SBN Staff

Bill Schottenstein, President, Arshot Investment Corporation

Give us an example of a business challenge you and/or your organization faced, as well as how you overcame it.

Arshot Investment Corporation is a niche real estate developer that takes pride in taking on a variety of innovative and challenging projects. Many of these projects involve adaptive reuse of urban landmarks, e.g. The Beggs Building (Fifth Third Center), Worly Building (Shadowbox Live Theater) and the Woolworth Building (107 S. High Street). Such blending of timeless architecture with modern technology often presents unique challenges.

In what ways are you an innovative leader, and how does your organization employ innovation to be on the leading edge?

A recent example is our proposed redevelopment of the Cooper Stadium site on the near west side of Columbus. Our plan to reinvigorate the area by converting the site into an innovative multi-use complex, including an automotive research center coupled with a paved half-mile track, took more than four years to be approved. The process involved Franklin County, the City of Columbus and many neighborhood groups, but a consensus was finally formed and the project is moving forward.

How do you make a significant impact on the community and regional economy?

While maintaining valuable elements of the site’s heritage, this project will make re-use of the stadium in a way that both showcases and facilitates Central Ohio’s contributions to automotive innovation. It will also serve as a catalyst for economic development in a distressed community, creating hundreds of full- and part-time jobs and attracting tourism with regional and national events. Such a positive impact on the community could not be achieved without innovative vision and extraordinary determination on the part of Arshot's development team.

Bill Schottenstein is the president of Arshot Investment Corporation

Bill Balderaz, President, Fathom

Give us an example of a business challenge you and/or your organization faced, as well as how you overcame it.

For the first few years of our organization we were in a unique market position. Companies were cutting back on broadcast and print advertising and shifting their budgets to online marketing, public relations and advertising. At the same time, social media was on the rise as an effective means of generating new business and technology allowed for highly targeted online marketing. We were in the online marketing space early, literally on the dawn of social media marketing and had a great head start. For years we were growing as quickly as we could onboard people. We enjoyed a market position with very little competition and very high demand.

Then in 2010, larger, well-funded agencies began seeing the opportunity in the online space. Suddenly, our clients and employees were being courted by “brand name” agencies 10 times our size. At the same time, smaller firms and individuals sprung up overnight offering at cut rate prices.

We caught this threat early and reacted fast. We focused on creating new market spaces in which the smaller firms couldn’t compete in terms of resources and larger firms couldn’t compete in terms of innovation and flexibility. We redefined ourselves as a data driven marketing firm for regulated industries. More than redefining ourselves, we lived up to these claims in everything we did. These two market positions separated us from the noise in the market and allowed us to not only maintain our clients and employees but accelerate our growth.

In what ways are you an innovative leader, and how does your organization employ innovation to be on the leading edge?

Innovation is our lifeblood. The firm started in 2006 to help companies use the social media and search engine marketing to grow. YouTube and Twitter had been in existence less than a year. Facebook had only just opened up to the general population. We can literally say that no one has been marketing on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube longer than we have.

In 2006, we built the very first tool to measure social media activity. Today, such tools are common, but at the time, no one had a tool like this. This again helped us establish a market leadership position early.

In 2010, we launched a new division with a proprietary process to analyze hundreds of thousands of online conversations from consumers, the media, government and other influencers and turn that data into actionable intelligence our clients can use for everything from product development, to creating sales strategies to building communication plans to defining a logistics process. Again, we believe we were the first organization to have this type of offering.

In 2012 we launched our social media predictive analytics service. Today, we believe that by analyzing historical social media conversation and correlating those discussions with actual events, we can use social media to predict the outcome of everything from the presidential election and sales of a new or existing product, to climate change and the unemployment rate.

How do you make a significant impact on the community and regional economy?

We work with many of the largest and best known organizations in Central Ohio. In all cases, we help those organizations grow, which creates more jobs. Our clients are successful and it makes us proud to have a small part in their growth.

