The tribal council has spoken. When it comes to e-learning, many have ventured -- few have succeeded. But Manpower has proven to be a consummate survivor in the development of its Global Learning Center (www.manpowernet.com), a training and career development tool to help meet the demand for skilled professionals.
"Developing the site was no easy trek," admits Lisa Doyle, Manpower's area sales manager. "There were numerous pitfalls, dead-end paths and fruitless ideas. But we overcame them in blazing our trail to success."
Things could have been worse, Doyle observes. At least there was no bug-eating involved in this adventure.
Back to basics
J. Michael Kolk swears by his Sharp Palm Pilot, proclaiming it's the best productivity and organizational investment he's ever made. "Not only does this 6-ounce, palm-size device replace my 4-pound, 8-by-10 paper planner, it's altered the way I think about scheduling my time. No more scribbling on sticky notes," says Cohen, a partner and CPA at Cohen & Co. in Akron.
Shortly after he purchased his PDA, a skeptical colleague challenged him, "But, can you do this with your gadget?" and promptly tossed his bulky Day Timer onto the floor. Kolk quipped, "Nope, and if we measured progress by that standard, we should all get rid of our cell phones and go back to the tin can on a string!"
Can you spell 'spaghetti?'
Most CEOs have a storehouse of jokes and trivia questions for occasions such as client dinners and company parties. For example, which country is represented by a flag of just one color, and what color is it? It's the Libyan flag -- a plain green rectangle.
"My trivia collection comprises print and broadcast spelling and grammatical errors," says W.R. Covey, founder of the Canton-based Covey & Koons advertising agency. "Two of the most mangled usages are 'myriad' and 'complement/compliment.' And my collection also includes seven different ways to spell spaghetti."
It's up to you
Two decades ago, desolate downtown Akron cried out for urban renewal. Keep Akron Beautiful became a major catalyst in the revitalization we see in downtown Akron today.
Each year, the "Take Pride in Akron" award recognizes the efforts of businesses, organizations and individuals that sponsor KAB programs, such as Flowerscape and Adopt-A-Site. Flowerscape provides floral display sites throughout the city on traffic islands, city corners and downtown expressway ramps, and at Canal Park and Firestone stadiums. Adopt-A-Site works with volunteers from area businesses and organizations that help plant and maintain public lands in Akron.
"This physical revitalization has subsequently paved the way for the economic revitalization of downtown Akron that attracts new businesses and consumers," says Paula Davis, KAB director. Celebrating its 20th anniversary with a new tagline, "It's up to all of us," KAB is seeking greater participation from area businesses, organizations and individuals. To become involved, call (330) 375-2116.
It's a search engine that's all Ohio, all the time. OhioBiz Web Consulting LLC has launched www.ohiobiz.com, a site that provides visitors with free and quick access to Ohio-based business, community, organization and education-related Web sites.
OhioBiz founder and President Mark Geyman says ''the site offers prompt Web site listings to any company or organization that has a physical presence in the state of Ohio. One of the goals of the site is to electronically promote Ohio's businesses and organizations in one location. Businesses and organizations are strongly encouraged to submit their site.''
Geyman plans to generate revenue by offering potential advertisers opportunities to reach OhioBiz site visitors in the form of text-based category sponsorships.
''We will provide advertisers a means of sponsoring a particular category or categories within OhioBiz in terms of quarterly, semi-annual and annual sponsorships. Also, we will be implementing and integrating targeted keyword advertising so site sponsors and visitors can reap the benefits of a locally-based sponsor's products and services,'' says Geyman.
All sponsorship banners will be text-based, reducing the clutter factor without any pop-up banners.
Raise the roof
Getting a raise can be an exercise in the art of negotiation, according to Management Recruiters International Inc. (MRI), the world's largest search and recruitment organization. Employees looking for a raise should consider their total compensation package, including bonuses, commissions, health insurance, medical and dependent care spending accounts, profit sharing, paid vacation, stock options and other offerings.
MRI offers the following tips for negotiating a salary increase:
- Do your homework. Investigate what other companies are paying employees in like positions. Talk to recruiters, review help wanted ads and salary surveys in regional or national magazines, consult trade groups or associations, peruse the Internet.
- Assess your true value. Take a good look at your skills, talents and contributions. Have you saved your company money? Improved a process? Reached a sales goal? Assess your successes to make a strong case for more money.
- Be your own advocate. Be sure your superiors or potential new boss know about your accomplishments. This is no time to be modest.
- Plan ahead. If you are seeking a raise, let your boss know you'd like to discuss this issue in advance of scheduled performance review periods so you can give him or her a peek at what you'll be looking for from the next raise.
- It's not too late. If performance reviews have already been completed, ask your employer for a merit increase or an accelerated performance review that can be retroactive based on your having met agreed-upon objectives.
- Explore your options. Consider other job opportunities and be prepared to leave your current job if you do not get what you ask for.
Out of the woods?
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's lowering of interest rates has started to revive consumer confidence, according to findings from BIGresearch surveys taken before and after the announced rate cuts on April 18.
In a study conducted between April 4 and April 13, 2001, 3,400 consumers were asked about the economy; 39 percent said they were confident, while 47 percent said they had little confidence. After the interest rate drop, more than 47 percent of consumers said they were confident, while only 39 percent said they had little confidence.
''Consumer confidence certainly is a real measure of trust and hope in our leaders. But consumer confidence is also highly influenced by TV media exposure,'' says Joe Pilotta, vice president of Columbus-based BIGresearch. ''It will be important to see if the level of confidence will continue to increase over the next several weeks.''
Watt/Fleishman Hillard Inc. became the world's leading public relations firm in 2000 with a 61 percent increase in revenue growth. The firm's Cleveland office had a banner year, with revenue more than doubling from $2.1 million in 1999 to $4.3 million in 2000.
Watt/Fleishman Hillard's worldwide revenue was $342.8 million in 2000, beating out its four biggest rivals in the industry. The St. Louis-based firm has 77 offices worldwide.
An economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland says corporate managers of late are not practicing good risk management. Joseph Haubrich, an economist and consultant, says business and corporate decision-makers do not understand the risks they take or don't understand the far-reaching societal effects of their more risky corporate endeavors.
Haubrich cites two cases in which the societal cost of the risk exceeded its private cost: the Great Depression of the 1930s and the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s. Management needs to study not only how the company would be damaged if the risky endeavor fails, but what its effects would be on the economy, Haubrich argues. For a copy of the bank's ''Economic Commentary,'' send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax (216) 579-3050.
Finance guru hits the airwaves
Ivan Gelfand, the father of institutional cash management, is taking his financial know-how to the street. Gelfand, past president of the Cleveland Business Economists Club and a member of several boards of trustees and directors around Northeast Ohio, can be seen on Fox 8 News in the Morning's ''Streetwise'' segment, which airs at 6:40 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
During the segment, Gelfand, a nationally recognized expert in the fields of investments, corporate and personal finance and business forecasting, takes questions from early rising viewers via phone or e-mail.
Give and take
Despite what you hear about the slowing economy and loosening job market, prospective employees still have strong negotiating power when it comes to determining salaries. According to a recent survey by Management Recruiters International, prospects are more prepared when they receive a job offer. They have researched what like positions pay, assessed what value they bring to the table and certainly aren't shy telling you so.
MRI's survey also revealed that employees aren't just concerned with basic compensation; they're seeking complete packages that include bonuses, commissions, health insurance, profit sharing, paid vacations, stock options and other benefits. So be prepared when you're ready to make an offer. It may not be as simple as saying, ''I'd like to offer you this job.''
