks come in a

group that is 100 percent physician-owned,

with an easy system that lets physicians

come and go on their own terms.

Leading such a dynamic group, Bishop

has been able to form a solid base that

attracts the highest quality physicians

who wish to retain their entrepreneurial


With that model in place, COPCP, which

started with 33 physicians in eight locations in 1996, has ballooned to 175 physicians practicing in 39 locations with

roughly 1,000 employees.

HOW TO REACH: Central Ohio Primary Care Physicians, (614)

326-2672 or

Wednesday, 25 June 2008 20:00

FocusMark Group LLC makes decisions by data

Written by

Kim Allan Sharp, the

founder, president and

CEO of FocusMark Group LLC, has a saying he has

adhered to all his life: “Not

always right but never in


The statement reflects Sharp’s

view on how important it is for

a leader to not only make decisions but also to empower

employees to make decisions.

He says employees need to

know a leader has the decision-making ability to execute on

the vision of the company.

“If the leader or the CEO

doesn’t make the decision necessary to execute your vision,

obviously, everything bogs

down,” says Sharp, who led the

marketing agency to 2007 revenue of about $40 million.

Smart Business spoke with

Sharp about how he uses data

— and gut feelings — to make


Q. How do you empower

employees to make decisions?

Many times, I’ll bring everybody — or the particular

employees — in, and we’ll talk

about what are the options,

and we’ll narrow down those

options to two or three options.

What I’m always about is, ‘I

can make this decision for you

right now, but here is what I

think, from a consensus standpoint, we agree [that these] are

the logical options that fall in

line with executing our vision.

It’s up to you to decide which

one of those routes to take.’

At the same time, understand

that you’re going to be held

accountable from a revenue

standpoint or from an employee morale standpoint, whatever

road you take. In many ways, I believe, if you can educate your

employees, they will help you

make those decisions, and, quite

frankly, usually they make the

decisions you’d make anyway.

Q. How do you educate your

employees to make those


We’re very numbers-oriented,

so we look at it from a numbers

standpoint. That can be financial numbers, those could be

marketing numbers,

those could be numbers

regarding square footage

of a building.

We always have a way

of saying, ‘OK, let’s say

here’s what the numbers

tell us,’ and we’re a numbers-processed, engineering-type organization in everything we do.

What we then say is, ‘OK,

even though we know

these are what the numbers are, we all know,

even if you are a good

statistician, that about 20

percent of a good statistician is that gut feeling or

the subjective nuances

that you bring into your

final decision-making.’

So, we try to balance it.

Providing people with facts and

figures and then mixing that

with your good, old, ‘OK, this is

what my instincts tell me,’

that’s the best way to have a

powerful mix of information

that allows and empowers our

employees to make the right


Q. How do you react if your

team is married to the data,

but you want to go in another


You have an organization

that, in many ways, you’ve educated to look at the numbers in

their decision-making. Then

what happens is, you have to

come back and you have to sit

them down and coach them

and say, ‘OK, here’s all the numbers. But what, for instance,

would be the impact on that

employee you are talking

about? Or, what would be the

impact — I know we’ve

worked hard on that, I know

we’ve overcommitted the

hours on a project for a client— but what’s the impact? I

understand what the numbers

are, but what’s the long-term


Many times, it’s just coaching

and also educating our employees and senior management

team, that, yes, they have decision-making authority, and yes,

we want them to be aware of

the numbers, but, at the same

time, they have to look beyond

that. There’s a balance between

those two, and we highly

encourage that for them to

make those decisions. Again,

you might have an executive

VP or senior VP from an operating unit, they’re going to follow the numbers, and it may

end up that you lose a client

over it, or you lose a key

employee over that.

I’d rather see somebody

make that type of decision and

see the consequences of the

decision because that is going

to be the best learning tool,

rather than if I am always just

making decisions for people.

Q. How do you handle mistakes?

I’m a big believer that, many

times, you have to fail in order

to succeed because you learn

from your failures. It’s more of

a coaching.

The numbers allow you to

provide analysis. If you have

failed, well, why did you fail?

Let’s look at it from an analytical standpoint first, and then

bring in the empiricals. From a

coaching standpoint, I don’t

mind failure because that

means that employee is trying

and, at the same time, developing that learning curve that

we all have to work on every


HOW TO REACH: FocusMark Group LLC, (513) 583-4660 or

Monday, 26 May 2008 20:00

Pomeroy IT Solutions on going green

Written by

As with most other areas in today’s

world, going green in the data center is a hot topic. There are a number of reasons to go green, energy efficiency being just one of them.

