Who To Watch Northeast Ohio

A look at the men and women poised to shape our region in 2017 and beyond

The 2017 Smart Business Who to Watch represents an exciting, talented group of people who are strong leaders with an ability to set goals, develop plans and get things done. Some of the names you’ve heard while others may not be as familiar. But rest assured that each person is poised to make a difference and build something that has the potential to make Northeast Ohio a better place to live and work.

As we thought about the men and women most likely to influence what happens in Northeast Ohio in 2017, we considered a few factors: Does this person have a platform to make things happen? Is there a pattern of accomplishment that suggests this individual is positioned to have an even bigger impact in 2017? Is this impact likely to stretch beyond this person’s organization and possibly affect positive change for the entire region?

As you read through the profiles, think about the goals you’ve set for yourself and your business in the year ahead. While 2016 was one of the best ever for Northeast Ohio, the calendar has flipped and a new year has begun. What will you do to make 2017 the best year ever?



neo_wtw_samfalletta_incept_bwSam Falletta

Falletta has introduced a charity program called InceptGives. Each year, the company strives to make a difference in the lives of others by committing up to 10 percent of its yearly earnings to local, national and multinational charitable organizations.

Falletta is active in the community as the founder of TEDxAkron; founder of Kanga Communications, a student-run content marketing agency at the University of Akron; and a board member of several local and national nonprofit organizations.

He has received the Akron Chamber of Commerce 30 for the Future award, yStark! 20 Under 40 award, the Professional Association of Customer Engagement’s Spirit of Philanthropy and CXE Community Impact Award, and Workplace Dynamics Top CEO of a Mid-sized Company.
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neo_wtw_nicholasbrowning_huntington_bwNick Browning
Akron region president and CEO
Huntington National Bank

Browning is responsible for coordinating the activities of Retail, Wealth and Commercial Banking for the Akron region and has direct responsibility for all aspects of Akron Commercial Banking. He joined FirstMerit Bank, now part of The Huntington National Bank, in 1992 and was named regional president in 2003.

Following the January 2016 announcement of both corporate boards approving the acquisition to merge FirstMerit into Huntington, Browning played a role underscoring the incredible talent and capabilities of the local workforce who have built their careers with the bank.

He has a passion for Akron and wants the community to succeed. Browning does his part by rolling up his sleeves and getting involved. His involvement includes a role as trustee for the Greater Akron Chamber, Akron Community Foundation and Downtown Akron Partnership, and he chaired the 2012 Summit County United Way campaign.

He says he’s excited about being a part of the Huntington Akron Foundation, which will add $20 million in philanthropic giving within the next 10 years
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neo_wtw_tomwilliams_parkerhannifin_bwThomas L. Williams
chairman and CEO
Parker Hannifin Corp.

Parker is a Fortune 250 global leader in motion and control technologies and is poised to continue growing through the Win Strategy that was implemented in 2016. The goal of the initiative is to combine a highly engaged workforce with the company’s unique capabilities and a premier customer experience to drive strong growth. Williams is confident that as sales stabilize in 2017 and his team embraces Parker’s ambitious long-term goals, great days are ahead. Parker has made roughly 350 additions to its global distribution network and will continue to strengthen that channel to grow sales and improve margins.
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neo_wtw_triciagriffith_progressive_bwTricia Griffith
president and CEO
Progressive Corp.

When Griffith was appointed as president and CEO at Progressive in July 2016, she brought with her a wealth of experience from multiple levels of the fourth largest auto insurer in the country. She joined the $21 billion company as a claims representative in 1988 and has also been chief human resources officer, personal lines chief operating officer and president of customer operations, among other managerial positions. An article published in Repairer Driven News quoted Credit Suisee analyst Ryan Tunis calling Griffith “the ideal candidate” for the leadership position.
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neo_wtw_gloriaware_jumpstart_bwGloria Ware
principal, inclusion
JumpStart Inc.

Ware has a long track record of building pathways to entrepreneurial success. Prior to joining JumpStart, she was vice president of public funds at FifthThird Bank where she participated in the sourcing, execution and maintenance of more than $100 million in debt underwriting and interest rate hedging transactions to help both public sector and nonprofit entities achieve their missions. Last fall, she was invited to the White House to participate in a panel discussion on inclusive entrepreneurship.
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neo_wtw_bobbygeorge_townhall_bwBobby George
president and founder
Corporate Management Group

TownHall Ohio City worked hard to create a menu free of GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, and has gotten rave reviews for its offerings. George plans to open a second TownHall in 2017 and strives to continue growing revenue and earnings without taking on debt. He’s also focused on building the private equity segment of his business.

“My five-year plan is for us to be a very powerful private equity company,” he says. “Right now we’re in a couple different industries. I’d like to continue to diversify into the private equity business. We have a hospitality division, a real estate division and a private equity division. My vision is that our private equity division will oversee all those divisions.”
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neo_wtw_jonathonsawyer_bwJonathon Sawyer
chef and entrepreneur

The James Beard award-winning chef has established himself as a successful restaurateur with The Greenhouse Tavern, Noodlecat and his latest venture, Trentina. Sawyer has been on numerous culinary TV shows and competitions and served as a mentor and investor on the CNBC TV series, “Cleveland Hustles,” which was produced by LeBron James and Maverick Carter.

“For the new year, I tend to focus on my path of the next 365 days,” Sawyer says. “In 2017, I want to focus on personal growth through meditation, which I have started practicing this past year, as well as a focus on giving back to our communities with my family.”
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neo_wtw_dougprice_kdgroup_bwDoug Price
K&D Management LLC

The Terminal Tower is an iconic building that has defined the Cleveland skyline since it was formally dedicated in 1930. In September, the 52-story skyscraper was sold from Forest City Realty Trust Inc. to K&D Management LLC. K&D is Northeast Ohio’s largest privately owned property management and development firm, managing over 40 apartment and condominium communities that comprise nearly 13,000 units. Price has a plan to convert 12 of the Terminal Tower’s lower floors into apartments while maintaining the office space and observation deck that are part of the building’s upper floors.
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Public Sector/Government

neo_wtw_mayorfrankjackson1_bwFrank G. Jackson
City of Cleveland

The past year saw some exciting new projects wrap up in downtown Cleveland. A $50 million renovation of Public Square was part of an effort by the city’s Group Plan Commission, appointed by Mayor Jackson, to better connect the city’s signature public spaces. Another highlight of 2016 was the opening of the Hilton Cleveland Downtown, which connects to the Huntington Convention Center and served as the official hotel for the Host Committee of the Republican National Convention. One of Jackson’s goals for 2017 is to find ways to bring economic prosperity to other parts of the city, says Dan Williams, media relations director for the mayor.

“There are certainly a lot of things going on downtown,” Williams says. “You’ve got communities that are able to invest a dollar and get $8 or $9 in return on that investment. You have other communities where you put $1 and you’re not going to get anything, or very little back. We want to even that boat and have everybody floating on the same economic prosperity. That’s the hard work we’re going to continue to do across all the communities in the city of Cleveland.”

He will also focus on education reform and enhanced services for citizens, businesses and visitors to Cleveland.
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neo_wtw_mariannecrosley_clevelandleadershipcenter_bwMarianne Crosley
president and CEO
Cleveland Leadership Center

Crosley joined The Cleveland Leadership Center in 2010 and was named president and CEO six months later. The Leadership Center offers civic education and leadership development programs for leaders of all ages and stages of life, and serves over 800 individuals every year. Previously, Crosley served as the founding executive director of Summer on the Cuyahoga, an economic development initiative that successfully attracts young talent to the region. CLC’s mission is to build a continuum of civic leaders who can continue to make Cleveland a great place to live, work and play, and Crosley will play a prominent role in enabling that to happen.
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neo_wtw_jasonsegedy_cityofakron_bwJason Segedy
director of planning
and urban development
City of Akron

Segedy has been called an informed, intelligent, forthcoming person whose interest centers on Akron’s neighborhoods and history — Segedy was the editor of The Akron Anthology, a collection of essays about the city.

He helped organize the Better Block project in 2015, which, for a weekend, sought to demonstrate what a neighborhood could look like by erecting temporary bike lanes and pop-up businesses in open retail spaces with the aim of inspiring people to make those amenities permanent.

Segedy has and is expected to continue to improve the landscape for Akron residents. His goal, in part, is to reverse decades of population loss, wanting to see the population climb back over 200,000 by 2020 and hit 250,000 by 2050. His focus is on creating quality housing by rehabbing the existing stock and providing new single-family and multi-family structures, making neighborhoods more attractive to residents, working with entrepreneurs to start businesses in the city, among other initiatives.
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neo_wtw_theodorecarter_cuyahogacounty_bwTheodore Carter
chief economic development & business officer
Cuyahoga County

Carter came to Cuyahoga County last March from Jacksonville, Florida, where he worked with public/private sector partners to facilitate nearly $700 million in projected capital investment and a projected 2,500 new jobs. Those results have Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish thinking big about Carter’s new role.

“One of my core strategic initiatives as county executive is job growth and opportunity, which means we need to create, grow and attract more businesses,” Budish says. “With the addition of Ted Carter to our leadership team, I am proud to say that we have gained a tremendous resource for our county and I am looking forward to working with him on the very important matter of adding jobs in our county.”
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neo_wtw_senatorsherrodbrown_bwSen. Sherrod Brown

Sen. Brown is focused on creating jobs, strengthening the middle class and protecting earned benefits like Medicare and Social Security for seniors. Brown plans to use his positions as the top Democrat on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, and as a member of the Senate Finance Committee, to hold President-elect Trump to his promises to overhaul U.S. trade policy so it works better for Ohioans. He also wants to strengthen American infrastructure and prioritize tax reform.
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neo_wtw_lindahale_akronlibrary_bwLinda Hale
microbusiness specialist
Akron Summit County Public Library

Hale is a doer. From a $190,000 Knight Foundation grant to the library, she built out the Microbusiness Center and Makerspace, both of which opened in the first half of 2016. The Microbusiness Center now has more than 145 clients that regularly visit and use the co-working and meeting space.

The library’s maker space is designed to complement the co-working space and includes a 3D printer and laser engraver for making prototypes, a vinyl printer and cutter for making banners and other items, a button maker and more. She is working with the Small Business Development Center in Akron, in addition to other area startup agencies, to add to the library’s business-oriented programming. She also hosts and runs the monthly Caffeinated Ideas program, done through library’s Microbusiness Center, which offers people a place to discuss business ideas before they launch.

Outside of the library, Hale is the coordinator of the Akron chapter of Sundown Rundown, a pitch event for entrepreneurs and those willing to help them get their companies started in the region.
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neo_wtw_alexjohnson_tric_bwAlex Johnson, Ph.D.
Cuyahoga Community College

Cuyahoga Community College launched a two-year project last fall to reshape the outdated Campus Center of Tri-C’s Metropolitan Campus. The new design will add 11,000 square-feet of usable space, allowing for an expansion of social areas as well as classroom and meeting space. There will also be a reconstruction of the Metro Campus walkways that carry visitors across the grounds and the conversion of a concrete canvas into an urban oasis lush with greenery, according to a Tri-C news release. Johnson served as president of the Metropolitan Campus from 1993 to 2003. Since being named president of the college in July 2013, he has led Tri-C to record numbers of graduates. In addition, more than 3,000 high school students enrolled in classes for the 2015 fall semester, a 50 percent increase from the 2014 fall semester.
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neo_wtw_ericgordon_clevelandschools_bwEric Gordon
Cleveland Metropolitan School District

Gordon was presented the 2016 Green-Garner Award, the nation’s highest urban education honor that recognizes outstanding contributions in urban education. Gordon, a graduate of Bowling Green State University, has helped the Cleveland Schools increase graduation rates, strengthen parent participation and boost district enrollment.

“Eric Gordon has made a profound difference in the lives of thousands of Cleveland’s students, helped propel a once-struggling school system forward and significantly contributed to the future of the great city of Cleveland,” says Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, which presented the award to Gordon.
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neo_wtw_parajones_starkstatecollege_bwPara M. Jones, Ph.D
Stark State College

Jones, the first female president of Stark State College, is driven by her belief that students are best served by affordable, quality education that leads to rewarding careers. Jones is working to prepare the college to take advantage of today’s opportunities, identify the right leadership to understand the needs of the community, and determine what the college’s role could and should be to serve its students, the businesses in its community and the region. To that end, under her leadership, the college has opened an Akron campus of Stark State College. The 50,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility on 11 acres of land is designed to attract commuter students from throughout Summit to the county’s first community college.

Jones received the 2013 Greater Stark County ATHENA Leadership Award honoring her for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women and men in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.
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neo_wtw_annalvyas_universityofakron_bwAnnal Vyas
visiting assistant professor of clinical law, co-director of the EXL Center
University of Akron

Vyas, visiting assistant professor of clinical law, teaching business planning law and cyber law, and co-director of the EXL Center at the University of Akron, is in the middle of many of the events that bring people together in Akron. The biggest of which is Pecha Kucha Akron, an event he founded that draws hundreds of people a few times a year to hear storytellers talk about topics of interest through a rapid-fire PowerPoint presentation.

Vyas joined The Akron Global Business Accelerator in 2014 as an adviser and serves as legal counsel for The Bit Factory, and assists with the Small Entrepreneur and Economic Development (SEED) Clinic.

He started NEXTOhio, a tech startup conference for founders, programmers, investors and the broader community with the goal of showcasing Northeast Ohio as a place to start a tech company. He says he wants to change the perception of the area from being part of The Rust Belt to being The Tech Belt.
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neo_wtw_tedginn_bwTed Ginn Sr.
executive director
Ginn Academy

Ginn Sr. is proof that one man can make a difference. His goal is to make connections with at-risk young men in the Cleveland area and help them get on a better path in their lives. Each student has his own mentor, a full-time life coach who is on staff at the school and ready to help when help is needed.

“I wanted to make sure that our kids got a proper shot,” Ginn says of the school, which opened in 2007 as the only single-gender, public high school in Ohio. “Love is shown any way you give kids what they need to be successful. Every day we tell them we love them and we give them what they need. We spend time with them and we have a relationship with them.”

We can only hope that Ginn’s efforts to help these young men find their path in life will continue to succeed in 2017.
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Health care

neo_wtw_jennifersavitski_akrongeneral_bwDr. Jennifer Savitski
program director and vice chair, department of OB/GYN; medical director, PATH center and program
Cleveland Clinic Akron General

Savitski has led the charge to bring an integral service that had been discontinued. The hospital’s SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) program provides quality, trauma-informed, compassionate care to Summit County victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, elder abuse and neglect.

Nurses go through 40 hours of base training, as well as clinical training to help sexual assault victims, and also have been trained on the neurobiology of trauma and how that may affect a patient’s response to the sexual assault or domestic violence that they may have experienced.