Great Shakeout continues
In case you're wondering just how bad the Great Dot-com Shakeout has become, consider this: TheStandard.com's Layoff Tracker reported in May that Internet-related firms have announced more than 100,000 job cuts since December 1999. With more gloomy reports about employment statistics from the U.S. government, it's no wonder the economy is in a holding pattern and employers are taking a wait-and-see attitude with filling empty slots.
Creativity in the round
Hiring salespeople is a greater challenge today than ever before. That was the main issue in April at the Creative Business Roundtable, says April Majni, president and founder of Marshfield Group.
Majni was among 12 businesspeople nationwide who participated in the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based event. Her firm, Marshfield Group, is a Mentor-based marketing communications agency and consulting firm.
''Selling a service is a different kind of challenge because creativity is intangible,'' Majni says. ''Although you can provide samples of the work your firm has done, you can't show the client their finished product up front.''
That's one of the two biggest challenges, the participants concluded. The other is the difficulty in finding salespeople familiar with the creative process. Explains Majni, ''Most are used to selling a product, not a service. There's a definite learning curve.''
The conclusion? ''My advice was to hire a good salesperson and train them well,'' she says. ''A good salesperson is also a good student.''
Although the axe is falling at many companies -- maybe at yours -- you still need to complete projects quickly and on budget. How can you do that with fewer people?
Keep the communication flowing, says Stanley Portny, author of ''Project Management for Dummies.'' Here are his tips for effective project management with a leaner staff.
- Prioritize. Encourage employees to talk openly about the demands on their time at work and help them find the activities they need to put on hold while they focus on the project.
- Don't dump and run. Although it's tempting to throw an assignment at your employees and leave them to figure it out, don't, Portny says. Instead, think the project through with the team. This sends the message that you're in this together and committed to the project.
- Clarify. When people have too much on their plates, they begin to operate in panic mode and create more work for themselves. Spell out exactly what employees need to accomplish on a project and what its deadlines are, and be certain that they understand.
- Visualize. Help team members buy in to a project up front, Portny says. If they're thinking there's no way they'll get this done, they won't. When you can help them visualize the success of the project, from beginning to end, they will be far more likely to make it happen.
- Reward. Reinforce the efforts of your team members by making them feel appreciated. When someone completes a step of a project, send a thank you memo and a copy of it to his or her superiors. Or simply say, ''thank you.'' It's a small gesture, but it works.
The 75 percent Ohio workers' compensation premium reduction takes effect this month for the 2001 policy year. As an employer, you'll pay only 25 percent of your premium when you receive payroll reports in December 2001 and June 2002, according to the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
In addition, you'll see a one-time 75 percent premium reduction on your June 2001 invoice. This means you'll get a 75 percent credit on your next three payroll reports. For more information, call the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, (800) 644-6292.
Talk is cheap
With all the cell phone users in Cleveland, you'd think service is much cheaper here than in other cities. But Cleveland cell phone users pay only about 50 cents less than the national average of $38.80 a month, according to a survey by Econ One, an economic research and consulting firm which studies costs in the wireless industry.
The cost of cell phone service continues to gradually decrease, in part because more cell companies are including more ''free'' calling time at nights and on weekends, according to the survey. Average costs were down in 13 cities, up in 11 cities and unchanged in one. The largest increases in average costs from April to May were in San Diego, Pittsburgh, Boston and Atlanta; the greatest decreases were in Houston, Dallas, New York and Philadelphia.
The average San Francisco cell phone user pays the most, $42.89 a month; those in Houston pay $36.26 a month on average.
Deciding between two job offers can be difficult and stressful. But taking stock of your personal and professional priorities can help point you toward the right job, says Allen Salikof, president and CEO of Management Recruiters International. Prospective employees should consider the following when weighing their options:
- What is most important to you? Is it the most money and the best benefits? A stimulating work environment that offers a clear career path? Responsibility or power? A reasonable work/life balance? Think about what you liked least about your last job for some insight.
- Take a critical view of the company. Is it well established or do you prefer a more entrepreneurial, start-up mindset? Think about where you're going to be spending most of your day and the type of people that is likely to attract.
- Are there opportunities for advancement and to make more money? Does the company have a formal review process, and are raises given annually? Will the company offer professional development training or continuing education? Consider your career path and what lies beyond your starting salary and title.
- What is the work environment and style? Will you be working alone or as part of a team? Do you prefer a very structured environment or one that is more horizontal?
- Dress code has become an increasingly important factor in people's decisions about where they work. If you are coming from a business casual environment, having to buy a new wardrobe for a more formal workplace could be a strong financial consideration and play into your decision.
- Talk to others within the industry to get their take on the companies you're considering. Look for media coverage about them for insight into financial health, turnover rate and management outlook.Biotech expansion
2000 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Gil Van Bokkelen has seen a lot of growth in the past year. His company, Athersys, recently was named National Business Incubation Association's Graduate of the Year. The award recognizes the most notable graduate from incubation programs around the world. Athersys also expanded its facility to include an additional 10,000 square feet of space, bringing its total quarters to 43,000 square feet.
Of note ...
Noteworthy Medical Systems reached a partnership agreement with Hewlett-Packard Co. to participate in H-P's Computing Solutions Provider Program. The program will link Noteworthy's marketing team with H-P's sales reps, technology officers and other officials at major hospitals and health care institutions.
There's no question that the Internet is one of the most extensive information resources available -- assuming you know where to look. That's one reason the 29-member library systems of the CLEVNET Library Consortium last month unveiled KnowItNow at www.KnowItNow24x7.net. KnowItNow is a live online reference service that unites the information expertise of librarians, the comprehensive resources of the CLEVNET libraries and technology to deliver information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is the first resource of its kind offered by public libraries in the United States.
Blueprint for the future
After 25 years with Lakeside Blueprint, president Chuck Dean is calling it quits. Dean, 45, began his career with Lakeside as a bluepoint machine operator and served as a production manager for years before assuming the role of president in 1992. During his tenure, Dean grew the company from $3 million to $10 million, landing some of the city's largest construction printing contracts, such as those for Tower City, the Cleveland Browns Stadium, Gund Arena, Key Tower and the Galleria. Dean is succeeded as president by Andy Ziegler, executive vice president of operations.
5 interview warning signs
Finding qualified employees remains the top issue employers must deal with, despite a slowing economy. But remembering the adage that haste makes waste has never been more important. Management Recruiters International (www.BrilliantPeople.com) offers five red flags interviewers should watch for during the hiring process:
- Candidate denigrates a former employer. Habitual malcontents can be poisonous in an organization.
- Candidate can't isolate specific work achievements and has no verifiable references. The candidate's credentials are suspect.
- Candidate didn't learn much or understand the previous employer's business. That's a sure sign he or she will behave the same in the new job.
- Candidate must travel a surprisingly long distance to the job or seems overqualified. This raises issues of underlying problems, social or psychological impediments to more appropriate work situations.
- Candidate takes too long to consider an offer. A sign the employer isn't the candidate's first choice.
You can't blame this one on the Cavaliers
If your staff is calling in sick more often during the summer than winter, there could be an unlikely reason. A survey of 1,400 businesspeople nationwide, conducted by Maritz Marketing Research Inc., found that one in eight baseball fans admitted to taking a sick day from work to attend a professional baseball game.
''It was somewhat surprising to discover how many people said they sneak off from work to attend a game,'' says Phil Wiseman, vice president of marketing for Maritz. ''Americans, in general, seem enamored with sports. Employers are pretty lucky pro football games are only held on weekends and evenings.''
