Where are they now? Featured

10:01am EDT July 22, 2002

It's been five years now since the editorial staff at SBN began sharing its predictions about which Central Ohio companies were on the brink of a breakout-or breakdown-year. Here's a look at what we've predicted in years past and what those companies are doing today.


Class of 1995

St. Ann's Hospital
Top officer then: John B. Sandman
Top officer now: Joseph T. Calvaruso
Estimated revenues then: $73.2 million
Estimated revenues now: $123 million
Employees then: 1,500
Employees now: 6,300 systemwide
Forecast then: Expecting a merger with Mount Carmel
Where it is now: St. Ann's was acquired by Mount Carmel Medical System in 1995.

Cardinal Realty Services
[Now Lexford Residential Trust]
Top officer then: Frank McDowell
Top officer now: John Bartling
Estimated revenues then: $22.6 million
Estimated revenues now: $146 million*
Corp. employees then: 209
Corp. employees now: 102
Forecast then: Expecting a merger or buyout
Where it is now: Cardinal Realty purchased Lexford Properties Inc. in August 1996 and shareholders voted in October 1997 to change Cardinal's name to Lexford Inc. The company is now one of the nation's largest multifamily real estate investment trusts.

Borden Inc.

[Now Borden Inc. and Affiliates]
Top officer then: Ervin R. Shames
Top officer now: C. Robert Kidder
Estimated revenues then: $4.7 billion
Estimated revenues now: $3 billion
Employees then: 39,000 worldwide
Employees now: 12,000 worldwide
Forecast then: Expecting more profitability and the possible sale of some business units
Where they are now: Borden realigned itself into nine smaller business units in 1995. In 1996, the German bakery and plastic packaging divisions were sold. In 1997, part of its food businesses, including the Cracker Jack and Borden Cheese brands, were sold. Last year, the company acquired Corning Consumer Products and sold Borden's wallcoverings division and its Eagle Brand, ReaLemon and Cremora businesses. Company officials say profitability has improved considerably.

ConQuest Telecommunication Services
[Now ConQuest Services Corp.]
Top officer then: Ghanshyam C. Patel
Top officer now: John Burchett
Estimated revenues then: $30 million
Estimated revenues now: $25 million
Employees then: 250
Employees now: 490
Forecast then: Expecting record sales, expansion into the residential marketplace and a new wireless division
Where it is now: ConQuest was acquired by SmarTalk TeleServices, a national manufacturer and distributor of prepaid phone cards, in 1997. This past June, ConQuest was sold again, this time to New Millennium Communications Corp., which designs, operates and manages communications services worldwide. ConQuest's primary focus remains in operator-assisted call services.

Superconductive Components Inc.
Top officer then: Edward R. Funk
Top officer now: Edward R. Funk
Estimated revenues then: $1 million
Estimated revenues now: $2.75 million
Employees then: 22
Employees now: 30
Forecast then: Expecting to raise more capital and get listed on NASDAQ.
Where it is now: Superconductive has received two phase-one grants, one of $170,000 from the National Science Foundation and one for $70,000 from NASA, and hopes to get some phase-two federal research grants soon. The company has not yet been listed on NASDAQ, though it remains a goal.

Scriptel Holdings
Top officer then: James France
Top officer now: B.H. Eckstein
Estimated revenues then: $7 million
Estimated revenues now: $1 million
Employees then: 80
Employees now: 7
Forecast then: Expecting to capture sizable share of the market with its digital pen input system for notebook computers
Where it is now: Scriptel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 1997 and submitted its reorganization plan for approval in August 1998. As part of the approved plan, the company intends to issue five million new shares of common stock Jan. 1.

