Wednesday, 31 August 2011 20:01

A successful change

Albert Green completely transformed the focus and culture of Kent Displays Inc.

when he became CEO in 2007. His vision of how to evolve the company has allowed the company to grow in size and achieve financial success as a leader in display technologies.

When Green first joined Kent Displays, the company was struggling to market its trademark Reflex liquid crystal display technology. To aid the company’s transition from a research and development focus to a production focus, Green led the installation of the world’s first roll-to-roll line for manufacturing plastic LCDs just one year after taking his position. The design is not only unique but more environmentally friendly than other LCD manufacturing processes, producing no waste or chemicals and significantly fewer solvent emissions.

The roll-to-roll production line has since enabled Kent Displays to manufacture plastic Reflex LCDs for three high-growth markets: e-cards and smartcards, electronic skins and electronic writing tablets. In 2010, a consumer product subsidiary of Kent Displays, Improv Electronics, launched the Boogie Board LCD Writing Tablet using Reflex technology, resulting in global sales that exceeded the company’s forecast. The company has since continued to expand its product line.

Green also initiated significant reorganization within the company to propel it to success, expanding facilities, making new hires and creating an internship program. He emphasized employees as the company’s most important asset and changed the staff culture to reflect his product-driven approach, implementing a flexible business model to encourage creativity and give employees the opportunity to achieve personal growth objectives.

Green’s transformation of Kent Displays Inc. has grown the company into a world leader in the research, development and manufacturing of liquid crystal displays. His leadership has allowed the company to overcome business challenges and achieve success, making his vision a reality.

How to reach: Kent Displays Inc., (330) 673-8784 or

Tuesday, 31 May 2011 20:01


How does your organization make customer service a competitive advantage and price less relevant?

Our customers care about far more than price as they are focused on the value we bring them through our provision of exceptional, personalized customer service while focusing on their health at times when they need us to care the most. We provide them access to the best care possible through our broad network of providers and educate them on what their options are so they can be in control of their health care decisions.

How have you created a culture of customer service in your organization?

A culture of service and quality permeates our organization. Our president speaks at every new employee orientation, emphasizing the importance of service and employees’ contribution to our success. We focus on the ‘moments of truth,’ which are those interactions between a customer and a product, service or employee that results in the customer forming or changing an impression about our company. In addition, every employee is trained in M.A.G.I.C., which stands for ‘Make a Great Impression on the Customer.’ M.A.G.I.C. is a philosophy and training tool. It creates a culture of service and provides a positive and memorable customer experience. We have also embraced the lean methodology to improve efficiency and eliminate waste in an effort to better serve our customers.

In addition, SummaCare has really differentiated itself through its focus not only on service but also on the quality of service and overall customer experience. We have adopted customer experience characteristics that are applied to our day-to-day operations and interactions with our customers. These characteristics are the adjectives used to define the ‘optimal customer experience,’ such as hassle-free, timely, accurate, consistent, personalized, etc. Furthermore, the Service Quality Committee, a multidisciplinary corporate committee, drives the service culture throughout the company. Each area within SummaCare is accountable to measurable service indicators and process improvements to facilitate excellent customer service.

How do you go above and beyond?

SummaCare utilizes an empowerment program that provides service departments with discretionary authority to resolve customer issues and create the ‘wow factor.’ Service representatives are empowered to use skills and strengths to satisfy the customer. As a result of empowering service representatives, we have gained customer loyalty, customer referrals, increased employee morale and more efficient work processes as we strive to not only provide excellent service to our customers, but also to build lasting relationships.

How to reach: SummaCare,

Tuesday, 31 May 2011 20:01

Grant Thornton

What is your organization’s philosophy of customer service?

For more than 85 years, Grant Thornton’s service philosophy has been providing personalized attention and delivering the highest quality service through hands-on involvement by our partners and managers to our public and private clients in more than 100 countries.  Grant Thornton has a reputation for integrity, objectivity, and professional excellence which is built on solid relationships with our clients.

How does your organization make customer service a competitive advantage and price less relevant?

