"It was a very positive experience," says Shumate. "It felt good -- I saw it was important, giving back to the community and improving the quality of life there."
Shumate says his community involvement was thanks to good mentors -- his parents and a city council member named Thom Darden who later became Sandusky's mayor.
"My parents were involved in the community through church activities and outreach," says Shumate.
And Darden, the father of a friend, took the teens to that first beautification project, sparking Shumate's life-long interest in serving his community.
Today his involvement includes chairing the 2002 United Way campaign and serving as trustee of The Columbus Partnership, the John Glenn Institute and the Wexner Center for the Arts. And the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus this year named him its Humanitarian of the Year.
How does Shumate balance his community involvements, career and family time? He says it's a challenge, and "I never take on anything new unless I stop something else."
How did you get involved in the community?
I was always active in extracurricular activities in high school, college and law school. I also got involved in the community through church. When I came to Columbus, I continued my community involvement. My parents were very active through church activities, so my interest really started at home through my parents and Thom Darden, who was my mentor.
Why do you feel it is important to get involved?
I believe that -- to quote scripture -- "To whom much is given, much is required." It's important to give as well as receive, which is something we talked about at the dinner table and church.
And participating in community projects gave me a positive feeling. I felt that I was making a difference, and I saw that serving the community is helpful to all of us.
Do you think the newest generation entering the work force today is as community-minded as past generations?
In a general sense, it seems that they have not been, but I'm also seeing a rebirth of community interest by youth in different organizations like the Youth Corp and John Glenn Institute. Young people have not been as active, but I have a greater sense that participation is occurring today in more organized ways.
I think my generation was community-minded and the generation behind us wasn't quite as active, but there has been a rebirth and focus on the community. I think people 25 and younger have a similar feeling as my generation.
How can we encourage younger generations to become more involved in their communities?
I think you can encourage young people the same way I was encouraged. It is very important to be a model. Don't just talk about helping people and the benefits, take youth out and show them -- here's what needs to be done and this is why it's important to get involved. I think teaching youth is an obligation; we need to pass this spirit along to subsequent generations.
What do you think are the biggest needs in the Columbus area?
Certainly there's a strong sense of community in Columbus. Look at the United Way campaign, the Columbus Foundation.
The city is fortunate to have civic-minded business leaders that set the tone for all of us, and a strong religious community which also has a strong spirit of giving. Anything we can do to assist with economic development, job training and education especially in the public schools -- education is No. 1 and job training is next -- those are very important areas to support in our community.
How do you balance career, community work and family?
We strive for balance -- it's one of the greatest challenges to maintain a balance. I think it's important to pause at different times in one's life and candidly do a self-analysis, assess how much quality time you are spending with family and friends.
There are a lot of demands with work -- the challenges of the economy and its uncertainty; it's easy to get involved in too many things. I do not take on anything new unless I stop something else. That has worked for me. It's important that once you set a balance that you keep it; it's a continuous process.
The American Red Cross award is a tremendous honor. The Red Cross is an organization that emphasizes and models the spirit of humanitarianism, especially in these times that we live in. How to reach: Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, (614) 365-2700 or www.ssd.com
"We grew so fast, it was all we could do to keep up with demand," says Julie Moorehead, director of corporate communications.
So the company launched a three-year project to revamp its entire manufacturing system. Today, it still makes baskets by hand, but every other facet of the production process has changed. Not a single aspect was considered sacred -- bar the hand-crafting -- or left untouched by employee teams tasked with the goal of making better baskets, and making them faster.
Company President and CEO Tami Longaberger learned from her father and company founder Dave Longaberger that the best place to initiate change is at the employee level.
"If management had tried to push changes onto employees, the recommended changes probably would have been met with resistance," says Longaberger. "We relied on a lesson my father taught us. He said, 'Talk to the people who do the job. They know how to improve the processes best.'"
It turns out he was right.
Longaberger and the management team set the vision and goals for change, then stepped back and gave employee teams the freedom to explore ideas to make those visions a reality. Having employees lead change was an adjustment for company supervisors, but it worked out well.
"In the old environment the supervisor was the problem-solver and made decisions," says vice president of manufacturing and human resources Jim Gimeson. "Now the supervisor is more like a mentor or coach. It took some adjustment."
Longaberger says that led to more sweeping changes than management had expected. And after the second year of the three-year process and a $20 million capital investment, the company is seeing results -- the first new workshop shaved days off its production rate, improved the quality of the product and resulted in less waste and increased productivity.
Give them an inch ...
Longaberger knew that utilizing employee involvement to create change would be effective, and she had no trouble getting senior management buy-in.
"The idea received tremendous support from senior management," she says.
Still, no one -- not even Longaberger -- anticipated a complete system overhaul.
"When we introduced the idea of employees leading this project, we asked for volunteers," she says. "We had more than 900 employees volunteer for the 60 positions available on the Employee Involvement Team."
Two groups -- the ergonomic team and the SCOUT (Self-Contained Operation Utilizing Teamwork) team [referred to by Longaberger as the Employee Involvement Team] -- formed to revamp the production process and the work stations. More than 1,400 employees volunteered to participate in the two groups, and instead of management picking from that list, teams were randomly selected.
Seven employees were nominated to form the ergonomic team. And 60 were split into six teams, each analyzing and recommending changes for one of the unique facets of the production process: team design, data collection, communications, scheduling, supply team, and flow and layout.
Barb Fox, senior manager of employee involvement, says a management steering committee set expectations for the teams, and each had a project sponsor who met with them biweekly.
"The teams developed their own mission statements," says Fox. "Management's role was to make sure they stayed focused and to provide the teams with the resources they needed to accomplish their goals."
Teams also sent biweekly reports to Longaberger and Gimeson.
"The Employee Involvement Team led the effort, but I was their biggest fan and supporter," Longaberger says.
She and the management team were pleased with the teams' progress and pleased to discover the talent of the employees -- nearly half of those serving as employee team leaders are now in management positions.
"We didn't realize how much potential they had," says Fox.
