Addressing digital literacy

Our ancestors worked with wheels in fixed locations to spin pottery, process grain, etc. Rapid, in-place rotation saved time and allowed people to problem solve other issues. Eventually, someone got the idea to tip the wheel, add an axle and use this simple machine to move heavy objects more easily.

That original great idea, the rotating wheel, produced the next great idea, the rolling wheel, which produced the next great idea, the chariot … you get the picture. So, the next time you hear, “you can’t reinvent the wheel,” you’ll know that’s not entirely true. You may not reinvent the shape, but you can reinvent the purpose.

We are at one of those reinventing moments now with respect to the digital literacy of our workforce. A worldwide study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development found nearly 70 percent of American respondents rated themselves “poor or below” in basic computer skills.

Training in technology

Digital literacy is a serious employment issue facing our country, but a solution is in front of us. Goodwill Industries International and have joined forces to create the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator to help advance the technological knowledge of 1 million Americans in the next three years. Just like our clever ancestors repurposed the wheel, Google — through a $10 million nationwide investment — is helping repurpose GII’s strong workforce training infrastructure to make tech education free and accessible.

The target participants are youth, young adults, older workers, those with limited work experience, people with disabilities or disadvantages, veterans and military family members, and people transitioning from the corrections system back into the community. Through existing Goodwill programs, participants will learn about technology and computers, and have access to opportunities like coding and computer certification classes.

For people with life barriers, a lack of tech skills is more than just a roadblock, it can be a full-stop to obtaining living-wage employment.

A call to action

We frequently hear how Columbus is a Smart City, but while we have many measurable strengths and assets, what makes a city truly smart is a place at the tech table for all citizens, including those with learning differences and other barriers.

That said, remember that technology is the tool and people are the drivers. When asked if he still had faith in technology, Steve Jobs said, in a 1994 Rolling Stone interview, “Oh, sure. It’s not a faith in technology. It’s faith in people.” I concur wholeheartedly. We need to be in this together to make it work.

Do you have a job you could offer at-risk youth? Are your employees able to carve out time to help with job coaching or interview preparedness? Could you create an internship, so tech students have a reference and experience to go with their training? Could you be a mentor or friend to someone looking for a hand up? What resources do you have that could be reinvented? How can you repurpose your wheel?


Margie Pizzuti is the President and CEO of Goodwill Columbus. With a threefold mission of People, Planet and Prosperity, Goodwill is dedicated to helping people with disabilities and other barriers to employment find pathways to independence through the power of work.

Making soup … with a lot of help from our friends

I like to say that it takes a village to make a difference. It really takes a “prosocial” village, which reflects a framework in social psychology that has relevant application in business. This term reflects the act of helping, sharing, donating, cooperating or volunteering that contributes to the greater good and well being of others.

Goodwill Columbus is fortunate to have many partners in human services, government, education and business, who live by this model and work together to fulfill a collective mission of helping individuals with disabilities and other barriers on a pathway toward securing meaningful and sustainable work.

Studies have shown companies that embrace a prosocial culture report a happier and more satisfied workforce. That could be something as simple as providing paid time to volunteer at a local nonprofit, a match for financial giving to employees’ charities of choice or a corporate commitment to a caring cause.

Based upon the generosity of many Central Ohio companies, businesses in our community have a keen awareness of this practice.

Leverage our collective impact

There’s a new prosocial partnership that’s been launched, celebrating the community’s collective impact.

Through the capable leadership of Ohio Means Jobs/Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio, our community’s one-stop Jobs Center is transitioning to a compelling partnership of three nonprofit agencies — Goodwill Columbus, Jewish Family Services and The Columbus Urban League — that provide a broad range of career services and support; along with ResCare, which will manage the operations of this center.

Our vision of collective impact going forward is focused on providing a seamless, integrated workforce development network to meet the diverse employment needs of businesses and job seekers. This newly created partnership will support economic development in Central Ohio, leveraging our expertise to meet our ever-expanding economic growth.

Better together

Prosocial partnerships like these remind me of the fable “Stone Soup,” where villagers start with a cooking pot containing just water and a stone. Each villager then adds a little something tasty and edible to the mix so that the whole village dines on a delicious communal meal. That is truly “The Columbus Way.”

We have a rich tapestry of human services organizations, corporate and private donors, invested and engaged government officials, educational institutions, passionate staff and generous volunteers, who together create an elegant fabric of support for individuals looking for guidance and a path to self-sufficiency.

