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TOURISM’S STRONG ECONOMIC IMPACT

RE-IMAGINING AKRON: THE BOWERY PROJECT

BEST

Workplaces in Ohio

Q&A: GOV. MIKE DEWINE DISPLAY UNTIL FALL 2019

SUMMER 2019 VOLUME 4

ISSUE 2

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CONTENTS

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SUMMER 2019

TRAVEL & TOURISM Ohio Brands With a name like Smucker’s… BY LYNNE THOMPSON MyHealth Our experts give tips on spotting skin cancer. BY LYNNE THOMPSON

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CEO Corner Four organizations weigh in on what they’re doing to make Ohio a better place to visit. BY TERRY TROY

DATELINE

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Cincinnati Festo’s innovations and processes touch our lives in myriad ways. BY JANICE HISLE Akron The city’s Bowery project represents a major reinvestment in its downtown and future. BY JILL SELL Columbus Founded by a World War II hero, Plaskolite meets market challenges head on. BY GAIL BURKHARDT

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Finding It Here Our State’s Find It Here campaign heads into its fourth year. BY TERRY TROY Cleveland and Akron Cleveland’s scripted brand strategy and a Father’s Day tradition ring up strong tourism numbers for Northeast Ohio. BY LYNNE THOMPSON & JILL SELL

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Columbus Our State’s largest city garners travel and tourism accolades. BY TERRY TROY

Best Workplaces A look at 87 companies and the practices they use to attract the best and brightest in their industries. BY THE EDITORS

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Cincinnati The Queen City’s many attractions make each visit different. BY TERRY TROY Shores and Islands Erie and Ottawa Counties finally tie the travel and tourism knot. BY TERRY TROY Mahoning Valley Once thought of as a heavy manufacturing center, travel and tourism are becoming an economic force. BY TERRY TROY

Celebrating Success Inaugural Ohio Success Awards draw hundreds to the Ohio Statehouse. BY TERRY TROY Last Word Ohio Business Magazine asks Governor Mike DeWine three questions about travel and tourism. BY TERRY TROY

Answering Questions Advice on selecting life and disability insurance. BY TOM BRECKENRIDGE w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S U M M E R 2 0 19

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A LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER

Passion vs Collective Need WHAT IMPACT WILL OHIO’S ABORTION STANCE HAVE ON WORKFORCE?

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President: Eric Harmon Editor: Terry Troy

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overnor DeWine, only months into office, just signed into law one of the most restrictive bills on abortion in the country. Many pro-choice groups will now be rallying to position against the state in court. It’s rather a newsy item for us, a quarterly magazine, but I bring it up because it will have major implications for our businesses for years to come. As someone in the X Generation, you could say that I fall into the stereotype of being suspicious of things—or people— that hold substantial power over our lives. Unlike generations before us, my generation is not one to go march en masse on the National Mall to express our displeasure—we tend to maneuver away from the big show and settle into more personal conversations with those close to us. I believe the big governmental overreaches are ones that my generation maneuvers to self correct, in our own way. One example to me is the Affordable Care Act. Some of us felt that this massive change to our health care swung too far, possibly too much into both employee and company wallets. Soon thereafter, you saw the political pendulum swing in the other other direction in the presidential election. Have no doubt that our legislators’ choice to put abortion as a high priority displaces other major initiatives. Last year, Ohio ranked No. 15 overall in a CNBC’s study of top states for business. Not bad, yet we ranked No. 25 in the workforce category behind neighboring states Michigan and Pennsylvania. This means that these states were rated to have stronger programs for training individuals, and thus better employees for companies to hire. If we could take the state’s legal fees over the next year—spent fighting issues like abortion—and give them to our com-

Family and Veteran Owned

Managing Editor: Corinne Minard Contributing Writers: Tom Breckenridge Gail Burkhardt Janice Hisle Kevin Michell Jill Sell Eric Spangler Lynne Thompson Creative Director: Guy Kelly Art Director: Katy Rucker Designer: Becky Mengel Freund Digital Content Coordinator: Danielle Cain Operations & Finance Manager: Tammie Collins Advertising & Circulation Manager: Laura Federle Production Manager: Keith Ohmer Publisher Ohio Operations: Amy Scalia

munity colleges, how many more students would be getting a leg up? Prioritizing issues like abortion will distort other efforts that aim to benefit business, as many will turn their focus to correct this reach over current federal law. Frankly, much energy will be spent just dealing with the aftermath. Beyond today, how many possible future employees will not like this choice and thus have less interest to stay here in Ohio? My Gen X ways draw me to conclude that no political party can exclusively hold the license of being pro-business, especially if either positions passion above collective need and a more desirable climate that allows our businesses to succeed.

Sales: Abbey Cummins Brad Hoicowitz Susan Montgomery Anthony Rhoades Rick Seeney Katelynn Webb Events Director: Stephanie Simon Editorial Intern: Keely Brown Work-Study Students: Esvin Perez Aliyah White

Ohio Business Magazine Cincinnati Club Building 30 Garfield Place, Suite 440 Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 421-2533 Sign up for a complimentary subscription at OhioBusinessMag.com or purchase a copy at a local bookstore.


OHIO BRANDS

Smucker’s: It has to be good.

BY LYNNE THOMPSON

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n 1897 Jerome Monroe Smucker began employing a delicious form of recycling at his small-town Orville cider mill. He used the pulp left after pressing apples to make apple butter. His success in selling the product door to door from the back of a horse-drawn wagon prompted him to expand into making apple and grape juices. In 1923 the business, incorporated as The J.M. Smucker Co., installed equipment to manufacture fruit spreads. Over the next century the brand name Smucker’s became a household word, as synonymous with jams and jellies as Kleenex is with facial tissue. The company also adopted a unique marketing slogan, “With a name like Smucker’s, it has to be good,” a word play juxtaposing the company’s strange name with its delicious products. The company, still headquartered in Orville and family run, now employs 7,000-plus workers in over 30 locations across North America. In 2017 it posted $7.4 billion in net sales, the result of building an impressive lineup of brands that include everything from Jif peanut butter to Rachael Ray Nutrish and Dad’s pet foods, according to Amy Held, senior vice president of corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and international. “We think about how we can provide a full spectrum of opportunities in the categories [where] we play,” she says. “We believe that’s an important part in leading the category and making sure that the consumers have a full choice.” Those categories, she adds, are carefully curated. “We really focus on those that are leading, growing categories. They are categories that resonate with consumers today.” The buying began in 1982 with the purchase of Magic Shell, a brand of squeez4

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able topping that hardens on ice cream in seconds. It was a novel addition to the ice cream-topping line Smucker first introduced in 1940. Sixteen years later, the company Amy Held acqu i red MenUSAver, maker of a frozen crustless peanut-butter sandwich. The item, rebranded Smucker’s Uncrustables, became a centerpiece in school lunches packed by countless hurried parents. It is so popular that Smucker is opening a Colorado facility devoted exclusively to its production this year. “We’ve actually experienced double-digit,

year-over-year growth in that product for 15 out of the last 18 quarters,” Held reports. “We really believe that that can be a $500 million business for us in the next three to four years.” In 2002 the company bought the Jif peanut-butter and Crisco shortening-andoils businesses from Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble. Richard Smucker, coCEO at the time of the transaction, said it would provide “significant cash flows when coupled with our already strong balance sheet” and “strengthen our position to acquire other complementary leading food brands, providing opportunity for greater top- and bottom-line growth.” Held notes that acquisitions made over the last decade illustrate that strategy. For


example, Smucker entered the lucrative coffee business in 2008 by buying Procter & Gamble’s Folgers coffee division, making it the owner of the top at-home java brand in the United States. Two years later, it reached an agreement with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Keurig, inventor of the single-serve K-Cup pod system, to introduce a line of Folgers K-Cups. “We were one of their first branded partners,” she points out. And in 2015 the company began offering consumers a premium alternative by launching a line of K-Cups in partnership with Dunkin’ Donuts, now known simply as Dunkin’. Similarly, Smucker immediately became a big dog in the booming pet-foods market

LEFT TOP: An international company, Smucker’s maintains its world headquarters in Orville. BOTTOM LEFT: The company’s store and cafe sells the brands many jams and jellies. ABOVE: Jermone Monroe Smucker samples product coming off the line for taste and quality.

with the 2015 purchase of San Franciscobased Big Heart Pet Brands, which included pet-parent staples such as Milk Bone, Meow Mix and Kibbles ’n’ Bits. Last year it acquired Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, Pittsburgh-area makers of the aforementioned Rachael Ray Nutrish and Dad’s brands. But Held adds that Smucker still develops its own products. It continues to cultivate its coffee business by planning summer debuts of Folgers Noir, an addition inspired by the dark-roast trend, and a “super-premium” Dunkin’ Signature Series. The selection of 24 jams and jellies will

increase in the next year with the rollout of Smucker’s Mosaics, fruit-spread blends (think strawberry-blackberry) inspired by customers’ desire for new flavor profiles. Held is particularly enthusiastic about Jif Power Ups, a line of “creamy clusters” and “chewy bars” that exploit another growing consumer category: snacks, particularly more healthful grab-and-go ones. “We’ve brought in a number of new [Jif] users, which really shows again, if [we] keep the consumer first, what we can do around brands that consumers love to help lead category growth,” she says. n w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S U M M E R 2 0 19

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MYHEALTH A LOOK AT MEDICAL AND WELLNESS ISSUES THAT AFFECT THE DAILY LIVES OF BUSINESS EXECUTIVES

Signs of Summer “Liberally apply a full-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to all areas of exposed skin. Reapply every 90 minutes to two hours, every hour when swimming.”

