Cleveland (5895)

Many Northeast Ohio companies receive raw materials or components from European suppliers, or ship their finished products to European customers. The cargo is transported by truck or rail to New York or Baltimore, and then loaded onto ocean-going ships bound for Europe — a longstanding logistical process for Midwestern businesses. However, this route is also expensive, slow and has lengthy delays, especially at the Port of New York.

An innovative concept is being developed to solve these problems. Small, Seaway-sized ships could be loaded at the Port of Cleveland, located next to FirstEnergy Stadium. The Spliethoff ocean carriers then begin a dedicated round trip to Antwerp, Belgium. Dubbed the Cleveland-Europe Express, its service is scheduled to begin in April 2014.

Smart Business spoke with Bradley Hull Ph.D., Associate professor and Reid Chair, Department of Management Marketing and Logistics, John Carroll University, who together with the Dutch Consul laid the groundwork for this project, to learn more about this project and what it could mean for local businesses.

What are the business advantages of the Cleveland-Europe Express? 

The advantages are the savings that could be realized in time and money. The Cleveland-Europe Express takes four to five fewer days to make the trip to Europe than the existing route. This makes the Cleveland-Europe Express ideal for Just In Time manufacturers or anyone needing quick deliveries.

Money can also be saved using the new route because water is inherently the least costly form of transportation. The existing route incurs excessive costs from the unnecessary and expensive overland transport to the East Coast, double handling at the East Coast port, expensive ocean carrier rates to Europe, and lost time due to East Coast congestion. The Cleveland-Europe Express is all-water and as such avoids many of these problems and costs.

Companies also gain more control over their cargo since this method relies on fewer people handling the products. Businesses are no longer dependent on long distance overland transportation and handlers in New York. This means companies face less risk of loss or damage.

The service will run on a reliable fixed schedule. Initially, the service will run once per month to Europe. As business grows, the service could become bi-monthly or weekly.

What could the establishment of the Cleveland-Europe Express mean to Northeast Ohio? 

Companies contributing to the success of the Cleveland-Europe Express help create jobs in Northeast Ohio. Ports are ‘engines of job creation.’ As business at the Port increases, the downtown area becomes a more attractive location for distribution centers and manufacturers that would benefit from prime transportation access. If successful, the Cleveland-Europe Express could contribute to the revitalization of downtown Cleveland and ultimately Northeast Ohio.

How was the Cleveland-Europe Express developed? 

For the past eight years there has been a strong feeling that such a service could be economically viable. John Carroll University and the Dutch Consul have conducted analyses, held four Seaway conferences, partnered with Erasmus University of Rotterdam to get a European perspective of the project’s practicability, given numerous presentations to local and regional groups, and organized a trade mission to the Netherlands was held this past summer. There is much excitement building for the potential of this shipping route to revitalize Northeast Ohio and increase the viability of Northeast Ohio companies.

Bradley Hull Ph.D., Associate professor and Reid Chair, Department of Management Marketing and Logistics, John Carroll University. Reach him at (216) 397-4182 or bzhull@jcu.edu.

Insights Executive Education is brought to you by John Carroll University

Ohio is now viewed as one of the leading states in the asset protection arena, thanks to the passage of the Ohio Legacy Trust Act, says Marcia Kendle, Senior Vice President and Chief Fiduciary Officer at FirstMerit Bank. 

The law, which went into effect March 27, 2013, as part of Ohio House Bill 479, allows for the creation of self-settled irrevocable trusts – also known as domestic asset protection trusts (DAPTs). These trusts permit the transferor of assets to also be the beneficiary of the trust. An Ohio DAPT provides a high level of protection from creditors dependent upon certain factors, says Kendle.

“A qualified Ohio DAPT is different from a standard irrevocable trust in that it serves as a means to protect assets -- with a few statutory exceptions -- from creditors,” she says. “The Ohio Legacy Trust Act puts Ohio at the forefront.”

Trusts of this kind, which provide an alternative to potentially riskier offshore trusts, are gaining in popularity. With trillions of dollars ready to pass from one generation to the next in the coming years, DAPTs are becoming an increasingly attractive option. As legislatures nationwide consider similar asset protection measures, Ohio joined 13 other states -- most notably Alaska, Delaware and Nevada -- that permit domestic asset protection trusts. 

If you’re thinking about creating an Ohio DAPT, here are some things to consider:

Who can benefit from an Ohio DAPT?

