OSHA has rewritten its Record Keeping Rule for Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting to clarify the recording of workplace injuries and illnesses. Business owners should determine how they may be impacted by the reporting requirements of the new rule, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2002.
While the final rule contains most of the provisions originally proposed by OSHA, two significant ones have been delayed until Jan. 1, 2003: the definition of musculoskeletal disorders and specific reporting requirements for occupational hearing loss.
Most of the changes are either administrative or meant to help clarify the determination of whether an incident is "recordable." However, a change in the manner in which lost workdays are counted (the counting rule) may significantly impact your company's safety goals.
Under the new rule, lost workdays are counted in terms of the number of calendar days an employee is away from work, not just the number of workdays. With this system, 2002 lost workday rates may be higher than 2001 rates.
Any company that measures its safety performance by tracking lost workdays should familiarize itself with the standard changes and consider modifying its 2002 performance goals.
Major changes that may result in additional new cases and could account for an increase in the number of lost workdays or restricted days include:
- The addition of "significant injury or illness" diagnosed by a physician or licensed health care provider to the recordable requirement. Significant injuries or illnesses, such as chronic diseases that result from a work exposure, would become recordable at the time of diagnosis, even though no lost time or restricted duty may have occurred.
- Provisions for needle stick injuries, privacy concern cases (for example, blood-borne pathogen cases), medical removal cases such as elevated blood lead levels, tuberculosis, and temporary and contract employees have been added to the rule.
- "Days away from work" and "days of restricted duty" for injuries and illnesses are calendar days now rather than scheduled workdays. The total days are counted regardless of holidays, vacations, weekends or work schedules. This will minimize the confusion of counting days but may increase the overall days logged.
Some other changes:
- The current 200 and 101 forms will be replaced with forms 300, 300A and 301, which are more straightforward and easier to complete.
- The new rule includes a list of specific situations that are not considered work-related, such as commuting, personal consumption of food and drinks, voluntary participation in recreation and personal tasks.
- A list of 14 medical treatments considered not recordable first-aid treatment is included. The use of nonprescription medications, steri-strips, massage and hot or cold therapy are four of the first-aid treatments identified. All other medical treatment is still considered recordable.
- The length of time the annual summary must be posted has been extended by two months. Currently, employers only need to post the summary for the month of February. Now, it must be posted from February through April.
- A requirement has been added to help ensure the participation of employees in the program review process.
- Low hazard industries that are exempt from record keeping requirements are identified in an appendix.
The new forms and instructions for completing them can be found on OSHA's Web page at www.osha-slc.gov/FedReg_osha_data/FED20010119.html.
Dianne Grote Adams, a board certified industrial hygienist, board certified safety professional and certified professional environmental auditor, is president of Emilcott/DGA (www.emilcott-dga.com), an environmental, industrial hygiene and safety consulting company in Westerville. She can be reached at (866) 364-5342 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Given the tragic events of Sept. 11, National Guard and military reserve units are either on high alert status or have already been called into active service.
Employers should do some careful planning, formulate a policy for consistency in dealing with military leave situations and be prepared to deal with the unexpected as part of their patriotic duty.
Under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), employees who must take a leave of absence for active or reserve duty in the United States Armed Forces, Coast Guard, National Guard or Reserves as a result of a time of war or national emergency have certain protections. These protections also apply to military training and service during peacetime, but compliance becomes more difficult when there is a big military mobilization.
USERRA guarantees that employees who take leave for military service will have certain protections, including, in most cases, the right to return to their former jobs when their military service is completed, continuation of group health insurance and other benefits while they are on military leave and freedom from discrimination both before and after military service. Many employers choose to voluntarily pay or partially pay employees who are on military leave, but are not obligated to do so.
Here are some general guidelines with which employers should be familiar:
* Responding to requests for leave. Upon receipt of orders for active or reserve duty, an employee must immediately notify his or her employer. Employers have no choice but to permit the employee to take leave in those circumstances. Sometimes, the employee can't provide much advance notice. In those cases, employers are obligated to cope with the situation as best they can.