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kin-cancer-wary dermatologists recite the mantra over and over again as temperatures rise and their patients begin heading outside again. So happy to feel the sun’s warmth after a long, cold winter, many people forget the dangers of unprotected exposure to its rays. Dr. Emily Moosbrugger, a dermatologist at Mercy Health – Kenwood Dermatology in Cincinnati, cites an American Academy of Dermatology statistic that serves as a reminder. “About one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer at some point in his or her lifetime—and the incidence is increasing,” she says. Fortunately, even the most serious of these abnormal growths can be treated successfully if they are caught early enough. Moosbrugger and Dr. Joshua Arbesman, an associate staff dermatologist in the Cleveland Clinic Dermatology & Plastic Surgery Institute, describe the three types of skin cancer: Basal cell carcinoma. The most common skin cancer is typically a slow-grower, presenting itself in forms ranging from a flat pink or red spot to a pink, red or white bump, perhaps pearly in appearance. Moosbrugger observes that, depending on the appearance, patients can mistake it for a pimple or scar. Occasionally, it can scab or develop into an open sore. “The duration of it is a clue,” she says. “If you have an acne bump that comes up, and it’s still there four weeks later but going away, that’s still probably an acne bump. If you have a spot that comes up, and two or three months have gone by and it hasn’t budged, that’s more concerning.” Squamous cell carcinoma. This cancer often distinguishes itself with a rough scale or crust on a pink or red patch, one that Arbesman says can be painful or bleeding. He notes that it can develop from an actinic 6

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BY LYNNE THOMPSON

include Skin Cancer keratosis, a precana red flag,” Mooscerous lesion he brugger cautions. OUR EXPERTS describes as “a red, DR. EMILY MOOSBRUGGER scaly spot on longDiameter. Anything term sun-exposed bigger than a pendermatologist areas such as the cil eraser needs to Mercy Health – Kenwood Dermatology, face, back of hands, be checked. “Some Cincinnati back of arms.” melanomas, obviAlthough squaously, are going to DR. JOSHUA ARBESMAN mous cell carcistart out smaller associate staff dermatologist nomas are generthan that,” ArbesCleveland Clinic Dermatology & Plastic ally slow-growing, m a n qu a l i f ie s . Surgery Institute, Cleveland Moosbrugger says “And some benign there is a subset le s ion s w i l l b e that can grow very larger.” quickly. “I’ve had patients that Evolving. A mole that changes showed up with something in appearance over time, Arthat popped up w ithin besman notes, or looks differa matter of t hree, four ent than the rest of the moles weeks and [was] the size on the body “is clinically of a marble that grew very called the ugly duckling,” quickly over that period of and “not a good thing.” Howtime,” she says. “That can ever, only 20 to 30 percent of be a good clue, sometimes, melanomas develop from an Dr. Emily Moosbrugger that it’s a squamous cell.” existing growth, according to Moosbrugger. ABCDES OF MELANOMA “Most of the time, they are The most serious form a new spot that comes up,” of skin cancer appears she says. “So particularly as a mole or freckle that be on the lookout for someexhibits one or more of the thing new and different that characteristics Arbesman you didn’t have before.” and Moosbrugger call “the Arbesman recommends ABCDEs of melanoma”: conducting regular skin examinations, or, better Asymmetrical. “One half of yet, scheduling an appointDr. Joshua Arbesman the lesion [does] not [match] ment with a dermatologist the other,” Arbesman says. to do it. Melanomas, for example, can develop where the sun literally doesn’t shine. Border irregularity. “Instead of a nice, round And the new-and-different component of mole, it’s more jagged or not uniform,” “evolving” is also important in identifying he says. basal and squamous cell carcinomas. “You get a comfort level of what’s normal Color variability. “If it is blue, brown, black on your skin and what’s not,” he says of in some areas, pink in other areas, that is the result. n


CEO CORNER CEO CORNER IS A FORUM WHERE OHIO BUSINESS LEADERS ADDRESS IMPORTANT ISSUES. THIS ISSUE, WE ASKED THREE CEOS FROM THROUGHOUT THE STATE: WHAT IS YOUR ORGANIZATION DOING TO MAKE OHIO A BETTER PLACE TO VISIT?

PATRICK CONWAY

JOHN BARKER

RICHARD ZIMMERMAN

Co-Founder, Great Lakes Brewing Company

President & CEO, Ohio Restaurant Association

P r esid en t & CEO, Ceda r Fa ir Entertainment Company

When we first incorporated in 1986, there were only about eight dozen breweries in the country. Today, there are over 8,000. Being the first craft brewery in the state, we brought back a brewing tradition that had been such an important part of not just Cleveland, but Cincinnati, Columbus, Youngstown and Toledo. Today, you see a lot of people arriving in our state looking for high quality beers in addition to the many other great amenities that we have, perhaps most importantly Lake Erie, which is not just important for industry and agriculture, but tourism. We’re very proud to play an important role in the revival of Ohio, not just making beer, but also attracting a lot of attention to our state, which has become one of the great brewing centers again, like it was in the 1870s. We get a lot of people visiting us from the surrounding suburbs, but we also get people who come in to visit to see sporting events, the museums or the orchestra. These out-of-towners get our address, come by and are totally enamored with the place. They also like the fact that a lot of our beer names are associated with local history.

The Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) has Ohio in its name so this is our home. We are committed to promoting, protecting and partnering with the Buckeye state’s restaurant, food service and hospitality industry, which represents 22,547 locations, more than 585,000 employees and $24.2 billion in sales. We are a consultative not-forprofit group that provides solutions for our industry’s biggest problems. That means we’re on the road all over Ohio, traveling to visit our members, listening to and sharing their stories on our #OhioWorksHere Tour. The ORA also works with organizations like local chambers of commerce and visitor bureaus so that we can partner in making Ohio a travel destination. In addition to historical monuments and finding the next best hiking trails, people want to eat and they visit restaurants today more than ever! We are in tune with travel and tourism because it matters to the general public, media and foodies, as well as our members who are business owners and operators of our favorite eating and drinking establishments across our great state of Ohio.

Travel and tourism are vital to Ohio’s economic prosperity, and Cedar Fair’s two Ohio parks—Cedar Point in Sandusky and Kings Island in Cincinnati—benefit from a strong visitor base. We continue robust investment in these wonderful parks to attract more people to the area and give our guests an unforgettable experience. Our f lagship park Cedar Point is known as “a place like no other,” and guests there will enjoy a new interactive experience, Forbidden Frontier on Adventure Island. This follows years of investment including indoor and outdoor sports parks plus a complete refurbishment and expansion of the historic Hotel Breakers right on the park’s pristine beachfront. At Kings Island, we’ve overhauled the iconic International Street at the park entrance with a refurbished grand fountain, new eateries and a renewal of the beloved Glockenspiel musical clock; also this year we brought back the park’s most requested ride, Les Taxis, and made a whole new experience called Kings Mills Antique Autos. We listen to our guests, and respond to meet their dynamic requests.

LT. GENERAL MICHAEL FERRITER U.S. Army (retired), President & CEO, NVMM

The National Veterans Memorial and Museum is our first and only museum dedicated to telling the story of the Veteran experience, representing all branches of the military and both wartime and peacetime service. For both Veterans and civilians alike, this museum provides the platform to begin important discussions about what it means to serve our nation and commit to something larger than yourself. This museum experience is like no other. It is an intimate journey of military service and return to civilian life told by Veterans through multimedia presentations, interactive exhibits, through photos, letters. The honesty, humanity and selflessness within these walls are amazing and will impactfully touch all who experience this national treasure. Our mission is to Honor, Connect, Inspire and Educate and this makes us much more than a museum. We serve as a rally point and advocate for all Veterans and we are developing relevant programming to connect and impact the lives of Veterans and their families as well as the general public.

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DATELINE: CINCINNATI

More Than Meets the Eye BY JANICE HISLE

FESTO’S INNOVATIONS AND AUTOMATED PROCESSES TOUCH OUR LIVES IN MANY WAYS

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ven in the few seconds it takes to whiz past Festo Corp.’s 47-acre campus along Interstate 71 in Southwest Ohio, motorists notice something big being built: a $90 million expansion that will nearly triple the high-tech company’s square footage and employ 350 more people. But amid the daily traffic—76,000 vehicles—few passersby can imagine the unexpected ways this German-based firm is invisibly touching their lives. Anyone picking up a carton of milk or a bottle of orange juice would probably be surprised to know that “the packaging of those products benefited from the automation solutions we provide,” says Nikolas 8

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Gebhard , vice president and chief operating officer of Festo’s Regional Service and Manufacturing Center in Mason. For example, Gebhard notes that an important Festo client builds robots that milk cows. Automating the milking process improves efficiency and productivity— and, he says, the cows benefit from the milking robots’ “massaging” action, too. Festo’s hidden reach is global. Serving more than 300,000 customers in 176 countries, Festo specializes in advanced automation technology used in more than 40 industries, providing “intelligent automation solutions that transform the way people work—and the way companies compete.” The Mason center is one of nearly a dozen

locations for Festo, an international company with North America headquarters in Islandia, New York. In operation since 2015, the Mason center is expanding to meet demand for its builtto-order automation components. With an initial $50 million investment, Festo built a 150,000-square-foot facility along the so-called “Innovation Corridor” of I-71, named for Ohio’s effort to lure innovation-based businesses. Mason is considered a “center of excellence” in Ohio for its success in attracting innovation companies, says Michele Blair, Mason economic development director. Festo liked the idea of having neighbors such as L3 Communications, Honeywell Intelligrated, Makino, Rhinestahl, AtriCure, Myriad,


LEFT: An artist’s rendering showing Festo’s completed expansion along I-71. ABOVE RIGHT: An aerial view of the current Festo building in Mason.

Mitsubishi and FANUC Robotics, Blair says, helping attract Festo to a high-profile, highvisibility location along a major interstate. Another plus: transportation is now f lowing more smoothly thanks to the $40-million interchange that opened in February at I-71’s Exit 24, Western Row Road, just north of Festo’s Mason site. The excellent transportation infrastructure strategically positions Festo’s Mason center to serve businesses throughout Ohio and nationally, says Gebhard, providing “speed and flexibility on the production side” along with training and engineering help for customers. In one instance, Festo added production shifts to help equip a customer to fulfill a huge order; in another, “because we have our engineering team in Ohio, we were able to work with a packaging machine builder to tailor his machine concept specifically

to his needs,” Gebhard says. In addition, Festo’s Mason location can combine fast product delivery with product and technology training, “so that, with deployment of the product, our customer’s maintenance team is already trained on how to best service the products,” Gebhard says. Festo offers 21 categories of products, including motors, electric cables and software. And, in collaboration with outside researchers and scientists, Festo also has developed eye-popping innovations: bionic versions of human arms and hands, as well as dragonflies, bats, birds and fish. The bionic hands are being put to practical use— such as sorting fruits and vegetables in the food-service industry; some of the bionic animals are mainly high-tech demonstrations intended to spark further research, development and creative applications of movements perfected by Mother Nature. Such novelties delight and intrigue young people in particular, and Festo has worked closely with schools to inspire students to pursue high-tech careers. Yet, at the same time, some people worry about automation supplanting human workers. Gebhard’s response: “There is a perceived threat with every innovation since the time man moved from horseand-carriage to trains.” But through its customers, Festo sees employment “at an all-time high where innovation is involved, and automation is an integral part of innovation nowadays,” Gebhard says. Automation is no longer viewed as “anonymous, cold and threatening,” he says, “but, rather, part of the innovation process.” Gebhard explains that new jobs are created whenever automation is introduced. “With automation, once the production is done by the machine, people take over to provide personalization of products, which can be provided at the same price

as a standard product,” he says. Besides, Gebhard says, employers recognize that “people are the crucial factor to a company’s success.” That’s why more employers are focusing on continuous learning and skills-development opportunities for their employees. Festo’s Didactic division offers training courses and services “to support the development of a highly skilled workforce in manufacturing,” Gebhard says. The Mason facility’s biggest contribution to Festo’s growth is “speed and proximity to the market,” Gebhard says. He says 80 percent of the company’s products move within 24 hours, “which gives Festo a real competitive advantage.” Gebhard assumed leadership of the Mason site a year ago. The biggest challenge he’s faced since then: Forty-three rainy days that caused construction complications. Nevertheless, the project is running on-time and on-budget, he says. Machinery should be installed this September and will be fully operational by the end of 2020; the expansion is on target for full completion by 2024. By then, Festo’s buildings will span 500,000 square feet; the expansions are being added to both the north and south ends of the original 150,000-square-foot structure. Post-expansion, the Mason facility is expected to employ 600 people, including 350 new jobs in engineering, mechatronics, purchasing, materials management, production and logistics; the annual estimated payroll should reach $21 million, city records show. And, Gebhard says, by then the Mason center will offer new products and new technologies, ranging from extrusion to machining. The changes will transform the Mason facility from a regional service center to a North America hub serving customers in the United States, Canada and Mexico. n w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S U M M E R 2 0 19

