It is amazing to me what gets measured in this world. Just say, Guinness World Records and you are now conjuring up outrageous tales of the biggest, fastest, most random anything.

What about when you need helpful measurements? It is interesting to me where measurements and metrics can go wrong. If you are thoughtful about your objectives when measuring data about your workforce, you will no longer look at all that human resource stuff as being the soft stuff.

Your people expenses are often your largest expenses. The metrics and workforce analytics are also the numbers attached to your only assets with self-awareness. Thus the asset and the numbers associated with them need to be managed even more carefully and in context than your more established management metrics.

Why first … then what

If we understand the goals for the organizations and the struggles the leaders are having, then we can start assessing what information would be helpful toward solving those problems. These conversations require a real dialog to get the best results.

Can you remember when you were a kid and were told to clean your room and you asked, “Why?” The result and motivation were very different if you got the annoyed parental, “Because!” Then if it was explained that Grandma was coming and she was staying in your room overnight, the latter answer received much more care to the details. The same is true when needing to understand why the organization or individual is seeking information.

The right ‘what’

After understanding the goals of your organization, you can design the proper information content and put it into context. Take a look at this real example:

A finance director is concerned about productivity and asks HR for the number of employees in each department. He runs his numbers and produces a cost and profit per employee and compares it to industry standards and his predecessor’s numbers.

He thinks he has the right picture of productivity, but there were several problems in this scenario. The finance director asked for the number of employees, and that is what he received.

However, the data didn’t include the differentiation between full-time and part-time employees, so his number was skewed. He didn’t include the number of contract workers being used in each department, thus he missed 8 percent of his workforce.

He also didn’t get a picture of the trends over time on this number; he just received a single data point. This is a problem because the snapshot in time was right after the busiest part of the season was over, and the student workers were no longer on the payroll, so his numbers couldn’t measure the busy season’s productivity.

How successful do you think his recommendations are going to be based on these numbers? Without context of the information and proper comparisons to the historical data, his analysis is going to be significantly flawed. He was focused on his HR metrics and didn’t focus on the dynamics of the organization’s workforce.

It is critical that the human resource department participate in the analysis of any details involving the workforce. It is also critical that managers and human resources are educated on how to interpret and design their reports. This will make a big difference in your decision-making.

Lois Melbourne is co-founder and CEO of Aquire, a workforce planning and analytic solution company based in Irving, Texas. Visit for more information.


Published in Columnist
Friday, 30 November 2012 20:01

The 2012 Pillar Award for Community Service

The Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service, presented by Smart Business, honors businesses of all types and sizes that make outstanding contribution to their community. Its purpose is to encourage a charitable enviroment, recognize creative efforts that make a difference and demonstrate the ties between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.

This year's winners will be honored at a special banquet on December 5 at LaCentre Conference & Banquet Facility in Westlake, OH.

Take a look at how these kind and selfless individuals and companies do what they do:

An introductory letter from Rick Chiricosta, President and CEO, Medical Mutual

Pillar Award for Community Service finalists:


ArcelorMittal Cleveland

BlueBridge Networks

Brand Muscle, Inc.

Enzoco Homes dba Handyman and a Hammer for Our Troops

GE Capital Retail Bank

Home Instead Senior Care

Huntington National Bank

Improve Consulting & Training Group, LLC

InfoCision Management Corporation

Majestic Steel USA

Nordson Corporation Foundation

Olympic Steel, Inc.

PartsSource, LLC

PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP

Sequoia Financial Group, LLC

Smith Medical Transportation Systems, Inc.

SS&G, Inc.

University Hospitals

Nonprofit Board Executives Of The Year:

Debby Zanglin, Guidestone

Tom Laird, Jr., ACE Mentor Program of Cleveland

Doug Weintraub, Jump Start

Mike Crislip, New Directions, Inc. & Crossroads

Rea & Associates Nonprofit Executive Directors Of The Year:

Mary Alice Frank, American Red Cross

Kathleen Crowther, Cleveland Restoration Society

Steve Friedman, Ph.D., Cleveland Sight Center

Elizabeth Fowler, Cleveland Zoological Society

Kathryn Kazol, Emerald Development Economic Network & Eden, Inc.

Dennis Allen, Hattie Larlham

Youth Supporter Of Philanthropy:

Cal DiJulius & Taylor Banc, All Kids Relay for Life Team

Tara Coury, The Safe House


A list of our fine sponsors


Published in Akron/Canton
Wednesday, 31 October 2012 20:00

Delivering service that wows

There is little question that one of the big challenges for any organization is the ability to differentiate itself from the competition. Rising above the din isn’t easy. And as the race to compete on price becomes a losing proposition, the focus has shifted to providing an extraordinarily high level of service in order to stand out.

Smart Business is pleased to recognize 25 organizations as part of the 2012 World Class Customer Service Awards program, presented by Comcast Business Class and sponsored by Northwestern Benefit Corp. of Georgia, Freeman Mathis & Gary LLP, The DiJulius Group, Atlanta Pro AV and The Country Club of the

This group embodies what it means to not just deliver world-class customer service, but they also understand how to develop internal cultures structured around service and teams of people who think “customer first.”

As you read the profiles of these innovative organizations, think about how you deliver service — internally and externally — and how your ability to rise above the din provides a competitive advantage.

Company profiles:

AGCO Corp.

Alliance Bus Group Inc.

Anduro Manufacturing

Ashton Staffing Inc.

Automobile Protection Corp. (APCO)

Bardi Heating & Air

BlueWave Computing LLC

Connectivity Wireless Solutions

CSI Laboratories

I.B.I.S. Inc.


LeasePlan USA

Park ’N Fly

PBD Worldwide

Philips Arena

Purchasing Power

Speedemissions Inc.


Sundial Plumbing Services

T.E.N. – Tech Exec Networks

TLC Laser Eye Centers

Travis Pruitt & Associates Inc.

U.S. Security Associates Inc.

Vericom Corp.



Published in Atlanta

Putting it succinctly, Junior Achievement’s mission is to help give students — who are inspired to be the young entrepreneurs of tomorrow — a taste of the business world. Since 1919, JA has been educating students about entrepreneurship with passion and integrity. It is the world’s largest organization devoted to that purpose.

One of the keys to JA’s success is the hands-on programs that help prepare young people to operate their own business. Many alumni of the program have cited their experience in JA as the foundation for their interest in being self-employed.

For instance, an inductee into a local chapter’s Hall of Fame recalled that when he was 13, he wanted to be an astronomer. Then, with five friends, he got into Junior Achievement and created a little company to market a useful product.

“We made money in the end,” he says. “After three or four months, we distributed $40 to each person of the company. Forty bucks doesn’t sound a lot today, but that was in 1955. At any rate, I decided, ‘Hey, I’d better go into business because I can’t make any money as an astronomer.’ That’s when I decided to go into business.”

Today, he owns a multimillion-dollar successful company.

JA Worldwide reaches more than 9 million students each year in 380,000 classrooms as well as after-school sites. There are 330,000 classroom volunteers globally who come from a wide range of backgrounds: retirees, businesspeople, college students and parents.

