SBN Staff

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:38

Business Notes

Spence Publishing Group, led by husband and wife team Bill and Stephanie Spence, has rolled out its second annual Pittsburgh NOW, a magazine guide book showcasing the region's "treasures and hotspots." The publication, they say, is designed to attract commerce, families, students and visitors to the region. Distribution includes hotels, the airport, relocation services, bookstores, corporations, universities, grocery stores and other retailers. Spence Publishing Group also publishes the monthly Pennsylvania Health & Fitness Magazine.

BroadStreet Communications has been launched with a $62 million equity investment by Frontenac Co., Boston Ventures and Catalyst Ventures. The company will deliver an integrated suite of business communication services.

James Lange, an attorney and CPA, has launched www.outestateplanning.com, a Web site providing retirement and estate planning information addressing the specific needs of the gay and lesbian community.

Solid State Measurements Inc. is planning to begin shipping the first of its new line of equipment for testing production semiconductor wafers.

Desbrow & Associates has been selected to develop a multimedia marketing campaign for the Allegheny Trail Alliance.

CFA Real Estate Network, a national full-service title company, has launched its e-commerce Web site at www.cfacts.com.

Management Science Associates Inc. has signed an agreement with DIRECTV Inc. to integrate MSA's Gabriel software into DIRECTV's programming. Management Science Associates has also formed a nonprofit company with CONSAD Research Corp. to bid on U.S. Health and Human Services contracts to manage the national organ transplant system and support the analysis of its data.

The Indiana County Chamber of Commerce has established a Web site at www.indianacountyjobs.org that provides information about job and career opportunities in Indiana County.

IMS Systems, a German manufacturer of isotope, X-ray and optical measuring systems, has opened its first U.S. office in Wexford.

Leveltek International LLC and Leveltec Processing LLC of Benwood, W.Va., have named Levy Industrial as their advertising agency.

Beverly Morrow Associates has changed its name to BMA Communications.

Kerotest Manufacturing Corp. has acquired the Marsh Needle Valve product line from Marsh Bellofram Corp.

Pennzoil-Quaker State Co. has sold its undercoatings business to Pittsburgh-based Oil Service Inc.

Discovery Entrepreneur Resources Inc. has been chosen by Internet start-ups Earthpermit.com, ebooth.com and Cyber Surfin.com to provide marketing support for their online technologies.

Respironics Inc. has signed a three-year agreement with AmeriNet to provide certain of its ventilation products and accessories for a cardiovascular services program.

Advanticom Inc. has leased the first floor of the Stores Building at the City Center of Duquesne. Advanticom installs and maintains voice, data and video systems, and local and wide-area network systems.

Yearick-Millea has been named marketing communications agency for Pittsburgh Companies North, a Butler-based food service company.

General American Corp. has received a multiyear consulting and technology contract to assist in building a new real estate services business for SunTrust Banks Inc. of Atlanta.

P.W.Campbell has been awarded the design/build contract by Jessop Employees Federal Credit Union in Washington, Pa., to construct a 2,500-square-foot main office building.

Howard Hanna Real Estate Services posted a record $708.5 million in collective volume for June. The reported figures are based on listed, closed and written volume from 58 office locations.

MudAdvertising.com has a new client, Abruzzi's Italian Restaurant, located on the South Side.

Howard Hanna Real Estate Services has broken ground for a four-story, 43,000-square-foot office building in Franklin Park Corporate Center.

MD&A Financial Management Co. has been approved as a registered investment adviser with the state.

Your Financial Connection is a new talk and call-in program broadcast on WORD-FM 101.5 from 9 to 10 a.m. on Saturdays. Mike McCormick, president, Atlas Brokerage Co., is the host.

Dick Corp. has received a contract from the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences of West Virginia for construction of a $56 million cultural and educational center in downtown Charleston, W.Va.

MSA Process Automation Solutions and Services Inc. and the Orsi Group of St. Louis have formed a strategic partnership to develop and provide integrated plant systems to the metals industry.

3 Rivers Connect has received a $50,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to enhance greenpittsburgh.net, an interactive guide to Southwestern Pennsylvania's environmental assets and natural amenities.

