Roughly one-third of Americans on Medicare have no insurance coverage for prescription drugs, and many of those with coverage still have high out-of-pocket expenses. While some Medigap plans offered through private insurance companies are designed to cover prescription medications, experts say the system isnt working.
According to the American Association of Retired Persons, seniors with Medigap coverage spend an average of $570 a year on prescription drugs, while those without the extra coverage spend only $20 more.
Repairing a bone fracture requires a healthy diet adequate protein, calcium, vitamin C and other essential nutrients. But in the case of athletes or heavy exercisers, time off from exercise is crucial, to give the bone a break from physical stress so it can heal.
If you eat or drink two to three dairy products daily, or regularly consume calcium-fortified orange juice or other calcium-fortified products, chances are you are already meeting your calcium needs. A calcium supplement of about 500 milligrams will help ensure adequate intake. Remember: Its rest, not calcium, that will most help mend your bones. Source: Onhealth.com
Your protein requirement is based on your body weight. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight about 65 grams for a person who weighs 180 pounds. But the extra 25 percent to 50 percent required by physically active people bumps the requirement up to 81 to 98 grams daily for a 180-pound athlete. Your body uses the extra protein for building and repairing muscle tissue and burns small amounts for fuel.
A major headache
The symptoms of migraine vary from person to person in intensity, frequency, character and duration. Migraine attacks occur in two basic forms: migraine without aura and migraine with aura, a warning usually consisting of visual disturbances or neurologic symptoms occurring within an hour before the onset of the headache. About 60 percent of all types of migraine attacks consist of migraine without aura.
The most prominent symptom of migraine without aura is headache, which may be severe and is often described as throbbing. About 60 to 70 percent of the time, the headache pain is unilateral (occurring on one side of the head). Symptoms which commonly accompany the headache include photophobia (severe sensitivity to light), phonophobia (sensitivity to noise), nausea and, occasionally, vomiting. These features distinguish migraine from tension-type headache, often described as a band-like sensation around the head without other associated symptoms.
Migraine with aura is characterized by the same symptoms as occur in migraine without aura, except that the headache phase is preceded by, or less often accompanied by, visual disturbances or neurologic symptoms. Some patients experience symptoms of the aura without subsequent development of headache, referred to as acephalgic migraine.
Take a snooze
Americans dont sleep enough, according to the National Sleep Foundation, which reports that only 35 percent of adults sleep the recommended eight hours or more per night during the average workweek.
Most sleep six hours and 58 minutes per night, the foundation reports. Sometimes the loss of a few zzzs is inevitable, but more often, its not.
It is an interesting sociological phenomenon, where, at a time of timesaving devices and so many material things that are supposed to make your lives easier, we still lead lives where theres not enough time for sleep, says Joe Cunningham, an internist and senior vice president for medical affairs at Providence Medical Center.
A clear gel containing an investigational compound may help prevent hair loss in chemotherapy patients, report researchers at Glaxo Wellcome Inc.
Hair loss is a common side effect of drug therapy used to fight cancer. Anticancer drugs act on rapidly dividing cells, a feature typical of cancer cells and of hair follicle cells.
In a recent report, Dr. Stephen T. Davis told conference participants about GW8510, a newly synthesized gel compound that may inhibit or stop rapid cell division in hair follicle cells in chemotherapy patients.
Davis and his colleagues at Research Triangle Park studied the agent in rats undergoing chemotherapy. They found that whereas typically 90 percent of rats treated with the anticancer drug etoposide lose their hair, this fell to less than 50 percent in rats treated with a gel containing GW8510. No GW8510-related side effects were detected.
The compound renders normal cells insensitive to chemotherapy. Researchers say they do not believe that it interferes with chemotherapeutic drugs.
Italian for everyone
Italian scientists report that patients with high blood pressure reduced the amount of antihypertensive drugs they needed by switching to a diet low in saturated fat and rich in olive oil. Whats more, some patients were able to stop their high blood pressure medication completely with the dietary changes.
A slight reduction in saturated fat intake, along with the use of extra-virgin olive oil, markedly lowers daily antihypertensive dosage requirement, according to Dr. L. Aldo Ferrara and colleagues, who first reported their findings in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Study subjects who increased their intake of sunflower oil did not achieve the same beneficial results, according to the report.
Fads no more
Ever in search of a faster, easier way to lose weight, more and more Americans are bravely confessing to their so-called carbohydrate addictions, swearing off sugar and diving headlong into the latest fad diet.
The pursuit of a slimmer body has translated into big business. In 1995 alone, Americans spent an estimated $30 billion on weight-loss aids, including diet books, appetite suppressants and other diet pills, diuretics, mechanical reducing devices and health spas geared toward weight loss.
The problem is that, for the vast majority of the population, these diets, gadgets and pills just dont work over the long run, and may even be harmful.
Any diet that deviates from sound nutrition principles, reflected in the U.S. Department of Agricultures Food Guide Pyramid, should be viewed with suspicion. Such diets are easy to recognize they almost invariably promise quick and painless weight loss by following a regimen that is contrary to common sense and often defies the laws of physics and chemistry. They may advocate consuming no fat or no carbohydrates or even no solid food. Every fad diet has its special gimmick, sometimes a whole truckload of them.
