Newsclips Featured

9:40am EDT July 22, 2002
Exhaust expansion

Corsa Performance (profiled in SBN, January 1999) has settled into a new 40,000-square-foot facility on Blaze Industrial Parkway in Berea. Corsa, which manufactures high performance stainless steel exhaust systems for the marine and automotive aftermarket, outgrew its 21,000-square-foot facility, says Marketing Manager Tom Miller.


Consider it a coup d’état in the local brewery competition – Snyder International Brewing Co. lured away Great Lakes Brewing Co. brewmaster Andrew Tveekrem to oversee brewing operations for Snyder’s Frederick Brewing Co. in Frederick, Md. Tveekrem had been with Great Lakes since 1991.

Snyder also owns Cleveland’s Crooked River Brewing Co. and Cincinnati’s Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Co.

Speaking of Crooked River, the company landed a bronze medal for its Yuletide Ale at the Brewing Industry’s International Awards competition in Burton Upon Trent, England. The beer was selected from a field of 732 beers from 40 nations. Yuletide Ale is only available between Thanksgiving and early spring.

Folio feature

GIE Media Inc. has been named to the 2000 Folio: 40, a list of the fastest growing companies in the magazine industry. Cleveland-based GIE produces business magazines, directories, conferences and trade shows, custom print publications, vertical market Internet portals and related e-communications products.

GIE Media’s growth is due, in large part, to the development of the company’s Internet and Web division, explains Richard Foster, GIE president and CEO.

Drive-in Web service

Just when you thought you’d seen the newest innovations in online car shopping ... think again., a California-based Web site, recently added online service appointment scheduling for busy car owners who loathe calling their mechanics to find a way to squeeze their cars in for repairs. Next on the horizon: online haggling.

Better benefits = loyal employees

If you don’t think there’s a correlation between benefits and employee loyalty, that “goodbye” sound was probably your key team members walking out the door to your competitors. In the next few years, don’t be surprised if employees judge you on more than how many vacation days you give them or their salaries.

Expect requests for access to discounted airline tickets, massage therapy, laser eye surgery, pet insurance and perhaps even auto insurance, says Ken Barksdale, president of Baltimore, Md.-based RewardsPlus ( And expect that the Internet will become a means to fulfilling those requests.

“(The Internet) is changing the benefits,” he says. “As employees become more familiar with customized services available, they’ll expect and appreciate customized benefits. Employees may want to select what makes sense to them, not just take what the employer is giving to everyone.”

If Barksdale’s prognostications come true, don’t blame SBN. You have been warned.

More changes on the horizon

Speaking of compensation changes, executives are joining in with diversified pay structures in this swiftly changing corporate world. If you’ve assessed what you’re taking out of the company’s coffers lately, you may have helped national CEO compensation rates rise 36 percent in 1998 in comparison to a 3.5 percent rise in overall U.S. wages and benefits the same year.

What’s driving the increases? According to a new book, “Pay People Right,” by Patricia Zingheim and Jay Schuster, executive compensation has increased as the economy has expanded. There is a direct correlation between a company’s success and the compensation its management team earns.

Then again, you probably didn’t need a book to tell you what your bank account already knew, right?

And another thing

Have you ever wondered just what that $80,000 package actually looks like? In their book, “Pay People Right,” authors Patricia Zingheim and Jay Schuster break down a typical $80,000 compensation package: $52,000 base pay; $5,250 variable pay (cash incentive or stock option grants); $21,750 benefits (health, life and disability insurance, vacation, holidays, sick leave and retirement); $500 recognition value (cash or noncash).

Total = $80,000.

Don’t look now but ...

It’s probably been a few months since your HR department evaluated your company’s health care insurance package, but by now your employees have certainly felt the brunt of increased costs — that is, if your company is among the 80 percent of Northeast Ohio businesses that reported increased fees for health care, according to a survey of company owners and CEOs by The Alternative Board.

Health care costs for those companies increased 5 percent or more for 86 percent of the companies who reported hiked fees, and half of those saw double-digit rises in their health care insurance costs, the survey says.

Not exactly setting the world on fire

If anyone needs proof of the role big business hasn’t played in the e-commerce revolution, a new study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and The Conference Board seems to make a solid case. The survey set out to discover how global companies are measuring up in this new age of e-business.