To deliver a distinctive level of client service, we provide a relentless focus on personalized attention, responsiveness and accessibility. We feel our approach to serving clients is a distinguishing factor in building relationships.

We have built our client service priorities around a five-point model which we refer to as The Grant Thornton Experience. This model ensures easy access to us and our resources, with an emphasis on value for fees, quality and the highest level of personal attention.  These five points include: (1) Understanding and meeting their expectations through regularly planned discussions (2) Delivering quality service; (3) Providing valuable ideas and recommendations; (4) Demonstrating a personalized focus on them; and, (5) Showing a passion for what we do.

How have you created a culture of customer service in your organization?

While we strive to deliver the Grant Thornton Experience for our clients, we also implement the Grant Thornton Experience for our employees through continuous programs such as extensive training, incentive compensation, mentoring, coaching, and a focus on work/life balance.

The training covers industry, business and accounting issues, and courses to promote professional development, elevate leadership skills and customer service through specific techniques and objectives.

How do you go above and beyond?

As part of the relationship with Grant Thornton, our clients are asked about their experiences. The Service Quality Measurement process, led by an independent, third-party, assesses our clients’ satisfaction and loyalty. We annually send a brief survey to our clients, asking key contacts to evaluate our performance and their overall service experience. This feedback enables us to: Tailor future service delivery to their preferences and priorities; increase efficiency and value; understand what we are doing well and how to improve; resolve any issues; and strengthen our relationships within their organization.

Grant Thornton’s overall client satisfaction rating in this program consistently exceeds 8.5 (0?10 scale) – the benchmark for world-class service. While ratings are important as an objective metric, developing open, trusted relationships is what matters most to us.

How to reach: Grant Thornton,

Thursday, 31 March 2011 20:01

About our sponsors

Cleveland Clinic

Women’s health is an important focus to Cleveland Clinic. As one of the largest and most respected hospitals in the nation, Cleveland Clinic and its regional hospitals, Fairview and Lakewood hospitals, provide first-rate women’s health services in obstetrics, gynecology, and breast and heart health. Pushing preventive care into the communities you live in, each west side regional hospital also offers a Women’s Preventive Heart Clinic that promotes screenings and personalized cardiac heart plans. Fairview Hospital also offers the newly accredited Breast Health Center, which provides state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic services during breast cancer treatments. At Cleveland Clinic, world-class medical care combined with customized wellness programs and preventive health initiatives offer personalized options to enhance a woman’s health and well-being.

For more information on our services, visit, or or call (216) 444-4HER to speak directly to a Cleveland Clinic registered nurse for personal answers to your women’s health questions.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Helping you be a healthy influence.

A leader changes with the times. But, she is also a leader in change. When it comes to your health, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield can help you lead by example. We offer tools that can help you make healthy choices, so you can be a positive influence on your family and your business.

  • See how your health choices influence others. Go to and click on “Calculate your Health Footprint.” You’ll see how your healthy habits are influencing those around you.
  • Reach your health goals. Find support and inspiration to make healthy lifestyle choices and manage your health care needs with our 360? Health programs.
  • Find the right care for you. Choose from a large network of doctors, hospitals and specialists. With so many choices, it’s easier to find the care you need, when you need it.

To learn about our plans and programs, call us at (800) 551-3119 or go to

Hughie’s Audio Visual

Hughie’s Audio-Visual & Computer is Cleveland’s local, live-event design and production resource offering audio, video, lighting, rigging, staging and roof systems for any type of event. Additionally, we also offer computers, event registration, event production and video production making us a one-stop shop for all your production needs. Most importantly, with all of our resources, years of industry knowledge and cutting-edge technology, you can rely on our team working with yours to ensure many successful events. Reach Hughie’s at (216) 361-4600 or


Sammy’s is all about food. Sammy’s is a team of professionals passionate about what we and our customers eat every day. Whether you are planning your wedding, a cocktail and hors d’oeuvre reception, a summer golf outing, or an all-day meeting, Sammy’s believes the food should be flavorful, colorful and beautiful to the eye. In more than 20 years of business, Sammy’s has developed and perfected thousands of menu items. Sammy’s special event coordinators are responsible for servicing customers’ special event needs for a lifetime. By answering customers’ questions effectively and efficiently — providing thorough information and walking through the details of the event — we help turn customer event dreams into reality. For more information, visit or contact Sammy’s at (800) 837-5899 or