Due to the complexities of the act, you should discuss your individual circumstances and goals with an experienced trust attorney, financial planner and/or wealth management professional to determine if an Ohio DAPT, or perhaps another asset protection planning strategy, is in your best interest. The act generally presents considerable benefits to those wanting to protect their wealth, as well as individuals in professions with high exposure to litigation (e.g., business owners, accountants, attorneys, medical professionals, executives, etc.). For individuals considering a prenuptial agreement, an Ohio DAPT is viewed as a viable option for an individual yet to be married.

What are the requirements and restrictions associated with creating an Ohio DAPT?

An Ohio DAPT must, amongst other items, be written and irrevocable, have spendthrift provisions, state that Ohio law applies and appoint at least one qualified trustee, who is either an Ohio resident, a bank, or a trust company, such as FirstMerit Bank, authorized to operate in Ohio. The statute also mandates that the transferor of an Ohio DAPT cannot serve as trustee of the trust.

Residents of any state may create an Ohio DAPT, providing that some of the trust assets are held in Ohio and that other regulations of the Ohio Legacy Trust Act are fulfilled.

What rights and powers can the creator of an Ohio DAPT retain?

The transferor retains the right to receive income from the trust, receive and use assets (within the trustee’s discretion) in the trust, remove a trustee and appoint a new trustee, appoint a protector of the trust, be the investment advisor to the trust, retain the power to change the beneficiaries of the trust (per restrictions detailed in the statute), provide for the use of trust income or assets to pay income taxes generated by the trust, pay debts after death and veto distributions from the trust.

How does the creator of the trust obtain full protection that might be available under the Ohio Legacy Trust Act?

When transferring assets to an Ohio DAPT, the transferor is required to execute an affidavit, consistent with the timing of the transfer of assets stating, among other things, that he or she is not insolvent and is not considering filing for bankruptcy. There are additional steps that should be taken as detailed in the Act and as unique circumstances of a creator may dictate.

Are all debts and payments protected under the Ohio Legacy Trust Act?

No. Exemptions include child support, spousal support or alimony (unless an Ohio DAPT was validly set up prior to marriage), as well as IRS obligations. These exceptions are consistent with DAPTs in most other states, although other states may include additional and more far-reaching exemptions in their DAPT statutes.

What about claims from creditors?

The current untested consensus is that the provisions of the Ohio Legacy Trust Act make it difficult for creditors to challenge an Ohio DAPT and prevail. For example, according to the Act, a creditor has the burden of proving, through “clear and convincing evidence,” that a transfer to a DAPT was made with “specific intent to defraud the specific creditor bringing the action.” Additionally, a creditor must file an action to void a transfer within the later of 18 months after a transfer, or six months after a creditor should have reasonably known a transfer occurred.

Marcia Kendle is senior vice president and chief fiduciary officer for FirstMerit Bank.

The information contained herein is being provided as general information of an educational nature and is intended for current and prospective clients of the Trust Department of FirstMerit Bank, N.A. Also, this information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate and reliable and FirstMerit Bank, N.A. makes no representation as to its’ completeness and acknowledges that due to the complexity of the subject matter relevant information is not complete. This information is not intended to be legal, financial or tax advice and is not a covered opinion as defined by the IRS Circular 230. For advice that is specific to your circumstances, you should consult a qualified financial, tax and/or legal adviser. 

No one wants workplace injuries. But accidents can happen, particularly when projects need to be finished right away.

“That’s usually where the breakdown occurs. If you have to rush a project through and you’re potentially cutting corners for the sake of efficiency, that’s generally when injuries happen,” says Derek M. Hoch, president of Leverity Insurance Group.

Smart Business spoke with Hoch about complying with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, which can result in a safer overall workplace.

Do most manufacturers have workplace safety programs?

Larger corporations usually do. Some smaller operations may not have any program in place, as they have had the same employees for a long time and, while they know the equipment and systems very well, they don’t necessarily follow established procedures.

Employees may take shortcuts because they’re comfortable with equipment they’re using. They can lose sight of the fact that doing something in a hurry and not in the proper manner can result in a workplace injury.

How is a workplace safety program developed?

The best way is to sit down with your risk manager — your insurance broker — to develop a program because it’s really about managing and controlling risk. You should work with an expert who can guide you through proper policies and procedures that should be in place.

This plan should be followed by a legal review to ensure that everything complies with OSHA regulations.

A good safety program includes appointing a company inspector who will routinely evaluate the workplace and conduct self-audits to make sure employees are following standards and adhering to policies.