The typical crash diet initially creates a rapid loss of water due to sudden changes in the bodys metabolism the way the body uses food. While the scale may show a drop in weight after only a couple of days, what has been lost is water, not fat. Much like a dried prune, when water levels are restored to normal, the body plumps up again. Of course, after a few days or weeks, some fat, along with muscle, will be lost, too.
But the only way weight can be shed quickly more than two pounds per week is by following a diet that is too low in calories. Any diet that is too low in calories is necessarily unbalanced and/or extremely restrictive.
While its fortunate that most people lack the stamina to adhere to such regimens for long, any quick-weight-loss diet is ultimately self-defeating because the dieter is likely to regain the lost weight once the program is discontinued.
Health plans must earn the trust of their customers to compete in the managed care marketplace, according to experts at a recent meeting of the National Managed Health Care Congress.
To improve the quality of health care, we must restore consumer trust in physicians, health plans and insurers, says Les Meyer, a marketing and sales executive for Access Health Group of Denver. Trust is the cornerstone of the buyer-seller relationship. To earn it, you have to do what you say you will do. We must be patient-centered.
To survive in todays competitive health care industry, health plans must attract new members and make sure they remain loyal customers.
If 3,100 customers drop your plan during open enrollment, thats $15 million in lost revenue, Meyer said. We must earn loyalty and retain it. To do that, we must keep the focus on patients and exceed their expectations.
An uncommon heart problem that suddenly triggers a rapid heartbeat is frequently mistaken for panic attacks, especially in women, new research suggests.
The disorder, called paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia or PSVT, results from an abnormal bundle of fibers on the hearts ventricle that periodically makes the heart flutter wildly sometimes for just a few seconds, other times for hours. PSVT can be tricky to diagnose but is easily corrected by surgery or medications.
Nothing to sneeze at
Although about a third of Americans believe they have food allergies, studies show that no more than 2 percent actually do, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system mistakenly makes antibodies against proteins in food. Histamine and other chemicals are released, producing mild hives, swelling and even life-threatening shock. Common culprits include eggs, nuts, seafood and some fruits.
A metabolic food intolerance can cause similar, severe symptoms, but unlike a food allergy, does not involve the immune system. People with a metabolic intolerance lack an enzyme necessary to digest a certain food or additive, such as milk or wheat. But this condition is also quite rare. So why do so many people believe they have adverse reactions to food? Reasons include normal but unpleasant reactions to food properties (think of the familiar relationship between beans and gas), as well as instances of food poisoning.
Certain foods may also have bad associations if they were eaten when a person was sick from other causes. Because true adverse reactions to food are so rare, its best to see your doctor before resorting to dietary restrictions that could be unnecessary. Source: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
A four-year dispute between Kent Display Systems and a Texas competitor has resulted in a federal court ruling in favor of the Kent company.
The dispute began in 1995 when Kent Displays bought the licensing rights to use a polymer-free liquid crystal technology developed by researchers at Kent State University. A year later, Kent Displays discovered that Advanced Display Systems of Texas was using similar technology, and after negotiations failed, the Kent company sued the Texas company for patent infringement.
Although a lower court ruled in favor of Advanced Display Systems in a 1997 trial, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned that ruling in May, granting a new trial and awarding court costs to Kent Display Systems.
According to Kent Display Systems CFO Joel Domino, the ruling read like a John Grisham novel, "retelling how ADS, having failed in creating their own cholesteric device, photographed, then copied Kent's, and then with the assistance of their attorneys, withheld that fact."
Psychology Today magazine recently named Akron-based www.holistic-online to its list of top Web sites. The magazine, published by the American Psychological Association, named the site as the best Web site to learn about the alternative prayer-based therapy, Ayurveda.
Www.holistic-online was created by Dr. Jacob Mathew to provide information on all aspects of health, with an emphasis on alternative therapies, including herbal healing, yoga and stress management.
Mathew, who is president of Akron-based International Cyber Business Services Inc., an e-commerce solution provider, says he is working on adding information to the site on cancer therapy, hormone replacement therapy and menopause.
Cuyahoga Falls Chamber of Commerce named Fred Anthony, president and CEO of Cuyahoga Falls General Hospital, its Business Person of the Year.
Anthony was cited by the chamber as a sound fiscal manager and credited with maintaining excess revenue (the not-for-profit equivalent to profit) for the past 11 years. He achieved this during a period of declining reimbursement, allowing for a 22,000-square-foot ICU addition that is currently under construction.
Anthony was also commended for his leadership, particularly his initiation of the Community Health Advisory Board.
Cleveland-based Flight Options is letting executives -- or their assistants, anyway -- schedule business trips with a new application delivered via the company's "owners only" Web site. The fractional jet ownership service is in the industry that has developed a way to allow customers to schedule their business flights via the Web. Other features of the site include a function that allows traveling executives to experiment with different travel scenarios to better estimate flight routes, time and distance, as well as choose what they would like to eat during their flight and what kind of car they'd like to drive once they land.
Billion dollar difference
Ohio businesses will pay only a quarter of their Workers' Compensation premiums next year, thanks to a $1.2 billion reduction in premiums as the result of better-than-expected returns on investments, efficient management and the organization's efforts in helping injured workers return to their jobs.
