Thursday, 28 March 2002 11:18

Jon Delano

Sept. 10, 2001, was Jon Delano's first day as KDKA-TV's money and politics editor. Easing into the job was not an option.

Delano was no novice; he's been a familiar face on the tube for some time as an analyst during election seasons. But this was his debut as a reporter, and the plan was to do some sample stories before rolling out reports for broadcast. His deep knowledge of government, public policy and politics, however, was too valuable not to be tapped during the days and weeks following Sept. 11.

"My whole career has been a series of unexpected developments," Delano says.

The turns for Delano have often been into the fast lane. He began his career as an associate with Reed Smith Shaw & McClay, now Reed Smith LLP. Doug Walgren, not long after he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1977 with help from Delano, invited him to breakfast at a Denny's restaurant, scratched out on a placemat a plan for organizing his office and asked Delano to help. Delano stayed in Washington for 14 years and served as Walgren's chief of staff until Rick Santorum beat Walgren in 1991.

In 1993, Delano himself waged an unsuccessful campaign to win a seat in Congress.

Delano's primary occupations these days are at KDKA and his duties as adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon's Heinz School, but he still finds time to write columns, offer his expertise as a political analyst in newspapers and on TV and radio, and take his turn getting his kids off to school.

With all the high-profile activities he's been involved in, Delano rates as one of his proudest accomplishments a long but successful battle with the Pentagon while working for Walgren. Because of a technicality, two Pittsburgh-area Vietnam veterans' names had been left off the Vietnam War Memorial. Delano ultimately convinced officials to include the names, and you get the impression that the effort was more love than labor.

Says Delano: "I love going up against bureaucrats who say it can't be done."

Published in Pittsburgh
Thursday, 28 March 2002 08:59

The pen is mightier

Ron Shaw realized what a gift life is just moments after a Philadelphia trolley car sped by inches away from his head on an icy winter evening in l947. Shaw, who changed his name from Schurowitz when he entered show business several years later, was often a victim of anti-Semitic bullying by neighborhood kids.

That fateful afternoon, Shaw was on his way home from school when a group of boys surrounded, taunted and beat him until one of them tossed him into a icy street just as a trolley car approached. Shaw, who slipped and fell past the trolley car's tracks, has been inspired by the incident ever since.

"I don't know if God meant for me to live because there was work he wanted me to do or if it was just a fluke," Shaw writes in his book, "Pilot Your Life." "But somehow, for whatever reason, I survived."

This childhood tale is just one of the harrowing and entertaining anecdotes in Shaw's book, which chronicles his rise from an 11-year-old stand-up comedian to Bic Pen salesman to the leader of the Pilot Pen Corp. of America, the nation's third largest pen company with more than $200 million in annual sales.

The book's business lessons about selling yourself, creating opportunities, taking risks and marketing your product could've been pulled from any of hundreds of positive-thinking or motivational tomes, but Shaw's charm, sense of humor and great stories outweigh the occasional lack of original insight. And for so many of the business books out there, you can't ask for much more.

Shaw spoke with SBN Magazine during his book tour and was as candid and entertaining as he is in his book.

You've made a lot of transitions in your life, from comedian to pen salesmen to CEO, and then jumping to your competition. How did you know when to move?
When I was making that transition, I didn't have much choice. I needed a steady paycheck because I was just kind of floundering around and not sure what I wanted to do. I got married, and within one year, nine months and three days from our wedding day, our first son, Steve, was born. So I picked up the book "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. It made me concentrate on what it was I was doing at that point and what I wanted to do. If I had to be out of show business, then damn it, I was going to become a success in whatever it was I was going to do. I lived in five different cities when I worked for Bic Pen. I started with them in Miami, then Atlanta, followed by Chicago, Detroit and Connecticut. It was not an easy transition. But it (sales) was coming so easily to me that when Bic would have weekly sales contests, every week I was at the top. Once that light went on and I recognized what it was, it made it even easier to concentrate and realize that I was born to be a salesman.