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DATELINE: AKRON

No Small Peanuts

AKRON’S BOWERY PROJECT REPRESENTS A MAJOR RE-INVESTMENT IN THE CITY’S DOWNTOWN

BY JILL SELL

he Peanut Shoppe, a favorite stop for Akron residents and tourists since 1933, will no doubt roast even more salty treats once The Bowery project in the city’s South Main Street corridor is completed. Redevelopment, which consists of six historic buildings (including the vintage 12-story Landmark Building), 36,000 square feet of retail space (including a brewery), 4,000 square feet of office space, plus 69 market rate and 23 affordable apartments, began last fall. Much of the residential construction in Phase 1 is expected to be completed by the end of 2019. Anchoring one end of The Bowery is the Akron Civic Theatre, built in 1929 by Marcus Loew and designed by renowned

calls The Bowery project—“a milestone, a big deal, for downtown Akron.” But we’re talking more than just peanuts to finance the Bowery project and what the reconstruction hopes to accomplish. Donzell Taylor is president and CEO of Welty Building Co. and the Bowery project’s construction manager. Taylor predicts the $41 million investment will generate a $200 million boost to the community. The separate Civic work is expected to cost $8.5 million. “There has been a decade of blight in this area with no economic development in years,” says Taylor. “The entrance to the Civic is next to five abandoned buildings—almost an entire block. The situation has severely impacted the Civic Theatre.”

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theater architect John Eberson. Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, it is one of only five atmospheric theaters remaining in the United States. Theater-goers can look up and watch clouds and stars move across the ceiling. The view may be a tad hokey in 2019, but it was a magical mechanical marvel in the 1920s and is still absolutely entertaining. The theater is undergoing its own restoration and will debut a new, 200-seat venue adjacent to its 2,592-seat theater, a new box office, lobby renovation and other improvements. The Peanut Shoppe is located across the street. Both locations will, no doubt, feel the love of what Steve Millard, Greater Akron Chamber (GAC) president and CEO,


James Hardy

Steve Millard

Donzell Taylor FAR LEFT: An artist’s rendering depicting what The Bowery project will look like upon completion. LEFT: The area as it exists today.

But that’s changing as construction vehicles and workers in hard hats break up and bust through walls of buildings, sidewalks and old cement in preparation for the new and renovated. Yes, it looks like mud and chaos behind the chain link fences. And there is a bit of an inconvenience to those who shop and work in the area as Akron’s one-way streets temporarily become even trickier to navigate. But the end result? “I think The Bowery is just the first olive out of the jar,” says Taylor, a former GAC chairman. “We are 10 to 15 years behind Cleveland in urban downtown development, but this is our way to start.” James Hardy, chief of staff to Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, points to a partnership with Weston (an industrial property owner and developer) in Cleveland to redevelop a city-owned building on High and Bowery

streets. Another partnership includes Akron Children’s Hospital, which is expanding its main campus along Bowery Street. “Those projects have the potential to quickly create scale for a residential future downtown,” says Hardy. “Additionally, there are plans to improve Lock 3—Akron’s ‘Central Park’—and leverage city-owned land on the canal side of the park to develop mixed–use opportunities.” “The Bowery project will certainly have a great psychological impact on development, and projects will get easier to do,” says Chris Barnham, president, Development Finance Authority of Summit County. “How do you measure that? It’s proven to be quite a catalyst.” Millard calls the Bowery project “a testament to all of us as cooperative partners for being able to gather together a big, complex package.” He cites the fact that high stakes Cleveland players are also involved, proving this to be a regional endeavor, not just an Akron undertaking. The Bowery project is being financed through owner equity, Historic Tax Credits, New Market Tax Credits, Tax Increment Financing, HUD 108 Loan, FHTC Equity, SHTC Equity, Land Bank Grant and other sources. Cleveland Development Advisors, an affiliate of Greater Cleveland Partnership, is chipping in $20 million. It is the first time the organization has invested outside of Cuyahoga County, according to the City

of Akron, which is in Summit County. “Akron is not a resort town,” notes Millard, and he and Taylor agree the city must create jobs and be a place young urban professionals want to live and work. “If we don’t have a walkable, livable downtown where people want to be, we won’t be able to support hospitals or other businesses with the workforce talent they need,” says Taylor. OK, Akron is not a resort town. (What? No beach? No ocean?) But it can grow its destination appeal, according to the city’s biggest supporters. And downtown has water—a section of the Ohio & Erie Canal can be seen behind The Bowery. A new arcade will help people move from the canal to Lock 4, which can be seen from an outdoor deck of the “new” Civic, to adjacent streets. Popular historic hot spots in other cities have been created with a lot less. Unexpected results generated by The Bowery project have not just been in terms of economic growth. When restoring or reconstructing historic buildings, often surprises are uncovered. Taylor says his crews encountered “unanticipated little spaces and hidden corridors” in some Bowery locations. He speculates the areas might be connected to Prohibition and bootlegging from decades ago. Peanuts and beer. Rather a fun footnote to Akron’s downtown history. Not bad for a fresh start either. n w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S U M M E R 2 0 19

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DATELINE: COLUMBUS

Charging Ahead

BY GAIL BURKHARDT

COLUMBUS-BASED PLASTIC MANUFACTURER CONTINUES TO GROW AFTER 69 YEARS

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olumbus resident and entrepreneur Donald Dunn is not afraid to take risks. The 95-year-old Army veteran earned a Silver Star Medal during World War II for leading his men through battle in the mountains of Italy even after being hit in the chest by a sniper’s bullet. Dunn used that spirit and attitude to found a successful plastic manufacturing company in Columbus. In 1950 he began Plaskolite, first producing household products that included drinking straws, fly swatters and even the Hula Hoop, a 1950s toy craze. Dunn took chances with the company by investing in new technologies and constantly looking for ways to grow and improve, says Plaskolite CEO Mitch Grindley. 12

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The risk-taking paid off. Today the business has grown to become the United States’ largest producer of thermoplastic sheet. Manufacturing facilities are located across the U.S., as well as in Mexico and Turkey, and employ more than 1,200 people.

FROM HULA HOOPS TO THERMOPLASTIC SHEET Today Plaskolite’s products are used in a variety of applications, including cars, signage, lighting, windows, bathrooms, screens, retail displays and even eyewear. The company is thriving, but that was not always the case. Dunn almost lost Plaskolite four months in. He had invested $9,000 in a plastics manufacturing company whose owner left town with Dunn’s

financial backing. But Dunn, seeing the potential in plastics, invested again. “I wanted to be an entrepreneur, so I went looking for an opportunity,” Dunn says. D u n n acqu i red more compa n ies and know-how, including how to make polymer, thus adding more products to Plaskolite’s lineup. Through the years, Plaskolite has gradually acquired additional companies in the same arena, accounting for its current dominance. Since January 2018, Plaskolite has added four other companies, more than doubling its number of employees and adding five more manufacturing facilities, says Grindley. Those businesses include: Rotuba Extruders, profile lighting; Lucite International, continuous cast acrylic sheet; Covestro, polycarbonate


sheet; and A.L.P. Lighting Components, lighting sheet and profile lighting. Major chemical companies, once heavily involved in the industry, are leaving the thermoplastic sheet business, which also has opened opportunities for Plaskolite and kept the manufacturer busy, according to Grindley. “Growth has been really outstanding,” he says.

OHIO ROOTS The manufacturer has been a staple in the Ohio community for 69 years, employing about 500 people in Columbus and Zanesville. “I think the Dunns have always been quiet about their company and I think people would be surprised about how big Plaskolite is. They are silent titans,” Grindley notes. Grindley has worked for Plaskolite since 1981 and adds that he is not the only one who has worked for the company for many years. “You aren’t in business in 69 years without affecting a lot of families. If you look at the years of service, a lot of our people love working for Plaskolite,” he says, noting one employee who joined the company following in his grandfather’s footsteps. Donald Dunn transferred his leadership to his son, Jim Dunn, in the 1980s, but remained involved. “Even today [Donald Dunn] still knows Plaskolite,” Grindley says. “He knows pretty much everything that’s going on. He keeps in touch.” The Dunn family sold its majority ownership of Plaskolite in 2015 to a private equity investment firm, Charlesbank Capital Partners. Another firm, Pritzker Private Capital, acquired Plaskolite in December 2018. But despite the sale, Plaskolite’s impact on the Central Ohio community remains. Until 2017, the company’s headquarters was

located in the Linden neighborhood of east Columbus. The company always found ways to help the underserved neighborhood, says Marilyn Mehaffie, the CEO of St. Stephen’s Community House, which provides social services to the Linden area. “They are very community service oriented—both the staff and management,” says Mehaffie. Plaskolite has helped monetarily, with food and volunteers, and, of course, customized plastic products to help with the community center’s events. A Plaskolite executive has served on the St. Stephen’s board for years. “They are just really a valued partner,” Mehaffie adds. “Even though their headquarters moved, they’ve still stayed very much involved in the community and it really makes an impact here.”

MOVING FORWARD Plaskolite moved its headquarters from its manufacturing plant in the Linden neighborhood to the historical Buggy Works building in the Arena District in

FAR LEFT: Plastokite extruded sheets find retail uses. LEFT: Blending polymer at the company’s manufacturing facility. ABOVE: A worker forms extruded sheet.

downtown Columbus in 2017. The company made the move to provide more amenities and to attract additional skilled employees. Plaskolite’s growth has spurred more changes with the hiring of a new president, Kevin Short, in April 2019. Previously Grindley served as both president and CEO. Short, formerly with Polymershapes, will work closely with Grindley. “As we have grown both organically and through acquisitions, it has become clear that our leadership team must grow accordingly to ensure we build on our recent momentum,” Grindley says. “I have known and worked with Plaskolite for almost two decades and have admired its leadership team, business practices and dedication to customer service,” Short says. “I am thrilled to join the organization and look forward to working with Mitch and his team to continue to grow the business in exciting new ways.” n

MITCH GRINDLEY is the president and chief executive officer at Plaskolite, Inc. Grindley has worked for Plaskolite since 1981 as a sales representative. In 1985, he was promoted to vice president of sales. He was elected to the Board of Directors in 1991. Under his tenure, Plaskolite has become the largest manufacturer of acrylic sheet in North America, and second worldwide. Grindley is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. Grindley and his wife, Christine, have three grown children and are involved with Christ Child and Faith Mission, an organization that is focused on the homeless of Central Ohio. In 2012, Grindley was appointed by Governor John Kasich to represent Business on the Public Utility Board. The governor has since put him on the Board of Ohio Venture Capital Authority. w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S U M M E R 2 0 19

13


ASK THE EXPERTS

Life’s Questions… Answered A BRIEF GUIDE TO SELECTING LIFE AND DISABILITY INSURANCE

BY TOM BRECKENRIDGE

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urveys show life and disability insurance are considered key attributes of any employee benefits package. Employers who consider offering these plans are also happy to hear they are affordable and easy to administer. To help you decide how best to include life and disability plans in your employee benefit packages, here are answers to common questions.

