SBN Staff

Stephen and Pam Coleman finally realized their new company was going to be taken seriously one day in 2009, six months after they had unfairly lost a bid for a critical contract.

The Colemans had submitted a proposal for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers job they felt perfectly suited for. Their company, Northstar Contracting, met important criteria as a veteran-owned business and could demonstrate its competency to do the work.

But instead, the job was granted to another firm.

“We were the second bidder on the contract,” Pam says. “We protested the award, because the first bidder was not a legitimate veteran-owned company. It took about six months, but we were eventually awarded the project.”

Why was that moment so important?

“We fought to get a project we knew we were entitled to, and we got it after the Corps investigated and found we were right,” Pam says. “It was a time when we had just finished a big project, and we really needed the work.”

Since then, the trajectory for the Cleveland-based Northstar has been steadily upward. Founded in 2006 — which the Colemans describe as a leap of faith at the beginning of a recession — the company has continued to grow.

“I never doubted that Northstar would be successful,” says Stephen. “I just questioned how fast we would realize success.” 

Doubling the growth

“If you look at our numbers the first year, they doubled the second year, and the third year we almost doubled,” says Pam, who serves as Northstar’s director of office management and human resources. “So it’s been steady growth, and it’s a lot of repeat customers.”

The company, which employs an average of 25 to 30 team members, may seem like an unlikely pairing with the Colemans’ previous careers. Stephen, the company’s president, spent more than 20 years in the U.S. Navy — including four years as a Navy SEAL and several years at the Pentagon, working for the Department of Defense Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. Pam spent 20 years in the Air Force, the last 10 of those in government contracting.

After his 2003 retirement Stephen spent three years working in Washington, D.C., for private industries. But with three children, the Colemans decided Washington was not the best place to raise a family. So after Pam’s retirement in 2006, they moved to Cleveland, her hometown.

The Colemans had long discussed starting a business after their retirement, and their firsthand knowledge of government contracts convinced them that money was available for the right company.  

The result was Northstar, a general contractor with a specialty concrete team. Split about 50-50 between the two sides of the business, Northstar claims a place as one of the few American companies doing pre-cast engineered concrete work for structures such as sewer shafts.

“We have people from Europe, Japan and Canada coming to Northstar for this work,” Stephen says. 

Using family as a resource

While contracting may not have been in the Coleman’s background, it certainly was in the family tree. And that’s one place they turned.

“My father and brother were in housing construction,” Pam says. “My brother (Phil Hathcock, who now manages Northstar’s concrete team) had worked for one of the few companies in the specialty concrete field. He joined us and brought a couple of employees with him.”

 “We surrounded ourselves with people who knew general construction,” Stephen says. “We did lots of research.”

As aging underground infrastructures such as tunnels and sewers need to be replaced, companies like Northstar have a leg up on the competition. But the Colemans say they want to grow both sides of the business. Their most prominent contracts testify to a balanced portfolio of work.

For example, the company is currently a subcontractor on the Euclid Creek Tunnel in Cleveland, a project set for completion in 2014. The tunnel is part of the $3 billion plan by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to meet federal Clean Water Act requirements during the next 25 years.

Northstar is the general contractor for a new $18 million flagship building for the NASA Glenn Research Center. The new 97,000-square-foot structure is NASA Glenn’s first new building in 26 years and the first step in consolidating its campus.

But for visibility purposes, the crown jewel in Northstar’s collection may be its work for the 350,000-square-foot National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is set to open in 2015 in Washington, D.C.

Devoted exclusively to the documentation of African-American life, art, history and culture, the museum will prominently feature a bronze and glass-panel façade known as the Corona. Northstar is constructing and installing the Corona, which will hang from the top of the museum with no intermediate support. The project requires Northstar to produce more than 3,000 panels, Stephen says.

“It’s a huge project, it’s part of history and we’re very proud to be a part of it,” Pam says.

Despite the company’s success, Northstar has faced its share of challenges.

“The biggest challenge we faced was the banks,” Pam says. “We understood that in the beginning, when you’re trying to get a line of credit and don’t have any experience, the banks don’t want to lend. But after awhile you do have a little bit of history.

“They helped us,” she says of Northstar’s initial banking partner, “but every step of the way we felt they were not really working for us.” 

Finding a banking partner

Finally, Northstar enlisted the help of Huntington National Bank, which three years ago made a public commitment to lend $4 billion to small businesses and create innovative ways to help small business owners succeed.

“They had a borrowing need that their current bank wasn’t able to fill,” recalls Jeffrey Standen, Huntington’s senior vice president and business banking market manager. “When we spent some time with them and began to understand their business, we were able to provide a solution with the help of our SBA team. In fact, we acquired all their business and personal banking.”

