Alliance Industrial Solutions is proud to be the presenting sponsor for the 2018 Evolution of Manufacturing awards.
Each of us receives many event invitations every year but for us, and hopefully for you, we recognize that this annual event has become the must-attend event of the year. Not only is it important to recognize the innovation and leadership these companies bring to Northeast Ohio, but it’s also important to make sure everyone knows that manufacturing is cool again.
In many ways, this year’s honorees represent not only an evolution, but also a revolution against the rigidity and limitations of the past. This year’s conference theme of Industry 4.0 speaks directly to the pressures we are all facing, especially in the war for talent.
Evolution is about transformation and adaptation. In some cases this means the manufacturing processes of tomorrow may look little like today’s. In exactly the same manner, the workforce will evolve and change as well.
The goal for all of us is to stay on the forefront of this rapid change in the so-called war for talent. Even automation brings with it the need for workers unlike those we may have needed in the past. Whether the workforce develops new skills alongside traditional skills or shifts to primarily entry-level work or to a room full of robots, there will continue to be career opportunities.
For someone entering the workforce for the first time, we must always remember that manufacturing remains just a single choice out of myriad options. Our goal is to work with every company in Northeast Ohio who values talent as its most important resource.
I believe the workforce is searching for the same thing — they all want to be appreciated and feel like they are making a difference. Manufacturing remains a viable and exciting career opportunity. It is abundantly evident that this year’s honorees all share this sentiment.
Congratulations again to this year’s Evolution of Manufacturing winners for making their mark on manufacturing and specifically for choosing Northeast Ohio as their place to make the magic happen.
John Wittine, president
Alliance Industrial Solutions
2018 Award Honorees
Additive Engineering Solutions LLC
Austin Schmidt, president
Additive Engineering Solutions LLC was created in 2016 after it was spun out of OGS Industries.
President Austin Schmidt started out with with three full-time employees and has leveraged that growing crew to develop a strong customer base.
The contract manufacturer offers large format 3-D printing services utilizing Big Area Additive Manufacturing fused deposition modeling technology. It is considered to be the foremost company to commercialize and offer large format 3-D printed tooling and molds for the composite industry.
The company works across industries with core services that include design for additive manufacturing, new material development, printing parts and tools, and finishing with machining and coatings.
The company seeks to become the world’s leading expert in large format additive manufacturing services. With its preference for using local vendors whenever possible, AES believes it is positioned to open up a unique economic opportunity for Northeast Ohio.
AES has made a multi-million dollar investment in the latest large-scale 3-D printing technology, with 90 percent of the investment from companies in Ohio. By blending Northeast Ohio’s polymer and manufacturing heritage with cutting-edge technology, AES has positioned itself as a leader in its field and endeavors to change the landscape of its industry.
Mark J. Saltzman, president and CEO
Buyers Products has built itself into a leading manufacturer of work truck equipment and accessories. The company was founded in 1946 and its vast array of products includes d-rings, towing hitches, toolboxes, LED lighting and hydraulic reservoirs, as well as a complete line of snow plows, spreaders and ice management equipment.
Led by President and CEO Mark J. Saltzman, Buyers Products is family of companies that work together to offer the broadest range of products in the industry. The company designs, fabricates, forges, rotationally molds and powder coats components itself, leading the industry in providing value to its customers.
Teams are staffed with engineers and experts in their field — actual product users who know how a product is supposed to work and how to make a product exceptional. The company is constantly redesigning its processes, products and materials to keep up with a more demanding world.
Its state-of-the-art engineering facility houses new product development and prototyping, allowing for unmatched speed from the drawing board to the showroom. Buyers Products recently introduced its new line of electric spreaders called the SaltDogg PRO Series. This new line is designed to accurately spread bulk salt or a salt/sand mix, and is engineered to stand up to demanding jobs.
FiberTite Roofing Systems
Scott Gipson, vice president and general manager
As the product mix at Seaman Corp. evolved, its FiberTite roofing vertical earned respect for its fail-safe products and multi-decade performance records, proving its quality to be consistent with the parent company’s standards.