The program is said to improve the quality of evidence collection, and is important to strengthen the ability to prosecute the person responsible for the crime, while allowing nurses to focus their care directly on victims without having other responsibilities as distractions.
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neo_wtw_tomzenty_uh_bwThomas F. Zenty III
University Hospitals

University Hospitals has received a $500,000 grant from the Ohio Third Frontier Technology Validation and Start-up Fund, part of the Ohio Third Frontier, to support the UH Technology Venture Fund. UH will match the grant with an equal amount of money to create a $1 million pool of funds that will in turn support validation projects for technologies or devices that already have achieved proof of concept and have the potential for licensing to Ohio startup companies. On a personal note, Zenty has been named honorary chairperson for the 2017 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational to be held Aug. 2-6 at Firestone Country Club in Akron.
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neo_wtw_akramboutros_metrohealth_bwDr. Akram Boutros
fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE), president and CEO
MetroHealth System

Boutros took his current post at MetroHealth in June 2013 and has helped bring the hospital back from the brink of financial disaster. Plans were announced in late November to seek the funding needed to rebuild the hospital at West 25th Street. Boutros’s No. 1 goal is to secure that financing and then begin construction on MetroHealth’s new home in the city of Cleveland. In addition to these organizational goals, he’s set a personal goal to lose weight.
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neo_wtw_tobycosgrove_clevelandclinic_bwDr. Delos “Toby” M.
president and CEO
Cleveland Clinic

In December, Cosgrove was named to President-elect Donald J. Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum designed to grow and strengthen the U.S. economy. “I applaud his efforts to bring together leaders across industries to gain insight that will assist the new president in making important decisions that will impact every American,” Cosgrove says in a news release. “I am deeply committed and take this role very seriously.”

Under Cosgrove’s leadership, Cleveland Clinic has been consistently named one of the country’s top hospitals. As an innovator, Cosgrove has 30 patents filed for developing medical and clinical products used in surgical environments and he has performed more than 22,000 operations.
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neo_wtw_dangilbert_clevelandcavaliers_bwDan Gilbert
majority owner
Cleveland Cavaliers
founder and chairman
Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures

When Gilbert arrived in Cleveland as the new owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, he had a vision for what took place in Cleveland on the night of June 19, 2016. As the Cavs finished off their comeback from a 3-1 deficit to dethrone the Golden State Warriors and won Cleveland’s first pro sports title since 1964, thousands of people poured into downtown to celebrate the moment. Gilbert’s team at The Q quickly had to switch gears, however, and clear out in preparation for the 2016 Republican National Convention, which turned out to be a shining moment for Cleveland. As the Cavs continue to work toward what they hope will be a repeat in the 2017 NBA Finals, Gilbert has his eye on a remake for The Avenue Shops at Tower City Center, which he purchased in March 2016. He also continues to make a difference in the Cleveland community through the Cavaliers Youth Fund, which has made grants totaling more than $23 million to deserving nonprofits and charitable groups.
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neo_wtw_kenbabby_akronrubberducks_bwKen Babby
owner and CEO
Akron RubberDucks

Babby has completely transformed affordable family fun in Akron. Since taking over the team, he’s invested more than $7 million in the franchise. That’s translated in part to a complete rebranding and physical improvements to the ballpark, which have helped rekindled the city’s interest in the minor league team and improved attendance from an average of 3,772 per game in 2012 to an average of 5,074 in 2016.

Akron-area State of Ohio Reps. Emilia Sykes and Greta Johnson in November 2016 honored the Akron RubberDucks’ Eastern League Championship win and the organization’s dedication to the community with a House resolution. That same year the team was the Eastern League nominee for the John H. Johnson President’s Award, which honors a franchise that has demonstrated stability while making significant contributions to its community. In 2015, the team won Larry MacPhail Award, symbolizing the top promotional effort in all of minor-league baseball.

In April, Sports Business Daily named Babby among its 40 under 40.
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neo_wtw_davidbaker_halloffame_bwDavid Baker
Pro Football Hall of Fame

Baker is making huge strides with the Hall of Fame, leading the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village project, a nearly $600 million development of the Hall’s campus. The project, which is expected to be complete in 2019, includes nine main components that improve the museum, build a brand-new stadium, add a hotel and conference center, restaurants and retail, a youth sports complex, and a virtual reality venue and rides.

The project is expected to create over 13,000 new jobs by its peak, and its economic impact to Stark County alone is projected to be $15.3 billion over the first 25 years from its completion while creating $1 billion in tax revenue for the state in same span.

The deal with Johnson Controls for naming rights to the Hall of Fame village is reportedly worth more than $100 million, and has been called the largest ever naming rights deal for this size market. The 18-year deal will create the first entertainment and sports “smart city.”

Baker’s strong leadership is said to be integral to the project, which is being created based on the mission to honor the heroes of the game, preserve its history, promote its values and celebrate excellence everywhere.
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neo_wtw_chrisantonetti_clevelandindians_bwChris Antonetti
president of baseball operations
Cleveland Indians

Antonetti may find it difficult to top 2016. The Indians came within one game of the franchise’s first World Series title in 68 years, taking the Chicago Cubs to Game 7 before falling short in an epic final showdown at Progressive Field. It was difficult to go anywhere in October without seeing fans wearing their Tribe gear. But there are already positive signs for 2017. Reports indicate season ticket sales are up and fans are already counting down the days to the beginning of spring training in Goodyear, Arizona. Antonetti goes into the new season as the reigning Executive of the Year by Baseball America. Here’s hoping Antonetti can keep making the right moves to keep the Tribe in contention for years to come.
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neo_wtw_markmasuoka_akronartmuseum_bwMark Masuoka
executive director and CEO
Akron Art Museum

Masuoka, Akron Art Museum’s recently hired executive director and CEO, is renowned for heightening community engagement, increasing accessibility and developing a model for the next generation of art museums by connecting the community to artists and the creative process. Fueling that effort is a multi-year, $750,000 grant from the Knight Foundation, which has helped the museum bring art out of its galleries and directly into the community with Inside|Out. This community activated art project, headed into its third year, brings high-quality reproductions from the museum’s collection out into Akron area neighborhoods.

The museum also built the Bud and Susie Rogers Garden, a one-acre urban garden that serves as the museum’s outdoor gallery, community space and a new civic commons. Masuoka is helping the Akron Art Museum set a course for the future that has reframed the museum’s position and message.
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neo_wtw_williamgriswold_clevelandmuseumofart_bwWilliam M. Griswold
director and president
Cleveland Museum of Art

Griswold arrived at the Cleveland Museum of Art in May 2014 at a time of great anticipation as the museum had just completed a $350 million capital campaign that transformed everything about the museum. In 2017 and beyond, Griswold’s focus will be to “build on the momentum we’ve achieved during our centennial year and to leverage the museum’s world-class collection and spectacular architectural legacy, as well as the extraordinary expertise of its staff and community partners.”

“We will deepen our visitors’ engagement with art through a host of exciting public programs, enhancements to our innovative Gallery One, and such important upcoming exhibitions as ‘Basquiat,’ ‘Alex Katz,’ ‘Japanese Art from the Collection of George Gund,’ and ‘The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s,’” Griswold says.
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neo_wtw_nicolemullet_artsnow_bwNicole Mullet
executive director

Mullet is the executive director of ArtsNow, an organization that, in a little more than a year, has brought arts culture to the forefront in Summit County. Its creation is a direct result of the recent Summit County Arts Assessment, which engaged more than 1,000 individuals around questions about the county’s arts and culture scene.

In addition to her work with ArtsNow, Mullet currently serves as president of Torchbearers, a service and leadership development organization. She has a special interest in talent attraction and retention, and in 2014 launched InternEdge in conjunction with Torchbearers and Leadership Akron, a program that connected 60 interns from colleges around the state to the greater Akron area with the goal of retaining them after college.

The Greater Akron Chamber selected Mullet as one of its 30 For the Future recipients of 2014, identifying her as a young professional who positively impacts her industry and the Greater Akron Region.
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neo_wtw_kristinwarzocha_clevelandfoodbank_bwKristin Warzocha
president and CEO
Greater Cleveland Food Bank

Warzocha has a number of goals that will guide her work at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank in 2017. She wants to establish four community food resource centers spread throughout the nonprofit’s six-county service area, which includes Ashland, Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Richland counties. Greater Cleveland Food Bank provided 47.8 million meals in 2015 to hungry people in these counties. Warzocha also has plans to develop and pilot at least one additional meal type to reach a special need population (children, senior citizens or those with health issues), as well as build operational capacity so that it is never a barrier to the growth of new programs.
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neo_wtw_debbieberry_universitycircle_bwDebbie Berry, PE
vice president of planning & real estate development
University Circle Inc.

Berry and her team at UCI will be embarking on a new strategic plan for the organization to further shape its future in the coming years.

“With relatively little land left to develop in the Circle proper, we want to focus on collaborating with our surrounding neighborhoods to further strengthen the district in terms of housing, jobs and public amenities,” Berry says.

Berry will also help lead the 100-year anniversary celebration for Cleveland Metroparks.

“We have just released a coffee table book detailing our history and incredible investments in the community,” Berry says. “It’s available online and at all Metroparks stores and kiosks.”
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neo_wtw_tommybruno_the-summit_bwTommy Bruno
general manager and executive director
The Summit

Bruno is the general manager and executive director at The Summit. The non-commercial public radio station opened a KIDJAM! Radio Broadcast Recording Studio at Akron Children’s Hospital. It offers young patients a unique radio broadcast recording experience to augment the healing and coping process through its focus on media education, self-reflection and fun. The studio is wheelchair-accessible and bed-bound patients may participate from their rooms through a hand-held recording device. Summit-trained volunteers help operate the KIDJAM! studio and guide patients through the recording experience.
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neo_wtw_erinvictor_akronsnowangels_bwErin Victor
Akron Snow Angels

Victor founded Akron Snow Angels at the end of January 2015 after she noticed many homeless people were going through the winter without socks and other basics. She started placing items such as socks, gloves and scarves in plastic bags in public places where homeless people seem to congregate that carried tags that read: “I am not lost! If you need this to keep warm, please take it. Be safe and know you are loved.” In August 2015, the Akron Snow Angels received nonprofit, tax-exempt status. Her organization is picking up traction quickly.

Today, the Akron Snow Angels has more than 2,000 volunteers and has to turn people away from its delivery efforts in the winter so as not to intimidate the people who are receiving the clothing items. Special requests are always accepted and every effort is made to grant them, whether it’s someone who needs a coat, a mattress to sleep on, toothpaste or a Bible.
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Managing cash flow: The key to your business strength

Cash flow management is among the most challenging responsibilities of every business owner. It’s exactly what it sounds like: money comes in from sales, accounts receivable, investors, etc., and money goes out in the form of salaries, accounts payable, monthly expenses and payments to suppliers and creditors.

Managing cash flow is not so simple, however. In fact, business failures often result from poor cash flow management. Good cash flow management will maximize the company’s cash flow — equals cash in minus cash out — while minimizing profits that are taxable, which means more cash. Good cash management will make sure cash balances are put to work where the company can benefit most while having access to funds to cover three to six months of normal expenses in case of an economic downturn or other interruption in business.

Managing cash flow gives you freedom to focus on strategic operations. It provides flexibility to weather economic downturns, repay debt faster, invest in research and development, or buy more assets.

Here’s how to get started.

Create a cash flow projection

A cash flow projection details your business’s anticipated inflow and outflow of cash every month over the course of one to three years. (You can find SCORE’s free downloadable 12-month cash flow template here). It’s important to focus on when the cash is received, not when the sale is made. Once you’ve created the projection, review it regularly and adjust it as necessary.

Creating and reviewing a projection can seem daunting, but it may be the single most important part of your business plan because it lets you predict your cash needs and anticipate potential problems. And when you’re seeking growth, a cash flow projection can underscore that your business is a good credit risk.

Collect and deposit receivables quickly

Ensure your customers pay on time. Send invoices promptly and include clear payment terms. For example, note that payment is expected upon receipt of invoice and interest is charged for all payments later than 30 days. Offer discounts to customers that pay early.

Consider investing in a lockbox service to receive all customer payments for immediate deposit into your account. When available, take advantage of electronic ACH payments from customers to speed up collections and use remote deposit to get checks into your account quickly.

Put your cash to work

Make your cash work for you. Keep cash for anticipated monthly payments in a business checking account. Hold larger cash reserves in higher-paying accounts, like savings accounts, money market accounts or other liquid assets that provide a return.

Reduce expenses

When cash is tight or when experiencing a downturn, eliminate unnecessary inventory, sell any unneeded fixed assets and reduce all variable expenses when possible. Double down efforts to collect debts and settle any customer disputes that are causing payment delays. In extreme cases, consider selling outstanding receivables to a factoring service, which buys receivables for a percentage of their value, collects customer payments and forwards the cash, minus a service fee.

Talk with any suppliers or vendors you owe about flexible financing. Many may permit you to continue paying them regularly, even if payments are small.

Establish a reserve

Most businesses experience ebbs and flow. Many smaller businesses rely on timely daily and weekly payments from their customers. Make sure you establish a reserve fund you can tap whenever critical slowdowns occur so you can meet payroll and other important commitments. Even if you have a line of credit, good solid reserve funding can help smooth the rough periods.

Maintain a strong relationship with your banker

Your banker wants your business to succeed. He or she can review your cash flow projections with you, provide industry insight, help finance your growth, and identify helpful treasury management services and other banking solutions. Review your business’s performance with your banker annually and share plans for the future.

Jeffrey Standen is SVP of Business Banking at Huntington Bank. Reach him at [email protected] or  (440) 808-8654.

The Huntington National Bank, Member FDIC

The Medical Mutual 2016 Pillar Award for Community Service

A continuing community commitment

Welcome to the 2016 Pillar Awards. Once again, we gather to honor greatness in the name of outstanding community service.

On behalf of everyone at Medical Mutual of Ohio and our Pillar Award co-founding partner, Smart Business, we present these annual awards for Community Service for the seventh consecutive year.

At Medical Mutual, we have long understood the commitment to improve Columbus and the communities we serve. We strive to live up to that responsibility in everything we do.

I personally want to congratulate this year’s recipients for their understanding of “commitment to community.” That is what the Pillar Awards are all about — leading by example and helping to improve the quality of life for Central Ohioans.

You will notice that one of the Pillar Awards is a special honor given to a company whose employees best exemplify the values of Medical Mutual’s volunteer employee SHARE Committee.

SHARE, which stands for serve, help, aid, reach and educate, is the heart and soul of Medical Mutual’s charitable giving effort. Each year, this committee helps coordinate more than two-dozen community events involving nearly half of the company’s 2,300 employees.

“Improving the communities we serve,” is a common theme for all of the Pillar Award recipients over the past seven years and, once again, Medical Mutual of Ohio is honored to be in such outstanding company.

cin_pa_RickChiricostaRick Chiricosta
Chairman, president and CEO
Medical Mutual of Ohio





PILLAR AWARD HONOREES Cardinal Health, George Barrett | Charleys Philly Steaks, Charley Shin | Crimson Design Group, Cheryl Beachy Stauffer | Delta Energy Services, Sheri Tackett | GBQ Partners LLC, Darci Congrove | Huntington National Bank, Steve Steinour | Motorists Insurance Group, Dave Kaufman and Anne King | RAMA Consulting Group, Mataryun “Mo” Wright | The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., James Hagedorn

AXA ADVISORS NONPROFIT BOARD EXECUTIVES OF THE YEAR James V. Maniace, Board of Zoning Adjustment, City of Columbus | Sally Bloomfield, Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority

NONPROFIT EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS OF THE YEAR Mary Lynn Foster, Children’s Hunger Alliance | Alex R. Fischer, Columbus Partnership | Michelle Heritage, Community Shelter Board | Doug Ulman, Pelotonia

MEDICAL MUTUAL SHARE AWARD Cindy Monroe, Thirty-One Gifts


Pillar award honorees

Cardinal Health

col_pa_GeorgeBarrettGeorge Barrett, chairman and CEO

Cardinal Health, lead by Chairman and CEO George Barrett, has been a dedicated partner to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s efforts in raising awareness, education and prevention for cardiovascular diseases and strokes.

Every February, Cardinal Health’s employees rally in support of American Heart Month to spread awareness about heart disease being the No. 1 health threat. From decorating the building red, to serving healthier food items, helping send out educational information and showing support in their best red outfits on National Wear Red Day, Cardinal Health’s employees are very generous with their time.

