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Wednesday, 22 December 2004 05:33

The healer

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Making a difference matters to Carol Ammon. Her human instinct is to help -- she comforts and sympathizes, prescribes laughter for long faces and simply listens. Ammon's healing nature and her commitment to easing pain prompted a business venture -- Endo Pharmaceuticals, known for products such as Percocet and Lidoderm. "Pain management, to me, is a way to make a difference in people's lives -- or try, anyway," says the chairman and CEO of Endo. Endo's products numb discomfort and erase aches. For example, patients with shingles -- raw, painful scabs that form as a result of a dormant chicken…
Friday, 19 November 2004 10:34

One version of the truth

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Have you ever been in this situation? In an executive management meeting, the VP of sales and marketing, the VP of operations and the CFO each bring the latest sales numbers for the company. But all three versions are different, and not by minor amounts. Unfortunately, this happens all too often, in companies of all sizes. Key metrics that measure the health of the business are inconsistently reported by different departments. How could this happen? To correct the problem of multiple answers to questions about corporate performance, we have to understand how the problem comes about. Two main factors create…
Friday, 19 November 2004 10:21

The Right way

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Rich Pinola was no stranger to Right Management Consultants' services before he settled into the executive suite. As former president and COO of Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, an $8 billion diversified financial services firm, he had he managed a national sales network with 125 U.S. locations and had relied on Right for career transition consulting for his employees. But when the insurance company downsized, Pinola found he needed help, too. "For the first time, I sat down and had to figure out what to do with the rest of my life," he says. He was 45 years old and…
Friday, 29 October 2004 07:41

Movers & Shakers

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AMERICAN RED CROSS The Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Red Cross named Tom Foley president and CEO. Foley, who assumed the position Nov. 1, was president and chief professional officer of the United Way of Pennsylvania, which serves the state's 89 United Ways. From 1996 to 1999, he served as regional representative of the U.S. Secretary of Labor. In 1991, he was unanimously confirmed as Pennsylvania's youngest secretary of labor and industry. He has a J.D. degree from Yale Law School and is a summa cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College. Based in Philadelphia, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter is…
Friday, 29 October 2004 07:36

SEI-Scape

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Office space isn't business as usual at SEI Investments. Don't expect the closed doors, cubicles and claustrophobic conference rooms that characterize many buttoned-up corporate climates. Forget heavy mahogany, brass trim or bankers' lamps. Traditional financial firm fixings aren't SEI's style. Planted on a developed plot of farmland in Oaks, the campus looks more like an assembly of eight brightly colored Art Deco air hangars -- an unlikely setup for an investment institution that administers more than $282 billion in mutual funds and pooled assets and $100 billion in assets and processes almost 50 trillion investment transactions annually. But then, creativity…
Tuesday, 19 October 2004 20:00

Measured results

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The way you define performance will drive your business culture and, to a great extent, determine its success. Consider that statement for a moment within a traditional corporate setting. Managers develop a budget, which is communicated to all responsible parties. The traditional definition of "performance" is clear and simple -- "make your numbers" becomes the corporate mantra. Those who do are corporate stars; those who do not have failed. Seems solid enough in theory, and certainly this is a popular approach to business management, but what are the consequences? It is easy to understand and measure performance vs. budget, so…
Friday, 20 August 2004 11:23

Movers & Shakers

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Ken Killion was named CEO of Wolters Kluwer Health's Clinical Tools division. Wolters Kluwer Health is a division of Wolters Kluwer NV and provides information for health care professionals. Killion, who previously served as executive vice president, will oversee all operational aspects of the business unit, including the drug information, e-prescribing and clinical decision support components. Killion joined Facts & Comparisons, a product line of Clinical Tools, as executive publisher in 2000. He brings more than 25 years of experience in professional publishing to his new role, both with Wolters Kluwer companies such as Aspen Publishers and Lippincott Williams &…
Thursday, 19 August 2004 20:00

The Toll House

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Robert Toll's building blocks keep him quite busy.A conversation about constructing Toll Brothers, a $2.8 billion luxury real estate empire, starts in the car, continues on the airport tarmac, is punctuated by a short flight and reconvenes an hour later via cell phone en route to a Boston subdivision."A wise man knows what he doesn't know," says the chairman and CEO of Toll Brothers, reciting a principle he learned at Princeton law school.That said, he passes driving directions to an aide."I learned to be very careful in business," he says. "My father taught me in the beginning, 'It's more important…
Sunday, 26 December 2010 19:00