Local chapters each year honor distinguished business leaders who have acted as role models for students.

This year’s honorees for Junior Achievement of Central Ohio include Jim Budros, chairman of the board of Budros, Ruhlin & Roe Inc., the largest independent wealth management firm in central Ohio; Chuck Kegler, director with Kegler Brown Hill & Ritter LPA and a member of the firm since 1968; and Dwight Smith, founder and CEO of Sophisticated Systems Inc., a business technology partner in the Columbus region, and co-founder with his wife Reneé of the Thanks Be to God Foundation to support entrepreneurship and children worldwide.

They join the more than 80 business leaders inducted into the Junior Achievement of Central Ohio Hall of Fame in the past 25 years who give inspiration and purpose to young people to succeed in a global economy.

Published in Columbus
Monday, 01 October 2012 14:39

Strengthening the regional economy

It is with great pleasure that I would like to congratulate the 52 Cascade Capital Corp. Business Growth Award winners for 2012. This is the program’s 18th years, and we couldn’t be more excited about the honorees. These companies are located within Summit, Medina, Portage, Wayne, Stark and Ashland counties in Northeastern Ohio.

Based on the both Business Growth Awards criteria and the challenges facing small companies in today’s business environment, this is quite an accomplishment. A company may earn a Business Growth Award by either increasing its sales level or increasing its employee base over the course of the past five years. The importance of this growth measures far beyond actual sales and employee figures. From an economic development perspective, increased local company sales to other parts of the state, across the nation and even internationally enrich our local/regional economy. Receipts and profits generated by growing area companies are positively manifested when these companies purchase local goods and services, invest in new operating facilities and equipment, and hire new employees. These wealth-creating mechanisms directly lead to the economic vitality of our regional economy.

The goal of Cascade Capital Corp. is to provide meaningful financing assistance to small and medium-sized companies poised to grow through investment in new operating facilities, equipment and human resources. Over the course of the past five years, Cascade Capital Corp. has approved financing for more than 150 local/regional company projects totaling in excess of $100 million through its core SBA 504 and Ohio 166 loan programs. The collective completion of these projects was expected to result in the creation of nearly 1,000 new jobs for our region.

Cascade Capital’s SBA 504 Loan Program is its primary financing tool. The SBA 504’s most recent 20-year fixed interest rate was only 4.28 percent; the 10-year rate was only 3.47 percent. The SBA 504 is very versatile financing option for small to medium-sized companies expanding the scope of their operations by in investing in new/larger operating facilities. In combination with traditional bank financing, the SBA 504 can offer up to 90 percent financing for major fixed-asset purchases. With commercial real estate still available at very reasonable prices, now is a great time to consider SBA 504 Loan Program financing for a capital expansion project.

Cascade Capital’s Ohio 166 Loan Program continues to offer the best fixed interest rate “bargain” available — only 3 percent fixed on a five-year loan. I am pleased to report that Cascade Capital approved a record number of Ohio 166 loans this year.

A number of 2012 Business Growth Award winners have received funding from Cascade Capital through its SBA 504 and Ohio 166 loan programs.

Again, congratulations to all of Cascade Capital Corp.’s 2012 Business Growth Award winners on a job well done. Thank you too for your continuing role in supporting and revitalizing our local and regional economy through your sustained growth and investment.

Robert Filipiak is executive director of Cascade Capital Corp., an economic development finance company that has provided dependable financing options to growing small to medium-sized companies in Greater Akron and Northeastern Ohio since 1983. Reach him at (330) 379-3160 or

The 2012 Winners


ACS Industries Inc.

Joe Zeno

ACS Industries Inc. is a manufacturer and seller of construction equipment attachments and replacement parts. The company strives to not only create but also maintain high-paying manufacturing jobs to boost the local economy. To this end, the company doubled its staff size from 2007 to 2011.

Amish Mills/Daniels Amish Collection

Christopher J. Karman

Wooden household furniture manufacturer Amish Mills/Daniels Amish Collection has focused on expanding its product line to combat the decline of the company’s original market, curios. With the input of customers helping to fuel new, innovative designs, the company has seen national success — with sales increased 167 percent and its staff grown 300 percent from 2007 to 2011.

Little Guy Worldwide LLC

Joe Kicos

Little Guy Worldwide LLC is a leading teardrop camper trailer manufacturer and seller. The company resurrected the retro teardrop design — an economical, practical and aerodynamic trailer that can be pulled by any vehicle with a hitch. Production has increased with demand — sales jumping 143 percent from 2009 to 2011. The company tripled its staff in that time.

Marik Spring Inc.

Greg Bedrick

Marik Spring Inc. is a manufacturer of springs, wire forms and metal stampings. The company pledges to exceed customer expectations, and does so through consistent quality, engineering experience and on-time delivery at competitive prices. Because of its continued growth, Marik had to relocate from its original 13,000-square-foot building to a 26,500-square-foot building in 2005.

Network Polymers Inc.

Alan Woll

Plastic resin manufacturer and distributor Network Polymers Inc. provides raw material to numerous manufacturers in Northeast Ohio, while creating manufacturing and high-paying research and development jobs in the Akron area. Its 12 percent staff increase from 2007 to 2011 was made possible by a $16 million sales increase during that time.

Ohio Hickory Harvest Brand Products Inc.

Darlene, Joseph and Michael Swiatkowski

Ohio Hickory Harvest Brand Products Inc. has grown from a small mail order company selling smoked beef sausage and cheeses to a multifacility company also selling dried fruits, nuts and candies and providing bulk grocery items to local stores. Growth continues, due in large part to equipment investments. Sales jumped $6.4 million while staff increased 138 percent from 2007 to 2011.

OrDerv Foods Inc.

Keith A. Kropp

OrDerv Foods Inc., a manufacturer of sauerkraut balls, has expanded its product line to include appetizers, such as Wonton Poppers, Fried Pickles, Reuben Bites, Fried Banana Peppers and a new line of Olivations, since Kropp purchased the business in 2005. OrDerv also creates custom design products for area restaurants and food manufacturers. Sales increased 81 percent while staff jumped 133 percent from 2007 to 2011.

Portage Precision Polymers

Doug Hartley

Rubber compound and rubber-based products manufacturer Portage Precision Polymers continues to operate at capacity, prompting the need for further expansion. The growing company has invested in a new mixing lineup, as well as in new computer systems, forecasting, models and extensive staff training. PPP grew their staff 27 percent from 2007 to 2011.

Shearer’s Foods Inc.

Robert J. Shearer

Shearer’s Foods Inc. is the manufacturer and distributor of Shearer’s award-winning snacks, as well as select private label products. In response to rising market demands and new product development opportunities, Shearer’s built its Millennium Manufacturing Facility — the first LEED Platinum snack-food manufacturing plant in the world. Shearer’s sales increased by $279 million — 220 percent — from 2007 to 2011, and it hired 1,194 new employees.

Ten Point Crossbow Technologies

Rick Bednar

Ten Point Crossbow Technologies is a manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of a full line of crossbows and accessories. The company engineers and designs its products in-house, ensuring superior quality. This prompted a 117 percent increase in sales from 2007 to 2011, enabling the company to grow its staff 88 percent.