Point Park College and the Bidwell Training Center have established The Point Partnership, a program that will enable Bidwell graduates to complete bachelor's degrees at Point Park College.

Atlas Software Technologies Inc. has agreed to invest at least $2 million in training, jobs and capital in South Africa over the next three years. During this period, at least 100 South Africans will be trained in advanced technologies through intensive six- to 18-month programs administered by Atlas Software Technologies.

The sale of WorldClass Processing Inc. to Samuel Manu-tech has been completed, following the approval of a U.S. bankruptcy court.

The Greater Pittsburgh Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched the Culture Caravan, a shuttle service that operates between downtown and the North Side and downtown and the East End. The shuttles operate between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Cost is $1 per person.

Custom WoodWorks Inc. has located in the former Dlubak facility in South Buffalo Township. The company is leasing 38,000 square feet of space with the option to purchase, and is upgrading the facilities in an $815,000 renovation.

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:38

Letters to the editor

Searching for flexibility

I just finished reading your article, "A flexible solution." You spoke the sentiments of my heart. I completely agree with the philosophy that, "If the job gets done, it's not important where the job is getting done, but that it's accomplished in a quality and timely matter." As a computer analyst and mother, I need a flexible work schedule. I have successfully telecommuted in the past. I am currently looking for an employer with the same philosophy as SBN.

Vera L. Parker

Akron

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:38

Business Notes

Republic Technologies International Inc. announced plans to close its 12-inch rolling mill in Canton in late September. Work performed at the Canton facility will be transferred to Republic's rolling operations in Lorain and Lackawanna, N.Y. Republic is headquartered in Fairlawn.

Dr. Monica M. Miklo has opened a private chiropractic practice on Fulton Drive in Canton.

The Belden Village office of FirstMerit Bank has undergone a $650,000 expansion and renovation project, which was completed late last month.

The Hoover Co. of North Canton has named four managers: Frank J. Bressi, manager of the dependable manufacturing office; Mark. R. Hollis, manager of industrial engineering; W. Jim Kellum, manager of mechanical design; and Gary A. Sacco, manager of production purchasing.

Gov. Bob Taft announced that Norman McNeal of Massillon will represent Ohio on the Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday Advisory Committee. McNeal, a retired maintenance supervisor at Ashland Oil Refinery, chairs the Greater Canton/Stark Co. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission.

Stark State College of Technology has appointed John J. Kurtz as vice president of information technology and administrative services.

Christine Guest has joined CFS of Northeastern Ohio as a staffing consultant. CFS is a staffing company affiliated with Bruner-Cox.

Todd M. Kolarik, Eric J. Williams, David H. Krause and Randall M. Traub have joined Canton law firm Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty Co. as associates.

Alexander Hays IV has been named senior vice president and central region manager for Sky Trust, a nationally chartered trust bank with offices on Munson Street in Canton.

Bruner-Cox has hired Kara M. Presto as an associate in the general services department.

Mike Tyson has joined Castle Mortgage Corp.'s North Canton office.

Belden & Blake Corp. of North Canton has appointed the following: William F. Murray, vice president and general manager of Ohio District Exploration and Production Operations; David M. Becker, vice president and general manager of Michigan District Exploration and Production Operations; Carl J. Carlson, vice president and general manager of Pennsylvania/New York District Exploration and Production Operations; and John C. Corp, vice president and general manager of Arrow Oilfield Service Co., a division of Belden & Blake.

Dr. Ahmed El Ghamry Sabe, medical director of the Cardiovascular Center at Mercy Medical Center, will serve as the 2000 American Heart Walk chairman.

Innis Maggiore Group Inc. of Canton has promoted Jennifer Barnby to art director for the agency's creative department.

Dr. Peter D. Ferguson has been re-elected to president of the National Voard of Chiropractic Examiners, headquartered in Greeley, Colo. Dr. Ferguson has been in private practice in Canton since 1972.

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:38

Outside interests

SBN Columbus asked local business experts to analyze the plans for Chocolate Works. Using the company's two-page executive summary given to investors, David Bittner, president of Growth Management Solutions Inc. and chairman of the Columbus Investment Interest Group, and Beatrice Wolper, partner with Chester, Willcox & Saxbe LLP and board member for the Family Business Center of Central Ohio, took the time to provide some feedback.