Severance Hall

Severance Hall is home to the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra. Hailed as one of the world’s most beautiful concert halls for more than half a century, Severance Hall underwent a two-year, $36 million restoration and expansion. While it was originally built as one of the world’s finest performance spaces, Severance Hall is also known as a unique meeting and event facility. From the gilded splendor of its Grand Foyer and Main Concert Hall to the intimate atmosphere of its Taplin-FirstEnergy Suite and Reinberger Chamber Hall, the fine details of meetings, conferences, galas and events are enhanced by Severance Hall’s impeccable service and attention to detail. For more information, visit, or contact Severance Hall at (216) 231-7421 or

All Things Eventful

All Things Eventful, a Bountiful Baskets Inc. company, is the premier source for creative solutions to your special event and gift-giving needs. In 1999, Bountiful Baskets began designing custom-filled baskets and expanded in 2003 to offer special event design and theme decor, as well as promotional products and keepsakes — then, accordingly, it updated its trade name and corporate branding over the past year. Whether your company needs décor help for an open house or recognition dinner, giveaways for tradeshows or apparel for employees, or gifts for clients or referral sources, you can count on the integrity, expertise and value of All Things Eventful. For more information, call (216) 551-3358 or visit

Tuesday, 01 November 2005 11:10

The Oaks file

Born: Cincinnati

Education: University of Dayton, degree in finance

First job: Salesperson for the Castellini Co., buying and selling produce

What is greatest business lesson you've learned?
Stick with what you're best at and focus on that. To give you an example, four years ago, we decided to start an actual trucking company, and that ended up being the worst nine months of my life.

In the process, we lost focus on our freight-brokerage business, which is what we do best. We ended up spending so much time on the trucking thing trying to make it work, and we never should have done it.

I don't even know how to change the oil in my car, much less tell a driver how to maintain his equipment. We should have just stuck with what we do best.

What is the greatest business challenge you've faced?
Right now, our biggest challenge is finding great employees. We're able to do it, but we're never satisfied. We always want to raise the bar for hiring employees.

That's the greatest challenge, and we're getting better and better at it. We're hiring higher-quality people every year -- it's actually been pretty cool to look back on.

Whom do you admire most in business and why?
I'd say my dad. He instilled a really good work ethic [in me]. He taught me to be consistent, honest, always conduct myself with the highest level of integrity.

He always taught me never to put myself in front, as far as the employees are concerned -- the employees and customers come first.

Tuesday, 01 November 2005 06:13

Movers & Shakers

Ashland Inc.’s board of directors elected R. Kirk Randolph vice president of Ashland Inc., and president of Ashland Paving And Construction Inc. (APAC). Randolph reports directly to James J. O’Brien, Ashland chairman and CEO.

“Kirk is a seasoned construction industry executive and a strong leader,” says O’Brien. “Kirk brings a distinguished history of success within APAC to this position. His depth of knowledge of APAC, coupled with his list of accomplishments, will assure continued strong leadership for our paving and transportation construction business.”

Randolph was most recently vice president of APAC’s Major Projects Group and brings a 26-year history with APAC to the top position. Upon graduation from the University of Missouri at Rolla with a degree in civil engineering, Randolph joined APAC as an engineer.

He has held the positions of estimator, division vice president, division president and regional vice president. In his most recent position as head of the Major Projects Group, he managed large-scale transportation construction and design-build projects integral to APAC’s growth strategy.

Randolph succeeds Garry M. Higdem.

Fifth Third Bank appointed Raymond J. Webb president and CEO of Fifth Third’s Western Ohio affiliate. Dan Sadlier recently retired from that position.

Webb began his career at Fifth Third following the acquisition of Old Kent Bank in 2001, where he served as senior vice president of retail administration. He was appointed president of the Ohio Valley affiliate in 2002. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and received his MBA from Western Michigan University.

