The taxman cometh
Ready or not, tax time is almost here. The good news is that you can still lower this year's tax bill before Dec. 31 by following a few simple tips from Fred Grant, senior tax analyst at TurboTax:
* Get organized. Figure out where your finances stand so there will be no surprises come April 15. Review your income and deductions and compile any business expenses in advance.
* Defer income. Due to the new tax laws, individual tax rates will be lower in 2002. Pay year-end bonuses in January instead of December, so the bonus will be considered income for 2002.
* Take last minute deductions. Study up on the ways you can still save money. If you itemize, now is the perfect time to help your favorite charity while reducing your tax bill. With the new tax laws, deductions this year will be worth more than the same deductions next year, so consider prepaying some of your major deductions, such as childcare, education, medical bills or mortgage interest.
* Sell! Sell! Sell! If you have a big capital gain, consider selling some of your underperforming stocks. You can erase your tax liability on the gain with a corresponding loss.
* Remember your 401(k). Invest money in your retirement account. Since the money is tax-deferred, your piggy bank can keep growing, but you do not have to pay an extra cent in taxes until you take the money out of the account.
* Keep tabs on your mutual funds. Selling your mutual fund before the distribution date will help you save on capital gains and large dividends.
More than ever, consumers are bringing their wireless phones with them wherever they go, according to a survey by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Half of wireless phone owners (48 percent) report carrying their phones with them at all times, compared to only one-third (33 percent) just one year ago.
The results of the "Wireless Device Usage" survey also found that a majority of consumers (57 percent) report using their phone primarily for social purposes rather than business. In addition, despite the offerings of large amounts of free minutes, most consumers (71 percent) limit themselves to less than 400 minutes of airtime per month.
IDS lands big contract
Innovative Data Solutions (IDS), a Cleveland-based credentials verification organization, landed an agreement to offer services throughout Minnesota to streamline the medical practitioner credentialing process. The plan makes Minnesota the only state in the country to offer a one-stop shop for credentialing.
IDS, with its credentialing service, Credential OneSM, was unanimously selected by the Minnesota Joint Purchasing Coalition (MJPC) after a nationwide search that included the evaluation of 16 credentials verification organizations. The coalition, consisting of the Minnesota Hospital and Healthcare Partnership, the Minnesota Council of Health Plans and the Minnesota Medical Association, marks the first time hospitals, health plans and physicians have joined to develop a single-source credentialing system.
The agreement between IDS and the MJPC was completed in June. As of mid-September, some 40 hospitals and health plans had signed up. The agreement includes services to hospitals, health plans and other health care organizations in Minnesota as well as in adjoining regions of Iowa, Wisconsin and North and South Dakota.
Dave & Buster's targets business events
Skip the bland hotel conference rooms and stale donuts for your next employee recognition event. Try Dave & Buster's, which just opened a 58,000-square-foot restaurant/entertainment complex in Westlake, the 31st store in the nationwide franchise.
"Take a lot of energetic exercise, toss in some skill and leadership games, then add way too much fun, and you've created a recipe for corporate success," says Dave Corriveau, one of the founders of the Dave & Buster's restaurant chain. "At Dave & Buster's, we've created a new way -- a modern way -- to build team spirit within corporate America."
According to co-founder Buster Corley, "The D&B Company Challenge relies on fun and game-playing to bring employees closer together, removing the barriers that build up in today's lean, mean corporate environments."
The Dave & Buster's Company Challenge is designed to benefit companies of all sizes, from the mom-and-pop enterprise to the Fortune 500 industry leader. The three basic steps are:
Step 1: Picking teams
Each "team" receives a printed score sheet, a detailed explanation of each game, and if desired, team T-shirts.
Step 2: Accepting the challenge
Once team captains are appointed, teams play games such as pocket billiards, shuffleboard, skeeball, basketball freethrow, "Daytona" and others.
Step 3: Rewarding the winners
With the Company Challenge, the goal is to make everyone winners. Awards, trophies and gift certificates can be offered to all participants to help extend their new team spirit beyond the doors of Dave & Buster's and into the boardrooms and back offices for years to come.
For more information, contact Dave & Buster's, (440) 892-1415.
Burns & Scalo Roofing Co. has received roofing contracts for the Steubenville Ambulatory Surgery Center, the Hancock Co. Bank in Chester, W.Va., and Plotkin Bros. in Glassport. It also has been awarded the rooftop garden project of the Gimbels Landmark Building.
Oral and Facial Surgery Center LLC has opened in Hermitage. The facility offers dental and facial surgical services.
Guardian Self Storage has opened a 725-unit storage facility in Monroeville. The 90,000-square-foot facility includes 25,000 square feet of climate-controlled storage space to protect high-value or temperature-sensitive items.
CommuniTech has been selected by Promote It Inc. to develop a strategic and tactical marketing plan for its digital file management and promotional material management services. CommuniTech also has signed a contract to provide marketing services to Solution Creation LLC, a business and technology consulting firm focused on the financial services industry.
Mitsubishi Electric Power Products Inc. has established Heroes of Flight 93 Memorial Fund at the Pittsburgh Foundation with an initial contribution of $100,000. The proceeds will finance the design, construction and maintenance of a memorial at the site of the Sept. 11 crash of Flight 93.
