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OHIO’S INSURANCE INDUSTRY TACKLES COVID-19

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COMPANIES THAT PROVE OHIO IS A GREAT PLACE TO WORK

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COLUMBUS’ NETJETS TAKES OFF

GRAETER’S ICE CREAM FINDS SWEET SUCCESS DISPLAY UNTIL FALL 2020

SUMMER 2020 VOLUME 5

ISSUE 2

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Clinton County Port Authority

Coordinating, Enabling & Facilitating County-wide Economic Development Nearly one year ago, five parties - the Clinton County Board of Commissioners, the City of Wilmington, the Wilmington Community Improvement Corporation, the Clinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Clinton County Port Authority - committed to launching a comprehensive, collaborative, county-wide Economic Development program. The initiative, with funding from all five organizations, is facilitated and managed by the Clinton County Port Authority and creates a single point of contact for economic development activity, existing businesses, and those companies considering locating in Clinton County, Ohio.

The last year has seen additions to the Clinton County Port Authority staff, to enhance its focus on facilitating economic development opportunities county-wide. Executive Director Daniel G. Evers leads the organization and will celebrate five years with the CCPA in October. He has spent the last 20+ years advancing economic development in communities throughout Ohio. A long-time member of the Ohio Economic Development Association and a past President, he recently concluded his service on its Board of Directors. He earned his undergraduate degree from Miami University and his master’s degree in Public Administration from Xavier University. Jennifer Ekey, Economic Development Director for the Port Authority, also has spent her career active in economic development in Ohio, joining the Port Authority staff earlier this year after four years as Middletown’s Economic Development Director. Recognized as the 2019 Economic Development Professional of the Year by the Ohio Economic Development Association, Jennifer is a past president of the organization and a long-time member of its board. She is on the Board of Directors of the Mid America Economic Development Council. Jennifer is a graduate of Miami University and the Economic Development Institute of Oklahoma University. With over 50 years of experience in economic development in Ohio, Jennifer and Dan have established relationships with regional and state organizations, and bring that experience and knowledge to Clinton County to support business growth throughout the community. Kelly Greene and Beth Huber have been working in different capacities at the Wilmington Air Park for several years. Kelly started at the Air Park in 2007 working with the Security staff and became the Supervisor for the staff. She now works as the Badge Coordinator. She joined the Port Authority staff in 2019 and supports Badging, FAA Part 139 Compliance, and Air Park Operations for the Port Authority. Beth started at the Air Park with Airborne Express/ABX Air in 1989 and spent 20 years with that organization in Communications and Public & The Port Authority is partnering with the Small Business Development Center Program (SBDC) to bring Sangmi Kim, a business advisor dedicated to serving entrepreneurs and small business owners, to Clinton County. Kim will spend one day each week in the community, focusing on providing technical assistance to the small business community. Ohio’s SBDC program is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Ohio Development Services Agency, a Port Authority partner agency.

www.wilmingtonairpark.com

Twitter@wilmingtonairpark

Community Relations. While there, she earned her Masters’s in Aeronautical Science. She joined the Port Authority as a contractor early in 2010 and worked with the team through the final negotiations to the donation. Beth earned her Ohio Economic Development Institute certification in 2019. She will celebrate 10 years as an employee in October of this year. The newest member of the staff, Ruth Brindle, came to the Port Authority with an array of non-profit leadership and project management experience. Through her work as Executive Co-Director of Main Street Wilmington, Communications & Marketing Director of the Wilmington -Clinton County Chamber of Commerce, and Director of the Quaker Heritage Center of Wilmington College, she developed numerous community connections that will benefit the Port Authority. She joined the staff late in March of this year. All staff members are active in the community and support many organizations with volunteer hours and business contacts. Community organizations including the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission, Wilmington City Records Commission, Wilmington Rotary, Ohio Economic Development Association, American Society for Public Administration, Cincinnati State’s President’s Advisory Board, the Clinton County Leadership Institute, and more. With the support of Brian Phillips, contracted for fiscal management services, the staff coordinates county-wide economic development with partners at the Dayton Development Coalition, JobsOhio, and other local and regional organizations, as well as oversees the management of the Wilmington Air Park, donated to the Clinton County Port Authority 10 years ago. The Clinton County Port Authority is proud to partner with local organizations to support Economic Development in Clinton County, including the City of Wilmington, Clinton County, the Wilmington Community Improvement Corporation, the WilmingtonClinton County Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Wilmington, the Clinton County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Clinton County Regional Planning Commission, JobsOhio, the Dayton Development Coalition, the Blanchester Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Economic Development Association and more.

Twitter@countyport

devers@ccportauthority.com


June 2, 2010 - June 2, 2020 A Decade. A Difference.

Ten years ago, on June 2, 2010, the Clinton County Port Authority and its community took an extraordinary leap of faith buttressed by incredible vision. On that day, there were four companies remaining at the Air Park, employing approximately 750 people. Since that time, our community, tenants, our partners, elected and appointed community leaders, and our Board of Directors – past and present – have made a significant difference. Today, the Wilmington Air Park is home to: • 14 distinct employers • Roughly 4,000 employees, on-site – and growing • A diverse Tenant base, led by aviation/supply chain companies • Multiple active prospects – aviation and non-aviation alike

Located within the Golden Triangle of Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio, and offering easy access to I-70, I-75 and I-71, the Wilmington Air Park is in the heart of the Midwest, located within a one-hour flight time from 60% of the U.S. population Over $6 million in grant dollars have been leveraged with Port Authority funds, to improve the aviation infrastructure of the Wilmington Air Park. Millions of additional funds have been invested, by the Port Authority, in the Air Park’s facilities. We’re equally proud of the fact that we’ve spent more than $10 million with Clinton County companies over the past decade.

www.wilmingtonairpark.com

As the Clinton County Port Authority marks the 10th anniversary of its ownership of the Wilmington Air Park, it recognizes and thanks tenants who were there to start this journey, those companies that have joined it along the way, local and regional partners, and the community for the role each played in this success.

Twitter@wilmingtonairpark

Twitter@countyport

Development opportunities are available near and at the airport , an active air cargo hub and an FAA Part 139 Certified, Category III ILS airport with a 10,000+ foot runway and nearly 2.8 million square feet of leased space.

devers@ccportauthority.com


CONTENTS

SUMMER 2020

21 Best Workplaces in Ohio Meet the 2020 Best Workplaces in Ohio and learn more about why Ohio is a great place to work. BY CORINNE MINARD Hunter International

4 Publisher’s View BY ERIC HARMON

6 Ohio Brands Graeter’s Ice Cream is quietly dominating its Midwest markets. BY LYNNE THOMPSON

8 Midwestern Traveler Omni Homestead’s relaxing attractions withstand the test of time. BY TERRY TROY

10 Akron

DATELINE

Akron General solidifies its No. 1 position. BY TERRY TROY

12 Cleveland M Genio grows while supporting other companies. BY LIZ ENGEL

14 Columbus NetJets’ business answers questions on flying safely during pandemic. BY JILL SELL 2

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16 Charting a Way Forward Insurance industry meets today’s novel challenges. BY TERRY TROY

35 Ohio Success Awards Update 36 My Take Editor Terry Troy offers his take on sports and entertainment stars qualifying for PPP loans.


A LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER

Times Like These I

t’s been a crazy couple of months. An understatement? No doubt. We have never seen such a dramatic shift in our way of life and to our businesses. COVID-19 has been tragic, yet things will continue to progress. In times like these it’s when I believe you as business professionals, owners and leaders have great opportunity. Your employees will look to you for guidance, particularly as government entities strain to remain solvent. In some ways you are given more latitude now than ever before to make the changes you see fit for the organizations and people you serve that will have impact far into the future. This magazine issue is chock-full of companies and people around Ohio that have chosen a path of resiliency, compassion and sheer ambition. In our fifth annual Best Workplaces in Ohio, you’ll meet the companies that provide the environment most businesses want but not all have achieved. Many other profiles of companies from across the state demonstrate just how tough we Buckeyes are. As you read this, we will be wrapping up the nomination campaign for our Inaugural Best in Ohio Business awards. I encourage you to go online to ohiobusinessmag. com to vote for those local businesses that you admire and appreciate. A pick-me-up can come in many forms and winning a well-deserved award may be just the ticket.

