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Tuesday, 29 January 2008 19:00

Bryan Dunn transformed W&S Agency Group

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When Bryan C. Dunn became chief marketing officer of Western& Southern Financial Group in 1995, he was the first outsiderbrought in to that position since the family of financial servicecompanies formed in 1888.The experience would serve him well.In 2004, Dunn became president of W&S Agency Group, a $606million business unit of the parent company that deals with careerand marketing sales efforts.Dunn saw a need for change to bring the company up to date.There wasn’t enough innovative thinking going on and too manydecisions were being made based not on current data but because,“that’s the way it’s always been done.”But change wasn’t…
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 19:00

Reaching new heights

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Adults with full-time jobs and full-time family lives may be hesitant to return to school to achieve a master’s or any other higher education degree, but the benefits for both them and their employers are too numerous to ignore. Many schools specialize in helping adults make a smooth transition back to academia, says Debi Milne, enrollment counselor at the Cincinnati campus of Mount Vernon Nazarene University. And earning a higher degree increases the employee’s chances for advancement with a current employer or even a position with a new employer. Smart Business spoke with Milne about the benefits employees, their community…
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 19:00

Growing pains

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In 2001, Christopher Cole and Jim McCarthy formed Intelligrated Inc., a supplier of integrated material handling systems, services and products. The company started out of a rented building and had 17 employees, the majority of whom had worked together before and knew how to work as a team. But as business started booming, the company needed more employees to complete the work. The work force swelled to more than 500 people, and Intelligrated has added 150 people in the last two years alone. The rapid expansion pushed them into a new office and manufacturing facility in London, Ohio, and five…
Sunday, 25 November 2007 19:00

Evans Nwankwo

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Integrity is more than just a business buzzword to Evans Nwankwo. It is an essential pillar of his business philosophy that has allowed him to grow Megen Construction Co. from a start-up nearly 15 years ago to a growing $41 million company today. Nwankwo, a native of Nigeria who emigrated to the U.S. to attend college, founded Megen in 1993 after more than 10 years in the construction business. His journey from international college student to president and CEO of his own company has shown Nwankwo the importance of integrity and a straightforward approach when leading people. Smart Business spoke…
Sunday, 25 November 2007 19:00

Just a little patience

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Business moves in cycles. Into late 2007, we saw a volatile stock market, good interest rates and a generally good economy. However, there are signs — the increasing national deficit, a slowing in housing and auto markets, and the consumer credit card crunch — that indicate we are moving into an economic slowdown. Smart Business spoke with Dennis Gramann, a vice president in the business banking group at Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati, about how an economic slowdown can present opportunities for the alert business manager. Is it a good time to buy capital goods? A company’s ability to purchase…
Friday, 26 October 2007 20:00

David Hodge

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The best teachers are the ones who are always learning. It’s a universal truth of leadership that David Hodge says he has seen proven time and time again in his years as an academic administrator. Hodge, who has been president of Miami University in Oxford since summer 2006, says the best leaders are always seeking input — always tapping the potential of others in the organization. And he says the only way you can do that is by reaching them, which means you must have finely tuned and well-polished communication skills — and you must use those skills to challenge…
Friday, 26 October 2007 20:00

Benefits of higher education

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The business world is more competitive than ever today. Companies compete for market share, and people compete for jobs. It’s not as easy as it used to be, and often a higher education degree can be the difference between you and another person vying for the same job. Jennifer Garrabrant knows that all too well. That’s why she’s currently enrolled in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program offered by Mount Vernon Nazarene University (MVNU) at several Ohio campuses, including Cincinnati. So far, she’s seen her pursuit of higher education result in numerous promotions at work, and she’s not stopping…
Friday, 26 October 2007 20:00

Sorting out the lending process

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One never goes for a business loan without some apprehension, but there’s no reason to fret about approaching a bank to borrow money. That’s why the bank is in business. Smart Business spoke with Jim Schroeck, vice president of business banking at Fifth Third Bank, about the lending process. How should a business prepare when going for a loan? The first thing a new business should do in preparation for a business loan is develop a written business plan that clearly demonstrates that the owner understands the products the company is offering along with the markets it plans to serve.…
Tuesday, 25 September 2007 20:00

Richard Daniels

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There is a difference between what you think you’re communicating and what other people think you’re communicating. Richard Daniels first read that message years ago, and it has stuck with him to this day. The president and CEO of McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital in Oxford, which posted 2006 revenue of $48 million, says that internal communication isn’t a simple matter of verbal pitch-and-catch between a business leader and his or her employees. Instead, it’s a sometimes-complicated process that takes a good deal of maintenance to keep working. Daniels says good communication takes many forms, both written and spoken. And if you…
Tuesday, 25 September 2007 20:00

