Dick Corp. has been awarded a $37 million design/build contract to build a water distribution system in metropolitan San Juan, Puerto Rico. The company has also received a $14 million contract to build 223 single-family homes to replace dwellings destroyed in 1998 by Hurricane Georges and is building, in a joint venture with National Energy Production of Redmond, Wash., a $250 million power plant for LS Power Co.
Krome Communications has been appointed marketing communications agency for Bell Federal Savings.
The Regional Employers Health Alliance, a business coalition serving Washington, Westmoreland, Greene and Fayette counties, has reached an agreement with Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. to offer dental, life and disability insurance products to REHA members at preferred pricing levels. REHA has also reached an agreement with Clarity Vision, a subsidiary of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, to serve as the endorsed vision carrier for the coalition. REHA established a partnership with UMPC Health Plan to offer health insurance products at preferred pricing and expanded its membership into Westmoreland and Butler counties.
Great American Federal is planning to open a community office in the Waterfront development, a $300 million mixed-use development being built on the former site of the U.S. Steel Homestead Works. Construction is expected to begin this spring.
Pitt Ohio Express has selected Flaherty Sabol Carroll Marketing Communications to launch its nationwide distribution services.
Pittsburgh Home Savings will open a branch office at 4900 Liberty Ave. this month. The office will include free parking, drive-through lanes, a drive-up automated teller machine and night deposit capability.
H.A. Eckersley Contractor Inc., a Westmoreland County building contractor, has become a builder partner of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys Energy Star Home Program. Builders must construct homes that are at least 30 percent more energy efficient than the Model Energy Code requires.
PWCampbell has been awarded the design/build contract by the North Valley Bank of Corning, Ohio. PWCampbell and North Valley Bank will be partners in the construction of a 6,400-square-foot office and retail center. Members Choice WV Credit Union has awarded a contract to PWCampbell to construct a main office in Charleston, W.Va.
KlinkFarley & Co., a business investigations and intelligence firm, has opened offices in Pittsburgh.
TRACO has been selected to replace 474 windows in the old Allegheny County Jail. The window replacement project is part of a $46 million conversion from a jail into family court facilities.
The Virginia Beach school district has implemented the Cognitive Tutor Algebra I Program of Carnegie Learning Inc. for the 1999-2000 school year.
Mars Mineral, a division of Woodward Inc., has named Levy Industrial as its e-commerce marketing agency.
Konrad Alexander, a custom clothier based in London, has established its U.S. headquarters and a sales office in Pittsburgh.
Investors court Internet start-ups like drunken sailors on leave from six months at sea chase fast women in the cheap part of town. They ignore the manufacturing segment the sturdy, reliable, if not outwardly stylish, women with solid character. Those manufacturers have begun a quiet rebellion, launching a verbal war against the young up-starts.
Steven Hardis, chairman and CEO of Eaton Corp., fired a round at Internet investors while speaking at the Association for Corporate Growth’s 4th Annual Deal Maker Awards program in January. The company’s average 17.5 percent growth simply can’t compete with dot-com companies. Without mentioning any specific company, although Amazon.com, which delivers lofty stock prices and negative cash flow comes to mind, Hardis said: “We apologize for generating earnings and making cash.”
Bill Sanford, president and CEO of Steris Corp., lobbed a second mortar round while addressing a gathering at the World Trade Center Cleveland annual members meeting. Sanford is often asked about the company’s less than stellar stock performance of late.
“There has been a lot of money diverted from good companies,” he says. With all the sarcasm he could muster, he related his company’s five “problems:”
1. The company is mid-sized.
2. Steris actually manufactures something.
3. The company makes a profit.
4. It generates cash.
5. Steris does not have dot-com in its name.
The bottom line: “We’re much more than a Web site,” Sanford says.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will recognize small businesses and organization that cut costs through energy efficiency. You can nominate yourself, your vendors or any small business, but there are requirements. Your facility must be 100,000 square feet or less and may not be in the energy equipment industry.
The business “should be practicing exemplary energy efficiency that translates into real dollar savings.” Those who have shown creative and innovative solutions are encouraged to enter. To enter, call (888) STAR YES or visit the Energy Star Small Business Web site at www.epa.gov/smalbiz.
How do you say “sold” in German
So you’ve been to eBay to buy the one comic book missing from your Spiderman collection. Or maybe you were looking to purchase a gross of ping pong balls. Or maybe finding the right small business to buy is on your mind. eBay, the wildly successful Internet auction house, has begun selling small businesses on its German Web site, www.eBayPro.de, alongside the rest of the world’s attic treasures. So what’s the opening bid on Microsoft?
Don’t tell Gen Xers they don’t care. The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers polled members of the Young Entrepreneurs’ Organization and found that more than half of the respondents indicated they were “significantly involved” in the work of nonprofits. In addition, 44 percent felt those nonprofits adequately addressed the issues and causes they cared about.
The right touch
Jack Hayes, president of Connecting Touch Therapy and Wellness Center Inc. and a winner of the Pillar Award for Community Service, was selected to receive the 1999 Sam Walton Business Leader Award. The award, sponsored by the Wal-Mart Foundation and locally by Sam’s Club of Fairlawn, is presented to business leaders who show exceptional commitment to the community, respect for individuals, service to customers and commitment to excellence.
Training your work force
It’s quite a dilemma: Your work force is lacking the latest skills and it costs so much to send them for training that you’re not sure you can afford it. But they’re good workers, and you don’t want to let them go. The State of Ohio may have a solution.
Gov. Bob Taft has announced employers can receive a tax credit of up to $100,000 per year (until 2003) to pay for the increased expenses of training employees who are at risk of losing their jobs due to skill deficiencies or the inability to use new technologies. Diminished skills, huh? Now that sounds familiar.
Getting a life
Gone are the days of chaining your employees to the desk. During the past five years, more and more companies are instituting progressive work/life benefits. Whether its telecommuting, flextime or subsidized day care, 63 percent of companies have somewhat or significantly increased these types of benefits, according to a study from RHI Management Resources, a division of Robert Half International Inc. The rest of the companies polled are simply falling behind the times.
In another sign that Northeast Ohio’s regional economy is strong, business owners in Lake County say they’ve got growth on their wish list this year. Nearly 60 percent of Lake County businesses reported that they intend to hire more employees during calendar year 2000, according to a survey by Sequoia Realty. A hearty 54 percent say they plan to expand their workspace. So much for those Y2K worries.
Sign here, please
If you’ve ever pined for a signing bonus and haven’t received one, you may be in the wrong profession. Even with Y2K mediation assignments drying up, IT professionals continue to lead the way in signing bonuses, joining senior executives as the top two positions to receive that little something extra when they sign on the dotted line.
A recent survey, conducted by RHI Consulting, found that 36 percent of CIOs in Northeast Ohio offer signing bonuses at both staff and management levels to recruit top IT candidates. Most of the bonuses, however, come with a caveat employees must remain with the company for a specified period of time. How long that time period is, though, depends on the employer.
Close the ranks
Do you know where you stand with your employees? Do they listen to you, or is there a serious communications gap in your firm? The problem may have absolutely nothing to do with your verbal communication skills, and simply may be a problem of a lack of proximity.
“Get closer to your workers,” suggests Robert Pater, a nationally known management author who’s studied the relationship between distance and effectiveness. “It’s all about physical and emotional leverage. The closer you are to what you’re trying to move, the easier. Physical proximity breaks down barriers. Making contact is the first step toward a positive influence on employees.”
Pater suggests moving your office closer to your staff. It’s fine, he says, to have an official office, but at the very least, place a workstation near your employees. It’s a simple matter of physics: Studies show that the closer two objects are to one another, the greater force they exert on each other. Similar studies show that the closer two offices are, the more communication occurs.
With more businesses culling prospective employees through the Internet, HR managers find themselves inundated with electronic job applications. Enter Web-Screen, created by Pittsburgh-based Development Dimensions International (www.ddiworld.com). Web-Screen enables HR managers to add a customized tool to their companies’ Web sites that automatically orients, qualifies, screens and responds to candidates based on parameters determined by the company. And, it does it 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The program takes Internet recruitment to the next level by accurately qualifying the ever-enlarging candidate pool and pushing the most qualified to the top. More important, HR managers won’t have to spend countless hours wading through thousands of resumes and can devote that energy toward more pressing matters ... like health care issues.
Size doesnt matter The owners of upstart Western Reserve Brewing will unveil their new Bockzilla brand on March 11 at Clevelands Natural History Museum. The clever marketing plan to unleash the companys new giant lizard inspired brew at midnight in the museums Dinosaur Hall is also a way of giving back to the community, assures Western Reserve co-founder Andrew Craze.