"A lot of states are seeing the cost of workers' compensation rise, but not in Ohio," trumpeted Gov. Bob Taft as the Oversight Commission approved the billion dollar premium cut earlier this summer. "Our low costs are great for Ohio businesses and workers and a major tool for attracting new business to our state."
The reductions will appear as 75 percent credits on employers' 2001 bills. Anyone who hasn't received a letter from the BWC explaining the changes can view a copy at www.ohiobwc.com.
Got stock options?
If you're one of the 10 million people in the United States with employee stock options, there is a new Web company devoted to the complex personal finance questions and challenges that may come your way.
"This site is an absolute knockout," gushes Charles Christian, Johnson & Johnson's Director of Planning & Development, Worldwide Compensation Resources. "MyStockOptions.com contains all the information you could ever think you'd want to know about stock options -- and more." MyStockOptions.com, essentially a Web community with the mission of helping you get the most out of your stock compensation, recently completed its private beta test with 40 companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Staples and eToys, and is now available to the general public.
Wanted: Ohio grapes
Looking for a side business venture to sink you teeth into? The Ohio State University seems to think investing time and cash into becoming a wine grape grower may not be such a bad idea. Donniella Winchell, executive director of the Ohio Wine Producers Association, claims Ohio could use 800 to 1,000 new acres of wine grapes to keep up with the state's wine industry. The problem is, the 68 wineries in the state don't have enough home-grown grapes to turn out a 100 percent Ohio product.
"The ideal circumstance for Ohio wineries is to provide an Ohio product from start to finish," explains Winchell. "Wines produced from grapes grown in Ohio can be labeled with the state name, which provides name recognition and improves marketing potential."
The only down side to this grape drive is the price tag tied to breaking into the business. A 10-acre vineyard is considered a full-time job for one person and start-up costs run anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 an acre.
A big deal
Solon-based Complient Corp. recently closed one of the largest venture financing agreements ever generated for an Ohio Internet company. In its latest round of financing, Complient received $44 million with the investment lead by Goldman Sachs and Chase Capital Partners. Complient is working to expand its position as a dominant business-to-business provider of Internet software applications and turnkey learning solutions for effective management of organization compliance activities ranging from OSHA regulations to Internet privacy.
Cleveland's Media Design Imaging is preparing its first feature film, "Twisted," for the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. MDI, which grabbed the attention of the corporate side of Cleveland with its digital business card, has turned much of its attention to building a buzz for the film the company made for the paltry sum of $3,000. Those interested in a preview can check out a film clip at www.mdifilm.com.
Sign of the times
Not long ago, HR executives spent the bulk of their time filling out employee 401(k) forms, handling benefits packages and getting the scoop from their bosses after crucial company decisions were made. That's all changing.
Today, HR execs hold executive committee chairs and seats on boards of directors, and you can find their names among the top paid executives at major companies worldwide. What's driving the changes?
"The number one threat to the ongoing success of American companies remains the ability to attract and retain qualified people," explains Allen Salikof, president and CEO of Management Recruiters International Inc. "As a result, human resource executives are redefining their role within the organization. They are in senior positions making strategic business decisions that affect their company's future."
Food for thought
In case you ever wondered just how much the restaurant industry contributes to the economy as a whole, here are some statistics from the National Restaurant Association:
* Restaurant industry sales are forecast to advance 5 percent this year and equal 4 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.
* The industry produces $376 billion in sales annually at 831,000 locations around the U.S., with 11 million employees.
* The total economic impact is expected to reach $785 billion this year, including sales in related industries such as agriculture, transportation, wholesale trade and food manufacturing.
* Total annual wages and benefits equal $39 billion for full-service restaurants and $35 billion for limited-service establishments.
* Six out of every 10 employees in food service operations are women, 12 percent are African-American and 17 percent are Hispanic. Nearly three out of four limited-service establishments (fast food joints) have recently hired a former welfare recipient.
Truly, something to chew on.
Different kind of blue
Who says blue jeans are just for casual wear? Certainly not the folks at Achievement Centers for Children. In April, the gang at ACC threw the Blue Jean Ball at the Great Lakes Brewing Co. More than 400 people packed the new brewhouse to listen to the Twist-offs and help raise money for Camp Cheerful.
The gang auctioned off six pairs of blue jeans signed by members of the Cleveland Indians, including Jim Thome, Steve Karsay, Richie Sexson and Dave Burba. Total take for the evening: $18,000. Not bad for a bunch of people clad in casual wear.
The Sustainable Jobs Fund, a community venture capital fund based in Durham, N.C., has closed on an investment of $750,000 in Allegheny Child Care Academy, a Pittsburgh-based child care provider. The Future Fund of Pittsburgh invested $250,000 in the current round of financing, which is designed to implement the expansion of Allegheny Child Care Academy into the Philadelphia, Detroit and Cleveland markets.
BroadStreet Communications, a communications provider to small- and medium-sized businesses, has reached a $120 million agreement with Lucent Technologies that will help build BroadStreet Communications' next-generation network.
Sloan Valve Co., of Franklin Park, Ill., has appointed Equiparts Co. as its first independent, national authorized factory technical repair center. Equiparts provides auxiliary electronic repair parts support to Sloan Valve's line of products.