And not only has Cardinal Health stepped up around women’s health, including sharing personal stories of how heart disease and stroke have impacted them, but the company engages its employees in a year round culture of health.

Over the past six years, Cardinal Health has remained a platinum Fit-Friendly Worksite, providing healthy options and programs for employees at work.

The employees and families of Cardinal Health also participate in the annual American Heart Association’s Heart Walk. This past year, Cardinal Health successfully doubled the amount of employees walking to more than 1,000.

Throughout the campaign 56 teams of employees shared the mission of the American Heart Association, educating each other about Hands Only CPR, stroke awareness, heart health and challenging each other to become more physically active throughout their work days.

Over 10 years, Cardinal Health employees have collectively raised more than $1.8 million for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
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Charleys Philly Steaks

col_pa_CharleyShinCharley Shin, founder and CEO

A sense of giving to those in need is woven into Charleys Philly Steaks’ corporate culture, and Charleys’ employees are dedicated to helping people in need in Central Ohio and around the world.

For example, Charleys Kids is a nonprofit organization born out of Founder and CEO Charley Shin’s passion for helping children in need. Shin had been on mission trips with other organizations in the past and saw firsthand the difference individuals could make.

The nonprofit provides basic necessities, educational materials, mentorship and counseling to children. And Charleys’ employees support this by participating the annual Mission Trip, raising funds in the store locations or donating their time to promote and raise funds for the organization.

In 2014, more than 80 percent of eligible stores participated in Charleys Kids, which is significant when you consider that more than 90 percent of the stores are franchised. For example, one franchisee who owns 30 units, took the initiative to sell chocolate bars at the restaurants, which raised more than $21,000.

In addition to Charleys Kids, the company encourages employees — both at the corporate and store level — to give back to their communities any way they can. Charleys contributes to the Central Ohio community through initiatives such as the Fairfield County Department of Disabilities DiscoverU program, a unique opportunity for individuals with developmental disabilities to receive training and hands-on experience through classroom activities and internships; and Faith Mission, for which employees regularly donate their time and grill up fresh Charleys meals ($7,500 in food per year).
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Crimson Design Group

col_pa_CherylStaufferCheryl Beachy Stauffer, principal and CEO

At Crimson Design Group, a percentage of its client fees are donated every month to a nonprofit organization of its clients’ choosing, or, if they prefer, one of the Crimson Design’s choosing.

The company’s philosophy comes down to three key essentials:

  • To live among people, not apart from people.
  • To be a small part in changing the world.
  • To play a small part in empowering someone else to experience more.

By giving back, Crimson Design Group and its employees get to pass on some of what they’ve been given, while also creating beautiful and meaningful connections. It makes everyone’s lives better, and they are happy to do it.

“I’ve been given so much in my life, and every day I feel fortunate, lucky and blessed, and so I wanted to give back” says Cheryl Beachy Stauffer, principal and CEO of Crimson Design. “I do this by bringing greater awareness, and donating to issues we, and our clients, feel are important.”

In addition to the company’s donation program, which has been in place for three years, Stauffer and her husband both give a percentage of their own income. For example, after learning about a woman who wanted to start an orphanage in Africa — this hit home because Stauffer’s husband was adopted and they were in the middle of the adoption process themselves — they decided to donate $20,000 to The Valentine Project orphanage. That amount covered the cost of building a home for 20 children.
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Delta Energy Services

col_pa_SheriTackettSheri Tackett, founder and CEO

Delta Energy Services’ service-oriented culture does not stop with its suppliers, customers and associates — it extends to the communities in which the employees live and work, and to those less fortunate.

This past year, Delta Energy, led by Founder and CEO Sheri Tackett, and its employees supported a number of charities, including Dress for Success, Hawk’s Locks for Kids, Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, The Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio, ErinoakKids Centre for Treatment and Development (Ontario, Canada), Pelotonia, Dublin Retirement Village, Dublin Food Pantry and Dublin Welcome Warehouse.

The company chooses causes that are close to the people who work there and finds creative ways to contribute time, talent and money. This is such an important initiative within Delta that there is an entire committee dedicated to its development.

Delta’s employee-run community involvement committee keeps co-workers informed of volunteering and fundraising needs within the community and makes it easy for them to continue to give back.

The community service team also coordinates the Jeans Day Fund. Employees are given the option to wear jeans on Fridays in exchange for a $2 donation. The funds are matched 100 percent by the company. Then, the funds are donated to a handful of charities nominated and voted upon by Delta employees and customers.

It also raised money through its soda fund, where associates can choose to have a beverage for a 25-cent donation.

Between sponsorships, company matching, fundraising efforts and the jeans and soda programs, Delta Energy raised more than $39,000.
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GBQ Partners LLC

col_pa_DarciCongroveDarci Congrove, managing director

Since its inception, one of GBQ Partners LLC’s core values has been giving back to the community. Company leaders, such as Managing Director Darci Congrove, strive to provide an environment that encourages cooperation, life balance and giving back.

Many of the nonprofits that GBQ associates volunteer at don’t have the extra funds to hire someone to help with many of the tasks that need to be completed. But instead of management dictating the three to five organizations GBQ will support each year, the company created a sponsorship/contribution request process.

Associates, regardless of level, submit a form requesting support for an organization they are involved with and feel passionate about. Requests vary and are reviewed and accepted accordingly. This approach allows GBQ the opportunity to impact numerous organizations its associates are involved with but wouldn’t necessarily donate to otherwise.

A request isn’t necessarily monetary; they range from the firm sponsoring a table at an event for which an associate volunteers, to an associate feeling the need to encourage co-workers to volunteer for something.

While GBQ volunteer hours and money donated varies from year to year depending on associate requests, the firm also has several programs it has been committed to for years.

In addition, GBQ has a summer volunteer initiative, which is implemented by a committee of 10 people who determine the organizations that associates visit and donate time to. Each Friday, from June through August, 10 to 15 associates leave work at noon to volunteer at these select nonprofits.
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Huntington National Bank

col_pa_SteveSteinourSteve Steinour, chairman, president and CEO

Huntington National Bank has a rich history of philanthropy, engagement and commitment to Columbus. Since hiring Steve Steinour as chairman, president and CEO in 2009, Huntington has elevated its philanthropic efforts, particularly in housing.

The bank understands that safe, affordable housing is critical to strong communities, and that strong communities are critical to regional prosperity. Therefore, investing in effective housing efforts is beneficial to Central Ohio at large.

Huntington also believes in offering a hand to those in need, especially those experiencing homelessness.

Since 2009, Huntington has invested or committed more than $317 million in Ohio nonprofit organizations, including the Community Shelter Board, Homeport, the Columbus Urban League and the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing. Its goal: to provide safe, affordable housing and end homelessness.

Steinour is chair of the CSB’s current capital campaign, and Huntington executives also are active in the leadership of Goodwill Columbus, Homeless Families Foundation, Lutheran Social Services, National Church Residences, The Salvation Army, Volunteers of America, YMCA of Central Ohio and YWCA Columbus.

Beyond housing, Huntington has other philanthropic passions driven by its foundation, values and culture, such as Pelotonia. Since 2008, Huntington has raised $14 million for cancer research by The Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

And Huntington’s relationship with OSU doesn’t stop there. It has committed $25 million for academic scholarships and educational programming, and $100 million to community lending and investments to support the economic development of Columbus’ University District and Near East Side.
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Motorists Insurance Group

col_pa_DaveKaufamancol_pa_AnneKingDave Kaufman, CEO
Anne King, CHRO

At the Motorists Insurance Group, under the direction of CEO Dave Kaufman and CHRO Anne King, the associates support the community with time and treasure. Approximately 180 associates volunteered for nonprofit work through organized company programs or board service in 2014 — and that number projects to be even higher for 2015.

The company is a leader in United Way of Columbus donations. In 2014, 97 percent of its associates made a personal financial contribution to the fundraising campaign. This dedication is why Motorists is one of only 12 United Way Leading Edge companies.

Motorists also has made the fight against hunger a priority, as the company and its associates are part of Operation Feed — a communitywide effort to provide food to needy Franklin County residents. For example, in its May 2015 campaign the company raised nearly $27,000, and that figure was added to throughout the year with special events and food drives.

The group also supports Future Possibilities, which was founded by Kaufman. The organization delivers life skills coaching programs to empower children.

Other philanthropic initiatives supported the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, Christo Rey Columbus High School’s Professional Work Study program, The Topiary Garden Park; Columbus Public Library and the Columbus Museum of Art.

Giving back is such a part of the Motorist’s culture that the company is implementing a strategy to formalize all philanthropic activity to effectively integrate corporate support with associate interests and local community needs.
The program is expected to be in place later this year.
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RAMA Consulting Group

col_pa_MoWrightMataryun “Mo” Wright, president and CEO

RAMA Consulting Group, led by President and CEO Mataryun “Mo” Wright, believes that it can “do well, while doing good.”

One of the many ways it helps is through in-kind management services to the Revival Development Corp. This Columbus-based community development corporation provides sustainable economic, educational, health care and housing alternatives for low to moderate citizens through projects, programs and services. RAMA has provided chief executive management, accounting and fiscal management, marketing and website support, and board development services.

The team provides direct services, technical assistance and board and committee memberships to a number of organizations. Additionally, RAMA gives pro bono services in some of its consulting areas, such as meeting facilitation, strategic planning, marketing and communications and grant writing support.

In 2014, Wright established the RAMA Fund at the Columbus Foundation, which allows for employee matching and associates to be engaged in annual decisions about where to allocate resources.

During fiscal year 2014, RAMA contributed more than $25,000 to nonprofits and more than $15,000 of in-kind support. The company expects to exceed that goal this fiscal year.

Organizations RAMA and its employees have helped include: Alpha Rho Lambda Education Foundation, American Red Cross, Central Ohio Diabetes Association, Columbus Metropolitan Club, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus Recreation and Parks Commission, Huckleberry House, Huntington National Bank Business Advisory Committee, Increase CDC, St. Stephens Community House, The Columbus Foundation, The Columbus Urban League, United Way of Central Ohio, Winston Salem State University Foundation, Winston-Salem State University National Alumni Association and United Way of Central Ohio.
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The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co.

col_pa_JamesHagedornJames Hagedorn, chairman and CEO

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., led by Chairman and CEO James Hagedorn, implemented a philanthropic strategy plan in 2008. Here’s a look at several key initiatives:

  • GRO1000 focuses on bringing gardens and green spaces to more cities, schools and communities. It sought to create more than 1,000 community gardens and green spaces across the U.S., Canada and parts of Europe by 2018 — the company’s 150th anniversary. Plans are now underway to also support community projects in Mexico in 2016.Already, Scotts Miracle-Gro has funded 670 green spaces and planted more than 5,500 garden plots, including 33 in Ohio. More than 1.3 million square feet of green space has been restored and revitalized and more than 5,000 youth have been impacted.
  • In order to encourage community gardens in Central Ohio, the company established a Community Garden Academy Fund 12 years ago to provide community gardens with financial support and product donations.
  • Partnering with Trevitt Elementary and COSI, the Miracle-Gro Capital Scholars Program has supported more than 100 students. Designed to help underserved students make it through college, the company starts working with third graders, mentors them through high school, provides internships and pays for their college educations. So far, 37 students will graduate from college.
  • Scotts Miracle-Gro also participates in wellness initiatives and fundraising for the American Heart Association, Central Ohio Heart Walk and Pelotonia.
  • And starting in 2013, associates are allowed two paid days out of the office to volunteer with a nonprofit, which has resulted in more than 500 associates donating more than 4,500 hours.

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AXA Advisors Nonprofit Board Executive of the Year Award

James V. Maniace

col_pa_JamesManiaceChairman, Board of Zoning Adjustment, City of Columbus

James V. Maniace has served as chairman of the Board of Zoning Adjustment for the city of Columbus for more than 20 years.

He has been appointed to that post by mayors of different political parties and confirmed for three-year terms by Columbus City Council on six occasions.

Among the most difficult of all city boards, the BZA is a five-member decision-making body granting or denying variances of legal development standards and special use permits in real estate development. It regularly hears matters of controversy, as land use decisions may be hotly contested.

It meets at least once per month and it’s not unusual that a meeting may last until midnight because of heavy public interest.

“A chairman has to keep the passions in check and make sure everyone gets a fair hearing,” says former Mayor Michael B. Coleman. “He has done a wonderful job at this. Beyond running a fair and efficient meeting, the chairman’s role can involve the application of some complex legal rules in certain cases.”

The courts have been very supportive of BZA’s approach to controversial cases when parties do appeal, which is a testament to Maniace’s legal skills, Coleman says. He is a partner at Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP.

BZA service can be thankless, as it doesn’t receive the same recognition as those who work to feed the hungry or clothe the poor. Yet, it is extremely important to the strength of the city, as it makes decisions that affect literally every neighborhood in Columbus.
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Sally Bloomfield

col_pa_SallyBloomfieldBoard chair, Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority

Created by the Franklin County Commissioners in 1988, the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority’s original mission was to finance the construction and operation of a new Columbus convention center. Over the years, however, it has grown to become much more than that.

At every step of the way, FCCFA Board Chair Sally Bloomfield has provided a guiding light.

She is the only board member who has served continually since the FCCFA was formed.

Fiercely passionate about the city of Columbus and its ability to attract both visitors and new residents, Bloomfield has made the FCCFA her primary volunteer focus. She believes that travel and tourism is one of Columbus’ most important economic drivers and quality-of-life determinants.

The FCCFA today owns and operates the Greater Columbus Convention Center, the Hilton Columbus Downtown Hotel and Nationwide Arena, as well as four parking facilities. The FCCFA also owns land used to develop the Hyatt Regency, the Drury Inn and Suites and various parking facilities.

The FCCFA is empowered to issue tax and lease revenue bonds backed by the hotel tax receipts. A great source of pride for Bloomfield is the fact that those tax rates have remained unchanged since being instituted in 1988, while the FCCFA has remained self-sustaining and deficit-free.

This is somewhat of an anomaly among its industry counterparts. It speaks both to Bloomfield’s leadership and the board and staff’s devotion to the community, as they run a multimillion-dollar enterprise with only a few staff positions.
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Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year Award

Mary Lynn Foster

col_pa_MaryLynnFosterPresident and CEO, Children’s Hunger Alliance

Mary Lynn Foster has been the president and CEO of the Children’s Hunger Alliance since September 2013, but she’s already had an impact on the organization that works to ensure children are fed regular and nutritious meals and develop lifelong healthy eating habits in all of Ohio’s 88 counties.

After getting to know the organization and its stakeholders, one of her first acts was to start on a strategic plan to help the 40-plus year old CHA prepare for the future.

Foster learned that the 60 statewide team members often felt disconnected, so she instituted regular team huddles not only for staff in the Columbus office but also a “virtual” huddle by conference call for team members in other parts of the state. She’s held leadership retreats, summer cookouts and instituted a new office floor plan.

Additionally, the nonprofit’s five regions focused on board development in fiscal year 2014, in order to expand the regional boards and establish full board participation.

A few of the many programming highlights include an average of more than 416,000 children participating in school breakfast programs in 2014, an increase of over 4,000; and publishing the first Ohio Summer Nutrition and Ohio School Breakfast scoreboards, which highlighted top-scoring school districts and counties and increases in participation.