How do you sell yourself?
I think it's the way you dress, the way you come on, the way you walk into a room or make an exit. You walk onto the stage with an air of confidence, not cockiness. You've got to have a pleasant look about you and can't take an attitude of 'I'm better than you.' It's that instant reaction. People do judge books by their covers. As soon as you see somebody, you make an opinion based upon the impression.

What is your secret for growing Pilot?
In 1975, (when I joined the firm), there was hardly anyone that heard of Pilot. My job was to make it into a brand. When I told the president of Bic that I was going to work for Pilot, he said, 'Six months from now, you'll be looking for another job. You'll get it up to $10 million a year but it's not going beyond that.' As we're approaching $200 million this year, he's no longer with Bic. It was a matter of razzle-dazzle marketing. It was bringing things to the industry that had never been done before. I took advantage of my former life as a performer. I met with this young ad agency and said,'Let's do humor to get people's attention.' We would go out to our customers and say, 'Buy a gross of our pens and you'll get a Samsonite briefcase absolutely free.' We did travel contests. Those are some of the things that you can't really do today because the smaller wholesalers have been wiped out by big box retailers. All of a sudden we built a brand. I'm happy to brag that we are now the third biggest pen company in America. How to reach: "Pilot Your Life," by Ron Shaw, Prentice Hall Press, $22. Available at bookstores everywhere.

Full interview available at SBN Online

Published in Cleveland
Tuesday, 26 February 2002 13:16

Jack McGinley

Jack McGinley's eyes shine as he explains why his love for being a trial lawyer endures.

"I can't describe what it feels like to sit and wait for a jury to read a verdict, kind of like watching that field goal going through the posts," McGinley says.

Little wonder that he uses a football analogy to describe it. Art Rooney, legendary founder of the Steelers, was his uncle, and McGinley's family still owns a share of the team.

McGinley's lived in Pittsburgh nearly all of his life, save four years as an undergraduate at St. Bonaventure University and a brief stint working at a Rooney family business near Philadelphia. He spent most of his law career at Grogan Graffam & McGinley, the firm he co-founded nearly 30 years ago.

In January, the 1961 Central Catholic grad accepted an offer to join Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott. It wasn't easy to leave his firm, he says.

"A lot of law firm splits are acrimonious," says McGinley. "Mine wasn't."

Rather, McGinley says, many of his old friends had left the firm. Fellow founding partner Steve Graffam had retired, and Frank Lucchino had gone to the bench. McGinley saw the opportunity to join Eckert Seamans, a national firm with more than 200 lawyers, as a way to expand his own practice and add the depth he needs to serve his clients, whose needs he says are growing increasingly complex.

McGinley is a casual golfer and fly fisherman, and confesses a passion for Irish poetry. The law, however, remains his first love.

"Deep down in my shoes, I remain the guy who likes to get up and say, 'May it please the court.'" How to reach:

Published in Pittsburgh
Tuesday, 26 February 2002 13:11

An unusual package

Tedd Wein mentions, with some pride, that a national company has contacted him to do business with his Mailboxes Etc. store.

The company, a Texas concern that handles reverse logistics for large mail order retailers, is interested in using Wein's Ross Township store as a drop-off point for customers who want to return merchandise to large catalog merchants. Wein says the company identified his store location as having sufficient customer traffic and visibility to serve as a receiving point.

Mailboxes Etc. offers a variety of services required for mailing and shipping, as well as related products and services.

Wein says his store is enjoying strong growth -- 2001 sales were up 7 percent over the previous year, and last year's December sales bested the December 2000 sales mark by 17 percent.

There's little wonder, then, that Wein is motivated and encouraged by the business and social trends that are making his industry successful and bode well for his prospects for growth.

But those weren't the incentives that drove Wein when he entered the business in 1987.

"I was motivated by fear," says Wein. "I just felt that I couldn't afford to fail."