AtNet Plus Inc.

Jim Laber and Jay Mellon

IT support company AtNet Plus offers managed services, Web development, backup solutions, hosting and co-location services. Experiencing significant growth, the company saw a sales increase of 90 percent from 2007 to 2011. Over that same time period, the company has put more Northeast Ohio residents to work, increasing its staff by 21 percent.

Cletronics Inc.

David Sands

Manufacturer of custom wound components, Cletronics Inc., began a major push in 2007 to increase in size by further penetrating customers’ transformer requirements. The results over the next four years was the doubling of the company’s sales revenue and a 58 percent increase in staff. To reward this growth, Cletronics has built a new 12,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.

Corporate Technologies Group Inc.

Jeff Sumner and Brett Harney

Corporate Technologies Group Inc., a voice and data technology company, has fostered growth by focusing on redesigning its website to meet new marketing goals, as well as keeping up with the changing demands of new technology. Efforts have led to a 31 percent sales increase and a 20 percent staff increase from 2007 to 2011.

Etactics Inc.

Michael P. Teutsch

Etactics Inc. is a cost-effective EDI and print services company that enhances the accuracy and delivery of many time-sensitive documents, especially invoices. These services improve the cash flow for more than 2,000 clients. Etactics has seen a 55 percent increase in sales — totaling $4.3 million — and a staff increase of 75 percent from 2007 to 2011.


Brian Deagan

Knotice delivers direct digital marketing software solutions. Its Concentri product was the first online communication product to integrate content targeting for websites, mobile marketing, email marketing, targeted display advertising and analytics in a single software solution. Knotice grew sales a whopping 467 percent — $9.8 million — from 2007 to 2011 and increased its staff by 267 percent — 64 people.

PartsSource Inc.

A. Ray Dalton

PartsSource Inc. has expanded on its role as a provider of medical replacement parts. As of 2006, the company also offers software solutions related to the management and acquisition of parts, cutting costs and improving efficiencies for clients. This new component contributed to a $39 million sales boost from 2007 to 2011, prompting the hiring of 57 additional employees.


Americas International Inc.

Wayne Stair

Americas International Inc., a wholesale distributor of rubber and rubber chemicals, has expanded beyond its Akron roots to include regional sales offices in Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles, with a network of warehouse operations that ensure accurate and on-time deliveries. Its efforts have grown the company’s sales 312 percent from 2007 to 2011 — an impressive $40.4 million.

Appalachian Outfitters/Appalachian Outdoors LLC

Michael Leffler

Appalachian Outfitters/Appalachian Outdoors LLC is an outdoor specialty store. Longtime, outdoor-experienced employees ensure customers not only receive the best products for their needs, experience levels and budgets but also understand the best way to use them. The company’s sales have increased 25 percent over a four-year period ending in 2011.

AssuraMed (f.k.a. Edgepark Medical Supplies)

Michael Petras Jr.

Edgepark Medical Supplies, parent company AssuraMed, has continued to evolve over the years, starting out as a corner pharmacy in 1928. Eventually focusing solely on the mail-order business of medical supplies, the company has since expanded to locales across the nation. From 2007 to 2011, the company saw a $285.5 million increase in sales and added 344 new employees.

Carrara Cos.

Justin Sucato

Restoration, construction and cleaning company, Carrara Cos., has built its impressive growth on three core strengths: building a culture around company values, recruiting and developing true leaders and providing industry-best customer service. The company saw an impressive sales increase of 127 percent, totaling $4.2 million, from 2007 to 2011, and grew its staff by 136 percent.

Chemspec Ltd.

Dave Moreland

Chemspec Ltd. is a distributor of chemical products and additives to the rubber, plastic and polymer industry. The company’s success stems from the use of state-of-the-art facilities with extensive quality programs — success seen in its $8.8 million increase in sales from 2007 to 2011, coupled with 120 percent staff growth.

Cohen & Co. Ltd.

J. Michael Kolk

Cohen & Co. Ltd. provides entrepreneurs and privately held companies with a range of accounting, tax and business advisory services. By helping area businesses remain profitable, the company has been able to grow in return — increasing sales by $8 million and adding 14 new employees over a four-year period ending in 2011.

Epiphany Management Group LLC

Suranjan Shome

Epiphany Management Group LLC aims to transform and improve K-12 education through collaborations with progressively minded school leaders and industry innovators. EMG works in areas such as technology management and improvement, efficiency improvements and cost reduction, and marketing, branding and development. The company’s efforts resulted in a 331 percent increase from 2007 to 2011.

Ferry Industries Inc.

Harry Covington

Ferry Industries Inc. manufactures rotational molding machines, high-intensity mixers, powder handling systems and precision cutting machines. The company manufactures in-house using Process Logic Controllers, advanced industrial computers and innovative engineering to improve its products’ processing capabilities, benefiting customers. The company’s sales jumped $5.7 million from 2009 to 2011.

Great Lakes Fasteners Inc.

Kevin R. Weidinger

Great Lakes Fasteners Inc. is a supplier of standard, metric and military specification fasteners to Midwest manufacturers and has recently entered the maintenance and repair segment. The company recently undertook an aggressive acquisition strategy and invested in sales people and marketing tools, doubling its staff from 2007 to 2011.

Group Management Services

Mike Kahoe

Group Management Services is a professional organization providing payroll, benefits, risk management and human resources services. GMS has grown by providing clients with superior service and cost savings, leading to a customer retention rate of more than 90 percent. The company increased sales by $10.6 million during a four-year period ending in 2011, and added 26 employees.

HMT Dermatology Associates Inc.

Helen M. Torok

HMT Dermatology Associates Inc. has focused on service-related innovation, expansion and strategic planning to grow business operations and services during the past nine years. Two key services added are Mohs Skin Cancer Surgery and on-site pathology services. As a result of the company’s efforts, revenue increased by $3.13 million from 2007 to 2011.

Illumetek Corp.

Jim Pulk

Lighting management company Illumetek Corp. specializes in retro-fitting commercial building lighting systems. This industry can save facilities more than 40 percent on utility bills and also helps companies reduce their carbon footprint — all without reducing lighting quality. Illumetek’s sales grew by $4.3 million during a four-year period ending in 2011.

InfoCision Management Corp.

Carl Albright

InfoCision Management Corp. is a leading inbound and outbound call center provider and direct marketing partner, specializing in customer acquisition, care, retention and fundraising. The successful growth of the company — with sales boosted $19 million from 2007 to 2011 — enabled InfoCision to provide more than 1,000 new jobs during that time period.

J. Rayl Transport

Jeremy Rayl

J. Rayl Transport, a full-service transportation company, continues to grow beyond its original Akron headquarters, with recently opened terminals in Ohio, Virginia and Texas. The company caters to customers via its ability to provide several logistics options for a variety of commodities. It grew sales 180 percent — $27.9 million — from 2007 to 2011, adding 135 employees.

Jarrett Logistics Systems Inc.

