If you're Michael Feuer, CEO and chairman of OfficeMax Inc., you keep your focus and take no bonus.
According to a proxy filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Feuer received no bonus in the fiscal year ending Jan. 26. It's the same approach he took the previous year, when OfficeMax stock hit a low point and analysts began to question his management plan.
Since then, Feuer has developed and begun to integrate a strategic plan that includes re-evaluating the office supply retailer's growth initiative and lowering fixed costs. As the company's stock price rose, its largest single stockholder, Orient Star LLC, stopped its aggressive acquisition strategy (it had closed in on the magic 15 percent) and began selling off OfficeMax stock for large profits.
Unlike many of his CEO peers, Feuer did not reward himself for the first-year plan efforts. He received a salary of $950,000 in the year ended Jan. 26, down 1.9 percent from his salary of $968,269 the previous year.
Additionally, OfficeMax granted him 295,000 stock options, compared with 400,000 the prior year. Assuming the company's common stock appreciates 5 percent each year for the next nine years, the value of the options is $578,200. The options have an exercise price of $3.12 a share and expire April 4, 2011.
The executive received no restricted stock award in the year ended Jan. 26, compared with a restricted stock award of $14,871 the previous year.
Now vice president for Central Bank, a division of First Commonwealth Bank, he began his career there as a collection manager and earned rapid promotions. For the past 11 years, he has been a commercial lender.
In 1994, he became Central Bank's small business manager; the next year, he was appointed SBA lender. He then earned designation as a certified lender under the SBA CLP Program, and was named Lead SBA Lender for the First Commonwealth Financial Corp. He also has earned the designation of Preferred Lender under the SBA PLP Program.
In 1997, he received the Financial Services Advocate Award by the St. Francis College Small Business Development Center, and was given the first SBA Champion Award.
Nagle attended Juniata College and Pennsylvania State University. He began his career in finance with Capital Finance, then spent four years with General Motors Acceptance Corp. and five years with Mellon Bank.
He is a member of the Western Pennsylvania Association of SBA Guaranteed Lenders and the Blair County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and chairperson of the Blair County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Advocates. He is chairperson of the CARE Program for Central Bank and on the board of the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission.
Additionally, he is president of the Southern Alleghenies Commission Development Corporation and a member of the Altoona Incubator Advisory Council.
Druzak says Druzak Medical Inc. has a family-type atmosphere, and proudly recalls an employee who introduced the $18 million annual revenue company to a potential customer as "Team Druzak."
"That's why we're successful." he says, "The nomination could also be attributed to our ability to overcome numerous obstacles."
Druzak has overcome several obstacles since Druzak Medical opened for business in 1990, including a three-and-half-year development process for the company's fast and efficient Treetop Shopper, a Web-based, split-screen ordering system for physicians and nursing homes.
"I ended up starting and scrapping at least two other versions of the project before I finally came up with a design that worked. (It took) at least six different computer programmers. After the fifth programmer left for Chicago, I decided to build our own MIS department (and hire) our own programmer," he says.
Personal loss has challenged Druzak as well. In 1992, one of his two partners, Janet Charland, the company's business and accounting manager,lost her fight with cancer. Then Druzak's son, Benjamin Jared, died at age 6 in 1995 from bacterial meningitis. Far from giving up, he continued growing his successful business and adopted three children from Poland in 1996.
"I consider ourselves an organic-style company. We also have the philosophy of developing long-term business relationships based upon trust and a mutual respect for one another," says Druzak.
As the first paid director of the African-American Chamber of Commerce, Williams says, "My greatest challenge was in starting the chamber as a professional organization."
She developed an implementation proposal based on the strategic plan she was presented and engaged as many of her business associates, partners and friends as possible.
"I created systems to monitor my performance and kept my focus on building the organization based upon its mission that I believe in," she says.
That mission is to promote access and opportunity for African-American business owners and professionals. Williams is proud that the organization has more than 325 members, 28 corporate sponsors and formal programs and benefits for members.
"My business philosophy is to stay focused on your goals and objectives. Think big and be creative in your approach, thanking those who help you along the way. Not everyone may agree with you, but hopefully they will respect what you do and appreciate the end results," Williams says.
As the recipient of the 2000 Susan B. Anthony Woman of Vision Award from the Executive Women's Council and the 2002 Greater Pittsburgh YWCA's Woman in Business and Industry Award, Williams remains true to her fundamental belief in people.
"I understand the value of building relationships first, then selling the product. People tend to do business with people they know," she says.
"I'm always looking for ways to energize my staff," says Bradley, president of graphic design firm Bradley Brown Design Group in Carnegie.
Providing a creative atmosphere is imperative in the graphic design business, says Bradley. Yoga, she contends, is one way to foster such a climate.
