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THE WOMEN IN BUSINESS ISSUE

FOUR WOMEN ON HOW THEY DID IT

GUEST COLUMN: NAWBO COLUMBUS

49 Companies That Have Grown and Positively Impacted Their Communities

OHIO LAW FIRM TACKLES GENDER DISPARITY


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CONTENTS

SPRING 2020

OHIO’S AUTO INDUSTRY

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Drivers Start Your Engines Ohio’s auto shows help rev up our state’s economy. BY TERRY TROY Automakers Driving a New Direction Commitment to unions and Ohio workforce still strong. BY TERRY TROY

Letter from the Editor BY TERRY TROY Ohio Brands Marco’s Pizza has grown into a national chain. BY LYNNE THOMPSON

DATELINE

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Cincinnati Gold Star reinvents itself to reinclude burgers and more. BY DAVID HOLTHAUS Akron Inaugural Greater Akron Inclusion Summit moves the needle. BY JILL SELL Columbus Columbus Fashion Week displays dynamic design community. BY GAIL BURKHARDT

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Ohio Success Awards The second annual Ohio Success Awards showcase the growing businesses of Ohio. BY THE EDITORS Women in Business Women business owners are an important part of Ohio’s economy. To learn more about this important group we spoke with knowledgeable people from across the state for this special feature. BY THE EDITORS

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Midwestern Traveler Ohio is home to almost every type of museum, from art and history to today’s veterans. BY CORINNE MINARD Executive Q&A Th ree questions for Michelle Primm, managing partner, Cascade Auto Group. BY TERRY TROY

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A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Celebrating Success I

n this issue we celebrate Women in Business. It’s recognition that is long overdue. Over the past three decades, women have made incredible in-roads in business as well as science and industry. They have proven their ability to not only compete, but lead. And the stories you’ll read in our special section feature the role of women in diverse fields such as health care, law, accounting, finance and wealth management, to name but a few. These women faced incredible adversity to attain their roles in today’s competitive business environment; not only helping their companies compete on a world stage, but many times overcoming a mindset and perceptions that still limit their ability to rise above the fray and into positions of power. It may seem, in this day and age, that such limitations on women are the stuff of fiction. Yet Terry Troy challenges remain. Inclusion, not only by gender but race and ethnicity, has become not only the right thing to do, but also a business imperative. It has become critical to the success of any business today. Pick up just about any periodical worth its salt and the stories jump right out at you: workforce diversity is still a challenge. The focus should not only be on diversity, but on hiring, and then creating a business culture that embraces inclusion and belonging. Even organizations that have spent incredible capital, time and effort find that it takes a long time to turn this ship around. We need to start accepting new ideas on inclusion, and including more diverse employee populations in the decision-making process. This way, employees bring with them a sense of ownership to the business endeavor. That often leads to overwhelming success. Which brings us to another very important section of this issue. On these pages, we are also recognizing the winners of the Ohio Success Awards, profiling the best and brightest of our state’s companies and corporations—and what they have done to rise to the top. So kudos to our Women in Business. Congratulations to our OSA winners. You folks are setting an example for all of us. And for the rest of us, let’s continue to strive for success no matter how elusive it may seem. But let’s also strive to maintain and foster a culture of inclusion and diversity. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the best thing to do. And in the end, it will help as all be a little more successful. n

Family and Veteran Owned

President: Eric Harmon

Editor: Terry Troy

Managing Editor: Corinne Minard

Contributing Writers: Gail Burkhardt David Holthaus 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 Advertising Coordinator: Katelynn Webb

Sales: Jon Castonguay Abbey Cummins Kristine Granata Brad Hoicowitz Rick Seeney Donna Sobczak

Events Director: Stephanie Simon

Events Coordinator: Amanda Watt

Editorial Intern: Menna Elarman

Work-Study Students: Aixa Velaquez Comar Watson

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. w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S p r i n g 2 0 2 0 3

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OHIO BRANDS

Rolling in Dough MARCO’S PIZZA HAS GROWN INTO A NATIONAL CHAIN

BY LYNNE THOMPSON

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hy are you putting a pizzeria here?” It’s a question Pasquale “Pat” Giammarco repeatedly heard in the summer of 1978 as he prepared to open his first Marco’s Pizza shop in Oregon, Ohio, just east of Toledo. There were, of course, other pizza shops in the area—a spot Giammarco chose during a trip to Toledo to rent a tuxedo for a friend’s wedding in nearby Monroe, Michigan. But Giammarco believed his pies were far better. He was a true born-and-bred Italian, one who immigrated to the United States at the age of 9 and worked in his family’s Dearborn, Michigan, pizzeria. There he and his father developed a sauce recipe using fresh Roma tomatoes that he planned to use, along with dough made fresh daily, premium meats and fresh vegetables. Upbringing and experience had taught him the value of using the best ingredients available.

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“[People] would come from 20 miles away, a lot of times,” he recalls of the result. “And we would just start opening up more locations, where we knew people were coming from. I didn’t have any marketing-type skills, but I had an idea. As long as I knew there were people there, they would eat Marco’s Pizza.” Giammarco was right. Over the last 41 years, that fledgling regional chain has grown into a national operation with just under 950 stores—40 are company-run, the rest are franchises—in 35 states, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, earning accolades such as America’s Most Loved Pizza in a 2019 Harris Poll. Last year it totaled approximately $600 million in domestic sales. Tony Libardi, president and chief operating officer of Marco’s Franchising LLC, expected to open the 1,000th Marco’s Pizza location just before or after the end of 2019. And the company’s appetite for growth doesn’t end

Tony Libardi, president and COO of Marco’s Franchising

there. Libardi talks of plans to expand into international markets beyond the Caribbean, despite ending a three-year foray into India with the closing of all four franchise stores— a setback he attributes to a number of factors. “We still are very bullish on getting into Canada,” he says. “We’re actively recruiting [franchisees] in Mexico and the Dominican [Republic] and Central America. In fact, we’re negotiating Panama and Costa Rica as we speak.” While Marco’s Pizza is firmly rooted in Giammarco’s quality product, Libardi attributes its growth to Marco’s Franchising Chief Executive Officer Jack Butorac, a franchise-operations veteran responsible for the proliferation of Zapata’s, Chi-Chi’s and Fuddruckers restaurants during his tenure with each company. In 2002 Butorac was working as a consultant. He was asked to analyze Marco’s Pizza as a potential growth opportunity. He was impressed by

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Founder Pasquale “Pat” Giammarco tossing a pie back in the day.

what he found at five Marco’s stores during a drive through Ohio: “different exteriors and inconsistent branding, but the same great pizza at each location,” according to his biography. Two years later, after working as a consultant with Giammarco, Butorac purchased the franchise rights and brand with the goal of making the 123-store Marco’s Pizza a national chain. Libardi notes that Butorac differentiated Marco’s from competitors such as Domino’s, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut by touting its Italian heritage, one that celebrates craftsmanship and attention to every detail. Giammarco, after all, was still a shareholder and franchisee.  “We were able to go out and say, ‘Hey, we’re a better pizza than theirs because our founder really toiled over the recipes, not just the quality of ingredients but the dough recipe, the sauce recipe, the [three-] cheese blend that we use—every aspect was contemplated and detailed,’” Libardi says. “And so Jack was able to elevate that, really, over the next decade.” By the time Libardi left his job as Burger King’s vice president of U.S. operations to become Marco’s Franchising’s executive vice president of operations in June 2014, the company was celebrating its 500th Marco’s Pizza store opening in Wilmington, North Carolina, along with a recent entree into the international market with four franchise locations in Nassau, Bahamas. A year later, it opened the fi rst of what is now 34 locations in Puerto Rico. But in some ways the company was still

what Libardi calls “a very local, mom-andpop style of operation.” Libardi began standardizing and automating operating systems, processes and the procedures, introducing technologies such as a cloudbased e-learning enterprise for employees to support and facilitate growth, along with continued replication of the tasty experience Giammarco had created. In 2017, shortly after Libardi became chief operating officer, the company began working with a new advertising agency to develop a national strategy to replace its localized, print-heavy marketing. “We are on TV in all 50 states in 2019, advertising to folks that have never heard of us before, improving our brand-awareness numbers, improving our new-customer growth, our trials—in fact, improving our growth strategy,” he says. Growth, however, has its challenges. The advent of third-party aggregators such as Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub has upped competition for drivers and delivered-food dollars dramatically, even for companies such as Marco’s that partner with them. “Four years ago, five years ago, if you wanted something delivered to your home, you had one option: It was pizza,” he notes. The availability of space to lease is scarcer, as is the availability of labor. Since adding the title of president to his business card in late 2017, Libardi has worked to address those challenges by developing a new store prototype with a smaller footprint that allows the franchi-

see to own the building and only pay for a ground lease, and focusing on making Marco’s Pizza “the employer of choice, the partner of choice and the pizza of choice.” Surveys emailed to roughly 300,000 customers a year gauge satisfaction via nine performance metrics, from product quality and temperature to store cleanliness and employee friendliness. An automated survey-based tool tracks employee satisfaction from onboarding to exit, the results of which are compiled and made available to franchisees. And an employer-branding strategy helps employees realize life goals such as managing or owning a store. (Libardi gives the example of the delivery driver who is now a six-store franchisee.) Success is measured by whether employees would recommend Marco’s Pizza to friends and relatives as an employer, a likelihood that has increased over the last two years. “[Brand] loyalty comes when you’ve reached highly satisfied guests,” he says. “Well, you’ve got to have highly satisfied, highly engaged employees before you can really drive highly satisfied guests. We believe those two run together in order to really achieve the maximum sales potential of a store and, ultimately, the profitability”—factors key in becoming franchisees’ partner of choice. He adds that the company regularly interacts with its 350 current franchisees via an advisory board made up of store owners elected by their peers, committees that work with the company on everything from marketing to technology, and town halls. “We work very, very hard at being collaborative.” The initiatives have paid off. Libardi describes booms in Dallas and Houston, Florida, the Carolinas, Tennessee and Alabama. He sees more opportunity in Colorado and Kansas. The company’s executive team wants to become the fourth-largest pizza chain in the United States. Today, Marco’s Pizza is the sixth largest, according to the QSR Magazine Top 50 rankings of the limited-service restaurant industry’s pizza category for 2018. While Libardi is confident Marco’s Pizza soon will replace Papa Murphy’s in fifth place, ousting 3,600-location Papa John’s from fourth is “a big, hairy, ostentatious goal.” To achieve it will require a strong partnership with franchisees who harbor a passion for growth. “We want to get our franchisees wildly excited so they can be part of something very special,” he says. ■ w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

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DATELINE: CINCINNATI

Back to the Future GOLD STAR REINVENTS ITSELF TO RE-INCLUDE BURGERS AND MORE BY DAVID HOLTHAUS

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n 1965, the Daoud brothers, Dave, Charlie, Frank and Basheer, pooled their money to buy a diner called Hamburger Heaven in Cincinnati’s Mount Washington neighborhood. Despite its name, Hamburger Heaven was one of the few restaurants in that part of town serving Cincinnati-style chili at the time. Recognizing Cincinnatians’ love of the unique concoction, the brothers dropped the burgers from the menu; in fact, they dropped most of the menu to focus on the spicy chili and the recipes made with spaghetti, cheese, beans and onions, the now familiar three- four- and five-way creations that Cincinnati has become known for. That single restaurant expanded over the years into Gold Star Chili, a chain of chili parlors that at one time numbered more than 100 in Greater Cincinnati. 6

Today, as part of a broader restaging of the 55-year-old chain, CEO Roger David, son of Charlie Daoud, is going back to the future and bringing back the fresh, made-to-order burgers, with its own “Heavenly” special sauce and paired with its all-American partners, fries and milk shakes. It’s one piece of the overall strategy to expand the brand and differentiate the chain from its chief competition, Skyline Chili. Part of the effort is a slight name change. “I removed ‘chili’ from our logo,” David says. “It’s something my uncles still cringe over. So now we’re just ‘Gold Star.’” Gold Star is now more than chili, although the Cincinnati variety is still its bread and butter, or its ground beef and spice you might say.