W. Michael Jarrett

Jarrett Logistics Systems Inc. provides supply chain management services, including transportation management, freight bill auditing and payment, premium freight management, claims processing and custom reporting. Clients have more control over their supply chain thanks to JLS’s centralized routing center — saving them money and increasing efficiencies. The company saw a $6.9 million sales increase from 2007 to 2011.

Knox Marketing

Randy Godding

Knox Marketing is passionate about delivering quick, cost-effective solutions to customers, focusing on conducting thorough research, writing strategic marketing and communication plans, and producing appropriate creative executions. The advertising agency has taken a particular interest in health care, boosting the company’s growth. Knox Marketing grew sales $1.8 million over a two-year period.

Laudan Properties LLC

Kevin R. Weidinger and Nico Cottone

Regional mortgage field services company Laudan Properties LLC operates in a growing service area stretching from Michigan to Florida and expanding west. The company maintains a competitive advantage thought a vast network of licensed contractors. Its growth is reflected in its 2008 to 2011 sales and staff increases: 480 percent and 400 percent, respectively.

Lighting Services Inc.

Kurt Allerman

Lighting Services Inc. offers full lighting retrofit installations, interior and exterior service and a variety of scheduled maintenance programs. The company helps clients cut energy costs and provide a positive, productive work environment through high-quality but cost-effective lighting. It saw an 204 percent sales increase — $4.9 million — from 2007 to 2011, and grew its staff 48 percent.

Linnea’s Candy Supplies Inc.

Chris Romocean

Linnea’s Candy Supplies Inc., first started as a retail operation, has grown and evolved into a business-to-business candy supply wholesaler. It has expanded beyond its current Ohio headquarters and warehouse to include a West Coast warehouse in California. The popularity of Linnea’s products is seen in its 2007 to 2011 sales increase of $6.1 million — a 119 percent leap.

National Interstate Insurance Co.

Dave Michelson

National Interstate Insurance Co. is a leading provider of transportation and specialized insurance products. It continues to expand its portfolio and increase market penetration, and recently completed its first major acquisition. The company also developed a risk management program to help customers become safer operators. Its efforts led to a $180 million increase in sales from 2007 to 2011.

Ohio Tool Systems

Jack Grace

Ohio Tool Systems is one of the leading industrial tool and material handling distributors in the Midwest. The company’s success stems from its commitment to customer service and satisfaction in all nine sales locations and five factory-authorized repair and warranty service centers. Ohio Tool Systems grew sales by $10.5 million throughout a four-year period ending in 2011.

Outtech Inc.

Jay Scholes

Outtech Inc. manufactures and sells hunting and outdoor products and equipment. Its professional sales and marketing associates are dedicated to providing clients with excellent service while contributing to the success of the manufacturers it represents. The growing company hired 20 new employees from 2007 to 2011 and expanded its headquarters in 2008.

PackShip USA

W. Michael Jarrett

PackShip USA provides packaging and shipping services for large, high-value merchandise and logistics management services for mid-market businesses. The company stays up-to-date with the latest technology and methods to ensure delivery of top-notch service. PackShip saw a 21 percent increase in sales, as well as a 71 percent increase in staff, over a four-year period ending in 2011.

Mike Ode

Payroll service provider caters to the distinct needs of contractors, making processing complex construction payroll easier. The company ensures a comprehensive service package by incorporating cutting-edge software tools, such as the recent addition of remote timecard entry application Foundation mobile.  The company grew a staggering 918 percent from 2007 to 2011, and increased its staff by 367 percent.

ProSource Solutions LLC

Lowell T. Messner

ProPource Solutions LLC is a five-time Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft-based software engineering and IT consulting. ProSource combines technology expertise, business knowledge and diverse experience in solution development to deliver creative and effective solutions to its clients. The company increased sales 320 percent from 2009 to 2011 and tripled its staff.

QualCare LLC d.b.a. Home Instead Senior Care

Therese Glorioso

QualCare LLC, doing business as Home Instead Senior Care, provides home health care and elderly home care for seniors, with services such as Alzheimer’s and dementia support, respite care and companionship. The trust established helps families to eliminate worry, reduce stress and re-establish personal freedom. QualCare grew sales 517 percent, and its staff 746 percent, from 2007 to 2011.

Rezkem Chemicals

Eric H. Gorze

Hydrocarbon resins importer and distributor Rezkem Chemicals has experienced tremendous growth by focusing on adding new domestic and international customers, providing excellent customer service and managing product volatility. The company also rebranded last year, incorporating a new logo and website. It saw a sales increase of 381 percent during a four-year period ending in 2011.


Mark Goldfarb and Robert Littman

Regional accounting and business advisory firm SS&G provides assurance, tax, consulting, investment and retirement plan services. The financial guidance SS&G provides has helped customers continue the success of their businesses through an economic downturn. These efforts have been favorable in return, with a $16.6 million increase in sales from 2007 to 2011 and the addition of 126 employees.

SS&G Healthcare Services LLC

Thomas Ferkovic

SS&G Healthcare Services LLC specializes in medical billing and accounts receivable, independent physician and dental practice management, clinical research and financial and operational consulting. The company takes a hands-on approach, with experienced professionals holding a range of advanced degrees and certifications. This staff grew 51 percent from 2007 to 2011, during which time sales increased by $5.5 million.

Sequoia Financial Group LLC

Thomas A. Haught

Financial advisory company Sequoia Financial Group LLC offers comprehensive wealth management services. Its salaried, non-commission staff of professionals focuses entirely on what works best for the customer. As a result of the firm’s success, Sequoia has expanded in both existing and new markets, experiencing a $1.05 million sales boost and 15 percent employee growth from 2007 to 2011.

Slate Rock Safety LLC

Heidi Sweeney

Slate Rock Safety LLC, a retailer and wholesaler of safety apparel, was recently named among the 500 fastest growing businesses in America by Inc. magazine. The company strives to automate and streamline technology and processes for maximum efficiency, while employees provide excellent service and establish lasting relationships with clients. Company sales grew 26,700 percent from 2007 to 2011, with a 1,000 percent staff increase.

Spectrum Surgical Instruments Corp.

Rick Schultz and Rick Costello

Spectrum Surgical Instruments Corp. sells and repairs surgical instrumentation that contributes to safer patient outcomes. But the company promotes proper care and handling of surgical instruments beyond selling products, through published articles, lectures, consulting, Instrument University and educational seminars. Spectrum more than doubled its staff as well as sales, with a $17.1 million increase in revenue from 2007 to 2011.

Summa Western Reserve Hospital

Robert Kent

Summa Western Reserve Hospital’s commitment to high-quality health care, cutting-edge technology and patient-centric service bolsters its reputation as one of the nation’s leading health care systems. The hospital grew sales 135 percent — totaling more than $63 million — from 2009 to 2011.

Tegrit Group

Mike Spickard

Tegrit Group is a national leader in actuarial consulting, administration and technology solutions for public and private retirement plan sponsors. The company continues to grow due to its commitment to state-of-the art solutions and maintaining a knowledgeable staff. Tegrit Group added 86 employees 2007 to 2011, and increased sales by 146 percent, totaling $7.6 million.