* Continuation of benefits. USERRA guarantees COBRA-like continuation health care coverage. If an employee's group health benefits would terminate because the employee must take leave for military service, the employee may elect to continue the group health care coverage for up to 18 months.
The employee may be required by the employer to pay the entire premium for group coverage after 30 days. Again, this is often an area where employers pitch in and help by subsidizing coverage for employees while they are serving their country. Pension and retirement plan rights continue while an employee is on military leave.
* Returning to work after military leave. Employees who give prompt notice of their intention to return to work after military service must be reinstated to their former positions. If the employee would have been promoted into a better position had it not been for the leave, the employer must put that person into the higher position upon his or her return.
In either case, the employer is obligated to make every effort to supply the employee with the necessary training and make other reasonable efforts to ensure the returning employee is qualified for the position.
If an employee has been gone for fewer than 90 days, he or she has an absolute right to return to the same job. If the leave exceeds 90 days, the employer must place the employee in the same job or an equivalent job with equal seniority, status and pay.
After returning, employees who have been on military leave are protected against job loss for up to one year, unless the employer has just cause to terminate an employee's job during that time period. This period of job protection varies depending on the length of the employee's absence.
Because of USERRA, employees who are called to active duty can be assured their interests are equally protected during and after times of war or national emergency and during peacetime service. USERRA contains enforcement provisions that can be activated by the employee or by the U.S. Department of Labor, and employers who violate it can be liable for back pay, attorneys fees and punitive damages.
Because the statute is complicated, employers are well-advised to review specific situations with legal counsel.
Bonnie O'Neil is a partner in Thompson Hine LLP's Labor and Employment group. She focuses her practice on the representation of management in employment litigation, including defense of employment discrimination and sexual harassment cases, wrongful discharge cases, discipline and contract arbitrations and proceedings before administrative agencies. She can be reached at 469-3231 or email@example.com.
You would want to know exactly what's happening with the company, wouldn't you?
Steve Wolever's banker, Charlie Wharton, senior vice president of KeyBank NA, says that's exactly how a bank feels when it lends money to a business owner. In Signature's case, Wolever involved Wharton in his plans to make a big investment in his company from the very beginning.
"Being involved with the entire process from start to completion made it a whole lot easier, so that when we got financial information, it was expected," Wharton says.
To prepare for the loss, Wolever says, the company needed a good financial plan.
"We try to do forecasts really negative and really positive," he says. "We do 12-month forecasting every month for the next 12 months so you know what effect decisions you're making today are going to have. Without that, it's more of a gamble than a plan.
"If we made cuts in anticipation of the loss, our services suffer because we don't have a lot of pure administrative departments. One thing we didn't sacrifice was in the sales area -- that's our lifeblood."
For a period of time, Signature didn't bring on any new hires, but Wolever didn't have to lay off any employees, either.
"We had lot of people doing lot of multitasking, and as we grew we were able to separate out some of those tasks to separate jobs," Wolever says. "We're a people business -- 70 percent of our expense is just in labor. The unfortunate part is there's not a lot of belt tightening that you can do."
Signature was fortunate, he says, because KeyBank supported the plan and maintained the company's line of credit.
"That's how you fund that kind of thing," he says, noting the company was able to borrow based on its large accounts receivable fund, which today is more than $2 million.
In addition, the company doesn't carry a lot of debt. And because of its stability, the timing of the decision to lose money was good.
"A few years before that, we couldn't have done it. We had set a foundation to be able to ride out a single year like that," he says.
"They had been profitable prior," Wharton says, "and had built up a big, strong balance sheet and could stand a one-year loss."
Wharton agreed with Signature's game plan to expand into a certain type of market at least in part because of its past record.
"They already had experience. They had contacts," he says.
Signature executives also had talked to their clients and some potential clients about their idea, so they knew prospects were good.
"They had to gear up with space, people, computers and technology to do that, but they already had some expertise in that area and had some contracts with some major players that would start kicking in," Wharton says.