Before and after
The employee-initiated transformation started with a total reorganization of the manufacturing division. In the old system, almost each step of the production process -- staining, drying and quality inspections -- was its own department, which operated independently. In some cases, departments weren't even housed in the same building.
Now, instead of separate departments, there will be 10 self-contained workshops that operate like individual companies, each making different baskets, segregated by size. Originally Dave Longaberger's idea, the workshop structure was revisited by the Employee Involvement Team, and enthusiastically supported by Tami Longaberger and management.
Each workshop will house about 150 employees -- supervisors, basket-makers and quality performance specialists (QPS).
Formerly, each QPS employee was in one department only, focusing on one specific task. Under the new model, they are cross-trained to perform each other's jobs, from staining to quality inspection.
"Before, some departments were overworked, while others were not busy at all," says Andy Godfrey, a workshop area supervisor at the company's Frazeysburg facility. "Now the employees can go where the work is. And they like the variety."
Previously, many processes, such as assigning work and creating a supply list, were handwritten, which could take up nearly half a supervisor's day. And baskets were transported in shopping carts.
In the new workshop design, it takes minutes with a hand-held computer to assign work and create a supply list, and baskets are transported on an electronic conveyor belt, reducing the number of hands that touch them and the amount of damage and waste.
"Before, a basket was touched by 15 people from start to finish," says Godfrey. "Now it's down to four or five, depending on the operations it goes through."
Another major improvement was the introduction of drying machines. Drying the baskets is the most delicate part of the process. The new machines dry baskets in a fraction of the time it took to air-dry them, with very little damage. Not only do they save time, they also save space. Before, baskets were spread throughout the factory to air-dry. In the workshop, they hang on hooks on a conveyor belt that takes them through the machines.
This new model has drastically reduced production time.
"The old production process took anywhere from 14 to 28 days. Now it takes under two days," says Gimeson.
The new process has also increased employee communication and involvement.
"It's hard to feel you're part of something when you're one of 2,000," he says. "But the new model fosters team spirit."
The basket-making workstation also underwent a transformation. The ergonomic team worked with outside expert, consultant and engineer Charles Mauro to develop a station that was more versatile and comfortable and allows employees to improve the quality of their products.
The result is a new horse -- the machine the basket sits on while it is being made -- and table and chair that are electronically adjustable to accommodate employees of different sizes. It takes right and left handedness into consideration and gives the basket-maker the option of sitting or standing.
"With the old horse, you had to stand to work," says Line Support Supervisor Debbie Ianniello. "If you broke your leg, you couldn't work. Or if you were pregnant and needed to stay off your feet," it was impossible.
And since the new horse's parts take less effort to move, employees are less tired at the end of the day.
"Before you could tell my first basket of the day was better than the last," says Ianniello. "Now you can't tell the difference."
All dressed up and nowhere to go?
While the changes have been positive, they may have been made at the wrong time.
"With the new model, we're really positioned to handle growth," says Gimeson.
But sales have been below expectations the last two years due to poor economic conditions, Moorehead says. On May 6, the company laid off 461 factory positions, 7 percent of its employees.
The company plans to revitalize sales by helping its sales associates recruit new associates.
"We've launched an aggressive recruiting incentive," says Moorehead. "If the new associate makes her goal in six months, her sales kit is free."
The sales kit, which new associates are required to purchase, includes training materials, marketing literature, an assortment of Longaberger baskets and pottery and order forms. The company is also putting a lot of effort into its yearly "Longaberger Bee," the company's national sales meeting. It is offering incentives -- such as the "Sponsor Three And Go To The Bee Free" program -- to entice more sales consultants to attend.
And, according to Moorehead, there is a lot of room for growth.
"Our target market is women, usually age 25 to 45, with higher than average income and education," says Moorehead. "And we estimate that we have only tapped 8 percent of the market."
When growth comes, the company will be ready to meet it.
"These changes are investments in our future," says Longaberger. "Customers want great quality and excellent service. These investments will improve both, as well as create a better work environment for our employees."
After all, says Longaberger, that's what it's all about.
"When you have satisfied customers and satisfied employees, you will see positive results on the bottom line," she says. How to reach: The Longaberger Company, (740) 322-5900 or www.longaberger.com
Despite the fact that the company's service area and customer base were defined by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), it spent a great deal of its financial and employee resources providing the best possible customer service. Any employee who interacted with a customer was given extensive training on the company's services, billing system and customer service delivery.
A certain number of customers who interacted with the company were polled each month about the quality of the service they received, and employees received monetary awards for achieving high rankings.
I heard someone say recently that since so many companies don't deliver on their promises these days, all it takes to wow a customer is to make sure your company does deliver. That is a pretty sad statement on the state of customer service.
The effort to achieve excellence in customer service began its steady decline when companies began replacing interpersonal communication with voice technology systems. For routine questions, they are an excellent tool and allow employees to use their time more efficiently.
But when it takes five minutes or more to access a real person on the phone line, it's a shabby substitute for service.
My former employer prided itself on its ability to answer all of its customers' calls -- any call lost was upsetting to us. These days, I have accessed several customer service voice systems that have asked me to call again later, due to "unusually heavy call volume."
What happened to being there for the customer, when the customer needs service, not when it is convenient for the company to take the call?
It's time we relied less on technology and more on our employees. Instead of getting so caught up in what technology can do for us, we need to re-examine the basics of delivering truly excellent customer service.
And these basics rely not on technology but on people -- people who care about the customer.
"You need to look at the costs that are involved in addition to the basic monthly obligation," says Dan Minor, partner with Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP. "Do your homework and read the lease very carefully to understand what is required of you."
For example, says Minor, some leases include electricity, but if your usage exceeds a certain amount, you are liable for the difference.
"If you have a lot of computer equipment that needs to stay cool, you can get hit with a high bill in the summer," says Minor.
Also beware of spaces rented "as is."
"Make sure the HVAC system is working adequately," says Minor. "And make sure you know who pays to repair it if it isn't."
