SBN Staff

Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:49

Movers & Shakers

The following staff members of Info Line Inc., Akron, have qualified as Certified Information and Referral Specialists: Roxanne Lange, Cheryl Cogley, Karen Elliott, Molly Hren, Nancy Milligan and Tonoa Walker.

The law firm Amer Cunningham Co. of Akron has as shareholders Joseph Cook Jr., Thomas Saxer, Michael Urban and Jack Weisensell. Kevin Csontos has joined the firm as CEO/comptroller.

The Akron Area Board of Realtors has installed as its 2001 officers Kristine Burdick of Realty One in Fairlawn; Stephen Merckle of Merckle Realty in Akron; and Sandy LoCascio of Realty One in Cuyahoga Falls.

The FirstMerit Bank board of directors promoted Wendy S. Bolas to senior vice president and retail sales manager for Summit and Portage counties and Barbara D. Mathews to senior vice president of administration and manager of public affairs for the Akron office.

Jones and Wenner Insurance Agency Inc., Fairlawn, named Robert C. Gehring III as vice president and director of marketing.

Bruner-Cox has added to its Akron office Karen Randall, manager in the tax department; Lisa M. Francis, associate in the general services department; and Misti Buchanan, associate in the report department.

Brian Bialik has joined the main office of Home Savings Bank of Kent as assistant vice president, commercial lending officer.

Akron law firm Brennan Manna & Diamond has promoted Mark E. Krohn and John F. Martin to partner. Frank A. Lettieri has been added as partner and Nickolas P. Andreeff as corporate business counsel.

Sedlak Management Consultants, Richfield, has promoted Dave Gealy to senior consultant and Elaine Cirino, Scott Gallik, Julie Heater and Brian Innes to consultant. In addition, seven associates have been named to the staff: Brian Drees, Rob Fink, Doug Bayer, Tim Davies, Leslie Butler, Mark Manti and Christina Urban.

James A. Popio has joined Smithers Scientific Services Inc. of Akron as general manager of its indoor tire and wheel testing operations at the firm's tire and automotive testing division in Ravenna.

SS&G Financial Services, Akron, has promoted Richard K. Warfield to director and Paula M. Steinhart to associate director. Susan Paley Zak has joined the firm as a senior consultant in the recruiting and human resource consulting department and Angela Callander has joined as administrative assistant. Kathleen M. Sautters, marketing director for SS&G, has been honored as the winner of the Distinguished Sales and Marketing Award.

Pamela Crutchfield has joined Kent-based Schlabig & Associates as a network administrator.

Cuyahoga Falls General Hospital has appointed Dr. Carl J. Simmers to its corporate board to fill a five-year term.

Waltco Truck Equipment Co., Tallmadge, has promoted Bill Rector to manager of distributor and OEM development; Joe Moran to inside sales supervisor; Randy Reid to western regional manager; and David Heatherington to manager of field sales. Clay Johnson has joined the company as district sales manager.

Pamela S. Rodriques has been named director of Premier Comp of HomeTown Health Network of Akron, the health insuring corporation's managed workers' compensation program. John Strah has been appointed director of business development; Deanna L. Kazamek has been named manager of business development; and Catherine S. Ambrose has been appointed case management/return-to-work manager.

The Urda Company Inc., an Akron-based marketing, advertising and public relations firm, has named Kristin Panning production/traffic manager.

Phillip Russo has joined Patio Enclosures Inc. of Macedonia as administrative manager of advertising.

Brockman, Coats, Gedalian & Co., Akron, has added Theresa Wilson as an administrative assistant.

Hitchcock Fleming and Associates of Akron has hired Dave Elwell as account manager.

Smythe, Cramer Co. has honored William P. Askin of the Akron office as manager of the year; Barbara E. Wilson of the Medina office as the Marcus L. Smythe professional of the year; and Kathleen A. Fenwick of the Akron office has been inducted into the circle of achievement.

Brewster & Stroud has named Linda Grimm as sales manager of the company's newest store in Montrose.

The anderson group of Akron, a regional business technology solutions provider, has hired Donna Kastner as client consultant.

S.A. Comunale Co. of Akron has hired Edward S. Belcastro as head of the new design build division and David A. Ross as head of the new service division. Vandi Dies has been promoted to division manager of the fabrication shop.

William E. Childers has been appointed vice president of the foundation and development divisions for Summa Health Systems of Akron.

Derek Lashua has been named marketing coordinator for Spectrum Surgical Instruments Corp. of Stow.