In 2017, the company entered a new market with its purchase of Tom and Chee, a concept that started as a food truck, hit it big with an appearance on Shark Tank, and then expanded with its menu of creatively made grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. David and his team were looking for another dining concept that they could grow. “We recognized Tom and Chee as another Cincinnati brand and people were very passionate about it,” he says. “They tapped into a niche that was not being served,” David says. “Something very simple, but they were executing it in a more sophisticated manner.” But they expanded too fast, without the back-office infrastructure to provide enough marketing and operations support to their franchisees, David says. Differently sized stores created costly overhead and the

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A new Gold Star restaurant exterior

RIGHT: Made-to-order burgers have been brought back onto Gold Star’s menu.

are the partners we want to fuel that growth.” The purchase of Tom and Chee led to the creation of a new organizational structure that could encompass both brands and allow for further expansion or acquisition into new markets menu became too difficult or formats. for customers to navigate. GSR Brands, created CEO Roger David A f ter buy ing it, “We earlier this year, became resized the footprint and the parent organization of brought the investment level down for fran- both brands. “We needed to create a holdchisees,” David says. “We re-engineered ing company, an organization that both of the workflow and equipment, tweaked the these brands could live under,” David says. logo and addressed the menu.” The holding company will allow for posThe sandwiches, ranging in price from sible future acquisitions as well, David says. $6.99 to $7.99, are no longer called “grilled “We’ll look at other concepts and day cheese,” but the more substantive “melts” parts,” he says. One day part he’s currently instead. “Calling them grilled cheese and eyeing is the 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. breakfast and trying to get those dollars was a value issue lunch dining concept. for some of the past guests,” David says. As for the 55-year-old Gold Star brand, it Tom and Chee now has 11 franchised needed retooling. Skyline dominates the locations in seven states, and a 12th, this Cincinnati chili scene, so Gold Star needed to differentiate itself while keeping true to one company-owned, is in the pipeline. “That brand, we think, can play more its chili parlor heritage. nationally,” David says. “With that brand, Over the past few years, the company it’s more where do we want to grow and who has invested $25 million into its stores and LEFT: While Gold Star is now more than chili, the Cincinnati variety is still its bread and butter.

marketing. Much of that was spent on a store redesign of the dining space as well as the kitchen and work areas. The new design is being rolled out to new locations. “We needed to be more current and not abandon our heritage,” David says. “We’re telling the brand story in a more contemporary atmosphere.” The company also created a format for online ordering and delivery. With the new menu and the new look, the Gold Star brand still has room to grow, with the core market being within a 100mile radius of Cincinnati. “I’ve created a concept that I believe will more successful in a 100-mile radius of Cincinnati than what we had before,” he says. “In addition, I’ve created meaningful differentiation right here in our home market.” The company recently hired a franchise development director to attract new franchisees for both brands, and to prospect for and qualify new and existing franchisees and track their progress. It also hired a field marketing manager to work with franchisees on brand marketing, communications, advertising and public relations. David has also hired a director of training to develop and implement standard training programs across the brand for every franchise to use and to oversee new restaurant training, as well as training current employees before remodeled restaurants open to the public. It’s part of a refocus on the in-store customer experience, to have guests leave with smiles on their faces, not only from the food but from the service. “My family has always been known for hospitality,” David says. “We make you feel like family. Our vision is to live in a more hospitable world.” ■ w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

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Dateline: Akron

More than Talk Inaugural Greater Akron Inclusion Summit moves the needle

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his time it just felt different. Sure, there have been smaller seminars and workshops about diversity and inclusion in Akron. People made promises, patted themselves and others on the back and had a nice lunch. There was nothing wrong with that, but… At the inaugural Greater Akron Inclusion Summit held last year, however, attendees, panelists and sponsoring organizations knew “talking about it just wasn’t good enough anymore,” according to Steve Millard, president of the Greater Akron Chamber. The chamber was one of the four Elevate Greater Akron core partners that presented the event attended by about 400 people, along with the City of Akron, County of Summit and the GAR Foundation. 8

“I didn’t expect the honest, historical perspective that was taken to begin the conversation,” says Judi Hill, one of the summit’s panelists and president of the Akron Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) that celebrates 100 years of advocacy for civil rights and equity this year. “For the city to take ownership was powerful. It was touching to me.” Hill is “quietly optimistic” that the time is right in Akron to make diversity and inclusion in the workforce a reality. Within a few weeks of the event, she met with several local business leaders who asked how they could get to the next step. “We are treading in a territory we have never been before,” says Hill. “I recognize

By Jill Sell

it will be a challenge. But I don’t want anyone to give up.” Many Akron churches, community nonprofits and other organizations have historically embraced diversity and inclusion, according to Millard. But the fact that Akron businesses are seriously recognizing the importance of the movement is what “will move the needle,” he says. The impact of diversity and inclusion on business success has been documented from everyone from the Harvard Business School to CoreAxis, a business performance consulting company. Most studies say authentic diversity in a business can narrow the talent gap many companies face; create higher financial awards; improve a company’s reputation and ability

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Dr. Brian Brian Harte, Cleveland Clinic Akron General

to recruit; increase innovation, creativity and problem solving; and lower employee turnover. Millard says unfortunately for many years real barriers have been created in education and employment, holding back minorities who want to work, are qualified and who can make a positive difference to Akron’s economy. “Something is going on in Akron. We can’t connect these people to employers,” says Millard. Millard cites stats showing 31% of Akron’s population is AfricanAmerican. According to World Population Review, the rest of Akron’s racial composition is 60.33% white, 4.3% two or more races, 3.97% Asian, 0.55% other race, 0.28% Native

Para Jones, Stark State College

American, and 0.02% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. Millard also says the overall black population unemployment rate is 6 to 15% higher than other groups. He did, however, cite several local companies that have a good track record with diversity and inclusion, including the area’s medical institutions, Huntington Bank and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Dr. Brian Harte, president of Cleveland Clinic Akron General and another summit panelist, says his institution “will look internally with honestly and set challenging goals that reflect what the organization aspires to be and reflects the community we serve.” Billy Taylor is Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.’s global director, diversity and inclusion. Taylor believes that “as the demographics of the workforce and our communities evolve, employers like Goodyear and communities like Akron must grow in order to thrive.” “Creating an inclusive economy and environment is not just the right thing to do—it’s what will allow us to grow and thrive,” says Taylor, a summit panelist. Minority students comprise about 50% of Stark State College’s enrollment, according to Para Jones, the school’s president. Jones looks at diversity and inclusion from two angles—the students’ perspective and the role of the institution as an employer. “We have to make sure our students of color have the same success rate as our white students,” says Jones. “Students bring their lives with them when they come to class, no matter who they are. They might have food or housing insecurities, or a parent or sibling with a drug problem. We want to do an even better job of connecting

Steve Millard, Greater Akron Chamber

students not just with academic help, but community resources.” To ensure a diverse workforce at the college, Jones vows more aggressive recruiting and “casting a broader net” to find eligible candidates on all job levels. That can mean partnering with high schools, college graduate programs or community organizations to uncover potential employees. “I think the wind is at our back because so many of our organizations are looking at these issues right now. As we learned through Elevate Greater Akron, employers want to do something now. But it is also challenging. How do we do a better job at matching people and jobs?” Millard and Hill caution attitudes and practices will not change overnight, as it has taken generations to get where we are now. But “everyone can do at least one thing” to make diversity and inclusion not just buzzwords in annual corporate reports, but a normal part of a business climate. Millard reports “75% of jobs today are being driven by referrals.” Make certain those doing the referrals make up a diverse group, say inclusion experts. As an employer, post jobs in a variety of ways and include minority outlets that you might not have considered previously. Re-think “preferred qualifications” versus “required qualifications.” A bachelor’s degree is a plus, but is it always necessary? Also weigh experience, aptitude, potential contributions and other skills. Don’t just have an “inclusive” work environment on paper. If the effort is not sincere, employees won’t stay. “You have to first believe there is an issue. And then we have to ask ourselves—do we have the fortitude to make changes?” says Hill. n w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . s p r i n g 2 0 2 0

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DATELINE: COLUMBUS

On The Catwalk COLUMBUS FASHION WEEK DISPLAYS DYNAMIC DESIGN COMMUNITY BY GAIL BURKHARDT

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igh tea and a runway show kicked off the 10th annual Columbus Fashion Week, which showcased the vibrant fashion industry in Central Ohio. The High Fashion Tea at the Westin Great Southern Columbus hotel on Oct. 13 was one of five runway shows and six total events for the week, which has grown greatly since it began in 2010. The week concluded with the Finale Runway Show featuring eight designers as well as about 1,000 spectators including buyers, designers and media from Columbus and around the country. Fashion Week Executive Director and founder Thomas McClure is proud of how the week has flourished since he dreamed the idea in 2010, five years after moving to the area from Dallas. “We were, at the time, the 15th largest city in the nation and I thought, ‘Why don’t we have a fashion week?’” McClure says. McClure hit the ground running with the idea. 10

“That year we just took a leap of faith,” he says of the original four-day fashion week, which began with what was called the Mayor’s High Fashion Tea and ended with the Finale Runway Show with about 300 attendees. Since 2010, Columbus Fashion Week has featured top designers from the area and a headline designer, who in recent years has come from other parts of the country. Th is year’s fi nale show was headlined by Christian Cowan, a celebrity designer who has outfitted the likes of Miley Cyrus, Paris Hilton and Lady Gaga, McClure says. Featuring Columbus-area designers has helped to launch many fashion careers, including that of Gerardo Encinas, who showed two different collections this year. Encinas showed quinceañera dresses, celebrating his native Mexico, at the Tea, and men’s and women’s fashions at the Finale Runway Show. “The platform after my first runway show was amazing. A lot of people knew about

my collection and my designs...It opened a lot of doors for me and business,” says Encinas of his fi rst year in Fashion Week in 2016. Encinas now designs for Nina West, a Columbus-area drag performer who has appeared on the television show RuPaul’s Drag Race. Encinas also recently received a contract to design costumes for Opera Columbus. “Fashion week was the best thing that ever happened to me,” he says.

CENTRAL OHIO’S FASHION INDUSTRY Launching the careers of designers and creating business in Central Ohio are goals of Fashion Week, which has provided $25,000 in scholarships to students and Columbus College of Art & Design. “The huge win is the economic development. We are allowing these designers to start a business to generate revenue and open showrooms,” says Lubna Najjar, the board president of the Columbus Fashion

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Council, which runs Fashion Week. Najjar has her own Fashion Week success story. After showing at Fashion Week in 2013, she sold her designs to 18 stores in just 18 months. More recently a large retailer bought her collection. Six months after fashion week in 2013, Najjar opened a showroom in Columbus’ Short North neighborhood. Najjar, who has a business background, ended up giving advice to up-and-coming designers about the business of fashion. She converted that advice into IL Moda Brand Development, a consulting firm for designers. IL Moda provides free consulting to all of the Columbus-area designers in Fashion Week. “It is really awesome to be in Columbus and help these small businesses to make mindful business decisions to grow themselves outside of designing on their kitchen table,” says Najjar. One of those local designers is Tracy Powell, a Columbus College of Art and Design student who is in her second career.

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A former real estate agent, Powell was the only student to show at Fashion Week this year, and she is grateful for opportunities Fashion Week will provide for her career. “I feel like it’s going to get my name out as a local designer,” she says. “My plans are to have my own boutique, but my dream is to do costume design for TV and movies.” In addition to many individual designers, the Columbus area is home to the headquarters of L Brands, which owns Victoria’s Secret, Pink and Bath and Body Works, as well as Lane Bryant, DSW and Abercrombie and Fitch. In 2012, City Lab, a subsidiary of The Atlantic magazine, ranked Columbus as the city with the third most fashion designers in the country. “We have a great fashion design community. With the industry itself, we are missing one component that really would complete the wheel, and that is manufacturing,” says Fashion Week founder McClure, noting that he thinks manufacturing will come to the region soon.

1. A model takes the stage in Tracy Powell of The House of ISA. 2. A model wearing Rian Is & Matthew Chess of Maris Equi during Columbus Fashion Week. 3. A model in Joan Madison of Joan’s Bridal Couture. 4. A model leads the way in Ferret Campos of Ferret Campos New York. 5. Fashion Week Executive Director Tommy McClure

Fashion’s Future Central Ohio also boasts developing designers. Fashionista, a fashion industry blog, named Columbus College of Art & Design as a top school for Fashion Design in its 2018 ranking. Ohio State University also has a highly respected Fashion and Retail Studies program. Each year Fashion Week hosts a Philanthropy Meets Fashion question-andanswer session with the headline designer for CCAD students. “It inspires our local designers and our student designers,” McClure says. “It also lets them know what the industry is about.” The Columbus Fashion Council plans to create more social enterprise programs and grants for new designers to grow the industry in Central Ohio. Najjar, the council’s president, is enthusiastic about what the future will bring. “What’s really exciting about Columbus is that we’ve got so much talent and what we do with that as a community is really going to build our future,” she says. n w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . s p r i n g 2 0 2 0

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Drivers, Start Your

ENGINES OHIO’S AUTO SHOWS HELP REV UP OUR STATE’S ECONOMY

BY TERRY TROY

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his month and next, the doors will open on five major auto shows in cities across Ohio. For serious buyers, it offers a chance to see the latest models—to sit in, evaluate and winnow down purchasing choices. For others, it’s simply an afternoon of family entertainment—especially for children who love to see shiny new cars and trucks. For Ohio’s economy, however, there’s much more at stake: no less than 91,529 direct and indirect jobs, $36.8 billion in direct sales, $2.3 billion in payroll taxes and $2.1 billion in state sales taxes. “The 55,000 or so direct jobs at auto dealerships are well-paying positions,” says Zach Doran, president of the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association (OADA). “When our state reports sales tax, which they do on a monthly basis, it’s usually all lumped together—with the exception of vehicles. That’s broken out on a line item called ‘sales tax auto.’ So it’s important enough to have its own line item.” 12

It should be, given that it represents 15.5 of all sales taxes in our state. Clearly, Ohio’s franchised new vehicle dealers are where the rubber meets the road in terms of our state’s economy. And their dependence on local and regional auto shows is paramount. Yet the auto show model has come under fire of late. National and international shows have lost exhibitors and some automakers simply don’t see the value of an auto show as a launching pad for major vehicle introductions. Attendance at the Los Angeles Auto Show has been shrinking for the last three years. The North American International Auto Show in Detroit moved its dates for 2019 and 2020 from January to June in hopes of bolstering attendance. And the news out of the 2019 Frankfort Motor Show in Europe was especially troubling. According to trade publication Automotive News, 24 brands were absent from the show in 2019. Some international auto executives were even commenting that the show in Frankfort was a ”huge fail.”