Q: WHY SHOULD I INCLUDE LIFE INSURANCE IN MY EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PACKAGE?

A: “Life insurance makes sense for any 14

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size group,’’ says Jeanne Fuelling, director, Specialty Products, for Medical Mutual, an Ohio-based insurer. “It’s critical in any benefits package, especially for employees with families.” Fift y-five percent of private-sector employees took advantage of employersponsored life insurance last year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. It’s a popular benefit that’s cost effective, has minimal administrative burden and supports efforts to retain and attract employees. “It can be tough to get new employees these days, so you don’t want your benefits

package to be lacking,’’ says Kevin Mackay, a Cleveland-area benefits consultant for Alpha/OneDigital Health and Benefits.

Q: HOW DOES GROUP LIFE INSURANCE WORK?

A: Employers pay for a basic term life plan that, in the event of an employee’s death, pays a designated beneficiary a set amount, such as three times an employee’s salary. The insurance coverage ends when the employee leaves. Employer-paid life insurance plans are usually free to employees and have little or no underwriting involved. Employees


“Life insurance makes sense for any size group. It’s critical in any benefits package, especially for employees with families.” — Jeanne Fueling

short- or long-term disability coverage available, often as an option paid by employees. Disability plans pay an employee 50 to 67 percent of his or her salary in the event of a claim. These plans give employees assurance that if a serious illness happens, a stream of income will continue for their families.

Jeanne Fuelling

Q: HOW MUCH DO LIFE AND DISABILITY BENEFITS COST?

then have the option to pay for additional insurance coverage and add dependents to the plan.

Q: WHY OFFER DISABILITY INSURANCE?

A: Employment disrupted by an illness or accident not related to work is not unusual. A significant portion of the workforce is expected to experience disability at some point in their careers. In fact, one in four 20-year-olds will experience a disability for 90 days or more before they turn 67, the Social Security Administration reports. Because of this, many employers make

Answer: Offering employees life insurance and disability products is not as expensive as employers think. Generally, the cost of employer-paid life insurance is less than 3 percent Steffan Moody of the overall cost of medical coverage. Employees buying life and disability insurance through an employer will generally pay much less than they would shopping on their own thanks to group rates and simplified underwriting.

Q: WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO SET UP AND MAINTAIN THESE BENEFITS?

A: It’s not complicated. Compiling a census of eligible employees, signing them up and monitoring plans are done with the assistance of brokers or benefits consultants. They work with the company and

the insurance carrier in handling claims. Carriers, like Medical Mutual, offer health benefits and specialty products like life, disability, vision and dental. Having employee benefits with one insurer makes sense, says Steffan Moody, vice president in the Columbus office of insurance broker Oswald Companies. “We love the administrative ease and the single point of contact,’’ Moody says. “Ever y t h i ng is streamlined—enrollment, payroll deductions and billing are so much easier when you ca n bu nd le these benefits. And there’s economy of scale from a pricing perspective.’’

Q: WHAT ELSE CAN MY EMPLOYEES GET WITH LIFE INSURANCE COVERAGE?

A: Pay attention to extra features. For example, Medical Mutual’s life insurance options include will preparation, identity theft services and grief counseling, Fuelling says. Employee Assistance Programs, known as EAPs, can be added for little or no cost. EAPs offer confidential services to employees, ranging from financial counseling to elder care. “It’s an underappreciated benefit,’’ Moody says. n w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S P R I N G 2 0 19

15


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Finding It HERE OHIO’S TRAVEL & TOURISM AD CAMPAIGN ENTERS ITS FOURTH YEAR BY TERRY TROY

Melinda Huntley

Matt MacLaren

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ow in its fourth year, TourismOhio rolled out the latest version of its travel and tourism marketing campaign carrying the slogan “Find It Here” at the beginning of May. By all accounts the campaign has been a success, not only increasing tourism business, but also elevating the image of Ohio as a destination for economic development. “The Ohio tourism industry is definitely growing,” says Matt MacLaren, director of TourismOhio. “We had a record year in 2017, with 219 million total visits creating a total of $44 million in direct and indirect spending that supports 428,000 Ohio jobs—that’s a lot of jobs for a state with a population of around 11 million.” The numbers for 2018 just came out,

eclipsing last year’s record numbers with 222 million visits, ringing up $46 billion in total spending, supporting more than 429,000 Ohio jobs. But how are we doing compared to neighboring states? “We are definitely on the right path,” says Melinda Huntley, executive director of the Ohio Travel Association, when asked about our new Governor Mike DeWine. “He really gets the importance of travel and tourism. “But the real beauty is the brand, which is so adaptable to other communities and the many different assets in our state.” However, when it comes to spending,

we are still far behind nearby states like Michigan, which spends more than three times what Ohio does to promote its tourism industry, says Huntley. We do have advantages. We have a very central and easily accessed location. And we do have excellent coordination between TourismOhio and the 80 plus convention and visitor bureaus and major attractions across our state. On the following pages, we look at some of the major markets to find out what attractions will help push their tourism business in the coming year. n w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S U M M E R 2 0 19

17


Travel & CLEVELAND Tourism

BY LYNNE THOMPSON

Scripting Success CLEVELAND’S BRANDING STRATEGY IS RINGING UP GROWTH

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he most recent numbers posted by the U.S. Travel Association provide a pretty picture postcard of Greater Cleveland travel and tourism. David Gilbert, president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit convention-and-visitors bureau Destination Cleveland, confirms that the area attracted 18.5 million leisure- and business-travel visits in 2017, a 2.3 percent increase over those in 2016. That figure exceeds hikes of 2 percent in visits to Ohio and 1.9 percent in domestic U.S. travel tallied for the same period. “That was the eighth straight year that, on a percentage basis, the growth in the number of visits grew higher than the state or national average,” he reports. “It’s pretty exciting because it shows that travel and tourism is a very significant growth industry [in northeast Ohio] by that measure and by other measures.” A survey conducted by Tourism Economics shows that tourism accounted for $8.8 billion in regional economic impact. Gilbert attributes the increase to the marketing of a brand developed seven years ago, one that he says physically manifests itself in the half-dozen script “Cleveland” signs installed in photo-worthy locations around the city. He describes the brand as “sophisticated grit—world-class experiences without world-class ego” and the feeling evoked by the marketing of those experi18

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ences around the city’s name. Cleveland is employing a number Cleveland, he adds, has hosted of strategies. A “Visit Me in CLE” a number of high-profile events campaign is tapping into locals’ such as the Republican National increasing passion for their comConvention and NBA Finals, sucmunity by encouraging them to cesses that have helped attract invite friends and family to visit. other big draws such as the 2019 The campaign, which launched MLB All-Star Game, the 2022 NBA David Gilbert last August, was at press time All-Star Game and 2024 NCAA slated to culminate in June with Women’s Final Four. a “Visit Me in CLE” weekend of activities But he stresses that Cleveland “cannot and attractions for residents and their outtake [its] foot off the gas,” particularly in of-town guests. highly competitive regional drive markets. “Visiting friends and family is the No. 1 reaHe cites the continuing challenge of market- son that people visit … most cities in America ing to the much-desired demographic of mil- if [they’re] not a Vegas or Orlando or sort of lennials in an age of highly targeted media. a peer tourist destination,” Gilbert notes. The age group is more open to exploring new Workshops also are being conducted to vacation destinations than older travelers foster local entrepreneurs’ and businesses’ who tend to return to the same place year creation of the “authentic experiences” milafter year. And millennials are also less lennials crave. Those can include offerings likely to harbor Rust Belt-era perceptions. such as the existing opportunity to spend a “Burning River, to them, is a beer, not a night in the house used to film the holiday joke about Cleveland,” Gilbert quips, then classic A Christmas Story. Perhaps most becomes more serious. “We are establishing notable, however, is the bureau’s developing a perception with them when [they] may not plan to expand its mission by helping local have one versus changing a perception as businesses and organizations attract and an audience generally gets older,” he says. retain people as well as forge longer-term reThe best way to establish a favorable lationships with the travelers making those perception or change an unfavorable 18.5 million visits a year. Gilbert notes that one, Gilbert says, is to get travelers to visit the effort is essential in a city still fighting Cleveland. To reach its goal of attracting 20 an unfavorable image, albeit an outdated, million annual visits by 2020, Destination inaccurate one. n


Travel & AKRON Tourism

Father’s Day at Stan Hywet Hall

ANNUAL CAR SHOW TELLS DISTINCT CHAPTER IN GREATER AKRON’S HISTORY BY JILL SELL

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he 20 millionth Ford, a 1931 Ford Model A, rolled off the assembly line at Dearborn, Michigan, in 1931. Henry Ford and his son, Edsel, were on hand for the ceremony. The Slant Window Town Sedan wound its way across America on a two-year goodwill tour. The ’30s were tough times for Americans in the Great Depression. But the manufacture of Fords and other vehicles with great styling was a source of pride for a tired country. While the 20 millionth Model A won’t be in attendance, you can see other beautiful vehicles from the early ’30s at the Inner Circle of the upcoming 62nd annual Classic, Antique and Collector’s Car Show in Akron, presented with the Ohio Region Classic Car Club of America. The annual Father’s Day Show is one The annual Father’s Day Car Show at Stan Hywet draws in visitors from across the state. of two major vehicle shows held at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens this Gregg Mervis tional Park, an expanded Akron At this year’s Father’s Day Show, ten circle year. The second is the seventh Art Museum, Blossom Music cars are featured, including Fords, Packannual Molto Bella Auto Show in September. Center, Akron Civic Theatre, EJ Thomas ards, Lincolns and Buicks. An additional The Father’s Day Car Show generates Hall, and Lock3/Lock4 among numerous 450 vehicles dating from 1915 to 1994, will $70,000 in economic impact for Stan Hy- others. Sports fans can cheer on the Akron be parked Sunday, June 16, on the beautiful wet alone. But the event’s financial and RubberDucks at Canal Park or catch the grounds of the historic country estate in educational arms reach much farther than Akron Zips’ sports teams as well. Akron. The 70-acre property is the former the estate’s decorative entrance gates, says But for many families in Ohio, Father’s home of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. Gregg Mervis, president and CEO, Akron/ Day at Stan Hywet is a tradition. According co-founder F. A. Seibring and his family. Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau. He to President and Executive Director Sean “This show is for authentic, non-modified points to the car show at Stan Hywet as the Joyce, in recent years about 8,000 people cars. No hot rods,” says Dave Henrichs, Inner kind of event that “allows us to tell distinct attend the show, making it the single day Circle committee chairman and owner of chapters of the Greater Akron history. largest attended event each year for the Heinrichs Vintage Car Shop in Columbia Sta“Equally important, events like this estate. (In 2018 Stan Hywet welcomed a tion. “I grew up in the hobby. My father started contribute to our thriving local hospital- record total of 137,000 guests.) Joyce said going to Stan Hywet in 1974 with his 1917 ity economy when visitors spend money more young people and children are also Winton. Car owners really like going there.” on dining, entertainment, shopping and attending the car show in recent years, Stan Hy wet is also presenting t he overnight accommodations,” says Mervis. taking advantage of the family-friendly seventh annual Molto Bella Auto Show, According to June 2018 Tourism Econom- activities Stan Hywet now offers, like the September 15. The invitational show, in ics, Summit County’s hospitality industry’s pedal car racetrack and the Playgarden. partnership with The Summit County direct visitor expenditures totaled $1.59 “To me, the highlight of the event is the Kidney Foundation, showcases more than billion, including Stan Hywet’s impact. But parade of cars coming in,” says Joyce. “Our 400 cars. Exotic sports cars, rare classics Stan Hywet is just one of many attractions neighbors put their chairs along Portage and custom cars are spotlighted. Both the Greater Akron Area offers, including: Path and watch the cars come in early events shows feature entertainment and Hale Farm & Village, Cuyahoga Valley Na- morning. It’s pretty cool.” tours of the Manor House and grounds. n w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S U M M E R 2 0 19