Burns & Scalo Roofing Co. has acquired a roofing and sheet metal panel contract from Continental Building Systems for the Waterfront Power Center in Homestead.
Life's Work of Western Pa. has been awarded $205,000 to fund its single-point-of-contact program and $531,000 to fund its welfare-to-work program. The state-allocated funds came from the city of Pittsburgh to provide job training and work experience to prepare individuals to enter the work force.
Compared with their counterparts north of the border, middle-class and upper-middle-class U.S. residents have similar odds of surviving cancer. However, America's less well-off residents do not fare as well as those in Canada, according to a University of Windsor study.
Among people on the bottom one-third of the socioeconomic ladder, Canadians were about 35 percent more likely to survive cancer than similar U.S. residents, researchers report.
Mutant corn attacks diners
The discovery of an unapproved variety of gene-altered corn in America's food supply is bringing to light questions about human allergies that are likely to challenge the biotechnology industry for some time to come, according researchers at the National Institute for Health.
The genetically engineered corn, known as StarLink, is not approved for human consumption because of a special protein it contains that takes longer than normal to break down in the digestive system.
Scientists think, but don't know for sure, that the ability of a protein to withstand heat and gastric juices is an indicator that it will cause an allergic reaction. Peanuts, which can cause fatal allergic reactions, have that characteristic, as do other foods known to be allergy inducing.
Women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer do not appear to worry about their heightened risk of developing the diseases, study results show. According to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, this suggests that genetic testing for cancer risk may not produce the high anxiety some fear it will.
In a study of 464 women who were at high risk of breast and ovarian cancer, investigators found the women's levels of psychological distress were no higher than average. The women were considered at high risk because of family histories or their own history of the diseases.
All were considering whether to undergo testing to see if they had a gene mutation linked to increased cancer risk. Despite this looming decision, though, the women were surprisingly calm.
Put gramps on the treadmill
For all those who have remained in their rocking chairs despite evidence that exercise fights disease, researchers now say activity makes older people just plain happy.
In a review of 32 studies of activity and mood among the elderly, investigators found that regular exercise -- particularly strength training -- boosted study participants' moods. The results were "remarkably consistent" across the studies, according to a report in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity.
In addition, researchers, led by Shawn M. Arent of Arizona State University in Tempe, found that two types of exercise was better than one. The combination of aerobic exercise and strength training elevated mood to a greater extent than did aerobic exercise alone. Strengthening exercises counter the muscle loss that interferes with daily life as people age, the authors note.
Dust off a theory
Being exposed in childhood to environmental allergy triggers -- such as pollen, dust mites or cat dander -- does not appear to increase the risk of developing asthma, researchers report.
With asthma rates increasing worldwide, many have suggested that an increased exposure to allergens could be to blame, according to Dr. Susanne Lau and associates from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany.
I'm taking the bus
Men who mountain bike run a high risk of injuries to the scrotum that could affect their fertility, results of a study suggest.
In a study of 45 male mountain bikers, Austrian researchers found that 96 percent had scrotal abnormalities. In contrast, such problems were seen in only 16 percent of 31 men who had never biked. The abnormalities included calcium deposits, cysts and twisted veins, and half of the men had scrotal tenderness or discomfort.
Twisted veins in the scrotum are known to impair fertility, says study author Dr. Ferdinand Frausche. Taken together, he said, the abnormalities seen in this study suggest that many of the mountain bikers may have fertility problems. To investigate this possibility, Frauscher and his colleagues at University Hospital Innsbruck are now getting sperm counts from the men.
The current findings were published in The Lancet.
Oldie but goodie
Although the body inevitably withers with age, new research suggests people's emotional health only gets better over time.
When psychologists followed the daily emotional ups and downs of 184 adults for one week, they found that older people had as many positive feelings as younger people did. In contrast, negative emotions grew less common with age.
When they did feel down, older adults bounced back more quickly than younger people did. According to researchers, this emotional maturity may arise from changes people make in their priorities as they age.
Researchers at Stanford University say that as people age, they recognize the fragility of life and, therefore, its preciousness. People's goals change as they age, putting more emphasis on relationships and experiences that are important to them.
Those new clubs saved my life
A round of golf may be just what the doctor ordered for heart disease patients, a German study suggests.
Heart disease patients need to strike a balance during exercise -- they need to push the heart enough to strengthen it without putting too much stress on the muscle. Since golf is a low-impact and increasingly popular activity, researchers investigated whether a trip across the green might be an ideal exercise for people with heart disease.
In a study of 20 men with the condition, a research team from the University of Giessen, Germany, found that golfing got the patients' hearts pumping at a rate similar to the hears of eight healthy study participants. Yet the exercise did not seem to raise blood pressure or overly stress the heart.
The findings were reported in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
It may look pretty, but ballet is more like a contact sport when it comes to injury risk, researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle report. And the risk seems to come from both physical and psychological stress.
In an eight-month study of Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet Company, researchers found that 61 percent of dancers sustained at least one injury that kept them from performing. This injury rate is similar to that found in sports such as football and wrestling, the authors report.
You have something in your teeth
Busy adults claim they have no time to floss their teeth, and dentists say it shows -- especially among men.