So why are regional shows like the Cleveland Auto Show, Columbus International Auto Show, Cincinnati Auto Expo, Dayton Auto Show and Toledo Auto Show still flourishing? Is show management casting some sort of spell over the car-buying public that forces them into exhibition halls? While that last question would on its face seem facetious, it’s actually partially true, the key being the hyphenated modifier of “public.” International shows like LA, Detroit and Frankfort were at one time used as major launching pads for vehicle introductions. Today, major automotive brands have chosen to stage their own press events for vehicle launches. And they also choose to stage those events in cities that are near and dear to their target markets. For instance, a manufacturer today might stage a truck introduction at the Texas State Fair, or a luxury vehicle might create its own press event set against the glamour and glitz of a major city like New York. This way, the

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new vehicle takes center stage, and garners all of the attention, rather than being simply one of 15 world introductions at a major show. However, regional shows, like those held in Ohio, jump-start sales in target markets, getting people out of the show and into the showroom, all while entertaining the masses. For the Cleveland Auto Show, by far and away Ohio’s largest, it’s all about driving sales in the market. “When you talk about our impact on sales in our market, we are probably rated among the top five shows in the nation,” says Louis A. Vitantonio, president of the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association, the organization that hosts the show. “Chicago may be slightly better in terms of its impact, but we’re a close second or third every year. There may be a few shows in the country that sell more cars than we do, but very few that have the impact that we have on our market.” In addition to being a longer duration than the other auto shows in Ohio, the Cleveland Auto Show is set in the cavern-

Zach Doran, Ohio Automobile Dealers Association

Ken Ganley, Ganley Automotive Group

ous I-X Center near Cleveland Hopkins Airport, giving it ample display space for nearly 1,000 vehicles. The show also features A-list exhibitions from virtually every major automotive brand and on-site test drives called Ride-N-Drives. Indeed, the Cleveland Auto Show actually pioneered the Ride-N-Drive concept. Last year, there were two indoor rides from Jeep and Ram Truck, which traversed 12- and 15-foot hills over their course, among other obstacles. It all sets the stage for the excitement that happens in dealerships following the show. “March is always our busiest month of the year, mainly because of the Cleveland Auto Show,” says Ken Ganley, president of the Ganley Automotive Group, Ohio’s largest automotive retailer. “The show is the one time that consumers can look at almost every brand at one time and compare. Plus, the Ride-N-Drives give you the opportunity to actually get behind the wheel and see how they actually drive.” The Cincinnati Auto Expo is the Tristate region’s largest automotive industry event, featuring the latest models from more than 31 different manufacturers. Each year, the event draws guests from throughout the area from over 30 counties and the three states in the region. “The Cincinnati Auto Expo serves as a real catalyst for the spring selling season,” says Charlie Howard, executive vice president of the Greater Cincinnati Automobile Dealers Association. “Approximately half of our attendees when surveyed say they

are in the market to purchase or lease a vehicle within the next year. When surveyed again 6 months later, over 50% had already purchased a vehicle.” Like other areas, the retail automotive industry plays a vital role in the Tristate’s regional economy. “Franchised new motor vehicle retailers here in the Tristate employ nearly 8,000 people with an annual payroll of over $420 million, with an average salary that exceeds $53,000,” Howard says. “ In addition, our members either pay or collect over $300 million in taxes that fund the state and local communities in which we live.” Doran thinks that the timing of auto shows in Ohio is at least partially responsible for their continued success with consumers and prospective buyers. That’s why the OADA produces its shows in February and March. (For a complete list of Ohio Auto Show dates see page 15.) “They tend to be produced at the beginning of the sales season,” he says. “Folks start to see sunshine, and interest in buying a new car peaks. If you look at historical sales data, we get a huge bump when we get into the March, April, May timeframe. “Still, a lot of people come to our shows because their lease is ending, or they know they want to buy a car in the next 12 months,” he adds. “They want to kick the tires and sit in the vehicles. If a consumer is a week out from making a purchase, or three months out or further, an auto show begins the selling season.” w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . s p r i n g 2 0 2 0

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Charlie Howard, Greater Cincinnati Automobile Dealers Association

Lou Vitantonio, Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association

The continuing impact on local and regional markets cannot be understated, according to both the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and Foresight Research, an organization that tracks the retail automotive industry. Seven out of 10 attendees of auto shows plan to make a purchase within the next 12 months, and those attending are two times more likely to make a new vehicle purchase. Fifty four percent of auto show guests made a purchase decision based on what they saw at a show, and 39% added one or more brands to their consideration list after attending, according to the latest statistics from the NADA. More than 18% bought a brand they weren’t even considering. Such statistics are music to the ears of automakers who need to drive brand consideration. Take the Lincoln brand as an example. Lincoln was at 90% of 2019 local auto shows nationwide and experienced a 26% gain in terms of consumer shopping lists. But it’s not just about putting a prospect behind the wheel of a vehicle in an exhibition hall that drives sales. “Manufacturers get behind each and every auto show offering incentives for the consumer to come out and buy,” says Vitantonio. “The same is true of dealers, who want to get a head start on the coming year. Both dealers and manufacturers advertise heavily during the auto show and offer incentives to buy.” And it’s not just about getting people off the show floor and into the showroom,

Vitantonio concedes. In order to be a viable venue, you have to take the whole family into consideration. Showmanship counts just as much when it comes to getting people through an auto show’s doors. It’s about entertaining as much as it’s about selling. Attracting guests that number north of 350,000 across its 10-and-a-half day run, the Cleveland Auto Show must also cater to people who just come out for something to

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the gate. Such enticements are necessary in this day and age. While auto shows are a very traditional and strong means of marketing, the industry has plateaued in recent years. At least part of the reason, according to both dealers and industry analysts, is that today’s vehicles simply last longer, so they don’t have to be replaced as often when purchased out. For that same reason, new vehicle sales today are also heavily weighted toward leasing. “When new vehicle sales are strong, it’s a clear indication of the health of the overall economy,” says Vitantonio. “Leasing is popular because it allows you to get into a new vehicle every 24 to 48 months. And because cars last longer, the residual values are higher and leasing is more affordable.” Leasing also opens up a growing market for certified pre-owned vehicles, dealers say. “We actually have three different used car lots today,” says Michelle Primm, managing partner of the Cascade Auto Group in Cuyahoga Falls, who also serves on the Board of Directors for the NADA. “We have a budget lot, where cars are typically over 10 years old or over 100,000 miles. Then we have a traditional used car lot where vehicles are between four and six years old. In either case we won’t retail a vehicle to a consumer unless it is in good shape. “Then we have certified pre-owned vehicles, which are vehicles that come in off lease or are service loaners. These

“When you talk about our impact on sales in our market, [the Cleveland Auto Show is] probably rated among the top five shows in the nation... There may be a few shows in the country that sell more cars than we do, but very few that have the impact that we have on our market.” — Louis A. Vitantonio, president of the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association do. Held at the end of February each year, the show is an excellent way for the denizens of Northern Ohio to beat cabin fever. In addition to its Ride-N-Drives and two indoor ride obstacle courses, the Cleveland Auto Show also has local celebrity and sports hero appearances scheduled throughout its run—something that virtually every auto show does. Auto shows will often have special family days, or bring in specialty vehicles or luxury brands to help get people through

are vehicles that are only a few years old that have been inspected and must meet certain requirements. It’s one of the bestkept secrets in the industry that a certified pre-owned vehicle may even have more warranty coverage than a new vehicle.” Which opens the door for bargain shoppers, adds Primm, and keeps up with changing consumer demand. Dealers across the state realize that the industry is changing and changing fast. Younger consumers, especially mil-

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More than 350,000 people attend the Cleveland Auto Show each year.

Members of the Community While auto dealers play an important role in hiring people directly and supporting ancillary jobs in organizations that service their businesses, it’s very rare to find an auto dealership that doesn’t give directly back to the community it serves. “In addition to being a major employer, our dealers are extremely involved in the activities of their communities,” says Charlie Howard, executive vice president of the Greater Cincinnati Automobile Dealers Association. “Whether it’s supporting local schools, charities or other notable causes, each of our members plays an integral role in their community. “In addition to their individual philanthropic endeavors, the members through our association are involved in supporting several charitable causes as well two major public safety initiatives, which include child passenger [safety] with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital as well as providing CPR training manikins to fire departments, schools and other nonprofits that provide this lifesaving training.” It’s a giving attitude that is shared by dealers across the state.  “Giving back has always been a cornerstone of our business philosophy,” says Ken Ganley of the Ganley Automotive Group. For the Ganley Automotive Group, this past holiday season was one of its busiest in terms of giving back. The group adopted 10 families from Akron Children’s Hospital, six from Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, one from University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, as well as 15 children from Lorain County social workers. In total, Ganley

adopted 66 children, 25 parents and one grandparent through the program. Hospitals helped choose families and got wish lists together. Each one of the Ganley Group’s stores was assigned a family, and began shopping. Stores received multiple thank you notes from appreciative families, most told of heart-warming stories from families whose holidays were saved. “We met some very brave children this year, one of which just had his 76th surgery done but you would never have known it when you met him,” says Lori Gawry, who runs the Adopt-A-Family program for the Ganley Automotive Group. The family from Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital included a single mom with a 6-year-old girl who had a tumor on her optic nerve. While dealing with her health problems, their house caught on fire and they lost everything. Ganley Westside Imports took the family under its wing and provided them with a holiday to remember. The Ganley Ford store in Barberton was given a family whose mother aides in taking care of six grandchildren as well as her own medically complex child with little to no support. The dealership came through and bought gifts for all of them. Another family had a set of 5-month-old twin boys, one of which had not made it home yet from the hospital. The list goes on and on. Those are just a few of the heart-warming stories you hear from dealers who give back to their communities. There are many others throughout the year at auto dealerships across our state. w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . s p r i n g 2 0 2 0

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Ohio Auto Show Dates Cincinnati Auto Expo Feb. 5-9

lennials, don’t see a necessity for vehicle ownership. Ride share services are making mobility without vehicle ownership a possibility, which has impacted the market as well. However, some recent studies indicate a shift back toward vehicle ownership. Once thought to be the auto industry’s “lost generation,” millennials are now headed back into dealerships, accounting for almost 30% of new vehicle sales in the first quarter of 2018, according to Experian, a credit information company. And while still the best way to sell a vehicle to the public, the dealer/network business model itself is changing as the consumer becomes more educated and sophisticated. “The retail motor vehicle industry has been in existence for well over 100 years. I would suggest that there has never been a time when the industry hasn’t been changing,” says Howard. “The process of communicating with and reaching customers truly evolved as the internet, social media and handheld mobile devices have 16

Toledo Auto Show Feb. 6-9

Dayton Auto Show Feb. 20-23

Cleveland Auto Show Feb. 21-March 1

Columbus International Auto Show March 19-22

evolved to become the norm in our daily lives. How we advertise, communicate and sell vehicles has changed to reflect this evolution. Dealers have been able to use this technology to offer online and other services that streamline and make more convenient the buying process.” Auto dealers agree, but also say the basics of selling still apply. “I love an educated customer who comes

The Cleveland Auto Show is the largest in the state.

through my door having done a ton of research on the internet,” adds Primm. “In terms of marketing, we have to embrace social media and digital, absolutely. But to completely dismiss all the things that we used to do is just silliness. People want someone to help them make a decision, they look to someone they can trust, a friend. “When it comes to selling a vehicle, you have to make eye contact, be able to converse with someone and listen. God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. You need to establish a relationship with the consumer. You need to be empathetic and listen.” In short, you need all the basic skills that made car selling a business in the first place. Auto dealers today still recognize those basic skills, as well as the need for established marketing tools like regional auto shows. Those shows drive the retail automotive industry, which in turn acts as an engine for our entire state’s economy. n

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Automakers

Driving a New

DIRECTION COMMITMENT TO UNIONS AND OHIO WORKFORCE STILL STRONG BY TERRY TROY

A

t his inaug urat ion just over a year ago, Governor Mike DeWine pledged that he would be the governor “of all the people of the state of Ohio.” Th ree days later, he would be up in Detroit talking to the CEOs of the Big Three domestic automakers, including Mary Barra, CEO and chair of General Motors. That’s how important automotive manufacturing is to our state’s economy. According to the Developmental Services Agency’s most recent assessment of the auto industry in Ohio (another is due out in a month), 1.157 million light vehicles were assembled in Ohio: 645,900 by Honda, 325,100 by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), 134,00 by General Motors and 52,600 by Ford. Not to mention the tens of thousands of medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses assembled by Navistar, Kenilworth and Ford—the latter finding a home at Avon Lake’s Ohio Assembly Plant for Ford’s medium-duty trucks. There have been reports, not confirmed by Ford, of a possible expansion of the Avon Lake facility, a $900 million investment that will create 1,600 jobs, according to union officials.