The company inspector asks the same questions and uses the same checklist that an OSHA compliance officer would. These items include required employer postings, record keeping, medical services and first aid, fire protection, personal protective equipment, lockout/tagout, company evacuation plan, tools and equipment, environmental controls, electrical safety and accident investigation.

How often do programs need to be updated?

Programs need to be updated accordingly to comply with workplace and regulation changes. But, more importantly, you need to educate employees by providing refresher courses and holding quarterly or semi-annual safety meetings. The staff should have knowledge of OSHA standards and what the regulations are within their specific industry.

Revisit the program and make it real, because there is a tendency to get complacent in a job you’ve been doing for a long time. Spot checks help to ensure that everyone is complying with company procedures.

What are particular areas of risk?

OSHA’s most frequent citations are for violations of standards covering fall protection, hazard communication and respiratory protection.

Problems are particular to industries. For example, a manufacturing facility presents potential respiratory hazards if employees aren’t wearing the proper protective masks, or losing limbs if they are not wearing protective guards or guards aren’t properly installed on the equipment.

Powered industrial trucks, like forklifts, also can pose potential risks if proper training is not established. Another issue involves lockout/tagout procedures — having machines shut off and started up properly when there is maintenance or servicing work.

If violations exist, what are the potential costs and penalties?

Penalties can be significant, but not valuing a workplace safety program will lead to larger issues beyond OSHA citations, like employee injuries, fires and mechanical failures. Unfortunately, many companies wait until there is an accident before focusing on implementing, correcting or amending a safety plan.

Derek M. Hoch is the president of Leverity Insurance Group. Reach him at (216) 861-2727 or derek@leverity.com.

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At this point last year, Congress was debating a “fiscal cliff” deal that included the elimination of Bush-era tax cuts and several tax provisions favorable to businesses. Many of those provisions, extended for 2013, are now due to expire unless further action is taken.

“Based on what has occurred in Congress recently, I can’t say I’m optimistic that a lot will be accomplished,” says Terry Silver, CPA, J.D., a partner at Skoda Minotti.

Smart Business spoke with Silver about expiring tax provisions that affect owners of small and midsize businesses.

What key tax provisions are set to expire?

From a business standpoint, most are related to depreciation. Other changes impact individuals, but for businesses the important one is the Section 179 deduction for tangible personal property. For 2013, you can expense up to $500,000 for property placed into service during the year. That starts to phase out if you have property additions of more than $2 million, and basically doesn’t apply once you reach $2.5 million. At that point, you must capitalize purchases of property and equipment and depreciate them over a period of years. That taxpayer-friendly treatment is substantially reduced in 2014 to $25,000, with the phase-out limit falling to $200,000.

Taxpayers can claim Section 179 write-offs for qualified real property as part of that $500,000. You can write off up to $250,000 in qualified leasehold improvements.

Another favorable provision in 2013 is bonus depreciation, which doesn’t contain the taxable income limitations and phase-out provisions attached to Section 179. This 50 percent bonus depreciation allows half of the cost to be expensed without limitations. The only restriction is that it has to be original use with the taxpayer; it doesn’t cover used equipment. Bonus depreciation also is going away in 2014, except for certain aircraft and long production period property.

One other tax provision extended through 2013 is the research tax credit. If your business spends money on research and development (R&D), there’s a tax credit for increasing expenditures related to that activity.

Any chance these might be extended?

Section 179 and bonus depreciation have been extended a number of times in recent years. Given the concerns about the economy, there’s some likelihood that something will be accomplished. While it doesn’t seem likely to happen by the end of the year, it is possible an extension could be put in place in 2014, retroactive to 2013. The most apt to return is the R&D credit, which has been extended numerous times.

Is it too late to take advantage of these expiring provisions?

With some of these, a business may be looking at equipment purchases planned for 2014 and accelerate a purchase to the end of 2013. It is important to note that the property must not only be purchased, but placed in service before the end of the year.

There also are other strategies business owners can follow to reduce their tax burden. Many small business owners, for whatever reason, don’t have a retirement plan. If you put in a profit-sharing plan with a 401(k) feature, careful planning can allow a significant amount of the employer contribution to be skewed toward the owner.

Depending on the nature of your business, you might consider paying out bonuses. But be careful to remember the new additional 0.9 percent Medicare tax related to earned income over $250,000 for couples filing jointly, $200,000 for single taxpayers.

If you’re the owner of an S corporation with a $250,000 salary and have substantial profit for the year, you may want to consider taking distributions in lieu of additional salary. Although the shareholder will still pay income tax on the profits, the 1.45 percent Medicare tax paid as an employee, the 1.45 percent paid by the company and additional 0.9 percent Medicare tax can be avoided. However, the IRS may look at distributions relative to the salary you’re taking — the salary has to be reasonable for the services you provided.