Trillium Creek Boutique LLC

Heather Funk

Trillium Creek Boutique LLC offers cosmetic consultations and sells a wide variety of skincare products, makeup and gifts. Steady growth has been achieved through product and service innovations, such as its skin typing software system that matches Trillium Creek Dermatology patients with the best skin care products for their type. The boutique increased sales 24 percent from 2007 to 2011.

White Space Creative

Keeven White

Strategic integrated marketing communications agency White Space Creative helps businesses and organizations motivate others into action. The company’s creative, high-energy efforts have fostered continuous growth, making it a recipient of multiple Northeast Ohio Success and Leading Edge business distinctions. White Space Creative increased its staff by 4 percent from 2007 to 2011 to support its efforts.


Published in Akron/Canton

As a 26-year-old with long hair and sideburns that merged into a mustache, Bob Weltman asked his father if he could be put in charge of the collection department of his law firm. His father trusted his son’s work ethic and belief that he could run the department much better than it had been, so he said, “Yes.”

From that day on, Weltman has been leading people by example at Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., a law firm with more than 1,200 employees and annual revenue of more than $100 million. He has always prided himself on working harder and longer than anyone else to stay on top.

“My leadership style is one by example,” Weltman says. “I never ask my employees to do anything that I could not do. I always got to work before my employees. I always worked as hard as my employees and I always worked longer than my employees. I was totally dedicated to my job.”

Ever since Weltman held a job bagging groceries as a youngster, he has maintained his work-hard-to-be-successful attitude throughout college and into his professional career.

“My background in working hard was something that I adopted a long time ago,” Weltman says. “If you’re going to accept the responsibility, do it with all your energy and give it all the time that’s necessary to succeed.”

Today, Weltman has lost the long hair and his sideburns, but the mustache and work ethic remain strong. Here is what Weltman has learned in his 50 years of business.

What have been some of your biggest challenges over your career?

The challenge of running a business — profitability. That is always a challenge. Even though we’re in the service business and we’re lawyers, making a profit at the end of the day is a challenge. When you attend any meeting in this law firm and you didn’t know what we were, you would think we manufactured widgets. The meetings we have are all business-driven with business ideas.

I don’t know how you can exist in today’s world in business without taking business courses. If you’re thinking of being a doctor or a lawyer, a businessman, an accountant or anything in the business world, you’ve got to take business classes.

No. 2 is the management of people. Everybody who works here has their own set of problems. You’re trying to merge together a whole bunch of different people with a whole bunch of different problems into one and to motivate them to give their job the best.

If you get too involved in an employee’s personal problems, it can drag you down and distract from what your primary focus is. So being able to merge together people from all different types of backgrounds into one is very, very important.

You have to try to create a team effort. A team is only as good as the weakest link. You’ve got to set the bar high. Saying it can’t be done is not acceptable. I’d rather you try something and fail than say it can’t be done. Don’t be afraid to fail. When you decide to make a decision, measure the chance of success versus the chance of failure.

Don’t do something that can be fatal to the organization. If there is a higher degree of success than there is failure, measure what happens if there is failure because if the failure is detrimental to the organization, then you don’t want to make the decision. You have to learn from those failures.

You take the failures that you have had and try to build them into something that is positive. You want to teach your employees to also take some degree of risk to what they’re doing.

Throughout 50 years, what are the biggest changes you’ve seen in business?

I was a very, very rough employer. I demanded perfection. Even though I knew perfection could not be obtained, I demanded it. I was very rough on the people who worked with me. Some stuck around, and others went other ways.

I remember that I ran into a friend of mine who worked for me at one time and had left. We were reminiscing about the old days, and he told me a story about something I did to him that interfered with his personal life. I knew he was going out one night, and I gave him a stack of files to work and have ready to review the next day.

I don’t remember if I did it intentionally, but he said he had to skip his social event to work on them. I went back to the office and told my son the story. My son said, ‘You know what I would have done? I would have quit.’

There has been a shift from the job meaning everything to you to balance in life. We went from people who worked because they had to work to put food on the table to a period of time where people started making more money and a balance of life became almost as important to being dedicated to the job.

Another change in the industry has been what the clients focus on. Originally, clients came to you because you could give them the best results. Giving good service to the client along with good results used to be the motivating factor.

After 9/11, the client’s focus became security. Now we have security badges, security entrances. In some of our offices, we have security cameras. The clients became very security conscious.

More recently, since the 2008 recession, compliance is bigger. Now they want to know the procedures you’re following to keep us out of trouble. Now the focus isn’t so much on performance; it is how well you’re treating the customer. The emphasis has gone from performance to security to compliance, and those organizations that will be in compliance will get a higher rating than those organizations that have better performance quantitatively.

How important has relationship building been to you?

I feel that when a client comes to me with a problem, they’re coming to me for help. I feel honored to represent a client and help them, and I want to give them something back in return.

I treat clients like friends. I try to establish a personal relationship with them and make a connection with them and a bond so that they can come to me for help, and I’ll drop whatever I’m doing to help them. Once they come to me for help, I want to work my hardest to make sure I achieve a result.

You have to make the connection and gain the confidence of that person. You’ve got to get the client or the person to believe that what you’re doing is in their best interest. You’ve got to put their welfare ahead of any other selfish or personal motivation that you may have. You have to give the client the impression that you’re working for them to achieve the best result and that making money is secondary.

I’ve said many times to a client when they come to me with a challenging collection problem and they say, ‘How much are you going to charge me?’ I say to them, ‘I don’t want what I’m going to charge you to stand in the way of me getting you the best result. Pay me what you think I’m worth when it’s done.’

You have to let them know that money and the profit motive is not the main motivation of why you’re doing it.

When clients come and present me with their problem, I tell them, ‘You’ve now given me this problem. You have to walk out of this room and dismiss it from your mind, because if two of us worry about the problem, there’s too much energy being wasted at solving the problem. Once you come to me with a problem, I want you to divorce yourself from that problem and allow me to handle it and try to get you a solution.’

Where did your hard work ethic come from?

There was a book called ‘Bounce,’ and it was the question as to whether greatness is genetic or something you have to work hard to achieve. The theme of that book was that hard work is what makes you good at what you do. I worked very, very hard at what I do, and I still work very hard.

My day starts at night when I take home boxes of files, which I work on until 10 at night. I get to work at 6:30 in the morning, so my day is 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. In order to be good at what you do, you have to put a lot of hours in. It’s not something that just comes your way. It’s something that you got to devote a lot of hard work and a lot of time to.

With all your great athletes, people say they were born with greatness, but from LeBron James to Jimmy Brown, they worked very hard at what they did. Mark Spitz didn’t just jump in a pool and win gold medals. He worked endless hours to achieve greatness. You have to stay focused.

I’m always focused on the job. I have blinders as to anything else that’s going on around me. It’s like a sporting event — when you’re on the basketball court, you have to be able to separate yourself from the rest of the world. Or it’s like a relief pitcher in baseball — when you give up a hit or give up a home run, you’ve got to go out on the mound and separate yourself from what happened in the past because you can’t let it be the driver for what happens in the future.