Aside from our direct work with clients, we actively work with the Columbus Region, The Columbus Chamber of Commerce, TechColumbus and the Conway Center for Family Business  and other groups that are focused on economic development efforts. We also frequently offer free seminars at events sponsored by the local chapters of professional organizations to help local business use the Internet to grow.

In addition, we employ a talented team of professionals here in Columbus and have plans to continue our aggressive growth in Columbus.

Bill Balderaz is the president of Fathom

Brad Kitchen, President, Alterra Real Estate Advisors

Give us an example of a business challenge you and/or your organization faced, as well as how you overcame it.

During the recent economic downturn, commercial real estate investments fell out of favor; no one was buying property, banks were not lending, and tenants were not signing leases. Alterra Real Estate Advisors turned this into an opportunity to acquire competitors’ market share by aggressively focusing on operating expense reductions for building owners through property management and overhead reductions for companies through lease restructuring.

At the same time, Alterra also focused on helping owners of troubled commercial real estate assets and receiverships by using our expertise at turning around these types of properties. We now manage many properties which we have reduced expenses over $100,000, increased their occupancy, improved cash flow, and obtained multiple sale offers.

Alterra has been so successful with this strategy that many of our listings have been sold, and we had to add to our leasing and property management portfolio. We capitalized on our proven methods and have grown our property management and leasing portfolio by 20 to 40 percent annually.

In what ways are you an innovative leader, and how does your organization employ innovation to be on the leading edge?

Alterra manages properties in different ways than our competition. For example, we focus on service and savings for our property owners by outsourcing our maintenance staff which minimizes our costs and we pass those savings on to our clients. We only send personnel to buildings when needed instead of having the owner incur the expense of full time on site employees. Alterra manages buildings to maximize savings for the owners and tenants.

I lead by example. Staff and sales agents are personally trained — hands-on — in every aspect of the business, from making calls, securing tenants and getting new clients. I also encourage my agents to be persistent and “think outside the box” to come up with creative solutions to close the deal. “No” means that you have not given enough reasons to say “yes,” so keep trying.

I work to instill an entrepreneurial spirit in my staff that is based on saving our clients money and exceeding their expectations. Our entrepreneurial culture is one that is hard for our competition to compete with.

I strive to keep my organization thinking proactively about solutions to property management, leasing and sales issues. I want Alterra to be the first to know about what’s next, the new trends in the industry, and how can we capitalize on them. We identify trends such as the recent upswing in the commercial real estate market and positioned ourselves and our clients to benefit from this turn in the market. We have also been ahead of the curve in logistics and technologies impacting commercial real estate.

Our company’s mission is instilled in the minds of our team. Everything they do is focused on the mission of maximizing our clients return on investments in real estate and minimizing their overhead costs. We are the consistent provider they can count on to get the job done and maintain an entrepreneurial attitude. We will do whatever it takes to help our clients, hence our slogan: “We’re On It.”

How do you make a significant impact on the community and regional economy?

Alterra works very hard to attract companies to open facilities and bring jobs to Central Ohio. We also work with companies in the community to help them minimize their facilities’ costs and expand their profit. I am very active in several local chambers, including the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, the Logistics Council and Columbus 2020.

Alterra and its employees are involved in many charities, serve on various boards, and participate in other volunteer activities to help those entities operate more cost effectively. I have offered financial consultation to homeless and underprivileged families to help them make better financial choices and get back on their feet. I am the former President of the Brewery District Association, am chairman of the National Education Committee for the International Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR), and Alterra employees are actively involved in the Capital Area Humane Society.  Alterra’s staff also produced and starred in a public service announcement to benefit the Humane Society. Alterra’s management and staff look for ways to give back to the community and to help individuals.

Brad Kitchen is the president of Alterra Real Estate Advisors

Tim Owens, Partner and Chair, Employment & Labor Law Practice Group, Lane, Alton & Horst

Give us an example of a business challenge you and/or your organization faced, as well as how you overcame it.