PM Co. appointed Mike Webster CEO. Webster has served as president for the past year and directed the company’s operating, strategic and profitability improvement initiatives since 2003.

He succeeds Deirdre O’Neill.

Previously, Webster was president of three privately held manufacturing companies.

The Millennium Hotel, Cincinnati named Clyde Jeffries director of sales and marketing. He was previously director of corporate, group and transient sales.

Jeffries joined the Millennium Hotel in 2001 and was responsible for sales at both the Millennium and Four Points properties. Prior to that, he served as business travel sales manager at the Omni Netherland Plaza Hotel. He also was a sales account manager for the Garfield Suites Hotel.

Jeffries is certified through the Certified Corporate Travel Executive Program, the only professional certification program in the business travel industry. He also holds certification for the Global Leadership Program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The Millennium Hotel also hired Carlos Fernandez as executive chef.

Prior to joining Millennium, Fernandez was executive chef at the Magnolias of Richmond Restaurant. Prior to that, he was executive chef at the AAA Four Diamond-rated Marriott’s Lincolnshire Resort and Theater. He also was assistant executive chef at Bally’s Paris Hotel in Las Vegas.

Fernandez is the recipient of the Best of the Best Award, the Culinary Excellence Silver Medal from the Chicago Chefs of Cuisine Association, The Mobil Star Award and the Marriott Service Award.

Powers Agency hired Margaret Shinn as media coordinator. She assists clients with the preparation of media placement services for the integrated marketing communications firm.

Previously, Shinn worked for an advertising firm, where she calculated media value for print and television clips, as well as aided in the distribution of nationwide news releases.

Powers Agency also hired Courtney Skinner as an account coordinator. She helps serve clients in a variety of marketing and communications fields.

Skinner recently graduated from Bowling Green University. Prior to joining the firm, she worked as a math and reading tutor and an intercultural liaison for students new to the United States, and volunteered assisting students who are physically handicapped.

National City named Shelly Korengel district sales executive of expansion branches in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Korengel is responsible for the leadership and development of all consumer and small business banking in newly built branches in the area.

Korengel has been with National City for 16 years, most recently serving as district sales executive for the Northern Cincinnati area.

National City also named Rick Rokosz market executive of Small Business Banking in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

Rokosz is responsible for meeting the needs of small business customers, leading National City’s team of small business relationship managers and growing the business-banking portfolio in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Rokosz has 18 years of experience in financial services.

Tuesday, 01 November 2005 05:38

15 minutes with Marc Miller

Twinsburg-based Sogistics Corp.’s founder and CEO Marc Miller recently talked to Smart Business about his controversial book, “Selling is Dead,” co-written with Jason Sinkovitz.

Why is it time for selling to die?
There are about 20 million salespeople in the U.S., and in our estimate, seven years from now, there might be 14 million. There are a lot of commodities in the market, and buyers are learning they don’t need salespeople anymore. (For example,) they can buy through the Internet.

The old ways of selling are quickly going by the wayside. There’s a huge upside for salespeople who choose to be businesspeople who sell. They’re going to make more money because they’re going to be adding more value to their company and the organizations on which they call.

What can CEOs learn from your book?
Effective opportunity management is critical. Organizations often lack a common discipline about how they’re going to manage opportunities. They need to become more disciplined and structured because otherwise, everything’s loose and fragmented, and they have a bunch of cowboys out there doing their own thing.

In early September, your book was only two spots behind the newest ‘Harry Potter’ book in local bookstore hardcover sales. How did that make you feel?
Oh, just terrible (laughs). The first week, we were actually tied for No. 7 with ‘Confessions of a Video Vixen;’ that kind of made me feel interesting.

The book’s only been out six weeks, and we’re happy with the traction it’s getting on a regional basis. There is an important message in there, and we’re pretty passionate about that. It probably will feel a lot better when it gets more national traction, like the Wall Street Journal bestseller list, but certainly we’re very pleased.

