Looking ahead Featured

9:06am EDT December 20, 2002
Out with the old, in with the new ... at least that's how the saying goes.

Cliché or not, New Year's allows us to draw a line in the invisible sand and start anew. However, the same doesn't always hold true for businesses. Sure, Dec. 31 is the end of the fiscal year for some companies. But for others, Jan. 1 means little beyond personal property tax implications for inventory in a warehouse or assessing the value of a corporate office building or two for the previous year's tax filings.

Whatever the significance, January is the month when most people put their lives and businesses into perspective, looking back at the year that was and gazing ahead at the year that will be. SBN looked at nearly 100 companies across Northeast Ohio and our editorial staff discussed what happened to them in 2002 and prognosticated what we believe 2003 holds for each of them.

For some, such as TRW, the answer was obvious: It's outta here. For others, like Penton Media and OM Group, the future is not so certain.

Beyond the headlines, a number of businesses experienced exciting events in 2002. Flashline secured more than $11 million in venture capital during a terrible economic market. Forest City Enterprises pitched in to help rebuild New York City in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. There was a changing of the guard at RPM Inc. from father to son. And International Steel Group was formed from the ashes of LTV Steel.

Admittedly, it's easy to sit on the sidelines and predict what will happen to these and the other firms we've whittled from our list to tell you about. But what's more important about this group of companies is that we believe that each will experience something significant this year.

SBN plans to follow many of these companies' stories in the months ahead, so keep your eyes on the magazine and our Web site (www.sbnonline.com) during 2003 for greater insight into why they are this year's companies to watch.