Linda Hondros makes things happen.
Thats the analysis Paul Otte, president of Franklin University, gives of the president of Hondros College.
I was always taught there are three different kinds of people in the world: people who can make it happen, people who cant make it happen but can stop it from happening, and people who can do neither one theyre nonplayers, he says. Lindas in the first group. She is one of those people you can sit with and agree to something and know it will be accomplished.
Hondros is also a committed mother, Otte says, something that became evident to him last year when Franklin University partnered to share space in a new Northeast Columbus building Hondros College owns with The Daimler Group. Other Franklin staff working on the project told Otte that in the course of the project, no matter what, punch list be damned, if she had a family obligation, she did it.
Maybe 10, 15 years ago, and in some sectors of business today, wed say thats a limitation, Otte says. But thats not the way we run our operation, and we respect that in others that do the same thing.
Hondros says she and her husband enjoy traveling with their four children, ages 10 to 19, to scuba dive in locations such as Honduras or the Bahamas. They also often make trips to Colorado for fishing, hiking and backpacking.
When you grow a business and own a business, you tend to live that, but on the other hand, the true purpose for all that is for family, she says.
Otte calls Hondros a dynamo because of her involvement in the operational side of the $7 million North Columbus college, as well as in the community and government.
Sometimes you think maybe theres more than one Linda, he says.
Hondros got her start in the real estate field the cornerstone of Hondros Colleges course offerings when she decided to become a real estate agent shortly after an enjoyable experience buying her first home. In 1985, she became a partner in what was then the John G. Hondros Academy of Real Estate, eventually marrying its founder, John G. Hondros.
The school became a college in 1990. Otte met Hondros when administrators at the two schools began to ponder how they could partner.
The Hondroses are always improving the quality of their program, Otte says. So much so that in the early days, we said, Theres really no reason for us to maintain our real estate program. Wed rather have you functioning in the real estate area than us. Youve got more depth than us.
Hondros College has since expanded both its focus and its physical structure, offering courses in areas such as securities, insurance, appraisal and home inspection, all in a new building which boasts a conference center, auditorium, deli, basketball hoop for team-building exercises and a branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library. The for-profit college has 35 full-time associates, about 150 adjunct faculty and seven locations throughout Ohio.
Recently appointed to the Governors Small Business Council, Hondros also serves on the legislative committee for the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerces Small Business Council and is a member of the Ohio Chambers Small Business Council.
As changes started to occur in the industries we service, I realized doing a good job was not good enough, Hondros says. You needed to be politically in tune with the legislature to understand, appreciate, enhance, be a part of legislation affecting the industry you serve and your business.
So much legislation affects small business, she says, that being a part of it is almost frightening. She stays aware of industry developments through her membership in the Ohio Association of Realtors and Columbus Board of Realtors. Shes also on the board of directors for the Consumer Credit Council in Columbus.
Last year, she was reappointed to the Ohio Racing Commission by Gov. Bob Taft.
When she was first appointed by Gov. George Voinovich, three of the five commission members were women.
Ill never forget walking into the first meeting and I could see industry people looking at us at me thinking, How the heck did she get on this board? Hondros says.
The commission chair, C. Luther Heckman, however, says Hondros brings to the group a good sense of business.
A lot of what the racing commission does is attempt to apply the statutes and regulate the business of racing, he says. I think her business background and her common sense is what she brings to the board.
Hondros says she accepted these board appointments primarily to serve the state of Ohio, but also to have a voice as a regular person in some of these tremendously important issues.
I think more people should learn about it and be a part of it, she adds. The neat thing is, you have the opportunity to help form policies and laws. If you have the right heart and the right mind, thats a good thing for the state of Ohio.
Joan Slattery Wall (firstname.lastname@example.org) is associate editor of SBN Columbus.