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Thursday, 26 February 2004 09:00

Movers & Shakers

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Vinney named chairman of Team Northeast Ohio The board of directors of Team Northeast Ohio named Les C. Vinney acting chairman. The former chairman of Team NEO, H. Peter Burg, chairman and CEO of FirstEnergy Corp., passed away Jan. 13, 2004. "We are grateful that Les has agreed to be acting chair of Team NEO during this first full year of the organization's implementation," says Bob Farley, president of Team NEO. "He brings a strategic focus and entrepreneurial spirit that will help Team NEO make a difference in Northeast Ohio." Vinney is president and CEO of STERIS Corp. and a…
Thursday, 26 February 2004 08:53

Global Views

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No company spends tens of thousands of dollars sending someone on a foreign business trip without expecting results. You aren't there to relax, yet you should arrive in tip-top shape, ready to conduct business. Here are some tips to help you do so. Get in shape Preparing physically is a key component to mental alertness. One of the best ways to reduce jet lag is to start a travel diet three days before a trip. Eat lots of high-calorie food on the third day out from a trip. Eat lightly on the second day and normally on the day before…
Wednesday, 25 February 2004 19:00

Teeing up a new challenge

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A new season brings a brand new challenge to area golfers, particularly those on the West Side looking for a top-quality course without breaking the bank. Grey Hawk Golf Club is set to debut July 4 in Lorain County's LaGrange Township. Grey Hawk, which began taking shape last May, is a welcome addition to the West Side, which has a shortage of premium courses. The 7,100-yard, par 72 layout from the design firm of von Hagge, Smelek and Baril uses dramatic bunkering, extensive mounding and 10 manmade lakes to turn nondescript farmland into an eye-catching 18 holes. "It was flat…
Thursday, 29 January 2004 19:00

High-tech trash

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Commercial hazardous waste is a cradle-to-grave issue for the companies that produce it, and incineration and disposal processes must be managed and documented properly. Ross Environmental Services, a waste management firm, has the daunting task of keeping up with the disposal needs of its customers -- large industrial companies with an ever-changing pallet of products and byproducts -- all the while maintaining compliance with EPA regulations. "We have to stay in compliance, but we are focused on improving the operation of the plant," says Maureen M. Cromling, president and CEO of Ross Environmental Services. "We're always concerned with the combination…
Thursday, 29 January 2004 19:00

The right match

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Hiring someone often boils down to picking a winner from among the pile of resumes submitted in response to a newspaper ad. You know it's not the best method, but it's all you have time for. Foundation Software, a Brunswick-based accounting software firm, has found that investing the time and effort to get the best person every time pays off in the long run. "You have to take your people and combine them with your processes and mechanisms of the company," says Fred Ode, CEO of Foundation Software. "The biggest challenge we had initially was to hire the right people."…
Thursday, 29 January 2004 19:00

Honorable mentions

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Alcoa Wheel and Forged Products Alcoa employs e-business processes and solutions on many levels throughout the organization, including EDI, an Oracle-based EBS system, an online portal for employees and e-integrated sales channels. One system of note is AlcoaDirect, a secure Web portal that allows customers to access pertinent information with Alcoa's business information system. Before AlcoaDirect, customers' interaction with their order was completely manual for the customer and for Alcoa. If the customer wanted to know order status, he or she had to pick up the phone. If a customer wanted to reorder a past order, but did not know…
Friday, 30 January 2004 07:45

Silver lining

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Good news is hard to come by these days. Too often, small success stories are overlooked by the media for salacious, over-the-top items that sell newspapers and attract television viewers. And it's easy to forget that positive business news doesn't usually come in large packages, as did the creation of International Steel Group from the ashes of LTV Steel and the thousands of jobs it returned to the area. So meet Ganeden Biotech Inc., a fledgling biotech firm in Beachwood that's accomplished quite a bit in a relatively short period of time. Ganeden manufactures pharmaceuticals and launched its first two…
Thursday, 29 January 2004 19:00

Web insight

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Technology service companies, much like manufacturers, have seen phenomenal change over the past 10 years. "I wore a sandwich board that said, 'Ask me about the Internet,' and wandered around the Galleria," says Andrew Holland, president of EYEMG - interactive media group, about how he advertised his firm at the beginning, in 1993. "We had the one-page, five-page and the vaunted 10-page Web site with the 'Contact us' function," he says.. "Everyone remembers the contact us form. It was a black hole. You input (a) question, and someone might get to you in a million years." But what EYEMG has…
Thursday, 29 January 2004 19:00

Lean and mean

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When the economy plummeted in 2001, it gave Nordson Corp. the opportunity to turn its supply chain into a lean, mean manufacturing machine. The 50-year-old producer of precision dispensing equipment implemented lean manufacturing principles, knowing that customer demand establishes a manufacturing need, which, in turn, establishes a need for a specific amount of supplies. "You wonder why people don't go lean from the first day," says John Dillon, Nordson's director of supply chain management. "It's all completely logical." By implementing these principles during a downturn in the manufacturing industry, Nordson leaders hoped to take advantage of efficiency gains to improve…
Friday, 30 January 2004 07:35

