VOL. 38, NO. 41
OCTOBER 9 - 15, 2017
New No. 1 Huntington surpasses KeyBank as regional market leader. Page 3
Matt Underwood, STO’s voice of the Tribe Page 23
The List The largest accounting firms in NEO Page 18
New chief focusing on added services
By JAY MILLER firstname.lastname@example.org @JayMiller
Robert Kennedy is beginning to make his mark at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The former Atlanta airport executive appeared before Cleveland City Council’s transportation committee last Wednesday, Oct. 4, to lay out a plan for a reorganization of his department and to extend a contract that has been expanding the food and beverage and retail offerings at Hopkins. Kennedy discussed the growth of service through Hopkins, starting with the gateway service to Europe through
Iceland that will begin in 2018. He noted that domestic travel options have expanded as well. Council also was updated on the growth of revenue generated by the airport’s concession operations and plans for programs to support the development of local businesses and jobs at the airport. Kennedy was sworn in as Cleveland’s director of the Department of Port Control, which runs the city’s two airports, by Mayor Frank Jackson last January. That was just after Hopkins was battered by the Federal Aviation Administration for poor snow removal efforts that included a shutdown of several hours after an ice storm in December. SEE CHIEF, PAGE 6
MRI Software sets Solon expansion plan
The University of Akron’s enrollment declined 4.5% this fall. (Contributed photo)
By STAN BULLARD
But region’s four-year public colleges cite reasons to be upbeat By RACHEL ABBEY McCAFFERTY email@example.com @ramccafferty
Northeast Ohio’s public, four-year universities all saw enrollment decline this fall, though some still see reason to celebrate. Take, for example, Youngstown State University, which saw a dramatic enrollment drop of nearly 18% from 2010 to 2015 before starting to turn the tide last year. While enrollment may have fallen this year, associate vice president for enrollment
planning and management Gary Swegan sees signs of improvement. “We feel very, very good about our enrollment,” Swegan said. Why? While total headcount declined from 12,756 last fall to 12,644 this fall, the university’s FTE (fulltime equivalent) actually increased slightly. That figure is calculated by taking all the credit hours being taken and dividing by 15, Swegan said. Seeing that grow in the face of decreased enrollment means Youngstown State has been enrolling more traditional, full-time students — instead of part-time students —
Entire contents © 2017 by Crain Communications Inc.
than in the past, Swegan said. In recent years, Youngstown State has moved away from open enrollment and put a stronger focus on its honors program. He said enrollment also suffered because Youngstown State has been graduating students faster, Swegan said, noting that last year’s graduating class was large. “Our momentum just continues to be moving forward,” he said. The University of Akron, which too has faced prolonged enrollment woes in recent years, is taking a similar stance. SEE COLLEGES, PAGE 22
As MRI Software gobbles up companies globally to grow in the real estate technology space, it’s also adding staff needed to help operate locally and space within its Solon headquarters. Patrick Ghilani, MRI's CEO, said in a phone interview, “You will see more acquisitions in North America and around the world by MRI. Each time you can assume there will be some growth at our central support team in Cleveland, such as in finance and human resources. Acquired companies have local advantages to
us, but whenever possible we want to do as much as possible in Cleveland.” Meantime, organic growth from new products and cross-selling existing products with those of new companies will add to its growth. As a result, MRI Software is about to embark on a $5.5 million reconfiguration of its headquarters at 28925 Fountain Parkway that will double the 100,000 square-foot office it moved into in 2012. Much of that will come from converting former warehouse space to additional office use and some by installing new work stations and fixtures that will accommodate — at some point — a total of 600 people. Its current staff is 403. SEE MRI, PAGE 19
Health care << Cleveland
Clinic’s global appeal is good for Northeast Ohio, too. Page 11 Acupuncture is more accepted. Page 12 Upcoming summit will put spotlight on precision medicine. Page 14
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CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
Transit business soars with unique model By RACHEL ABBEY McCAFFERTY firstname.lastname@example.org @ramccafferty
Najeebah Shareef’s original plan wasn’t to start a transportation company. She was just looking to help veterans find employment and housing when she discovered how difficult it could be to get them from place to place. Now, Shareef is president and CEO of ILF Transportation, a growing transportation company that recently moved into a new building in Cleveland and has its sights set on the future. ILF Transportation — officially, Inspiring Lives Forever LLC — grew out of a chance encounter. In 2012, Shareef, a former teacher, was working on a master’s degree in nonprofit administration and leadership at Cleveland State University. She said she was on her way to an interview when a homeless man asked her for some change. she asked if, in exchange for that change, he would share his story. The two went to a nearby cafe where he did just that, explaining that he was a veteran who had fallen on hard times after returning to the United States and was having trouble getting the help he needed. At the end of his story, Shareef said her “heart hurt” and she was in tears. But, she said, the man used his “military voice” to snap her back into reality, telling her that he didn’t need pity; he needed help.
Najeebah Shareef, president and CEO of ILF Transportation, started her company in 2013. (Contributed photo)
“My whole world changed,” Shareef said. She started a nonprofit, Inspiring Lives Inc., in April 2013, designed to help homeless veterans, both by employing them to fix properties and helping them find housing. But she found it was difficult to get the veterans to appointments. She saw a need for non-emergency medical transportation and filled it by starting ILF Transportation in September 2013. “I know my purpose, I know what I need to do, and I don’t have time to waste. That’s what my mindset was all about,” Shareef said. ILF started out in Shareef’s home
in Euclid, but she said some legal prodding from her neighbors and the city helped push her to the “next level” after a couple of years. She found an office in Euclid, but smoke damage from a fire in the building soon sent her searching once again. She found the right fit in the space at 16113 St. Clair Ave. in Cleveland. The 15,000-square-foot building is a significant upgrade from the approximately 900-square-foot office ILF had previously rented, not to mention an improvement on the homebased office. The city of Cleveland provided ILF with a $44,250 SBA Municipal Small
Business Initiative recoverable grant, said Kevin Schmotzer, executive of small business development for the city. If ILF meets the terms of the agreement — mainly, that it’s still in business after three years and has created at least two new jobs in the city — the company won’t have to repay any of that grant funding, Schmotzer said. The building cost $83,000, Shareef said, and renovations and equipment cost $308,000. Renovations took from about September of 2016 through June of 2017. Most were cosmetic, Shareef said — repainting, cleaning, putting in new floors, new bathrooms and the like. There’s a break room where employees can play pool or video games to relax, and showers in the bathrooms in case employees don’t have access to them normally. Shareef aims to hire veterans and people who need “second chances,” like those who have been in prison. She makes setting goals — personal and professional — a priority for each employee, and meets with each person monthly to make sure they are on track. Larry Young, who was originally employed by Shareef’s nonprofit before becoming ILF Transportation’s first employee, said the company and Shareef gave him a “fresh start.” The Army veteran said he had spent some time in prison and had almost given up when he met her. While he has now moved on to another job, Young said he did general maintenance for ILF for about a year and a half while
he got back on his feet, getting his driver’s license and housing. “Pretty much anything that I needed, she was there to help me out with,” Young said. Today, ILF has 16 employees, the majority of whom were hired in the past six months. The bulk of ILF’s business is still in non-emergency medical transport, but the company has steadily added other certifications over time, including courier and logistics services. Most recently, ILF earned its Hazmat certification so it can transport chemicals and other products. The company is certified for everything from cars and vans to dump trucks and 18-wheelers, though if a customer needs something larger than a box truck, ILF will lease it. Shareef expects ILF to make about $420,000 in annual revenue by the end of 2017, a significant increase from the approximately $90,000 to $100,000 it made in 2014. ILF has entities set up in four states, in addition to the headquarters in Ohio. Shareef’s goal is to get satellite offices into at least 15 states in the next five years. She also wants to get the nonprofit up-and-running, and she may look into finishing her master’s degree. But overall, Shareef already sees success in ILF and calls the experience so far a humbling one. “It has been not only my passion, but a business where I can actually help people along the way, as well as they help me,” Shareef said. “It’s a win-win situation to me. It has been extraordinary.”