Former SBN Cleveland managing editor Dan Jacobs was recognized with two honorable mention awards in the "Features, Personality Profile," and "Features, General," categories for "The Art of the Start-Up" and "A gathering of the tribes," respectively, under Business Publications.
SBN Columbus associate editor Joan Slattery Wall picked up a second place award in the General News category for her story, "Divide & Conquer."
This year's Excellence in Journalism competition drew 1,124 entries from a variety of daily and nondaily newspapers, radio and television stations, and trade and business publications from around Ohio. Judges for the event included representatives from the Houston Press Club, Los Angeles Press Club, New Orleans Press Club and San Diego Press Club.
The Excellence in Journalism competition honors journalists throughout Ohio.
"A business has a responsibility to give back to its community."
How many times have you heard some variation of that phrase? How many times have you said it yourself?
Most business owners seem to agree with it, for a variety of reasons.
First, a company's success is built on the strength of the people and resources in its community. Giving back is, on the one hand, a way to show appreciation for that, and on the other, a way to assure it continues.
Besides, a market-based community is not a fair or perfect place. It can only be at its best when those who have seen success choose to put some of their hard-won resources to work for everybody.
But there's more, and you well know it: Good deeds generate good will, and good will is good for business.
At the same time, has it ever been harder to make an honest dollar, and to find time or money to give back to the community?
But plenty of businesses are doing so every day. They operate on the doctrine that you don't need to be a corporate giant to make an impact, and that if you wait until it's easy to get involved, you'll wait forever.
That's why Medical Mutual of Ohio and Small Business News have created the Pillar Award for Community Service. Its goals are to:
- Honor and reward companies that have made a commitment to community service;
- Encourage other companies to get involved with the community;
- Identify and share creative ideas that companies of all sizes can use to make the community a better place to live and work.
The following companies are the first class of Pillar Award winners. They were identified through an open nomination process publicized through SBN in August and September, then evaluated by an independent panel of judges.
Their stories of community service follow.
Donating the know-how
Pubic Relations Partners, Independence
Since its founding in 1994, Independence-based Public Relations Partners has leveraged the skills and interests of its employees (now numbering 13) to assist local organizations with their public relations needs. The company subscribes to the old adage, "To those whom much has been given, much is expected."
In January 1997, PR Partners implemented a continuous public service campaign for the Substance Abuse Initiative of Greater Cleveland, which included planning, image development, special event support and publication of a quarterly newsletter-all pro bono.
"Most of us have children, so the drug abuse resistance program touches us all," explains Kathy Sluzewski, vice president and senior program manager. "We see the problems are out there and we want to help avoid them."
PR Partners worked with the Cleveland Academy of Finance-an inner-city four-year high school program based at East High School-to develop recruiting posters and organize a public finance career day at City Hall. Those efforts brought much needed attention to the underutilized program, and helped lead to a four-fold increase in enrollment.
Among its other contributions, PR Partners wrote and designed the 1997 Leukemia Cup Regatta entry forms and programs for a fund-raising event of the Leukemia Society of America; developed a corporate gift matching program for its employees; designed a new school logo for St. Ignatius High School; and prepared and printed a Media Relations Guidebook for the U.S. Coast Guard.
PR Partners' work has translated into more than 750 volunteer hours, conservatively valued at $60,000-no small amount of time or money for a young and growing agency.
The judges say: Most PR and advertising agencies have some sort of link to the community, usually contributing in-kind services. The fact that PR Partners has a matching gifts program puts it a step ahead of the field. - J. Lee Bailey
Helping schools - and students - succeed
PPG Industries Inc., Barberton
Over the past four years, Barberton's PPG Industries has made a strong commitment to education, both financially and through the volunteer efforts of its 150 employees.
Through the chemical company's Partners in Education program, PPG's efforts reach every aspect of learning-specifically in the fields of science and mathematics. It provides instructional materials to Highland Middle School teachers for use in science classes. PPG employees act as mentors and tutor students twice a week as part of the school's After School for Kids program. Other employees participate in career days, science fairs, Earth Day programs, a quarterly Breakfast Club for academic achievers and the Perfect AttenDance for students with excellent school attendance records-all sponsored by PPG.
In a cooperative effort with Barberton City Schools, PPG established an Ecosystem Learning Center and Educational Trail at the company's Lake Dorothy. The center and trail are used as outdoor classrooms for Barberton's students.
The company estimates that collectively, employees donate 1,000 hours each school year to the programs. Based on a conservative estimate of $10 per hour cited in its Pillar Award nomination form, that equals $10,000 a year in volunteer time. In addition, it took approximately 1,000 hours to help plan and build the ecosystem learning center and trail.
PPG allocates $2,400 a year from its facility budget toward the Partners In Education program. The money is used to pay for science and math books, science kits and other materials PPG donates to the schools.
The company's continuing efforts are aimed at helping to improve educational quality and performance in Barberton's schools, says Betty Naswadi, facilities administrator in charge of the Partners In Education program. "Our employees have really stood up and taken the challenge to give back to the schools. It's been exciting to see the results."
The judges say: PPG has shown very consistent leadership, and this is an excellent commitment to a nonheadquarters community of a multinational corporation. - Kent Clapp
Cause of the Month
Connecting Touch Therapy & Wellness Center Inc., Cuyahoga Falls
Each of Jack Hayes' 2,000 clients gives to charity. That's because since 1997, Hayes' Connecting Touch & Wellness Center Inc. has earmarked money from each massage for charity.
At first, Hayes says, the business donated 5 percent of revenue from each massage. But the company is small-less than $250,000 in revenue for 1998-and the size of his monthly gifts were beginning to choke the young enterprise.
He has since modified the program, donating $1 from each massage, for a total contribution over two years of more than $4,500. And Connecting Touch has spread those donations across the community.
Every month, a new charity is designated to receive the proceeds. Explains Hayes, "We try to educate people. Few people have heard of the smaller charities so they don't get the funding the big ones do."
To further that cause, Hayes sets information about that month's charity in his office waiting room, so clients can learn about the different organizations.
Among the groups that have been recipients of Connecting Touch's philanthropy are Victim Assistance of Akron, Project Learn, the Battered Women's Shelter, the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation, Cuyahoga Falls Cancer Club, YWCA Rape and Sexual Assault Services, Haven of Rest, Good Neighbors of Cuyahoga Falls and Project Linus.
Hayes also provides gift certificates to any organization looking for prizes or auction items for fund-raisers. "I've never turned anybody away who asks for a donation," he says. "When I give, it makes my heart smile."
The judges say: This is an example of a very strong commitment on the part of a start-up. It's quite impressive that charitable giving was a founding tenet of the company. - Kent Clapp
Recommitting every day
Arnold & Co. Communications, Beachwood
At Arnold & Co. Communications, giving back to the community is ingrained in the company's everyday philosophy. Over the past decade, the Beachwood-based public relations firm and its 10 employees have donated time, money and efforts to more than a dozen local organizations.
Ongoing annual financial contributions total more than $3,000 a year, on top of in-kind contributions from A&CC employees who regularly coordinate, design and implement public relations projects to raise money and awareness for the organizations.
"We don't press it upon our employees," says company president Doug Arnold. "It's done by example. We have a lot of people who are individually involved in efforts and donating time. Everyone sees that. So it's really become part of our corporate culture to be committed to the community."
Among its efforts, A&CC has designed and produced invitations for the Rainbow, Babies & Children's Hospital children's fashion shows. Last year, show proceeds were used to purchase new equipment for the neonatal intensive care unit.