By David Bittner

Something that immediately caught my attention about Chocolate Works is the owners' willingness, and even desire, to place equity with directors and partners.

Partnering with Gerald Stevens seems like a smart move. Chocolate Works will gain wide distribution while aligning with a complementary product having a parallel brand image.

Borrowing from the real estate adage, most folks in the venture community agree the three most important factors affecting the success of a new venture are: 1) management, 2) management, 3) management. A strength of Chocolate Works is that Barry and his team have been there, done that. As their venture unfolds, they'll know which opportunities to pursue and where the pitfalls lie.

Chocolate Works appears to have researched its market thoroughly and has a well-thought-out marketing strategy. The varied arsenal of distribution weapons is powerful so long as the company can steer clear of channel conflict.

One clear weakness is that the company has no proprietary products or technologies, resulting in low barriers to competitive entry and downward pressure on margins.

In addition, new ventures in vogue with investors today are business-to-business plays. Chocolate Works, on the other hand, is a business-to-consumer play. Consumers are less attractive customers because of the expense of locating and keeping them and the limited purchasing power they have.

Another fashionable business concept is dot-com. However, Chocolate Works is not com. Though the company does intend to use the Web as a promotional tool, sales of impulse, sensory-driven food products aren't likely to benefit as much from the e-commerce wave as planned, nonfood products like books or collectibles.

Be that as it may, Chocolate Works may be able to take advantage of its low-tech nature by appealing to investors who have experience in traditional businesses and are wary of the volatility and the reality of all things "e."

All companies ought to espouse a certain method of producing a return for their founders and investors. If not, they risk never achieving their financial objectives. They should pursue an exit strategy for which there is industry precedent for attractive returns. I suspect the return to the owners of Chocolate Works might most readily and productively occur as a result of a sale to a strategic buyer like Godiva or a channel partner like Gerald Stevens.

The company might do well to consider adopting a more specific intent for its use of capital. More thorough financial planning up front leads to more effective deployment of resources later.

I suspect there are a number of companies in this market that offer similar products. If not now, there will be more competition when and if Chocolate Works is successful. The owners should differentiate their product from competitors' as much as possible while they're in the formative stages so the distinction is clear when the stakes are higher.

Many investors shy away from family-run businesses due to the domestic pressures that compound the professional challenges. Barry and his team may have to convince investors that he can turn this into an advantage.

Rapid growth of more than 300 percent between 2000 and 2001 is quite steep. There's the obvious issue of generating enough volume to accomplish that goal, but there's also danger that the management and fulfillment infrastructure may not be able to keep pace.

By Beatrice E. Wolper

Chocolate Works' plan incorporates both a solid history and the chance for exciting growth.

When going to the market, it may be beneficial for Chocolate Works to emphasize that several members of the family work at the company; therefore, it is a "family-owned business" -- which translates into strong values, ethics and loyalty. Family-owned businesses have done well in the marketplace.

In order to reach the desired growth outlined in the summary, the company may wish to focus on how to strengthen the family business relationships by having a family business plan. This should assist the company in expanding on the national level, since the plan should incorporate the concepts derived from scenario planning, which is often necessary for such growth.

What will the company be like in three years, five years, 10 years and 25 years? Will people still be eating chocolate? (I will!) Will the family be involved? Cousins? Grandchildren? Will people only be buying through the Internet? The scenarios would analyze the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for each alternative.

It appears that to grow to the national level expressed in the summary, a clearer definition of who the customer is needs to be established. The list of corporate customers is extremely impressive. After stating all the great name customers of the company, it is surprising to read that the target customer is a female purchasing from a retail store.

It appears that the main customers for the corporate sales department should be similar to those listed, and the target customer for the retail sales department would be such a female. There needs to be two distinct marketing strategies -- selling different concepts to different entities.

Development of why the chocolates are unique may facilitate the desired national growth. What makes the company's products unique? Why are these chocolates and private label gourmet boxes different than those of competitors?