Pam says that relationship has made a difference.

“They are helping us grow the business,” she says, “and that’s a good thing.”

Other vital Northstar partners include the SBA office in Cleveland and SCORE, which provides free and confidential small business advice for entrepreneurs.

“Because we have so many certifications — we’re a minority business, we’re a veteran business, we’re a smaller business — we always try to take advantage of all the resources out there,” she explains. “We go to a lot of matchmaking events hosted by the City of Cleveland or the Veterans Administration or the Sewer District.”

Those two things, the Colemans say — leveraging relationships and available resources — are the keys for any new business starting out.

“Surround yourself with experienced people and establish a relationship with mentors,” Stephen advises.

Pam agrees, adding that relationships are everything.

“Talk to people, tell them what you’re doing. And when you’re building a relationship, don’t always try to see what’s in it for you. Ask how you can help each other.”

How to reach: Northstar Contracting, (440) 250-8606 or

Ken Kobus is proud to be a third-generation steelworker, saying, “The mill was always in my life, even as a baby.”

He began working at the Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. in 1965, spending most of his time at the Hazelwood Coke Works. He worked there from December 1966 until the plant closed in 1998. His father had worked at the Jones & Laughlin Pittsburgh Works for 37 years and his grandfather started work at J&L in 1906.

Through this life-long connection with J&L, Kobus has amassed a vast knowledge of its history and steel-making techniques, along with personal stories and photographs. Many of Kobus’ photographs and other items, such as his hard hat, are now on display as part of the Rivers of Steel exhibit entitled “J&L: A Pittsburgh Icon.”

An industrial giant

For more than 125 years, Jones & Laughlin Steel was the symbol of industrialized Pittsburgh — dominating the landscape of the city, physically and emotionally. Its history spans from the development and expansion of ironmaking in the 1850s, through the boom of the 20th century and finally to the decline of the industry in the 1980s.

The mill resided at the head of the region’s blue-collar persona: strong, determined, persistent in presence and willing to adapt to survive. Using photographs, archival documents, artifacts and personal stories, the exhibit tells the story of an incredible and resilient company and the region that it helped to create.

Founded in Brownstown, now part of Pittsburgh’s Southside neighborhood, in 1850 by two German immigrant ironmasters, Bernard and John Lauth, J&L had its beginnings in puddling and heating furnaces.

In 1853, Benjamin Franklin (B.F.) Jones joined the Lauth brothers to help them begin a rolling mill. Banker James Laughlin came on in 1856 to assist with financing for the mill. The Lauth brothers sold their interest in the business to Jones and Laughlin in 1861.

When the company was first established, the Lauth brothers processed pig iron into wrought iron through a laborious process known as “puddling” — literally cooking and working the iron. It required a lot of skill and time to puddle iron since only small batches of wrought iron could be produced at a time. The iron would later be rolled into desired shapes.

At the time of the Civil War, J&L was the largest producer of iron railroad rails and provided iron for ships, firearms, munitions and other military material. After the war, railroads switched from iron to steel, which would last years rather than months.

By 1895, J&L had largely stopped puddling iron due to its expanding steel business. The Bessemer process, a faster way of producing large amounts of steel, was first introduced into the United States in the late 1860s. J&L built a small Bessemer plant in the early 1870s, but abandoned it due to poor production. The company later built a second, improved Bessemer converter in 1886.

Cold rolled iron

During the mid-1850s, J&L, with fewer than 25 employees, was producing seven tons of iron per day. The most notable of its achievements was the development of the process of cold rolling.

Kobus says the beginning of cold rolled iron came about accidentally.

“To make a roll at that time you would have to mold the iron hot,” he says. “One of the men on the rolling train dropped his tongs into the rolls and when the tongs came back out they had a shine and a polish to them.”

The Lauth brothers began to experiment with the process and eventually perfected a method of rolling a stronger, and for many purposes, better product.

“Cold rolled products kept very accurate dimensions,” Kobus says, which was important for shafting and machinery.

George H. Thurston in his book “Pittsburgh and Allegheny in the Centennial Year” (1876), claims that cold rolled iron had “75 percent more effective strength than the same size of turned iron, and is made nowhere else in the world but by this firm at Pittsburgh.”

Steel in the 20th century

By the early 1900s, management realized it needed to expand to remain competitive. Constrained by topography and faced with limited opportunities to enlarge the Pittsburgh site, the company purchased a defunct amusement park at Woodlawn, Pa., some 20 miles downstream from Pittsburgh on the Ohio River.

There, they established the town of Aliquippa and began building their new works. Eventually the Pittsburgh plant would employ 10,000 workers, while the Aliquippa site employed three times as many.

