This years conference, which rotates each year among Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, is set for May 3 and 4 at the Adams Mark Hotel in Columbus.
The event features Alfred R. Berkeley III, president of The Nasdaq Stock Market Inc., as the luncheon speaker May 4. Prior to joining Nasdaq, Berkeley was a managing director and senior banker in the corporate finance department of Alex, Brown & Sons Inc., where his primary expertise involved large computer software and electronic commerce companies.
The keynote speaker May 3 is Nancy Kramer, founder and CEO of Resource Marketing Inc., a $75 million technology marketing and communications firm with clients including Hewlett Packard, Adobe, Sun Microsystems, Cisco Systems, Burton Snowboards, The Limited, Huntington Banks and others.
Thirty companies from throughout the Great Lakes region will give presentations on their business plans in the hopes of drawing interest from investors at the conference.
In 1999, Innovest presenting companies included Accelent Systems, Akron; Docosa Foods Ltd., Columbus; MedHost Inc., Toledo; Medsonics US Inc., New York; and PlanSoft Corp., Twinsburg. Successes from previous conferences include Columbus-based Continental Auto Receivables Inc., which secured $6 million in funding as a direct result of its Innovest presentation in 1996, and Cincinnati-based Synchrony Communications, formerly Intelecare, which raised $275,000 from three private investors it met through Innovest 98 and has since done an $11 million private placement.
This year, Innovest is produced by Enterprise Development Inc., Ohio Department of Development and Columbus Investment Interest Group. Host organizations are Battelle; Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP; Deloitte & Touche LLP; Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce; Huntington Capital Corp.; KPMG LLP; The Nasdaq Stock Market Inc.; Ohios Edison Technology Centers; PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP; SBN magazine; Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP; Venture Assets; and Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease LLP.
How to reach: Innovest 00, www.innovest.org, or call Enterprise Development Inc., (216) 229-9445. Attendees should contact Rich Simpkins at ext. 152; presenter information is available from Charles Burkett at ext. 157.
This years distinguished judges are Daniel Austin, vice chairman of McDonald Investments Inc.; Carol Latham, president & CEO of Thermagon Inc.; Thomas McKee, a partner at Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP; Larry Roth, Cleveland chapter president of the Young Presidents Organization; and Loyal Wilson, managing director of Primus Venture Partners.
Owners and managers who are primarily responsible for the growth of a company and active in top management are eligible for the award. Self-nominations are encouraged, as are those from suppliers, customers and others who work with entrepreneurs.
Regional award recipients will go on to compete for national recognition in several award categories, including the 2000 national Entrepreneur Of The Year. All national award recipients and finalists will be announced and honored at a gala during the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year International conference in Palm Springs, Calif., Nov. 11.
Previous national EOY award winners have included Michael Dell of Dell Computer Corp. and Richard Schulze, the founder, chairman and CEO of Best Buy Co. Inc.
This years program is sponsored locally by McDonald Investments Inc., the Ohio Department of Development and SBN magazine. For more information, visit www.ey.com/eoy.
Profits are down, your company’s overstaffed and hard choices have to be made. Layoffs, though painful, are the best way to trim overhead.
So how to do you deliver the bad news to your staff without causing an employee revolt?
“There is a direct correlation between the way employees get on with their lives and the ways news is communicated,” explains Amy Rogat, senior vice president of Russell Rogat/Lee Hect Harrsion, a consulting firm that helps employees and employers work through changes such as massive job layoffs. “The goal is to make it less painful, because there’s a tremendous impact on those people leaving and those people who remain.”
Rogat suggests three rules for those who have the not-so-friendly task of being the messenger of bad news:
No small talk. “Don’t even say good morning,” she says. “Just say, ‘I have some bad news.’ Brevity is important and get it over with quickly.”
Write out the benefits. “After the bad news is delivered, little else registers with the people involved,” she says. “Write out all the benefits the discharged employee will receive so that everything is clear.”