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CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
O C T O B E R 9 - 15 , 2 017
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Huntington takes over top spot in region By JEREMY NOBILE email@example.com @JeremyNobile
With a little more than a year passed since Huntington Bank closed its acquisition of Akron’s FirstMerit Bank, the Columbus-based institution has settled into a notably larger position in the Northeast Ohio and statewide deposit markets. According to data released Oct. 3 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which shows banks’ shares of the U.S. deposit market as of June 30, in Northeast Ohio (15 counties), which composes nearly one-third of the entire Ohio deposit market, Huntington comes in first with 18.43% of the retail market. That puts them ahead of the largest bank by total assets in this region, Cleveland’s KeyBank, which has 17.18% of the market. Rounding out the top five banks in Northeast Ohio are PNC Bank (13.13%), Citizens Bank (10.38%) and JPMorgan Chase Bank (8.09%). Shares fluctuated only slightly over the past year for most banks in the market with the exception of Huntington, which saw significant growth with its shaking up of the banking sector here with the $3.4 billion deal for FirstMerit, Akron’s largest hometown bank at the time and the only regional to be based there. Huntington’s Northeast Ohio market share in 2016 without FirstMerit added in was 9.94%, which would’ve put them in fourth place. With FirstMerit included (less the $735 million in deposits Huntington had to sell in Akron and Canton because of anti-trust concerns, which were bought by Pennsylvania’s First Commonwealth Bank), that share slightly exceeded 20% in 2016. With 18.43% of the Northeast Ohio deposit market now, that indicates some transitioning FirstMerit customers migrated to other banks since last summer in the wake of the acquisition. While some deposit loss is to be expected as the dust of a bank merger settles, Huntington reported deposits from legacy FirstMerit customers growing 2% at mid-year (deposits companywide were up 39%). They were actually expecting total runoff of about 10%, meaning retention there was stronger than anticipated. Some Huntington deposits floating to competitors and a generally
growing deposit market — total deposits in Northeast Ohio grew 2.5% over 2016 to $100.8 billion, while the number of branches actually decreased by 4.6% (there are 1,236 today, or 60 fewer) — have slightly lifted shares for all banks in the region’s top 10. Despite that, each still holds the same rank in market share they had last year when accounting for the Huntington merger, though. Following JPMorgan Chase, the five banks rounding out the top 10 for the Northeast Ohio deposit market today are Third Federal Savings and Loan Association of Cleveland (5.92%), Fifth Third Bank (5.08%), U.S. Bank (2.56%), New York Community Bank/Ohio Savings Bank (2.17%) and Dollar Bank (1.91%).
The year-over-year change in Huntington Bank’s Northeast Ohio market share (from 9.94% to 18.43%), thanks to its 2016 acquisition of First Merit.
In context of the rest of the state, U.S. Bank controls a slightly larger piece of the deposit market (18.54%), and has retained the top spot as the state’s largest retail bank. Across Ohio, Huntington ranked third in 2016 behind U.S. Bank and Fifth Third Bank without FirstMerit (which would’ve been the seventh-largest in Ohio with 3.69% of the market) included. The acquisition gave Huntington a little more
than 15% of the market at the time, which put them in second place. They still hold that spot today with 14.88% of the market. Statewide, total deposits have grown 3.9% over 2016 to $336.5 billion — meaning nearly a third of the entire deposit market in Ohio, 29.9%, rests in Northeast Ohio. And that growth in deposits comes with consolidation in the industry. There are 223 banks in Ohio today, nine fewer than in 2016 (a 3.8% decrease). And there are 3,667 branches, 117 fewer than last year (a 3.09% decrease). Notably, while Huntington is the largest bank in the Northeast Ohio retail network and the second-largest in the state, it holds those spots with more branches than any of its com-
petitors. In Northeast Ohio, Huntington has 257 branches, more than double KeyBank’s 121. That’s also more than half of Huntington’s 502 total branches statewide. Comparatively, U.S. Bank has 285 branches in Ohio. The bank with the most branches is PNC with 340. Key has 224. Huntington closed more than 100 branches across its eight-state footprint because of overlap with the FirstMerit consumer network. But the remaining number of branches is comparatively high juxtaposed with competitors. Huntington CEO Stephen Steinour recently told Crain’s the bank has no plans for a bulk closing of any more retail branches. If anything, he said, plans are to expand it further.
Making Ohio smile since 1960.
NEO banking leaders The top 10 banks in Northeast Ohio (15 counties) by deposit market share, according to FDIC data as of June 30, 2017, along with their number of branches in the area and total market share 1. Huntington
3. PNC Bank
4. Citizens Bank
5. JPMorgan Chase 88
6. Third Federal
7. Fifth Third
8. U.S. Bank
9. N.Y. Community 28
10. Dollar Bank
Note: New York Community Bank operates Ohio Savings Bank.
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O C T O B E R 9 - 15 , 2 017 |
CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
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Cleveland Clinic is diving into the insurance market. Last week, it announced a partnership with Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) to create two new $0 premium Medicare Advantage health plans in Cuyahoga County. It is the health system’s second co-branded insurance product in recent months. In June, the Clinic announced it was making its first entrance into the insurance market with a product bearing its name in collaboration with New York Citybased Oscar Health. “I think the industry as a whole has come to the conclusion that one of the most effective ways to create a sustainable health care industry in the future is to take a more comprehensive approach to patient care, to care management,” said Kevin Sears, executive director of Cleveland Clinic Market & Network Services. “And these kinds of partnerships between insurance companies and provider systems really bring to bear a broad array of clinical and business and patient engagement capabilities to get the best result.” The Clinic has flirted with entering the insurance business for years, though branding plans with existing insurers isn’t as risky as going forward on its own. Over the last few years, for example, provider-sponsored plans have continued to struggle and few have reached profitability, according to a June 2017 report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. For example, HealthSpan, the former Kaiser Permanente plan and clinics in Northeast Ohio that had been acquired by an auxiliary of Cincinnati-based Mercy Health, went belly up last year. Clinic officials say the system’s current health insurance strategy is designed to improve health care outcomes, lower costs and enhance patient experiences. Both partnerships offer narrow-network products, meaning the plans don’t include the entire market of providers and facilities, but rather Cleveland Clinic docs and hospitals. Narrow networks aren’t a new phenomenon in the health care space, though, in this case, the Clinic prefers the term high-performance network. Also in both partnerships, the Clinic shares financial accountability, something Oscar officials said was important to them. Typically, with risk-based contracting, health care providers are rewarded financially by insurers for keeping select patient populations healthy and out of the hospital. That’s the inverse of the traditional fee-for-service mode. Sears said he couldn’t discuss the particulars of the financial arrangement, but said both Oscar and the Clinic are “accountable financially for the performance of this product.” Joel Klein, Oscar Health’s chief policy and strategy officer, said, “By deeply sharing risk with us, they’re sort of engaging in a way that is really important. They’re not just talking a game; they’re participating in the game.”
“I think the industry as a whole has come to the conclusion that one of the most effective ways to create a sustainable health care industry in the future is to take a more comprehensive approach to patient care, to care management.” — Kevin Sears, executive director of Cleveland Clinic Market & Network Services
The Oscar arrangement Though the partnership with Oscar Health was announced shortly after Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield announced it would quit the Affordable Care Act exchange, the Clinic said the timing was a coincidence. The Clinic had been working on a partnership with Oscar for more than a year. “We want to make sure that we are accessible to all of our community, and we really didn’t feel like we had appropriate access points within the individual insurance marketplace,” Sears said. The new “Cleveland Clinic | Oscar” individual health plans, which will be sold both on and off the Ohio health insurance exchange, represent Oscar’s first entrance into the Ohio market as well as the Clinic’s first co-branded narrow network product. Oscar was founded in 2012 with the goal of helping consumers to navigate their health care, said Mario Schlosser, Oscar CEO and co-founder. A computer scientist by training, Schlosser was inspired to launch Oscar after his wife’s pregnancy, during which he struggled to understand his choices, their costs and how to get the information he needed to make decisions. Schlosser launched the company with Josh Kushner — the younger brother of Jared Kushner and brother-in-law of Ivanka Trump. “Health care is a complex system — that is clear — but it felt to me somebody ought to be better at helping me navigate that system,” he said. “We felt that the insurance company really is a critical component in that journey of a patient, because the insurer knows so much about you as a patient and about the health care system that it helps operate.” Though the Clinic has participated with other insurance companies in the individual segment, those have been in broader network offerings. Operating on a narrow network, the partnership with Oscar also brings unique consumer-focused technology that allows patients to contact the insurance company, schedule appointments, see medical history and much more. The Clinic pairs its care teams with “concierge teams” at Oscar, which are made up of a handful of care guides and a nurse. “It’s the Amazon experience, if you will, of getting health care,” Schlosser
said. “You click the button, we tell you where you can go right this moment, and we’ll get you in.” Powering this technology requires a deeper level of collaboration behind the scenes. Oscar and the Clinic have been working to integrate their back-end systems and connect existing capabilities.
