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Sunday, 29 October 2006 04:58

The Pomeroy file

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Place of birth: Asbury Park, N.J. Education: Xavier University, marketing degree First job: Cutting grass for neighbors and working at local swim club Whom do you admire most in business and why?My father. He double-mortgaged his home and started a business from scratch and made it into a great success. What is the most important business lesson you’ve learned?Don’t assume anything, and make sure you surround yourself with really good people who understand the business What has been your toughest business challenge?Executing a major transition within our business model while being a small-cap publicly held company Describe your leadership style.Demanding…
Wednesday, 20 September 2006 20:00

Low-risk, high-return investment

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With most investments, you have to increase your risk to have a chance at higher returns. But customized risk control services offer businesses a risk-free investment. Loss-control programs specifically designed for individual clients can lock in both higher profit and lower risk. “The most effective loss-control services examine individual facilities and specific processes,” says David White, risk control manager at Westfield Insurance. “Recommendations for improvement from these findings can not only reduce business’ claims but also improve their bottom lines.” Smart Business discussed with White the advantages of customized risk control services and the ways a comprehensive risk control action…
Tuesday, 19 September 2006 13:31

The Rumpke file

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Place of birth: Cincinnati Education:1958 graduate, Hamilton Catholic High School First and only job:Picking up trash at Rumpke Whom do you admire most in business and why?The one and only person I admire and try to emulate is my father. He was always fair to people, always treated them as equals, and wasn’t afraid to take a well-thought-out chance. What is the most important business lesson you’ve learned?Be tenacious. Go after the golden goose, and never, ever give up. What has been your toughest business challenge?There have been many; I can’t pick one: The largest landfill slide in the U.S.,…
Tuesday, 29 August 2006 10:54

Continuing education

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Going back to college as an adult can be a great opportunity to advance in a current career or kick-start a new one. While working adults face some additional challenges when juggling school and work, taking the plunge to head back to college — and paying for it — as an adult has never been easier, according to Kathy Kelly, director of student administrative services at the College of Mount St. Joseph. “Many adults don’t realize the myriad of financial aid options available to them when going back to school,” she says. “From employer tuition reimbursement programs, to financial aid…
Monday, 28 August 2006 20:00

Bernie Stevens

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 Staying on top of the telecommunications industry is not easy, but Bernie Stevens has found a way for PowerNet Global Communications to be heard over the phone company giants. By focusing on the company’s strengths, he has put PNG Communications among Cincinnati’s 100 fastest-growing private companies for three years in a row. The company’s growth to 310 employees has enabled it to offer voice, data and Internet solutions to residential and commercial customers nationwide while staying within its means. Revenue is more than $100 million for the privately held company Stevens founded in 1992, and PNG has opened offices in…
Tuesday, 01 November 2005 08:58

Who is an adult student these days?

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What image do you have of a college student? Do you envision an 18-year-old who goes to college full-time and lives on campus? In today’s world, the 18- to 23-year-old residential full-time college student does not completely reflect reality. As the U.S. economy becomes more information-driven, more adults ages 25 and up are finding that a college degree is becoming an increasingly necessary credential in the marketplace for upward mobility or career change. The need to demonstrate a capacity for lifelong learning to employers is changing the picture of the undergraduate student on campuses across America. Adult students fit into…
Tuesday, 01 November 2005 06:23

Building a buyer’s market

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More than 50 years in the media business hasn’t dimmed Bill Price’s enthusiasm for his industry. “This is one of the most exciting times ever in this business,” says Price, founder and chairman of Empower MediaMarketing. “It is so much fun and it’s hard to keep up because there’s somebody doing something different every day to reach consumers.” A veteran of the Leo Burnett agency in Chicago, Price built a media-buying firm that avoided the questionable practices that other, similar concerns had engaged in up to that time. An open book approach, Price says, provided his fledgling company with the…
Sunday, 30 July 2006 05:47

Co-op programs

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Since the launch of the Anthony Munoz Foundation in April 2002, more than 100 local businesses and charitable organizations and thousands of volunteers have made a positive impact on area youth. Earlier this year, the foundation and its executive director, Andy Danner, were honored by Mount St. Joseph College as “Co-op Employer of the Year.” “That tells me that we’re doing something right with these kids,” says Danner. “I’ve told them we’ve keep taking the students as long as they have them. It’s worked out really well for us.” Smart Business talked with Danner about how to successfully integrate a…
Friday, 28 July 2006 20:00

Finding his FORTE

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When Gene Forte finished his master’s degree 26 years ago, he had two options: Relocate to another state for a job, or go into business for himself. He chose the latter and founded FORTE Industries, a private distribution operations improvement company. Today, the company is in fast-growth mode. It has twice been named to the Inc. 500 list as one of the 500 fastest-growing companies in the country and last year hit $18 million in revenue. Smart Business spoke with Forte about the challenges of expansion and knowing when it is the right time to grow. How did you know…
Wednesday, 28 June 2006 12:32