Avoid putting a positive spin on the situation. The bottom line, says Rogat, is that there is nothing positive for the people who are most affected by job loss. “Give them the news, then make sure to provide them with information or services to help them move on.”
How to reach: Russell Rogat/Lee Hecht Harrison, (440) 331-4400
The second annual Innovation in Business Conference, sponsored by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Ohio and presented by SBN, will be held Thursday, Sept. 7, 2000, at the Marriott downtown.
This years panel of Master Innovators has been named. Participating in this years discussion are:
- A. Malachi Mixon, CEO of Invacare Corp.
- Luis Proenza, president of the University of Akron
- Jacqueline Woods, president of Ameritech Ohio/SBC
- Tom Sullivan, CEO of RPM
The evenings festivities will be moderated by Robert Conrad, general manager of WCLV-95.5 FM. Also recognized will be a group of Rising Stars and Visionaries. Nominations for Rising Stars and Visionaries will be accepted through June 30.
Individuals and companies are eligible for the program. Self-nominations are accepted.
The conference is also sponsored by Arthur Andersen, Pfizer, Sarcom, Brouse McDowell and ICG Communications. For more information or to receive a nomination form see page 6.
Daniel G. Jacobs
Andi Reiber and Carolla Zap are avid horseback riders and motorcyclistsand good examples of the kinds of transplants that the Pittsburgh business community wants to keep in the region.
The young partners in Blue Rider Design Studio, founded by them in 1995 in a home office with a single computer, are native New Yorkers and high school friends who came to Pittsburgh in 1989 to study at Carnegie Mellon University. Both had job offers in New York after graduation, but decided instead to stay here to practice their craft in their own business.
Weve always known that we were going to do something that was art- and design-oriented, says Zap, who concentrates on Web site design and construction, as well as multimedia projects.
Reiber and Zap say their approach is to combine design and technology in a way that describes precisely what the client does. Rather than overlay their own style on their clients image, they say they work with the client to understand what the business involves.
Our style becomes the way we work with clients, says Reiber, who focuses on marketing, concept development and print work for the firm.
Adds Zap: What we dont do is impose a Blue Rider design on the project.
The path to entrepreneurship can be a strange one for some business builders, but Eugene Ritters journey may rank among the most unusual.
Ritters path has included alcoholism, divorce, unemployment and an ongoing spiritual search a quest that once had him considering the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church.
Ritter, a man with a self-acknowledged gift of gab, nonetheless has managed to build a business virtually from scratch over the past five years. And he gives his wife of five years, Faye, and God the credit for his success.
I think the key is the relationship with God, says Ritter.
Ritter realized early financial success as an encyclopedia salesman, and later, as a district manager for the same company. But drinking cost him his job, and he sank deeper into alcoholism. Eventually, he sought help from Alcoholics Anonymous and has remained sober since 1972. He continues to work with recovering alcoholics.
Ritter worked as a group home counselor after he gained sobriety but entered another extended period of unemployment from 1982 to 1992. He spent most of that time surviving on public assistance and help from friends and family.
Still, Ritter is anything but bitter about the 10 years he spent on welfare. That period, he is convinced, was a necessary part of his journey.
It showed me how insignificant I am, he says. It showed me how much I needed God.
In 1992, Ritter met his wife in church. Faye, says Ritter, is the one who encouraged him to start his own business.
I laughed, because here I was, on welfare, Ritter says.
Despite his lack of capital, no credit and a checkered work history, Ritter scraped together about $7,000 to buy a computer company in 1992. The company, DMR Inc., now distributes industrial and medical supplies to hospitals, including a major university hospital, nursing homes and local government agencies. And he has four full-time and several casual employees.
Although they are all 30-somethings, combined, they have more than a lifetime of coveted professional experience. Their expertise runs the gamut, from software to hardware to switching systems and routing technology, as well as the organizational and strategic savvy to get and keep a company on the move.
All worked for Pittsburgh’s most successful high-tech company to date, Fore Systems (now Marconi plc), most holding key positions in the development of major products and systems. Two are Carnegie Mellon alumni, and all have attended prestigious institutions of higher learning. Four of the six hold advanced degrees. Two worked for Transarc Corp., another successful Pittsburgh technology company.
