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Tuesday, 31 January 2012 19:01

Gary Conley keeps TechSolve Inc. lean and mean

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Gary Conley is never satisfied with a process being good; it can be better and he will find ways to make it so. Conley is president and CEO of TechSolve Inc., a 55-employee consulting company that specializes in industries such as health care, manufacturing, and aerospace.Conley and his team at TechSolve help businesses find ways to improve operations and become more efficient in any way possible. While he focuses on helping other companies, Conley has to also make sure he is keeping an eye on his own company’s processes.“We have the same issues as our customers, although our people are…
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 19:01

Tom Nies: Putting the burden down

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There was once a professor lecturing his students on stress management. He raised a glass of water and asked the audience, “How heavy do you think this glass of water is?”The students’ answers ranged from 50g to 200g. The fact of the matter is that the absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long you hold it.“If I hold it for a minute, it is OK,” he said. “If I hold it for an hour, I will have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, you will have to call an ambulance. It is…
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 20:01

Enhancing the quality of life

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Medical Mutual 2012 Pillar Awardfor Community Service — CincinnatiKent Clapp CEO Leadership AwardTimothy Johnson, founder, president and CEO of Johnson Investment Counsel Inc., whole-heartedly believes that being an active member in your community and giving back is what makes a company thrive. For the investment management and financial advisory services firm, community service has been instilled in the corporate culture.Johnson founded his wealth management company in 1965. In 2001, the company became employee-owned and is now the largest independent employee-owned wealth management firm in Ohio, managing more than $6 billion in 45 states. Johnson has been sure to get his…
If you’re an employer who sponsors a 401(k) plan, April 1 is a date that you should circle on your 2012 calendar. This is the deadline for plan sponsors to obtain from plan advisors newly required disclosures stating specifically what services they’re providing and the cost of each.To some sponsoring employers, this may sound like a bureaucratic requirement of little consequence. This is decidedly not the case. Beginning April 2, plan sponsors who can’t show that they met the April 1 deadline for disclosures — and the best way to do so is to get them in writing, with signatures…
Friday, 03 February 2012 17:16

Are your 401(k) plan fees unreasonable?

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All too often, small businesses sponsoring 401(k) plans sign contracts with service providers that call for outrageously high fees that are passed on to participating employees.Many plan sponsors have no inkling that their fees may be unreasonable for the services they’re receiving because they don’t even know the amounts involved. Under new regulations from the federal Department of Labor (DOL) that go into effect this year (see “The 401(k) Regulatory Tsunami”), plan sponsors are now required to determine these amounts and whether they’re reasonable.The new regulations present a series of compliance hurdles that employers must clear, beginning with a requirement…
PowerNet Global’s “Love Your Neighbor” Tablet Program was created to bring communities together and give every child an equal opportunity for a greater education. The “Love Your Neighbor” program asks businesses and churches within a local community to purchase PowerNet Global tablets and/or telecom services to help fund PowerNet Global’s school tablet program.The program provides children that attend a participating school with a tablet for their education. The Android tablets allow kids to keep up with today’s emerging technology while having access to books, assignments, the Web and much more right at their fingertips. New tablets will be provided to…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 15:02

From the hearts of our sponsors

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The sponsors of the 2011 Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service support the program because they believe in its mission — to recognize the critical tie between the for-profit and nonprofit communities. Here is a little bit about each of this year’s sponsors:Duke Energy CenterIt is the goal of Global Spectrum at the Duke Energy Convention Center to provide our clients with an experience that goes above and beyond their expectations. Our commitment to service, attention to detail, ability to listen carefully and respond to every request will enable us to achieve this goal one event at a time.…
The Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service, presented by Smart Business, honors businesses of all types and sizes that make outstanding contribution to their community. Its purpose is to encourage a charitable enviroment, recognize creative efforts that make a difference and demonstrate the ties between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.This year's winners will be honored at a special banquet on January 18 at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, OH.But before that great event takes place, we welcome you to take a look at how these kind and selfless individuals and companies do what they do.An introductory letter…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:49

A focus on family

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John Silverman has been engaged in numerous projects and fundraising efforts for Talbert House, a communitywide network of social services, since joining the board in 2003. But as a father of two who learned by his father’s strong example, no project has ignited as much passion in him as the Fatherhood Project.The program assists men in their efforts to become responsible, committed, nurturing fathers through classes, coaching and fellowship support meetings. Striving to strengthen the connection between fathers and their children, especially for men lacking a strong father role model, Silverman has pushed the program beyond its initial conception.The 2009-2010…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:43