"Despite the pressures, the creative juices have to flow and we have to work as a team," says Bradley. "Yoga helps stimulate the creative process."
Bradley, who says she has used other exercise regimens, including aerobics and fitness machines, has been taking yoga classes for about a year-and-a-half. She decided last September to invite her employees and those of one of her clients to join her on Mondays at midday at the Yoga Sadhana Studio in the South Side.
She mentioned the classes to Don Trone, CEO of investmgt., a Web-based community for investment fiduciaries. Trone, who has an interest in providing his employees with opportunities for physical activity --investmgt. has an on-site rowing machine and shower facilities at its offices -- suggested to Bradley that the two companies offer the class to both of their employees.
"We tend to work at desks and behind computer screens all day," says Trone. "There is a connection between physical fitness and mental attitude. The yoga classes establish a sense of camaraderie and help us to open our minds. The resulting productivity is clearly a companywide benefit."
While Bradley concedes it's difficult to quantify the benefits of offering a yoga class to employees, she says her own anecdotal experience leads her to believe that it helps reduce stress and that her employees look forward to the weekly sessions.
Says Bradley: "It's been my observation that they seem so much calmer."
Taking the class as a group, adds Bradley, creates a bond among employees and helps them work as a team. Bradley picks up the tab for the classes.
"It definitely gives me much more balance and peace. In order to run a business, you need to have a good balance of head and heart," she says. How to reach: Bradley Brown Design Group, www.bradleybrowndesign.com; investmgt., www.investmgt.com
Sisterson & Co. achieved the level of Unqualified Opinion, the highest level of report from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, in its most recent review.
BANKING & FINANCIAL SERVICES
Commercial National Bank has agreed to acquire the North Huntingdon branch office of Great American Federal.
Prudential Preferred Realty has acquired the residential and commercial divisions of Equity Real Estate in Squirrel Hill.
Massaro Co. will provide general construction services for the construction of an 8,500-square-foot UPMC Cancer Center at St. Clair Hospital.
PWCampbell secured a design/builder contract from Indiana First Bank in Indiana, Pa. The construction company has also received a design/builder contract from CALL Federal Credit Union for a branch office in Chesterfield, Va.
Repal Construction Co. Inc. completed projects for Westmoreland County Community College, including a 3,200-square-foot classroom building, a 1,200-square-foot exercise and fitness center and a 2,200-square-foot classroom renovation.
Cuddy Roofing Co. received the roofing contract for Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Hanlon Electric Co., a union electrical contractor, formed a subsidiary, Hanlon Network Services, to specialize in installation, diagnostics and service of data communications networks.
Pittsburgh Housing Development Corp. is working with EDGE studio and no wall productions to renovate the building at 905 Liberty Ave. into the Liberty Lofts.
The Pittsburgh Foundation has awarded grants totaling $548,000 to The Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Pittsburgh Film Office, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, Family Services of Western Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Economy League and Community Design Center of Pittsburgh Inc.
Ohio Valley General Hospital has begun a Colon-Rectal Health Program, focusing on education and prevention.
Cohen & Grigsby has formed an independent workplace consultancy, cg 2.
Vangura Surfacing Products Inc. has introduced a new product line, Prosolid, a solid surface countertop product for baths and kitchens.
PUBLIC RELATIONS & ADVERTISING
Communitech has added 3 Rivers Connect to its client roster.
LarsonO'BrienAcumen was selected agency of record for Turner Dairy Farms.
Jack Horner Communications has acquired clients Tri-Arc Manufacturing Co., University of Phoenix, Pittsburgh Campus, Laurel Awning Co. and Desmone & Associates. The firm will provide various public relations and marketing services.
Fitting Creative changed its name to Fitting Group, a move the agency says better reflects its strategic direction and capabilities.
EV Products selected Krakoff Communications Inc. as its marketing communications agency.
Sewickley Graphics & Design was recognized by the American Corporate Identity 18 for entries in the corporate identity trademark/logo and corporate image brochure categories.
Arbuckle's Gourmet Coffee Co. purchased an 11,000-square-foot building in Verona for office and warehouse operations.
Filene's Basement, the Boston-based retailer, opened a 40,000-square-foot store at The Waterfront.
Blue Archer Consulting signed an agreement to provide Alcoa Inc. with financial management software for the Alcoa intranet.
XiTech has expanded its operations with new offices in Cincinnati and Ravenswood, W.Va. It has also secured a license to provide job retraining for individuals interested in the fields of systems or network administration.
Taylor Systems Engineering Corp. of Plymouth, Mich., was named a provider and distributor for Pittsburgh-based Vocollect Inc.
Penn Telecom landed the contract to provide local dial tone and other broadband services to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
This site tells you the steps you need to follow for building on undeveloped land, who to contact and background on the Corps of Engineers.