In fact, a study by Lawrence Berkeley

National Laboratories for the American

Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

determined that data centers can be as

much as 40 times more energy-intensive

than conventional office buildings.

“There are three Es to consider — environmental, energy and efficiencies,” says

Geoff Hanson, practice director of

servers and storage for Pomeroy IT

Solutions. “With the right green initiatives, you can help the environment, save

energy (and dollars) and create efficiencies that will also save money and help

the bottom line. The green movement is

starting to affect the IT department in a

big way.”

Smart Business spoke with Hanson to

glean further insights into greening up

the data center.

What exactly is a green data center?

A green data center is one designed

with the mechanical, lighting, electrical

and computer systems for maximum

energy efficiency and minimum environmental impact. The construction and

operation of a green data center includes

advanced technologies and strategies.

Does it cost or save to be green?

You can definitely save by becoming

green. Yes, there are investments needed,

but when properly planned and implemented, the savings can offset those

costs. The time it takes to realize maximum offsetting savings depends on a

number of factors.

What are the first steps to take to be green?

The first step a company can take does-n’t cost a dime and is not difficult. You

can easily start saving money by simply

turning off your desktops and monitors

at the end of the day. Companies can also

look at their server environments.

Through server consolidation and virtualization and implementing multicore

blade server technology, you will

improve the utilization of your server

hardware investments while reducing

your data center footprint, power, heating and cable management costs. Also,

through emerging technologies and

power management by chip manufacturers, servers can be powered down when

not utilized, thus realizing additional

power savings.

Another step would include consolidating and virtualizing storage into shared

storage pools and by implementing such

tools as de-duplication of data to save on

disk space. This helps to reduce the overall storage requirements and backup

costs and simplify data recovery.

A fourth step would include virtualizing

the desktop infrastructure and implementing Energy Star-compliant PCs,

monitors and/or thin clients. Companies

will realize energy-efficient gains in

power as well as improvements through

centralized systems management. Desktops also have the ability to be powered

down either manually or through automated tools to help reduce electrical use

and heat dissipation.

Other steps to take to move toward

going green would include the procurement area, changing the way equipment

is purchased. Procurement procedures

could be put in place to seek out Energy

Star-compliant equipment.

Are there other things that you can plan for

as you make changes or upgrades?

Many companies are building new

data centers and/or disaster recovery

facilities. As these facilities are being

architected, designed and constructed,

they should be looking at efficient structures and materials during the build out

process. There are new and improved

air handlers, water-cooling systems,

environmentally controlled computer

racks and energy-efficient hardware

available for tomorrow’s data centers

today. In many data centers, cool air is

pushed by air handlers through raised

computer room floors and drawn up

through perforated tiles into cabinets

and the hot air pulled through ceiling

return air ducts. Cables under the raised

floors that are spread throughout

restrict the flow. Companies are now

addressing cable management under

their raised floors to improve airflow.

Better cable management, cable trays

and/or air conduits are being utilized for

more efficient cooling.

A strong recommendation to organizations moving forward is to have assessments performed of their IT facilities’

environmental and energy footprints. It

is also extremely important to have

assessments performed on their servers,

storage, desktops, printing and networking infrastructures. These assessments

would allow them to better understand

their hardware utilization and the cost

savings that can be realized through consolidating and virtualizing their environments with new energy-compliant and

energy-efficient technologies. Regular

audits of the infrastructures should be

performed as a follow up to ensure

everything is being fully utilized.

GEOFF HANSON is the practice director of servers and storage for Pomeroy IT Solutions in Cincinnati. Reach him at (602) 690-6376


Simon Hay thinks about culture every day.

Instead of sitting in an office, Hay spends the majority of his

time working with clients and talking about clients to show his

employees how important they are to dunnhumby’s culture.

“Culture is the thing that can have the biggest impact on how

we benefit from talent,” says Hay, CEO of dunnhumbyUSA, a relevance marketing company that analyzes customer purchase

decisions for consumer packaged goods and retail companies.

“Then it’s a question of what actions you can take to reinforce

those values and build the culture.”

