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Indians begin construction of all-inclusive ‘Premium Club’ New seating takes place of 10 suites along first-base line; team will sell tickets for $150 DAN MENDLIK PHOTO/CLEVELAND INDIANS

What the Premium Club looks like now — where 10 suites used to be ... and what it’ll look like on Opening Day.


The Cleveland Indians’ long-held desire to put their luxury seating areas to new and better use has taken a clearer shape, as the Indians last month cleared out 10 suites for their new Premium Club area. Featuring 120 seats, the Premium Club will be more exclusive than its current club area, which sits directly above the Premium Club in the second deck on the first-base side. One hundred of the seats will be high-back leather chairs that will be sold as season tickets; those season ticket holders can add on a singlegame basis any of 20 additional seats at the far end of the club. The latter group will consist of wooden seats akin to those found at old venues such as the former Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

Cleveland-Marshall will assist solo lawyers




In what its dean says will be the only program of its kind housed in a law school in Ohio and one of fewer than 10 nationwide, ClevelandMarshall College of Law next fall plans to launch a solo practice incubator to support young attorneys who want to go it alone. When the dust is settled and the

project is complete, graduates of Cleveland-Marshall may lease from their alma mater office space near downtown that they otherwise might not have been able to afford. At an estimated cost of $1.2 million to $1.5 million, contractors next summer will build a suite of offices and conference rooms in more than 6,800 square feet of the law school’s library, where many hard copy

E-recyclers see boost More companies are looking for environmentally and data-safe ways to discard gadgets. PAGE 3 PLUS: ■ It’s still unclear what motivations two new investors in American Greetings Corp. carry. PAGE 8

See SOLO Page 19

See PREMIUM Page 7

Weatherhead’s new dean aims to build on momentum By TIMOTHY MAGAW

Incubator eventually will offer them office space

All tickets in the 5,000-squarefoot Premium Club sell for $150 apiece, with gourmet food the team describes as a step above what’s found in the club area. Beer and wine also is included. The project is among a group of enhancements team president Mark Shapiro described in September as “mid-term” projects, financed completely by the team, as part of its development of a longer-term master plan for the 18-year-old ballpark. The Indians wouldn’t reveal the cost of the project, but various observers said it’d be a multi-million-dollar project. The master plan will come within the next 15 months, Mr. Shapiro has said, and will address such issues as Progressive Field’s capacity, circulation of its fans, and, if the Premium Club works, its inclusion in the park’s

The Case Western Reserve University of 2012, and the rejuvenated city it calls home, are far different than the ones to which Robert Widing II said goodbye in Widing the early 1990s to take a teaching job at a university in Australia. Nearly two decades after he left a faculty post at Case Western Reserve’s Weatherhead School of Management, Dr. Widing, a renowned mar-

keting researcher, has returned to Cleveland to replace Mohan Reddy as Weatherhead’s dean. Dr. Reddy, who announced last year he would return to teaching, helped right the Weatherhead ship after years of discord that saw faculty morale plunge amid repeated changes at the business school’s helm. Now, it is Dr. Widing’s turn to build on the momentum generated by Dr. Reddy and the university’s See WEATHERHEAD Page 18



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Identifying some of the up-and-comers in Cleveland’s legal field ■ Pages 13-17

Entire contents © 2012 by Crain Communications Inc. Vol. 33, No. 46



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Accelerators graduating advanced companies Many clients of Bizdom, LaunchHouse emerging with sales, customers By CHUCK SODER


Westlake Reed Leskosky has scored a pair of Asian performing arts theater projects, including this one in Hualien, Taiwan.

Westlake lands first Asian projects Architecture firm sees potential in Far East for arts projects By STAN BULLARD

Paul Westlake returned last month from Taiwan, a trip he took not for pleasure, but for work. And the head of the Westlake Reed Leskosky architecture firm in Cleveland didn’t return home emptyhanded. Mr. Westlake secured a commission for the firm’s first project in Asia; it involves a pair of performing arts theaters — one with 1,300 seats and another with 700 seats — in Hualien, Taiwan. Its client is the Taiwan Land Development Corp., and it is partnering on the project with R.J. Woo Architects and Engineers of Taiwan. Mr. Westlake said he sees the project as the door to more work in Asia, where 300 performing arts centers are in the conceptual stage. It’s the same pattern the firm followed in the United States to extend its reach from Cleveland’s PlayhouseSquare, where it cut its teeth renovating the city’s historic theaters two decades ago


Westlake Reed Leskosky managing principal Paul Westlake and continues to do such work today across the country. The firm now produces about 20 performing arts projects annually. With offices also in New York, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., and a partnership with architect Michael Lehrer in Los Angeles, Westlake Reed is entering rarefied air in the design world. In the trade magazine Architect, a September listing of the nation’s 50 largest architecture firms based on factors such as billings and staff size ranked Westlake Reed sixth, between Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill,

both of New York. Moreover, the publication ranked Westlake Reed first in sustainability, or environmentally conscious building design and operations. A standout project for Westlake Reed in the sustainability area is the U.S. General Services Administration’s first “net zero” building — a structure using no outside energy for its operation. It’s a $12 million project with Dallas-based The Beck Group that will be finished next year at the Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Grand Junction, Colo. “It combines historic restoration

with energy conservation,” Mr. Westlake said, from solar cells on the building’s rooftop to a geothermal heating system for the 1918vintage structure. Investments in energy efficiency can pay for themselves in as little as three years, which is particularly valuable to government, educational and institutional clients who build for long time frames, Mr. Westlake said. From the energy requirements of such clients to the lighting and acoustic skills required for performing arts work and the security needs of federal agencies, Westlake Reed has seen more of its revenue come from work on the engineering and technical side of the design business. Mr. Westlake said the firm now has stakes in eight separately owned and organized enterprises, such as SustainTech, the Sustainable Technologies Design Group, which provides services from acoustics to master planning for energy use. Mr. Westlake estimates that 55% of its revenue now is from traditional architecture work, 20% is technology-related, and 25% is structural, civil and electrical engineering. “We’re a legacy firm, but we’re always growing,” Mr. Westlake said of the firm founded in 1905. ■

THE WEEK IN QUOTES “We understand that a large percentage of our business is based on the team (performance). But of that other small percentage, we have to be 100% perfect.” — Mark Shapiro, president, Cleveland Indians. Page One

“Students have to figure out how to take the legal education they’ve gotten and make that work for them. ... This will give them a sense that it’s not a deep leap into the abyss.” — Craig M. Boise, dean, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Page One

“There just seems to be a huge amount of energy and inertia behind the health care industry that to me makes it interesting, and in Northeast Ohio especially.” — Matthew E. Albers, of counsel, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease. Page 13

“Most people, if they’re going to take the leap, do so when they’re in a position to have a few clients coming with them.” — David Mills, The Mills Law Office, Cleveland. Page 14

Three months ago, Eric Golubitsky’s group-buying startup didn’t exist. That was before he entered the LaunchHouse Accelerator in Shaker Heights. Today, Gtail has a website, commercial partnerships and a few real, actual customers as of Nov. 19. That’s when the company sent out its first email deal to the members of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association. A few of them made purchases that same day. “We were a concept,” said Mr. Golubitsky, who isn’t revealing the strategy he’s using to set Gtail apart from other group-buying companies. “Ninety days later, we have revenues.” That’s what the for-profit LaunchHouse Accelerator was designed to do: Help an entrepreneur with an idea See SALES Page 19


Done with that cell? E-recyclers will take it By GINGER CHRIST

The “here today, gone tomorrow” nature of the electronics industry is creating a robust opportunity for those in business to recycle that equipment. As companies — and consumers — look for environmentally sound and data-safe ways to swap out antiquated cell phones and computers, local electronic recyclers are earning their livings dismantling those gadgets and selling the parts as commodities. Every day, more companies — large and small — are opting to go green and recycle electronics, said Craig Silverstein, founder of E-Scrap Solutions, an electronics recycler in Cleveland with 30 employees. And, as the economy continues to improve, businesses will be able to replace their electronic equipment more See RECYCLERS Page 12

CORRECTION In a Nov. 19, Page 3 story about Case Western Reserve University School of Law’s growing student exchange agreements, the timeline of expansion was misstated. By the end of this calendar year, the school expects to have agreements with 12 schools in Asia.




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Brian D. Tucker ( EDITOR:


Scott Suttell (




ohn Brennan, MD, just signed on for what may be the toughest job in Cleveland medicine. As the next CEO of the MetroHealth System, Dr. Brennan will become head of a safety-net hospital subsidized by Cuyahoga County taxpayers that has seen the level of uncompensated care it provides soar amid a still lackluster economy. He seems a man up to the task. The 14-member search committee that sized up the 40 candidates it initially considered for the CEO post certainly believes him to be the right person for the job. Tom McDonald, vice chairman of the MetroHealth board and chairman of the search committee, said the committee narrowed the field down to eight candidates, each of whom was interviewed during a two-day period this fall. When Mr. McDonald asked the committee members to rank the eight candidates, Dr. Brennan came in first on all 14 ballots in the straw poll. The background that Dr. Brennan brings to the position seems well-suited to the needs of MetroHealth. He is the first physician to lead the hospital since the 1950s. His specialty, emergency medicine, gives him insight into an area of medicine that is of particular importance in an urban hospital, where many people use the ER in place of a visit to a family physician. Dr. Brennan also is no novice to dealing with the financial stress felt by a hospital with a mission of serving those who can least afford care. For the last five years, he has been president and CEO for Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. There, he is credited with guiding the medical center through a big financial turnaround, transforming a $36 million operating loss in 2008 to a $28 million operating gain last year. Part of how Dr. Brennan hopes to keep MetroHealth’s bottom line in decent shape is by keeping people out of the hospital in the first place through the promotion of health and wellness programs in the community. In a recent meeting with Crain’s editorial board, he spoke of hosting community health screening fairs to detect diseases such as breast cancer and medical conditions such as hypertension. Dr. Brennan also talked about his desire to lead a collaboration with other health care providers in Cleveland in addressing community health issues. He may find an interested ear in Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, who told Bloomberg Television in a recent interview that health systems will need to increase their collaborative efforts as they operate in an environment where “we’re going to see more patients, and we’re going to be paid less for looking after them” because of the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Cosgrove long has banged the drum for reducing smoking and obesity among Americans in order to help the country “put the ‘health’ in our health care system,” he told Bloomberg. “Right now, we have mostly sick care,” he said. We welcome Dr. Brennan to the cause here in Cleveland.