The presence of the Natural History Museum had a profound effect on forming how I think about and respect the environment, he says.
Tickets for the event are $20 per person and available through the museums ticket office.
Back in the fray
When we last checked with Amherst businessman Dave Moore, he was all smiles after his successful campaign to get city Law Director Allan Anderson booted out of office. That was spurred by a lengthy tax dispute involving the company he founded, Crystal Mortgage, over a generally inconsequential amount of money (featured in October 1999s SBN.)
Since then, Moore has stepped down from his job as CEO and started a new mortgage company, Lenders Diversified. His taste of city politics must have had a lasting effect hes also running for Lorain County commissioner on the Republican ticket.
Play on words
Need some help deciding on a name for that product youve been working on for the past year? A free Web site may be just what you need to guide you down the path to prosperity. Two writers founded www.wordlab.com to be essentially a giant brainstorming session among you and, well, a bunch of strangers.
Post an idea on the sites Wordboard and visitors, or even the sites founders themselves, will chime in with suggestions. Consider a recent inquiry about what to name a new gourmet dog treat. Among the 13 responses posted were woof wafers and dog perignon. The sites creators ask only that you make sure no one else has a legal right to the name you choose and that people who find business inspiration at the site drop a simple e-mail of thanks.
The force was with him
When Cedar Point executives turned to Lucasfilm in 1990 for help with a television spot for the Sandusky amusement parks then-new Disaster Transport ride, they got an unexpected hands-on tour through movie history. It turns out a special effects technician for the commercial was one of George Lucas old hands on the original Star Wars movie.
One afternoon, Cedar Point Marketing Director John Hildebrandt and a few other theme parks execs were rounded up for a field trip to an old warehouse where scores of pop culture icons created by the sci-fi film were housed in all their dusty glory.
I held Luke Skywalkers light saber, Hildebrandt recently recalled with glee at a downtown luncheon, still thrilled 10 years later about his brush with movie greatness.
A glue-free future
In the four months following the U.S. Postal Services August 1999 go-ahead for PC postage, U.S. small businesses and home offices spent $8.2 million on the product, and industry insiders say this is just the opening act. Market research by Massachusetts-based IDC, a IT consulting firm, shows spending on electronic postage will approach $300 million and is expected to hit $600 million by the end of 2001. With numbers like these, how long can it be until the lick and stick postage stamp goes the way of the eight-track tape player?
A word from the sponsor ...
Westlakes SEAGREY Recruiting & Retention Inc. is doing an end run around the scores of career boards on the Web and bringing job prospects straight to the living rooms of Northeast Ohio through more traditional means the television. SEAGREYs Career Minute spots feature three area companies which have positions available.
The targeted spots, which run on Newschannel 5, are not only geared toward the couch potato. There is also a weekly lineup of radio spots and a special section on the television stations Web site where job seekers can check view a schedule of upcoming broadcasts.
New business-help center opens
The U.S. Small Business Administration and KeyBank recently teamed up to open a multimedia center geared toward the needs of small business owners and prospective entrepreneurs. The Business Information Center the first of its kind in Northeast Ohio offers a wealth of free information available through videotapes, computer software, the Internet and an extensive library.
The center, at 1720 Playhouse Square, also offers free individual business counseling from members of The Service Corps of Retired Executives. Its open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Value-added home buying
In a step to gain a competitive edge when it comes to the service side of home sales, Clevelands Realty One has created a value package for home buyers that includes $1,000 in discounts from national retailers and concierge services that make moving easier. As part of the program, Realty One employees inform electric, gas, water, cable television and phone companies of a customers move-in date and new address to provide a one-step moving experience.
We feel this program gives Realty One the perfect opportunity to differentiate itself from a service standpoint, says Realty One President Anthony Ciepiel. No one else in the industry is going this direction to save customers time and money.
Bedford Heights-based Sparkle International Inc., a leading franchiser of mobile, on-site, power cleaning, restoration and preservation companies, recently announced the formation of a third Sparkle Wash franchise in South Korea. Sparkle Wash has rapidly grown in national and international markets over the past several decades and provides power cleaning to everything from truck fleets to amusement parks. Fifteen people are employed at the companys Bedford Heights headquarters, which operates two company-owned franchises serving Cuyahoga, Southern Geauga and Lorain counties.
Architectural firm Norman Y. Harai Associates Inc. has changed its name to Klauscher & Harai Architects.
General American Corp., a Pittsburgh-based real estate settlement service firm, has introduced GATORS software, a proprietary, Web-enabled order tracking, production and reporting system.
Atlantic Luggage Co. of Ellwood City has chosen Jampole Communications as its agency of record for public relations.
Seattles Best Coffee has opened two locations in the Pittsburgh Airmall.
Repal Construction Co. Inc. has been awarded the contract for the alterations to the Homewood ECI Child Care Facility on Kelly Street in Homewood.
Chemicon Inc. has been granted a key patent for its chemical imaging technology, a technique that combines molecular spectroscopy and digital imaging for the chemical analysis of materials.
Walshak Communications of Pittsburgh has been chosen to handle a public relations project for a consortium involving the Disney Institute, Wesley College, Marylouise Fennell & Associates and Performa Inc.
Kings Family Restaurants has raised $60,000 and provided more than $28,000 in in-kind support to benefit the Make-A-Wish-Foundations Light Up A Childs Life holiday fund-raising campaign.
Alpern, Rosenthal & Co. has been accepted as the exclusive Greater Pittsburgh Area member of the National Litigation Support Services Association, a nationwide association of CPA firms that provide specialized accounting and consulting services to the litigation industry.
PWCampbell has been awarded a design/build contract by the Dime Bank of Honesdale, Pa. The project will involve the remodeling of the banks main office and retail center.
The Millennia Group, a Cheswick electronics manufacturer, has formed Millennia Design Inc. Millennia Design provides critical design services, including creative layout techniques, circuit performance predictions, circuit cost-reduction solutions, test-engineering support and electronic product testing.
According to Vickie Davanzo, many smaller companies lose out on potentially lucrative bids for larger projects because they simply dont have the resources.
As FirstEnergys Supplier Diversity Coordinator, Davanzo is on a mission to enable small, minority and women-owned companies to compete for those bids at least on FirstEnergys projects.
Davanzo says FirstEnergy is aggressively trying to increase the amount of business it does with disadvantaged companies.
Were trying to step up to what the SBA has put out there, but we have not attained that yet, she says. Getting there takes the imagination of the person whos running the program trying to find the avenues or opportunities.
One of the avenues Davanzo has taken is in helping to group together small companies so that together they have the resources to compete for FirstEnergy contracts. To locate businesses with experience in power generation, she works with electric utility members of the Edison Electric Institute Minority Business Development Committee for recommendations.
Davanzo hopes FirstEnergys increased efforts to promote its Supplier Diversity Program will result in awarding more than $117 million in contracts this year to qualifying businesses.
More than a hunch
Instead of paying a professional to tell you where to invest, you might get a higher rate of return by consulting with a University of Akron business student. The University of Akron College of Business Administration students captured first place in the national Oak Associates 1999 Investment Club Contest.
Managing a portfolio of publicly traded stocks, University of Akron students achieved a 202.83 percent return in calendar year 1999. The second highest rate of return, achieved by University of Wisconsin students, was 71 percent. Among the stocks in the winning portfolio were Citrix Systems, Cisco Systems, EMC Corp., Macro Media and Qualcomm.
Oak Associates invests $50,000 per school, per year, to fund the contest. The University of Akron students investment had grown to $235,000 by January 2000.
Corsa Performance (profiled in SBN, January 1999) has settled into a new 40,000-square-foot facility on Blaze Industrial Parkway in Berea. Corsa, which manufactures high performance stainless steel exhaust systems for the marine and automotive aftermarket, outgrew its 21,000-square-foot facility, says Marketing Manager Tom Miller.
Consider it a coup détat in the local brewery competition Snyder International Brewing Co. lured away Great Lakes Brewing Co. brewmaster Andrew Tveekrem to oversee brewing operations for Snyders Frederick Brewing Co. in Frederick, Md. Tveekrem had been with Great Lakes since 1991.
Snyder also owns Clevelands Crooked River Brewing Co. and Cincinnatis Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Co.
Speaking of Crooked River, the company landed a bronze medal for its Yuletide Ale at the Brewing Industrys International Awards competition in Burton Upon Trent, England. The beer was selected from a field of 732 beers from 40 nations. Yuletide Ale is only available between Thanksgiving and early spring.
GIE Media Inc. has been named to the 2000 Folio: 40, a list of the fastest growing companies in the magazine industry. Cleveland-based GIE produces business magazines, directories, conferences and trade shows, custom print publications, vertical market Internet portals and related e-communications products.