Since the U.S. headquarters of British-based dunnhumby

opened in 2003, Hay has worked to build a culture with clear values and vision. With the company growing rapidly — from 14 to

300 employees in nearly five years and fiscal 2006 revenue of

$100 million to fiscal 2007 revenue of $150 million, his No. 1

objective is to create and maintain the culture while dealing with


“Obviously, every day, we want every employee, myself included, to

live those values to the best of their ability,” he says. “The other

opportunity that I have as the leader of the company is to reinforce

the communication of those values and that culture but also to help

put in place processes or actions that can actually reinforce those values in the culture, either the way that we design our offices or the

way we do our work.”

Establish core values

Hay’s key to a successful culture is establishing a core set of values.

Creating these values and making them an integral part of the culture

shapes the way employees work and interact each day and helps

them better understand the company and its culture.

“Values tend to get overlooked,” he says. “So find out what are the

things that differentiate you, describe what’s important to you and

your employees, and what they can act upon?”

Talk with employees and clients about what they see in you. Hay

got feedback from external partners, clients and employees to determine the company’s values. He says getting feedback from others

was the best way to find out what made dunnhumby different from

other companies.

Once you have that information, summarize it into the few things that

define your company and are believable, realistic and truthful.

“If your employees look at your values and go, ‘I’ve never seen that

here,’ obviously there’s no connection between your aspiration and

reality,” Hay says. “Values have to be recognizable and inspirational,

something that people believe and are important to the organization.”

The values also need to be simple and relevant for employees to

understand them.

“Sometimes, there is a tendency to list 10 or 12 things, but if you

don’t distill them down, how are people going to remember them

well enough to act on them?” Hay says.

Dunnhumby’s culture ended up being based on only four core values: collaboration, curiosity, passion and customer first.

Once you have your values in place, you need to communicate

them to make sure employees understand and live them each day.

Hay not only uses things like monthly company meetings and brown-bag lunch sessions for employees to share thoughts and ideas about

culture, he also has tried to integrate the values into the very fiber of

the company.

For example, he has created an open office environment to reinforce collaboration among employees.

“Our office is completely open plan, no one has an office, and that

includes myself,” he says. “Everyone has the same size desk, the barriers are 12 inches high above your desk, you can’t even get away

from the person next to you. That’s a very deliberate design because

it facilitates communication.”

There are also other areas inside the office, including a café-type

space and open meeting areas, for employees to get together and collaborate.

To reinforce the curiosity value, Hay holds regular innovation sessions for employees to bring forth new ideas or products to help the

business grow.

Regardless of how you try to integrate your values into your culture, be consistent.

“Values are something we talk about every day, they’re not rolled

out for the annual business presentation and put away in a cupboard

for the rest of the year,” Hay says. “You’ve got to continually highlight

great examples of people living those values, reward those people,

and consistently communicate (those values) so that they absolutely, 100 percent become embedded in everyone’s daily thoughts and


“You’ve got to see a connection between your values and everything that’s going on every hour of every day.”

Hay has created a 360-degree review process that is 100 percent

focused on the values, how they align with the vision and how

employees are meeting them.

“It’s not what you do in your job, it’s a rating by your manager, yourself, your colleagues and direct reports on how you do that job in

terms of those values,” he says. “That gives clear, specific feedback

of what they do well in terms of their behaviors, living up to the values and where they can improve.”

There will be people who achieve or exceed living the values and

meeting goals, ones who live the values but struggle with meeting

some targets, and those who cannot meet them at all. You need to

address the problem and see if the employee will be able to stay with

the company or not.

“If you’re achieving numbers but not living the values, you’re ultimately destroying them,” Hay says. “Behaviors, values and the sense

of purpose that builds an organization are long term, and anyone

who is destroying that is also destroying your long-term value.”

Having a clear set of values from the beginning alleviates some of

those employee problems because you can hire people who meet

those values. For Hay, having the open floor plan is the first filter for

prospective employees.

“Our open plan tends to self-select out the people who care

whether their desk is one size or what chair they have,” Hay says.

“Being clear about that in the interview sets people’s expectations.

You’re either going to find that exciting and liberating or that doesn’t

meet your needs.”

Have a clear vision

Along with core values, you also need to set a vision that will help

you keep everyone working toward the same goals.

Without a successful vision, you cannot create excitement among

your employees.

“If you don’t have the vision right, you can’t get the sense of purpose

or the focus and delivery from those talented people,” Hay says.