If the word fits, then wear it proudly


up with a cardboard sign, but TV cameras am still shaking my head over the caught her in a nonchalance that would recent creative punishment a Clevehave embarrassed most of us. land judge imposed over this “idiot” Not so Ms. Hardin, whose body driver who drove her vehicle onto a language and facial expression showed sidewalk to pass a school bus. to all who saw her how disgusted she was There, I said it. The “I” word. The word with the judge’s sentence. TV cameras that caused such a dust-up over this whole showed her using the sign as a windthing that it brought out a disc jockey break so she could light cigatrying to civilize our discourse. rettes and send text messages Sound complex? Shouldn’t BRIAN on her phone. be, but it sure was. TUCKER And then to add fuel to the fire, It all began when Shena a perfectly well-intentioned Hardin decided that her getting radio personality named Archie somewhere else was far more Berwick went to the same spot important than the safety of any with a sign pinned to his jacket lowly pedestrians or school that read, “If she’s an idiot, then children waiting for the bus. so am I!” Apparently, she had done it On the station’s website, Mr. more than once, and someone Berwick proclaimed that finally caught the stunt on video. people shouldn’t be called “an idiot” in Aghast, Municipal Judge Pinkey Carr public and that we all ought to treat our sentenced Ms. Hardin to stand on the fellow men and women a little better in street corner near the site of her infracthis life. tion, holding a sign that read “Only an How can you argue that logic? I idiot would drive on the sidewalk to applaud Mr. Berwick, whose gesture avoid a school bus.” On the first of her reportedly was treated merely with more two-day sentence, Ms. Hardin showed

disdain by Ms. Hardin, who flatly rejected her supporter’s suggestion that she simply apologize for her actions. Refusing to talk to reporters, she said she would apologize to the kids who had been on the school bus — if they were there. So, there you have it. An idiotic driver who gets caught — more than once — driving on the sidewalk to get around a school bus, and then copping an attitude with the rest of the world because of their shock at her appalling behavior. And here’s the kicker. According to The Plain Dealer story about the sidewalk sentence, Ms. Hardin works as an administrative assistant at Cleveland State University in — are you ready for this? — the police department. It’s one of those stories that you’d swear was made up in order to drive some You Tube traffic, but sadly it was true. It makes you wonder why the driver was so angry at this sentence. Perhaps more importantly, it should make all of us feel sorry for Mr. Berwick, who has a great message that was totally lost on a wholly unrepentant Shena Hardin. ■


Gender-diverse boards often fuel growth By JANET JANKURA


recent McKinsey study showed that companies with a higher proportion of women on their boards also are the companies that have the best performance. Catalyst research proved that corporations with three or more women on their board enjoyed 84% better return on sales and 60% better return on investment than those with zero female directors. Another key study found that top-rated S&P companies have twice as many women on their boards than do bottom-rated ones. So, why do so few Northeast Ohio companies have more women on their boards of directors? In Northeast Ohio, just 17% of the Fortune 1000 board members are female,

Ms. Jankura is a board director of Green Earth Technologies Inc., a maker of synthetic motor oil and green cleaning products. close to the national rate of 16%. The reason behind that lack of gender diversity may be the result of a major disconnect, according to a 2012 Board of Directors study by Harvard Business School. In it, executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles found that men say they do not know many executive women or those with board experience, while women say that they are excluded from traditional male-dominated networks. This is not a women’s rights issue: It is a matter of corporate competitiveness. Though women account for 51% of the population, they are behind 70% of household purchases. Having a more

diverse team involved in the decisionmaking process just makes sense. Given that women account for 60% of all business management positions, companies with gender-diverse boards will be more successful in cultivating relationships. Communities, too, will be more supportive of corporations that better reflect reality. So, how do we achieve increased diversity on boards? Fortunately, organizations such as Catalyst, Women Corporate Directors, 2020 Women on Boards, National Association of Corporate Directors and others are committed to increasing the percentage of women on corporate boards. But for real change to happen, chairmen, CEOs, nominating committee members and sitting directors all must be open to See VIEW Page 6



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Post-election, a pox on self-delusional Fox News ■ The Republicans just lost an election that they feel they should have won, and they’re probably right. They lost because they appear to be on the wrong side of history. I hope that they are able to soon correct their course because they are needed. For the GOP to recover its stride, I have one simple suggestion — turn it off. The “it” is Fox News. Please hold the “MSNBC is just as bad” argument because I agree with you and that tack just so happens to support my point. Fox News has long been an effective tool for the right as it has helped to attract a strong following and to channel their enthusiasm. It has outlived its usefulness, however,

LETTERS and is damaging the right because it only tells its audience what its audience wants to hear and therefore has no need for a constructive narrative. The most glaring example of this is the complete miscall of the election when the tea leaves were clearly laid out for everyone to see by smart people like Nate Silver who rigorously studied the polls. Fox News and its ilk were downright dumb or willfully blind; either way, they owe a huge apology to the conservative rank and file for failing to level with them.

Like the so-called unskewed polls that fooled the Romney campaign, Fox News is a medium of self-delusion. A Farleigh Dickinson study showed that Fox News viewers are less informed than people who watch no news at all. This is not a crack on the viewers, as I can think of at least two Fox viewers in my immediate family who are a helluva lot smarter than I. It is, however, a searing indictment of the deeply flawed product that Fox is delivering, and its viewers deserve better. The more and more of this misinformation that is gradually absorbed, the more gradually misinformed the audience becomes

and the more stridently certain that they become — sometimes to the point of becoming quite ugly. This is quite sad, and it is making that portion of the GOP weak because, when living in a spoon-fed bubble completely devoid of contrary opinion, otherwise thoughtful people can become intellectually lazy and polemic. I revel in the give and take of ideas, and nothing turns me on more than being presented with a thoughtful argument that turns my opinion on its head. All I seem to get these days, however, is prepackaged, unsubstantiated talking points wrapped in angry blather. See LETTERS Page 6


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View: Boards need new perspectives continued from PAGE 4

Executive Skills for

Women :

adding women to their boards. This openness includes cultivating relationships with women directors and executives long before an opportunity arises. Over the past nine months (purely a coincidence!) I have contacted 70 directors and/or CEOs from Northeast Ohio’s largest public and private companies to discuss the diversity advantage. The range of responses I received was telling: The majority did not return my calls or emails. One-fifth were open to briefly discussing the issue, with a handful of those stating they were working on it. About six of the 70 — most of whom are in midsize insurance, materials and outsourced business services companies — agreed to a brief meeting. Responses ranged from “We do a good job of including women in our

employee ranks and need to pay attention to it at the board level,” to “I like your approach; I find it captivating.” One board member admitted, “We should increase diversity, but cannot find senior women in our industry,” while one director said that it was inappropriate to contact him. It should surprise no one to learn that his company possesses an all-male board. I would love to say that my conversations with local business leaders resulted in more boards appointing women, but that is not the case. Admittedly, current board vacancies are a rarity at local firms. But when a spot does open up, boards must commit to fielding a diverse candidate pool in the search. Better yet, add a new seat to be filled by a woman, as Nike recently did. I am not advocating for government-mandated quotas for women

on boards, as Norway and other European countries have done. Without question, boards should select the best candidates, those whose skills and experience enhance the strengths and weaknesses of the current board. But we need a commitment by those at the top to add at least one female board member by their next annual meeting of shareholders. Companies can begin by affirming the importance of diversity in their charters and acting upon it. Relationships with women’s groups, female executives and directors must be cultivated. New talent pools must be tapped to find candidates who can bring a fresh perspective to the board room. We should all care about increasing board room diversity because it will help grow the local economy while positively affecting our community. ■

forecasting that the United States will surpass Saudi Arabia in oil production within a decade and become energy independent by 2030. A key reason for this turn of events is the implementation of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, production technology to extract oil and gas trapped in shale deposits, which has contributed to a drilling boom in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, what first appears as good news may be quite the opposite, though this does not need to be the case. First, reports of energy independence imply relief from high energy prices. Quite the opposite will likely result if policymakers do not anticipate the vast wealth the producers can expect from exporting oil and gas to the highest bidder. As global demand for oil and gas continues to grow with the development of China and India, the world price of these resources will continue to rise as long as demand exceeds supply. If prices decline, production will be reduced. The consequence is that higher world prices imply higher, not lower, prices in the U.S. Unless the U.S. experiences a broad increase in incomes to offset the price increase, many American households will experience declines in their standard of living as more of their income is allocated to energy. Second, it isn’t at all clear that the environmental effects of fracking are fully understood. Indeed, earthquakes in Cleveland and Youngstown have been linked to the injection wells used to dispose of water and waste chemicals used in the fracking process. Intuitively, it seems that injecting tens of millions of gallons of water and waste chemicals into the earth is a bad idea until we study the impact on the water table and the

geology. Historically, industry was permitted to pollute air and water at will. Today, we require that the impact of waste disposal considers the adverse effects on people. Injection wells need to be fully understood before something catastrophic occurs. With the oil and gas industry anticipating the receipt of billions in profits, it is a certainty that lobbying efforts are under way at every level of government to establish rules and regulations favorable to the industry. If indeed U.S. oil and gas production will soon exceed that of Saudi Arabia and soon after we’ll begin to export oil at world prices, it is important that the communities and citizens who incur the greatest costs and risks receive some of the benefits. Clearly, the starting place is to make sure that resources are set aside for whatever environmental disasters result. In addition, government needs to tax producers to build a fund to subsidize the most vulnerable members of society who may be faced with difficult choices when unable to afford heating in the winter or air conditioning in the summer. The potential benefits of energy independence are extraordinary. It would be shameful if the benefits were realized by a relative few while the burden and risk is imposed on so many.

Advancing through negotiation

Thursday, November 29, 2012 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

LETTERS continued from PAGE 5

Location: McDonald Hopkins, Fifth Third Center 600 Superior Avenue, East, Suite 2100 Downtown Cleveland

RSVP: or call: 216.348.5400 to register. There is no charge for this program.

McDonald Hopkins LLC 600 Superior Ave., East, Suite 2100, Cleveland, OH 44114 • 216.348.5400

Carl J. Grassi

Shawn M. Riley


Cleveland Managing Member

Absent substantiation, a smug paternalistic attitude of we know better “just because” is not attractive and is certainly not a recipe to grow the party. I am hopeful that the Republican Party won’t succumb to its seeming hell-bent slide into intolerant irrelevance because we suffer as a country if either party concentrates too much power. So please turn “it” off as it is weakening you, and our country needs you to be both strong and relevant. David B. Hollister Moreland Hills

Chicago • Cleveland • Columbus • Detroit • Miami • West Palm Beach

Avoid slippery slope

■The Paris-based International Energy Agency recently released a report

JOIN US 2012 TALENT DIVIDEND SUMMIT Thursday, December 6, 2012 Hanna Theatre, 2067 East 14th Street, Cleveland 5:30p.m. - Networking, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres 6:00p.m. - Program KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Bill Christopher, Chairman, Regional Economic Competitiveness Strategy Task Force Please join us to learn about activities in the region to prepare the college-educated workforce necessary for Northeast Ohio’s growing economy and discuss the importance of college completion to workforce preparedness and economic advancement.