Headed by Scott Gipson, vice president and general manager, FiberTite has been a leader in innovation over generations of economic expansion and technological evolution. Its products have been developed, tested and approved with astounding speed to market in response to global and localized environmental factors and customer needs.
For example, as the major hurricanes of 2017 were reaching landfall in the southern U.S. and Caribbean, FiberTite reworked its product offerings to launch Blue Roof™, a temporary roofing solution to assist with rebuilds.
FiberTite has not only responded quickly to external factors with high-quality product adaptations or new products, but it also has been proactive in developing next-generation standards, requiring an extensive amount of research and development, product testing and a highly skilled talent base.
Speed to market is a key factor for FiberTite. It uses proprietary formulations to create unmatched quality in the industry, and its streamlined operational approach encourages collaboration and innovative thinking while ensuring a pipeline of revolutionary products that move quickly into the market.
Gene Gargas, president
HyComp LLC is yet another example of a successful manufacturing company starting in Northern Ohio that now has a global impact. The company was originally founded in 1986 as an advanced composite parts manufacturer and has evolved into a versatile, solutions-based manufacturing company that is part of SMS group.
Led by President Gene Gargas, HyComp specializes in the manufacturing of complex parts and light assemblies produced using high-performance thermoplastic and thermoset composite materials.
HyComp has also developed a line of high-temperature, low-wear composite bearing materials trademarked WearComp®, FibreComp®, WearComp 200™, H310™ and H320™.
These self-lubricating materials are used in both aerospace and industrial equipment applications as wear pads, seals, bearings, brackets, insulators and more; all with the aim of extending service life and eliminating lubrication.
Over the years, HyComp has grown significantly. In 2013, the city of Middleburg Heights worked directly with HyComp to facilitate a 15,000-square-foot addition to the company’s current facility. This collaboration enabled the company to consolidate operations and make a move to Pittsburgh unnecessary.
The specialized materials that are produced by HyComp in Middleburg Heights are not produced anywhere else in the world.
Kent Displays Inc.
Dr. Albert Green, CEO
Joel C. Domino, president and CFO
Kent Displays Inc., led by CEO Dr. Albert Green and President and CFO Joel C. Domino, has expertise in research, development, roll-to-roll manufacturing, and consumer packaged goods design and assembly using its eWriter technology. The company commercializes and sells its eWriter technology under its brand, Boogie Board, in a multitude of global retail markets.
Kent Displays is using its market success in consumer retail to introduce its eWriter technology in other OEM markets, including consumer electronics, mobile electronics accessories, security, health care and education.
The company’s Blackboard is considered the first writing tool to hit the market using Liquid Crystal Paper.
It is a pixel-less, nondigital technology that allows users to write and erase electronically with no lag or delay.
The product works on the principle of anisotropic flow, a unique feature of cholesteric liquid crystals, in which crystals flow at different rates, depending on the direction of pressure being applied.
Blackboard is considered by the company to be a cross-section at which technology has led to a back-to-basics experience that “somehow feels revolutionary and familiar at the same time.” It’s a technology product that was designed to fit naturally in the stationery aisle — an inkless pen on paperless paper without the inconvenience of chargers, plugs or ports.
Sandridge Food Corp.
Mark D. Sandridge, CE
Sandridge Food Corp., led by CEO Mark D. Sandridge, is built on a foundation of core values, hard work and forward thinking — the result of an evolutionary process that originated in the 1960s. Since its inception, Sandridge has grown to be a recognized in the foodservice and retail sectors as a leader in taste, technology and food safety in the North American refrigerated foods industry.
For example, looking across the industry, the company discovered issues in sous vide processing. Customers found the products lacked visual appeal and the culinary flavors associated with grilling.
Sandridge’s innovation and operations teams addressed the issue by building flavors and textures before the cooking process, identifying the optimal place and time to utilize grilling and searing equipment for maximum results. The techniques created texture and the process of “cross hatching” grill protein items on both sides of the unit through high-temperature grilling to provide the flavor and texture customers demand.