The Humana element The “Humana Cleveland Clinic Preferred Medicare Plans” will be offered during this year’s Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan enrollment period, with plan coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2018. Sears said the intent in this partnership is similar to that in the Oscar collaboration. Insurance companies do benefit design, network management and claims administration well. Provider systems bring the clinical expertise. “And when we can bring those two together in the right construct, we get the best that both have to offer,” he said. “We put it together, and that ends up with a better product and a better result for health insurance members and our patients. Both Humana plans — a Medicare Advantage Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan for those with Medicare, and a Medicare Advantage Dual-Eligible Special Needs (D-SNP) plan for individuals covered by both Medicare and Medicaid — offer a $0 monthly premium, $0 primary care physician office visit copay, $0 copay for a 30-day supply of Tier-1 prescription drugs and require no referrals to see in-network specialists. The plans give members access to the Clinic’s physicians, specialties and facilities, as well as independent physicians who are part of the Cleveland Clinic Quality Alliance. Medicare Advantage plans are privately run versions of the federally funded health care program for seniors. Many insurers have reported significant membership gains in the plans over the last few years as baby boomers age into the Medicare program. Also, Modern Healthcare, a sister publication of Crain’s Cleveland Business, reported in April that payment rates for insurers that sell Advantage plans will rise by 0.45% on average for 2018 — a better-than-expected pay bump. As for what’s next in the Clinic’s entrance into co-branded insurance collaborations, Sears said the Clinic continues to pursue partnerships with payers. “And we continue to look for the right payer partners and the right ways to make sure that we’re available in the marketplace to the citizens of Ohio,” he said. “And so we will continue to look for the right opportunities to create these partnerships.”
Correction J A story about GOJO in the Oct. 2 issue of Crain’s Cleveland Business misstated the length of time it takes for its Purell surface spray to kill germs. The spray can kill norovirus in 30 seconds and Hepatitis A in 60 seconds. The story also misstated the status of the spray’s entrance into the consumer market. GOJO is currently testing the spray with consumers.
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O C T O B E R 9 - 15 , 2 017 |
CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
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His biggest successes have been announcements on successive days in August that two European air carriers would begin operations between Cleveland Hopkins and Europe. While not the service to London, Paris or Frankfurt coveted by area business travelers, the flights announced by Icelandair and WOW air to Keflavik International Airport in Keflavik, Iceland, were welcomed. The WOW flights that are scheduled to begin in May 2018 will bring low-cost European travel to cost-conscious leisure travelers while the Icelandair flights, also beginning in May 2018, will allow business travelers to avoid the hassle of connecting to European flights through New York City. Kennedy told council that traffic in July of this year topped the traffic in July 2016 by 101,000 passengers, when 40,000 people surged into town to witness the nomination of Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention. He added that growing domestic service means travelers have 1.2 million more seats available than in 2016, a growth of 10%. He said that growth significantly exceeds against an industrywide growth of between 2% and 3%. “Our (seats available) will still grow,” Kennedy predicted, adding he expects the “new normal” to be between 4% and 5% growth in available seats annually. Joe Roman, president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, has worked closely with Kennedy and said he has been impressed by his efforts to attract new service and by what Roman sees as a strong commitment to making Hopkins an easier place for travelers to move through. “Half the time I’m at the airport, I see him on the airport floor,” Roman said of Kennedy. “I think he’s bringing an added level of customer service and customer attention to the airport. I do think he’s very focused on that.” Roman gives Kennedy high marks for his efforts to expand air service coming to Hopkins, starting with landing the service to Iceland. GCP sees improved air service as a key to the growth of the regional economy and it supports that growth by helping to subsidize new air service. “Kennedy and his team flagged this issue (the WOW opportunity)
and helped us get educated about the real opportunity both to Iceland and to Europe,” Roman said. “It helped us get ready to go and speak directly with the WOW people in order to put the business perspective on the table.” Mark Zannoni, a research director for the Smart Cities and Transportation program at IDC, a Boston-based consultancy, is a Cleveland resident and frequent flyer. He is glad to see the new European service on the horizon but believes that for the region to thrive and grow, it must be connected to cities such as London, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt and Hong Kong. “At the moment, the market does not support flights to all the abovenamed cities, but this is the goal that the city should be pursuing,” he said. “That said, I’d rather connect in Reykjavik than New York.” Kennedy told council members his reorganization plan is designed to streamline operations at the city’s two airports. The plan, which is expected to be approved by the full council on Monday, Oct. 9, would merge the operations of Hopkins and Burke Lakefront Airport into a single Division of Airports run by a commissioner with three deputies, one of whom would be in charge of Burke operations. Khalid Bahhur, who has been commissioner of Burke, is serving as interim commissioner at Hopkins. Kennedy told city council the change makes sense because both airports operate under the same Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Security Administration regulations. He also is trying to flatten the management structure to speed up decision-making so the airport can respond more quickly to things like snow building up on the runways. “One of the objectives that we’re trying to do in the division of port control is we’re trying to empower our people closest to the customer to make decisions,” he said. “You don’t have to go to the general for decisions, so we don’t lose time, we become more efficient and the customer is better served.” The FAA fined the city $200,000 after the federal agency cited the city four times for poor snow removal at Cleveland Hopkins. The airport was also forced to close for several hours in December 2016 after an ice storm. Questioning by transportation committee chairman Martin Keane suggested he was at first skeptical about the reorganization, but he had
come around by the end of the session. “Any time you shuffle the deck from a leadership perspective looking for efficiencies or fiscal savings, I have my questions,” Keane said. “But under previous directors it was sometimes hard to figure out who was responsible for what.” The council committee also reviewed legislation to extend the agreement with Fraport USA to oversee the concession operations at the Hopkins terminal. The legislation consolidates two agreements signed in 2008 and extends them until 2024. As concession master developer, Fraport contracts with retailers and food and beverage firms to run the various shops on the terminal concourse. The rent and other revenue generated by tenants is split 70/30 between the city and Fraport. Tina LaForte, Fraport’s Cleveland vice president, told council that the revenue concessions generate for the city and the company has grown from $28 million in 2009, Fraport’s first full year of management, to $43 million last year. The average spend per customer, she said, has grown from $5.50 to $10.65. “We bring a lot of competition as well as a strong mix of brands and a combination of those things really helped sales to take off,” she said. Fraport has expanded the food offerings with a mix of national brands, such as Bruegger’s Bagels, as well as local brands such as Quaker Steak & Lube, Great Lakes Brewing Co. and the soon-to-open Bar Symon. LaForte told Crain’s that additional local businesses will be added soon to the offerings on the terminal concourse, including Sides to Go BBQ and an expanded Inca Tea café. That local flavor will continue, as Fraport has agreed to build a mentoring program to help local businesses learn how to operate in the airport environment. The legislation describes it as an Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, or ACDBE, program. Under the legislation, Fraport agrees to create a $500,000 loan fund to support the buildout of local businesses at the terminal. Kennedy also told the council committee that he hopes to create what he called an “airport opportunity center” outside the secured area of the terminal where residents can come to learn about airport jobs. Kennedy declined to talk further about the center, saying he hasn’t yet briefed Jackson on the plan.
CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
O C T O B E R 9 - 15 , 2 017
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At the Table
Chrostowski returns to Edwins with big plans on tap What do you do when your bid for the city’s highest office unravels? If you’re Brandon Chrostowski, you double down on the vision that first drew you into the Cleveland mayoral race. Having won roughly 10% of the vote in last month’s primary race, Chrostowski has announced his return to the helm at Edwins Leadership & Restaurant in the Cleveland’s Shaker Square area. Chrostowski resumes responsibility as president and CEO, replacing interim appointee Tom Nobbe. The position entails operation of the award-winning restaurant, its institute and prison programming, and Edwins Second Chance Life Skills Center. Plus, he is planning for ongoing expansion of the nonprofit organization’s outreach. “See, I’ve got this belief,” said Chrostowski on his first day back in the leadership seat. “I believe there’s a way to pull people out of poverty in inner cities in this country. And wherever you go, whether it’s Cleveland or St. Louis or L.A., there’s an (opportunity) for this — an opportunity to make changes that will improve and maybe save lives.” If you’re unfamiliar with Edwins, its mission is straightforward. The name alone explains it: Edwins stands for “EDucation WINS.” Ostensibly, Edwins’ aim was to create the top French restaurant in America in the most unorthodox manner. Listed as a 501(c)(3) organization, Edwins looks to equip formerly incarcerated individuals with education, employment, housing, emotional support and other essential tools to re-enter society. Opening in 2013 at 13101 Shaker
Square, the program started with a highly structured curriculum. The goal was, and remains, to train former prisoners in every aspect of hospitality serJoe vice, from culiCrea nary skills to front-of-the-house responsibilities. Those enrolled learn how to prepare ingredients, cook, and greet and serve guests. Chrostowski’s goal is to prepare them for entry into other restaurants. In so many cases, those who’ve served jail time are released into a world where no productive structure exists. They may lack even the fundamental skills to find and hold employment. Potential employers may turn them away. Often, their families have shunned them. Too often, they have nowhere to go, except back to the lives and habits that landed them in prison. Chrostowski knows the drill. At age 18, the Detroit native was arrested for a crime he will not specify and faced a sentence of five to 10 years. Through dint of a generous judge, he was consigned to a year of probation and decided to change courses. The years that followed led to work as a busboy and eventually to enrollment at the Culinary Institute of America. Hospitality jobs in Paris and New York City came next. After landing in Cleveland, he was hired by restaurateur Zack Bruell. Chrostowski served five year as sommelier and a manager at Bruell’s L’Albatros Brasserie in University Circle before launching Edwins.
Last year, before the mayoral run, Chrostowski realized a dream central to the institute’s mission: creating a three-building housing complex — Edwins Second Chance Life Skills Center — in Cleveland’s Buckeye neighborhood. The complex includes dormitory housing, a greenhouse, library, test kitchen, basketball court and a fitness center, all within a five-minute walk from the restaurant. Now his next goal is within sight. In 2018, Edwins intends to open a full-service butcher shop and an adjoining grocery store in the area. This aspect of the mission is twoprong, Chrostowski explained. “If the idea is to build the best culinary program in the country, we have to be able to contain costs, so that the (organization) has all the best ingredients at an affordable price,” he said. “Protein is the highest cost in a restaurant. If we can control the supply chain — starting with whole carcasses and breaking them down into all the various cuts we use — that’s the most affordable route.” Teaching the art of butchery — “all but a lost art,” Chrostowski said — is essential. “We’ll procure, butcher, make our own sausage, smoke our own meat. … We can produce products that sustain the community.” In addition to providing ingredients to Edwins’ kitchen, the goal is to provide meat at wholesale prices to other area restaurants, as well as selling directly to consumers. And that explains the second side of Chrostowski’s equation. “We need some place in that community, on that corner specifically — East 130th and Buckeye — with good
Brandon Chrostowski, president and CEO of Edwins Leadership & Restaurant, is more focused than ever on his mission to help the formerly incarcerated. (Crain’s file photo)
food, good price, and things that taste really good. “Not ‘froufrou’ food,” he added. “I think what people charge in the inner city for fried chicken or a good wing, the price being asked for a good Southern meal at a takeout place, is just way off. I think that can be done for less money and with a higher quality. “The trick is you have to know how to,” he said. At the same time, Chrostowski said he thinks it’s important to create “an old-school deli,” as he described it, so that residents of the neighborhood can round out a meal, find a bottle of wine and get basics. He said he’s been working with a local grocer to structure such a business.
Scores of students have graduated from Edwins’ demanding six-month course. Some have found work at top area restaurants. None have relapsed or returned to incarceration. Although the organization failed to win the 2016 “100&Change,” a contest administered by prestigious MacArthur Foundation that could have yielded a $100 million prize to solve a major problem, Chrostowski believes Edwins remains on the right track. Last year, Chrostowski and Edwins won the CNN Heroes Award for the successes the program has brought. On Oct. 4 and 5, “Knife Skills,” a documentary about the institute’s program by Academy Award-winning director Thomas Lennon, was screened at the Chagrin Documentary Film Fest in Chagrin Falls. “Compelling, funny, heartbreaking, and totally human” is how Anthony Bourdain summarized the film. Looking back over the past four years, and especially with a hardfought political campaign behind him, Chrostowski said his energy has only redoubled. “Edwins has already had a big impact,” he said. “Recognition of the program has been huge. When I was out campaigning, knocking on doors in Glenville, in the Clark neighborhood, people would find out my connection and they’d immediately start talking about what we’ve done, then ask, ‘This person really needs help. How can they get a hold of you?’ “There’s a deeper need for help out there. Quite frankly, that’s my mission — the ultimate mission I’ve got. That’s what running for mayor really taught me.”
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CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
Opinion From the Editor
A Cleveland son calls for help for Puerto Rico
At issue Unlike a year ago, when the direction of the country was in the balance, this November’s ballot feels pretty low-stakes. That usually leads to low voter turnout. Beyond making a general appeal to voters’ sense of civic duty and urging their participation, we’d point out that two important institutions in Cuyahoga County, and another in the city of Cleveland, are seeking approvals of funding measures that help bolster economic development, education/workforce preparedness, and the quality of life in the region. For the institutions, the constituents they serve and all residents, the stakes are quite high, indeed, and we believe all three merit support when voters go to the polls on Nov. 7. (Or before that; early voting starts this Wednesday, Oct. 11.) The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority is seeking renewal of a 0.13-mill levy that expires at the end of 2017. There’s no increase in cost from the renewal, Issue 59, which raises about $3.1 million a year and costs a homeowner about $3.45 for every $100,000 of home valuation. The levy provides about one-third of the Port Authority’s annual budget. The organization pays the rest of the freight with revenue generated by the Port of Cleveland’s Lake Erie docks and fees from its development finance operation. The modest investment in this levy, which has remained the same size since 1968, pays big dividends. Among them is the Cleveland-Europe Express, which offers direct container service to Europe and helps make Northeast Ohio an easier, and more attractive, place in which to do international commerce. The Port Authority also plays a vital role in maintaining local shipping channels. As Cleveland.com reported last week, the Port Authority has helped facilitate a much-improved relationship between the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers that “could mean fewer conflicts and no stalling when it comes to removing sediment” from the Cuyahoga River. The development finance operation, meanwhile, issues bonds that make possible big-ticket projects such as the
planned Amazon fulfillment center in North Randall. This levy renewal is vital to the region’s economy and deserves a yes vote. Another countywide issue on the ballot comes from Cuyahoga Community College, which is asking for the authority to issue bonds for capital improvements, including new construction and the updating of older buildings and equipment. The 0.5-mill, 25-year bond issue would raise $227 million and would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $18 a year. Tri-C was founded in 1963, and this is its first request for a bond issue. The school also would use funds from its operating budget to finance capital renovations, but it needs the additional support as the state continues to make cuts in funding for higher education. Like the Port Authority levy renewal, the Tri-C bond issue is a case of low-cost, high-reward. The school is an important provider of quality, affordable training programs in many fields, in particular health care and manufacturing. Those two fields are especially important in Northeast Ohio. The vast majority of Tri-C graduates remain in the region when they finish school, providing a valuable pipeline of qualified workers to local employers. The bond issue, known as Issue 61, deserves support to make sure those students are being trained for jobs in updated buildings with modern equipment. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Public Library is asking voters to back Issue 60, a property tax renewal and increase that would provide funds to support aging buildings. It’s a substantial request, as the library wants to add 2 mills to the current 5.8 mills. The current annual cost of the library levy is $178 for the owner of a $100,000 home. The increase would add $70 to that. Cleveland is fortunate to have one of the nation’s elite library systems, and it’s important to maintain that. Libraries provide a bridge to knowledge, training and other resources that keep the community strong. Cleveland cannot afford to allow one of its gems to tarnish.