Family and Veteran Owned

President: Eric Harmon

Editor: Terry Troy

Managing Editor: Corinne Minard

Contributing Writers: Liz Engel Jill Sell Lynne Thompson

Creative Director: Guy Kelly Digital Content Coordinator: Danielle Cain

Advertising, Circulation & Office Manager: Laura Federle

Publisher Ohio Operations: Amy Scalia

Director of Sales & Print Operations: Rick Seeney

Director of Digital & Event Operations: Stephanie Simon

Advertising Coordinator: Katelynn Webb Sales: Jon Castonguay Kristine Granata Brad Hoicowitz Inside Sales: Tom Marschall Editorial Intern: Sam Cioffi

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. 4

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OHIO BRANDS

You Scream, I Scream

Graeter’s Ice Cream President and CEO Richard Graeter

GRAETER’S ICE CREAM IS QUIETLY DOMINATING ITS MIDWEST MARKETS BY LYNNE THOMPSON

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ichard Graeter compares opening a pint of Graeter’s chocolate-chip ice creams—everything from Mint Chocolate Chip to its signature Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip—to unwrapping one of those long-gone Willy Wonka chocolate bars. But instead of looking for a Golden Ticket promising “tremendous things are in store for you,” devoted customers are hoping to find an enormous chunk of chocolate laced among its smaller counterparts. T he Ci nci n nat i-based compa ny ’s president and CEO explains that unlike competitors that use uniformly sized 6

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chips made of “chocolatey stuff,” Graeter’s employs the same confectionary-grade chocolate enrobing its boxed candies. The melted chocolate, mixed with a little vegetable oil to soften it in its solid state, is poured into the ice cream during production, allowed to harden, then broken up into delightfully misshapen pieces from small to spoon-filling. “In Cincinnati, whenever we’d get a complaint, it was ‘I’ve got a pint with no chips!’” he says with amusement. “Hey, people [were] exaggerating. They didn’t get a giant chip, but they got chocolate chips.” Conversely, newbies often assume that giant chip is a result of some production glitch. “I have to explain patiently to them, ‘No, you got lucky.’” Those chocolate chips are just one of the things that have made Graeter’s a sweet obsession in the 150 years since the private enterprise’s founding, one that reported $70 million in gross revenues last year.

The ice creams—including flavors that do not contain chips—are scooped at 55 company-owned shops in Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania and sold in over 6,000 stores nationwide. Graeter rattles off names such as Kroger, W hole Foods, Fresh Market, Meijer, Walmart and Giant Eagle. He points out that unlike so many craft ice-cream makers that have their products made for them by big co-packers, Graeter’s still makes its own, 2 1/2 gallons at a time— more than 1 million gallons a year—at its 25,000-square-foot plant in Cincinnati’s Bond Hill neighborhood. “There’s a few ice cream companies that have been around longer than we have, but they’re not making craft ice cream,” he adds. “They converted to the modern methods, and/or they’re not family owned. So I can say without question we’re America’s oldest family-owned craft ice-cream company.”


Graeter’s was founded in 1870 by Louis Charles Graeter, who came to Cincinnati from his native Indiana as a teenager and began selling the ice cream he made in a street market. He opened his first store in the city’s Walnut Hills neighborhood four or five years later. But it was his third wife Regina, daughter of a prominent Austrianimmigrant businessman, who made the product a Queen City favorite after Louis died in a streetcar accident in 1920. “Instead of selling [the shop] or folding, she took it on, took it over, and started running it with a passion,” Graeter says of his great-grandmother, who became a widow with two teenage boys to raise at a time when women couldn’t even vote. “In two years she did what Louis Charles couldn’t do in 50 years: open a second store.” But Regina refused to adopt the continuous-process ice-cream machine, a 1926 invention that nearly doubled production by pumping air into the mix and yielding a cheaper, fluffier result. Instead, she began buying up competing shops forced out of business by centralized producers supplying grocery stores—Graeter estimates she had 17 locations at any one time—and moved her own ice-cream making from the shops’ back rooms to a 12,000-square-foot printing plant she purchased in 1934. There she continued Louis’ painstaking practice of making ice cream, 2 1/2 gallons at a time, in French pots. “It’s a process that has been absolutely forgotten and lost,” Graeter says. “If we were not here, nobody anywhere would know what it is.” Graeter describes a large metal bowl, 3 feet in diameter, in a wooden housing containing brine mechanically chilled by an ammonia-based system. As the bowl spun on a shaft mounted to its base, the ice-cream mix rose and stuck to the bowl’s sides. A worker repeatedly scraped the sides with a wooden paddle, returning the freezing mix to the center of the bowl so the process could be repeated until the desired consistency was achieved. Over time the company replaced the pots with 37 stainless-steel counterparts cooled by a modern refrigeration system, all custom-made by a Cincinnati company. The design is actually based on an Italian gelato machine Graeter’s father Dick found in 1980 and the company subsequently modified when it proved too fragile for its

needs. The worker with the wooden paddle was replaced by a blade. But the ice cream is still packed by hand to this day. “When our ice cream comes out of a French pot, it’s thick, like peanut butter,” Graeter says. “Modern ice cream, because it’s still very liquid—like, foam—can be pumped into its containers at high speed.” History suggests Willmer, Graeter’s grandfather, came up with the idea for making chocolate chips, broken up during the bowl-scraping process, during the 1950s. It was the modified French pot, however, that spun Graeter’s into other markets. In 1984 the first franchisee began making ice cream on-premises at a location in northern Kentucky. Five years later, another franchisee began doing the same in Columbus. By 2004 Graeter’s boasted 26 franchises in Kentucky, Columbus and Dayton, along with 12 company-owned stores in the Cincinnati area. With this success, Graeter and his cousins Chip and Robert decided to expand the brand’s presence in grocery-store freezers. The ice cream already was in 20 local Kroger supermarkets. “We beat Haagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s combined in these stores,” Graeter recalls. When Graeter’s approached one of the Cincinnati-based chain’s sales executives about putting its ice cream in other markets, he immediately agreed. The product arrived in Denver-area stores in 2008. Sales there put the brand in Texas, then in Kroger locations nationwide. “Very quickly, we ate up that excess capacity,” Graeter says. “We were now selling every drop we could possibly make.” In 2010, Graeter’s expanded the Bond Hill plant. The new plant began supplying all of its company-owned locations with ice cream as well as Graeter’s continued new locations. Graeter describes the ideal spot as a larger community in the Midwest—a region of the country where sales in other retail outlets already are strong—near family-filled neighborhoods, with enough space for outdoor seating and a drive-thru. “By having brick-and-mortar stores where we have [a presence in] grocery stores, our brand becomes very dominant,” he explains. Each store is staffed by employees trained to provide what Graeter calls “a first-class customer experience.”

Graeter’s Ice Cream in Cincinnati uses the traditional French Pot process to make its ice creams and sorbets.

The ice cream, however, is the main draw. Varying selections of “core” flavors are available at Graeter’s shops and other retailers at any one time, from Madagascar Vanilla Bean to S’mores. They are augmented by seasonal flavors like Pumpkin, Eggnog and Peach, sold for a couple of months each year; limited-edition counterparts that run seasonally; and summertime “bonus flavors” scooped at shops until they’re gone. Some develop from ideas pitched by ingredient suppliers and customers or a desire to honor local institutions and their milestones. A recent example is Boldly Bearcat, a limited-edition tribute to the University of Cincinnati’s bicentennial consisting of a vanilla base, red-velvet sandwich cookies and chocolate chips. “It’s kind of a messy, organic, all-overthe-place process,” Graeter says. The company is looking to expand its dominance in Indianapolis, which Graeter believes could eventually support 10 stores instead of the current three. He also is considering opening stores in Florida, which many Midwesterners call home for six months of the year, at some point in the future. “I call the strategy Fortress Midwest,” he says. “I want to own the Midwest, make sure we’re No. 1 in every Midwest market.” n w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S U M M E R 2 0 2 0

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MIDWESTERN TRAVELER

A Dignified Destination

OMNI HOMESTEAD’S RELAXING ATTRACTIONS WITHSTAND THE TEST OF TIME BY TERRY TROY

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s director of sales and marketing for the resort, John Hess naturally likes to talk about the Omni Homestead’s 254-year history, and the multiple generations of people who visit and enjoy the venerable resort each year. Located in Hot Springs, Virginia, the area attracted early travelers well before Virginia ever became a state—its natural hot springs were said to offer healing properties and rest and relaxation to the vexed, weary and tired. While it’s true that the Omni Homestead resort has a rich heritage, Hess is actually understating the area’s history. As a charter member of Historic Hotels of America since 1989, the Omni Homestead’s history actually dates back to 1766. So Hess’s 254year lineage describes the birth of the actual hotel, but not the area reputation as a tourist destination. Hot Springs, Virginia, is the stuff of Native American legends, too many to actually describe here. Archeologists now tell 8

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us that pre-historic people were attracted to the area as early as 7,000 B.C. Many of our founding fathers knew the area well. A young George Washington visited before becoming our nation’s first president. A friend, Thomas Bullitt, built one of the first cabins in the valley. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson stayed at the Homestead resort as well. Acquired by Omni in 2013, the Omni Homestead has maintained its historic charm and attractions, while offering state-of-the-art amenities that appeal to those whose tastes run more to modernity than the past. Nestled in the middle of a valley that gives birth to more than a dozen mineral hot springs, it’s a resort that appeals to visitors no matter the season. “The original hot spring is on our property,” says Hess. “So you can actually soak in the original hot spring. “We have guests who have been coming here for generation after generation, some

Omni Homestead is intentionally renting rooms at a reduced number so as to guarantee social distancing within its restaurants.

who have been coming here for three and four generations or maybe more. I know we have some employees who are third generation as well. So it was very exciting when we re-opened our doors at the end of June.” It doesn’t take an archeologist or historian to figure out why the resort was closed for a brief spell. The pandemic has changed everyone’s idea of what vacations and rest and relaxation can be. “Right now, because of the pandemic, we are intentionally operating our resort at reduced occupancy,” says Hess. “We are a 483-room hotel, but we are operating with 200 hotel rooms.” The reasons for that are multiple, Hess points out.