Cianflone Scientific Instruments Corp. has been appointed by BELEC Spektrometrie Opto-Electronik GmbH of Germany as the exclusive distributor of its complete line of optical emission spectrometers in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Aquent Partners, an agency for Web and creative talent, has moved its office to space in the newly renovated Bathhouse building in Lawrenceville.The MBA program for women at Chatham College has received a $125,000 grant from PNC Financial Services Group.
All Aboard Travel has joined online travel booking service pittsburghflights.com. The service allows travelers to price shop, book flights and choose hotel room locations and other amenities.
Repal Construction Co. Inc. has been awarded the general contracting and construction contract for the second phase of the Jeannette Industrial Park.
Barnes & Noble Inc. has opened a store in the Town Center at the Waterfront in Homestead. The 24,000-square-foot store employs 60.
GNC Inc. has opened a new headquarters store at 300 Sixth Ave., Downtown.
Integral Technologies LLC has introduced software that optimizes resource allocation and route sequencing for the service delivery and utilities industries.
Windows Unlimited has moved its south Pittsburgh location to Route 51 in Pleasant Hills.
Repal Construction Co. Inc. has received the contract for the Cranberry Township Library expansion and renovation and the contract for a 6,000-square-foot Panera Bread store in the South Park Shops in Bethel Park.
Kacin General Contractors has begun construction of a 36,000-square-foot office and manufacturing facility for AP Services Co. in the Northpointe Industrial Park in Slate Lick. AP Services supplies mechanical packing, gaskets and seals worldwide to the power generation, pulp and paper, petrochemical, chemical and wastewater treatment industries.
George Conte Design Consultants Inc. has been awarded the design contract for three Courtyards By Marriott Hotels in Toronto.
The Oncology Nurses Society has purchased a seven-acre site in RIDC Park West for construction of a three-story, 104,000-square-foot headquarters facility.
Cuddy Roofing Co. has received the roofing contract for a new Giant Eagle supermarket in Lower Burrell.
Verizon Wireless has opened a contact center in Cranberry Township.
LaunchCyte LLC has secured an exclusive option to commercialize an Indiana University quantum bead technology with the potential to accelerate drug discovery and clinical diagnostics.
Pittsburgh-based FastForward has entered into a strategic partnership with UbiQ, through which FastForward will process transactions, facilitate payments and commissions, manage and deliver inventory, and provide multilingual customer service for all UbiQ's orders worldwide. UbiQ is a provider of bundled software solutions for Fortune 1,000 original equipment manufacturers.
CTR Systems has been selected to install a new ''pay-on-foot'' parking system at Carnegie Mellon University's East Campus Garage.
In an effort to encourage employees to help the victims of the Sept. 11 tragedy, Akron-based Smithers Scientific Services Inc. agreed to match employee donations to the relief effort by 2 to 1, up to $10,000 from the employees.
Within days after the crisis, Smithers employees were encouraged to make tax-free contributions through a payroll deduction over the next three months. President and CEO Michael Hochschwender promised employees the total contribution would be sent directly to the victims and the rescue workers in New York and Washington, D.C.
As of early October, the company had received nearly $10,000 from 88 of its 300 employees, for a total donation from Smithers of $30,000.
New name, same game
At a special meeting in late September, the membership of the Akron Regional Development Board voted to change the organization's name to the Greater Akron Chamber.
The name change was recommended by the ARDB's executive committee to help clarify the 25-year-old organization's functions. The new name and logo will be phased in over the next few months.
The mission of the chamber remains the same, says CEO and President Daniel Colantone, "to attract and retain business in the Medina, Portage and Summit County region."
The ARDB was formed in 1975 through a merger of the Area Progress Board and the Akron Area Chamber of Commerce.
Proforma's new look
Proforma has unveiled a new logo and tagline, which it is marketing as a signal for future dramatic growth.
''We are projecting the organization will become the world's first billion-dollar distributor,'' says Proforma CEO Gregory Muzzillo. ''(Our) long-range goal is to exceed $10 billion in sales.''
During the past five years, Proforma sales have increased 450 percent through its 600 member offices in North America.
QQLink climbs a Tree
QQLink, the agent-connected e-commerce program of Ceres Group Inc., joined the affiliate program of Lending Tree Inc., a lending exchange and technology provider. The agreement expands the scope of products available to QQLink's visitors to include customer loan services in addition to health and life insurance products.
Management Recruiters International Inc. reports many companies have increased the number of mid-management, executive and other professionals in international offices over the last five years and will continue the trend over the next five years. Of the more than 2,800 executives surveyed by MRI, 42.5 percent said they increased their international staffs over the last five years; 45.7 percent expect add even more staff in the next five years. The same is true for sales and marketing staff, according to the survey.
Fed says privatize
Gaps between the rich and poor grow once people hit retirement, and some say privatizing Social Security will increase the disparity among retirees. But, according to Jagadeesh Gokhale, a senior economic adviser at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, establishing individual accounts could result in greater wealth equality and intergenerational wealth mobility.