Private businesses that offer the services that Mailboxes Etc. offers are no novelty today, but in 1987, Wein was entering a business that was in its early stages. His was just one of three in the Pittsburgh market at the time.

Mailboxes Etc. today has more than 4,500 locations, including 20 in Pittsburgh, and was ranked No. 2 on Entrepreneur magazine's Franchise 500 list in 2001. But when Wein launched his store, the company was No. 434 systemwide.

Perhaps most important to Wein, his father had provided personal guarantees for the loan taken to start the business.

Mailboxes Etc. was anything but a household name in 1987. Wein says customers often stopped in because they thought the store sold mailboxes. The company ultimately added a line of mailboxes to its inventory, but it was clear early on that the store's concept had yet to gain widespread recognition.

After several years of sluggish sales, even his wife doubted his prospects for making the business successful.

"My wife said to me, 'When are you going to stop playing store and get a real job?'" Wein says.

Still, he has managed to stay in business while others, including other Mailboxes Etc. and independent and franchise operators have closed their doors.

The invisible store

Wein started off in a less than desirable location and struggled for four years until he could negotiate with his landlord for a better spot in the center. He negotiated his first lease for a storeroom in the McKnight Siebert Shopping Center but soon found the location was anything but prime.

The view of the store was obscured by a service station sign, and it was difficult to see from the road. It was too small, and at the end of the strip, rather than at its busier entrance. He tried for six months to negotiate for a better spot in the same center, but the space he wanted went to another tenant.

But when a better space came available in the center four years after he opened his doors, Wein this time was able to move to the larger, more visible spot, closer to the heaviest foot and motor traffic.

Guerrilla marketing

Wein built awareness of his business every way he could think of. He walked up and down McKnight Road, talking with business owners and dropping off his business card and promotional flyers.

"I beat the streets a lot," Wein says.

He went to networking and local chamber of commerce events, and handed out coupons for the nearby McDonald's, while the fast food restaurant passed out Mailboxes Etc. coupons to its customers. He made certain that clerks at the U.S. Postal Service office on the next corner knew Mailboxes Etc. offered passport photos.

And while the West Penn AAA office across McKnight Road offered notary services for automobile-related work, it didn't provide them for other purposes. Wein asked the office to refer such work to him, while he referred his customers to the auto club office for notary services he couldn't provide.

But the grassroots marketing activity that might best demonstrate Wein's enthusiasm and commitment was the "Zippy" mailbox costume he donned on heavy traffic days to catch the attention of motorists as they drove past the McKnight Seibert Shopping Center.

To gain name recognition for Mailboxes Etc., Wein and several other owners formed an advertising cooperative to take advantage of a 50 percent match the franchiser offered for local advertising efforts.

Cash woes

Cash flow problems plagued Wein early on, as sales were weak but bills continued to roll in. He initially negotiated an arrangement with his lender that required interest-only payments on his loan.

When he found that cash was tight at the end of the year, he approached his banker to extend the interest-only payment for an additional year. At the end of the second year, with cash still scarce, Wein asked the banker once more to waive the principal for another year. The bank agreed.

Wein says consumers are getting used to alternatives to the traditional methods of sending packages and mail. Home-based businesses need specialized shipping services, and recent changes in air travel have prompted some travelers to consider other ways to ship goods.

"I've realized that people are shipping things that they can't travel with anymore," says Wein.

Recent drop-offs at his store include $35,000 worth of jewelry headed to a trade show and a cache of silver bullion. Online auction sites like eBay are also bringing traffic to his store, says Wein.

He's shipped fishing rods, antique dolls and even a hard top for a Mazda Miata.

Wein says luck has played a role in his success, too. The growth of home-based business, e-commerce and his decision to locate in the McKnight Road business corridor, he says, have all contributed to his success.

While his fear of failure motivated him to make his business successful, his lack of fear -- or his choice to ignore it in some instances -- may have been the difference between succeeding and failing. One of the most important lessons Wein says he's learned in business is to not be afraid to ask for something.