Since its establishment over 50 years ago, Lane Alton & Horst has enjoyed an impeccable reputation for integrity and the highest quality legal representation in all types of trial work. However, even though the Firm had established business and employment law practice areas, the Firm recognized that the central Ohio business community considered Lane Alton & Horst primarily as a trial practice law firm, not a business law firm. The Firm was committed to changing this mindset. Accordingly, beginning in 2010, the Firm recognized that in order to better serve its existing business and employment law clients, as well as to grow those practice areas, it needed to expand its expertise in business, tax, and employment law by adding lawyers who had similar reputations for integrity and high quality legal work in those areas. It made and implemented this decision even though the legal industry, like the rest of the business world, was mired in a recession. From January 2010 to date, the Firm has added four partners, including myself, who have brought employment, business, tax, trust and estate, and business succession planning expertise to the Firm’s existing and growing client base. All of the Firm’s lawyers are committed to establishing Lane Alton & Horst as both a trial practice and business law firm in the minds of the central Ohio business community.

In what ways are you an innovative leader, and how does your organization employ innovation to be on the leading edge?

Having had the benefit of being a partner in both much larger and much smaller law firms than Lane Alton & Horst, I have been exposed to the advantages and disadvantages of both. Lane Alton, as a mid-sized firm, has the best of both worlds by being big enough to have the capability to handle complex legal issues, while being small enough to efficiently and quickly respond to those issues without the high overhead cost associated with maintaining multiple offices in multiple cities. Recognizing that certain of its client either have or will have a need for representation beyond central Ohio, the Firm has joined Primerus, an international society of law firms with over 180 law firms and 2800 lawyers in over 40 countries throughout the world — a “virtual multi-national law firm.” Through this affiliation, the Firm can provide its clients with top quality work product at a reasonable cost at the regional, national and international levels, while maintaining a consistently high level of client service by providing these services through one local point of contact that is already well-known to the client.

The Firm’s size has an additional benefit in that it can take innovative approaches to collaborating with its clients. One example is the Firm’s Restaurant and Hospitality Industry Practice group that provides full service representation of restaurants and similar businesses. As a result of that particular expertise, the Firm developed a relationship with the Central Ohio Restaurant Association (CORA) as its general counsel. CORA maintains its offices within the Firm’s office space. This allows CORA to have direct access to the Firm’s attorneys with expertise in its industry while at the same time keeping the Firm’s attorneys abreast of the most current issues in the industry — a win-win for both CORA and its members, as well  the Firm and its restaurant and hospitality industry clients.

How do you make a significant impact on the community and regional economy?

I believe that one way that business people can have a significant impact on our community is through community service. Community service supports all of the walks of life and community institutions in central Ohio, thus making our community a better place to live, work and raise a family.

Throughout my legal career, my mentors have stressed that the practice of law is a privilege and that community service is part of how we pay back the community for that privilege. As such, I have served as a member and chair of the board of the Capital Area Humane Society (and continue to do pro bono legal work for the Society), I am a graduate of Leadership Columbus, and I am a Fellow of the Ohio State Bar Foundation. I have also served on the City of Upper Arlington Charter Review Commission. More recently, I helped to found, and currently serve as the board chair of, Ohio Motorcyclists for Children, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization whose mission is to support Nationwide Children’s Hospital. One of my pet projects for Ohio Motorcyclists for Children is to donate the food and cook breakfast on the third Saturday of every month for anyone staying at the Ronald McDonald House adjacent to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Lane Alton & Horst is equally committed to serving the entire central Ohio community and its institutions. As such, the Firm’s lawyers are encouraged to give back to the community. For example, four of the Firm’s lawyers have served as President of the Columbus Bar Association. Currently, one of our lawyers is the president of the Women Lawyers of Franklin County; another is on Westerville’s City Council, while another serves on the Tri-Creek District of the Simon Kenton Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Tim Owens is a partner and the chair of the Employment & Labor Law Practice Group at Lane, Alton & Horst

Bob Loversidge, Jr., President & CEO, Schooley Caldwell Associates

Give us an example of a business challenge you and/or your organization faced, as well as how you overcame it.