Life in the fast lane

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In Olympic track and field, the world's best runners compete individually and then, on the last day, race together as members of their nation's relay teams. Regardless of raw speed, victory usually goes to the quartet most practiced in the intricate ballet of a flawless handoff. Since the baton must change hands at top speed inside a congested "fly zone," mistakes are spectacular and costly. Many world record holders have left the track in defeat after they dropped the baton or collided with each other because they did not practice their handoffs. Although business succession usually involves just two players,…
Wednesday, 17 December 2003 07:00

A private affair

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It's an understatement to say that the days of irrational exuberance are well behind us; the days of companies going from start-up to initial public offering (IPO) in a week are over. And as some private companies decide not to go public due to the increasing burden of the SEC and Sarbanes-Oxley Act requirements, other public companies are examining the costs benefits of going private. "There are companies that are currently public that are delisting and defiling from the exchange," says Irv Berliner, partner in the corporate department at Kahn Kleinman. "There is a lot of it going on, and…
Wednesday, 17 December 2003 06:57

Big meets small

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Many family businesses face the problem of staying focused on long-term goals. Day-to-day problems provide constant distractions, and family members in leadership positions are often clamoring for the sales that keep the company going. Long-term objectives get lost in the shuffle. Richard Kiko Jr. was brought in by his family to make sure the family businesses continue to succeed and grow. Kiko, who has the title of vice president for both Russ Kiko Associates, an auction firm, and its sister company, Richard T. Kiko Agency, a real estate firm, worked in various leadership positions at major corporations including Procter &…
Wednesday, 17 December 2003 06:53

Rewarding the entrepreneurial spirit

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Two years ago, the Council of Smaller Enterprises was looking for ways to stimulate entrepreneurship in the region, and the COSE Business Plan Challenge was born. The success of the first Challenge was encouraging, so COSE revisited the idea for 2003 -- with a few changes. COSE upped the ante, hoping to encourage and support a wider range of entrepreneurs, so it added three categories -- technology, manufacturing and arts. The total amount in cash awards was increased from $100,000 to $179,000, allowing COSE to increase the category-winner prize amount and add a $3,000 prize for the runner-up in each…
Wednesday, 17 December 2003 06:50

Ones to watch

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Prognostication is not an exact science. When predicting the future, it's important to keep in mind the warning used in the small print of any investment vehicle: "Past performance does not indicate future results." Despite that, we journalists can't help ourselves. We constantly analyze what companies do and why, then try to forecast what will happen to them and when. This year, however, Smart Business has taken a different approach to determining its annual Companies to Watch list. Instead of telling you who we think you should keep your eye on, we asked regional experts in the legal, accounting, health…
Wednesday, 17 December 2003 06:44

By the book

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A good piece of literature can change a person's outlook. In Jeff Kristofeld's case, a book changed the way he did his job. When Kristofeld came to Ericson Manufacturing Co., a safety electrical specialty products company, as its controller, the business was just breaking even and sometimes losing money. President and third-generation owner John "Jay" Ericson Jr. knew it had to make tremendous changes in order to become profitable. Kristofeld had begun his analysis of the company, when his wife gave him the book, "Jack: Straight From the Gut," by Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric. Welch's…
Wednesday, 17 December 2003 06:40

Global delivery

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Shipping and transportation logistics have changed drastically in the past decade. I recall trying to send shipments to large cities in China and Russia in the early '90s and being told, "We don't go there" or having packages arrive months later -- or even disappear completely. Today, packages of any size can be delivered in a timely manner from anywhere to virtually anywhere, often for far less money than in the recent past. Here are five areas to consider when shipping internationally. Wrong or no markings Each country has different marking requirements. Some are certification seals (CE Mark) or markings…
Thursday, 20 November 2003 11:38

Bill me

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Thousands of transactions from hundreds of locations leads to a logjam of paperwork, faxes and e-mail. Westlake-based TravelCenters of America, with more than 200 locations in the United States and Canada, was spending too much time dealing with everything from bill presentment to disputed charges. More than 45,000 registered truck drivers and hundreds of large corporate customers were creating a flood of information. The company was also looking for a way to make sure transactions billed to customers were preauthorized. "What we want to do is have the pump turned on and be pre-authorized by a party," says William Burslem…
Thursday, 20 November 2003 11:35

Office window

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The Cleveland office market, like the markets in the rest of the country, is fairly stagnant, but that might change in the next 18 months. So if you are looking to move, do it now while landlords are still offering concessions. "It's a tenants' market right now," says Robert Redmond, senior vice president of CB Richard Ellis. "Tenants are beginning to loosen their purse strings and hire more people and are starting to need more space. In the next 12 to 18 months, you will still be getting good deals." As signs of an improving office market continue to grow,…
Thursday, 20 November 2003 11:32

