Sunday, 30 September 2012 20:00

Becoming a change monster

Randy Dobbs advocates that CEOs become “change monsters,” a mythical, business beast capable of transforming even the direst business. To rejuvenate and transform a company, you can’t be intimidated by change or what may be necessary to right the ship.

As the former president and CEO of U.S. Investigations Services Inc., Philips Medical Systems North America and GE Capital, IT Solutions, Dobbs, who is now a business leadership consultant, knows what it takes to transform a company.

“My view is that transformational leadership is the key ingredient for organizational success,” Dobbs says. “Most of the businesses that I’ve run have had two very common ingredients — the first one is they are missing their financial portfolio significantly; the second one is they’ve had organizational chaos.”

As the author of “Transformational Leadership: A Blue Print for Real Organization Change,” Dobbs recently spoke at the ASLON Leadership Forum in Cleveland where he discussed advice from his book and his career for best ways CEOs can be transformational leaders.

Find your success factors

To understand how to change your business, you have to know where your success factors lie. The inverted triangle is a great tool for understanding the value of the customer and how your company serves them.

“When I go in to talk to CEOs of $100 million, $500 million or $25 million companies, the first thing I ask them is, ‘What are your success factors in your business? What are your business objectives?’” Dobbs says. “They say, ‘Well, I want to grow revenue 10 percent this year. I want EBIDTA to grow faster than my revenue. I want to get my growth’s margin up three points.’

“I look at them and say, ‘That’s not a business objective. That’s an outcome.’ Your success factors in your business are those things you want to do to drive that outcome. It could be that I want to get premium price for my product in the market. I want to grow my market share, and I want to take a share within my geography. I want to go into adjacent markets. I want to leverage my existing assets. Those are success factors.”

When you define what that success factor is, you then have to look at your strategy for accomplishing that goal.

“Even if businesses have a success factor, what I find is they don’t have strategy,” he says. “At GE, we used to have five-year plans for strategy. Jack [Welch] came in and blew that up. He said, ‘Don’t have a strategy more than 18 months.’ The world changes too much in 18 months. As every business designs and defines its success factors, it needs to have an 18- to 24-month strategy.”

If you identify your success factors and develop the right strategy, you should find gaps within your business.

“There should be a gap between where you were and the strategy it takes to get there,” he says. “If you don’t have a gap when you get through that process, then you don’t have a good plan. You’re doing something that you really haven’t defined well enough in your business solution.”

Drive change

To close this gap you have to use the sides of the inverted triangle — people and processes. Dobbs uses Southwest Airlines as an example to prove his point.

“They were trying to be the low-cost provider in air transportation and they were trying to be the fastest and the simplest,” he says. “They built a strategy that said, ‘We’ll have a spoke and a hub, we’ll use the same airlines, we’ll be very quick with maintenance, we’ll have a quick turnaround time, and we won’t assign seats.’

“With the right processes and the right people and through all this financial turmoil, they’re the only airline to remain profitable. They had good business success factors, they had a great strategy and they continue to work on processes and executing.”

Think about this relative to your business. This is where you have to be a change monster in order to truly make transformation happen.

“To close the gap you have to be a change monster, and that’s really what transformation is all about,” he says. “A good transformational leader is somebody that has overcome one failure and learned, one failure and learned and kept moving through life.”

You have to get people to a comfort level where if you’re going to transform, they believe in the leader to do the right thing.

“What really drives transformational leadership is that ability to never give up and to see where you’re going,” Dobbs says.

“And be that leader and take the organization there when everybody is standing against you and saying that it can’t be done and you have the belief that it can and you keep driving to that point and keep having that vision and keep overcoming those failures.”

Create a transformational environment

Dobbs notes that five key things are important to create a transformational leadership environment.

“No. 1 is building a culture of change,” Dobbs says. “Businesses fail for two reasons: They fail early on because they run out of cash or they fail long-term because of their inability to change. No. 2, you’ve got to improve and grow the spirit of the team or the esprit de corps.

“No. 3, you have to have very strong communications. No one wants to hear about what happened yesterday. They want to hear about where we were and where we’re going.