Equipped to succeed

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In today’s economy, equipment plays a crucial role in fueling the success of middle-market companies. Whether machine tools, printing equipment, corporate aircraft or fleet vehicles, the equipment you rely upon to create and transport your products and services are as important as the intellectual capital and management strength of your company. Whether you are seeking to expand your operations, increase your productivity or simply replace your aging equipment, leveraging the value of your equipment is a strategy that more and more companies are considering. Smart Business spoke with John Sands, a vice president and middle-market manager with PNC Equipment finance,…
Wednesday, 28 June 2006 10:07

Energetic growth

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Four years ago, RJ Nicolosi had a vision to transform the energy industry. He and a group of investors purchased Midwest Electric in 2002 and began investing in employees and customer relationships. His goals were to expand the company into new geographical areas and new business sectors, grow in existing markets, and add utility distribution and transmission services. To do so, Nicolosi established a vision statement that separates Midwest Electric from its competitors. The vision highlights safety, customer focus, innovation, integrity, loyalty, respect and stewardship. He also focuses on employees. Unlike some competitors, who lecture on safety for a few…
Wednesday, 28 June 2006 09:59

Right time, right idea

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Not many students have taken a college assignment and turned it into a million-dollar business, but that’s exactly what led Jeremy Christ and Michael Fountain to form ModernGigabyte LLC. The two were completing MIS degrees at the University of Southern Mississippi and working to pay for school by waiting tables. As the result of an assignment, both attempted to pitch to their respective restaurants the idea of putting menus and directions online. However, in 1999, the Internet had yet to take off, and both general managers scoffed at the idea that customers would want to see the menu before arriving…
Wednesday, 28 June 2006 09:53

Processing success

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When Jerry Merritt took over as CEO of ZirMed Inc. in 2004, the company was in a downward spiral. Twice, the Web-based electronic claims company had sent its employees home because it had no money to pay them. When Merritt stepped in at the Louisville-based company, he instituted two bold initiatives. The first was to give all 40 employees the opportunity to become owners, to instill in them the sense of pride and urgency needed to make the business succeed. And he arranged a “paid by performance” program, which enticed workers to give their all because as the company succeeded,…
Wednesday, 28 June 2006 08:28

Innovative caring

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Barry Bortz’s vision has changed the look of elderly care in the Cincinnati area with Carespring Health Care Management. Unlike traditional nursing homes, Carespring centers offer a warm atmosphere, making them a place residents want to be instead of just a hospital where they to be. Amenities include beauty shops, Starbucks coffee, Montessori schools, Jacuzzis, cable TV and other things to keep that vision going. Bortz’s ideas have, in many instances, become leading practices throughout the industry. For instance, to enhance the nurses’ ability to monitor every patient, he designed the spoke facility layout, placing the nurses station in the…
Wednesday, 28 June 2006 08:16

It takes a team

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T. Brian Pollard and Thomas R. Green are devoted to helping other businesses by providing financial advice and financial solutions. Serving health care, senior living, affordable housing and private education businesses, Lancaster Pollard operates three companies that provide integrated investment banking, mortgage banking and investment advisory services, all headquartered in Columbus. The company also has regional offices in Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City and Austin. Pollard founded the company in 1988 in Columbus, specializing in financing health care and senior living as a growing, underserved and largely misunderstood market, well before “aging baby boomer” became a common term. As the fledgling…
Wednesday, 28 June 2006 08:10

Pure success

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Patty Brisben started with 60 consultants, $4,000 and no formal business training. Today, the CEO and founder of Pure Romance leads the fastest-growing multi-level marketing company in the nation, expanding at an annual growth rate of 67 percent over the past four years. Pure Romance is the leader of the relationship enhancement business, raising the bar with high-quality products and a commitment to women’s health and education while giving women across the country the opportunity to achieve financial and emotional independence. Brisben got her start in 1983 while on maternity leave from her job at a pediatrician’s office. She was…
Wednesday, 28 June 2006 08:03

Energized for growth

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In a post-Enron, post-Sept. 11 world, Lance Schneier and Dana Saucier Jr. defied the odds and created Accent Energy Group, a successful and growing energy marketing company. Schneier, a successful energy attorney who is now chairman and CEO of Accent Energy, knew that to make the company succeed, he had to line up potential customers, find an investor and line up a supplier to provide natural gas. ACI Capital agreed to be that investor, on the condition that Accent first had an established customer base. To do that, Accent needed an acquisition. Schneier and Chief Operating Officer Saucier met with…
Sunday, 21 May 2006 20:00

Poised leadership

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Deni Tato has always known she would do well as a leader. Not only was she bright growing up, but she had incredible self-confidence. “I was one of 11 children,” says Tato, president and CEO of Contract Interiors, one of the largest commercial furniture dealerships in Cincinnati. “My mother did not know what to think of my confidence at times. She would ask me, ‘Who do you think you are?’ But the truth is that I always had a strong sense of who I was and what I wanted.” Tato put her confidence and drive to good work when she…
Monday, 22 May 2006 12:25