"When the worst that someone can say is, 'No,' you might as well ask the question." How to reach: Mailboxes Etc.,

Published in Pittsburgh
Tuesday, 26 February 2002 12:16

Recovery 101

Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones' story is impressive.

The life-long resident of Cleveland and product of the Cleveland Public School System was one of only 15 minorities in her graduating class at Case Western Reserve University. She was one of the few women elected to the city's prosecutor's office and one of the youngest judges to take the bench in Ohio.

She then went on to be the first African-American woman elected to the Ohio House of Representatives.

In her position in the U.S. Congress representing Ohio's 11th District, Tubbs Jones champions small and minority-owned businesses. SBN Magazine sat down with her to discuss what the government has done and should do to support business owners.

There's been a lot of attention on large national corporations, but what is this administration doing to help smaller business and struggling communities that may not get as much press?
I sponsored an amendment that has to do with disaster loans for small businesses ... to amend that legislation to allow credit unions to administer the disaster loans. Traditionally, member credit unions have not been able to do so, in part because it was believed they had a restricted membership, so it wouldn't allow everyone to come to the table.

My reasoning, however, was that there are many communities where there are no financial or banking institutions as we know it. In some areas, a credit union is the only financial institution. To allow small business to access this money -- that would be the only route.

Also, many traditional financial institutions have taken the position that the loans are too small, that the cost of administration is too great. Therefore, many areas just don't have access to this much-needed help.

Are there other programs that the Committee on Small Business, of which you are a member, is working on?
Helping businesses access government contracts is one of the things we've been battling. The issues include contract bundling. The government makes contracts so enormous that only really large corporations can access them.

In the three years I've been in Congress, I have been working on behalf of small businesses to stop the bundling process so anyone can come to the table. It's not legislation. It has more to do with SBA and government agency procedures than any legislation.

It's the constant reminder to the agencies, the procurement officers, that bundling of contracts has a detrimental impact on the ability of small businesses to work with the government.

What is this administration doing to address minority- and women-owned business issues?
I am committed to economic empowerment. When I leave Congress, I want people to remember it is what I worked on. And the reason economic empowerment is so important to me is because I believe it's the equalizer. I think it's the way to make sure those women and minorities have an opportunity to have equal access.

And I'm working on wealth building in terms of home ownership, in terms of predatory lending.

You're a role model. Talk about how you've been successful.
I was always a hard worker because I knew that how I fared would impact how other women and other minorities would be treated in the process. I sought out and found great support, too, through relationships with city judges, male and female, white and black, to help me through the process.

In my position now, I have a great staff that I rely heavily on. And because I travel frequently between Cleveland and D.C., being able to communicate is extremely important.

I make use of current technology, too. I'm trying to go paperless, which is really a difficult process, but I use this Blackberry (remote network management tool) a lot. It has my schedule on it, my phone numbers, and I can even e-mail from it.

How to reach: Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, (216) 522-4900

Rep. Tubbs Jones Web site

Published in Cleveland
Monday, 18 February 2002 05:39

Joanne Sujansky

Joanne Genova Sujansky tells people they need to change. And they're willing to pay her for that.

Actually, it's Dr. Sujansky, a much sought-after author, speaker, lecturer and consultant. She's all about organizational change, and she preaches innovative, optimal ways to harness it in business and industry. Sujansky, Ph.D., CSP, is CEO of KEYGroup, the new name of her recently expanded Training Connection, the Pittsburgh-based consulting and training services company she founded in 1980.

The title CEO is something of a misnomer, because 21 years later, Sujansky still is out there doing hands-on work in an immense variety of styles and settings for organizations that want her help with finding a better way. The difference now is that she has an international organization at her back, with additional resources in Cleveland and Amsterdam.