Giving from the heart

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Community service has been personal for law firm Rendigs, Fry, Kiely & Dennis LLP since its founding in 1946.Co-founder August A. Rendigs donated funds to build the Alfred J. Rendigs Memorial Center of United Cerebral Palsy of Cincinnati in honor of his son, born with cerebral palsy. He also established a memorial fund to support the operation of the center, which continues to provide UCP’s adult services today.The company, led by Managing Partner Tom Evans, is still commitment to the United Cerebral Palsy of Cincinnati. Rendigs’ attorneys have served on the board for more than 40 years and the firm…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:39

Casting a wide net

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Under the leadership of President and CEO Bernie Stevens, PowerNet Global will celebrate its 20th anniversary in the telecommunications industry this year. What makes this achievement even more significant is that the Fairfield, Ohio-based company continues to operate and live by the same values it was founded on in 1992. That includes a commitment to taking care of its customers and also its local communities.Many organizations have benefited from the financial contributions of the PowerNet as well as the personal contributions of individual employees.PowerNet continually gives back a percentage of its profits to support local communities and ministries around the…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:34

In it together

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When Tracie Metzger was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 30, she went through a journey that included multiple treatments and surgeries. Yet even with the help and support of her family, she still wished there had been an opportunity to connect with other young women like herself. As a young survivor, Metzger created Pink Ribbon Girls with the mission of helping other young women with breast cancer by offering this network of support for them and their families from diagnosis, through treatment and recovery.With its national, searchable database, Pink Ribbon Girls helps women with breast cancer connect…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:30

A helping hand

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Joseph S. Byrum has served Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries in a management capacity for more than 34 years. As president and CEO since 1979, Byrum has expanded the organization’s programs and services to meet community needs.During his tenure, Ohio Valley Goodwill has served more than 50,000 men and women with disabilities or disadvantages and helped a significant percent to obtain economic self-sufficiency. Examples of programs and services implemented by Byrum toward this end include the creation of the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program in the early ’90s, exponential growth in facility- and community-based services for individuals with developmental disabilities in the…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:26

Committed to the community

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Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL maintains a commitment to the economic development initiatives that help keep downtown Cincinnati a great place for businesses, as well as an affordable destination for family entertainment. Toward that end, Managing Partner Paul Muething and his team at KMK partner with local organizations that advance the community and its inhabitants.An example of KMK’s commitment to the vibrancy of downtown Cincinnati is the law firm’s partnership with Fountain Square Management Group, a subsidiary of 3CDC, to put on the Wednesday Evening Concert Series at Fountain Square. This 16-week series features a wide variety of reggae bands,…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:22

Empowering employees

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KDM P.O.P. Solutions Group strives for a culture of giving back that embraces employees, as well as the community. A premiere point-of-purchase and retail printing, fabrication and fulfillment company, KDM has enacted company-funded programs to assist employees in their personal lives.The KDM Dream Makers Program, started in 2008, was created to help employees identify and achieve their goals and dreams. Approximately 150 employees participated in this program in 2011, meeting with a Dream Pro throughout the year — on company time — to work on goal setting and how to achieve those goals. The Dream Pros provide resources to enable…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:17

Laying the foundation

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Since he started as a board member 13 years ago, Steve Eder has continued to increase his involvement with Junior Achievement OKI Partners Inc.’s Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Chapter over the years. As chairman of the organization today, Eder leads by example through his strong commitment to its mission, driving others to help the community’s youth succeed.Eder personally invests his time and resources to grow the scope and impact of JA programs. In addition to his responsibilities as chairman, he has served as a role model to more than 300 students by participating as JA classroom volunteer for more than…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:09

From the hearts of our sponsors

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The sponsors of the 2012 Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service support the program because they believe in its mission — to recognize the critical tie between the for-profit and nonprofit communities. Here is a little bit about each of this year’s sponsors.Duke Energy CenterIt is the goal of Global Spectrum at the Duke Energy Convention Center to provide our clients with an experience that goes above and beyond their expectations. Our commitment to service, attention to detail, ability to listen carefully and respond to every request will enable us to achieve this goal one event at a time.…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:04

The Pillar Award for Community Service program

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About the programThe Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service, presented by Smart Business Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, recognizes the tie between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds by honoring organizations and individuals for positively impacting the region and strengthening the community.About the awards Each honoree, irrespective of the specific award, itself, is a member of “The Pillar Award for Community Service class of 2012.” The specific award falls into one of the following categories: Pillar Award — recognizes for-profit entities for broadly defined “general good deeds” — i.e., giving back to the community, corporate philanthropy (financial contributions), pro bono work, volunteerism, etc.…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 10:51