“Without vision, you’re mismanaging the talent you have.”

DunnhumbyUSA’s vision was created as part of the company’s regular review of brand values and position.

“We do it through engaging our employees, leadership and customers to ensure that we’re pointing in a direction that’s right for

them and our business,” Hay says.

Vision is similar to values in that you need to make it core to your

company strategy, understandable and aspiring to your employees,

and tie it to your actions and business plan. Hay says if your vision is

not connected throughout your company, employees and clients will

be able to spot it, causing confusion and problems.

“It has to describe what you’re trying to achieve and inspire your

people,” he says.

It also needs to be kept short. When vision statements are lengthy,

the average employee won’t be able to remember it all and can only

remember parts of it. When that happens, employees all learn different parts and head off in different directions.

As with the values, it’s important to remain consistent in your communication of the vision. If it says one thing one year and something

else the next or if it’s too far-reaching, the vision may be wrong.

“Your vision has to be unifying to get people pointed in the right

direction toward your bigger goal and objectives,” Hay says.

The vision also needs to be relevant so employees know how their

job fits into it.

“If you see the vision and go, ‘I’ve got no idea what my job does

toward that,’ either you haven’t been clear in how you’ve described

that job or your vision is incorrect,” Hay says. “There’s got to be a connection between people’s work every day, where the business is today

and making it clear where you want the business to be tomorrow.”

Getting employees to connect to the vision can be simple, starting

with a written statement that explains how each person fits into the

larger goals.

Hay says you can also set up a performance management system

that will take your vision, break it down into smaller pieces and give

clear goals to the different parts of the organization on how to

achieve that vision.

“These are the six to seven things we are trying to achieve this

year,” Hay says. “As we move through the organization, they get cascaded down. People might not necessarily own all of those, but the

part they own, they know where it fits, and ultimately, it goes back up

to the vision. That ensures a direct connection between everyone’s

focus and targets for the year in what they do and our overall vision.”

Keep the culture a priority

Hay makes sure to keep his culture the No. 1 priority so that it can

envelop any changes that happen in the high-growth company.

“We set the expectation that standing still is not part of our plan,”

he says. “We either grow or die.”

“Everyone goes through formal training and introduction courses,

not just from their managers but by the senior leadership and myself.

We see communication of our vision and culture and the training of

our employees as a leadership team responsibility.”

Making culture your top priority requires you to keep it No. 1 on

your list, no matter what other tasks come up. It also means making

the culture fun so that employees will keep it their top priority, as


Hay makes sure to take time to celebrate successes, recognize

great performers, and keep employees engaged and informed — all

in a fun way when possible. For example, the company recently

ended its financial year and celebrated with beer and pizza at lunch

for all employees, with a more formal recognition later in the year.

Establishing a successful culture also means holding yourself

accountable to the same standards as your employees. Hay goes

through the same reviews and 360-degree feedback as his employees

because it’s hard to lead employees unless you’re getting their honest


“You have to be fanatical about the living, delivery and communication of those values,” he says. “You need to be clear on what you’re

aiming to do and prepared to be measured against that.”

Without a focus on culture, Hay says dunnhumby would not

have achieved the level of success it has, including growing 40 to

50 percent per year in revenue since 2003 and being named one of the

best places to work in the Cincinnati area.

“It’s not easy,” Hay says. “Absolutely make it your No. 1 priority. It’s

easy to be distracted by the tasks of running a business, but you can

only do so much as one person. If you get the culture right, you can

have, whether you have hundreds or thousands of employees,

pulling or pushing much more successfully to the vision than you

just trying to do it yourself by managing those tasks.”

HOW TO REACH: dunnhumbyUSA, (513) 632-1020 or

Friday, 25 April 2008 20:00

Randy Wilhelm communicates at Thinkronize Inc

Written by

After an employee survey

showed that some of

his 65 employees at

Thinkronize Inc. wanted

more communication, Randy

Wilhelm looked to the past

to fix the problem. When the

company — a digital deliverer of K-12 educational content — was smaller, Wilhelm

would order pizza for his

employees, and they would

talk about what was happening at the company.

But as Thinkronize grew,

the co-founder and CEO got

away from that method of

communication. However,

when the survey showed that

move had been a mistake,

the pizza deliveries returned.

“My statement to the

group, to my leader team,

was, ‘For us, right or wrong,

pizza is comfort food,’” says

Wilhelm, who led the company to fiscal 2007 revenue of

about $10 million.