“No. 4 is you have to change the financial results. You can be a great speaker, you can build a great team, you can have a wonderful environment of change, but at the end of the day, the scoreboard is going to tell the real story about you and that’s how you’re going to get evaluated.

“The last thing is you’ve got to build a cadre of transformational leaders who can run that business when you’re gone.”

Building a culture of change starts with recognizing your current culture and communicating how you plan to change its structure and character.

“One of the critical things is to create a shared need,” he says. “That’s why communication is so important. Most of the people in your organization, until you explain to them why you need to change, don’t get it. When they start to get it, they’re afraid of it.

“You have to continually develop that movie in your head where this business is going. Know where you’re going to be in 18 months and start selling it every day. You have to keep selling it and selling it and selling it until, all of a sudden, people just get it.”

Driving transformation starts with people and processes on top of a vision, mission and supporting strategies. Being a change monster will help you close the gap of where you want to go.

“As a transformational leader you wear a lot of hats,” Dobbs says. “At the end of the day, your primary job as a transformational leader is to be a change agent. You are that change monster and that’s how people see you if you really want to transform.

“For me, there is no better feeling in the world for a true leader than to really try to change and see a business transform and see the people in it be successful and then see the financial results be successful.”

How to reach: Randy Dobbs, or

Published in Cleveland
Sunday, 30 September 2012 20:00

Record-setting performance

Northeast Ohio companies and employees were lacing up their cleats and getting in game shape this past summer for another year of the Cleveland Corporate Challenge coordinated by Hermes Sports & Events.

This year’s Cleveland Corporate Challenge set new participation records with 117 companies from Northeast Ohio competing in the summer’s 14 events that made up the challenge and 88 of those corporations competing in the Corporate Cup divisions, which included participation in all of the events.

Those weren’t the only records set in 2012. Additional record-setting performances included: a total of 1,462 teams, 56 corporations and 181 individuals volunteered to assist in the events, more than 50 industries were represented, an estimated 10,000 players and spectators enjoyed the challenge, 18 different venues hosted the events, and 19 different charities received donations from the challenge.

The Corporate Challenge events consisted of softball, skeeball, kickball, mini golf, dodgeball, flag football, cornhole, basketball, volleyball, bowling, tug-of-war, a 10K relay, an obstacle course and a 1-mile fun walk.

Corporate Challenge was broken up into six divisions based on participating company’s employee size. The winning companies in each division were: AXA Advisors in Division I, The Blind Pig in Division II, Majestic Steel in Division III, Titan Insurance in Division IV, Hyland Software in Division V and PNC in Division VI.

The Cleveland Corporate Challenge promotes employee wellness, teamwork and business networking among companies and their employees, while helping local charities in the community. Registration for the 2013 Cleveland Corporate Challenge will be available soon. <<

How to Reach: Hermes Sports & Events, (216) 623-9933 or

Published in Cleveland
Sunday, 30 September 2012 20:00

Exploring real-world opportunities

On Oct. 30-31, more than 700 advanced energy industry leaders will convene at the Greater Columbus Convention Center for Ohio’s first statewide Advanced Energy B2B Conference & Expo. The event, produced by NorTech and presented by Advanced Energy Economy Ohio, is the largest conference and exhibition focused on the companies, technologies and researchers driving progress in Ohio’s advanced energy industry.

The business-to-business expo is also geared toward companies interested in entering the industry, supply chain manufacturers with an interest in advanced energy opportunities, national collaborators and value chain partners interested in doing business in Ohio or with Ohio partners.

“We are at a critical point in the growth and evolution of Ohio’s advanced energy economy,” says Dave Karpinski, vice president of NorTech. “The Advanced Energy B2B Conference & Expo provides a critical platform to share ideas for developing new, innovative advanced energy technologies, network with leading industry decision-makers and capitalize on common synergies for future business opportunities.”

Advanced Energy B2B 2012 builds on the success of Advanced Energy B2B 2011, which was geographically focused in Northeast Ohio and attracted more than 450 attendees. As a result, the footprint for Advanced Energy B2B 2012 has been expanded to bring together advanced energy stakeholders from across Ohio. Developing connections that will accelerate the growth of the state’s advanced energy industry is a key priority of the event. 