GIE Medias growth is due, in large part, to the development of the companys Internet and Web division, explains Richard Foster, GIE president and CEO.
Drive-in Web service
Just when you thought youd seen the newest innovations in online car shopping ... think again. MyCarPage.com, a California-based Web site, recently added online service appointment scheduling for busy car owners who loathe calling their mechanics to find a way to squeeze their cars in for repairs. Next on the horizon: online haggling.
Better benefits = loyal employees
If you dont think theres a correlation between benefits and employee loyalty, that goodbye sound was probably your key team members walking out the door to your competitors. In the next few years, dont be surprised if employees judge you on more than how many vacation days you give them or their salaries.
Expect requests for access to discounted airline tickets, massage therapy, laser eye surgery, pet insurance and perhaps even auto insurance, says Ken Barksdale, president of Baltimore, Md.-based RewardsPlus (www.rewardsplus.com). And expect that the Internet will become a means to fulfilling those requests.
(The Internet) is changing the benefits, he says. As employees become more familiar with customized services available, theyll expect and appreciate customized benefits. Employees may want to select what makes sense to them, not just take what the employer is giving to everyone.
If Barksdales prognostications come true, dont blame SBN. You have been warned.
More changes on the horizon
Speaking of compensation changes, executives are joining in with diversified pay structures in this swiftly changing corporate world. If youve assessed what youre taking out of the companys coffers lately, you may have helped national CEO compensation rates rise 36 percent in 1998 in comparison to a 3.5 percent rise in overall U.S. wages and benefits the same year.
Whats driving the increases? According to a new book, Pay People Right, by Patricia Zingheim and Jay Schuster, executive compensation has increased as the economy has expanded. There is a direct correlation between a companys success and the compensation its management team earns.
Then again, you probably didnt need a book to tell you what your bank account already knew, right?
And another thing
Have you ever wondered just what that $80,000 package actually looks like? In their book, Pay People Right, authors Patricia Zingheim and Jay Schuster break down a typical $80,000 compensation package: $52,000 base pay; $5,250 variable pay (cash incentive or stock option grants); $21,750 benefits (health, life and disability insurance, vacation, holidays, sick leave and retirement); $500 recognition value (cash or noncash).
Total = $80,000.
Dont look now but ...
Its probably been a few months since your HR department evaluated your companys health care insurance package, but by now your employees have certainly felt the brunt of increased costs that is, if your company is among the 80 percent of Northeast Ohio businesses that reported increased fees for health care, according to a survey of company owners and CEOs by The Alternative Board.
Health care costs for those companies increased 5 percent or more for 86 percent of the companies who reported hiked fees, and half of those saw double-digit rises in their health care insurance costs, the survey says.
Not exactly setting the world on fire
If anyone needs proof of the role big business hasnt played in the e-commerce revolution, a new study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and The Conference Board seems to make a solid case. The survey set out to discover how global companies are measuring up in this new age of e-business.
Ninety percent of the 80 businesses in the survey boasted annual revenues of $1 billion or more a year, with a full 50 percent reporting annual sales north of $5 billion. However, it turns out these arent exactly the e-commerce beacons one might expect. For the nonbelievers, lets look at the tale of the tape:
- Seventy-nine percent of the companies said e-business accounts for less than 5 percent of revenues.
- Only 28 percent are able to process transactions online, while only 40 percent handle orders electronically.
- Sixty percent do not yet have extranets linking operations with key suppliers and financial partners.
- Less than half have any quantitative or qualitative methods to assess their e-business performance.
- A quarter of the group has yet to move beyond basic Web brochureware in implementing online business.
One for the private sector
While federal lawmakers still struggle to find a way to make prescription drugs affordable for senior citizens, Medical Mutual of Ohios SaveWell program has reportedly already saved its customers $1.1 million on prescriptions since the program was introduced eight months ago. For a $1 a week cost, the average SaveWell member reportedly saved an average of $13.67 on each prescription.
The underlying irony is the fact that the day the SaveWell plan was announced, President Clinton spoke on a similar program he wanted to implement on the federal level. So far, that program has yet to see the light of day.
As politicians talk about making prescription drugs affordable to seniors, SaveWell is actually doing it, boasted Ben Zelman, president and CEO of SaveWell.com, the company that markets the SaveWell program. With group purchasing power, there is absolutely no reason why seniors, or anyone, should pay full retail price for prescription drugs.
Equity is king
CEO compensation in 1999 was increasingly driven by stock options and other long-term incentives, which now represent nearly two-thirds of the median pay package, according to a new survey by William M. Mercer. Total direct compensation (salary and bonus, plus long-term incentive grant values) last year jumped 23.5 percent to $4,923,670 among a major sample of 355 CEOs at 350 large U.S. corporations. Five years ago, salary and bonus represented more than half of median total direct compensation, while in 1999 they represented just over one-third. Today, 63 percent of the CEO pay package consists of long-term incentives, particularly stock option grants, which reached a median of nearly $3 million last year compared to just over $1 million five years ago.
And the winners are ...
Moen Inc., Keithley Instruments Inc. and GE Lighting were three of five local companies honored last month at Cleveland State Universitys Fourth Annual Business Leadership awards. North Olmsted-based Moen was recognized for its Moen University leadership training and development program, while Keithley Instruments claimed the award for Global Business Leadership. GE Lighting was honored for its leadership in the realm of community service. Meanwhile, W.P. Hickman Systems Inc. of Solon was recognized for quality service leadership and Michael A. Cristal, president and CEO of Consolidated Risk Management Agency Inc. of Cleveland, claimed the award for entrepreneurial leadership.
Job board report card
Although the popularity of online job boards would appear to be going through the roof, a recent survey by Pittsburgh-based Development Dimensions International seems to indicate that there are still a few glitches in the mix. First, only 29 percent of people who had a job interview in the past three years used Internet job boards to find the opening and even those who used the boards werent entirely won over. Forty-five percent of those who said they used Web classifieds to search for a job were only slightly satisfied or not at all satisfied with the results of their experience.
However, totally abandoning job boards doesnt seem to be the answer either, according Richard S. Wellins, DDIs senior vice president of marketing and global accounts.
Companies that use technology effectively can increase hiring speed and quality while reducing costs, he says. Yet our study reveals that candidates are unconvinced about the Internets ability to support job prospecting. A mix of technology and other tactics will produce the best results.
And on the seventh day they rested
Clevelands Media Design Imaging was called to quick action earlier this year when Madison, Ohio-based Stunt Predators USA was contacted by the casting director for George Lucas Star Wars: Episode 2. The stunt company, which has previously worked on smaller films, was asked to provide some photographs and a promotion video for review. The only catch was stunt coordinator Richard Fike had to come up with something inside of eight days.
I was skeptical, said MDI co-owner Johnny Wu. I realized this might be a challenge for us to put something quickly together with a minimum of planning.
Nevertheless, three days later, an MDI five-person team shot the necessary footage inside of five hours. After a little tweaking on MDI computers, overdubs of actors voices and music were added, and the tape was sent off by the deadline less than a week after the initial call. Whether Stunt Predators USA is successful in its bid to land a job on the mother of all science fiction movie franchises is now left to chance ... and, you guessed it, the force.
"If someone said 'CNBC,' you thought they were inviting you to watch Bonanza." -- Clinton Sampson, CEO Bank One, commenting on the difference between the Internet economy and the atmosphere that existed when he got into the business.
24/7 at 5/3
Entrepreneurs work hours long before and after their scheduled open and close. To accommodate their needs, Fifth Third bank has introduced Business 53 Online Banking on the Web at www.53.com. So the next time you're up at 3 a.m. checking the books, you can track payments or expenditures without waiting until the rest of the world wakes up.
"If you don't have your assets on the Net, basically you aren't there." -- Steven J. Kafka, an analyst with Forrester Research explaining the impact the Internet has on business-to-business commerce.
You could use a little spare money, but banks have no interest in loans that don't reach at least five digits. Local economic development corporation WECO, Working for Empowerment through Community Organizing, is accepting applications for microloans ranging from $500 to $7,500. The program is the first of its kind in the Greater Cleveland market to provide funds to existing or start-up low to moderate income business owners with five or fewer employees. Funding comes from the Ohio Department of Development. A committee composed of local business owners will meet monthly to approve an estimated 10 to 15 loans each month through the end of the year. For eligibility guidelines and an application packet, call (216) 881-9650.
