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Saturday, 25 April 2009 20:00

The virtual advantage

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These days, companies everywhere are looking even closer at simplified solutions for everything from data security to administration. Virtualization has been the answer for many companies that are now paying less for maintenance, facilities, physical plant floor space and administration. Once in place, the virtualized infrastructure allows the organization to be far more flexible than with a traditional data center, meeting and exceeding the growth needs of business. “Virtualization allows you to complete the same workload with a smaller footprint, allowing you to respond to the ever-changing needs to today’s businesses more quickly than with traditional systems,” says Jayson Stokes,…
Saturday, 25 April 2009 20:00

Time to interview

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With interest rates falling, financing requests being declined, and some financial institutions on thin ice in an uncertain market, now may be the right time to consider switching banks. “If you’re not satisfied with the bank you’re with or if you have some questions or concerns about it or you just want to get a second opinion to ensure you’re getting the value that you should be from your relationship with it, then that’s the right time to interview other banks,” says David Janus, president and CEO of FirstMerit Bank. Interviewing a prospective bank can be a stressful process if…
Saturday, 25 April 2009 20:00

Healthy change

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Patricia D. Kennedy-Scott is amazed that her biggest challenge today as regional president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Ohio is the very same thing that challenged her almost 25 years ago. “The challenge is we’re all very comfortable where we are, particularly when an organization is thriving and doing well,” Kennedy-Scott says. “People have a hard time understanding why should I change if the organization is doing well and I’m doing well. Helping people see the future as they live the present is always the biggest challenge.” As one of eight regions comprising the $37.8 billion health care provider…
Thursday, 26 March 2009 20:00

The new COBRA subsidy

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The rising number of unemployedAmericans due to the recession isresulting in more individuals beingeligible for Consolidated Omnibus BudgetReconciliation Act (COBRA) insurance. COBRA allows those who leave employment to continue to receive health coverage for generally up to 18 months or untilthey become entitled to other coverage.COBRA participants are required to paythe premium cost that the employer wasproviding for them during their employment, which usually is higher than whatthey were paying when employed. “The problem is, you are without a joband income — maybe you are receivingunemployment — and now you’re beingasked to pay a substantial premium just tokeep health insurance…
Thursday, 26 March 2009 20:00

Avoiding seller’s remorse

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Selling a business can be one of the most challenging tasks that business owners face. Before they start the process, they have to ensure they are truly ready to sell, lest they suffer a serious case of “seller’s remorse.” Robert A. Ranallo, CPA/ABV, JD, CVA, CFF, a partner at Skoda Minotti, stresses that selling a business is a process that no one should go through alone. “Entrepreneurs should rely extensively on professionals who have been through the process in the past and can relate the positives and negatives about selling a business,” says Ranallo. “Business owners must have a solid…
Thursday, 26 March 2009 20:00

Power of attorney

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Kip Reader was excited about celebrating birthday No. 100. Don’t do a double take looking at his picture; Reader is nowhere near 100 years old. But the law firm where he’s managing partner, Ulmer & Berne LLP, hit the century mark in 2008, and the company spent the year celebrating its successes. During that celebration, the firm put together a book of some of its best moments and found there was a common thread: Lawyers and employees, both past and present, remarked constantly on the importance of the firm’s collaborative culture. “A lot of the stories have included in them…
Thursday, 26 March 2009 20:00

About our sponsors

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Cleveland Clinic is a not-for-profit, multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. As one of the largest and most respected hospitals in the nation, Cleveland Clinic has 1,800 salaried physicians and scientists on staff, representing 120 specialties and subspecialties. In 2008, Cleveland Clinic recorded 3.3 million total visits and more than 50,000 hospital admissions. The Cleveland Clinic Executive Health programs, including Executive Health, Women’s Executive Health, Premier Executive Health and Corporate Health, will help you develop an awareness of your health and give you the tools needed to make healthy changes. World-class medical…
Thursday, 26 March 2009 20:00

The mission leader

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Every seven to eight years, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services sets a new vision policy, but President Helen Hanna Casey carefully points out that it absolutely has to reflect the organization’s mission. To successfully do that, you have to know what the mission is and know that it doesn’t change. “It’s important for the leadership to have that, for the company to have that, because where you see a lot of companies get into trouble is where they change that mission,” she says. “... Just because you got new people in leadership doesn’t mean that you can ever change that…
Thursday, 26 March 2009 20:00

Recession 2009

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Over the past several months, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many leaders and have received a great deal of e-mails, and I’ve started to see an ugly pattern. So many people are scared — even panicked — and are asking, “Why me, why now?” I hope this column helps reinforce what you are already doing and gives you additional ideas of what you can do. I don’t mean to be insensitive, but it is always best to tell people what they need to hear when everyone else is letting them feel sorry for themselves. Here are some rules…
Thursday, 26 March 2009 20:00