To submit notices of business expansions, additions and moves and management-level transitions, write: Editor, SBN Magazine, 84 W. Bowery St., Akron, OH 44308; or fax: (330) 535-6491.

Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:49

Business Notes

Massillon Community Hospital and LaurusHealth have formed a partnership that will bring health information and patient education resources to consumers.

Scott Kline has established a local ProForma distributorship that will do business as ProForma Benchmark Business Systems in the printing, promotional products and personalized clothing industries. The company serves Stark, Summit, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Tuscarawas and Wayne counties.

Avalon Distributing, a wholesale foodservice distributor in the Canton area, has been awarded ASI Food Safety Consultants' Certificate of Excellence in Food Safety.

DSW Shoe Warehouse, a national shoe retailer, has relocated to Dressler Road.

The accounting firm of Hall, Kistler & Co. of Canton has joined BKR International, an international association of independent accounting firms.

Rea and Associates Inc., a regional accounting and business consulting firm with an office in New Philadelphia, is offering new profit and value enhancement services to better serve its clients

Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:49

People power

Many owners cite the work ethic and the good deeds of their employees when explaining their company's success.

And while no owner would dare say his or her employees have no impact on the bottom line, few could admit to having the role Scott Robertson has in hand-picking the people who work for his company, Robertson Heating Supply.

Robertson not only attributes his company's success to his employees, he believes so strongly in the impact each person can have that he personally takes part in the interview and selection process of each employee. And with 240 positions, including 100 he labels as key management, that's a big responsibility.

Robertson, who majored in personnel management in college, has been president of the family-owned company since taking over from his grandfather in 1991.

"Over the years, we have built the company with people who are high on integrity and honesty -- down-home type people who are customer-friendly," he says.

He says finding the right people takes more time and requires more of a commitment from managers, but the results are worth it.

"Our top managers understand that an employee's attitude will far outweigh what we can teach," he says. "We can change or improve an employee's knowledge of a job or of the industry, but we're less likely to be able to change your attitude or work ethic."

Maintaining a turnover rate of less than 5 percent is just one of the benefits the time-consuming search process offers.

Robertson Heating Supply's sales jumped from $55 million in 1994 to nearly $80 million last year. And with a fully automated distribution system in the works, including a distribution center in Alliance that is completely bar coded, Robertson expects sales to continue to rise.

The company was founded in 1934 by John Robertson, Scott's grandfather, out of a warehouse in Alliance. Since then, the plumbing and heating wholesale company has expanded into 27 locations in Ohio and Pennsylvania, including two retail lighting centers in Columbus and Belden Village. Since 1994, the company has acquired two wholesalers and opened three wholesale outlets in Wooster, Sheffield Lake and Toledo.

Robertson says most of his family still works for the company on a part-time basis -- including his father, Ed, as vice president -- while he and his sister, Sue Neil, a corporate secretary, work full-time. How to reach: Robertson Heating Supply, (330) 821-9180

Connie Swenson

Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:49

Movers & Shakers

Charles M. Hilterbrand Jr. has been named president of Alpha Land Title Co. of Canton.

United National Bank & Trust Co. of Canton has promoted Christopher Gemma to assistant vice president, collections. Bridget Dix has joined the company as a business banking officer.

Hall, Kistler & Co., a certified public accounting and consulting firm based in downtown Canton, has promoted Karen M. Marker to the position of partner.

Avalon Distributing of Canal Fulton has added Bonnie Willis as nutrition services manager and Melissa Hohman as buyer/merchandiser in the purchasing department.

North Canton resident Tod T. Morrow has joined Akron law firm Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs as a shareholder in its litigation, employment law and workers' compensation practice groups in the Canton office.

Anna Marie Mavrakis has been named president of the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Interior Design Society.

Jack Gravo, president and CEO of FirstMerit Corp. of Akron, has been named to the National Advisory Council of Fannie Mae, the nation's largest source of financing for home mortgages.

The Hoover Co. has named Stephen K. Pollock vice president of finances and Timothy D. Schiltz vice president of human resources.

Barbara Waltz Eisenbrei of Canton has been certified as a specialist in the field of family relations law in Ohio.

Massillon Community Hospital has added Roselyn A. Manus to the associate medical staff. She has been granted privileges in internal medicine.

Douglas Malcolm, of The Malcolm Insurance Group of North Canton, participated in the Professional Insurance Agents of Ohio 2001 Legislative Conference. The event allowed professional insurance agents to gather at the Capitol to discuss important legislative and regulatory issues with lawmakers and other officials.

Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:48

Outsmart the economic slump

While some businesses will struggle to survive in a sluggish economy, many will do better than ever -- primarily because they have mastered proven, but seldom-used slowdown strategies.

So says Jerry Buchs, author of the recently published report, "Strategies for an Economic Slowdown: 16 Proven Ways to Sell More of Your Products and Services While the Experts Decide If We're in a Recession!"

"While a downturn may not last long, many businesses need to develop strategies that help them retain their current customers and keep them buying," says Buchs, an Ohio-based consultant who specializes in public relations and marketing strategies for businesses. "They also need to master marketing techniques that will win them new customers to replace any business they may lose during a slowdown."

Among the recession-proof business strategies Buchs outlines in his new report:


Commit to marketing consistently and aggressively all the time -- not just when you need the business. Planning an ongoing marketing campaign ensures a steady stream of new business leads. Marketing done today -- and every day -- begins a selling cycle that will result in new business when you need it six months down the road.

Give your existing customers superior service. In a slow economy, businesses should do everything they can to hold on to their existing customers or clients -- the bread and butter of their business.

"The best way to hold on to your customers is to please them," says Buchs, "and the best way to please them is through better customer service. Now is an ideal time to go the extra mile with extra service or courtesy. It can mean the difference between dazzling the customer vs. merely satisfying them."

Add value to your existing products or services. While prospects may seem reluctant to spend money in a soft economy, their real concern, says Buchs, is making sure they get the best value for their dollar. Keep existing customers and land new business by offering more value than the competition.

For instance, any business selling a commodity item could add value by offering faster delivery than the competition. Or a larger selection. Or more colors. Or easier payment terms. Or a better guarantee.

Motivate inactive customers. Contact past customers -- people you served at one time but who are not actively buying now -- to remind them of your existence. A properly scripted telephone call to past buyers should generate approximately one order for every 10 calls.

Motivate old leads. Most businesses give up on sales leads too early. Many of those dropped leads can be turned into profitable business with just a little extra sales effort, Buchs says. Repeated follow-up with better offers should convert 10 percent of prospects into buyers.

Repackage your products or services to accommodate smaller customers on reduced budgets. Businesses that sell products can offer compact models, economy sizes, no-frills versions, easy payment plans, extended credit, special discounts, incentives and smaller minimum orders to appeal to prospects with reduced spending power. Service providers can be more flexible by selling their services and time in smaller, less-costly increments.

Supplement your normal work. Fill gaps in your schedule with other types of related work. For example, a carpenter who normally handles large, lucrative home-remodeling jobs can take on lots of smaller jobs and handyman work to keep the money coming in if his home renovation work falls off.

Stay positive. The most important thing about a slow period is not to get depressed by it. If you are down, prospects can sense your desperation and fear, and it has a negative effect on your dealings with them. How to reach: Jerry Buchs, or (440) 985-2813

Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:48

Letters to the editor

Who would you have chosen?Thanks for asking! I have a few.

First, Ken Cookson. In a walk, Ken is a law partner with Dinsmore & Shohl, an original member of the Downtown Commission, former president of the Discovery District Development Corp. -- I succeeded him -- and instrumental in the Broad Street Median Initiative.

He's president of the Friends of WOSU board and serves with me on the board of the Columbus Landmarks Foundation. The man is awesome -- making a real difference.

Then there is Denny Griffith, president of Columbus College of Art and Design, who is taking an internationally renown arts school to new heights. Outstanding artist in his own right. Active and engaged in making us a better community.

Don't forget Larry Black. He is the director of the Columbus Metropolitan Library System. The Hapler Index, which ranks public libraries nationally, listed ours the best in the United States! What a plug for our learning community. Take that, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago.

And his leadership has been quietly effective in getting voter affirmation of what a great system we have. Our library buildings are technologically advanced, great spaces for people and receive American Institute of Architects design awards. The branch libraries make him a player in numerous areas around town.

Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:48

Movers & Shakers

Certified Payroll Services, Fairlawn, has hired Jodi Ninnemann as a payroll specialist.

Shields, Blice & Co., a Fairlawn-based accounting firm, has added Denise Jute to its staff.

BC Technology Solutions, with offices in Canton and Akron, has added Tamara L. Flanigan as a software consultant.

The Akron office of SS&G Financial Services has hired Tami Whatley as associate, capital markets department.

The board of trustees of the Akron Civic Theatre has named Diane Kalgreen director of finance and operations.

Americas International Inc. of Akron has hired Anita Kelly as office manager.

