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Tuesday, 31 January 2012 19:01

Mark Dent: Leadership to build on

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Mark Dent, vice president and general manager, Turner Construction, ClevelandI started my career more than 25 years ago without a defined management or leadership style. These days, my approach strikes a balance between my own personality and the positive management techniques I’ve adopted by learning from others, both in business and my personal life.Marty Burgwinkle, now a project executive at Turner Construction, demonstrated one positive style I observed early in my career. Burgwinkle has a wonderful way of developing and maintaining a personal relationship with staff. He always asks about family and gives career advice. He finds the time to…
Thursday, 05 January 2012 17:56

Calibrating your search

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Safe to say, companies want to acquire the best talent who brings as much to the table as possible for a given position. To this end, it is appropriate and necessary to create a job specification that represents the ideal/perfect hire for your business. At the same time, it is important to be realistic with your expectations and be flexible to recalibrate the position requirements if necessary as pertinent information shows itself in the process. As you work to define the job specification, a management team needs to examine existing conditions and market variables (data) that could have an impact…
Smart Business spoke to Matt Yonchak of Hurricane Labs about protecting your personal information online.One of the most common responses I get from your everyday user when I bring up the topic of securing your personal information is “Who cares about my e-mail address? It’s not like anybody is going to call me or stalk me or something.” I’ll ask them why the level of caring about their e-mail address is so low and again I’ll get a flippant response such as, “So what if I get spam? I just delete it anyway.”We all understand that we need to keep…
Smart Business spoke to Mark Strippy, Executive Director, Payroll Services at Heartland Payment Systems®, about how businesses can maintain compliance when filing payroll.Last spring, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled that two owners of a trucking company and its subsidiary were personally liable for more than $2 million in payroll taxes that were not paid to the government, allegedly due to the misconduct of their businesses’ bookkeeper. The bookkeeper embezzled $10,000 from the companies, and had not paid payroll taxes for 13 consecutive quarters for one company and 17 quarters for the other.The owners sold the…
Think back to your first day as a manager. You’ve been praised as a high-performing associate for quite some time and becoming a manager is the next step in your career. However, upon assuming the reigns of leadership you quickly learn the skills you’ve employed to accomplish your own work aren’t so effective now that you’re leading a team of individuals with their own work styles and goals.“Individual contributors are expected to execute work themselves and suddenly, once promoted to the role of manager, they are expected to execute work through others,” points out Sarah Eppink, Leadership Program Manager for…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 15:16

Market in mood to sell

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Private equity firms owned more than 6,100 portfolio companies when 2011 reached its halfway point, according to a report by Pitchbook and Grant Thornton. One-third of those 6,100 companies have been held for more than five years. The result of this oversupply of tenured portfolio companies is a large exit strategy from private equity groups. With strategic buyers’ enormous cash holdings, low earnings on interest and acquisitive behavior in 2011, private equity groups are seeing an opportunity to sell. PE firms also need to appease limited partners by deploying capital and increasing returns, which will ensue through an exit strategy.Private…
Bonds have historically been an investment of choice for those looking to diversify their portfolios. Today’s market is no different, but the challenge comes in determining what types of bonds to invest in and the length of time to invest, says Jim Bernard, CFA, senior vice president and director of fixed income portfolio management at Ancora Advisors LLC.“A prudent move right now in our opinion is to focus on bonds maturing within a three- to seven-year time period,” says Bernard. “Interest rates are very low right now, so it may be tempting to go out to longer dated bonds to…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 15:11

Creating value

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When Robin Sacks was a sophomore in college, her grandfather passed away, leaving the family business to her dad. She had no interest in business — she was a writer and theater person — but she helped run it full-time and went to school full-time.After graduation, she ran it for six years, and what she learned from everyone was that her grandfather was a man of integrity.“This is about relationships,” she says. “That’s what I learned from my grandfather. It’s about people; it’s about knowing each other, standing by each other. It’s a relationship thing and not so much to…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 15:04

Building up downtown

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The Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center is starting to take shape downtown. But there’s a lot happening on this 36-month, million-square-foot, $465 million construction project that you won’t see carried in on a crane. Several executives from Turner Construction Co., Cleveland, gave Smart Business an exclusive video interview to discuss what’s happening behind the scenes to keep this skyline-altering project on track.WATCH the overview video of the Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center: bit.ly/MedMart“We often say that 95 percent of a job is won or lost before you even start breaking ground,” says Turner Vice President and General Manager…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 14:56