“It is important advanced energy companies, researchers and investors convene to discuss opportunities and challenges in the industry, as well as solutions to foster innovation and economic growth,” said Michelle Murcia, executive director of Advanced Energy Economy Ohio. “We have assembled industry-leading experts from across Ohio and the nation to share their insight and knowledge with conference attendees as they formulate their own business strategies for the advanced energy market.”

The program, which includes a slate of state, national advanced energy experts and thought leaders, will highlight Ohio’s strengths in several major sectors of advanced energy as well as policy, business and regulatory issues that could impact the industry in Ohio. Compelling examples of success stories and best practices in several sectors or projects will also be featured.

Ohio’s shale play will be featured as part of the B2B program. Utica Shale in Ohio is believed to hold a significant amount of “wet gas,” which contains natural gas liquids that are used by makers of plastics and chemicals. Experts will explore downstream opportunities for the polymer and chemical industries as a result of the shale gas boom, the economic effects of shale gas and if it will be revolutionary or evolutionary in nature.

Energy efficiency is also another important topic that will be covered. Given Ohio’s strengths in manufacturing, the energy-efficiency industry could be a significant economic opportunity for the state. Up until now, there has been very little focus on how Ohio manufacturers will play in the energy efficiency industry and the impact it can have on the economy. Advanced Energy Economy Ohio (AEE Ohio) will share the results of a statewide energy-efficiency road map that will highlight the energy-efficiency products and services being provided by Ohio manufacturers, the specific players and areas of critical mass they represent, and priorities for the state and its regions to target for growth.

Energy policy experts will preview what is on the horizon for innovative state policy approaches, the short- and long-term scenario for federal initiatives and opportunities for the Buckeye State. Attendees will gain an understanding of the policies needed to continue to build Ohio’s advanced energy industry.

Companies that have deployed some of the most significant advanced energy projects in Ohio will share their experiences with getting advanced energy projects launched, as well the challenges, successes and the outlook for initiating similar projects in Ohio.

The conference program will be complemented with a robust exposition hall, showcasing innovative companies, researchers and technologies in Ohio. More than 120 companies and organizations are expected to exhibit. A new addition to this year’s event is the Technology Showcase, which will feature short presentations by companies and researchers who are seeking collaborators, project/demonstration resources and partnerships for funding.

An exclusive online social networking tool, called “B2B Connections,” will be used to facilitate networking among conference participants. This online tool provides attendees, exhibitors, sponsors and speakers the opportunity to connect based on matching interests, enabling them to communicate and schedule one-on-one business meetings with targeted prospective individuals and companies. Attendees are encouraged to register in advance at

Published in Cleveland
Friday, 31 August 2012 20:00

Movers and Shakers

Governor John R. Kasich announced that Western Reserve Partners LLC’s founder and managing partner, Ralph Della Ratta, has been appointed to serve as a member of the Kent State University Board of Trustees.

Della Ratta’s term began July 13, 2012, and will end May 16, 2021. Aside from his involvement with Kent State, Della Ratta is also active in numerous local and national organizations, including University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital National Leadership Council, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the 50 Club of Cleveland. He is also a board member of Olympic Steel Inc., MAI Wealth Advisors LLC and NDI Medical.

Western Reserve Partners LLC is also pleased to announce the hiring of Justin A. Wolfort as its vice president. Wolfort rejoins the firm after earning his MBA in finance from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

He has seven years of investment banking experience, focusing primarily on middle-market M&A and capital-raising transactions in the industrial and real estate sectors. Prior to joining Western Reserve in 2004, Wolfort served as an analyst in the Real Estate Investment Banking & Public Equity Finance groups at McDonald Investments Inc. and KeyBanc Capital Markets. While at Kelley, he interned in the Corporate Strategy Group at Cummins Inc.

Capital Advisors Ltd. announces that the Cleveland Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals’ (SFSP) has selected Neil R. Waxman, CFP, as its Financial Service Professional of the Year. The SFSP, founded in 1928, has more than 15,000 members nationally and is the pre-eminent, multidisciplinary organization for professionals who practice in the broad spectrum of wealth management.