Central Ohio will achieve its highest state when we work together to assure that every individual in our community has an opportunity to thrive. It really does take a village.


Margie Pizzuti is the president and CEO of Goodwill Columbus. With a threefold mission of People, Planet and Prosperity, Goodwill is dedicated to helping people with disabilities and other barriers to employment find pathways to independence through the power of work.

How local business executives lead their organizations to success


It’s awards season for Smart Business Columbus.

We have four winners who were honored at our inaugural Smart Women event from a group of strong finalists.

Three specialty award winners were selected for the 2015 class of Smart 50, which were announced at the end of October.

Junior Achievement is inducting two business leaders into its Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame this month.

And the Medical Mutual Pillar Awards for Community Service are just around the corner.

So, what makes these business executives rise to the top? They are leaders — leaders who promote gender equality, spark innovation, nurture business continuity and more.

They might do it differently, but they each know how to inspire their employees, structure their organizations and work with their clients to generate long-term success.

Leadership is a term that can be overused in business, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable. Let’s take a look at what these business executives have to say about their organizations and leadership.


col_HallOfFame_logoCentral Ohio Business Hall of Fame

2015 Inductees

col_cs_BillIngram_HOFEdgar W. “Bill” Ingram III
Chairman of the Board and CEO
White Castle Systems Inc.

White Castle Systems Inc. is going to hit the 100-year mark under its fourth generation of leadership.

E.W. “Bill” Ingram III will step down as CEO at the end of this year, while staying on as chairman of the board. His daughter Lisa Ingram will move up from president to CEO.

He’s not sure what his grandfather’s expectations were for the company, but Ingram says he would probably be surprised. In fact, for many years, Ingram was the only family member with White Castle; now they have more than a dozen of family members involved.

Ingram says they’ve heard from others who have attempted it that it’s very difficult to keep up that kind of sustainability.

“We understood that if we were to do that, it would be very unusual, and that it was important to put a lot of thought and work into that idea. So we did start, a long time ago, working toward that goal,” he says.

A family atmosphere

Looking at it realistically, if they sold the business, the shareholders would make a lot more money. So Ingram worked with the shareholders to make sure management understood their concerns and that the shareholders were on board with maintaining White Castle as a family business.

It’s certainly something that many of the employees have come to expect.

“All of the team members who have worked here for years and years — this is the only thing they’ve known,” Ingram says.

White Castle has a reputation for retention, because the family atmosphere is something that many people want in an employer, he says. The company annually celebrates employees who have been with the company for 25 years, and this year around 85 people hit that mark.

In addition, in a family business, Ingram has found that it’s very important to set an example as a leader.

Ingram says he used to visit every restaurant and factory once a year. His employees just wanted him to acknowledge that it was important to visit them.

“When I started doing that, I’d meet people, team members, who this was their first job working behind the counter and now they’re in high management positions within the company,” he says.

5 tips for being a better leader

Vistage, Great Lakes region

Leadership is something that seems to be a bit esoteric. Some are of the opinion that there are people who were just born to be natural leaders. Others hold to the theory that anyone can be taught to excel in positions of authority. The reality is that there is no right answer and both statements can be true.

To achieve business success, an organization or group will only go as far as the person put in the highest position of leadership can take it. There have been countless studies on the qualities that an individual will need to possess to be successful when placed in an authoritative role. For those who didn’t enter the world with the ability to lead people or companies into greatness, there are ways to brush up your skills in this area.

1. Communication is key

While it’s important to lead by example, leaders must also be vocal. Entrepreneur writes that the best leaders are always those who can be heard and whose instructions and directives are easily understood.

It’s also important, however, to be good at listening. Communication goes both ways and leaders should be effective at both delivering information and taking it in.

2. Imitation is the best form of flattery

Those individuals who weren’t born with the natural ability to lead should model their behaviors and actions after someone who is, according to a Forbes article by Alex McClafferty. By mimicking the behavior of someone who excels at leadership, these traits can be quickly adopted and help make you stronger in this area.

3. Keep emotions in check

Being placed in a position of authority, at times, can be overwhelming; triggering an emotional response that isn’t always positive and can diminish one’s standing as a leader.

Entrepreneur suggests that individuals always be mindful of their thoughts and feelings. At the core of leadership are relationships. An emotional outburst triggered by external pressures can have far reaching consequences, such as diminishing one’s standing as an authority figure.

4. Be someone others can trust

With leadership comes a massive amount of responsibility. People placed in this role must be conscious of the fact that there are people who look up to and trust them.