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Cleveland has been home for Victor Ruiz for the past 35 years. But home will also always be Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory he left with his mom and his brother when he was 5 years old and where many of his family still lives. Since Hurricane Maria unleashed its fury on the Caribbean almost three weeks ago, Ruiz has felt helpless. On Sept. 28, he felt profound grief: His father died in the days after the storm that leveled homes and robbed virtually the entire island of electricity and running water. The death toll now stands at 34. “A lot of us are very anxious right now,” said Ruiz, executive director of Esperanza Inc., a nonprofit that helps Hispanic students in Greater Cleveland achieve acaElizabeth demic success. McIntyre Details about the death of his father, Victor Hugo Ruiz, are sketchy because of the lack of reliable communication lines. The latest information from Ruiz’s uncle and aunt was that his father was getting gasoline for a generator when there was a small explosion at the gas station. Fumes were released, which, combined with the heat and humidity, aggravated his father’s emphysema. “They weren’t able to get him medical care quickly enough,” Ruiz said. His aunt and uncle are two of the strongest people he knows. Since Maria, though, “I hear the despair and pain in their voices. That’s the first time that’s happened,” Ruiz said. Their home in Vega Alta, on the north coast of Puerto Rico, 20 miles from the capital of San Juan, was destroyed. They’re staying in a small apartment below their home which had been reserved for visitors. Their adult daughter and grandkids are there, too. They’re without electricity or running water. Even before the storm, Ruiz witnessed Vega Alta’s hardships amid Puerto Rico’s ongoing financial crisis. He spent a week with his father in July, which offers him some comfort now. But during that visit he saw half of downtown stores vacant. He saw “how impoverished people are, how poor the infrastructure is.” “Sometimes you go two days without lights or water,” he said. “We’re so used to so many great things in the United States. It’s a chance for my kids to appreciate what they have.” Ruiz is most concerned now with Puerto Rico’s immediate needs. Getting help and supplies beyond San Juan, into the more mountainous regions in the center of the island. “Right now, clean drinking water is the number one priority,” he said. His greatest fear is that after the rush to help in the wake of the storm, Puerto Ricans will be forgotten, despite the fact they are U.S. citizens. Considering that a recent poll of 2,200 adults by Morning Consult found that only 54% of Americans knew that Puerto Ricans were U.S. citizens, those fears are warranted. “As a kid, I remember having to educate my classmates that I was a citizen like them,” Ruiz said. Cleveland, he said, must prepare to welcome an influx of Puerto Ricans who may choose to leave the island, at least temporarily, and live with family in Northeast Ohio. “It’s going to happen, probably before this year ends,” Ruiz said. “Our community and our systems must be prepared to support them.” He urges the business community to welcome them. “These are educated people with good jobs,” he said. And he urges donations through an online giving platform set up by the Cleveland Foundation to help with disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico, in the immediate aftermath and well beyond. To help, visit www.clevelandfoundation.org/puertorico.
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Cleveland’s digital future must have these elements By LEV GONICK
In the world of information technology, there is a distinct advantage to being either a first mover or fast follower. Company wealth formation and catalyzing regional economic development accrue to those who harness one of those two strategies. In the 1980s, there was a competitive advantage to being first to market with personal computers and office automation (Armonk, N.Y., with IBM; Orem, Utah, with WordPerfect). And then PCs and office automation became a mainstream offering (Austin, Texas, with Dell; Seattle with Microsoft). In the 1990s, there was a competitive advantage to being first to market to network offices and computers with basic communications protocols (Palo Alto, Calif., with Xerox PARC; Columbus with CompuServe). And then networks and office communication became a mainstream offering (San Jose with Cisco; Washington with AOL). In the 2000s, there was a competitive advantage to being a first mover or fast follower to understanding that software was going to eat the world (Pittsburgh, Pa., with Lycos; Los Angeles with MySpace). And then software programming tools became ubiquitous (Mountain View, Calif., with Google; Menlo Park, Calif., with Facebook). And while software may still be eating the world, networks will continue to evolve and computing (and storage) capabilities are more powerful and flexible than ever before, and thus there are still advantages by leveraging computing, networks and software. The next information technology first mover advantage is already clearly in front of us. Cleveland and the region need to understand that digitization and data analytics will be the single most important technology strategy for every company and organization for at least the next decade. To be clear, every city or region that wants to have a competitive business attraction and retention strategy must have world-class computing, networks, and software talents and tools. That said, tomorrow’s great companies and thriving regions will be those that stake ground on digitization and derivative economic engines like networked IoT devices, predicative analytics platforms, artificial intelligence, machine and deep learning. If your business or service is based on supply chains, logistics, financial services, service delivery, field operations, health informatics, or most every other sector of the economy, your competitive advantage and/or commitment to service excellence is now a function of your readiness to bet the house on digitization, data analytics, cognitive computing, and new decision-support algorithms. The first mover advantage has already gone elsewhere (Seattle with Amazon; Boston with GE). There is still a window of opportunity to be among the fast followers and reap value for company and wealth formation, and a regional economic strategy that places a bet on a relevant digital future. Where do we start? A recent survey by the Harvard Business Review concludes that companies cannot take advantage of advanced analytical techniques like artificial intelligence without digital transformation experience. Using a battery of statistics, they found that the odds of generating profit from using advanced analytical techniques are 50% higher for companies that have strong experience in digitization. The same can be said for regional economies as a whole. Regional first movers are also those economic knowledge zones that are the most digitized. Regions that are the most digitized have business, civic and government leadership that are already invested in advanced fiber optic networks,
cloud infrastructure and big data digital capabilities. The Greater Cleveland Partnership’s new strategic plan calls for investments in driving connectivity, including digital connectivity. The regional workforce board outlines three key workforce gaps — healthc are, manufacturing and digital skills — as “occupational pathways out of poverty.” Major philanthropic organizations in the region, like the Cleveland Foundation, are now focused on advancing a program of diverse and inclusive digital excellence. These are all very positive developments. There is, of course, room for additional strategic alignment. So, here are five ideas for advancing the region’s data analytics capabilities, from 2017 to 2025: 1. There are 23 universities and colleges in Northeast Ohio. At a minimum, the region needs those institutions and their collective intellectual power and business acumen to be loosely coupled in their approach to curriculum and degrees in digitization. A blue-ribbon taskforce should be convened to aspire to align market demand with the full range of degree and certificate offerings. 2. There is a regional imperative to support the digital upskilling of the current workforce. Nascent offerings from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management Executive Education program to those DigitalC offers as part of its Learning Studio offering are key to advancing our installed human resource capacity. A comprehensive regional digital upskilling investment fund is every bit as important as supporting the next generation workforce. 3. In cities around the world, corporations based in cities pursuing an integrated digital strategy have formed pre-competitive joint ventures and innovation collaborations. We need look no further than the Columbus Collaboratory to see the development of an impressive book of data analytics-related new intellectual property being co-created by the private sector. The region’s leadership should consider mobilizing a coalition of the willing to frame a unique Greater Cleveland offering that addresses our opportunities to co-create value and new companies. 4. Every city and county government should fully embrace a plan for digitizing the workings of government. As the Gartner research organization points out, there are at least five stages in the maturity curve for digitizing government, all of them involving an understanding of data and its relevance to good governance. Like most governments, we are at or approaching level 1, namely e-government offerings to drive efficiency, cost-savings, and a better citizen experience. As we advance, we should be mindful that next stages include open data, becoming data centric in policy and decision-making, fully digital, and finally “smart.” There are best practices from which to borrow and accelerate our own journeys. The Cleveland Code for America brigade might consider designing a scorecard on city readiness and development quarter over quarter as a publicly available monitoring tool. 5. Measure progress. As the adage goes, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” We can’t design and become a fast follower in the data-driven economy if some group or collection of persons isn’t going to bed at night and waking up in the morning to make our digitization strategy a regional priority. We know how to do this. From beating the odds on securing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to mobilizing around the Republican National Convention, to the newest collective effort to attract Amazon HQ2, we know how to do this. Collective action on a digital strategy and measuring progress may well be the most important thing business leaders can do over the next decade. Gonick is stepping down as CEO of DigitalC, a Cleveland-based nonprofit focused on using technology to solve problems, effective Nov. 1. He has accepted the position of chief information officer at Arizona State University.