Minor recommends hiring a building inspector or equipment expert to inspect the premises before you sign the lease.
David G. Baker, partner of Bricker & Eckler LLP's real estate department, says there's a lot of space is available for subleasing. That can present a great deal, as long as you are aware of and plan for the risks.
"The main lease might be $15 a square foot, and you can sublease the space for $10 a square foot," says Baker. "But if the main tenant defaults, you could be evicted."
Baker recommends adding a nondisturbance agreement to the sublease to protect yourself from that situation.
"It basically says if the main tenant defaults, the landlord agrees not to boot us or hike the rent," Baker says.
Baker also advises tenants to ask for an option to renew the lease at the end of its term with a cap on how much the rent can increase.
"The landlord will want to raise it to the current market price, but if you plan to remain long term, you can negotiate terms in your favor," says Baker.
And like Minor, Baker recommends calculating additional lease costs.
"Rent is usually a total of base rent plus a combination of pass-throughs like taxes, insurance and maintenance costs," Baker says. "If the landlord's insurance rates go up -- and they have been -- your rent could increase dramatically."
Instead, negotiate a gross rate that covers everything and stipulate a cap on pass-throughs.
"You need to be diligent in understanding all the terms of the lease before you sign," says Minor. How to reach: Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, (614) 464-6400, Bricker & Eckler LLP, (614) 227-2364
Often in business, the executive in charge will bless a proposed idea, but not go the next step to make sure that a thorough plan is in place for its execution. "Thorough" means not just that the steps for implementing the idea are outlined, but that the people involved in the execution have the skill set and knowledge to carry out their tasks.
A friend of mine was involved in implementing an idea -- starting a new department -- at his workplace. The department's success depended on finding and applying the right technology to do the job.
My friend joined the team with a great deal of enthusiasm. However, the manager in charge of the department made one crucial mistake: He placed a person with very little technical expertise in charge of the day-to-day operations and decision-making. This person was my friend's supervisor.
My friend and I had many conversations over the next several months in which he expressed his rising frustration with his supervisor. The company was preparing to make a very significant investment in the needed technology. And my friend had proposed a few programs that were much less expensive -- as well as much more effective -- than the ones the company was leaning toward.
He repeatedly discussed this with his supervisor, who either rejected his ideas or ignored them, primarily because he was not technically able to understand them. In the meantime, the company spent thousands of dollars on software that didn't do want it needed it to.
He eventually chose to leave the department, which has since been disbanded and had its duties absorbed by other departments. The executives in charge realized the supervisor had not been the wisest choice for the job and he was demoted.
The company has since adopted the software my friend originally proposed, and with much greater success, but not until after wasting a huge amount of money and time.
So the next time a wonderful idea lands on your desk, ask for a thorough implementation plan. Examine not just the costs, but the personnel chosen to carry it through. Then that great idea will remain just that -- a great idea for your company.
With the economy creating increased uncertainty --whether public or private sector, for profit or nonprofit -- our 2003 Power 100 list places added emphasis on business acumen and the ability to get things done. Business leaders are focusing more on their bottom lines, sometimes at the expense of civic and charitable activities.
Leaders in those areas will find it equally tough in 2003. As a result, a number of public and nonprofit representatives have fallen on our list, and some have fallen off entirely.
But it takes more than business savvy to make it on our list. We look for individuals who to donate their time and energy to the community, whether it's participating on an urban development task force or the board of a charitable foundation. The bottom line is, through both business and community activities, these are the people who have a big impact on the future direction of Columbus.
Last year's ranking is in parentheses.
1. Les Wexner, chairman and CEO, Limited Brands Inc. (1)
His Limited shares may have lost a third of their value since last summer, but what's a half-billion dollars among friends? Wexner's impact on Columbus --through Limited Brands and personally -- is immeasurable. Whether it's The Wexner Center, Easton Town Center or The American Red Cross, his stamp is there.
2. John F. Wolfe, chairman, publisher and CEO, The Dispatch Printing Co. (2)
In addition to owning the state's largest media conglomerate, Wolfe has his fingers in quite a few important pies through ownership of Ohio Partners LLP.
3. Bob Walter, chairman and CEO, Cardinal Health Inc. (4)
Walter has led this company's amazing transformation from a food wholesaler to become the largest provider of health care products and services in the world. He holds seats on the boards of Bank One, Battelle, Ohio University, Infinity Broadcasting Corp. and Viacom Inc.
4. Alex Shumate, managing partner, Columbus and Cincinnati offices, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey (3)
Shumate's counsel is sought by the best. He serves on the boards of Limited Brands, Nationwide Financial and Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. He's also a trustee of the Capitol South Redevelopment Corp. and Wexner Center for the Arts and is a director of The Ohio State University Foundation Board.
5. Ron Pizzuti, chairman and CEO, The Pizzuti Cos. (6)
This commercial real estate development company founder clearly rounds out the top five players in the city, with his name appearing frequently in conjunction with Wexner, Wolfe, Walter and Shumate.
6. Jerry Jurgensen, CEO, Nationwide (7)
Jurgensen ably leads the $113 billion company while mixing with other power players on the boards of the chamber of commerce and Children's Hospital. He's a member of the Columbus Downtown Development Corp. and Ohio Business Roundtable and was appointed to the Governor's Commission on Teaching Success.
7. Thomas Hoaglin, president and CEO, Huntington Bancshares Inc. (14)
Hoaglin's star is rising as he makes good on his promise to tie Huntington more closely to the Columbus community. He sits on the boards of OhioHealth Corp., The Columbus Partnership, the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Business Roundtable, Capitol South Corp. and COSI, among others.
8. Bob Taft, governor, state of Ohio (10)
With his drubbing of Democrat Tim Hagan reaffirming his political prowess, Taft is determined to position Ohio as a high-tech corridor through his Third Frontier Project. If successful, it could mean the creation and retention of thousands of jobs and assure Ohio's future economic success.
9. Sally Jackson, president and CEO, Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce (5)
Jackson's smart enough to keep Columbus business leaders like Michael Fiorile, Hoaglin and Jurgenson firmly entrenched on the board.