Moody/Nolan Ltd. Inc.
Top officer then: Curtis J. Moody
Top officer now: Curtis J. Moody
Estimated revenues then: $7 million
Estimated revenues now: $11.5 million
Employees then: 75
Employees now: 120
Forecast then: Expecting to capture several more high-profile jobs
Where it is now: Moody/Nolan has obtained eye-catching projects including the Smith Bros. Hardware building renovation, the Bureau of Criminal Identification crime laboratory and West Virginia University's student recreation center

Agler-Davidson Sporting Goods Inc.
Top officer then: Jack Davidson
Top officer now: None
Estimated revenues then: $7 million
Estimated revenues now: None
Employees then: 125
Employees now: None
Forecast then: Expecting a switch into specialty team sales to stave off increasing competition
Where it is now: Agler-Davidson closed underperforming stores in 1995 and 1996 before ceasing all operations in 1997.

R.G. Barry Corp.
Top officer then: Gordon Zacks
Top officer now: Gordon Zacks
Estimated revenues then: $120 million
Estimated revenues now: $160 million
Employees then: 3,000
Employees now: 3,000
Forecast then: Expecting new Microcore technology to produce year-round income for company and allow expansion into new markets
Where it is now: R.G. Barry expanded its line of thermal comfort products into the food service and health care fields in 1995 and licensed its Microcore technology to Corning Inc. Since then, the company has narrowed its thermal technology focus to developing new products to aid in the delivery and preservation of prepared foods.

Greyden Press
Top officer then: Dennis J. Geraghty
Top officer now: Dennis J. Geraghty
Estimated revenues then: $2 million
Estimated revenues now: $2.7 million**
Employees then: 30
Employees now: 21
Forecast then: Expecting an expanded reach through the Internet and a sales upswing of 30 to 40 percent
Where it is now: Greyden got into the Internet service provider business in 1995 with the launch of SmartPages Direct. In addition, the company has expanded into CD-ROM, Internet, intranet and other digital document applications.


Class of 1996


Univenture Inc.
Top officer then: Ross O. Youngs
Top officer now: Ross O. Youngs
Estimated revenues then: $5.2 million
Revenues in '97: $17.2 million***
Employees then: 110
Employees now: 140+
Forecast then: Expecting to hit the $10 million mark in sales, cut a deal with investors to open an overseas distribution facility and start installing equipment on-site for some large clients
Where it is now: Univenture blew past the $10 million sales mark and made the Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the country for the fourth consecutive year in 1996. The company opened a manufacturing facility in Dublin, Ireland, in 1997 and was, again, named among the Inc. 500. Univenture also has some equipment on-site with select clients.

Holophane Corp.
Top officer then: John R. DallePezze
Top officer now: John R. DallePezze
Estimated revenues then: $175 million
Estimated revenues now: $215 million
Employees then: 1,600
Employees now: 1,780
Forecast then: Expecting more business overseas, more big-name clients, and more product introductions
Where it is now: Holophane established a director of international sales position in 1995 and beefed up business in the Pacific Rim, Brazil and South America. The company has also introduced seven or eight new products since 1996.

Worthingto n Foods
Top officers then: Allan Buller and Dale Twomley
Top officer now: Allan Buller and Dale Twomley
Estimated revenues then: $101 million
Estimated revenues now: $102.2 million
Employees then: 480
Employees now: 600
Forecast then: Expecting four more restaurant deals, expansion into hospitals, prisons and universities, and acquisitions of complementary niche businesses
Where it is now: Worthington Foods set new sales records in both 1996 and 1997. Last year, the company announced plans to buy a major competitor-the Harvest Burger line of products-from Archer Daniels Midland Co., and replace the Green Giant name on this product with the Worthington Foods' Morningstar Farms brand.

Transmap Corp.
Top officer then: Kurt Novak
Top officer now: Kurt Novak
Estimated revenues then: $500,000
Estimated revenues now: $2.1 million
Employees then: 10
Employees now: 24
Forecast then: Expecting new investors, big-name customers and an alliance with a larger mapping company
Where it is now: Transmap secured a $750,000 venture capital investment from River Cities Capital Fund in 1996 and won major contracts with the City of Virginia Beach and Licking and Pickaway counties in 1997. Last year, the company received another $1.3 million venture capital investment-this one from River Cities and White Pines Management.