Teaming with a national partner is a positive move toward aggressive growth. The company's financials should be detailed enough to account for many outcomes: worst and best case. Since Gerald Stevens is new to the market, the financials need to reflect what happens if it takes longer than planned for the Gerald Stevens expansion. All in all, a tremendous opportunity, but one that needs to consider various timetables.

In conclusion, the company sounds very solid, with excellent growth opportunities. And, who wouldn't like chocolate?

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:37

Taking a stab

Carving out a niche in your business is a good way to make it stand out from the crowd.Daniel Lawson, an attorney with Meyer Darragh Buckler Bebenek & Eck, seems to have cut to the heart of that principle. He chairs the outdoors pursuits practice group at the firm and has authored a brochure on laws regarding knives for the American Knife & Tool Institute, a national nonprofit organization representing citizens, artisans, distributors and manufacturers of knives.

The brochure, "A Guide to Understanding the Laws of America Regarding Knives," is available on the Internet at www.akti.org/guide.html. According to Meyer Darragh, the brochure helps readers sort through the increasingly complex legal implications of owning and using knives.

"Take a folded pocketknife in your handbag or pocket to a PTA meeting at a local school, and you many find yourself in violation of some well-meaning or badly written law aimed at high school thugs with ice picks," says Lawson. How to reach: Meyer Darragh, (412) 261-6600

Ray Marano

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:37

Money and more

If you live in one of seven communities in Allegheny County and operate a business or would like to, you might qualify for a $10,000 loan to boost your entrepreneurial aspirations.

Individuals who live in Braddock, Clairton, Duquesne, Homestead, McKees Rocks, Rankin or Wilkinsburg meet the first requirement for a loan through the Sanders Microenterprise Development Initiative, a division of the Minority Enterprise Corp. of Southwestern Pennsylvania. The loans may be used to acquire, expand or start a business. Applicants must also receive technical assistance through the program.

The Sanders initiative also offers free entrepreneurial and life skills training in Wilkinsburg, Duquesne and McKees Rocks, and applications are being accepted for those sessions.

The Minority Enterprise Corp. is developing business resource centers in community libraries in the seven communities, offering research materials and demographic information. The MEC plans to offer Internet access as well.

Entrepreneurs interested in applying can visit the loan assistance office at 1601 Penn Ave. in Wilkinsburg. How to reach: MEC, www.minorityenterprise.com or (412) 434-5881

Ray Marano

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:36

Letters to the editor

Ripping off the Scouts

I wanted to comment on your Boy Scout editorial ["Make 'em earn it," SBN, August 2000] from the perspective of a Cub Scout den leader, a father and a company president.

I agree with your "make the Scouts earn it" fund-raising mentality, but I would suggest you worry more about what parents are teaching and less about the Scout masters.

Our Cub Scout pack recently held our annual awards dinner. All of the Scouts and their family members were invited. The cost was $1 per person for all the Joseppi's pizza they could eat. Uniformed scouts were stationed at the door to collect the money. We had approximately 230 people attend and collected $175. Yes, around 55 people stiffed the Cub Scouts out of a buck!

Of course, these same people won't participate in any fund-raisers. By the way, the dinner was held in a church.

Guess what? Our Scout master was right back at it the next week planning future events.

Doug Shull

president

Transmet Corp.

Columbus

Cigarette, gun debates have same flaw

Good article ["Displaced aggression," SBN, June 2000]. I totally agree with you. The same logic also applies to the lawsuits against gun manufacturers.

If we held the criminal behind the gun liable for his or her actions, and not the inanimate object itself, we could restore some sanity to that debate.

Rick A. Smith

president and CEO

Applied Thermal Engineering Inc.

Ostrander

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:36

Supporting innovation

Every year, the Innovation in Business Conference is possible because of the dedication and support of its generous sponsors.

They choose to be a part of the event because of their commitment to innovation, not only within the general business community, but within their respective industries and, of course, their companies. Here, then, in their own words, are their reasons for their involvement and their views on the importance of innovation.