Our biggest challenge at the moment is the tough economy. With government agencies — at all levels — short of money, our traditional primary market of public works has been depressed for several years. In fact, when the economy first tanked, we had 13 active projects of various sizes and at various stages of completion cancelled! This means the work stops immediately and the income stops about a month later. We did not respond with layoffs; we kept our talented and experienced team together, reduced salaries for a while, helped individuals with problems, hunkered down to complete the work we had more efficiently, and re-doubled our efforts to identify and “land” new work. We worked hard with repeat clients, and our principals made an extraordinary push to identify new clients and markets. One result has been a dramatic increase in work with private sector clients, and increased assistance to clients to attract various financing programs and incentives to “push” projects into feasibility and design.

In what ways are you an innovative leader, and how does your organization employ innovation to be on the leading edge?

I am not sure I am an innovative leader (but I am happy to have been asked the question). As the leader of our ownership team of five, I try to be a proactive listener, to take the pulse of the business, to respond to the needs of our team, and to ascertain the changing requirements of clients and potential clients, and to make the appropriate adjustments to keep the ship afloat. We try to make sure our team has the necessary tools to do a better job — these days this often consists of computer or software upgrades, but it also includes access to continuing education and teambuilding. We have become leaders in BIM (Building Information Modeling), the now and future way of communicating design information to the entire design and construction team. We also maintain a very visible “presence” in our community through our work with highly-visible (and accountable) projects (see below), and though pro-bono public service. Perhaps our most innovative practice (although we have been doing this since 1944!) is extensive, thorough and pro-active client service, going beyond normal expectations to do what should be done. This results in happy, repeat clients. Lately, we have been helping public clients meet “normally” unrealistic but real deadlines for completion, by identifying ways that “they” can streamline their own bureaucratic and complex decision-making process and by giving “them” deadlines for milestone decisions (instead of the other way around). As a result several projects have been completed on time and some of these efficiency techniques are becoming the “new” normal practice.

How do you make a significant impact on the community and regional economy?

Most of our work involves renovation or restoration of existing buildings — many of them are iconic landmarks in our community, like the Ohio Statehouse, the Columbus Cultural Arts Center, the Columbus Museum of Art, Franklin Park Conservatory, the Lazarus Building,  the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center, the Atlas Building, the LeVeque Tower, etc. Renovation projects are inherently sustainable, taking advantage of embedded energy, re-using scarce resources and reducing the burden on landfills. Subsequently, dollars spent on renovation projects create almost twice as many high-paying, skilled construction jobs than equivalent dollars spent on new construction. As architects, we are kind of harbingers of the economy — if we are busy designing, now, the construction industry will be ... soon. One relatively “new” impact is created by a renewed emphasis on specifying materials that are available nearby. While this idea starts as a sustainability practice (less fossil fuel used to transport materials from long distances), it has the added benefit of boosting a more local and regional economy.

Bob Loversidge, Jr. is the president and CEO of Schooley Caldwell Associates.

Oil Field Services, Finalist

In 2008, Chris Beckett left a career with an established offshore drilling contractor to build an ultra-deepwater drilling company — from scratch.

Despite the huge challenges and personal risk of this decision, Beckett believed in the possibilities of a company created without the legacy problems common to companies developed over time through mergers and acquisitions.

His willingness to think beyond the established convention has helped put Pacific Drilling in a unique position in the offshore drilling industry.

Bucking the traditional model of building a management team exclusively from oil services industry veterans, Beckett purposefully developed a management team that includes subject matter experts from a variety of professional backgrounds.