The honoree for the Financial Service Professional of the Year Award must have practiced for 15 years and consistently exhibited core values such as support and commitment to professional advancement via continuing education, support of ethical awareness, development of collaborative relationships with colleagues, which enhance client service, and progressive practice management strategies.

Waxman is a managing director of Capital Advisors Ltd., a wealth management firm that provides wealth management services via the establishment and integration of investment, tax, estate, retirement and business succession planning.

Glenmede, a privately held and independent investment and wealth management firm, announced that Lawrence H. Hatch has been hired to serve as director of the firm’s Cleveland office. In this role, Hatch will oversee wealth advisory services for high-net-worth individuals and manage the day-to-day operations of the Ohio office. With 26 years of trust and estate industry experience, Hatch will lead a team of 20 individuals and supervise the office’s 184 relationships. The office’s former director, Frank I. Harding, will assume a senior advisory role, allowing him to focus solely on clients.

Prior to joining Glenmede, Hatch served as president, secretary and chief fiduciary officer of The Private Trust Co.

The Society for Vascular Surgery presented its prestigious Medal for Innovation in Vascular Surgery to Roy Greenberg, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic during the June 6-8, 2012 Vascular Annual Meeting held at National Harbor, Maryland.

Dr. Greenberg is the director of endovascular research and the Cleveland Clinic Peripheral Vascular Core Laboratory. He holds more than 50 patents developing endovascular devices for aortic disease especially within the field of complex endograft repair.

Candidates for the SVS Medal for Innovation in Vascular Surgery must be individuals whose contribution has had a transforming impact on the practice or science of vascular surgery.

Bravo Wellness, an industry leader in results-based wellness incentive programs, announces the appointment of Michael O’Donnell to its newly formed advisory board. A noted authority in health promotion throughout the last three decades, O’Donnell brings critical knowledge and guidance in developing and managing health promotion programs based on integrating scientific findings with the dynamic realities of workplace and community environments.

O’Donnell has developed and managed health promotion programs for more than 50 workplace settings in addition to a broad range of clinical, community, government, foundation and insurance settings. He presents internationally on the health and financial impact of health promotion, integrating active living strategies into everyday life, strategic design of workplace health promotion programs, and integrating health promotion into national health policy. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Health Promotion, a peer reviewed research journal with subscribers in more than 40 countries, which focuses on the science of lifestyle change.

Published in Cleveland
Friday, 31 August 2012 20:00

Cleveland Deals Page

Strategic buyers continue to be very active in the market, purchasing companies at very high values. Private-equity groups are having a difficult time competing with corporate buyers who maintain a bevy of cash on balance sheets.

As noted by the chart, private-equity groups appeared to be buyers on only four of the 23 disclosed transactions in the Northeast Ohio area. Private-equity firms will soon need to start buying more companies considering fundraising dollars are up almost 30 percent in the first seven months of 2012 when compared to 2011. Also, deal closings from PE firms are significantly lower in the first seven months of 2012 compared to 2011, according to Pitchbook.

In order to compete, these firms have continued to pursue add-on acquisitions rather than platform acquisitions as synergies allow for high purchase price multiples. The average deal size in the first seven months of 2012 is more than 30 percent higher than the corresponding periods in 2010 and 2011. The deal volume for the first seven months in 2012, however, has dropped by 11 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2011 and is relatively flat compared to 2010.

In July, Northeast Ohio’s typical M&A players showcased their buying power, all through international acquisitions. This includes Parker Hannifin Corp., Lubrizol Corp. and Eaton Corp.

Parker acquired three overseas companies. The first, the Olaer Group, which is headquartered in the United Kingdom, closed on July 2. Olaer has sales of about $200 million and employs 550 people with manufacturing and sales offices in 14 countries.

“Olaer has built a strong position in Europe and a growing presence in Asia,” says Jeff Cullman, president of Parker’s hydraulic group, “which targets growth markets such as oil and gas, power generation and renewable energy.”

