2020 Northeast Ohio Smart 50 Awards celebrate area’s top executives

On behalf of Corporate College and Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®), I want to personally congratulate the recipients of the seventh annual Corporate College Smart 50 Awards, presented by Smart Business.

We are privileged to partner with Smart Business and present the Corporate College Smart 50 Awards in celebration of Northeast Ohio’s top executives, and in recognition of their talent to effectively build and lead innovative and “smart” organizations. All of this year’s honorees have made a difference in their organizations and the region. Their positive impact on employment has reinvented Northeast Ohio as one of the up-and-coming business regions in the country.

These large, mid-sized and emerging companies’ leaders motivate and inspire people. They are passionate and focused. The executives we are celebrating today tackle unique business challenges and continue to lead their organizations toward success. Corporate College is honored to acknowledge this year’s nominees.

Corporate College is a division of Tri-C, a nationally recognized leader in higher education and member of the League for Innovation in the Community College. Corporate College is known for its best-in-class client solutions including training, consulting, and conference and hospitality services to the business community and its strategic partners.

During today’s challenging times, agility and perseverance are critical to an organization’s success. We provide safe and effective training, through virtual and on-site delivery methods, in categories essential to talent development. These include leadership, project management, diversity and inclusion, team building, Lean Six Sigma and more. Our goal is to keep your organization strong by providing innovative training that leads to improved productivity and performance.


Jody Wheaton, MS, SHRM-SCP, SPHR
Executive Director, Client Solutions and Programs
Corporate College, a Division of Cuyahoga Community College
[email protected]


Honorees listed in alphabetical order by company.

Dr. Jorge Garcia-Zuazaga
Founder & president
Apex Dermatology

Dr. Jorge Garcia-Zuazaga founded Apex Dermatology in 2011 with one vision: to solve the problem of limited dermatology/skin cancer services in the community.
He was frustrated when people waited months to be seen and treated for skin conditions or skin cancers, and when people waited hours in the office to be seen. Since then, Apex has been laser focused on one purpose: Transforming lives through healthy skin.

At Apex, patients are guaranteed rapid access to their provider with same day or next day appointments, and all doctors run on time, which means little wait for the patient. Another big differentiator is the experience of the medical team. Dr. Garcia-Zuazaga has performed over 30,000 skin cancer surgeries, and all dermatologists are board-certified.

André Thornton
President & CEO
ASW Global LLC

André Thornton acquired ASW Global LLC in 2007 after ASW merged with Cleveland-based GPI Procurement Services.

Thornton sets the direction for the leading 3PL provider for local, national and multinational companies, directing operational aspects so they follow the strategic plans and policies of the organization. He has more than 20 years of experience in entrepreneurial ventures.

The company has experience operating more than 2.5 million square feet of dedicated and flexible warehouse space in North America. Today, ASW Global is a group of affiliated companies providing end-to-end solutions in a supply chain environment with three distinct specializations — supply chain services; ecommerce, merchandise and fulfillment solutions; and energy and utility industry solutions.

Dr. Claude Jones
President, CEO & chief medical officer
Care Alliance Health Center

Care Alliance Health Center is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) federally qualified health center that last year served nearly 17,000 people in the Cleveland community. This included more than 1,800 children, 2,575 in the homeless population and 11,127 public housing residents. Additionally, it recorded more than 17,000 visits to its center for medical and behavioral health-related issues, and 76 percent of those visits were by minorities. Providing comprehensive primary care, pediatrics, prenatal and women’s health, dentistry and behavioral health and related services, it has been serving the Cleveland community for 35 years.

With COVID-19, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows there is an inordinate burden of illness and death among racial and ethnic minority groups, creating an even greater need for Care Alliance.

Teresa Lindsey
President & COO
Channel Products

President and COO Teresa Lindsey has created a culture at Channel Products that allows development of individual strengths, even as the company achieves remarkable levels of teamwork and trust.

She develops human capital by ensuring healthy competition and meritocracy. She hires, equips and empowers employees, and then lets them do their jobs without micromanagement or interference.

The result is an environment where people are free to deploy their strengths and colleagues rely upon one another, allowing experts to lead where they have expertise. Continuous training and improvement also mark the culture, evidenced by more than five years of consecutive growth. Lindsey runs the company with a bias toward action, letting others win, enjoy credit and participate in building the next great revenue stream.

Joe Majewski
ChromaScape LLC

ChromaScape CEO Joe Majewski has more than 30 years of experience in business management and development, strategic planning, organizational development, sales management, operations and human relations.

His career has encompassed all areas of performance management, including conception and execution of strategic plans, capital investments and driving performance metrics. His corporate perspective to align strategies within the context of enterprise value allows him to optimize the enterprise portfolio for value creation initiatives.

ChromaScape, a specialty chemicals supplier, taps into the unlimited potential of pigments, colorants and additives by formulating raw materials into dyes and dispersions for customers to incorporate into their products and unique applications.