The improved products started shipping early in the summer of 2017, and have displaced competitors’ products with several of Sandridge’s key customers. Sales quantities have more than doubled over the prior year since the product line’s introduction and the list of key, national customers interested in the items continues to grow.
Talan Products Inc.
Steve Peplin, CEO
Talan Products Inc. has enjoyed a positive growth curve for 31 years and that is not by accident. The company is led by CEO Steve Peplin and is always looking to improve and ride the tides of change as Talan’s markets, competition, workforce and world continues to change.
In the last several years, the company has grown from being an entrepreneurially managed business to one that is now professionally managed. This helps everyone focus on successful metrics and understand what needs to be done to keep those metrics trending in a positive direction.
Ownership of the business comes from two different perspectives. One owner is very focused on process and numbers and is very detail-oriented. The other loves to look at the big picture and big ideas, which positions Talan to look at new opportunities and markets. The very beginnings of the company revolved around being creative by using conventional equipment in unconventional ways and the team is still encouraged to do that every day.
Other manufacturers may have the same equipment. However, it is Talan’s people and their creativity that sets the business apart from the competition. Talan still has its first four customers from the early days of the business, but that didn’t happen by standing still. Customers evolved and so has Talan.
Todd Hawkins, founder, president and CEO
Tesla NanoCoatings is the brainchild of an entrepreneur trained in petroleum engineering and geology who dreamed of winning the age-old war against metal corrosion.
The discovery of carbon nanotubes in 1985 helped inspire Tesla NanoCoatings’ Founder, President and CEO, Todd Hawkins’ interest in their potential for corrosion protection. The company worked tirelessly to develop the formulation that today serves as a leading corrosion-resistant coatings system in the oil and gas sector, military, transportation, bridges and highways, construction and other fields.
Featuring carbon nanotubes and their unique mechanical, thermal and electrical properties, Teslan forms a protective barrier that is stronger than conventional rust-resistant paints, exhibits self-healing characteristics to withstand abrasions and applies as easily as conventional coatings.
The Tesla NanoCoatings team has real-world, field-tested experience and university-based research and development talent. With its headquarters in North Canton, the company has access to brilliant scientific minds from nearby University of Akron and other institutions where breakthroughs continue to be made in corrosion and technology.
Additionally, Hawkins and his team have developed manufacturing capacity that ensures Teslan can meet the global customer base’s demand for corrosion protection.
The Auto Bolt Co.
Rob Kocian, president
The Auto Bolt Co. has been in business for more than 65 years as a manufacturer of a diverse range of fastener-related products. The Kocian family purchased the company in 1996 at its original location on Perkins Avenue in Cleveland.
Rob Kocian has spent 20 years at the company in nearly every capacity, from sales to operations. He currently serves as president and is responsible for leading a period of growth and resurgence at its current location on Manufacturing Avenue in Cleveland.
Auto Bolt has invested in its people, its operations and its systems, and is committed to providing quality products to its North American-based customers.
The company has provided an important economic impact to its community and has used its lender partnerships to encourage and support comprehensive approaches to economic development. As a result of the U.S. Small Business Administration loan program, Auto Bolt has been able to realize sustained growth.
It has continued to strive to create more value, a more specialized product, and increased efficiency and technology in its manufacturing operations.
Auto Bolt’s leadership team, its continued investment in skilled personnel, efficient equipment and plant operations is a foundation for its recent and continued growth that’s expected to continue well into the future.
The Garland Co. Inc.
David Sokol, president
The Garland Co. Inc. prides itself on being ahead of the curve and attuned to the needs of the global economy. The company’s research and development team has helped forge that path with its constant drive to be one step ahead of the consumer.
Consumers are more thoughtful today about the products they are buying. They not only want to know how products are made, but also what they are made of, their expected service life and the impact each product will have on the environment.