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COMING UP Crain’s Ideas at Dawn business breakfast series Crain’s Cleveland Business’ annual panel discussion series continues next month with two new topics. On Dec. 4 and Dec. 6, panels of experts will discuss health care reform in the aftermath of this month’s presidential election. The first event will be held in Akron and the second in Cleveland.

In between, another panel will tackle sustainability in the supply chain, which can help can maximize profitability and minimize environmental impact. For more information on these events and to register, visit breakfast.



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Kramer to lead Crain’s Cleveland, Detroit offices Staffing firm Keith Crain, chairman of Crain Communications, has named Mary Kramer group publisher for the company’s regional business publications in Cleveland and Detroit. Ms. Kramer has been publisher of Crain’s Detroit Business since 2005. Brian


Tucker will remain publisher of Crain’s Cleveland Business but will be part of the publishing group reporting to Ms. Kramer. “We are delighted to have the expertise of Mary Kramer combining with Crain’s Cleveland Business and Brian Tucker,” Mr.

Crain said. “It will be a formidable combination.” Ms. Kramer joined Crain Communications as editor of Crain’s Detroit Business in 1989; Mr. Tucker joined Crain in 1985 as editor of Crain’s Cleveland Business and was named publisher in 1988. The two publications will continue to serve their audiences indepen-

dently, with stories and data specific to their markets, Ms. Kramer said. “Together ... we can better serve readers and advertisers by working on events and new digital marketing offerings,” she said. “We already are producing similar events in both markets that have been well-received by those who attend. We look forward to even greater collaborations.” ■

Premium: Indians offering ticket buyers options continued from PAGE 1

premium product mix. “We understand that a large percentage of our business is based on the team” performance, Mr. Shapiro said. “But of that other small percentage, we have to be 100% perfect. The good thing is that we have complete control over that side of things, where things happen on the field that we don’t have control over.”

What you’ll find After studying before the 2012 season changes to its current club area — including pricing and whether to continue the all-inclusive food option — the Indians kept that model intact, with slightly lower prices. The team still struggled to sell those seats, but Indians executives are confident the Premium Club will sell, in part because of its exclusivity. Most importantly, the Premium Club features the ability to see the field throughout, from the bar at one end to two serving stations along the back walls to half-circle tables positioned just inside retractable glass, for a rainy or cold day. The current club area’s climatecontrolled lounge is set back from the seating area, meaning fans sitting inside at the bar or standing at a serving station can’t see the field and watch the game; Progressive Field as a whole also does not include such visibility from concourses, a feature of some parks built after it opened in 1994. In addition, the seats in the Premium Club are closer to home plate: The four former suites closest to home plate are closer than the first section of the current club, while the portion of the new area closest to home plate abuts the last booth of the stadium’s press box. That proximity gives customers access and views of SportsTime Ohio’s pre- and post-game shows, including “All Bets Are Off” with Bruce Drennan and “Chuck’s Last Call” with Chuck Galeti. The Premium Club’s furthest section from home plate aligns with the first-base bag, while the area in the club section furthest from home runs nearly to the middle of the outfield. The area of the new section closest to home plate also features side tables for fans’ purses, smart phones or other devices, and all seating features 8- to 10-inch food and drink rails. Plus, the menu in the Premium Club will be given a bit of flair. Not only will it change nightly — the current club menu changes every homestand — but it also will feature items specific to the visiting team, such as barbecue for the Kansas City Royals or chowder when the Boston Red Sox are in town. Among the choices on a sample menu provided by the Indians were aged prime rib,

A wider look at the new Premium Club at Progressive Field. RENDERING PROVIDED

fried walleye fingers, lemon thyme roasted chicken breast and smoked pork loin with guava barbecue sauce. Bill Dorsey, chairman of the Cincinnati-based Association of Luxury Suite Directors, said such reconfiguration of premium areas is common, and generally has been successful at sports venues across the country. He said the limited inventory in the Premium Club should make demand strong, though teams can run the risk of “cannibalization,” or moving customers from one luxury area to another — in this case, from the club to the Premium Club — while not drawing new buyers. “But it’s like buying a car,” Mr. Dorsey said. “The consumer wants options, from a luxury car to a fullsize to a standard. That’s what teams can do with these multiple neighborhoods.”

Number keeps dropping The tearing out of 10 more suites continues the Indians’ makeover of their premium areas. That process began in early 2010 when the team first issued a call to architects to tour the ballpark and suggest ways to improve underused spaces. Since then, the Indians have conducted massive amounts of research, including repeated surveys of their best customers, to determine what might fly best. To advance those researchefforts , they’ve also in the last 15 months hired director of brand management Alex King, formerly of Procter & Gamble, and director of premium seating Ryan Robbins, who worked for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders prior to joining the Indians. The Indians at one point had more than 120 suites, the secondmost in Major League Baseball, behind only the Texas Rangers’ Ballpark at Arlington. But that number slowly has dwindled: a fan cave that features flat-screen TVs and a pool table; a social suite for the team’s most active fans on social media; four suites combined into Progressive Field’s Champions Suite; and most recently,

a project that combined seven suites into the team’s Kids Clubhouse on the mezzanine level have given the team more selling options. Later, the Indians began including a suite rental, two free club seats and access to the Terrace Club, overlooking left field, in the purchase or renewal of season ticket packages. Mr. Robbins said two weeks ago in a tour of the construction site that the Premium Club format was

received well in the Indians’ surveys, and that the Indians’ sales team, armed with renderings and final details, just was hitting the streets to sell the remade area. The Indians are confident the 120 seats will sell out nightly. The project is slated for completion March 17. The Indians open the home portion of their schedule next season on April 8 against the New York Yankees. ■

names new leader in Akron office

Alliance’s ‘hub’ there will serve all of its nine business units Staffing and recruitment firm Alliance Solutions Group in Independence said Mark D’Agostino has been named president of Alliance Solutions Group of Akron. Alliance Solutions Group said Mr. D’Agostino is opening a new staffing “hub” facility at 3250 West Market St., Suite 103 in Akron that offers the company’s full complement of staffing and recruitment services from all nine of its business units. Previously, the company operated a smaller office in Akron that only served the manufacturing and warehouse sectors. The Akron office is the third new or expanded office that Alliance Solutions Group has opened in the last year, with additional expansions taking place in Elyria, the Mahoning Valley, and Upper Sandusky, Ohio. The firm currently has more than 70 internal employees throughout Ohio. Mr. D’Agostino recently joined the company, in part to spearhead its Akron initiative. Mr. D’Agostino also is helping to launch Alliance Military Placement Solutions, the company’s business unit focused on helping military veterans return to work. ■




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Intent of AG investors a mystery SPEED TO MARKET MEASURABLE RESULTS Our focus is cost avoidance timed to your business needs. If you can’t manage it, you can’t measure it.

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Observers say they may want to own part of card maker, or profit quickly on sale By MARK DODOSH

Two investors that both have acquired 5% stakes in American Greetings Corp. since the family of CEO Zev Weiss offered to take the company private could be after nothing more than modest and relatively quick returns on their investments. Then again, one or both may be positioning themselves to be among the owners of the greeting card company should it no longer be traded on the New York Stock Exchange. A handful of local investment bankers contacted by Crain’s Cleveland Business say it’s impossible to know the intent of Michigan investor James Grosfeld and New York investor Daniel Tisch in each accumulating more than 1.4 million shares of American Greetings’ Class A common stock. However, the acquisition experts did lay out scenarios for how

Messrs. Grosfeld and Tisch, either individually or in concert, might try to exploit their positions. Ralph Della Ratta, managing partner of Western Reserve Partners LLC in Cleveland, said it’s possible that the two men could work in tandem in an effort to gain a better price for their American Greetings shares than the $17.18 a share that the Weiss family and related interests have offered for the stock. “You never really know the conversations going on between shareholders,” Mr. Della Ratta said. He suggested that Messrs. Grosfeld and Tisch even could work with other outside shareholders to exert pressure on the Weiss family to raise its go-private offer. Michael Paparella, managing director of Candlewood Partners LLC in Cleveland, said either or both of the investors may see their purchases as nothing more than arbitrage plays, where they simply are looking to make money off the narrow spread between what they paid for their stock and the ultimate price the Weiss family or another buyer pays for the company. However, Mr. Paparella said it’s also possible that either Mr. Grosfeld or Mr. Tisch — or both — may be accumulating their stakes for “a private equity style of investment.”

That is, one or both could become part of the group taking the company private by rolling their shares into American Greetings. Mr. Paparella said he expects there will be communication between these and other large shareholders in the company and the financial adviser to the special committee of American Greetings independent directors that is charged with evaluating the Weiss family’s offer. “The financial adviser would have in their standard set of work steps” contacting the large shareholders to gauge their thoughts about the offer, Mr. Paparella said. As for the go-private move itself, Mr. Della Ratta called it “a transaction that makes great sense.” “American Greetings’ largest competitor is a private company, Hallmark,” he said. “Hallmark can see everything that American Greetings is doing” because of all the documents American Greetings must file as a public company, Mr. Della Ratta said, “but not vice versa,” which puts American Greetings at a big competitive disadvantage. He also said that by going private, American Greetings executives can manage the company for the long haul and “avoid the difficulty in forecasting earnings because of the ups and downs of the business.” ■

GET DAILY NEWS ALERTS FROM CRAIN’S ! Register for free e-mail alerts and receive: ■ The Morning Roundup: The day’s business news

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Attn: Manufacturers & Warehouses N.E. Ohio Manufacturer Annual Energy Savings FirstEnergy Rebate Accelerated Tax Deduction Dramatically Brighter Facility


LIGHTING CASE STUDY 100K sq. ft. $38,518 $20,009 $14,314

Upgraded HID & T-12 fixtures to Energy Efficient T-8 & T-5’s

NONPROFIT ELIZA JENNINGS HOME: Dean Palombaro to executive director. HATTIE LARLHAM: Catherine Schwartz to vice president of development. KOINONIA: Lina Monteleone to director, Intermediate Care Facilities/ Developmental Disabilities Services. NEIGHBORHOOD ALLIANCE: Jadera Thomas to marketing and public relations specialist.