10. Jack Schuessler, chairman and CEO, Wendy's International (67)
Schuessler is broadening Wendy's horizons by adding popular concepts like Baja Fresh to its fold. And he is continuing the tradition of corporate giving started by the late Dave Thomas to causes such as the Wendy's Championship for Children golf tournament. Proceeds from the tournament go to children's cancer research and treatment.
11. Michael Coleman, mayor, city of Columbus (12)
The mayor's solid business reputation was strengthened last year by the unveiling of his plan for downtown development, now being headed by AEP's E. Linn Draper.
12. Jay Schottenstein, chairman, American Eagle Outfitters; chairman, Value City Department Stores (45)
It was a busy 2002 for the retail mogul, whose privately held Schottenstein Stores controls a considerable empire. Schottenstein Stores upped its stake in Columbus-based Value City Department Stores to 67.5 percent and was part of a group that bought 54 leases from bankrupt Kmart. At the end of the year, Schottenstein handed over the CEO reins at Pittsburgh-based American Eagle Outfitters -- but it took two people to fill his shoes.
13. Roger Blackwell, president, Blackwell Associates Inc. (24)
Blackwell's influence -- especially at The Ohio State University, where he is a professor of marketing -- is profound. Donating millions to the Fisher College of Business, he has mentored many emerging business leaders through its programs. Besides, anybody with a hotel named after him (OSU's The Blackwell) has to be high on the list.
14. Jack Kessler, chairman, The New Albany Co. (16)
New Albany is attracting big businesses like State Farm Insurance Co. and Too Inc., and Kessler's company is ready to take full advantage. In the meantime, he's rubbing elbows with fellow Columbus Region Airport Authority board members Don Casto, George Skestos and Dwight Smith.
15. George Jenkins, partner, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP (13)
Jenkins combines powerful past political connections with private investment savvy.
16. John Beavers, chairman, corporate department, Bricker & Eckler LLP (17)
Beavers' specialty practice, focusing exclusively on corporate boards and executives, keeps him in demand by the city's largest and most powerful companies. He also serves as a trustee of the Harry C. Moores Foundation and is a member of the Columbus Foundation Arts Advisory Committee.
17. Mark Barbash, director, Columbus Department of Trade & Development (11)
Barbash not only heads this important economic development department, he also serves on the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission's development committee.
18. Curt Loveland, partner, Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur LLP (18)
With clients like Too Inc. and Max & Erma's, Loveland's work in capital financing has earned him seats on the boards of Applied Innovation Inc. and Rocky Shoes and Boots Inc.
19. Friedl Bohm, chairman, NBBJ (19)
Bohm has left his mark on the city with such designs as Nationwide Arena, the Vern Riffe Center and the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. His architectural firm is the third largest in the world.
20. Don M. Casto III, president, Don M. Casto Organization (25)
This developer of shopping centers, housing and mixed-use entertainment projects is working to help revitalize older shopping centers like Graceland, and serves on the Huntington Bancshares board, the Ohio Bicentennial Commission and the Columbus Airport Authority Board.
21. Rich Langdale, founder, NCT Ventures; executive director, OSU Center for Entrepreneurship (15)
NCT's current and past investment lists read like a who's who in high-tech circles, and Langdale's community involvements include the Columbus Museum of Art and the United Way.
22. Bea Wolper, partner, Chester, Wilcox & Saxbe LLP (8)
Wolper has garnered numerous awards and recognition from the business community, and her sphere of influence includes the National Board of Attorneys for Family-Held Enterprises, Wexner's Director's Circle Council and COSI.
23 & 24. Paul Tipps & Neil Clark, State Street Consultants (20 & 21)
Clark and Tipps' one-two punch as knowledgeable Democratic and Republican party consultants is hard to beat, and their combined connections make them important and effective lobbyists.
25. Roger Geiger, state director, National Federation of Independent Business, Ohio (9)
With more than 36,000 member businesses behind him, Geiger works diligently to improve state business legislation.
26. Curt Moody, president and CEO, Moody/Nolan Ltd. (27)
Moody has gained recognition and awards as a business and community leader, and is a board member of the chamber of commerce, the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.
27. Robert Werth, managing partner, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP (56)
You can't underestimate a man who manages the city's largest law firm and serves on the Ohio Business Roundtable and The Columbus Technology Leadership Council, among others.
28. Kurt Tunnell, administrative partner, Bricker & Eckler LLP (23)
After serving as legal counsel for Gov. Voinovich, Tunnell is sought after for his political connections, as well as his legal expertise.
29. Tim O'Dell, president and CEO, Fifth Third Bank, Central Ohio (29)
There's no separating money and power. O'Dell leads the third-largest bank in Columbus and is on the board of powerful organizations including the Columbus Council on World Affairs and The Ohio State University Hospitals. He's also on the Development Board of Trustees of Columbus State Community College and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra board.
30. Jeff Keeler, chairman and CEO, The Fishel Co. (28)
After winning an $8 million contract with Verizon Wireless, Keeler's utility construction firm is in position to take advantage of the telecom and high-tech industries' continuing efforts to build infrastructure.
31. Curt Steiner, co-founder, Steiner/Lesic Communications (26)
Steiner's public affairs management firm is grounded with deep political connections and sways public opinion on issues that affect Columbus and the state.
32. Tanny Crane, president and CEO, Crane Group Inc. (42)
Crane's influence is growing and gaining recognition. She led the United Way of Franklin County's search for a new president, serves on the Dean's Advisory Council at OSU's Fisher College of Business and sits on the boards of the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland's Business Advisory Council.
33. Michael Fiorile, president and CEO, Dispatch Broadcast Group (NEW)
Not only does Fiorile rub elbows with the Wolfes, he's also chairman of the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the board of trustees for the Columbus School for Girls and a board member of the Buckeye Ranch Holding Co.