Ninety percent of the 80 businesses in the survey boasted annual revenues of $1 billion or more a year, with a full 50 percent reporting annual sales north of $5 billion. However, it turns out these aren’t exactly the e-commerce beacons one might expect. For the nonbelievers, let’s look at the tale of the tape:

  • Seventy-nine percent of the companies said e-business accounts for less than 5 percent of revenues.

  • Only 28 percent are able to process transactions online, while only 40 percent handle orders electronically.

  • Sixty percent do not yet have extranets linking operations with key suppliers and financial partners.

  • Less than half have any quantitative or qualitative methods to assess their e-business performance.

  • A quarter of the group has yet to move beyond basic Web “brochureware” in implementing online business.

One for the private sector

While federal lawmakers still struggle to find a way to make prescription drugs affordable for senior citizens, Medical Mutual of Ohio’s SaveWell program has reportedly already saved its customers $1.1 million on prescriptions since the program was introduced eight months ago. For a $1 a week cost, the average SaveWell member reportedly saved an average of $13.67 on each prescription.

The underlying irony is the fact that the day the SaveWell plan was announced, President Clinton spoke on a similar program he wanted to implement on the federal level. So far, that program has yet to see the light of day.

“As politicians talk about making prescription drugs affordable to seniors, SaveWell is actually doing it,” boasted Ben Zelman, president and CEO of, the company that markets the SaveWell program. “With group purchasing power, there is absolutely no reason why seniors, or anyone, should pay full retail price for prescription drugs.”

Equity is king

CEO compensation in 1999 was increasingly driven by stock options and other long-term incentives, which now represent nearly two-thirds of the median pay package, according to a new survey by William M. Mercer. Total direct compensation (salary and bonus, plus long-term incentive grant values) last year jumped 23.5 percent to $4,923,670 among a major sample of 355 CEOs at 350 large U.S. corporations. Five years ago, salary and bonus represented more than half of median total direct compensation, while in 1999 they represented just over one-third. Today, 63 percent of the CEO pay package consists of long-term incentives, particularly stock option grants, which reached a median of nearly $3 million last year compared to just over $1 million five years ago.

And the winners are ...

Moen Inc., Keithley Instruments Inc. and GE Lighting were three of five local companies honored last month at Cleveland State University’s Fourth Annual Business Leadership awards. North Olmsted-based Moen was recognized for its “Moen University” leadership training and development program, while Keithley Instruments claimed the award for Global Business Leadership. GE Lighting was honored for its leadership in the realm of community service. Meanwhile, W.P. Hickman Systems Inc. of Solon was recognized for quality service leadership and Michael A. Cristal, president and CEO of Consolidated Risk Management Agency Inc. of Cleveland, claimed the award for entrepreneurial leadership.

Job board report card

Although the popularity of online job boards would appear to be going through the roof, a recent survey by Pittsburgh-based Development Dimensions International seems to indicate that there are still a few glitches in the mix. First, only 29 percent of people who had a job interview in the past three years used Internet job boards to find the opening and even those who used the boards weren’t entirely won over. Forty-five percent of those who said they used Web classifieds to search for a job were only slightly satisfied or not at all satisfied with the results of their experience.

However, totally abandoning job boards doesn’t seem to be the answer either, according Richard S. Wellins, DDI’s senior vice president of marketing and global accounts.

“Companies that use technology effectively can increase hiring speed and quality while reducing costs,” he says. “Yet our study reveals that candidates are unconvinced about the Internet’s ability to support job prospecting. A mix of technology and other tactics will produce the best results.”

And on the seventh day they rested

Cleveland’s Media Design Imaging was called to quick action earlier this year when Madison, Ohio-based Stunt Predators USA was contacted by the casting director for George Lucas’ “Star Wars: Episode 2.” The stunt company, which has previously worked on smaller films, was asked to provide some photographs and a promotion video for review. The only catch was stunt coordinator Richard Fike had to come up with something inside of eight days.

I was skeptical,” said MDI co-owner Johnny Wu. “I realized this might be a challenge for us to put something quickly together with a minimum of planning.”

Nevertheless, three days later, an MDI five-person team shot the necessary footage inside of five hours. After a little tweaking on MDI computers, overdubs of actors’ voices and music were added, and the tape was sent off by the deadline less than a week after the initial call. Whether Stunt Predators USA is successful in its bid to land a job on the mother of all science fiction movie franchises is now left to chance ... and, you guessed it, the force.