CHA also recently launched Hunger Hub, a virtual resource that serves a source for data and news for all things hunger-related in Columbus and throughout Franklin County. It creates a collective voice around hunger relief as area nonprofits align their resources.
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Alex R. Fischer

col_pa_AlexFischerPresident and CEO, Columbus Partnership

The Columbus Partnership was founded in 2002, and what began as eight CEOs in the early years has evolved into a current membership base of 52 that includes 15 Fortune 1000 CEOs, as well as the leaders of the nation’s largest university and world’s largest research and development organization.

As the president and CEO, Alex R. Fischer helps guide the civic organization as it strategically considers how to position the Central Ohio community for the future.

In order to accomplish this, the Partnership convenes leaders from its member organizations, and other community sectors, to thoughtfully discuss the economic issues facing Columbus and the needs that will positively impact the entire region.

It seeks to be a thought leader, catalyst for civic improvement, help develop future leadership for the community, champion regional solutions to regional problems, partner with the public sector, support collaboration in the nonprofit sector and focus on economic development.

The organization also helps lead the Columbus 2020 economic development effort, a collaboration of regional economic development organizations.

The Partnership is actively engaged in civic projects related to downtown development, education, leadership development, philanthropy and arts and culture.

Fischer is on numerous for-profit boards and community organizations such as the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, The Ohio State University and Advanced Drainage Systems.

He previously worked for Battelle and UT-Battelle at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and also served as the deputy governor and chief of staff to Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist.
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Michelle Heritage

col_pa_MichelleHeritageExecutive director, Community Shelter Board

Michelle Heritage has dedicated her career to human services and improving the lives of others, spending more than 20 years in leadership roles in the homeless system, mental health, child welfare and the alcohol and drug system.

In her role as executive director at the Community Shelter Board, Heritage facilitates and leads the community plan to end homelessness in Central Ohio. She collaborates to bring together diverse organizations to work together as an efficient system, rather than as a fragmented set of resources. She uses an outcome-based funding model that measures performance, monitors providers’ success and assures the system’s effectiveness.

Heritage also combines innovative solutions and best practices with time-tested strategies to implement programs that quickly and stably house people in crisis.

But not only is Heritage a national and regional leader within the homeless service industry, she also serves the United Way of Central Ohio as the chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee; as an active member of the Women’s Leadership Council and on the board of trustees; as well as co-chairing the creation of the PRIDE Council, the first United Way LGBT giving group in the country.

Heritage leads her staff at CSB to give back to the community through various service and philanthropy activities. CSB has hosted an employee giving campaign for United Way for the past 17 years. Heritage and her colleagues also participate in communitywide service activities organized by United Way.

And under her leadership, CSB staff contributed nearly 5,000 meals through Operation Feed for the Mid-Ohio FoodBank.
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Doug Ulman

col_pa_DougUlmanPresident and CEO, Pelotonia

In his first year as president and CEO of Pelotonia, Doug Ulman has already made a meaningful impact.

In addition to almost doubling the size of the Pelotonia team to increase efficiency and capacity, he has led significant strategic planning to chart the future course of the organization. Plans are under development that will likely increase fundraising dollars through an enhanced virtual participant program, new stewardship strategies and a greater focus on the impact of Pelotonia-raised funds.

Ulman maintains an intense focus on the mission of the organization and ties all strategies and initiatives directly to the vision and mission of Pelotonia.

Under Ulman’s leadership, the organization enjoyed its most successful event yet, breaking both participation and fundraising records. Through unwavering optimism, a culture of collaboration, empowerment and a fierce work ethic, he inspires his team to achieve excellence.

And at the same time, Ulman has already established himself as an active member of the Columbus community, all while demonstrating a commitment to collaboration and inclusion.

He previously led the internationally known Livestrong Foundation. Ulman is a three-time cancer survivor and global advocate, ambassador and well-respected voice in the cancer community.

Ulman has been named twice to The NonProfit Times’ Power & Influence Top 50 and has more than 1 million followers on Twitter.

In addition to his role at Pelotonia, Ulman works on behalf of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute to build awareness and support nationally for its work in research, education and prevention.
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Medical Mutual SHARE Award

Cindy Monroe

col_pa_CindyMonroeFounder, president and CEO, Thirty-One Gifts

In order to manage its charitable giving, Thirty-One Gifts and Cindy Monroe, founder, president and CEO, established Thirty-One Gives in 2012. Since then, more than $80 million in products and cash has been donated to nonprofit organizations committed to girls, women and families.

With more than 100,000 sales consultants, Thirty-One provides national volunteer and support opportunities, including helping at Ronald McDonald houses nationwide. Locally, Thirty-One Gives funded, designed and installed a full-service spa for families.

Thirty-One Gifts also created space through Junior Achievement of Central Ohio’s BizTown that mimics an independent sales consultant’s home and the corporate headquarters, while donating cash and products. The company may potentially roll out the program nationwide.

Thirty-One Gifts has a partnership with Girl Talk, an international peer-to-peer mentoring program, where it provides investment, in-kind support and encourages involvement. In just two years, its sales consultants and employees have added 137 chapters across the U.S.

In addition, donations are raised at Thirty-One parties, and the company has about 400 active employee volunteers.
Thirty-One’s round-up program allows customers to designate a portion of their bill to nonprofits, and several products designate 31 cents from each sale to charitable giving.

At the 2014 and 2015 national sales conferences in Columbus and Denver, the company encouraged attendees to perform and share random acts of kindness on social media using #Share31. For every post, 31 cents was donated to the area’s Ronald McDonald House and food bank for a total of $10,000 in each city.
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Pillar Award Alumni

Class of 2015 Accel Inc. | American Electric Power (AEP) | Champion Real Estate Services | Columbus Crew/Crew Soccer Foundation | Delta Energy Services LLC | Diamond Hill Capital Management Inc. | Fifth Third Bank (Central Ohio affiliate) | Ice Miller LLP | Worthington Industries 2015 Rea & Associates Nonprofit Executive Directors of the Year: Linda S. Danter, New Directions Career Center | Michelle Heritage, Community Shelter Board | Ellen Moss Williams, Godman Guild Association 2015 Nonprofit Board Executives of the Year: Jeffrey E. Hastings, Children’s Hunger Alliance | Drew McCartt, American Heart Association | Carole Watkins, Flying Horse Farms 2015 Medical Mutual SHARE Award: Ice Miller LLP 2015 Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award: John P. McConnell, Worthington Industries Class of 2014 Crane Group | Diamond Hill Investments | Fifth Third Bank, Central Ohio | Franklin International | Molina Healthcare of Ohio Inc. | OhioHealth | Sequent | White Castle 2014 Rea & Associates Nonprofit Executive Directors of the Year: Elfi Di Bella, YWCA Columbus | Mimi Dane, Flying Horse Farms | D. Nicholas Rees, The Buckeye Ranch 2014 Nonprofit Board Executives of the Year Award: Laura Yaroma, YWCA Columbus | Mark A. Pizzi, The Buckeye Ranch | Thomas H. Welch, LifeCare Alliance 2014 Medical Mutual SHARE Award: Sheri Tackett, Delta Energy Services LLC 2014 Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award: Tom Feeney, Safelite AutoGlass Class of 2013 Cardinal Health | Columbus Crew | Donatos Pizza | Fifth Third Bank | Mettler Toledo | RockBridge Capital LLC | Safex 2013 Nonprofit Board Executives of the Year: Brooke Billmaier, St. Stephen’s Community House | Michael J. Fiorile, Columbus College of Art and Design | Laura Warren, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council 2013 Rea & Associates Nonprofit Executive Directors of the Year: Jay Jordan, OCLC | Tammy H. Wharton, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council 2013 Medical Mutual SHARE Award: Safelite AutoGlass 2013 Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award: Jane Grote Abell, Donatos Pizza | Mark Swepston, Atlas Butler Heating & Cooling Class of 2012 Battelle | Blytheco, LLC | Delta Energy | Elford, Inc. | Mettler Toledo | Ohio Christian University | Roush Honda | Safelite AutoGlass | ViaQuest, Inc. 2012 Charles Penzone Salons Nonprofit Board Executives of the Year: R. Gabe Reitter II, Columbus Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation, Inc. | Colleen Buzza, Community Shelter Board 2012 Rea & Associates Nonprofit Executive Directors of the Year: Denise M. Robinson, Alvis, Inc., d.b.a. Alvis House | Virginia (Ginny) O’Keeffe, Amethyst, Inc. | Edward N. Cohn, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio, Inc. | Jane Scott, Columbus Metropolitan Club 2012 Medical Mutual SHARE Award: Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., L.P.A. 2012 CVG Samaritan Award: Columbus Crew 2012 Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award: Stephen P. Blythe, Blytheco LLC Class of 2011 Battelle | Capitol Square Review & Advisory Board | GREENCREST | Halcyon Solutions, Inc. | The Longaberger Company | Safelite AutoGlass® | Thomas-Fenner-Woods Agency, Inc. 2011 Charles Penzone Nonprofit Board Executives of the Year: J. Richard Emens, Conway Center for Family Business | Maryann Ingram Kelley, LifeCare Alliance | Bradley Smith, Kids ‘n Kamp 2011 Rea & Associates Nonprofit Executive Directors of the Year: Gerald Borin, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium | Dr. David Chesebrough, COSI | Beverly Circone, Kids ‘n Kamp | Marjory Pizzuti, Goodwill Columbus 2011 Medical Mutual SHARE Award: Safelite AutoGlass® 2011 CVS Samaritan Award: Battelle 2011 Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award: Kelly Borth, president, GREENCREST Class of 2010 Berger Health System | Charles Penzone Family of Salons | Circone & Associates | Commercial Vehicle Group Inc. | Delta Energy | Expesite | E-Wynn Inc. dba Columbus Window Cleaning Co. 2010 Nonprofit Board Executives of the Year: Hon. John A. Connor, Alvis Inc. | DeeDee Glimcher, Greater Columbus Arts Council | N. Suzanne Swanson, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Inc. 2010 Rea & Associates Nonprofit Executive Directors of the Year: John C. “Jack” Fisher, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Inc. | Michelle Mills, St. Stephen’s Community House | Charles Gehring, LifeCare Alliance | John Hrusovsky, GroundWork Group 2010 Medical Mutual SHARE Award: Continental Office Environments 2010 CVS Samaritan Award: Michelle Abreu, Oxford Consulting Group Inc. 2010 Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award: Debra Penzone, Charles Penzone Family of Salons
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From the hearts of our sponsors

The sponsors of the 2016 Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service support
the program because they believe in its mission — to recognize the critical tie between the for-profit and nonprofit communities. Here is a little bit about each of this year’s sponsors.

AXA Advisors

AXA Advisors strives to play a positive role in society by building a culture that promotes employee volunteering to support the communities in which we operate. As a company whose business is to protect people over the long term, AXA has the responsibility to leverage its skills, resources and risk expertise to help build a stronger and safer society.

At AXA, our company philosophy is to consider the impact of today’s actions on tomorrow’s results. Taking small steps today in our local community leads to improved lives tomorrow. We offer many opportunities for our employees throughout the year to participate in the service of their choice. They can choose to participate in the events that touch their hearts and are personally meaningful to them.

On a global and local level, we evaluate organizations that we can have the greatest impact on. We believe AXA can have a greater social impact if our community activities are connected to our skills and expertise.

Giving back to the community ensures that we can move forward with confidence in this changing world by thinking long term to improve the local communities and increasing opportunity, safety and strength.

Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board

At the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board, philanthropy is part of our DNA. Philanthropy and giving back to the community is part of what CSRAB does day-in and day-out.

The employees of CSRAB support a number of organizations through the State of Ohio Combined Charitable Campaign, Operation Feed and Toys for Tots. CSRAB also ensures the Ohio Statehouse is a place where all Ohioans feel welcome to come and participate in the governance of our republic.

As a state agency, CSRAB’s philanthropic philosophy is different than a privately held corporation’s giving priorities. As an agency, our philosophy is aligned with the historical tradition of philanthropic institutions of higher learning.

CSRAB houses state government and facilitates the function of the legislative branch of state government. At the same time, we strive to educate citizens on the workings of state government and hope to inspire future leaders of Ohio. We inspire civic and student leaders through participation at the Ohio Statehouse.

At CSRAB, employees are encouraged through the actions of Executive Director William E. Carleton. There is no better way to lead and inspire an organization than through active leadership from the top down. Carleton’s leadership and passion for giving is why CSRAB’s 2015 Ohio Combined Charitable Campaign had a participation rate of 90 percent and set an agency record for funds raised.

CSRAB takes the long view as we look to engage and give back to the community. The agency feels that the best way to give back to all citizens of Ohio is to educate and inspire the future leaders of Ohio about state government and the important role the Ohio Statehouse has played in the history of this great state for more than 158 years.

CSRAB will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the competition of the Ohio Statehouse restoration this year with special events and exhibits. This celebration is a thank you to the citizens of Ohio who have supported the Ohio Statehouse the past two decades — so come celebrate “20 Years of Preservation” at the Ohio Statehouse in 2016.


GREENCREST exists to make a difference in the businesses we serve, the people we touch along the way and the communities in which we live and work. At our core, we are here to make a positive impact with all we do.

We have a strong culture and history of giving our time, our talent and our treasure. GREENCREST is a past Pillar Award recipient and its founder and CEO, Kelly Borth is a Kent Clapp Award honoree. As an organization we are committed to supporting the community that has so richly supported us.

In 2007, GREENCREST established the GREENCREST Living Hope Foundation administered by the Columbus Foundation. As a group, we defined that our foundation would support women and children and any individuals who may not be able to live to their fullest potential without some level of support. This has been a strong focus for us. As a small company, it is also important for our team to know what impact it has made, so we seek out opportunities that provide us with the ability to get close to the cause.

We all benefit from a thriving, healthy community and we all need to do our part to leave the world a better place — whatever that looks like to each of us.

GREENCREST has always worked with wonderful Central Ohio businesses with leaders who have been great role models and passionate ambassadors for community causes. We all have the opportunity to be great role models for our employees and other business leaders.

Digizoom Media

We are visual storytellers who believe that creativity should arise and flourish without boundaries. Whether it’s bringing your brand, your value proposition or your organization’s culture to life, we accompany our award-winning visuals with carefully crafted scripts that support your messaging objectives, engage your audiences and inspire action. Telling your story, engaging your audience and driving results is what we do best. Your vision is our passion.

We amplify your presence by providing high quality, cutting-edge video content. We are dedicated to warm, professional standards of service, and guarantee satisfaction with our products and your experience. Our primary focus is to serve the business community through producing content engineered to expand your reach.

Hughie’s Event Production Services

Hughie’s Event Production Services has been the choice for live-event design and production resource since 1953. Hughie’s is a full-service event production company specializing in audio, video, lighting, décor, staging and rigging. We are a worldwide supplier of high-definition video projection equipment, concert quality audio systems, intelligent moving lights, staging systems, decor and more to satisfy all your presentation and special event needs.
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Career progression and the lateral advantage

Early in my career I would never have contemplated going anywhere but up. Sound familiar? Many of us have been there, and likely many currently on our teams have that mindset. In hindsight, I absolutely wouldn’t be where I am today were it not for a wise mentor who pulled me aside and uttered these magic words: “How about making a lateral move?”

At the time, I looked at him like he had six eyeballs. Today, however, I look back with a tremendous sense of gratitude to a leader who saw my potential and took a personal interest in shaping my future. After years serving in sales, sales leadership and business development roles, I took his advice and stepped into an operations management role, a lateral move, and found new opportunities to excel.

Be honest about the plan

Today it excites me to think about the opportunity to influence the career direction of so many gifted professionals. I would urge you to consider how you too can best move others to new heights by taking a genuine interest in their success. Chances are you have the insight to help them realize their potential and tap new talents and capabilities they don’t even know they have.