34. Tami Longaberger, president and CEO, The Longaberger Co. (51)
Longaberger may be putting all her eggs in one basket, but what a basket it is. The company recently recalled more than 200 laid-off workers and signed on thousands of new sales reps. She also serves on the Ohio Business Roundtable and The Ohio State University board of trustees.
35. Maury Cox, president, The Ohio Partners LLC (49)
This former CompuServe CEO has gained power through his high-tech venture capital company, thanks to a growing emphasis on high tech in the state.
36. Melissa Ingwersen, president, Bank One NA Columbus (NEW)
Ingwersen heads the biggest bank in town, which alone is enough to earn her a spot on the list, but she is also broadening her range of influence by sitting on the boards of the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Greater Columbus Arts Council, Franklin University, YWCA of Columbus, Grant/Riverside Foundation and I Know I Can.
37. Brad Beasecker, president, Helston Capital Group (37)
Beasecker is a leading contender when it comes to venture capital and a powerful man to know with his connections with Battelle Venture Partners and the Columbus Investment Interest Group.
38. Cheryl Krueger, president and CEO, Cheryl&Co (50)
Parlaying small retail stores into a multimillion dollar business, Krueger has gained recognition and awards for her business acumen and community spirit. She started the Cheryl&Co. Hometown Integrated Project to provide business experience to high school students, and provides cookies to students earning A's through her Cookies for A's Program.
39. Lewis Smoot, Sr., president, Smoot Corp. (41)
Smoot's name is on nearly every major construction project in the city. And when he's not running the company, you'll find him on the board of Huntington National Bank and the Columbus Foundation's Governing Committee.
40. Jack Ruscilli, CEO, Ruscilli Construction Co. Inc. (43)
Ruscilli's has landed big projects with major Columbus companies including Mt. Carmel and White Castle.
41. Walter Cates, founder and president, Main Street Business Association (22)
This powerful advocate for minority businesses will keep pace with the revitalization of downtown.
42. John P. McConnell, chairman and CEO, Worthington Industries Inc. (74)
McConnell is taking the steel processing company into new markets and making a name for himself among other business giants, serving as chairman of the Workforce Development Committee of the Columbus Chamber and as a member of the Downtown Business Plan Advisory Committee and the Ohio Business Roundtable.
43. E. Linn Draper, chairman, AEP (53)
Fighting legal battles over energy trading reporting and new financial concerns, Draper commands respect. He also serves on the Columbus Technology Leadership Council and the Ohio Business Roundtable.
44. Karen Holbrook, president, The Ohio State University (former president Brit Kirwan was No. 36)
Holbrook is already stepping into Kirwan's shoes, filling the vacancy he left on the board of directors of the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce. She is also promising to help raise Ohio's ranking in the Progressive Policy Institute's New Economy Index.
45. Carl F. Kohrt, president, Battelle (NEW)
Kohrt didn't waste any time becoming an integral part of Columbus' high-powered business network. He and former OSU president Kirwan forged a formal collaboration between Battelle and Ohio State's medical school, and he's on the chamber's board of directors.
46. Dwight Smith, president and CEO, Sophisticated Systems Inc. (46)
This year, Smith's company rebounded from financial woes, and he gained new respect and admiration from fellow business execs. He's involved in the Governor's Small Business Advisory Council, the Greater Columbus Chamber board of directors, the board for Junior Achievement of Central Ohio, his own foundation fostering entrepreneurship and the High-Technology Start-Up Business Commission.
47. M. Valeriana Moeller, president and CEO, Columbus State Community College (NEW)
Moeller is everywhere power players should be. She serves on the board of trustees of Fifth Third Bank Central Ohio, the Columbus Medical Association Foundation, COSI, Columbus Urban Growth Corp., and United Way, and on the board of directors of the chamber. How does she have time to run a college with more than 20,000 students?
48. Blane Walter, chairman and CEO, inChord Communications Inc. (66)
At last count, Walter's family of public relations and marketing firms was the 32nd largest firm of its kind in the world. And his familial connection to Cardinal Health's Robert Walter (his father) doesn't hurt. Father and son are forging strategic partnerships combining the strengths of both companies.
49. Nancy Kramer, president, Resource Marketing (32)
Kramer left Ten Worldwide and will be buying back Resource Marketing over a period of years. Despite the break-up -- or perhaps because of it -- Kramer is well thought of in the business community. She's on the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce's board of directors and the Downtown Business Plan Advisory Committee, and was the first woman sought after to take a leadership role in the newly formed U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce Ohio Affiliate.
50. Andy Geiger, athletic director, The Ohio State University (60)
Athletics are thriving at OSU thanks to Geiger and his big business connections. OSU's trustees agree -- they granted him a two-year extension on his contract. Geiger will be with OSU at least until 2006.
51. James Conrad, administrator and CEO, Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (39)
Taft's confidence in Conrad and his ability to help the business community is evident -- he recently confirmed Conrad will continue as bureau chief during a second Taft administration.
52. Frank Kass, CEO, Continental Real Estate Cos. (48)
A major player on the real estate and development scene, Continental has landed multimillion dollar contract in Columbus and throughout the country.
53. Michael Petrecca, managing partner, Columbus office, PricewaterhouseCoopers (58)
Petrecca quietly but effectively consults with many of Columbus' business elite.
54. Dick Emens, partner, Chester, Wilcox & Saxbe LLP (52)
Emens is the leading expert in family business. He has co-authored a book on the subject, is the founder of the Family Business Center of Central Ohio,and serves on the board of trustees of Franklin University.
55. Herb Glimcher, chairman, president and CEO, Glimcher Realty Trust (55)
A leader of megamall development, Glimcher's successes include hosting an event that raised more than $1 million for nonprofit organizations across the country.
56. Kyle Katz, president, The Katz Interests Inc. and New World Restaurants Inc. (47)
This business owner, restaurateur and developer is also president of the Pen West District and knows and feeds the well-connected in Columbus.
57. Al Dietzel, vice president of special projects, Limited Brands Inc. (31)
Although planning to retire this year, Dietzel is still a player in many organizations, including ProjectRead.