Ever feel like that meeting you just attended was a waste of time, two hours of your life you'll never get back? You're not alone and you're not wrong. A survey by Accountemps shows executives spend 7.8 hours a week in needless formal discussions -- 2.3 months a year in wasted productivity. Technology is supposed to make us more efficient, more productive. It hasn't. The same study conducted in 1990 showed we wasted six hours a week or 1.8 months a year.
Keep them awake
Not every meeting is critical, but when you have important information to convey, how do you make sure everyone is paying attention? Eli Mina offers eight ways to keep people awake in your meetings.
1. Give every participant a lead role on an agenda item.
2. Avoid serving sleep-inducing meals (i.e. creamy pastas or chocolate cheesecake).
3. Try stand-up meetings (no tables or chairs, no sitting on the floor).
4. Schedule short breaks frequently (no more than 1.5 to two hours of continuous sitting).
5. Call on silent members to comment.
6. Diversify your discussion activities (i.e. break a large group into small groups and have members report back).
7. Prevent rambling by asking members to communicate concisely
8. Ask speakers to make their presentations interactive and avoid protracted lectures.
The Cleveland District of the U.S. Small Business Administration has selected Jose C. Feliciano, a partner in the national law firm of Baker & Hostetler LLP and president of the Cleveland Bar Association, as the Minority Business Advocate of the Year.
A taste to remember
Cherry bomb. Pina colada. Chocolate and coconut. These aren't the latest jelly bean flavors -- they're bratwurst flavors from The Sausage Shoppe, located in Old Brooklyn, which was featured on a June 29 segment of The Food Network's Extreme Cuisine.
The segment pitted the city's firefighters against paramedics in an effort to identify the 12 flavored brats. In addition to the flavors above, the unsmoked brats included pizza and sweet and sour; the smoked flavors, honey and garlic, pepperoni, sautéed onion and portabella mushroom, mocha, bacon and cheddar, chili and barbeque. The piece de resistance was the Buzz Brats, which contain beer and coffee. There were no sightings of Drew Carey, however.
If you missed it, the show will be repeated. Visit www.foodtv.com for air dates and times.
The end of voice mail?
There aren't too many Americans who haven't experienced the annoyances of intricate voice mail systems. While they've become so ingrained into our business culture they will probably never entirely disappear, their use may be on the decrease.
According to a study conducted by Menlo Park, Calif.-based Accountemps, 73 percent of CFOs said e-mail would be the most commonly used method of communication for accountants by 2006. The telephone came in a distant second with 10 percent, followed by fax, 9 percent, and face-to-face communication, 7 percent. One percent didn't know how they would communicate in the future.Hi, my name is...
In the last 12 months, a lot of new heads have been turned toward Solon-based Keithley Instruments (featured in SBN's April 2000 issue). The high-tech measuring device developer and manufacturer has been a recognized name by the research industry for years, but the Keithley name is still fairly new to some of the firm's new target customers. Keithley Instruments plans to fix this with an aggressive branding campaign set to include full-page magazine advertisements with the "A Greater Measure of Confidence" slogan and Keithley's eye-catching red and white logo. With Keithley Instruments' performance during the last year, it probably won't be long before the firm stops thinking of itself as the newest kid in school.
What's wrong with kids today?
When asked during his recent visit to Cleveland about his opinion of the rampant practice of trading copyrighted digital music via the Web, America Online Chief Technology Officer William J. Raduchel coyly suggested there is something lacking in today's younger generation. "College students seem not to be born with a gene that realizes that a copyright is to be respected."
Nevertheless, AOL may have helped let the genie out of the bottle with the Gnuttella music trading software program created by designers of the Winamp mp3 player that AOL purchased in 1999. In development before the now-ubiquitous Napster hit the media and legal spotlight, the Net giant quickly divorced itself from the project, contending the work was a free-lance project on the part of designers.
Cleveland's ARK Jewelers Inc. recently unleashed its new e-commerce site, boasting more than 30,000 pieces of jewelry. Surf on over to www.arkinc.com to pick up jewelry, gold, or, if the mood hits you, loose diamonds. How viable is an e-commerce strategy for the jewelry business? ARK Jewelry President Cindy Keller contends the business hasn't seen such an explosive demand for jewelry since it opened its doors in 1981.
The birth of e-TV
Sure, we've all heard that eventually, the Internet will merge with your television, so you can check your e-mail during commercial breaks, but a leading electronic retailing association believes watching television while surfing the Web is already an increasingly popular pastime for many Americans. The Electronic Retailing Association reports that nearly 10 million households are watching television and accessing the Internet at the same time, representing 40 percent of all homes that have Internet access.
"Better than the Water Pik"
Four months ago, 28-year-old Jay C. Pearlman walked away from his job as vice president of sales and marketing for a New York City-based candy manufacturer to pursue his dream of owning a toy company. He ended up founding Kabam Products LLC, a manufacturer of interactive health and beauty aids that will be shipping its first item out of Cleveland some time in August. The first item Pearlman is introducing is a toy toothbrush named the "Pop Out Toothbrush." Mark Greenbaum, one of 1,500 dentists in the country with a mastership in the field, believes Pearlman might be on to something. "Kabam has hit a home run," he says. "This is the best idea to hit oral hygiene since the Water Pik and more fun to use."
Business casual gone bad
A growing number of workers are taking dress-down day a bit too literally, suggests a recent survey of executives. While the majority (55 percent) of those polled said they feel their workers dress appropriately on relaxed attire days, 39 percent of managers believe their workers are dressing too casually. "Relaxed dress policies are a proven recruitment, retention and motivational tool for businesses, but they are not without limitations," says Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps -- the sponsor of the survey -- and author of the best-selling "Job Hunting for Dummies."
On that note
Ron Redfern, an authority on business casual who has been tabbed by magazines including Men's Health to provide the lowdown on the state of today's work force dress code, believes Fridays are becoming more business slob than business causal. He says the problem is fueled by the lack of employer guidelines about what casual should mean. When a business owner says only, "Don't wear a tie," it often sets the stage for some scary results. Redfern's cure? Be direct about what you expect. "In some cases, people dress nicer on a weekend than they do during the week," he says. "People like to look like a million bucks."
The M&A wave
A study of merger and acquisition activity among privately held companies finds that two-thirds of the owners plan to sell their companies within five years and that the majority plan to make an acquisition prior to a sale. Meanwhile, 36 percent of the owners expect to make an acquisition within 12 months. An additional 30 percent expect to make an acquisition within three years. However, it appears early retirement is not the impetus behind the numbers.
"The driving force behind the M&A activity is economic rather than personal," says Alan J. Scharfstein, president of the DAK Group, which conducted the study. "Only one in three of those planning to sell expects to retire and nearly half say they plan to remain with their company in a nonownership role." The DAK Group surveyed 211 privately held companies of all sizes.
Broadcast on demand
So you heard a rumor on the evening news about your company, but your rampant channel surfing is turning up few results. A Cleveland company will do the watching for you. VMS Ohio offers local and global broadcast media intelligence, whether you are looking for something that aired on a network affiliate, major market or small market station. VMS Ohio's target customers are public relations firms and marketing professionals who want to show results of an effective campaign or just better package their media message the next time around.
Flying the friendly skies
It's been a good couple months for James Mastandrea, chairman and CEO of Eagle's Wings Aviation. First, his company received certification in May from the FAA for its first Citation II jet. That allowed Eagle's Wings to start executive jet charter service, bringing it back to Cuyahoga County Airport for the first time in years.
Then, on June 23, Mastandrea was honored by his alma mater, Cleveland State University, with the George B. Davis Award for Service to the University. Mastandrea, a 1970 CSU grad, is the former top executive of First Union Real Estate Investments, Midwest Development Corp., Triam Corp. and Continental Homes of Chicago Inc. He also served as vice president of Continental Bank and as a financial analyst at Mellon Bank before taking the top spot at Eagle's Wings in 1998.
Mastandrea is a director of the Cleveland State University Foundation and the chairman of its nominating committee. He also chairs the College of Business' Visiting Committee.
In addition to its newly added charter service, Eagle's Wings is a primary provider of aircraft management services for a fleet of Fortune 1000 company-owned aircraft.
Who's got the most successful aquarium site?
So you think you know it all about the Internet, huh? Think again. In a new book, "net.people: The Personalities and Passions Behind the Web Sites," authors Thomas E. Bleier and Eric C. Steinert profile the creators of 36 of the world's most intriguing online ventures. Among the topics discussed are the stories behind how sites dedicated to B movies, action figure collecting, sports and celebrity grave sites were developed. For more information on "net.people," log on at www.infotoday.com.