What have you done to keep up with the industry as it has grown? 

Reading, listening and attending lectures is very important. When I attend seminars, I don’t necessarily go there to learn what the message of the seminar is; I go there to learn what the problems are in the industry. I try to figure out solutions for those problems. As a result, that created different departments in our firm and different ways of handling things.

If you don’t do these things, you’re missing out. When I read a newspaper, I look at what’s in that article that can help further the organization. Is that a marketing opportunity? Is that an opportunity for business? I try to always transfer what I see and hear and read into how I can incorporate that at our firm to make the firm a better organization.

I’m big on sports, so I’ll look to sports to see how management decisions are made. I look at how players are treated and the education of players and how they learn what the game is all about. It’s all about the ‘Bounce’ theory — are you given the job at the time that’s necessary to be the best at what you can do?

What have been some keys to keeping the firm a leader in its industry?

I’ve been a visionary in running the firm. We were one of the first law firms in our field to have more than one office. We were the first law firm to have a probate collection department.

I like to be the first at what we’re doing, and the reason why is if you’re the first, there is no measure of competition. If everybody is talking about it, then it’s too late. That’s why, when you go to conferences, you listen to what the underlying message is and not what is being said.

I’m also the kind of person that when I come up with an idea, I want to implement it immediately and get started on it. All of us are very busy and none of us are sitting here waiting for the client to call us or walk in the door, but when you’re presented with something new, you have to be able to start working on that problem immediately without losing any concentration on what your daily task is. A lot of people are very slow at appropriating something new. When you think of something to do, you have to start it.

How to reach: Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co. LPA, (216) 685-1000 or


- Give 100 percent to your current job.

- Build relationships with your clients.

- Be a leader and focus on solving problems.

The Weltman File

Bob Weltman

Senior partner

Weltman, Weinberg and Reis Co. LPA

Born: Cleveland, Ohio

Education: Received a BBA and a master’s in finance from the The Ohio State University and a JD from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law

What was your very first job and what did you take away from that experience?

I got a job working in a grocery store. I used to bag groceries and take them to people’s cars and then run back to beat the others in line. The average tip was a quarter. That was one of the first experiences where I realized how easy it was to be successful; you just had to work hard.

Who is someone you look up to?

My favorite baseball player is Lou Gehrig. He never missed a day of work.

What are a few of your favorite sports memories?

I went to Cal Ripken night when he set the record for most consecutive games. I was there for the Indians game when Kenny Lofton scored from second base on a passed ball. I attended the Ohio State championship game against Miami where it went into overtime at the Fiesta Bowl. I attended the World Series in 1995 and 1997 for the Indians.

What has been one of your proudest moments over your 50-year career?

It was going to my father and asking him if I could run the collection department and him having enough confidence in me to do it.

If you could invite three people to dinner, who would invite?

George Steinbrenner, Bill Gates and Thomas Edison. Innovative, creative people.

Published in Cleveland

When Michael Hilton looks at a soda bottle, he isn’t thinking about whether it tastes good or if it will quench his thirst. He is thinking about all the ways his company can incorporate better applications to make the bottle.

Historically, bottle labels were applied by rolling the bottle in a pot of glue, which would result in the adhesive dripping and covering areas of the bottle that didn’t need to be. The application Nordson Corp. developed was a pattern spray on the bottle. The leading edge of the label is placed on the bottle, it is wrapped around and receives a coating on the trailing edge, which saves 20 to 30 percent in adhesives.

“It’s a big seller for our customers,” Hilton says. “That’s one way to drive growth — create applications with technology.”

Driving growth is what his objective has been since being named president and CEO at the beginning of 2010. Nordson Corp., a more than 4,000-employee manufacturer of products and systems used for dispensing adhesives, coatings, sealants and biomaterials for several end markets, has been a strong company, even during the recession years. When Hilton arrived, he saw the company as an $800 million organization that could become a $2 billion or $3 billion business.

“If you step back, [Nordson] was surrounding the customer [with a] globally well-positioned [team], a talented team, and a team that executed,” he says. “That’s a very good foundation to build on.”

Globally, Nordson has a presence in more than 30 countries and has been well-established in locations such as China, India, Brazil, Europe and Japan for a long time.

“For a company our size, that’s a great global footprint to have to take advantage of opportunities for growth,” Hilton says.

To benefit from those opportunities he had to evaluate the business and understand the key areas that needed attention and resources.

Here is how Hilton is improving the operations and processes of a good company to make it a great one.

Cover all the bases

Coming into a company as its new president and CEO usually carries a lot of weight. Hilton didn’t want to just come in and make random changes. He had developed a relationship with his predecessor Ed Campbell, and he used that relationship to listen to any advice Campbell provided to understand the business.

“Initially, I spent the first couple of weeks largely with Ed getting a download on everything you would expect from the business to the customers to the investors to the organization, and he was pretty helpful in terms of his long history at Nordson,” Hilton says.

Hilton’s time with Campbell was short-lived, but impactful. The keys to the company soon belonged to Hilton and he had to now get out of the headquarters facility and visit the business around the world.

“As soon as I could I really looked to take the opportunity to travel and meet some customers, see our facilities globally and get a better handle on what we do day-to-day,” he says. “There is only so much research you can do from afar and only so many reports you can read, and until you have an opportunity to touch it and feel it, you don’t really have the same perspective.”

It was obvious to Hilton that Nordson was a very good company and performed very well in a difficult time. The company was fairly solid and there were strengths in its business model.

“If I step back and look at what were the key strengths that I found, one was how we surround and support the customer,” he says. “If you think about the underlying technology, the direct sales approach and really a service organization that is incredibly responsive to its customers, that’s as good as I have seen.”

Hilton has previously operated in a number of different businesses all with one major company, but six different business models.

“I think I have a pretty good operating field of different approaches in everything from commodity businesses to specialty businesses and high-performance businesses, and this is very high-performance, so it was a great foundation to inherit,” he says.

The biggest key for a new incoming CEO to understand what a business is about and how it operates is to listen.

“I didn’t rush to form any particular opinions,” Hilton says. “It’s a complicated business so you need some time to get to a level of understanding before you can sort through and think about what has to happen next and take the company forward.

“As somebody who’s been in the industry 30-plus years before I came here, you can have a tendency to feel like you know what needs to be done. You have to wait a little bit and make sure you have enough input. It’s a bit of drinking from the fire hose, but it does give you a good perspective of the day-to-day.”

While listening is crucial to a CEO’s understanding of the business, visiting different locations in person is also important.

“You have to get out to facilities so that you better understand what you do and how you win in the marketplace and there’s no substitute for that,” he says. “Also, you have to take time in the nonbusiness environment with folks, whether that’s on the weekends or at dinners just getting to know people in the organization.”

Those same things go for getting to know your leadership team. Demonstrating that you’re a regular guy is a crucial step to cementing relationships.

“It is really trying to put the leadership team at ease when you come in,” he says. “Particularly in the time when I was coming in we were just starting to come out of the recession and the best thing for the business was to figure out how we could win in the recovery phase and to win more than our fair share of the business.