He suggests that business owners who want to invest in their companies but know there could be reduced profit or even a loss as a result should do enough planning to keep everyone from being surprised.
"One of the best things any business, and small business in particular, can do is work with their bank, their accountant and their attorney as a team and talk about what they're doing, what effects it's going to cause short term and why they think it's going to have a very positive long-term effect," Wharton says.
Along the way, Signature gave Key updates on the status of the new business, another move Wharton recommends so a bank doesn't end up having a knee-jerk reaction and pulling out of the deal when it sees losses it didn't expect.
"If we've got more money into the company in lines of credit or loans or whatever than the actual business owner does," Wharton says, "we've got a real right to be involved with the decision process on what's going to happen." How to reach: Steve Wolever, Signature, 766-5101, ext. 2801 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Charlie Wharton, KeyBank, 460-3433 or email@example.com
Due to external threats realized by the unspeakable acts of terror in September, it is inevitable that many areas of the law will be affected, perhaps none more than those touching upon immigration, already one of the most politically charged areas of law.
Modifications to immigration policies and laws directly affect businesses that depend on foreign travel, as well as the foreign-born population of the United States -- approximately 27 million people, nearly 10 percent of our population.
In addition, U.S. consulates issued approximately 4.2 million business and tourist visas last year. An estimated 20 million to 25 million foreign nationals enter the United States each year on either the Visa Waiver Program or with another temporary visa status.
History has shown that knee-jerk legislative reaction to national events can lead to unintended consequences such as the Palmer raids of the 1920s or the government internment camps detaining 120,000 U.S. citizens and immigrants of Japanese origin during World War II.
On the other hand, the Sept. 11 tragedy may push Congress to act on proposals that would lead to a reorganization of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, splitting the agency into two distinct sections, one devoted to enforcement and the other to adjudicating immigration benefits. It is widely accepted that a division along these lines will lead to greater efficiency and improved service.
More than one congressperson has called our borders "loosey-goosey." Is it possible to significantly increase border security and still thrive economically?
For example, 30,000 vehicles pass across the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit every day. Hypothetically, if half of the vehicles contained U.S. citizens and could easily pass through inspection, and the remaining half had to be entered into an entry/exit control system, and if each entry into a database took only 30 seconds, it would take five days to process each of those vehicles. America would be brought to its knees economically; the land borders would be effectively closed by such a system.
There has been a shift in the public's acceptance of what, prior to Sept. 11, could have been described as an easing of immigration policy -- an easing that could have resulted in the legalization of millions of illegal immigrants residing in the United States.
Various pro-immigrant legislative initiatives that once had strong labor and political support have been indefinitely shelved. Both the recent negotiations between President Bush and President Fox of Mexico concerning undocumented Mexican workers and the temporary extension of another legalization effort [Section 245(i)] have been placed on the back burners.
Enactment of these proposals would benefit millions of unlawful immigrants in the lower socioeconomic strata who often fill jobs not pursued by U.S. workers, namely positions in restaurants, hotels and farming. What was viewed as a rising tide of public support intent upon undoing draconian measures of the immigration law implemented as part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 -- enacted soon after the Oklahoma City bombing -- has disappeared.
Instead, we are seeing proposals that make it easier for the government to track the whereabouts of, electronically monitor, detain and deport immigrants, while civil libertarians are crying foul.
To travel or not to travel?
The globalization of commerce has made international business travel a necessity. Many employers are rethinking their travel programs, keeping employees grounded until the perceived risks and inconveniences have been alleviated.
Companies' nonimmigrant workers are likely to experience heightened scrutiny and substantial delays when traveling internationally. Employers (and foreign national employees) should seriously consider the necessity of foreign travel, whether for business or personal reasons.
In the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, nonessential international travel must be re-evaluated. At the very least, the traveler must be prepared for substantial delays and possible complications upon re-entry.
