He made that vision a reality, and today, Integrated Mobile is a provider of mobile services for more than 200 Fortune 1000 companies.
Pugh’s success in the technology industry came in a roundabout way. After attending The Ohio State University on a scholarship for golf caddies, he began his career teaching high school physics in Washington, D.C.
“I learned that the secret wasn’t in teaching physics but in motivating my students to want to learn physics,” Pugh says. “Once I focused on being a motivator and not a teacher, something magic happened. They learned physics.”
That experience carries over to inspiring his team today when he tells people that they do not have jobs, but instead are building the company.
“Passion is contagious,” says Pugh, COO of Columbus-based Integrated Mobile Inc. “If you show your passion for your clients, your employees will be motivated to perform for them.”
To back that up, he tells all employees, “If you aren’t feeling (motivated) today, give me a call and I’ll breathe some life into you.”
Pugh ventured into technology with an idea for a credit card reader that could be operated through a mobile phone. And from that beginning, he saw an opportunity to provide end-to-end management of an organization’s wireless needs. Companies were struggling to manage their mobile phone costs and device management, and by providing technology support, hardware maintenance and tracking, bill analysis and cost center allocations, Integrated Mobile has saved them time and money by helping them to better manage their wireless assets.
Pugh is now focusing on providing seamless, efficient wireless management services, based on Six Sigma principles. He believes that wireless applications will become more powerful and an even greater element in the way business is done, and is positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that will provide.
How to reach: Integrated Mobile Inc., (614) 839-9923 or www.integratedmobileinc.com
It was one of the best things that ever happened to him.
Shortly thereafter, he left AT&T to join the Wang team. At the time, Wang had developed a new electronic document technology called Document Management, and Patsy saw that it had huge potential for use in paper-intensive industries such as banking, insurance, government and health care.
The health care industry had the lowest barriers to entry, so Patsy approached his employer with the idea of pursuing that market. When Wang turned him down, Patsy took a leave of absence from the company to pursue the opportunity on his own.
In 1989, he presented his business plan to the University of Cincinnati, which told him not only was it interested in the technology, but that it couldn’t afford not to pursue it. Patsy resigned from Wang the next day, and for 18 months, went without a salary, mortgaged his home and used up his life savings to stay in business.
In 1997, the company’s rapid growth and market changes nearly caused him to lose control of the company. Faced with the decision of selling at a loss or doing something drastic, Patsy took Streamline Health public. That year, revenue doubled over the previous year, but failed to meet expectations and the stock was pummeled.
Over the next several years, Patsy had to choose again and again between selling the company or saving his dream. Each time, he believed in the company’s unique mission, finally deciding to stop competing against the larger competion, and instead focus on how Streamline Health could differentiate itself from other companies. The strategy has worked, and the company has experienced double-digit growth.
How to reach: Streamline Health, (513) 794-7104 or www.streamlinehealth.com
That passion and determination led him to develop a process to improve the cardiology services provided to patients and to help hospitals to better serve patients and to realize a financial benefit.
For more than a decade, Joseph, founder, president and CEO of Upper Arlington-based AMC Registry Inc., has been developing and refining the Chest Pain Process Improvement Service (CPPIS). The service includes The Chest Pain Registry, the first registry to cover all acute coronary syndromes, as well as chest pain of any etiology.
CPPIS is an operational model for Chest Pain Centers, founded in Florida in 1995 when a for-profit health care network became interested in integrating 14 of its facilities clinically. The center incorporates process improvement for care related to acute coronary syndrome.
AMC has applied its chest pain initiative at more than 100 hospitals with more than 60,000 patients.
Joseph says that implementing CPPIS across the country will give more than 1 million patients having heart attacks, and millions more with undiagnosed chest pain each year, the opportunity for better care.
In addition, because strokes are the third-leading cause of death in American adults and the leading cause of long-term disability, AMC has tweaked its CPPIS method to gear it to the areas of stroke and hyperlipidemia.
In addition to his work at AMC, Joseph is a board-certified emergency department physician; chairman of the section of observational medicine - ACEP; former clinical coordinator of the National Registry of Myocardial Infarction at Riverside Hospital; and former chairman of the Riverside Hospital Emergency Department.
How to reach: AMC Registry, (614) 457-9190 or www.amcincius.com
Today, more than 40 years later, those principles still guide him as he has built the company into Ohio’s largest privately held, independent wealth management firm.