Smart Business spoke

with Wilhelm about how to

paint your vision and how to

communicate it so that

everyone understands.

Q. What are the keys to

being a good leader?

The way I define whether

you’re a good leader is

whether people are following.

It’s really creating an environment where people are

drawn to it almost magnetically. Then they’re drawn to

where you are going. For me,

what it really comes down to

are a couple of factors.

We’ll call it vision and communication. In order to be

able to lead effectively,

you’ve got to be able to communicate where you’re going. I’m talking about

painting a vision that the

team can see themselves participating in because if they

can’t see themselves inside

that environment, they’re

going to be reticent to go


When you’re painting, we

just remind them that it

might look big, and it might

look difficult, yet it’s very

attainable. When I am talking

about vision to people, I am

always painting the picture

and drawing mental images

for them of what it’s

going to look like

when we get there.

That helps people

draw themselves

toward following that

vision. For me, good

leaders are really good


Help people see

themselves in that

place and help people

understand that as you

go along that path

toward getting to that

vision, you are going to

have rocky roads and

sometimes you are

going to have to deliver bad news. If I can

share to them the ‘why’

that’s behind the ‘what’

— the ‘what’ is the bad

news. But, if I share the

‘why’ behind that and help

them see how they fit into

that, they can remain productive and comfortable.

Q. How to you paint that

vision so that all of your

employees understand it?

Vision has to be something

that is visible and real. We’ve

boiled our vision down to

some core four- or five-word

phrases, and we have them up in the office so everyone

can see them. They see them

when we walk through the

doors, first thing in the

morning, and it just reminds

them of why we are here.

We do hold quarterly meetings for the team, where we

go off-site, and any question

can be asked of the leadership. All the information is

shared, good news and bad

news. We are a very open

organization with our data.

Now, they don’t know

everything, that’s obvious.

But, being open and having

them feel part of the process

is really critical. I think the

good leaders and leader

teams really just use those messages to motivate people

to achieve things.

(The vision) needs to be

repeated often and regularly.

These are no-brainers. It has

to be communicated regularly through a variety of different vehicles. If you, as a

leader, are living that yourself and are consistent with

that, people are drawn to

that by your integrity to that

vision. So it creates a magnetic draw because it’s

always there.

Q. What is a pitfall to avoid

in business?

I think the thing that hurts

organizations or the thing

that hurts leaders is when

you don’t have people’s trust,

and you can lose people’s

trust a variety of ways. For

instance, a way that you can

lose credibility very quickly

is when an employee comes

to you and says, ‘I need to

have a conversation with you

about so and so, but you

can’t tell them that I talked

to you about it.’

In essence, I, as a leader,

have been neutered and

marginalized by that


So, you’ve got to know that

that’s not the kind of environment that we have here. I

can’t accept that. If you want

to tell me something, know

that, if it’s important, it’s

going to be communicated to

the right people.

If you don’t want to tell me,

don’t. But you don’t give

someone the right to marginalize your leadership — and

people do this all the time.

It’s a way that they gain a little power.

HOW TO REACH: Thinkronize Inc., (513) 731-4090 or

Wednesday, 26 March 2008 20:00

The Mellott file

Written by

Born: Morrow County, Ohio

Education: Bachelor’s degree, mechanical engineering, Purdue University

First job: Janitor

What do you like best about being a leader?

The most rewarding part of it is to watch the fruits of your effort in the growth of people and the business. You sit back and see Tom Jones’ son or daughter has gone off to college and done exceptionally well. That person has been employed for you for 20 years, and you know that the company you started provided the income for that parent so they could nurture the child and have them go off to school and accomplish things maybe they otherwise couldn’t have. That’s extremely rewarding to watch your own employees improve and grow. Does ego come in? Yes, it does, but I try not to do it for ego. When somebody tells me that their son just got a scholarship to graduate school at XYZ, it makes you feel good because, in some way, you know you contributed to that.

Mellott on leadership: Leaders are born; managers you can train. Certainly, you can improve and hone leadership skills, but I’m not sure you can take somebody who’s not a leader and make a leader out of them because that’s not ingrained in their mannerism and personality.

Mellott serves on the boards of Inter-Pac Inc. in Tupelo, Miss., and Storopack, along with U.S. Bank and The Plastic Loose Fill Council.