Gokhale contends Social Security may encourage lower-earning households to save less for retirement than they would otherwise, causing a greater difference in wealth between rich and poor among retirees. Using a computer simulation of the U.S. economy, Gokhale shows that an individual-accounts-type Social Security system, in which the money is privately owned and controlled, may slightly reduce the inequality.
To read the entire commentary, go to the Cleveland Fed site at www.clev.frb.org/research.
Puttin' on the Ritz
Three Ritz-Carlton hotels are among the top 10 employers in Asia, according to a study by global management consulting and outsourcing firm Hewitt Associates, in conjunction with The Asian Wall Street Journal and Far Eastern Economic Review. According to the study, the top employers showed three common characteristics: They have engaged and committed employees; they contribute to Asia's competitiveness and growth; and they have a culture that meets the needs of the business and the work force.
Tops on the list was the Portman Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai, China; No. 3 was the Ritz-Carlton Millenia in Singapore; and No 8 was the Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong. American companies Ford Motor Co., Hewlett-Packard, Federal Express and Intel also ranked among the top 20 for affiliated facilities located in Asia.
The top five most often cited OSHA violations for 2000 in Region 5, which includes Ohio, are no hazard communication program, failure to guard live parts, failure to guard nip points, no lockout/tagout procedures and failure protect conductors. If you haven't done so recently, review your safety program to avoid a citation for these common errors.
Levy gets legal
Levy Media Group on West Ninth Street in downtown Cleveland launched its legal division to offer digital and analog video services for attorneys who need to record anything from a deposition to a documentary. In addition to digital services such as CD and DVD encoding, Levy can stream depositions anywhere in the world over the Internet from its in-house servers. The firm also offers the use of its Warehouse District studio at no extra charge to customers.
Cleveland-based Glazen Creative Group, which produces films and creates interactive multimedia for marketing, training, fund-raising, meetings and entertainment, recently landed several projects. They are a quilting video for Husqvarna Viking, a manufacturer of sewing machines; a community outreach video for the Cleveland Museum of Art featuring Wynton Marsalis; a training video for Things Remembered; a television campaign for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History; an orientation video for the Cleveland Metroparks; and a fund-raising video for St. Charles Preparatory School, an all-male, Catholic high school in Columbus.
Warm up, pay less
Dominion East Ohio customers will pay 25 percent less for natural gas this month, December, and in January 2002 than they paid during the same period a year ago, under a gas cost recovery (GCR) decrease filed with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), according to the utility company.
Dominion East Ohio sales customers will pay $5.38 per thousand cubic feet (MCF), down 12.8 percent from the current $6.17 per MCF and down 25 percent from the $7.18 per MCF they paid during the same quarter last year. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at www.dom.com
Taft touts technology
Gov. Bob Taft awarded NASA Glenn Research Center with the 2001 Thomas Edison Award and recognized 11 technology companies, including five from Northeast Ohio, with Emerging Technology Awards. Area companies awarded are Cleveland Medical Devices Inc., FiberLead Inc. and Secant Technologies, all of Cleveland, and Accelent Systems Inc. of Akron and AlphaMicron Inc. of Kent. Secant Technologies was also 2001 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner in the Emerging category.
Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Greater Cleveland and its agency, Robert Falls & Co. Public Relations, won the national media relations award at the 2001 Marketing & Communications Awards ceremony hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Of 508 chapters across the country, only the Cleveland chapter was a recipient of the ''Media Relations'' award.
Tried direct mail marketing yet? The U.S. Postal Service wants you to. On its Small Business Tools Web Page, you can hook up with a mailing list broker, designer or printer; download sample templates of brochures, envelopes, letters and other print items; and download the Postal Service's Direct Mail Guide in Adobe Acrobat format. You can also pay the Postal Service to print, assemble and mail your marketing materials or cards, all online. Check it out at www.usps.com and click on Small Business Tools.
If you're like other business owners, you've probably been thinking about the challenges that will face your business this year. SBN Magazine asked a handful of Akron business owners what their biggest challenge will be this year for their business. Compare their answers to yours.
Dan Lanser, president of A Plus Travel Adventure, says he will be challenged by the uncertainty in the economy in the coming year, but that it has not had an effect on his business thus far.
Robert Jacob, president of A+ Signs and Graphics, says he faces the challenge of finding good, competent outside sales people.
Pamela Roberts, president of Advanced Healing Therapies Inc., feels she will need to increase her business via word of mouth.
James Moore, president of Moore Design, says 2001 will bring challenges in the area of maintaining constant business because much of the current plastic mold design work is being sent to foreign markets.
Cecile Bush, president of The Gold Clipper, says she will be faced with meeting company goals of expansion and growth equal to that of previous years.
A recognizable reputation
For Akron's Bridgestone/Firestone, it's a time of celebration and hardship. This year, the company is celebrating its 100th year in business, at the same time as it deals with a product recall of unprecedented proportions.
Bridgestone/Firestone Information Services, a local, yet separate branch of Bridgestone/Firestone, has also faced challenges brought on by the negative publicity surrounding the tire recall. While BFIS has the full financial backing of the Bridgestone/Firestone Corp. -- a $15 billion international corporation -- the connection has also had a negative effect.
"Having name recognition, that was a plus, but it has been a double-edged sword," says Dennis Saralino, who says BFIS has felt the sting from the negative press.