When he started his financial advisory company in the 1960s, he had just one client whom he worked with after his day job as a professor.
In 1970, he took a position at the University of Cincinnati and began to slowly attract new clients. His business grew via word of mouth, and in 1980, he moved Johnson Investment Counsel from his home into an office.
Despite the revenue potential, Johnson didn’t want to sell high-fee, low-return mutual funds, so he created his own low-fee funds. They didn’t make any money for the company, but did gain it more advisory work from satisfied clients. When he saw a client need for affordable trust alternatives, Johnson Trust was formed.
Johnson never set out to be the biggest, only the best. And he’s succeeded based on his personal standards, which have become Johnson Investment Counsel’s core values:
- The highest level of integrity, honesty and morality
- Extraordinary client service
- The pursuit of excellence
- Continuous improvement and innovation
- His employees’ relationships with God, their family, the community and each other.
Johnson has obviously succeeded, as he has developed a successful firm based on competence and integrity first, allowing growth and profit to follow naturally.
How to reach: Johnson Investment Counsel Inc., (800) 541-0170 or www.johnsoninv.com
Previously, he’d spent more than a decade working in large organizations, including The Limited, GE Capital and AT&T Solutions. That early experience gave him a solid business foundation, including experience in building business plans, cash modeling and business operations that served him well when he left corporate America to start his own company.
During the dot-com craze in the late ‘90s, Blauer served as senior vice president of Industry Ventures at Digital Evolution, a Paul Allen venture. There, he was involved in the Starbright Foundation, which is dedicated to the development of projects that empower seriously ill children to combat medical and emotional challenges. That experience gave Blauer the idea of creating an end-to-end medical management software solution.
Personal drive, prior experience and financial capital he received from the Digital Evolution IPO led to the founding of Click4Care Inc. After seeing firsthand the imperfections of the health care system, such as patients who felt disconnected from having a role in their care, Blauer committed to designing a technology platform that would improve the quality of care.
He founded the company in 1999 with investors Jan-Erik Lundberg and Chris Steffen, and in the beginning, he was the only employee. He invented and authored 2,137 software design and requirements documents to lay the groundwork for developing every click in Click4Care’s groundbreaking software, a development effort that ultimately required 300,000 man hours and 4 million lines of code.
His biggest hurdle was convincing major health care providers to sign multimillion-dollar contracts based on a concept and his credibility rather than on actual software, which was not produced until he had the first customer contract. He did it by telling potential clients the truth including possible shortcomings and without sales support, he pursued and closed his company’s first five customers.
Today, Click4Care operates in a national market with global aspirations in the United Kingdom and Germany. Blauer’s target customer bases are health insurance claim payment, disease management and prescription benefit management companies.
How to reach: Click4Care Inc., (614) 839-9959 or www.click4care.com
The passion that burned in these renowned innovators still burns in today’s entrepreneurial visionaries. Ernst & Young created the Entrepreneur Of The Year (EOY) Award the Award for Business Leadership to honor the accomplishments of the great men and women who make our economy vibrant.
For the past 20 years, we have proudly recognized outstanding business leaders across South Central Ohio and Kentucky. Each year, EOY finalists and award recipients demonstrate incredible depth of character as they develop new technologies, create faster ways to distribute goods and services and improve the quality of life for people around them. Again, the individuals we honor this year are no exception.
This year’s EOY program participants have succeeded through turbulent economic times and emerged even stronger. As they forged ahead, they may not have listened when told it couldn’t be done, and they continue to take chances that average people consider too risky.
They are leaders rather than followers. We are inspired by their achievements.
As we look toward tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, join us in congratulating the leaders of today, innovators that have achieved their American dream. The following pages highlight those individuals who pursued this coveted distinction.
Congratulations on your continued success.
Alan Greenwell is program director for the Entrepreneur Of The Year South Central Ohio & Kentucky Awards.
Richard A. Boehne was named COO of the E. W. Scripps Co.
In his new role, Boehne has operating and strategic oversight responsibilities for all of the company’s divisions, including its national lifestyle networks, newspapers, broadcast television stations, interactive media businesses and licensing and syndication subsidiary. Boehne had served as executive vice president of the company since 1999.
“Rich has presided over the company’s transformation into one of the country’s most dynamic diversified media enterprises,” says E. W. Scripps President and CEO Kenneth Lowe. “He is a relentless agent for change, with a keen sense of how the company can best capitalize on emerging media platforms and the changing habits of media consumers. His optimism for the future of the company and our industry is contagious and serves as an inspiration for those of us who work with him.”