By doing so, he hoped to find the best solutions and processes for Pacific Drilling, not just the customary way of doing things.

Beckett empowers his employees to make suggestions and take ownership of processes and projects. To date, Pacific Drilling has experienced employee turnover below the average for its peer companies.

Beckett’s model has led the company to phenomenal success. The company has gone from 16 employees in 2008 to more than 700 employees in 2012 and from two operational drill ships in 2011 to four in 2012 with two more on order.

Beckett, CEO, remains excited about the future of the company and believes there is opportunity to grow the fleet to 10 to 12 ships in the near future. He believes that with the technology and experience in ultra-deep-water drilling, Pacific Drilling will be a preferred provider in the offshore drilling environment as customers look to capitalize on different regions previously not accessible by other competing offshore drilling companies.

How to reach: Pacific Drilling, www.pacificdrilling.com

Logistics & Industrial Services, Award Recipient

As the CEO of Cenergy International Services LLC, a company she created in 1996, June Ressler leads with her head, closely followed by her heart.

While her training as an attorney has enabled Ressler to manage complex contracts and contractor liability protection for Cenergy’s workplace solutions for some of the world’s largest energy companies, the company’s ultimate success has come from people empowered to communicate and take ownership of their work.

Because of the nature of her company’s business, the people element is critical for Ressler’s placements, her corporate clients and for her employees.

Ressler grew Cenergy from a sole proprietorship in 1996 to a dynamic workforce solutions company that now places more than 1,000 highly trained professionals in locations on multiple continents. The process involves the complexity of client labor contracts, agreements with those placed, liability insurance and, for the logistics and safety divisions, risk management.

Cenergy has logged more than 5 million manhours without TRIR, or total reported incident rate — a perfect safety record in a working environment that is often high-risk.

The company has weathered several energy boom and bust cycles, which have decimated other energy services companies in the past 15 years. Originally based in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina’s 2005 landfall, Cenergy had no loss in client services despite losing virtually its entire headquarters and needing to quickly establish a new headquarters in Houston.

As a woman-owned business, Cenergy faced other challenges unique to its situation. Ressler met those challenged by providing the right solutions for clients. The company has more than doubled in size the past two years and expects to do the same over the next two years.

How to reach: Cenergy International Services LLC, www.cenergyintl.com

Health care & Health care Services, Finalist

TJ Farnsworth, founder and CEO of SightLine Health LLC, was born and bred an entrepreneur. He grew up in a household where his mother, a schoolteacher, started a series of her own successful businesses, and his father, an attorney, started his own boutique practice. He never thought of doing anything other than starting his own company.

After working for a marginally successful health care technology start-up, and subsequently joining a larger health care company, Farnsworth used his little savings and a lot of credit cards to develop outpatient treatment centers using a new technology to treat uterine fibroids in women.

However, shortly after that investment, the economy collapsed and the pool of patients dried up. So Farnsworth began to look for new avenues to steer the business and settled on the development and operation of high-end outpatient radiation oncology centers.

Farnsworth knew he had to differentiate himself to gain patients. He decided to focus on customer service, something he saw lacking with large hospital systems and health care providers. Patients who visit SightLine Health centers find surface parking by the door, a warm, welcoming environment and a staff that greets them by first name. Farnsworth strives to make them feel like family and does whatever he can to make their experience a little easier.

SightLine Health partners with many community organizations related to cancer, including Race for the Cure and the American Cancer Society, but Farnsworth tries to challenge his employees to find unique missions. One good example is in Lubbock, Texas, where SightLine partnered with the American Cancer Society to build Texas’ first Hope Lodge, where patients and their families can stay for extended periods while being treated for cancer in the Lubbock community.

How to reach: SightLine Health LLC, www.sightlinehealth.com

Saturday, 30 June 2012 20:00

Honoring the best of the best

For more than 25 years, Ernst & Young has celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit of men and women who make our economy vibrant.