The Holveck file

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Born: Trenton, N.J.Education: Degree in education from West Chester University of PennsylvaniaEarly jobs: I delivered papers as a first job. That was a great opportunity for a first step. Kids today often don’t have that first step. I also worked my way through college cleaning floors, and I was in the Navy, serving on a destroyer as an enlisted man. When you work in various fields early on, you get a great perspective on different types of people.What is the best business lesson you’ve learned?Be a good listener. Realize that you’re not going to have all of the answers all…
Many employers have their workers’ compensation premiums adjusted according to their experience modification. However, too many employers don’t understand how this number is calculated or how it affects their premiums. “The experience modification is an adjustment that is made to the workers’ compensation insurance premiums of companies that meet or exceed a certain size level,” says Dennis Ianovale, a vice president with ECBM Insurance Brokers and Consultants. “If your annual premium is more than $3,000, an experience modification will be assigned.”Smart Business spoke with Ianovale to learn more about the experience modification and how it affects your premiums.Who calculates the…
For Jeff Warden, change has been a constant. In his 25 years at The Rose Group, he’s held a number of titles, starting as a director of operations before rising through the vice presidential ranks to become president and chief operating officer in 2003 and president and CEO in 2010. Over that time, The Rose Group has undergone a great deal of change. In the 1990s, the Newtown-based restaurant franchisee and operator was heavily involved with Boston Market and Roy Rogers, owning 12 locations of the former and managing 84 of the latter. In 1997, the company developed and sold…
Amid the economic gloom and doom of the past two years, a potential bright spot may have been overlooked. In spite of the impression that U.S. exports are not competitive, are shrinking or are hamstrung by protectionism, the U.S. remains a major player with enormous untapped potential.Victor Notaro, the senior vice president of PNC Global Treasury Management, believes that the U.S. is doing very well as an exporter, but could be doing better.“While we certainly import more than we export, we remain the third largest exporter of goods in the world,” says Notaro. “And when you add in services, the…
Tuesday, 12 October 2010 09:22

Play to win

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Stanley Greene knows winning is contagious. The former college basketball player recognizes that business is a team sport, and that by getting everyone to understand their roles and then how they fit into the bigger picture is the best way to position any organization for success.  That’s just what the president and CEO of Sprinturf does every day, which is why Sprinturf has become an industry leader, with such clients as the Philadelphia Eagles.  In a July 2009 interview with Executive Leaders Radio, Greene talks about how to raise your level of performance to set a successful leadership example for your…
If your company has financial obligations, such as payments to an insurance company, you can obtain a letter of credit, which essentially states your intention to pay the debt. But while the lure of using LOCs can be tempting, the advantages they bring do not come without risk. Daniel R. Slezak, vice president with ECBM Insurance Brokers and Consultants, says using LOCs will reduce a company’s borrowing capacity with its bank, which can leave business owners with their hands tied if an opportunity for growth comes along. “If your business has shown a need to borrow money as a catalyst…
Saturday, 25 September 2010 20:00

The Maguire file

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Born: PhiladelphiaEducation: B.S. in finance, St. Joseph’s University, MBA, University of Notre DamePersonal: Maguire is an accomplished triathlete who has competed in the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii twice — 2003 and 2006.What is the best business lesson you’ve learned?Embrace change. Just when you think everything is fine, you’re in trouble.What traits or skills are essential for a business leader?There are really five key ones: Be open-minded, be disciplined, always have a vision, be motivated and have humility. Never think you know everything.What universal truth have you learned about leadership?Actions do speak louder than words. And remember that you can enjoy…
When a company sets up a 401(k) plan or pension plan for its employees, the focus is on the benefit it provides to employees, and executives are not always aware of the added personal liability that they are incurring. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) formalized and increased the potential personal liabilities of fiduciaries, says Charles Bernier, president of ECBM Insurance Brokers and Consultants, and anyone administering a plan can be at personal risk. “According to a 2008 Supreme Court ruling, plan fiduciaries can be held personally liable for any losses if they breach their responsibilities,” Bernier…
Thursday, 26 August 2010 20:00

The Mashner file

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Born: Marinette, Wis.Education: Undergraduate and master’s degrees in accounting, Penn StateWhat is the best business lesson you’ve learned?You’re going to make mistakes. If you don’t make any mistakes, you’re probably not trying enough different things.What traits or skills are essential for a business leader?You have to be willing to let others take a chance. The higher up you go, the fewer details you should be involved in. So you might be used to doing something yourself, but sooner or later, you have to let others take the chance.What is your definition of success?Are you happy in what you’re doing and…
Monday, 26 July 2010 20:00