The second Parker acquisition is a hydraulic division of PIX Transmissions Ltd. in Nagpur, India. The 470-employee unit will help strengthen Parker’s footprint in India.  Finally, Parker acquired Kittiwake Developments Ltd. in the United Kingdom, a manufacturer of condition monitoring technology with $20 million in sales.

Also in the region, Steris Corp. and Chart Industries Inc. announced the acquisitions of US Endoscopy Inc. and AirSep Corp., respectively. Finally, Universal Rubber & Polymer Ltd. in Middlefield purchased Dybrook Products Inc., expanding its custom rubber product manufacturing operation and customer base.

ALBERT D. MELCHIORRE is the president of MelCap Partners LLC, a middle-market investment banking firm. He is also a director on the ACG Cleveland board. For more information on MelCap Partners, please visit For more information about the Association for Corporate Growth, please visit

Deal of the Month

The deal of the month is awarded to Eaton Corp. for its acquisition of substantially all of the shares of Jeil Hydraulics Co. Ltd, in Busan, South Korea. The transaction was announced April 20. Jeil Hydraulics is a manufacturer of track drive motors, swing drive motors, main control valves and remote control valves for the construction equipment market.

“The acquisition of Jeil Hydraulics provides Eaton with a well-established portfolio of hydraulic components for the construction equipment market in Asia,” says William R. VanArsdale, president of Eaton’s Hydraulics Group.

The company had 2011 sales of about $189 million. Eaton is a diversified power management company with 2011 sales of $16 billion employing 72,000 employees.  Also, Eaton’s announcement to acquire Cooper Industries plc for $11.8 billion in May has passed the antitrust review process. The transaction still remains subject to approval by shareholders of both Eaton and Cooper.

Published in Cleveland
Sunday, 30 September 2012 20:28

Succession shopping

Lisë Stewart founded Galliard Group to support family-owned businesses in the many decisions that can make or break the future of a company. One significant area of decision-making for family-owned businesses is succession planning.

When considering how to handle the future of the company, many family-owned businesses don’t realize the number of options that are available. From transitioning to the next generation in the family, to bringing in a leader from the outside or deciding to sell the business, the decisions are very personal and require careful thought and planning.

That is where Stewart, founder of Galliard Group, lends a helping hand. Galliard Group provides consulting, training and support materials for family-owned businesses. Conversations in the succession planning process can be difficult, as most experienced family-owned business members will report. The process is challenging on several different levels.

“Owners who are currently running the business often really enjoy what it is they are doing and don’t necessarily want to leave, but they feel like they need to make room for the next generation of ownership,” Stewart says. “Others really want to get out of the business because they’re tired and they’ve been doing this a long time, but they realize they’ve never groomed a successor and they don’t know what to do with the business.

“Sometimes they think that their children may want to take it over, but they’re concerned that their children don’t really have the skills, background, or maybe the passion to do a great job. How do you tell your children that? So it’s a very difficult situation.”

These businesses need to understand their options. The sooner the business members start the planning process, the better.

“We try to convince our business owners to develop their exit strategy right when they start the business,” Stewart says. “Think about what the future needs to be and what your plans are. A lot of people don’t realize that it could take five years or more to really develop and implement a successful succession plan.

“The other thing I think is important to note is that succession is not just about finding one person to take over and run your business. A succession plan is a plan to continue the long-term viability and success of the business. That often means that you need far more than one person to take over — you need a strong leadership team.”

More often than not, family-owned businesses will have to look outside the family to get the right kind of talent to help grow the company.

“We really encourage family-owned businesses to place people into jobs based on their talent and skill, not on their blood line,” Stewart says. “You have to look at the job and what needs to be done to this company to meet a strategic goal. Get people into jobs that have the talent or the ability to learn skills that are key to that job being effective. Base your organizational development on key competencies as opposed to relationships.”

Family businesses often struggle to weigh the needs of the business with the needs of the family. It is important to be honest in discussions about the future, especially for families that do not plan to pass leadership to the next generation.