Overall, as 2013 winds down and we head into 2014, owners and executives in the highest tax brackets will face higher tax rates on taxable income, qualified dividends and a 3.8 percent tax on net investment income. Whether Congress passes legislation to provide tax relief and spur the economy will no doubt be a topic of much debate.

Terry Silver, CPA, J.D., is a partner at Skoda Minotti. Reach him at (440) 449-6800 or tsilver@skodaminotti.com.

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It’s difficult to know for certain what your clients want if you never ask them.

“Businesses should be asking their customers: What are we doing right? What are we doing wrong? What could we do better? If they’re not asking these questions, apparently they do not care about their customers,” says Rick Voigt, president of Today’s Business Products.

Smart Business spoke with Voigt about ways to gather customer feedback and how to use the results.

How do you find out about customer needs and wants?

You want to conduct surveys, usually at the end of the year. In order to encourage responses, offer an incentive like an entry into a drawing for an Apple iPad. We did that and had about a 20 percent return rate.
With surveys, you want people to be absolutely open and frank. You can’t improve and address problems if no one tells you about them. Another reason to do surveys is that 99 percent come back with praise for the great job being done. When customers put that on paper, it’s really ingrained in their minds. Then if a competitor comes in their door, they’ve just finished saying how great you are. Why would they want to talk to someone else?

What types of questions should be included in a survey?

It’s important to keep surveys short and to the point. When you’ve answered 20 questions and see the survey is only 7 percent complete, you’re not going to finish it.

Two questions we ask are to name their sales representative and driver. That reveals how effectively the sales consultant is at developing a relationship. If they don’t know the salesperson’s name, they don’t have a great relationship. The same goes for the driver — if they know the driver’s name, they have a relationship. Every point of contact with a customer should form a relationship to help establish your business with the client.

We also structure questions to get more information about the customer, such as how many employees work at that location or if they use other suppliers for furniture or office products. This information indicates the customer’s needs and if there’s an opportunity to generate more business with them. Surveys also can be used to determine ways to expand your business into a different product category. If it’s something else the customer uses, they’ll want to purchase it from someone they know and trust.

Our survey asks respondents to rate customer service regarding accuracy of orders, pricing, ease of placing orders and overall satisfaction, as well as what changes can be made to better serve their needs.

One issue that was brought up was the speed of our website. After seeing the responses, it was imperative to upgrade speed of ordering to better suit customers’ needs. We listened and that issue was resolved.

What else can be done to generate customer feedback?

For larger accounts, you can conduct business reviews that show them your performance. It’s like a report card — how is the fill rate, average order size, product categories purchased, method of purchases, etc.

Customers like the reviews because all the cards are out on the table. There’s a list of the top items ordered, and they can see opportunities to save money by going with substitutes. Changing brands can save a customer about 15 percent on average. Or maybe they can save by ordering a larger quantity at one time.

That helps when a competitor comes into the office and says they can save the business money; the client already knows they could save 15 percent if they changed brands. You have to tell customers this information because if you don’t, someone else will.

It’s important to show clients you’re working on their behalf, as a business partner rather than a vendor. You can replace vendors at any time, but you can’t replace a trusted business partner very easily.

Rick Voigt is the president of Today’s Business Products. Reach him at (216) 267-5000 or rvoigt@todaysbp.com.

Insights Customer Service is brought to you by Today’s Business Products

A flight to quality during the recession saw businesses move to more modern warehouse and distribution facilities. In some cases, companies relinquished functionally obsolete buildings that have the potential to be modernized.

Bob Brehmer, CCIM, SIOR, principal at NAI Daus, says when businesses can’t find what they want in an existing facility, they’ll build. However, there’s a substantial cost difference between modernization and new construction.

“The lack of amenities in their current facilities or lack of suitable options on the market must be sufficient enough to warrant new construction,” he says.

Smart Business spoke with Brehmer about how businesses can take full advantage of real estate trends affecting warehouses and distribution centers.

What’s driving the changes with warehouses and distribution centers?

Facilities are becoming more efficient, leveraging speed enhancements and space optimization to reduce costs. Warehouses and distribution centers are maintaining their existing footprint but adding volume by building up — incorporating higher ceilings — and implementing cross docking, myriad material handling systems that reduce storage times and improve shipping efficiencies, and improved racking systems.