58. Bob Weiler Sr., chairman, The Robert Weiler Co. (54)
Weiler's real estate savvy is evident in the hot properties he's owned, from downtown to Polaris and beyond.
59. Sam Gresham Jr., president and CEO, Columbus Urban League (57)
Gresham not only knows but is liked and respected by just about everyone who matters in corporate Columbus. His is a voice that is sought out -- and listened to closely.
60. Jan Allen, owner, Jan Allen Consulting (30)
Allen remains a powerful person to know, thanks to her ties to the Democratic Party.
61. Rick Milenthal, CEO, Ten Worldwide (34)
They say it's lonely at the top. That surely holds true for Milenthal, since two members of last year's leadership team, Nancy Kramer and Martin Beck, have left the company. Now Milenthal is left to call the shots.
62. Terry Foegler, president, Campus Partners for Community Urban Redevelopment Inc. (38)
Foegler has been slowly and methodically reclaiming nearly all the salvageable property along High Street in the campus area for redevelopment. What goes up on that land will be largely his call.
63. Phil Urban, president and CEO, Grange Insurance (59)
Not only is Urban part of the mayor's downtown business plan task force, but his company's Grange Bank, which began operation in 1999, turned a profit a year a head of schedule.
64. John Christie, president and COO, Worthington Industries (44)
Christie's connections go beyond Worthington Industries through his tenure as vice president at Battelle and as a past president of the Columbus Chamber.
65. Zuheir Sofia, chairman, Sofia & Co. (61)
Sofia's heavy-duty OSU connections make him influential -- he's a trustee of The Ohio State University, chairman of the board of the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, chairman of the OSU Investments Committee and serves on the boards of University Hospitals and the Ohio State University Foundation.
66. Patrick Grabill, chairman and CEO, Homestead Communities (65)
In another major break-up of 2002, Grabill retired from newly merged Coldwell Banker King Thompson realty and joined forces with Continental Real Estate's Frank Cass, among others, to form Homestead Communities.
67. John B. Gerlach Jr., chairman, president and CEO, Lancaster Colony Corp. (NEW)
As if running a billion-dollar corporation weren't enough, Gerlach is also a member of the board of directors of Huntington Bancshares Inc., Children's Hospital, Franklin University, Recreation Unlimited Foundation and The Ohio State University Foundation, and was just appointed to the Columbus Foundation governing committee.
68. Doug Borror, chairman and CEO, Dominion Homes (NEW)
Borror, a recognized leader in the homebuilding industry, was appointed by Gov. Taft to the OSU board of trustees last year. He's squeezing this additional leadership role in with his roles as a board member of Huntington Bank, Columbia Gas of Ohio, Capitol South Redevelopment Corp. and Recreation Unlimited.
69. Dimon McPherson, retired chairman, Nationwide (62)
McFerson is clearly still among the top movers and shakers in town, serving as a trustee of The Ohio State University, on the board of COSI, on the governing board of United Way of America and as honorary chairman of local charity events.
70. Pat Dugan, partner, Squires, Sanders & Dempsey LLP (63)
This merger and acquisition guru is a past judge of Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year program and chairs the program committee of the Columbus Venture Network.
71. John Rosenberger, executive director, Capital South Community Urban Redevelopment Corp. (64)
With the downtown at stake, and Mayor Coleman taking a renewed interest in revitalizing parts of it, Rosenberger's organization will become even more important this year.
72. J. Daniel Schmidt, president, JDS Cos. and Downtown South Association (NEW)
Schmidt's been called the go-to guy downtown, thanks to his dedication to increasing housing in the center city and his assistance to the city on redeveloping the Main Street corridor. Now, he's set his sights on renovating an area of the Italian Village.
73. Sandy Harbrecht, president, Paul Werth Associates Inc. (68)
Harbrecht's consultative expertise is used not only by clients of the public relations firm, but also by her community affiliations including the Dean's Advisory Council for OSU's Fisher College of Business, the board of directors for the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, the Council for Ethics in Economics and the Ingram-White Castle Foundation.
74. Linda Hondros, president, Hondros College (40)
Hondros' connections to the real estate community and other business leaders make her a powerful influence.
75. Robert Schottenstein, president, M/I Schottenstein Homes Inc. (69)
Despite analysts' prediction that the home-building market bubble is due to burst in 2003, Schottenstein is still a major player.
76. Leonard Schlesinger, executive vice president, Organization, Leadership and Human Resources, Limited Brands Inc. (NEW)
With Dietzel retiring, Schlesinger is the heir apparent as Wexner's right-hand man.
77. Alan Wasserstrom, president, N. Wasserstrom & Sons (NEW)
Wasserstrom and brother Rodney are the third generation to lead this fourth largest (by number of employees) family-owned company in Columbus.
78. Karen McVey, CEO, Women in New Growth Stages (35)
Through her company and personally, McVey serves as a mentor to women business owners.
79. Larry Hilsheimer, managing partner, Columbus office, Deloitte & Touche LLP (70)
With the more intense focus on accounting practices, Hilsheimer's expertise keeps him in demand. He also serves on the chamber board, Young President's Organization and other community groups.
80. Paula Inniss, president, Ohio Full Court Press (85)
Last year, Inniss was honored for her business and community leadership with her induction into the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame with fellow laureates Roger Blackwell and Curt Moody.
81. David P. Blom, president and CEO, OhioHealth (NEW)
After 19 years within the system, Blom leads the area's largest hospital system and is working to turn around the health service provider's operating losses.
82. Bill Habig, executive director, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (73)
The focus on transportation in Central Ohio is sharpening, and Habig will be the man who makes things happen.
83. Artie Isaac, president, Young Isaac Inc. (75)
Isaac works behind the scenes and moves among the city's most influential businesspeople.
84. Robert Massie, director and CEO of Chemical Abstracts; chairman, Columbus Technology Council (NEW)
With technology the key to economic development, Massie is in the right place at the right time, rubbing elbows with local business powerhouses.
