Columbus CEO – November 2021 issue

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Real estate access Rhove lets people become owners for $1 a share. PAGE 24

Mutts & Co.

Local chain chasing pet industry explosion. PAGE 26

Staying aloft

A tanking travel industry didn’t stop Tammy Krings. PAGE 30

November 2021

Talisa Dixon’s test

The leader of Columbus City Schools sees students’ potential, like her parents saw hers. Now she has to turn the struggling district around. PAGE 8

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Mutts & Co. thrives as pet owners continue lavishing care on their beloved animals, who are like family members. Departments 04 Editor’s Note Photo project for nonprofit leaders is a beautiful way to see real people.

43 Leaderboards Mutts & Co. Tammy Krings

Columbus region wealth management and accounting firms.

48 Office Space: The Media Captain The digital marketing agency moved to an 1880s mansion.

MAINTAINING MOMENTUM Allstar Travel Group founder Tammy Krings isn’t letting COVID-19 keep her travel consultant company from success.


NOVEMBER 2021 Cover photo by Photos ROB HARDIN


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Sarah Lagrotteria and Angus Fletcher


62 E. Broad St., P.O. Box 1289 Columbus, Ohio 43216 Phone: 614-540-8900 • Fax: 614-461-8746



Ray Paprocki E DITORIAL




Jeff Bell, Linda Deitch D E S I G N & P RODUCT ION



Yogesh Chaudhary DIGITAL










Tia Hardman, Jackie Thiam CLASSIFIED SALES


Rebecca Zimmer M ARKE T ING



07 Breakdown Columbus stands out from other major cities for its record-setting growth.

08 Profile Inspired by her parents’ passion for education, Columbus City Schools Superintendent Talisa Dixon is dedicated to providing a quality education for students in her district.

16 Tech Talk

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22 Spotlight: Nonprofit Boundless takes a holistic approach to providing healthcare to those with special needs.

24 Spotlight: Innovation Startup Rhove has an all-in approach in helping people invest in real estate.


38 Intellectual Property

18 Briefing

A local law firm moves away from hourly billing to better meet the needs of earlystage and fast-growing companies.

Franklin County’s COVID-19 ambassador program; Conway Center’s new leader.

Special ad sections

Columbus CEO (ISSN 1085-911X) is published monthly by Gannett. All contents of this magazine are copyrighted © Gannett Co., Inc. 2021, all rights reserved. Reproduction or use, without written permission, of editorial or graphic content in any manner is prohibited. Publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited materials. Known address of publication is 62 E. Broad St., Columbus, Ohio 43215. Periodicals postage paid at Columbus, Ohio, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Columbus CEO, PO Box 460160 Escondido CA 92046


A new school is using flowers to help creativity bloom at area businesses.

Matrix Meats offers its lab-grown take on “where’s the beef?”


20 Spotlight: Small Business

17 Thought Leader Adept’s Danielle Walton on the future of marketing.

19 Expert Advice Conway’s Julie Collinsworth

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Editor’s Notes *

Seeing the real people in our communities

Local nonprofit leaders, from left: Karen Mozenter, Jewish Family Services; Chuck Gehring, LifeCare Alliance; Seleshi Asfaw, Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services; Denise Robinson, Alvis; Nicol Ghazi, Muslim Family Services; Michael Corey, Human Service Chamber; Vicki Bowen Hughes, Social Ventures; Elizabeth Martinez, Big Brothers Big Sisters; Cory Paul, Red Cross; Shon Burch, Resident Resources Network; and Ryan Burgess, Goodwill Columbus.

Photo courtesy TARIQ TAREY


ournalists have a term for the everyday voices in our stories: “real people,” or RPs. They’re people we hope readers can relate to—they’re not “officials,” or talking heads, or studies that draw conclusions about real people, who we seldom meet in the studies. We consider it especially important to include RPs in stories about community need—hunger, homelessness, addiction, evictions. They help readers connect with their neighbors, with their family members, who are facing major obstacles, instead of imagining it’s “other people,” in other communities, affected by those issues. The same could be said of the people who run our social services organizations. They are chief executives who get paid what some would say is a lot of money (though it’s a pittance compared with their privatesector counterparts) to guide organizations that help people in times of great need. Readers and the general public might imagine them as suits at the top. But they, too, are people, and on the balance, they’re engaged in the work with their whole hearts. They’re mission-driven. When clients

are in pain, they feel that pain. Getting to know the RPs who serve as our Columbus nonprofit executives is the mission of a project by photographer Tariq Tarey and Michael Corey, executive director of the Human Service Chamber of Franklin County. They’ve set out to capture portraits of some 136 local executive directors and CEOs, and the results so far are powerful. At first, the idea was simply to create consistent, high-quality photos of local nonprofit executives for the Human Service Chamber’s website and marketing materials, Corey says. “Then Tariq had the masterstroke of thinking about how we can tell the story of the humanity of these nonprofit CEOs, 19 months into the pandemic and counting,” Corey says. Tarey, a well-regarded creative and video producer who calls himself a visual ethnographer, is himself a member of the nonprofit community as director of refugee services at Jewish Family Services. As of Oct. 21, he’d spent three Fridays taking photos for the project, making for each executive a traditional headshot, a full body image, and a photo

of them wearing a mask. “Nonprofits do such an amazing work,” Tarey says. “But they never shine—their websites, their CEOs’ photos—they’re not into marketing, they help humans, right? So I always wanted to lend a hand, and the small talent that I have is to give people the proper [professional-looking marketing materials].” Tarey and Corey could see the project becoming something much more than marketing materials. “In the aggregate, they tell a really interesting, and I think powerful story about these very diverse leaders who are doing very diverse work,” Corey says. “Just seeing how our CEOs are expressing themselves right now and how they look after 19 months of what has been a traumatic stretch in their lives, in our communities, in our country’s life, is just a beautiful illustration of what I think is the best of who we are.”

Katy Smith, Editor

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Columbus CEO presents Diverse Leaders in Law, a quarterly discussion from local thought leaders advancing gender and racial equity in the legal profession at a critical time. It’s still dangerous be openly LGBTQ+ at work—you can be fired. People in the LGBTQ+ community can also be denied housing, medical care and public accommodations under Ohio law. This panel provides an update on the state and federal legal landscape and civil rights fight for the LGBTQ+ community. Moderator: Katy Smith, editor of Columbus CEO Panelists: Alana Jochum, executive director, Equality Ohio Angela Phelps-White, Executive Director, Ohio Civil Rights Commission Brian Jarman, partner, Barnes & Thornburg Sam Quimby, member, Frost Brown Todd Forum is eligible for one hour of professional conduct CLE credit.

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Breakdown Compiled by JESS DEYO + Infographic by YOGESH CHAUDHARY

City of Columbus growing faster than several major cities Columbus is growing, adapting and rebecoming. The city is breaking records for its massive growth since 2010, up 118,715 people for a 2020 total of 905,748—the largest numeric increase in our city’s history. The data also sets a record for the highest percentage increase in Columbus since the 1950s, sitting at 15.1 percent, which surpasses several major U.S. cities. Population growth by percentage from 2010-2020 15.1%

Columbus Nashville


Washington, D.C.

14.6% 11.8%

Portland, OR


Phoenix Las Vegas






San Antonio


Source: U.S. Census Bureau via United Way of Central Ohio

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Talisa Dixon Superintendent and CEO

Columbus City Schools Age: 52 In position since: March 2019 Previous: Superintendent, Cleveland HeightsUniversity Heights City Schools, 2014-2019; deputy superintendent, Saginaw (Michigan) Public School System, 2010-2014; principal, Columbus City Schools, 2001-2010; teacher and administrator, Akron City Schools, 19952001 Education: Bachelor’s degree in sociology,

Mississippi Valley State University; master’s degrees in sociology, educational administration and secondary education, University of Akron; Doctor of Education in educational administration, University of Akron.

Resides: Columbus Family: Single

Power of teaching Talisa Dixon sees a vision of struggling Columbus City School students many might not: Critical thinking, global empathy, technology, adaptability, communication and creativity.


t was the third day of the current school year, and already there was another emergency to deal with for Talisa Dixon, superintendent and CEO of Columbus City Schools. This one involved transportation, and the time it was taking to bus students to school.

“There’s a national shortage of school bus drivers,” Dixon says, adding many of these underappreciated, but necessary, school district employees took other jobs during the COVID-19 lockdown and school shutdown, and haven’t come back. The district lost more than 100 drivers. “Because we have less drivers, we had to condense routes and now the wait time is longer than some families would like.” The transportation problem didn’t emerge in full until the third day of the school year because of a different emergency on day one. Twenty schools without air conditioning were forced to start the school year with remote learning due to a heat wave. “Nineteen of those buildings are back today,” Dixon said on Aug. 30. And then there’s the ongoing issues, changes and emergencies related to the pandemic, which began a year into her tenure as the leader of Columbus City Schools, just as Dixon was building her administrative team and making some headway on the Portrait of a Graduate initiative. At the same time the virus was beginning to take root and spread, Dixon and her family were dealing with a crisis. Dixon’s father, Murray Dixon, was in the late stages of a long battle with prostate cancer. Dixon and her three siblings (Thomas, Tansy and Timothy) had been alternating weekly trips back home to Oxford, Mississippi, to take care of the widower, who lived alone. “On March 6 [2020], I got a call from his caregiver and she said, ‘Talisa, we need you to come home now,’” says Dixon, who wasn’t scheduled to head home for another week. She was able to quickly travel from Columbus to Oxford and was there, a few days later, when her father passed away. His memorial service was scheduled for March 13. The day before the memorial service, Gov. Mike DeWine ordered all of Ohio’s schools to shut down. “I was in Mississippi and I couldn’t help the team; I felt helpless … I was in a state of depression,” Dixon says,

Talisa Dixon

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adding her team was able to handle the crisis and she learned several valuable leadership lessons that week and in the difficult months ahead as she led Columbus City Schools through unchartered waters. Dixon had previously thought that “people expect leaders to lead, regardless of what’s happening, you’re the CEO, the captain, get us out of this storm,” she says. The pandemic taught her that it’s OK not to be OK. “This has allowed me to really understand I don’t have to do this work by myself. I have a great team and I have to rely on them more. Yes, they need me, but not in the way I thought.” The past year has also reinforced Dixon’s longstanding commitment to equity in education and to provide a quality education to all of the city’s 50,000 students and better prepare them for life after high school. Jennifer Adair, president of the Columbus City Schools Board of Education, says she has watched Dixon’s leadership become more “human” during the pandemic. “She had to work through all this personal and emotional stuff, while at the same time she was still new and trying to build her teams and her vision,” Adair says. “At one point we had a conversation about mental health and being vulnerable and asking for help. Leaders are not perfect, and she was able to allow for that humanity and feel and grieve and move through it.”

Lessons learned Murray and Emma Dixon were both high school science teachers at Lafayette High in Oxford. And so, naturally, they placed a great deal of emphasis on education. “I had a good childhood, but there was also the pressure to do well in school,” says Dixon, who played softball and swam, took piano lessons, and was in the Brownies and Girl Scouts. “I was the second child and Thomas, the oldest, was really smart and I was always in his shadow.” Attending college was mandatory, with one additional requirement. The Dixons said their children could go anywhere they wanted to for graduate school, but they had to first attend a HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). Dixon attended Mississippi Valley State University, majored in sociology, and had no interest in November 2021 l ColumbusCEO

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Talisa Dixon shares what she’s done and what’s to come.