As the years went by, J&L gradually found it more difficult to compete in a global marketplace. Ling-Temco Vought Inc. (LTV) acquired controlling interest of J&L in 1968. In 1974 it became a wholly owned subsidiary of LTV.

In the 1970s, the steel industry began to have problems due to a variety of factors including foreign competition, environmental controls, labor costs and lack of reinvestment. Both the Pittsburgh and Aliquippa Works of LTV were closed in the 1980s.

In 1984, Republic Steel merged with the J&L Steel subsidiary of the LTV Corp., with the new entity being known as LTV Steel. In December 2001, LTV filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and a few months later International Steel Group purchased LTV. It was acquired by Mittal Steel in 2005 which merged with Arcelor to become the world’s largest steel company, ArcelorMittal, in 2006.

How to reach: Rivers of Steel Heritage Corp., (412) 464-4020 or


 Rivers of Steel: Connecting past to present

The Rivers of Steel Heritage Corp. conserves, interprets and develops historical, cultural and recreational resources throughout Western Pennsylvania. Rivers of Steel seeks to link the colonial and industrial heritage to the present and future economic and cultural life of the region and the communities it serves.

The museum and archives division collects and preserves the history of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area through artifacts, documents, photographs and audiovisual materials that show many aspects of southwestern Pennsylvania’s industrial, cultural and ethnic traditions. The corporation is located in the historic Bost Building in the Homestead neighborhood.

The Bost Building, built in 1892 as a hotel, served as the temporary headquarters for the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers during the Homestead Lockout and Strike.

In addition to the main exhibition room currently featuring “J&L: A Pittsburgh Icon,” there are two rooms that have been restored to the way they looked in 1892, with original floorboards and period reproduction wallpaper. One room tells the story of the Homestead Strike; the other contains photographs that chronicle the restoration of the building from dilapidation through its opening as the Rivers of Steel Visitors Center.

The Bost Building also includes the Homestead Room — a permanent exhibit displaying artifacts and artwork specifically related to the Homestead Works.

For more information about Rivers of Steel Heritage Corp. and to plan a visit to the “J&L: A Pittsburgh Icon” exhibit, visit




Christine Neitzke
President, co-founder
The Dragonfly Foundation

On the wings of hope

Christine Neitzke co-founded The Dragonfly Foundation to give support to ill youngsters 

Seeing a need for families and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to receive more support for young cancer and blood disorder patients, Christine Neitzke and her friend Ria Davidson founded The Dragonfly Foundation in August 2010. They have been working closely with the hospital, its staff, patients and families ever since to bring support and encouragement at times when it is needed most.

Christine and Jim Neitzke’s youngest son Matt was diagnosed with stage 3A Hodgkin’s lymphoma in February 2010. They almost lost him twice due to medical complications. During this time, the Neitzkes were fortunate to have the support of family, friends and community. Davidson, Christine’s friend for more than 20 years, was one of the people who helped the family through this time.

“We were fortunate,” said Christine. “We had people who dedicated themselves to making Matt and our family smile. We know that other kids and families are not as lucky.”

Thus, The Dragonfly Foundation was launched.

“Our multiple weekly, ongoing events also help us build relationships between families that enables them to support one another as they experience the horrors of treatment, the after effects of medications, the post-traumatic stress and the anxiety of reoccurrence that continually challenges patients and their families,” she says.

“While a number of nonprofit organizations support efforts of finding a cure, The Dragonfly Foundation is completely focused on providing C.A.R.E. (Caring, Community and Awareness that Results in better Emotional health). This is what we call ‘The Dragonfly Difference.’” ●

Greater Cincinnati SCORE Board of Directors
Mike Martin

SCORE-ing points

Mike Martin and his board members steer volunteers to help mentor business clients 

If there ever needs to be an example of entrepreneurial teamwork, the Executive Board of Directors of Greater Cincinnati SCORE will fill the bill. Led by Chair/President Mike Martin, the board is responsible for the operations and directing of more than 100 volunteers who provide free mentoring and educational seminars to eligible business clients in 19 counties in Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana.

Most of the board members have been with SCORE for five years or longer: Jim Stahly, Gordon Daniels, Mike Tarren, Tom Moon, Dennis Murphy, Rick Johnston, Scott Stoeling, Michael Mulligan, Gregory Spontak, Paul Holzschuher, Bob Wiwi, William Haman and Mary Jane Good.

The members are responsible for the chapter receiving SCORE’s National Runner-up Award for fiscal year 2012. The chapter has won the top award once and has been runner-up five times in the last 10 years. The board members are responsible for the chapter being ranked in the top five nationally in every possible category for the last five years.