The next round's on them
Those folks you saw high-fiving each other through the windows of their Prospect Avenue offices were execs at Wyse Advertising, who were celebrating the addition of a new account, Rockwell International Corp. Rockwell signed with Wyse to handle its marketing services for the Rockwell Automation Control Systems, Rockwell Electronic Commerce operating units and Rockwell's corporate needs. The three responsibilities represent the majority of Rockwell's advertising spending and may represent an $8 million to $10 million integrated ad account.
"We have won a new client who not only likes our work but understands how we work and how we have organized to serve its needs," says Mike Marino, Wyse president. "It looks like the start of a beautiful relationship to us."Source of stress
Rising workloads in this "information now" world are the leading cause of stress in the workplace, according to a survey of IT professionals conducted by RHI Consulting. More than half (55 percent) of the CIOs polled say that as customers demand more from companies, with shorter lead times, their workloads increase, leading to higher stress levels.
Second on the list? Office politics, which the CIOs say has a direct effect on productivity levels.
Picking up the pieces
Tired of your neighbor's dog doing its business on your lawn? That was the motivation behind the establishment of Ms. Poop-Scooper, an animal waste removal service business founded by Gwen Barlow-Martinez. Ms. Poop-Scooper scoops for dogs and cats. Elephants, antelope and wild gorillas need not apply. For more information, contact Barlow-Martinez at (330) 724-7360 or spazzycat@IOL13.com.
Looking to put a spin on your company's public affairs news? Who better to represent your company than someone who's done the same job for the government? That's the premise behind HMS Success Public Relations, which in May opened an office in Cleveland under the direction of Nancy Lesic, former press secretary to Cleveland Mayor Michael White. Based in Columbus, HMS was founded in 1998.
What's your business worth?
You may know the name Rand Curtiss from his appraisal business Loveman-Curtiss, one of the region's top business appraisal firms. Well, it's only a matter of time before the rest of the nation knows Curtiss' name as well. That's because he recently expanded his company's reach by taking over the operations of American Business Appraisers of Phoenix, Ariz., one of the country's largest networks of appraisal companies. So, do you think Curtiss appraised ABA before his company bought it?
Web sites while you wait
Any company's Web site can be a chore to launch. John Sancin Jr., president and CEO of Interactive Technologies (www.interactivetechniques.com), took that into consideration when he launched a new automated Web site building tool, ViewasUdo. The idea behind ViewasUdo, says Sancin, is that users can view their site as it is created rather than having to stop work to save the site, go view it, then start work again.
"We want our users to create a totally customizable site that meets all of their specific business needs," says Sancin, "regardless of the type of business they are in."
Insulin resistance syndrome, or Syndrome X, has been marked as a warning sign for Adult-Onset diabetes or Type II Diabetes, a disease that has increased 77 percent in recent years. In response, Club Olympia on Center Ridge Road in Westlake has created a lifestyle program specifically to help ward off Syndrome X, usually marked by obesity and above normal cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The program focuses on nutrition, aerobic exercise and resistance training.
"One-third of all Americans are clinically obese," says club owner Mike Furci. "Our customized nutrition and work-out programs promote weight loss, which ultimately improves insulin insensitivity."
While test preparation courses are common for college entrance and graduate school exams, there are few options for those seeking to bone up before a job entrance exam. Learning Express, which has published test prep and career information books since 1995, launched LearnATest.com, a Web site to help those interested in a career in the safety forces, military and other professions get a head start on the entrance exams.
"There are millions of people every year whose career hopes ride on a standardized entrance or certification test to the profession they've chosen," says Barry Lippman, president of LearningExpress. "Most people have no effective way of preparing for or improving their scores."
While mostly geared for public sector jobs now, the site will be expanded to include entrance exams for real estate certification, health care and civil service. Practice test prices range from $19.95 to $39.95, depending on the test.
Cleveland-based Creativity for Kids unveiled 14 new "kid-tested" arts and crafts kits in September, bringing the total to 49 new products it has released this year, with one more to be unveiled soon.
Co-founder Evelyn Greenwald says the key to the company's growth is innovation.
"In this time of television and computers, parents look to us for alternative activities for children that allow them to expand the scope of their experience."
Co-founder Phyllis Brody adds, "It's important for kids to use their hands to create, to paint, sew and even make cosmetics. It helps them learn and grow and they feel proud of what they make."
Flight Options soars
Cleveland-based Flight Options, the only national provider of pre-owned fractional jet aircraft, announced that it sold 26.5 percent of the total fractional aircraft shares sold in the industry in the first seven months of 2000, according to an independent market research firm. Flight Options ranked second among all fractional aircraft ownership programs, just under Executive Jet/NetJets, which claimed 28 percent of shares sold.
Executive Jet/NetJets is owned by multibillionaire Warren Buffett and recently opened its new operational headquarters in Columbus. Flight Options specializes in bring pre-owned jets to the fractional ownership market. The company has 80 airplanes in its fleet and was a 2000 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award recipient.
A hero in our midst
The American Red Cross of Greater Cleveland has recognized Ken Keeler as a Red Cross Hero for his work on the LifeSkills Program. To receive the award, Keeler showed "extraordinary courage, compassion, character or humanity and saved or improved the lives of other local residents." LifeSkills is a series of mini workshops that provide knowledge and skills regarding employment, resource management and housing.Where do we rank?
Twelve companies headquartered in Greater Cleveland are on Fortune magazine's 1999 list of the top 500 U.S. corporations, ranking the area 10th among the nation's markets in the number of Fortune 500 headquarters. Further, the Cleveland-Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area is home to 113 companies with revenue of $100 million or more.
Balancing the bottom line
What's the most critical aspect to keep your business growing in the next two years? According to a survey of CFOs by RHI Management Resources, reducing expenses tops the list, although not by a wide margin. Thirty-one percent of CFOs rated reducing expenses as the most critical task for keeping their business growing, followed by expanding operations (27 percent), recruiting and hiring (25 percent), implementing e-commerce solutions (7 percent) and launching a new product or service (7 percent).
Decksmith Structures Inc. has been named to Remodeling magazine's Top 500 Remodeler's list for the fifth consecutive year. The Painesville-based company, which specializes in decks, patios, gazebos, sunrooms and enclosures, has offices on the east and west sides of Cleveland, Akron and Columbus.
For the sake of service
Harris InfoSource has announced the release of the first Harris Ohio Services Database, a listing of more than 20,000 service companies throughout Ohio. The compilation includes numerous industries: communications, transportation, banking/finance, medical, education, construction, consulting, legal, restaurant and retail. Twinsburg-based Harris InfoSource is also the publisher of a database listing Ohio manufacturers. For more information, contact Michael Goldstein at (800) 888-5900, ext. 2385, or e-mail services@HarrisInfo.com.
What traits lead to success?
The most important characteristic for successful leaders is dependability, according to the "Trendicator Survey" by Resource Development Co. Inc. Following dependability, characteristics that define successful leaders are:
9.) problem solver and
Cleveland loses its Madison Avenue
Madison Avenue West, a marketing communications agency, has merged with Youngstown-based Farris & Associates. Both organizations are changing their names to Farris Marketing. The reason behind the merger is a common one: "To offer our clients more services and more experience than each could on an individual basis," says Madison Avenue West President Dean Michaels, who will become the new company's chief creative officer.
E-mail those resumes
The most popular way to receive resumes is online. Two years ago, a scant 4 percent of executives preferred to receive resumes electronically. Today, that number is 48 percent. Twenty-one percent opt for snail mail (the same as in 1998). Resumes by fax ranks as the third most popular method at 11 percent, followed by in person with 1 percent. If you are one of those who don't care how you get a resume as long as someone shows up to work, you're not alone. Nineteen percent of executives don't care how they get their prospective employees.
A grant that hits home
The Applewood Centers Inc., a not-for-profit agency that helps children and families with emotional problems and family issues, has received a $250,000 grant from the Eva L. and Joseph M. Bruening Foundation to provide independent living for youth who have never been adopted and are too old to stay in foster care.
Making it safe
Louis Paisley, Of Counsel and retired partner with Weston Hurd Fallon Paisley & Howley LLP, has been awarded the SBC Award of Excellence by the National Crime Prevention Council in Washington, D.C. Paisley, who as president of the Cleveland Bar Association formed the Task Force on Violent Crime, was one of eight community leaders in the country to receive recognition for work in preventing crime and building safer communities.
Mining information over the Net can be a time-consuming task if you don't know where to look. InfoRocket.com (www.inforocket.com), a question-and-answer Web site, hopes to fill that need by connecting people who have questions to the people with answers in a virtual person-to-person auction marketplace.
When you consider that 40 percent of adult users use the Internet for work research and 35 percent of the student population uses the Internet for homework or research for school, the need to quickly find answers becomes even more important. And, when you consider the cost of the average business owner's time, wasting hours on the Web is certainly not cost effective.