A&CC organized and ran public relations activities for Arthritis Foundation events from 1993 to 1995. It designed programs for the American Cancer Society's annual golf tournaments, which raise more than $1 million annually in Ohio.
Employees also regularly contribute to the United Way-more than $2,000 a year-and the agency has received the United Way's Pacesetter Award for 14 consecutive years.
Other organizations the company is involved with include the Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center, Leadership Cleveland, the Special Olympics, Ursuline College, Holy Rosary Church, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, University School and the University of Vermont.
The judges say: The in-kind contributions of this company relative to the staff size are very impressive. They seem to love using their professional abilities to make a difference. - Nelson Bardecio
Finding a theme with many angles
Ross Equipment Corp., Cleveland
Cindy Ross Trotter is a passionate woman when it comes to her business, Ross Equipment Corp. Sixty-plus hour workweeks are the norm. But Trotter is just as passionate about her involvement with charity, specifically the American Cancer Society and other organizations that serve those who suffer from cancer.
Over the past several years, Ross Equipment-which sells and rents aerial work platforms in Northeast Ohio-has forged an ongoing relationship with the American Cancer Society, sponsoring many of its large fund-raising events. Most recently, Ross was the major sponsor for the 1998 American Cancer Society Gala, La Vie en Rose, helping it raise more than $150,000 for the society's cancer control efforts.
Trotter believes it's important to give both time and money locally, and Ross makes regular financial contributions to organizations such as Camp Ho Mita Koda, Fairhill Center for Aging, the Hospice of the Western Reserve, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Cancer Center and the Ohio Chamber Orchestra.
Trotter herself is a member of the Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society and serves on the governing board for the Cleveland Museum of Health. She's also on the board of her alma mater, Gilmour Academy, which was Glen Oak when she graduated.
"Being in the construction equipment business, we feel we're part of the city's renaissance," she says. "It's mutually beneficial and very rewarding to help make a difference in Cleveland."
But Trotter's not one to let her company rest on past success. "Giving," she says, "is an ongoing process."
The judges say: This company shows how one person, CEO Cindy Ross Trotter, can use her position to make a difference in the community. - J. Lee Bailey
Generating lots of cash
Cleveland Grand Prix Charities, Cleveland
When a group of Cleveland business leaders founded the Cleveland 500 Foundation in 1982, the idea was to host the city's first Indy Car race and generate local support for charity. Sixteen years later, the organization's donations have totaled nearly $1 million.
Because the organization was created for a single purpose-to raise money for charity through the auto race-the Pillar Award judges looked especially hard at the size of its contributions, reaching a near unanimous conclusion: This organization is an overachiever.
In its first six years, the group contributed a total of $40,000 to the United Way and Arthritis Foundation. The real growth began in 1989, when the donation totaled $28,000-most going to the Achievement Center and $3,000 to the Rainbow, Babies & Children's Hospital.
Since then, the organization-which changed its name to Cleveland Grand Prix Charities Inc. in 1995-has added other annual events that complement the Medic Drug Grand Prix and increase the potential to bring in revenue for charity.
In the last nine years, annual contributions have averaged $100,000, and more than 30 organizations have been beneficiaries of that money.
"All the funds through our events are earmarked to stay in Northeast Ohio," says Lori Robinson, manager of special events. "So we know what we're doing helps local groups and the city of Cleveland."
Among the groups Grand Prix Charities helped this past year are the Providence House, Ohio's first licensed crisis nursery for infants and toddlers; the Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland; the Western Reserve Historical Society; Ronald McDonald House Charities; and Shoes for Kids. In 1997, CGPC donated more than $200,000 to charity.
The judges say: I knew the Grand Prix race raised money for good causes every summer, but I was not prepared for the sheer volume of the financial contributions. - J. Lee Bailey
Pick a cause and make it count
Mr. Hero/Restaurant Developers Corp., Independence
For the past 10 years, Mr. Hero/Restaurant Developers Corp. has been the single largest corporate sponsor of United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland-earmarking 2 percent of annual revenue to the organization.
Mr. Hero's philosophy has been to establish a strong identification between itself and one local charity. Financial donations so far have exceeded $400,000.
The gifts not only come from the corporate office, but through franchisees and the community-through coin canisters, in-restaurant promotions and the annual "Tee Up for UCP" Mr. Hero Golf outing.
The restaurant group has provided service personnel and a luncheon for the golf outing each year. It also sponsors an annual picnic held by the Children's Programs and The High School/High Tech kick-off celebrations.
"Given the retail nature of our business, we draw all our revenue from Northeast Ohio," says Ronald Wolfe, president and CEO of Restaurant Developers Corp., parent company of the Mr. Hero chain. "We see a total integration with our business and how we spend our money.
Wolfe is personally involved as well. He's president of the UCP Board of Directors and serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. Wolfe was directly involved in UCP's $6.5 million capital campaign, which raised funds for a new facility.
Says Wolfe, "People need to work for more than just profit. They need to count for something and make a difference within the local community."
The judges say: This company is a good example of a restaurant chain that goes beyond handing out free sandwiches at community events. The management takes leadership positions in the causes it supports. - J. Lee Bailey
Giving every which way
Cohen & Co., Cleveland
Organizations that have benefited from Cohen & Co.'s philanthropy span the areas of social service, education, health, economic development, civic affairs and the cultural arts. Over the years, there have been hundreds. Community involvement has been such an integral part of the company that principals say they wouldn't know how to measure the impact of the services offered.
"We are very appreciative and grateful for what the community provides to us," explains Ron Cohen, senior partner. "We feel we owe a whole lot back. Good citiz enship should be part of a license to practice in the community."
In addition to financial contributions in the past year, Cohen & Co. employees have participated in at least nine not-for-profit events, including the March of Dimes WalkAmerica and building for the Lake County MetroParks Penitentiary Glen. Cumulatively, employees spent more than 3,000 business hours on community service, which translates into approximately $750,000 in billable fees.
Employees are also offered incentives to donate money; if they give more than 1 percent of their salary, they receive extra vacation time.
The Cleveland-based accounting and consulting firm also regularly purchases tables at fund-raisers and annual meetings, sponsors fund-raising events and purchases ads in program books. Its employees serve on boards, committees and task forces for all types of not-for-profit organizations.
It leverages its employees' expertise in not-for-profit organization knowledge and currently performs audit and consulting services for 17 groups on a pro bono basis. It also offers a greater than 50 percent discounted fee for another 10 organizations. Those contributions represent more than $150,000 a year in normal fees.
The judges say: They have been extremely charitable in their giving of time and money, and they support an impressively wide range of organizations. In addition, they simply have a long tradition of being very generous. - Fred Koury
Doing the heavy lifting
SS&G Financial Services, Cleveland, Akron
When Saltz, Shamis & Goldfarb approached the Alzheimer's Association two years ago with a proposal to put on a golf outing, representatives of the Cleveland and Tri-County chapters were a bit skeptical of the regional accounting firm's motives.
But SS&G executives promised to handle everything: event planning, participant recruiting, organization, providing volunteers and rounding up prizes. All that anyone from the Alzheimer's Association would have to do is show up and tell participants about the association's good work.
They were astounded, says SS&G Marketing Coordinator Kathy Sautters.
"It's so easy today for a company to throw money at things," Sautters says. "It takes more effort to become active participants in events."
SS&G's first annual Alzheimer's Association Golf Outing raised more than $15,000 for the organization, and employees spent more than 400 hours preparing, organizing and implementing the event.