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
The Ohio EPA's site has its Wetland Permit Application available online in PDF format. It also includes useful information about what not to do during your project -- for example, removing trees and shrubs around wetlands, since that promotes erosion.
The Ohio Wetlands Foundation
This nonprofit group offers wetlands mitigation bank credits with which you can buy wetlands in protected areas to replace land disturbed during construction. There is a database of available lands and how many wetlands credits are left in each area.
If you want to learn everything possible about wetlands, the environmental education Web site Eco-Pros.com has assembled a list of resources that will make you an expert.
HzW Environmental Consultants Inc.
This Mentor-based environmental firm touts its wetlands assessment experts. The site also includes environmental legislation updates.
Ohio Association of Realtors, Wetlands White Paper
This site has an interesting but dated (1990) white paper on wetlands by the Ohio Association of Realtors. While it may not be up-to-date, the study includes a great, simply written overview about how to develop in areas with wetlands.
Compiled by Morgan Lewis Jr.
Since Joe Taggart sold the business in 1958, the restaurant has changed hands four times. As ownership changed, so did much of the devotion to the quality, until the Schotts stepped in with a mission to restore the Taggarts name.
So far, the Schotts have increased sales 110 percent since assuming ownership, and grown the employee base from 14 to 38 full-time and part-time workers.
Patti Schott, a nurse for 32 years, attributes the couple's success to their involvement with the community.
"It really has turned the place around, because the people prior to us were not really involved with the community and we have been, and we donate to any of the community organizations. It has come back to us one-hundred-fold," she says.
Along with reconnecting to the community, the Schotts invested $30,000 in restorations to the 76-year-old building, including general cleaning and painting, landscape improvements and repairs to the stucco exterior. They also replaced outdated kitchen equipment, restored much of the dining room furniture and replaced a player piano in the parlor with a more user-friendly model.
Their most noticeable improvement, however, may have been to the menu. Homemade favorites have returned, including 15 regular and 11 seasonal ice cream flavors, all made on the premises twice a week. The Schotts also use many of Taggarts' original recipes for hot fudge and the flavored syrups used in fountain drinks, homemade soups, salads and sandwiches.
Last year, revenue topped $500,000 at the 72-seat establishment, and the Schotts gave about $300 a month to local schools, churches and other nonprofit organizations. How to reach: Taggarts Ice Cream, (330) 452-6844
Fishers Foods, founded in 1933 by Jeffrey's grandfather, Joseph, has survived the Depression, recessions and influxes of national big-box retailers.
"There's been so many changes within the last five to six years that I think it's even strengthened our position to be an independent," Fisher says.
"As we become the lone ranger, we're the alternative to the big boxes, who really don't do what the customer wants."
Fisher, who has worked for his family's company for 20 years and as its president for the last 15, says quality and value have kept the chain in business.
Fishers doesn't strive to appeal to a particularly low-end or high-end customer, he says. In fact, he admits, "We don't have a target audience. We're not looking for low end or high end, but everybody in the middle. Then we get a lot of high-end customers and we get a lot of low-end customers."
He says a loose market definition works for the company because it has figured out how to truly deliver value to the customer. Fishers does this by offering everyday low prices that are often lower than the national chains.
"We have adopted an everyday low price strategy," he says. "No gimmicky card is needed. Even though we're a small independent, we buy directly from the manufacturers -- we don't buy through a wholesaler. We ship directly into our warehouse from the manufacturer."
He says the quality of Fishers food is exceptional, adding to the whole value concept.
"We're food people," he says. "The food should look good, the food should taste good, and the food is more important than the décor.
"You don't have to pay $25 a pound for great filet," he adds. "We have certain purveyors that work with us, and our meat cutters are trained to look for the quality, to cut it the right way."
The last key to providing value, he says, is always offering good customer service, no matter how low your prices are. That is accomplished by training employees at every level how to communicate. At the store level, he says, Fishers 1,000 employees are trained to treat the customer the same way they would want to be treated when they are grocery shopping.
At the corporate level, the company maintains a separate a separate customer service phone number, listed in the local phone book. It also is lucky enough to employ many long-term employees, who, as Fisher puts it, "carry the banner every day."
"The thing with this industry is that there's always another competitive force that's going to open up. It could be another independent, it could be a regional chain ... but there's never been a time where we felt that we couldn't deliver value." How to reach: Fishers Foods, (330) 497-3000
ACCOUNTING & CONSULTING
Gary Shamis, managing director of SS&G Financial Services, was awarded the "On the Edge Innovation Award" by the Leading Edge Alliance at its annual meeting in Naples, Fla.