How is this affecting the physical building?

Businesses are implementing racking, conveying systems and automated case picking using robots, which has necessitated changes in the physical construct of warehouses and distribution centers. These optimizations are driving out the uncertainty of human costs to a more fixed-cost, predictable model.

Some warehouses also are incorporating high-efficiency lighting in the form of LEDs, which burn longer, saving money. These cost more upfront, but they’re being mass-produced as demand rises, so prices are dropping. Federal energy policies have incentivized companies to utilize these energy-saving bulbs through rebates.

In the same vein, better-insulated walls and improved dock seals are saving companies money on their energy bills.

It might cost more to construct or retrofit a hyper-efficient warehouse or distribution center, but operating and occupancy cost savings are tangible. If a company is handling millions of stock keeping units per year, it can result in major long-term savings.

What’s key to know in terms of location?

Businesses are building or buying warehouses and distribution centers nearer their customer base, primarily, as well as within a favorable distance to their modalities of transportation.

Transportation costs are a significant determinant. Existing facilities, particularly in the Midwest, are ideally situated in industrial parks and in areas that feature wide boulevards, adequate land, close proximity to a highway, near or in a foreign trade zone, and where labor is available.

While there is an adequate supply of land in Northeast Ohio, there is a limited supply of land sufficient to site larger distribution centers, such as those required by e-commerce firms.

How can companies find properties that align with these trends?

Consider seeking a qualified real estate expert who understands these issues and the inventory in the market. Find someone who specializes in warehousing and distribution centers with knowledge of your industry. Then engage a qualified facilities planner or engineer to analyze your current facilities to diagnose their shortfalls and provide options.

This team will help you identify land or properties, the costs associated with modernizing, redevelopment or new construction, and potential tax and financing incentives. It takes a special set of skills to navigate all the possibilities because each involves many moving parts.

However, if you decide to move forward with new construction, consider your exit strategy. You need to know the facility you build is suitable to sell to a broad spectrum. An overspecialized facility naturally limits the market for potential buyers.

You don’t have a plan unless you have a backup plan. Try to envision the building’s use, and your needs, far into the future, so you don’t get stuck with an unsuitable property.

Bob Brehmer, CCIM, SIOR, is a principal at NAI Daus. Reach him at (216) 455-0920 or rbrehmer@naidaus.com.

Insights Real Estate is brought to you by NAI Daus

On his first day working at the United Way of Greater Cleveland Bill Kitson sat down for a 6 a.m. interview on WKYC-TV.

“It was a great opportunity to say hello to the community first thing in the morning on my first day,” Kitson says.

A 25-year United Way veteran, Kitson became the Cleveland chapter’s new president and CEO in June 2012. The Cleveland community was curious to hear how he planned to better the organization and its efforts in the community.

“Cleveland is my seventh United Way community,” Kitson says. “I’m really thrilled with the level of support of the United Way here, and the level of corporate support is just spectacular. It gives us a great base to build from as we try to create change in the community.”

The United Way of Greater Cleveland celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013 and Kitson has been focused on changing the United Way from fundraiser to community impact worker.

Here’s how Kitson is working to improve the United Way of Greater Cleveland and its community. 

Understand the issues

When you’re a new president or CEO, everyone has questions for you and they want to know what you’re thinking. You have to resist the urge to talk about that, and instead ask and listen to the people you’re with.

“There will be plenty of time to share your story and your point of view about the work that’s going on, but if we don’t stop and listen first we may miss opportunities to learn and grow even more,” Kitson says.

Kitson heard that the community wanted more focus around graduating kids, keeping families financially stable and keeping the community healthy.

“As I started hearing the aspirations of folks that swirled around those issues, those are the things our volunteers are looking at to see what our priorities should be in those areas,” he says. 

Be strategic

One of the biggest shifts in Cleveland’s United Way has been focused around changing from fundraiser to community impact worker.

“We’re trying to engage our community in new and varied ways,” Kitson says. “So not only asking for your money, but for your time and asking you to volunteer in schools and in neighborhoods. We are also asking people for their voice and asking them to advocate and stand up for some of these issues as our community faces them.”

The engagement strategy is an important aspect for those organizations that are focused on a mission.

“You need to have a connection to your community beyond asking for a check,” he says.

This past year the United Way of Greater Cleveland has been strategizing and developing new plans that will ultimately make a difference in the community.

“When I talk about listening and understanding our community — that’s not just a two- or three-year thing, that’s a generational thing,” he says. “We have to get better about listening and understanding and knowing where we can impact our community best.