Len Komoroski
Cleveland Cavaliers & Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

Len Komoroski — CEO of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, which also includes the AHL Cleveland Monsters, the G League Canton Charge and 2KL Cavs Legion GC — joined the team as president in 2003. He immediately made a significant impact, including helping to develop one of the top cable television relationship in the NBA with Fox Sports Ohio, securing an entitlement for Cleveland Clinic Courts and being a key player in the acquisitions of the Monsters, Charge and Cavs Legion.

Komoroski also plays a core leadership role for business operations and business-related endeavors for Chairman Dan Gilbert’s Rock Family of Companies’ interests in Cleveland and helps to navigate and advance key strategic investments by Bedrock, the real estate arm of the FOC.

Brian Zimmerman
Cleveland Metroparks

Cleveland Metroparks is a nationally recognized park system and has been named the Best Park District in the Nation by the National Recreation and Park Association. The park system features 24,000 acres, 18 park reservations, eight golf courses, dining, retail and a nationally acclaimed zoo. Evidenced by approximately 18 million annual visits, the park district continues to enhance the quality of life for Northeast Ohioans.

CEO Brian Zimmerman has been instrumental in contributing to the revitalization of Cleveland by improving transportation and access to green space, improving the environment and attracting business and tourism. He has increased connectivity in the region through the strategic land acquisition of more than 2,500 acres and the addition of 40-plus miles of trails.

Sondra Miller
President & CEO
Cleveland Rape Crisis Center

Sondra Miller started at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center (CRCC) in 2009 as a vice president and was promoted to president and CEO in 2013. Her ability to inspire and drive organizational change has transformed CRCC. Under her leadership, it has experienced unprecedented growth and expansion to become one of the largest independent rape crisis centers in the country. Her strategic guidance has accelerated its ability to create change and develop the future of care for rape and sexual abuse survivors.

Each year, CRCC has increased revenue and employee growth, attracted significant funding and encouraged survivors to access support through innovative technologies. Its mission is to support survivors of rape and sexual abuse, by promoting healing and prevention, as well as advocate for social change.

Lee Friedman
College Now Greater Cleveland

College Now Greater Cleveland’s impact can be felt in how it gives back to the community. College Now was started in 1967 to financially support students’ college journeys, a mission that continues today. When it realized students needed more than just money to reach education — they needed to learn about how to apply and reach college — College Now implemented an advising strategy that is still in place, in which advisers work in area high schools to create a culture of college knowledge in the community.

This strategy has enabled College Now to educate students throughout Northeast Ohio on the college-going process. It serves over 30,000 students each year and awards scholarship dollars to nearly 2,000 high school students and adult learners.

Elizabeth Barry
Delta Systems Inc.

As Delta Systems CEO, Elizabeth Barry guides the strategic vision of Delta Systems Inc., helping to chart the course for Delta’s future as the company and its customers continue to evolve. Weekly, Barry walks through administration and production areas, speaking with many employees, which gives her a macro perspective she wouldn’t otherwise gain. This level of understanding allows her to better work with the senior management team to translate the strategic vision. Under her guidance, Delta is entering a phase of evolution and growth that’s poised to drive the company into the future by way of skillful talent development, new product and service offerings, and proclaiming Delta System’s unique value proposition.

Aetna profit falls on costs and legal settlement

HARTFORD, Thu Jan 31, 2013 — Aetna Inc. fourth-quarter earnings fell sharply, the health insurer said on Thursday, as costs rose in parts of its employer-based insurance business and it took charges for settling litigation over out-of-network payments.

The company said CFO Joseph Zubretsky will lead a new business internally. His CFO slot will be filled by Shawn Guertin, who has been with Aetna since 2011 and was previously CFO of Coventry Health Care Inc., which Aetna is buying.

The company announced plans in August for the $5.6 billion acquisition of Coventry, part of a strategy to expand in government-sponsored healthcare programs like Medicare.

Zubretsky, Aetna’s CFO for six years, will now have broader responsibility, managing new businesses such as coordinated care.

“He’s been very well respected as a CFO so now he’s heading up operations of their largest business unit,” said Sarah James, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.

Shares in Aetna were off 1.4 percent, or 69 cents, at $48.26 in morning trading.

Aetna said fourth-quarter net income slid to $190.1 million, or 56 cents per share, from $372.6 million, or $1.02 per share, a year earlier.

Profit took a hit from a $78 million after-tax charge for the $120 million settlement reached in December for the class-action lawsuit. Patients and doctors had accused Aetna of systematically underpaying claims.

Excluding special items, the company reported earnings of 94 cents per share. Analysts on average were expecting 95 cents on that basis, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Aetna said operating earnings fell in its commercial business as healthcare costs rose. Increased costs related to a severe flu season were offset by a decline in the Northeast of medical services after Superstorm Sandy, which shut down businesses, schools and public transportation for weeks or more.

Leerink Swann analyst Jason Gurda said in a research note the decline in healthcare earnings came as the company collected less money than expected in insurance premiums.

Jobless claims fall to lowest in four and a half years

WASHINGTON, Thu Oct 11, 2012 – The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to the lowest level in more than four and a half years, according government data on Thursday that suggested improvement in the labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 30,000 to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, the Labor Department said. It was the lowest number of new claims since February 2008.