Here are the founders of Laurel Networks at a glance:
Atul Bansal, president and CEO, has more than 14 years of experience in the data communications industry. His most recent position was product group director of Fore Systems’ multilayer ethernet switching product division, a unit with $100 million-plus in annual revenue. He’s also held numerous positions with Digital Equipment Corp.
Jeffrey Prem, director of system services hardware, has more than 12 years of experience as a software architect and developer. At Fore, he was principal software development engineer, leading the company’s software development for its entire line of asynchronous transfer mode switches.
Robert Rennison, director of signaling and routing software, has more than 14 years of experience in the data communications and networking industries. A six-year veteran at Fore Systems, Rennison led a team of engineers in the development of several key projects there.
Dimitris Varotsis, chief technology officer, is a Carnegie Mellon graduate and a former principle engineer with Fore Systems. With more than a decade of experience in data communications, including a stint with Transarc Corp., Varotsis is responsible for the overall software architecture of all Laurel Networks products.
Steve Vogelsang, vice president of marketing, was senior director of strategic and technical marketing at Fore Systems. As its senior director of strategic and technical marketing, he was responsible for defining and communicating Fore’s technology and solution strategy.
Robert Warden, director of hardware engineering, has eight years of experience in the design of high-speed switching systems. He was Fore Systems’ manager of ATM switching systems before breaking out as a co-founder of Laurel Networks.
If this all sounds a little indefinite, well, it is. Were doing a little experimenting and were asking you to help us out. At most, youll hear from us two or three times a month. But we vow not to bombard you with worthless junk e-mail or sell or otherwise share your address with pestering salespeople.
And we absolutely promise to take you off the list if we get annoying. So if youre feeling a little daring, simply send a short message to email@example.com and well put you on the list.
Thanks for your help.
Linda Stevenson has spent most of her career in banking. Even when she took time off to raise a family, she continued working part time in banking.
But her devotion to the profession doesnt just stem from her education or devotion to her employer, National City Bank. Shes in it for the entrepreneurs.
I really love what I do because Im just fascinated with the courage entrepreneurs have and the sacrifices they make to start their businesses, says Stevenson, who has been working for National City or its predecessor banks since 1982. I get to be a part of that process and help them. Its like I have a piece of ownership in them.
Stevenson, a lifelong Erie resident, is an assistant vice president of National City and focuses entirely on the small business sector, particularly with the banks SBA lending program. She has served with its small business program for the entire 10 years of its official existence, spending as much time servicing customers in Pittsburgh as she does in Northwestern Pennsylvania. In fact, she was part of the team, led by Thomas Golonski, president and CEO of National City Bank of Pennsylvania, that created the program.
We had the foresight to recognize that small businesses are critical to the region, she says.
Now, she says, she has had the privilege of beginning to see a new element emerge and prosper in Western Pennsylvania: women-owned businesses. To feed her passion for that sector, she recently helped set up a PowerLink advisory board chapter in the Erie area, which puts together business advisory boards, at no cost, for qualified women-owned businesses interested in growing aggressively.
Says Stevenson of entrepreneurship and her role as a banker in that world: Its really fun to be part of it.
Marsh, a leading insurance broker and risk advisory service, has developed Net Secure, a program of insurance and consulting for those involved in e-business. Marsh advises companies in e-business to take the following steps to identify and address potential risks:
- Know all of your e-business applications and examine the risks.
- Focus first on the risks that pose the greatest threat to profits or reputation.
- Gauge your vulnerability.
- Examine the financial impact and valuation issues associated with your e-business activities.
- Review your insurance to determine if it addresses your e-business risk.
- Examine contracts with vendors who provide critical functions for your Web business.
- Establish a team within you company to evaluate risks and develop strategies to deal with them.
- Establish e-business security measures. How to reach: Marsh, (412) 552-5077 or www.marshweb.com/e-business