While Cruz production has stopped at Lordstown, Ohio still is home to some of the most popular selling models on retail automotive showroom floors, including the Honda Accord and CR-V, and the Jeep Wrangler and the new Gladiator, the brand’s long-awaited pickup. Jeeps have been built in the Toledo area, by one brand or another, for 80 years. FCA has invested more than $1.5 billion in its two Jeep facilities and added more than 1,700 jobs since 2011. FCA chose Toledo as the site for production of the Gladiator because it shared design elements with the Wrangler but also “because of the Toledo workforce,” says Jim Morrison, head of Jeep Brand for FCA North America. “They understand their role in protecting the legacy of the Jeep brand, so it made sense to entrust them with building the newest member of the Jeep family.” According to trade publication Automotive News, Ohio was ranked first and sixth in U.S. car and light truck production in 2018, the latest figures available. Ohio ranked second in dollar value-added for parts production and third in value added for all assembly operations.

Even with the Lordstown plant closure, more than 66,000 are employed by motor vehicle and related industry production in Ohio.

Seventy-six of Ohio’s 88 counties have at least one motor vehicle or related industry establishment, with 10 counties having close to one-half of motor vehicle and related industry jobs, including Cuyahoga, Hancock, Logan, Lucas, Montgomery, Shelby, Trumbull, Union, Wayne and Wood. More than 100 companies (or their subsidiaries) from 17 foreign nations employ an estimated 66,700 people in motor vehicle and related industry production in Ohio. There’s only one state in the nation that can beat those stats, and it’s “that state up north,” as many OSU Buckeye fans say. Such stats are not lost on the fine folks in Columbus. w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

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Bill Easdale, Honda of America Manufacturing

Tom Humphries, Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber

Jon Husted, Ohio Lt. Governor

“Certainly, the governor wants to make sure Ohio can be a good partner with the automotive industry, but equally important is the good relationship we have with our local government partners and the work of JobsOhio,” says Daniel Tierney, press secretary at the Office of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “General Motors is just one player in our state. All three of the big American manufacturers have a presence in Ohio. And of course Honda is a longtime partner as well, dating back to the days of Governor Jim Rhodes.” W hile the Big Three were entering intense labor negotiations late last year, Honda was celebrating the 40th anniversary of the historic start of production at Honda of America Manufacturing in Marysville. Honda was the first foreign brand to take up residence in the U.S. and it chose Ohio as its home. At first, production at Marysville was limited to two wheels, with a mere 64 associates at the plant producing the Elsinore CR 250 motorcycle. As the brand began carving out a share in that market, it saw an opportunity with four wheels, beginning production of cars in 1982. “Honda’s success in Ohio has always been driven by the dedication and innovative spirit of our associates and the 40th anniversary milestone is a tribute to Honda associates, past and present, who have provided their energy, ideas and passion to create high-quality products for our customers,” says Mitsugu Matsukawa,

president of Honda of America Manufacturing. “Based on the team we have in Ohio, and the opportunities ahead, I’m excited for the future of Honda in America.” “The willingness to dream big led to the bold decision that made Honda the first Japanese automaker to build cars in America, the first to fully develop our products here, the first to export products from America, and the first to create a luxury automotive brand, Acura,” adds Bill Easdale, vice president of Honda of America Manufacturing, who also serves as general manager of the Marysville Plant. “At Honda, our team has a challenging spirit, which is rooted in our culture. In every challenge, we strive to make the right choice for our associates and customers.” Since 1979, when Honda started operations in Marysville and later Ana, employment has grown to 15,000 associates; the company has invested more than $11 billion in its Ohio operations; facilities have expanded to include manufacturing, research and development, parts procurement and logistics; nearly 20 million vehicles have been produced; and production of engines and transmissions exceeds 1 million each year. The company also plans to stay a while, with its Honda 2030 vision focusing on creating a step forward in a carbon free and collision free society. While Honda’s non-union plants in central Ohio are enjoying success, it was the Big Three that needed a little more attention from the governor, due to the intense labor

negotiations with the United Auto Workers (UAW). While both Ford and FCA were able to negotiate new contracts, the process was arduous. And GM suffered through an expensive strike, which turned out to be the longest automotive work stoppage in 50 years. As a part of the deal, the UAW voted to shutter the doors of the historic Lordstown plant, casting the entire Mahoning Valley into a funk that Tom Humphries, newly named interim CEO of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, described as “doom and gloom.” But a second chance was less than a year away, and GM would play a major role. There was clearly a deal going on behind the scenes. No one knows what was said in that original meeting bet ween Governor DeWine and GM’s Barra, but like most automotive reporters (and the staff of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber) I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for at least part of the discussion. After its discussion with our governor and its announced plans to shutter the doors at Lordstown, GM announced as a part of the UAW deal late last year that it was selling its Lordstown facility to an organization called Lordstown Motors Corporation (LMC), a company that will begin production later this year of an allelectric commercial pickup truck called the Endurance. GM actually loaned LMC $40 million to get the operation up and running, and the Cleveland banking investment firm of Brown Gibbons Lang & Company is now

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Jim Morrison, Jeep

in the process of raising $450 million in capital, a process that is going well according to Mike Gibbons, managing director of the firm. LMC soon will employ 400 to 450 folks in well-paying union jobs with plans to bring total employment “into the thousands” in the coming years, according to company officials. But that was only a third of what will soon make up the 1,400 jobs lost at Lordstown. Korean giant LG Chem last year announced that it had entered into a joint venture with GM to produce electric vehicles in the Mahoning Valley, transforming the area into what some government officials and businesses leaders are now calling the “Voltage Valley.” The JV will soon break ground on a new plant close to Lordstown that will employ 1,100 folks. The JV represents an investment of almost $2.3 billion in the equally owned company. The governor’s point person on the deal was Lt. Governor Jon Husted, who still calls Humphries on an almost weekly basis for updates. When the deal was in its nascent stages, Lt. Governor Husted traveled to Warren, Michigan, to be present for the signing of the deal between GM’s Barra and LG Chem CEO H.C. Shin. He was joined by J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and chief investment officer, and Dana Saucier, JobsOhio’s vice president and head of Economic Development. “W it h elec t r ic veh icles cha ng i ng automotive manufacturing, today’s announcement is an important win for Ohio,

With the creation of the “Voltage Valley,” auto manufacturing will remain an important industry in Ohio.

because we are now positioned to play a larger role in the future of the automotive industry,” said Husted on the conference call announcing the JV. “After months of productive conversation, it was a proud moment to stand alongside General Motors and LG Chem today to officially announce this deal that will create a new generation of jobs for the people of Ohio.” Naturally, the two deals have vaulted

the governor and lieutenant governor into almost legendary status with many of the folks of the new “Voltage Valley.” But even more importantly, it creates a synergy with two entities that will soon be poised to be at the forefront of emerging vehicle technologies. In the end, the new Voltage Valley will help position our state as a leader in automotive manufacturing for decades to come. n w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S p r i n g 2 0 2 0

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Ohio Success Awards event

March 13, 2020 , from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Co lumbus Capi tol Square

BY THE EDITORS Presented by Ohio Business magazine, the second annual Ohio Success Awards honors growth companies, nonprofits and governmental organizations across the state of Ohio. The Ohio Success Awards recognizes the accomplishments of companies that have demonstrated growth in revenue and employees, as well as having demonstrated involvement in their community and service in their industry; nonprofits that have made a significant impact upon the communities they serve; and governmental organizations that have created unique value or opportunities based upon their ingenuity, partnership and perseverance. Ohio Business Magazine will be holding the 2020 Ohio Success Awards event March 13, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Columbus Capitol Square. Th is event will bring together successful business CEOs, along with nonprofit and governmental leaders from across the state, and will feature informational breakout sessions, networking, a keynote speaker and lunch. The event is sponsored by Superior Dental Care, Custom Design Benefits and 10TV WBNS. Pete Scalia from 10TV will emcee the event. If you are interested in learning more or purchasing tickets for the event, please visit cincy.live or contact Stephanie Simon, events manager, at ssimon@ cincymagazine.com or 513-297-1346.

NOMINATION PROCESS For the 2020 Ohio Success Awards, a nomination form was emailed to businesses throughout the state, inviting them to selfnominate. A form was also posted online so that other businesses could participate. Forprofit, nonprofit and government institutions were able to self-nominate. Nominees were asked to provide information on topics such as their revenue starting in 2016, company size starting in 2017, approximate profitability and revenue and profit projections. The winners were then selected by committee and had to show growth in one or more of these categories. 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. w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S P R I N G 2 0 2 0

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OSA Profile

London Computer Systems Incorporated in 1987 and headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, London Computer Systems (LCS) is a developer of business-critical software used in all 50 states and several markets throughout the world. LCS products include Rent Manager property management software, rmVoIP telephone systems and enterprise-level hosting solutions via its Sentry Data Center. LCS also provides complete network design, implementation and support services, and custom website development through its IT Services and Web Design Services divisions. With more than 30,000 users, LCS combines best technologies with best practices to create unique, affordable, customerfocused products and services. LCS works to change the way technology influences the property management industry by developing one-ofa-kind tools that property managers use to streamline and revitalize their everyday operations. Its founder’s goal has always been to offer the revolutionary freedom that customized software and IT solutions can provide to property owners/managers across the country.

ket will continue to demand open platforms and applications. Using the open API platform, LCS partners can create a seamless experience between Rent Manager and their product. For a vendor, this provides access to an exponentially larger audience by leveraging the software to supplement their niche product offerings. And for LCS customers, the API enables Rent Manager to truly custom-fit their business, rather than adapting their business to fit the software. LCS’ commitment to innovation also is applied to its workplace. LCS President and CEO Dave Hegemann painstakingly planned every minute detail of the LCS company headquarters in Deerfield Township. His goal was to create a high-tech atmosphere that reflects the work LCS does every day.

A nine-monitor high-definition video display is featured in the three-story lobby atrium, an impressive way to showcase company news and welcome guests to the state-of-the-art techcampus. From the smart-TV-equipped conference rooms, design rooms and huddle rooms, to the quiet and comfortable inspiration rooms, outdoor balconies and meeting perch, there is always a place to get work done. Factor in a gamers’ lounge, three coffee bars, a fitness room, indoor café with industrial refrigerators and freezers, and an inviting lakefront patio with built-in grill, and it’s no wonder that staff is pleased to call LCS their professional home.

CEO: Dave Hegemann CTO: Tony Little Location: Cincinnati Business: Property management software Employees: 320 Year Founded: 1987 Website: lcs.com

The companies flagship product is Rent Manager - an advanced software designed to be completely autonomous with a powerful property management database, integrated accounting, contact management, work orders, marketing solutions and much more. Rent Manager has helped alleviate the need for property managers to become experts in multiple software systems in order to run their business. Available as a stand-alone or cloud-based product, Rent Manager is proven software for companies that manage all types of properties—from multifamily apartment complexes and single-family homes, to manufactured housing communities and commercial properties. The future of property management technology must have “customer choice” as a top priority, as the mar-

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PRIVATE COMPANIES Year Founded

2018 Revenue

2016 Revenue

2019 Employees

2017 Employees

Diane L. Crecelius, CEO

1994

$10-24 million

$5-9 million

128

86

Engineering firm

Lisa Huang, President

1998

$10-24 million

$5-9 million

70

58

IT managed services provider

Jay Mellon, CEO

1998

$1-4 million

$1-4 million

31

28

Cleves

Asphalt paving and recycling

Joe Madden, CEO

2011

$10-24 million

$5-9 million

40

20

Cincinnati

Manufacturing

William A. Clippard, CEO

1943

$25-49 million

$25-49 million

219

215

Coastal Ridge Real Estate

Columbus

Commercial real estate owner, investors and management company

Ben Texler, President

2013

$10-24 million

$5-9 million

405

350

Component Repair Technologies

Mentor

Aviation repair - FAA repair station

Rich Mears, CEO

1985

$50-99 million

$50-99 million

446

424

Consolidus, LLC

Akron

Promotional products distributor

Jeffrey Jones, CEO

2006

$5-9 million

$1-4 million

17

18

Dos Hermanos Taco Truck LLC

Columbus

Mobile food

Lisa Gutierrez, CEO

2012

$1-4 million

n/a

25

17

Elite Biomedical Solutions

Cincinnati

Health care manufacturer and product development

Jeff Smith, CEO

2012

$10-24 million

$10-24 million

45

30

ERPA

Dublin

IT services

Srikanth Gaddam, CEO

2003

$50-99 million

$50-99 million

440

423

Everhart Advisors

Dublin

401(k) plan consulting, employee education and wealth management

Scott Everhart, President

1995

$5-9 million

$5-9 million

30

25

Fahlgren Mortine

Columbus

Communications company

Neil Mortine, President & CEO

1962

$25-49 million

$25-49 million

194

180

First Star Safety

Cincinnati

Construction and traffic safety supplier and subcontractor

Kelly Hollatz, President

2006

$1-4 million

$1-4 million

16

10

Fleet Response

Independence

Specialized auto third party administrator

Scott Mawaka, CEO

1986

$100-249 million

$100-249 million

179

115

Foundation Software

Strongsville

Software (accounting/job-costing for Fred Ode, Chairman & CEO construction) and payroll

1985

$25-49 million

$25-49 million

333

250

Gensuite

Mason

Cloud-based software

R. Mukund, CEO

2008

$25-49 million

$10-24 million

330

285

Gold Medal Products Co.