Joanna Eggett has been promoted to associate director of the Cleveland outsourcing department at SS&G Financial Services. Jeffrey Muencz was promoted to associate director of the Cleveland accounting and auditing department and Christopher Szuch was promoted to associate director of the Akron accounting and auditing department.
Maple Alley Market Research LLC moved from Chesterland to the Fowler's Mill area of Chardon.
Christina Callos, president of Callos Consulting Group, has been certified to instruct "The Seven Laws for Engaging Spirit in the Workplace."
Marinko Milos was elected president of the Cleveland chapter of the Ohio Society of Certified Public accountants for Howard, Wershbale & Co.
Rob Johnson has been promoted to senior manager of Meaden & Moore. John J. Nicklas has been promoted to senior manager.
Lauren B. Wolf has joined Barnes Wendling CPAs Inc. as director of the nonprofit and public sector resource center. David R. Menning has joined as principal and manager of corporate finance group.
ADVERTISING & PR
Stephen F. Lee has been named senior vice president of Marcus Thomas LLC. Phil Johnston has been named senior vice president of the planning group and Jennifer Hirt-Marchand has been named vice president of the research group.
Ron Oberstar has been named national accounts manager-graphic arts at Eckart America.
Michelle Lee has joined Dix & Eaton's eVentures practice.
Arnold & Co. was honored by the Printing Industries Association of Northern Kentucky and Ohio for printing excellence.
Stephen Phillips, Beth Mehlberth and Martha West have been promoted to vice president of Edward Howard & Co.
The Culbertson Group added the Sandusky/Erie County Visitors & Convention Bureau to its portfolio of clients.
Dorsky Hodgson + Partners has named Sandy Silverman, Victor Yue and Regis Korba as partners.
BANKING & FINANCE
Eric M. Earvin has been promoted to vice president, credit policy/credit risk management, at FirstMerit Bank. Michael E. Miller has been promoted to vice president.
Timothy S. Brimus has been promoted to vice president and controller of First Federal, Lakewood. Steve Nogle was promoted to vice president and MIS director and David T. Shaw was promoted to vice president and chief savings officer .
Michael J. Gorman joined Northeastern Ohio's Fifth Third Bank as vice president of the private banking department.
Michael A. Fixler was named firm director of Candlewood Partners LLC.
Edward R. Turza has been appointed branch manager of Lakewood First Federal.
Rade Marich has joined FirstMerit Bank Cleveland as a business banker.
Polaris Career Center's Business Resource Center received certification as an ISO 9000 registered facility and can offer ISO standard educational services.
Alan Valek was appointed director of buildings and grounds at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
James Kozel has been named development office of individual and planned giving at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Mary Schiller has joined the voice faculty and Barrick Stees joined the bassoon faculty.
John Polk has been appointed director of the entrepreneurs association at John Carroll University.
The Krill Co. Inc. completed renovation of the Agnar Pytte Center for Science Education and Research at Case Western Reserve University.
Dr. Tarvez Tucker and Dr. Jennifer S. Kriegler have joined the American Migraine Center.
Susan Tyler has been named executive vice president and chief financial officer of Medical Mutual.
Jack Pompei was promoted to Northeast Ohio branch manager for CorVel Corp.
Elizabeth Mullins has been named general manager for The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland.
A-1 Mr. Limo added A Bridal Boutique to its limousine service offerings.
The Reserves Network received the NEO Success Award. The work force solution company also acquired the Barclay Staffing Group of Westlake.
Cefaratti Group relocated its corporate offices to 4608 St. Clair Ave.
Jason Walters is the new agency chief information officer of Gale Financial Group.
Thomas W. Hess has become chairperson of Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs LLP Health Law Practice Group.
Gregory J. Blasiman was promoted to senior manager of Bruner-Cox LLP, Canton office.
Douglas V. Bartman has become a principal in Kahn, Kleinman, Yanowitz & Arnson.
Sergio Carano and Connie Carr have joined Kohrman Jackson & Krantz PLL.
Pam VanHoose has been promoted to controller at Greer Steel Co. Robert Ulbrich has been promoted to general manager.
Kevin E. Trainor joined the M.F Cachat Co. as eastern region sales manager.
3-D Services Ltd. purchased the 85,000-square-foot Massillon Industrial Equipment Service Center from Grand Eagle Inc.
David Bell was named Cleveland regional sales representative for Ely Enterprises Inc.
Darlene Constant was hired as school-based mentoring coordinator of Big Brothers Big Sister of Greater Cleveland.
PuppyPaws Inc. received the 2001 Pinnacle Award from Pet Age Magazine for its pet-themed jewelry.
Paragon Data Systems was recertified as a full-service Zebra authorized service provider for 2002.
Jason Schultz and Mike Miller have joined Great Lakes Cos. as account executives.