Debunking diversity

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The million-dollar question about making an investment in diversity is: Will it pay back? While experts say diversity in the work force is a business imperative, defining diversity by employees’ physical attributes won’t foster a functional or profitable environment. In fact, the definition of diversity is always evolving. Twenty years ago, the word spurred thoughts of gender issues since men held a high majority in the work force, while today the gender gap is narrowed and is less of a concern. Diversity’s definition has expanded, and diversity of thought, education, socioeconomics, religion and life goals are only a few of…
Monday, 23 February 2009 19:00

Passing the torch

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Nick George did more than simply shift gears in 2008 — he relinquished the driver’s seat entirely.After serving as chairman, president and CEO of Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs LLP for more than eight years, George decided to hand over his titles and focus solely on practicing law at the firm. But instead of stepping down immediately, he stayed on board to guide successor Pat Keating into the position. And he says the leadership transition will go more smoothly if the division of power is established before the shift begins.“He wanted to go 100 miles an hour, and I wanted to…
Monday, 23 February 2009 19:00

Safe and sound

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With most companies preoccupied with how to contend with the current economic instability, who has the time or resources to bother with the hassles of regulatory requirements? Unfortunately, compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) doesn’t take a backseat when times are tough. Now more than ever, companies need to achieve secure processes and environments to avoid audits, fines, and lost or compromised data. “These are mandatory requirements, so it isn’t as if a company can choose not to implement processes that are executable,” says Ed Kenty, president and CEO of Park Place International.…
Monday, 23 February 2009 19:00

Tough talk

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In a world full of negative economic news, many business owners are fearful of what reporting bad news to their banks will mean for the future of their banking relationship and, ultimately, their businesses. “Today’s economic circumstances require that communication with your bank be timely, direct, open and frank,” says David Janus, president and CEO with FirstMerit Bank. Business owners should not fear reporting bad news to the bank but they must be realistic about potential changes the bank may insist upon, says Janus. Banks understand that no one likes to have to give bad news but they would rather…
Monday, 23 February 2009 19:00

Booking the best

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If you’ve ever spent a long flight staring out of that tiny little window, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the world going on thousands of feet below. You see the houses and the cars, and everything seems so small and insignificant from up where you sit. But, the reality reveals another picture. The reality is that all of those people in those houses and driving those cars are doing just fine on theirown and lead pretty significant lives. Bob Sturm takes a similar view of his employees at Professional Travel Inc. Just as one would stare out that airplane window and know…
Monday, 26 January 2009 19:00

Taking the lead

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Pamela J. Neckar was concerned. Bostwick Design Partnership had gone from two partners to five in the relatively short period of two years, and Neckar was unsure how everyone would mesh. “We’ve got five different personalities,” says Neckar, director of finance and human resources at the 38-employee design firm. “How do we mesh? How do we make sure we are sending a consistent message? When you have a change in leadership, you have to figure out how everybody is going to work together.” Neckar’s solution was to develop a leadership training program that would get everyone in the firm, from…
Monday, 26 January 2009 19:00

Planning long term

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Many Americans do not financially plan in advance for their long-term health care needs. Others mistakenly assume that Medicare or standard traditional health insurance policies will cover the expense of long-term care provided through such services as nursing home facilities or assisted living residence. The cost of these services, which average more than $65,000 annually, can be one of the single biggest risks to retirement assets and income. Because of this, many employers are offering their employees long-term care insurance. Long-term care insurance can help employees retain assets set aside for retirement, while helping them remain independent by allowing them…
Monday, 26 January 2009 19:00

Green for good

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With far too many brownfields and too much landfill waste in this region, Northeast Ohio needs more organizations like The Taylor Cos. The company took on those challenges to help make this region a better place to live and work. The company has not just dabbled in going green but jumped in with both feet with three major green initiatives. The first, land revitalization, demonstrated Taylor’s leadership in green initiatives to Northeast Ohio. In 2004, Taylor worked with city, county, state and federal officials to remediate and revitalize an abandoned brownfield in Bedford, Ohio. Taylor was the only company to…
Monday, 26 January 2009 19:00

Adapting for the greater good

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The elimination of paper and Styrofoam coffee cups at Jergens Inc. was not a popular move when it was first made. But a year later, employees have adapted by using ceramic coffee mugs, and few can even remember a time when disposable cups were used for their hot beverage. The initiative was just one of many plans developed by “The Hybrids,” a team of slightly more than a dozen employees at Jergens who are committed to finding new and innovative ways to practice sustainability. The group is just the latest in a long line of insightful initiatives developed at Jergens…
Monday, 26 January 2009 19:00