This year's outing raised a similar amount and helped increase awareness about Alzheimer's disease. The charity was chosen after one of the firm's founders, Marvin Shamis, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
But SS&G, with offices in Akron, Solon and Cincinnati, has been involved with other causes, too. Its Harvest for Hunger campaign resulted in the donation of 480 pounds of food to the Akron-Canton Food Bank, 590 pounds of food to the Cleveland Food Bank and 120 pounds of food to the Cincinnati Food Bank.
Other organizations that have benefited from SS&G's efforts are the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Inventure Place, Case Western Reserve University, First Night Akron and the JCC of Akron.
The judges say: Outstanding for me was the fact that, although only one of the partners was directly impacted, they all banded together in this service effort.
- They do the work as well as lend presence and financial support.
- Rather than use their commitment to pressure employee commitment to the same cause, the managers appear to use it as an example to encourage employees to participate in venues meaningful to each of them. - Nelson Bardecio
Creating an endowment fund
Conley Canitano & Associates Inc., Mayfield Heights
When employees at Conley Canitano & Associates Inc. raised $10,000 earlier this year to create the CCAI Endowment Fund, owners Ken and Karen Conley, and Annette and Nicholas Canitano, didn't hesitate in their response-they matched the $10,000 and promised to match additional employee contributions every year.
The CCAI Fund is administered by The Cleveland Foundation and is earmarked to meet the needs of children, families and the needy. While the company, an information technology integration firm (and a 1998 Entrepreneur of the Year winner) has been involved with the Bellflower Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse as its primary cause, the new continuing fund will donate proceeds to many organizations.
As for CCAI's involvement with Bellflower, Karen Conley is a member of the board, and Annette Canitano and Ken Conley are past board members. They have chaired numerous fund-raising programs for the center and held fund-raising activities within CCAI to benefit Bellflower's programs.
"If you've been given lots of opportunities, you owe something back," says Karen Conley. "We feel a very strong need because we've been blessed by the community."
Other beneficiaries of the company's efforts are the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland San Jose Ballet, the Cleveland Orchestra, the University Settlement, the Great Lakes Science Center and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The Conleys and Canitanos have also supported the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America.
The judges say: The endowment fund is an interesting way to make sure their work has a lasting impact. And the matching gifts are simply an impressive case of putting your money where your mouth is. - Fred Koury
Channel 3/WKYC TV, Cleveland
In the past year, Channel 3 claims to have helped match thousands of volunteers with local organizations. Its "3 Cares" campaign, organized in concert with the Business Volunteerism Council, has helped raise awareness and educate television viewers about community service groups and the opportunities available for viewers to get involved.
Every month, 30-second public service announcements are broadcast during prime viewing hours. The spots provide an overview of a specific organization, the services it needs, and a phone number for people to call.
Channel 3's news department complements those spots with additional stories about the organization, including volunteer profiles and suggestions of how viewers can get involved.
Among the groups featured are the Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland, Christmas in April, Cleveland Foodbank, Business Volunteerism Council, American Red Cross-Northern Ohio Region, Project: Learn, Alzheimer's Association, Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure, Center for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Coats for Kids.
In September, Channel 3's efforts with the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure helped increase attendance from 6,000 in 1997 to more than 10,000 participants in 1998.
Channel 3 has also adopted a Cleveland elementary school, John W. Raper Elementary, and started a tutoring program-Peacock Pals-with the goal of raising 4th grade proficiency test scores.
The judges say: I am impressed by the innovative way in which TV3 has taken the mandatory institution of the PSA and molded it into a focused campaign for volunteerism. - Nelson Bardecio
How the winners were selected
In August and September, SBN solicited nominations from nonprofit organizations, professional service firms, communications companies and the business community through a direct-mail program as well as publicity in the magazine.
Nominations were turned over to a panel of independent judges, who were asked to select as many as 15 top choices. When the judges returned their selections, the votes were tallied, and nominations receiving the most votes were named Pillar Award winners.
The judges were:
- Lee Bailey, executive director, The Citizen's League;
- Dr. Nelson Bardecio, executive director, El Barrio;
- Kent Clapp, chief executive officer, Medical Mutual of Ohio;
- Polly Clemo, associate director for institute advancement, Benjamin Rose Institute;
- John Hairston, external programs directorate, NASA;
- Patricia Horvath, associate executive director, The Health Museum of Cleveland;
- Fred Koury, chief executive officer, Small Business News Inc.
Everyone wants to know which local companies are on the cusp of something big. Thats why each January, Small Business News tells you Who to Watch in the coming year.
The organizations weve selected this year arent the only ones to keep your eye on in 1999. At least one large, Columbus-based employer that didnt make the list appears destined for an interesting year.
That employer is the State of Ohio. Not only will our state government get a new administration, but its likely to face one of the biggest challenges of the centuryconverting its computer systems seamlessly into the year 2000. The timeline is shortened, too, as the state rolls into fiscal 2000 on July 1 of this year.
So keep your fingers crossed and your eyes wide open. Its apt to be an interesting year all around Central Ohio.
It's been quite a century, hasn't it? If you close your eyes, you can almost see it in newsreel fashion - cars being dragged down the Ford assembly line in the stop-time motion of old movie cameras; suited men selling apples during the Depression; workers muscling a dangling girder into place on New York's tallest skyscrapers; oily smoke rising from the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor; subdivisions and suburbia; cloverleaf interchanges; Kennedy's funeral procession; civil rights sit-ins; soldiers in the jungle; nuclear missiles in Moscow's May Day parade; cheering traders on the NYSE floor; computers; the Berlin Wall; the SST; ATMs; IPOs; SUVs.
With all the focus on the coming millennium, we thought it reasonable to take one last look back at the Century of Progress.
We found it irresistible to do it with a list of the most important business moments from the last 99 years. We found it impossible to rank them-which is exactly what we did anyway.
1. 1913: Henry Ford installs a moving assembly line in his car plant. The frame of the car is pulled along the line by a chain, while workers stand on either side and assemble the car with parts delivered to them on moving conveyor belts.
2. 1991 The U.S.S.R. is dismantled, replaced by a centralized union of 15 countries. With only one notable exception-China-the economy becomes truly worldwide.
3. 1946: World's first electronic computer begins working in the U.S.
4. 1957: Soviet Union launches Sputnik into orbit. Within seven years, communications satellites make worldwide television broadcasts possible.
5. 1901: The discovery of huge oil deposits in Texas helps make gasoline more plentiful and less expensive, creating an economy that almost literally runs on petroleum.
6. 1913: Federal Reserve system is established, authorizing major reform of U.S. banking and finance, creating an international economic stabilizer.
71969: The Internet is born through a U.S. military agency as a security system to keep computers running in the event of a nuclear strike.
8. 1929: Stock market crashes on Black Thursday, ending post-WWI prosperity and setting a lasting benchmark of economic misery.
9. 1955: Passed by Congress largely as a Cold War defense measure, the first of the major highway-construction funding bills creates the Interstate Highway system.
10. 1919: First daily air mail service in U.S. runs from New York to Chicago.
11. 1981: IBM introduces the PC-the first widely used desktop computer.
12. 1901: Mass Production begins when Ransom Olds assembles cars with parts provided to the factory by outside suppliers.
13. 1914: Federal Trade Commission is established to supervise interstate trade.
14. 1935: Congress passes the Social Security Act.
15. 1903: First Pacific telephone cable laid.
16. 1919: The first scheduled, commercial airline service begins between London and Paris.
17. 1917: The U.S. declares war on Germany. As millions of men leave their jobs for World War I and war production accelerates, women join the work force. This creates a powerful influence on women's thinking after the war when they are forced out of jobs and back into the home.
