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Success is in the details Featured

9:35am EDT July 22, 2002

Although Jamie Parman may sometimes find it difficult to explain to people exactly what she does for a living, she apparently does it quite well.

Parman, who opened her business -- Parman Associates Inc. -- in 1992 with just eight employees, is now president of an organization with 50-plus employees operating in five offices throughout Ohio.

"I'm very proud of the fact that from 1992 to 1995, at a time when many of my competitors were downsizing, we were doubling in size," says Parman, whose company now generates annual revenue in the $3 million range.

As a Bureau of Workers' Compensation-certified provider, Parman Associates provides case management services to help get injured workers back to work.

"We have nurses and certified, credentialed vocational rehabilitation counselors who go out to injured workers' homes and interview them, identify what the problems are and then create a return-to-work plan to help them recover and get back to work safely and on time," Parman explains. "Our nurses and case managers counsel injured people to help them overcome whatever barriers they are experiencing."

Parman attributes her company's phenomenal 200 percent growth in the past eight years to a lot of hard work by a group of dedicated, capable people committed to the same goals and vision.

"One of our core values is continuous improvement, and we spend a lot of time watching what's going on in rehabilitation," Parman explains. "As changes began to take place in health care and employers began to experience increased health care costs, they began to look for ways to save money. We not only went out to injured workers' homes and helped them get better and back to work but we also identified other problems and developed specific programs."

One such program is JobWORKS, which places injured workers with new employers.

"We follow return-to-work steps, so our first goal is to medically and vocationally manage cases to help people return to work with their original employer, hopefully in the original job. If, physically, that is not going to be possible," Parman explains, "then we try to identify alternative placement with that employer. And if we've exhausted all possibilities, then our vocational experts analyze the workers' skills and capabilities, and we counsel and advise them as to what they can do in this economy. That career counseling is a component of JobWORKS."

Additionally, JobWORKS provides help with job-seeking skills, such as resume preparation, interviewing and training.

"Many employers historically have overlooked this excellent source of skilled workers, but many of these workers with disabilities become excellent employees for new employers," Parman says. "With the right fit at the right time and the right place, we're able to help the old employer recoup some costs, and we're able to help the new employer find an employee in an environment where it's hard to find skilled workers."

A second program developed by Parman Associates is an early intervention program called Manage*ability. Big Kmart is a client that uses this program for its Ohio workers.

"So from the point of injury, we're evaluating and our nurses are helping their claims people figure out how to get people better and back to work with good care," Parman says.

As the company has grown, it has faced some internal operational challenges, Parman acknowledges. To address those, last summer, she and her senior management team participated in a 13-week leadership and management course.

"We were able to create some paradigms on how to problem solve, how to make decisions and how to convey that to the people we manage so that we can communicate more effectively, more quickly and more clearly, so that, in the end, we can deliver a quality service to our clients," she says.

As a result, the company is now more goal-focused and more outcome-oriented, she says.

"We can communicate more clearly with our staff, and we understand better what motivates them."

When issues become really challenging, Parman says she draws upon a couple familiar sayings: "Failure is the line of least persistence" and "Success is in attention to detail."

"Those two sayings really keep me going," she says, "and my staff hears them over and over again."

How to reach: Parman Associates Inc., 575-9400 or www.parman.com

@bios:Jo Ann Judy (JJudy@aol.com) is a free-lance writer for SBN.


Network for success

There are numerous networking opportunities in Central Ohio for women interested in starting or growing a business.

The Women's Business Resource Program, part of the Ohio Small Business Development Center, serves as an information clearinghouse for women in business. It supplies business resource kits, provides referrals to the Ohio Small Business Development Center statewide network, maintains a calendar of workshops and events of interest to women in business and provides a list of organizations for women business owners.

To contact the Women's Business Resource Program, call 466-4945 or visit the Ohio Small Business Development Center's Web site at www.ohiosbdc.org.

Other organizations in Central Ohio for women business owners include:

Women's Business Board

For women business owners owning or operating a business for three or more years.

Contact: Bea Wolper, 221-4000

Women's Presidents Organization

For female entrepreneurs who have generated at least $2 million in annual sales, $1 million if the company is service-driven.

Contact: Melody Borchers, (740) 569-3200

Women's Business Council

For women business owners and professionals.

Contact: Sarah Thompson, 224-9121

Ohio Women's Business Development Council Inc.

For women business enterprises.

Contact: Linda Stewart, 621-0881

Ohio Women's Business Resource Network

For women business owners.

Contact: Mary Ann McClure, 466-2682

National Association for Women Business Owners, Columbus Chapter

Contact: Kelly Borth, 885-7921

Women in New Growth Stages

For women from entry level to business owner.

Contact: Karen McVey, 888-4674

Source: Linda Saikas, Economic Development Specialist, Women's Business Resource Program