Turnkey project by

TRANSACTION REALTY: Donnell Clark Sr. to sales associate.

ROI Energy




ADVANCED INSIGHTS LLC: Gary Kustis to partner and senior consultant. BRUNNER SANDEN DEITRICK FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION CENTER: Jason R. Sanden and Adam J. Sanden to partners; Nancy Brunner Sanden to president. EVENT SOURCE: Laura O’Brien to customer experience coordinator; Lauren Balata to customer service representative; Patrick Kennedy to manager, information technology.


BEST OF THE BLOGS Excerpts from recent blog entries on

We are proud to congratulate our Partner, Rich Plewacki, on his appointment to the Board of Directors on the American Transport Research Institute’s (ATRI) Research Advisory Committee. ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee is charged with developing a research agenda through identification of research of value to the trucking industry. Rich Plewacki, Partner (216) 363-4159 |

to staffing supervisor; Nancy Rosso to senior staffing supervisor; Teri Colleran and Don Keller to partnered staffing account managers.


Cleveland • Columbus • Indianapolis • Philadelphia • Shanghai • White Plains • Wilmington •


PARAGON CONSULTING INC.: Elizabeth Taylor to developer; David Hassing to quality assurance consultant.

BOARDS CLEVELAND EMPLOYMENT AMERICAN INN OF COURT: Amy Glesius (Bolek Besser Glesius) to president; Donna Williams-Alexander to counselor; Ron Isroff to treasurer; Mike Chesney to secretary; Ann Marie Ahern to membership committee chair. CROHN’S & COLITIS FOUNDATION OF AMERICA, NORTHEAST OHIO: Elizabeth Cross to treasurer. FEDERAL BAR ASSOCIATION, NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO CHAPTER: Virginia A. Davidson (Calfee Halter & Griswold) to president; Jason A. Hill to president-elect; Dennis G. Terez to vice president; Tim L. Collins to secretary; Anthony J. Vegh to treasurer; Diana M. Thimmig to immediate past president and delegate, National Council.


Stumphauzer Alford-Smith

Lynn Timko (South Pointe Hospital), Diane Reed (Arlington Church of God) and Robert Waldrip (CLS Facility Service) received 2012 Stop Diabetes Awards of Excellence. LEADERSHIP LORAIN COUNTY: Gail Stumphauzer (Margeau’s Free to Be Project) received the Eric Nord Award for Excellence in Leadership; Dr. Donald Sheldon (EMH Healthcare) and Michael and Dina Ferrer (Lorain County Urban League; Lorain County Community College Learning Center) received Excellence in Leadership Awards.



GIRL SCOUTS OF NORTHEAST OHIO: Daisy L. Alford-Smith after five years of service, effective Nov. 16.

AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION: Stephanie Steirn (Medical Mutual),

Send information to

From Little Italy to Iraq ■ The man who dominates foreign stock trades in Iraq used to wait tables in Cleveland’s Little Italy. Bloomberg Markets profiled Shwan Taha, the 43-year-old chairman and sole owner of Rabee Securities, a brokerage that handles 80% of the stock trades by foreign investors on the Iraq Stock Exchange. He was born in Baghdad to Kurdish parents and raised in the city. Mr. Taha estimates Rabee, which he bought in 1998, has funneled about $200 million in investments through the Iraq Stock Exchange since 2008. After high school, Mr. Taha came to the United States in 1986 to attend Case Western Reserve University to study biomedical engineering. “As graduation approached in 1990, he was getting ready to go home when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait,” according to Bloomberg Markets. Mr. Taha “got a call from his father telling him to stay in the U.S. It wasn’t easy. To earn a living, he worked as a waiter at La Dolce Vita Bistro in Cleveland.” He then borrowed money from family friends to enroll in George Washington University’s MBA program, which put him on his current path in the business world.

A clear advantage


Palombaro Cook

INDUSTRIAL VIDEO LLC: Brian Cook and Gennine Null to account managers, Cleveland.

■ The headline will make you scoff — it’s “What journalism can teach the business world” — but there’s some good insight from the Cleveland Clinic in a post from For all their flaws as revenue-generators these days, journalists and their employers at least do one thing well — communicate clearly. “It’s not the same with businesses,” wrote Eric Rosenberg. “Many organizations default to opacity and

obfuscation in their communications (and) have difficulty expressing that purpose — whether it’s in a mission statement, a news release, or an internal marketing presentation.” The piece noted that a new book called “Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please: The Case for Plain Language in Business, Government, and Law” found something to admire at the Clinic. Mr. Rosenberg writes that in one example from the book, “the Cleveland Clinic recovered an extra $1 million by simplifying billing statements, which led to less confusion among patients and better compliance.”

Advertising’s China syndrome ■ Cleveland was the focal point of anti-China advertising during the presidential and Senate elections. “The two presidential campaigns spent a combined $45.7 million on television advertising that discussed China and trade,” The Wall Street Journal reported. In addition, candidates in four big Senate elections — Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Indiana — spent another $8.6 million in China trade spots. Republican Mitt Romney, who pledged to name China a currency manipulator, outspent President Barack Obama by 3-to-1 ($33.8 million vs. $11.9 million) on Chinarelated ads. The place that saw the most China ads? Cleveland, where The Journal said TV watchers “were deluged with 4,722 China trade ads, which cost the campaigns $4.6 million.” In addition, Sen. Sherrod Brown spent $3.7 million on China ads. His opponent, state Treasurer Josh Mandel, ran no China ads.



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Type: Employer’s withholding Amount: $5,905

TAX LIENS The Internal Revenue Service filed tax liens against the following businesses in the Cuyahoga County Recorder’s Office. The IRS files a tax lien to protect the interests of the federal government. The lien is a public notice to creditors that the government has a claim against a company’s property. Liens reported here are $5,000 and higher. Dates listed are the dates the documents were filed in the Recorder’s Office.

LIENS FILED Gemstone Realty Co., a Panamanian Corp. nominee of Reuben Sturman (deceased) 2000 Warrensville Center Road, South Euclid ID: xxx-xx-2448N Date filed: Oct. 11, 2012 Type: Individual income tax return Amount: $15,370,898 Gemstone Realty Co., a Panamanian Corp. nominee of Reuben Sturman (deceased) 2000 Warrensville Center Road, South Euclid ID: xxx-xx-2448N Date filed: Oct. 11, 2012 Type: Individual income tax return Amount: $4,386,658

Amount: $67,662


R & L Metal Spinning Inc. 3185-A W. 33rd St., Cleveland ID: 30-0511181 Date filed: Oct. 3, 2012 Type: Employer’s withholding, unemployment Amount: $57,449

Cleveland Officers Protective Services Inc. 1303 W. 58th St., Cleveland ID: 20-8717875 Date filed: Dec. 7, 2011 Date released: Sept. 18, 2012 Type: Employer’s withholding Amount: $6,629

American Bouncers Inc. 6442 Metro Court, Suite D, Bedford Heights ID: 77-0671282 Date filed: Sept. 11, 2012 Type: Employer’s withholding Amount: $6,421 Dale Serene Architects Inc. 6602 Detroit Ave., Cleveland ID: 34-1324242 Date filed: Sept. 20, 2012

Dellarco Enterprises LLC 20060 Van Aken Blvd., Shaker Heights ID: 34-1924817 Date filed: March 20, 2012 Date released: Sept. 26, 2012 Type: Employer’s withholding, unemployment Amount: $8,621 Herbs Plumbing & Heating Inc. 2562 Noble Road, Cleveland Heights

CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS ID: 34-1785963 Date filed: Sept. 1, 2011 Date released: Sept. 26, 2012 Type: Employer’s withholding, unemployment Amount: $44,387 Michael & Sons Landscaping Inc. P.O. Box 26133, Fairview Park ID: 34-1507239 Date filed: March 15, 2010 Date released: Sept. 7, 2012 Type: Employer’s withholding Amount: $17,242 Miss Poohs Daycare Center 2860 E. 130th St., Cleveland ID: 31-1613199 Date filed: Feb. 12, 2003 Date released: Sept. 7, 2012 Type: Employer’s withholding, unemployment, failure to file complete return Amount: $15,937

Ohio Mills Corp. Ohio Mill Supply 1719 E. 39th St., Cleveland ID: 34-1834555 Date filed: Feb. 8, 2011 Date released: Sept. 27, 2012 Type: Employer’s withholding Amount: $6,261 Ohio Mills Corp. Ohio Mill Supply 1719 E. 39th St., Cleveland ID: 34-1834555 Date filed: Dec. 28, 2010 Date released: Sept. 27, 2012 Type: Employer’s withholding Amount: $19,426 Petroleum Maintenance Electronics Inc. 1210 E. 286th St., Euclid ID: 34-1432857 Date filed: Aug. 9, 2011 Date released: Sept. 6, 2012 Type: Employer’s withholding Amount: $33,057


Gemstone Realty Co., a Panamanian Corp. nominee of Reuben Sturman (deceased) 2000 Warrensville Center Road, South Euclid ID: xxx-xx-2448N Date filed: Oct. 11, 2012 Type: Individual income tax return Amount: $2,797,127 Gemstone Realty Co., a Panamanian Corp. nominee of Reuben Sturman (deceased) 2000 Warrensville Center Road, South Euclid ID: xxx-xx-2448N Date filed: Oct. 11, 2012 Type: Individual income tax return Amount: $1,430,816 Palladium Healthcare LLC 5333 Northfield Road, Suite 300, Bedford Heights ID: 27-1403155 Date filed: Oct. 9, 2012 Type: Employer’s withholding, unemployment Amount: $805,007 Records Central Inc. 4700 Lakeside Ave., Cleveland ID: 34-1035430 Date filed: Oct. 3. 2012 Type: Employer’s withholding Amount: $209,390 Renaissance Home Health Care 5311 Northfield Road, Suite 212, Bedford Heights ID: 30-0321149 Date filed: Oct. 23, 2012 Type: Employer’s withholding Amount: $188,742 Village of North Randall 21937 Miles Road, North Randall ID: 34-6002051 Date filed: Oct. 23, 2012 Type: Employer’s withholding Amount: $186,478 Thermafab Alloy Inc. 25367 Water St., Olmsted Falls ID: 34-0929237 Date filed: Oct. 19, 2012 Type: Employer’s withholding Amount: $76,166 Flaming Ice Cube LLC 1449 Boardman Canfield Road, Suite 260, Boardman ID: 27-0763491 Date filed: Oct. 9, 2012 Type: Employer’s withholding, unemployment

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K. Hovnanian takes over 41 lots in Highland Hts. By STAN BULLARD