KEYGroup consults nationally and internationally to industry, government, health care, business and education organizations. The group's claimed areas of expertise include change management, leadership and motivation. Its client list includes a startling number of major business and institutional entities, as well as dozens of smaller concerns.

A self-confessed overachiever, Sujansky has written several books, including the just-released "The Keys to Conquering Change: 100 Tales of Success," co-authored with John Van Sprang, a senior member of her Amsterdam organization. Some of her earlier titles include "The Power of Partnering: Vision, Commitment and Action;" "Putting Change In Your Pocket;" and "Training Games for Managing Change."

Every case is special

"The whole idea of change often has a negative connotation -- as in: 'We missed our third-quarter projections. Something's wrong. Quick, call the consultants!'" Sujansky says. "In fact, change can arise through any number of causes other than disaster and failure -- such as unexpected growth and prosperity, sudden opportunity, modifications of law or government regulations, the launch of new initiatives or changes of ownership.

"No matter what the trigger for change, the key to managing change -- that is, using change to the client's advantage -- lies in working with the people who are most directly affected. We sit down with them and listen to their concerns and ideas. We address those considerations and we work to build consensus and motivation, so these people can move forward with enthusiasm and skill."

According to Sujansky, the ideal situation involves KEYGroup partnering with the client upstream and being involved with ownership or senior management in designing the change before it is promulgated. Then, the roll-out of the organizational change is more effective, because the people factors -- such as motivation and morale -- already are integral to the plan.

Still, she admits, the more likely scenario is a call for help when change already is underway within an organization and obstacles and problems are emerging.

Proven methods

"Our solutions are as varied as our clients' needs," Sujansky says. "Some clients come to us looking to strengthen their people skills. Some want development programs to aid in employee retention and attraction. Others are reinventing themselves to meet market demands and ask our help to fix problems or create opportunities.

" Our approach is personalized to each client. In all cases, homework comes first. We listen to the individuals' concerns and goals and analyze the organization and its needs before suggesting any course of action."

Sujansky says her company's focus always is to provide "practical solutions with measurable results," whether she or her staff tailors one of her proven programs or creates a custom program, coaches an executive one-on-one or trains the client's entire staff.

"Our principal tool and strongest expertise is assessment," she says. "We help companies by helping their people gain insight into their individual strengths and opportunities for improvement through a rigorous assessment of who does what and what they wish to accomplish."

To capitalize on that business approach, Sujansky's company name is cleverly exploited in the firm's marketing material. It explains that KEY stands for:

* Knowledge -- Referring to the firm's repository of proven methodology and best practices in adult active learning and human behavior.

* Experience -- Indicating its track record of work with business, industry and government, as well as the experiential learning provided by the firm.

* Yield -- The strengths built by the client's employees as a result of the consulting, and the results gained by the client, as well as the goals that it meets and often exceeds.

Changes of her own

For somebody in the business of change management, Sujansky's personal and professional lives are an intricate blend of continual, unrelenting change and slow, steady progress.

On the change side, the Beaver County native pushed herself to a Ph.D. degree in education. She never intended to be a teacher in the traditional sense, but wanted expertise in theory and methodology concerning human and organizational behavior.

She also pushed herself into public visibility by way of her speaking and writing. She says a major turning point in her career occurred in 1985 when she became national president -- at age 35 -- of the prestigious American Society for Training and Development, and later received that organization's highest honor, the Gordon M. Bliss Award.

She is a major player in the Pennsylvania Speakers Association and the National Speakers Association, where she has earned its highest credential -- Certified Speaking Professional (CSP).

The calm, steady, conservative side of Joanne Sujansky features a marriage of 25 years and three children, ages 21, 20 and 9. She also enjoys a rock-solid, mutually beneficial 17-year professional association with her closest business colleague, Jan Ferri-Reed, Ph.D. As president of KEYGroup, Ferri-Reed consults, trains and manages the firm's operations and oversees delivery of service.