The business model seems to be working. Earlier this year, InfoRocket.com was the fifth fastest growing Web site for the month of March, according to PC Data Online, the leader in gathering information on Web traffic and e-commerce. According to PC Data Online, unique visitors to the site increased by 860 percent from February. According to Media Metrix, InfoRocket.com had 1.1 million unique visitors in April.
More than a hefty name
Recognizing the need for consistent branding on the Internet, BrandMuscle LLC (www.brandmuscle.com) opened its Cleveland offices in September, offering Web-based brand management solutions. Since the proliferation of the Internet, branding has been one of the most difficult challenges for businesses looking to stake out the right real estate and be profitable.
BrandMuscle's concept is simple: It enables advertisers and their partners to easily and securely control advertising assembly, versioning, reporting (such as co-op management) and digital assets hosted at one location.
That solves a central issue business owners have discovered on the Net. Explains CEO and founder Philip Alexander, "How do you allow your franchisees and local dealers and distributors the flexibility to tell their unique story while maintaining the corporate brand image?"
At the local level, franchisees and distributors can access the system to customize their advertisements by selecting from preapproved images, coupons and customer locations without compromising the integrity of the brand.
Located in Cleveland, initial seed capital for BrandMuscle was provided by the Reach Internet Incubator in Boston.
Virtual lessons 2.0
Ontimetraining.com recently inked an alliance deal with Bobit Publishing (www.bobit.com) that allows the Streetsboro-based Web training firm to develop training Web sites for Bobit's line of business publications. Bobit publishes Auto Rental News and F&I Management & Technology, as well as several other business magazines.
Ontimetraining (www.ontimetraining.com) also launched a network and training portal for real estate agents called the RE Zone (www.Rezone.com). The company has inked deals with 22 state associations from the National Association of Realtors, which will use the site to offer online realtor training and promote membership.
They said what?
Nearly 42 percent of Ohio's public companies plan to change the way they communicate with investors, according to a statewide survey of corporate investor relations executives conducted by Edward Howard & Co.
The changes are in response to a new disclosure rule issued in August by the SEC -- Regulation FD (Fair Disclosure) -- that prohibits companies from disclosing material, nonpublic information on a selective basis. The new rule requires companies to broadly and simultaneously distribute material information to all investors.
Regulation FD arose because of complaints that research analysts and portfolio managers from large institutions had unfair access to corporate information compared to smaller investors.
According to the survey, most respondents say they expect to provide more information to investors; however, several say they will probably provide less. A small minority even suggested they may no longer take investor phone calls.
"Companies need to be more careful than ever not to discuss material, nonpublic information during a one-on-one meeting or phone conversation," says Kathleen A. Obert, president and CEO of Edward Howard & Co. "In today's environment, the market demands that public companies remain proactive -- especially in the face of change."
An award for an awards presenter
Ernst & Young is well known for its annual Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award competition, in which each region within E&Y's service area honors business owners for their ability to grow their companies. Now E&Y is on the other side of the honoree podium. Its Ernst & Young Center for Business Knowledge (CBK) in September was named one of the nation's most innovative users of information technology by Information Week magazine.
CBK is based in E&Y's Cleveland offices, and uses technology to supply its employees and clients with up-to-the minute research information on companies, industry trends, benchmarking studies and leading practices. More than 160 researchers, consultants, technicians and staff investigate hundreds of information requests each day.
The Council of Smaller Enterprises is getting its priorities straight for this year's legislative action agenda. Among the notables, COSE plans to support the following:
- Efforts to lead to a more efficient market-driven health care delivery system.
- Common-sense workers' compensation rates and reserve levels in line with private insurer requirements at the Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
- Enactment of a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act.
- An urban revitalization policy focused on land assembly and brownfield redevelopment, tax policy for investment, housing and transportation.
- Business-led involvement in high-tech legislative proposals.
- Elimination of the Ohio Estate Tax.
Finding good homes for orphans
The economy may be slowing, but business at McDonald Investments is booming. Mark Phillipel, managing director and manager of the investment firm's mergers and acquisitions practice, says a new segment of the market -- orphan firms -- has been extremely active over the past few years.
An orphan is a public company whose size and stock trading volume aren't high enough to warrant a strong stock price or for the company to remain independent. What many at McDonald have found is that those companies are actively pursuing merger or acquisition partners to strengthen their financial solvency. SBN Magazine plans a closer look at orphans later this year. Stay tuned.
Innovest 2001, a statewide venture capital conference, is set for May 10 and 11 at The Westin Hotel in Cincinnati. For more information, call (216) 229-9445, ext. 171, or visit www.innovest.org. SBN Magazine is a sponsor of this event.
In a year in which public relations firms helped get their clients exposure and assisted in record revenue-generating periods, many PR firms benefited as well. Gross revenue for The Goldstein Group rose 80 percent during 2000 to $2.4 million; net revenue grew 72 percent. Employment doubled during the year to satisfy increased demand from new clients and expanded project assignments from existing ones. As a result, owner Joel Goldstein says he's outgrown his new location and is on the prowl for even larger digs. But, he says, it's a great problem to have.
Don't burn any bridges
Workers who find the grass isn't greener with a new employer may be able to bargain for their old jobs back, suggests a recent survey. More than 90 percent of executives polled said they would gladly roll out the welcome mat for a valued former employee who left in good standing.
The survey, developed by Robert Half International Inc., was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 150 executives with the nation's 1,000 largest companies.
"By rehiring staff members who left in good terms, businesses fill critical openings and regain key talent," says Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International.
Penton hires tech officer
Penton Media has appointed R. Thomas Jensen as its chief technology officer. Jensen, 42, joins Penton from Honeywell Corp., where he was vice president and chief information officer of the transportation and power systems division. He was responsible for developing and implementing the global IT strategy for three Honeywell IT organizations, as well as the worldwide technical infrastructure for the division.
At Penton, Jensen's responsibilities will include implementing technology-based strategies that enhance and support product and revenue creation.
Medical Mutual grants $85,504
Medical Mutual Charitable Foundation has awarded three grants, totaling $85,504, to aid Cleveland area youth organizations. The money will be divided among the Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland, the Teen Health Center of Lakewood Hospital and the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeast Ohio.
The grant to the Free Medical Clinic will expand operations of its Teen Clinic. Lakewood Hospital's Teen Center will use its grant to develop and implement an education series for middle school girls that focuses on confidence-building and self-esteem issues. The grant to the Epilepsy Foundation will fund a young adult epilepsy education and support program that targets 16- to 24-year-olds, as well as their peers, teachers and family members.
Taft touts Athersys
Gov. Bob Taft has earmarked more than $86 million in this year's state budget to develop high-tech and biotech companies like Cleveland-based Athersys and recruit new firms to Ohio.
"Athersys is a prime example of the kind of success high-tech firms can achieve by building their businesses in Ohio," Taft said. "Ohio has an ambitious technology agenda aimed at creating and attracting the high-tech companies and high-paying jobs of the future."
Taft targeted $34 million in this year's budget for science and technology programs and $40 million for recruiting research teams in biotechnology, nanotechnology and information technology, and created a biomedical facilities fund, which will provide $12 million for biomedical research facilities.
IP hot industry
Half of all attorneys in a national survey believe that intellectual property will be the hottest practice area in law over the next 10 years. This field received more than three times the response of the second choice, corporate transaction law.
The survey was developed by The Affiliates, a leading staffing service specializing in the legal profession, which polled 200 attorneys among the nation's 1,200 largest law firms.
"Factors such as the rapid growth of new technologies, ongoing evolution of the Internet and an expanding biomedical field ensure that intellectual property issues will rank as top priorities for attorneys this decade," says Kathleen Call, executive director of The Affiliates.
Rosemarie Rossetti, president of Rossetti Enterprises Inc., has been selected as one of 97 people to carry the Olympic torch through Columbus this month.
Rossetti, whose battle back to business after a paralyzing accident was featured in SBN Magazine ("No crushing blow," July 2001), was one of more than 210,000 people nominated for the honor. Ken Smith, technical staff coordinator at Great Northern Consulting Services, nominated Rossetti because of the way she has met her challenges.
"This tragedy has not dampened her spirits. She constantly worked to become more mobile and is now able to walk some and is riding a recumbent bike up to about 8 miles per hour for several miles," he wrote. "Rosemarie is now an author and highly sought after by many groups seeking a real hero and motivational speaker. Rosemarie's strength and determination come from her giant never-say-no, never quit heart."
Rossetti will carry the torch either Jan. 2 or Jan. 3. A bracket mounted on her wheelchair will hold the Olympic torch for her route, which will be two-tenths of a mile.