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Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, a 364-bed hospital, opened in March 2015. The facility almost tripled its patient capacity in 2016. (Contributed photos)
Clinic is strengthening global grip
Health system’s success in Toronto, Abu Dhabi has trickle-down effects for Northeast Ohio By LYDIA COUTRÉ
Cleveland Clinic facilities outside the United States, once the Clinic’s London hospital opens. The facility is scheduled to debut in 2020.
Cleveland Clinic is cautiously optimistic that the system’s new relationship with a group interested in building a hospital in China could develop into something more. Invited by a “multinational group that has activities in several Asian countries,” the Clinic agreed to serve in an advisory role, said Bill Peacock, the Clinic’s chief of operations. For now, the Clinic is holding any further details on the early-stage partnership close to the vest. “I think we’re going to learn a lot, and I’m excited to see how it helps us project our future growth in international,” he said. The Clinic’s link to the potential hospital in China is the latest example of the health system’s efforts to make plays on the global health care stage. Today, the $8 billion health care system, in addition to its expansive network stateside, boasts facilities in Canada, the United Arab Emirates and, soon enough, the United Kingdom. The Clinic’s international conquest has been one of the hallmark achievements of Dr. Toby Cosgrove, who will step down as system
337,000+ Patient encounters for Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi in 2016.
The Clinic is converting a six-story office building in London into a 200-bed hospital that is expected to be up and running in three years.
CEO at year’s end after 13 years in the role. Cosgrove’s replacement, Dr. Tomislav “Tom” Mihaljevic, is now CEO of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi — the health system’s most ambitious international effort. The Clinic’s international portfolio, of course, is much more than bricks and mortar. The strategy is focused around five key areas: treatment of international patients, digital efforts like telehealth, advisory services like those in China, international hubs and education. “The world’s always changing. Sometimes there’s strife in one part of the world, or there
may be economic issues or there may be immigration issues or things like that,” Peacock said. “And as the world changes, the balance to that portfolio changes to some extent.” The Clinic’s work abroad has helped the system elevate its brand, expand its service lines, reach more patients, grow new muscles and bring expertise and resources back to its main campus in Cleveland. “Disease doesn’t know boundaries, and provision of care by really strong clinicians shouldn’t know boundaries, either,” Peacock said. The Clinic, of course, isn’t alone when it
comes to its work abroad, though it may be one of the most active. Mayo Clinic, the Minnesota-based health system often viewed as the Clinic’s fiercest competitor on the national stage, has referral offices in Colombia, Mexico and Ecuador. Through various sorts of arrangements, Pittsburgh-based UPMC has a presence in places such as Italy, Japan, Ireland and others. Interest among health organizations in international expansion goes back about 15 to 20 years, said Zachary Hafner, a national partner of consulting at Advisory Board, a global health care consulting firm. Organizations, particularly those with strong brand names, can go into other countries, find new markets to commercialize their intellectual property and command a margin, he said. SEE CLINIC, PAGE 13
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Acupuncture gaining acceptance in Ohio By TIMOTHY MAGAW firstname.lastname@example.org @timmagaw
The opioid epidemic, which has hit Ohio particularly hard, has prompted the medical community at large to more widely accept acupuncture as an effective method to treat pain. For one, Northeast Ohio’s largest health systems — Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals — report increased activity in their acupuncture practices. Both also recently extended acupuncture services as a covered benefit for their employees.
And perhaps signaling even greater acceptance of the ancient Chinese therapy, the state of Ohio in January added acupuncture as a covered service under Medicaid for low back pain and migraines, making the state a trailblazer of sorts in the Midwest, according to an Ohio Department of Medicaid spokesperson. The spokesperson said a proposal that expands the provider types that can offer the service is currently being reviewed. Moreover, hospitals across the country are working to provide more nonpharmacological options to treat pain and side effects associated with other treatment in advance of revised Joint Commission pain management
standards that take effect Jan. 1. Commercial insurance, for the most part, hasn’t added acupuncture services to its roster of benefits, but proponents are hopeful that will soon change as attitudes toward the therapy continue to shift. Last month, for example, the National Association of Attorneys General even sent a letter signed by 37 state attorneys general — Mike DeWine of Ohio was not one of them — to the America’s Health Insurance Plans advocacy group urging its members to prioritize non-opioid pain management options like acupuncture over opioid prescriptions for treatment of chronic pain. In the letter,
the attorneys general argued that the amount of pain reported by Americans has remained steady since 1999, though prescriptions for painkillers have almost quadrupled over that timeframe. At the Clinic, for instance, patients paying the full freight for acupuncture would be charged $120 for the first visit and $100 for follow-ups. Because of the lack of insurance coverage available, health systems like the Clinic and UH are increasingly hosting less costly group sessions — the Clinic charges $40 for such — where multiple patients receive treatment at the same time by a single practitioner. “There is much more acceptance
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in 2017 then there was a decade ago — from patient end and the physician end,” said Jamie Starkey, lead acupuncturist and manager of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Program at the Clinic’s Wellness Institute. “When we started, it was grassroots and we were lecturing to whoever would listen.” Acupuncture, of course, is the practice of inserting slender needles into the skin at certain points in the body, usually near nerves, practitioners say. The needle points tend to send messages along the nerves to the brain, which releases endorphins — natural opiates — that can reduce or eliminate entirely the message of pain being received by the brain. “A big misperception about acupuncture is that because it involves needles, they think it will hurt, but that’s rarely the case,” said Christine Kaiser, University Hospitals’ lead licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist at the system’s Connor Integrative Health Network, who was inspired to study acupuncture because she saw her father benefit from the treatment as he suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. She added, “They are the size of a human hair, and most people take a nap during treatment. ... Patients usually leave with a big smile.” Acupuncture’s effectiveness is wide ranging, according to its practitioners. In addition to treating migraines and lower back pain, they say it can be effective in treating some of the side effects of chemotherapy, menopausal symptoms, issues related to anxiety and even seasonal allergies. “One thing I wish people had a better understanding of — and this is a little more nuanced — what acupuncture is really best at is helping people who have multiple issues that they’re dealing with together,” said Jared West, a Cleveland-area acupuncturist in private practice who is also president of the Ohio Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. He added, “It’s a lot less expensive, we get people back to work sooner. Often, the people with multiple issues are the hardest to treat with conventional medicine.” At the major hospital systems, acupuncture is not viewed typically as an alternative treatment, but an integrated piece of a larger care plan. More and more, UH and the Clinic are integrating Eastern philosophies into their care plans, and both systems have dedicated centers to advance those concepts. UH’s Connor Integrative Health Network this fall will open an office at the health system’s flagship medical center downtown — a move that Kaiser sees as evidence that the center’s work is being accepted by physicians and system leadership. In addition to acupuncture, the center offers meditation, life coaching, yoga and massage therapy services. “We’re definitely being integrated throughout the health system,” Kaiser said. “More providers are asking us to come to the table when developing care ideas for their patients.” West, meanwhile, is glad that acupuncture is being accepted by Ohio’s Medicaid program to treat migraines and lower-back pain, but he would like to see it be accepted for other uses as well. “I wish we could go further. Why not make it more accessible?” he said. “It doesn’t make much sense to me.”