Cincinnati

Manufacturer and distributor of concession food equipment and supplies

Dan Kroeger, Chairman & CEO

1931

$100-249 million

$100-249 million

650

550

Improving

Columbus

Consulting company

Curtis Hite, CEO

2011

$10-24 Million

$10-24 Million

68

71

Lextant

Columbus

Research and design consultancy

Chris Rockwell, CEO

1998

n/a

n/a

47

56

Lifetime Smiles Cincinnati

Cincinnati

Health care

Sunny Pahouja, CEO

2015

$1-4 million

$1-4 million

10

8

London Computer Systems (LCS)

Cincinnati

Property management software

Dave Hegemann, CEO

1988

$25-49 million

$25-49 million

320

195

Main Street Gourmet

Cuyahoga Falls

Bakery manufacturing

Harvey Nelson, CEO

1987

$25-49 million

$25-49 million

153

140

2012

$1-4 Million

n/a

7

3

Name

Location

Business

Top Executive

ABC Pediatric Therapy Network

West Chester

Pediatric therapy

Advanced Engineering Consultants

Columbus

AtNetPlus

Stow

Cincinnati Asphalt Clippard Instrument Laboratory, Inc.

M Genio Inc.

Cleveland

Software development services

Jacob Glenn, Managing Director

Naya Clinics

Cincinnati

Health care

Hussam Fatahalla, CEO

2015

n/a

n/a

11

3

Next Generation Fuel, LLC

Middletown

Petroleum products wholesale

Bernita McCann, CEO

2013

$10-24 million

$5-9 million

3

2

Scene75 Entertainment Center

West Carrollton

Family entertainment center

Jonah Sandler, CFA

2012

$10-24 million

$10-24 million

200

100

Shoemaker Rigging & Transport, LLC

Akron

Rigging amd transportation

Steven G. Shoemaker, CEO

2013

$5-9 million

$1-4 million

34

22

strategic HR inc

Cincinnati

HR consulting

Robin Throckmorton, CEO

1995

$1-4 million

$1-4 million

17

11

Sunrise Treatment Center

Cincinnati

Behavioral health

Jeffrey Bill, CEO

2007

$10-24 million

$1-4 million

134

71

Superior Dental Care

Centerville

Group dental benefits

Andrea Hogben, CEO

1986

$50-99 million

$25-49 million

55

46

TACG

Beavercreek

Government consulting firm

Brian Chaney, President

2006

$25-49 million

$10-24 million

201

135

Taylor Logistics Inc.

Cincinnati

Logistics

Rex Taylor, President

1850

$25-49 million

$10-24 million

170

90

The Matrix Companies

Cincinnati

Risk management

Brent Messmer, President & CEO

2000

$5-9 million

$5-9 million

80

71

Thomson-MacConnell Cadillac Inc.

Cincinnati

Automotive

Chris MacConnell, CEO

1953

$50-99 million

$50-99 million

85

80

Total Wealth Planning, LLC

Cincinnati

Financial planning

Rob Siegmann, CEO

1989

$1-4 million

$1-4 million

13

12

Two Labs Pharma Services

Powell

Pharma consulting services

Rich Wartel, CEO

2003

n/a

n/a

130

95

Zeal40: The Creative Agency

Cincinnati

Creative/marketing agency

Stacy Koenig & Nicole Fariello, CEOs

2015

$1-4 million

$1-4 million

6

4

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PUBLIC COMPANIES Year Founded

2018 Revenue

2016 Revenue

2019 Employees

2017 Employees

James Foster, Chairman & CEO

1947

$100-249 million

$100-249 million

1,272

1,075

Filip Geeraert, President & CEO

1969 U.S. Operations

$100-249 million

$100-249 million

570

561

Name

Location

Business

Top Executive

Charles River Labratories

Ashland

Contract research organization (research facility)

Deceuninck North America

Monroe

Window and doors profiles extruder

NONPROFITS/GOVERNMENT Being successful means more than increasing revenue and employees—it also can mean making an impact. These nonprofits and governmental institutions demonstrated exceptional impact upon the communities they serve. Year Founded

Name

Location

Business

Top Executive

Cincinnati Public Schools, Student Dining Services

Cincinnati

School district department

Jessica Shelly, Director

1898

Cardinal Credit Union

Mentor

Credit union

Christine Blake, CEO

1953

Community Health & Wellness Partners

Bellefontaine

Health/medical services

Tara Bair, President & CEO

2014

Experience Columbus

Columbus

Destination marketing organization

Brian Ross, CTA

1941

Levitt Pavilion Dayton

Dayton

Nonprofit outdoor music venue

Lisa Wagner, CEO

2015

Lifebanc

Cleveland

Health care

Gordon Bowen, CEO

1986

North Community Counseling Centers

Columbus

Mental health agency

Katrina Kerns, President & CEO

1968

Ohio’s Hospice, Inc.

Dayton

Network of palliative and supportive care providers for terminally ill patients and their families

Kent Anderson, President & CEO

Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries

Cincinnati

Employment and training

Sharon Hannon, CEO

1916

Primary Health Solutions

Hamilton

Federally qualified health centers

Marc Bellisario, President & CEO

1999

Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth (SAFY) of Ohio

Columbus

Child and family services provider

Will Matt, President & CEO

1984

The 2nd & 7 Foundation

Columbus

Philanthropic

Amy Hoying, Executive Director

1999

West Side Catholic Center

Cleveland

Human services agency

John Litten, Executive Director

1977

2013

WINNER PROFILES Advanced Engineering Consultants

COLUMBUS

Increased revenue, from $5-9 million to $10-24 million Increased employees, from 58 to 70

ABC Pediatric Therapy W E S T C H E S T E R Increased revenue, from $5-9 million to $10-24 million Increased employees, from 86 to 128 24

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WINNER PROFILES

Company Name: Main Street Gourmet CEO: Harvey Nelson CFO: Robert Ecker Location: Cuyahoga Falls Business: Bakery manufacturing Revenue: $25-49 million Employees: 153 Year Founded: 1987 Website: mainstreetgourmet.com One of the reasons for the success of Main Street Gourmet has been its workforce development program that has created a diverse and productive workforce, says Philip Plumley, human resources administrator. Main St reet Gour met is a custom wholesale bakery providing frozen baked goods—including muff ins, cook ies, granola and brownies—to retail in-store bakery and specialty foodservice customers across the United States. Despite the bakery industry’s workforce turnover that averages about 40 annu-

ally, Main Street Gourmet’s workforce development program has led to an annual turnover rate of 17, says Plumley. “Since 2008, diversity and inclusion has been a deliberate program aimed at our recruiting and retention strategy,” he says. “By seeking out a broad cross-section of our local population we have created a workforce rich in cultural flavor.” The workforce development program included a recognition award for employees whose actions supported diversity, interpreters and translators, and a citizen-

ship assistance policy for its foreign-born employees wishing to become U.S. citizens that pays 50 of the fees associated with obtaining citizenship, says Plumley. “Our immigrant and refugee population comprises 42 of our total workforce,” he says. “The same ambition they applied to bringing themselves and their families to America is apparent in the motivation they display in taking the employment opportunities offered to them and becoming loyal and productive workers.” – ERIC SPANGLER

– Equine Excursions – • Minutes from the Kentucky Horse Park • Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm • Equine Art Galleries • Whispering Woods Riding Stables • Nearby Keeneland Racetrack

– Unbridled Fun – • Toyota Motor Manufacturing KY, Inc. Tour • Country Boy Brewing • Bourbon 30 • Picturesque Downtown • Specialty Shops • Antiques • Cafes and One-of-a-kind Restaurants • Georgetown & Scott County Museum • Ward Hall • Golf • Elkhorn Creek • Yuko-en on the Elkhorn • Scott County Geocaching Trails • Nearby Wineries and Bourbon Distilleries • Close proximity to the Ark Encounter

15 hotels + over 80 Restaurants INTERSTATE

64

INTERSTATE

75

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Coastal Ridge Real Estate C O L U M B U S Increased revenue, from $5-9 million to $10-24 million Increased employees, from 350 to 405

Fahlgren Mortine COLUMBUS Increased employees, from 180 to 194

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WINNER PROFILES

Company Name: Cincinnati Public Schools’ Student Dining Services Director: Jessica Shelly Location: Cincinnati Business: School district department Revenue: $1-4 million Employees: 328 Year Founded: 1988 Website: cps-k12.org/families-students student-dining-services

As any parent could tell you, getting kids to eat vegetables is a challenge. But it’s a challenge that Cincinnati Public Schools’ Student Dining Services is winning. “It’s dipping our toes in and giving the kids an empowerment of choice,” says Jessica Shelly, CPS’ Student Dining Services director. To do this, the CPS’ Dining Services has added garden bars into all schools so that student can discover different vegetables to see what they like. Another addition is spice stations in each cafeteria so that students can flavor their food, including their vegetables, the way they prefer.

“They can make their own choice for flavoring their vegetables and that’s really helped our consumption for vegetables,” she says. “But in them kind of experimenting their own ways of flavoring them, we’ve really opened the doors to a lot of our kids trying things like roasted mushrooms. Who would have ever thought that our oven-roasted mushrooms would be one of our most popular side items for our kids?” Students aren’t just eating more vegetables—they’re eating more school lunches period. High school lunch participation went from 48 to 79 in 2019, which brought district participation to the highest levels in over two decades at 87. As CPS’ Dining Services’ labor hours are tied to how many meals are served, this increase in participation has enabled the department to increase its employees from 266 to 328 over the last two years. “Success for us is fueling lifelong learners and ensuring every student has the

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nutrition they need throughout the day to learn,” says Shelly. “The stigma of the ‘traditional school lunch’ is challenging to overcome, but Student Dining Services works diligently to provide exciting menu options, new marketing initiatives and continuously improve food choice and quality.”

Levitt Pavilion Dayton Increased full-time employees, from 1 to 3

– Corinne Minard

SDC offers employer-sponsored dental benefits with one of the

LARGEST DENTAL NETWORKS in the country!

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WINNER PROFILES

Company Name: Everhart Advisors CEO: Scott Everhart CFO: Barb Miller Location: Dublin Business: 401(k) plan consulting, employee education and wealth management Revenue: $5-9 million Employees: 30 Year Founded: 1995 Website: everhartadvisors.com More than 10 years ago, CEO and founder Scott Everhart made a decision that has led to Everhart Advisors’ continued growth and success—he pivoted the firm from being a comprehensive financial planning firm to one that specializes in advising on retirement plans. The firm has grown to 30 employees and now oversees more than 300 retirement plans. “We have now become one of the largest independently owned retirement plan advisory fi rms in central Ohio if not the entire country,” says Brian Hanna, partner

and executive vice president of retirement plans for the fi rm. Another decision that’s helped Everhart Advisors grow was an acquisition in the Dayton market in early 2016. “We added a geographic location and presence, which also has helped with that continued growth,” adds Hanna. And the firm sees no signs of this growth

slowing. It’s projecting a revenue increase of 25 and an employee increase of 10 in the coming years. Hanna says that the firm will do this by continuing to stick to its mission. “Our mission is to help as many people as possible reach fi nancial security,” he says. “The number of people that we serve is how we defi ne that success.” – CORINNE MINARD

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Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries London Computer Systems C I N C I N N A T I Increased employees, from 195 to 320

CINCINNATI

Increased employees, from 789 to 811

North Community Counseling Centers COLUMBUS

Increased revenue, from $1-4 million to $5-9 million Increased employees, from 56 to 98

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Winner profiles Company Name: Experience Columbus CEO: Brian Ross Location: Columbus Business: Destination marketing organization (regional tourism) Type: Nonprofit, partnership Revenue: $10-24 million Employees: 56 Year Founded: 1941 Website: experiencecolumbus.com As CEO of Experience Columbus, Brian Ross has had a front row seat to the vast impact that travel and tourism has on Columbus’ economy. The city welcomes 42 million visitors each year, who spend about $7 billion in the community. The visitor and tourism industry also supports 78,000 jobs in the area. Two events in recent years demonstrate the rising profile of Columbus as a destination in the Midwest. The city hosted the 2018 NCAA women’s basketball Final Four and quickly proved itself as one of the best

host cities of the annual event the tournament has ever seen. In August 2019, Columbus welcomed the American Society of Association Executives for their annual meeting—literally a massive meeting of meeting planners. “We look at it as the Super Bowl of meetings,” Ross says with a laugh. “You have the executive directors, you have presidents and CEOs and COOs of associations around the U.S. and some global.” Members of organizations such as the American Banking Association or the

American College of Surgeons came to the event for continued education. At the same time, many of the 5,400 participants appraised the host city—in this case, Columbus—for its suitability to host their own conferences and symposiums. Ross says that the potential is there for Columbus to secure over $500 million in business from these meeting organizers bringing their own events to the city. He says many qualities of Columbus from its structure to its inclusiveness left a great impression on ASAE conference visitors.

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“That’s one of the great things about our community,” Ross says, “is that we have very distinct and diverse experiences we can prov ide indiv idua ls.”