“We have a saying at Galliard Group, which is, ‘Deal with the emotional issues before emotions become the issue,’” she says. “If you believe your son or daughter or the next generation of potential owners don’t really have the skills … have a really honest conversation around what sort of skills you need in order to bring this strategic plan to life and if you don’t have it, what are the options.”

Depending on the needs and desires of the business owner(s), there are several paths to take.

“One might be that you form an advisory board of people who have knowledge necessary to help grow the company and they can serve as mentors and coaches for the next generation,” Stewart says. “The second thing you can do is bring in an interim leader. They come in in a leadership role, but they are hired with the knowledge that they’ve got to be able to coach the next generation of ownership. There really are quite a lot of options that family owners can generate if they are not sure that the right leader is in the family.”

How to reach: Galliard Group, (320) 762-1371 or

Published in Akron/Canton

The Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center continues to take shape, and it is already enhancing the region’s economy.

The 36-month, $465 million construction venture currently employs nearly 600 tradespeople on site, 20 percent of whom are Cleveland residents and 51 percent Cuyahoga County residents.

“We’re working for Cuyahoga County,” says Dave Johnson, director of PR for Cleveland MMCC. “This is a public project. Not only is it one of the largest construction projects in North America right now, but it’s certainly one of the largest public construction projects taking place in North America.”

The project has also engaged area small businesses in contract work, with a project high of 35 percent being completed by Cuyahoga County small business enterprises.

“In relation to our goal of 25 percent, we’ve been able to exceed that county goal throughout the project,” says Project Executive Marty Burgwinkle of Turner Construction Co.

In addition to using local tradespeople and businesses to boost the region, Turner strives to streamline operations to avoid wasted labor. The company utilizes Building Information Management (BIM), which generates and manages a digital model of the project for use in construction planning and management.

Executives from Turner gave Smart Business an exclusive video interview to discuss how BIM has been used throughout all stages of the construction of the Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center:

Watch: “Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center: Building Information Management streamlines operations”

The entire construction project is 66 percent complete, and is on time and on budget to be completed by the original contractual date of Aug. 31, 2013, says Burgwinkle.

Permanent power was installed in the Convention Center in late May, with the entire facility on track to have permanent power by the end of the summer. July saw the topping out of the last structural steel beam for the Convention Center, as well as the last piece of precast for the Medical Mart.

To see the project’s progress for yourself, check out the Cleveland MMCC live webcam.

How to reach: The Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center,

Turner Construction Co. – Cleveland,

Published in Akron/Canton
Tuesday, 31 July 2012 20:41

Northeast Ohio Movers and Shakers

Bober Markey Fedorovich, a regional accounting and business advisory firm with offices in Akron and Cleveland, has expanded once again with a new IT/IS director and nine new associates.

Nancy Landry has joined BMF as the firm’s new director of information systems and technology. Landry has more than 17 years of experience in IT/IS and network administration, previously working for large national and regional public accounting and IT consulting firms.

Hitchcock Fleming & Associates Inc. (hfa), a full-service marketing and communications firm, has been named as one of the Top Workplaces 2012 Northeast Ohio by The Cleveland Plain Dealer. 

Winners were chosen based on employee survey responses about employee workplace satisfaction to distinguish companies that possess an outstanding culture and promote a positive work environment. Survey categories included job satisfaction, confidence in the future of their company, trust in co-workers, management effectiveness, company culture, and compensation and benefits.

“We have fantastic associates, and it’s truly an honor to be recognized by all of them,” said Jack DeLeo, chairman and CEO of hfa. “At hfa, we are a family and take pride in the work ethic, quality and leadership of our associates.”

Paytime Integrated Payroll Solutions, an integrated payroll, human resources and business solutions company has announced that Mary Ann Shamis, CFO, has been honored with a 2012 Women of Note distinction from Crain’s Cleveland Business.

Shamis was recognized at a July 25 event for demonstrating exceptional business

knowledge, her leadership in helping to build one of Northeast Ohio’s top companies and the positive impact she’s had in the region.

Shamis is one of the original founders of Paytime and has more than 30 years of experience in payroll and business management.