Delays should be expected at customs and when dealing with airport and airline security checks. The arrival at the gate 15 minutes before take-off may be a thing of the past. During peak travel times, especially during the holiday season, it is critical to arrive early in light of the recently implemented airport security measures.
Travelers will also encounter significant delays when processing through immigration, as INS officials will closely scrutinize identification documents and eligibility for admission. There are indications the INS has targeted nationals of as many as 50 countries for thorough scrutiny. After profiling, these individuals can expect to be directed to secondary inspections and subject to FBI checks, full body searches, photocopying of documents and videotaping of inspection.
For foreign workers traveling domestically, it is prudent to carry a passport, the Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Document and the Form I-797 Approval Notice, as there have been reports that nonimmigrants have been questioned and asked for this documentation when boarding domestic flights.
In the face of intensified scrutiny, it has become critical for companies employing foreign workers to consult with their attorneys. Appropriate legal counsel may not save time at the airport but may help provide a framework for understanding and dealing with issues arising from recent, tragic events.
Kenneth J. Robinson is an attorney at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP who represents businesses and individuals in all facets of immigration law. He can be reached at 464-8383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ohio's Legislature Ohio's Legislature is winding down on debate of a bill to transfer final decisions on rules regarding tobacco sale or use out of the hands of health boards and into those of local elected government officials.
Prompted by news that some health boards in Ohio were moving toward implementing smoking bans, Sen. Lynn Wachtmann introduced Senate Bill 128 in June, and within a month successfully got approval by his side of the Statehouse. The bill passed the House's State Goverment Committee Oct. 24 and was scheduled for a floor vote Oct. 30. However, both sides were meeting with Gov. Taft, who promised to veto the bill in its latest form, to try to work out a compromise.
Without the bill, rules and orders regulating the sale or use of cigarettes and other tobacco products are instituted by boards of health, which consist of appointed members. Wachtmann wants local governments, such as city councils, to OK those rules before they're implemented. That way, he says, business owners will be better able to voice their opinions on the issues, and elected officials will have to answer to their constituents for their actions.
Opponents of the bill, however, include the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and American Heart Association, which say board of health members already are held accountable by the elected officials who appoint them.
The bill, they say, would make it virtually impossible for a county to have a regulation regarding smoking. For example, a countywide smoking regulation in Franklin County, which holds the state capital, would require five local boards of health to go to 42 elected bodies, including 12 cities, 13 villages and 17 townships for the adoption of a regulation before it could be enacted.
''We feel (the bill) takes away the ability of local boards of health to fulfill their obligation to protect the health of the community,'' says Jodi Govern, general counsel for the Ohio Department of Health.
''Of course our concern stems from our concern about environmental tobacco smoke, also called secondhand smoke.'' ''Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in Ohio. The first is smoking, itself, and the second, alcohol use.''
''Another major concern of ours is in restaurants and bars. It's forgotten, but those places are work sites. They have employees. We have strong concerns that that is an occupational health hazard,'' Govern adds, noting that lung cancer risks for restaurant workers are 1.5 times higher than for nonsmokers who live with a smoker and 4.4 times higher for bar workers than for people only exposed to secondhand smoke in the home.
She also argues that business owners already can state their case for or against such regulations at public hearings held before health boards adopt the rules.
Opponents say the bill will complicate matters because board of health rules will not necessarily go into effect uniformly throughout health districts that have many governmental jurisdictions within their boundaries.
''Consumers and restaurants would have a difficult time understanding where a ban is in effect and where it's not,'' Govern says. ''It might just be a matter of which side of the road you're on.''
Proponents, meanwhile, insist that smoking bans and tobacco sales restrictions limit not just individuals' rights but also the rights of businesses to run themselves as they see fit.
''If regulations are going to be passed upon the business people, they should be done by elected officials, not by appointed people once or twice removed from elected officials,'' argues Wachtmann, who represents 10 counties in rural Northwest Ohio and himself owns a business, Maumee Valley Bottlers Inc.
Organizations such as the Ohio Grocers Association, Ohio Council of Retail Merchants and Ohio Restaurant Association agree.