Primary Health Solutions Hamilton Increased revenue, from $10-24 million to $25-49 million

– Kevin Michell

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OSA Profile

Shoemaker Rigging & Transport, LLC Steven Shoemaker was in a bit of a quandary in 2013. Having just walked away with a lucrative payoff from selling his interest in the Wisconsin software company he helped launch in 2002 as a founder, he was looking for something else to do. While having coffee with his father Gary and Gary’s best friend, Joe Winkleman—both in their 70s—they told Steven that he would be “good fit” to own a rigging company. Both gentlemen were in the rigging business for over 30 years, and had worked at Keller Rigging and Construction, which was in the process of closing its doors at the time due to retirements. Steven had been a top dealmaker at FirstEnergy prior to his starting his software company, so industrial sites were not foreign to him. Wanting to do something completely different, Steven formally started S. Gary Shoemaker Rigging and Transport LLC in late 2013. While Steven’s middle name is Gary, he came up with the name as an ode to his father. Steven jumped in with both feet. It was quickly confirmed that starting a rigging company is an expensive proposition, having to purchase semi-tractors

and trailers, cranes, large tow motors, as well as tools, chains, straps, licensing, insurance, etc. Having Gary and Joe as trusted advisers, he assembled a team of key management and rigging personnel and began operations in June of 2014. “I had already spent about a million dollars before we even got started and I didn’t know much about rigging,” says Steven, “but then I remembered that I knew little about the software business when I first started, so I just forged ahead. I pretty much burned the bridge behind me.” He bought a plant in Green, Ohio later that year, as they outgrew their first building in six months. While most rigging companies traditionally stay local, Shoemaker began specializing in heavy machinery rigging and moving in the U.S. and abroad. The company performs projects for large Fortune 500 companies to small family-owned shops. The company’s revenue has grown nine times from 2014 through 2018 at 56% per year.

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Their clients understand that it is best to have the same personnel who removed their complicated, heavy machinery be the same craftsmen to reinstall it at their desired location— whether across a plant or across the globe. Company personnel have followed clients’ large machine lines overseas to ensure that the items were put back together correctly. Gary passed away unexpectedly in 2016, but not before he saw his son’s company hit the ground running with explosive growth. Gary’s friend, Joe Winkleman, still comes in every morning.

CEO: Steven G. Shoemaker CFO: Scott Dodson Location: Akron Business: Rigging and transportation Employees: 34 Year Founded: 2013 Website: shoemakerrigging.com

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COMPANY TYPE

2% Government

22% Nonprofit

69% Private

6% Public

LOCATION

8% Akron

43% 12% Cincinnati

Cleveland

22% Columbus

10% Dayton

4% Other

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

35% Less than 50

35% 50-200

31% More than 200

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2nd Annual

- Ohio Success Awards -

March 13, 2020 10:00am - 1:30pm

Presents the 2020

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The 2nd Annual Ohio Success Awards honors growth companies, nonprofits and governmental organizations across Ohio. Event includes morning panel sessions, networking and awards luncheon with keynote address.

Visit Cincy.Live for tickets and more information! Sponsored by:

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Women in

Business By the Editors

Most businesses know that diversity and inclusion are keys to success, and that women play an important part of that. The details of how to better incorporate women, or support them in their endeavors, are less well defined. How do you fix something that can be so intangible and yet deeply felt by women business owners and entrepreneurs? In the following pages, we’ve turned to knowledgeable people throughout the state for their thoughts and advice. You’ll hear from the National Association of Women Business Owners Columbus chapter on their efforts, women business owners who have overcome adversity to find success, and Ohio companies that have implemented their own policies to become more inclusive workplaces. Read on to learn more and to see how you can offer your support.

Contents 3 8

Guest Column: NAWBO Columbus

41

How They Did It

45

By the Numbers

4 6

Wealth Management

4 8

Accounting

5 0

Health

52

Law

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[ W o m en In bus in es s ]

On the Rise The National Association of Women Business Owners Columbus Chapter is working TO assist women business owners across all sectors By Christ y Farnbauch Executive Director of NAWBO Columbus

I

magine… You’re a single mother with three small children and you want to buy a business to keep a roof over your head, feed your children and secure a financial future for your family. You call the local bank president, a longtime friend, to ask for a loan. He asks who will co-sign the loan for you. You don’t have a co-signer. No matter how many times you call and share your business plan and sales projections, he continues to say “no.” Prior to the passage of the Women’s Business Ownership Act, this was a common scenario. It was illegal for a woman to secure a business loan without a male co-signer. In fact, in one famous case from the time, a woman’s 17-year old son served as the cosignatory for his single mother’s business loan. Even uncles with bad credit fit the bill. This landmark legislation—the Women’s Business Ownership Act—giving women the right to secure a business loan in her own name, without a male co-signer, was 38

passed in 1988. That’s right—it’s only been 31 years since then-President Ronald Reagan signed H.B.5050 into law. And, it still holds the record for the bill that progressed through the U.S. Congress at the fastest rate—102 days. By 1988, Title IX had been put into place in 1972, Sandra Day O’Connor was sworn in as the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981 and Rep. Geraldine Ferraro (N.Y.) had become the first woman vice president nominee by a major party in 1984. And yet, women with dreams of entrepreneurship faced significant financial constraints for starting and growing a business to support themselves, their families and communities. H.B.5050 was intended to create equality and access for women business owners by 1) increasing access to capital; 2) creating inclusive systems for growth; 3) increasing mentorship opportunities; and 4) ensuring that more government contracts were awarded to women.

The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) was founded in 1975 to serve as the first advocacy organization for all women business owners and led the grassroots movement to advance this legislation. I had the privilege to meet some of those fearless and determined women last year, including Dr. Terry Neese who said, “We didn’t know we were making history; we were simply trying to create opportunities for ourselves, our families and our communities.” In spite of the hard work and dedication over the years, in 2019 the goals outlined above remain largely unmet. The Columbus chapter of this national organization, NAWBO Columbus, was founded in 1997, nearly 10 years after the passage of H.R.5050, seeking to carry on the legacy of advocacy and equality for women business owners left by women like Terry. During our early years, the vision and work of NAWBO Columbus was led by fiercely

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NAWBO Columbus provides women business owners with support through advocacy, regular networking events, roundtables, education, research and more.

committed volunteer board members, some of whom have gone on to serve in leadership roles at the national level. Building on the foundation of part-time administrative support, I was hired as our chapter’s first full-time executive director in July 2017. We believe that owning a business is one of the most effective ways for women to secure an independent financial future for themselves and their families, while creating opportunities in their communities and contributing to our country’s economic growth. Women-owned businesses are significant contributors to the economy locally and statewide. Ohio is home to more than 306,000 women-owned businesses that annually generate more than $29 billion in revenues, creating 330,000 jobs and contributing $9.5 million in payroll. As one of the best cities to launch a business, Columbus boasts 48,000-plus women business owners. And yet, a substantial wealth gap exists for women entrepreneurs, who generate 78% less

revenues than male-owned businesses. In Ohio, women entrepreneurs make just $0.22 on the dollar. And, only 2% of female-owned businesses report annual revenues of over $1 million, compared to 7% of male-owned businesses. For women business owners of color, the numbers are even worse. However, data also reveals that women outperform their male counterparts despite raising less money ($935,000 versus $2.12 million). For every dollar of investment raised, female-run startups generate $0.78 in revenue, while male-run startups generate only $0.31, according to a recent study. Women-owned companies are simply a better investment. Yet structural barriers exist—politically, socially and economically—which prevent them from fully realizing their true potential and impact. We envision a more inclusive economy, where gender does not determine success, opportunity and outcome. Where being a woman is not a barrier to business op-

portunity nor an obstacle to be overcome on the road to entrepreneurship. We’ll know our work has been successful when female business owners are celebrated as the norm, not the exception, and all women are empowered to enjoy the same social, political and economic power as men, using that power as a force for good in our world. When the next generation—our daughters and granddaughters—will not just dream of but be empowered to fully realize their true potential to experience the independence, freedom and positive impact that business ownership can enable. NAWBO and NAWBO Columbus are continuing to drive meaningful change and results for women in an economy that is ever changing and becoming more inclusive and diverse. Today, as the largest NAWBO chapter in the U.S, everything we do is focused on empowering women business owners to overcome challenges and fully realize w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S p r i n g 2 0 2 0

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[ W o m en In bus in es s ]

NAWBO Columbus leaders with Governor Mike DeWine

their true potential, while making their mark on the world. We serve all growthminded women business owners—from the entrepreneur with an audacious idea to the business owner leading a multimillion dollar enterprise—influencing opinion-makers and changing public policy to level the playing field for women, fostering a supportive community of role models and partners, and transforming women, their businesses and the systems that hold them back. In short, NAWBO Columbus provides an open, supportive environment for women business owners to find solutions to their most persistent challenges—a sisterhood of growth-minded women. Yasmine Robles of Robles Designs says, “NAWBO has been incredibly helpful for growing my business, networking and to get out and have some fun.” We are the only organization that serves all women business owners, across all sectors, and of all sizes through our robust advocacy platform. Most recently, we championed the creation of the first-ever Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) Certification for Ohio. This certification will create greater competitiveness for women business owners in their communities and across state lines. Our public policy adviser tracks legislation that affects business owners on a daily basis. The WBE Certification legislation requires that the state of Ohio track and publicly report data on women business owners annually, beginning in 2020. This will allow us to 40

provide the support needed for the fastest growing segment of our economy—women business owners. Monthly networking and educational events provide opportunities for growing personally, exploring new ideas to help your business grow and prosper. Opportunities to connect with other women business owners, advocates and partners help to make the entrepreneurial journey less rocky. “I need a place where I’m acknowledged, received and appreciated. A place where my voice matters and my actions create impact for

“Being part of a roundtable has been the No. 1 way I’ve gained incredible knowledge that’s led to the exponential expansion of my business. There are unlimited resources in NAWBO. No matter what your question is, there’s someone or something in this organization that can help you,” says Lynsey Jordan, Permit Solutions, LLC. Our advocacy agenda is focused on understanding the root cause of the 78% disparity in annual revenue generation between women-owned and male-owned businesses in Ohio. According to a 2019 report commissioned by the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, entitled Assets for Equity: Building Wealth for Women in Central Ohio, entrepreneurship is cited as an accelerator for closing the gender wealth gap. We’re keenly aware that the wealth gap is even larger for women of color and we’re committed to supporting them in our focus on equality. Unlike other social movements focused on women, we can’t wait another 20 to 30 years to level the playing field. Our families, communities and the economy are depending on the rise of all women entrepreneurs now. NAWBO Columbus creates the space in our busy world to interact with a supportive community of role models and partners, creating lasting relationships that breed courage and inspire confidence. Robles adds, “I know my membership is going toward a great cause—helping to

“NAWBO has been incredibly helpful for growing my business, networking and to get out and have some fun.” — Yasmine Robles of Robles Designs other women,” says Babiya Polk of Aflac. Our roundtables provide an intimate setting to work on your business, instead of in it, for a few hours each month. Roundtable members work collaboratively with six to eight other women business owners, from non-competing businesses, to advance their business practices through peer-topeer coaching and mentorship. Long-time roundtable member Lori Kaiser of Kaiser Consulting says, “My roundtable is full of fearless women leaders and I use NAWBO Columbus as a place to get more comfortable with being visible.”

close the revenue disparity between women-owned and male-owned businesses. NAWBO Columbus supports the empowerment and advancement of women-owned businesses—a cause I care deeply about.” We welcome the opportunity to connect and learn more about your hopes, dreams and goals as a woman business owner. To learn more, visit our website at nawbocbus.org. If you’re located in Northeast Ohio, connect with our sister chapter, NAWBO Cleveland, at nawbocleveland.org. Join the movement today! n

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[ W o m e n In bus in es s ]

How They Did It How did you do it? That’s a question many women business owners get asked again and again. And what they’ll tell you is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. We spoke with four members of NAWBO Columbus to hear their stories and to get their advice on starting on a business. Their stories aren’t the same, but they show there are many ways to find success, no matter your gender.