“You need the team motivated to do that. I’m here to learn and I think I have some experience and value to offer, but I don’t want to come in with a preset agenda that said we have to do A, B and C, because I didn’t know enough.”

Take the next steps

Once Hilton had become comfortable and did his due diligence within the organization, it was time to take the things the company was good at and find ways to make them even better.

“If you look at what we’re really good at — the surround the customer piece, the global position and the execution — what else do we really need?” Hilton says. “I came down to focusing on three areas. No. 1 was, ‘What can we do from a strategic standpoint to take us to the next level?’ No. 2 was, ‘How can we create more leverage across the enterprise?’ No. 3 was talent development.”

The first thing that Hilton and Nordson performed was a rigorous review of the business.

“We have these businesses, what can they deliver over the next five years from a growth and performance standpoint?” he says. “Historically, the company grew organically at about 6 percent and historically added about 1 percentage point from M&A. We concluded that we ought to be able to take that 6 percent and make it 8 percent.

“If we continued to improve our bottom line performance, we’d have more cash to reinvest, so we should at least set a goal to add from an M&A perspective, not 1 percent, but at least 2 percent and maybe more. So how do we go from something that looks like 7 percent growth to 10 percent growth on a sustained basis?”

First, Nordson looked at ways to exploit emerging markets by improving technology and applications.

“If you think back from a strategy standpoint of how do we get more organic growth, emerging markets is a big play, using technology to create new applications, and using new technology to help our customers recapitalize are all very important,” he says. “So when I looked at what we’re spending on technology, I said, ‘Even though we’re the leader and absolutely have the best technology out there, we’re not spending enough on technology. We’re spending too much on supporting our existing products.’

“So we’re increasing the absolute amount we spend on technology and we are shifting more of our technology spend from supporting existing products to developing new.”

Another step Hilton took to drive growth was changing the strategy of how the company went about mergers and acquisitions.

“We had to add a couple of points organically,” he says. “How do we move from an opportunistic and episodic acquirer … to being a more consistent acquirer? We identified four areas of interest to us — medical devices, flexible packaging, cold materials and extending our test and inspection business. You have to use strategy to drive organic growth with technology. Use strategy to drive M&A activity in areas that make sense. We’ve made three acquisitions this year which added 4.5 to 5 percent to revenue.”

The next thing the organization focused on was what it could do across the company that would benefit each business.

“One of the assessments that I made when I traveled all around is we had done a really nice job of adopting lean technology, but it plateaued in terms of our performance results,” he says.

“Much of the company’s margin improvements from 2002 to 2007 came from the Lean initiative. We went from 12 to 13 percent operating margin to 17 percent. Last year we did 26 percent, so we’ve moved the bar quite a bit and we have more to go. We have kind of stalled out on the Lean activity.”

To drive the next wave of continuous improvement Hilton appointed a senior experienced operations employee to build a small team and give him direct reports on improvement.

“As part of that we’ve identified two things; one we’re in the middle of executing now is optimizing our global supply chain,” Hilton says. “That’s really to allow us to distribute things where the demand is and do that in the most efficient way. The second big area is around segmentation, which is understanding from a product and customer standpoint what we provide, what are our offerings, where are we making money and do we have too many products?”

The third piece of the puzzle for Hilton regarded the company’s talent. He was pleased when he traveled around the globe to see the quality of the talent Nordson had in the organization, particularly at the leader roles.

“The challenge for us, like many companies, is if you really want to grow substantially, you need to add resources and you need to do that across the globe,” he says. “To do that, we need to build up our management capability in all areas. We have good people, but just not enough to support our growth ambition.

“One of the key areas of focus is how do we enhance our overall talent development and management approach.”

When Hilton did the first review of succession planning in the organization, his direct reports went a couple of levels down and he noticed there were a lot of gaps. The company focused initially on how address that.

“We made a number of rotational moves to broaden people’s skill sets and capabilities,” he says. “Then we took a step back and said, ‘OK, for the folks that run the businesses and the functions that report to me, what kind of skill sets do we want those folks to have, both from a content or expertise standpoint and a leadership standpoint?

“Given those skill sets, what kind of positions below them would be good feeder positions that would help them develop those skill sets and capabilities and where is the key talent in the organization who could move into higher levels of leadership and management?’ We got more thoughtful in development moves and giving folks different experiences.”

Add to your strategy

Now that Hilton had spent the time understanding the business and identifying the areas where the company had the best opportunities to improve, he had to make those changes part of the company strategy.

“If you step back, these are the things that I think we need to do to help us move from that $800 million to a $2 or $3 billion company to give us 10-plus percent revenue growth and some additional leverage that gets us into teens earning growth and be a top-quartile performer,” he says.

“We had a Lean organization and one that hadn’t gone through a rigorous strategic planning approach in the past so some of the concepts were new. I brought some help in from the outside to help put some structure and discipline in and to add some resources that we didn’t really have.”

Those changes resulted in 2011 revenue of $1.2 billion. One of the keys to more organic growth was Hilton’s strong belief in leading the merger and acquisition activity in the market.

“If you can be the one out there driving the activity, you’re going to end up with a better set of deals to add to the portfolio,” he says. “If you’re driving it, you’re probably out there establishing relationships early on. It might be two, three, or four years until somebody decides they want to sell, but if you have a relationship it enhances your own knowledge of their business and therefore reduces the risk.

“It also gives you a first shot at business. The more knowledge you have, the more you understand what you’re going to do with it once you acquire it.”

For Nordson, the company looked at logical extensions of what it does today and what would fit its business model.

“We put a set of criteria together,” Hilton says. “For example, 40 to 45 percent of our business is recurring revenue through parts, services or consumables. We like that because it gives us a steady nature to our business. So when we look at things to buy, whether it has a recurring revenue component is an important area to check the box on.

“We look at whether the company is a technology leader. Is it a performance sale so that I can take advantage of my technical sales force? Is it regional, but I could take it global and use my infrastructure? We look at all those things and use a set of criteria that says this is a good deal for us.”

In June Nordson acquired two more companies, Entrusion Dies Industries and Xaloy, bringing the the total to five acquisitions in 2012. Hilton made certain these two companies fit the Nordson strategy.

Another thing Nordson is changing strategically about its M&A activity is how it manages the companies it acquires.

“Historically, we tried to buy good companies and leave them alone so we didn’t screw them up,” he says. “We like to still buy good companies but now we’re looking at what we can do to make them better, how we integrate them into the business that we have, and if it’s a new area, what else can we add to it down the road. You need to do that to deliver the performance, but also sustain the business.”

A key ingredient to sustaining the business is having top-level talent capable of keeping pace with the growth you want to see. That talent has to be intertwined with the strategy for everything to operate smoothly.

“There is no substitute for going out and spending time with your organization and making your own observations,” he says. “Talk, listen and see your folks in action. See them with a customer and then you’ll get an initial reaction, but then you have to test that with folks.”

By doing this analysis you are able to get a sense of the gaps in the organization and moving forward, it is easier to see where talent development and your strategy line up.