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In addition to care delivery, many are providing lab services, analytics, protocols, virtual products and more. “I think some of these players are really taking a global perspective on how do they expand their influence in health care and how do they expand their reach to really commercialize intellectual property and capabilities that they’ve developed,” Hafner said. “I don’t know that it’s quite so much about how do we create new care delivery capacity in other countries. There’s some of that, but I don’t think that’s the overarching strategy. There’s a lot of opportunities to expand into other markets domestically if that was all they were trying to accomplish.” Following the economic downturn in 2008, Hafner said the industry saw a bit of a retrenchment back to the United States and a focus on domestic work, but some — like the Clinic — have continued to push international work, realizing that to be influential in health care, they “have to have that influence not just in the United States, where 300 million of the 8 billion people on the planet live, but (they) have to be influential in other areas.”
International intrigue Though just one part of the Clinic’s international strategy, the hubs — where the Clinic is directly responsible for providing care — are the most visible examples of work abroad. It has been 10 years since the Clinic opened its first international hub with Cleveland Clinic Canada in downtown Toronto, focused on partnerships in the Toronto area. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, a 364-
Cleveland Clinic Canada debuted in downtown Toronto in 2007. (Contributed photo)
bed multispecialty hospital offering critical and acute care services, opened in March 2015. Last year, it grew its outpatient services and almost tripled patient capacity, according to the Clinic. The hospital had more than 337,000 patient encounters in 2016. Thanks to the clinical capability built there, the layer of Cleveland Clinic talent and culture, and the physicians brought in from around the word, the Abu Dhabi hospital has been “incredibly successful,” Peacock said. “We’re being perceived as a regional center for medical innovation and education, and Cleveland’s name is on everything we do there,” he said. “So Cleveland Clinic is on the building, it’s on every sign in the building, and it’s on every lab coat of every doctor who performs care
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there.” Up next is Cleveland Clinic London, where the Clinic is converting a six-story, 198,000-square-foot building from an office space to a roughly 200-bed hospital. It received approval from local authorities in January 2017 to begin the work on the facility, which is slated to open in 2020. A move into the United Kingdom is very specific to that environment, where the private sector is growing as an alternative option to the taxpayer-funded National Health Services system, said Mark Votruba, a professor at Case Western Reserve University who studies health economics. The Clinic sees itself as potentially being a major player on the private side. But there’s a risk behind that expansion, he said, as the economics of the public health care system won’t necessarily remain the same.
“The private health care market in London and in England is somewhat dependent on how generous the national health services is funded,” Votruba said. “If the British National Health Service suddenly became really well funded, that would put a damper on demand for private alternatives and that would leave the Cleveland Clinic in a potentially dangerous place.” But when global efforts are successful, Peacock said, it gives the system the opportunity to find other sources of revenue to reinvest in Cleveland and the Clinic. It grants the Clinic exposure to international talent, research, thinking, treatments and pharmaceuticals, which “only helps strengthen Cleveland Clinic and in turn, Cleveland as a powerhouse for delivering quality care and great outcomes.”
Part of the Clinic’s role as a major contributor to the local economy stems from its ability to bring people from outside the city and region to Cleveland to get their care, Votruba said. A system with that sort of national and international reputation is a “very powerful” boon for Cleveland. “If expanding increases that brand and increases their reputation abroad, I think all those things are at least indirectly beneficial to the region,” Votruba said. Every week, the Clinic receives invitations to go somewhere in the world — often to build a new hospital, Peacock said. Obviously unable to accept every offer that comes across its plate, the Clinic carefully weighs each. “For places like Cleveland Clinic, where their brand is synonymous with success and excellence and being able to achieve the impossible, any kind of failure is concerning,” Hafner said. “I think that’s probably the bigger risk than the financial risk associated with making the investment.” In a time when the health care industry faces tremendous change, a presence on the global stage helps the Clinic to think agilely, according to Peacock. The system is exposed to different payment mechanisms, legal and regulatory requirements, levels of government versus private insurer involvement, physician credentialing systems, education approaches and more, allowing the Clinic to understand things “much more than we would if we’d never poked our head outside of this particular area,” Peacock said. “And as we play in these different models, I think it helps us think about the models we may be having to operate in under a future U.S. health care system.”
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In 2015, the Obama administration launched the Precision Medicine Initiative — an effort designed to bring national attention to a health care approach that takes into account variability in genes, environmental factors and lifestyle for each person. The role of precision medicine in day-to-day clinical care is still limited, but Northeast Ohio could play a major part in bringing it to the mainstream. Proponents point to genomics as an area of personalized health that can revolutionize all aspects of the health care delivery system. Genomics is the study of genes in making pinpoint therapeutic decisions, where care is based on the understanding of unique health and disease attributes. This potentially transformative discipline is the subject of the Cleveland Clinic’s Medical Innovation Summit, to be held Oct. 23-25 downtown. The summit is set to gather more than 2,000 health care and business leaders, among them Dr. Charis Eng, founder of the Clinic’s Genomic Medicine Institute (GMI). Eng is a firm believer in the promise of genomics and precision medicine, having identified four of 10 genes known to be associated with breast cancer and another six connected to Cowden syndrome, a disorder that carries high risk of breast, thyroid and other cancers. Whether it’s called precision medicine, personalized medicine or genomic health care, the idea is to tailor medical care, eschewing a traditional “one-size-fits-all” approach. In practice, people carrying genetic variants
in their breast cancer tumors may respond well to a particular treatment, while that same therapy may not be as effective in patients without those genetic variants. “Surveillance and prevention (compared to traditional care) is quite different,” Eng said. “We’re seeing what organs are at risk, and even what ages are at risk.” Eng also helped developed MyFamily, a tool that stores a patient’s family health history in their electronic medical record. By flagging potential genetic conditions that may appear in future checkups, the webbased application predicts disease risks, ideally facilitating personalized preventative care planning. “If there’s any family history or other red flags, these people can be referred for genetic evaluation and testing,” Eng said. Facilitating the MyFamily app is Family Care Path, a local startup led by Eng and CEO David McKee. Hospital systems and health care providers using the company’s technology engage patients in discrete data collection prior to medical appointments. “An individual may find out about colorectal cancer in their family, so a doctor would tell them to get a colonoscopy at age 25 instead of 50,” McKee said. MyFamily covers 12 “actionable” diseases, including osteoporosis and cancer. Including this information in electronic medical records cuts down on the nearly five hours each day physicians spend updating patient records, according to company data. Although the app is used by clients in Brazil, China and throughout the United States, penetrating hospital systems is generally difficult, meaning the company often reaches
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on care on the spot c n c ans hrough he r e ec ron c med ca record prov ders “Hea h care has sh ed o ou paen s ay so s abou br ng ng n new oo s o rack pa en s” McKee sa d “Embedd ng h s n o n o he EMR s cr ca cons der ng a docor s me s so mpor an ”