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Travel & COLUMBUS Tourism

Capital Achievements COLUMBUS GARNERS NATIONAL ACCOLADES FOR ITS EVENTS AND ATTRACTIONS

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ake no mistake, 2019 is a banner year for travel and tourism in our State’s capital. But you don’t have to take the word of the staff from Experience Columbus, the destination marketing organization for the Columbus region. The New York Times selected Columbus among its “Top 52 Places to Go in 2019,” just after Houston, but before Plodiv, Bulgaria. Last year, Food & Wine recognized the city as one of the best culinary destinations in the U.S., lamenting the fact that a “Midwestern City” was pulling culinary talent away from the East and West coasts. Architectural Digest called the new National Veterans Memorial and Museum “one of the most important buildings to

BY TERRY TROY

be completed this year” when it Fitch, Victoria’s Secret and DSW opened in October 2018. (Designer Brands, Inc.) among Travel and tourism in the others, Columbus has become a Greater Columbus area provides destination for fashion designers $7 billion in direct spending, which and smaller boutique fashion supports 78,000 jobs, or one in 12 retailers as well—putting its jobs in all of Franklin County. Acshopping on a par with much cording to Experience Columbus, Brian Ross larger cities on the East and West the city and surrounding area coasts. Its central location makes hosts 41 million visitors annually. it a natural focal point for business meetings To be certain, Columbus doesn’t need and expositions, seminars, government and too much help when it comes to business as collegiate and high school sports. well as travel and tourism. With its revitalBut when you think about Columbus, ized and booming downtown, it’s already The Ohio State University Buckeyes come one of our nation’s fastest growing cities. immediately to mind—whether it is football As the headquarters for big box fashions or basketball season. Now you can add the retailers for retailers like Abercrombie & National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue

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Jackets to the mix, as well as Minor League Baseball’s Columbus Clippers in summer. “Ohio State does a wonderful job of bringing visitors to our city and it’s not just the football and basketball teams,” says Brian Ross, president and CEO of Experience Columbus. “Without Ohio State, we wouldn’t have the NCAA Women’s Final Four, or other collegiate events like swimming or track. “But our Greater Columbus Sports Commission also plays a very big role in our success because they bring in sports like fencing, volleyball and other amateur sporting events that are very well attended, too,” Ross adds. “Then you start to look at Ohio high school sporting events and all the state championships and finals that are held here in Columbus each year.” But our capital’s crowning achievement is the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, officially designated by Congress. Construction of the 55,000-square-foot facility began in 2012 and cost $82 million. The idea was a dream of many, including

the late U.S. Senator and astronaut John Glenn from Cambridge, Ohio. “From a travel and tourism standpoint, we are very excited and tremendously optimistic about the museum’s overall impact on the community,” says Ross. “It should bring people in, as well as extend some overnight stays to people who want to visit.” But there’s a little more to it than simply economic High school athletics and championships contribute heavily to the city’s travel and tourism industry. impact, Ross is quick to add. “It’s the only museum and memorial of its kind in the nation,” he says. who may have a son or daughter who did “It is dedicated to the individual stories of not come back. the men and women. It’s about what hap“This museum is about the people who pened to them during their enlistment or made sacrifices to keep us free. And in service, or when they got out of the Army, some cases, the ultimate sacrifice. So it is a Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard, very emotional and rewarding experience or the ultimate impact on their families, for all who visit.” n

AN INDY SUMMER TRADITION

27TH ANNUAL

INDIAN MARKET & FESTIVAL JUNE 22 & 23

One of the Midwest’s most unique and memorable cultural experiences is a short drive away. Experience Native cultures and shop for exquisite art from more than 100 Native artists. Enjoy performances, food, family activities and more at the Eiteljorg Museum, an Indianapolis treasure. Adult discount tickets at Eiteljorg.org (17 and under free June 22 and 23) SPONSORED BY:

#EJIndianMarket

ENTERTAINMENT STAGE SPONSORED BY:

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY:

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21


Travel & CINCINNATI Tourism

Always Something New CINCINNATI’S MANY ATTRACTIONS MAKE EACH VISIT DIFFERENT

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hether it’s eating Cincinnati-style chili during a Reds game or exploring the former brewery lager tunnels in the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, there are some experiences and traditions that are absolutely unique to the Greater Cincinnati area. Visitors from all over the country flock to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden to see Fiona the hippo. Thousands more attend the Cincinnati Music Fes-

tival, the largest urban music festival in the country and held this year July 25 through July 27. Hundreds of thousands more hit the 16 roller coasters at nearby King’s Island Amusement Park. Not to mention the hundreds of events and attractions that can make each experience new and unique, no matter how many times you visit. When you add it all up, it amounts to more than 26 million people visiting the

BY TERRY TROY

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OHIO FARMING FEELING THE PRESSURE

COLUMBUS’ BIG LOTS HAS BIG PLANS


Greater Cincinnati area each year—folks throughout its urban core and beyond. who collectively spend more than $5.3 bil- This progress is not by happenstance, it’s lion, according to the most recent studies the result of a committed tourism and from the Cincinnati USA Convention & hospitality industry whose success impacts Visitors Bureau. the entire region. “ “Tourism is a key economic The Greater Cincinnati’s local driver in Cincinnati and has a hospitality community undersignificant impact on our local stands the importance of visitors businesses and our commuand embraces the idea that every nity’s quality of life,” says Julie interaction matters—whether Calvert, president and CEO of it’s at a hotel, restaurant, local the Cincinnati USA Convention attraction or just walking down & Visitors Bureau. “As the Cin- Julie Calvert the road, notes Calvert. cinnati region welcomes more “Toget her, we’re creat ing visitors, whether for leisure, business or positive experiences for our visitors so conventions, we are injecting new money that they’ll feel compelled to visit again into our economy, which builds up the and be ambassadors for our region,” she community’s general fund. says. “Our team is incredibly passionate “From those funds, we’re seeing new lo- and dedicated to promoting Cincinnati as cal developments, increased and enhanced a destination to host meetings, conventions public services and greater opportuni- and events. ” ties to continue moving our destination The biggest celebration this year is also forward,” adds Calvert. “Cincinnati is a celebration of our national pastime. experiencing an incredible revitalization This year marks the 150th anniversary of

the Cincinnati Reds, the country’s first professional baseball team. “Our rich baseball heritage is being honored with throwback uniforms throughout the season, special tours and an open house at Great American Ball Park, a total renovation to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum and much more,” says Calvert. This year also marks the inaugural Major League Soccer season for FC Cincinnati. Plans to build the team’s stadium in the city’s west end neighborhood are in the final stage of design. “The positive economic impact will be seen through the creation of jobs and increased traffic for businesses like bars, restaurants and shops in the area,” says Calvert. “We’re also looking forward to welcoming visitors from other teams to the Queen City. The meteoric rise and success of this young team is so representative of the Cincinnati spirit and hometown pride that we feel here.” n

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Travel & LAKE ERIE SHORES + ISLANDS Tourism

Tying the Knot ERIE AND OTTAWA COUNTIES FORMALIZE THEIR PARTNERSHIP BY TERRY TROY Larry Fletcher, president of Lake Erie Shores and Islands.

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hen it comes to the travel and tourism industries, Erie and Ottawa Counties are kind of like a couple that was engaged for years before getting married. In this case, almost a decade and a half. Talk about the nuptials coming as no surprise. For the first time in their 14-year history, employees of the Erie County Visitors & Convention Bureau and the Ottawa County Visitors Bureau are officially working for one organization. At the beginning of this year, staff at the two visitor’s bureaus all became employees of a new 501(c)(6) called Lake Erie Shores & Islands, with a newly formed board as the employer. “What we are doing with the new organization is to officially formalize the partnership,” says Larry Fletcher, president of Lake Erie Shores & Islands. “We felt this was a step that could solidify our relationship moving into the future.” Prior to the agreement, two separate county convention and visitor’s bureaus had been operating under a marketing agreement to promote the area cooperatively as the Lake Erie Shores and Islands, says Fletcher. Under the new partnership, the staff of the previous two organizations is now employed by one, much more efficient, entity. “We now have one policy manual, one health care plan and one plan for all of our 24

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operations,” says Fletcher. “We still have two welcome centers, and will continue to have two separate county visitor organizations because of how the bureaus are funded through the state. Each county visitor’s bureau also has its own board and agreement with the respective county commissioners. But the majority of funds coming in are now directed to the new organization.” Which will allow commissioners from both counties to look at the big picture and focus on major issues that impact the entire region, says Fletcher. As you might guess, the travel and tourism industries are a big economic driver for both counties. Tourist attractions in the area are too numerous to list, but include major attractions such as Cedar Point, Putin-Bay and Kelleys Island—not to mention boating, sailing and fishing. According to the most recent study conducted by Tourism Economics, one of the world’s leading providers of economic analysis, visitors helped generate $2.12 billion in tourism sales in the area in 2017, an increase of nearly 8 percent from a 2015 study. In addition, one-third of the total tourism sales in Northwest Ohio ($6.5 billion in 22 counties) are generated in the Lake Erie Shores & Islands region’s two counties, Erie and Ottawa. It’s estimated that close to 11 million visitors traveled to

the Shores & Islands region in 2017. In this case, total tourism sales include direct, indirect, and induced spending and represent a number of different economic activities including transportation, recreation, retail, lodging, and food and beverage. The direct sales spending breakdown by sector for the area is approximately 31 percent retail, 20 percent recreation and entertainment, 19 percent food and beverage, 18 percent lodging, and 12 percent transportation, which doesn’t include gas costs, which are included in retail figures. In the Lake Erie Shores & Islands region, tourism also provides jobs. One in every four jobs in Erie County is tourism-related as well as one in every six jobs in Ottawa County. Almost 14,000 people are employed within the travel and tourism industry locally. Tourism wages were $357 million in 2017. “Our mission here is to grow the region’s tourism economy through collaborative promotion that increases visitation and makes Lake Erie Shores & Islands the ideal place to play, live and work,” says Fletcher. “These numbers help reinforce the fact that tourism is a major economic driver for our region.” In 2017, the tourism industry in the region also generated $255 million in taxes. More than $75 million in State of Ohio taxes were generated by Erie and Ottawa County tourism activities. n