18. 1914: Panama Canal opens for shipping.
19. 1955: America's two largest labor organizations, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations merge to create the AFL-CIO.
20. 1959: Integrated circuit is invented, reducing size, heat and resistance in electronic instruments.
21. 1972: The first e-mail is sent.
22. 1964: The Civil Rights Act creates the first nationwide affirmative-action laws, leading to hiring policies that ban discrimination based on race.
23. 1938: American Chester Carlson invents the photocopier. (Unofficial reports indicate the first photocopy of a person's rear end is produced Dec. 24, 1938.)
24. 1962: General Motors puts the first robot to use in a production line. The word derives from the Czech robota, meaning a serf. Organized labor sees it as an effort to cut workers; GM spins it as a way to make their lives better.
25. 1934: As fallout of the 1929 stock market crash, the Securities and Exchange Commission is established.
26. 1938: Chapter 11 reorganization added to the federal bankruptcy code.
27. 1947: Transistor is invented, enabling the first generation of electronic machinery.
28. 1988: The price of facsimile machines drops below $1,000; U.S. businesses snap up a million of them within a year, setting a new standard for fast response.
29. 1941: First commercial television broadcast airs under the watchful eyes of the FCC. With 15 hours of daily programming, The Columbia Broadcasting System reports Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on TV, but across the country, only six stations continue broadcasting throughout the war.
30. 1970: The Women's Rights Movement takes a foothold in American society and gains strength throughout the decade. Rosie the Riveter gives way to a new force in the workplace.
31. 1938: National minimum wage is enacted along with a maximum work week, overtime pay, child labor restrictions and equal pay for equal work for women.
32. 1914: Clayton Antitrust Act is passed, strengthening federal anti-monopoly powers.
33. 1913: The 16th Amendment is ratified, providing a legal basis for the graduated income tax.
34. 1989: The Berlin Wall falls, Germany is reunified, communism is crushed and the European Market becomes a possibility.
35. 1906: Sears & Roebuck Co. opens distribution centers across the country to aid its growing mail-order business. In 1913, the company begins advertising installment payments, doubling sales in a single year.
36. 1950: Diner's Club introduces the first credit card.
37. 1972: President Richard M. Nixon visits China. Coca-Cola and McDonald's soon follow, beginning the effort to reach the world's largest untapped market.
38. 1935: National Labor Relations Act establishes the NLRB.
39. 1933: Congress passes the first legislation of the New Deal, with social and economic measures that range from bank regulation to welfare to government-sponsored job creation.
40. 1976: Electronic Data Interchange begins in the grocery store industry, enabling a computer-to-computer exchange of business documents-and money.
41. 1959: St. Lawrence Seaway opens, providing a direct water link between America's heartland and the world.
42. 1954: Ray Kroc buys out Richard and Maurice McDonald, owners of a small hamburger stand in California, to create one of the world's most influential corporations in everything from advertising to agriculture to franchising to international relations.
43. 1994: North American Free Trade Agreement takes effect after a notably rancorous process. While the extent of its impact is still being sorted out, it is destined to play a major role in reshaping world commerce.
44. 1967: The LCD is developed by James Ferguson at Kent State University's Liquid Crystal Institute (patented in 1971). You can now check your digital watch without pushing a button.
45. 1911: Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in New York kills 146 workers, leading to the formation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and anti-sweatshop laws.
46. 1989: Unprecedented borrowing and consolidation of the go-go '80s comes to an official end with the indictment (and eventual jailing) of Junk Bond King Michael Milken. Long-term result: a destructive focus on short-term gains at the cost of long-term corporate stability.
47. 1966: Truth-in-packaging law requires labeling of supermarket item contents.
48. 1977: William Gates and Paul Allen start Microsoft.
49. 1970: Clean Air Act leads to the f irst major curbs on pollution and eventually to the establishment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
50. 1902: U.S. Census Bureau is established, a boon for advertising practitioners who quickly discover the possibilities of targeted demographic marketing.
51. 1978: The Uniform Commercial Code is enacted to simplify, clarify and modernize laws governing commercial transactions.
52. 1901: U.S. Steel Corp. is incorporated, eventually becoming the first billion-dollar multinational.
53. 1956: The first enclosed mall opens in suburban Minneapolis, signaling the decline of Main Street and the birth of a handful of trends, ranging from urban sprawl to Big Box retailing.
54. 1947: Taft-Hartley Act bans closed union shops and places other curbs on union activities.
55. 1906: American John Whitmore changes the function of accounting from historical record keeping to business planning, by applying standard costs based on advance calculations.
56. 1980: Deregulation begins in two major U.S. industries: banking and trucking.
57. 1979: Cellular phones are introduced in Tokyo, then Chicago. They are in widespread use by 1983.
58. 1900: Danish inventor Johann Vaaler invents the paper clip.
59. 1916: Railroad workers become the first class of laborers to try out the eight-hour work day.
60. 1943: Federal payroll withholding is instituted to help the middle class manage its new and rising tax burden. The actual result is runaway taxation because, heck, nobody really knows how much they pay to the government.
61. 1982: Under a federal antitrust ruling, AT&T relinquishes local phone service to eight regional "Baby Bells"-setting off a war of marketing and innovation called the telecommunications boom.
62. 1954: Peter Drucker publishes The Practice of Management, reasserting economic success as the common business goal among all workers at all levels, and launching him as one of the most influential business minds of the century.
63. 1946: The post-WWII environment of pent-up demand, stockpiled savings, rising wages and rampant inflation drives people to the bedroom and shopping. It's the birth of the baby boom and the first great age of consumer spending.
64. 1936: Dale Carnegie publishes How to Win Friends and Influence People. A lot of people could still stand to read it.
65. 1940: The Export Control Act provides presidential power to bar exports for reasons of national security.
66. 1970: Floppy disk invented by IBM.
67. 1904: Investigative reporter Ida Tarbell publishes the anti-monopoly History of the Standard Oil Co. The conglomerate is forced to split into independent entities seven years later. Direct descendants of the case: AT&T's breakup and today's Microsoft trial.
68. 1974: The Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is created to help those who aren't covered by a company pension. It gets credit for two major phenomena: the death of the pension, and the strength of the U.S. stock market.
69. 1948: First COLA-cost of living adjustment-is written into a contract between GM and the UAW.
70. 1967: National Commission on Product Safety is established, the forerunner of the current Consumer Product Safety Commission.
71. 1916: Brearly invents stainless steel.
72. 1920: Prohibition goes into effect, providing history's most compelling demonstration of the power supply and demand.
73. 1935: Capitated rates for health care are foreshadowed when Dr. Sidney Garfield charges public works laborers near Los Angeles 5 cents a day for prepaid care. He does the same during WWII for 30,000 at the Kaiser Shipyard, and in 1945 founds Permanente Health Plan-later Kaiser Permanente, the first HMO.
74. 1938: Owens-Corning patents fiberglass.
75. 1972: The electronic pocket calculator is invented. Early models sell for $100 but quickly come down in price, introducing the defining characteristic of the computer age: quantum leaps in the performance-to-cost ratio.
76. 1997: United Parcel Service management loses in a strike by its workers-the most stunning union victory in the most talked about and surprising strike since PATCO. It may have taken 16 years, but momentum once again shifts toward organized labor.
77. 1981: President Ronald Reagan decertifies PATCO, the union of striking air traffic controllers, signaling the lowest moment for organized labor in nearly 35 years (see #54).