Two of SCORE Cincinnati’s clients achieved national recognition recently as they were awarded 2013 SCORE Outstanding Woman-Owned Small Business and 2013 SCORE Outstanding Non-Profit.

SCORE’s assistance to local businesses enabled them to create more than 350 new jobs in Greater Cincinnati last year. ● 

Stan Ross
Co-founder and executive director
Positive Influence Team

From at-risk to keeping the faith

Stan Ross and the Positive Influence Team work to guide youth away from violence 

Stan Ross leads the Positive Influence Team much like a quarterback leads his players on the gridiron. After all, he was the first African-American quarterback for Roger Bacon High School in Cincinnati.

The Positive Influence Team was founded in 2011 to engage and connect with at-risk youth and young adults to help transition them toward a positive and fulfilling lifestyle. Ross created a Process of Transformation that includes the vital steps of building trust with members while fostering transformational relationships rooted in a sincere and caring spirit — and a sense of teamwork.

The Positive Influence Team works with clients from a strengths-based approach and is committed to never lose faith in the clients’ inner power to succeed and move forward.

Ross has been involved for years in a mission to reduce violence. His earlier efforts include creating the Cincinnati Youth Street Worker program and being the outreach director at the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence.

Along with members of the Positive Influence Team, Ross developed the Real Gunz Anti-Violence Program, which addresses the realities behind the domestication, programming, beliefs, thinking, attitudes, feelings and behaviors associated with violence.

“With Stan, there were no expectations, except that he wanted to get to know me, build a relationship, and he was an influencer. It was more of his influence and the way he was living his life, that made me want to be like him,” says Dante Ingram, a former at-risk young man who turned his life around and is now a positive influence coach with the Positive Influence Team. ●

Rick Chouteau
Adopt A Class Board of Directors

Making connections

Rick Chouteau makes sure students have positive role models through Adopt A Class Foundation 

Under his leadership as the first president of the board of directors of Adopt A Class Foundation, Rick Chouteau has overseen the group’s growth from three members in 2008 to 12. But that’s not all. AAC has increased its number of participating schools from nine to 24, increasing the number of students served by 167 percent.

And that’s a welcomed situation by the organization’s benefactors — preschool through eighth grade students in Greater Cincinnati schools with at least 65 percent of students eligible for free or reduced lunches. With that focus, the organization fosters personal, sustained connections between members of the business and civic community and the students with the purpose of developing practical and social skills as they provide positive role models and build the culture of philanthropy and teamwork for business and civic groups.

Aside from the demands on Chouteau’s time and talent as a senior vice president at Paycor Inc., he finds time to meet the needs of his community. Chouteau was an inaugural board member when the organization was founded 10 years ago alongside founder Bill Burwinkel and one other community member.

In 2012, AAC hired a full-time director under Chouteau’s direction. With a staff person now in place, Chouteau and the board are mapping out a strategic plan for the future growth and sustainability of AAC. His corporate experience and business skills have been essential in helping to create a vision of independence and sound financial sustainability for the program. ●

Dennis Barron
Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries
Secretary, Board of Directors

Decades of service

Dennis Barron has been a guiding light at the Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries 

During his service for the Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries, Dennis Barron has donated more than an estimated 20,000 hours of his time, effort and energy toward governing the organization. He began serving in 1965 and has had more than 40 years of service, including roles as secretary and chairman. In that time, the Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries has grown from $1.6 million in annual revenue to more than $40 million.

As a result of this growth, the agency is now able to serve a diverse population that includes veterans, the homeless and people with cognitive, physical and sociological challenges.

In addition to growing revenue to such a substantial level over that time period, the organization has served more than 60,000 people with disabilities.

Goodwill’s program for the homeless, under Barron’s guidance, now serves more than 650 veterans and other at-risk individuals. The agency each year serves 3,100 men and women with disabilities and assists more than 800 to obtain employment.

During Barron’s tenure, the organization expanded its partnerships with the developmental disabilities agencies of Hamilton, Butler, Clermont and Warren counties. The result allows Goodwill to serve more than 650 individuals a day.

As a board member and former chairman of the board, Barron has offered counsel on the day-to-day operations of the facility and financial guidance on the operating budget.

This expansion of services is a tribute to Barron and his contributions to the growth of the Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries over the past four decades. ●

Stuart Aitken


Leading the pack

How employees get energized to help the needy at dunnhumbyUSA 

Philanthropy is a worldwide commitment for dunnhumbyUSA and employees get to decide where the effort to meet that commitment is directed. Each fall, through the science company’s Helping Hands program, everyone gets together to decide which nonprofits dunnhumby will support that year.

The IRS must recognize the charities chosen as legitimate charities, and the effort to help must provide opportunities for everyone to volunteer through team activities with clear goals. These have been fundamental to the effort under the leadership of CEO Stuart Aitken.