When people brush off flossing, they raise their risk for gum disease and tooth loss. Yet, according to a survey of 201 periodontists, flossing gets the least attention in their patients' tooth-care regimens. Men, they report, are the biggest offenders. Nearly 97 percent of the dentists said their female patients practiced better oral hygiene than male patients did.
The American Academy of Periodontology conducted the survey. Periodontists are dentists who specialize in treating the gums.
The most popular excuses for not flossing are lack of time and "dexterity problems," according to the survey. Some dentists, though, reported more unusual patient claims, such as "I gag when I see what comes out when I floss," and "My kids use it to tie up their siblings, so we can't keep it in the house."
Don't tease me
The old saying about "sticks and stones" may not apply when it comes to eating disorders. Researchers have found childhood teasing may play a role in binge eating disorder, a problem believed to affect as many as 2 million Americans.
In a study of 115 women with binge eating disorder, or BED, Yale University researchers found that the women's disorders may be related to teasing they suffered as kids. Women who said others made fun of their appearance during childhood were most dissatisfied with their bodies as adults. And among obese women, those who had been teased the most had the most episodes of binge eating. The findings were published in a recent issue of Obesity Research.
Tamara D. Jackson and her colleagues speculate that childhood teasing may make people vulnerable to BED by affecting their attitudes about themselves and their bodies.
I left my heart on swing shift
People who work a rotating shift schedule that includes staying up all night may be causing harm to their hearts, Italian researchers report. It appears the heart would rather be taking a rest at night, which may explain why shift workers are at greater risk of heart disease and other problems.
"Shift work is associated with an increased rate of (heart) disease and accidents," according to lead author Dr. Raffaello Furlan at the University of Milan in Italy.
I prefer Twinkies, myself
Boosting levels of several key nutrients in the blood may be as easy as sipping a smoothie, researchers report.
According to their study, presented at the American Dietetic Association's annual meeting, a fortified smoothie and energy bar increased blood levels of the B vitamin folate, and vitamins B6, B12 and E. The snacks also lowered levels of homocysteine, a compound that has been linked to increased risk of heart disease.
I got enough Cs in school
Despite a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables and vitamin C-fortified foods throughout the United States, many Americans are deficient in the vitamin that has been shown to fight off colds and lower the risk of disease, researchers report.
Their review of national health data, presented at the American Dietetic Association's annual meeting, shows that smokers and middle-aged men are at greatest risk of vitamin C deficiency, making them vulnerable to infections and fatigue.
People who have suboptimal levels of this important vitamin may also have gums that bleed easily and swelling in their arms and legs, say Dr. Jeffrey S. Hampl and colleagues from the department of nutrition at Arizona State University in Mesa.
According to results of the review, 16 percent of nearly 16,000 people ages 45 to 64 were deficient in vitamin C, and men were at greater risk than women. Smokers were also more likely than nonsmokers to have inadequate levels of vitamin C.
Nine Baldwin-Wallace College students topped their league in the regional Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) competition held in April. The competition included 32 schools. The B-W team is coached by Sandy Maltby, former vice chairman of Small Business Services at Key Bank.
The theme was "Building Big Ideas, One Individual at a Time" and the students' winning paper was titled "Opening the Gates to China," focusing on the meaning of free enterprise in the United States. Students from Jiangxi University in China responded with a paper focusing on the same topic as it relates to China. Maltby says despite the recent tension, "education and students can bridge the cultural gap that exists between two countries."
What women want online
The key issues of shipping, delivery and price are what really motivate online women shoppers to spend more. That according to a study by Columbus-based BIGresearch, which asked more than 11,000 active Internet users what would motivate them to spend more money shopping on the Internet. The study asked online shoppers what, where and why they bought online during the recent holiday shopping season. The top four issues which consumers said would motivate them to buy more online were shipping and delivery; pricing and promotions; payment options; and privacy.
When asked why they shop online, convenience, pricing and product selection are reasons usually cited. "What the non-online shoppers are saying is that pricing is certainly a factor but if you want me to shop online you need to address the shipping costs which are not a part of the normal retail shopping experience," says Joe Pilotta, vice president of BIGresearch.
Unfortunately for e-tailers, shipping costs are an inherent cost of doing business for direct merchants.
Check 'em out
Cleveland's Corporate Screening updated its Electronic Applicant Search Engine (CSS EASE) in March so clients can now order and review complete background investigations online. Companies in need of background investigation services have traditionally had two options -- raw information brokers and private investigators.
Raw information brokers provide quick access to a large amount of data, but that data may or may not apply to a specific person. Private investigators typically provide detailed, specific reports, but they may return information that cannot legally be used in the hiring process, and their fees are usually too steep for companies in need of a large number of background checks.
"CSS EASE gives clients the ability to experience the power and speed of the Internet with the thoroughness and quality of a professional investigator at a fraction of the cost," said Dennis Drellishak, president of Corporate Screening. "And our reports are in compliance with all legal aspects of the pre-employment screening industry."
Check out Corporate Screening at www.corporatescreening.com.
The American Management Association (AMA) announced its first three online self-study courses in its performance support library. Based on the most popular and basic AMA programs, the new e-learning courses provide the essential information for first level supervisory skills, the fundamentals of leadership and safe hiring, managing and firing practices. The self-study courses allow users to set their own pace. Find out more at www.amanet.org.