Delta Systems Inc. of Streetsboro, a manufacturer of specialized switches and electronics, has hired David Giangardella, production engineer; Jason Hamilton, design technician; Kent Kovachy, process engineer; and Roger O'Conner, sales and marketing assistant.

The Akron-based law firm of Brennan, Manna & Diamond has hired attorneys Nickolas P. Andreef, Frank A. Lettieri, John F. Martin, David V. DiFiore and Darrin R. Toney.

Republic Technologies, Fairlawn, has named Louis J. Capuano as plant manager of its Lorain facility.

Waltco Truck Equipment Co. of Tallmadge has hired Dick Sullivan as Midwest regional sales manager and Doug Card as New England district sales representative.

Cutler/GMAC Real Estate has hired as sales associates Linda Walker in the Norton office; Steve Kelly in the Stow office; and Daniel Brown in the Fairlawn office.

David A. Brockman, director of business and assurance services and a co-founder of Akron law firm Brockman, Coats, Gedelian & Co., has been named chair-elect of the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Brockman, Coats, Gedelian & Co. has hired Gigi Doney as administrative assistant in the systems group; Marti Kline as a tax professional in tax services; Eileen Koborie as marketing assistant; Stephanie Lane as a senior developer; and Ronne Sidwell as receptionist.

FirstMerit Investment Services Inc., a subsidiary of FirstMerit Corp., has promoted Marc Vosen to executive vice president; Gregory Poe to vice president/sales manager; Jeffrey Arvay to vice president/senior financial consultant; and Eric Walden to vice president/financial consultant.

Akron General Medical Center has named Cindy Dennison as director of Network Health Ventures/Network Health Group Financial Services.

Results Plus and Focus Four, a professional development training firm based in Brunswick, has hired Karl Dustman as director of business development and Jeffrey Taylor and Tom Trefz as professional account executives.

Tod T. Morrow has joined Akron law firm Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs as a shareholder in the litigation, employment law and workers' compensation practice groups at the Canton office.

Jim Divito has joined Kent Adhesive Products Co. as a sales representative for the Southeastern United States.

Smithers Scientific Services Inc. of Akron has named Raymond B. Farmer vice president of the automotive testing division and David L. Schwarz vice president of the component and materials testing division.

CBIZ/Spector & Saulino, Akron, has added Michelle Drago to its tax department.

Country Pure Foods of Akron, one of the largest independent juice manufacturers, has created the new position of director of information technology, taken over by Stuart Clink. In addition, the company promoted Bob Gats to senior vice president of sales and marketing; Andy Major to vice president of supply chain management; and Liz Wilson to vice president of finance. Paul Sukalich has joined the company as senior vice president of operations.

BCG Systems Inc. of Akron, the computer services affiliate of Brockman, Coats, Gedelian & Co., has added Ryan Jacops to its staff as senior software developer.

Avatar Management Services Inc. of Macedonia, a human performance consulting firm, has promoted Linda M. Gardner to president. Gardner also acquires controlling interest in Avatar, allowing the consulting firm to become a full-fledged woman-owned business.

Jon V. Heider of Akron was appointed to the University of Akron Board of Trustees, replacing Clifford J. Isroff of Akron, who resigned.

Jack Gravo, president and CEO of FirstMerit Corp. of Akron, has been named to the National Advisory Council of Fannie Mae, the nation's largest source of financing for home mortgages.

The law firm of Brouse McDowell, Akron, has added Richard T. Cunningham to its litigation and appellate practice.

Virtual Horizons Inc., a multimedia communications, Web site design and development company based in Akron, has promoted Jeremy Leyden to director of operations and business development and Tracy Lockhart to director of marketing.

Lenny Winer, computer information technology specialist with the Fairlawn-based accounting and medical practice management firm of Winer & Bevilacqua Inc., has earned the title of Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.

Paul Labovitz of Akron was reappointed to the Ohio Water Advisory Council for a term ending Feb. 1, 2003.

To submit notices of business expansions, additions and moves and management-level transitions, write Editor, SBN Magazine, 175 Montrose West Ave., Ste. 160, Akron, OH 44321; or fax (330) 668-6224.

Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:48

Movers & Shakers

Millsor & Nobil Co., a management-side labor and employment law firm with offices in Cleveland, Canton and Columbus, has named Robert S. Spector and Terry E. Lardakis principals of the firm. Daniel P. O'Brien was named of counsel.