Anthem

Joseph LaGuardia, vice president of Ohio sales for Anthem, encourages his employees to work innovatively, whether it be in service, sales, network marketing, management or distribution. In his mind, all aspects of a company can stand a little forward thinking.

"I believe in innovation," says LaGuardia. "And I believe in recognizing and encouraging businesses in our community."

That helps explain why the giant health insurance firm co-developed the Innovation in Business Conference with SBN magazine in 1999. In this, the conference's second year, Anthem has helped facilitate the drive for recognition of Northeast Ohio's premier innovators.

According to LaGuardia, innovation is also the Anthem philosophy.

In the health care industry, insurers and their partners face a consumer-driven industry more and more. Thus, he says, "We need to respond effectively to market conditions, government regulations and customer expectations."

Arthur Andersen

Paul Schlather, managing partner of Arthur Andersen, says his firm became involved with the Innovation in Business Conference because he believes in innovation.

"We're in the infancy of what I like to call the technology revolution," says Schlather. "If we're going to be players, we have to be involved; and the earlier you get involved, the better off you're going to be in the long run. Technology drives the changes we see taking place today, so you have to be prepared."

To ensure that it remains competitive and innovative, Arthur Andersen employs what it terms the "Exceeds" model in dealing with customers to maximize customer satisfaction. The model has been used for years in the manufacturing sector, exemplified by customer surveys and questionnaires, but has largely been ignored in the service industry. Arthur Andersen strives to change that pattern.

"We never used to ask customers, 'How are we doing?' or 'What can we do better for you?'" says Schlather.

Now, he sees better communication between employees and clients and a better overall understanding on everybody's part.

Brouse McDowell

Chief Operating Officer Carol Thomas says that Brouse McDowell has always fashioned itself to be an innovative law firm.

"Innovation is critical to a business' success," she says.

Thomas says she would rather a business be proactive in getting legal help than reactive. That, she says, shows people are being innovative and taking risks.

"People shouldn't wait," Thomas says. "They need to plan on a strategy now."

Innovation has been Brouse McDowell's hallmark, says Thomas, "because not only has it made everyone more effective, but it has reduced clients costs."

Clients save money in travel fees and phone call charges with Brouse McDowell's "E-room" service, a collaborative work environment that allows clients and lawyers to work together in real time on documents. Now, clients and lawyers can sit at their respective computers working together virtually.

Soon clients will be able to go a step further and log in securely at Brouse McDowell's Web site to view their billing status, see documents their lawyers have prepared for them and leave messages for lawyers.

"Innovation keeps the firm competitive and allows it to attract good employees," says Thomas. "It allows them to go home and be with their families because they can access their documents and information at all times."

Sarcom/Frontway

Mary Rose Daugherty, area sales manager of Sarcom/Frontway, has seen a definite need for innovation in today's changing marketplace.

"Customers are demanding change to happen at a rapid speed," she says. "Consulting firms need to adapt to the demand for such rapid change."

To answer these demands, Sarcom/Frontway has created what Daugherty calls a "custom engagement model" to custom design the process of dealing with each individual client. Under the model, employees are empowered to solve customer problems and handle issues immediately that under other circumstances could have taken longer to address. Satisfying customers at the point of contact helps develop a more loyal client base, Daugherty says.

This is Sarcom/Frontway's second year of involvement with the Innovation for Business Conference, and Daugherty says the company got involved because "it's a good way to help support the Cleveland community."

ICG

Matt Wajda, ICG director of sales, says innovation is a must.

"As a provider of business communication, ICG recognizes the need to continually innovate in order to meet customer demand and remain a leader in a very competitive industry," he says.

According to Wajda, customers constantly develop new ideas for how they buy and sell products and services.

"Our customers are innovative, and therefore, we must be as well," he says.

In the telecommunications industry, the "two Cs" drive innovation: competition and customers. Says Wajda, "To maintain and grow its customer base, a company must stay in touch with not only its customers' needs but predict and address future needs as well."

This is ICG's second year of involvement in the conference.

Product Imagineers

According to Kevin Kolman, CEO of Product Imagineers, businesses are responsible for reinventing ideas to stay ahead in today's competitive market.

"Ideas are tomorrow's hot ticket items," says Kolman. "Innovation means trusting in oneself for others to follow."