“When people think of nonprofits that they’re really passionate about, their involvement with them goes beyond fundraising, and we have a similar mission to create change in the community. There are a lot of folks out there who would get really excited about a richer relationship with their United Way and we look forward to that.” ●

How to reach: United Way of Greater Cleveland, (216) 436-2100 or www.unitedwaycleveland.org

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PILLAR AWARD FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE 

Ralph Della Ratta
Managing partner
Western Reserve Partners
www.wesrespartners.com

Since its founding in 2004, Western Reserve Partners has strongly believed in and practiced a firm-wide commitment to community service and support. Western Reserve is proud of its culture of caring and believes that the relatively small size of the firm is not commensurate with the far-reaching impact of its contributions to the Northeast Ohio community.

At an employee level, Western Reserve prides itself on the fact that all of its 15 senior professionals and many of its junior staff are actively involved at the board level of at least one nonprofit organization, including managing partner, Ralph Della Ratta. Furthermore, the majority of these professionals have assumed leadership positions on these boards, and as such, average as many as eight hours per week on their nonprofit endeavors.

Employees are quick to support each other’s charitable endeavors, staffing and attending innumerable telethons, 5K runs, golf outings and other fundraising events each year. Collectively, these efforts impact nearly 30 organizations across a variety of focus areas.

As a firm, Western Reserve is generous in its financial support of those organizations in which its professionals hold leadership or board positions, as well as many others. The firm is particularly proud of its participation in the United Way’s Pacesetter/Stellar Campaign program.

In this program, the firm commits to an annual 5 percent increase over its previous year’s gift, and the firm has had 100 percent participation each year. Since 2005, Western Reserve’s contributions to United Way and other charitable organizations have totaled more than $500,000. ●

PILLAR AWARD FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE

Mark Light
President and CEO
Sterling Jewelers Inc.
www.sterlingjewelers.com

Akron, Ohio-based Sterling Jewelers is the largest U.S. specialty retail jeweler with more than 1,300 stores in 50 states. The company has stores under the names Kay Jewelers, J.B. Robinson Jewelers and Jared The Galleria of Jewelry. With employees all over the country, Sterling Jewelers is proud of its commitment to support the communities where its employees live and work.

Here in Northeast Ohio, Sterling has 2,500 team members working at its corporate headquarters, and under the leadership of President and CEO Mark Light, the company focuses on giving back to three specific areas: children, arts and culture, and civic programs and community development.

In October 2012, Sterling Jewelers launched an internal online donation tool where team members can click on a link via the company’s intranet, select any fundraiser they want to support, enter a donation amount and hit submit. The donation is automatically deducted from the employee’s paycheck and offers an easy and convenient way to give back.

Participation has increased by more than 50 percent since the launch of the online donation tool. In total, the business support services team at Sterling dedicates more than 1,425 hours annually to develop and implement team member giving programs.

Over the years Sterling Jewelers has become one of the largest corporate sponsors of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, raising more than $43 million to date. The company sells plush animals each year in support of St. Jude. As further incentive, Sterling employees can earn a trip to St. Jude to present the staff with a check and get a tour of the hospital. ●

PILLAR AWARD FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE 

SueAnn Naso
President
Staffing Solutions Enterprises
www.staffsol.com

Charity is a yearlong commitment for Staffing Solutions Enterprises and its employees, and is embedded into the company’s corporate culture. With the support and input from its team, Staffing Solutions has developed and implemented a 12-month charity campaign called the SSE Monthly Give Back program. The program allows Staffing Solutions to help various programs financially during times they need it most — throughout the entire year.

Although Staffing Solutions has hundreds of employees working on assignment, its corporate office is composed of a team of 20 employees, 100 percent of which participate in the SSE Charity programs, including company president, SueAnn Naso.

Staffing Solutions strongly believes that every dollar helps, and sometimes the most important thing to do is help create awareness for charities in need. Through its charity programs Staffing Solutions has been able to shed light on these organizations’ causes and missions through its e-newsletter and social media platforms.

Each month the company highlights its SSE Monthly Give Back Charity in its e-newsletter, providing a brief description of the organization to encourage clients to donate as well.

Additionally, these platforms showcase the staff’s participation in charity events and highlight fun activities for others to get involved in.

In 2013, several of the charities selected were chosen to have an economic impact and benefit individuals and families right here in Northeastern Ohio. The SSE Monthly Give Back program benefitted organizations such as the Special Olympics, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Northeast Ohio Chapter and Cleveland Foodbank. ●