Sealing donations

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OSI Sealants Inc. has made a difference here in Northeast Ohio and across the nation. The Mentor-based firm, a manufacturer of caulks, sealants and adhesives, sponsors an annual golf outing that benefits the Lake and Geauga County units of the American Cancer Society. It is also the official caulk, sealant and adhesive supplier to Habitat for Humanity, and has other, smaller commitments. "The Fig Leaf Golf Tournament started out as a family golf outing around 1978," says Mark Longo, executive vice president of OSI. "My dad had lost his brother and sister within six months of each other to cancer.…
Thursday, 20 November 2003 11:28

Part of the whole

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Many companies expound a philosophy of giving back to the community, and many employees donate their time, effort and skills to nonprofit organizations. But only a handful of companies have integrated corporate giving and employee involvement as successfully as Family Heritage Life Insurance Co. of America. In a little more than a decade, FHL has fully integrated charitable giving into every aspect of its business process. From Day One, Howard Lewis, founder, president and CEO of FHL, has tied business success to outreach. "Outreach is part of our culture, and they know that it is expected, but our people have…
Thursday, 20 November 2003 11:24

Contract sport

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The name of the game for most companies is cash flow. But when the economy slows, slow receivables can negatively affect liquidity. One approach to better managing receivables -- in good economic times and bad -- is to effectively enforce payment contracts with customers and clients. "There are competing factors," says Thomas Lee, partner in commercial litigation at Taft, Stettinius & Hollister. "There is the cost of pursuing litigation and the cost of the company's time to do that ... When times are good, it's often not as important because revenue is not as critical." The irony is that in…
Thursday, 20 November 2003 11:21

Judging philanthropy

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Nominations for the Pillar Award for Community Service were judged by a distinguished panel of experts who analyzed and determined the nominees' commitment to community service. Judges were asked to level the playing field among nominees to equalize opportunities for recognition. In this manner, companies of all sizes were considered. Judges were asked to vote for nominees based on their organization's overall philanthropic efforts, including financial, pro bono and volunteer contributions, as well as involvement by executives and staff members on the boards of nonprofit organizations. The judging process ran from mid-September through early October 2003. The panel consisted of:…
Thursday, 20 November 2003 11:17

Micro enterprise success

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What is a micro enterprise? A micro enterprise has been defined as a business with five or less employees requiring less than $35,000 in start-up capital. According to the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, small business is the backbone of the U.S. economy, accounting for 53 percent of all jobs. Though often overlooked, the smallest of these firms -- self-employed individuals and micro enterprises employing fewer than 10 workers -- are playing an increasingly vital role. The SBA reports that while firms of five to 500 employees in all industries experienced a net loss of more than 2 million…
Thursday, 20 November 2003 11:10

The power of philanthropy

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Sponsor's message At Medical Mutual, we have a distinguished history of giving back. Since our company was founded 64 years ago, we've been a dedicated partner to community organizations and nonprofits. Much of our presence in the community is due largely to the efforts of the employee volunteer committee, S.H.A.R.E., which stands for serve, help, aid, reach and educate. Each year, the group helps coordinate more than 25 events with the support of nearly half of the company's 2,500 employees. As a result, we help more than 200 organizations through thousands of volunteer hours and more than $1 million in…
Thursday, 20 November 2003 11:05

Boomerang blessings

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When Nancy Diller-Shively decided to leave her career at a large, publicly traded company to start Cambridge Home Health Care, she says she was "pretty overzealous" in thinking she could hit the ground running. In fact, it took four years of tough financial times before the company started to show a profit. "I was determined if we got through this, and the company became successful, I was going to make sure we give back to the community. That's what set the precedent for our commitment to community projects," she says. Diller-Shively remembered that commitment and stuck to it. As president…
Thursday, 20 November 2003 11:02

Bread winner

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They say bread is the staff of life, and no one understands this more than John Anthony Orlando, vice president of sales and a fifth-generation member of the Orlando Baking Co. family. Keeping that in mind, he believes there's a logical fit between making bread and helping to feed the hungry. This is so important to the family-owned and operated Orlando that it has formed a relationship with the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland, the largest direct emergency food network in Cuyahoga County. The company has integrated the effort to combat hunger with much of what it does as a…
Thursday, 23 October 2003 11:21

Movers & Shakers

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ACCOUNTING & CONSULTING Bond, Sippola, DeJoy & Co. named David M. DiCillo president and Linda A. Scheiman director. *Sagemark Consulting appointed Pamela Bancsi regional director of investments and financial planning. *Mark Schulman of Sagemark Consulting was elected president of the Cleveland Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors for the 2003-2004 year. Palmer & Cay Inc. hired Lisa Trnian as an account manager and Tanya Andolsen as an environmental risk management consultant. The Culbertson Group promoted Sara Lubbers to account executive. Howard, Wershbale & Co. hired Victoria J. Krol in the accounting and auditing services group, Dean W. Newman in the…