The roofing industry has been slow to adapt to this new customer mentality and has traditionally taken a more reactive approach to product development. Rather than stick with the party line, President David Sokol has helped the company embrace sustainability by developing high-quality products that focus on increasing a building’s lifecycle while also decreasing its footprint.
In the past year, Garland has introduced multiple water-based primers and coatings that are eco-friendly, health conscious and most importantly, developed in a way that allows the building to last longer.
Garland’s R&D team holds monthly innovation meetings to review current product offerings and determine what changes can be made to improve those products and enable them to become best in class.
Jason Ziga, vice president
As the garment decoration industry continues to evolve, companies that seek to be leaders in the field must always be ready to change. It could be raw material usage, processes and procedures, or another aspect of the business.
Those that fail to adapt will get left behind. Transfer Express has changed its manufacturing processes in a number of ways over the years. Its exploration of water-based inks has proven to be one the most important adjustments.
On a global scale, the industry is exploring screen printing options that don’t involve using traditional plastisol inks that are viewed as not environmentally friendly. While water-based inks aren’t perfect, they’re becoming a viable option not only because they are more environmentally friendly than plastisol, but because of the soft feel and stretchability they provide.
Many manufacturers stay away from it because it involves research into a relatively new product. Also, in order to do it correctly, you can’t produce it in the same facility as traditional plastisol. The product demands its own space and handling procedures, and only lasts for several hours. These and other factors are a challenge.
However, under the leadership of Vice President Jason Ziga, Transfer Express has invested in facility upgrades, research and development to continue to push its industry forward.
Vendors Exchange International Inc.
Matt Shene, CEO
Products sold in vending machines change as trends and fads affect consumer demand. Over the past 50 years, Vendors Exchange International Inc. has made it its mission to give owners of vending machines new and innovative ways to display products in their machines and attract customers away from traditional stores.
The company is led by CEO Matt Shene, and has grown into a global operation that handles everything related to vending machines from cradle to grave. Not only does the Cleveland-based firm manufacture new vending machines, it also refurbishes and upgrades machines for clients and the aftermarket industry. In addition, Vendors Exchange sells parts to refurbish old machines.
Today’s consumers demand more from their shopping experience, even when it comes to vending machines. With that in mind, Vendors Exchange has launched a number of product lines and refurbish kits that keep up with the times. With over 30,000 vending parts and accessories, the company’s knowledgeable staff can help customers find everything from both new and old parts to parts that have been discontinued, and do so for every decade and every model.
With each innovation in the industry, Vendors Exchange has been able to find ways to create and bring new technology to existing machines, and to pursue new markets.
We talk to manufacturers every day. Everyone wants the same thing: someone who can pass a drug test, show up when they are scheduled and work to the best of their ability. Is that asking too much? Of course, we are in the business of workforce management exclusively for manufacturers so we understand other factors come into play.
At Alliance Industrial Solutions, we have experienced year-over-year growth simply because we have learned a thing or two from our clients. First of all, we learned a long time ago to specialize. Nearly every manufacturing facility has one product or line of products that they make, process, assemble or distribute. At Alliance we do just one thing and that’s to staff for the positions manufacturers need most.
Secondly, we learned to specialize our in-house roles. Most manufacturing environments are broken into lines, departments or work cells. Within these units workers have specific tasks. For our staff, we took it a step further. We assign recruiting and the initial interviews to one group.
We have managers who then take the time to learn the ins and outs of our clients and rigorously interview our applicants in order to determine the best possible work opportunity. Because these managers can focus on building relationships with little other distractions, we have the best in the business.
Lastly, just like our clients we automate anything we can. Our processes are completely paperless. Our applications are online and mobile friendly. Best of all, every candidate we work with goes through a recorded video interview process.
With more than 98 years of experience, Meaden & Moore knows what it takes to survive and thrive in manufacturing. Our manufacturing services group is focused on understanding the manufacturing process — beyond the numbers.
In addition to traditional assurance and tax advisory work, our team can help you with an array of services including budgeting and cash flow analysis, cost accounting design and implementation, measuring product-line profitability and pricing techniques. Our specialists can also assist you with finding the right ERP system, strategic planning, valuation and corporate finance.