By the Editors

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[ W O M EN IN BUSINES S ] Courtnee Carrigan CEO & EXECUTIVE TRAINER RAISING THE BAR PERFORMANCE GROUP LLC

Courtnee Carrigan knows that sometimes you have to create your own path to success, even if it doesn’t match everyone else’s. “There is not just one model to build a business. There are many models,” she says. Carrigan had worked with organizations like the University of Cincinnati and YWCA Columbus, helping them promote diversity, inclusion and belonging within themselves and their partner organizations, for several years before taking the leap to start her own business in 2015. “I [went] through that phase where the fear of a business stopped me from doing what I should have done,” she says. “It wasn’t until 2015 that [I was] talking with my dad and he said that if you don’t do it you’re going to regret it. What do you have to lose?” During the last few months of her father’s life, Carrigan worked with him to create the plan that would become Raising the Bar Performance Group LLC. Now she works with

businesses, nonprofits and governmental organizations on strategic development, project management and training and development through the lens of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. This could mean helping organizations devise and implement diversity commitments as a part of their company culture or helping a company start a project that they don’t know how to begin. Her company, which recently hired its fi rst employee, has enabled Carrigan to work with both large and small companies, as well as governmental organizations like Franklin County. But Carrigan attributes her success to her supportive mentors, NAWBO Columbus and the relationships she’s built up over the years. “I lined up all of my resources, all of my circle, and we just started walking through it. That’s what made me really jump to start doing it on my own,” she says. – CORINNE MINARD

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Theresa Harris PRESIDENT AND CEO TMH SOLUTIONS

Theresa Harris loves creating value and solutions for her customers. Harris, president and CEO of the management and information technology-consulting firm TMH Solutions, sells enterprise software solutions. “We work with our customers and our strategic business partners to deliver a high-quality, cost-effective solution and then we empower the customer to get maximum business value from the investment that they make,” says Harris. And that’s exactly what the company’s mission is, she says, to make information technology work for her customers. “Technology is nothing if it doesn’t meet a business problem,” Harris says. “It has to have a solution. Not technology for the sake of having it.” Finding those solutions for customers is something Harris has been doing her entire career. After graduating from the University of Detroit Mercy, she worked in sales and/or sales management with Oracle, Blackwell

Consulting Services of Ohio, Compuware Corp., Computer Associates, Digital Equipment Corp., Unisys and Xerox. She once thought that she wou ld work i n c or por ate America her entire career. Those thoughts soon faded. “During my time while I worked in corporate America a lot of times I would leave on a Sunday and return on a Thursday or Friday morning and so that was a little disruptive, uncomfortable, when you have a family,” she says. She was encouraged to start her own business, which she did in 2010. Because TMH Solutions is a minority-owned and woman-owned and managed company Harris says she has adopted a warrior attitude. “A lot of times when organizations see small companies—in addition to

woman-owned and minority owned— that somehow the value is not there,” she says. “But we prove ever y day to our customers and our strategic business partners that we are a great value and we exist to make them successful.” – ERIC SPANGLER

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[ W o m en In bus in es s ] Paula Haines Executive Director Freedom a la Cart

Paula Haines had spent most of her professional career in the worlds of marketing and sales before a volunteer opportunity introduced her to Freedom a la Cart. The Columbus nonprofit uses food carts and catering as a way to help women who are victims of human sex trafficking to regain their dignity and independence in society. Haines attended one of the organization’s classes in 2014, where she was introduced to its mission and efforts. “Once I learned what was happening to these women here in Ohio,” Haines recalls, “how could I not do something?” Freedom a la Cart’s work to support survivors of human trafficking and its social enterprise approach to operating sustainably attracted Haines to the organization, and her love of cooking didn’t hurt, either. So, she started volunteering, helping with events, and helped organize a fundraiser

called Eat Up! Columbus, a chef-driven charity dinner, which will happen again this year on April 25. In 2016, Haines became interim executive director for Freedom a la Cart, but as time wore on without the nonprofit finding a new leader, she offered to stay in the role permanently and leave the world of forprofit marketing behind. Ha i nes has rel ished the opportunity to apply her marketing and sales expertise while gaining new experience, especially in light of the importance of Freedom a la Cart’s work. “It’s a privilege to have a job where you feel like you have a purpose. All these interest-

ing career things I’ve done over the years, I felt, prepared me for this position that taps into so many different things,” she says. – Kevin Michell

Yasmine Robles Owner Robles Designs

Yasmine Robles has accrued a decade of design experience, but a few years ago she decided to take the plunge and start her own firm. A conversation with her husband gave her the final nudge. That same day,

she handed in her notice. “That day was really when Robles Designs came to be and I took the leap and so far it’s worked out,” she recalls with a laugh. It’s been an adjustment in some ways,

switching from providing design to larger companies to managing people and projects at the same time. Robles Designs employs a developer and lead designer in addition to Robles herself, as well as a remote developer who assists on larger projects. “It’s been an interesting journey of getting comfortable with the uncomfortable feeling of being the boss,” Robles says. “But that’s what entrepreneurship is about, really. It’s getting comfortable in being uncomfortable.” Both in leading her own design firm and continuing to be a professional designer, Robles has a couple of quotes that motivate and guide her. One is, “Isn’t it funny that the harder I work, the luckier I get?” “I love that one because just to remind myself that I see all of these wonderful women business owners and they’re killing it,” Robles says. “You never really see all the struggles that they went through—trying to get those clients, trying to juggle kids and maybe a spouse. Just staying true to my values, my ‘why’, helps me get through the stressful parts and knowing that everybody has their stressful parts.” – Kevin Michell

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[ W O M E N I N BUSINES S ]

BY THE NUMBERS

306,824 WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES IN OHIO

$29 Billion

REVENUES GENERATED by Ohio’s women-owned businesses

330,463

$9.5 Billion

by Ohio’s women-owned businesses

by Ohio’s women-owned businesses

JOBS CREATED

40% Fewer

WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES than men-owned businesses

PAYROLL GENERATED

2% 78% Fewer REVENUES GENERATED

Data provided by NAWBO Columbus. Data prepared and analyzed by Measurement Resources Company, LLC, an Ohio Women-Owned Business (August 2019)

by women-owned businesses than by men-owned businesses

Ohio femaleowned businesses WITH ANNUAL REVENUES OVER $1 MILLION compared to 7% of male-owned businesses

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[ W o m en in Busines s ]

Updating the Industry Wealth management firms are adapting to the differing needs of women

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ealth management has been slow to adapt to the needs of women. Indeed, wealth management and investing—both in terms of the professionals that work within it, which is around 80% men, and its most common clientele— has been male-dominated for a long time. But as women become bigger earners in their households and on the whole in the United States—a 2018 survey by Prudential found that 54% of women polled were the primary income earner in their

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By Kevin Michell

household—wealth management firms and their strategies are changing to fit the needs of female clientele. In 2017, Ernst & Young published a whitepaper outlining steps for its advisement firms to take for customizing their approach to women’s wealth management needs, highlighting the importance of pursuing personal goals, privacy and in-person consultation to female clients. Those all fit into the role of trust—as Ernst & Young found, men and women expect

many of the same things to build trust with a financial adviser, but the latter value transparency and face time more than men. Nalika Nanayak kara, partner and wealth management practice lead for Ernst & Young, points out that the wealth

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management industry has a lot of catching up to do in serving female investors and building that trust. “I honestly do believe that the industry as a whole has not paid enough attention to women investors,” she says. “As women

investors’ power grows because their wealth is growing their decision-making power is growing.” While wealth management firms adjust their service to be more appealing to and functional for female clientele, fi nancial advisers have also begun to focus on unique needs of women managing their funds. The gender gap in pay that persists in many career tracks affects a woman’s ability to put money away for an emergency fund, large investment or retirement. In addition, many women have to take significant stretches of unpaid leave after pregnancy. Also, women tend to live longer than men, requiring a longer scope to retirement planning. “It’s not just about retirement and longevity,” Nanayakkara adds, “but now longevity means lots of new things—people want to not just be sailing into the sunset, they want to start their second business.” That tracks with the fi nancial goals and aspirations women tend to demonstrate on the whole. Female investors tend to see pursuing higher and continued educa-

tion and entrepreneurial opportunities as primary drivers for generating wealth more than men. That proclivity is demonstrated in a study by The Economist Intelligence Unit that polled men and women from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Singapore and Hong Kong. That polling found that women valued preparedness for the future far more than men as a signifier of wealth. As Nanayakkara says, there are a lot of unique needs that women have compared to men. And with women more commonly becoming their household’s primary earners the responsibility is on wealth managers to follow suit with the attentiveness and individualized service. “It’s not just here’s the broad swath of women and we treat them all the same,” she says. “It’s women business owners, it’s women going through a divorce, it’s women starting a business, it’s women retiring and then starting a business… it goes back to the concept of it’s all about ‘the segment of one.’” ■

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[ W O M EN IN BUSINES S ]

A Good Fit WOMEN HAVE MANY OF THE SKILLS NECESSARY TO BECOME SUCCESSFUL ACCOUNTANTS

BY ERIC SPANGLER

F

or women who are trying to decide what career path to choose, Maureen Bruns, undergraduate program director of accounting at the University of Cincinnati, highly recommends accounting. Bruns is a certified public accountant with a masters degree in business administration with a concentration in taxation. She also has more than 20 years of experience in public accounting. Bruns says not only do women have the skills necessary to be successful in accounting but many accounting fi rms now offer flexible scheduling to accommodate women with children. Women are good at speak ing w ith people, relating and listening to people and good at solving problems, Bruns says. “And when you’re working with people’s money that’s important,” Bruns says. “My clients were impressed when I would say, ‘Oh, how was so and so’s wedding?’ Because if you’re not ready to tell someone you’ve got a $10,000 tax bill this year … you better be able to have a good 48

conversation where you can speak to them as people.” Those skills have definitely helped women immerse themselves in the accounting field because they add that value that some men—who are strictly focused on business—do not have, she says. And for those women who want to have children and a career in accounting—especially in the tax area—many accounting fi rms offer flexible scheduling to accommodate a family’s needs, Bruns says. “I think the tax area is a little bit more flexible if you go into public accounting simply because you’re in the office a little more than the auditors are so if your kid gets sick you can leave,” she says. “So it really worked for me to work part time and still get my client’s needs met and my kid’s needs met.” Bruns has seen an important change both in the number of women in the public accounting field and the attitude of male clients toward women in accounting since she started working in the field. More men were in the field of accounting

when she started, but today about 51 of certified public accountants in the U.S. are women, she says. “Women just started to say, ‘Wait a minute, don’t tell me what I can and can’t do. I’m good at math, I’m good at logic, I’m good at working with people, I’m good at advising—much of what CPAs do.’” Another change Bruns observed during her career was the way that some male clients treated women accountants differently than men. “I can say personally I didn’t really encounter too many of my colleagues that treated me any differently than my female colleagues, but from time to time you would have a client that would,” she says. “I think the fact that you had other male colleagues that were basically like, ‘No, that’s not how we treat our people.’ That helped us sort of break that barrier,” Bruns says. “I feel like by the time I left public accounting … I didn’t feel that my clients treated me any differently because I was a female.” ■ Maureen Bruns

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[ W o m en in busines s ]

Health is Wealth Learn to create a path to a healthier life through small, simple steps

G

ina Smith, a regional manager for a medical supplier and a certified health coach in Columbus, wants women to know that they can create a healthy body and the life in general that they want. But, she says, it takes work. “And it takes time,” says Smith. She should know. Smith, who admits she has not always been healthy and taken care of herself, used to work 70 hours a week as a medical sales representative. And she made very good money. “But at some point the money doesn’t even start to make a difference when you’re not sleeping,” says Smith. She also was not at a healthy weight

By Eric Spangler

because she was letting her job take over her life and was not getting any activity. The excuses for not going to the gym and not eating the right foods were the usual ones. “I can’t go to the gym because I’ve got to work,” Smith says. “I can’t eat properly because I’m in a hurry.” And then there were the two or three glasses of wine a night because she had to relax. “It turns into this really unhealthy soup,” she says. “But oh, I’m making a lot of money! And that’s really where I was and I finally started looking at my life and just things happen in little steps.” She decided to start going to a workout center designed for women before moving

Gina Smith, a certified health coach in Columbus, used to struggle with being healthy before making a lifestyle change.

on to a regular gym where she got more involved in fitness classes and working out with a personal trainer. As she became more active her unhealthy choices started to disappear. “I really don’t want to sip down two glasses of wine because I have to get up at 5:30 and go to the gym in the morning,” Smith says. “I don’t want to eat that because its going to ruin

WBE, SBE, DBE and EDGE Certified

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the hard work that I’ve been doing. And oh, by the way, I need sleep because I have to get up at 5:30 in the morning so I can’t stay up working until midnight every night.” Now that she is healthy and active Smith encourages other women, particularly those in the business world who are over

the age of 40, to take the journey to a healthy and active lifestyle as a certified health coach. Many of her clients face the same challenges that she once did—not getting a good night’s sleep and not staying at a healthy weight. “Lots of people know they

want or need to make changes to their lives but they don’t know how to do it,” she says. “So I help people to sit down and let’s look at what you really want to change and what you really want to create instead of where you are today.” The small steps to getting a good night’s rest include avoiding alcohol, setting a time for going to bed and then setting aside a “power hour” before that where all electronics are turned off. “Our brains are over stimulated by the electronics,” says Smith. “So that power hour helps you settle down.” To get to a healthy weight Smith recommends eating real, whole foods; managing the quantity and quality of the food; and creating a beautiful place to eat even if eating by yourself. “Enjoy all the sensations that our food has,” she says. “Sight, sound, aroma, touch, feel; and learn to savor what you’re eating. That slows things down.” For more information, contact Smith by phone at 614-359-6521, by email at gina@coachginasmith.com or visit her website at coachginasmith.com. n

OSA Profile

Established in 2011 by CEO Joe Madden, and privately owned, Cincinnati Asphalt is the company of choice for asphalt, concrete, drainage and excavating services in the Greater Cincinnati, Southeast Indiana, and Northern Kentucky region. Located in Cleves, Ohio, offering commercial, municipal and industrial services, Cincinnati Asphalt has shown big growth over each of it’s 7 years, doubling in revenue and employees since 2017, and is projected to grow another 10% in 2020. With years of experience in the industry, quality people, and attention to detail, you can count on superior workmanship from Cincinnati Asphalt, and we are proud to have been named as an Ohio Success Award recipient for 2020. We look forward to serving the region in 2020 and for many years to come.