The prior week’s figure was revised up to show 2,000 more applications than previously reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims edging up to 370,0000 last week. The four-week moving average for new claims, a better measure of labor market trends, fell 11,500 to 364,000.

A Labor Department analyst said no states had been estimated for the latest report.

Recent data on the U.S. labor market has been encouraging.

Employers added a modest 114,000 jobs to their payrolls in September, but the unemployment rate dropped sharply to 7.8 percent, the lowest level since President Barack Obama took office.

Obama is in a tight fight with Republican challenger Mitt Romney less than a month before elections on Nov. 6, and the health of the labor market is an important factor for voters.

April hiring slows, unemployment rate falls to 8.1 percent

WASHINGTON, Fri May 4, 2012 – Employers decreased hiring for the second straight month in April but the unemployment rate still fell to 8.1 percent, giving mixed messages about the economy’s strength ahead of President Barack Obama’s November re-election bid.

Employers added 115,000 workers to their payrolls last month, the Labor Department said on Friday.

The reading keeps fears alive that the U.S. economy is losing momentum and dampens hopes that a stretch of strong winter hiring signaled a turning point for the recovery.

The unemployment rate ticked a tenth of a point lower to a three-year low, as people left the work force. The jobless rate is derived from a separate survey of households, which showed a drop in the number of jobs in April.

Still, the government revised upward its initial estimates for payroll growth in February and March by a combined 53,000. That left the six-month average of job growth at 197,000, nearly exactly where it would have been had April job growth come in as expected at 170,000.

“We’re still growing just gradually,” said Nigel Gault, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts.

“Hiring is coming back into line with what you would expect with sluggish growth.”

The report, which regularly sets the tone for financial markets around the world, could rattle nerves at the White House. Weak U.S. growth and high unemployment create a formidable headwind for Obama, who entered office during the darkest days of the 2007-09 recession.

His Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, repeatedly has accused Obama of doing too little to foster job growth.

The unemployment rate, which soared to as high as 10 percent during Obama’s first year in the office, held near 9 percent for most of last year before falling sharply over the winter.

Still, it remains about 2 percentage points higher than its average over the last 50 years, and the U.S. Federal Reserve thinks it probably will not post a full recovery for at least another several years.

Nevertheless, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said last month the central bank is providing enough support for the economy.

GE revenue lower than expected; expects a volatile year ahead

FAIRFIELD, Conn. ― General Electric Co’s. fourth-quarter revenue fell short of Wall Street expectations because of slower-than-expected growth in Europe, sending its shares down 2.5 percent in premarket trading.

The largest U.S. conglomerate expects a volatile year but it plans to build up its emerging-market presence and restructure its European operations.

Its profit came in 1 cent per share above Wall Street’s forecasts.

“We’re concerned about the revenue miss,” said Oliver Pursche, president of Gary Goldberg Financial Services in Suffern, New York. “That’s really what we’re focused on this earnings season. We’re not so concerned about being a penny above or below expectations, because that can be handled with accounting.”

The world’s biggest maker of jet engines and electric turbines said net income from continuing operations rose 0.6 percent to $3.93 billion, or 37 cents per share, compared with $3.90 billion, or 36 cents per share, a year ago.

Factoring out one-time items, profit came to 39 cents per share, above the 38 cents analysts had forecast, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total revenue came to $37.97 billion, down from $41.23 billion and below the $40.03 billion analysts had expected. Factoring out the effects of last year’s sale of a majority stake in NBC Universal revenue would have been up 4 percent.

“We expect continued volatility in 2012 and have prepared for it by investing in new products and technology, expanding our growth-market footprint and taking important steps to strengthen risk management,” said CEO Jeff Immelt, in a statement. “We are restructuring our business in Europe to reflect market conditions.”

Goldman fourth-quarter profit falls but beats estimates

NEW YORK ― Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s. fourth-quarter profit fell 56 percent as trading and investment banking revenue plunged, but the bank managed to beat analysts’ expectations, which had dropped considerably in recent weeks.

Wall Street’s biggest bank by assets earned $978 million, or $1.84 per share, down from $2.2 billion, or $3.79 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.24 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Goldman shares were up 1.4 percent at $99 in premarket trading after it released the earnings report.

“Despite seasonal weakness and a difficult operating environment, Goldman is able to at least hold its head up,” said Gary Townsend, president of Hill-Townsend Capital.

During the quarter, stock and bond markets were hit by volatility stemming from the European debt crisis, leading clients to pull back on risk and delay acquisitions and stock and bond offerings. As a result, Goldman and rivals including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc experienced sharp declines in profitability from capital markets operations.

While Goldman’s revenue dropped 30 percent to $6 billion from $8.6 billion a year earlier, the bank took steps to reduce expenses and reported lower taxes than in the year-earlier period. Operating expenses declined 7 percent to $4.8 billion, while Goldman’s tax provision of $234 million was down 78 percent.

The expense reductions allowed Goldman to report a better profit than dour estimates released by analysts in the weeks leading up to its report.

In mid-December Barclays analyst Roger Freeman lowered his fourth-quarter profit estimate for Goldman to 75 cents per share, calling 2011 “another year to forget” for Wall Street.