Keep fuel in your tank

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What would you do if you lost a customer that represented more than 60 percent of your business? How about if a key employee jumped ship and joined the competition? When customers pay late, equipment is tied up in repair and vendors come knocking, business owners can run out of the “liquid” that fuels business operations: cash. “Hopefully, a banker is talking regularly with customers and asking relevant questions along the way so there is an indication that a business may be heading toward a performance downturn before it happens,” says John Covington, vice president of business banking at Fifth…
Sunday, 26 August 2007 20:00

Face to face

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Everything was fine with a product line at AddisonMcKee Inc. until Joe Eramo decided to add more bells and whistles to it to make it more high-tech. “It was the absolute wrong decision,” says Eramo, president and COO of the company’s North American operations. Eramo knew he had to own up to the mistake, and then quickly get people back on track. He visited with customers and looked at what the competition was doing, and then he updated employees. “I had to motivate by the fact that this is where the marketplace is going, and if we don’t move fast,…
Thursday, 26 July 2007 20:00

A fluid situation

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In the waning days of 2005, Billy Cyr was faced with a whole host of problems. The president and CEO of Sunny Delight Beverages Co. saw the cost of his raw materials spike precipitously with no sign of ever coming back down. Packaging costs went up, diesel fuel doubled in price almost overnight giving his transportation costs a jolt, and he had a customer base that had seen virtually no price increases for his products in 10 years. Hurricanes on the Gulf Coast caused the price of orange juice — one of Sunny Delight’s primary ingredients — and fuel and…
Monday, 25 June 2007 20:00

Founding success

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When Dennis Smith founded Masters Pharmaceutical Inc. in 2001, he had grand dreams of a thriving andsuccessful company, and today, he is living those dreams and making new ones. When he started the company, he envisioned a dynamic pharmaceutical sales, marketing and distribution company. He thought that if he and his employees made 100 calls a day to more than 55,000 pharmacies, long-term and managed care facilities, and smaller wholesale distributors, that eventually these entities would start to understand the ways his company could help them save costs. He wanted to offer deep discounts to these entities without sacrificing quality…
Monday, 25 June 2007 20:00

Taking a risk

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When Rick Maxwell graduated from college in 1976, his future father-in-law invited him to join the family business. He decided to accept, and Maxwell spent the next two decades working his way up and growing the business’s revenue. While the revenue had grown, so had the number of family members, and Maxwell now faced working with people with opposing philosophies about how to run the company. He and his wife decided to purchase 40 percent of the business, but they had to find the funds to do so. He used his connections in the banking industry and secured the money…
Monday, 25 June 2007 20:00

Strategic thinker

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In 1978, when Tom Thieman took over as president and CEO of his father’s stamping business, Thieman Stamping Inc., he had plans to grow the business. Over the years, he’s done that, but he’s done so by maintaining the company’s focus and not getting lost in the short-term gains that some opportunities can present. He’s made two strategic acquisitions over the years, which created Thieman Tailgates Inc. and Thieman Metal Tech LLC. But acquisitions alone don’t grow a company. Thieman has employed a strong dedication to both customers and employees. For customers, warranties aren’t challenged. He says it costs less…
Monday, 25 June 2007 20:00

Lighting growth

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Larry Powers is always on a quest for a new challenge or opportunity. In 1979, as president of a small company, he turned the business around, which led to an acquisition by Bairnco in 1983, which created Genlyte Group Inc. in 1984. Genlyte struggled initially and amassed high debt while going through five presidents until Powers was appointed president in 1993. Upon his appointment, he first met with the board of directors to create a turnaround plan for the lighting company. He organized the company into decentralized business units and gave each division manager complete authority and responsibility for that…
Monday, 25 June 2007 20:00

The natural

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Kevin Vasquez has always known how to work hard. After his father died when Vasquez was just 9 years old, his mother moved him and his three siblings to North Carolina. Even at that young age, he felt an intense desire to provide for his family and keep them off of government support while his mom struggled to make ends meet. Vasquez did everything he could to help, from cutting grass to working as a janitor and spending long days working in the Carolina tobacco fields. The long hours instilled not only a solid work ethic but also fueled a…
Monday, 25 June 2007 20:00

Partnering for success

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Bob James and Tony Izquierdo used to work for competing companies, but over the years, despite the competition, they respected and admired each other, and a friendship was born. Eventually the two found themselves working for the same company, and they bonded even more through a common idea for a business venture to start an infusion company. After investigating the market and seeing it had a shrinking profit margin, James and Izquierdo didn’t give up. They modified their idea from an infusion company into a home health care provider, now known as Care Connection of Cincinnati. When they started, James…
Monday, 25 June 2007 20:00