Sounds easy enough but, no doubt, instilling enough confidence in one to push him or her outside of a well-defined comfort zone can be daunting. And a word to the wise: be honest. If you see potential, prepare for the conversation and do your best to paint a picture of the course one can chart with added experience under his or her belt.

“You aren’t going to enjoy it,” were the very honest, unsettling words my mentor shared. Without a full conversation I may never have taken on a multiline P&L responsibility, or a special project involving a complete organizational redesign from a pillared department to one that excelled through multifunctional teams, though it turned out to be an incredibly rewarding experience, to say the least.

The next time you find yourself speaking with a restless or passionate colleague who feels like every move has to be up and out, or in the form of a stellar promotion or big title, take a moment to underscore the importance of having a plan, one that allows for a little enlightenment in a broader journey along the way.

Short-term pain, long-term gain

Smart people learn new skills quickly. Good managerial skills transfer across disciplines. Uncertainty and doubt are ever-present until you get into a new role and apply your intellect, people-building and managerial skills. A good solid career path should afford everyone the opportunity to do just that.

Without a leader who took a personal interest, it never would have dawned on me to pursue a path that proved so essential to where I am today. It can be well worth it in the end to make a less lucrative move in the short run as a foundation for your future success and the larger opportunity to influence the success of those around you.

This column is brought to you by The Huntington National Bank, Member FDIC. Rick Remiker is Senior Executive Vice President, Director of Commercial Banking at Huntington Bank. Reach him at [email protected] or (614) 480-3242.

Central Ohio’s Smart 50 share renewed commitment toward future success

col_cs_Smart50Logo2015The Smart 50 Awards, now in its second year in town, brings together like-minded leaders that share the common drive toward sustainability and growth for our region.

The value of this program is not only found in the recognition for the innovations in our business community, but also in the knowledge exchange and new connections made across a variety of sectors.

Here at Oswald, since our founding in 1893, we’ve had the same core mission of helping individuals and businesses identify, reduce and manage their risks.

This year is a milestone year for Oswald, celebrating 30 years as an employee-owned business, and 10 years in our Columbus office.

We remain dedicated to delivering new and innovative service solutions for our clients, investing in our industry’s top talent and supporting causes within our communities.

Our mantra at Oswald is “Focus Forward,” and that is exactly what we do when it comes to advancing our abilities to serve the needs of our clients and our employee-owners. It’s about setting high aspirations for the future without losing sight of what got us here today.

I think it’s a message we can all relate to as part of the Smart 50 program. It’s a chance to both reflect on past accomplishments and renew our commitment toward future success.

On behalf of Oswald and all of this year’s supporters, we extend our most sincere congratulations to the Smart 50 class of 2015.

col_RobertKlonkRobert J. Klonk
Chief Executive Officer
Oswald Cos.
[email protected]


Quick Links to Smart 50 honorees:

Tara Abraham, Accel Inc. | David Abraham, Labor Guys Staffing (LGS) | Rabbi B. Elka Abrahamson, The Wexner Foundation | Eleanor Alvarez, LeaderStat | Rod Baesman, Baesman Group Inc. | Kimberly A. Blackwell, PMM Agency | Elizabeth Blount McCormick, UNIGLOBE Travel Designers | Miranda Boyle, THREAD | Donna L. Braxton, Law Enforcement Foundation | Jeff Burt, EclipseCorp | David Chesebrough, COSI | Brian Dew, Mid-City Electric | Tom Feeney, Safelite Group Inc. | Sandy Fekete, Marketing Works | Michael P. Glimcher, WP Glimcher | Dianne Grote Adams, Safex Inc. | David S. Guion, Dublin Arts Council | W. Gregory Guy, Air Force One Inc. | Sally Hughes, Caster Connection | William Hutter, Sequent | Edgar W. “Bill” Ingram III, White Castle System Inc. | Rich Johnson, ViaQuest Inc. | Bob Juniper, Three C Body Shops Inc. | Brett Kaufman, Kaufman Development | Amy Klaben, Columbus Housing Partnership Inc., dba Homeport | Merry Korn, Pearl Interactive Network Inc. | Catherine Lang-Cline, Portfolio Creative | John Mackessy, HMB | Michael McCarrell, Pharmacy Systems Inc. | Pat McCurdy, Kimball Midwest | Curtis J. Moody, Moody Nolan | Neil Mortine, Fahlgren Mortine | Tom Pendrey, Donatos Pizza | Debra Penzone, The Charles Penzone Salons | Nick Pinizzotto, Sportsmen’s Alliance | Margie Pizzuti, Goodwill Columbus | Sue Reninger, RMD Advertising | Nicole Ringle, IGS Energy | Dr. Mark Rinkov, Rinkov Eyecare Centers | C.K. Satyapriya, CTL Engineering Inc. | Randy Schoedinger, Michael Schoedinger, Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Service | Brian Schottenstein, Schottenstein Real Estate Group | Hiten Shah, Marketing and Engineering Solutions Inc. | Steve Steinour, Huntington National Bank | Ron Stokes, Three Leaf Productions Inc. | Michael S. Swartz, Lake Shore Cryotronics Inc. | Kara Trott, Quantum Health | Mike Vargo, VARGO | Billy Vickers, Modular Assembly Innovations | Beatrice Wolper, Emens & Wolper Law Firm

2015 Central Ohio Smart 50

Honorees listed in Alphabetical order by last name

col_TaraAbrahamTara Abraham
Chairman and co-CEO
Accel Inc.

Tara Abraham has built a business that will do whatever it takes to solve a problem. Accel Inc. began in 1995 as a knitting company assembling products for Bath & Body Works, and since that time has expanded into many other services.

As chairman and co-CEO, Abraham has built a team of 16 engineers that can solve any packaging design or flawed component issue.

For instance, a local retailer was having gift cards assembled in Sri Lanka. The assembly included the card and a plastic sleeve overlay with a cardboard cover. The card sat inside with a glue dot, but the card was being damaged — workers couldn’t get the sleeve off and back on, and could only produce 5,000 units a day.

Accel’s engineers created plastic jigs on the production lines that opened the cards without taking off the sleeves and automated the gluing process to increase output to 50,000 units a day.
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col_DavidAbrahamDavid Abraham
Labor Guys Staffing (LGS)

David Abraham, president of Labor Guys Staffing (LGS), has leveraged the location of Accel Inc., a company for which he is co-CEO, to create a unique temporary staffing model.

The 11-company, 1.4-million-square-foot Personal Care, Health and Beauty Park in New Albany represents a complete supply chain, within which Accel is an assembler. Abraham devised a model in which LGS trains temporary workers on all of the services provided by the companies in the park. The business’ complementary business cycles means the temporary worker is able to gain multiple skill sets and ultimately find a place of full-time employment. The company has brought over 2,000 temporary jobs to the area in the last three years.

Abraham has rented buses to help transport individuals in from low-income areas and has partnered with the Licking County United Way, Jobs Ohio and many other agencies to assist in getting people back to work.
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col_RabbiBElkaAbrahamsRabbi B. Elka Abrahamson
The Wexner Foundation

As the president of The Wexner Foundation, Rabbi B. Elka Abrahamson oversees the foundation’s full range of activities, in partnership with foundation chairpeople Abigail and Leslie Wexner. She also imagines how the foundation might further strengthen and educate Jewish professional and volunteer leaders in North America and public service leaders in Israel.

The Wexner Foundation, which just celebrated its 30th anniversary, has always been focused on investing in and developing talented leaders through a number of initiatives.

As a steward of the foundation that continues to build a robust network, Abrahamson has helped expand the Wexner Graduate Fellowship and create a cohort within the program for emerging talent already working in Jewish organizations, as well as implementing the Wexner Senior Leadership Program, which provides executive education for Israel’s public service leaders through a month-long program.

Newsweek also named Abrahamson one of the 50 most influential rabbis in North America.
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col_EleanorAlvarezEleanor Alvarez

As the CEO of LeaderStat, Eleanor Alvarez helps provide consulting and management support to more than 1,000 long-term care clients nationwide.

Her firm provides a full range of clinical, operational and financial consulting for independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and continuing care retirement communities. She has conducted comprehensive assessments, market studies, financial improvement strategies, new product design and specialized programming for long-term care communities across the U.S.

Alvarez is constantly adjusting LeaderStat’s service offerings to meet the ever-changing needs within the health care landscape. She stays current on trends and makes sure that her team can supply expertise to the industry by encouraging specialized training. Always open to staff suggestions on new service offerings, Alvarez understands the importance of staff retention.

Community service is also built into LeaderStat’s strategic plan. Alvarez believes it is motivating and fulfilling for staff to engage in projects that help foster relationships within their community.
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col_RodBaesmanRod Baesman
Baesman Group Inc.

Rod Baesman joined Baesman Group Inc. in 1987 and has helped the Baesman name become synonymous with print in Central Ohio.

Retailers such as Lane Bryant, Polo, Ralph Lauren and Charming Charlie turn to Baesman for their printing needs, while Cardinal Health looks to the company for direct mail.

Under Baesman’s leadership as CEO, the company combines decades of experience with next-generation custom printing technology to consistently deliver complex direct-mail marketing pieces, create state-of-the-art in-store signage, and provide warehousing and fulfillment that includes secure storage, on-time shipments, turnkey implementations and detailed online reporting.

Baesman created an Insights and Marketing division that has rapidly become a player in the retail and fashion arena. It offers strategic customer marketing services based on data analytics. High-profile, national clients like Kate Spade, Stanley Steemer and Shoe Carnival have all turned to Insights and Marketing to create highly responsive marketing strategies that increase the bottom line.
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col_KimberlyBlackwellKimberly A. Blackwell
PMM Agency

“If you want to be a bear in business, be a grizzly.” That’s the philosophy that has led CEO Kimberly A. Blackwell’s career and ability to develop and implement brand-related strategies.

For Blackwell, it’s about insights and instincts: be relentless and take a beast-like approach in all that you do, rooted in a standard of excellence.

This has helped Blackwell grow PMM Agency from a one-bedroom startup to an industry-recognized agency that counts among its clients, Nationwide, Huntington National Bank, Honda, Macy’s, the state of Ohio and the city of Columbus.

PMM’s approach can be summarized as:

  1. Take a diagnosis to best understand client organizational goals — short and long term.
  2. Assess the industry landscape, trends and unchartered paths through both a marketplace and competitive lens.
  3. Design interactive and creative brand strategies to engage and entice a uniqueness and value proposition, while breaking through the noise that often competes for consumer attention.

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col_ElizabethBlountElizabeth Blount McCormick
President and co-owner
UNIGLOBE Travel Designers

Elizabeth Blount McCormick moved back to Columbus to join her mother in business in 2006.

As the president and co-owner of UNIGLOBE Travel Designers, McCormick has nearly doubled the company’s revenue, enhanced customer service and increased the office’s technology. In fact, the franchise has become a beta tester for new software for UNIGLOBE International.

Perhaps most importantly, McCormick recognizes that she can’t do everything.

She strives to identify the strengths of her team and match those talents to the needs of her clients. She also outsources work to other companies, recognizing that her expertise is in travel, not human resources, legal or marketing.

This year, by focusing on building the company, McCormick brought in 36 new accounts by July — that’s more than were signed in all of 2014.

As a result, UNIGLOBE Travel Designers has gone from just three travel agents to 27, all while investing in programs to develop and attract talent.

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col_MirandaBoyleMiranda Boyle

Miranda Boyle, owner of THREAD, has shown a willingness to trust others, while recognizing her own strengths.

Too many business owners are uncompromising and try to keep strict control. They end up doing too much, stretching themselves too thin and losing growth opportunities in the process. That’s not Boyle.

For example, she engaged experts to help her with her brand, while providing direct insight into the vision of her business.

Her stores and e-commerce site are now able to deliver “best in class” experiences for her designer products and exceed her clientele’s already high expectations of what a high-end clothing boutique should be.

Boyle also has engaged in collaborations with big names in the fashion world to serve as a designer incubator. THREAD carries lines that may only be in their first season, an innovative approach that gives her customers access to unique products that can’t be found in other Midwest stores.

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col_DonnaBraxtonDonna L. Braxton
Law Enforcement Foundation

Donna L. Braxton began working for the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and the Law Enforcement Foundation, which works to extend the reach and support of law enforcement’s role in local communities, in 1991. She was appointed executive director of the OACP and CEO of the LEF in February 2008.

Braxton has assisted with many special grant projects, including the D.A.R.E. graduates program, human-diversity training and community-oriented policing. She has also served as project director for critical incident and domestic violence training.

Under her leadership, LEF has strengthened its outreach efforts and partnerships with state organizations that are working together to make communities safer. She’s created an internal environment at LEF that inspires employees to take ownership of their work, empowering them to accomplish the organization’s goals.

In 2011, Braxton was awarded the OACP President’s Award, and in 2012 she was named an honorary Ohio D.A.R.E. officer.

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col_JeffBurtJeff Burt

CEO Jeff Burt’s passion for creating the image that clients want their company to have not only drove him to found EclipseCorp in 1994, it continues to drive his vision to make the company a nationally recognized creative partnership.

Starting with two employees, the organization now has more than 30 and revenue has increased 40,175 percent over the past 20 years.

Burt believes in the philosophy of surrounding himself with good people, inside and outside of the business. He recognizes his own limitations and the need to surround himself with people whose skills complement his. He looks for people willing to step up to the plate, take risks and to accomplish what others thought was impossible.

In addition, Burt has led EclipseCorp to differentiate itself from the competition by investing in technology — even when economic times drove others to cut back —  high quality work, a creative staff and a turnkey operation all under one roof.

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col_DavidChesebroughDavid Chesebrough, Ed.D.
President and CEO

David Chesebrough, Ed.D., began his leadership at COSI in April 2006. Since then, the president and CEO has worked with his leadership team, trustees, community supporters and partners to reimagine the organization for the 21st century.

He has established strategic partnerships with The Ohio State University, Battelle Memorial Institute, Rev1 Ventures and others to expand opportunities for all to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. The hope is to encourage and inspire more youth to pursue careers in the STEM fields.

Through partnerships with scientists, engineers and researchers, COSI has increased its positive impact on the region and is now visited by more than 1 million people each year.
Chesebrough completed his doctoral research at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and has authored books, articles, columns and publications in the science center, museum, computer, education and environmental fields.

He is on the board of Nationwide Children’s Research Institute, a component of Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

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col_BrianDewBrian Dew
Mid-City Electric

Mid-City Electric President Brian Dew has created an environment where every employee feels invested. He treats them with respect, delivers what is promised and teaches everyone to act in the customer’s best interest.

Education is critical to this, and Dew invests in programs that allow his team to grow. He enrolls staff in the BX Rising Leader’s Program and encourages them to attend industry classes and training.

Dew recognizes that an engaged workforce provides opportunities to think differently about products and services. Accordingly, he was able to develop Mid-City’s prefabrication shop and program to improve the company and add value for customers.

The company offered foremen lunch-and-learns on the initiative, and Dew developed work teams, which collaborate regularly to create new techniques in prefab for client project needs. An example of this is a two-day prefab workshop Mid-City hosted, where electrical contractors from the Electrical Industry Mastermind Group came from as far as California.

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col_TomFeeneyTom Feeney
President and CEO
Safelite Group Inc.

Since joining Safelite Group Inc., Tom Feeney has been instrumental in establishing Safelite AutoGlass® as a nationally known brand.

When he became president and CEO of the company in 2008, he immediately introduced a new vision for Safelite supported by two core principles: “People First, Customer Delight,” which has since evolved to “People Powered, Customer Driven.”