“We are taking extra steps in our cleaning processes because we want our guests to have a clean and safe experience,” he says. “And due to state restrictions, we have put limitations on the space we utilize in our restaurants to maintain social distancing, and to also limit the occupancy of our pools. We want to make sure we can feed everybody, that everyone can get to the pool and enjoy our other venues.” But there are some safety guidelines that guests never see or experience. New cleaning protocols have been instituted in all guest rooms and public spaces. High-touch areas such as stair railings are cleaned every hour, following CDC guidelines. Even the pool is closed every three hours so the chairs can be cleaned and sanitized. When the staff shows up for work, their temperatures are taken. Anyone with a fever is not allowed to work. “They are also asked questions about recent travel,” Hess adds. “All of our staff wear masks, whether it’s in a guest situation or back of the house.” Similarly, the culinary staff wears masks and gloves whenever appropriate. Like any major resort, Omni Homestead’s menu changes with the season. It’s also changed because of the pandemic. “We have redone our menus in all of our food and beverage outlets to minimize food contact and manipulation by our chefs,” says Hess. “So there is a little more whole food approach to all of our menus.” There are casual and more elegant dining options, says Hess. Like Jefferson’s Restaurant and Bar, the latter having a more sports bar atmosphere with the restaurant offering casual but elegant fare featuring a farm-to-table approach to the menu that offers prime and regional meats from Virginia and beyond. More casual diners can enjoy Woody’s, named after a long-tenured “Woody” Pettus, who was at the resort for more than 50 years before his passing several years back. “He was so beloved by everyone at the resort that we just felt it was appropriate to have a restaurant named after him,” says Hess. At Woody’s you’ll find a unique selection of specialty burgers, brick-oven fired pizzas and superb milkshakes. “As a part of our changes, we have also created a contact-less check-in experience,” Hess adds. “Our front desk staff

Omni Homestead’s indoor pool was built in 1904 and is fed by spring water.

always wears masks, shields and gloves.” It’s all designed to offer guests the best possible experience, as well as peace of mind. And the reaction so far has drawn praise. “Our guests seem very happy to be back,” Hess says. “And we’re very happy to be welcoming back our friends and their families back.” Even with its reduced room count, reservations have been strong. While summer is waning, there are still some availabilities midweek, Hess points out. “Most of our guests make reservations anywhere from a week to 30 days in advance,” he says. “For people looking in that range, we still have some flexibility.” Fall is an excellent time to visit on a road trip, with Omni Homestead a short fourhour drive from the Ohio border. Guests from Cincinnati and Cleveland can expect a six- to six-and-a-half-hour drive through West Virginia and some of the most spectacular fall foliage on the planet. “The resort sits in the center of a valley with mountains all around,” says Hess. “The fall foliage here is spectacular. The forests are laden with hardwoods, with just the right amount of evergreens to give a green contrast.” In addition to the beautiful two-lane roads that snake through the rolling mountains, there are also miles and miles of hiking trails. The historic spa has its own pool complex called the Serenity Garden. Relax here in an octagonal pool fed by the

geothermal spring, rejuvenate under the waters of the deluge shower, or stroll along the River Reflexology Walk, with carefully placed stones that soothe and massage the nerves in your feet as you walk. “We also have nice waterpark complex with outdoor pool, hot tub, lazy river and slides that are kept open on weekends through most of fall, at least through Columbus Day,” Hess adds. If you’re a golfer, you can challenge yourself on one of the resort’s two championship golf courses, including the Cascades Course, regarded as one of the top 30 courses in the nation. It’s played host to a number of major tournament events. The Old Course was created in 1892 and features one of the oldest first tees in continuous use in the nation. The legendary Sam Snead got his start there. Both courses are set against the majestic backdrop of Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains. The resort’s Equestrian Center allows for riding through colored forests in fall. “We even have a shooting club,” says Hess. “It’s located on the top of a mountain where the views are exquisite. “People will often plan a visit to a resort as a destination, and stay in a hotel that is close by,” Hess adds. “But here, the Omni Homestead is the destination. It’s like sleeping in a beautiful museum.” A museum with a historic spa that has endured for centuries and all the modern amenities and conveniences that you could possibly want. n w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S U M M E R 2 0 2 0

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DATELINE: AKRON Cleveland Clinic Akron General is rated as the No. 1 hospital in the Akron Metropolitan area.

Expanding Residency AKRON GENERAL SOLIDIFIES ITS NO. 1 POSITION BY TERRY TROY

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leveland Clinic Akron General Hospital is increasing its residency programs by 30% by the year 2024— further solidifying its standing as the lead hospital in the Akron Metropolitan area. Akron General is rated as the No. 1 hospital in the Akron Metropolitan area and the No. 14 hospital in Ohio for 2019/2020 according to the U.S. News & World Report, The move follows an announcement early in July that the hospital was awarded a $1 million grant from Summit County for the hospital’s Centering Pregnancy program. Prior to 2018, 138 residents were training at Akron General. This grew to 153 in the 2020-2021 academic year, which began July 1, and will reach 177 by 2024. 10

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The biggest growth will come from Akron General’s decision to start a psychiatry residency program. Akron General had its own program many years ago but shifted to participating in a shared program with several other local hospitals in the 1970s. “We are pleased to be growing our already-robust graduate medical education program,” says Dr. Titus Sheers, chairman of medical education and research at Akron General. “We are fulfilling our commitment to prepare future physicians, especially in the important and in-demand area of primary care. “Everyone recognized that we need more mental health professionals in our community,” adds Sheers. “This is the first completely new residency program created at Akron General in several decades, and we have put a great deal of time and effort into its creation to make sure we are doing it right.” The new psychiatry program will have four residents in each of its four years of

training, with the first group starting in July of 2021. When it is fully implemented with 16 participants, it will double the number of trained psychiatrists graduating in Akron each year. The program is being led by Dr. Rajesh Tampi, chair of the psychiatry department at Akron General. At the same time, Akron General is also expanding its OB-GYN residency program, from four residents per year (in a four-year program) to five per year starting with this year’s class. That program is directed by Dr. Natalie Bowersox. “We know the community needs more clinicians who are dedicated to reducing infant mortality and addressing overall women’s health care needs and not just those around pregnancy,” Sheers says. Akron General’s Family Medicine residency program is also growing by two more spots this summer, as the Transformative Care Continuum program, a partnership with Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM)


Four of Cleveland Clinic Akron General’s first-year residents from left: Dr Alexander Hron, orthopedics; Dr. Pouya Jouharian, emergency medicine; Dr. Jamesha Ford, family medicine; and Dr. Kelly Van, OB/GYN

that offers compressed training program (three years of medical school and three years of primary care residency), enters its clinical years. Last year, the hospital expanded its traditional Family Medicine and Internal Medicine training programs by two each in the program’s first year and two each in the second year and is looking to expand them even further in the future. Akron General also offers residency in emergency medicine, general surgery, orthopedic surgery and urolog y, and advanced training fellowships in breast surgery, oncology and vitreoretinal and ocular trauma. Multiple pharmacy programs, including critical care, are also offered. Akron General hosts more than 750 medical student rotations each year, with students participating from medical schools across the country, as well as numerous nursing student rotations. “We greatly appreciate our organization’s very strong commitment to funding education of the next generation of medical providers, a tradition which goes back to the founding of Akron General,” says Sheers, noting that Akron General was able to acquire 10 of the 20 federally funded resident education spots that became available after Affinity Medical Center in Massillon closed in 2018. Changes due to COVID-19 that are being incorporated into Akron General’s programs include more training in how to work virtually, doing things such as conducting patient exams, rounding, teaching and consulting with colleagues.