Ten years ago, BFIS branched out to serve external companies, such as FedEx, Credit Unions. The division is staffed by technical teams who specialize in managing software installations, conversions and upgrades, and application performance tuning. BFIS also offers high volume laser printing services from a data center that operates around the clock.
"It is the best kept secret," claims Saralino. "It has incredible firepower."
As an independent manufacturer of paint, stains and specialty coatings, Harrison Paint Corp. has been through its share of ups and downs. Recently, though, Harrison was purchased by Stark county natives and brothers, Patrick and Mark Lauber, who look to return it to its previous levels of success.
Founded in 1911 in Cleveland, Harrison eventually moved to Canton, where it changed ownership twice and faced financial difficulties. Despite its past troubles, the Laubers are optimistic, and excited that 26 out of 26 Harrison employees accepted offers to remain with the company.
"They are the experts because they know the business inside and out," says Patrick Lauber. "They have certainly been through a lot after bankruptcy and change of ownership, and yet they have been very encouraging and are happy to be a part of Harrison Paint."
The biggest challenge facing the Laubers will be getting back the customer base and loyalty that once defined Harrison. To accomplish this, they will be devoted to customer service and producing quality products.
"There certainly is a reputation with Harrison Paint," says Lauber, "so we will focus on providing quality products to our small niche of independent paint suppliers."
The brothers bring with them experience and valuable lessons learned from owning two businesses prior to Harrison, and project earnings for this year at around $5 million, with the intention of increasing revenue as they gain knowledge in the industry.
Oscar the Grouch
What's the worst professional butt-kicking you ever got?
Tim Kraft remembers his. It happened when he worked at the marketing department of a Canton hospital, at a time when the institution sponsored Sesame Street Live at the Canton Civic Center.
"We got a large block of tickets and set aside the choice seats for execs, and planned to give the rest to our employees. One executive didn't show up to pick up his tickets by 4 p.m., so I gave his tickets away," says Kraft, now owner of WordKraft Business Writing in Canton.
Learning this, Kraft's boss, the VP of marketing, launched into a barrage of expletives, fearing the executive would be offended.
"Can you imagine how strange it is to hear swear words mentioned in the same breath with Burt and Ernie?" Kraft laughs.
"As it turns out, that executive didn't mind at all -- he picked up his tickets at the door at show time."
The Ohio Department of Development's Small Business Development Center, Women's Business Resource Program and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP will recognize the accomplishments of successful women business owners in Ohio at the Governor's Awards for Women's Excellence in Enterprise Oct. 3, 2001. The deadline for nominations is June 15. For information, contact Linda Saikas at 466-4945.
Restaurateur Cameron Mitchell is among local business owners recruiting mentors and tutors for Columbus City Schools' new after-school programs.
"I ran away at 15 and let my grades hit bottom," Mitchell says, "but I began to change when teachers and others helped me begin to believe in myself."
The Mentoring Center of Central Ohio, a collaboration of 40 youth-mentoring organizations from Big Brothers Big Sisters Association to the Urban League, hopes to increase the number of available, trained mentors/tutors by 1,100 this year. Adults are asked to volunteer one hour per week to enhance student learning through tutoring and by sharing skills such as gardening, music, sports or computer information. The Center also works with Ohio Reads and the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce's business-school partnership program. For more information, contact Marilyn Pritchett, director of The Mentoring Center, at 839-2447.
The James Foundation Board has elected Cheryl Krueger, founder and CEO of Cheryl&Co., to a three-year term on the board, a nonprofit organization that directs development efforts to support research at the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.
"I am pleased to serve on the board," says Krueger. "It is one way to honor the memory of my former business partner, Carol Walker, who died of cancer, and the many other people who are fighting this disease."
Gov. Bob Taft has appointed Dwight Smith, president of Sophisticated Systems Inc., to the High-Technology Start-up Business Commission. Smith represents the Governor's Small Business Advisory Council on the commission. By Aug. 1, the commission must respond to the General Assembly on issues including retaining high-technology start-up businesses and the impact of these businesses on economic development and small businesses in Ohio.
Robert Gibson has become a partner at TRIAD Architects Inc. Gibson joined the Columbus-based firm soon after its inception in 1997.
Mary Eckert, owner of The Flag Lady's Flag Store, has been elected to a two-year term on the National Federation of Independent Business/Ohio Leadership Council. The 34-member council is comprised of Ohio small business owners whose role is to bring key small business issues to the attention of state and federal legislatures and provide direction and leadership to NFIB's advocacy program.
Nominations are now being accepted for Junior Achievement's Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame. Nominees must have lived in Ohio for at least 10 years and be at least 50 years of age. In addition, nominees will be judged on their contribution to business excellence, corageous thinking and actions, vision and innovation, inspiring leadership and community-mindedness. Nominations must be received no later than May 15.
For more details, contact Tom Rutan at Junior Achievement of Central Ohio, 771-9903. SBN Magazine is a sponsor of this event.
The Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce has named three directors to its board: William Hartman, chairman and CEO, Bank One NA (Ohio and Kentucky); Thomas Sawyer, president and CEO, Opinion Strategies Inc.; and Robert Schottenstein, president, M/I Homes.