The company hadn’t experienced sales growth in the previous five years, but Feeney’s vision bought the business back to its core beliefs and started a cultural transformation.

Under Feeney’s leadership, Safelite’s customer satisfaction scores have increased by 13 percentage points. Top-of-mind brand awareness improved and market share increased. In addition, sales have tripled, partly due to more employee engagement.

The company plans to continue growth through a new “Nationally Powered, Locally Driven” approach.

In addition to leading Safelite Group, Feeney is a director for the Safelite Group Board of Directors and a member of Belron’s Global Leadership Team.

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col_SandyFeketeSandy Fekete
President and co-owner
Marketing Works

Sandy Fekete, president and co-owner of Marketing Works, developed the Companies Are People, Too assessment tool to profile an organization’s personality, and further her belief that a company’s personality and culture are its most powerful success drivers.

CAP2 has been valuable for Marketing Works’ clients, as well as serving as the cornerstone for the company’s success with its own team.

Fekete supports professional development, leadership growth and external volunteer activities by fostering a “One Team, One Goal” mantra. As part of this, Fekete and the firm’s partners invested in a coach who is responsible for integrating culture with professional development. The coach meets regularly with employees to develop measureable goals, maintain interpersonal communication channels, facilitate on-boarding and tackle other issues such as stress management and conflict resolution.

This one eye on the client, the other on the team philosophy has helped Fekete lead Marketing Works to more than 20 percent revenue growth.

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col_MichaelPGlimcherMichael P. Glimcher
Vice chairman and CEO
WP Glimcher

WP Glimcher is the product of a merger between Washington Prime Group and Glimcher Realty Trust in late 2014, when Michael P. Glimcher became vice chairman and CEO.

The new company is double the size of GRT, has 100 additional assets and 40 million additional square feet to lease. WP Glimcher also has lower debt leverage and the ability to generate $100 million in free cash flow.

As CEO, Glimcher, along with executive leadership, has already achieved measurable results in many facets of WP Glimcher’s strategy, including scaling up the existing operating platform to grow from 25 to 121 assets and delivering continued growth from the combined portfolio through redevelopment and leasing.

Glimcher already drove industry-leading results with GRT, transforming the company and increasing sales per square foot. He’s now positioning himself to do this on a larger stage, including adding more than 75 jobs to WP Glimcher’s corporate office in Columbus.

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col_DianneGroteAdamsDianne Grote Adams
Safex Inc.

The business of occupational health and safety is often bogged down by lengthy government standards and organizations struggling to fit safety into their budgets.

President Dianne Grote Adams and Safex Inc. have changed the picture of health and safety consulting in Central Ohio by making it a business about people. The company fosters strong, personal relationships with clients who keep in touch even after they’ve moved companies or industries.

At Safex, the customer experience is driven by attention to detail, customer-oriented processes and a no-tolerance policy for anything but quality.

Under Adams’ leadership for more than 20 years, Safex has updated services and products, found new methods for delivering training and regulatory information, and taken safety beyond the realm of just Occupational Safety and Health Administration  compliance.

Additionally, Adams and her consultants are constantly touring jobsites and facilities in order to understand every aspect of client businesses and recognize the most effective solutions for their needs.

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col_DavidSGuionDavid S. Guion, Ph.D.
Executive director
Dublin Arts Council

The Dublin Arts Council, under the leadership of Executive Director David S. Guion, Ph.D., is gaining national and international recognition for its innovative programming and noteworthy growth. The Ohio Arts Council leadership, in fact, has called the DAC “the poster child for innovation.”

Since he began leading the DAC in 2005, Guion has obtained financial support from a significant number of organizations as well as prestigious grant awards. Guion also has instituted a culture of creativity for the arts council. Staff members contribute ideas to program development and for professional development.

Recognizing art’s power to heal, influence opinion and raise awareness, Guion has made social-focused programming a priority. Recent projects include a five-year photography exhibit to raise awareness of people living with Down syndrome, a tunnel mural based on removing the stigma of mental illness and addiction, and an exhibition of rare Vietnam War photos by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Eddie Adams.

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col_GregGuyW. Gregory Guy
Air Force One Inc.

W. Gregory Guy, CEO of Air Force One Inc., is continuously looking for opportunities to lead his team forward to success.

By having weekly meetings with his leadership team, analyzing associate feedback and staying in touch with the different Air Force One divisions throughout Ohio, Guy has been able to celebrate the accomplishments and learn from the struggles of his organization to get to the heart of what Air Force One needs to remain successful.

It is Guy’s vision and innovation that is the driving force at Air Force One. He stays in touch with the changing needs of the HVAC industry and regularly looks for ways to improve service.

One of his driving objectives for the business is to “elevate the image and integrity of our industry.”

It is Guy’s excitement and hunger that inspires Air Force One’s associates to act with unmatched professionalism and quality every day.

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col_SallyHughesSally Hughes
Founder and CEO
Caster Connection

Sally Hughes has built a company in Caster Connection that focuses on anticipating and meeting client demand by developing innovative products that improve the lives of those clients. As founder and CEO, Hughes also has created a culture for thinking outside the box when it comes to marketing to clients.

Some examples of strategies that have led to growth include a focus on the emotional aspect of buying casters and an industry-leading e-commerce site that makes caster buying as easy as possible.

Since developing the industry-changing CC Apex line in 2005, Caster Connection has brought several other products to market in an effort to diversify and offer clients solutions no one else can.

These products largely focus on relieving ergonomic issues. Other product improvements include noise reduction, maintenance prevention and floor protection. Revenue at Caster has grown each year since 2010, as has the employee count, due to increased client demand.

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col_WilliamHutterWilliam Hutter
Founder and CEO

CEO William Hutter and his partners founded Sequent in 1995 with two employees. Today, the company employs 80 people.

In the early years, Hutter was the CEO, COO, CFO, sales team, payroll courier and more. The outsourcing industry was in its infancy, which afforded him the opportunity to develop and define best practices, often years ahead of industry trends.

Sequent’s growth allowed Hutter to hire talented employees to develop and manage various business segments. Many of these employees are still with Sequent more than 16 years later.

But one of the biggest impacts of Hutter’s leadership has been in the health benefits arena, when he set out to become an expert on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

For the past three years, he has been a frequent speaker on health care reform. Sequent makes no profit providing health benefit plans; his efforts are truly about educating clients and keeping benefits affordable.

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col_BillIngramEdgar W. “Bill” Ingram III
Chairman of the board and CEO
White Castle System Inc.

Chairman of the board and CEO Edgar W. “Bill” Ingram III has dedicated his career to stewardship and growth for White Castle System Inc. by celebrating the 10,000-team members who make success possible. He has an earnest desire to “do the right thing” — whether others are looking or not.

It’s no wonder that out of the top 450 field restaurant operations leaders, 444 started behind the counter in an hourly role. Also, more than 25 percent of employees have been with White Castle for more than 10 years.

Recently, Ingram has overseen a brand revitalization; watched the division he created to establish a grocery store presence for White Castle restaurant products grow to represent nearly 25 percent of total sales, and a larger percent of profit; and overseen a thoughtful transition to the next generation of family leadership.

Ingram will retire from CEO duties at the end of 2015, knowing he leaves the business better than he found it.

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col_RichJohnsonRich Johnson
ViaQuest Inc.

As CEO, Rich Johnson has steered ViaQuest Inc. through a series of growth spurts — the company now has locations in three states and employs more than 1,500. Much of that growth has been because of efforts to stay at the forefront of the latest technologies and innovations in the health care industry, such as with a pharmacogenetics program.

But perhaps Johnson’s greatest contribution is the culture he has established among employees.

ViaQuest is all about people, and Johnson has worked diligently to cultivate a culture that is centered on CHOICE: customer service, humor, ownership, integrity, creativity and excellence. Johnson insists on investing money and time into building and fostering ViaQuest’s culture, because in good times and bad, culture is what binds and unites all employees together.

ViaQuest has nearly 300 employees who have stayed with the company for five years or more, an impressive number in an industry where turnover tends to run high.

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col_BobJuniperBob Juniper
President and CEO
Three C Body Shops Inc.

President and CEO Bob Juniper took over the family business, Three C Body Shops Inc., in 1984. He has expanded the shop from three employees to 50 with innovative approaches and marketing savvy, coupled with a strong dedication to customer service and quality work.

For instance, in 1991, Juniper began an aggressive, anti-insurance plan advertising campaign to educate the public about insurance companies’ responsibility to restore vehicles to pre-accident condition.

Due to its tremendous success, Juniper started his own marketing company. Today, more than 100 body shop owners and related businesses throughout the U.S., Canada and Australia have used Juniper’s campaign.

He’s also developed the idea of Collision Claims Centers and satellite drop off locations; is breaking industry norms by going completely paperless, including with payroll; and has implemented the Pink Button, a mobile app to easily connect people to Three-C service at the scene of a collision.

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col_BrettKaufmanBrett Kaufman
Kaufman Development

As CEO of Kaufman Development, Brett Kaufman emphasizes high quality, unique, luxury housing at an affordable price point.

Since the company’s founding in 2011, it has completed The Gramercy, a 322-unit development in New Albany; 600 Goodale, a 174-unit community; and 801 Polaris, a 270-unit project. Through a partnership with a leading construction management firm, Kaufman spearheaded the development of 250 High, a 156-unit mixed-use building that welcomed its first commercial tenant in July.

Hiring for character over experience, Kaufman values personal and professional growth for all of his employees. He fosters the cultivation of each individual’s passions in life to harness that energy in the workplace.

Twice each year for 10 to 12 weeks at a time, employees leave the office for three hours each week for innovation time. The team then gathers to present their ideas and innovations. Some ideas have been implemented into Kaufman’s corporate operating system.

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col_AmyKlabenAmy Klaben
President and CEO
Columbus Housing Partnership Inc., dba Homeport

One of Central Ohio’s homebuilders was asked in five words to describe Amy Klaben, the head Columbus Housing Partnership Inc., dba Homeport, which provides service-enriched rental housing to more than 10,000 people. He chose aggressive, compassionate, dynamic, intelligent and visionary. All those terms add up to a realistic picture of her professionalism and community leadership.

Homeport consists of three departments: rental living, home ownership and learning and engagement. Klaben, who has been president and CEO for 15 years, is responsible for driving all aspects of the nonprofit organization. During the height of the recent foreclosure crisis, Homeport scaled up its efforts to educate and assist people at risk of losing their homes from 250 households a year to 1,500.

An attorney, Klaben works with policymakers to educate and elevate the issue of affordable housing. Her passion for families and for the more than 2,500 children of the Homeport communities motivates her to do work for posterity.

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col_MerryKornMerry Korn
Pearl Interactive Network Inc.

In 2004, CEO Merry Korn was inspired to start Pearl Interactive Network Inc. as a way to combine her passion for business with a social mission.

Initially, she began hiring people with disabilities because she needed loyal employees who would stay with the company. Over time, Korn learned this niche workforce offered opportunities for growth, including in the federal contractor space — and added disabled veterans, veterans and military spouses to her team. Her company could solve long-ingrained government staffing programs, especially in contract center services where five-month average retention rates were the norm.

Korn was convinced she could do better because her workforce offered leadership and maturity, resilience and perseverance, with individuals who were goal and team-oriented, and exhibited respect for rules and procedures.

Over the past three years, this differentiator helped Pearl Interactive grow from $1 million in annual revenue to more than $12.5 million, with more than 400 employees in 23 states.

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col_CatherineLangClineCatherine Lang-Cline
President and co-founder
Portfolio Creative

Creativity and innovation drive Portfolio Creative, which President Catherine Lang-Cline co-founded in 2005 to connect clients with creative professionals — designers, writers, Web designers, art/creative directors and marketing managers — for full-time or temporary needs.

Lang-Cline opened a second office in 2014 in Pittsburgh, and has set her sights on the next opportunity.

The company has become the nation’s fastest-growing creative staffing and recruiting firm, earning Inc. 500/5,000 designation for the past six years.

One example of Portfolio Creative’s impact involves working with Abbott to build an internal creative department, completely staffed by Lang-Cline’s team, which provides flexibility and speed. Another example is its 10-year relationship with LBrands, serving as both a subcontractor and director vendor.

Lang-Cline’s approach is straightforward: Be flexible, be creative, listen and then be innovative in your approach to serving clients. She chalks up her company’s success by its ability to talk to clients about what they really need most — and then providing it.

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col_JohnMackessyJohn Mackessy
Chief Financial Officer

As the chief financial officer of the business technology services firm HMB, John Mackessy oversees financial strategy and operations — and his ability to ensure adoption of new processes to facilitate growth is just one of the things that make him a true leader.

When Mackessy helped found HMB in 1994, he was more of a “do-er” and spent most of his time on client work. As the company grew, the executive team saw that it needed to restructure the business and Mackessy was made CFO.

Mackessy plays the accounting role in a company of computer programmers and IT professionals. He asks the hard questions others don’t think about on a daily basis.

During times of rapid growth, he kept financial stability and the overall success of the company as his top priority. He streamlined accounting practices and time reporting and payroll processes, allowing HMB’s executive team more accuracy in making projections and setting goals.

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col_MichaelMcCarrellMichael McCarrell
Pharmacy Systems Inc.

Michael McCarrell joined family-owned Pharmacy Systems Inc. in 2008 as an implementation coordinator, quickly working his way up to president.
Pharmacy Systems provides hospital pharmacy management and consulting services, including outpatient and ambulatory care, and hospice and pain management programs.

McCarrell led the creation and development of new services lines, including:

  • PSI Supply Chain Solutions, which manages hospital-based logistics for more than 20 materials management departments.
  • PSI Rehabilitation Services, which manages therapy departments in health care settings.
  • PSI’s Signyl program, which provides clients with real-time data.

Teamwork is critical, and McCarrell has built a team who can lead and carry on daily operations by thinking about ways to better serve clients.

Today, McCarrell manages more than 375 people, oversees a decentralized business with 120 locations in nine states and has led the company to annual revenue in excess of $50 million.

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col_PatMcCurdyPat McCurdy
Kimball Midwest

With President Pat McCurdy at the helm, Kimball Midwest maintains its focus on superior performance and exceptional value in the products and service it offers for the maintenance, repair and operations marketplace.

From its earliest beginnings, the company has strived to develop a “partnership in performance” with each employee and customer in order to identify and satisfy their needs through the development of superior products and programs to reduce overall cost. When adding new products, Kimball Midwest adheres to the highest performance and quality standards. Continuous improvement is so ingrained in the company’s culture that a team of specialists is dedicated to researching process enhancements and items that solve customer problems and add value for each customer.

The company services sales representatives and end-use customers from its corporate office and distribution center in Columbus and from its distribution centers strategically located in Dallas, Reno, Nevada and Savannah, Georgia.

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col_CurtMoodyCurtis J. Moody, FAIA, NCARB, LEED AP
President and CEO
Moody Nolan

To understand Moody Nolan’s impact on Greater Columbus, you only need to look around. Some of the architecture firm’s projects include the Columbus Commons, Hilton Columbus Downtown Hotel, The Ohio State University’s Recreation & Physical Activity Center and the expansion of the Wexner Medical Center.

For more than 30 years, President and CEO Curtis J. Moody, FAIA, NCARB, LEED AP, has been at the forefront of significant architectural projects in his hometown and across the nation.

Today, Moody operates eight regional offices and employs more than 170 professionals, who practice responsive architecture. This means they listen intently, analyze effectively, and then design an innovative, functional and aesthetically pleasing space, without losing sight of the purpose and budget.