As a creator of promotional marketing solutions, Product Imagineers puts emphasis on the customer's needs.

"Being able to focus on customers with new product campaigns to help get their name in the lights is critical," says Kolman. "We strive to create unique and innovative marketing programs that help focus on the positive."

Because competition and innovation go hand in hand, Kolman notes that being innovative is "like being tapped into the biggest universal search engine there is."

Product Imagineers is in its second year of involvement in the conference, and supplies the awards to conference honorees.

Pfizer

In the pharmaceutical industry, staying one step ahead of your competitors is not only the key to success, but the key to long-term survival. Pfizer, the giant pharmaceutical manufacturer, takes innovation as seriously as the next guy.

"Innovation is the key to improving health, and advances in research technologies and genomics," says Celeste Torello, manager of pharmaceutical communications for Pfizer.

Forward thinking aids Pfizer because it aids consumers -- those who benefit directly from medical advancements and who drive business and competition.

Innovation leads to "increasingly empowered consumers, new tools to help us work smarter," says Torello. "All signs point to a new era of opportunity in health and well-being."

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:36

Dial up the basics

For most of the 20th century, the telephone industry was dominated by one company, the Bell System, also known as AT&T.

Designated as a natural monopoly by the federal government, Ma Bell enjoyed control over local and long distance telephone operations, as well as the manufacture and sale of all telephone-related equipment and technology. Naturally, the company thrived without even the threat of competition from outside sources.

But the Golden Era ended for the Bell System in 1982, when the Department of Justice decided to break up the monopoly by filing an antitrust lawsuit against the telecommunications giant. The resulting settlement saw the divestiture of the Bell System into a long distance entity (AT&T) and seven Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) which served the local market.

Judge Harold Green split the country into 160 local access and transport areas and decreed that local companies could not provide long distance services and long distance companies could not provide local services. While the settlement opened up competition in the long distance market, it allowed the RBOCs to maintain monopolies in their local markets.

It wasn't until the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that the Baby Bell companies lost their monopolies over local services. The law not only enabled long distance providers to enter the local market (and vice versa), but also struck down barriers that had previously kept new companies from entering the RBOCs' territory. The newcomers, called Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs) have helped create, for the first time, a free and open local telecommunications market, driving the development of new technology and services and giving local customers a choice.

But how do customers choose between a continually growing number of local telephone service providers? Today, consumers rely on local networks not only for making local voice calls but also for a vast array of data exchange needs, such as Internet access, faxing, local area networks and more. Speed, capacity and reliability are of particular importance to businesses, and thus among the key marketing points stressed by local providers.

Other factors that differentiate competition include:

B>Technology. Fiber optic networks are by far superior to the old, copper wire telecommunications systems they are rapidly replacing. Local dial tone companies which utilize fiber optics can provide greater clarity, capacity and speed than their copper-bound competitors and are better able to expand with the growing telecommunications needs of their customers. Consumers will also experience less signal interference or loss and fewer transmission errors on fiber optic networks, enabling business to continue as usual, without interruption.

B>Customer service. When there is a problem with the phone lines or just questions that need quick answers, customers need to know they can depend on the accessibility and responsiveness of their local provider.

Calling features. To meet the needs of growing businesses and organizations -- and even busy residences -- phone companies offer a vast array of calling features, including call waiting, call forwarding, voice mail, caller ID, repeat dialing, conference calling, automatic callback and speed dialing.

Convenience. Telephone companies that can provide both local and long distance services, as well as advanced data services or access needs a business or organization may require, promote the convenience of having all your telecommunication needs met by a single provider. One company to deal with, one bill to pay.

Cost. The best result of the competition spurred by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 has been the reduction in price of local phone services. By bundling local with long distance and advanced data services, some phone companies are able to offer consumers lower-than-average costs to fill all their telecommunications needs. Or, consumers can buy certain pieces here and certain pieces there, allowing them to shop around for the price and service options that best meet their individual needs. Source:Adelphia Business Solutions

Monday, 22 July 2002 09:36

Biznotes

Gonzalez Funeral Home has opened, offering Hispanic families in Cuyahoga and Lorain counties care designed specifically for their culture. The home is located at 4334 Pearl Road.