Lonnie Alonso, president of Columbus Pest Control, has been elected to a third term as chairman of the board of the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio. Other BBB officers elected were Patty Cottone, president of Cottone Construction Inc., as vice chairman; and Timothy J. Tokish Jr., vice president of finance, Columbia Gas of Ohio, as secretary-treasurer. Also serving on the board are Ronald D. Miller, the bureau's president and general manager; and Kip Morse, who will assume the office of president in January 2002.
Franklin University has elected officers to its board of trustees for 2001. Floyd V. Jones, senior vice president of operations for The Columbus Dispatch, will serve as chairman of the board. David J. D'Antoni, group operating officer for Ashland Distribution & Specialty Chemical Group, has taken over as vice chairman. John B. Ruhlin Jr., president of Economic Leasing Inc., and Gary W. James, president of Dynalab Inc., have been re-elected to their positions as treasurer and secretary, respectively. James E. Kunk, president of Huntington National Bank's Central Ohio region, will continue on the board as immediate past president; Paul J. Otte, president of Franklin University, remains president of the board.
Thomas J. Bonasera has been appointed partner-in-charge of the Columbus office of Thompson Hine & Flory LLP. Former president of the Ohio State and Columbus Bar Associations, Bonasera brings more than 25 years of legal experience to the position. He also serves as a board of trustees member of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Columbus and the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus and as chairman of St. Vincent's Family Centers.
Auto Body Collision & Glass has received the top national award for customer service from CSi Complete, a Plain City-based company that monitors customer satisfaction in the automotive collision industry. "Auto Body Collision & Glass has demonstrated excellence in customer satisfaction," said CSi Complete Vice President John Webb. "Their system of managing and monitoring customer satisfaction is among the elite in the collision repair industry. "
Clyde R. Seidle has been hired as principal and manager of bridge engineering at Moody/Nolan Ltd. Inc. Seidle is responsible for the overall management and business development in the area of bridge engineering. He brings 27 years experience to Moody/Nolan, most recently serving as chief deputy county engineer for Delaware County.
The National Association of Women Business Owners will meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. April 12 at the Easton Hilton. To register, contact Shelley Menduni at 888-5203. Cost for dinner meetings is $25 for members, $30 for nonmembers.
RailPass Express Inc., a sales outlet specializing in European and British rail products, has received the 2000 Achievement Award from the rail supplier and U.S. marketing arm of the Eurail community, the Rail Europe Group. Dublin-based RailPass was honored for its ongoing sales achievements and promotion of European rail.
Baesman Printing Corp., Boehm Inc., Byrun Lithographing Co., Fine Line Graphics, Kreber Graphics, Hopkins Printing, Middleton Printing Co., Ohio Printing Co., Optimum Print Solutions, Pony X Press Printing, Precision Printing, Robin Enterprises Co. and The Old Trail Printing Co. have received 2000 Print Excellence Awards from the Printing Industries Association serving Northern Kentucky and Ohio.
Columbus-based Meritage Technologies, a privately held business-to-e-business transformation company, has been awarded a 2001 Lotus Beacon Award from IBM's Lotus Development Corp. Meritage won in the strategic e-business category of Web self-service for its development of a Knowledge Portal for PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Metatac International has formed an alliance with Redwood City, Calif.-based diCarta Inc. to offer Metatec Express and diCarta Contracts to software publishers seeking a combined solution for contract management and electronic software distribution.
Frontstep Inc., a provider of business systems for mid-sized distributors and manufacturers, has formed a partnership with Agilera, a full-service application service provider based in Colorado. Frontstep provides customers with products, expertise and access to online communities by delivering a comprehensive suite of software and services. Agilera will sell the Frontstep eBusiness suite as a hosted solution to enable its customers to achieve the seamless coordination and integration of trading partners, suppliers, and distributors.
Robin Holderman, vice president and general manager of Opus North Corp., has been named president of the board of trustees for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
Three-C Body Shops Inc. has appointed Dennis Pappas as COO. Pappas previously served as treasurer and chairman of the board of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Central Ohio.
Gerbig, Snell/Weisheimer & Associates Inc. has received an honorable mention from the Reader's Choice Awards of Product Management Today, a publication for pharmaceutical product managers. GSW earned recognition for creative work on National Century Financial Enterprises advertisements featured in the December issue of Product Management Today.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation's Division of Safety and Hygiene will hold its 71st Annual Ohio Safety Congress and Expo April 2-5 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. New to the event this year is an April 4 session devoted exclusively to small business. For more information or to register, call the bureau at (800) 644-6292.
The Center for Dispute Resolution at Capital University Law School offers Handling Workplace Conflicts: Strategies and Skills, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 11-12 and Negotiation: The Building Block of Dispute Resolution from 8:30 to 5 p.m. May 30. For more information, call 236-6430 or visit www.law.capital.edu/disputeresolution.
Ernst & Young will host its 15th annual Entrepreneur Of The Year awards, honoring outstanding owners of fast-growing companies, June 11 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. For more information, call Deborah Price, EOY Program Manager, 222-3916 or visit www.ey.com/eoy.