How has the pandemic and lockdown changed you as a leader? It’s allowed me to understand I don’t have to do this work all by myself. I have a great team who are smart and know their strategies and I have to rely on them more. Yes, they need me, but not in the way I thought. I used to think people [completely relied] on the leader and there’s some truth to that, but in critical times the team can come together. What happens if there’s another school closure due to COVID-19? We’ll continue to work closely with Columbus Public Health and we’re ready to transition back to remote learning if we need to. We’ve set up that system and it’s important to still have that as a platform if we need it for our students. How are you working with the Columbus police to reduce violence? We value our partnership with Columbus police and other community organizations around what’s happening in our neighborhoods and issues that impact our students. Any time that we can partner to improve outcomes for students, we are ready and willing. Critical race theory is a hot-button topic. It’s not taught at your district, or any district, but what’s the importance of teaching the history and impact of slavery and segregation and the civil rights movement to your students? It is important for students to understand the contributions of all people, especially our minority students. Our students need to see themselves as part of the story and see the contributions and sacrifices people made throughout history so that we can have the freedoms and rights that we enjoy today. That is part of our history, and those stories should be told. When I think about myself as an African American female, I want to know the contributions of people who look like me and who have allowed me to be here. I knew we had to frame student success around equity and ensure we had the resources necessary to prioritize it. An equity lens forces you to look back at history and see what systems have and haven’t done for our students today.

Talisa Dixon at Avondale Elementary on the first day of school this year. becoming a teacher. “I rebelled against being a teacher,” she says. “I didn’t understand the power to influence teachers have on student’s lives.” Her perception of the power of teaching began to change while Dixon was in graduate school at the University of Akron, piling up degrees. She eventually earned master’s degrees in sociology, educational administration and secondary education, and a doctorate in educational administration, all from the University of Akron. She was a teaching assistant in a freshman sociology class, and the students flocked to her for help and advice. A professor (Gay Kitson) took notice and suggested Dixon might be in the wrong profession, and she should consider a career in teaching. “She said, ‘I know you want to change the world, but I see something in your interaction with students,’ and she suggested I take an education course,” Dixon says. At first, she pushed back against the notion of becoming a teacher, but “I took a couple education courses and got the teaching bug.” Dixon quickly realized something

We had to first take a step back and think about what our families really needed. Our families needed shelter and food. TALISA DIXON, superintendent and CEO, Columbus City Schools.

that has shaped her entire career as a teacher and administrator: She was lucky. “I thought everyone had the same start as I did,” she says of being the child of two educators who stressed the importance of education. “I was meeting college students, firstgeneration college students, who had no idea how to get through college … The drive was there, they deserved to be there, but they were lacking some basic skills.” Helping students overcome these obstacles and developing skills became a cornerstone of Dixon’s educational philosophy. “She went above and beyond working with these kids,” says Flora Dees, who taught at the University of Akron and was another mentor to Dixon. They met in the 1990s when Dixon did her student teaching at Goodyear Middle School, where Dees was the principal. “She had so much optimism and enthusiasm and in everything she did, she always put the students first … I expect her to wind up in Washington one day, as secretary of education.”

Moving up the ranks Despite, or perhaps because of her numerous graduate degrees, Dixon had a more difficult time than she expected moving up from substitute teacher to full-time teacher in Akron Public Schools. “I heard rumors the school district didn’t hire people with a masters-plus,” she says of her multiple master’s degrees, adding the reason was a masters-plus hire would start at a higher salary. Dixon sent a letter to Akron Superintendent Brian Williams, writing that, “I have been unsuccessful in securing a full-time

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Talisa Dixon in Mrs. Brooklynne Workman’s first-grade class. position” and asked for a meeting. While the letter didn’t lead to a meeting with Williams, Dixon eventually was hired as a full-time social studies teacher in Akron Public Schools. Three years later, she was named assistant principal at Akron’s Litchfield Middle School, and then, in 2001, she moved to Columbus Public Schools, as an assistant principal at the now-closed Brookhaven High School. She became principal of Brookhaven in 2008, and then Columbus Alternative High School. The jump from teacher to administrator was a natural one for Dixon, who wanted to do more. “In my mind, it all goes back to those freshman students at Akron,” she says. It was all about closing the education gap. “Back then, it was all about prepping you to leave high school and then you have to make it on your own from there. There was a disconnect between K-12 and the colleges and now, I think our students are so much better prepared and we’ve closed the gap.” Dixon was deputy superintendent of the Saginaw (Michigan) Public School System from 2010 to 2014. She was then selected as superintendent of the

Cleveland Heights-University Heights City Schools in 2014. “She was a visionary and caring leader who truly understands the big picture,” says Felisha Gould, an assistant superintendent in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights district. During Dixon’s tenure, she oversaw facility improvement projects at the district’s high school and two middle schools and “she also helped us create the first equity policy in northeast Ohio,” Gould says, adding this included a “look at everything … the curriculum, the finances, the resources, the training of our staff around implicit bias and how we approach things.” A look at the curriculum found a lack of Black students in advanced placement (AP) classes. “From the perspective of Black families, there was a belief that their children were not encouraged to take AP classes,” Dixon says, adding it took some help from students in the Minority Student Achievement Network to help her convince the school board there was a problem. “One board member asked how many of [the members of the Minority Student Achievement

Network] were taking AP classes,” Dixon says, adding one of the students paused, and then answered that, “they didn’t even know they could take AP classes.”

Coming to Columbus Dixon was happy in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights district, but she was intrigued by the opportunity to impact even more students in the state’s largest school district. And then there was the challenge of helping to turn around a Columbus public school that was struggling and had received an overall grade of “F” on the state proficiency tests. “I had been gone for 10 years and so much had happened,” she says. “People stopped believing in Columbus City Schools; I talked to people, and they had lost hope and lost trust and for me, the key was to build credibility.” Dixon reached out to Battelle for Kids (BFK), a Columbus-based nonprofit that works with hundreds of school districts around the country to help students thrive. The foundation of BFK is its Portrait of a Graduate Program that helps districts redesign

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they could find additional resources,” Dixon says. “We called families and asked what they needed. This wasn’t about academic support, it was about the other support they needed.” Academic support revolved around access to computers and the internet, which is a challenge when, according to Dixon, 6,000 of the district’s 50,000 students live in shelters or in foster care, and thousands more live in homes that don’t have the financial means necessary for laptops and WiFi. Computers from computer labs were loaned to students, federal funds helped provide additional computers and partnerships with local companies helped create WiFi hot spots.

Dixon on Avondale’s playground on the first day of school in the 202122 school year. their curriculum to better prepare students for life after K-12 and an everchanging world. Karen Garza, CEO of BFK, met Dixon after the new superintendent asked her to join her transition team. Despite their proximity, Garza says BFK had never worked with Columbus City Schools. “We got to know each other, and the rest is history,” Garza says. “Talisa is a very wise leader who cares deeply about a systems approach and to serve all her students equally.” BFK is a systems-wide approach that helps districts create a unified program to better prepare students for life after graduation. Rather than teach for tests, Garza says Portrait of a Graduate puts an increased emphasis on engaging students in the learning process through more project-based learning and less reliance on rote learning. “These students also tend to do better on tests, and the research backs that up,” she says. For Dixon, the process began with meeting with all the stakeholders in the city. “She’s particularly good at listening,” Garza says. “And she’s certainly working hard to create an aligned system where everyone’s working toward a common vision.” The vision for Columbus City Schools focused on the six common attributes Dixon wanted her high school graduates to master: Critical thinking, global empathy, technology, adaptability, communication and creativity. “Our students need to be able to adapt to any environment so they can do well in college, the workforce and the military,” Dixon says.

An example is the recently announced STEAMM initiative (science, technology, engineering, art, math and medicine) in partnership with the city, Ohio State and Columbus State. The program will create curriculum more focused on STEAMM, with the goal of better preparing the district’s students for college—and careers. The school board is on board with the Portrait of a Graduate goals, Adair says. “It’s not Talisa’ vision, or my vision, it’s the entire board’s vision and everything in it comes through talking to the community,” she says. “If the last 18 months have taught us anything, it’s that we can’t have too many doctors, researchers or nurses,” Dixon says.

Changing course The COVID-19 pandemic hit, and schools across the country shut down. The priorities of Columbus City Schools quickly changed as administrators, teachers and students were forced to adapt on the fly to the changing world around them. “We had to first take a step back and think about what our families really needed,” Dixon says, adding that the rapid rise in unemployment disproportionately impacted urban residents, especially those on the lower end of the economic ladder. “Our families needed shelter and food.” Without free school breakfasts and lunches, the first mission was “to mobilize our food services team and make sure our students had access to meals and then, on our website, we posted information about where

Back to school Columbus City Schools went back to in-person, mask-mandatory learning in late August. Through Sept. 23, a total of 334 students and 96 staff members have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Dixon has learned a lot of lessons during the past year, including aspects of the adaptability, empathy, technology and critical thinking goals of the Portrait of a Graduate program. She’s also managed to find some silver linings. For example, the lockdown forced the district to revamp and improve its website, and to create a virtual-learning platform. “Now, there’s not this wall between us and our neighboring [suburban] school districts when it comes to creating a virtual learning experience,” she says, adding having this system in place is important if there’s another COVID-19 surge and schools are forced to return to virtual learning. Dixon says she also learned a lot about herself. She doesn’t always have to be the one with the answers, and it’s OK to rely on others. “It’s recognizing that there are small wins, and you get there through a lot of small wins and encouraging your team and recognizing you can’t do this alone,” she says. “And it’s recognizing we also have to take care of ourselves and, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we won’t be any good for our students and their families.” Steve Wartenberg is a freelance writer.

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The future of food

Matrix Meats is trying to break down tech and cultural barriers around lab-grown meat.


ric Jenkusky was sold immediately when he was pitched the CEO job at Matrix Meats. The company launched in June 2020 in the “alternative proteins” industry—meats cultured in a lab versus grown on the hoof.