''We simply don't think nonelected officials should be making such drastic business decisions,'' says Josh Sanders, public affairs director for the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants and executive director of the Ohio Association of Convenience Stores.
Boards of health implement issues such as licensing systems and penalties, he points out.
''They don't have to answer to the business community when, in effect, some of these rules they pass could put smaller businesses out of a job,'' Sanders says.
Sanders says while the bill will allow business owners to get a fair hearing in the process before elected government bodies, the business community must take advantage of that situation.
''Business owners cannot say, if we get this passed, everything's fine and not do anything about it,'' Sanders says, especially considering that passage of the law means more government coming into their businesses. ''They're the ones that on the local level need to make sure their business is run the way they want it to be run.''
To keep track of S.B. 128, visit the Web site of the 124th Ohio General Assembly at www.legislature.state.oh.us, type in the bill number and select the Senate option. How to reach: Sen. Lynn Wachtmann, (614) 466-8150; Josh Sanders, Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, (614) 221-7833; Jodi Govern, Ohio Department of Health, (614) 644-8562
Joan Slattery Wall (email@example.com) is a senior editor and statehouse correspondent for SBN Magazine.
First, Dwight Smith, our neighbor and president and CEO of Sophisticated Systems, made it just a suggestion to his employees Sept. 11.
Tom Longstreth, our sales representative, and I joined those employees, gathered in silence in front of the TV in their conference room.
What at first was an option a short time later turned into an order: Dwight closed his business for the day.
Like a kindergarten teacher making sure students boarded the bus safely home, he was among the last to leave, pausing only to visit our office to advise us to do the same. Countless other Central Ohio business owners were of the same mind.
I wrote and rewrote this column in my head so many times and debated whether I should print it at all. Our October edition was already on its way to the printer when the national tragedy occurred. Now, two months after the terrorists attacked, what more could possibly be said? Yet I couldn't let it go unmentioned on these pages, as if it never even happened.
What we'd rather erase from our minds brought memories and acts of compassion we should never forget. For every scene of horror, there was a picture of endurance, help, hope:
* The elementary school student who flashed me the peace sign -- and a broad smile -- as I drove to SBN Sept. 17.
* Churches, normally full only for the Christmas and Easter holidays, which swelled with standing room only.
* Business owners, struggling to make ends meet in the already tremulous economy, who matched donations of their employees or brought blood drives on site so employees could donate.
* Big business, which reached into its deep pockets. The Limited Inc. and Intimate Brands Inc. Foundation contributed $1 million to the fund established by the United Way and the New York Community Trust and gave employees the opportunity to donate as well. (Donate through The Huntington National Bank with account number 04896310285.) Nationwide gave the same amount to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund (800-HELP NOW or www.redcross.org/donate).
* The unique responses of small business. Shadowbox Cabaret changed its scheduled show to one of all comedy and light music. Don ''The Idea Guy'' Snyder designed a Statue of Liberty graphic for print on clothing and other items for sale through his Delaware employer, J2 Creations (www.j2creations.com) in a project dubbed ''ChariTees.'' A portion of the profits will go to the American Red Cross.
It's past time to move on, some will tell me -- let's pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off.
But we are, every one of us, changed -- for the better, I'd argue -- because of one day's events.
The goodness that came out of humanity as a result of the horror must be constantly repeated. May a part of us always remain frozen in time, Sept. 11, 2001. Joan Slattery Wall (firstname.lastname@example.org) is senior editor of SBN Magazine in Columbus.
Doing business as usual wasn't working for Trattoria Roma, a small, family-owned Italian restaurant, when it moved from Morse Road to Grandview last June.
Business tripled within months of the move, and the busier location was turning familiar operation annoyances into problems. Handwritten orders could be difficult to read, for example, and sometimes required kitchen staff to take time out to ask servers to interpret them.
Servers didn't use uniform shorthand for dish descriptions, causing order mix-ups, and charges for extras and substitutions weren't well recorded. In addition, servers had to go to the kitchen to explain special requests.