A seminar entitled Women in Business will be presented at 10 a.m. April 7 at Home Office Warehouse (HOW) and National Office Warehouse (NOW), 500 W. Broad St. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 228-2233.
More than 18 chapters of Network Professionals Inc. meet weekly either for breakfast or lunch at various locations around Central Ohio. For details, call Frank Agin, regional director, at 523-8717, or visit www.npinet.com.
LeadNet, a business-to-business networking group, meets at noon Tuesdays at Martini Italian Bistro, 1319 Polaris Parkway. For more information, call Racey Morris at 846-8723, ext. 216, or Tim Moore at (740) 548-6067.
Before becoming an account executive at Hitchcock Fleming and Associates Inc., an Akron advertising and public relations firm, Bob Clancy did everything from selling vacuum cleaners to driving a tow truck.
"This was perfect training for a career in advertising because these jobs reflect the inherent drama of life," says Clancy.
After college graduation, he worked briefly as a bill collector for a department store chain. His first assignment was to secure payment on a delinquent account or repossess the debtor's refrigerator.
"I confidently knocked on the door and demanded payment. The door closed, but opened again, and there stood a family of about 20, ranging from newborns to a 90-year-old," Clancy recalls. "Solemnly, someone announced that 'Daddy' had died, but they'd pay soon."
The check never came, so Clancy returned. Again, the entourage greeted him with solemn expressions and the death-in-the-family excuse.
"I skeptically asked, 'When?' and the woman responded, 'Oh, about three years ago.' At that point, the entire group burst into laughter," Clancy recalls. "That ended my collections career but I learned then that facts can be manipulated in many useful and creative ways!"
Facing the future
With concerns over a slowing economy looming, it is understandable that many business owners would assume a reticent position concerning any type of risky move, especially expanding a stable, well-established business.
But Akron-based Superior Staffing Inc., a temporary staffing agency, has a different outlook when it comes to making risky decisions in the midst of an unstable economy. Along with the decision to grow the business, owner Tom Doll has chosen to expand services by opening an office in Canton.
"The reason we are expanding is that we currently do a little business in Stark County," explains Doll. "To grow our business, we realize we can't grow it here in Summit County, we need to expand on the borders of where we already do business."
Doll chose Stark County because of the connections Superior Staffing has already established in Green, North Canton and Canton.
"That's why we chose Stark County, because we have some relationships there. Some people will know of us already, and we think that will help," he says.
With 21 employees, Superior Staffing is not the biggest staffing agency. But with a solid reputation in the Akron area, Doll is optimistic about the company's expansion opportunities and says now is the time for action.
"We are building on what we have done in Akron, which will help the clients we already have in the Canton area," says Doll.
Today's rapidly changing business world is risky enough without the added pressure of a slowing economy. But while most companies are holding their breath in anticipation of a brighter economic future, Superior Staffing vows to venture into new territory with confidence.
Joel Kingsley, president of Apex/M&P Construction, has been appointed to the board of directors of Goodwill Columbus. "I'm looking forward to providing management expertise to an organization that lifts people with special needs to greater heights," says Kingsley.
In other Apex/M&P news, the firm has been awarded a $2.6 million contract to perform work for the New Albany Middle School; a $1 million-plus contract by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to construct a new church and offices for the Madison Lake Meeting House in London; and a $939,805 contract to work on the new Gahanna Lincoln High School Stadium entrance.
The deadline is May 15 for nominations to Junior Achievement's Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame. Nominees must have lived in Ohio for at least 10 years. They will be judged on their contributions to business excellence, courageous thinking and actions, vision and innovation, inspiring leadership and community-mindedness. For details, contact Tom Rutan at Junior Achievement of Central Ohio, 771-9903. SBN Magazine is a sponsor of this event, which will be held Oct. 24.
Lauren Wojciechowski and Richard Crabtree have been promoted to partner positions at Whalen & Co. CPAs. Wojciechowski has been with the company for more than 10 years and specializes in all areas of corporate and individual accounting and tax. Crabtree joined the firm in 1986 and has served as its business tax manager for six years.
The Center for Dispute Resolution at Capital University Law School offers Negotiation: The Building Blocks of Dispute Resolution, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 30. For more information, call 236-6430 or visit www.law.capital.edu/disputeresolution.
Roger P. Sugarman, a partner with Kegler, Brown, Hill & Ritter, has received the AFL-CIO Community Service Award of the George Meany Awards, sponsored by the Columbus-Franklin County AFL-CIO and United Way of Central Ohio's Community Services Department. Sugarman, who volunteers actively with a number of community organizations, is past chair of the local United Way's board, where he continues to serve and chairs a special ad hoc committee evaluating the work of United Way Vision Councils.
Michael A. Petrecca has been named managing partner of the Columbus office of PricewaterhouseCoopers. Currently serving as partner-in-charge of the office's Middle Market Advisory Services Group, Petrecca takes on his new duties July 1. He replaces James D. Robbins, who is retiring.
Nominations are being accepted through June 15 for the Governor's Awards for Women's Excellence in Enterprise 2001. Awards will be given in the following categories: manufacturing/high technology, service, wholesale/retail, real estate/construction and Rising Star (in business less than five years). Nominees must be Ohio based with an annual sales revenue greater than $1.5 million, except in the categories of service (minimum $1 million) and Rising Star (minimum $750,000). Nominated businesses must also be majority female-owned, well-established, growing and profitable for the most recent reporting period. For more information, contact Linda Saikas at 466-4945.