85. Tom Button, vice president, Park National Bank, Columbus (78)
Button heads up the Columbus commercial lending department, financing privately held companies.
86 and 87. Cameron James, CEO, and Ken Mills, president, Mills/James Productions Inc. (89 and 90)
Mills and James keep their company successful by diversifying service offerings to businesses and staying abreast of the latest video, teleconferencing and production technologies.
88. Mark Butterworth, chair, Columbus Venture Network (92)
Working with Wolfe and Cox, Butterworth has a front row seat when it comes to new tech companies in the state.
89. Daniel Slane, president, Slane Co. (NEW)
Slane is a leading real estate/mall developer and mingles with the city's most influential leaders as an OSU trustee.
90. Brian Ellis, president, Nationwide Realty Investors (77)
He's the point person on all Arena District development and a trustee of the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District.
91. Cameron Mitchell, president, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants LLC (80)
Despite slow sales and a struggling economy, Mitchell's restaurants are leading the pack in Columbus, and he plans to expand in the coming year.
92. Sue Doody, president, Lindey's Grant Avenue Investments (87)
Doody and the Doody family's Bravo Development are among the restaurant industry's successes. In 2002, Brio was recognized by the industry as the hottest new restaurant concept in the country.
93. Robert C. White, founder and chairman, The Daimler Group (NEW)
White leads one of the largest commercial real estate development firms in the state, and his Westar development is attracting tenants including the Building Industry Association to Westerville.
94. George Skestos, founder, Homewood Corp. (81)
Skestos is a long-standing, well-respected player in the business community -- you'll find him on the OSU Board of Trustees, Huntington Bank's board and the Columbus Regional Airport Authority's board.
95. Gene T. Harris, superintendent, Columbus Public Schools (NEW)
Despite plenty of naysayers, Harris was instrumental in winning voter approval for a $392 million bond issue to rebuild or renovate 38 schools. Now she needs to show that better schools make better students.
96. Janet Jackson, executive director, United Way Central Ohio (NEW)
This former municipal court judge and city attorney is an expert politician, which will serve her well as she forms relationships with business leaders.
97. Bill Schottenstein, owner, Arshot Investment Corp. (79)
Another key player in the development arena, he works with John Wolfe and Don Casto among others.
98. Doug Kridler, president and CEO, Columbus Foundation (NEW)
Kridler heads the region's largest foundation, putting him in a position to improve the community. He'll be forming connections with governing committee members Abigail Wexner, Ann Pizzuti and Lewis Smoot.
99. Adam Troy, managing partner, Omni Management Group (NEW)
Troy's firm is the largest African-American owned commercial real estate development company in the Midwest. Troy and his firm have received a lot of publicity for their participation in developing the downtown and Easton area, particularly CityGate, and Troy has also served on the mayor's downtown business plan task force.
100. Patricia Gibson, president, PMG Video Communications Inc.; president, U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce Ohio Affiliate (NEW)
As president of the newly formed U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce, Gibson is working closely with strong women business leaders including Nancy Kramer and Janet Jackson.
However, the worst thing we could do for our families and the economy is to lose hope -- hope that the world will be at peace and its economy, as well as ours, will recover.
Staying positive in the face of so much bad news is not easy. But optimism breeds optimism, just as depression leads to more of the same. One way to stay positive is to remember history and all of the horrific experiences our ancestors survived, including the Depression, two world wars and the Vietnam War.
And while it is my deepest hope that none of us has to go through similar experiences, it is comforting to know that individually and collectively, we did go on. Just as after the Sept. 11 attacks, we cleared the destruction and continued to deal with our sadness and fears. And each day that goes by, we are gaining strength.
But perhaps the best way to gain a positive perspective is to remember that we are still a country and a people with a great many blessings. When you start to wonder how you'll get through the next year, look at your spouse's face and listen to your children's laughter or your friend's kind words, and remember how lucky you are.
So this year, instead of the usual resolutions, maybe these should top our lists.
1. I will be grateful for my home, and for food on the table.
2. I will hug my spouse every day.
3. I will play with my children as often as I can.
4. I will tell a joke or laugh every day.
These resolutions may be the hardest to keep, but they are also the most rewarding.
For years, Ohio's primary strength has been its manufacturing sector, but Johnson says that's not what the state needs to be known for now.
Fresh from a stint in the Ohio Senate, Johnson is working to apply Gov. Taft's directive to turn Ohio into a high-value, high-tech business state. But it's an uphill battle, he says, one that will take a great deal of money and marketing to win.
With its Rust Belt history, Ohio is not one of the first states high-tech companies consider, despite impressive research and development institutions like The Ohio State University, Battelle Memorial Institute and the Cleveland Clinic.
But that may be changing. Ohio is putting its money where its mouth is with the Third Frontier Project, a $1.6 billion, 10-year plan to expand Ohio's high-tech research capabilities and attract start-up companies to create high-paying jobs for Ohioans.
"It's wonderful if OSU discovers a new process that monitors the heart rate in patients diagnosed with heart disease," says Johnson. "But if it doesn't create jobs, then it's not economic development."
SBN sat down with Johnson about Ohio's future as a high-tech business state.
How competitive is Ohio when it comes to attracting companies?
Ohio is very competitive and consistently ranks in the top 10 when it comes to factors like new product development and investment. We compete very effectively for growth and development companies.
Our strength is manufacturing, more than many other states, and we have a large number of transportation companies. With our location, we also have a large number of distribution companies.
What types of companies are most attracted to Ohio and why?
The types of companies attracted to Ohio cannot be categorized. Our economy is tremendously diverse. We're not No. 1 in any one thing, we cross a broad number of categories.
Ohio hasn't reached its full density, so we have a lot of room for development. That's where we are and where we'll continue to be. We are known for our manufacturing, and right now, the products we manufacture the most are automotive parts and rubber and plastics.
We also have a strong heritage in agriculture, but the number of employees in farming is declining, mainly because productivity is up. Farming is a commodity business, and with any commodity, you have to be as efficient as possible. Farming is a huge industry, but its growth is not going to be exponential -- or even sustained in the future.