Employee participation runs Helping Hands and a dunnhumby team is assigned to manage the relationship with each charitable organization to determine where the need is. The team must also establish goals for working together effectively and organize dunnhumby events throughout the year.

In 2013, a total of seven nonprofits were selected: The American Cancer Society, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Oyler School, Freestore Foodbank, Ronald McDonald House, Drop Inn Center and Women Helping Women.

With the American Cancer Society, dunnhumby participates in the Relay for Life. In 2013, the company participated in a new event called the Bark for Life fundraiser. It’s a noncompetitive fundraising/walk event that honors cancer survivors, remembers loved ones lost to cancer and celebrates the caregiving qualities of dogs. The dunnhumby team had more than a dozen participants in this event and was able to raise more than $1,200 for the American Cancer Society. ●

Tanny Crane
President and CEO
Crane Group

Raising the bar
The Crane Group continues to find ways to be a good neighbor

Tanny Crane puts her heart and soul into her business, and she does the same with her efforts to make Columbus and the surrounding region a better place to live and work. Her recent pledge of
$1 million to Mayor Michael Coleman’s South Side Initiative is just another instance of that dedication.

The revitalization and redevelopment of the Southern Gateway neighborhood involved the renovation of the closed Reeb Avenue Elementary School into a neighborhood center, which will offer social programming and house the South Side Learning & Development Center.

It’s a continuation of the philanthropy that has been demonstrated by the Crane Group since Robert S. Crane Sr. founded the company in 1947.

The company, now led by Tanny, who serves as president and CEO, continues to be involved in a wide array of programs across the region. This includes local arts and education, health and human services, civic organizations, and neighborhood and community groups.

Crane Group has always believed that businesses have a responsibility to support nonprofit efforts that enhance the quality of life in their communities. The company has been the top per capita giver for the United Way in Central Ohio for the past 10 years.

One of the unique programs at Crane Group is called Crane on Board. More than 50 company leaders serve and lend their time and talents to more than 75 distinct nonprofit organizations.

The company’s ability to make a difference energizes everyone, and Tanny helps that flame burn bright by staying so involved. ●


Ric Dillon
Diamond Hill Investments

Generosity prevails
Diamond Hill Investments’ associates typify involvement across the community

The associates at Diamond Hill Investments, under the leadership of CEO Ric Dillon, are not only generous with their time volunteering at organizations such as LifeCare Alliance, Faith Mission and Habitat for Humanity, they work to review the Diamond Hill Charitable Foundation’s charter.

The Diamond Hill Charitable Foundation is a charitable gift match program with a maximum match for employee donations being $2,000 per calendar year with a matching policy minimum donation of $100.

A group of four associates each serve a two-year term to review the charter and ways to participate.

The foundation’s objective is to support charitable organizations that are important to Diamond Hill’s clients, shareholders and associates. Donations and matching through the foundation are vetted by The Columbus Foundation.

In addition to the organizations above, Diamond Hill has relationships with: Franklin County Children Services, donations; American Heart Association, 2013 Heart Walk attendees and monetary contributions; All For the Troops, donations sent to the troops; Rock for Hunger, corporate sponsorship with employees attending event; Children’s Hunger Alliance, monetary contributions; Neighborhood Services Inc., donations sent to the organization for the back-to-school program; Night of Chocolate, corporate sponsorship with employees attending event; American Red Cross, employee blood drive; Boys & Girls Club, corporate sponsorship with employees attending event; City Life, employee volunteers; and I Know I Can, employee volunteers. ●


Jordan A. Miller Jr.
president and CEO
Fifth Third Bank, Central Ohio

Helping where it’s needed
Fifth Third Bank supports financial literacy, hunger programs in the community

With one of its goals aimed at increasing the financial literacy of people living in the community it serves, Fifth Third Bank, Central Ohio, under President and CEO Jordan A. Miller Jr., has developed financial empowerment programs that provide access to information and tools that contribute to good financial decisions.

The Young Bankers Club teaches fifth grade students the basics about money, including what it is and how people get it, the importance of saving, and how education and career choices affect their future.

More than 7,000 students have graduated from the program since its inception. The program, which was re-launched in 2012, features an updated, revised and expanded curriculum, incorporating more real-world activities and an interactive video game challenge for the students.

The commitment to financial literacy doesn’t stop there. Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance allows high school teachers to teach students how important it is to plan their financial future. Through a DVD lecture course, accompanying workbooks and online content, students study the value of saving, spending and giving to guide them down the path of financial peace.

