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Tuesday, 26 May 2009 20:00

3 Questions

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Sally Stephens has more than a dozen years of experience in nursing, diabetes education and case management through her work at hospitals in the Indianapolis area. As founder, owner and president of Spectrum Health Systems, Stephens has dedicated the remainder of her career to creating positive changes in employee health and American business. Stephens is a board member for the Indianapolis chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. Q. What is the first step in creating a wellness program? The biggest thing is for the employer to look at what their objectives are for a wellness program. Do…
Tuesday, 26 May 2009 20:00

The Molendorp File

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Born: Sibley, Iowa Education: Westmar College, Le Mars, Iowa, bachelor of science degree, math and business administrationWhat was your first job? Construction, I started working as a sixth-grader. I did some carpentry, small-town remodeling working for my grandfather for 50 cents an hour. It taught me that hard work is a good thing. If you work hard, you can measure some progress.Whom do you admire most in business and why? People who have a strong personal value set and let that drive their business. I admire people who do things the right way. Unfortunately, we have too many people who…
Saturday, 25 April 2009 20:00

Keeping employees healthy

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In these harrowing economic times, many companies are looking to cut costs. Layoffs are increasing in frequency and in sheer numbers and, now more than ever, employers need employees to be productive and present. One way employers can address those concerns is by implementing disease management and wellness programs at their companies. “Disease management and wellness programs have been around for a long time and those programs serve as a way to control indirect health care costs associated with not only direct costs but with lack of productivity and presenteeism,” says Sally Stephens, president of Spectrum Health Systems. Smart Business…
Thursday, 26 March 2009 20:00

Building blocks

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Mike Dilts wants employees to know what’s happening at Shiel Sexton Co. Inc. He wants them to see themselves as an important part of the company’s future. But it has to be about more than just tossing your people a bone once in awhile to make them happy. “Where you get into trouble is when people think they are collaborative, but it is actually more of a dictatorship,” says Dilts, the company’s president and chief operating officer. “They allow some delegation, but they pull the rug out from under those people when they think it’s going in a direction they…
Monday, 23 February 2009 19:00

Culture of inclusion

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Bobby Keen believes that as a leader, you’re only as good as your employees think you are. And for that reason, the president and CEO of Hancock Regional Hospital tries to keep his leadership style as participatory as possible. “I have great respect for the people I work with, their skills and abilities,” Keen says. “In many cases, I know those people have a greater expertise than I personally do.” Keen, whose organization posted 2008 revenue of $155 million, says that a leader can’t unite an organization without getting employees from all levels to buy in to the organization’s mission…
Monday, 23 February 2009 19:00

The Preziotti file

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Born: Brooklyn, N.Y. Education: Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., bachelor of science in electrical engineering; Columbia University, MBA, finance and general management Who has had the biggest influence on your life? My parents instilled a set of values when I was growing up around hard work, ethics and integrity. I try to live by that every day. What are your favorite movies? ‘The Godfather,’ ‘The French Connection’ and ‘Apocalypse Now’
Monday, 26 January 2009 19:00

Pushing the right buttons

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T. Scott Law likens his leadership style to that of college basketball coaching legend Bob Knight. Well, sort of. You probably won’t see Law throwing a chair or having words with a referee, but if you were to attend one of Law’s meetings at Zotec Partners LLC, you would see a leader who challenges his employees to perform better and tries to leverage their talents to have the best possible impact on his business. “I try to get the most out of people,” says the founder, president and CEO of the 500-employee technology solutions company. “Every job I ask people…
Monday, 26 January 2009 19:00

Inside or out

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It’s a question that every CEO faces when looking to develop leaders in a growing organization: Do you promote from within and rely on the internal knowledge and expertise gained by loyal employees who have been with you for an extended period of time, or do you bring in fresh faces from the outside who can shake things up a little and challenge the status quo with some new ideas? The fact is that it takes a little bit of both, says Marvin Richardson, president and CEO of Arcadia Resources Inc. “At a senior level, you’ve got to find people…
Friday, 26 December 2008 19:00

Corporate governance

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If a spotlight wasn’t shone on corporate governance after the Enron and WorldCom debacles, then it most certainly was with the federal government’s recent $700 million bailout plan. The bottom line is corporate governance is necessary to ensure corporations can attract capital, perform efficiently, generate profit and meet both legal obligations as well as the expectations of society, says Edwin J. Broecker, a partner in the Business and Finance Department and Real Estate Practice Group of Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP in Indianapolis. Smart Business spoke with Broecker about what exactly comprises corporate governance and why it’s so important to…
Friday, 26 December 2008 19:00