Courtesy Matrix Meats

Eric Jenkusky

Matrix Meats 5164 Blazer Parkway, Dublin 43017 BUSINESS: Food technology company focused on alternative proteins. EMPLOYEES: 9 INVESTMENT TO DATE: Would not disclose LAUNCH DATE: June 2020

“I said to myself, ‘This is what it must have been like to be with Henry Ford sitting in a room with engineers telling them we’ll displace the horse and buggy,’” says Jenkusky, who spent decades with companies in the defense industry “This will change the way we provide protein to the masses.” Matrix Meats was spun out from Nanofiber Solutions, which creates novel health care products under a family of companies that includes Ikostrips (purer CBD edibles) and Renovaderm (scaffolding for skin tissue regeneration.) In Matrix’s case, FDA-approved electrospun polymers provide a structure for various types of cells to grow along, forming a solid piece of meat grown in a bioreactor. “We are replicating the extracellular matrix which exists in every living organism,” Jenkusky says. Matrix Meats’ scaffold can support growth of beef, chicken breast, shrimp—or even mammary tissue to secrete milk. While its technology has been used by medical researchers looking into regrowing muscle, Jenkusky says Matrix Meats will stay focused on the food industry. Lab-grown meat has been discussed for decades—even Winston Churchill once speculated that someday, chickens would not need to die to grow a chicken breast. Jenkusky says the technological hurdles are almost conquered. Cultural and regulatory barriers, he says, must be next to fall. The meat industry in the U.S. is fighting hard over terminology in particular, Jenkusky says, but in December, Eat Just was issued permits to sell lab-grown chicken in Singapore. He says the first products to hit shelves here are likely to be hybrids of meat and plant protein in the form of ground patties or sausages, possibly within the next two years. There are reasons beyond animal welfare to champion growing meat. The Good Food Institute, a cultured meat industry trade group, says lab-grown beef can reduce the

Third Frontier, OSU launch Future Value Fund WHILE THE COLUMBUS VENTURE capital scene continues to spawn deals in the tens and hundreds of millions, early-stage companies lack funding. Earlier this year, Ohio’s Third Frontier Commission appropriated $72.7 million for those companies. Rev1 Ventures was awarded $5 million, which is paired with $5 million more from Ohio State University to launch the Future Value Fund attacking that early-stage gap. The fund’s first investment Oct. 6 was Redi.Health, a tech firm working to ease coordination of care for chronically ill patients. “The Rev1 Future Value Fund I is the company’s most significant pre-seed fund to date and the largest pre-seed stage fund in Columbus history,” says Tom Walker, Rev1’s president and CEO. The fund will also invest in spinouts from Ohio State in advanced materials, alternative energy, sensors and hardware, and ag and food tech.

beef industry’s carbon footprint by 92 percent. “If you wanted to create a meat distribution system to feed the planet from scratch, would it look like what we have today, from grazing to the supermarket shelf? The only way to provide meat protein on the scale we will need it is to grow it,” Jenkusky says. Matrix Meats, he says, is one of only about five companies in the world with the necessary technology to do that—and is the farthest along. Matrix closed a round of seed funding in November 2020. Unovis Asset Management, alternative proteins sector giant, is the company’s lead investor. Cynthia Bent Findlay is a freelance writer.

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THE FUTURE OF MARKETING IS INTEGRATION Connected initiatives drive growth. By Danielle Walton, Founder and CEO, Adept


igital growth during the last decade has impacted every brand and every function, but perhaps none as much as marketing. Marketing was once considered a “thing we have to do to”—or worse, a cost center—but now it’s seen as a strategic growth driver, and that spells OPPORTUNITY. Intangible aspects of marketing have been replaced with tracking, measurement and analytics that

Danielle Walton, Founder and CEO

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(finally) prove marketing’s value—and CEOs are taking notice. According to McKinsey & Co., 78 percent of CEOs are now banking on marketing leaders to drive growth. Also, CEOs and CMOs are becoming more aligned on the role of marketing within companies. So now that marketing has rightfully earned its position as a driver of success and growth, it must deliver. The optimal way to ensure success is by integrating all marketing channels—particularly brand and performance marketing. What is Marketing Integration? In its simplest terms, marketing integration is when each component of the marketing lifecycle is connected like a chain and guided by a single set of objectives, targets and strategies. Each component—performance marketing (paid media, search engine optimization, social, conversion optimization), data and analytics, public relations, creative, strategy—is aligned with the others, infused by the brand at the center to ensure differentiation through unique messaging and positioning. For far too long, business leaders have falsely believed in independent marketing channels. But the truth is, there is no such thing. Each channel is interconnected and has always been impacted by the others because consumers move across touchpoints to engage and buy. For example, SEO impacts paid media; PR impacts SEO; social media cannot function without brand, content strategy and public relations; and channel-specific analytics are meaningless without a holistic view across all channels. And a brand’s website is not an IT function; it is the backbone of the entire marketing function. Marketing integration is happening because, like most things, it’s driven by the consumer. Yet marketing as a function has not caught up. Instead, internal marketing teams continue to be siloed by channel, missing clear

opportunities to improve outcomes and drive brand growth. ​​Data Proves Marketing Integration Works Of course, if marketing integration were an easy solution, everyone would be doing it. It’s challenging to shift the way marketing teams exist and operate fundamentally. However, the reward for doing the hard work is unmistakable. Research shows integrated campaigns across four or more channels outperform single or dual-channel campaigns by 300 percent, and integrated marketing is 31 percent more effective at building brands. Integration works, and respected thought leaders from McKinsey & Co. and Salesforce proclaim it’s the undisputed future of marketing: “In our experience, a thoughtful and data-driven full-funnel marketing strategy can drive significant value. ... Many marketers have found that incorporating both brand building and performance elements in a campaign often increases the overall return on ad spend compared with spending on performance channels alone.” —McKinsey & Co. “Integrating the data flowing in from all of the platforms marketers use into a cross-channel view enables the evaluation and improvement of marketing performance.” —Salesforce Marketing Intelligence Report How To Successfully Implement Marketing Integration Implementing marketing integration effectively starts with creating a singular objective, set of targets and strategy that drives every marketing channel. It’s a significant pivot from how teams and channels currently exist. However, as teams see improved alignment and outcomes, marketing integration transforms from possibility to reality. Digital-led integration is the marketing model of tomorrow. Are you ready to start today?

555 Edgar Waldo Way, Suite 401 Columbus, OH 43215 614-360-3132

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Recruiting vaccine ambassadors

Tessa Gatz

Franklin County program connects neighbors and peers to advocate for the shot. Courtesy Franklin County Public Health


ranklin County Public Health is laser-focused on its efforts to get the county better vaccinated against COVID-19, and for its next push, it’s calling on the community with its ambassador program, training them to be the group’s newest, trusted messengers. The ambassador program, which officially launched in July and is coordinated by communication specialist Tessa Gatz, equips participants with the training and tools needed to encourage peers to get vaccinated. The effort is an attempt to meet people, primarily those in vulnerable communities, at the ground level–instead of hearing vaccine advice from officials, the community can hear it from their neighbors, friends, social groups and more. The program launched in July and is still gaining traction. So far, 40 people have signed up, and organizers

are continuing to seek participants via businesses, faith organizations, social groups and minority groups. “We’re trying to reach the individuals who are most at risk, so this has been a really important strategy for us,” says Joe Mazzola, Franklin County Public Health commissioner. “Because it’s the residents who are perhaps most marginalized, who don’t have that relationship or an opportunity to connect with us, that need to be connected with somebody who could.”

Photo courtesy Conway Center

Conway Center names new executive director Conway Center for Family Business has appointed Julie Collinsworth to executive director, succeeding interim director Jill Hofmans. She will begin transitioning to the new role through the end of the year, beginning officially in 2022. Collinsworth joins the Conway Center, which advises over 200 family business members, with over 20 years of experience as a business management expert. She has worked with Fortune 100 companies and startup entrepreneurs alike and was recognized in Cincinnati Business Courier’s Forty under 40 class and was named a YWCA Rising Star. She earned her MBA from the University of Cincinnati’s Lindner College of Business.

Just over half of the community has received at least one vaccine, which puts Franklin County ahead of others in Ohio, Mazzola says, but is still not the numbers they hope to see. Those who sign up will attend a one-hour, virtual onboarding session before they can begin their responsibilities, which could include passing out flyers or wellness kits, making informational videos, posting on social media and more. In the future, Gatz and Mazzola hope to see the program extend farther by equipping ambassadors to spread any sort of relevant health information as it arises. But for now, Mazzola hopes to continue to see community members breaking through the vaccine hesitancy. “For those individuals who still may be hesitant, we want to make sure that we’re providing information about the science behind the vaccine, the effectiveness of the vaccine, and really understand the level of risk that someone is at for someone who’s unvaccinated,” Mazzola says. “Now it is really so much higher now than it ever was because of the delta barrier.” Those interested in joining the program can fill out the ambassador sign-up form or email Tessa Gatz at

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Vamsi Kora, CEO



Gathi Analytics What prompted the founding of Gathi Analytics (now an Infostretch company)? In many ways, I set out to solve my own problem: simplify the data strategy process and build a focused team who can get results, faster. After decades working for enterprise organizations, one major problem became apparent: data modernization is too often big, messy and slow. I knew there was a better and simpler way. At a personal level, I also thought that I am in a unique position to bring in smart techies, businesses and investors together in building a great company.

565 Metro Place S, Suite 3215 Dublin, OH 43017 • 614-345-8646

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What advice would you give to other leaders struggling to grow or mature their teams? The quality and frequency of communication is a constant discipline, and it requires 100 percent buyin from the team. We have been fortunate to experience explosive growth over the last few years. Ensuring the team is growing in the right way and empowering the leadership team is, and will always be, the biggest challenge for any startup. Big kudos to the Gathi

leadership team for stepping up during this growth period and ensuring the top talent is onboarded and welcomed with open arms. What’s coming up next that has you excited? The future is very bright. Gathi Analytics was recently acquired by Infostretch; this partnership will provide immeasurable value to our existing and future clients. The possibilities are now endless when it comes to executing digital transformation programs. Personally, I’m looking forward to contributing to the growth and development of my leadership team and my mentees. The past four years taught me that the true value of an entrepreneur is to nurture more entrepreneurs; this is where I want to spend more time in future. I also look forward to exploring philanthropic opportunities with the causes and programs that I believe in deeply. You can keep up with the journey of Vamsi Kora on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. For more information about Gathi Analytics, an Infostretch company, check out and

10/21/21 2:11 PM


Small Business

Room to bloom Just Bloom School is challenging the way businesses rely on data, and it’s using flowers as a guide.


f you put a handful of flowers in a vase, odds are, there are a few that just won’t sit the way you’d like. A flower won’t bend for us; instead, it will bloom as it should, and it’s our job to place it somewhere it can thrive. That’s easy if we just think outside the vase. That’s the lesson Sarah Lagrotteria and her husband Angus Fletcher are teaching businesses at their newest joint venture: Just Bloom School, a creativity hub that gives teams the confidence to stop relying

“I think flowers could be a really powerful way to do a lot of the resiliency and creativity work.” ANGUS FLETCHER, co-founder, Just Bloom School

Just Bloom School 679 B High St., Worthington 43085

COMPANY: A creative school offering

businesses and individuals scientifically backed workshops to foster growth and confidence.