Shearer's Foods Inc. of Brewster has promoted the following associates: Mike Bower, Stefanie Dimit, Chris Hammond, Mike Laughlin, Chris Sample, Janet Schwab, Barb Smith, Jamie Miller, Josiah Miller, Bryan Jewell, Mike Yankee, and Sara Zerbe. Charlie Pitzer has joined the company as senior customer service representative.

Dean Olivieri, president of North Canton-based Fred Olivieri Construction Co., has been elected president of the Retail Contractors Association.

Canton-based Innis Maggiore Group Inc., a regional advertising and public relations firm, has expanded its advertising and e-services capabilities with the following additions and promotions: Jeff McMahan has been named account supervisor; Dini Castronova has been named media director; Alyssa Papadopulos has been named copywriter; Jeff Rios has been named IT manager; and John O'Donnell has been promoted to Web programmer/IT specialist.

Robert Henry has joined United Banc Financial Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of UNB Corp., as branch manager of the recently opened office in Alliance.

The Hoover Co. of North Canton has appointed as directors Duane C. Peiffer, director of the newly created customer solutions department; Mark Hetrick, director of uprights, canisters and filter bags; Debra Coats, director of marketing services; Randall J. Lemke, director of sales administration; and Gary M. Johns, director for extractors and other specialty products.

Ann Marie Leano, board-certified in internal and pulmonary medicine and board-eligible in critical care, has joined the Wooster Clinic, part of the Cleveland Clinic Regional Medical Practice.

Shareholders of UNB Corp., the holding company for United National Bank & Trust Co. of Canton, re-elected as board members Roger L. DeVille, president, DeVille Developments; Nan B. Johnston, director/clerk-treasurer, Stark County District Library; Edgar W. Jones Jr., president, Hal Jones Construction Co.; and E. Scott Robertson, president/co-owner, Robertson Heating Supply Co.

To submit notices of business expansions, additions and moves and management-level transitions, write to Editor, SBN Magazine, 175 Montrose West Ave., Suite 160, Akron, OH, 44321 or fax to (330) 668-6224.

Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:48

Business Notes

BCG Systems Inc., the computer services affiliate of Brockman, Coats, Gedelian & Co. of Akron, is expanding its base of business by establishing an office in Nashville, Tenn.

Linden/EMB, a global manufacturer of polyurethane processing systems, has completed construction of a training center at its corporate headquarters in Cuyahoga Falls.

The board of directors of Wayne Bancorp Inc. of Wooster has completed its acquisition agreement with Chippewa Valley Title Agency Inc.

Beggs Motor Homes Inc., a leading recreational vehicle dealership based in Uniontown, has selected Innis Maggiore Group, an advertising and public relations firm based in Canton, as its agency of record.

To reflect its expansion into a broader range of consulting services, Affinity Environmental Group Inc. of Canal Fulton has changed its name to Affinity Consultants Inc. The company has also launched a Web site at

Jo-Ann Stores Inc., headquartered in Hudson, has opened a distribution center in California.

Avatar Management Services Inc. of Macedonia has created wholly owned subsidiary, Avatar Solutions Inc., which will specialize in industrial/organizational psychology consulting.

RCS Management Group of Cuyahoga Falls, a provider of multichannel sales and marketing solutions, has changed its name to InfoGrow Corp. to more closely reflect its expanded scope of services.

Old Republic Network of Fairlawn has changed its name to Old Republic Title, Residential Information Services.

Maddox Marketing Group Inc., a Cuyahoga Falls-based marketing communications company, has created two subsidiary business units, studiomaddox and imaddox. Studiomaddox will provide creative services including creative strategy, concept development, copywriting and graphic design. Imaddox will offer Web site and interactive media design and marketing communications content solutions to support companies in their Internet and e-commerce initiatives.

The newly renovated RiverFront Restaurant, located in Sheraton Suites Akron/Cuyahoga Falls, has reopened.

J.I.T. Concepts Inc. of Hudson, a medical services company, changed its name to Western Reserve Medical Services to reflect its growth within the changing medical outsourcing industry.

Smithers Scientific Services Inc. of Akron is closing its tire and automotive testing complex in Pecos, Texas. An item that ran in SBN's May issue incorrectly stated that the complex was located in Akron.

Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:48

Business Notes

Gregory Galvanizing and Metal Processing Inc. has changed its name to Gregory Industries Inc. The company has been based in Canton since 1957.

PC Training Center, a computer training, consulting and repair center in Belden Village, was purchased by Michael Barnhart.

Basketfanfare has doubled its size and moved to a new office in North Canton.

Asistem of Alliance, a company that connects accounting and customized computer systems to meet the needs of businesses, has been selected as an authorized reseller for ComCash.