Curriculum for change

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Amy Rosen says anyone can learn to be an entrepreneur if they have the heart and passion for it.Rosen looks to ignite this passion at a young age. She is president and CEO of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, an organization that brings its entrepreneurial training to high school students, especially those from low-income communities. The goal of this training is to inspire students to stay in school, recognize business opportunities and plan for successful futures. In Northeast Ohio, we have an affiliate of NFTE in Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU). This connection resulted from YOU’s merger with E CITY.“All we…
With a plethora of real estate signs posted around town, it may seem like a simple task to go out and find a new location for your business.But it’s not that easy. And businesses that do not start planning 12 to 18 months out may find themselves forced into an unsuitable space or paying more than they would have if they had planned ahead, says George J. Pofok, CCIM, SIOR, senior vice president of CRESCO Real Estate.“Very often, businesses wait until the last minute to start looking because they are focused on growing the business and real estate falls into…
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 09:56

How to take your IP international

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Your intellectual property may be safe at home, but do those patents and trademarks sink or swim once they reach international waters? Businesses may want to pursue a patent or trademark outside the United States to preclude a competitor from using their trademark or from making, using or selling whatever is protected by their patent.“You have to take proactive steps to protect your patents and trademarks outside the United States, because coverage is generally on a country-by-country basis.” says Scott McCollister, a partner with Fay Sharpe LLP.“For example, if you have a patent in the U.S., it doesn’t have any…
Ah yes, 2012! Another year behind us, and another year to continue to impact the world in which we live. We spent some time in the past few weeks focusing on presents to give to our loved ones. Let’s now turn our attention to presence.Merriman-Webster dictionary describes presence as the fact or condition of being present. For me, being present is akin to being conscious and aware of everything you say, do, feel and think. Forgive the pun, but presence is also a gift. Presence is a rare quality that few people consistently manifest. So what does this have to…
Thursday, 15 December 2011 16:49

Building up downtown

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The Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center is starting to take shape downtown. But there’s a lot happening on this 36-month, million-square-foot, $465 million construction project that you won’t see carried in on a crane. Several executives from Turner Construction Co., Cleveland, gave Smart Business an exclusive video interview to discuss what’s happening behind the scenes to keep this skyline-altering project on track.WATCH the overview video of the Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center“We often say that 95 percent of a job is won or lost before you even start breaking ground,” says Turner Vice President and General Manager Mark…
“What is it that makes budgeting for marketing so much more difficult now than it used to be?” James H. Martin, Associate Dean, Director of Graduate Business Programs and Professor of Marketing at John Carroll University, has been hearing this question a lot lately. To learn more, he spoke with a panel of experts including Sara Stashower, Visiting Professor at John Carroll University; Jason Therrien, CEO at Thundertech; and Tom Bernot,CMO at Optiem. All three had similar perspectives on this problem. They all said that there is a fundamental shift in thinking about marketing from the traditional view to a…
Thursday, 01 December 2011 11:40

Hacking for a good cause

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Have you ever thought, “I’m kind of a hacker, I should probably use my evil powers for good”? Have you ever thought, “I should probably learn more about hacking because I do computer stuff and should know more about security”? Now, have you ever thought, “I wish I could do all that and help feed people less fortunate than I am”? Well now you can! Introducing the First, (hopefully annual), Hack for Hunger Challenge sponsored by Hurricane Labs.We decided to put together one of our “famous” hack challenges and actually try to do some real good beyond just educating folks.…
Thursday, 01 December 2011 00:07

The 2011 Pillar Award for Community Service

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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 were honored at a special banquet on December 7 at LaCentre Conference & Banquet Facility in Westlake, OH. Check out our live blog of the event.Take a look at how these kind and selfless individuals and companies do what they do:An introductory letter from Rick Chiricosta, President…
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 20:01

The counter offer – we should have seen it coming

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Finding top talent for your team is tough, as we know. What’s even tougher is identifying that top talent, investing hours of time in the interview process and then losing them to a counter offer. As I look back at the times that this has occurred in my career in search, this situation could have been avoided in most cases if better due diligence had been completed early in the process.Let’s face it, there is always the “human” factor in talent acquisition and we should expect that a small percentage of the candidates will ultimately accept a counter offer. The…
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 20:01