FOUNDERS: Sarah Lagrotteria and Angus



Would not disclose

Sarah Lagrotteria and Angus Fletcher on what doesn’t work, and open their minds to new solutions, all taught by using flowers. And this isn’t your average crafting class—Just Bloom’s lessons are influenced by Fletcher’s scientifically backed research. The class challenges modern ways of thinking, which typically emphasize being computer-like, Fletcher says, but his research shows that focusing on emotion and creativity will take people farther. To help process that information, flowers are used as symbolism: By trusting our instincts, we can create

something beautifully unique. And the duo makes sense—Lagrotteria is a classically trained chef and co-founder of Flowers and Bread Society. Before the pandemic, she attended a program in the United Kingdom to formalize her floral education, an interest she’s had her whole life, she says. Fletcher is a professor of story science at Ohio State University’s Project Narrative where he analyzes narrative theory. And while he has a rich background in English literature, his career didn’t start that way. He first began as a neuroscientist and

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remembers going into his career thinking humans are just like computers, thriving off exactness. As time passed, he found that humans don’t function that way at all. Instead, resilience, emotion and the ability to imagine is the driver. Moving forward, Fletcher studied art in various forms to understand the neuroscience of creativity, and he began sharing his findings with businesses that struggled to solve a problem. Soon, he was speaking with Fortune 50 companies, and even the U.S. military on ways they could improve if they stopped relying on data and followed human instincts. “In my research, you see a lot of burnout and unhappiness, people changing jobs,” Fletcher says. “And what I do is switch that around and say, ‘No we’re not going to treat it like data, a machine like a computer. We’re treated like human beings; we’re focused on your emotions and creativity.’” While both Fletcher and Lagrotteria have been set in their interests for years, it wasn’t until the pandemic that they started thinking about join-

ing forces. Fletcher was traveling frequently to share his lessons despite wanting to be centralized, and Lagrotteria was leaning on flowers heavily to find peace. The two began working on Just Bloom, named after Lagrotteria’s affirmation to herself since high school to bloom where planted. It opened its doors in Old Worthington this September. Currently, there is one employee alongside the founders. “I think flowers could be a really powerful way to do a lot of the resiliency and creativity work,” Fletcher says. “We started experimenting with that and it developed into this business.” Businesses interested can choose from two full-day experiences. The first, Business I, takes team members through a two-part floral workshop guided by Lagrotteria’s floral expertise and Fletcher’s lesson. In Business II, both Fletcher and Lagrotteria meet with team leaders ahead of time to get a feel for specific problems the team is facing and craft an itinerary that will address those challenges through their lessons.

While the focus is on businesses, Just Bloom School also offers one-off classes for anybody interested. There are intro classes, which are about two hours long, and master classes, which are about three to four hours, Lagrotteria says. Some of its offerings include vision boards, seasonal masterclasses, and classes focused on working with one specific type of flower. In the future, she also hopes to incorporate writing and photography workshops. Uprooting a traditional way of thinking is no simple feat, Lagrotteria says, but she and Fletcher are giving their guests room to bloom, and they hope to see creativity burst in central Ohio. “Creative ideas are weird, they’re different. But then in the same way that nightfall is weird, we first got one, and all of a sudden you realize that it’s weird, but in a good way,” Fletcher says. “All we’re doing is saying to people, ‘Come in, give it a chance. It’s different, but it will be really positive.’” Jess Deyo is associate editor.



Awards Program

CELEBRATING FAMILY BUSINESSES Wednesday, November 10 10 am - 1:30 pm | Hilton Easton presented by: Conway Center for Family Business

The 2021 Awards are generously sponsored by:

Media Sponsors:

Scan to Attend or Exhibit | 614.253.4820 | November 2021 l ColumbusCEO

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Anna Wuerth, left, and Dr. Cindy Ripsin


Knowing no bounds Nonprofit Boundless is easing health care access for the special needs community.


ver the nearly six years that CEO Patrick Maynard has been with nonprofit Boundless, he’s heard the same story shared by the patients who have come through his doors: Doctors are refusing to see them because of their disability, they are “too challenging,” or they would be better off going elsewhere. People with developmental and intellectual disabilities routinely face barriers when accessing medical care, and while Maynard offered a listening ear to his clients, for years he has been working on a solution

“As we grew, our focus was to go from being a single line service provider to really looking at the whole person.” PATRICK MAYNARD, CEO, Boundless

Boundless LOCATIONS: Six campuses serving over 50 counties statewide MISSION: To provide quality, whole-person

services for children, youth and adults with special needs.

PRESIDENT AND CEO: Patrick Maynard EMPLOYEES: 2,400 FUNDING SOURCES: Medicaid 81%,

government funding 11%, other 6%, private 2%

that has finally come to fruition: Boundless Health. Boundless Health, launched this October, offers primary care, behavioral health services and specialty services like gynecology and dietetics from the nonprofit’s Worthington campus. It also partnered with Ohio State University’s Nisonger Center to provide dental care. The health sector coincides with the services offered by Boundless, which includes residential services, employment support and more for the special needs community. Boundless is the culmination of four linked companies: I am Boundless, Boundless Community Pathways, the Boundless Foundation, and now, Boundless Health. Founded in 1980, Boundless has grown to include six campuses in Ohio with an annual budget of $93 million. Currently, it serves 4,000

people and has 2,400 employees. “As we grew, our focus was to go from being a single line service provider to really looking at the whole person,” Maynard says. “People with disabilities and complex needs are like everybody else, they’re not just a person with a disability.” With the new health sector, Boundless will be the first of its kind in Ohio to deliver whole-person services, and one of few in the country, Maynard says. It’s also applying to become a federally qualified healthcare center (FQHC), which would allow for an on-site pharmacy. While it’s focus is the disabled community, Boundless Health will also serve low-income communities. Medicaid and other insurances cover about 95 percent of its services, Maynard says, and a sliding fee scale will help the uninsured. “These are things that are really go-

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Artwork: Bill Miller, Lindsay Gallery

ing to make a big difference, because they’re going to be unique to this population,” says Maynard. Boundless Health comes at a critical time—people with disabilities or complex needs currently live up to 16 years less than the general population and are hospitalized 1.7 times more, according to consulting firm Health Management Associates. A key player at Boundless Health is its executive director and vice president of clinical operations, Anna Wuerth, who joined the team this June and comes with 15 years of experience at a FQHC. Her favorite aspect is hearing from the community to help create a perfect business model, she says. Some must-haves include the ability to see every member of the family for convenience, and providing calming areas and quick waits before appointments and flexibility around changes. Having primary care and behavioral health under one roof also allows for every doctor to be able to collaborate with one another, she says. Leading the medical efforts is Dr. Cindy Ripsin, the team’s medical director, who comes with over 20 years of experience as a family doctor. Previously, she was the medical director for a hospital in Galveston, Texas, with about 13,000 patients from underserved communities. Ripsin’s interest in Boundless Health comes from her start-up mindset and experience working for the underserved, where she noticed many patients who would be considered on the Autism spectrum but weren’t diagnosed. “I often thought it would be such a perfect model to be able to really identify folks early, give them the health care that they need, and make sure that they can lead their best life,” Ripsin says. Boundless Health currently has 30 employees but will be hiring more. In the next five years, Ripsin and her team hope to perfect their model and expand to other communities in need, but for now, she hopes to connect with the Columbus community, starting with a simple introduction: “I want people to see me as who I am,” Ripsin says, “which is someone with humility that is really willing to serve them and their family.”






S U A C ith a

Jess Deyo is associate editor. November 2021 l ColumbusCEO

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Breaking barriers Rhove’s app allows anyone to invest in commercial real estate—starting at $1.


hile raising money for other entrepreneurs, Calvin Cooper had a trillion-dollar idea for a venture of his own. It would be an app that would allow anyone to invest in commercial real estate for as little as $1 per share. Cooper even had a willing investor. The only catch was that he’d have to leave venture capital firm NCT Ventures, where he’d just made partner. “I loved what I did,” says Cooper, 33, who is a Downtown resident. “I loved working with entrepreneurs. I loved being an advocate for them. And I didn’t want to let my family down because I was ‘making it.’”

“The barriers of entry [in real estate] are getting higher and higher, and home ownership is getting farther and farther out of reach.” CALVIN COOPER, founder, Rhove

Rhove 629 N. High St., Columbus 43215 • BUSINESS: App allows anyone to invest in commercial real estate, regardless of income or size of professional network. EMPLOYEES: 12 CEO: Calvin Cooper REVENUE: Would not disclose.

Calvin Cooper

But Cooper took the leap and became CEO of Rhove, which he founded with Jonathan Nutt, Jon Slemp and Scott Sumi. Based in the Short North, Rhove launched on the app store this summer for iPhone. “Rhovers” can use the app to invest in featured properties in Columbus—including mixed-use property Gravity in Franklinton—and other states like Colorado, Illinois, South Carolina and Oklahoma. They also can submit a property, such as the apartment building where they live or a favorite coffee shop, and petition to invest. There’s also opportunity for investors to chat with each other. “The barriers of entry [in real estate] are getting higher and higher, and home ownership is getting farther and farther out of reach,” Cooper says. “Our vision is that everybody in

the world should have the access and opportunity to invest in and own the places that we live, work and play.” The economic conditions for millennials have only worsened amid COVID-19. At age 30, 42 percent of millennials own homes, compared to 48 percent of Gen Xers and 51 percent of baby boomers, according to a report by Apartment List. Additionally, there are stark disparities across race: The rate for white millennial homeownership at age 30 is 2.5 times higher than that of Black millennials. However, ownership is occurring in the digital space with nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrency. According to Cooper, real estate investment can operate in that same decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem, which doesn’t rely on traditional intermediaries,

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like banks and insurance companies. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to drive around town and know what neighborhood you should invest in, but it [traditionally] takes a millionaire,” he says. “... It shouldn’t be that way.” Cooper’s passion and perspective are shared by Brett Kaufman, founder and CEO of Kaufman Development, which created Gravity. Kaufman was the investor who originally encouraged Cooper to start Rhove. “We’ve seen tremendous transformation in different sectors over the last 10 to 20 years, when you look at the emergence of Uber and Amazon and all the ways that people are doing things differently,” says Kaufman, 46, of Bexley. “And how people are able to own and invest in real estate is something that I think is ready to shift.” Cooper projects that a billion global investors will own a trillion in real estate through the Rhove app one day. As for local impact, community advocate Robert Leis says Rhove will support growth in Columbus. “As more residents come in, we need more housing units,” says Leis, 35, of the Near East Side, a digital business analyst. “And by being able to have a tool like Rhove that allows you to invest in some of these properties, that helps developers come up with much-needed capital that can be used to construct more units faster.” Born in Dayton, Cooper grew up on the North Side of Columbus. He says he was inspired by his great grandmother and grandmother who owned real estate. He went on to study economics at Capital University. Before landing at NCT, he worked for Ohio Sen. Ray Miller, and for the Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council. Dwight Smith, president and CEO of Sophisticated Systems, praised Cooper’s work for the latter. “He was very good at it, and helped a lot of people,” he says. “... I was glad to see him be so successful in that role, but I was super excited when he started getting closer and closer to entrepreneurship. I think the company that he’s building is going to be the next unicorn in central Ohio.” Erica Thompson writes about race, gender and the economy.