Man on a mission

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Dennis Dawes, the president and CEO of Hendricks Regional Health, likes to hammer away at the fundamentals, just like a coach. The only difference between the world of business and the field of play is what constitutes “fundamentals.” Where Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy might harp on tackling, blocking and other basic football skills to his players, Dawes reinforces the Hendricks’ mission statement, vision and core values to his team of more than 1,600 employees. Of course, keeping a work force of several thousand focused on uniform goals can be more challenging than rallying a roster of 53 football players.…
Tuesday, 25 November 2008 19:00

Support system

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Sam Reed says that your employees need to know they’re good at what they do. The president of architectural and engineering services firm BSA LifeStructures Inc. believes that, too often, businesses focus too much on the areas in which employees need to improve and not enough on their strengths. And while you have to identify and address shortcomings to help employees reach their full potential, Reed says you should also consistently point out ways in which your employees are excelling and let them know that management wants to help them make their strengths even stronger. “That is something that has…
Sunday, 26 October 2008 20:00

Focus on success

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When Brad Dennison joined nFocus Technologies Inc., he needed to boost revenue for the slow-growing business. The business solutions provider had a lot to offer and boasted a healthy client base, but it needed to counteract its economic stalemate. By implementing a plan to work with customers who shared lateral growth goals, he produced new products while learning from other experts, allowing all parties to grow. “Linking the company name to another industry requires careful planning with familiar and reputable companies,” Dennison says. “Keep in mind your goals and choose wisely.” With his plan in place, the managing director initially…
Thursday, 25 September 2008 20:00

Staying in tune

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People are going to find out what they want to know. That’s something Simon Crookall has known for a while now. Whether you tell them or not, the president and CEO of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra says that the people in your organization will find some channel through which they can get information. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Businesses and other large organizations have long placed a high emphasis on strictly controlling the flow of information though intricate systems of checks and balances. And while some information does need to be carefully disseminated, Crookall says every communication does…
Thursday, 25 September 2008 20:00

Team spirit

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Don Brown co-founded Interactive Intelligence Inc. with the mentality of a street fighter who had to scrap for everything. The message was nothing would come easy for his employees and that they would need to outwork and outhustle the competition each and every day in order to succeed. “A company has to have a personality,” says Brown, the company’s chairman, president and CEO. “We typically compete against much bigger companies. To some extent, I think that makes it easier. It can be you against the big guys. You’re always the underdog, and you’re always having to explain why you are…
Tuesday, 26 August 2008 20:00

Government relations

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On a daily basis, businesses run into a variety of obstacles on the road to profitability. One of those obstacles could be the government, which controls the regulatory landscape in which a business operates. But government can be as much an enabler as it is an enforcer, says Jonathan Bryant, an associate with Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP in Indianapolis, who concentrates his practice in business and finance, government practice and real estate. Businesses should devote as much time to seeking out government programs that could help them as they do searching for, say, favorable tax treatment. Smart Business spoke…
Tuesday, 26 August 2008 20:00

Winging it

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When Jim Carpenter first told people that he wanted to sell bird seed for a living, he heard quite a bit of laughter. It was 1981 and Carpenter had just opened his first small bird-feeding hobby store in Indianapolis. “Very quickly, I found that the few people who came in really liked having a hobby store for bird feeding,” Carpenter says. “I was the first business they had ever been into that respected the hobby and knew anything about it. That gave me a lot of encouragement that I was doing something right.” As more people began to frequent his…
Saturday, 26 July 2008 20:00

Building success

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John Brand is no stranger to corporate growth. Butler, Fairman & Seufert Inc., a civil engineering firm with 2007 revenue of $15.3 million, recently acquired a Lafayette civil/environmental company after partnering with the business for several years. In addition to making the acquisition, Brand — the company’s president and a principal — says Butler Fairman has grown by balancing new opportunities with maintaining existing client relationships. “Our integrity and our firm’s reputation is paramount,” he says. “We’d like to be viewed as a trusted adviser.” Smart Business spoke with Brand about how he and his team of 145 employees have…
Wednesday, 25 June 2008 20:00

Environmental claims

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With a growing consciousness of pollution and a movement toward going “green,” businesses should be aware of the availability of insurance coverage for environmental claims. “The good news is that courts, especially in Indiana, have sided mostly with businesses and interpreted insurance policies to provide coverage for environmental issues,” says Robert Clark, partner with Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP. “Still, you need to be prepared.” Smart Business spoke with Clark about environmental insurance claims and what businesses need to be aware of. What kind of insurance coverage is available for environmental issues? Most business policies can cover environmental claims. Almost…
Monday, 26 May 2008 20:00