A season of gratitude

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So here we are in the midst of the holiday season and in the United States, Thanksgiving is one of the major holidays of the year. However, the celebration of Thanksgiving has taken a second-place to the entire “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” hullabaloo. This year retailers even infringed upon the Thanksgiving Day itself, opening retail stores before midnight to give shoppers a jump on bargain shopping. It seems that shoppers will go to extremes to get items they want. Some would argue that our society may be too immersed in consumerism during this holiday season.Thanksgiving engenders a time of…
Running a business can be stressful enough. So you rely on the companies you work with to hit the mark on operational essentials, like processing payroll. But sometimes these are precisely the things that bring you the most stress.Smart Business spoke to Mark Strippy, Executive Director at Heartland Payment Systems®, about why now is a great time to put the best possible payroll processes in place to relieve some stress heading into the new year.Catalysts to changeThere are several circumstances motivating business owners today to seek a new payroll service provider. Not surprisingly, service and expense are among the top…
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 20:01

Startups: Protecting your trademarks

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Your trademarks are what customers use to recognize your company, your product, and/or your services. Wouldn’t you want to take the necessary steps to protect your hard-earned brand identity? Many businesses, especially startups, do not think about this subject until their products are ready to launch. Some do not consider trademark protection until even later, when they run into a conflict.If you have reached that point, you are late, says Colleen Flynn Goss, Counsel at Fay Sharpe LLP. “It needs to happen early in the process,” Goss says. “Certainly not when the business is still a ‘shower idea,’ but definitely…
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 19:01

Movers and Shakers

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Roscoe Medical, a manufacturer and distributor of home medical equipment, appointed Daniel A. Radish as chief financial officer.In his role, Radish will responsible for the overall financial and administrative oversight of Roscoe Medical, including the management of the accounting, finance, credit, payroll and benefit administration departments. He has expertise in strategic financial planning, credit and risk management, information technology planning and management from a wide array of industries.Radish brings more than 20 years of senior leadership and financial experience, most recently as a director with Union Partners, a private equity and performance acceleration firm. In this position, he was instrumental…
Joe Gingo, chairman, president and CEO of A. Schulman Inc., was brought in to sell the struggling company in January of 2008. But by focusing on improving processes and operational efficiencies, Gingo led A. Schulman to generate $200 million in cash by the end of that same year. Undertaking several acquisitions, the company was no longer for sale.A. Schulman is now a leading international supplier of high-performance plastic compounds and resins, with 30 manufacturing and support centers worldwide employing approximately 3,000 people.Gingo served as a panelist at the October Smart Business Toolbox Series presented by Hyland Software, speaking about lean…
Acquisitions left Omnova Solutions Inc. with a fragmented IT platform composed of 27 disparate systems several years ago, complicating communications for the emulsion polymer specialty chemicals and decorative and functional services company.Omnova decided to standardize and streamline its platform using lean Six Sigma in its process improvement efforts, eventually choosing a new platform with SAP. This change cut costs and improved communications for the 2,300 employees among its facilities in America, Europe and Asia.Chairman, President and CEO Kevin McMullen served as a panelist at the October Smart Business Toolbox Series presented by Hyland Software, speaking about lean manufacturing initiatives to…
Andrew E. Brickman says anything is possible if you’re persistent in pursuing your goals.He’s proven that with the success of Abode Living’s recent development projects, despite a downturned economy that has particularly devastated the real estate market. Only one town home remains for sale of 27 at the upscale 27 Coltman in Little Italy, while the first phase of million-dollar town homes at Eleven Rivers in Rocky River has sold out.Already on to a new project, Clifton Pointe in Lakewood, the managing partner and director attributes Abode’s success to innovation and quality fostered by a culture of employee empowerment.Brickman emphasizes…
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 19:01

Market enters fall with uncertainty

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High domestic unemployment and low domestic consumer spending teamed with the heavy burden of a European economic debt crisis has tampered with potential merger and acquisition growth. With third-quarter deal volume down 16 percent and an uneventful month in October, the M&A markets are attentively watching to see what will evolve in the overall marketplace.Confidence has weakened from international debt policies and recent increased regulations. At the same time, there is some optimism out there as a result of certain positive market data. Gross domestic product is one definitive indication of a growing market, and current third-quarter estimates for the…
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 19:01

The honor roll - 2011 Pillar Award nominees

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NONPROFIT EXECUTIVE DIRECTORThe Benjamin Rose Institute on AgingRichard Browdie, president and CEOBrowdie has headed The Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging for nine years. The not-for-profit organization aims to advance the health, independence and dignity of older adults by raising the standards for quality care. This is accomplished through the Eldercare Services Institute, Margaret Blenkner Research Institute and Katz Policy Institute. Boy Scouts of AmericaBarry J. Norris, scout executiveNorris leads the Boy Scouts of America scouting effort in northern Ohio for more than 20,000 young boys and male teens. Under his leadership, the Greater Cleveland Council has become one of the…