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Mutts & Co. has stood its ground against big-box retailers and even expanded to meet increased demand during COVID-19. By JESS DEYO + Photos by ROB HARDIN


t’s safe to say that our pets hold a special place in our hearts, but over the past year and a half the bond has grown—they’ve become our coworkers, CEOs of the house and beloved family members. As such, our furry friends have apparently gotten some extra special treatment since the switch to remote work. In 2019, we spent $97.1 billion on pets, which jumped to $103.6 billion in 2020, and is expected to climb to 109.6 billion in 2021, according to the American Pet Products Association. For Mutts and Co. owners Deborah and Mark Vitt, the uptick in petrelated purchases has been reflected in their sales, but they’ve been committed to delivering high-quality pet supplies for nearly 15 years. Mutts and Co. is a local pet supply store with 70 employees and seven locations across central Ohio with a

Mutts & Co. COMPANY: Pet supplies store offering

natural and holistic food, treats, health supplies and toys for dogs and cats

LOCATIONS IN: Dublin, New Albany, Westerville, Upper Arlington, Hilliard, Lewis Center and Grove City EMPLOYEES: 70 FOUNDERS: Deborah and Mark Vitt 2020 REVENUE: Would not disclose

focus on offering all-natural food and treats, toys and more for cats and dogs. It was founded by Deborah in Dublin in 2007 after moving to Ohio from California with her husband and realizing that there was a gap in the market. In California, Deborah says, there was a more widely accepted holistic approach and pet stores had already adopted natural food and treats. In Ohio, that was missing. And Deborah already had experience in the business world—she spent time working in New York for Gap at Old Navy before being recruited to The Limited in Columbus, where she met Mark, and then was recruited by Gap, again, to work in California. The two eventually moved back to Ohio. Mark worked at JPMorgan Chase, while Deborah dedicated herself fulltime to founding Mutts & Co. While she felt comfortable opening the store with her corporate background, much of her reasoning came from a passion. The duo has committed to raising rescues and fostering dogs, and Deborah spent over a year researching the market. But even so, they both shared a large concern: the store opened at the peak of the mortgage crisis. Still, they felt sure that the pet supplies market would survive, Deborah says. “It was a little bit of a scary thought as to know whether that was the right time—when people were losing their 401(K)s and unemployment rates were so high,” Mark says. “But we found that people still gravitated to their pets and would even cut back on their own spending just to be able to accommodate the good things for their pets, their four-legged family members.”

Mutts and Co. not only survived, but it thrived. In 2016, Mark was able to join Deborah full-time as their Westerville, Upper Arlington and Hilliard stores were opening, which served as proof that the store was more than an anomaly, he says. Aside from the food, treats, toys and health supplies that are available at the pet store, it also offers professional grooming services that only allow one dog at a time on a schedule like an actual salon, to ensure dogs aren’t stressed sitting in cages for hours leading up to their haircut. There’s also a walk-in, self-grooming option that features separated washing bays to avoid clashing with other dogs. Everything needed is provided, customers just do the work, Mark says. The specialized, focused premise of their grooming services is just one aspect that makes them stand out as a family-owned pet store when compared to big-box retailers, Deborah says, but largely, they pride themselves on being what those major companies aren’t: personalized, knowledgeable and rooted in community. For example, talking about the Petcos, PetSmarts and Chewys of the world, Mark is quick to point out a story he was told by an employee, who joined the team after working for a much larger petsupply retailer: When a customer comes into the store, she was told to limit the conversation to 90 seconds. But to him and Deborah, that should be just the start—there’s no clock on customer engagement. “We want to ask questions, we want to know about their pets, about them as people, we want to know the age, allergy concerns and activity level of their pets,” Mark says. “The first 90 seconds should be us asking questions to them, and then we can really start to understand what their needs might be.” Dublin store manager Patricia Morrison values the personalized approach, noting that she’s had the opportunity to get to know pets and the people behind them, oftentimes watching furry friends grow up, get a new sibling and reach milestones. “It’s our willingness to really dig in and learn about all the products that we carry, and how they can and will benefit pets,” Morrison says. “And having the ability to take the time to

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Deborah and Mark Vitt

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Customer Jessica Holland and her dogs, Captain and Willie, visit the Grove City Mutts & Co. for bathtime.

dig in with our customers and have those longer conversations about nutrition, and why something might be better.” Roots in the community are another aspect that makes a local pet store stand out from its competitors. Mutts & Co. has several partnerships—in particular, Morrison loves selling the birthday treats offered for dogs, which are made by Amy Nutter with Beehive Bread Co., a small-batch bakery in Powell that has been making pupcakes for the pet store since the beginning of this year. “I think it’s a great little story about two small businesses, family owned,

local, teaming up to work together,” Nutter says. “Rather than buying something from a large factory, they chose to go local, and it benefits them, it benefits us.” Her pup-cakes come in a variety of colors and are made as simply as deserts for humans, she says, just with different ingredients. She restocks the stores about once per week. Other major community partnerships include the Rascal Unit, which brings its mobile wellness clinic to the company’s seven locations 26 times a year on a rotating basis for low-cost vaccines, and local rescues like I Have a Dream, Humane Society of Delaware

County and the Powell Animal Welfare Society. The store also partners with rescues for adoption events. Before the pandemic, Deborah enjoyed hosting the Fetch a Friend adoption program with rescues across central Ohio, which took over a year of planning, but with restrictions, it’s been put on pause. Following COVID guidelines, Mutts & Co., also closed its grooming services from March to June in 2020, but even so, the Vitts felt prepared to handle the challenge of a pandemic— after all, their business was founded amid chaos. Deborah had originally built the

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“We are proud to be central Ohio’s largest family-owned pet supply store. We are super thrilled to be part of central Ohio. We’ve started here, we are exclusively operating here, we have continued to grow here, and we want to continue to grow here.” MARK VITT, co-owner, Mutts & Co.

One of the Vitts dogs, Miley. company website with the ability to handle curbside pickup and delivery, and since the pandemic, they receive about 12 to 15 online orders per day and can ship to 48 states with supplies from their fulfillment stores in Lewis Center and Westerville. And instead of seeing a decrease in business, sales increased, and the demographic of their customers also became more focused, leaning more toward millennials who likely recently adopted—Mark calls it the pandemic puppy syndrome. His observation has proven to be true across the U.S., with 32 percent of pet parents being millennials, according to the American

Pet Product Association’s 2021-2022 survey of pet owners. Baby boomers fall behind at the second highest share of 27 percent. “These are young folks who are maybe getting their first pet as a couple,” Mark says. “Before they start a two-legged family, they start a four-legged family. These are people who are saying, ‘I’m going to start it right, and do everything correctly from the start.’” They’ve also noticed an uptick in more occupying and interactive toys and long-lasting treats, and an increased concern for pet health, now that people are working from home

and can notice things like anxiety and skin conditions, Mark says. Success has even allowed Mutts & Co. to grow this year, with its seventh location in Grove City opening in July. The location may be one of the strongest symbols of COVID-19 adjustments—it features the store’s first Doggy Drive Thru, allowing customers to pass through and grab food, treats, toys and more without getting out of their car. The Vitts are also diving into the wholesale sector with their two product lines, Pet Foundry, an apparel, candle and pet bed company, and Boneanza Treat Co., their own treat line imported directly to their stores from South America that feature chemicalfree dog treats. Boneanza Treat Co. and Pet Foundry aren’t currently available at stores outside of Mutts & Co., but they hope to go that route in the future, Deborah says. A portion of sales will also be donated to nonprofits that Mutts & Co. has collaborated with in the past. As Mutts & Co. expands and Deborah and Mark brainstorm new ways to grow their passion for pets, they make one thing known—they are committed to serving the community. “We are proud to be central Ohio’s largest family-owned pet supply store,” Mark says. “We are super thrilled to be part of central Ohio. We’ve started here, we are exclusively operating here, we have continued to grow here, and we want to continue to grow here.” Jess Deyo is associate editor. November 2021 l ColumbusCEO

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Tammy Krings

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The travel industry is still on the path to recovery, but Allstar Travel Group has been making big moves in the meantime. By JESS DEYO + Photos by ROB HARDIN


hen it comes to solving problems, Allstar Travel Group founder and CEO Tammy Krings is known to be two steps ahead. So as the travel industry continues to face highs and lows, her ambition remains sky high. ATG, founded in 1995, is a global travel management and consultant company that serves over 140 countries and has nearly 8,000 employees around the world. Businesses can consolidate their global travel, keep a detailed tab of where their employees are, see data on spending and more, all through one place. Its U.S. headquarters are in New Albany. Founding ATG was a big leap for Krings, who started her career as an engineer with a focus on aeronautics and rocket sciences. Her first job out of college was with North American Rockwell while it was based in Columbus, where she worked on the B-1 bomber and space shuttle projects. Eventually, Rockwell ended its local operations and Krings was laid off after declining an offer to relocate. Her next move was to Bradford Travel agency as an account manager where she stayed through its merger with Carlson Wagonlit Travel. She remembers going through a series of interviews with Bradford, where she then proposed they let her do a “trial run” of the job for a few months before bringing her on permanently—she was there for six years. Later, she was recruited to Thomas Cook Travel where she managed its acquisition to American Express, but she knew she wanted more. A year later, she took the bonus she made from American Express and used it as seed money to launch her business, then known as Troilo & Associates. Her motivation came from noticing a gap in the market. At the time, airlines had announced they

were reducing commissions, which hurt the value of travel agents and meant clients would now have to pay for a portion of once-free services. So, instead of founding an agency, Krings hoped to fulfill a need by becoming a travel consultant—the difference being that her revenue would come only from clients, not from partnerships with other service providers. “When the airlines reduced their commissions, it was a pretty severe shock to the industry. So as a consultant that drove a lot of business our way,” Krings says. “We were working predominantly with corporations on transitioning into a pay for services environment … that was a very compelling reason for people to want to hire us.” She also adopted a business model where corporations could insource some of their travel functions to her company and outsource some to an agency, but travel agencies weren’t supporting her on the idea. So, instead of looking further, Krings founded Travel Solutions, her own agency that acted as an incubator for her business model and a research center for new ways of managing travel. By 1998, the business was booming, Krings says, and as the years passed things were on the way up. Then, 9/11 would forever change the way Americans traveled, and the way Krings did business. And while 9/11 was a shock to the entire nation, Krings had a disaster relief plan in place for moments of desperation. She launched the plan in May 2001, with the help of a former official of the National Transportation Safety Board. At the time, she remembers it being viewed as overdramatic, but because of her thoroughness, she and her team knew where each of their clients were within minutes of the twin towers being struck and immediately started a recovery process. “We really did design and develop what later became known in our industry as duty of care management,” Krings says. “We still call it crisis management. We use the term Guardian Services, because it’s not just about reacting to the event, but it’s also about preparing people before they go.” As the travel industry faced a rapid decline, Krings knew that her consulting business, Troilo & Associates,

wouldn’t be able to bounce back in the time it would take for people to trust travel again. In January of 2002 she decided the company would be acquired by her agency, Travel Solutions. Years passed and Krings made more changes to her business. In 2002, she began consulting with Fortune 500 companies globally, and she looked for consortiums to work with that would help consolidate global travel but couldn’t find a partner she liked. So, in her typical fashion, she decided to take it on herself. Travel Solutions changed its name to Allstar Travel Group and has been independently owned since its founding. Now Krings has offices spread throughout the world, with her U.S., Germany, Netherlands and France offices being her largest. The Netherlands office, opened in 2005, also handles ATG’s franchise organization—most notably, China’s Ctrip International, one of the largest travel service providers in the world, Krings says, belongs to ATG’s franchise organization. One of the biggest years of success was in 2019. The company had $7.2 billion in global net sales, opened its France office and grew from 100 global franchises to over 140. But as COVID-19 struck, Krings had to look back to her disaster relief plan once again, since enhanced, to get people safely back on planes. The questions about travel were no longer about when, where and why—it was now about how. Would the guidelines change? What would the incubation period be? Do travelers need proof of vaccination? Krings knew that while many travel companies were accepting the downtime in travel for what it was, she could pivot her company into a COVID asset and a product powerhouse. To make it possible, she