A few of Moody Nolan’s most recent projects include the Music City Center in Nashville; the Malcom X College in Chicago; the International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina; the Net Jets headquarters in Columbus; and Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C.

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col_NeilMortineNeil Mortine
President and CEO
Fahlgren Mortine

Neil Mortine, president and CEO of Fahlgren Mortine, realized he had to turn his ship around when the marketing and communications agency lost some larger accounts during the recession.

He was able to accomplish that reversal — and bring 63 percent growth in six years — by integrating disciplines and removing silos, solidifying client relationships, and investing in technology, new markets and business development.

Frequently quoted as saying, “The best culture leads to the best people, and the best people lead to the best clients,” Mortine placed an unwavering focus on culture to turn the company around. The work environment is one of collaboration and collegial atmosphere. Associates at all levels have freedom to take risks, accomplish big things and even make an occasional mistake.

Along with encouraging company values of collaboration, engagement and trust, Mortine supports the personal passions of employees to give to their individual interests.

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col_TomPendreyTom Pendrey
Chief Operating Officer
Donatos Pizza

Tom Pendrey was appointed chief operating officer at Donatos Pizza when he joined the company in 2014. His job was to oversee the company’s 154-store restaurant business as well as Jane’s Dough Foods, the bakery division of Donatos.

Almost immediately, Pendrey identified an area for growth within the business. Because customers place accuracy and speed of service at the top of their list when selecting a restaurant, he led the charge to implement operational improvements throughout the Donatos system to shorten the length of time from when a customer places an order to when they receive delivery.

These changes increased order accuracy past 95 percent, and customers have responded by choosing Donatos more frequently.

Pendrey also recognized early on that his associates are loyal and passionate people who are able to accomplish an incredible amount of good each and every day in their restaurants serving customers.

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col_DebraPenzoneDebra Penzone
The Charles Penzone Salons

For 28 years, Debra Penzone has contributed to The Charles Penzone Salons organization as a stylist, artistic director, training director and senior vice president. She now serves as president over the six salons and The Brittany Group Professional Beauty Products and Education.

Penzone empowers directors in each department to manage their area of content and cross-functional teams to achieve objectives within the salon. In addition, she employs training teams to remain on the cutting edge of the industry, embraces new technology and is involved with a network of other salons/spas across the nation for benchmarking and best practice-sharing.

Penzone not only is the face of The Charles Penzone Salons, she also is a motivational speaker, a leader in the philanthropic community, a role model for young girls and a proponent for positive change.

Because of her devoted volunteerism and philanthropic spirit, Penzone has received various awards for her active involvement with her community.

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col_NickPinizzottoNick Pinizzotto
President and CEO
Sportsmen’s Alliance

Nick Pinizzotto turned a childhood love for outdoor sports and conservation into a career. After successfully leading the Delta Waterfowl Foundation in North Dakota, Pinizzotto became the president and CEO of the Sportsmen’s Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and advancing America’s heritage of hunting, fishing and trapping.

And in two years, he has spearheaded numerous innovative projects.

Pinizzotto gained national recognition by opening the alliance’s western office in Sacramento, which allows the organization to ensure California sportsmen are fairly represented during discussions concerning the state’s wildlife management and conservation practices.

He has guided the staff in a rebranding effort for the website and social media — website page views have grown 84 percent and Facebook likes have increased by 72 percent. And a new strategic plan focuses on marketing and reaching the entire target audience nationally.

Pinizzotto’s efforts have re-engaged staff, board members and sportsmen to create an aura of excitement.

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col_MargiePizzutiMargie Pizzuti
President and CEO
Goodwill Columbus

When Margie Pizzuti took over in 2005 as president and CEO of Goodwill Columbus, the organization was in the midst of a multiyear $9.6 million capital campaign to reconstruct and remodel the agency’s headquarters in Grandview. Her leadership and long-standing relationships with many community-funding stakeholders resulted in a successful effort that exceeded the goal by $400,000.

She has expanded Goodwill’s retail operations with the opening of five flagship operations by 2017 and e-commerce ventures that allow the organization to compete with online retailers such as eBay, Alibris and Amazon.

Through her business acumen and dedication to serving the community, Pizzuti has helped nearly double the agency’s annual revenue since 2005. Services also have been expanded to better support persons with disabilities and other barriers.

In addition, Goodwill operates Contract Business Services, which since 2005 has doubled its billings to more than $5 million, providing unarmed security and custodial/cleaning services.

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col_SueReningerSue Reninger
Managing partner
RMD Advertising

Managing partner Sue Reninger has been responsible for the strategy and direction of RMD Advertising’s flagship Columbus office since 1992.

Reninger and her team specialize in brand strategy, advertising, social media and public relations for clients in the growing and emerging food category. A strong focus on the success of its clients, rather than on the success of the business, sets it apart from its competition.

Reninger’s talent as a leader has given rise to RMD’s employee-focused culture, where constant learning is encouraged. In a weekly book club, team members read a well-respected business-centric book and discuss their insights. RMD also supports the monthly attendance of seminars and educational lectures.

A few years ago, RMD decided money otherwise used for client gifts could do even more for the community. In the first year of contributing to Wagons Ho Ho Ho, 25 wagons filled with food were distributed to needy families during the holidays.

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col_NicoleRingleNicole Ringle
Chief Marketing and Talent Officer
IGS Energy

Since joining IGS Energy in 2011, Chief Marketing and Talent Officer Nicole Ringle has emphasized the internal management and development of company employees. She’s assembled IGS’s Training and Development team and companywide initiatives that include the employee development programs EnergizeU and Empower Your Career, which encourage investment in and retention of IGS employees.

EnergizeU is a collection of online and on-site courses that facilitate development in leadership and mastering the business. The Empower Your Career program is a nine-month professional development experience that facilitates team collaboration to uncover new directions and potential offerings for IGS to implement. This process culminates in a ceremony wherein students present their research and solution to the executive team in front of the company.

Ringle makes it her mission to pull the leader out of everyone. She has developed an outstanding internal culture, helping employees grow as professionals and advance in their fields while driving sales across all channels.

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col_MarkRinkovDr. Mark Rinkov
Founder and CEO
Rinkov Eyecare Centers

For 37 years, Dr. Mark Rinkov has grown Rinkov Eyecare Centers into Central Ohio’s largest privately owned optometric practice.

When other practices declined, Rinkov, founder and CEO, used keen industry insights and strategic business planning to reframe the company infrastructure.

With the assistance of his son, Jeff Rinkov, Rinkov established a corporate location for insurance verification, billing and executive management; created a centralized inventory; hired an in-house accountant; and set up a centralized call center.

Rinkov also acquired two independent optometry practices, while never losing sight of Rinkov Eyecare Centers’ core mission — to provide quality care to its patient base.

He makes continuing education a priority. Doctors and staff must attend meetings for professional development and patient findings reviews, in order to expand the practice’s service offerings and discuss how to improve care.

Rinkov himself attends trade shows and belongs to industry peer review groups to implement best practices and stay abreast of industry trends.

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col_CKSatyapriyaC.K. Satyapriya
President and CEO
CTL Engineering Inc.

C.K. Satyapriya understands that today’s CEO must be able to demonstrate an understanding of the dynamics of value enhancement, be aware of opportunities and then know how to exploit them.

In 1992, Satyapriya began adapting the balanced scorecard approach, which is a bottom-up rather than a top-down method to strategic planning. Through Satyapriya’s leadership as president and CEO, CTL Engineering Inc.’s culture is based on shared principles (values, policies and attitudes) and shared practices (norms, systems and processes) that influence how people feel, think and behave.

CTL’s focus has long been engineering, but in 2008, Satyapriya decided to hire an architect to more fully address his clients’ needs on design-build projects.

He quickly realized that he could utilize that skill set not only to directly help clients on projects, but also to improve CTL’s buildings and workspaces, thereby allowing CTL to better fulfill its internal and external needs.

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col_RandySchoedingercol_MichaelSchoedingerRandy Schoedinger
Michael Schoedinger
Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Service

Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Service is known as the most innovative funeral home in Ohio.

CEO Randy Schoedinger and President Michael Schoedinger were instrumental in creating the MourningStar funeral arrangement process for funeral directors and families to work together to develop meaningful ceremonies to express a person’s individuality and find healthy ways to honor their life.

They’ve also employed two certified funeral celebrants, which is someone who has been trained to meet the needs of families during their time of loss.

Other innovations include the first dedicated pet crematory, webcasting of funerals online, the only funeral home to be green burial certified and the first funeral home to employ a full-time, on-staff grief counselor.

This family business, which was started in 1855, is committed to developing positive family dynamics and excellent communication.

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col_BrianSchottensteinBrian Schottenstein
COO and senior VP
Schottenstein Real Estate Group

Under COO and Senior VP Brian Schottenstein’s leadership, the Schottenstein Real Estate Group has built eight new developments, totaling more than $300 million in construction costs.

One of the areas he has excelled in is innovation, such as developing apartment buildings where every unit has an attached garage.

He also has introduced new amenity packages that appeal to today’s buyers. These include free wireless Internet, community gardens, butterfly gardens, resident car washes, juice bar café areas, fire pit lounges, resort style pools and movie theatre rooms.

By offering these kinds of amenities and flexible leasing options, the Schottenstein Real Estate Group has been able to maintain occupancies of no less than 98 percent throughout all of its communities.

Schottenstein also has been instrumental in expanding the company into Cincinnati, Kentucky and Florida. More than $90 million in new construction will start within the next six to nine months.

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col_HitenShahHiten Shah
Marketing and Engineering Solutions Inc.

Hiten Shah, president of Marketing and Engineering Solutions Inc., built the company on a culture of trust and honesty, where employees have the freedom to express themselves and fairness and transparency are practiced in all relationships.

The company hires many talented individuals to ensure best-in-class metrics for its work, and retains its employees by giving them a strong sense of autonomy while making them feel as if they’re part of a family.

MES promises its clients to reduce component costs over domestic sourcing, reduce inventory levels and develop custom engineered products. Its business metrics focus on customers’ requirements for on-time delivery and low-quality rejects while being efficient in inventory management.

All associates have very clear goals, which are published companywide as monthly metrics. The company uses the best legal, accounting, human resource and strategy consultants to develop tactics and choose the most efficient supply chains for customers.

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col_SteveSteinourSteve Steinour
Huntington National Bank

While many American banks were happy to simply survive the recent economic downturn that challenged the financial services industry, Huntington National Bank, under CEO Steve Steinour, re-engineered itself and emerged stronger than ever.

That was a courageous move in 2009 as competitors were scaling back and playing everything conservatively. Through calculated investments in employees, customers and infrastructure, Steinour helped lead Huntington to realize a 58 percent consumer household growth and a 36 percent increase in business relationship growth.

Also under Steinour’s leadership, Huntington became the only financial institution that notifies customers of overdrafts by text or email and gives them a full day to replenish their accounts without charging a penalty.

In addition, he has increased the bank’s small business lending, exceeding a four-year $4 billion lending commitment and making Huntington the nation’s largest lender in the number of U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) Loans in fiscal year 2014.

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col_RonStokesRon Stokes
Three Leaf Productions Inc.

President Ron Stokes purchased Three Leaf Productions Inc. in 2003 and has transformed it into one of the fastest growing minority business enterprises in Ohio.

Stokes is a visionary leader and critical decision-maker. Relying on his experience and judgment, he plans and directs all aspects of the organization’s policies, objectives and initiatives to accomplish Three Leaf’s goals.

As the driving force behind the company’s growth and direction, Stokes continually shares his insight and vision for the future with his team, which has more than 150 years of combined print, marketing and sales experience.

Providing exceptional service is the top priority. Three Leaf Productions does not merely measure itself in terms of revenue, it measures success by the satisfaction and loyalty of its clients and the growth and advancement of its employees.

Stokes also just marked his 17th season as the on-air expert analyst for The Ohio State University’s men’s basketball radio network.

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col_MichaelSwartzMichael S. Swartz
President and CEO
Lake Shore Cryotronics Inc.

Michael S. Swartz, president and CEO of Lake Shore Cryotronics Inc., fosters a high-performance environment that encourages cooperation and empowerment.

Employees are relied upon to seek streamlined approaches and make decisions quickly, even in the absence of perfect data. Swartz regularly reinforces his preference for thoughtful decisions made quickly over safe decisions that require greater analysis, believing the company can always course-correct later.

Employees are encouraged to think broadly about the impact of their role and actions on the overall business, their colleagues and on the superordinate goal of customer satisfaction.

He presses the organization to move expediently to develop new products, respond to customer inquiries and resolve issues. Internally focused bureaucracy and distractions are minimized, in part through his investment in organizationwide training on lean process methodologies to further improve effectiveness.

Swartz inspires collaboration through periodic reassessments of office layouts and holds regular companywide events to build trust and respect.

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col_KaraTrottKara Trott
Founder and CEO
Quantum Health

Kara Trott, founder and CEO of Quantum Health, knows firsthand how confusing, bureaucratic and unfriendly the health care system can seem.

With a background in market research for major consumer brands, she founded Quantum Health in 1999 to reduce health care costs, and remove confusion and waste for self-insured companies and their plan participants.

Built from two years of research that included tracking the health care journeys of 3,200 people with 290 physicians, Quantum Health is constantly evolving and tweaking its offerings.

The company has seen tremendous growth under Trott’s leadership, going from five employees to more than 500 who serve over 400,000 plan participants. Quantum Health has expanded its client membership at an average annual rate of 46 percent over the past four years, averaging 37 percent annual revenue growth.

Trott also has created a culture of kindness, collaboration and trust that is unusual in a rapidly growing organization.

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col_MikeVargoMike Vargo
President and CEO

Over time VARGO has changed in order to meet its customers’ changing needs, but it was the acquisition of ADS Specialists in 2006 that demonstrated President and CEO Mike Vargo’s willingness to adapt and embrace innovation in order for his company to grow.

The acquisition marked a paradigm shift for VARGO because it revolutionized how the company provides material-handling solutions for its customers. Mechanical equipment alone is no longer the answer — it needs to be paired with smart software and unique methodologies to achieve lean and efficient distribution.

The acquisition of ADS Specialists launched VARGO into a different hemisphere, as far as sales and growth. In the past five years, revenue has more than tripled, and employee numbers are up by 30 percent.

Vargo credits his team of engineers and distribution experts for transforming how the company looks at problems and provides solutions for companies running fulfillment centers.

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col_BillyVickersBilly Vickers
President and CEO
Modular Assembly Innovations

When Billy Vickers joined TAG Holdings it provided manufacturing and modular assembly solutions to the automotive industry.

Vickers saw opportunity and launched sister companies to expand value for clients. Within five years, the combined organizations employed 250 people and produced $650 million in annual revenue. In 2001, Vickers purchased majority ownership and founded Modular Assembly Innovations, as president and CEO.

MAI excels at innovation. For example, it leveraged a proven business model from MAI’s first facility in East Liberty, and developed similar facilities in Alabama and Indiana.

MAI also showed customers how to migrate assembly and subassembly from internal manufacturing to outsourced models — without delays or disruptions. This allowed MAI to expand the parts produced to 11 car models and to serve eight Honda plants in the U.S., Mexico and Canada, with plans to expand into Brazil.

Under Vickers’ leadership, MAI has received Honda Performance awards and grown to $1.2 billion in annual revenue.

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col_BeatriceWolperBeatrice Wolper
Emens & Wolper Law Firm

It’s a natural conclusion that Beatrice Wolper and her husband Dick Emens would make family business needs one of Emens & Wolper Law Firm’s concentrations, particularly in the areas of estate and succession planning. Five years after starting the firm, they added another practice area in oil and gas and now have a total of five attorneys.