K. Hovnanian Homes has gained a bigger presence in Cuyahoga County’s eastern suburbs as Forest City Enterprises Inc. exits the land development business for home builders. Through K. Hovnanian Aberdeen LLC, the Red Bank, N.J.-based national builder on Nov. 5 paid $1.6 million for six undeveloped acres and 41 home-site lots in Highland Heights, according to Cuyahoga County land records. The seller was Miner Properties Ltd., a joint venture of Forest City and Wolf Investors LLC of Beachwood that created the Aberdeen golf course community in Highland Heights. Hovnanian’s nearest sites to the Highland Heights property are in Painesville and Reminderville, in Lake and Summit counties, respectively, according to its website. A spokesman for Hovnanian’s Northeast Ohio office in Canton declined comment on the company’s plans. The sale marks the end of an era,

as it’s the last residential-zoned land in Aberdeen, a 200-acre development still held by the partnership Forest City and the late ambassador Milton Wolf created in 1998. About 500 homes have been sold at the development on Bishop and Minor roads, according to Forest City’s website. Another national home builder, Pulte Homes Inc., earlier this year started building homes costing upwards of $285,000 on a different section of Aberdeen now owned by Leg Acquisitions LLC, a Solon-based investor group. It’s easy to see why Hovnanian, which previously built largely in land-rich outlying suburbs, would prize another Cuyahoga County location. Highland Heights has an average listing price upwards of $200,000, putting it near the top of online listing site Trulia’s map for home prices in the county. Miner Properties is holding a mortgage on the land — a sign banks still are shy when it comes to land loans, the riskiest form of real estate lending. ■



Recyclers: Data protection comes into play continued from PAGE 3

often, generating a steadier volume of business, he said. E-Scrap saw its sales grow about 30% in the last year and is on track to see similar growth this year, Mr. Silverstein said. He wouldn’t reveal specific sales or revenue figures. The company this year has added about a dozen employees and expects to add that many again in 2013. About 18 months ago, it added 12,000 square feet to its 43,000-square-foot site on Bittern Avenue. “It’s such a growing industry. More and more corporate companies, OEMS, are getting involved with going green,” Mr. Silverstein said. Robin Wiener, president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based trade association, said electronics recycling is the fastest-growing segment in the recycling industry. Of the association’s 1,700 member companies, 400 companies, or 23.5%, of members are electronics recyclers. The growing popularity of electronics recycling is creating concerns among those in the business about conscientious recycling and ensuring that all recyclers are held to the same operating standards. For that reason, as more electronics

recyclers enter the market, the R2 — the Responsible Recycling Practices — certification established by industry veterans, manufacturers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is becoming the standard in the business. The R2 certification, administered by the nonprofit R2 Solutions in Colorado, requires recyclers to adopt practices involving responsible recycling, safety and security. “Certification has become a norm in the industry,” Ms. Wiener said. “It’s no longer really a question of which certification to get. It’s a matter of when.”

Are you R2? Mario Jurcic, president of Secure IT Asset Disposition Services, an electronics recycler in Mentor, is in the process of obtaining R2 certification. Mr. Jurcic, who started the company seven years ago while a student at Ohio State University, decided to get the certification both to improve in-house safety procedures and to make his small business more attractive to potential clients. Partway through the process, the cost already is about $20,000, for consulting fees and changing internal practices. Mr. Jurcic is devoting about 30 hours per week to the effort. “That, in itself, is extremely expensive, especially for a small business,” he said. Yet the cost — and time — involved in getting the certification is a worthwhile investment, he said. “I don’t think too many regulations are a good thing, but this might be one of those things that might be needed to level the playing field,” he said. Jim Levine, president of Regency Technologies, an electronics recycler based in Twinsburg, agrees.

The company, which has 350 employees and five locations in three states, became R2-certified within the first year it was offered. “There are a huge number of mom-and-pop recyclers that will just collect anything from old bicyclers to toaster ovens,” Mr. Levine said. “Many are not aware of regulations.” Those not paying to dispose of chemicals properly or destroy data securely have a competitive edge with customers because they severely can undercut certified recyclers on cost, Mr. Levine said. In some instances, a certified recycler such as Regency might quote a customer a cost of 10 cents per pound to recycle equipment, while an uncertified competitor might pay the customer for the chance the recycle the equipment and sell the parts, he said.

Protecting the customer While in the past, only large corporations were concerned with data protection, today that sentiment is becoming more prevalent among businesses of all sizes, E-Scrap’s Mr. Silverstein said. In the last year, Mr. Silverstein said, he has seen smaller customers take greater interest in data protection. That concern leads to more business for recyclers that offer secure data-destruction services. To that end, E-Scrap has bought a mobile shredder, which will allow it to shred hard drives at a client’s site. The 4-foot-tall machine can shred about 200 hard drives in an hour, remotely performing the same service E-Scrap does at its base facility. “They don’t want the hard drives leaving their facility,” Mr. Silverstein said. He wouldn’t disclose the expense involved in adding the machine, saying only that it was “costly.” ■



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Northeast Ohio’s legal community is full of bright minds and interesting stories. In this section, we offer a cross section of just some of those who are making their mark in Northeast Ohio’s legal community and positioning themselves as leaders. We also ask others working within the field to weigh in on challenges facing the sector in the future.


CARTER E. STRANG President, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association Partner, Tucker Ellis LLP

What are some of the most significant challenges in the legal field going forward? I see as an opportunity what others may see as a challenge and that is flexibility and adaptability. Clients’ business needs are everchanging with changes to the market as well as technology. As lawyers, we must be ready to change and adapt to new business opportunities, cultures, changes in technology as well as changes in the law in order to provide clients with the best legal advice and guidance. As our clients’ needs develop and change, as attorneys we must be ready and able to grow and change with our clients by being flexible and ready to adapt to new strategies and technologies.

What are some of the most significant challenges in the legal field going forward? We have too many law school graduates unable to find employment in the profession or pay off their school loans. And, there is an increasingly large number of people with unmet legal needs, as a result of the economy and cuts to Legal Aid. We must do more to attract the “best and the brightest” to the state and local judiciary. At the federal level, significant budget cuts adversely impact the administration of justice, and an overly politicalized confirmation process keeps too many well-qualified judges from filling vacancies.


General counsel Beck Aluminum

Dean Cleveland-Marshall College of Law What are some of the most significant challenges in the legal field going forward? Downward pressure on costs is the greatest challenge the legal field faces over the next five years. Technology and outsourcing have transformed the way companies in virtually every other industry do business, and those companies are now demanding substantial cost concessions from their lawyers. This has led to a reduction in law firm hiring and lower associate wages, which in turn have forced law schools to examine their cost structures in light of a shrinking pool of prospective students.

JEAN ROBERTSON Some of the most significant challenges in the legal field going forward? A side effect of the recession was the negative impact it had on young lawyers. The demand for legal services declined and associates were hit hard by layoffs. A significant challenge for the legal sector is finding creative solutions to this side effect, and those who do will be positioned to seize opportunities from their competitors. Concerns about work in the pipeline, particularly transactional work, create additional challenges to the business of operating a law firm. Adjusting leverage by utilizing contract and non-partnership track attorneys can help reduce overhead but may negatively impact productivity. Maintaining positive growth in the number of diverse attorneys will also require significant attention.

INSIDE: More thoughts from local law leaders, plus more legal professionals to keep an eye on. Page 17

MATTHEW E. ALBERS Of counsel Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease


ealth care, like other industries, has its share of complicated legal squabbles and a murky regulatory overlay. But unlike other sectors, its chief commodity isn’t so much in widgets or commercial goods but rather in people’s well-being — and that’s why Matt Albers finds health care law so rewarding. Oh, it’s entertaining, too. “There are all kinds of little puzzle pieces, and it’s just fun to try to put them all together,” Mr. Albers said. Mr. Albers is a member of the Vorys Cleveland office and one of the driving forces behind the

PATRICK BURKE Senior associate Squire Sanders


atrick Burke often can’t tell his family members and friends what he’s working on. The senior associate at Squire Sanders has employed his extensive background in the commercial banking industry to become a top representative to borrowers and lenders in commercial transactions. But that comes at a cost: He can’t really talk about the details of the deals or potential deals in which he’s involved. That changed in 2006 and thereafter when those closest to him got a clearer picture of what he does: Mr. Burke was one of 40 or so Squire attorneys working with Cedar Fair on its $1.25 billion acquisition of Paramount. Suddenly, he had a very visible example of his work, which included

firm’s growing health care practice. He counsels clients on the legal and regulatory issues facing the industry, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions. “There just seems to be a huge amount of energy and inertia behind the health care industry that to me makes it interesting, and in Northeast Ohio especially,” he said. Mr. Albers, for one, has served as the lead transactional and regulatory counsel in a hospital system restructuring involving the sale and purchase of three hospitals totaling more than 1,000 beds and about $100 million in assets. He’s also represented clients in response to government investigations brought on by the Office of Inspector General, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid and the U.S. Food and

Drug Administration. Mr. Albers, meanwhile, is in his second stint with Vorys, with a term as associate general counsel for University Hospitals sandwiched in between. Anthony J. O’Malley, managing partner of Vorys’ Cleveland office, characterized Mr. Albers as “encyclopedic” in nature. If he’s presented with a problem, chances are Mr. Albers has studied or addressed it at one time or another. But he’s not just book smart. Mr. O’Malley said Mr. Albers has a magnetic personality that just draws clients to the firm. “I think he could be a professional entertainer if he didn’t choose law,” Mr. O’Malley said. “He’s just very engaging and witty. He’s definitely one of the stars of this market.” — Timothy Magaw

negotiating loan documents with banks providing financing for Cedar Fair; the company needed to borrow and restructure some existing debt to complete the acquisition. “The thing I like about the transactional practice is that generally, the parties are trying to get to the same place,” Mr. Burke said. There has been a sea change in Mr. Burke’s realm, though, increasing the importance of his work. He said that since the economy’s crash in 2008, financing is much harder to obtain. Where previously the merger-and-acquisition folks would hammer out details first and the parties would worry about financing later — it was, after all, much easier to secure — financing comes first these days. Before joining Squire, Mr. Burke was an accounting and finance major at Ohio State University and moved to Detroit to work in a commercial loan officer training program. A native Clevelander, he moved home and joined KeyBank as a small business lender and later Fifth Third Bank as a commercial credit officer. While at Fifth Third, he went to Cleveland-Marshall College of