Any plans for more books?
We’re working on the next one. We’ve got a few interesting questions we’re working on and trying to formulate. We love talking to successful local companies who do large sales, especially ones that have to go out and sell new applications, and we’re looking for case studies.

For more information, visit

Tuesday, 01 November 2005 05:15

Database marketing

If you have a database of customers, you can probably use it to increase your sales. All it takes is a little planning and a little cleaning up.

“The Cavs took the right approach,” says Gary Seitz, executive vice president of Strongsville-based C.TRAC information solutions. “They started with their existing database and started doing some hygiene on it. Everyone has a database of names and addresses, but you have to clean it up first to meet postal standards. You have to identify who has moved and where everyone is located so you can reach them with your message the first time. Once you have a clean database and have eliminated duplicates, you can start doing profiles.”

Information from multiple sources is combined to give you a more complete picture of each customer. With that in hand, you can figure out what type of person or customer is most likely to buy your product or service.

“It gives you a better handle on who your customers are and allows you to niche market to specific groups,” says Seitz.

By using the right information collection techniques and some database management, you can create a profile based on just about anything: Industry, SIC code, sales size or number of employees. Take the profile of your best customers and target similar companies with your marketing efforts to maximize sales.

Tuesday, 01 November 2005 01:58

Put it in the handbook

By David A. Campbell, Allen S. Kinzer and P. Jason Dejelo

Recognizing a need to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families, Congress enacted the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA).

The FMLA gives employers some flexibility to control leave and prevent abuse. However, FMLA also holds employers responsible for educating employees about their rights, and many provisions will not apply unless the employer makes them part of a written policy and includes them in the employee handbook.

Therefore, the first rule should always be: Put it in writing, and include it in the handbook.

The following are a few other ways employers can control leave, prevent abuse and help their employees understand FMLA eligibility requirements.

Leave restrictions

  • The calendar year

  • Any fixed 12-month period that serves as the leave year

  • The 12-month period measured forward from the date the employee's first leave begins

  • A rolling 12-month period measured backward from the date the employee uses any FMLA leave

If an employer fails to designate one of these four options, an employee who requests leave is entitled to the option that provides him or her with the most beneficial outcome.

Employers may prohibit or permit FMLA leave to be taken intermittently, if the reason for the leave is the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care. Employers should make this decision part of their written FMLA policy.

FMLA regulations permit employers to require that paid vacation, personal leave or family leave be used concurrently with any FMLA unpaid leave and to count the paid leave against the employee's 12-week FMLA entitlement. Employers may also require that paid sick or medical leave be used concurrently with unpaid FMLA leave.

Medical issues
Employers may require employees who request FMLA leave because of their own or a family member's serious health condition to provide a doctor's certification that the leave is medically necessary. The employer should explain in writing both the policy and the consequences of violating it.

Before permitting employees to return after a serious health condition, an employer may require employees to provide a doctor's certificate stating they are able to resume work. Employers may only institute this requirement if it is uniformly enforced for all health-related absences.

Under the FMLA, the employer must maintain the employee's health care coverage on the same conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. If a plan requires an employee to pay part of the premium costs, then the employer must explain in writing how the employee should pay his or her share while on leave.

Restoration rights for key employees
While FMLA allows most employees on leave to return to the same or an equivalent job, an employer may deny that option to certain highly paid employees if restoration would cause substantial and grievous injury to the employer's operations.

FMLA requires employers both to notify employees of their rights to restoration and the conditions under which restoration may be denied.

As with many employment laws, the FMLA's details are often complicated and confusing. Maintaining a clear FMLA policy -- and including it in the employee handbook -- are the first steps to avoiding some common mistakes in administering the FMLA.

David A. Campbell is a partner in the Cleveland office of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, while Allen S. Kinzer is a partner in the firm's Columbus office. P. Jason Dejelo is an associate in the Columbus Office. Celebrating 96 years in 2005, the law firm has Ohio offices in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Akron, as well as in Washington, DC and Alexandria, VA. For more information about the firm, visit

Friday, 28 October 2005 12:11

Movers & Shakers

Eli Lilly and Co. promoted John C. Lechleiter president and chief operating officer.