The total year-to-date volunteer hours by Fifth Third Bank employees reached 1,880 hours for the Central Ohio region. That includes 981 employee volunteer hours with the Young Bankers Club; 426 employee volunteer hours with the Financial Empowerment Mobile; and 473 employee volunteer hours associated with traditional volunteer work for Community Reinvestment Act qualified organizations. ●


Evan Williams
President and COO
Franklin International

Matching up
Franklin International believes in supporting employee contributions

Franklin International’s commitment to well-being starts at the core. While some might expect the corporate culture of a manufacturing business to center on producing good products, the culture at Franklin is “to appropriately enhance the economic, physical, relational, emotional and spiritual health of ourselves, our customers, our suppliers and our community.”

Franklin, led by Evan Williams, president and COO, is proud to be among the 16 percent of midsized businesses that permit employees to volunteer on paid company time.

Franklin is also among the 25 percent of midsized companies that match employee charitable donations, demonstrating its belief in giving back to the community and supporting employees in their charitable acts.

In addition, Franklin conducts an annual giving campaign for United Way and three other charitable organizations. During this campaign, the company will match between $1 and $1.50 in contributions made by employees.

Charitable activities in which Franklin has participated include Operation Feed, United Way, Urban Concern, National Night Out, Children’s Hospital, PDHC, Salvation Army and Youth for Christ.

The company also demonstrates a concern for its employees and their families’ financial well-being beyond just a paycheck. Franklin participated in a Financial Fitness program, which at a cost to Franklin, allowed employees to complete online modules relating to financial efficiency. And, starting in 2008 as the only company-paid matching program in Ohio, Franklin provided a payroll deduction option for 529 plans. ●


Amy Schultz Clubbs

Dr. Martin Portillo
Chief medical officer
Molina Healthcare of Ohio Inc.

Supporting employees, supporting communities
Molina Healthcare of Ohio gives workers time to give back

Since Molina Healthcare of Ohio Inc. was introduced to After-School All-Stars Ohio, a program focused on helping at-risk youth succeed in school and life, a partnership has grown that benefits the children and families in 10 Ohio schools. The company has been a part of ASAS Ohio through volunteerism, funding, board membership, resources and educational support, demonstrating its commitment to low-income families and youth that goes beyond its core services.

Molina staff members frequently attend community events to inform families and children of their health care options while promoting a healthy lifestyle. The company also supports programming through a grant that has allowed ASAS Ohio to extend cooking classes to its 1,000 after-school participants in Columbus, Dayton and Toledo.

Outside of ASAS Ohio, Molina collaborates with public schools and community-based organizations to deliver health education opportunities and expand health, wellness and education programs offered in schools, community centers and other gathering spaces.

To support their employees’ interests in giving back to the community, Molina established a volunteer time-off program, which gives employees time off annually to volunteer with charitable organizations. In 2012, Molina employees gave more than 2,100 volunteer hours to the community and $200,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations.

Molina also honors organizations and individuals doing exceptional community service work with its annual Community Champions Awards. Recently, Molina honored five people with a $1,000 grant to donate to the charity of their choice and a tree was planted in his or her honor. ●


David P. Blom
President and CEO

Actively engaged
OhioHealth supports its community at every turn

As a leading not-for-profit healthcare provider, OhioHealth’s mission is “to improve the health of those we serve.” That philosophy is a big part of the company’s philanthropic efforts, which are focused on investing in the community and making a difference in the lives of those facing tough challenges.

In fiscal year 2013, more than 85 organizations benefitted from the support of OhioHealth under the leadership of David P. Blom, the company’s president and CEO. One thing that makes OhioHealth such a strong supporter of the community is Team OhioHealth. The group is comprised of company associates who volunteer their time with partner organizations at OhioHealth-sponsored events. More than 4,000 individuals participated in 33 Team OhioHealth activities throughout the past fiscal year, an increase over the previous year.

Project Mentor is another component of OhioHealth’s commitment to the Columbus region. Coordinated through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio, the program provides mentors from OhioHealth and other local companies to students in the Columbus City Schools. Volunteers also donate their time for other programs that benefit students in local schools.

Overall, 1,256 hours of volunteer time were logged by OhioHealth associates in support of educational initiatives in fiscal year 2013.

The company’s community relations department proactively supports the mission of OhioHealth through partnerships that align with the health needs of the community. The department also works hard to increase visibility for OhioHealth leadership, programs and services, providing opportunities for meaningful associate engagement. ●


William Hutter

Jim Caldwell

A principled approach
For Sequent, giving support to the community is only natural

Contributing to the community where one lives, no matter the size of the contribution, is simply the right thing to do. Following this motto, Sequent chooses projects and donations that primarily focus on community service and philanthropy in the areas of children’s needs, cancer research and the local arts community. It also makes in-kind donations, such as staff hours dedicated to offering pro-bono consultation services and the use of the company’s corporate meeting and training rooms.