"The manual way we were doing it wasn't an efficient way of doing it," says Shawn Mason, general manager of Trattoria Roma. "We knew in the first month that the manual system was just not the way to do things down here."
So as of Oct. 2, all orders began being recorded electronically.
Mason says switching to a computerized system has simplified matters for servers and kitchen staff.
Although various programs are available, MICROS was selected by executives at the 10-year-old restaurant. Based on advice from business colleagues, it seemed the most appropriate, Mason says.
"The people who were using MICROS seemed to come back the happiest," he says.
The fact that MICROS is available through a local company -- Brolin Retail Systems -- was a major deciding factor, too, according to Mason. He says he appreciates the 24-hour help line the Dublin company offers.
Introduction to MICROS included 16 hours of training -- divided into two sessions -- for the 48-person staff.
"Everyone here is really catching on very quickly, and it's a very easy system to use," Mason says. "We even kept our registers around for the first few days, just in case we ran into any problems, but we didn't need them."
While making day-to-day operation easier is a clear advantage, Trattoria Roma projects an added bonus: a 15 percent increase in productivity.
Mason says the estimate is based on expected time-saving in a variety of instances: Servers aren't heading to the kitchen with special orders, since those can be noted electronically, and kitchen personnel aren't tracking down servers because of illegible handwriting.
MICROS also saves time by keeping a supply inventory. And, it tracks the restaurant's busy and slow times, so staffing schedules can be adapted accordingly.
"Everything is just more efficient," Mason says.
Ed Hechler, president of Brolin Retail Systems, says other MICROS capabilities include:
- Timecard functions
- Gift certificate generation
- Accounting programming
"The system offers a complete revenue picture for the restaurant at any given time," says Christopher DiPaolo, who -- along with his cousins Rich DiPaolo III and Mark Mizer -- is a Trattoria co-owner.
Although he would not disclose a purchase price, he did say Trattoria Roma's system was "in the five-figure range."
Hechler says MICROS systems range from $13,000 to $17,000, depending on the number of terminals. After the initial investment, expect to pay roughly 7 to 12 percent annually for system upkeep and continued technical support, Hechler adds. Leasing a system may cost $250 to $350 monthly, he estimates.
Trattoria Roma bartender Aaron Tinnerello says MICROS makes it easier to keep bar tabs, allows him to work more efficiently with the servers and gives him inventory updates. He used older MICROS versions at previous workplaces.
Server Stephen Smith, likewise, was accustomed to computer-based ordering; he used Digital Dining elsewhere. While Smith says he liked some aspects of Digital Dining over MICROS, he notes he is still learning the latter. And computer tracking, in general, beats the alternative.
"It's better than hand writing everything out; it's a lot less confusing," Smith says.
Chef Jaime George agrees, saying there aren't a lot of questions from the kitchen to wait staff because of unclear orders or unfamiliar shorthand.
"If they order something with no onions, there are no onions. It's simple," he says. How to reach: Shawn Mason, general manager, Trattoria Roma, 488-2104; Ed Hechler, president, Brolin Retail Systems, 766-1234
C.J. Cross (CrossRoberts@aol.com) is a free-lance writer for SBN.
J. Robinson McCormick, co-founder and board chairman of The Frank Gates Cos. Inc., has been honored as a Distinguished Eagle Scout by the National Eagle Scout Association. The award is presented to those who reached the rank of Eagle Scout 25 or more years ago, achieved leadership status in their career and volunteered their talents in their community. McCormick is vice chairman of the Columbus Municipal Airport Authority and previously served as president of the Rotary Club of Columbus and chair of the Ohio Workers' Compensation Advisory Council.
Phil Ellett has been named CEO of SingleSourceIT. Ellett will assume the company's day-to-day operations and oversee the opening of a new office in Dallas.