Lending an ear

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What is a CEO’s role in leading a company? It’s a broad question but a heavy one — a question that has many possible answers. For Anne Sellers, the answers start at the bottom rungs of her company and move upward. The managing principal and majority owner of Sensory Technologies, a $20 million audiovisual solutions company, says that your job is to listen. You need to listen to what everyone in the company is saying, what your employees are pleased with, what they need help with and the ways they feel management can improve the company. It can be a…
Monday, 26 May 2008 20:00

Ripping the Band-Aid

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When Jeff Tognoni arrived at Made2Manage Systems Inc. in August 2003, he found a company in serious need of a reboot. The business software and service provider had seen its revenue dip from $34.5 million in 2001 to $30.2 million in 2002. It was also the fourth straight year the company had lost money and spirits were down. But Tognoni says the last thing employees in that situation want to hear is a rah-rah speech about how bright the future is going to be. “You can motivate for a short amount of time because of charisma, but you can’t really…
Friday, 25 April 2008 20:00

Sculpting great communication

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To many CEOs, communication is a science of numbers: You get your messages out by repeating them to as many people as possible, as often as possible. To Maxwell L. Anderson, however, communication is lot like art. The director and CEO of the Indianapolis Museum of Art says that any organizational communication is full of symbolism and open to a wide array of interpretations. Your appearance, your inflection, the words you choose, all of those affect how your employees will interpret what you have to say. As the leader of your company, Anderson says that you must be aware that…
Friday, 25 April 2008 20:00

The Mays file

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Born: Evansville, Ind. Education: Bachelor of arts degree, chemistry; MBA; honorary doctorate of science, Indiana University What was your first job? It was $1.25 an hour. I worked in an icehouse doing manual labor. I think I was 17; I was supposed to be 18. I probably fudged on that a little bit. But I actually pulled ice. Back in those days, ice boxes were just that. You had slabs of ice you put in the ice box to keep food cold. We used to cut that up and make deliveries to various ice boxes. That taught me that I…
Wednesday, 26 March 2008 20:00

Earning their wings

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When you are really good at developing the potential that exists within your employees, it’s only natural that some of them will take those skills and leave for a new career opportunity, says Christopher Clapp, president and CEO of ANGEL Learning Inc. “People need to feel like they are getting satisfying careers,” Clapp says. “If they are not enjoying what they are doing and they think they are best served by leaving, that may hurt, but we want to try to feel good about that for them. We’re not encouraging people to move out, but if that’s the reality, we’ll…
Sunday, 24 February 2008 19:00

Find the fun

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The days of leaving the office and your job behind each day at 5 p.m. may be long gone, but that doesn’t mean work has to be an anchor weighing you down. Mike Simmons wants work to be a place where employees can have fun, and he has put a pool table and a Nintendo Wii into the break room at T2 Systems Inc. to facilitate that. And the recreation room is not just for his employees; T2 Systems’ co-founder, president and CEO plays right along with them. “I want to work in an environment where we can laugh and…
Tuesday, 29 January 2008 19:00

It’s a wrap

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Arecent survey of CEOs found their No. 1 objective is growth, followed closely by margin. In order to secure this growth, companies have to deal not only with the opportunity side but also with constraints of existing IT systems. “Seventy percent of the CEOs cited IT as a key to growth, but 60 percent of those same executives said that IT is inhibiting growth,” says Bill Russell, executive vice president of Allegient in Indianapolis. “That’s because the existing systems and architecture do not have the flexibility to become agile and poised for speed or to drive customer value.” Smart Business…
Tuesday, 29 January 2008 19:00

Healthy outlook

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Matthew Gutwein might have been the only person to see any hope for Health and Hospital Corp. of Marion County upon his arrival in 2003. The company had just lost $77 million in 2002, and there was little reason to believe that trend was going to change. In fact, it appeared as though the situation was only going to get worse. In addition to losing money, patients were not being served according to the health system’s own high standards and the employee work-to-volume ratio was one of the lowest in the nation. “We were sinking like a rock,” Gutwein says.…
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 19:00

Transparent answers

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In the past, health care was a limited service that employers provided employees. The service was limited because there was only coverage for certain physicians, medical procedures and prescriptions, depending on the plan. Today, health care plans, such as Health Savings Plans, give consumers more choices in health care service. For many consumers, more choices lead to confusion and the need for knowledge to make educated decisions. Health care providers advertise their plans as being transparent to ease consumer fears, but it is important for consumers to truly understand the information they are being provided and how to use such…