Travel & MAHONING VALLEY Tourism

Unbuckling the Rust Belt ART, WINERIES AND OUTDOOR RECREATION THRIVE IN THE MAHONING VALLEY

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alk about breaking through old stereotypes. For many folks in our state, the mere mention of the Mahoning Valley area conjures up images of shuttered factories, padlocked gates and cracked concrete parking lots. But there’s a flower breaking through the cracks of that old pavement that’s blossoming into true economic growth. Travel and tourism have grown into an integral component of the economy of the Mahoning Valley, every bit as important as heavy manufacturing. Travel generated $565.4 million in direct sales in 2017, according to a 2018 report generated by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economic

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Company. (It’s the latest date for which economic impact figures are available.) That number jumps to $855.5 million when you add indirect sales into the mix. While heavy manufacturing has seen better days in terms of overall employment, the travel and tourism industries employed 9,531 people in 2017, with a total of $199.4 million in wages paid, making up 8.3 percent of total employment in the area. And word is quickly spreading beyond the boundaries of the Mahoning Valley. For people in the know, the area has become a destination with endless opportunities for recreation and leisure. The area is also seeing increased visits to its

BY TERRY TROY

many wineries, promoted through a wine trail on Youngstown Live. “Mahoning Valley has become a wine lover’s destination,” says Linda Macala, executive director of the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau, which runs the website Youngstown Live. “Each of our wineries offers a unique atmosphere and experience that any wine enthusiast will enjoy. Our ‘Wines of the Valley Wine Trail’ was created to increase awareness of the great wineries in our area.” Hitting a major milestone this year, the world renowned Butler Institute of American Art is celebrating its 100th anniversary, reaching its zenith in October


with a special celebratory gala. Known as “America’s Museum,” the museum’s extensive collection has more than 20,000 individual pieces in all media, covering four centuries of work. It features works by Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper and John Singer Sargent, to name a few. But there is also plenty to do for those who like the fresh air. And the weather is almost perfect in summer. “We are known for challenging, wellmaintained affordable golf courses,” says Macala. “We have everything from a Donald Ross-designed course at Mill Creek [Park] to a links-style course, the Links at Firestone Farms in our area. And local hotels offer Stay-and-Play Packages.” Outdoor recreation is certainly a draw as well, notes Macala, with Mill Creek MetroParks offering miles of trails and other recreational opportunities right through Youngstown and beyond. Within the parks, visitors will find Fellows Riverside Gardens, one of the finest public display gardens in

The Butler Institute celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

the country, along with Lanterman’s Mill & Covered Bridge, perhaps Mahoning Valley’s most historic landmark. The mill grinds wheat and corn as it did in the mid-1800s. Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course also features thoroughbred racing. More family-oriented entertainment can be enjoyed at OH WOW! The Rogers & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology, as well as the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor. The Covelli Centre and Stambaugh Auditorium bring national touring acts to

Youngstown. In addition, the brand new Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre will open this month, an outdoor option for concerts and other special events. “It’s adjacent to Covelli Centre and connected via a walkway through the new Riverfront Park,” says Macala. With easy accessibility via major interstates to markets like Cleveland and Pittsburgh, affordable lodging, great food and wines, and world class attractions, is it any wonder travel and tourism are growing in the Mahoning Valley? n

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W

hat makes a great workplace? Many factors contribute to this, from 401(k) plans to company outings, but it’s more than that—it’s a place where a worker feels valued. Looking through the winners of Ohio Business Magazine’s fourth annual Best Workplaces in Ohio feature, we found that there are many companies that are making their employees feel that way, and that they are finding creative ways to do so. In this feature we list the 2019 winners by company size and profile companies throughout the state. Ohio is a great place to work—read on to learn about some of the best workplaces in the state.

2019 BEST WORKPLACES IN

OHIO BY THE EDITORS

Companies with less than 50 employees Company Name

Location

Employee #

Type

Year Founded

Cincinnati School of Music

Cincinnati

3

Private

2012

Big Idea Group

Cincinnati

4

Private

2015

Zeal40: The Creative Agency

Cincinnati

6

Partnership

2015

Warrensville Heights

7

Nonprofit

2008

Petroff Law Offices, LLC

Columbus

7

Private

2007

Belle Communication

Columbus

8

Private

2013

Beachwood

9

Private

2003

Akron

10

Public

2006

Effective Leadership Academy

Barrett Benefits Group, Inc. Consolidus Mid-American Financial Group

Cincinnati

10

Private

2004

Sharp Business Systems

West Chester

10

Public

2011

Approach Marketing

Worthington

12

Private

2010

Cincinnati

13

Private

1989

Commerce Bank

West Chester

15

Public

1865

Beavercreek Pizza Dive

Beavercreek

15

Public

2008

Avon

17

Private

2006

Rocky River

19

Private

2002

Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati

Cincinnati

19

Nonprofit

1981

Alliance Integrative Medicine

Cincinnati

20

Public

1999

Sherlock Services, Inc.

Barberton

24

Private

1991

Intrust IT

Cincinnati

26

Private

1992

The Recovery Center of Hamilton County

Cincinnati

27

Nonprofit

2006

Beachwood

27

Private

1998

Solon

30

Private

2003

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers

Blue Ash

30

Partnership

2015

AMEND Consulting

Cincinnati

33

Private

2006

Kirsch CPA Group, LLC

Hamilton

33

Private

1991

ThermalTech Engineering, Inc.

Cincinnati

44

Private

1980

Advanced Engineering Consultants

Columbus

47

Private

1998

STACK Construction Technologies

Cincinnati

48

Private

2010

Total Wealth Planning, LLC

Hunter International SyncShow

World Synergy Professional Placement Services RGT Restaurants/PSP Foods,

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2019 BEST WORKPLACES IN O H I O

Companies with 50-200 employees Company Name

Location

Employee #

Type

Year Founded

Superior Dental Care

Centerville

52

Private

1986

Beavercreek

57

Private

2006

Columbus

59

Private

2007

Powell

62

Private

2000

TACG Zipline Logistics LeaderStat All Occasions Event Rental

Cincinnati

62

Private

1979

Leading EDJE

Dublin

63

Private

2007

415 Group

Canton

67

Private

1981

Cincinnati

68

Private

1987

Dublin

70

Private

1999

Columbus

72

Private

1997

West Chester

74

Private

1986

Ingage Partners

Cincinnati

75

Private

2011

Vector Solutions

Cincinnati

75

Private

2004

ODW Logistics & Transportation Services, LLC.

Hamilton

75

Private

2009

The Matrix Companies

Cincinnati

76

Private

2000

Hilton Akron/Fairlawn

Akron

80

Private

1969

Cincinnati

85

Private

1998

The Alois Alzheimer Center ERPA(ERP Analysts Inc) Choice Recovery Kingsgate Logistics

Jostin Construction

30

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Blue Chip Consulting Group

Seven Hills

90

Private

2004

Barnes, Dennig & Co., Ltd.

Cincinnati

95

Partnership

1965

Sunrise Treatment Center

Cincinnati

107

Private

2007

CMC Properties

Blue Ash

108

Partnership

1967

Concept Services LTD

Medina

110

Private

2002

North Community Counseling Centers

Columbus

120

Nonprofit

1968

GBQ Partners LLC

Columbus

130

Private

1953

Meaden & Moore

Cleveland

134

Private

1919

Lifebanc

Cleveland

136

Nonprofit

1986

Cold Jet

Loveland

140

Private

1986

Navigator Management Partners

Columbus

144

Private

2001

Fahlgren Mortine

Columbus

147

Private

1956

Main Street Gourmet

Cuyahoga Falls

150

Private

1987

Fleet Response

Independence

150

Private

1986

City of Sharonville

Sharonville

151

Government

1911

PRIME AE Group, Inc.

Columbus

160

Private

2007

NELSON

Cincinnati

180

Private

1977

Mills James

Columbus

185

Private/Employee-Owned

1984

Centric Consulting

Dayton

189

Private

1999

Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway

Dayton

191

Public

2014

At SDC, we believe happy employees lead to happy customers. By treating people with respect, care and concern, SDC empowers our employees to provide truly superior service...keeping everyone smiling!

OHIO’S BEST

- ONE OF -

– Traci Harrell, President of SDC

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2019 BEST WORKPLACES IN O H I O

Companies with more than 200 employees Company Name

Location

Employee #

Type

Year Founded

KDM POP Solutions Group

Cincinnati

217

Private

1970

Vaco Cincinnati LLC

Blue Ash

230

Private

2014

City of Middletown

Middletown

250+

Government

1886

Cincinnati

266

Private

1987

Ulmer & Berne LLP

Cleveland

285

Partnership

1908

The Urology Group

Cincinnati

289

Private

1996

The Connor Group

Miamisburg

300

Private

1992

Foundation Software / Payroll4Construction.com

Strongsville

303

Private

1985

Cincinnati Incorporated

Harrison

323

Private

1898

The Children’s Home of Cincinnati

Cincinnati

359

Nonprofit

1864

Component Repair Technologies

Mentor

450

Private

1985

LeafFilter Gutter Protection

Hudson

500+

Private

2005

London Computer Systems (LCS)

Deceuninck

Monroe

536

Public

1969

Belterra Park Cincinnati

Cincinnati

600

Public

2014

Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries

Cincinnati

800

Nonprofit

1916

Cengage

Mason

900

Partnership

2007

Ohio’s Hospice

Dayton

960

Nonprofit

2013

32

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The RDI Corporation West Chester Hospital

Cincinnati

1,000

Private

1978

West Chester

1,200

Nonprofit

2009

PSA Airlines

Vandalia

1,500 Private/Wholly Owned Subsidiary

1986

Montgomery County

Dayton

4,200

1803

Company Size

Government

Company Age

10% 8%

LESS 50 - 200 THAN 50 EMPLOYEES EMPLOYEES

33%

43%

200+

EMPLOYEES

24%

100+ YEARS 100-50 YEARS

28%

25-50 YEARS

39%

10-25 YEARS

11%

10-5 YEARS

3%

LESS THAN 5 YEARS

At Sherlock Services, our people are our family, and our 26 staff members have worked at our company an average of 15 years. We attribute our 95% growth since 2015 to the positive and caring work environment we have here. Also, our 99% client retention rate is clearly tied to our company culture. Cookouts, semi-annual team parties, weekly bagels or donuts, casual attire, on-site gym and a big popcorn machine make Sherlock Services a great place to work. Happy employees lead to happy customers.