Law, eventually graduating first in his class. He was a summer associate at Squire and later, with that banking experience in tow and his ability to speak bankers’ language, was hired on full time. “Time and again, Patrick has helped us navigate through complicated international finance transactions under extremely tight deadlines,” said Raimo de Vries, the managing director and group manager of international corporate banking at Fifth Third Bank. “Due to our need to rely on in-country support for most of our activities, he has been invaluable to connect us to different partners throughout the world.” Mr. Burke, who is listed in the 2013 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, chosen by way of a peer review process, also has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, securities and corporate governance. He is a member of the Cleveland Metropolitan and Ohio State bar associations and formerly chaired the banking and financial services section of the Cleveland bar; he also is a member of the St. Raphael School advisory committee. — Joel Hammond




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GREGG A. EISENBERG Partner Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP


echnically, Gregg Eisenberg specializes in law related to mergers, acquisitions and raising capital. Over the years, however, both his clients and his colleagues have come to rely on him as an allpurpose problem solver. “Sometimes I think I’m a businessman dumped in a lawyer’s body,” he said. Though Mr. Eisenberg has never started a business, he knows what

it’s like to have to fight for customers and keep them happy. As a partner at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP in Cleveland, Mr. Eisenberg has spent an immense amount of time working to attract and retain clients. Sometimes that means staying on a case until midnight two weeks in a row. Sometimes it means eating breakfast, lunch and dinner with clients. “I eat a lot,” he said with a laugh. “I had two breakfasts this morning already.” That drive helped the 41-yearold make partner a year earlier than most Benesch lawyers do and


become the youngest person to land a spot on the law firm’s seven-member executive committee, which is the firm’s board of directors. Mr. Eisenberg earned that spot because he’s shown he understands the business side of Benesch, said managing partner Ira Kaplan. That instinct also has helped him win clients, Mr. Kaplan said. For instance, Mr. Eisenberg is quick to give clients perspective on trends he’s seeing in the market or introduce them to potential customers, financiers and other people in his network. “They look to him for more than just legal advice, which is the highest form of flattery,” Mr. Kaplan said. The 1990 Beachwood High

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School graduate majored in political science at the University of Rochester, where he also was “the smallest quarterback in Rochester’s history,” he said. He earned his law degree from Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law and immediately moved back to Northeast Ohio. He didn’t even think about moving somewhere else. “My parents are here. My roots are here,” he said. He credits the success he’s had at Benesch over the past 15 years to his wife, Regina, who he said is his “backbone” for supporting him even when he has to work long hours. They have two children, Max, 6, and Sophia, 4. He enjoys spending time with his family, playing golf and traveling. — Chuck Soder

Ms. Jones, a 2004 graduate of Notre Dame Law School, works with ship owners and the Lake Carriers’ Association in negotiations and enforcement proceedings in connection with the federal Clean Air and Clean Water acts. “It’s a cool industry; it’s cool to be around these guys,” she said. “You become invested in their success.” When she first joined Thompson Hine she did product liability work before shifting over to helping clients understand the ins and outs of the Jones Act, a key piece of federal maritime law that limits what can be shipped between two U.S. ports on foreign-owned vessels. Then she moved on to practicing environmental law and, eventually, put her maritime and environmental experience together. “We leveraged the crossover to fill what was an emerging void,” she said. For now, the practice is largely regulatory, negotiating for clients with state and federal environmental and maritime agencies. But she can see a time when it will take the next step. “I’m a litigation junkie,” she admitted. “Of course, I want the best resolution for our clients, so whatever saves them the most money is our goal. But if it comes to litigation, I’m in there.” Mr. Aronoff praised Ms. Jones for the niche practice she has carved out for the firm. “Bringing an environmental perspective to our established maritime practice has really provided an opportunity for us,” he said. In addition, he extolled Ms. Jones professional development. “Emily understands the difference between being a counselor and just being a lawyer,” he said. “That perspective is where we as lawyers add value for our clients.” — Jay Miller

DAVID MILLS Founder The Mills Law Office LLC


nly eight years into his professional career, attorney David Mills in 2010 argued — and won — in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. “It was a wild experience. I didn’t think it would be that soon,” Mr. Mills said of his appearance in the nation’s highest court. By that time, he also had his own practice and was an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University, teaching federal law. He has gained publicity not only from his Supreme Court appearance in Ortiz v. Jordan, a case that stemmed from sexual abuse claims by an inmate against a prison guard, but also from his representation of Joe D’Ambrosio, a death row inmate recently exonerated more than 20 years after being convicted. “If I ever needed anyone to represent me, David would be top of my list. He is absolutely committed to the work he does for his clients,” said Andrew S. Pollis, assistant professor of law at Case Western Reserve University’s Milton A. Kramer Law Clinic Center. Mr. Pollis, who worked with Mr. Mills on the Ortiz v. Jordan case, characterized his colleague as part of an emerging community of “thought leaders” in the Cleveland legal world, someone using law to effect social change. “He has a relentless inquisitiveness, coupled with a brilliant mind,” Mr. Pollis said. That relentlessness is why it didn’t surprise Mr. Pollis that Mr. Mills opened his own practice while still so new to the legal scene. Mr. Mills had worked for four years as an associate at Jones Day and then for two years in judicial clerkships, first with an appeals judge in Columbus and then with another in Washington, D.C., before opening the doors to The Mills Law Office LLC in Cleveland. “Most people, if they’re going to take the leap, do so when they’re in a position to have a few clients coming with them,” Mr. Mills said. Yet his desire to have an impact on real-life cases and his enjoyment of the appeals process, led him to take the plunge in 2008, six years after graduating from the University of Michigan Law School and nine years after receiving a bachelor of arts in mathematics from Colgate University in New York. “His work shines not only because it’s good but because it has personality,” Mr. Pollis said. “He takes the hard, sometimes very hard, work of practicing law, especially the kind he does, and he makes it fun. He makes it a challenge; he makes it a puzzle.” — Ginger Christ



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JOSEPHINE S. NOBLE Senior associate Ogletree Deakins


peaking anytime at the multi-state Midwest Labor and Employment Law Seminar is an honor in and of itself. “But to be someone trusted with a preliminary session (before more than 700 people) and to receive rave reviews … that sets her apart,” John Gerak said of Josephine S. Noble, one of only two associatelevel lawyers who spoke at this year’s conference and an attorney at the law office Mr. Gerak leads. Ms. Noble, 35, is a senior associate at Ogletree Deakins, a labor and employment firm with more than 40 offices, including one in Cleveland. She earned her law degree in 2004. Regardless of her tenure, Ms. Noble is “great on her feet” and commands respect, said Mr. Gerak, managing shareholder of the firm’s Cleveland location. Ms. Noble doesn’t shy away, either, from talking about the painful past that led her to a law career. She grew up in the Bronx, one of seven children who faced separation when they were orphaned after their father, who abused drugs, died of AIDS and their mother died after him in 1992. The siblings stayed together thanks to their oldest brother, who at 22 became guardian of all of them. At first, Ms. Noble’s early life challenges inspired a desire to do social work. But then, a summer

experience with the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law changed her mind. “I felt that I could make more of a difference in a higher-level position,” Ms. Noble said, citing how social workers’ hands often are tied by limited resources and bureaucracy. So, after attending private school in New York City through a program that places gifted minority students, Ms. Noble was admitted into Harvard University and toward the end of her career there gave birth to her daughter, Lucia, who’s now 13. Ms. Noble later earned her juris doctorate from the SUNY Buffalo Law School. In the end, Ms. Noble entered the practice of labor and employment law, which she said enables her to help make sure employers are making the right decisions for their employees. Perhaps the area to watch Ms. Noble will be in her non-legal pursuits: She aims to find some way to serve children like her, who are growing up in the inner city but want to pursue a career in law. She wants to be known for the causes she backs. Ms. Noble credits her perseverance to her mother, Alice. “She would say, ‘If you put your name on something, make sure it is an accurate reflection of you’ — meaning that mediocrity is not acceptable,” Ms. Noble said. “She really ingrained in me this idea that you can be anything, you can do anything.” — Michelle Park



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JULIE ROBIE Managing attorney, consumer law practice Legal Aid Society of Cleveland



ince joining the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland in 2004 as a Skadden Fellow, Julie Robie not only secured a full-time position as an attorney but also earlier this year was promoted to the head of the organization’s consumer law practice. She now oversees nine other attorneys and is editor of Ohio Consumer Law, an annual practice manual published by Thomson Reuters Westlaw. Her practice involves handling mortgage foreclosure, bankruptcy and utilities cases, as well as other consumer issues. Tom Mlakar, Legal Aid’s deputy director for advocacy and Ms. Robie’s supervisor, isn’t surprised by her fast progression through the ranks. “Julie’s vision, compassion and understanding of our clients and access-to-justice issues continues to inspire me and is an example of how lucky the Cleveland community is to have such a great young leader,� Mr. Mlakar said. A native of Maple Heights, Ms. Robie knew early on she wanted to

serve others, either through teaching or another route. But it wasn’t until her internship with the YWCA of Cleveland while studying English at Yale University that she saw a career as a lawyer as a way to achieve that goal. “That was my first glimpse in ways the legal profession could be used to assist people in great need,� Ms. Robie said. She decided to attend law school at her alma mater and upon graduation in 2004 secured a Skadden Fellowship — a two-year fellowship granted by the Skadden Foundation to allow law school graduates to practice public interest law. “There’s really nothing more rewarding than being able to assist a client who needs an advocate and who would really be floundering in the legal system without an advocate from Legal Aid,� Ms. Robie said. “I think here at Legal Aid we see examples of people’s lives being changed every day because of the services.� Legal Aid provides legal assistance to low-income residents of Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Lorain counties. Ms. Robie and her husband, Todd, have two sons, Samuel, 5, and Silas, 1. — Ginger Christ


PAUL SHIPP Associate Weston Hurd LLP


n the same way he prepares for the courtroom by seeing defense of his clients as an unfolding story, onetime English major Paul Shipp sets goals and finds ways to achieve them. His role as an associate in Weston Hurd’s criminal defense and white collar litigation unit reflects it. At the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, he decided to be a civil litigator because he enjoyed moot court, but he needed trial experience to get there. His approach: He served five years as an assistant prosecutor in the general felony unit of the Cuyahoga County prosecutor. His current work is not only in

BRETT WALL Partner BakerHostetler


rett Wall had always viewed music as a full-time career, and at one point even dropped out of Ohio State University to chase his dream. Although that pursuit ultimately