Among the organizations that have benefitted from Sequent’s donations are Children’s Hunger Alliance, Pelotonia, The Columbus Jazz Orchestra, The Gathering, Kairos, The Columbus International Program, TiE Ohio, The Furniture Bank and Select Association Management.

The company has first-hand experience with cancer, having lost two associates in four years to the disease, and having several employees who are cancer survivors. In five years, Sequent’s bike-riding volunteers have raised some $61,000 for Pelotonia. Sequent employees also contribute $2,500 to Pelotonia annually.

Sequent CFO Jim Caldwell and other employee volunteers contribute many hours annually at Kairos, a prison ministry. Employees bake some 120 dozen cookies for each Kairos weekend. Caldwell says that the inmates this program serves are very moved by the fact that total strangers bake dozens of cookies for them.

Sequent also backs the Jazz Arts Group by supporting the Columbus Jazz Orchestra. CEO William Hutter, a former member of its board, offered the group his expertise in human resources through consultations. Sequent also sponsors the Inside Track series of contemporary jazz concerts at the Lincoln Theatre. ●


E.W. Ingram III
Chairman and CEO
Lisa Ingram
White Castle

Well done
How White Castle restaurants help those who need it most

LifeCare Alliance and White Castle have forged a strong partnership over the years, which enriches the lives of many in the Central Ohio region. It began in 1988 when White Castle offered its support to the Columbus Cancer Clinic, an agency of LifeCare Alliance.

The Ingram family, who has managed White Castle since its founding in 1921, supported the first capital campaign for the nonprofit health organization, which seeks to identify and deliver health and nutrition services to meet the changing needs of its communities.

From that moment on, White Castle has remained a dedicated partner for the clients served each day by the staff and volunteers of LifeCare.

Today, E.W. Ingram III, the company’s chairman and CEO, and Lisa Ingram, his daughter, who serves as president, lead White Castle. Philanthropy continues to be a big part of what they do in leading the business recognized to be the first fast-food hamburger chain.

The company gets involved in the delivery of pantry items to the homebound and HIV/AIDS clients, transportation to dining centers and leadership to develop strategic planning initiatives. White Castle is also active with Autism Speaks, Wigs 4 Kids, Adopt-A-Child and the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

But it is the work with LifeCare Alliance that has made a particularly strong impact. Through funding from the Ingram-White Castle Foundation, those in need under the age of 60, a group that is often underserved when it comes to home-based services, can receive meals through Meals-on-Wheels. ●



Great companies, great employees, work for the greater good of Greater Cincinnati

Medical Mutual, along with our co-founding Pillar Award partner Smart Business, welcomes you to the annual Pillar Awards.

We are honoring an outstanding group of companies and organizations of varying sizes.

While this year’s diverse group of honorees may be different in many ways, one thing that they all have in common is their commitment to strengthening the bond between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.

It occurred to us many years ago that few things are more meaningful and important than investing time and resources in supporting our community, and we felt the need to honor companies and their employees who have gone above and beyond the call. While support and direction come from management, companies are only as great as their employees.

For that reason, we are quite proud to present the Medical Mutual SHARE Award. This unique award was founded to recognize companies whose employees best exemplify the ideals of Medical Mutual’s own employee SHARE Committee. SHARE stands for serve, help, aid, reach and educate and is the heart and soul of Medical Mutual’s charitable giving effort.

The SHARE committee, comprised of Medical Mutual employee volunteers, helps coordinate more than two dozen community events involving nearly half of the company’s 2,500 employees.

On behalf of Medical Mutual and Smart Business, we congratulate all our 2014 Pillar Award recipients. ●

Rick Chiricosta
Chairman, president and CEO
Medical Mutual



Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award (to be announced Jan. 23)


Nonprofit Board Executive Awards
Rick Chouteau, Adopt A Class Foundation
Dennis Barron, Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries

Executive Directors of the Year
Christine Neitzke, The Dragonfly Foundation
Executive Board of Directors, led by Mike Martin, Greater Cincinnati SCORE
Stan Ross, Positive Influence Team


AdvancePierre Foods
Centric Consulting
JANCOA Janitorial Services Inc.
Paycor Inc.
Powernet Global
PricewaterhouseCoopers LP
The Hillman Group



Medical Mutual, along with our co-founding Pillar Award partner Smart Business, presents the 16th annual Pillar Awards.

This year, we are honoring an outstanding group of companies and organizations of varying sizes.

While this year’s diverse group of honorees may be different in many ways, one thing that they all have in common is their commitment to strengthening the bond between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.