Before reaching the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, the flame will be carried by 11,500 torchbearers on a 65-day, 13,500-mile journey starting in Atlanta and traveling through 46 states.
Huntington Bancshares Inc. is expanding its offerings to the business community.
Late last year, the bank introduced the Capital Markets Group, which focuses on providing nontraditional financial solutions for corporate and institutional customers.
The group is responsible for investment banking, sales and trading; providing mezzanine capital to corporate, real estate and commercial customers; and providing risk management products to commercial customers.
John Grant, Dave Abshier and Bob Harless manage the Capital Markets Group and report to Mike McMennamin, president of Huntington Capital Corp. and Bancshares vice chairman and CFO.
The company also has formed a new commercial line of business, Huntington Bank Equipment Finance. Led by Robert E. Allanson, president, the business is focused on delivering tailored financing solutions for business capital equipment needs.
Columbus-based CTL Engineering Inc. has acquired Sachina Engineering of Bangalore, India.
The consulting engineering firm has broadened its scope of services with the addition of Sachina Engineering's staff and equipment.
Sachina, which will maintain its office in India and operate from a satellite location in Cleveland, has been assisting CTL since 1998 in the digitizing of drawings and software development and the design and implementation of CTL's Web site.
Save the date
Morning and afternoon Jan. 18 at the Hyatt Regency: How to Increase Performance & Profits, presented by Douglas Brooks, president of ASE Corp., and Patrick Donadio, a business coach and professional speaker. The seminar, sponsored by SBN Magazine, is designed to help business owners and presidents create a good workplace environment and a business image to attract more customers. Topics also will include time management and maximizing effectiveness as well as information regarding attitude development and strategies to benefit employees. For information, call 766-7898 or e-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Noon, Feb. 8, Max M. Fisher College of Business, Pfahl Hall, Executive Interchange Series, "New Products and New Ideas in Finance" by Rene M. Stulz, the Everett D. Reese Chair of Banking Monetary Economics at Fisher; 225-6064
The Ohio Foundation for Entrepreneurial Education is offering several programs for entrepreneurs, including Listen to Your Business: A Strategic Visioning workshop, 6 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 23; Grow It: The Business Plan Program, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. once a week Feb. 19 to May 21; and Start It: The Feasibility Study program, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. once a week March 7 to May 21. All programs are held at the Business Technology Center, 1275 Kinnear Road. Call 487-3675 or visit www.ofee.org.
Awards and accolades
Sanford "Sandy" Goldston, chairman of The Wallick Cos., is the first recipient of the Jack L. Wallick Lifetime Service Award in recognition of outstanding achievement during his 35-year career and his dedication to the cause of quality affordable housing.
Eclipse Studios, which recently moved into its new 8,500-square-foot facility at 6625 Reflections Drive with digital lab Solar Imaging, is recognized at the Ohio Hunger Task Force 2001 annual meeting as Local Corporate Supporter of the Year.
Nancy Paul and Associates Inc. receives a certificate of honorable mention at the 49th Annual Chris Awards for the video "Choice or Chance," written and produced for Nationwide Insurance as an internal communication piece on ethics in the workplace. Nancy Paul and Associates also received the Award of Excellence from the American Staffing Association for an interactive CD-ROM detailing orientation and training information for Martha Vance and Associates.
The Longaberger Co. and M/I Schottenstein Homes have been named to Family Business magazine's 2001 list of America's largest family companies, ranked by revenue. Longaberger was ranked 138 out of 150; M/I Schottenstein was ranked 142.
Abrasive Technology Inc. receives its ISO 9001:2000 certification for its Lewis Center headquarters operations.
Checksmart/Buckeye Check Cashing Inc. receives a 2001 Activa Award from Financial Service Centers of America for exemplary community service. The Dublin company was honored for its Community Fund program, which provided more than $113,000 to a variety of area not-for-profit organizations including schools, educational programs and other civic associations.
Friends of the Hilltop honors Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Service's Hilltop Chapel with a 2001 Beautification Award for the fifth year in a row.
Corna/Kokosing Construction Co. receives a Build Ohio award for its construction on the Columbus State pedestrian bridge from the Associated General Contractors of Ohio.
Urban Environments Inc. receives a Distinction Award in the Associated Landscape Contractors of America's Environmental Improvement Awards Program for landscape maintenance of Duke Realty Corp.'s properties and the interchange at Tuttle Crossing.
HER Realtors wins six awards out of 21 categories in the 2001 Ohio Association of Realtors Promotion & Advertising Contest.
Dan Dragin, president of All Star Moving Co., to the editorial board of Mover, a magazine for moving and storage professionals
As officers of the Community Shelter Board: chairman Timothy T. Miller, chief administrative officer, Crane Plastics Co.; vice chair Floyd Jones, vice president of production, The Columbus Dispatch; treasurer William Wright, retired partner, Deloitte & Touche; secretary Joyce B. Link, partner, Bricker & Eckler; and past chair Stephen A. Rish, vice president of corporate public involvement, Nationwide Insurance Enterprise Foundation
Margaret A. Hambleton, president of Hambleton Inc., real property appraisers and consultants, to the state's Real Estate Appraiser Board
Michael Menzer, founder and president of Paramount Financial Group Inc., to the Central Ohio Technical College board of trustees
Promotions, executive hires
Philip A. Voelker to chief investment officer and managing director of Advanced Asset Management Advisors Inc.
Donna L. Freeman as a director in the Columbus office of SS&G Financial Services
Michael S. Rahe as vice president, accounts receivable analysis; James C. Blythe as associate vice president of marketing for business development; and Neil L. Johnson as senior credit analyst at National Century Financial Enterprises Inc.
Sherry Fisher to vice president, business development, at Urban Environments Inc.
John R. Nave to vice president of Archer-Meek Weiler Agency Inc.
Tom Lane to senior vice president and manager of consumer lending at Fifth Third Bank; Rich Tucker to assistant vice president and investment executive with Fifth Third Securities Inc.; and Tony Mathena to assistant vice president commercial lending, Fifth Third Bank
New clients and partnerships
Grady Memorial Hospital in Delaware County establishes a formal partnership with OhioHealth, giving OhioHealth 25 percent ownership in Grady and each organization representation on the other's board of directors.
Four pump manufacturing companies, PACO and Johnston Pump in Texas, Wier Floway in California and KSBAktiengesellschaft in Germany, have entered into agreements for sales force software solutions from IntellEquip Inc. in Dublin.
E.V. Bishoff Co. is renovating the former bank lobby of the Columbian Savings and Loan on the ground floor of the Commerce Building, 35 E. Gay St., restoring it to its original 1923 classical style.
Sport Management Inc. becomes agency of record for Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Billiard Congress of America and gains an endorsement and marketing services relationship with Anita Marks, quarterback for the independently owned Miami Fury, a Women's Professional Football team.
Boston-based Forum Corp. aligns with Ten Worldwide to address the people component of Ten Worldwide's holistic approach to launching, strengthening and rebuilding brands. The companies will jointly market their capabilities under the ten + Forum moniker.
APEX/M&P Construction LLP is awarded a $7.6 million general trades contract by the Frontier Local School District Board of Education for a project including three schools and the bus maintenance facility.
On the move
All Seasons Spas relocates to a new, 21,000-square-foot facility at 4105 Lyman Drive in Hilliard designed and built by Ruscilli Construction and Meacham & Apel Architects Inc.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky approves a reorganization plan for Quaker Coal Co. in which American Electric Power will acquire substantially all the assets of Quaker in a move expected to increase AEP's coal production by approximately 7 million tons. AEP also is moving part of its wholesale group operations into the Arena District.
Dana Bromberg has sold the in-theater advertising company he started as a marketing student at The Ohio State University. In a transaction in excess of $1.3 million including assets sold and maintained, Bromberg's CinemAd Media was purchased by Cinema Screen Media, a national company headquartered in Marietta, Ga.
Bromberg serves as vice president of sales at Cinema Screen Media and oversees an 11-state territory in the Midwest and Northeast.
Jolly good fellows
Kegler, Brown, Hill & Ritter has nabbed a new partner, while another partner gained national kudos.
Tony White, a former four-year letter winner, two-year starter and team captain for The Ohio State University men's basketball team, was named as partner in the litigation group of the firm. White's practice focuses on civil litigation on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants using his experience in complex business litigation matters including dispute resolution and prosecution and defense of tort cases.
He also is a member of the firm's Diversity Committee and volunteers for the Salesian Boys Club, Canine Companions for Independence, Recreation Unlimited and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Meanwhile, Kegler, Brown, Hill & Ritter partner Lawrence F. Feheley has received recognition by colleagues nationwide with his induction into the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers as a fellow. Election is awarded for outstanding performance in the profession, exemplifying integrity, dedication and excellence.