Boehne was named manager of investor relations in 1988, just prior to the company’s initial public stock offering. He was promoted to director of corporate communications and investor relations a year later. He became a vice president of the company in 1995.
Before joining the corporate staff, Boehne was a business reporter and editor at The Cincinnati Post, a Scripps newspaper, where he covered Wall Street, the national economy and developments in the media industry.
Boehne received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northern Kentucky University in 1981.
Daniel J. Straub joined Huntington’s business banking group as vice president and senior business banker. He is responsible for creating financial solutions for and serving the needs of Huntington’s business clients.
Previously, he was vice president and sales manager of U.S. Bank’s small business group, and assistant vice president, branch manager, at Bank One and PNC Bank. He also spent four years as an instructor at the American Institute of Banking, where he was awarded the Outstanding Short Course Instructor Award in 1995 and 1996.
REGENCY HOSPITAL CO.
Kathleen Cahill was named CEO of Regency Hospital of Cincinnati. Regency is a specialty hospital that serves the needs of acutely ill, medically complex patients who require an intensive care environment for a long period of time.
Cahill joins Regency after serving as CEO of Kindred Hospital in Oklahoma City. Prior to her tenure in Oklahoma, she was CEO of Select Specialty Hospitals in Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi.
Cahill received her bachelor of arts in business and marketing from New Mexico State University and her MBA from the University of New Mexico.
GREAT AMERICAN INSURANCE GROUP
Frank Scheckton Jr. was promoted to divisional president of Great American Insurance Group’s fidelity and crime division. Scheckton has been with Great American since 1995, when he created the fidelity and crime operation. Prior to joining Great American, he led the fidelity and crime operation at Travelers Insurance. Scheckton has a bachelor of arts degree from Fordham University.
FIFTH THIRD BANCORP
Carlos Winston Wilkinson joined Fifth Third Bancorp as executive vice president and head of the consumer bank. Wilkinson previously was retail executive for Wachovia Mortgage Corp., where he led Wachovia’s retail mortgage division and was instrumental in creating an external value proposition for Wachovia Mortgage. He also was responsible for the integration of SouthTrust’s retail mortgage operation into Wachovia.
Wilkinson has a bachelor of science degree in finance from Auburn University.
VORYS SATER SEYMOUR AND PEASE LLP
Nathaniel Lampley Jr. was named managing partner for Vorys Sater Seymour and Pease’s Cincinnati office. As managing partner, he oversees all of the attorneys in the Cincinnati office.
Lampley has been with the firm since 1992, working on contract and commercial law, and labor and employment litigation.
Luca Fontana was named chief technology officer for Ashland Inc.’s chemical sector.
As chief technology officer, Fontana is responsible for managing research and development spending.
Fontana is also part of the Chemical Sector Operating Committee, the coordinating body of Ashland’s chemical businesses. He joined the company in 2003 and was previously vice president of global technology for Ashland Specialty Chemical.
Lisa Quiroz joined the board of directors at KnowledgeWorks Foundation. Quiroz is senior vice president, corporate responsibility of Time Warner Inc.
In that role, she is responsible for setting and implementing the strategic direction of Time Warner’s philanthropic efforts in education and the arts, developing all employee-based volunteer initiatives and establishing Time Warner’s new social responsibility guidelines and reporting.
KnowledgeWorks Foundation is Ohio’s largest public education philanthropy.
FRANKLIN SAVINGS AND LOAN CO.
Gretchen J. Schmidt was named president, CEO and vice chair of the board of Franklin Savings. She succeeds Thomas H. Siemers, who stepped down from those positions and become chairman of the board of Franklin Savings. He also retains his positions as president and CEO of First Franklin, Franklin Savings’ parent company.
Schmidt has been with Franklin Savings since 1971, serving in various part-time positions between 1971 and 1978, when she assumed a full-time role. She most recently served as vice president of operations, secretary and director of Franklin Savings, and was responsible for branch operations and general corporate administration. Schmidt is a graduate of Xavier University and is active in many civic, charitable and professional organizations.
Intelliseek is gathers consumer-generated information from the Internet and caught the wave of the blogging phenomenon. It was acquired late last year by Dutch company VNU for its stable of information-gathering businesses in its Nielsen BuzzMetrics unit.