We save and heal lives every day through the miracle of organ, eye and tissue donation. Join our mission by visiting www.lifebanc.org

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2019 BEST WORKPLACES IN O H I O

ZIPLINE LOGISTICS

Zipline Logistics of Columbus adopts a people-first mindset in everything it does. As a supply chain partner for its clients, Zipline takes care of the stress and dif-

ficulty of coordinating the transportation of products. As an employer, it maintains a transparent philosophy of leadership. “It’s what makes our culture and what

makes everybody here excited to come to work,” says Emily Magill, Zipline’s director of human resources. She describes the workplace as an open environment, receptive to

Commerce Bank is proud to be selected as a

Is Honored To Be A

2019 BEST WORKPLACES IN OHIO

Thank You

to our team for GOING BEYOND THE NUMBERS as a 2019 Best Workplace!

www.BarnesDennig.com 34

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www.commercebank.com


any employee’s needs, concerns or life goals. That last point is a big part of the company’s employee engagement. Zipline Logistics provides multiple ways for workers to pursue the career advancement they seek, from tuition reimbursement and compensation for industry accreditations to its new Training 2.0 workshops and Emerging Leaders program that give employees a route to attain leadership positions. Zipline makes sure to mix in plenty of fun to keep the environment loose and welcoming. Monthly happy hours, lunchtime yoga, potlucks, and gourmet coffee and snacks are just a few of the perks, enhanced by an open office floor plan that encourages employees to make real connections and build rapport with each other. All of that builds a baseline of mutual respect that prevents miscommunications from blowing up into serious HR issues. “We’re close,” says Magill. “It’s a lot less stressful. It’s more relaxed because people really do genuinely care about each other.” —Kevin Michell

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2019 BEST WORKPLACES IN O H I O

Company Type

Metro Area

3%

6% AKRON

2% OTHER

GOVERNMENT

10%

NONPROFIT

7%

PARTNERSHIP

70%

13% DAYTON

17% COLUMBUS

PRIVATE

9%

PUBLIC

47%

CINCINNATI

15% CLEVELAND

Middletown is open for business and ready to welcome you home!

cityofmiddletown.org

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2019 BEST WORKPLACES IN O H I O

NOMINATION PROCESS For the four th annual Best Workplaces in Ohio feature, a nomination form was emailed to businesses throughout the s t a te, inv i t ing t hem to sel fnominate. For-profit, nonprofit and government institutions were invited to participate. Nominees were asked to provide information on topics such as their company size, engagement with employees, benefit structure and past awards. The winners were then selected by committee. If you are interested in nominating your company next year, subscribe to the Ohio Business Magazine and newsletter (both of which are complimentary) at OhioBusinessMag.com.

Ohio Valley Goodwill is honored to be a 2019 Best Workplaces in Ohio award winner presented by Ohio Business Magazine. Ohio Valley Goodwill is one of the largest training and employment providers for individuals with disabilities in the State of Ohio. Shopping and donating at our area stores help us to provide these employment opportunitites.

www.cincinnatigoodwill.org

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FOUNDATION SOFTWARE Fred Ode, CEO and founder of Foundation Software and Payroll4Construction. com, understands that employees are the companies’ greatest assets. And if the employees are happy and well taken care of then they take care of the customers and make sure they are happy. “Our philosophy starts with management and works its way down—work hard, treat everyone like family and take care of one another,” says Ode. “We know that life happens, and we try our best to take care of our employees in every way we can—from little things like free personal training and encouraging employee clubs to supporting employees through more difficult times, like rehab or illness.” Foundation Software, which has 303 employees and is located in Strongsville, develops job cost accounting, project management and mobile applications, along

with payroll and bookkeeping services, to help America’s contractors run the business side of construction. Foundation Software’s employees work intimately and collaboratively with employees from sister company Payroll4Construction.com, a payroll service just for the construction industry. The employee program of which he is the most proud started unofficially, he says. It’s an informal internship program where employees with a passion for programming but with no coding experience are taught to become successful web developers for the company. “This has now become an official initiative at Foundation [Software],” he says. “We hired a Ph.D. in computer science to lead our new in-house web development certification program and are looking forward to welcoming the inaugural class of 12 employees this month.” – Eric Spangler

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2019 BEST WORKPLACES IN O H I O Working for a municipality may be different in many ways than the average office job but the City of Sharonville’s employees enjoy it enough to have nominated the city for back-to-back wins as one of Ohio’s best workplaces. A big part of that has been engaging employees directly on areas of improvement and opportunities for better communication. To that end, Sharonville instituted its employee wellness committee to improve how it gathered and implemented feedback from all of its workers. “We have employees from every department involved in that,” says Noah Powers, human resources director for the City of Sharonville. An August 2018 employee survey led to department heads discussing the results with the rest of their respective departments, leading to greater transparency in the organization’s operations and goals. The wellness program gives city employees a platform to be heard but is also active in encouraging a healthy and beneficial work-life balance for them, supplementing generous benefits with out-of-office social events and volunteer programs in the community. That, in turn, has led to high employee retention rates. “By doing that it makes us a place where it’s not just a job, it’s a place where people can come and make a career,” says Powers. —Kevin Michell

CITY OF SHARONVILLE

WE SIMPLIFY LIVES For over 50 yrs, CMC Properties has successfully owned and managed thousands of apartments, offices, and retail stores. At CMC each employee is dedicated to our core mission of Simplifying the Lives of our Customers.

Always recognizing our core values led us to where we are today, CMC continues its growth by building an entire organization with talented, caring people who share a common mission to Simplify Lives.

WWW.CMCPROPERTIES.COM 40

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LIFEBANC Saving and healing the lives of patients is the mission of Lifebanc, Northeast Ohio’s only nonprofit organ and tissue recovery nonprofit organization. Its employees are extremely passionate about what they do and, according to the nonprofit, their dedication is what makes Lifebanc one of the Best Workplaces in Ohio. “What we do is special, and we want our staff to feel connected and committed to the mission every day,” says Michelle Leighton, chief talent officer. The nonprofit maintains that connection and commitment by ensuring the well-

being of its staff. Lifebanc offers health insurance at a low cost and covers dental and life insurance, as well as short- and long-term disability. In addition, the organization offers tuition reimbursement, incentive plans, PTO purchase programs and a defined contribution plan. Lifebanc cares for its employees so they can care for the organization’s mission, says Leighton. The nonprofit encourages employees to live out that mission through unique employee-driven committees for safety, wellness and recognition. The Employee Recognition Commit-

tee honors employees through recognition awards, pop-up events and holiday celebrations to keep morale high. The Employee Wellness Committee provides healthy food in the cafeteria, hosts cooking demonstrations and encourages staff to stay active and healthy. The Employee Safety Committee ensures that Lifebanc has a safe and secure work environment. “We make sure that we reward and recognize on top of our benefits,” says Leighton. “I think what we do is special—everybody who wants to be here knows it and feels it.” —Keely Brown

A GREAT PLACE TO WORK. A GREAT PLACE TO PLAY. Thanks for making Hollywood Gaming one of the Best Workplaces in Ohio for 2019. Stop by Hollywood Gaming and it’s plain to see: People are happy. Our employees. Our guests. Everybody. Why? It’s because we believe in treating people like family. Experience Hollywood Gaming for yourself today.

777 HOLLYWOOD BLVD. • DAYTON, OH. 45414 HollywoodDaytonRaceway.com Must be 21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-589-9966 or visit www.org.ohio.gov for help.

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2019 BEST WORKPLACES IN O H I O

GBQ is honored to be a 2019 Best Workplaces in Ohio. Our sincerest thanks to the best and brightest associates, who make our rm a great ace to work

Machines for those who take pride in what they make

! U O Y NK A TH Selected as Ohio Business Magazine’s

2019 Best Workplaces In Ohio

www.e-ci.com

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CENTRIC CONSULTING The core purpose at Centric Consulting is to create unmatched experiences for its clients and employees. Called UMCX, it is a conscious part of thinking when company officials make a decision. Larr y English, Centric Consulting president, says, “Not a day goes by that our employees don’t live by our core purpose of creating unmatched experiences—thoughtfully caring for each other, our clients and communities.” As part of the process of creating unmatched experiences the Dayton-based company devised a program called Performance Excellence, which provides personalized coaching, mentoring, performance feedback and career planning for individuals based on where they are in their career. In addition, the private business consulting and technology solutions firm founded in 1999 hosts a weekend-long

holiday party—or minivacation—each January for its 189 full-time employees and their guest. Recent locations have included Puerto Vallarta, the Bahamas and Austin, Texas. Because it cares about the work-life balance of its employees, which it calls “In Balance,” Centric Consulting sends Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and new baby gifts to the homes of employees. That work balance is what Gina Heffner, vice president and Columbus practice lead, is most proud of about Centric Consulting’s workplace. “We encourage our people to spend quality time with their friends and family and take that trip they’ve always wanted by providing unlimited paid time off. This ensures our employees stay engaged and happy by allowing them to take time to fully connect with who and what is important to them outside of work.” —Eric Spangler

The verdict is in. Ulmer is a great place to work. Ulmer is proud to be named one of the 2019 Best Workplaces in Ohio. To our employees who do outstanding work every day: thank you.

ur u ine

CLEVELAND

egin

i

y u.

COLUMBUS

CINCINNATI

CHICAGO

BOCA RATON

ULMER.COM

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2019 BEST WORKPLACES IN O H I O

ADVANCED ENGINEERING CONSULTANTS According to Ali Caulkins, marketing coordinator for Advanced Engineering Consultants, the Columbus-based consulting engineering firm was named a best Workplace in Ohio this year because of its open-door policy with all employees. “It helps build trusting and strong relationships. We have engineers that are new grads just out of school and engineers that have been in the industry close to 50 years. And just being able to have open conversations and ask questions and to share experiences really helps … keep everyone thinking and engaged with each other,” she says. This means employees can reach out to managers to discuss both professional and personal problems, talk about career aspirations or pitch new ideas. Even the company’s president, Lisa Huang, is regularly available for a conversation.