Ohio, but national. One of his current cases is defending Ronald “Ronnie� Duke, a Detroit man who is the main defendant and government witness in one of the largest mortgage fraud prosecutions in the country. When Mr. Shipp joined Weston Hurd in 2011, he was representing William Neiheiser, the former owner of Reliance Mechanical Corp. of Cleveland, in the massive federal probe of Cuyahoga County government. Mr. Neiheiser received 37 months in federal prison for bribing former county commissioner Jimmy Dimora and two other public officials. “A good white-collar attorney can be effective in both civil and criminal courts,� Mr. Shipp said. “It’s kind of a unique area and I like that. Some things that used to be

in civil law have moved to financial crime now. It’s less about eyewitness testimony and more about accountants and expert witnesses.� Carolyn M. Cappel, Weston Hurd’s managing partner, said Mr. Shipp is a good fit for the firm and likely on the partnership track because of his willingness to aid other lawyers and bring in business. “He is able to protect clients who get into trouble and face civil trouble as well,� Ms. Cappel said. “He’s a kind person. He does not pound the table. He does not scream. He practices law with a quiet, balanced way about him.� Mr. Shipp and his wife, Emily, live in Rocky River and have two young sons. He also is active in politics, partially because his wife is part of the Hagan political dynasty, and also because former colleagues in the prosecutor’s office frequently seek judgeships. — Stan Bullard

fizzled, success over the last 15 years found its way to Mr. Wall another way. The self-described “frustrated musician� serves as a partner at one of the region’s largest law firms — BakerHostetler. “Honestly, I had never envisioned anything other than music,� Mr. Wall said. “I thought long and hard about it. I’m a man of limited skills and can read and write well and like to talk to people, so law seemed like the best bet.� Mr. Wall’s peers might take umbrage with his modest selfassessment, as he has crafted a legal practice defending financial institutions in high-stakes litigation. In the last year, Mr. Wall defended Fifth Third Bank in two high-exposure class-action lawsuits that challenged the bank’s lending practices. More than $1 billion was at stake in

these two cases, and he won them in federal court. “He’s totally committed to achieving success for the things our clients come to us for help on,� said Hewitt Shaw, managing partner of the firm’s Cleveland office. Mr. Wall also mentors young attorneys and leads the firm in long-term client development and retention efforts. Mr. Wall hasn’t abandoned his love of music. For the last three years, he’s owned and operated Elevation Recording Studio on Lakeside Avenue in Cleveland. He often lends his studio to up-and-coming artists who might not have the resources to access such facilities. “I wasn’t trying to make any money off this. Law is plenty lucrative enough,� Mr. Wall said. “That’s not the point. I wanted to get to art.� — Timothy Magaw

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MELISSA ZUJKOWSKI Associate Ulmer & Berne LLP


hen budget issues forced the Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program to cut back on having a paid administrator around 2008, Melissa Zujkowski wasn’t going to just sit back. Instead, the Ulmer & Berne LLP associate took over the job herself, stepping up as volunteer director of the program — a role in which she still serves. The partnership program of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s Committee to Aid the Homeless and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless provides pro bono legal assistance to homeless and at-risk individuals. Volunteers provide a variety of services, including shelter site

intake interviews, brief advice and information services, and direct representation in some cases. “I feel like it’s my responsibility now,” said the 33-year-old Ms. Zujkowski, who dedicates about 10 hours a week to the initiative, helping to coordinate the efforts of more than 50 attorneys. “I felt like it was a valuable program.” For her work, Ms. Zujkowski received in 2010 the Justice for All Volunteer of the Year Award, presented by the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association. “Melissa is awesome when it comes to walking the talk,” said Mike Ungar, a partner at Ulmer & Berne and past president of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association. Mr. Ungar described Ms. Zujkowski — who focuses her practice on complex corporate and commercial litigation, with a

ALSO KEEP AN EYE ON ... CHRISTIAN GROSTIC Associate Kushner & Hamed Christian Grostic was only 4½ years out of law school when he found himself sitting second chair at the U.S. Supreme Court. Now, Mr. Grostic’s next big case may get him his own spotlight. In August, he filed an appeal with the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cleveland for former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora. Dimora was convicted in March on 32 counts of bribery and public corruption and sentenced in July to 28 years in prison. Mr. Grostic couldn’t talk about the case but he has been reviewing the trial record for appealable errors.

JODI SPENCER JOHNSON President Thacker Martinsek LPA Ms. Johnson was named president of Thacker Martinsek — a majority woman-owned litigation boutique with offices in Cleveland, Toledo and Naples, Fla. — last July. She practices primarily in the area of insurance coverage, representing corporate policyholders in liability and first-party insurance matters. Ms. Johnson also is active in the ABA Section of Litigation, Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee, where she serves as a co-chair of the

Programming Subcommittee.

JONATHAN LEIKEN Partner Jones Day As a partner at Jones Day, Jonathan Leiken defends companies and their employees during government investigations and civil suits related to fraud, insider trading and other allegations. But that’s just his day job. Mr. Leiken in 2013 will become president of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association. Plus, the former federal prosecutor teaches a course on white-collar crime at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and is co-founder of the Brain Gain Cleveland Project, an effort to recruit thousands of people to spread the word about good things in Northeast Ohio.

U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio Most significant challenges in the legal field going forward? a) Providing equal access to justice. A growing percentage of our population cannot afford legal services. b) Addressing the high cost of legal education, and the corresponding mountain of debt so many of our new lawyers face. This both reduces the

concentration on consumer finances — as tough, smart, aggressive and creative. An Aurora native, she next hopes to focus on developing an expertise in intellectual property law. “She’s got one of those fill-theroom personalities,” he said. “She just has a special quality about her. … She gets it and she gets it quickly.” Ms. Zujkowski received her bachelor’s degree in 2001 from Northwestern University and her law degree in 2004 from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. In addition to her work with the Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program, she also is involved with the Historic Gateway Neighborhood and The Mayo Society of Greater Cleveland. Ms. Zujkowski lives downtown with her husband, Nathan Cemenska, an attorney in private practice. “I love being here,” she said. “I love Cleveland.” — Amy Ann Stoessel

stress urinary incontinence. Mr. Rawlin recently was honored as one of only five attorneys nationwide to be named a 2012 “Law360 Rising Star” in the area of product liability.

Shareholder-elect Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co. LPA For the first time in 17 years, the creditors’ rights law firm will have a new leader, as Scott Weltman — a 20-year company veteran — takes over for longtime leader Alan Weinberg. Weltman Weinberg recently completed a multimillion-dollar information systems upgrade, and Mr. Weltman is taking over a quickly growing firm: In 2011, it employed 1,330, compared with 1,000 in 2007.

ON THE WEB: Additional answers from these legal pros. www.Crains career options for new lawyers, and creates significant entry barriers to the profession. If our profession ceases to reflect the diversity of our society, the rule of law is imperiled. c) ... We need to make sure that our state and federal courts receive the resources necessary to dispense justice. We also need to insure adequate compensation for judges, and to find a way to ameliorate the intense partisanship over federal judicial nominations and confirmations that I fear is affecting the breadth and quality of the pool of applicants to the federal bench.

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Weatherhead: Dean will attempt to expand international influence continued from PAGE 1

administration. And as the top official at Weatherhead, Dr. Widing is expected to be a familiar face in the local business community as Case Western Reserve looks to reach the rest of its ambitious $1 billion fundraising goal, toward which the university already has brought in more than $700 million. The late Albert Weatherhead III, the local industrialist for whom Case Western Reserve named the business school in 1980 following a $3 million donation, told Crain’s three years ago that Dr. Reddy had brought a sense of stability back to the program because “for six or seven years, there was constant turmoil, a revolving door.” Dr. Reddy helped revive some of Weatherhead’s dormant academic programs during his six years as Weatherhead’s dean and repaired relationships with donors that had soured due to administrative turnover at the school. Dr. Widing appreciates the ground-

work his predecessor laid. “In many ways, Mohan was a terrific dean, and I’m able to inherit an organization in a great position and one that’s ready to take the steps forward,” said Dr. Widing, who most recently served as dean of the Macquarie Graduate School of Management in Sydney, Australia. He also worked with the University of Melbourne and the Thunderbird School of Global Management, headquartered in Glendale, Ariz. Dr. Reddy was unavailable last week to comment for this story. Weatherhead’s combined enrollment of undergraduate and graduate students hovers at around 1,200 students — a healthy number, Dr. Widing said. While he and the university’s administration would like to see that number inch upward in the coming years, Dr. Widing said he’s more concerned with raising the profile of Weatherhead’s academic programs and building on internationalization efforts that

have been pushed by the university’s administration. “We would love for our students to go through a course of study that develops their intellectual capital from a global mindset, maybe their social capital and maybe influence their psychological capital as well,” Dr. Widing said.

Global focus Dr. Widing said he’s looking at strengthening Weatherhead’s ties with international institutions, recruiting more international students and building on the new global MBA program developed under Dr. Reddy’s watch. The joint academic venture is slated to begin in the second half of 2013 and will involve the School of Economics and Management at Tongji University in Shanghai, China, and the Xavier Labour Relations Institute in Jamshedpur, India. Case Western Reserve provost W.A. “Bud” Baeslack III said Weath-

erhead’s international flair was one reason the university saw so much promise in Dr. Widing — a native of western Pennsylvania and a dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia. “There’s a huge opportunity out there for global programs,” Dr. Baeslack said. “It’s a competitive business out there in terms of management schools and even undergraduate programs, and we’ve got to push it forward.” One area in which Dr. Widing said he would like to make progress is by targeting the student who is 22 to 25 years old and at the verge of starting a career. “They’re underemployed, very intelligent and are finding it difficult in both getting work and the work they get doesn’t use their capacity,” he said. Dr. Widing said programs geared toward these students have been underdeveloped at business schools until the last five years or so, as elite business programs have tended to

draw post-baccalaureate students with work experience under their belts. He cited Weatherhead’s master of science degree in finance as an example of a popular degree with those less-experienced students and noted he would like to explore similar degree offerings. As Dr. Reddy and other Weatherhead faculty looked to strengthen the quality of the school’s MBA program, they admitted fewer but more academically prepared students in hopes of elevating the program’s prestige. This year, Weatherhead rose to 52nd place from 80th in the U.S. News & World Report business schools rankings — movement Dr. Widing attributes to the school’s higher selectivity. “The plan was to grow smaller, better and then bigger,” he said. “We’ve gotten smaller and better, and probably in the next few years will need to get bigger … provided we don’t compromise the quality of the class.” ■

Volume 33, Number 46 Crain’s Cleveland Business (ISSN 0197-2375) is published weekly, except for combined issues on the third week of May and fourth week of May, the fourth week of June and first week of July, the third week of December and fourth week of December at 700 West St. Clair Ave., Suite 310, Cleveland, OH 44113-1230. Copyright © 2012 by Crain Communications Inc. Periodicals postage paid at Cleveland, Ohio, and at additional mailing offices. Price per copy: $2.00. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Crain’s Cleveland Business, Circulation Department, 1155 Gratiot Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48207-2912. 1-877-824-9373. REPRINT INFORMATION: 800-290-5460 Ext. 136

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THEWEEK NOVEMBER 19 - 25 The big story: Statistics for the 17 counties that are part of the Northeast Ohio Real Estate Exchange indicate that home sales last month totaled 3,348, up nearly 30% from 2,581 in October 2011. The total dollar volume of sales was $429.2 million last month, a 45% jump from $296 million in October 2011. The average sales price climbed 11.8%, to $128,183 from $114,692. Imaginative thinking: Alpha Imaging LLC, a distributor of medical imaging equipment based in Cleveland, acquired Chesapeake Applications Inc., a Pennsylvania-based company, to enhance its clinical training portfolio. Alpha Imaging did not say what it paid for Chesapeake Applications, which provides clinical training on Shimadzu Medical Systems, Canon Medical Systems and Konica Minolta Medical Imaging radiographic and fluoroscopic systems throughout the United States.