Gateway Title Agency received the EDI 2000 Innovation Award at a dinner given by Enterprise Development Inc.

In a Bind Bookstore has opened at 13347 Madison Ave. in Lakewood.

The Cleveland Neighborhood Development Corp. has awarded Thermagon Inc. the George S. Dively Award for Leadership in Neighborhood Development.

Hilty Moore & Associates will direct a marketing strategy campaign for Graphic Laminating Inc.

Lyons Insurance Group has announced the acquisition of the property and casualty insurance business of Phoenix Circle Insurance Agency Inc.

Grant Thornton LLP has relocated to The Halle Building, Suite 800, 1228 Euclid Ave.

KeyCorp and its online banking Web site, Key.com, ranked among the top five financial services companies doing business on the Internet, according to a survey conducted by Speer & Associates Inc., based in Atlanta.

Cuyahoga Community College received a Commitment to Excellence award from the Ohio Award of Excellence Inc.

Ira Thomas Associates Inc. and Marcus Advertising have merged to form Marcus Thomas LLC.

The Nock Refractories Co. has announced new cast refractory shapes that can be custom-made for a variety of applications.

Garick Division of Fairmount Minerals will test eWinWin's Demand Aggregation Software.

Medical Mutual of Ohio has unveiled a new Internet-based application that allows hospitals to submit patient information and receive authorization electronically.

The James J. Roop Co. won a Bronze Anvil Certificate of Commendation from the Public Relations Society of America and three Vision Awards from the Cleveland Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators.

The Ohio Award for Excellence Inc. has named Applewood Centers Inc. a Tier 3 winner of Achievement in Excellence for 1999-2000.

HTG Thermal Treatment Center, a HI TecMetal Group facility, maintained QS-9000 registration by NSF International.

The Convention & Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland has been honored with Successful Meetings magazine's Pinnacle Award for outstanding meeting destination support.

Nagy Service Co. now offers "Nagy Total Plumbing Service," on-call plumbing services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Mark Freeman Associates garnered six Tower Awards in the recent Business Marketing Association competition.

Duke-Weeks Realty Corp. has announced three lease agreements, along with plans to develop a 162,000-square-foot industrial building at its Park 82 business park.

Manpower Inc. has relocated to a new office at 20220 Center Ridge Road in Rocky River.

Western Reserve Internet Services Inc. has relocated to 23550 Commerce Park in Beachwood.

Market.al has acquired Wireless Internet Solutions Providers Inc. as a client.

The Rogers Co. will develop a display for the International Mass Retailers Association show in Nashville, Tenn.

BeanDance.com has unveiled the comprehensive "e-Learning Information Center."

The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced six new online courses to help small businesses enter or expand into the e-commerce market.

Today's Business Products Inc. has announced a plan to open its 40,000-square-foot corporate headquarters at 12985 Snow Road this fall.

Ohio EPA has launched a new online system to enable citizens and businesses to find information about permit applications under review for sources of air pollution at www.epa.state.oh.us/dapc/pti/ptimain.html.

The Gordian Organization has formed an alliance with Key Consulting.

Ampersand International Inc. has joined the partner program of Dialogic, an Intel company.

St. Ives Cleveland is the first commercial printer in Ohio to achieve ISO 9002 registration.

Medical Mutual of Ohio Charitable Foundation has donated a total of $50,543 to be divided between the American Sickle Cell Anemia Association Inc. and the Kidney Foundation of Ohio Inc.

Expert System Applications Inc. has created the Practice Partner Clinical Benchmarking service, which provides quality-of-care indicators for individual physicians and group practices benchmarked against a national database.

Unicorn Corp. has acquired Reliance Mechanical Corp.

HyperText Communication Inc. has become Dataworx Technologies, now offering networking, cabling, help desk support, enterprise and PC hardware solutions, and Web site design and development.

"Woody Guthrie -- Hard Travelin'," a radio documentary produced by WCPN 90.3 and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, received a Gabriel Award.

Media II has acquired WeldersMall.com as a client.