Allstar Travel Group (ATG) BUSINESS: Independently owned travel management and consultant company with 140+ global offices. FOUNDER AND CEO: Tammy Krings EMPLOYEES: 7,800 globally REVENUE: $7.2 billion global net sales in 2019 November 2021 l ColumbusCEO

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brought on Darrin Deck, vice president of technology and innovation. Deck started with ATG in May 2020. Originally, he came in as a contractor for a five-day job, but in that same time frame, the director of IT and manager of data services also stepped down, he says. He admired the way Krings did business, so he offered to stay on the team. “My impression in the past,” he says, “is that [ATG] really brought a high level of consulting to their engagements, their customers, they were very focused on duty of care, that’s a priority for them and was before anybody else was talking about that sort of thing.” With Deck, ATG added “stay safe” resources, most notably its COVID hotline, a one-on-one consultation for clients to help prep them on the requirements for the area they are traveling to and update them on current conditions. They will also monitor the itineraries of clients before and during travel for changes. Online, clients can also access a COVID-19 screening tool and a tracker to see the latest COVID status for different areas on an interactive map. For Christoph Carnier, president of the German Business Travel Association and director of travel, fleet and events at Merk KGaA in Darmstadt, Germany, ATG’s consistent communication in a time of need has been the company’s stand-out quality. “We found that decision-making was extremely quick, short hierarchies, flat hierarchies,” Carnier says. “We also felt that our needs as a customer were really solved quickly and that they listened to us to really do something—we were not number 364 on a customer list.” Merk KGaA, a science and tech company, has been with ATG for seven years and had an initial consultation to help with travel to the Middle East. Eventually, ATG was used to consolidate all the company’s travel. When the pandemic hit, their spend data decreased around 70 percent, Carnier says, but ATG’s COVID resources have been crucial to gaining comfort in travel once again. “Those who travel feel much more comfortable knowing that there is someone working in the background checking [COVID-19 regulations],” Carnier says.

“Initially we were thinking, ‘OK, we’ve got to figure out how to get our travelers back on a plane, because they were still operating, maybe not as much, but they were still operating.’” TAMMY KRINGS, founder and CEO, ATG Krings also saw an opportunity to provide PPE in attempt to encourage safe travel and, after researching companies that she believed in, has partnered with Copperline to offer a face mask that’s exclusive to ATG—the washable, reusable, six-layer mask is made with 22 percent pure, copper thread and is supposedly more likely to kill the COVID-19 virus on contact. “Initially we were thinking, ‘OK, we’ve got to figure out how to get our travelers back on a plane, because they were still operating, maybe not as much, but they were still operating.’” Krings says. “That initially was the driver. But then when we started doing the math, we realized, OK, this could help buoy us up a bit, and it did.” And while COVID-19 was a major source of change for ATG, Krings also had some ideas on the backburner that had a chance to come to fruition with the help of Deck and Howie Honeycutt, the vice president of operations and shared services, who was also brought on in 2020. “Seeing [Krings’] vision, the fact that a lot of companies would just say, ‘Okay, we’re shutting down,

we’re not doing anything,’” Honeycutt says, “She had to obviously downsize where she had to. But she really started changing the focus and putting it toward getting ready for a new vision.” One of the biggest projects includes launching a suite of projects designed for HR professionals. ATG Candidate allows recruiters to request travel bookings for candidates while tracking cost, and recruits can book their own travel through ATG’s digital platform. Also in the suite is ATG Relocation and ATG Professionals, which can be used for employees moving locations or contracted employees who travel. Other product launches include ATG Insights, which provides critical data on spending, budgeting and forecasting on an interactive dashboard, TravelSPACE, which allows clients to plan their trip based on preferred suppliers, and multiple products designed to make collecting, editing and reviewing materials easier. And the return to travel may be sooner than we think. While travel spending totaled $679 billion in 2020, a 42 percent decline from the money spent in 2019, according to an analysis by Tourism Economics, Honeycutt, who has over 25 years of travel experience, says that he’s seeing a steady increase in travel despite the rise of the delta variant. “What I’m seeing is a lot of our larger companies, especially international travel, are not really there. But in the U.S., domestic travel is still there,” Honeycutt says. “People are still going even with the delta variant. They’re still traveling and most of the companies that I’ve talked with, they said at this point they’re watching it very closely, but they’re not changing their overall travel policy.” Still, Krings and her team feel optimistic about the future of travel with the technology they’ve tacked and the new products yet to come, which she hopes will continue to give travelers the confidence they need to take flight. “Don’t be afraid to travel,” Krings says. “It’s a new world. And we certainly must pay attention to that, but it shouldn’t prevent us from doing the things that we love to do. And if travel is one of those things, they shouldn’t be afraid to do that.” Jess Deyo is associate editor.

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10/21/21 1:30 PM

Breaking business news, in-depth features and authoritative reports — now from one consolidated business desk.

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10/21/21 12:04 PM


A Celebration of Trust At BBB, we believe in the power of trust, and our mission is to advance trust in business. We believe that businesses who embrace trust as a core value in their organization will see that it leads to growth in employees, customers, community and their bottom line. Through its core pillars of Accreditation, Education and Celebration, BBB helps organizations reflect, thrive and celebrate their achievements. By interacting with businesses and nonprofits in our community, BBB has the opportunity to provide resources and convey the importance of building a foundation of trust, treating employees and customers the right way, and contributing to the greater community. This helps BBB fulfill its goal of building better businesses. BBB’s Center for Character Ethics recognition programs shine a light on outstanding local business and nonprofit leaders, and also on students (future leaders) who have placed an intentional focus on integrity and excellence. The Torch Award, Spark Award and Students of Integrity programs honor trusted businesses, nonprofits and

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future leaders who are committed to trust, integrity and high character principles. In this section, we will showcase the finalists for BBB’s 2021 Torch Awards for Ethics, as well as the 2021 Spark Awards Class and 2021 Students of Integrity Scholarship recipients. A highlight for BBB is having the opportunity to celebrate role models within our community—no matter where they are on their journey: a future leader, a startup or an established business—we applaud those that embody the BBB standards of trust and are an example for others to follow. In our centennial year, BBB is excited to continue to fulfill our mission of advancing trust in our community through evaluating, educating and celebrating all those who have intentional best practices in place. We applaud the efforts of all who are recognized and are excited to celebrate their commitment to trust with all of you! BBB serving Central Ohio created the Torch Awards for Ethics as an annual awards program to publicly recognize local organizations that have best practices in place to elevate their commitment to being an ethical business. Since 1994, the Torch Awards program has been the premier recognition event for BBB serving Central Ohio. As a way to celebrate outstanding local businesses and nonprofits who are going above and beyond to advance trust in our community, the Torch Awards highlights the intentional best practices of the winners as they relate to the four C’s—Character, Culture, Customers and Community. Chosen by an independent panel of judges, the winners have traditionally been honored at a luncheon event attended by BBB staff, community leaders, Torch Award winners, Spark Awards and Students of Integrity recipients, board members, community partners and representatives from our Accredited Businesses. After shifting to a broadcast event in 2020, BBB is continuing this format of showcasing our finalists and winners this year. We ask that you join us in recognizing the Torch Award, Spark Award and Students of Integrity winners as we celebrate them during a televised broadcast on NBC4 on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 12:30 p.m.

10/21/21 3:49 PM


Congratulations to the

A Kid Again With a mission to foster hope, happiness and healing for families raising kids with life-threatening conditions, A Kid Again provides experiences year-round that allow the families they serve to make memories and give illness a time out.

Brady Ware For over 65 years, Brady Ware & Co. blends unparalleled tax, audit and advisory expertise with industry-specific knowledge to develop custom financial solutions for clients. Their intentional focus on women’s initiatives empowers their employees and communities.


Corporate Cleaning Inc With a culture centered around employee empowerment and customer care and input, family-based Corporate Cleaning Inc. provides industry-leading services in commercial and construction cleaning throughout Central Ohio.

First Class Mobile Detailing Service With hands-on management that is committed to leading by example, the family-oriented small business First Class Mobile Detailing Service combines employee-focused training with customer service to provide vehicle detailing at a client’s home or office.

Ivory Home Health Services By instilling their home health care employees with a foundation of selfconfidence and integrity, Ivory Home Health Services gains trust and loyalty from the clients they serve.


Overmyer Hall Associates

Built to simplify their customers’ whole world of insurance, Matic strives to live by their core values of Transparency and Quality in everything they do, from educating and communicating with customers to empowering employees to be their advocates.

Overmyer Hall Associates strives to create elated relationships with their associates, clients, vendors and the community. With a goal to allow their agents to grow and thrive personally and professionally, they work to make insurance broadly accessible and deeply specialized.

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Baker Creative A company environment built upon core values nurturing growth, creativity and collaboration enables Baker Creative to view brands from the customer perspective to help clients discover new levels of actionable insights and growth opportunities.

The Durable Slate Co. Established with a culture of integrity that is vital to their mission to protect and maintain historic slate and clay tile roofing, The Durable Slate Co. is further committed to their community by starting a Columbus chapter for National Women in Roofing and through philanthropic efforts.

KEMBA Financial Credit Union Established in 1933 and operating with a mission-centric philosophy focusing on members and associates to create a culture of inclusion, KEMBA offers a full range of financial services to residents of Central Ohio.

Pringle Business Consulting Pringle Business Consulting is a personal branding and marketing consulting agency that helps its clients turn reputation into revenue and adds value to their community by offering their talents to women entrepreneurs and small businesses.

10/21/21 3:49 PM


BBB’s Spark Award is given to entrepreneurs 35 years old and younger or businesses operating for less than three years. Entrepreneurs have a unique opportunity to spark trust as they build their business with Character, foster a collaborative Culture, and give back to their Community. The Spark Award class is chosen from nominations made by the public. After review by an independent panel of community leaders who serve as judges, three organizations are selected to represent the class.

Congratulations to the 2021 Spark Awards class and recipients: Fonte Cucina’s unique take on the traditional restaurant model focuses on impact rather than profit. By creating valuable partnerships with trusted community partners, they’ve set out to fight food insecurity, one meal at a time. Renter Mentor harnesses the skillsets of their diverse team to bring accountability and clarity to the housing market and connect people in our community to affordable housing.

Students of Integrity In March 2002, BBB’s Center for Character Ethics launched our Students of Integrity scholarship program. Each year since its inception, the program recognizes 10 high school seniors who personify high character through leadership, community service, overall personal integrity and academic accomplishments. Student honorees are selected by a panel of judges from the business community to each receive a $1,000 scholarship, paid to the college or university they attend after graduation. The Students of Integrity scholarships are made possible by our partners at Columbia Gas. Additionally, one student is selected from the recipients to receive the William J. Lhota Scholarship for Ethics, named for Bill Lhota, a longtime supporter of BBB and a Torch Award selection committee

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Veteran Companion Animal Services enriches the lives of veterans by placing them with rescue dogs and has made a significant impact in the community by empowering and equipping their volunteers to contribute in their unique ways. BBB believes in the power of trust to grow people, businesses and communities, and it exists to advance trust in business. Columbus entrepreneurs continue to show the intentional focus that their organizations have on making their internal culture match the changes they want to see in our community.