“We want our trainees to leave here ready to take care of all patients going forward in this new era, and do it well,” says Sheers. The $1 million grant to Cleveland Clinic Akron General’s Centering Pregnancy program is designed to increase access to prenatal care for women who have been affected by substance use disorder.

“We are grateful to be able to offer Centering Pregnancy to our community and especially to those women impacted by substance abuse. Locally and nationally, Centering Pregnancy has improved outcomes for mothers and babies,” says Dr. Jennifer Savitski, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Akron General. “We are pleased to receive this award and would like to thank the Summit County Opioid Abatement Advisory Council for supporting this important initiative.” Funding for the grant was made available by a legal settlement from Johnson & Johnson to reduce the devastation of the opioid epidemic in Summit County. Centering Pregnancy is a national program in which women who have due dates near one another gather in small groups with a doctor or a nurse to discuss issues that affect their health and that of their babies. Topics can include nutrition, stress management, labor and delivery, and infant care. Akron General partners on the program with the AxessPointe Women’s Health Center. n

IF THE MASK FITS AMPERSAND’S BUSINESS MODEL HELPS COMPANIES COPE WITH CRISIS It’s one thing to have to change your business operations and strategies to adapt to a pandemic. It’s quite another when your business model and operations fit the scenario perfectly. Since the pandemic hit earlier this year, the Akron-based Todd Mellon Ampersand Group/Prime Business Solutions has been busy. In fact, business has grown more than 30% since the pandemic began, according to Todd Mellon, president and CEO of the back-office fulfillment and support company. Since that time, the Ampersand Group has been helping its clients and customers, some of which are Fortune 100 companies, in getting the safety materials they need to effectively and safely open their businesses “Our first order came from a township in Michigan,” says Mellon. “And we thought, we had better jump on this quick. We knew our sources were phenomenal, because they were a part of our original vendor base.” While it’s not a manufacturer, the Ampersand Group has been sourcing hard-to-find safety products, like masks, face shields, hand sanitizers and thermometers for its strategic partners since the pandemic began. And it’s been able to find these products for its customers, which include everyone from hospitals to fire departments to major retailers, relying on its extensive relationships across the globe. With the supplier and distribution relationships Ampersand has built over the years, it can literally handle any size order, says Mellon. “And we guarantee those orders because of the many scams that are out there,” he adds. As a part of its operations, Ampersand handles all the logistics, including sourcing, redistribution and even financial support when necessary. But its service- and logistics-oriented business model was not developed exclusively for the pandemic—it just fits it well. w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S U M M E R 2 0 2 0

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DATELINE: CLEVELAND

Behind-the-Scenes Innovation

M GENIO GROWS WHILE SUPPORTING OTHER COMPANIES BY LIZ ENGEL

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hen Moen debuted its smart faucet, the U, at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas early this year, users gushed about its possibilities, like voice activation and unlimited personalized presets, including water temperature. Good Housekeeping, GeekSpin and House Beautiful all showered it with “best in show” awards, honoring it as a “cool product” that makes life more productive and efficient. Behind the scenes, another Ohio company, located about 20 minutes from Moen’s North Olmstead headquarters, was celebrating those accolades as well. M Genio, a custom software development

firm, did all the cloud and mobile work for the U. It’s one of many partnerships the downtown Cleveland company has found in its home state and across the Midwest. M Genio, which specializes in mobile solutions, Internet of Things, or IoT, and cloud automation, is as boutique as they come. At 8 years old, it’s nearing the 10-employee mark with a culture much like that of a startup. Founder Jacob Glenn wanted his firm to be different. It’s his personal philosophy that the team leave bureaucracy and politics at the door. “When I started the company, I was set on the idea that it was going to be a culture-focused environment. We were

STAY A PART OF MEMORIES Whatever you’re apart of. Stay that way.

OMNIHOTEL S .COM/THEHOMES TE AD 12

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M Genio founder and Managing Director Jacob Glenn


M Genio, which has its office located in downtown Cleveland, prides itself on acting like a startup and accepting ideas from anyone.

going to avoid the BS,” Glenn says. “We were going to find cool work, collaborate and build stuff that’s cutting edge. One of the benefits of a company like M Genio, we have an environment where anybody can throw out an idea, and we can collectively refine it and work on it together to see where it goes.” That includes M Genio’s work on the smart faucet, one the firm’s most visible

projects ever. Outside of CES, Moen advertised the U during the Super Bowl, and the product was teased on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. M Genio customers range from small startups to Fortune 100s. The company has done no outbound sales; all work has been by referral or word-ofmouth. And M Genio has seen significant growth using that model. It doubled from 2017 to 2018 and grew another 30% in 2019.

The company still has plenty of momentum. It has built out newer, novel offerings like CTO as a service, where it plays the role of interim chief technical officer to help companies bridge that gap. M Genio also rolled out a quickstart IoT option. Rather than building something completely custom, the company uses an already developed code base, which lowers cost, a win for smaller manufacturers with smaller R&D budgets looking to play in the smart product game. And M Genio has developed a white-label SaaS offering. Glenn says that lets customers leverage their own expertise to develop Software as a Service—without worrying about the technology or need to maintain it. “I think what sets us apart, we partner with our customers, we position ourselves at the intersection of business and technology. Not just one side of it,” Glenn says. “We can play that expert role throughout. Our focus is continued growth, but conservative growth. We’re having a lot of fun and want to do more of what we’ve been doing.” n

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DATELINE: COLUMBUS

Taking Off NETJETS’ BUSINESS ANSWERS QUESTIONS ON FLYING SAFELY DURING PANDEMIC BY JILL SELL

T

his is one man’s rationale for becoming a fractional owner of a private jet: he wanted his dog to be safe and pampered while traveling. True, he had a wife and children, and yes, their well-being was paramount. But the man also claimed his dog was as loyal and appreciative as any other family member. So in these days of high security and COVID-19 concerns, the successful businessman opted out of commercial flights. Shared ownership in an aircraft gave the man the freedom to fly in a pristine environment and with a substantially lower investment than if he had footed the entire cost of the plane himself. He also didn’t have to worry about flight staffing or aircraft maintenance. And, of course, the man’s dog was treated in flight like a royal canine. NetJets Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company with headquarters in Columbus, 14

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is one of the country’s fractional aircraft ownership businesses. Founded as Executive Jet Airways in 1964, NetJets claims to be the third or fourth largest airline in the world with more than 750 aircraft worldwide and 9,000 active customers. In 2019, it flew more than 20,000 pet passengers who could, of course, enjoy catered gourmet dining options and fluffy blankets. But it’s not just Rover or Princess who is stepping aboard private aircraft. “What we are seeing today is predominantly personal travel with people traveling to see loved ones, moving between homes or otherwise looking for an escape from wherever they have been hunkered down through the pandemic,” says Patrick Gallagher, president, NetJets sales, marketing and service. “We have not yet seen a resurgence in those traveling for business. As economics start to open, we expect that to follow.” Gallagher calls 2019 “a marquee year for the private aviation industry.” But if one compares March-June 2019 to March-June 2020, the total lead volume is up slightly more than 100%. Even more impressive, Gallagher believes that stat highlights “the extraordinary interest in private aviation during this time.”

NetJets is spending over $1 million per month to keep its planes clean and virus-free.

At the start of the pandemic, NetJets saw a reduction to a low of about 10% of its normal volume. Currently the company is operating consistently at 85% of its typical flight demand. “We closed as many new customers in May and June of this year as we did in the first six months of 2019. If this trend continues, we could see as many new owners May-July than we did in all of 2019,” says Gallagher, adding that NetJets flights are available 24/7, every day of the year. Normally, the company logs 300,000 flights annually and has access to 5,000 airports in 200-plus countries and territories. Of course, not all new customers are fractional NetJets Share members. NetJets has two other options that fit well into today’s unstable travel industry. Its NetJets Lease Program provides personal or business jet travelers who fly 50 or more hours per year with a 24- to 60-month agreement without an initial capital outlay. In addition, the NetJets Marquis Card Program is for individuals who fly less than 50 hours per year and who want a short-term commitment. This all-inclusive, upfront fee plan can be highly desirable to those who have never flown with private aviation before.