Our professionals are frequent speakers at industry functions and contributors to professional journals, and we bring those best practices that we’ve learned directly to our clients through our executive roundtables, client alerts and free educational seminars.
Meaden & Moore has focused its expertise and resources on providing the highest quality tax, assurance and business consulting services to organizations throughout the country. We recognize that hard work and dedication translate into building trusted business relationships. With more than 200 professionals in 18 cities, we bring integrity and competence to each of our long-standing client partnerships.
KeyBank is proud to have been Cleveland’s hometown bank for more than 160 years, serving the needs of our clients and communities across the region.
As one of the nation’s largest financial services institution, Key brings the strength, industry expertise and resources you would expect from an industry-leading bank, while also providing flexible local decision-making, customized solutions and a deep commitment to helping our clients and communities thrive.
Our unique business model positions us to bring the entire bank to each client, regardless of size, providing a broad set of products and services in addition to capital markets capabilities.
Manufacturing companies are at the heart of what makes Cleveland great. We are proud to partner with many local industry leaders to help them find unique financial solutions. Our industry-leading industrial investment banking group, based in Cleveland, has dedicated bankers serving more than 600 clients nationally.
In addition, we have research analysts covering more than 200 companies across industrial sectors. Beyond Key’s expertise in Industrials Capital Markets, our Commercial Banking group serves clients across the aerospace and defense, chemicals and plastics, construction, industrial technology, industrial distribution, automotive and metal and mining industries.
Our knowledge of the industry and dedicated attention allows Key to focus on a company’s finances, so owners and employees can focus on growing the business profitably. We look forward to continuing to meet the need of manufacturing companies across our national footprint and, at home, in Cleveland.
By providing manufacturers the latest insights and tools they need to market and sell to today’s buyers, SyncShow grows manufacturers and strengthens the industry — first regionally, then nationally and then even globally.
In effect, our clients, their clients, their vendors, their suppliers, their employees and their entire professional network — as well as our employees and everyone we work with and know — benefit. You could say our mission is broadly to build a strong community for American manufacturers and their allies.
We find solutions to these common pain points and more:
• Your website doesn’t deliver leads.
• Your sales team lacks quality leads.
• Your sales team has no way of knowing which marketing and sales efforts are working.
• Your customers aren’t familiar with your brand, and even if they are, they can’t figure out what makes you special.
SyncShow-generated leads have helped some of our clients land more than $1 million in new business. These clients have joined our Million Dollar Club. It’s a growing group that we’d love you to be a part of.
Cuyahoga Community College’s Manufacturing Technology Center of Excellence covers a wide range of disciplines and potential career paths. The center offers high-quality, industry-relevant courses to provide the comprehensive, hands-on training students need to gain a competitive edge in today’s job market.
Manufacturing programs have been developed in conjunction with industry professionals, indicating our graduates can immediately enter the workforce. Recent studies performed by the United States Department of Labor and the National Association of Manufacturers show a need for workers trained in advanced manufacturing and the demand is expected to grow as the manufacturing sector expands.
Non-credit and credit training programs offered for individuals and businesses are up-to-date and range from 32-hour workshops to 500-hour in-depth programs that lead to industry-recognized credentials, certifications and apprenticeships. College credit toward an associate degree is awarded in specific programs.
For contract/employee training, customized programs can be delivered by our instructors at your facility.
Tri-C is nationally recognized as a Bellwether Award winner for the workforce development programs in place at its Manufacturing Technology Center of Excellence. The honor, sponsored by the Community College Futures Assembly, recognizes trendsetting job-training initiatives designed to produce graduates in high-demand fields. Tri-C is one of only three community colleges in Ohio named a Bellwether winner since the award debuted in 1995.
Manufacturers and their facilities often present a unique challenge when it comes to commercial cleaning. On one side of a wall sits a boardroom, while on the other you find the heart and soul of the daily operation.