78. 1973: Bar code is invented, bringing new efficiency to inventory control, retail theft prevention and other costly systems.
79. 1920: The earliest recorded traffic jam in (where else?) New York City creates the ultimate excuse for missing planes, meetings and other important business engagements.
80. 1970: Kinko's is founded on the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara. Becoming the first nationwide chain of photocopying and business services, it's a vital component in the creation of a class of "telecommuters" and "home office workers."
81. 1912: The unsinkable Titanic goes down, shaking our faith in the infallibility of industrial know-how-and setting us up 85 years later for the most over-budgeted, overhyped, overconsidered movie in cinematic history.
82. 1989: Stephen Covey publishes The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, turning the business self-help movement into a mass market.
83. 1965: Ralph Nader publishes Unsafe at Any Speed., detailing safety defects in cars and leading to federal regulation of auto design under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966.
84. 1928: Alexander Fleming's development of penicillin makes the workplace safer and healthier, and allows new confidence against the daunting threat of the microscopic.
85. 1917: A "medical service bureau" is organized to provide care for lumbermen outside Tacoma, Wash. It becomes the first Blue Shield plan and creates a standard of employer-sponsored independent health care.
86. 1911: John D. Rockefeller (1839 to 1937) retires, marking the end of a 50-year career, during which he built an entire industry and created a community service standard by which all have since been measured, having donated more than $500 million to public and charitable causes.
87. 1938: Hungarian Lazlo Biro invents the first ball-point pen.
88. 1906: Upton Sinclair publishes The Jungle, exposing poor working conditions in the industrial era-leading to increasing regulation and concern over worker safety.
89. 1973: The first of two oil embargoes during the '70s awakens America to a potentially crippling dependence on foreign resources. The result? The Alaska Pipeline, short-term panic and long-term denial.
90. 1970: Monday Night Football premiers on ABC, and pro sports officially becomes an industry.
91. 1920: DuPont patents plastic foam (Styrofoam), making it possible to send fragile goods back and forth across the country, not to mention keeping your coffee warm while you sneak out for a cigarette.
92. 1996: Mammal cloning is successfully accomplished with a sheep named Dolly-the first step toward a biogenetics industry that many expect to be a leading economic force in the next century. More important, can the perfect worker be cloned?
93. 1983: First cited instance of a computer being infected by a program intended to cause harm-a virus.
94. 1965: Warren Buffett buys Berkshire Hathaway, starting on a legendary investment run that ultimately makes him one of the richest men in America.
95. 1998 Asian Monetary Crisis arises, demonstrating the true global nature of the economy.
96. 1976: Stephen Jobs and Stephen Wozniak found Apple Computer Corp.
97. 1951: Bette Nesmith invents an opaque white paint to cover typing errors, and names it Mistake Out-later, White Out.
98. 1970: Boeing rolls out the 747, the first jumbo jet, doubling passenger capacity over previous generations of airliners and allowing a flight range of 6,000 miles.
99. 1946: George D. Edwards elected first president of the American Society for Quality Control, formalizing the practice of shared information about manufacturing quality standards.
This list was produced through a highly unscientific process that involved research, interviews and collective thinking to develop a master roster of events. That roster was distributed to approximately 30 high-level executives and business owners - in Greater Cleveland, Akron and Stark County - who were asked to rank the events in order of importance.
Their votes were combined and the scores tallied, resulting in this reverse-order ranking.
If you believe any events have been omitted or given unfair consideration, please let us know. You can write to:
Small Business News
14725 Detroit Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107
Or send e-mail to: email@example.com
David Abbott, the new president of University Circle Inc., will field questions at the Jan. 12 Corporate Club Breakfast, at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven.
Before joining UCI, Abbott was executive director of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. He also served on Mayor Michael White's task force to appoint an independent school board and, prior to that, was executive director of the Cleveland Bicentennial Commission, which oversaw planning and funding for the city's year-long birthday celebration in 1996.
Abbott will appear at the breakfast series in place of David Burner, chairman and CEO of BFGoodrich Co., which recently announced it would move its headquarters out of Northeast Ohio.
SBN is a sponsor of the Corporate Club breakfast series, conducted in an interview format, followed by an extended question and answer period. The events are held Tuesday mornings, with breakfast at 7 a.m. and the speaker beginning at 7:30. Cost is $25 a person.
Other dates and speakers:
- Feb. 9, 1999: Michael Salkind, president, Ohio Aerospace Institute
- March 9, 1999: Robert Rawson, partner-in-charge, Jones, Day Reavis & Pogue.
For more information and reservations, call Executive Caterers at Landerhaven, at (440) 449-0700.
Ups and Downs
Downs to Beanie Babies. Late last year, investors in Ty Inc.s plush securities got a rude surprise: softening of the secondary market for their stuffed animals. Or was that just wishful thinking on our part?
Ups to Roberto Alomar, the Tribes new second baseman and the first superstar we can recall who actually hoped to move to Cleveland.
Ups to pro wrestlers. First Jesse Ventura becomes Minnesota governor. Then Hulk Hogan retires from the ring to run for president. Now Washingtons usual suspects can put on leotards and wrestle it out on pay-per-view.
Ups to NASA. Shooting Sen. John Glenn into space was one of the agencys best moves since, well, since it shot Glenn into space. But the International Space Station ... Thats cool.
Downs to megamergers and corporate emigration. BP, then Rubbermaid, now Goodrich. Why does it suddenly feel like the 80s again?
Downs to Juvenile Court Judge Robert Ferreri, the most controversial judge on the bench today. Now hes in trouble for comments he claims to have made to a reporter off the record. Just because youre a judge doesnt mean youre judicious.
Downs for downtown bars. Ask them about the NBA, theyll say it stands for No Body Anywhere.
OverheardWhereas young engineers used to seek a spot in a big organization, often in the military-industrial complex, were increasingly seeing them getting out of college and moving toward entrepreneurship.
Jim Wagner, new dean of Case Western Reserve Universitys School of Engineering, speaking recently to the Northeast Ohio Software Association
Using the old muffin
Several area businessesPizza Hut and Acme Superstores among themare now driving sales through a new Internet site, Cosmic Coupons. The Web site lets users select and print free coupons for redemption at participating retailers. Because the distribution costs of those inserts in the Sunday paper have been eliminated, the cents-off values tend to be higher.
By redeeming coupons regularly, users earn Cosmic Cash Bonus Points, good for prizes in the sites rewards section.
The mind behind www.cosmiccoupons.com is Akrons Steve Marks, CEO of Main Street Gourmet. How to reach: Cosmic Coupons Inc., (330) 657-2785
Heres one to put in your Franklin Planner
Chris Perrow, owner of Perrow Organizational Systems, likes to quote the statistic that the average professional faces 36 hours worth of workevery day. And loses 45 minutes each day searching for stuff lost in piles. The solution: Create a system for expediting all those tasks. In fact, its a priority weve had on the calendar for months. How to reach: Perrow Organizational Systems, (330) 686-0282
How do you achieve a consistent level of excellence in management? You need to focus on the internal aspects of your operations just as you do on client or customer service, says Dan Stanowick, senior VP at the Akron office of Edward Howard & Co., which Inside PR magazine recently named the nations best-managed mid-sized PR firm.
In its ranking of 150 agencies, the magazine spotlighted the firmwith offices in Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton as wellfor its processes in strategic planning, investor relations, staff training and development and overall management.
Its that doohicky thing with the little lines
Now that Europes new currency is a reality, businesses seeking global domination have yet another problem, the euro symbol. Where is it in those pesky PC fonts, anyway? The answer is as simple as it is frightening: its not.