Farah Majidzadeh, CEO and chair of Resource International Inc., has been named to the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame in recognition of her exemplary accomplishments and service to Ohio. Resource International, founded in the basement of Majidzadeh's family home, now has offices across Ohio and Saudi Arabia. She actively promotes innovation throughout her industry and was the first female member of the International Road Federation.
Rhonda DeMuth, president of TDCI Consulting LLC, will compete for regional finals of the U.S. Small Business Administration's National Small Business Week Awards after the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce named her Small Business Person of the Year. Through her leadership, annual revenue for TDCI has grown from $2 million to $8.5 million, staff size increased from 27 to 60 and the number of the company's customers increased from 50 to more than 230 in the past three years.
Stephen P. Grassbaugh, a partner with Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, has been elected president of the Ohio Government Finance Officers Association, a professional organization of more than 900 members formed to act as a conduit for the flow of information among all local governments.
Jim Fox has been named president of Fox Corporate OutFitters, a new division of Fox Embroidery Inc. The focus of the division will be to market casual apparel to the corporate market in the Columbus area and nationwide with Internet sales.
The national law firm of Arter & Hadden LLP has elected Dan Bailey, a partner in the firm's Columbus office, as chairman of its national executive committee. As chairman of the firm's Director and Officer Liability Practice Group, Bailey represents and consults with directors and officers, corporations, insurance companies and law firms across the country. Dan Cvetanovich, another partner in the Columbus office, also has been named to the executive committee. He heads the firm's Columbus Business and Commercial Litigation Group.
Girtha has been named top dog at Dublin-based Buchanan & Associates marketing, advertising and public relations. A three-year-old German shepherd and Doberman pinscher mix, Girtha hopes to hone her skill base of squirrel chasing and power napping during her tenure at the agency.
Union Savings Bank has named Mike Shannon vice president. Shannon will be responsible for the branch's retail banking operation and will assist with the mortgage lending operations.
Nationwide Financial has appointed Kimberly Greer as vice president of individual markets. Also at Nationwide Financial, Robert Rolland has been appointed vice president of institutional markets.
Columbus-based National Church Residences, which owns or manages nearly 200 senior citizen and family-based communities in the United States, has promoted David Kayuha to vice president and chief administrative officer.
Sean Sadr has joined Lord, Sullivan & Yoder as vice president of e-business strategies. Before joining LSY, Sadr was the director of e-business strategy at MarchFirst Inc., where he helped develop and engineer e-business models.
Jennifer L. Rudek of Worthington-based Shore Morgan Financial Advisors has been promoted to vice president, financial planning. Rudek specializes in coordination and management of clients' financial resources.
EXXCEL Contract Management Inc. has named John Markham to the newly created position of vice president of organizational development. Markham previously served as vice president of human resources at Columbus-based Franklin International.
Johnny Scales has been named general manager of Easton Town Center. Scales joins Easton from The Pizzuti Cos., where he served as director of management services for Miranova.
When Michael Reed's children wanted to know why traffic signals didn't get covered with snow during a winter storm, he had a simple answer: Snow Ants.
Snow Ants, as Reed's story goes, live in the stoplights.
"They're nice people, but they have issues like everybody else," says Reed, president and CEO of Application Link Inc. "I told my kids the reason why no snow is there is because the Snow Ants broom them out to keep the motorists safe."
Reed's youthful imagination hasn't left him, even though his children are now grown.
Take, for example, the Beanie Baby lion on the credenza in his office.
"It reminds me of the kid in me," he says.
So do the yo-yo and Frisbee that often circulate throughout Application Link's Downtown offices and the purple toy Prowler, which Reed zooms along his desk when he's stressed.
The toys -- and a Cleveland Browns dog -- create the only character gracing Reed's office. He's been there nearly three years, but the sole thing hanging on the walls is a souvenir banner from Puerto Rico given to him by an employee -- and put there by the employee herself. He doesn't even have a desktop computer; file folders cover his desk.
For Reed, it's the simple things that make the day -- and the company.
