In Brief Featured

10:03am EDT July 22, 2002

The following companies have been selected as winners for the first annual Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service. They will be honored Dec. 3 at an awards banquet at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven, and featured in the December issue of SBN.

Honorees, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Arnold & Co. Communications, Beachwood, full-service marketing agency;

  • Cleveland Grand Prix Charities Inc., Cleveland, auto-race organizer and fund-raiser;

  • Cohen & Co., Cleveland, regional accounting and consulting firm;

  • Conley Canitano & Associates, Mayfield Hts., information technology firm;

  • Connecting Touch & Wellness Center Inc., Cuyahoga Falls, massage therapy clinic;

  • Mr. Hero/Restaurant Developers Corp., Independence, food service company;

  • PPG Industries Inc., Barberton, specialty chemicals manufacturer;

  • Public Relations Partners Inc., Cleveland, public relations firm;

  • Ross Equipment, Cleveland, aerial work platform sales and rentals;

  • Saltz, Shamis & Goldfarb, CPA, Akron, regional accounting and financial services firm;

  • WKYC TV-3, Cleveland, television station.

    "Our panel of judges did an outstanding job of sorting through a large pile of strong applications, and we're pleased with the diversity of the honorees and their community service agendas," said Bob Rosenbaum, editor of SBN and an organizer of the Pillar Award program. "If the judges expressed one common feeling, it's regret that we had to limit the number of winners."

    For details of their award-winning community service programs, look for special coverage in the December issue of SBN.

    Heading toward one-stop energy shopping

    At the October Corporate Club breakfast, local business execs learned that those who survive the looming energy deregulation shakeout will need to provide more for consumers than lower energy bills.

    That, according to guest speaker Garry Regan, president of North Coast Energy Inc., may include a transformation from natural gas and oil suppliers to total energy providers-complete with one bill for several services. It's something North Coast Energy plans to undertake either through a partner company or an acquisition.

    "We have a unique ability because we start at the wellhead," said Regan. "We own the resource." Natural gas, he says, is the fuel predominantly used to make electricity.

    But consumers shouldn't expect to see less expensive energy prices just because of increased competition. "There is no glut of oil," Regan said. "That's a perception. This country is in an energy crisis."

    While new technology may improve the efficiency of how energy providers explore for and produce oil and natural gas, it won't change what's already in the ground. "We have a gas pump mentality, " he said. "It (natural gas and oil) is a finite resource. I don't think you and I are going to find drastic changes economically, because as technology improves, we'll have to spend more money to drill."

    The next Corporate Club breakfast, of which SBN is a sponsor, features Bill Sanford, president of fast-growing Steris Corp. The events are held on Tuesday mornings, with breakfast at 7 a.m. and the speaker at 7:30. Cost is $25 a person.

    Other dates and speakers are:

    • Jan. 12, 1999: David Burner, chairman and CEO, BFGoodrich Co.

    • Feb. 9, 1999: Michael Salkind, president, Ohio Aerospace Institute

    • March 9, 1999: Robert Rawson, partner-in-charge, Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue

    For more information and reservations, call Executive Caterers at Landerhaven, at (440) 449-0700.

    Ups and Downs

    Downs to the Fed. Greenspan's quarter-percent interest rate cut didn't create the psychological boost expected. Don't be surprised to see the knife again soon-either to satisfy Wall Street or to fight off an investor revolt.

    Downs to the IMF for a good imitation of Chicken Little. Whether its gloomy forecast for the world economy proves right or not, isn't the organization supposed to help prop up troubled economies instead of burning cash in the back room?

    Ups to the U.S. budget surplus-$70 billion. But how to use it... lower the national debt? Pay the independent counsel's expense account? Or hold onto this mythical pile of cash until Wall Street settles down.

    Downs to Long-Term Capital Management, which runs the hedge fund that needed a $3.5 billion bailout-helping to spark the massive third-quarter sell-off. We get it; it's a hedge against having any money to lose when the market goes bad.

    Downs to the Nikkei. You think the Dow is crazy.

    Ups to Gliatech for reiterating a commitment to the city where it was born. The bio-med firm nixed a lucrative deal from North Carolina's Research Triangle to stay in Greater Cleveland. Anybody listening over at BP?

    Let my people go

    Have you ever grown weary of watching your employees trotting off to use the facilities every hour on the hour? Ever considered cracking down on what you suspect to be bogus breaks? You'd better proceed with caution, lest you inadvertently drive your health-care spending higher.

    According to a new book from Cornell University Press, Void Where Prohibited: Rest Breaks and the Right to Urinate on Company Time, companies that regulate controls on bathroom visits run the risk of major illness. That could eventually lead to higher health-care premiums, to say nothing of the possible exposure to legal liability.

    Authors Marc Linder and Ingrid Nygaard, respectively a labor lawyer and urogynecologist, note that while federal and state regulations compel most employers to provide rest room facilities for employees, they don't force any company to permit employees access to them. The authors point out that workers prevented from emptying their bladder as necessary can develop a syndrome which they call "line-worker's bladder," which can in turn lead to severe health complications, including urinary infections and even heart disease.