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2020

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[ W o m en In bus in es s ]

Moving Forward Frost Brown Todd’s Women’s Initiative is attacking gender disparity within the firm from multiple angles By Corinne Minard

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aw firms are experiencing an issue that many industries are facing. Despite law schools having 50% of their graduates each year be women, women in leadership positions within law firms remains less than 20%. How do law firms address this? Many companies, law firms included, have created programs to help women within them, often offering them advice to help them climb the ladder. Frost Brown Todd, a national law firm with offices in Cincinnati and Columbus, created this type of program, too. But in 2013, the firm realized it needed to do something different. Kimberly K. Mauer, a commercial real estate and banking attorney and committee chair of Frost Brown Todd’s Women’s Initiative, says, “When I took [the initiative] over in ‘13, … I said, ‘OK, well let’s take a look, let’s see if this has had any positive impact.’ And no. Basically no. That’s not unique to our women’s initiative. I’m talking nationally this kind of approach really hasn’t had an impact on women.” The initiative decided to switch the firm’s focus from the women themselves to the systems within the firm that could be leading to these problems. “We started really focusing our attention on unconscious bias and what we tried to do—because I truly believe it is unconscious and we all have our own biases—[was] find ways to place interrupters in the system,” says Mauer. Examples of this include creating systems to help attorneys assign work evenly, making publicly available lists that explain what is necessary for a promotion and developing frequently asked questions for self-evaluations so that everyone is on the same page. These and other actions have been built around four “impact zones” that were decided upon during a Women’s Initia52

tive Retreat, which has been held every 1 8 mont h s s i nc e 2011. “We are seeing the same barriers to success and we just need to work on those,” says Mauer. The four zones are teamwork, which works on building a network of mentors and developing networking opportunities; support, which look s at career development and work schedule policies; leadership, which considers awards and appointments as well as who has a place at the table; and transparency, which has helped the firm redevelop its interview and advancement processes. Change is not immediate, but Frost Brown Todd has seen results from its efforts. “Nationally, for women equity partners, if you hit 20% you are doing great. We’re at 23.2% as of this year,” says Mauer. The firm has also earned the Gold Standard Law Firm designation from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum seven years in a row. Only 45 U.S. law firms made the list. However, work still needs to be done. Mauer says that while the initiative has tackled a lot of the “low-hanging fruit,” many harder challenges remain. But with management committed to improving its diversity and inclusion efforts, Mauer believes they’ll continue to take these issues head on. “Are we perfect? No. But we are committed to moving it in the right direction and I think our culture is a positive place,” she says. n

Frost Brown Todd’s Women’s Initiative Retreat allows its women attorneys to connect with each other and identify the areas where the firm needs to improve.

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Photo by ScottShawPhotogr aphy

Midwestern Traveler

The Cleveland Museum of Art collects art from all time periods and all cultures.

A Museum for Everyone N

o matter your interest, Ohio has a museum for that. From art to science to history, Ohio has museums covering almost any topic. While the state is filled with quality institutions, we’ve profiled three very different museums to give you a taste of what the state has to offer.

Carillon Historical Park What do the airplane, pop-top and cash register all have in common? They were

all invented in Dayton, of course. To learn more about the city’s invention history—as well as more about Dayton itself—head to Carillon Historical Park just outside downtown Dayton. The 65-acre open-air museum is home to 35 historic buildings and structures, including the Wright Brothers National Museum, Heritage Center of Dayton Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship, Carillon Brewing Co. and more.

Ohio is home to almost every type of museum, from art and history to today’s veterans By Corinne Minard “What surprises people is how much is on this campus and how varied it is,” says Alex Heckman, vice president of museum operations. “It’s not as though we’re trying to tell the history of one house in 1870 or one battlefield from 1865 or something like that—we cover over two centuries worth of history.” Carillon Historical Park does this in two ways. First, it has many indoor exhibits featuring important artifacts from Dayw w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . s p r i n g 2 0 2 0

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Midwestern Traveler

Visitors to Carillon Historical Park in Dayton can see the world’s first practical airplane, the Wright Flyer III, along with nearly 200 National Cash Register registers.

ton’s history. The Wright Brothers National Museum, for example, has more Wright brothers’ artifacts on display than any other museum in the world. Included in these artifacts is the Wright Flyer III, “which is considered the most original, consisting of the most original parts of any existing Wright brothers’ airplane and it’s the airplane that Orville Wright considered the world’s first practical airplane,” says Heckman. Other indoor exhibits and attractions include almost 200 National Cash Register registers, a hand-carved carousel that is Dayton themed, a Conestoga wagon, the oldest existing American-built locomotive and more. Carillon Historical Park also explores the region’s history through interpreters and demonstrations in the open-air part of the park, which includes the Early Settlement Area and The Print Shop. At the William Morris House, visitors can learn how to dip candles or churn butter with the same types of tools early settlers would have used. The Carillon Brewing Co. brews beers the same way Daytonians did in the 1850s. And the Print Shop features the country’s only fully operational 1930s letterpress job shop. “They’re using the methods and the materials and the processes from the 1930s and 54

that’s very eye-opening for folks,” says Heckman. “[In] the print shop you see printing equipment that can only handle one color of ink at a time and if you want to have a printed product that has four or five different colors on it that means you’re handling the paper four or fives times and cleaning up the printing press four or five times.” While touring the park, make sure to take in the 151-foot-tall Deeds Carillon as well. Built between 1940 and 1942, the carillon features 57 bells and is the largest carillon instrument in the state of Ohio. “It’s not just a big stone monument, it’s a living, breathing memorial to the Deeds family,” says Heckman of the carillon honoring the couple that created the park.

National Veterans Memorial and Museum The National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus may have just celebrated its first year of being open to the public, but it has already introduced thousands to the stories of the country’s veterans. “The National Veterans Memorial and Museum is the nation’s first and, we believe, only museum dedicated to all veterans, both war and peacetime service and all branches,” says Shelly Hoffman, associate director of external affairs for the museum.

Instead of displaying artifacts such as helicopters and tanks, the museum looks to honor veterans by telling their stories. Visitors follow the stories of veterans through 14 thematic alcoves. “[They] take you through the common steps a veteran takes from taking the oath of office and leaving home, basic training, deployment, combat experiences, coming home and then, equally important, post-service, how they continue to contribute to their community and the country as a whole,” says Hoffman. “There are 25 veterans who were selected who provide the narration through these alcoves and they represent all different conflicts, World War II forward, and then also people who did service at peacetime. [They’re] from all parts of the country and it’s their narrative that takes you through the museum,” adds Hoffman. Through multimedia presentations, interactive pieces and artifacts, visitors are able to learn about all facets of the veteran experience. The museum also invites visitors to discuss their own experiences with a Share Your Story booth. In addition the museum is looking to engage the community with its many events and programs. “We serve an important role as rally point and advocate for all veterans and continue to develop relevant programming to meet their needs as well

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Photo by National Veter ans Memorial and Museum

as engage all Americans, and young people in particular, about the importance of doing something bigger than yourself,” says President and CEO Lt. General Michael Ferriter, who retired from the U.S. Army. These programs include Veteran Voices, which are panels that have previously featured veterans of D-Day and the Battle of Mogadishu; special Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day programs; community celebrations; and Rally Point, a free breakfast and informal event that connects veterans to resources. Ultimately, the museum hopes to honor, connect, inspire and educate. “I think that being able to come through and hear the stories of veterans it demonstrates the power of people coming together for the good of our nation and I think it’s a reminder also that there’s so much more that binds Americans than divides us and that’s a timely message now,” says Hoffman.

Cleveland Museum of Art The 103-year-old Cleveland Museum of Art is also looking to inspire its visitors. “We are an encyclopedic museum, meaning that we collect art from all time periods and all cultures, from the beginning of when art was produced in this world to the art of today. We like to think and hope that we have something for everyone. We have

a wonderful permanent collection, the art that we have collected over our 103 years, and we also always have special exhibitions going on at any given time,” says Heather Lemonedes Brown, the museum’s chief curator and deputy director. The museum is home to many collections, from classic European art—such as the impressionists—to ancient art from the Bronze Age to modern, contemporary pieces. Brown recommends picking a gallery that aligns most with your interests, but there are several special pieces that are unique to the museum. For example, Stargazer is an abstract sculpture of a women looking up at the stars that dates back to 3,000 B.C. “It’s one of the oldest sculptures of the human figure in the museum,” says Brown. Another special piece is one of Claude Monet’s water lilies paintings that is featured in its impressionist room. “Water lilies are a product of his fascination with the shimmering surface of the pond and you see both the plants growing in the pond and you see the clouds overhead reflected in the surface of the pond. It’s as if the water, sky and land all come together in this one picture,” says Brown. And in the American collection, Brown recommends visitors make a point to see “Stag at Sharkey’s” by George Bellows. “It

The National Veterans Memorial and Museum offers multimedia presentations and interactive pieces and artifacts to teach visitors about all facets of the veteran experience.

depicts a fight at Sharkey’s Athletic Club in New York City and what the artist does is he depicts the drama and energy of the struggle between the two boxers by blurring the scene’s details with rapid and very gestural brushwork. So the subject and the style merge together here,” adds Brown. Visitors in 2020 can also expect to see several temporary exhibitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art. “Proof: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet” is a Cleveland Museum of Art exclusive that will be open to the public from Feb. 7 to April 12. The exhibition features 150 contact, or proof, sheets that photographers used to select images in the era before digital photography. The collection features images of Marilyn Monroe, the Beatles and other celebrities. “Typically the contact sheet remained only a part of the working process and not in public view. So this exhibition will kind of pull back the curtain on the [process] of a lot of photographers who were working in the second half of the 20th century,” says Brown. w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . s p r i n g 2 0 2 0

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MIDWESTERN TRAVELER And in May, the exhibition “Picasso and Paper” will make its only U.S. stop at the museum. The exhibition features nearly 300 works by Pablo Picasso that showcase the many ways he used paper—“The way that he used prints and drawing but also the way that he used paper in collages, the way that he made sculpture out of the pieces of torn and even burned paper. We’ll see manipulated photographs on paper. And then we’ll also see the way he worked on paper to prepare himself for major paintings and sculpture,” adds Brown. One of the featured pieces of the exhibition is “Women at Their Toilette,” a more than 14-foot long collage created from pieces of wallpaper. With the museum’s wide collection, Brown is confident visitors can fi nd whatever experience they desire. “You can fi nd what you’re looking for here, whether it’s quiet contemplation, relaxation—it’s a great place to come with family or friends. It can spark conversation. It can spark your own creativity. I think it can inspire you, but it’s everything from relaxing to energizing, just depending on what you’re in the mood for,” she says. ■

RIGHT: The Cleveland Art Museum offers several programs for children and families to explore their inner artist. BELOW: The Cleveland Museum of Art is home to many famous pieces of art, including one of Claude Monet’s water lilies paintings.

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Book your All-Star Experience today! allstar@sluggermuseum.com • 502-588-7227 • sluggermuseum.com 56

S P R I N G 2 0 2 0 . w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com

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Executive Q&A

3 Questions For Michelle Primm

Managing Partner, Cascade Auto Group By Terry Troy

A

s managing partner of the Cascade Auto Group in Cuyahoga Falls, Michelle Primm has been a champion of women in business for her entire career. In addition to her duties running multiple franchised automotive dealerships with her two brothers, she also serves as an at-large member of the Board of Directors of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), representing all women dealers east of the Mississippi. While she started in the family business at 12, Primm is a graduate of Kent State University with a degree in finance, and is also a graduate of the NADA’s Dealer Academy. We asked Michelle three questions about the challenges women face in what is perceived as a male dominated business.

OB: Do women face any obstacles when it comes to finding a career in the retail automotive industry? PRIMM: I have never thought of my gender as a disadvantage. The challenges facing women in retail automotive are the same as they are for women wanting to get into any other industry. We need to break through the stereotypes and help others understand our strengths and capabilities and then teach them how to embrace diversity and inclusion. The problems aren’t our problems, the problems are their problems. We need to help people overcome their biases and lack of understanding as to what we can do. It’s very much like selling a car. In sales you need to stand out from the crowd. So being a woman in this business is not a disadvantage, it’s actually an advantage, an opportunity.

OB: What kinds of career opportunities currently exist in retail automotive? PRIMM: Between now and 2026 there will be more than 76,000 job opportunities in the

As managing partner of the Cascade Auto Group, Michelle Primm oversees multiple franchised auto dealerships.

car business, and women can fill every one of those. Smart business people recognize that, and will find people to fill those positions regardless of their gender. Being on the NADA Board of Directors, part of my job is to help women recognize that this is a great career path. The average wage in an auto dealership, even without a college degree, is $56,000 a year. A technician can make $80,000 a year or more. Our industry is also very flexible. Women can jump in and out of careers, if they want to take time out to raise a family, or to care for an aging parent. There is always going to be a place for you in the car business.

OB: What advice would you give a young women just starting out on a career path?

PRIMM: It doesn’t matter whether you think the field is dominated by men or not, find something that you are passionate about doing. But don’t limit yourself either. If you are a passionate about helping people, you don’t necessarily have to be a nurse or a schoolteacher. You can use that kind of empathy in a wide variety of career paths, including in our industry as either a sales person or service adviser. Regardless of what field you eventually choose to go into, don’t assume that a college degree automatically grants you the right to be the boss or have the highest wage. One of the best ways to find yourself is to start working in high school or test the waters as a part of some sort of work-study program while in college. That way you can see what kind of work you love. n w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . s p r i n g 2 0 2 0

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Profile for Cincy Magazine

Ohio Business Magazine | Spring 2020  

Ohio Business Magazine | Spring 2020  

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