Making it happen

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The times have not been easy for Ohio manufacturers. So when the national economy began to unravel last fall, it would have been easy for a company like Ampex Metal Products to simply hunker down and ride out the storm. Instead, Andy Pastor and his employees were already thoroughly engaged in a commitment to sustainability that began in 2006. By going green, Ampex hopes to have found a way to not only endure but to also embrace new and vital business opportunities that will keep the metal component manufacturer growing, says the company’s president and CEO. Ampex is embracing resource…
Monday, 26 January 2009 19:00

Reducing and reusing

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Ever wonder what happens to the heat generated when electricity is made? It’s wasted — just released into the atmosphere. Every day, heat is generated by burning coal, natural gas or oil to power everything from cars to giant power plants. And every day, 60 percent of the heat generated during those processes escapes and is simply lost. That loss is exactly what reXorce Thermionics Inc. hopes to capitalize on. As companies across the globe look to become more energy efficient, reXorce is rolling out technology to make an easier transition. The Akron-based technology developer has created a hybrid power…
Monday, 26 January 2009 19:00

Healthy returns

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Sometimes the environmental dangers of a workplace are unknown and unavoidable. Take the common occurrence of mercury that was used 20 to 30 years ago in things like switches, thermometers, pressure gauges, medical devices and so on. These materials can leak and cause dangerous conditions for workers. And that’s why Clark-Reliance Corp. has become one of the leaders in safer working conditions. Clark-Reliance, the industrial manufacturer that has introduced an array of instrumentation and filtration products into industries ranging from petrochemicals, refining, power generation and even the U.S. military, introduced a mercury-free level switch in 2007 as part of the…
Friday, 26 December 2008 19:00

Personal touch

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Diana M. Thimmig wants to know about your background. Don’t get the wrong idea: She’s not digging for dirt. She is a champion of all upbringings and backgrounds as partner-in-charge of the Cleveland office of Roetzel & Andress. But she wants to know as much as she can about you so that she can help you succeed. Born in Germany, Thimmig concedes she hasn’t followed the usual leadership path that you’d expect of someone charged with 85 employees. But she’s been a big hit at the $88 million, Akron-based firm because she is forever willing to take the time to…
Friday, 26 December 2008 19:00

What’s in it for me?

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Contracting with an independent service organization (ISO) after the warranties expire on your data center equipment is cost-effective, provides ease of doing business and can save you a great deal of money, often within one or two years. As anyone who has ever managed an IT department well knows, managing the warranty expiration dates on numerous pieces of equipment and tracking service is a never-ending juggling act. The ability to quickly access the right parts for equipment when necessary is another big challenge. “The right ISO can be a valued business partner,” says Leo Vigeant, vice president of business development…
Friday, 26 December 2008 19:00

Increasing the flow

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Any time there is a challenging economic environment, cash flow becomes more critical than ever. A closer eye must be kept on all aspects of the flow of funds in a business. It is obvious that a company must watch accounts receivable closely during a difficult economic cycle. It is also important to monitor the financial health of suppliers to ensure that they continue to be capable of providing needed supplies. This added work might be cumbersome, especially since many offices today are run with a lean staff. To accomplish everything with minimal staff, you have to be efficient. “Treasury…
When Dr. Delos “Toby” Cosgrove took the reins as president and CEO of The Cleveland Clinic four years ago, he wasn’t just a world-renowned heart surgeon stepping into a new role. He was also a leading doctor about to take a leading hospital to a whole new level of excellence.For 14 straight years, U.S. News & World Report has recognized The Cleveland Clinic as the No. 1 heart hospital in the country, and last year, the hospital finished as the overall No. 4 hospital in the country, with 10 of its specialties being ranked in the top 10 by the…
Tuesday, 25 November 2008 19:00

Smart Books: In Search of the Obvious

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In Search of the Obvious: The Antidote for Today’s Marketing Mess By Jack TroutJohn Wiley & SonsInc. ©2008, 208 pages,$27.95About the book: “In Search of the Obvious” launches from Jack Trout’s realization that marketing is turning into a complex science of data mining, number slicing, niche segmenting and more, all of which translates into a confusing mess. Trout suggests marketers steer clear of all the distractions and refocus on that simple, obvious differentiating idea. The author: Jack Trout started his business career in the advertising department of General Electric. He was a divisional advertising manager at Uniroyal before he joined…
Tuesday, 25 November 2008 19:00

Taking care

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When he was president of Oberlin College, Robert W. Fuller had a superstar and aproblem. The superstar was a baseballplayer who was hitting .550 on the college’s team. The problemwas that the kid wouldn’t cuthis hair, and the veteran coachwanted everyone’s locks incheck. The 1950s were wayover, and Fuller knew the rulehad to change, so he went tothe coach to figure out how tochange it without making anyone look bad. “The coach said, ‘My authority will be undercut if I reversemyself, but if you’re willing toorder me to change the rule,then we’ll change it, and I’ll takerefuge in the fact…