No doubt Intelliseek’s meteoric rise a 150 percent increase in revenue last year over its $5.6 million mark in 2004 made the 50-employee company an attractive target for a buyout. That kind of growth also created its share of pain for a firm trying to keep up with the demand for its services while holding the line on costs and keeping itself attractive to potential suitors.
Mike Nazzaro, former president and CEO of Intelliseek and now president and COO of Nielsen BuzzMetrics, found that reining in costs while feeding the growth engine has been key to the company’s success and the successful exit for its investors through the VNU buyout.
Smart Business spoke to Nazzaro about how careful planning created the discipline to choose the right opportunities carefully instead of chasing every one that came along.
How did Intelliseek achieve its rapid growth?
There was the acceptance of us as a really important marketing medium. We really took off, and I think what helped spike that as much as anything was the growth and the hype around the blogs and the blogging phenomenon.
We helped really crystallize, over the course of a period of time, our value proposition, and we got better and better at doing what we do in a way that adds value for our customers. It wasn’t just nice to have. We became more must-have, we became more actionable.
What was the biggest challenge you encountered during that fast-growth period?
Any company that’s trying to get profitable and grow, you’re putting a massive premium on revenue, so you’ve got your sales team out there aggressively trying to bring in deals. Once you sell the customer, they want the service the next day, even though it might take four or five weeks to set it up.
A lot of it falls on the delivery organization. If you weren’t cost-constrained, and you could have people there in case demand surged ... it would be an easier problem. We never hired too aggressively ahead of sales. We’ve always had to staff in a way where we made sure we had the business first and it wasn’t just a good week.
Employing that kind of philosophy creates a lot of short-term pain. You have a culture and a mindset that you sell everything as quickly as you can, but then very quickly, you’re overwhelmed with having to deliver all that and fulfill it. It’s always a challenge ramping that up as quickly as you can.
How have you met those challenges?
You try to address it by knowing what to sell and knowing what to pitch. This whole world of consumer-generated media is not super clear or tightly defined. Customer expectations are not entirely clear, so just getting our sales team to define what our products are, what we’re selling in the first place, you try to instill some of the discipline.
Beyond that is really, once we effectively have a client, we put a lot of rigor in what we call our statement of work process. Our delivery team, before we’ve actually fulfilled the business, in a reasonable, detailed and methodical fashion outlines what it is we plan to do and what we plan to deliver.
How do you keep the business staffed at the right levels?
Whether or not you’re hiring, whether or not we’ve had positions open, we’ve always had an eye out for recruiting, we’ve always had our eye out for good people, just to have relationships, just to start relationships with people who could be prospective candidates down the road.
We found that a meaningful source of candidates is some form of referral from existing employees. I think at some level, it all starts at creating and sustaining a positive culture and environment in-house that, first and foremost, you don’t want to lose people because there are always costs to bringing in someone new.
So first, we did a good job of retaining the people we wanted to keep and secondly, letting that experience generate positive word-of-mouth about our business that would lead to other candidates.
What’s the key leadership skill needed by a CEO in a fast-growing company?
You have to be very careful not to micromanage, not to meddle. Unless you manage in a way that not only brings people in but manage in a way that builds leadership in the ranks, it gets difficult to grow.
That’s a very common situation I’ve seen in other companies, when the CEO is just so hands-on in the way they manage. They may say they’re hands-off, but they may be so critical of a decision that they weren’t part of that they really are training the organization to come to them with everything, to get their approval on everything. It’s disempowering, and it creates a lot of bottlenecks that get in the way of growth.
How to reach: Intelliseek Inc., www.nielsenbuzzmetrics.com
To gain a better understanding of how companies are optimizing their payables process, Smart Business recently spoke with Jeffrey Felser, senior vice president and product group manager for PNC’s Treasury Management Division.
What are the payment alternatives available to companies looking to streamline the procure-to-pay process?
Paper checks continue to be the core payment service, representing 80 percent of the $16+ trillion in business-to-business payments. However, the payments business is undergoing the largest transformation of its history, as migration from paper to electronic accelerates with businesses demanding more value, lower cost and simplicity. Aiding this transformation is technology, which is driving new forms of convenience and innovation with both ACH and purchasing cards growing in both volume and size of transactions being processed through these electronic alternatives.
How can an organization determine the optimum mix of payment options?
When thinking about how to make payment on your business-to-business transactions, we believe it makes sense to look at the economics of the various payment alternatives. The purchasing card, for example, has the most interesting economic proposition, as most banks issuing the card are willing to provide revenue sharing based on the value of the transactions being processed through a purchasing card program. Comparing the ability to generate income versus paying service fees (12 cents average for ACH transaction, 39 cents per check processed, $7 for wire transfer) creates an opportunity to pursue an optimum payment mix and a winning proposition for the payer.