2021 Spark Class

Renter Mentor, BuyVet, Prescription Bliss, Fonte Cucina, Veteran Companion Animal Services, Branch Insurance

member who passed away in 2017. We would like to congratulate this year’s Students of Integrity Scholarship winners:

• John Agan, Bishop Watterson High School • Sierra Arnal, Danville High School • Olivia Barnes, Westfall High School • Ava Cunningham, Grandview Heights High School • Sydney Foxworthy, Big Walnut High School • Rebecca Jackson, Grove City Christian School • Camryn Martindale, Lakewood Local High School • Emelee Porter, Mechanicsburg High School • Helene Renninger, Grove City High School • Mylah Smith, Harvest Preparatory School

10/21/21 3:49 PM


Thank you to our 2021 Sponsors

Join us on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 12:30 p.m. on NBC4 as we announce the winners of the 2021 Torch Awards for Ethics!

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10/21/21 4:01 PM

Intellectual property

Breaking through the mold Boutique law firm for startups goes all-in on new business model. By LAURA NEWPOFF + Photo by ROB HARDIN


hree years ago, Mark Stansbury was at a cocktail party for technology industry professionals as part of his networking duties as the leader of a boutique Bexley law firm. He ran into a client there who was flush with cash after he had just helped him close a $10 million venture capital round. The client told him about a human resources issue he was dealing with. “He mentioned offhand that he just Googled the issue rather than calling us because he didn’t want to incur the cost of a 10-minute phone call, even though he had all that money in the bank.” The conversation didn’t shock Stansbury, the co-founder of the Stansbury Weaver law firm. Yet, at the same time, it was kind of shock-

Stansbury Weaver 2154 E. Main St., Bexley 43209

BUSINESS: Corporate law and strategy consulting boutique law firm FOUNDED: 2015 TOP OFFICERS: Mark Stansbury

and John Weaver

EMPLOYEES: 8 REVENUE: Would not disclose OHIO CLIENTS: eFuse, Land Grant Brewing,

PriorAuthNow, Renter Mentor, Refill Technologies, All Paws Retreat

ing. The client had just relied on Stansbury to close a transformational round of funding and therefore valued his services. Yet he admitted he didn’t want to pay him to deal with this smaller issue under the billable hour payment model that law firms traditionally use. “He didn’t want the meter to be running,” Stansbury says. “It got me thinking, ‘There’s a ridiculous amount of friction here even for companies that have the resources to pay and yet really don’t want to. Is it more psychological than financial?’ These things that might seem like small matters can turn into huge problems if they’re not properly addressed.”

Unmetered communication After that conversation, Stansbury began contemplating an alternative to hourly billing. After years of working with entrepreneurs and startups, he and his partners felt the traditional law-firm model was broken. The belief is that most law firms maximize short-term profit by billing clients for every interaction. That punishes the type of open, ongoing communication that Stansbury Weaver feels is critical to the success of early stage and fast-growing companies and the development of relationships. As the firm puts it on its website: “And, anyway, what business likes getting invoiced ‘0.2 - attention to phone

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Mark Stansbury, left, and Matthew Benson

Patents - Trademarks - Copyrights - Litigation - Trade Secrets Non-Disclosure Agreements - Licensing and Royalty Agreements Software and Computer Law - Intellectual Property Valuations Unfair Competition and False Advertising

6300 Riverside Drive, Dublin, Ohio 43017 - 614-792-5555 -

Start your


call’ and ‘0.1 - attention to email?’” In 2019, Stansbury Weaver started experimenting with what it now calls “general counsel as a service.” A simple monthly subscription gives clients unmetered access to the legal team at the firm, including on dedicated Slack channels. There are different levels of subscriptions that include extra recurring standing meetings to set a regular cadence for check-ins. The experiment became permanent during the pandemic and those standing meetings moved to Zoom. “The entire pricing structure encourages ongoing communication though Slack, calls, texts and email,” Stansbury says. “In this model, no one is worried about figuring out an November 2021 l ColumbusCEO

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1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Publication Title: Columbus CEO Publication Number: 1085-911 Filing Date: October 1, 2021 Issue Frequency: Monthly Number of Issues Published Annually: 12 Annual Subscription Price: None

7. 8. 9.

10. 11.

12. 13. 14.


Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication: 62 East Broad Street, Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio 43216. Contact Person: Mike Murphy. Telephone: (317) 444-5381. Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters or General Business Office of Publisher: Same as Above. Full Names and Complete Mailing Addresses of Publisher, Editor and Managing Editor: Publisher - Bernard Szachara, 175 Sully’s Trail, 3rd Floor, Pittsford, NY 14534; Editor – Maribel Wadsworth, 7950 Jones Branch Dr, McLean, VA 22107. Owner: Gannett Co., Inc. 7950 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, VA 22107 Known Bondholders, Mortgagees, and Other Security Holders Owning or holding 1 percent or More of Total Amount of Bonds, Mortgages, or Other Securities: Citibank, N.A. as Administrative Agent, Collateral Agency and Lender; Citibank, N.A. Citybank Delaware; Attn: Agency Operations One Penn’s Way OPS II New Castle, DE 19720. With a copy to: Latham & Watkins LLP; Attn: Alfred &. Zue, 885 Third Avenue New York, NY 10022; BlackRock Fund Advisors, 400 Howard St., San Francisco, California 94105-2228; The Vanguard Group, Inc., 100 Vanguard Blvd., V26, Malvern, Pennsylvania 19355; Miller Value Partners LLC, One South St., #2550, Baltimore, Maryland 21205 Tax Status (For completion by nonprofit organizations authorized to mail at non-profit rates). Does not apply. Publication Title: Columbus CEO Issue Date for Circulation Data below: July 1, 2021

Extent and Nature of Circulation

Average No. No. Copies of Copies Each Single Issue During Issue Preceding Published 12 Months Nearest To Filing Date

a. Total Number of Copies (Net Press Run) 23,659 28,003 b. Legitimate Paid and/or Requested Distribution (By Mail and Outside the Mail) (1) Outside County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions Stated on PS Form 3541 6,016 6,058 (2) In-County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions Stated on PS Form 3541 16,140 16,258 (3) Sales Through Dealers and Carriers; Street Vendors, Counter Sales, and Other Paid or Requested Distribution Outside the U.S.P.S. ® 371 387 (4) Requested Copies Distributed by Other Mail Classes Through the USPS 0 0 c. Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation (Sum of 15b (1), (2), (3) & (4)) 22,527 22,703 d. Nonrequested Distribution (By Mail and Outside the Mail) (1) Outside County Nonrequested Copies stated on PS Form 3541 0 0 (2) In-County Nonrequested 0 0 Copies Stated on PS Form 3541 (3) Nonrequested Copies Distributed Through the USPS by other Classes of Mail 0 0 (4) Nonrequested Copies Distributed Outside the Mail 399 250 e. Total Nonrequested Distribution (Sum of 15d (1), (2), (3) and (4)) 399 250 f. Total Distribution (Sum of 15c and e) 22,926 22,953 g. Copies not Distributed 733 5,050 h. Total (Sum of 15f and g) 23,659 28,003 i. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (15c divided by f times 100) 98.3% 98.9% Circulation on PS Form 3526-X Worksheet. N/A 17. Publication of Statement of Ownership for a Requestor Publication is required and will be printed in the November 2021 issue of this publication. 18. Signature And Title Of Editor, Publisher, Business Manager, or Owner. Jerry Hill SVP, Print Growth & Retention

I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or who omits material or information requested on the form may be subject to criminal sanctions (including fines and imprisonment) and/or civil sanctions (including civil penalties).

hourly bill for a text message. That means the client can come to the firm with small questions or questions they think are silly, but they don’t want to pay $500 an hour to get an answer to. Sometimes finding answers to those types of questions are really helpful for a client.” And if a client’s question takes a team effort to solve, the client isn’t paying billable hours for multiple lawyers. Under the new billing model, the firm handles intellectual property, human resources, capital and transactional matters for its clients. The firm’s most common projects include creating new businesses, raising angel and venture capital, buying and selling businesses, trademark registration and general contracting for sales, procurement and other commercial arrangements.

“As a first time founder, there are a lot of things I don’t know and being able to ask those questions is important while still knowing it won’t break the bank. The flat fee also helps a growing business ... ” MATTHEW BENSON Founder, eFuse

For Stansbury Weaver, the new model has resulted in more stable and predictable cash flow. Stansbury also thinks the model encourages efficiency. Larger firms that also litigate, for example, don’t have as strong of an incentive to solve problems before they become big problems. “Our mantra is to build fences at the top of the cliff so you don’t need ambulances at the bottom,” Stansbury says. “We want to solve problems before they become ambulanceworthy problems.”

What clients say eFuse is a growing technology company in Columbus that describes itself as “LinkedIn for gamers.” CEO Matthew Benson founded the company in 2018 and raised an initial round of funding of $1.4 million in 2019. As the company started hiring more and contemplating its next funding round, its legal fees were ramping up. Benson decided to take his business to Stansbury Weaver in the beginning of 2020 to have a predictable flat fee that covered all of eFuse’s legal needs. eFuse, in fact, worked with Stansbury Weaver to close a $6.5 million funding round this year, and the firm also has helped him with trademark issues. “As a first-time founder, there are a lot of things I don’t know and being able to ask those questions is important while still knowing it won’t break the bank,” Benson says. “The flat fee also helps a growing business from a planning perspective.” All Paws Retreat, a dog daycare and boarding business in Franklinton, also has been a Stansbury Weaver client for the past year and has had the firm help it with human resources, building contracts and writing online policies. “As a small business owner, you never know what is going to come up. Think about a negative review on social media or a disgruntled employee,” says Owner Casie Goldstein. “This relationship really protects us and makes us feel a little bit more stable in an environment that can seem so uncertain. For us, the firm is on speed dial. I don’t have to get in the queue to set up a meeting. If I need them, they’re right there.” Laura Newpoff is a freelance writer.

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Life decisions create ripples on your lifestyle and financial future. So who is helping you navigate each situation? Retirement. Business transition and exit strategies. Kids going to college. Transferring wealth to family. Health crises. Supporting your important causes.

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B-R- R .C O M

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6 1 4 -4 8 1-6900

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There is nothing generic about what we do. We develop and recommend comprehensive financial strategies from the ground up for every client with whom we work. We believe in long-term relationships founded upon trust and open communication. As your trusted advisors, we believe it is important that we communicate to you what you need to know, not just what you would like to hear. And we believe that providing you with professional guidance and advice starts with a thorough understanding of your desires and goals. In developing your plan we work with you and your other professional advisors to ensure complete and fully integrated consultation.