Manufacturing remains in flux, but growing

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By the time financial markets around the globe started to tumble in October 2008, much of the manufacturing industry was already deep in a recession that had stretched across the better part of a decade. Millions of workers had been sent home, their labor and their experience no longer needed because of more efficient machines and the rise of globalization. Thousands of factories had been shuttered. Whole companies just disappeared. None of it was coming back. It was all gone for good. Manufacturing was not, of course, the only industry hit hard prior to the start of the larger recession.…
What might seem like the perfect acquisition opportunity may, in fact, create risks that threaten business viability. Christopher Meshginpoosh, CPA, director of the Audit & Accounting group at Kreischer Miller, says that the development and execution of an M&A strategy must be based on careful consideration of the buyer’s business strategy, the pros and cons of both M&A and organic growth options, as well as common pitfalls in M&A efforts. “The harsh reality is that the vast majority of mergers and acquisitions destroy value, rather than create it,” he says. “Deal-making is addictive and, far too often, buyers jump into…
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 09:56

Leadership succession with strategy

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This business truth will not shock you: Things change. Constantly. But while many organizations have change management plans in place for everything from an acquisition to laying off employees, handling a leadership change often puts companies into a tailspin. For small and midmarket organizations, the leader is often the person who drove the company to its highest levels of success. At larger organizations that leader is usually the one who sets the tone. Either way, when that person steps down, employees and clients get nervous. So it was likely that the board at Kennedy Health System had to hold its…
The new health reform law, also known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), will make big changes to how millions of U.S. residents receive their health benefits. “One change that has received a lot of attention is a new requirement for health insurers and group health plans to allow dependents up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ health plans,” says David Crosby, regional president of HealthAmerica. “Under the PPACA, this new requirement takes effect for plan benefit years that start on or after Sept. 23, 2010.” Smart Business spoke with Crosby about several aspects of…
Address the business and address the people.It’s a two-pronged strategy that George Norcross has helped implement at Cooper University Hospital as the $886 million health care system has navigated the choppy economic waters of the past two years.Norcross — the chairman of the board of trustees — has worked with the system’s leadership to develop the two-pronged strategy. First, they needed to address the manner in which the health system conducted itself as a business enterprise.“We had to conduct our enterprise much more like a business enterprise, a for-profit enterprise, in terms of cost containment and productivity levels,” Norcross says.…
Accidents happen, and for a business, they can be quite costly. To prevent future losses, accident investigation can be an important tool to help businesses determine why an accident happened, then take steps to prevent the same type of accident from happening again. “If you’re having a series of similar accidents, eventually you’re going to have a severe one — that million-dollar claim,” says Charles Russo, account executive with ECBM Insurance Brokers and Consultants. “As a company, you have to identify and analyze the types of loses your organization is prone to and put time-tested and effective prevention measures in…
Wednesday, 26 May 2010 20:00

How to assemble a strong advisory board

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In the current highly competitive and challenging economic times that most businesses face, a strong advisory board can be particularly helpful in navigating ever-changing and sometimes complex marketplaces. “A growing number of our closely held business clients are using outside advisory boards to assist them in evaluating strategic issues affecting their businesses,” says John F. Schlechter Jr., director in the Audit and Accounting Group at Kreischer Miller. Smart Business spoke with Schlechter about the role of a strong advisory board and the benefit of gaining perspective in a complex business environment. What is the difference between an advisory board and…
Sunday, 02 May 2010 20:00

Emphasizing people and can-do for results

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Jim Horn has been at that company. You know the company: the one that puts such a value on metrics that it ends up running good people – people like Horn – out to meet this quarter’s profits. But to Horn, who today is the president and CEO of The Tri-M Group LLC, the true entrepreneurial drive is one that puts an emphasis on leaders who stay in touch with their people to grow new leaders and new sections of the business. Horn talked about that entrepreneurial drive and what it takes to really stay in touch with your company…
Sunday, 25 April 2010 20:00

Taking steps forward

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When Shelley L. Boyce told consultants in November 2008 that she wanted to implement a new company culture by New Year’s, they laughed at her. “They said, ‘It’s not about just putting in the structural changes; it’s about instilling that and moving that through your entire organization,’” Boyce says. “It’s a multiyear process, much of which gets done in the first year.” Needless to say, Boyce, founder and CEO of MedRisk Inc., is still working on making the cultural changes that will help MedRisk maintain growth. The provider of workers’ compensation custom claims and medical management solutions reached revenue of…
Sunday, 25 April 2010 20:00

An M&A checklist for buyers and sellers

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GDP is ticking up, consumer confidence has more than doubled in the last twelve months and industrial production is increasing. Does that mean the time is right to consider an M&A transaction — either as a buyer or a seller? Smart Business spoke with Bill Watkins, co-head of new business development for Harris Williams & Co., a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, about the current climate for mergers and acquisitions and how a company can position itself and prepare to maximize today’s opportunities. What is happening in the M&A market? M&A volume has begun to pick up substantially.…