That's highly appropriate mix for a woman who has developed herself as a doctor of change. If your professional life is dedicated to thriving in the midst of flux, you'd better have some very strong and dependable supports of your own. How to reach: Joanne G. Sujansky, Ph.D., (724) 942-7900 or at

William McCloskey is a Pittsburgh-based free-lance writer.

Published in Pittsburgh
Wednesday, 30 January 2002 09:57

Dogged determination

It's ironic, but true. Children's book publishing --which often produces stories that teach young readers about caring, fairness and compassion -- is a cutthroat business.

Sandra Philipson knew this even before she started writing children's books based on her springer spaniels Max and Annie. In the 1970s, she was the first female marketing manager at Macmillan Publishing Co. in New York City. She worked the phones and pounded the pavement of universities selling science, history and English textbooks to professors and instructors.

But even with a marketing machine like Macmillan behind her, books were still a tough sell.

"These nice people who want to write children's books look at you so sadly when you tell them this," Philipson says. "It is a huge, competitive business, and the big companies have all the advantages."

Her first book was based on her dog, Annie, who lost her front left leg to cancer. The incident inspired Philipson to write "Annie Loses Her Leg But Finds Her Way," which she felt would help children learn about loss and recovery. A second book, "Max's Wild Goose Chase," followed.

She didn't know what to do with her first story until her neighbor put her in touch with artist Robert Takatch, whom she asked to do sketches for the story. She was so impressed with his work that she decided her story could be much more than something to share with her family, but she was reluctant to submit it to a large publishing company.

"When you're working with a large publishing company, you don't have any control," she says. "They choose the illustrator. You would have no control over your cover, what the book looked like, and they would choose how the book will be marketed."

So Philipson decided to publish the books herself. But before she took them to the printer, she wrote a business plan with the help of two Cleveland State University business professors.

Based on their feedback, Philipson formed a Limited Liability Company made up of herself, Takatch and her husband, Elliot. After a first run of 6,000 copies, 3,000 of each book, Philipson planned her marketing campaign.

In less than two years, she has sold more than 11,000 books, mostly in Northeast Ohio. The rest of country is next.

"We knew that even if you have the best book in the world, people have to want to buy it," she says. "That's where the marketing comes in. I knew there needed to be a huge marketing push because there is a tremendous amount of competition.

"The big companies have the dollars and the marketing machine."

But limited funding doesn't mean you can't market; you just have to work harder. Philipson packed up her books and dogs and traveled to schools, dog shows, libraries and hospitals to push her product. A former economics, history and sociology teacher, Philipson called her education contacts to create a buzz. Even former First Lady Barbara Bush received copies of the books, and promptly sent Philipson a lengthy thank you note.

The word spread about Max & Annie. Philipson appeared on the cable network Animal Planet with her dogs. A mutual friend mentioned the books to Steve Austin, chief executive of Tag Entertainment, a Los Angeles motion picture company that produces family movies.

Austin negotiated with Philipson for several months before they agreed on a film adaptation of her first book. Filming is set to begin in March in Chagrin Falls.

The movie will star Robert Hays of the legendary "Airplane" movies and Robert Wagner, who is best known for his TV role in "Hart to Hart" but has recently appeared in several comedies, including the blockbuster "Austin Powers" movies.

"Today, people are staying at home and concentrating on families and looking for family entertainment," says Patricia Gillum of Tag Entertainment. "Animals relate very well to children. With many of our movies, the interaction of animals with human drama is intrinsic and our main goal." How to reach: Max & Annie LLC, (440) 893-9250

Morgan Lewis Jr. ( is senior reporter at SBN Magazine.

Hit the streets

Sandra Philipson's strategic marketing tips for success

Test the product

Sandra Philipson called every friend she had in education and asked to read her book, "Annie Loses Her Leg But Finds Her Way," to students. She read to a variety of age groups, using two versions of the book, one with illustrations and one without.

She also tested it with elementary school teachers and librarians and made changes based on their suggestions.