Tools for success
The Entreprenuer Institute will hold its fourth annual President's Forum of Cleveland June 5, 2001, at Executive Caterers of Landerhaven. The forum is designed to provide the presidents and owners of business with the tools they need to compete in the new economy. Among the featured speakers are Jack Kahl, former CEO of Manco Inc., Ed Crawford, CEO of Park-Ohio, and Richard Pogue, senior advisor, Dix & Eaton.
The President's Forum is an invitation-only event. Those interested should contact the Entrepreneur Institute at (614) 895-1153 to see if they qualify for attendance.
EOY judges named
Six local business leaders have been tapped as judges for the 2001 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards to help pore over nearly 100 nominations and pick a handful of elite entrepreneurs for recognition. The judges are Art Holmes, CEO of Chart Industries and a former EOY honoree; Loyal Wilson, managing director of Primus Venture Partners; Gil Van Bokkelen, president and CEO of Athersys Inc. and a former winner; Sandy Maltby, associate professor of business administration at Baldwin-Wallace College; Kevin Mcmullen, president of Omnova Solutions; and Sandra Pianalto, first vice president and COO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
Judges will begin interviewing EOY candidates in late May. Winners will be announced at a special banquet on June 14, 2001. For more information, contact EOY at (216) 583-8301.
For executives seeking ways to increase performance, morale, teamwork and sales, Douglas Brooks, president of ASE Corp., and Patrick Donadio, a business coach and professional, will present a seminar, How to Increase Performance & Profits, Jan 18 at the Hyatt Regency.
The seminar, which will be held in the morning and repeated in the afternoon, 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.
SBN Magazine is a sponsor of the event.
Brooks, a speaker, trainer and coach, teaches programs for personal and professional development as well as approaches to sales success. He has been quoted in many national publications, including The Wall Street Journal and Smart Money magazine. Donadio works with leaders and managers who want to move to their next level professionally by teaching them how to increase profitability, cultivate relationships and enhance effectiveness. His clients include Nationwide Insurance, Time Warner Communications and J.C. Penney Co. Catalog.
For information, call 766-7898 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Extending Wendy's reach
Looks like Wendy's won't stop at hamburgers and donuts.
Wendy's International Inc. has hired Jonathan F. Catherwood to a new position of senior vice president of mergers and acquisitions.
Catherwood's 12 years of M&A experience includes a stint as general partner at Windsor Group LLC, an investment bank focusing on M&A in the technology sector, and vice president of corporate strategy for GTE Corp.
"Jonathan brings a depth of experience in the M&A area that will be invaluable as we continue to identify business opportunities for the corporation over the next several years," says Wendy's chairman and CEO Jack Schuessler. "He has completed nine transactions since 1998 and has worked on several other business opportunities for the Windsor Group and GTE."
Also in an effort to ensure long-term growth for the corporation, Executive Vice President Kathie T. Chesnut has added responsibilities for corporate business development to her plate of R&D, supply chain management and quality assurance.
To fund its growth, the company is amending revolving credit agreements to raise the amount the company could borrow from $167 million to $200 million and considering the issuance of unsecured short-term notes to leading financial institutions.
"Our balance sheet is in great shape with a debt-to-equity ratio of 21 percent," says Kerrii Anderson, executive vice president and CFO, noting the company continues to post positive sales increases at Wendy's and its acquired Tim Hortons operations. "We believe that we could borrow additional cash and maintain our investment grade ratings."
Steeled for growth
The state has shored up growth at Buckeye Steel Castings Co. with economic development help.
The company will receive a $2 million loan from the Development Financing Advisory Council. The Ohio Tax Credit Authority has approved a 65 percent, 10-year tax credit that will provide a more than $1 million benefit to the 120-year-old company.
The funds will be used to purchase and upgrade machinery and technology in a more than $27 million project expected to create 163 jobs within the first three years of operation and retain 971.
And through the Ohio Department of Development, Buckeye Steel will receive a $100,000 business development grant and a $250,000 Ohio Investment in Training Program grant to assist the company in training workers using new machinery.
Continuing the transformation
Jay Dascenzo is still molding his company after splitting from partner Miguel Perez this spring.
Previously called Dascenzo-Perez Inc. under the partnership, the communications agency became Dascenzo Inc. and now Dascenzo Creative Inc., with three divisions: marketing/advertising, public relations and production. Dascenzo says he's landed 15 new accounts, including marketing campaigns for the Greater Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau and Steiner + Associates, the developers of Easton; media campaigns for Columbus State community College and The Columbus Landmarks Foundation; and "Something to Talk About," a statewide video series and public awareness campaign for the Ohio Department of Education.
If you want a job done right...
Ruscilli Construction Co. is increasing its work in general construction - bringing in its own crews to do work on a project - for more expansion from construction management projects, where the company supervised an entire project with contractors and subcontractors doing the work.
The company has 15 general construction projects totaling nearly $100 million under way, including a 24,000-square-foot building for Three-C Body Shops Inc.; a new store for Sofa Express in Polaris Fashion Mall; and projects with White Castle, Groveport Madison Local Schools and Pace Logistics.