Elford Inc. has been named Prime Contractor of the Year by the Columbus Equal Business Opportunity Commission Office for its commitment to using certified minority and female-owned businesses. Elford demonstrates its commitment to strengthening relationships with minority and female-owned businesses through participation in the Columbus Rotary's Minority Mentoring program, the 2000 Minority Business Summit and through membership in the Columbus Regional Minority Development Council.
David P. Lauer has been appointed a member of Metatec International's board of directors. Lauer, who recently retired as president and COO of Bank One NA Columbus, fills the unexpired term of A. Grant Bowen, who reached the board's mandatory retirement age.
"We are delighted to welcome Dave Lauer to the Metatec board," says Jeffrey Wilkins, chairman and CEO of Metatec. "His vast experience and knowledge will be a great asset to the board and to Metatec." In addition to Metatec's board, Lauer serves on local corporate and advisory boards at companies including AirNet Systems Inc., Online Computer Library Center Inc., Wendy's International Inc. and The Fishel Co.
Two local business owners have been appointed to the State Fire Commission. Patrick Guanciale, an owner of Guanciale & Johnson Real Estate Inc., has been reappointed for a term ending Oct. 31, 2005, representing commerce and industry. Ron J. Landis, owner of R.J. Landis Design & Construction Inc., has also been appointed for a term ending Oct 31, 2005, representing construction.
Ben L. Pfefferle III, a partner at Thomas Hine & Flory LLP, has been elected as chairman of the board of directors of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northeast, Central and Southern Ohio.
Mills/James Productions has received a bronze Telly Award for its production of a video documentary for the Center for New Directions, an organization for women who are redirecting their lives. The Telly Awards are conducted nationally, giving recognition to outstanding film and video productions.
TEAM Mucho Inc. in Worthington has acquired the assets of South Jordan, Utah-based Professional Staff Management Inc. in a transaction valued at $6.75 million. "This asset transaction reflects our formula for PEO acquisitions in the future," explains S. Cash Nickerson, chairman and CEO. "We will solidify ourselves as the market leader in our major markets of Utah, Ohio, California and Nevada; do only accretive transactions; and continue to pursue candidates with major financial sponsors that can accelerate our growth." With this transaction, TEAM Mucho Inc. adds ABS Capital Partners, a private equity fund with more than $1 billion under management, as an equity partner.
Equity President Tim Galvin has been re-elected president of Central Ohio Associated General Contractors. "I'm excited to continue my work that began last year with the AGC," Gavin says. "This position continues to be a great opportunity for Equity and me. I'm able to work with several leaders in the community and have an active voice within the organization."
Roger Faulkenberry has been promoted to managing director and executive vice president for client development at National Century Financial Enterprises Inc. Also at NCFE, Dean E. Haberkamp has been promoted to executive vice president of marketing and Kimberly A. Murray has been promoted to vice president of human resources.
Ernst & Young will host its 15th annual Entrepreneur Of The Year awards, honoring outstanding owners of fast-growing companies, June 11 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. For more information, call Deborah Price, awards program manager, 222-3916, or visit www.ey.com/eoy.
An Insurance and Retirement Issues for Small Business Owners seminar will be presented at 10 a.m. May 5 at Home Office Warehouse (HOW) and National Office Warehouse (NOW), 500 W. Broad St. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Mike Ward or Mike Burroughs at 228-2233.
The National Association of Women Business Owners will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 10 at the Easton Hilton. To register, contact Shelley Menduni at 888-5203. Cost for luncheon meetings is $20 for members, $25 for nonmembers.
Mark J. Butterworth, vice president of Ohio Partners, has been appointed to the Industrial Technology and Enterprise Advisory Council for a term ending Dec 31, 2007. The council advises and assists The Ohio Development Financing Commission.
Jonathan Petuckowski, vice president of Yenkin-Majestic Paint Corp., has been reappointed to the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority for a term ending Jan. 31, 2005. The authority administers the Ohio Tuition Trust Program, which issues college savings bonds and sells tuition credits.
The Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce has named Leslie Weilbacher as the new vice president of infrastructure. She previously served as the director of the Small Business Development Center at the chamber. "Issues such as land use policy, telecommunications access, transportation and logistics play a critical role in the location and growth of business," Weilbacher says. "I look forward to working to ensure that Greater Columbus has the infrastructure needed to sustain economic growth in our community."
Pam Doty, executive director of the Columbus Association of Building Owners & Managers, has received the Crime Stoppers 2001 Board Member of the Year Award for her support of the Crime Stoppers organization. Doty has served as executive director of Building Owners and Managers since 1996 and joined the Crime Stoppers Board in February 2000.
Enterprise Development Inc. will present Innovest 2001 May 10 and 11 at The Westin Hotel in Cincinnati. For more information, call (216) 229-9445, ext. 171. SBN Magazine is a sponsor of this event.