Wishes are granted: Cuyahoga Arts & Culture will issue a total of nearly $29 million in grants over the next two years to 175 arts and cultural organizations in Cuyahoga County. The grants, financed by a cigarette tax in Cuyahoga County, will be issued through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture’s general operating support program and its project support program.


Important kids’ stuff for MetroHealth data guru ■ The MetroHealth System’s health care data whiz, Dr. David Kaelber, has been tapped as one of five physicians to take part in a $5 million effort to study pediatric diseases in 800,000 children nationwide. Dr. Kaelber, chief medical informatics officer at the health system subsidized by Cuyahoga County, will join physicians from the American Kaelber Academy of Pediatrics, Boston University and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the effort. Dr. Kaelber said he hopes the study will lead to the development of tools and techniques to “pool electronic health record data for countless research studies in the future to improve the lives of millions of children.” The five-year study is financed by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration Maternal and Child Health Bureau — a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — in collaboration with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development. Dr. Kaelber also was recognized as one of

the nation’s top health care informaticists by Modern Healthcare, a sister publication of Crain’s Cleveland Business. The recognition honors those who excel at using health care data to improve the clinical and financial performances of their organization. — Timothy Magaw

Just add water, and you’re in business ■ Oasis Grower Solutions in Kent is planting roughly $500,000 into the ground to grow its presence and capabilities in the hydroponic food-growing business. The company, which employs roughly 16, expects to break ground in Kent this month on three interconnected greenhouses. It intends to use the greenhouses for research and development of new products for the hydroponic growing of vegetables, such as lettuce, said Nathan Keil, product and marketing manager for Oasis Grower. The goal is for the greenhouses to be fully functional by February. They will be used to test different irrigation and fertilizer systems, among other things. “We have a number of things up our sleeve,” Mr. Keil said. “We need the trial space and the testing space to be able to work on those products.” A division of the global Smithers-Oasis Co., which is headquartered in Cuyahoga

Falls, Oasis Grower is best known for its foam growing media, such as root cubes. Traditionally, Oasis Grower’s products have been used for the propagation of ornamental plants, such as poinsettias, and its newest greenhouses will grow ornamentals, too. But with food scarcity a significant concern and greenhouse growing up, the company wants to position itself as a resource for food growers, too. — Michelle Park

It’s time to head for the exit ■ The Chicago-based Exit Planning Institute has closed its own exit, and now, it’s under local ownership. The institute, formed in 2005 to bring together professionals to better serve the growing number of small and midsize businesses in need of succession, was sold to Snider Premier Growth Inc., a Strongsville firm owned by Christopher M. Snider, who founded the nation’s first local chapter of the Exit Planning Institute in Cleveland and Akron in 2011. Terms were not disclosed. Mr. Snider aims to grow the institute through a network of local chapters across the United States and the globe that can create awareness of the “tremendous benefits” of exit planning while addressing the unique needs of business owners in their respective communities. — Michelle Park

Solo: Market drives focus on individual work Sales: Today, talk and build continued from PAGE 1

books have given way to electronic forms, said Cleveland-Marshall dean Craig M. Boise. A partnership with the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association also will offer the incubator attorneys discounted health and liability insurance and a mentorship program that will connect them with those who’ve been there, done that. The law school will seek to raise the money for the project from alumni and friends, Mr. Boise said. The plan is to open the incubator to students who graduate in May and pass the bar exam in fall 2013. A few other law schools have rolled out solo practice incubators. Among them are City University of New York School of Law, which is credited with creating the first such program in 2007, and Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, which created one earlier this year. Although Cleveland-Marshall may become home to the first solo practice incubator in a law school in Ohio, it wouldn’t be the first such incubator in the state: In January 2011, the Columbus Bar Association launched a pilot incubator for solo practitioners that it plans to make a permanent fixture in that legal community.

Down to business Such efforts likely are driven, in part, by the challenging legal job market, insiders say. “There’s no question in general that we have an oversupply of lawyers in this country,” Mr. Boise said. “Students have to figure out how to take the legal education they’ve gotten and make that work for them. “For students who might have thought about it and been afraid of what it would entail, this will give them a sense that it’s not a deep

leap into the abyss,” Mr. Boise said. Cleveland-Marshall’s incubator rounds out programming introduced last year for future solo practitioners, Mr. Boise said. There’s a new practice management course and other requirements under development. In addition, a solo/small firm task force was formed about two years ago. “What (graduates) all say is coming out of law school, they weren’t prepared for the business side of things,” Mr. Boise said. “They might have understood areas of law, but they might not have understood negotiating deals for office space … separation of finances, marketing — what it actually takes to run your own business.” The graduates who will move in first have not been chosen, Mr. Boise said. All 15 spaces won’t be filled in the incubator’s first year because the program aims for practitioners to have 18-month leases, and if it filled up in 2013, there’d be no room for 2014 graduates. Lease prices have not been set, but Mr. Boise said the college isn’t out to make a profit, just to pay for maintenance and expenses. Plans call for a separate, external entrance to the incubator in the law school building on East 18th Street — “one of the ways we’re making it clear that this is not Cleveland-Marshall Law Firm,” Mr. Boise said. “We don’t want to be employers of our own graduates,” he said. “We want to facilitate what they would have already been doing without having to tumble over some of the things that other solos have had to.” But it isn’t an opaque separation: Glass walls will enable students studying in the college library to see recent grads practicing. “It’s a way of … helping our students realize that practice of law for them is just around the corner,” Mr.

Boise said.

Prepared for risk Neither the University of Akron School of Law nor Case Western Reserve University School of Law has a solo practice incubator. Case Western Reserve’s law school dean, Lawrence E. Mitchell, said he isn’t planning one because his school’s students historically don’t create solo practices in significant numbers. However, Case Western Reserve is discussing the introduction of a course on the economics of lawyering, which would cover elements of solo practice for those students interested in it, Mr. Mitchell said. According to Cleveland-Marshall’s Office of Career Planning, 22 recent grads — 11 each in 2011 and 2010 — created solo practices. That number represents nearly 15% of each year’s graduates who entered private practice. Tom Haren is one of them: The May 2011 graduate opened the doors to his criminal defense firm, Haren Law LLC, in January 2012 at age 25. Asked if he would have participated in an incubator such as the one planned at his alma mater, Mr. Haren replied: “You bet.” A member of Cleveland-Marshall’s solo/small firm task force, Mr. Haren said the incubator not only will provide recent graduates a more affordable place to hang their shingles, but a network of other solo practitioners through which they can share referrals and information about vendors. From Mr. Haren’s viewpoint, society has much to gain when solo practitioners are better prepared. “There are always inherent risks with startup companies in any field,” he said. “In the legal field … a lot of what we do has very serious effects on people’s lives.” ■

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create a high-tech business and find customers as soon as possible. Same goes for the nonprofit Bizdom Cleveland, which was founded in Detroit by Dan Gilbert, who owns large stakes in the Cleveland Cavaliers, Horseshoe Casino Cleveland and Quicken Loans. The two accelerators work like entrepreneurial boot camps. Both provide startups, often IT companies, with up to $25,000 in seed funding, intensive mentoring and temporary office space in exchange for equity. The accelerators expect the entrepreneurs to do whatever it takes to gain some sort of traction in just three months. And many have done so. During a public event called Showcase Day this Wednesday, Nov. 28, the LaunchHouse Accelerator will graduate its first 10 technology companies, three of which have made sales. Of the 13 startups that have graduated from Bizdom since the Cleveland branch opened this past spring, four graduated with customers. And other companies are close. Take iOTOS, a LaunchHouse startup that has developed hardware and software designed to let people use their smart phones to control all sorts of products — garage doors, lights, even beer taps. The startup is in “advanced negotiations” with a beer tap installer interested in providing restaurants and bars with taps that would allow customers to order beer from their phones and pour it themselves, said co-founder Art Geigel, who founded iOTOS with fellow Aurora High School graduate Christopher Armenio. Mascot Secret doesn’t have revenue, but the recent Bizdom graduate already is working with the Cavaliers and other sports teams interested in its software, which

would allow fans in the nosebleed section to upgrade to empty seats closer to the action. Both the LaunchHouse Accelerator and Bizdom constantly push entrepreneurs to talk to potential customers, mentors and investors so that they can figure out what ideas might actually make money as soon as possible. That way, they don’t spend a lot of time and money building a website or a prototype that nobody wants. “The model used to be build and then talk,” said Todd Goldstein, one of three partners running Shaker LaunchHouse, the incubator that started the LaunchHouse Accelerator with a $250,000 grant from the Ohio Third Frontier economic development program. “Our main focus from day one was really a customer-centric approach.” That focus helped Phil Alexander and Mohit Ahluwalia. Their startup, Quick2Launch, originally planned to help other companies create websites, presentations, logos, business cards or anything else involving graphic design. Input from potential customers and mentors pushed the company to focus solely on helping other businesses make visually appealing presentations. The startup now has a few paid projects on its résumé, said Mr. Alexander, whose father, also named Phil Alexander, runs advertising software firm BrandMuscle Inc. of Cleveland. “It really has given us a filter to refine our business model,” he said. Businesses in all industries could avoid major mistakes if they would talk to lots of potential customers before making a big investment in a new product, said Paul Allen, who manages Bizdom Cleveland. “Get out of your house,” he said. “Get out of your office. Go and talk to real customers.” ■



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Crain's Cleveland Business  

November 26 - December 2, 2012

Crain's Cleveland Business  

November 26 - December 2, 2012