Medical Mutual has announced Danielle Werner has been appointed to manager, Interactive eSolutions. Werner will be responsible for the technical oversight of, the implementation of direct-to-consumer strategy, provider portal and the creation and execution of the company’s enterprise mobile strategy.

She has a proven record of achievement developing and executing comprehensive, customer-focused eCommerce strategies. Werner’s previous eCommerce experience with Lowe’s and Ally Financial Services will help bring fresh ideas and innovation to Medical Mutual while improving upon how the company engages customers electronically.

Medical Mutual also announced that Tom Dewey has joined the company as director of Financial Analysis and Cost & Budget.

Dewey will be responsible for reviewing the financial analysis for significant expenditures, coordinating the annual corporate administrative expense budget, directing cost accounting activities and overseeing the Life Group accounting and analysis.

With 13 years of experience in various accounting and assurance roles at Ernst & Young, his most recent experience was as Senior Manager in its Cincinnati office. Dewey’s clients included insurance companies, banks, manufacturers and private equity firms. He also worked on independent audits of Medical Mutual and its subsidiaries.

Moen Inc. has announced the promotion of Ji Kim to director of global design. In her new role, Kim will be responsible for providing design leadership and vision for the Global Design Team at Moen. She will set and drive strategy for product design in several countries for categories including faucets, showerheads, accessories and bath safety items. Kim will also ensure that her team follows Moen’s exceptional history of designing products that offer thoughtful designs and are on-trend but never trendy, all while aiding to the sustainment of Moen’s position as the No. 1 faucet brand in North America.

Prior to her new position, Kim served as the industrial design manager at Moen. In this role, she served as a strategic partner to the U.S. Retail Business Group, leading industrial design efforts for customers including The Home Depot, Lowe’s and Menards, among others.

Published in Cleveland

Manufacturing companies in Northeast Ohio directed their attention overseas in June and collectively acquired a number of international firms. 

Eaton Corp., Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and RPM International Inc., all acquired companies that are based outside of the United States. Acquisitions made by Nordson Corp. and The Sherwin-Williams Co. in June also had an international flavor even though the companies are based in the U.S.  

The perfunctory trend of placing cash in conservative cash funds or bonds has not been a quality option for most CFOs as yields are historically low. Many companies are seeking opportunities to invest the surplus cash on their corporate balance sheets in acquisitions geared to bring long-term results.

Manufacturers see the continued growth in emerging markets and the need for an expansive global supply chain as reasons to use cash for international acquisitions. 

Eaton’s purchase of Gycom’s electrical low-voltage power distribution, control and automation business in the countries of Sweden, Denmark and Finland will give Eaton a larger presence in the Nordic region.

Eaton will also expand globally through the purchase of Polimer Kaucuk Sanayi Ve Pazarlama A.S., a Turkish hose manufacturer that employs 2,100 people and posted sales of approximately $335 million in 2011.

Goodyear purchased the remaining shares from a joint venture of Nippon Giant Tire, a subsidiary of Goodyear in Tatsuno, Japan. NGT manufactures Off-The-Road tires sold globally in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in Australia, and Goodyear plans to invest $250 million to upgrade the company’s facilities and expand further in the region.

RPM International, through its Euclid Chemical Group, acquired Brazilian building and construction products manufacturer Viapol Ltda. RPM hopes to leverage Viapol’s existing customer base for additional growth opportunities in the Brazilian market.  Viapol has annual sales of $85 million and employs more than 300 people.

ALBERT D. MELCHIORRE is the president of MelCap Partners LLC, a middle-market investment banking firm. He is also a director on the ACG Cleveland board. For more information on MelCap Partners, please visit For more information about the Association for Corporate Growth, please visit

Deal of the Month

The deal of the month is awarded to Nordson Corp. for its two closed transactions in June. Nordson engineers, manufactures and markets differentiated products and systems used for dispensing adhesives, coatings, sealants, biomaterials and other materials. The company also does fluid management, test and inspection, as well as UV curing and plasma surface treatments.

Nordson completed the acquisition of Wisconsin-based EDI Holdings Inc. EDI provides slot coating and flat-polymer extrusion dies for plastic processors and web converters. 