Switch and Shift writes that it’s important for leaders to always keep their word. If errors are made, own up to them. If you commit to something, do it. If you happen to disappoint someone or can’t follow through, be sure to apologize.

Being trustworthy can often be an overlooked aspect of leadership, but it shouldn’t be. The more that people trust you as a leader, the easier it will be to get them to accept your role and follow directives.

5. Understand that you can always be better

After being placed in a position of power or authority, some people adopt the mindset that they’ve reached the pinnacle and, therefore, there’s nothing more for them to learn. This attitude and mindset can be dangerous.

Entrepreneur writes that there are always new skills that can be mastered or some area of leadership that can be worked on. Keeping an open mind mitigates stagnation and helps personal growth. For those who have been tabbed as leaders, this is critical.

You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but authority figures should never feel that they know everything and have no need to gain new knowledge.

Knowing when to quit

One of Ingram’s biggest lessons from his long career leading the family business is that you have to be flexible and change with the times.

“We try experiments from time to time, and sometimes they don’t work,” he says. “And just because it doesn’t work in one instance doesn’t mean it’s not going to work a decade in the future.”

One of the most successful has been selling its restaurant products in grocery stores. White Castle was one of the first to do this, and now the frozen food cases are stocked with restaurant products.

The hardest part about trying something new, however, is realizing when to let go. If it’s not working, Ingram says you may want to stick with it, and often that’s not the right thing to do.

Many of your experiments are going to fail — sometimes more than once. White Castle has fooled around with the concept of two brands under one roof, Ingram says, a couple of different times, but it really hasn’t worked very well either time they’ve tried it.

“In my experience, you should probably quit sooner than you did,” he says.



col_cs_CurtisJewell_HOFCurtis Jewell
Chairman and CEO
EXCEL Management Systems

At age 72, Curtis Jewell, chairman and CEO of EXCEL Management Systems, is going strong, but he’s stepped back from the front line. He’s coaching, but doesn’t want to be the No. 1 sales person.

Over the years, he has made connections and tried to walk the walk. Jewell grew up in the country, in a southern household like television’s “The Waltons.”

“That integrity and taking care of your neighbor and you know, being involved in the community was just natural with us always,” he says.

“That’s the good news of being an entrepreneur all your life and coming from an entrepreneur family — you don’t have to hedge, you don’t have to lie, you don’t have to sneak, you don’t have to take shortcuts,” Jewell says. “Because you learn that you’re going to win more than you lose by telling the truth.”

Win more than you lose

To Jewell, leadership is setting an example by taking risks and giving more than receiving. He doesn’t try to litigate everything or get every little piece.

“You’re going to win some and you’re going to lose some,” he says “But you’ll win far more than you lose if you approach life, and people the right way. It’s all in style. It’s all in integrity. It’s all in honesty and openness.”

Jewell gives his employees space, trusting them to do the right thing and complete what needs to be done, because people are basically trustworthy, he says. He also expects his executives to own their area of the business within the enterprise.

“We are in the problem-solving business, so I expect whatever the issue is we’ll solve it,” Jewell says. “So I try to encourage my employees always to not be shy of telling me what’s been going on, regardless of what kind of day they’re having.

“I don’t run emergency rooms. I don’t run surgical suites. I don’t run operations where one mistake will kill somebody. So you can make a mistake, and we’ll correct the mistake and go on and learn from it.”

Mentoring others

Jewell likes to mentor aspiring entrepreneurs, because so many people helped him. For example, Robert Lazarus Jr. of Lazarus department stores first brought him to Columbus in the 1970s to head up a community substance abuse treatment center. Lazarus had Jewell serve on numerous community boards, and he enjoyed rolling up his sleeves, serving a higher purpose.

So, what are some things that Jewell advises younger people?

He says youngsters must understand whether they are trying to build a business to have a job or wealth. It’s two separate approaches to life and business.

At the same time, he doesn’t advocate young entrepreneurs bringing in investors. In Jewell’s opinion, it’s better to use loans and lines of credit.

“The first thing they want to do is get a partner with their friend, or their cousin or somebody,” he says. “And the next thing, they go under, because (the) two personalities are different.”

As someone involved in wider community leadership, particularly children’s causes, Jewell exposes his employees to activism because he believes you don’t need to build wealth to start giving back.

He also tries to connect organizations, so they aren’t rolling over each other trying to get donations.