The Limited Inc.
Top officer then: Leslie H. Wexner
Top officer now: Leslie H. Wexner
Estimated revenues then: $8 billion
Estimated revenues now: $9.2 billion
Employees then: 105,600
Employees now: 131,000
Forecast then: Expecting a spinoff of the women's apparel division, the launch of a new boys' apparel store from Abercrombie & Fitch or Structure, and the development of niche catalogs
Where it is now: The Limited spun off its Bath & Body Works and Victoria's Secret divisions in a combined 1995 IPO to create Intimate Brands. Last year, Abercrombie & Fitch became a stand-alone company, too, and created a new division of its own: abercrombie, a clothing store for teens and pre-teens.

Corna/Kokosing Construction
Top officer then: Mark Corna
Top officer now: Mark Corna
Estimated revenues then: $75 million
Estimated revenues now: $102 million
Employees then: 125
Employees now: 360
Forecast then: Expecting to dominate the Central Ohio construction industry in short order
Where it is now: Corna/Kokosing has held its own against local competitors, reeling in some high-profile projects including the Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe and the Capital University Law School, but has not monopolized the industry as expected.

Brighter Child Interactive
Top officers then: Vincent Douglas and Richard Pam
Top officer now: Richard Pam
Estimated revenues then: Not available
Estimated revenues now: $450,000**
Employees then: 10
Employees now: 4
Forecast then: Expecting licensing agreements with Marvel Entertainment, the British Broadcasting Co. and cartoon producer NELVANA, as well as a 300 to 400 percent jump in sales
Where it is now: Brighter Child has not secured licensing agreements with Marvel, the BBC or NELVANA, but has branched into religious multimedia software such as The Beginners Bible CD-ROM.

Neoprobe Corp.
Top officers then: John L. Ridihalgh and David C. Bupp
Top officer now: John L. Ridihalgh and David C. Bupp
Estimated revenues then: $933,000
Estimated revenues now: $3.57 million
Employees then: 46
Employees now: 81
Forecast then: Expecting regulatory approval of its cancer diagnosis and treatment products and a higher stock value
Where it is now: Neoprobe's stock rose in 1996 following agreements with U.S. Surgical and Dow Chemical to advance its patents. But in 1998, the Food and Drug Administration refused to approve the sale of Neoprobe's latest device, a drug-and-probe combination, causing the company to stop clinical trials on this item and sending its stock price downward.

Q3 Stamped Metal
Top officer then: Francis Price
Top officer now: Francis Price
Estimated revenues then: Not available
Estimated revenues now: $25 million**
Employees then: 142
Employees now: 180
Forecast then: Expecting record-setting growth, a doubling of its work force, and diversification into appliances, heating and air conditioning, and refrigeration
Where it is now: Q3 has not yet doubled its work force or diversified its product line, but its continuing growth resulted in a 50,000-square-foot facility expansion in 1996.

We Do Inc.
Top officer then: Carol Feinberg
Top officer now: None
Estimated revenues then: Just opened
Estimated revenues now: None
Employees then: 71
Employees now: None
Forecast then: Expecting company to be a player in the wedding apparel industry from the start and open two more stores
Where it is now: Opened a second store in Atlanta in late 1996, shortly before investors pulled the plug on the entire operation.


Class of 1997


Sun Television & Appliances Inc.
Top officer then: James R. Copitzky
Top officer now: R. Carter Pate
Estimated revenues then: $806 million
Estimated revenues now: $508 million
Employees then: 4,000
Employees now: 3,000 before store closings
Forecast then: Expecting store closings and possibly the failure of the entire chain if turnaround plans don't show immediate promise
Where it is now: Store closings at Sun began in early 1997, followed by the elimination of more than 1,200 jobs and a complete corporate shake-up. Last year brought a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in September and, when Sun's new, small-town focus failed, a prompt liquidation of its remaining stores.