“This promotion reflects John’s strong leadership in a series of challenging roles, his absolute commitment to putting patients first and his deep connections with people inside and outside the company,” says Sidney Taurel, chairman and CEO. “John’s energy, passion and resolve will continue to be critical assets as we work to take full advantage of our expanded product line in a cost-conscious, competitive global marketplace.”

Lechleiter earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Harvard University and joined Lilly in 1979 as a senior organic chemist. His experiences include roles in pharmaceutical product development, project management and regulatory affairs.

He was appointed senior vice president of pharmaceutical products in 1998. He was promoted to executive vice president of pharmaceutical products and corporate development in 2001, assumed the role of executive vice president of pharmaceutical operations in early 2004, then took added responsibility for the company’s United States operations later in 2004.

“I am honored and excited to have this opportunity to serve a company like Lilly — a company whose values I share and whose people I respect,” says Lechleiter. “I am anxious to lead our efforts in this new capacity and to ensure that all of our stakeholders — our customers, shareholders, partners and colleagues — benefit from our terrific product portfolio.”

The Transportation Security Administration named David Kane acting federal security director (FSD) for the Indianapolis International Airport.

Former FSD Dick Suekawa recently passed away.

Kane will fulfill the role of FSD while the agency seeks to fill this position. Kane has served as the assistant FSD for operations at Indianapolis International for two years.

Kane has 20 years of civil aviation security experience. In 2001, when the government assumed responsibility from the airlines for contracted screeners, Kane oversaw the transition and deployed interim federal security representatives to the airports until permanent FSDs were named by TSA. After working in the FAA’s Denver and Chicago field offices, he opened the Indianapolis field office in 1989, where his responsibilities included ensuring that the airports and airlines throughout Indiana and Southern Ohio complied with security regulations.

Prior to joining TSA, he was the FAA’s Indiana representative on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s OneDOT initiative. Kane also served as an FAA special agent and federal air marshal.

He attended Indiana University, the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

John Easley was named Eagle Creek Park manager.

Easley obtained a bachelor’s degree in forestry and wildlife management from Purdue University, and is certified as an associate wildlife biologist by the Wildlife Society. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in preaching and pastoral ministry and a master’s degree in New Testament homiletics from Johnson Bible College.

Easley began his Indy Parks career in 1984, working in several of the department’s divisions including forestry, nursery and landscape operations, park maintenance and athletic field maintenance. He left the department in 1994, first working for two local landscape firms, then entering into full-time ministry work.

Easley returned to Indy Parks in 2001, when he was named director of the Eagle Creek Park Nature Center and assistant park manager.

Robert D. Campbell joined NiSource as senior vice president of human resources. Campbell was previously an attorney with Schiff Hardin LLP in Chicago, and prior to that was vice president of employee and labor relations for NiSource.

While at Schiff Hardin, Campbell concentrated his practice on labor and employment matters. He also headed its Professional Personnel function and led the firm’s mentoring and training programs for attorneys. Campbell also played a lead role in the firm’s diversity efforts.

WellPoint Inc., the nation’s leading health benefits company, named Alan Spiro, M.D., vice president and chief medical officer of its National Accounts business unit. He leads the development and delivery of innovative care management programs for employers with more than 5,000 eligible employees.

These programs are central to WellPoint’s mission to improve the health of the people and communities it serves.

Spiro was most recently principal and national clinical practice leader for Towers Perrin, where he worked with Fortune 500 companies to develop and evaluate health care and benefit programs for their employees. He developed Towers Perrin’s first e-health strategy and worked with health care organizations and insurers to develop new programs and products and to improve their operational performance.

Prior to joining Towers, Spiro was chief medical officer for Utilimed Inc., senior vice president and medical director for ConnectiCare and vice president and medical director for Celtic Life Insurance Co. He also ran his own private practice and worked for several hospitals throughout the United States.

Spiro is the author of more than 25 articles on managed care, clinical best practices, Medicare, disease management and gastroenterology, and has served as visiting professor at the Michigan State University Sloan School of Business.

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