Some aviation industry watchers also speculate that companies with aging baby boomer executives are beginning to forgo their own private aircraft. Older aircraft is expensive and sometimes difficult to update to today’s high tech and luxury standards. And even if those improvements were possible, does the cost make sense for a plane that is not worth the investment? Of course, another option for those who want private accommodations is full ownership of a private aircraft. But buying a jet can set someone back $3 million to $90 million, not counting fuel and maintenance. Fractional ownership, leasing and “jet gift cards” work well for some. For now, with COVID-19 hanging over our heads, the big advantage many people see when talking private shared aviation opportunities is health and safety. That comes before even lower costs and the prestige factor. Although NetJets aren’t customized, it’s not like a being fractional partner is giving up luxury. The company’s newest and largest ultralong-range aircraft

is the Bombardier Global 7500. The 14-passenger jet can fly nonstop from New York to Beijing and includes a full-size bed in a private master suite. “Our reputation for safety and service provides peace of mind at a time when our industry has been badly bruised by the downturn over the past several months,” says Gallagher. “We are spending over $1 million a month right now keeping our aircraft interiors clean and virus-free for our passengers and crews. Those added costs may be a heavy lift for companies that are struggling to make payroll today.” All NetJets aircraft are intensively cleaned and sanitized after any flight by a NetJets crew. In addition, any aircraft returning from a region identified as high risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is immediately quarantined and professionally cleaned. Of course, private aviation companies hope their new lease or card customers added during the pandemic will remain with them once/if/when COVID-19 blows over.

As for adding new aircraft to their hangers, private aviation companies aren’t all immediately committing to the idea, even if a rise in customers continues. Industry layoffs by aircraft manufacturers, travel bans for non-essential flights and possible material and technical equipment shortages for new aircraft have put some plans for new acquisitions on hold. Few aircraft investors want to play against COVID-19, which seems to hold all the cards for now. But private jets are in the sky. “Our most popular destinations have stayed relatively constant, dominated by major metropolitan areas, with a few minor changes,” says Gallagher. “As we see owners focusing more in travel to second homes or bringing children back to family houses, we have seen some increased interest in second-home destinations like Naples or Scottsdale. There is less interest in destinations driven by more traditional leisure travel and conferences like Las Vegas.” n

NetJets Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company, is headquartered in Columbus.

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Charting a Way

FORWARD

INSURANCE INDUSTRY MEETS TODAY’S NOVEL CHALLENGES BY TERRY TROY

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I

f you own a business in one of the major metropolitan areas in Ohio impacted by violence at the beginning of this summer, there’s a pretty good chance you got hit with a one-two punch. First the pandemic shut down your business, then your property was damaged. It was enough to make even the most ardent of entrepreneurs fold the tent and go home. Through it all, many business owners were able to realize that it was mostly property that was damaged and not their spirit. And while their losses were significant, they also realized that they could be made whole again, thanks to their insurance providers. No matter how you slice it, the insurance industry is one of our state’s key industries, with 257 insurance companies based here, according to the Ohio Insurance Institute (OII). That’s not counting independent insurance agents, which number 71,405 licensed resident insurance agents and another 158,935 licensed non-resident agents who are allowed to operate in the state, according to the OII. Another government agency, the Ohio Department of Insurance, monitors those 230,000 insurance agents that represent well over 18,000 insurance agencies doing business in Ohio. The industry also provides employment and financial security for a workforce of approximately 109,000 Ohioans and has built a very competitive and affordable market for risk management in companies large and small. Both consumers and businesses benefit from the competition, which keeps premiums in Ohio among the lowest in the nation. In total, the insurance companies in Ohio write more than $95 billion in premiums. While insurance is a critical and high growth industry, it hasn’t been easy for providers of late. Many are facing new challenges brought about by both the civil unrest and COVID-19. “Our approach is to look at changes and challenges as opportunity,” says Craig Welsh, chief distribution officer at Westfield Insurance, headquartered in Medina County. “Collectively, the insurance industry is applying forward-thinking solutions to take care of customers, communities and employees during the COVID-19 crisis and, at Westfield, we are keeping the promises made to our customers and thinking how to help them overcome challenges that have surfaced in the midst of the pandemic.”

Based in Westfield Center, Westfield Insurance began with a group of farmers in 1848. “Our roots and history are here, as is our future,” says Welsh. “Westfield was founded by farmers in Westfield Center, Ohio. It’s a great story that motivates us today, more than 170 years later. “The farmers were essentially swindled by some unscrupulous insurance salesman from the east coast. So, they started an insurance company. That integrity, trust and caring about community still inspires Westfield today. As a mutual insurance company, we answer to our customers, which include a great deal of Ohioans.” Today, Westfield’s insurance products are distributed through a network of more than 1,000 independent insurance agents nationwide. It also employs 2,400 people in the U.S. and is the largest employer in Medina County, with more than 1,500 employed at the company’s headquarters and throughout Ohio. But Westfield is not the only large company in the state. It is just one of several major insurance companies that call Ohio home. Others include SafeAuto Insurance Group and Nationwide in Columbus and Progressive in Mayfield Heights to name but a few. And there are plenty of large companies that are not headquartered in the state but still do a ton of business here, such as State Farm, which is headquartered in Illinois, but has almost 20% of the market in Ohio.

But make no mistake, the insurance industry in Ohio has a significant impact on the state’s economy that extends well beyond its responsibilities to collect premiums and settle claims, says Welsh. There are multiple insurance carriers that are headquartered in Ohio, providing many career opportunities. Insurance creates tens of thousands of jobs across the state including underwriting, agents, claims adjusters, software developers, digital marketing to data and analytics to name but a few. To clearly understand the size and scope of the state’s industry, you need to know the three basic distribution methods, which are further split up into business segments that include business, home, fire and casualty, automotive, life and annuity, health insurance, umbrella insurance, renter’s insurance, travel insurance and pet insurance. But that list is by no means complete. To be sure, there are other forms of insurance as well. Risk management can be built around almost any endeavor. But these are the major segments most companies cover as a matter of course. There are, however, only three major methods of delivering insurance to businesses and consumers. “When you talk about insurance distribution, how the end consumers or businesses get their insurance products, there are three basic ways it is delivered,” says Jeff Smith, CEO of the Ohio Insurance Agents Association. “The first way, and the most traditional, is the independent agent

“Collectively, the insurance industry is applying forward-thinking solutions to take care of customers, communities and employees during the COVID-19 crisis.” —Craig Welsh, chief distribution officer at Westfield Insurance w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S U M M E R 2 0 2 0

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model, where the agent represents multiple companies, like Progressive and Westfield. “Then there is the captive model where the agent represents a single company like State Farm or Allstate. The third way, which is the smallest but fastest growing model, is the direct to consumer approach where companies like Progressive and Geico have online businesses.” And there are companies that use one if not all three of those distribution methods, which becomes something of a hybrid distribution. An agent might sell a Progressive product but may also compete against a Progressive online product or a product from Geico—where the consumer goes directly to a website and gets a quote. However, independent agents in Ohio still write 42% of personal insurance and 85% of commercial business, says Smith. The captive model, where companies like State Farm, Allstate and Nationwide sell directly through “captive agents” has about 25% of the personal marketplace, while online and direct models would take up about 10% of the market, says Smith. A quick check of the math shows that only equals up to 77% of the market. The rest comes from those hybrid situations, where a major company offers either both captive and independent agents or captive and online direct models to do business, says Smith. While one would think that there is a tremendous financial disparity between

insurance agents or brokers and the major companies that actually provide coverage, it’s not always the case. Take the Oswald Companies as an example. Founded in 1893, Cleveland-based and employee-owned, Oswald is one of the nation’s largest independent insurance brokerage firms serving clients across the globe. So brokerage firms and agents do have access to a lot of capital for growth. However, each distribution model offers advantages for both the consumer and business owner. Buying insurance direct through either a captive agent or directly from a large company does offer the peace of mind that the provider can easily cover a claim or multiple claims. In a straight transaction for a specific kind of insurance, the captive agent or company may also offer better rates for that specific coverage. However, if your insurance needs are more complex, such as with a small business, working with an independent agent who can then cherry-pick coverage from many companies may offer distinct advantages. Agents can find the best coverage from multiple sources, and then package them together to create coverage that is unique to your family or business. “With an independent agent, one of the biggest differentiators is that we can tailor coverage to suit the client’s needs,” says Smith. “Whereas if you buy from a captive agent or online directly, it’s a little like buying from the government.”