Driven to succeed

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For two decades, Ernst & Young and the Entrepreneur Of The Year® (EOY) awards have honored entrepreneurial men and women and the companies they build and grow. During that time we have chronicled their capacity to transform organizations, create new products and industries, enrich individual lives, and contribute to the vibrancy of national economies. Each year, the South Central Ohio & Kentucky EOY finalists and award recipients demonstrate incredible depth of character as they develop new technologies, create faster ways to distribute goods and services, and improve the quality of life for people around them. The individuals we honor this…
Saturday, 26 May 2007 20:00

Loyal sovereign

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When it comes to a business like The Hillman Cos. Inc., it would be ridiculously easy to make a lot of bad puns related to its business. Even Mick Hillman, the company’s president and CEO, can’t resist a chuckle at a corny nuts and bolts gag. The Hillman Cos. supplies retailers with the most fundamental types of hardware products: nuts, bolts, screws and all manner of fasteners, key blanks and about 45,000 other low-priced, but nonetheless critical items for their customers. When the company was sold in 1982 to an investor group and some company executives, it was doing about…
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 20:00

Making change

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When Claude Davis arrived at First Financial Bancorp as its president and CEO in 2004, there wasn’t much mystery about what the company needed to do. First Financial had gobbled up smaller banks and other financial businesses as the industry consolidated. It had made 18 acquisitions in four states over the years, but some of those deals weren’t profitable, and the synergies that were supposed to come from consolidation weren’t being realized. “The business had gotten to the point where we weren’t leveraging the power of one brand and one message, and we weren’t leveraging some of the synergies associated…
Monday, 26 March 2007 20:00

License to succeed

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You’ve purchased software and read the licensing agreement that pops up on the screen. The lengthy notification asks you to check a box to indicate that you “agree” with the terms. “Virtually no one reads and they click ‘next,’” says Ron Herd, Microsoft Practice director for Pomeroy IT Solutions in Hebron, Ky. Herd meets with many clients who struggle with understanding their options related to Microsoft licensing and how to maximize their investment in Microsoft technologies. “A lot of people think licensing is mundane and tactical. But when you evaluate your business goals and the technology you will need over…
Monday, 26 March 2007 20:00

Green up, America!

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Green buildings offer companies the opportunity to maximize both economic and environmental performance. Potential economic benefits include reduced operating costs and improved employee productivity. Environmental advantages include resource conservation and improved air and water quality. The term “green building” can be used to describe various aspects of a building, says Norm Bertke, managing director of asset services for CB Richard Ellis. “Aspects of green buildings can include items such as the site that is chosen, the construction materials selected and the design of the asset’s infrastructure,” he explains. Smart Business spoke with Bertke about green buildings, the financial benefits that…
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 19:00

The Kenny file

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Place of birth: Long Island, N.Y. Education: Georgetown University, liberal arts and business, MBA First job: Foreign service officer with the U.S. Foreign Service What are your favorite business publications? I find that the most powerful thing for me is looking at the Financial Times, which does a tremendous job capturing global ideas and events. Whom do you admire most in business and why? I admire the folks that work here and in other companies without the celebration of their deeds but just show up every day, do the right thing for the company and care deeply about their company.…
Wednesday, 31 January 2007 19:00

Collaborative leadership

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Marty Betagole loves a challenge, and that’s exactly what she got when she assumed her role as president of Mike Albert Leasing Inc. Mike Albert is one of the top 12 vehicle fleet managers in the country, with more than 20,000 vehicles leased throughout the United States and Canada and more than 8,000 vehicles sold each year in the used car market. Betagole’s great-uncle, Mike Albert, started the company in the 1920s as a used car lot, and in the 1950s, her father, Robert Betagole — the current CEO of Mike Albert Leasing — suggested the company begin leasing vehicles…
Sunday, 31 December 2006 19:00

Leading with passion

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Patty Brisben’s career in adult relationship enhancers began in 1983 when she saw a show about women who sold the products through home parties. Brisben, a divorced mother of four, was so intrigued with the concept that she quit her job as a medical assistant to pursue this new career. During her first year selling for Fun Parties, she was named top salesperson out of 3,000 consultants. “I knew from the start that this was the perfect position for me,” Brisben says. “I did my homework and carefully observed the women attending the home shows. They represented all walks of…
Friday, 24 November 2006 19:00

Dave Reder

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Dave Reder found out the hard way that moving your business to a new location is never easy, but it was worth the effort. When Reder recently moved his company, OKI Systems Inc., into a larger facility, it created a hectic environment in the short-term, but he says the investment will pay off in the long-term. In addition to the company’s physical location, he also invests in his workers — the 400-employee company has 173 service technicians, all of whom are coached by an organizational development director. The materials handling company had 2005 revenue of $80 million and is poised…
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