What types of companies is the state hoping to attract and why?
We like to say high-growth, high-wage and high-tech companies. We finished a study of how Ohio can best compete, and (found) it is where our research strengths intersect with our industrial strengths.
There are five primary industries which we feel we can compete the most effectively for: information technology; advanced materials; power and propulsion; biosciences; and instruments, controls and electronics.
It will require persistence in innovation. Building an innovation structure is as important today as building a communications infrastructure was to last century's economy. The bottom line is, if they can do it in China, they will, for much less.
What are your current and future plans to attract these companies?
The governor has outlined a new strategy, and a major component in it is the Third Frontier Project. The project got its name because first we were an agriculture state, then we were a commodity driven state and now the goal is to become a state of high value added, high-tech companies.
We're very focused on Ohio becoming an R&D center, so we're dedicating $1.6 billion spread out over 10 years toward that goal. Our plan for this funding is to upgrade our innovation structure by developing ways to maximize collaboration between Ohio institutions like OSU and Battelle with industrial partners to make products.
We are also funding Wright Centers of Innovation focused on the five product areas and assisting in the commercialization of research, turning it into products that our citizens can produce and earn a wage. It is a long-term project, and its metrics include changing the average wage in Ohio, increasing the number of start-ups, federal research and number of grants received by the state.
We want our huge manufacturing base to turn this research into products. These products could be in health care, like a new heart monitoring device that we would manufacture in Ohio. We want to keep the production of these products here, and not in New Jersey or Tokyo.
What are your goals and biggest challenges?
My goal in the long run is to change the state's reputation. Most companies could locate or invest somewhere else. The bottom line is that the decision is often driven by reputation -- the preparedness of the labor force, the access to venture capital and the business climate.
We have incredible assets in those areas, but the perception is that we are caught in the Rust Belt. We have to change that perception to show Ohio has a dynamic business climate and our work force is prepared. Once people come here to investigate, we are much better off because our assets are impressive.
Everyone has heard of Research Triangle Park in North Carolina because they have done a good job marketing it. The Third Frontier Project will help to change our reputation and create success stories that will create more success. We can target investments to build a tax base and standard of living, but it will need marketing.
The marketing part is under discussion. We are working with regional economic development directors on tax structure improvements and to tell our story in a targeted way to business decision-makers -- that we have a good quality of life and talent in the state where they can focus their investment.
Has the department's focus changed since you took over as director?
No, the study commenced right after I got here, and we are putting the architecture in place to make Ohio's economy more competitive in those high value added, high-tech industries. You have to be an innovation leader, that's where the economy is going, and that innovation needs to become part of your culture.
The more researchers you have becoming entrepreneurs, the less dependent you'll be on large multinational corporations.
How to reach: Ohio Department of Development, (614) 466-2480 or www.odod.state.oh.us
Doug Frazier, a partner with Clary Communications in Columbus, says the first step is to review site statistics on a regular basis.
"Most Web hosting companies include a statistical analysis as part of the hosting package," says Frazier. "The software allows you to view visitor trends -- what they are looking at and what path they are following."
You can also see what pages are the most frequent exit pages, and whether customers are exiting before getting to your most important pages, such as online ordering or other e-commerce applications. If that's the case, it could indicate a navigation problem.
"You can also talk with your customers and get some informal feedback," Frazier says.
How often should you view your site's statistics? That depends on the type of site you have.
"On a basic brochure site that doesn't change frequently, you may only need to look at the statistics a few times a year," says Frazier.
But for database sites that change daily, it is critical to view statistics almost daily.
Are customers e-mailing you saying they have difficulty finding important information on your site? That's a surefire sign that your navigation system isn't working, says King Hill, president of DigiKnow, Inc. in Cleveland.
"Top-level navigation shouldn't change throughout the site," says Hill. "Visitors shouldn't have to learn a whole new way to move around in each section."
Hill also advises companies to be aware of who uses the site and what connection speeds are common for them, information that is available through Web hosting statistics.
"If most of your users are using a dial-up connection, you may want to substitute text for graphics in your navigation system," he says. How to reach: Clary Communications, (614) 481-7534 or www.clarycommunications.com, DigiKnow Inc., Columbus office, (614) 280-0577 or www.digiknow.com
Why is balance important? In addition to the old adage "All work and no play ... ," dividing our time more equally between work and family has proven to lessen stress and improve our health. Plus it's a lot more fun, and can have a big impact on the lives of those we care about.
At my father's funeral, not one person approached me to say, "He was a hell of a businessman" or "He was a great banker," even though he was both. But a lot of people said he was a good friend, a good neighbor and a good listener.
It wasn't easy for Dad to find his balance. His schedule was as hectic as that of today's busy manager or executive -- board meetings, chamber of commerce and civic events, and leadership roles in clubs and organizations kept him away from home several evenings a week, and I missed him.
But over the years, he learned to pick his commitments to match his priorities, and gradually, his time away from home decreased and he became more relaxed.
As with any other skill, balancing your personal and professional lives takes practice. Good intentions don't cut it. Start by listing your priorities. Then list the number of hours you spend attending professional meetings and functions, and the hours you spend attending to personal ones.
If the number of hours spent at business functions far outweighs the personal, you have some work to do. Once you've realigned your time and have a more balanced life, you'll find you have more time to share a joke with a friend, listen to his problems or console your child.
It is those investments that bring the richest returns. After all, the people you'll remember fondly aren't famous scientists, politicians or businesspeople. They are those who cared enough to take the time to listen and advise you.
Now it's your turn to carry on that tradition, and it starts with finding that balance.
In the November issue Hall of Fame report, we incorrectly stated that Jim Crane led Crane Group Inc. since 1967 and that he is currently a trustee of the Columbus Museum of Art and Children's Hospital.
Crane and his brother, Bob, both led the company, and Crane has served as a trustee of those two organizations, but is not currently serving in that capacity.
SBN apologizes for these errors.