It occurred to us many years ago that few things are more meaningful and important than investing time and resources in supporting our community, and we felt the need to honor companies and their employees who have gone above and beyond the call. While support and direction come from management, companies are only as great as their employees.

For that reason, we are proud to present the Medical Mutual SHARE Award. This unique award was founded to recognize companies whose employees best exemplify the ideals of Medical Mutual’s own employee SHARE Committee. SHARE stands for serve, help, aid, reach and educate, and is the heart and soul of Medical Mutual’s charitable giving efforts.

The SHARE committee, comprised of Medical Mutual employee volunteers, helps coordinate more than two-dozen community events involving nearly half of the company’s 2,500 employees.

On behalf of Medical Mutual and Smart Business, we congratulate all our 2013 Pillar Award recipients.

Rick Chiricosta
Chairman, president and CEO
Medical Mutual


  • Pillar Award for Community Service - Presented to for-profit businesses for their community service efforts
  • Medical Mutual SHARE Award - Presented to one company annually that best exemplifies employee-driven community service, philanthropy or volunteerism.
  • Nonprofit Board Executive of the Year Award - Honors contributions by for-profit business executives who serve as members of nonprofit boards
  • Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year Award - Recognizes nonprofit executive directors who effectively apply for-profit business principles to their organizations.
  • Fairmount Minerals Sustainable Business Award - Awarded to the organization that best demonstrates sustainable business practices.
  • Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award - Recognizes the top executive of a for-profit company for creating a culture of giving.
  • Clark-Reliance Youth Philanthropy Award – Presented to the individual or individuals under the age of 22 or who have not yet graduated from college, who best demonstrate the spirit and drive to organize a nonprofit, create an individual initiative that impacts others, or develop a program designed to give back to the community either on an ongoing basis or as a one-off effort.


Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award, Kevin Goodman, managing director, Blue Bridge Networks

Pillar Award for Community Service

Medical Mutual SHARE Award 

Fairmount Minerals Sustainable Business Practices Award 

Executive Directors of the Year

Nonprofit Board Executives of the Year

Clark-Reliance Youth Philanthropy Award

The Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award


Kevin J. Goodman
Managing director and partner
BlueBridge Networks LLS

From the very marrow

Kevin Goodman survived lymphoma and now gives back to others

This year, Kevin J. Goodman reached his personal goal of raising more than $100,000 for charitable causes — and completed the Boston Marathon. His concern and care for others was further demonstrated at the marathon this year when he assisted victims of the terrorist bombing. Fortunate to have finished the race an hour before the bombings, Goodman jumped into efforts to help victims.

It was a little over 10 years ago when he received a shocking diagnosis: He had stage 4 lymphoma. But receiving the devastating news that he had a potentially fatal illness didn’t throw him into hopelessness. He battled through the chemotherapy and treatment and came out a survivor. The victory also taught him many important lessons.

Goodman, managing director and partner of BlueBridge Networks LLC, made a commitment to donate his time and talent to organizations such as the American Red Cross and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Goodman joined the LLS Board of Trustees in 2009. His involvement has grown constantly and he now serves as vice president on the executive committee.

On the fundraising side, he has helped lead outstanding efforts to generate funds through the LLS Team in Training. His team has surpassed the $1 million mark. As a lymphoma survivor, Goodman is unable to donate blood, but has arranged for BlueBridge Networks to participate in blood drives at Playhouse Square for the past several years.




Ralph Della Ratta
Managing partner
Western Reserve Partners

Since its founding in 2004, Western Reserve Partners has strongly believed in and practiced a firm-wide commitment to community service and support. Western Reserve is proud of its culture of caring and believes that the relatively small size of the firm is not commensurate with the far-reaching impact of its contributions to the Northeast Ohio community.

At an employee level, Western Reserve prides itself on the fact that all of its 15 senior professionals and many of its junior staff are actively involved at the board level of at least one nonprofit organization, including managing partner, Ralph Della Ratta. Furthermore, the majority of these professionals have assumed leadership positions on these boards, and as such, average as many as eight hours per week on their nonprofit endeavors.

Employees are quick to support each other’s charitable endeavors, staffing and attending innumerable telethons, 5K runs, golf outings and other fundraising events each year. Collectively, these efforts impact nearly 30 organizations across a variety of focus areas.

As a firm, Western Reserve is generous in its financial support of those organizations in which its professionals hold leadership or board positions, as well as many others. The firm is particularly proud of its participation in the United Way’s Pacesetter/Stellar Campaign program.

In this program, the firm commits to an annual 5 percent increase over its previous year’s gift, and the firm has had 100 percent participation each year. Since 2005, Western Reserve’s contributions to United Way and other charitable organizations have totaled more than $500,000. ●