The second deal involved the acquisition of Pennsylvanian-based Xaloy Superior Holdings Inc. Xaloy manufactures melt-delivery components for injection and extrusion machinery in plastics processing. Both transactions are expected to expand Nordson’s global reach, which currently extends to over 30 countries.

Published in Cleveland
Tuesday, 31 July 2012 20:00

Planning for the future

This past March, the Cleveland Greater Partnership held its annual meeting to discuss issues the economic development organization has been working on the past year as well as new initiatives it is looking to support in the city. Among the issues discussed, the biggest focal points were United Airlines’ hub at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and plans for developing Cleveland’s lakefront.

“Today, we see great things happening all around us,” says Christopher Connor, GCP chairman and chairman and CEO of The Sherwin Williams Co. “There is an absolute palpable energy and momentum in our region and I’m absolutely convinced that we are standing on the cusp of great decades to come. But it’s going to take a lot of hard work. This work requires much heavy lifting, but the rewards can best be described as transformational and truly game-changing.”

One of the most important issues expressed by GCP members and others in the community has been protecting Cleveland’s United hub at Hopkins International Airport. As one of about 20 cities in the country with hub service, Cleveland offers more than 70 nonstop destinations, nearly 250 daily departures and access to single-stop international travel.

“The airport and the hub provide more than $4 billion of economic activity to our region on an annual basis,” says former GCP Chairman William Christopher. “The hub is absolutely critical to retaining, growing, and attracting businesses to the region, but the dynamics of industry consolidation and profitability across the industry have put and continue to put pressure on the hub.”

Maintaining a hub in the region is at the top of GCP’s priority list. As a result, a task force has been created to work with the mayor and Director Ricky Smith to make sure the hub doesn’t leave Cleveland.

“The task force has … five major objectives: the first being to increase the size of the pod — the more people who travel out of Cleveland the more opportunity to have traffic for United,” Christopher says. “The second one is to make sure that United has profit. No. 3 is improving the cost effectiveness of the Cleveland hub. No. 4 is to provide advocacy on support of key United and Cleveland hub issues. No. 5 is to continue promoting our hub in other key swing markets.”

Since the task force was started, Jeff Smisek, president and CEO of United Continental Holdings Inc., has visited Cleveland three times to see what progress has been made.

“If I contrast how Jeff’s engagement with us was at that first meeting … to how he was at this last meeting, which was in October of this last year, the change has been dramatic,” he says. “We sold Jeff on the fact that we understand this, are willing to fight for it, and have strong fundamentals that are going to influence the size of the market here and their opportunity and ability to make money. Principally, that’s been around $9 billion of investment that’s going into the community. To be able to get Jeff to sit down with us for an hour now three times almost every six months tells you that he’s absolutely interested in making this a success.”

During this year’s meeting, William Christopher passed the chairman duties onto incoming chairman, Christopher Connor, who discussed one of the biggest game-changers the GCP is looking to support — further development of Cleveland’s lakefront.

“For years Cleveland has been shaped by the city’s location along the shores of Lake Erie, from our very first settlers to investments that are under way today,” Connor says. “Despite the historical utilization of this great natural aspect, we still have a disconnect, both physically and psychologically between our city and our waterfront, particularly along the downtown shoreline.”

The city’s latest plan utilizes about 90 acres between the west side of Cleveland Browns Stadium and the western end of Burke Lakefront Airport for potential development. The proposal places offices, residential, retail, dining and an entertainment component in order to enhance existing investments in the Rock Hall, the Science Center and the stadium.

“To address the connectivity issues that we have between the waterfront and downtown, the Group Planning Commission has advanced a plan that provides accessibility through the construction of an iconic pedestrian bridge connecting our mall to the harbor and enhancements to East Ninth Street from the northern edge of downtown to Voinovich Park and the provision of additional parking,” he says. “The Greater Cleveland Partnership will play our role both along Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River. As part of our strategic planning process in 2011, waterfront development was identified as one of GCP’s priority initiatives by our board of directors.”

How to reach: The Greater Cleveland Partnership, (216) 621-3300 or

Published in Cleveland