"That's a very important market because they are on the front lines with the kids," she says. "They know what kids like, what inspires them, what interests them. I'm an educator, but elementary education was not my forte."

Analyze your market

Young families were an obvious market for Philipson, but she hadn't thought of two other specialized markets -- schools and medical centers.

So she created a step-by-step educational presentation about how she wrote and designed the books, then packed up her dogs and started making school visits. In last 18 months, she's been to 52 schools in the Midwest. Medical centers, while a natural fit for books like Philipson's, required a more delicate approach in the marketing effort.

"One thing I'm very careful about is I do not ever want anyone to perceive or think that I wrote this book to make money off children with cancer," Philipson says. "That is not the goal, and it's actually a very small part of our market."

Spread the word

Philipson held a book release party in Chagrin Falls, where she is based, and invited everyone she could think of, including friends of her husband, her illustrator and her book designer. She continues to market the books at every public event she attends, including conferences, speaking engagements and dog shows.

"I try to be out there," she says. "I try to be seen, to meet people, to tell them about my products, to tell them about my books and tell them about the educational program. You can't just sit in your ivory tower and hope to sell anything."

Build the brand

To help create a buzz behind her Max & Annie characters, Philipson found an area designer to create a plush stuffed Annie toy to sell with the books. She then found a stuffed animal toy company that already produced a springer spaniel stuffed toy and licensed it for the Max character.

"This could be the next 'Harry Potter,'" Philipson says. "The market for children is waiting for new characters. Max and Annie are those characters."

Morgan Lewis Jr.

Published in Cleveland
Monday, 31 December 2001 08:26

David Radin

David Radin's going after the pain.

Radin, who started Internet Insider Radio, a company that produced a weekly radio program geared to help Internet users, is moving on to helping business owners work through the discomfort they are experiencing with their computer systems.

Radin's company, M.Masters, is consulting with business owners to help make their computer-related technology, from e-mail to office applications, more productive.

"I consider myself to be a personal productivity coach," says Radin.

But he's still going to do radio broadcasts. Radin will continue to produce "Megabyte Minute," a program airing on radio stations in 20 markets. And, says Radin, he's working on producing a television program. Stay tuned.

Ray Marano

Published in Pittsburgh
Monday, 31 December 2001 08:22

Tom Joseph

Tom Joseph got the idea for Bookminders when he was looking for a way to help his father and uncle do their own bookkeeping and accounting. He found that developing computer software to handle the numbers was one thing, but locating someone with the accounting skills was something else.

Now Joseph, who started the company in 1991, employs 45 work-at-home professionals who helped generate $1.5 million in revenue in 2001, a 23 percent increase over the previous year.

Joseph's concept is simple: Accountants with four-year accounting degrees and at least five years experience work from home-based offices for Bookminders' approximately 200 clients.Business owners looking to cut or eliminate staff pay the business an average of $1,000 a month for its services.

Joseph is planning to introduce a Quickbooks Web-based product that will allow accountants and their clients access via an application service provider.

Ray Marano

Published in Pittsburgh
Monday, 31 December 2001 08:14

Yvonne Campos

Yvonne Campos had a couple of things against her when she started Campos Market Research in 1986.

As a woman, she faced the obstacles most women entrepreneurs faced then, and, at times, still confront now. The other obstacle was a little different. Pittsburgh, the conventional wisdom had it, wasn't much of a place for market research.

Campos became the Rotary Club of Pittsburgh's first woman president in 1997. And she didn't allow preconceptions about the region blunt her enthusiasm for building a market research company. Her client base now includes multinational corporations, nonprofits, health care organizations, financial institutions and trade and professional organizations.

Recently, Campos has confronted the challenges and opportunities posed by the growing use of technology, particularly online technology, to her industry. She's gone with her strengths and continues to deliver the core research services Campos Market Research has traditionally offered while building large e-mail databases to tap for online focus groups and surveys.

Ray Marano

Published in Pittsburgh