Charitable investments

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Most companies these days look to give to charitable causes whether it is through volunteering time and talent or giving donations, but rarely do you find that more than 50 percent of a company gets involved. For Timothy Johnson, founder, president and CEO of Johnson Investment Counsel Inc., a provider of comprehensive investment management and financial advisory services, 50 percent employee participation would be subpar.Among the company’s employees, 78 percent of them volunteer their time to more than 144 different nonprofit organizations, churches or schools. All members of Johnson Investment Counsel believe in being an active member in your community…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 10:49

Creative community outreach

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Dave Conway, president and CEO of iSqFt/Construction Software Technologies, supports a community outreach committee that engages employees to give back to the community through a variety of outreach initiatives. This committee evaluates and directs fundraisers and outreach activities based upon employee requests and the needs of local organizations.The preconstruction bidding software company hosts a number of creative fundraisers to raise money that the community outreach committee can use toward local organizations, such as a monthly restaurant program, candy grams for Valentine’s Day, competitive penny wars, and chili and salsa contests.Of the organizations the company supports, iSqFt considers Boys Hope Girls…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 10:51

Thomas Nies; Think for yourself

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“The teacher could be wrong. Think for yourselves.”A sign with these words used to be placed in British classrooms. It is an interesting idea that any school would remind their students to challenge their teacher’s authority of the material they are teaching.There are many trappings you can fall into when trying to think thoroughly and knowledgably about a subject or plan. Becoming entrapped in thoughtless thinking or deluded ways of thinking can cause great plans to falter and subpar plans to be pursued with gusto.For example, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, many Japanese leaders believed that an attack on…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 10:46

Truckin’ on

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In December 2010, Dan Regenold, CEO of Frame USA Inc., a wholesale manufacturer of picture frames, had a vision. He wanted to fill an entire 54-foot semitruck for a charity. He knew this would be a big undertaking, but one for a great cause that people could get behind.He put together a team of giving coordinators, consisting of packers, donation collectors, marketing and public relations professionals, and more, to help coordinate this event in under 30 days. By the end of December, Frame USA ended up needing a second truck because it overfilled the semi. This resulted in 833 boxes…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 10:43

Lending a hand

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As a person committed to community involvement himself, Stuart Aitken, CEO of dunnhumbyUSA, a consumer data analysis company, allows employees to choose what programs and organizations they get behind as a business.The philosophy has lead to the formation of the company’s Helping Hands program in 2006. The mission is to organize and support activities for dunnhumby employees and their families, allowing them to make a difference to local communities through their gifts of time, talent and financial contributions. The program has been so successful in Cincinnati that dunnhumbyUSA’s offices in Chicago, Atlanta and New York actively participate in national and…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 10:24

Real vision

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Having spent more than 60 years growing its presence in the community, Cincinnati Eye Institute is now the largest private ophthalmology practice in the U.S. and employs more than 300 professional staff and 50 doctors. Let by CEO Clyde Bell, it provides care for more than 100,000 patients each year.Yet the way that CEI gives back to its community is hardly limited to the care it provides to patients of its practice. Outside of the day-to-day running of the organization, doctors and staff of CEI offer their time, money and talents to help others. Many CEI doctors and staff serve…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 10:23

Pharmaceutical philanthropy

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Both Philip Rielly and Eric Hill look to find any way they can to contribute to the worthy causes that support the patient communities the company serves. Rielly, president and co-founder, and Hill, vice president and co-founder of BioRx LLC, understand their mission as a health care provider is to give back whenever and wherever possible.BioRx is a provider of pharmacy and infusion services for patients with rare chronic diseases. The company has provided more than 50 organizations with monetary donations or volunteer service over the past two years. A majority of the organizations BioRx looks to help are in…
Few things are more meaningful and important than investing time and resources in supporting our community, and in this issue, we honor companies and their employees who have gone above and beyond the call.All too often these companies and their workers are our region’s unsung heroes. Several years ago, we decided to do something about that.In 1998, Medical Mutual and Smart Business Network created The Pillar Award for Community Service in Northeast Ohio to recognize companies, business leaders and nonprofit executives for their commitment to strengthening the bond between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds. In 2011, we expanded this program…
Saturday, 31 December 2011 19:17

Trail blazing

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Candace Klein, founder and CEO of Bad Girl Ventures Inc., has been through a number of hardships in her life. From living on welfare as a young girl to being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003, these hardships are what have made her who she is today and have pushed her to become the person she wants to be.Through the president of her undergrad university, Klein was introduced to a woman named Alice Sparks. Alice asked Klein what she planned to do in life to which Klein responded, “I intend to change the world.” When asked how she said, “I…