This open and flexible attitude is reflected in other aspects of Advanced Engineering Consultants as well. Employees have flexible hours—“Some people get here at 5:30 in the morning, some people stay here until 8:30 at night,” says Caulkins—and the company hosts regular potlucks and team-building events. In addition, employees are encouraged to participate in community events and organizations. For example, this year the company had a team participate in the Dragon Boat Race at the Columbus Asian Festival to support the Asian-American Commerce Group, an organization with which Huang participates. “We work very hard at our projects to please our clients but we also try to have fun,” adds Caulkins. —Corinne Minard

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2019 BEST PLACES TO WORK

Cincinnati School of Music Three locations: 9361 Montgomery Road, Suite B Cincinnati, OH 45242 6682 Tri Way Drive Mason, OH 45040 8315 Beechmont Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45255 513-560-9175 cincinnatischoolofmusic.com

Cincinnati School of Music (CSM) is a family-owned company, established by Joe and Anna Backer, a husband and wife team with a passion for music and community. The Backers started CSM as a professional educational space and community where professional musicians could share their talents and passions by teaching music to children, teens and adults, from beginners to advanced level learners. CSM’s goal is to foster confidence and creativity in its students through exceptional music instruction. With outstanding teachers, unparalleled customer service, excellent facilities and frequent student recitals, it strives to transform lives and bolster the community through music education. With three convenient locations in Olde Montgomery, Mason and Anderson, CSM provides easy access and flexible hours to accommodate today’s busy families. Named one of Ohio’s 50 Best Workplaces for three years, voted “Best Music Instruction” in Cincy Magazine four years in a row, and recognized as “The Face of Music Instruction” in Cincinnati Magazine, CSM takes pride in continuing to meet and exceed the community’s expectations.

The school offers music lessons for children, teens, and adults in piano, guitar, ukulele, voice, violin, viola, cello, drums, clarinet and flute. It welcomes beginners, intermediate and advanced level students. In addition to providing excellent music instruction, CSM has friendly and professional office staff available every day to ensure an organized and outstanding experience for students and their families at CSM. CSM is the only music school in Cincinnati that offers music lessons in three convenient locations, with availability seven days a week. CSM has helpful and friendly office staff available weekdays and weekends to assist students and parents with scheduling requests and any other questions. CSM hosts monthly Student Recitals, so there are ample performance opportunities for students to showcase their skills. Another fun perk of being a CSM student is the Student Picture Day, where students can get a professional headshot with their musical instrument! Additionally, CSM is the only music school in Cincinnati that offers Level Up, a fun and innovative nationally recognized stu-

dent achievement program that helps students and parents better understand and track their musical progress in lessons. Participating students can earn prizes for their accomplishments through this program, helping to maintain motivation and excitement about practicing. Parents stay informed with automatic progress updates as their child achieves musical milestones.


Deceuninck North America 351 Garver Road Monroe, OH 45050 877-563-4251 deceuninckNA.com

2019 BEST PLACES TO WORK Deceuninck North America is part of the Deceuninck Group, an integrated global organization specializing in the design and manufacture of PVC window and door systems. Deceuninck NA operates two high-efficiency manufacturing facilities in the US: one in Monroe, Ohio, which is also the North American headquarters, and a second facility in Fernley, Nevada. The company holds over 200 patents on designs, processes, technologies and material science. Deceuninck’s PVC window and door systems are used in residential and commercial building projects throughout the U.S. The company’s commitment to its three pillars of innovation, design and sustainability make it an industry leader. And with its drive to be an industry innovator, the company is always working to create new processes, new materials and new products. According to Deceuninck NA, smarter fenestration is half art and half science. Its products meet today’s demand for modern, timeless design and energy efficiency while striving to achieve the lowest possible ecological footprint. And at the heart of everything is Deceuninck NA’s commitment to service. The Voice of the Customer guides everything it does and makes it a better, more focused partner. It’s the combination of all of these approaches and attitudes that have led to the company’s success.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers 4340 Glendale-Milford Rd. Blue Ash, Ohio 513-769-6000 FreddysUSA.com

2019 BEST PLACES TO WORK Freddy’s in Cincinnati understands in this thriving economy that employee satisfaction is key. A winning culture where we continue to offer development and training to all staff members from crew to senior management is an integral part of our operation. Encouraging our employees to engage in the community from Chamber of Commerce meetings, to work sessions on leadership or even local events, allows our team to represent our brand, to understand our trade areas and most importantly develop relationships in our communities.

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2019 BEST PLACES TO WORK

LeafFilter Gutter Protection

In 2005, Matt Kaulig sold one product out of his home: LeafFilter Gutter Protection. At the end of 2009, Kaulig acquired the distribution rights to LeafFilter in North America, which set his company on the path to becoming one of the top home improvement companies in the nation. While other gutter protection and home improvement companies are typically managed through a dealer network, LeafFilter is a no-dealer network. This gives Kaulig control over the customer experience from sales to service, as well as quality control of the product. In addition to offering quality service to consumers, Kaulig created a positive work environment full of motivation. Kaulig has created an enthusiastic employee base, offering opportunities for growth, competitive compensation packages, 401K retirement plans and paid health care. LeafFilter is now responsible for generating over 1,500 positions, with hundreds of those positions catering to locals at LeafFilter’s corporate headquarters in Hudson, Ohio.

Matt Kaulig

Visit midwesterntraveler.com to plan your next getaway 48

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OSA AWARDS

Celebrating Success

INAUGURAL EVENT DRAWS HUNDREDS TO COLUMBUS STATEHOUSE BY TERRY TROY

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naugural events can be tricky. It’s hard to get people excited about something that has never happened before, or something for which there is no previous reference. It’s even harder when that first fete honors something as nebulous as business success—which is very hard to define, let alone celebrate. Yet by all accounts Ohio Business Magazine’s Inaugural Ohio Success Awards, held at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus in March, was a resounding success. “The venue was spectacular and the breakout panels were informative and inspiring,” says Amy Scalia, publisher – Ohio Operations, Ohio Business Magazine. “The keynote was a truly intriguing entrepreneur in a unique fireside chat format I think we all learned a lot from.” Designed as an annual event to honor the most successful and consistent business 50

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organizations and leaders in our State, this year’s Ohio Success Awards honored 53 organizations that have seen growth in revenue and/or employees, as well as demonstrating service in their industry and involvement in their community. For profit companies were honored as well as nonprofits that have made a significant impact on the communities they serve. The awards also honored governmental organization creating unique value or opportunities based on their ingenuity, partnership and perseverance. While the Ohio Success Awards recognized all the leaders that have demonstrated beyond comparison that their efforts have made a lasting impact, it also served as a forum for attendees to connect with other decision-makers on their objectives and the issues all business leaders face across our State. The day started with two breakout ses-

sions, both of which played to packed houses. In the first session, attendees heard from a panel of members from the National Association of Women Business Owners headed up by Christy Farnbauch, executive director of NAWBO Columbus—the largest chapter in the nation. The session included a discussion of the many challenges businesswomen face in terms of obtaining financing and clients as well as legislation that impacts their business. The second session was hosted by transformational coach, motivational speaker and author Melissa Kirkpatrick, who offered advice on how to find your drive, to help business leaders and entrepreneurs gain clarity and focus on their goals with excitement and a solid plan, while eliminating the doubt, negativity or confusion that often holds business professionals back.


LEFT: Emcee Pete Scalia of media partner 10TV interviews Joe DeLoss, founder of Hot Chicken Takeover. CENTER TOP: The first session was led by NAWBO members and Executive Director of NAWBO Columbus, Christy Farnbauch. CENTER BOTTOM: Motivational speaker and author Melissa Kirkpatrick motivates second session attendees to find their drive. RIGHT: Amy Scalia of Ohio Business Magazine presents an Ohio Success Award to Regina Gullette of Sunrise Treatment Center.

In the fireside-style keynote that followed the two sessions, emcee Pete Scalia from media partner 10TV interviewed entrepreneur Joe DeLoss, founder of the successful and growing restaurant chain Hot Chicken Takeover, about getting his business off the ground, handling its current growth and facing the challenges of the future. “Our award recipients came from across the state to celebrate each other’s accomplishments,” adds Scalia. “It was a spectacular way to launch the Ohio Success Awards as an annual Ohio Business Magazine event and our team looks forward to building on this success in the future.” The event was made possible through event sponsors and Ohio Business Magazine partners, which included: Custom Design Benefits, GBQ Partners, Melissa Kirkpatrick, NAWBO, Superior Dental Care and WBNS 10TV. n

SPONSORS

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LAST WORD

Three Questions for Governor DeWine

BY TERRY TROY

Governor Mike DeWine and his family visit the Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, hometown of Neil Armstrong.

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ith the launch of its Find It Here marketing campaign, TourismOhio also created RoadTrips. Ohio.org to help travelers find their perfect road trip. “Ohio is located within a day’s drive of 60 percent of the U.S. population, and research tells us Ohio visitors are driving here from surrounding states,” says Matt MacLaren, director of TourismOhio. “We created RoadTrips.Ohio.org to be a fun and easy way for families and friends to find experiences they can enjoy together.” One of those road trips entitled “To the Moon and Back,” celebrates Ohio’s rich space and aviation heritage. “It’s a road trip that includes the Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Neil Armstrong’s hometown, which is also a scene in one of our new commercials for the Find It Here brand,” says MacLaren. “This is the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon. Like all of our new road trips, ‘To the Moon and Back’ celebrates the 52

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accomplishments of Ohioans like Neil Armstrong and John Glenn as well as organizations like the NASA Glenn Center and the National Museum of the United States Air Force among others that have played such a large role in space and aviation history.” The significance of Ohio’s role in space and aviation and the importance of travel and tourism to our State’s economy is certainly not lost on Governor Mike DeWine. So we asked the Governor three questions about travel and tourism in our State.

OB: WHY IS YOUR ADMINISTRATION PLACING SUCH IMPORTANCE ON THE TRAVEL AND TOURISM INDUSTRIES?

Governor DeWine: Visitors bring in billions of dollars in spending each year, and these industries are a critical part of our economy. We want people to know about the great experiences they can have here in Ohio—that whatever they’re looking for, they can “Find It Here.”

OB: WHAT CAN WE BE DOING BETTER IN TERMS OF NATURAL ASSETS AND/OR MARKETING TO ATTRACT PEOPLE TO OUR STATE?

Governor DeWine: As Midwesterners, we sometimes take ourselves for granted, but if you ask someone who comes to Ohio from somewhere else, many times they come here, and they don’t want to leave. As Governor, I am in the business of selling Ohio. I’ve told businesses and communities, if they need the Governor to pick up the phone, I will do it. We want people to know what we know—that Ohio is a phenomenal place to be.

OB: WHERE DO YOU SEE THE TRAVEL AND TOURISM INDUSTRY AT THE END OF YOUR FIRST ADMINISTRATION?

Governor DeWine: We have a strong tool in JobsOhio, and I’ve said that I want JobsOhio to work more closely with our travel and tourism folks. Ultimately, we want more visitors, we want them to spend more when they come here, and we want more of them to stay here. n


West Chester Hospital is recognized as one of “America’s 250 Best Hospitals” by Healthgrades and as a top workplace by Ohio Business Magazine and the Cincinnati Enquirer. West Chester Hospital combines clinical expertise, compassion and research to address the most complex medical conditions. Learn more about how you can become a part of our winning team at uchealth.com/careers.


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Ohio Business Magazine Summer 2019  

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Ohio Business Magazine Summer 2019  

Best Workplaces in Ohio!

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