Westfield Insurance, headquartered in Medina County, was started by a group of farmers in 1848 and is the largest employer in the county. 18

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Another more important aspect of dealing with an independent agent is that the agents often know the people they are working with personally and are familiar with the communities they serve. “We are not operating out of a call center in California or India,” says Smith. “While big companies are focused on national markets, an independent agent is focused on the local economy. Most independent agents write business in six counties of less—that is our geographic footprint. We know the difference between Chagrin Falls and Cuyahoga Falls. “By the same token, we also know people within our communities. Large companies often use algorithms to figure out personality traits of an individual. While independent agents have access to that kind of information, they also know their customers. Their kids go to school with their customers’ kids—they really have their finger on the pulse of the community and are vested in its success.” But regardless of t he dist ribut ion method you choose, many insurance companies in Ohio face the same basic challenges today. “The pandemic has impacted all lines of insurance at once,” says Welsh, when asked about the challenges the industry is facing today. “Overall, insurance claims will increase in areas such as workers’ compensation and retailers who use delivery services. Insurer premium revenue


“With an independent agent, one of the biggest differentiators is that we can tailor coverage to suit the client’s needs … Whereas if you buy from a captive agent or online directly, it’s a little like buying from the government.” —Jeff Smith, CEO of the Ohio Insurance Agents Association

will decrease with more unemployment, less manufacturing, less driving and less economic activity overall will lead to a reduction in premiums. “But, again, with these challenges, there is opportunity,” Welsh adds. “Westfield is helping provide new risk control solutions to help customers, such as restaurants here in Ohio and across our operating footprint, navigate in this new environment. “As with any major disruption, COVID-19 has produced a few winners—think of the companies that made personal protective equipment or hand sanitizer—but for the most part, the pandemic will require new processes to protect the health of staff and customers. Westfield is offering advice, insight and recommendations of strategies to grow so that restaurants can emerge as a better and efficient version of its former self. “Regarding the protests happening across the country, there is also opportunity here for insurance companies. As a leading employer in Northeast Ohio, we are committed to listening, learning and leading to advance efforts and initiatives for race equity.” Certainly, the economic pinch facing consumers and small businesses is another challenge that will impact the insurance industry.

“One of the biggest challenges faced by the independent insurance agents today comes in the form of people who have been furloughed or lost their jobs,” says Steve Brown of Payne & Brown Insurance, who also serves as chairman of the OIAA. “We have a lot of people who have lost income, such as restaurant workers. People have to budget to pay their bills and one of the bills they have to pay on a monthly or quarterly basis is their insurance.” It’s especially challenging for smaller independent agents, who often know their clients on a first name basis. “Fortunately for us, many insurance companies provided rate relief for our customers by either giving them money back or crediting their next installment,” says Smith. “We have to take those calls one at a time because each person has a different story. “Our company partners [insurance providers] have been fantastic in working with us and our customers, allowing many to not make a payment for 60 days or more.” But many people who delayed making a payment in April or May, also deferred in June. “Now it’s July and August, and it’s catching up with everyone who delayed payments,” says Smith. “The only trouble

is that some of our customers still don’t have a job or are unemployed or are just not making the same amount of money that they used to make. “So we take them one at a time and are doing our best to help each and every one of them.” Even major insurance providers have a built-in sense of community, especially those headquartered in Ohio. If you have an issue with paying an insurance bill, contact your provider. You may be surprised at the amount of help they are able to provide, especially in this “new normal.” “Our industry is unique as we can both protect our customers and give back to our communities,” says Welsh from Westfield. “Insurance helps people when the unexpected happens and that is incredibly important to help Ohioans rebuild and regain normalcy. “Helping our friends and neighbors during time of need is at the core of what we do at Westfield, but we’re also committed to improving the safety and stability of the communities around us. Long after a natural disaster hits, Westfield focuses on providing funding for the long-term through disaster recovery.” And it may be a long time until business has fully recovered. n w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S U M M E R 2 0 2 0

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Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway

WHERE WINNERS WORK. WHERE WINNERS PLAY.

2020 BEST WORKPLACES IN

OHIO

Thanks for making Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway one of the Best Workplaces in Ohio for 2020 the third consecutive year! OB_FINAL_LOGO.indd 1

2/10/20 1:27 PM

Stop by Hollywood Gaming and discover a world of action and fun starring all your favorite employees, guests and games. Plus, great dining, entertainment and endless racing thrills. So what are you waiting for? The only thing missing is YOU!

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


BY COR INNE MINAR D

M

any things have changed in 2020, including what even constitutes a workplace. Many companies had to reduce the number of in-office staff or move their entire workforce to working remotely. And several factors that contribute to a great workplace—in-person team events, welcoming offices and fun amenities—have a smaller impact or are no longer happening. However, many companies in the state are still Best Workplaces in Ohio. While most nominations were received before COVID-19

started affecting the state, we checked in with all businesses to see what they were doing to remain a Best Workplace. From home food delivery and sharing pet photos to virtual team building and new health programs, these companies did their best to help their workers feel valued during these difficult times. The fifth annual Ohio Business Magazine’s Best Workplaces in Ohio reminds us that Ohio is still a great place to work. Read on to learn about some of the best workplaces in the state.

Companies with less than 50 employees Company Name

Location

Employee #

Type

Year Founded

The Dent Schoolhouse

Cincinnati

3

Private

2005

Cincinnati School of Music

Cincinnati

4

Private

2010

Clinton County Port Authority

Wilmington

6

Government

2004

Zeal40

Cincinnati

6

Private

2015

M Genio Inc.

Cleveland

7

Private

2012

Warrensville Heights

8

Nonprofit

2008

Effective Leadership Academy 42connect

Cleveland

9

Private

2003

West Chester

11

Public

1865

Dublin

12

Private

2008

Brickhaus Partners

Cleveland

16

Private

2009

strategic HR inc.

Cincinnati

19

Private

1995

Rocky River

20

Private

2002

Cincinnati

21

Partnership

1999

Avon

21

Private

2006

SmartFinancial

Columbus

21

Private

2012

Intrust IT

Cincinnati

30

Private

1992

Adept Marketing

Columbus

33

Private

2008

Advance Transportation Systems, Inc.

Cincinnati

35

Private

1980

AMEND Consulting

Cincinnati

37

Private

2006

Kirsch CPA Group

Hamilton

39

Private

1991

Leavitt Group

Columbus

44

Private

1990

Mason

45

Private

2010

Commerce Bank Donaldson Plastic Surgery

SyncShow Alliance Integrative Medicine Hunter International

BHHS Professional Realty

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2020 BEST WORKPLACES IN O H I O

Companies with 50-200 employees Company Name

Location

Employee #

Type

Year Founded

Online Rewards

Cincinnati

52

Private

2002

Superior Dental Care

Centerville

52

Private

1986

Milford

54

Private

1987

ThermalTech Engineering

Cincinnati

55

Private

1980

Direct Recruiters, Inc.

Cleveland

58

Private

1983

Digital Print Solutions

Richfield

60

Private

2009

Powell

63

Private

2000

Columbus

66

Private

2007

415 Group

Canton

67

Private

1981

ERPA

Dublin

70

Private

1999

TACG

Beavercreek

71

Public

2006

Hamilton

75

Public

2009

West Chester

78

Private

1986

Barnes, Dennig & Co., Ltd.

Cincinnati

89

Partnership

1965

North Community Counseling Centers

Columbus

92

Nonprofit

1968

The Matrix Companies

Cincinnati

92

Private

2000

Community Management Corp (CMC)

Cincinnati

99

Partnership

1967

Component Repair Technologies

Cincinnati

99

Partnership

1967

Cincinnati, Dayton

100

Private

2007

Ingage Partners

Cincinnati

102

Public

2011

Blue Chip Consulting Group

Seven Hills

124

Private

2004

Greater Columbus Convention Center

Columbus

140

Private

1993

Lifebanc

Cleveland

140

Nonprofit

1986

Meaden & Moore

Cleveland

140

Partnership

1919

Fahlgren Mortine

Columbus

145

Private

1956

Sunrise Treatment Center

Cincinnati

146

Private

2007

City of Sharonville

Sharonville

153

Government

1911

Main Street Gourmet

Cuyahoga Falls

155

Private

1987

PRIME AE Group, Inc.

Columbus

180

Private

2007

Mills James

Columbus

186

Private

1984

GBQ

Columbus

189

Public

1953

Dayton

190

Public

2014

Melink Corporation

LeaderStat Zipline Logistics

ODW Logistics & Transportation Solutions Kingsgate Logistics, Inc.