Knowing that you can’t move all of your payments to cards, we think it makes sense to always think cards first, followed by ACH, then checks, to capture payments that cannot be migrated to an electronic method. Wire transfer will always have a specific role in executing timely and final payments whenever needed.
What are some of the variables that come into play when deciding how to process a payment?
There is no one solution for payment processing because different purchases call for different payment types. However, both qualitative and quantitative analysis is required. On a qualitative basis, consider contract terms, vendor relationships, current practices and protocol, as well as the sensitivity or priority for the receipt of goods or services. On the quantitative analysis side, the size, frequency and timing requirement of the payment are considerations. Additionally, the existing financial characteristics of the transaction such as cost of the payment for both the buyer and seller is an important aspect.
Are more organizations opting for one method over another, and is there a clear winner among all payment types?
Though business-to-business payments continue to migrate to electronic channels, the pace is much slower than what is occurring among consumer payments. Organizations that take the opportunity to assess their current procure-to-pay process can benefit from focusing on the payment component of this financial supply chain.
As noted previously, there is no one type of payment that ideally fits for all purchases. However, the material differences in the economics of the various payment alternatives create the opportunity to pursue an optimum payment mix. The clear winner is the organization that takes the first step in evaluating its entire procure-to-process.
This was prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as specific advice or recommendations. Any reliance upon this information is solely and exclusively at your own risk.
JEFFREY FELSER is senior vice president and product group manager for PNC’s treasury management division. Reach him at (412) 762-9714.
Two years after the events of Sept. 11, nearly 25 percent of the nation’s job cuts were in the travel and tourism industry, according to a study conducted by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. Many of these layoffs were in travel agencies.
According to Cronenberg, one of the major financial challenges travel agents faced was the airlines’ elimination of commission for booking air travel. So she took a hard look at the industry and decided to adapt Pier ‘n Port by concentrating on leisure, group travel and cruises rather than targeting corporate clients.
Smart Business spoke with Cronenberg about staying competitive in a rapidly-changing market, building customer loyalty and being a strong leader.
How do you ensure Pier ‘n Port stays competitive?
I’m a forward-thinker. I don’t believe you can stick with status quo and expect to be on the cutting edge. I routinely step out of my comfort zone and outside the box.
It’s a great quality, but it can be a double-edged sword. At times, I have stepped too far outside the box and learned that it is not always wise to be a trendsetter. So my caveat is to be patient. Let others blaze the trail at times so you can learn from their mistakes. There is a risk in being the first to try out a creative concept.
For example, I have designed trips that were too unusual and unique for my audience. The reality is that Cincinnati is a conservative city. That was a lesson learned the hard way - know your customer and cater to what is comfortable to them.
How do you build customer loyalty?
Responsiveness is the first thing that comes to mind. The quickest way to upset and lose a customer is not to respond in a timely manner. Taking care of complaints promptly and with genuine concern is essential if you want loyal return customers.
It sounds simple, but it is amazing how many businesses can’t seem to pull this off. We have so much competition that we cannot afford to anger customers by being sluggish in reacting to questions or concerns.
What do you think are the most important qualities of a leader?
Being able to lead with confidence and persuasion. Strong leaders are able to convince staff that their decisions are good ones, in the best interest of the company and the employees. It is most critical to get the support and consensus of immediate supervisors so that they can serve as advocates of the direction your organization is (going).
I also think the ability to fail gracefully and to learn from mistakes is the sign of a mature leader. I have noticed that the degree of success of leaders is closely aligned to how many times they have failed. The key is how they handled the situation.
How do you stay motivated to be a strong leader?
I’m naturally a driven person. I come from a family of entrepreneurs so I witnessed the hard work and rewards of being a business owner from a young age. What really keeps me going is knowing that we are building lifelong memories for our customers. What we do intimately affects a person’s life, and I never lose sight of that.
When a customer comes back from a trip saying, ‘Wow,’ showing me pictures and telling me what a fabulous time they had, it keeps me going. The job has many advantages but there are challenges and stresses just like any other. When we exceed someone’s expectations and can help them plan for their next dream vacation, it inspires me.
How to reach: Pier ‘n Port Travel, 1 (800) 486-5060 or www.piernport.com