Awards and accolades
Fifth Third Bank Central Ohio's Pamela Foster, vice president of the Compliance and Community Affairs Department, is inducted into the Corporate Sisters organization, which provides network and support resources for African American executive women. Foster also is treasurer of the Greater Linden Development Corp. and chair of the St. Stephens Community Homes board as well as a board member of the YWCA, Capital University Legal Assistance Advisory Board and the United Way Neighborhood Development Vision Council.
Paul A. Gydosh Jr., a certified financial planner with Steinhaus Financial Group and an adjunct professor of finance at Franklin University, is named to Worth magazine's 2001 list of the top 250 financial advisers in the nation.
Buchanan & Associates and the Ohio Department of Public Safety are honored by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators with the international PACE Award for a poster campaign designed to increase awareness of traffic safety issues in the department's Corporate Safety Program.
Jupiter Marketing is named a national finalist in the 2001 Silver Microphone Awards for a commercial created for Three-C Body Shops Inc. Bob Juniper, president of Three-C, who is also president of Jupiter Marketing, wrote the spot and provided the vocal talent.
As secretary/treasurer of the Columbus Bar Foundation Stephen C. Fitch, a partner with Chester, Willcox & Saxbe LLP
As Ohio Department of Development director, State Sen. Bruce Johnson
As president of the Rotary Club of Westerville Brent D. Rosenthal, a shareholder with Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs LLP
As officers of ProMusica Chamber Orchestra's board: vice president, Melissa P. Ingwersen, president of Bank One's Columbus market; treasurer, Geoff Chatas, American Electric Power's vice president of corporate finance; and secretary, Richard G. Smith III, executive vice president of Executive Jet Inc.
Promotions, executive hires
Mike Mizesko, former president of OhioAngels.com, to a principal of Applied Performance Technologies
Liz Lane, president of Fisher Post and Graphics, adds to her duties training at Reputation Management Associates.
Michael W. McBride, bought out as co-owner of Strategic Resource Partners, to senior marketing consultant at Affiliated Resource Group
Ted Lape, former vice president of corporate banking for Fifth Third Bank, to vice president of sales and marketing for National Century Financial Enterprises Inc.
Gregory Grunewald to director of SS&G Financial Services' Columbus office
Lena W. Jochim to vice president, part owner, Business Management Group Ltd.
Ryan Burgess to vice president of treasury management and public funds, and Jane Bittcher, vice president and manager of the Business Development Group, at Fifth Third Bank Central Ohio
Save the date
lunch, Nov. 8, Easton Hilton: National Association of Women Business Owners meeting; 888-5203
8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Nov. 13-14, Center for Dispute Resolution, Capital University Law School: Handling Workplace Conflicts: Strategies & Skills; 236-6430
11:30 a.m. Nov. 13, Grady Memorial Hospital, Delaware: Occupational Health/Drug Testing program presented by Delaware Area Safety Council; (740) 369-6221
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 14 and 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Nov. 15, Ohio Union Ballrooms at The Ohio State University: Career Day Job Fair; 292-7005 to register your company
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 30 and 31, 2001, Greater Columbus Convention Center: Central Ohio Construction Expo; 486-9521
The Service Corps of Retired Executives offers four seminars this month at Edison Welding Institute, 1250 Arthur E. Adams Drive: 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 14, Government Contracts; 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Nov. 14, Buying/Selling a Business in the New Millennium; 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 15, How to Start Your Business; and 6 to 10 p.m. Nov. 15, Business Taxes. Call 469-2357 for information.
New clients and partnerships
Prime Engineering & Architecture Inc. signs two contracts, valued at $17.5 million, for design tasks at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base for the 121st Air Refueling Wing and design of U.S. Army Reserve centers for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers throughout the United States.
Sport Management Inc. partners with High Point, N.C.-based Motorsports Designs to bring decal design and application to the motorcycle industry and identify teams and riders for potential sponsorship opportunities.
GBQ Partners LLP and The Jacob Co. partner to provide services to each others' clients.
Greif Bros. Corp. signs agreement with The Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich., to provide steel drums in a contract worth about $190 million in sales over four years.
Cardinal Health Inc. signs on Orange, Calif.-based St. Joseph Health System to provide pharmaceuticals and medical supplies and services in an agreement expected to generate approximately $600 million over five years.
Accurate Glass and Mirror Co. acquires Hepburn Masonry Co. to expand services in the glass and glazing industry and masonry new build and restoration.
Renier Construction breaks ground on a 9,400-square-foot building into which Rite Rug will move its Lancaster store.
Abrasive Technology Inc. is awarded a patent for the manufacturing of a twist drill.
Abercrombie, the Kids division of Abercrombie & Fitch selects CallTech Communications LLC to provide customer support for e-commerce.
Feinknopf Macioce Schappa Architects completes three new schools for Hilliard City Schools.
SBC Business to Business adds Elford Inc. to its client list.
Parma Community General Hospital, a 2000 Pillar Award for Community Service honoree, was recently honored for its efforts to keep employees safe. The hospital was among 31 statewide recognized by the Ohio Hospital Association for its outstanding efforts. The honor was based on criteria including the number of on-the-job injury cases, work days missed due to job-related injuries and emergency preparedness.