Feheley is chair of Kegler, Brown's labor and employee relations practice area and concentrates on representation of management in labor and employment matters, with emphasis on advising and defending employers in discrimination and wrongful discharge claims.
Did you miss out on reserving your seat when Gov. Taft planned the Ohio Business and Investment Mission to Europe in October?
After the September terrorist attacks, the mission was rescheduled for April.
In addition to business investment and export-related meetings, the April mission is expected to include a visit to the Hannover Fair, the world's largest industrial trade fair.
Ohio companies and organizations interested in promoting German investment in Ohio or seeking trade opportunities can contact Kirk Merritt or Randy Hochstetter in the Ohio Department of Development's International Trade Division at 466-5017 or (800) 848-1300.
Let's make a deal
The Builders Exchange of Central Ohio has set up a formal partnership with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with the goal of reducing workplace accidents.
More than 20 firms, such as Corna/Kokosing Construction Co., Ruscilli Construction Co., Elford Inc., EXXCEL Project Management and Gilbane Building Co. have joined the partnership. Member firms must implement aggressive training and safety strategies that go above and beyond OSHA standards. In return, they receive substantial benefits from OSHA, such as limited inspection activity and deeply discounted fines.
For more information, contact Meg DeWerth at the Builders Exchange at 486-9521.
Join us for a think tank
Network with other Central Ohio business owners at the CEO Mastermind Roundtable Breakfast Jan. 18 at the Hyatt Regency.
Sponsored by SBN Magazine and presented by Douglas Brooks, president of ASE Corp., and Patrick Donadio, a business coach and professional speaker, the breakfast will enable Central Ohio business owners, presidents and CEOs to share ideas for taking their organizations to the next level. Other topics include launching the new year with increased productivity and sales, creating the ultimate work environment and projecting a new authoritative image to your clients.
For information, call 766-7898 or e-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Awards and accolades
Gary J. Ross, president of the Americas Division of Liebert Global Services in Westerville, receives the 2001 Ohio State University Fisher College of Business International Alumni Award for outstanding performance in international business.
Peter H. Edwards Sr., chairman of The Edwards Cos., receives the 2001 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Fisher College alumni association for individuals who have brought distinction to themselves, the college and the university through their professional participation, commitment and leadership.
Jim Wright, principal and designer with Residential Designed Solutions Inc. of Worthington, receives first place and third place national design awards from the American Institute of Building Design & Homestyles for two homes in Tartan Fields in Dublin.
Artie Isaac, president and principal of Young Isaac Inc., receives the Board Member of the Year award from Jewish Family Services, especially noting his work this year guiding the marketing committee to create a marketing plan to follow the agency's strategic plan.
INROADS Columbus, an international internship program for minorities, awards The Huntington National Bank with the Corporate Plus Award for commitment to the program. Kelly Blackmon, Huntington senior human resource generalist and coordinator of the bank's INROADS program, is named Business Coordinator of the Year.
TRIAD Architects receives the National Preservation Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for its restoration of Edward Lee McClain High School in Greenfield.
Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Service receives the 2001 National Funeral Directors Association Pursuit of Excellence Eagle Award for outstanding community service, professional integrity and public relations initiatives.
The 2001 Dublin Civic Beautification Awards Program gives five awards to Urban Environments Inc. for work the firm did at BMW Financial Services, Dublin Tech Mart, Atrium II, Metro South and One Metro Place.
Martha Vance & Associates Inc. wins the award of excellence sponsored by the American Staffing Association in the multimedia category for a CD-ROM employee orientation program.
Hopkins Printing receives six awards at the 2001 International Gallery of Superb Printing from the International Association of Printing House Craftsmen Inc.
To the board of trustees of Volunteers of America, Ann T. Gallagher, senior vice president at Opinion Strategies Inc., and as officers of the board, vice chairperson Justin W. Kluemper, vice president and manager of National City Bank's Japanese Marketing Group; treasurer William K. Burton, president of Capital Investors Advisory Corp.; and secretary Robert F. Halley, vice president of Heartland Bank
To the board of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus Foundation, chairman David Ryan, former president and CEO of Rimrock Corp.; and president-elect James Kunk, executive vice president for commercial and retail banking delivery with The Huntington National Bank's Central Ohio region
Paula Inniss, president of Ohio Full Court Press, and Susan C. Finn, director of nutrition services and public affairs for Ross Products Division of Abbot Laboratories, to the Columbus State Community College Board of Trustees
Tom Dillon, partner-in-charge of the Columbus office of Roetzel & Andress, to vice president of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, an international organization of attorneys who either engage in trial work for the defense or who are general counsel for corporate entities
Janice Page, formerly a senior vice president at Sears Roebuck and Co., to member of the Glimcher Realty Trust board of trustees
Promotions, executive hires
Charles A. Kerwood II to shareholder and board member of Waller Financial Planning Group
At The Limited Inc., Joan Overlock to executive vice president of marketing for Express; John R. Jonge Poerink to vice president of brand marketing for Express; Jim Roemmer to vice president of direct marketing for Express; and Mark Giresi to senior vice president of stores
Elizabeth Marrone to vice president of fragrance development for Bath & Body Works and The White Barn Candle Co.
Sue Zazon to president of KeyBank's Columbus district
Rick Studer, former partner at Clary Communications, to senior vice president of marketing communications at Griffin Communications
Mark Placenti and Pat Smith to senior vice presidents and directors of client services at Lord, Sullivan & Yoder
Save the date
The Service Corps of Retired Executives offers two seminars this month at Edison Welding Institute, 1250 Arthur E. Adams Drive: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Dec. 6, How to Start Your Business; and 6 to 10 p.m. Dec. 6, Writing an Effective Business Plan. Call 469-2357 for information.
11:30 to 1 p.m. Dec. 11, Grady Memorial Hospital, Delaware: Safety Plans for the Small Business, presented by Meg DeWerth of The Builders Exchange of Central Ohio; (740) 369-6221
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 7, Motorists Insurance Group, 471 E. Broad St.: Maximizing Supervisory Effectiveness by Ohio Northern University Entrepreneurship Center; (800) 772-6070 or e-center.onu.edu
8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 12, sparkspace, 300 Marconi Blvd., Suite 306: Tongue Fu!, martial arts for the mind and mouth to build better relationships at work, at home and in the community; 224-7727 or www.sparkspace.com
Morning and afternoon Jan. 18 at the Hyatt Regency: How to Increase Performance & Profits presented by Douglas Brooks, president of ASE Corp., and Patrick Donadio, a business coach and professional speaker. The seminar, sponsored by SBN Magazine, is designed to help business owners and presidents create a good workplace environment and a business image to attract more customers. Topics also include time management and maximizing effectiveness as well as information regarding attitude development and strategies to benefit employees. For information, call 766-7898 or e-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
New clients and partnerships
TDCI Consulting acquires Columbus-based Agility Corp.
APEX/M&P Construction LLP wins a $1.4 million general trades contract for Genoa Elementary and Tussic Site Elementary schools for Westerville City Schools.
Clary Communications is named agency of record for the WBNS-10TV Commit to be Fit campaign.
Executive Staffing Solutions and Advanced Career Development Inc. form a strategic partnership in a new initiative to bring outplacement programs to companies forced to cut back during periods of economic uncertainty.
SBC Advertising is named agency of record for Wayne Dalton Corp.; signs Dietrich Metal Framing, Worthington Industries, Herald Printing, Elford Construction Services and QuickHire to its Business to Business roster; and adds Bank First National and Lifestyle Communities to its Public Relations client list.
On the move
Big Lots opens its expanded 1.4 million-square-foot distribution center in Montgomery, Ala.
Secure Interiors Inc. receives a seven-year, 65 percent tax credit from the Ohio Job Creation Tax Credit Authority for an expansion project expected to create 80 jobs and retain six within the first three years of operation of the expansion.
Bob Evans Farms Inc. sells its Hickory Specialties Inc. subsidiary to Kerry Group plc, an international food products company based in Ireland, with proceeds to be used for the company's stock repurchase program and to pay down short-term lines of credit.
Huntington Bancshares Inc. sells its Florida operations to SunTrust Banks Inc. for $705 million to strengthen its capital position and repurchase shares. Huntington also approves a companywide employee stock option program for approximately 8,500 employees.
Schoonover Boyer Steen Group relocates to 383 N. Front St. in the Arena District.
Languages Unlimited Inc. launches the Border Busting Catalog and Manual Division to help catalog businesses sell their wares internationally.