Solutions are becoming available; for example, for $39.95, CenturionSofts new Eurofonter utility adds the euro symbol to all TrueType fonts. For more information, or to see what the symbol looks like, check out the companys Web site at www.centurionsoft.com.
Getting better at getting it there
In the transportation business, getting it there as soon as possible isnt enough anymore. Nowadays, its getting it there when the customer needs it. To respond to demands for faster service, Pitt Ohio Express is offering its customers services that are customized for their particular needs.
Dedicated transportation is a service for customers who require time-specific deliveries within a given geographic region on a consistent daily basis. Contract warehousing combines Pitt Ohios knowledge of warehousing, in-house expertise with hazardous materials and freight handling processes.
The companys pre-dawn delivery is a service that provides delivery of needed inventory before the start of the business day. Pitt Ohio also offers Fast Track, guaranteed express delivery to all points within its service area, with deliveries promised by 10:30 a.m. in parts of its service area.
Retailers might want to investigate whats going on at the AIRMALL.
The AIRMALL, a complex of 100 restaurants, shops and services at Pittsburgh International Airport managed by BAA Pittsburgh Inc., grabbed an impressive five first-place awards in Airport Retail News 1999 Best Airport Concessions Poll.
The airport took top honors in best overall concessions program, most innovative services, best management team, best concession program design, and the Most Favored by Road Warriors category. In fact, frequent travelers selected Pittsburgh as their favorite for airport shopping.
Nominees were rated in 14 separate airport, food and beverage, news/gift and retail categories by a judging panel of 30 industry experts.
The malls popularity was reflected at the cash register, too, with per passenger spending reaching $9.90, besting the previous record of $9.19, set in 1997.
They seem to have the knack for getting sales to take off.
Putting mappers on the map
Hill Flaherty Sabol Marketing Communications has been selected by Baker/GeoResearch Inc. to assist in the marketing of its GeoLink Mapping System.
Formed in 1980, GeoResearch was one of the first firms to use geographic information systems (GIS) technology. With the advent of global positioning systems, GeoResearch combined the two technologies to form GeoLink as its primary product.
Personnel (company) changes
Callos Personnel Services, of Youngstown, has acquired Pittsburghs Strauss Personnel Services.
For Strauss employees, things arent expected to change much, as local staff and management stays in place. Clients, though, are likely to see new products in the offing before the first half of the year passes.
Plans call for Strauss Personnel to continue operating under its existing name, with additional product lines offered by Callos Personnel to be phased in by next month, according to Thomas Walsh, president of Callos Personnel Services.
Jeff McGraw, owner of Strauss Personnel, becomes a principal and shareholder in the company and will continue as vice president and general manager in Pittsburgh, supervising all Western Pennsylvania operations. McGraw says the Western Pennsylvania operations likely will add at least one new office.
Reflex Services Inc. and Reflex Staffing Solutions Inc., sister companies established in 1985 and 1993 respectively, have merged and will continue to conduct business as a single entity, Reflex Staffing Solutions Inc.
Red River resurgence
ProRiver Inc., parent company of Red River Barbecue & Grille restaurants, is planning expansion in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan market.
We are excited about our Annapolis restaurant, which reaches the Washington, D.C., and the Baltimore markets, because it opened in October 1998 and has already exceeded budget estimates, says Barry Strange, vice president of operations.
The company also has opened a new concept restaurant in Waldorf, Md., a Washington suburb. Rons Smokehouse Barbecue Co., which carries the name of Red Rivers founder, Ron Sofranko, offers the same menu as the Annapolis store.
The Mon Valley Initiative, a coalition of 16 community development corporations in four counties, has received government grants totaling $51,000 for the start-up of its Business Loan Fund.
MVIs business loan fund will provide capital to businesses within and around the Mon Valley region. The target market is small, for-profit companies that are largely manufacturing related.
The MVI received $26,000 under the 1998 Community Development Financial Institutions Funds technical assistance component to develop its revolving loan fund, and a $25,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Community Development.
The CDFI fund was established to make federal money available for loans to businesses in poor inner cities and rural communities. The Pennsylvania Community Development Bank is an effort to strengthen the commonwealths communities physically, economically and socially.
Eventually, the MVI expects to be certified as a CDFI.
SPRPC + SPRDC = SPC
The Southwestern Pennsylvania Regional Planning Commission and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Regional Development Council have made official their decision to form the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission.
The SPC is now the regions Metropolitan Planning Organization and Local Development District, responsible for carrying out federal and state mandates regarding transportation planning and economic development.
Under the new structure, the City of Pittsburgh and eight counties will determine how regional transportation dollars are spent.
Beyond the economic development which the new organization is able to foster, fewer acronyms wont bother us a bit, either.
Amish culture and the Internet and Web marketing might seem like they are worlds apart. Not so in cyberspace.
The Amish Peddler, a New Wilmington, Pa., retailer, has established a Web site, www.amishpeddler.com, to offer its products, produced by Amish craftsmen or designed by the store, to a global market.
Among the items offered on the Web site are an oak and hickory swing, embroidered sweatshirts, soft dolls and quilt-style placemats in traditional Amish colors. No barn raisings yet.
Speaking of the Web ...
Need a quote on a printing job? Look on the Internet.
PrintQuote USA is offering a free online service that it says streamlines the task of obtaining quotes on printing projects.
PrintQuote USA is a free, Web-based service that gives buyers a convenient way to receive multiple competitive commercial printing quotes in a timely, efficient manner, according to the company, while printers gain access to a wider market of potential customers.
It takes about five minutes to complete a project-specific quote form and, with the click of a button, the form is dispersed to 12 commercial printers in the category the print buyer selected, says Harold Behar, president of PrintQuote USA.
Buyers who want to get a quote can log onto www.printquoteusa.com and complete one of the project-specific forms on the site. The forms are geared toward specific project types, such as brochures or newsletters.
Stacking up the savings
Ward Trucking credits its Stack Up Loading System with a reduction in shortage and damage claims for the second year in a row.
Ward Trucking reports its claims added up to only 0.75 percent of its revenue. The industry average, the trucking firm reports, is about 1.5 percent of revenues.
Ward began the program by implementing claim prevention weeks where photographs were taken of loads prior to departu re and then again upon arrival. The trucker also began a process of recording potential claims incidents and taking action where possible to prevent damage.
The Stack Up system allows Ward to compartmentalize and double-stack freight on steel decks for efficient transfer, with components designed to keep palletized, unitized freight safe and secure during loading, unloading and transport.
With the $230,000 Ward Trucking saved in claims in 1998, it purchased a new document imaging system to improve billing and record retrieval.
Turner Construction has been selected to serve as general contractor for the renovation of Gallery 12 at the Carnegie Museum of Art.
The project includes a renovation of the 4,700-square-foot gallery area. New heating and ventilation systems will be installed, along with new fireproofing, insulation, walls, skylight glass replacement and blackout shades.
Turner says the project will be completed by July.
MSA Process Automation Solutions & Services Inc. has designed automation systems for the first commercial liquid fuel-from-seawater plant to be built in the Dominican Republic.
Ware Communications Inc. has become an authorized Bell Atlantic dealer, qualifying it to sell local dial tone services to businesses.
The Bottom Line Inc. has been selected to assist the U.S. Small Business Administration in processing applications to certify firms as small disadvantaged businesses. The designation gives monetary incentives for prime contractors to subcontract with small disadvantaged businesses and a price evaluation adjustment of up to 10 percent for certified disadvantaged small businesses.