Ten years after Application Link's founding in 1979, Reed bought out his partner. He's grown the 16-employee business to $20 million in sales -- with 32 straight quarters of profitability, he says -- through simple philosophies.
The first thing he did when he became full owner was to make the technology software and hardware company self-sufficient, which meant having its own products and brand, as well as creating a development division.
"I wanted to develop products we could develop in six months or less," he says, adding that reasoning came from his own use of software products. "I always had a problem with Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel. They're great products. But I always felt dumb because I always felt like I was only using 8 percent of the product."
Then he found out his customers had the same feelings.
"Before we put one pen to paper, I said, 'We have to make our products simple -- create products our customers could put their entire hands around,'" he says. "Everything we have is simple. Like Legos, you snap on pieces."
For example, one of his base products, LinkTRACK, used to track and manage business activities, is personalized for the legal field with add-ons such as a legal dictionary.
John S. Ensign, president of Ruscilli Construction Co. Inc. and a client who has known Reed for more than 10 years, says Reed's entrepreneurial instincts help him anticipate what the customer is looking for and put together new products in response.
"He's an up-and-comer, I think," Ensign says.
"Any time there's ever been a problem situation here, he'll get personally involved in the solution and do what it takes to make sure everything's resolved to our satisfaction."
Reed recently adopted for his business the Global Sullivan Principles to promote corporate social responsibility. Among the principles created by the Rev. Leon Sullivan, an African-American civil rights activist and Baptist clergyman: "We will promote fair competition including respect for intellectual and other property rights, and not offer, pay or accept bribes," and "We will respect our employees' voluntary freedom of association."
In Reed's efforts to stand out in his industry and retain employees, he seeks out what he calls "cool projects."
"There's no loyalty in our industry," he says. "People are jumping around. There's always somebody willing to bid higher, and the way to retain employees is to have cool projects."
His most recent cool project has been developing software to change the way government services are delivered. The aim: for the government to treat its clients as customers, not as numbers or problems.
Reed's three- to five-year goal for his company continues along the vein of keeping it as simple as possible: "To create a billion-dollar company with less than 100 employees. I think it's possible to do."
Perhaps Reed's simplicity enables him to interact with the children at the Eldon W. Ward YMCA, where he serves as president of the consulting board and leads grass-roots efforts to help the branch raise $2.2 million toward a renovation project.
"I think he's an excellent role model for our young kids," says Kim Jordan, the Y's executive director. "We don't hesitate to point out that he owns his own business. I think he has a genuine concern for young people and where they're going."
Reed, who lost his own father to cancer two years ago, has spent seven years on the Y's consulting board, an organization he says meets his desire to help children and senior citizens.
"I think the wisest person in the world is the oldest person in the world, because they've seen so much. In our society, we think the wisest person in the world is the richest person," he says. "And our children are our eternal hope. Any child we leave behind could be the child that's going to cure cancer, and people need to understand that."
In his spare time, Reed is an avid chess player.
"I've been playing chess ever since I was big enough to move the pieces. I even have a chess computer game on my hand-held (computer) I use when I'm trying to de-stress myself," he says.
What he likes about the game is that it requires the player to plan and execute a strategy.
"You have the opportunity to win or lose and, in doing that, it kind of mirrors life's struggles," he says. "You make your move, and somebody is always countering that move. You've got to understand that every move's important.
"There is no trivial move in life." How to reach: Michael Reed, Application Link Inc., 469-1981, ext. 26, or www.applicationlink.com
Joan Slattery Wall (email@example.com) is associate editor of SBN Columbus.
Your investment broker's ready to make a new trade for you, but you're not quite convinced. Do you know what to ask to make your decision?
The Ohio Department of Commerce's Division of Securities puts it all in black and white for you at its Web site, www.securities.state.oh.us/information/info.html. Click on the "Investor Notepad" link for a one-page form complete with questions to ask and documents to request before you buy or sell. The "Questions for Informed Investors" link also will help you through the decision-making process.
Don't forget the division's caution: "If you don't know the broker, feel free to hang up!"