“If you’re doing the initial round of visits, you get a sense of what you have in the organization,” he says. “You get a sense of the skill sets and capability at a high level of one or two levels down from the folks that work directly for you so you get a sense of depth in the organization and breadth in capability. Then you weigh that up against what you’d like to do.”

The other thing Hilton did was seek out a few trusted advisors to help him while going through the talent process.

“Find one or two people that you feel pretty confident with who could be trusted advisors without any particular point of view and be objective to bounce ideas off of,” he says. “If you have that kind of open relationship, it ties into some of the other things in terms of how you gauge your own leadership.”

Most importantly, as you go through an evaluation process of your business, you have to be willing to put resources behind the things that need improvement if you truly want to create measurable results.

“Get help from outside your organization and put resources on it,” Hilton says. “It doesn’t happen without some resources on it to develop, and it doesn’t happen overnight.

“This is a really, really good company that I inherited. We’re making some positive changes. I think we can make it considerably larger and just as good in terms of the performance, if not better. I’m pretty pleased about where we’re at and about our prospects. The folks have risen to the occasion, but I don’t want to exhaust them because we have a long way to go.”

How to reach: Nordson Corp., (440) 892-1580 or

Published in Cleveland

The Smart Leaders Awards Luncheon is a recognition event honoring the brightest and most innovative corporate leaders in the local business community while bringing to light the strategies they used to attain their level of success.

The keynote speaker on July 19th will be Michael Dalby, the president and CEO of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. As growth in technology, health care, finance and retail sectors continues region-wide, Dalby will discuss how the Chamber helps organizations forge ahead.

2012 Honorees:

Bill Balderaz, President, Fathom

Tom Feeney, President & CEO, Safelite AutoGlass

Chris Irion, CEO, e-Cycle

Janet Jackson, President & CEO, United Way of Central Ohio

Rich Johnson, President & CEO, ViaQuest, Inc.

C. Bronson Jones, VP & General Manager, Banner Metals Group

Brad Kitchen, President, Alterra Real Estate Advisors

Nancy Kramer, Founder, Resource Interactive

Bob Loversidge, Jr., President & CEO, Schooley Caldwell Associates

Farah Majidzadeh, CEO/Chairperson, Resource International, Inc.

Tim Owens, Partner, Chair, Employment & Labor Law Practice Group, Lane, Alton & Horst

Rusty Ranney, President & CEO, Live Technologies LLC

Michael L. Reed, President & CEO, Application Link

Bill Schottenstein, President, Arshot Investment Corporation

Chris Shirer, President, Madison & Fifth

Published in Columbus
Saturday, 30 June 2012 20:00

Honoring the best of the best

For more than 25 years, Ernst & Young has celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit of men and women pursuing innovation and entrepreneurial excellence in their businesses, their teams and their communities.

The blood, sweat and passion they’ve poured into their businesses and the triumphs they’ve achieved stand as a testament to the role they play as visionaries, leaders and innovators. Ernst & Young founded the Entrepreneur Of The Year Program to recognize this passion for excellence and to build an influential and innovative community of peers.

We have gathered here and in 25 other cities in the U.S. to welcome the men and women who are regional finalists into our entrepreneurial Hall of Fame and to toast their commitment to succeed. We applaud them for launching their companies, opening new markets and fueling job growth.

So let’s celebrate their achievements, their perseverance and their tireless pursuit of business excellence.

Kim E. Letch is a partner and program director for Entrepreneur Of The Year, Orange County.

John Belli is the office managing partner for Ernst & Young, Orange County.

Finalists and Honorees


Mike Morhaime, Blizzard Entertainment (Winner)

Jonathan Ord, DealerSocket Inc. (Finalist)

Jim McCluney, Emulex (Finalist)

Life Sciences & Public Service

Joe Kiani, Masimo Corp. (Winner)

Charles Dunlop, Ambry Genetics (Finalist)

Dan Merkle, Lexipol LLC (Finalist)

Consumer Products

Andy Fathollahi, Incipio Technologies (Winner)

Jeff Walker, Super D (Finalist)

Bill Duehring, Felt Bicycles (Finalist)

Real Estate & Hospitality

Gary Jabara, Mobilitie LLC (Winner)

David Kim, Jerome Fink, The Bascom Group (Finalist)

Alessandro Pirozzi, Cucina Alessa (Finalist)

Business Services

John Raymont, Kurion Inc. (Winner)

Mike Manclark, Leading Edge Aviation Services (Finalist)

Heidi Golledge, CyberCoders (Finalist)

Published in Orange County
Saturday, 30 June 2012 20:00

Honoring the best of the best

For more than 25 years, Ernst & Young has celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit of men and women pursuing innovation and entrepreneurial excellence in their businesses, teams and communities.

The blood, sweat and passion they’ve poured into their businesses and the triumphs they’ve achieved stand as a testament to the role they play as visionaries, leaders and innovators. Ernst & Young founded the Entrepreneur Of The Year Program to recognize this passion for excellence and to build an influential and innovative community of peers.

We have gathered here and in 25 other cities in the U.S. to honor the men and women who are regional finalists and welcome the winners into our entrepreneurial Hall of Fame. We toast their commitment to succeed. We applaud them for launching start-up companies, opening new markets and fueling job growth.

So let’s celebrate their achievements, their perseverance and their tireless pursuit of business excellence.

Enjoy this special coverage from Smart Business featuring this year’s finalists and winners from Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Kevin E. Pickels is the Entrepreneur Of The Year Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia program director at Ernst & Young.

Finalists and Honorees

Supporter of Entrepreneurship

Richard Lunak, Innovation Works


H. Rochelle Stachel, HRV Conformance Verification Associates Inc. (Winner)

Melvin E. Clark Jr., G.W. Peoples Contracting Co. Inc. (Finalist)

Reed Mahany, RECO Equipment Inc. (Finalist)

Health Sciences

Dr. Frank Alderman, MedExpress Urgent Care (Winner)

Arnold Burchianti II, Celtic Healthcare (Finalist)

Patrick Daly, Cohera Medical Inc. (Finalist)

Doug Engfer, invivodata inc. (Finalist)

Industrial Manufacturing

Dennis Oates, Universal Stainless & Alloy Products Inc. (Winner)

James Lind, McKees Rocks Industrial Enterprises Inc. (Finalist)

David Sweet, Mecco Marking & Traceability (Finalist)


Bill Lambert, MSA – The Safety Company (Winner)

William Baker, Irwin Car and Equipment (Finalist)

Fred Potthoff, Kroff Inc. (Finalist)


Michael Robb, Center for Community Resources (Winner)

Grant Oliphant, The Pittsburgh Foundation (Finalist)


Charles Sanders, Urban Lending Solutions (Winner)

Scott Barnyak, Christy Maruca, Chris Simchick, SDLC LP (Finalist)

John Sell, Wayne W. Sell Corp. (Finalist)


Xuecang Geng, Ph.D., Blatek Inc. (Winner)

Robert Daley, Henry Thorne, 4moms (Finalist)

Jay Whitacre, Ph.D., Aquion Energy Inc. (Finalist)

Don Charlton, The Resumator (Finalist)

Published in Pittsburgh
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