Wolper, president, has led the firm to profitable growth while offering advice to people with set budgets. The firm offers a flat-fee structure for estate planning, which helps clients to not worry about additional fees.

In 1998, Wolper and Emens co-founded the Conway Center for Family Business to provide educational and networking opportunities to family business owners. Wolper also sits on numerous boards and committees.

This caring extends to the firm’s attorneys, who give their cellphone numbers to clients.

Although a small firm, Wolper is able to hire the best and brightest by offering innovative incentive programs.

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Sponsor Notes

Oswald Cos.

The employee-owners of Oswald Cos. are dedicated to meeting and exceeding your expectations, as one of the nation’s largest independent, employee-owned insurance brokerage firms. Founded in 1893, Oswald has six regional offices throughout Ohio and Michigan, and serves clients internationally through its Assurex Global partnership.

The Oswald Columbus office, celebrating 10 years this year, specializes in the full-spectrum of employee benefits and property and casualty insurance brokerage and risk management services.

As a proud insurance broker of the Ohio Society of CPAs, it strive to provide updates on all that is changing in the health benefits arena regarding health care reform.

Oswald Columbus calls on its strength, longevity and depth of expertise to serve a valued group of commercial and personal clients.

With nearly 15 employee-owners, specializing in a wide range of expert areas, Oswald Columbus is highly in tune with serving the unique needs of companies and individuals in the region. Team members also are deeply rooted in serving the community, offering their time, talents and resources to many initiatives throughout the year.

The Columbus office remains on a path of growth and success, highlighted by its newly renovated office space at 349 W. Nationwide Blvd.

The office continues to invest in talent to serve its current client base and prepare for the opportunities ahead.


CompManagement Partner Cos.

The CompManagement Partner Cos. consist of CompManagement, a full service third-party administrator for workers’ compensation as well as CompManagement Health Systems, a dedicated provider of workers’ compensation managed care services for Ohio employers. Since 1984, we have been proud to assist employers of all sizes, from large corporations to small family-owned businesses, and in virtually every industry classification.

We believe that our formidable strength throughout the years has come from the ability to form meaningful partnerships with our clients, develop a true consultative approach and consistently bring our clients innovative claims and risk management strategies. It is what we believe differentiates us from our competition as well as what embodies a “smart” organization.

Partnerships — A true partnership is ever-evolving. To have successful relationships and partnerships, we believe we must understand and appreciate the needs and goals of each partner as well as embrace their culture, vision and corporate values in order to ensure a partnership that not only grows but thrives.

Service-minded — Over the course of the last 30 years, our highly seasoned team of colleagues have made it their mission to become experts in all matters concerning workers’ compensation in order to assist and educate our clients. By instilling a consultative environment, we are able to stay in sync with our clients’ business needs. A true partner listens to concerns, speaks the same language and values input.

Innovation — Whether it is innovative new products or services or the ability to respond to changes in the economy or the market, an organization that stays flexible in the long run, in order to respond to the diverse needs of their clients and partners, is what will enable them to continue to thrive and be a successful and “smart” organization.


Hyatt Regency Columbus

Hyatt’s higher purpose is about care and the difference we are trying to make in the world. In order to fulfill that purpose, we recognize that leaders must lead differently than we may have in the past. A Hyatt leader, therefore, is a leader characterized by his or her ability to care, serve, learn, adapt and achieve results.

Caring leaders build trust and engagement by cultivating genuine relationships. The capacity to care for one another is one of the strongest of all human traits. At the center of caring is empathy. Leaders exhibit empathy when they connect personally and deeply with those around them.

Serving leaders create success for and through others. Such leaders are motivated by service to the higher purpose, the business and its stakeholders — not by the pursuit of power or personal gain. The success of these leaders is gauged by the success of others.

Learning leaders are inspired by learning, and they take pride in further developing themselves. They are not afraid of — and they learn from — mistakes and failures. They make the intentional decision to continue to learn and grow throughout their lives, challenging themselves to be and do more, and gaining broader experiences.

Adaptive leaders demonstrate agility in the face of continuous change. They anticipate and thrive in changing environments where diversity of thought fosters innovation and creativity. They have the ability to create a climate where individuals can take risk, experiment and learn from failure — often with great speed.

Achieving leaders prioritize and do what is best for the business. They are bold, strategic and future-oriented. They see the big picture, understand how the different components of a system interconnect and behave over time, and help make sense out of complexity by simplifying.


U.S. Bank

Community Supporter

We recognize that our company is only as strong as the communities in which we do business. We’re committed to supporting them through volunteerism and financial contribution.

We provide employees with up to 16 hours per year of paid time off to spend volunteering in their community. In Central Ohio, U.S. Bank employees volunteered 3,500 hours in the community last year with organizations such as Junior Achievement of Central Ohio and Habitat for Humanity, among many others.

In addition, the bank provided more than $20 million in financial support to Central Ohio communities in 2014 through community development loans, tax-credit investments, grants and corporate contributions. This funding supported the United Way of Central Ohio, affordable housing, economic development and more.


Earlier this year, we were recognized by the Ethisphere Institute, an independent center of research promoting best practices in corporate ethics and governance, as a 2015 World’s Most Ethical Company. The World’s Most Ethical Companies designation recognizes those organizations that have had a material impact on the way business is conducted by fostering a culture of ethics and transparency at every level of the company. U.S. Bank was the largest U.S.-based bank honored by the Ethisphere Institute this year. In addition, we were also recognized this year as the most admired super-regional bank in Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies 2015.

Customer advocate

We are proud to be bankers and to have the privilege to be trusted partners for our customers and communities. Our employees stand at the intersection of people and potential by helping individuals build financially secure futures; small business owners turn dreams into neon OPEN signs; commercial enterprises convert visions into progress; merchants engage in safe and secure commerce; pre- and post-retirees achieve their retirement goals and objectives; and communities turn possibilities into promises.


Rea & Associates

Everyone at Rea — all the way up to its leadership team — follows a set of core values, “The Rea Way.” When “The Rea Way” was originally written, it was intended to be a statement of what the firm stands for. Today, it’s so much more. It’s a beloved statement that’s visible on every office wall, and in the actions of every employee. Not only does it show leadership and all other team members how they are expected to behave and perform, it also shows clients what they can expect when they experience business “The Rea Way.”

You are a Rea ambassador. Always. Maintain integrity in all you do. Be honest. Be a good steward. Take ownership. Respect profitability. Respect your clients, your colleagues and yourself. Be generous with praise and constructive with criticism. Take your work personally. Quality counts. Choose to be positive, every day. Show others that you care. Work together. Rejoice in others’ achievements. Embrace change. Be open to the possibilities. Opportunities abound. Believe in yourself. Dare to dream. Value your clients. Challenge them to reach their potential. Be a person of influence. Share your ideas. Raise up leaders. Listen intently. Let your listening fuel action. Fail forward. Be persistent in finding creative solutions. Invest in your family, your community and your future. Never stop learning. Have fun. Enjoy the journey …

A “smart” leader is one who follows a moral compass and is dedicated to integrity, customer service and influence. A “smart” leader intimately understands employees’ needs and knows what is important to customers. A “smart” leader sets a positive example for the world around them.



Visionary — GREENCREST was inspired in 1990. Our inspiration was founded on the recognized need of privately held businesses to have a chief marketing officer’s voice at their boardroom table to better compete — without the cost of a full-time employee.

The vision that formed GREENCREST is the vision that continues to drive our differentiation.

Our focus is on helping businesses compete at a higher level and win market share. We elevate their profile within the markets they serve so they are known, heard and recognized.

We create success stories. We stay abreast of trends and invest in new methods to stay well ahead of the curve. We are vigilant in being responsive to market shifts.

Smart Solutions — GREENCREST has a keen understanding of how marketing can impact the growth of a business. Our philosophy to uncover an organization’s brand and create a strategic plan that propels a company to reach its growth goals.

The GREENCREST culture inspires our team to be the best at what we do. We strive for certifications, continuous education and business best practices. We teach our clients how to be smart marketers and help them implement smart strategy to drive their businesses to a market leadership position.

Trusted Partner — The GREENCREST business model is one that establishes a high level of trust and accountability. It is very proactive. We are given full access to our clients’ teams and operate more like a staff member than an outsourced service provider.

As a part of our commitment to our clients, we self-perform all our work. This provides our clients with a dedicated, consistent, accessible and accountable team to oversee all marketing functions on their behalf.

At GREENCREST we come to work everyday to make a difference in the businesses we serve, the communities in which we work and live, and the lives of those we touch along the way. We work to make a difference.


Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

Situated in the Laurel Highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is consistently recognized and honored in the travel industry as a world-class resort, featuring luxurious accommodations, four-season amenities and first-class meeting spaces.

Nemacolin’s successes are attributed to the resort’s Service Vision: “Own Every Moment.” To achieve this, Nemacolin associates are trained to embody the following three traits: Be Excellent, Be Engaged and Be Empowered.

Be Excellent: Excellence is a quality or state of being outstanding. For Nemacolin associates, superiority can come in many forms depending on the department and the associate’s interaction with guests. Nemacolin best represents excellence through training associates to be knowledgeable, committed, consistent and efficient within their department and throughout the resort.

Be Engaged: Engagement is the key to Nemacolin’s commitment to deliver exceptional customer service in a world-class setting. Being engaged is not a trait you can teach; instead it is a characteristic of a company and its associates that comes from being passionate, connected and being able to personalize and anticipate the needs of their customers.

Be Empowered: Empowerment is a trait that Nemacolin is proud to cultivate. When you consciously empower your associates to make their own decisions, you allow your associates to take ownership of your brand. Nemacolin’s founder, Joseph A. Hardy III, is often quoted for saying, “Nothing is impossible,” and the resort personifies this notion through seeing, owning and solving problems.


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Smart leadership is about making the most of your work hours by learning to delegate, prioritize and simplify.

People in leadership positions tend to think their success and value at work is measured by how late they stay at the office, or how much time they spend outside of work answering emails and reviewing reports. As a result, leaders often feel stressed and burned out from even the smallest tasks.

There’s a law of diminishing returns, where the more time we spend on something, the more the quality of work decreases. Setting a time limit for an activity can help you focus and get it done.

Leading a group of people requires a mutual sense of trust and understanding between the leader and team members. As a first step toward that goal, leaders should learn to connect. Building a real personal connection with your teammates is vital to developing the shared trust necessary to build a strong culture of accountability and exceptional performance. With that culture in place, the team can achieve a successful business, a happy team and a fulfilled leader.

One of the best ways to practice smart leadership is to delegate tasks to your team so you can focus your energy on the responsibilities that are specifically yours.

Not only is it crucial to ensure that you have competent people on your team, it’s also important to allocate work in ways that empower others to do their best and play to their strengths. The most crucial role of leadership is facilitating the performance of the team as a whole.

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Tips from a banker on making the loan process go smoothly

At some point, nearly every business needs a loan. Here are some quick tips to help your experience with your banker go smoothly.

Involve your banker early

No one is more familiar with the loan process than your banker. Even if you’re only in the planning stage, reach out to your banker for guidance and information as you prepare. Preparation is key to managing the loan application process with confidence.

Establish a business plan and communicate it effectively

Demonstrate the thoughtful approach to your business with a plan articulating the nature of your business and how it’s operated. Include financial and resource management overviews, accomplishments and goals.

Understand your personal credit score

Until you’ve built a credit history for your business, your personal credit will serve as the predictor of how you’ll manage your business’s finances. Be prepared to answer questions about your personal credit score.

Prepare to address past financial challenges

How you’ve managed previous financial challenges is a predictor of how you’ll manage them in the future. With the benefit of hindsight, offer your banker some perspective on what you learned as you look forward.

Clearly articulate the purpose for the loan

You must be able to effectively put into perspective what the loan will help you accomplish by clarifying the specific purpose, goal and plan for how the money will be used.

Clarify how you’ll fund the down payment

You’ll need to produce an adequate down payment, if required, to demonstrate that your finances are sound, that you’re not borrowing above your means, and that you’re willing to assume some of the risk.

Bring up-to-date financials and information to the bank

Have your most current financial information available when visiting the bank to help move the process along. Contact the bank in advance to verify what’s required and offer to help obtain any additional information, especially in the event multiple partners are involved in the business.

Connect your banker with your accountant

Bankers and accountants speak the same financial language. Connecting the two can advance the process smoothly as they collaborate and keep you apprised of their efforts.

Facilitate post-loan approval activities

Due diligence continues after your loan is approved. Depending on your business type and how the loan is to be used, this may include an appraisal, environmental work, verification of good standing with the state, gathering articles of incorporation, etc., all of which takes patience and time.

Maintain a strong relationship with your banker

Stay in touch with your banker. Be responsive with information when needed and assist in removing any hurdles along the way.

Understand all the terms and conditions

Your bank loan’s terms and conditions specify how your loan is to be paid back, including when and how to make payments and on what date the loan amount is due in full. Make every effort to understand and meet all expectations.

This column is brought to you by The Huntington National Bank, Member FDIC. Scott Wolffis is Senior Vice President and Business Banking Area Manager at Huntington Bank. Reach him at [email protected] or (614) 899-8222.

The top structured financing options for today’s M&A deals

Merger and acquisition activity among businesses of all sizes is heating up. In a market environment in which interest rates remain historically low, buyers — especially private equity, hedge fund and cash-flush businesses — are seeking strategic acquisitions.

Finding the right buyer for a major brand or the small business you spent a lifetime building won’t be the challenge. Rather, finding the right one and structuring the transaction will be daunting. Here’s what you should consider.

Sizing up your chances

Larger companies with established distribution channels are typically best positioned to buy today. They’re looking to grow and it’s more expedient to buy than build. While these buyers may have the resources and knowledge needed to execute a purchase, businesses with solid succession plans and finances in order are best positioned for a sale.

Don’t go it alone

A once-in-20-year transaction, like the sale of your business, should be aided by someone with a depth of financial knowledge within your market. Look for an adviser who understands the consumer trends and competitive environment affecting your business. An adviser who’s responsive with a variety of financing solutions, is well connected with strategic investors and knowledgeable on recent activity within your industry can help you fine-tune the sales process and seize the best opportunity.

Determining the deal structure

Structuring a deal largely depends on your unique opportunity and your objectives in transferring your ownership interests. The purchase may involve financing from the buyer in the form of debt, such as bank debt or issuing bonds, and/or equity such as issuing stock.

For businesses producing a stable cash flow, mezzanine financing can bridge a conventional loan against assets and the total value of the purchase. While mezzanine financing carries a higher interest rate, more businesses are opting for it as an avenue to obtain financing without issuing equity and diluting their business ownership.

A buyout structure may involve an earn-out provision consisting of a stock transfer over an agreed upon timeframe. If you share ownership of the business with partners, consider the benefit of a cross-purchase agreement or an entity-purchase agreement providing key-person insurance on all business experts. Such coverage can provide proceeds used to buy out a business share and ensure a smooth transition should you or a business partner pass away.

If transitioning ownership within your family, consider a combination of capital sources. This enables one portion of the buyout to be funded at closing through debt financing and another through an earn-out provision tied to the business’s financial performance.

Whatever your motivation for selling your business, preparation and the help of a knowledgeable financial professional are key to make sure the sweat equity you put into all you built over the years endures. The decisions you make now can help you and yours secure a bright future.

This column is brought to you by The Huntington National Bank, Member FDIC. To learn more about selling a business, contact Jeremy Gutierrez, Senior Vice President, Business Banking at Huntington Bank. Reach him at [email protected] or (614) 899-8222. More information is also available at www.huntington.com.