Ernst & Young founded the Entrepreneur Of The Year® Program to recognize those with a passion for “thinking big” and to bring together visionaries and leaders to inspire each other and our communities. We have gathered here and in 25 cities across the United States to honor all of our regional finalists and welcome a new class of entrepreneurs into our Hall of Fame, recognizing their resilience, ingenuity and innovation.

We applaud them for overcoming challenges, inspiring others, opening new markets and, ultimately, fueling economic growth in the Northeast Ohio region. Let’s celebrate their achievements, perseverance and tireless pursuit of business excellence.

Congratulations to all 2012 Northeast Entrepreneur Of The Year® finalists.

Whitt Butler is the program director and an advisory partner at Ernst & Young.

2012 Finalists and Honorees

HEALTH CARE AND LIFE SCIENCES

Dr. Robert Kent, Summa Western Reserve Hospital

DISTRIBUTION AND MANUFACTURING

ENERGY, RESOURCES AND CLEAN TECHNOLOGY

INDUSTRIAL AND ENGINEERED PRODUCTS AND MATERIALS

SERVICES AND MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS

FINANCIAL AND BUSINESS ADVISORY SERVICES

RETAIL AND CONSUMER PRODUCTS

TECHNOLOGY

Saturday, 30 June 2012 20:00

Honoring the best of the best

For more than 25 years, Ernst & Young has celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit of men and women pursuing innovation and entrepreneurial excellence in their businesses, their teams and their communities.

The blood, sweat and passion they’ve poured into their businesses and the triumphs they’ve achieved stand as a testament to the role they play as visionaries, leaders and innovators. Ernst & Young founded the Entrepreneur Of The Year Program to recognize this passion for excellence and to build an influential and innovative community of peers.

We have gathered here and in 25 other cities in the U.S. to welcome the men and women who are regional finalists into our entrepreneurial Hall of Fame and to toast their commitment to succeed. We applaud them for launching start-up companies, opening new markets and fueling job growth.

So let’s celebrate their achievements, their perseverance and their tireless pursuit of business excellence.

Ernie Cortes is the Entrepreneur Of The Year program director. He can be reached at (408) 947-5462.

2012 Finalists and Honorees

Emerging

• Geoffrey Barker, RPX Corp. (Winner)

• John Woolard, BrightSource Energy Inc. (Finalist)

• Hubert Thieblot, Curse Inc. (Finalist)

Life Sciences

• Lawrence Blatt, Alios BioPharma (Winner)

• Guo-Liang Yu, Epitomics Inc. (Finalist)

• Robert W. Duggan, Pharmacyclics Inc. (Finalist)

Marketing Services

• Tom Bedecarre, AKQA (Winner)

• David B. Goldberg, SurveyMonkey (Finalist)

• Bill Demas, Turn Inc. (Finalist)

Media and Entertainment

• Nicholas Woodman, Woodman Labs Inc. d.b.a GoPro (Winner)

• Matt Mullenweg, Automatic (Finalist)

• Lars Buttler, Trion Worlds Inc. (Finalist)

Retail and Consumer Products

• Dale Carlesen, Sleep Train (Winner)

• John Foraker, Annie’s Inc. (Finalist)

• Neil Grimmer, Plum Organics (Finalist)

Services

• Lisa Im, Performant Financial Corp. (Winner)

John Boncher, Cupertino Electric Inc. (Finalist)

• Mike Sechrist, Elana Whorton, ProTransport-1 (Finalist)

Technology

• Tarkan Maner, Wyse Technology (Winner)

• Lee Chen, A10 Networks (Finalist)

• Tasso Roumeliotis, Location Labs (Finalist)

Technology Services

• Matthew Monahan, Brian Monahan, Inflection (Winner)

• Larry Augustin, SugarCRM (Finalist)

• Bruton Goldfield, TriNet (Finalist)