CompuServe Inc.
[Now CompuServe Interactive Services Inc.]
Top officer then: Bob Massey
Top officer now: Mayo S. Stuntz Jr.
Estimated revenues then: $793 million
Estimated revenues now: $842 million**
Employees then: 3,600
Employees now: 3,050**
Forecast then: Expecting a renewed focus on commercial customers, the demise of WOW!, and either a near-return to profitability or the beginning of the end
Where it is now: CompuServe dumped its family-oriented WOW! online service, vowed to switch its focus back to the corporate side and was sold by its parent company H&R Block-all in the first nine months of 1997. The three-way transaction left WorldCom with CompuServe's corporate customers and America Online with CompuServe's consumer online service.

AirNet Systems Inc.
Top officer then: Jerry Mercer
Top officer now: Jerry Mercer
Estimated revenues then: $75 million
Estimated revenues now: $110 million
Employees then: 650
Employees now: 1,150
Forecast then: Expecting additional acquisitions and double-digit revenue growth
Where it is now: AirNet acquired three companies in 1997 and exceeded analysts' predictions of 15 percent growth. Last year, the company acquired Mercury Business Services and anticipated a 12 percent increase in revenues.

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants
Top officer then: Cameron Mitchell
Top officer now: Cameron Mitchell
Estimated revenues then: $7 million
Estimated revenues now: $15 million
Employees then: 300
Employees now: 565
Forecast then: Expecting two more restaurant openings and sales topping $11 million
Where it is now: Cameron Mitchell opened the Columbus Brewing Co. and his second Cap City Diner in 1997, taking his sales past the $11 million mark. Last year, Mitchell's first steakhouse made its debut downtown and The Columbus Fish Market opened near Grandview.

comp/data international inc.
Top officer then: Sepehr Rajaie
Top officer now: Sepehr Rajaie
Estimated revenues then: $12 million
Estimated revenues now: $9.6 million**
Employees then: 28
Employees now: 30**
Forecast then: Expecting new offices in Connecticut and North Carolina, as well as new investors
Where it is now: Comp/data dropped its plans for out-of-state expansion in 1997, but secured equity capital from investors. The company maintained a low profile in 1998 and numerous messages left on its answering machine during the latter part of the year went unreturned. In addition, its West Spring Street offices appeared empty.

JUPITER Marketing & Advertising Inc.
Top officer then: Tom Hughes
Top officer now: Tom Hughes
Estimated billings then: $3.1 million
Estimated billings now: Not available
Employees then: 5
Employees now: 4**
Forecast then: Expecting more overseas business, specifically in Australia, and a big client in the used car industry
Where it is now: JUPITER expanded its local client list with four major deals in 1997.

Bob Evans Farms Inc.
Top officer then: Dan Evans
Top officer now: Dan Evans
Estimated revenues then: $806 million
Estimated revenues now: $887 million
Employees then: 29,000
Employees now: 32,000
Forecast then: Expecting a renewed focus on the flagship restaurant business, an expansion into frozen foods and a beefier stock price
Where it is now: Bob Evans Farms Inc. found its earnings, sales and operating profits inching back up in 1997. Last year those profit gains continued.

Karrington Health Inc.
Top officer then: Richard Slager
Top officer now: Richard Slager
Estimated revenues then: $9 million
Estimated revenues now: $45 million
Employees then: 500
Employees now: 1,500
Forecast then: Expecting expansion into middle- and lower-income markets and smaller communities to push revenues into the $25 million range and result in its first profits
Where it is now: Karrington continued to show losses in 1997, but tripled the number of assisted-living facilities it owned and operated. Last fall, the company announced it was being acquired by Sunrise Assisted Living Inc. in a $191 million stock and debt deal.

The Computer Group
Top officer then: Suzanne Erickson
Top officer now: Suzanne Erickson
Estimated revenues then: $16 million
Estimated revenues now: $15 million**
Employees then: 60
Employees now: 60**
Forecast then: Expecting to add a nationwide sales force and a new division, boosting sales to $24 million in the process
Where it is now: The Computer Group began building its national sales force in 1997 and added a media marketing division to work with CD replicators nationwide.

*Estimate provided by J.C. Bradford & Co.

**As listed in the 1999 Dun & Bradstreet Regional Business Directory, 1998 Dun & Bradstreet Million Dollar Directory and/or Dun's Microcosm

***Most recent figure available