Coping with higher rates

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When the Federal Reserve’s policymaking committee raised its target for short-term interest rates in March to 4.75 percent, it was the 15th such increase since 2004. Until this two-year-old interest rate-tightening campaign ends (which is possible later this year), what are small- and mid-sized businesses to do? Asked about their short-term outlook, 55 percent of business owners nationwide say the likelihood of further interest-rate increases will negatively affect their business. In this recent survey of 1,100 owners and executives commissioned by The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., 61 percent of the respondents — with annual revenues up to $250 million…
Monday, 22 May 2006 12:12

Building consolidation

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As leader of The Drees Co., David Drees is not only deft at building communities, he’s also deft at building and growing his company. To do that, the president and CEO of the Fort Mitchell-based homebuilder has chosen to focus his company’s efforts on a single growth strategy — acquisitions. “It’s a very fragmented industry that’s consolidating,” says Drees. “We felt, to go into new markets, new cities, that it was a lot more efficient to acquire a company that already had established relationships, established land position and an established management team in place than to try to grow organically.”…
Sunday, 23 April 2006 20:00

Proper property protection

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Success in business consists of a complex system of interrelated forces. Managers work tirelessly to balance out the competing pushes and pulls of daily operations. But they also need to secure the foundation of their operations. Proper risk management and insurance coverage protects businesses from ruin caused by large property losses. “The primary causes of large property losses are fire, wind, collapse and water damage,” says John Hudak, complex claims analyst at Westfield Insurance. These types of losses can come at any moment and result in complete devastation. Therefore, it’s essential to address these risks before the situation occurs. Smart…
Friday, 21 April 2006 10:17

Dobbs Ackermann

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The soundtrack greeting visitors to Ackermann Group’s Web site is a fast-paced, repeating loop of electronic pop, a sharp contrast to the nature of the real estate development company’s business. Development projects are often long and move slowly. No two are exactly alike; the land parcels, the edifices, access issues and the players change from project to project. They are complex undertakings with lots of moving parts affected by the economy, the market, the weather, the political climate, even the personalities of the individuals involved. Yet Dobbs Ackermann, president and CEO of the $50 million developer, strives to bring repeatable…
Friday, 21 April 2006 06:09

The Schaefer file

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Born: Cincinnati Education: Bachelor of science, degree, engineering, West Point Academy; MBA, Xavier University What is the biggest business challenge you’ve faced? I think one of the biggest business challenges is always working for a difficult boss and how you handle that issue. I think in my career, while it was the most challenging at the same time, I probably learned more by working with difficult managers. You just have to stay focused on executing well, and keeping a positive attitude is key. Whom do you admire most in business and why?There are a number of great business leaders. The…
Wednesday, 29 March 2006 19:00

Creating a micro-culture

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Close your eyes and imagine a team where every employee is engaged, energized and empowered. Team members are totally aligned with the organization’s visions, goals and objectives. Individuals fully understand the customers, and together they contribute to meet or exceed their needs. In the end, the group’s bottom-line results meet or exceed corporate growth and profitability projections. Does this sound too good to be true? It can become a reality by developing a micro-culture. A micro-culture is a subculture created to align the visions, goals and strategies of the members of a department or group of like departments. The subculture…
Sunday, 26 March 2006 19:00

Joffe named interim CEO, LCA-Vision

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LCA-Vision Inc. appointed Craig P.R. Joffe interim CEO. He previously worked as the company’s chief operating officer, and he succeeds his father, Stephen N. Joffe. Joffe joined the company in 2003 as senior vice president, general counsel and secretary. He was promoted to COO in 2005, while retaining his general counsel and secretary responsibilities. In that position, he oversaw and directed the operations of the company’s LasikPlus vision centers, as well as the company’s legal affairs, risk management and human resources departments, including the recruitment of medical professionals. Prior to joining LCA-Vision, he worked as assistant general counsel at InterActiveCorp,…
Monday, 27 March 2006 04:47

Relationship builder

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Growth is the Holy Grail of business objectives. Every business leader, whether his or her company is large or small, public or private, service-oriented or production-focused, is striving to increase the organization’s bottom line. And for every business with growth as the ultimate goal, there is a different approach to achieving that goal. Take, for example, Paul W. Hemmer Jr., president and CEO of Paul Hemmer Cos. Successful growth, he says, is the natural result of satisfied customers. “I learned a long time ago that it’s so much easier to expand on a relationship and do repeat projects than it…
Wednesday, 01 March 2006 04:36

The Houston file

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Born: Toronto, 1949 Education: I have no formal education, but ... I’ve taken 15 different courses through Cornell University and I’ve also attended Cornell University in an executive development course. First job: A grocery clerk in a supermarket What is the greatest business challenge you’ve faced? I think that Alderwoods is a good business challenge, from where it was to where it is today. I’ve overcome the challenges by creating the environment we’ve been talking about and also focusing on the financial objectives and working hard every day at trying to achieve what we’ve been able to achieve. It’s all…