The Woodhouse Day Spa

Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway

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Companies with more than 200 employees Company Name

Location

Employee #

Type

Year Founded

Independence

200

Private

1986

Dayton

238

Private

1999

Express Wash Concepts

Etna

250

Private

2008

Belterra Park Cincinnati

Cincinnati

274

Public

2014

The Urology Group

Cincinnati

275

Private

1996

Foundation Software/Payroll4Construction.com

Strongsville

289

Private

1985

The Connor Group

Miamisburg

300

Private

1992

Cincinnati Incorporated

Harrison

319

Private

1898

London Computer Systems (LCS)

Cincinnati

320

Private

1987

Mason

393

Private

2008

The Children’s Home

Cincinnati

434

Nonprofit

1864

Oswald Companies

Cincinnati

500

Public

1893

Leaf Home Solutions

Hudson

550

Private

2005

Deceuninck North America

Monroe

566

Public

1969

Cincinnati

624

Nonprofit

1916

Dayton

1,058

Nonprofit

2013

West Chester

1,200

Nonprofit

2009

Ashland

1,272

Public

1947

Fleet Response Centric Consulting

Gensuite LLC

Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries Ohio’s Hospice West Chester Hospital Charles River

NOMINATION PROCESS For the fifth annual Best Workplaces in Ohio feature, a nomination form was emailed to businesses throughout the state, inviting them to self-nominate. The nomination form was also posted on the magazine’s website and social media accounts for companies not on our email list. For-profit, nonprofit and government institutions were invited to participate. Nominees were asked to provide information on topics such as their company size, engagement with employees, benefit structure and past awards. The winners were then selected by committee. If you are interested in nominating your company next year, subscribe to the Ohio Business magazine and newsletter (both of which are complimentary) at OhioBusinessMag.com.

w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S U M M E R 2 0 2 0

23


2020 BEST WORKPLACES IN O H I O

Everyone has had to adjust to the new normal, including this year’s Best Workplaces in Ohio. We followed up with this year’s winners to see what they had done to adjust while remaining a great place to work.

42CONNECT Cleveland 9 employees 42connect.com

Digital marketing company 42connect started implementing Google Hangout meetings every week, giving staff an opportunity to discuss good news, both personal and professional, but the company also went the extra mile, delivering meals to employees’ homes that were tailored to their food preferences. “It’s about making our team know that we care and want to see each person succeed,” says Brian Ferritto, owner and director of digital strategy.

Inspired by Users. Created for Leaders Like You.

PROUD TO BE NAMED ONE OF THE

BEST WORKPLACES IN OHIO Creating a diverse work culture through collaboration, innovation & community Learn more about Gensuite career opportunities | Visit www.gensuite.com/gensuite-careers 24

S U M M E R 2 0 2 0 . w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com


In 2005, LeafFilter Gutter Protection started with one office in North-

LEAF HOME SOLUTIONS Hudson 550 employees leafhomesolutions.com

east Ohio. Now boasting more than 87 locations and thousands of employees across North America, LeafFilter has become one of the world’s largest gutter protection companies. In 2019, LeafFilter’s parent and sister brands, Leaf Home Solutions (LHS) and Leaf Home Safety Solutions (LHSS), respectively, were launched. As of 2020, there are a total of 92 offices under the Leaf Home Solutions umbrella. All products offered by LHS and its brands assist homeowners in both preserving their personal safety and making the home they love more maintenance-free. Including gutter protection, walk-in tubs, walk-in showers and stair lifts, the products offered by LHS are as diverse as its many employees and customers. Despite so much growth, LHS has maintained its roots in the communities it serves. At the local level, two of its grandest annual endeavors include fundraising for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and raising both funds and school supplies for the LeBron James Family Foundation’s I PROMISE School in Akron. In 2019, LHS employees also participated in the Walk for Babies to benefit the NICU in Akron Children’s Hospital and gathered funds and supplies for Wags 4 Warriors.

was made to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation in their honor. This same quirkiness is reflected throughout the design of LHS’s corporate office and call center. Bright colors, unique artworks and

Employees are also encouraged to volunteer in their communities

wide, open workplaces encourage creativity and comfort. This,

as much as possible, as giving back is a theme echoed throughout

combined with excellent benefits including free health care, makes

the morals of both brands and LHS employees.

employees feel right at home.

In addition to fostering and encouraging the growth of professional

Leaf Home Solutions is honored to be recognized as a top work-

skills, Leaf Home Solutions places great emphasis upon team bonding

place. By placing employees and customers alike as a priority, the

and fun. In 2018, for example, LeafFilter employees were rewarded

company has empowered its internal audience to make work fun

for meeting and exceeding goals in a unique way. A giraffe at the

and rewarding.

Columbus Zoo, named “Digi” for the efforts of the digital marketing team, was sponsored by LeafFilter Gutter Protection, and a donation

The “Leaf” team is growing every day, and we would love for you to be a part of it! Visit leaffilter.com/Careers for more information.

w w w.ohiobusinessmag.com . S U M M E R 2 0 2 0

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2020 BEST WORKPLACES IN O H I O

BARNES DENNIG & CO., LTD. Cincinnati 89 employees barnesdennig.com

Accounting firm Barnes Dennig focused on giving employees ways to connect, from firm-wide virtual happy hours to a weekly vlog hosted by the managing director to ensure everyone felt informed. The firm also created a Barnes Dennig Pic of the Day blog for employees to post pictures of their new workstations and animal helpers.

not once... not twice...

3 times! Selected as Ohio Business Magazine’s

Best Workplaces In Ohio for 3 years running!

WIND POWER IN LAKE ERIE: A LOT OF HOT AIR?

KitchenAid

Cooks Up Success

A CONVERSATION WITH YSU’S JIM TRESSEL

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CENTRIC CONSULTING Dayton 238 employees centricconsulting.com

Many of business consulting firm Centric Consulting’s employees already worked remotely when COVID-19 started impacting the state, so the firm turned its attention to supporting them during this unprecedented time. Employees were encouraged to take paid time off, more time was given to checking in with each other during virtual meetings and a new blog series, called Stories from the Couch, was created so employees could share the things they were doing to remain positive, connected and productive.

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2020 BEST WORKPLACES IN O H I O

HUNTER INTERNATIONAL Avon 21 employees hirecruiting.com Recruitment company Hunter International quickly found new ways to engage employees so as to keep its collaborative culture while working from home. What were once monthly company-wide meetings became weekly ones. Teams started having daily video calls that included games and more casual conversation topics. And the company hosted virtual happy hours and found surprising ways to celebrate employees’ birthdays and work anniversaries.

Tim Rettig

CEO and Owner Intrust IT

Sharonville is proud of its tradition of excellence in public service. Thank you to our dedicated public employees and to the community and elected officials who support their work. 28

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WINNER Best Workplaces in OH 2020, 2019 & 2018 Ohio Business Magazine WINNER Best IT Services Company

Cincinnati Business Courier’s 2018 Innovation Awards

513.469.6500 • intrust-it.com


DONALDSON PLASTIC SURGERY Dublin 12 employees donaldsonplasticsurgery.com Donaldson Plastic Surgery feels its company culture has strengthened during this time, as the company created multiple ways to connect. While the office was closed, the office hosted weekly digital meetings and regular happy hours. When Donaldson was able to reopen it hosted an event called Confidence is Essential in which community members could nominate those who had gone above and beyond for others during COVID-19 to receive a complimentary Botox treatment.

WE ARE PROUD TO BE ONE OF THE BEST WORKPLACES IN OHIO. Charles River Laboratories provides essential products and services to help accelerate research and drug development efforts.

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2020 BEST WORKPLACES IN O H I O

GREATER COLUMBUS CONVENTION CENTER Columbus 140 employees columbusconventions.com

While the Greater Columbus Convention Center was closed, the convention center, along with the Hilton Columbus Downtown, Levy and Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority teamed up to provide weekly complimentary meals to its employees. Staff members were also kept up to date on any changes with two all-staff Zoom calls and periodic emails from the general manager and human resources manager.