It's a banker's life for me
Have you ever wondered how executives at financial institutions stack up in comparison to other white collar jobs? Incentive pay for CEOs and presidents rose 19 percent last year at financial institutions, according to a study by Crowe Chizek and Co. LLP. For business leaders at banks owned by multibank holding companies, that number was 35 percent. Other findings include:
- On average, Ohio-based independent bank CEOs and presidents received an annual salary of $133,682 with a bonus of $29,783.
- CEOs and president of bank affiliates earned $178,704 in 2000, with an average bonus of $29,469.
On the flip side, entry-level tellers who work in communities with populations of less than 100,000 earn an average of $15,552. Their metropolitan counterparts earn about $17,118.
Are you sure job candidates for your company have the skills necessary to leap into the workplace ready to help your business move forward? If not, you could be setting yourself up for a long, drawn-out training process that could unearth a huge skill weakness the initial job interview didn't reveal.
That's the impetus behind Mentor-based Vector Technical Inc.'s new employee verification package, an online testing program which encompasses tests for more than 325 clerical, industrial and technical skills.
''What we're trying to do at Vector is qualify skills for our clients,'' explains Terry Sneed, the company's IT specialist. ''What this means is that if a candidate comes in here and says they have a certain skill, we can test them and find the perfect match for our client companies.''
The staff at Cleveland-based Qualified Pension/Profit Sharing Consultants Inc. had a busy August. On Aug. 16, employees prepared and served a barbeque dinner to families staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. A week later, reading material collected during a companywide book drive was delivered to the Brecksville Veterans Administration Hospital.
As more businesses recognize that their most important resource is the people who work for them, human resources management is becoming a more integral part of organizations. Consequently, many accounting firms are expanding their services to include HR consulting and executive recruiting divisions.
With the acquisition of Spectra Resources Ltd., a North Canton-based human resources and executive recruiting firm, the accounting firm of S.R. Arner & Co. can now fill a need many small businesses have been unable to afford. It offers clients employee recruitment, training and assessment, policy and procedure development and compensation consulting services.
"In Stark County, there are a lot of small businesses that cannot afford to have a full-time human resource person," says Arner CPA and consultant Frank Monaco. "We saw that need within some of our client base, and we wanted to fill it. The biggest obstacle in providing this new service will be getting the word out to clients and local businesses that we can help them write their employee handbooks, search for qualified professionals or add support for any other HR needs."
Prairie City Bakery may be a bakery, but it operates like a traditional manufacturer, doing everything a manufacturer does – from product development to taking that product to market. Bill Skeens, Prairie City’s president, and his team produce more than 65 different bakery items, each made to Prairie City’s specific specifications.
“We are always looking for new ideas and ways to satisfy the customer and always ask ourselves, ‘Is there a better way to do this?’” Skeens says.
Though the company, itself, has a total of 11 employees, Prairie City’s impact on employment goes well beyond that. Last year, the company sold more than $20.5 million in bakery goods that were produced in seven separate bakery operations — primarily in the Midwest and Canada — that employed more than 500 people.
Skeens was named one of 2010 Smart Leader honorees by Smart Business and U.S. Bank. We asked him how he overcomes challenges, innovates and gives back.
Give us an example of a business challenge you and/or your organization faced, as well as how you overcame it.
Three years ago, a major account of ours was looking to develop a private label program in a very short period of time. On a Thursday, we met with their buyers and got specifically what an ideal product line would look like from a quality, packaging and pricing standpoint. The following Friday, we came back with live product, packaging and pricing and laid out 25 alternative products, two different packaging designs and pricing on all items in their conference room.
This was a total company effort involving and coordinating with all of our suppliers, creative packaging designers and financial people to deliver this is just over a week. We were in competition with much larger companies, and because we delivered, we ended up producing 15 of their 18 private label items and continue to deliver on this business today.
In what ways are you an innovative leader, and how does your organization employ innovation to be on the leading edge?
Our people are all empowered to ‘Do what is right for the business.’ When I worked for a large bakery manufacturer, we only sold what we could make, and this often was not what the customer wanted. With the Prairie City Bakery model of outsourcing of manufacturing, this is a huge advantage because we want to sell what the customer wants to buy.
We do not have blinders on that say, ‘This is the only way we can do it.’ We look to solve problems and provide a solution, and then we get our reward of selling the right product that provides us with revenue.
Customers ‘vote’ with their dollars every day, and we are always looking for creative solutions that set us apart, add value and makes customers not only want to buy from us but to recommend us and to be and advocate of Prairie City Bakery.
The Smart Leaders Class of 2010
In October 2010, Smart Business and U.S. Bank recognized 10 business leaders for their commitment to business excellence and the impact their organizations make on the regional community. Treated to a keynote address by Middleby Corp. CEO Selim Bassoul, these 10 leaders comprised the honor roll:
- Jason Beans, founder & president, Rising Medical Solutions
- Dave Brittsan, CEO, DB Aviation
- Joel Fruendt, GM, Clarke Mosquito Control
- Rob Jessup, CEO, Jessup Manufacturing
- Amanda Lannert, President, Jellyvision Lab
- Scott Morey, president and CEO, Morey Corp.
- Larry Neibauer, CEO, CEO Deliveries Co.
- Nancy Ruscheinski, president and COO, Edelman U.S.
- Jim Signorelli, CEO, ESW Partners
- Bill Skeens, President, Prairie City Bakery