Hopkins Printing has been recognized with six awards -- three gold, two silver and one bronze-- at the 2000 International Gallery of Superb Printing from the International Association of Printing House Craftsmen Inc. Hopkins competed against more than 3,359 entries from all over the world.
More than 18 chapters of Network Professionals Inc. meet weekly either for breakfast or lunch at various locations around Central Ohio. For details, call Frank Agin, regional director, at 523-8717, or visit www.npinet.com.
LeadNet, a business-to-business networking group, meets at noon Tuesdays at the Martini Italian Bistro,1319 Polaris Parkway. For more information, call Racey Morris at 846-8723, ext. 216, or Tim Moore at (740) 548-6067.
The Columbus American Marketing Association hosts Java Talk from 8 to 9 a.m. the third Thursday of each month fat Barnes & Noble on Polaris Parkway. Marketing and technology professionals meet to discuss technology topics affecting marketers. For more information, contact Anne Kemter at 543-6317.
Jewish Family Services' Career and Workforce Development Center will hold its Tips, Tricks and Techniques Tea from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Thursdays at Jewish Family Services, 1151 College Ave., for professionals in career search with experience in a wide range of industries. The meetings are free and open to the public. For more information, call 237-9675.
If you could invent an innovative gadget for use in the corporate arena, what would it be? Patrick J. Kelly has a product idea to boost employee morale in Ohio's corporate environments.
"I want to develop a screen saver for cubical dwellers who don't have any contact with the outside world, and for those of us who don't have a corner office with windows," says Kelly, principal economic development executive for FirstEnergy Corp. and chairman of The Ohio Economic Development Council. "This screen saver would have a picture of a tree with foliage that changes to correspond with the changing seasons and weather that coincides with what is really happening in the climate."
On second thought, says Kelly, perhaps that's too dreary a depiction. After all, this is Northeast Ohio!
Breaking on-hold boredom
Fed up with boring, on-hold messages, Stephen Brand encourages businesses to emulate the recent experience he had when calling a California vendor.
"Before I was put on hold, they gave me an option of choosing the kind of music I wanted to listen to -- soft popular or rock," says Brand, president of The New Enterprise Factory in Akron. "I laughed, selected rock music, and didn't feel bad about being on hold for a minute or so."
Brand notes that Southwest Airlines has an even better idea -- a humorous on-hold jingle that addresses the frustrations of being put on hold.
"The song asks the question, 'Why can't Southwest get their act together and answer the phone?' When you hear it, you just have to laugh," says Brand. "But because Southwest is so good at answering the phone, you rarely get to hear the recording."
Tell-tale deposit slips
If you've ever scrawled a note on the back of your bank deposit slip, perhaps you should keep some notepaper handy instead.
Bank officials at North Akron Savings on East Cuyahoga Falls Avenue recall the bank robber wannabe who passed a note demanding all the cash in the teller's bank drawer. After seizing the currency and fleeing the scene, police and the FBI arrived, only to discover that the suspect had composed his demand note on the back of his own bank deposit slip.
"They couldn't believe the bank robber would be stupid enough to use his own bank deposit slip, but when they reviewed the surveillance tape, one of the detectives recognized the suspect as the same person who's name was printed on it," says Daniel Zampelli, a captain in the Akron Police Department's services subdivision.
The suspect was apprehended a short time later, Zampelli chuckles.
"Thank God for dumb criminals. It makes our job easier."
Business camp for kids
Michael Kolk reveals that, when choosing their children's summer camps, shrewd entrepreneurs are sending their kids to "business camp."
"By working at their parents' businesses, youngsters can learn responsibility and work skills while deriving tax and financial benefits," says Kolk, a certified public accountant and partner at Cohen & Co. in Akron.
For example, $4,400 of earned taxable income is free to the child and fully deductible to the parent's company. (Caveat: if the parent business owner claims the child as a dependent, the child can't take the personal exemption.) If your company is an unincorporated business, you don't even have to pay FICA taxes, Kolk says.
"Of course, you must ensure that your child earns his or her paycheck," Kolk warns, explaining that excess compensation can be disallowed and payments for work not performed can be considered fraud.
Considering the benefits, perhaps you should reconsider whether you want your child digging a latrine in the hot sun or photocopying documents in your air-conditioned office.
Four for franchising
Is franchising for you? Although you give up the total freedom associated with being an independent owner to become part of a group of people committed to building a brand, franchising is all about risk reduction and safety, say four local women.
Partners Julie Price, Paula Cutillo, Becki Crawford and Libby Hackel opened the first Hoohobbers franchise in Ohio in the West Market Plaza of Fairlawn in November 2000, followed by their second store in Beachwood Place in December.
Just what is a Hoohobber? It's an innovative store owned by a Chicago-based company that designs and manufactures its own product line of award-winning merchandise for children. "The company owns over 75 patents," says Hackel, "and a lot of the products we have they've been making for years, so they are very durable, hard goods."
While franchising may ease some of the complications of starting a business, hefty franchising fees can be a hindrance. But with a franchising fee at less than $100,000, the biggest concern for the four Hoohobber franchisees was receiving the proper training to operate the stores successfully. The partners enrolled in a two-week program to train and work in Hoohobber stores, followed by training in their own stores.
"They really have held our hand along the way," says Hackel.