This includes the machinery and the oil, grease and dirt that come with it. For more than 26 years Jani-King has helped manufacturers keep their entire facilities clean and safe. Our owner operators have the knowledge and pride necessary to deliver the level of cleanliness required, no matter your specialty.
Although we are a service company, Jani-King shares many important attributes found in successful manufacturers, starting with listening to what our client partners want. From there it becomes attention to detail. The end result is a facility you are proud to show your clients and one that your employees appreciate working in each day.
This is why we clean for some of the world’s largest health care systems and professional sports teams, including the Cleveland Cavs and Dallas Cowboys. From a surgical suite to the Akron Rubber Ducks, to a tool and die shop, we have seen it all and we clean it all.
Joe and Pam Carollo are proud to be past Smart 50 Honorees, and send their sincere congratulations to the 2018 Evolution of Manufacturing honorees.
With offices in Akron, Cleveland, Lorain County and now Youngstown, our attorneys serve clients in their hometowns, the region and throughout the U.S. We remain rooted in the community, helping to fuel the entrepreneurial spirit of our neighbors.
Brouse is a partner to the manufacturers that pioneered industry in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, as well as the businesses reshaping our region today through innovation.
Our work spans all sectors of the economy and our practice groups bring together the specialized skills and experience that manufacturers need to meet their most pressing objectives. Clients appreciate Brouse as a collaborative partner — one that consistently supports the relationship by making connections and creating opportunities.
Brouse McDowell practices in the areas of: business restructuring, bankruptcy and commercial law; corporate and securities; environmental; estate, succession planning and probate administration; health care; insurance recovery; intellectual property; labor and employment, including workers’ compensation; litigation; real estate and construction; and corporate taxation.
Manufacturers deal with a number of challenges on a daily basis, including a document-critical workflow, high materials costs and strict compliance and labor regulations. These challenges make operational efficiency and security key priorities for your business.
That’s why for 23 years, Blue Technologies has helped the manufacturing industry create solutions to optimize workflow and recover costs. We can evaluate your operations to identify process bottlenecks, costly waste and threats to information security — then design a custom, best-fit solution tailored to meet your organization’s business needs.
An award-winning office technology solutions provider, Blue Technologies offers office hardware, managed print services, document management and IT solutions independent of any single manufacturer. We service and support local and national businesses from our headquarters in Cleveland, and branch locations in Canton, Columbus and Sandusky — with a team of more than 200 employees.
We’re proud to say that customers continually choose Blue Technologies because of its “Commitment to Excellence — EVERY DAY.” This five-point pledge of accountability and reliability — guaranteed in writing — is put into place to protect the customer after the acquisition is complete, covering product performance, product service, supplies, easy acquisition and customer service.
By optimizing and keeping your infrastructure healthy, Blue Technologies can help you get the most out of your technology investments to keep your business running smoothly.
BMW of Westlake is proud to be the Official Auto Sponsor of Smart Business Events in 2018. BMW of Westlake has been serving Northeast Ohio since 1986 and recently celebrated our third anniversary at our location on Sperry Drirve in Westlake — our brand-new state-of-the-art facility — and is proud to be an automotive leader in our community.
Since opening our doors, BMW of Westlake has maintained a solid commitment to you, our customers, offering the widest selection of new and used BMW vehicles with ease of purchase as well all your BMW service and parts needs.
Find us at any Smart Business event this year and ask about the BMW Corporate Fleet pricing for savings of up to $10,000 for your organization’s employees and their families — your company may already be enrolled!
Engagement doesn’t happen overnight. It is the result of a long-term commitment by your organization to connect with and invest in the wants and needs of your target audience.
Convero develops content marketing programs that increase engagement and performance. Our five-step process delivers detailed plans — from strategy and planning to execution and measurement — for organizations across a wide range of industries, including banking and finance, health care, higher education, manufacturing and associations.
Hughie’s Event Production Services has been Cleveland’s live-event design and production resource since 1953. Hughie’s believes in giving back to the city where it all began and the area that we’ve called home for 60 years.
Hughie’s is a full-service event production company and 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.