The same goes for people. Jewell says that race relations are still stove piped in Columbus, but as a businessman he travels in all circles and he wishes more people would get out of their comfort zone.

“It’s not necessarily due to malice,” he says “It’s just people are historically moving in the circles that they’re used to, and they are overwhelmingly one black and one white. I don’t like that.”


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.


Digizoom Media

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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Goodwill Columbus uses social enterprise to advance its mission

Celebrating its 75th anniversary, Goodwill Columbus continues to steadfastly and passionately support its mission of “transforming the lives of individuals with disabilities and other barriers in our community through pathways towards independence and the power of work.”

Although most often recognized for its retail stores, Goodwill Columbus provides a diverse range of services, including day programs and residential service for individuals with developmental disabilities, as well as workforce development support to individuals with disabilities and other barriers including ex-offenders, veterans, the formerly homeless and those with English as a second language, limited education and mental health diagnoses.

“We take a holistic approach to changing lives,” says President and CEO Margie Pizzuti. “Our capable team members dig deep to provide meaningful services to the individuals we serve by not only providing job training services, but also helping individuals work through their own unique barriers to achieve more independent and fulfilling lives.”

The agency’s social enterprise model plays a vital part in fulfilling this mission. Smart Business spoke with Pizzuti about the work of Goodwill Columbus.

SB: Your stores are an example of a social enterprise model, a growing trend for nonprofits. Why do you think this model is so successful?

MP: The funding landscape, both nationally and locally, continues to significantly stretch government, foundation and corporate funding resources, while the needs of our community’s most vulnerable citizens are ever increasing.

Nonprofit organizations that advance the model of social enterprise through the businesses we operate find a level of predictability and financial stability with these revenue streams to support our vital programs, many of which are subsidized by these additional sources of income.

It is especially important for Goodwill’s mission since those business operations provide opportunities to train and employ individuals with disabilities and other barriers, many of whom need that first transitional job experience to include on their resumes.

Also, our agency’s ability to demonstrate a return on investment in our social enterprises that we can, in turn, reinvest into our mission services, offers a compelling case for philanthropic and public grant support.

SB: Beyond the stores, what other social enterprises do you have?

MP: Goodwill has pursued a variety of social enterprise opportunities, given its long success as entrepreneurs, both locally and throughout the country.

We have been operating contract services in both janitorial and unarmed security for more than 30 years through contracts with state agencies. These business relationships generate earned income to support mission services and employ individuals.

In addition, Goodwill began a startup, Auto Auction, in 2004.

SB: With your history with this business model, how would you advise other organizations?

MP: For those organizations committed to pursuing a social enterprise business model, there are three key factors to consider. First, the board of directors must fully embrace this approach, given the investment and some risk that will be required to succeed.

A rigorous and intentional evaluation/exploration process of the organization’s key competencies and potential business opportunities also should be conducted. This will guide the direction that the social enterprise path will take.

Finally, organizational buy-in — especially from the leadership team — is imperative.

SB: How do your social enterprises relate back to Goodwill’s mission?

MP: Our businesses not only create opportunities to help fund our programs but also to employ individuals. Goodwill understands the transformative benefits of employment and we believe in taking a holistic approach.

We offer family strengthening resources to ensure employees have the tools they need to balance the demands of work and home. From money management classes to personal fitness assistance, we connect employees with the tools they need to thrive.

By empowering individuals most in need to become more self-reliant, we are helping to make a stronger Central Ohio.

SB: What are some recent accomplishments, as well as a glimpse into what the future holds for Goodwill Columbus?

MP: In 2013 our agency served nearly 4,000 individuals representing more than 2 million hours of, often, high-touch support. It is difficult to convey in words the passion and hard work those 2 million hours represent. Our staff takes special care to work through a variety of challenges with each individual — going the extra mile to help them reach their personal goals.

Goodwill also expanded the reach of its mission through community collaborations. After stellar outcomes from a pilot program, Goodwill’s Workforce Development program was awarded a three-year grant in partnership with the Community Shelter Board to serve formerly homeless jobseekers who now live in permanent supportive housing.

In addition, Goodwill takes in thousands of donations each month, and those items that cannot be sold are responsibly recycled. In 2013 alone, Goodwill diverted 5,873,536 pounds of waste from Central Ohio landfills.

For the future, Goodwill Columbus is working to make an even bigger impact. That means exploring new business opportunities and expanding our existing lines of business, including growth in our donated goods retail operations, in the interest of generating more support so that we can change more lives.