WE SIMPLIFY LIVES For over 50 yrs, CMC Properties has successfully owned and managed thousands of apartments, offices, and retail stores. At CMC each employee is dedicated to our core mission of Simplifying the Lives of our Customers. 2020 BEST WORKPLACES IN

OHIO

Always recognizing our core values led us to where we are today, CMC continues its growth by building an entire organization with talented, caring people who share a common mission to Simplify Lives. OB_FINAL_LOGO.indd 1

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FAHLGREN MORTINE Columbus 145 employees fahlgrenmortine.com Marketing and communications firm Fahlgren Mortine implemented several new internal programs to keep employees connected. CEO Neil Mortine sent out a regular email, called “Notes from Home,” to staff with regular updates about the company; quarterly meetings were moved from in person to digital; Mortine and his wife Christine read stories to employees’ families during the virtual Mortine Moment; the company hosted regular Home Huddles for employees with similar interests; and the firm sent out frequent surveys to employees to see how they feel about the company. 20-07_OhioBusinessMagazine_c2OL_2.pdf

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ADVERTISER PROFILE

Mental Health Needs of Children Do Not Disappear During a Crisis; Neither Do We

BY RODERICK HINTON, CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER OF THE CHILDREN’S HOME

T

he Children’s Home has served the most vulnerable among us—underserved children and families in Greater Cincinnati—for nearly 160 years. Many of our neighbors who need our help face poverty, abuse and neglect and behavioral, mental health and learning

challenges, and often lack the resources to be successful at home, in school and in our community. When it became obvious that COIVID-19 would quick ly change our lives, The Children’s Home saw a very real threat to interrupt our mission of service. But the men and women who work here simply would not let that happen. Our talented staff immediately began modeling a telehealth delivery system. When the applicable guidance was issued by the state, our therapists and providers were already postured and ready to go. Many of our clients were isolated at home, disconnected from many of their support systems. Thanks to some innovative thinking by our people, we were able to ensure no clients suffered a lapse in care. “Once school was closed, telehealth allowed us to continue to provide ongoing mental health services to assess for risk and provide the same level of care that we would have in the school setting,” says Jenny Carman, behavioral health services supervisor at Best Point Behavioral Health by The Children’s Home. Our telehealth delivery option is becoming a crucial support to many who would

We have a robust volunteer program that is a vehicle for supporters and partners to get involved with our mission of service. Volunteers also actively illustrate to our kids that our community supports them and wants them to succeed in school, home and life.

The Children’s Home has a state-of-the-art campus solely dedicated to autism services. Named the Heidt Center of Excellence, this amazing place integrates behavioral health services with a highly structured environment comprised of low studentto-teacher ratios that focuses on unique academic and developmental needs.

otherwise be forgotten because, Carman says many in Cincinnati’s most vulnerable populations “struggle day-to-day.” In fact, some underserved populations in Cincinnati have difficulties accessing telehealth capabilities. “Some are living in very crowded homes, with many people living under one roof, with limited space,” Carman says. “Families are facing challenges with access to food, paying bills and very real challenges regarding education due to lack of internet access or not having a device.” The Children’s Home is nestled on a beautiful 40-plus acre campus in Cincinnati and staffed by some of the most dedicated social workers, intervention specialists, educators and therapists who come to work knowing they change lives every day. Last year, our programs impacted over 14,000 children and families in life-changing ways that create lasting results. Join us and make a difference. Donate, volunteer or, to be part of something truly special, check out our amazing work culture and benefits, our many “Top Workplaces” awards and see our current job openings in the careers section of tchcincy.org.


MAIN STREET GOURMET Cuyahoga Falls 155 employees mainstreetgourmet.com Main Street Gourmet, like many companies, had to make difficult moves to stay afloat, which included laying off employees and cutting hours. But instead of keeping the focus on the company, Main Street Gourmet partnered with Shore Capital Partners to award a total of $45,000 to 50 individuals who had been laid off or lost hours. With the opening up of the state’s economy, Main Street Gourmet has been able recall most of its laid-off workers and increase worker hours.

THE WOODHOUSE DAY SPA Cincinnati, Dayton, Liberty Township 100 employees woodhousespas.com The Woodhouse Day Spa closed its locations throughout the state for six weeks, but it worked to stay engaged with its staff during that uncertain time. The leadership team made themselves a resource for furloughed team members, even helping them navigate the unemployment process. Woodhouse sent emails to staff twice a week and hosted virtual social events to keep everyone connected.

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2020 BEST WORKPLACES IN O H I O

Company Size

Company Age 10%

LESS 50 - 200 THAN 50 EMPLOYEES EMPLOYEES

31%

44%

8%

200+

EMPLOYEES

25%

Company Type

100+ YEARS

100-50 YEARS

28%

25-50 YEARS

39%

10-25 YEARS

11%

10-5 YEARS

Metro Area 4% DAYTON

3% GOVERNMENT 10% NONPROFIT 7% PARTNERSHIP

14%

32%

CINCINNATI

COLUMBUS

8%

66% PRIVATE

CLEVELAND

42% OTHER

14% PUBLIC 34

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A Time to Give Thanks C

OV I D-19 ha s i mpac ted ma ny events in Ohio this year, including our second annual Ohio Success Awards. Originally scheduled for March 13 at the Sheraton Hotel Columbus at Capitol Square, we canceled the event just days before it was to happen. While we were not able to hold the event, we want to thank our sponsors—Custom Design Benefits and Superior Dental Care—for their support of both Ohio’s successful companies and the event itself. We’d also like to thank the individuals and organizations that planned to participate in the event—Ron Davies, president, CEO and board member at SafeAuto Insurance Group, who was to be the keynote speaker; Pete Scalia of 10TV, who was to

be the event’s emcee; our media partner, 10TV; and the Columbus Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, which was going to be running two of our morning panels. Finally, we would like to again congratulate the winning companies of the 2020 Ohio Success Awards. If you’d like to learn more about these deserving companies, please visit ohiobusinessmag.com to read a digital version of the Ohio Success Awards feature. While the event couldn’t happen this year, we certainly intend to host it again next year. Visit our website and sign up for our email list so you can be one of the first to receive a nomination form for next year’s awards. n

SDC IS PROUD TO BE SELECTED AS ONE OF

Ohio’s Best Workplaces THREE YEARS IN A ROW!

SDC believes in treating people with respect, care and compassion…and that approach starts with how we treat our employees. Our team members are appreciated and recognized for the unique expertise they bring to their position to make customers’ experiences with SDC pleasant and successful. SDC proudly celebrates our third year of being recognized as a Best Workplace in Ohio.

superiordental.com

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MY TAKE

Sports and Entertainment Stars Qualify for PPP Loans BY TERRY TROY

W

e’ve all seen the stories of large companies getting millions of dollars in PPP loans. Indeed, some have even agreed to pay back the government. Good for them. It restores any lost confidence I may have had in businesses’ integrity. But, let’s be honest here, even some of these large companies may be entitled to a loan under the terms of the program. And who can blame them for trying to get funds and support their businesses in any way they can in these trying times? It’s not a fault of the PPP program, which doesn’t even approve but acts as a guarantor of funds through a loan with a private financial institution. What is amazing is

Portions of this story were published in the Ohio Business Weekly email, sent out to our digital readers July 20. If you would like to subscribe, please visit ohiobusinessmag.com to sign up for the complimentary newsletter.

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the amount of transparency our government is willing to give the business media. Who, what, why, when and where are the five basic questions a journalist asks. The business journalist is also often forced to ask, “Who got what?” “The PPP is providing much-needed relief to millions of American small businesses, supporting more than 51 million jobs and over 80% of all small business employees, who are the drivers of economic growth in our country,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin in a prepared statement. “We are particularly pleased that 27% of the program’s reach in low and moderate income communities, which is in proportion to percentage of population in these areas. The average loan size is approximately $100,000, demonstrating that the program is serving the smallest of businesses. “Today’s release of loan data strikes the appropriate balance of providing the American people with transparency, while protecting sensitive payroll and personal income information of small businesses, sole proprietors and independent contractors.” In its efforts to be transparent, our government literally overwhelms, which can also slow down an investigation—so it’s something of a double-edged sword. However, companies that see themselves on these lists are often quick to take action and correct anything that might elicit an unfavorable response. It’s an eloquent solution: On one hand, it slows the investigator down, but it also gives businesses the time to rethink strategies. And many are. Once again, good for them.

However, there are some companies receiving massive PPP loans that just don’t seem like they deserve it, especially companies linked to sports or entertainment celebrities. Keep in mind, many of these people head companies that may be totally eligible under the provisions of the program. And many are businesses that actually employ people and thus are justified in seeking funds through the program. But still…well, here’s a brief breakdown of a few that caught my eye: Floyd Mayweather, the highest paid athlete of 2015 according to Forbes, was among the list of folks receiving PPP funding. Tom Brady’s fitness brand TB12 cashed in as well, getting a loan of anywhere between $350,000 and $1 million. Of course, that pales in comparison to the recent twoyear, $50 million contract Brady signed in the offseason with Tampa Bay. Teams in MLS, NASCAR IndyCar and Big Three Basketball all received funds. Even entertainment stars got involved. Twenty One Pilots, the alternative hip hop musical duo from Columbus, received at least $350,000 and as much as $1 million. According to published reports, the application for the federal loan was part of the band and its team’s effort “to do everything in our power to support our crew through these tough times.” I always wanted to be a part of the rock ‘n’ roll and sports entertainment industry. Now, I guess we all are.


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