CHORNYAK & ASSOCIATES FINANCIAL PLANNING CONSULTANTS Janney Montgomery Scott LLC 716 Mt. Airyshire Boulevard, Suite 200, Columbus, OH 43235 614.888.2121 | | W W W. J A N N E Y. C O M | © J A N N E Y M O N T G O M E R Y S C O T T L L C | M E M B E R : N Y S E , F I N R A , S I P C | R E F. 3 3 5 9 4 3 - 0 6 2 1

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WEALTH MANAGEMENT FIRMS Ranked by total assets under local management



Diamond Hill Capital Management 325 John H. McConnell Blvd., Suite 200 Columbus 43215 • 614-255-3333

2 Meeder Investment Management

6125 Memorial Drive, Dublin 43017 866-633-3371

3 Lifetime Financial Growth 8425 Pulsar Place, Suite 450 Columbus 43240 • 614-785-5100

4 Hamilton Capital 5025 Arlington Centre Blvd., Suite 300 Columbus 43220 • 614-273-1000

5 Fifth Third Bank 21 E. State St., Columbus 43215 614-744-7634

6 Summit Financial Strategies

7965 N. High St., Suite 350 Columbus 43235 • 614-885-1115

7 Chornyak & Associates 716 Mount Airyshire Blvd., Suite 200 Columbus 43235 • 614-888-2121

8 Edwards Group

4449 Easton Way, Suite 300 Columbus 43219 • 614-473-2401 the-edwards-group

9 Johnson Investment Counsel

50 W. Broad St., Suite 1130 Columbus 43215 • 614-365-9103

10 PDS Planning

475 Metro Place S., Suite 460 Dublin 43017 • 614-481-8449

Under management as of Dec. 31, 2020











$26.4 b $3.3 b

106 11

44 34

1 1


$19.4 b $171.5 m

20,000+ 6

6 12

1 4


$5.4 b $1 b**

60,000** 9

1 41

1 13

2014 Fee and commission

Thomas Wyatt

$2.9 b $406 m

2,373 5 700

2 3

1 2


Matthew Hamilton

Fee only

Antonio Caxide

3 24

54 1,100


Francie Henry

Fee only

Stephanie Green

2 13

1 1


Samantha Macchia

Fee only

Liam Hurley Joseph Chornyak

$1.8 b na

(households) **

Fee only

SENIOR INVESTMENT OFFICER Heather Brilliant Matthew Stadelman Bob Meeder Joe Bell and Dale Smith

$1.5 b na

3 849 13

$1.4 b $550 m

1,000+ 3

0 5

1 1

1976 Fee and commission

Robert Mauk and Joseph Chornyak Jr.

$1.2 b $119 m

1,457 5

0 10

3 1,200


Brian Edwards

$1.1 b $198 m

240 3

2 2

1 6


$941 m $414,000

588 3

1 3

1 1


Rita Itsell

Fee only

Kurt Brown

The CEO Leaderboard features selected topics each month. The February Leaderboard will feature general contractors in the Columbus region. The deadline for inclusion in that survey is Dec. 15. If you want your Columbus region company or organization to be considered for an upcoming CEO Leaderboard, contact Linda Deitch at Information included in this survey was provided by companies listed and was not independently verified.

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Fee only


Fee and commission

Fee only

Nicole Edwards

Daniel Gusty

** Estimated b=billion, m=million na=not applicable Source: Survey of wealth management firms Information compiled by LINDA DEITCH

November 2021 l ColumbusCEO


10/21/21 11:44 AM

Media Sponsor:











10 We live to ensure the Columbus Region is a vibrant place to build businesses and careers. Partners for Regional Growth & Prosperity

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10/20/21 9:02 PM


Ranked by number of Columbus region professionals


1 Deloitte

180 E. Broad St., Suite 1400 Columbus 43215, 614-221-1000

2 Ernst & Young

800 Yard St., Suite 200 Grandview Heights 43212 614-224-5678 •


191 W. Nationwide Blvd., Suite 500 Columbus 43215 • 614-249-2300

Columbus Region Professionals






Other accountants (non CPAs)

Total Employees



Audit, tax, advisory and consulting services






Assurance, consulting, tax, transaction advisory services, HR and IT services






Audit, tax, business valuation, M&A, IT


Audit and assurance, tax, advisory and financial services

4 PricewaterhouseCoopers

41 S. High St., Suite 2500 Columbus 43215 • 614-225-8700


300 Spruce St., Suite 100 Columbus 43215 • 614-488-3126

6 Crowe

155 W. Nationwide Blvd., Suite 500 Columbus 43215 • 614-469-0001

7 GBQ Partners

230 West St., Suite 700 Columbus 43215 • 614-221-1120

8 Kaiser Consulting

34 Grace Drive, Powell 43065 614-300-1088


250 West St., Suite 200 Columbus 43215 • 614-224-7722

10 Blue & Co.

9200 Worthington Road, Suite 200 Westerville 43082 • 614-885-2583

Major Services Offered





Local Top Officer

Mark Johnson Managing partner

Daniel Valerio

Office managing partner

Kim Zavislak

Office managing partner

Arthur Scherbel Managing partner

Mike Voinovich






Audit, tax, advisory






Audit, tax, advisory services, consulting, technology

Chris Barrett


Assurance, tax, valuation, forensic and dispute advisory, transaction advisory and IT services

Darci Congrove

115 82 73 61

69 44 27 27

16 6 25 17

30 32 21 17

Office managing partner

Managing director


Outsourced and interim accounting, controller Lori Kaiser Founder and and business analyst functions, compliance CEO


Audit, tax, technology, consulting, transaction advisory


Health care consulting, tax, audit, benefit Brad Shaw plan consulting and Managing administration, IT director consulting

The CEO Leaderboard features selected topics each month. The February Leaderboard will feature general contractors in the Columbus region. The deadline for inclusion in that survey is Dec. 15. If you want your Columbus region company or organization to be considered for an upcoming CEO Leaderboard, contact Linda Deitch at Information included in this survey was provided by companies listed and was not independently verified.

Office managing partner

Roger Prough Managing partner

M&A = mergers and acquisitions IT = information technology Source: Survey of accounting firms Information compiled by LINDA DEITCH

September November 2021 2014 l ColumbusCEO

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10/20/21 9:02 PM

Look back and move forward with The Dispatch@150 F or 150 years, The Dispatch has brought darkness into the light, celebrated the sunshine, and written our daily history.

Come with us into a new era as we chronicle the context of what’s next. Look for these features in the coming days and months and interact with us at and on Twitter @DispatchAlerts with the hashtag #DispatchAt150. Historical front pages


Historical photo slideshows on

Features on iconic central Ohio moments and newsmakers



Dispatch@150 podcasts

The Dispatch presents Columbus Conversations


Interactive timelines on

And much more!

Celebrating 150 years as Ohio’s Greatest Home Newspaper

@DispatchAlerts • Subscribe today at

Dispatch@150 is sponsored by

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10/20/21 10:46 AM

Wouldn’t you like to be looking at your home? Ask your Realtor to market your home in the Executive Living section of Columbus CEO Magazine!

East of I-71 call Telana Veil at (614) 469-6106 or e-mail at West of I-71 call Amy Vidrick at (614) 461-5153 or e-mail at


dy ? e rea et! g n k lli b r Se w to g ma o rin n us e sp l l Ca or th f

3 DEGREES REALTY Anne Gonzales (614) 354-4034 anne19gonzales@

Neil Mathias (614) 580-1662

5548 RIVERSIDE DRIVE - You’ve driven along the Scioto and seen this gated circular driveway & the rolling front yard full of mature trees overlooking the water. The interior of this home is just as impressive as the view. Classic architecture meets modern living w/a spacious & bright open floor plan full of hardwood floors, stone, moldings, & walls of windows. The great room is the heart of the home w/soaring ceilings & two stories of natural light. 3.22 acres of natural beauty await to run & play on. $1,145,000




Kemp Group (614) 450-0082 office@relocate

EXQUISITE CUSTOM R&H HOME ON 3.46 ACRES - in private community of Hoover Gate! This 10,000+ sq. ft. home features 5 BR/ 5.1 baths. 3 car attached & 2 car det. garages. 2 story foyer w/bridal staircase. Private study, great rm w/ wall of windows/ limestone frplc. Chef’s Kitchen, Hearth rm w/frplc, music rm, sun rm. 1st flr. Owner’s Suite, Mother in-law suite. LL with custom wine cabinets & wine bar w/appls, game rm. Courtyards & Terrace w/fountains/ preserve w/wildlife.

KELLER WILLIAMS CAPITAL PARTNERS Kemp Group (614) 450-0082 office@relocate

5500 OLENTANGY RIVER ROAD - Beautiful custom mid century ranch perfectly tucked away on almost 2 acres. Outstanding entertaining kitchen, formal DR & informal spaces. Owner suite is a complete wing w/ fireplace, updated spa like bath with 2 person shower & walk in closet. W/0 basement w/ exercise rm, add’l Fam Rm, frplc & wine cellar. Backyard is your own little slice of paradise with patios & a pool to relax in. Property next door is also for sale (see 5503 Olentangy RR). $1,195,000

5530 OLENTANGY RIVER ROAD - Beautiful sprawling ranch with many updates and improvements located on almost 3 acre lot. Well maintained with mostly gleaming hdwd flooring. Living Room w/fireplace, lg eat-in kitchen w/SS appls and white cabinetry. Owners suite in addition to 2 additional bdrms. 3 Full baths and half bath. Enjoy watching the seasons unfold from the 4 season room. Amazing views from the patio or wrap around deck. Huge backyard for entertaining. Detached 2 car garage. Tenants Rights, 24 hr notice to show. $650,000



Kemp Group (614) 450-0082 office@relocate

Greg Skinner (614) 537-1994 Greg@soldby

2040 STRATHSHIRE HALL LANE, POWELL - Exceptional home located in Loch Lomond, built by Dianne Builders. Dramatic ceiling heights, den with custom built-ins, Great Room with grand 2 sty stone fireplace. Lg entertaining spaces flow into chef’s kitchen. Massive owner suite, and add’l 3 BR & 2 full baths upstairs. Fin. bsmt offers endless opportunities w/ rec area, huge bar, indoor sports facility, full bath & sauna. The private backyard oasis offers mature landscaping, pool & pool house. $1,450,000

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7504 VERN PLACE - Custom built country estate just minutes from all of the conveniences. 1st floor master suite. Open floor plan. Large den with built ins, oversized dining room for gatherings. Chefs dream massive quartz & stainless kitchen built for entertaining. Two sty soaring great room with a wall of glass & wood burning fireplace. Captivating paver patio with view of the wooded reserve area. 3 car garage. $729,900

10/20/21 3:57 PM

Office Space By JESS DEYO + Photos by ROB HARDIN

The Media Captain 394 E. Town St. Columbus Ohio 43215

The digital marketing agency’s new office is packed with history. Feels like home For founder Jason Parks, it was important to create a comfortable space that encourages conversation. Space to collaborate The first floor features an open-concept work area with multiple desks and places to strategize for the team of 17. Room to grow The office, an 1880s mansion, features three floors with six private offices.

What once was The 7,346-square-foot office once was home to former Ohio Gov. Judson Harmon.

Pieces of the past Several pieces of furniture with stories to tell were negotiated in the move.

Creative quirks The conference room table, made from a bowling alley floor, is just one piece used to achieve a vintage feel.

Visit for a full article on the space.

48 ColumbusCEO l November 2021

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10/20/21 9:02 PM


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10/21/21 12:19 PM