Mak ng l fe eas er for doctors The C n c s prec s on med c ne summ nc udes d scuss ons on genom c sequenc ng and gene herapy areas ha suppor ers be eve ho d he key o manag ng and e m na ng any number o deb a ng d seases GenomOnco ogy s a C eveand-based hea h care T company deve op ng so ware ha ana yzes genom c da a resu ng n s mp e c n ca repor s ha enab e c n c ans o op m ze rea men or cancer pa en s Based on da a rom a person s genome he company s GO C n ca Workbench oo ou nes a drug s effec veness and nd ca es wha c n ca r a s are bes su ed or a par cu ar pa en “Cancer s a d sease o mu a on ” sa d GenomOnco ogy pres den and CEO Manue G yn as “We re ab e o unders and some o hose mu a ons and make dec s ons on wha herap es a pa en shou d rece ve” As he echno ogy moves ahead G yn as s charged w h so v ng how onco og s s can n egra e genom c da a n o he r da y workflows Offerng doc ors a p aybook boas ng dea ed d sease da ase s can speed up he yp ca y arduous process o ge ng pa en s n o c n ca r a s he sa d “Abou 2 000 r a s and 50 herap es have a genom c componen ” G yn as sa d “Ana ys s s very d fficu or he common onco og s who
sees every k nd o cancer There are 10 synonyms a one or non-sma ce ung cancer By enab ng dec s on suppor doc ors w use h s n orma on o br ng prec s on med c ne o he masses” Dr S an on Gerson d rec or o he Case Comprehens ve Cancer Cen er s co- ounder o Rodeo Therapeu cs wh ch deve ops drugs ha promo e he body s repa r o d seased or damaged ssues The s ar up s n a ocus o crea e rea men s or nflamma ory bowe d sease and ano her ha can he p cancer pa en s ce s grow qu cky o ow ng s em ce ransp an s Reach ng h s goa s us he s ar Gerson no ed Rodeo s work ng on drugs ha nh b an enzyme ca ed 15PGDH wh ch has been shown o acce era e he regenera ve process n m ce 15-PGDH nh b ors s mu a ed hea ng o co s and qu ckened bone marrow recovery o ow ng a ransp an The company s echno ogy s based n par on Gerson s work n s em ce and gene c research as we as gene herap es and cancer drug deve opmen Though s n he ear y s ages he new nh b or drug can serve prec s on med c ne by access ng pa en s carry ng he enzyme “There are very ew herapeu cs where we know prec se y he enzyme be ng arge ed ” Gerson sa d “We have o ge o he po n where we can nk enzyme eve s o c n ca u y ” C eve and C n c s Eng sa d hosp a sys ems and academ c ns u ons a ke mus con nue o ma ns ream d a ogue regard ng he over ap o genom cs and prec s on hea h “Prec s on med c ne suppor has o come rom he op down hen a concer ed effor ( n he area) mus be pushed orward” Eng sa d “We re see ng h s a he C n c”
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CLEVELAND BUSINESS VOL. 36, NO. 47
NOVEMBER 23 - NOVEMBER 29, 2015
35th Anniversary ALLYSON O’KEEFE, 37 Partner; Porter Wright
VOL. 36, NO. 47
NOVEMBER 23 - NOVEMBER 29, 2015 Allyson O’Keefe started her legal career at Porter Wright in 2004 after completing a summer internship there as a Case Western Reserve University law student. Since then, she has worked on many significant deals across Cleveland, including Flats East Bank, The Metropolitan at the 9, Uptown in University Circle and Steelyard Commons, and has been promoted to real estateALLYSON partner. O’KEEFE, 37 “Young professionals who live downtown are so excited about the city,” said O’Keefe, a Partner; Porter Columbus native who lived downtown forWright 10 years before moving to Rocky River. “The ones who aren’t from here are often more excited about it. When you move here from somewhere you don’t else, for granted.” VOL. 36, NO. take 47 it Allyson NOVEMBER 23 - NOVEMBER 29, 2015 O’Keefe started her legal career at Porter Wright in 2004 after completing a sumWhen O’Keefe is not working or spending time with her husband and two children, she can mer internship there as a Case Western Reserve University law student. Since then, she has be found volunteering on the boards of nonprofit organizations and watching college football. worked on many significant deals across Cleveland, including Flats East Bank, The Metropolitan at the 9, Uptown in University Circle and Steelyard Commons, and has been proWHAT HAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT YOUR WORK? moted to real estateALLYSON partner. O’KEEFE, Just seeing what Cleveland has gone through in the time that I’ve 37 been here, there’s obvious“Young professionals who live downtown are so excited about the city,” said O’Keefe, a ly a lot of excitement around real estatePartner; development. I started in 2004 when we were crazy Porter Columbus native who lived downtown for Wright 10 years before moving to Rocky River. “The ones busy with development. That was sort of the boom from ’04 through ’08. I saw it go through who aren’t from here are often more excited about it. When you move here from somewhere the downturn, then I saw it rise again, even stronger than before locally. else, you don’t take it for granted.” Allyson O’Keefe started her legal career at Porter Wright in 2004 after completing a sumWhen O’Keefe is not working or spending time with her husband and two children, she can mer internship as a Case Western Reserve University law student. Since then, she has ANY OF THE PROJECTS YOU WORKED ON there ARE MIXED-USE URBAN PROJECTS. MANY IS be found volunteering on the boards of nonprofit organizations and watching college football. worked on many significant deals across Cleveland, including Flats East Bank, The THAT AN AREA OF EXPERTISE? Metropolitan at the 9, Uptown in every University and Steelyard Commons, and has been probecause deal Circle is differYes, definitely. Real estate is extremely interesting W HAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT YOUR WORK? WHAT moted to real estate ent. You can never get bored because there’s so partner. much variety there, from tax Just seeing what Cleveland has gone through in the time that I’ve been here, there’s obvious“Young who live downtown so excited about the city,” said O’Keefe, a credits to historic renovations, from professionals ground-up development to rehab, are from ly a lot of excitement around real estate development. I started in 2004 when we were crazy mixed-use to residential. Columbus native who lived downtown for 10 years before moving to Rocky River. “The ones busy with development. That was sort of the boom from ’04 through ’08. I saw it go through who aren’t from here are often more excited about it. When you move here from somewhere the downturn, then I saw it rise again, even stronger than before locally. else, you LEADERSHIP don’t take it for granted.” HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE STYLE? YOUR
Le he Cus om Rep n Depa men he p you eve age h s g ea p ess
O’KeefeI expect is not working or spending timeI work, with her husband and two children, she can I definitely believe in leadingWhen by example. the people with whom MANY OF THE PROJECTS YOU WORKED ON ARE MIXED-USE URBAN PROJECTS. IS be found volunteering on the very boards of nonprofit and watching college football. my associates, to work hard, and they see me working hard. For me, it’sorganizations all THAT AN AREA OF EXPERTISE? about working hard and doing good work. Yes, definitely. Real estate is extremely interesting because every deal is differWHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT YOUR WORK? WHAT ent. You can never get bored because there’s so much variety there, from tax Just WHAT seeingWAS whatITCleveland has gone the time that I’ve been here, there’s obviousWHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING: LIKE TO WORK WITHthrough O’KEEFEinON credits to historic renovations, from ground-up development to rehab, from ly a lot of excitement around real estate development. I started in 2004 when we were crazy THE FLATS EAST BANK PROJECT? mixed-use to residential. busy with development. of the boom from ’04 through ’08. I saw it go through “Allyson is extremely bright and quick witted, butThat whatwas trulysort distinguishes her the downturn, then I saw itpeople rise again, even from most successful attorneys is her exceptional skills. Shestronger has an than before locally. H OW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE? HOW uncanny ability to encourage the ‘adversaries’ in her negotiations to work in I definitely believe in leading by example. I expect the people with whom I work, OF THE PROJECTS YOU WORKED concert with her to achieve win/win MANY solutions to difficult problems,” said ON ARE MIXED-USE UR my associates, to work hard, and they see me working very hard. For me, it’s all THAT AN AREA EXPERTISE?of the Scott Wolstein, CEO of Starwood Retail Partners andOF co-developer about working hard and doing good work. Yes, definitely. Real estate is extremely interesting because every deal is differFlats East Bank project. ent. You can never get bored because there’s so much variety there, from tax — Lee Chilcote WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING: WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO WORK WITH O’KEEFE ON credits to historic renovations, from ground-up development to rehab, from THE FLATS EAST BANK PROJECT? mixed-use to residential. “Allyson is extremely bright and quick witted, but what truly distinguishes her
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successfulInc. attorneys is reserved. her exceptional people skills. She has an Reprinted with permission from the Crain's Cleveland Business. © 2015from Crainmost Communications All Rights HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE? ability to encourage the ‘adversaries’ in her negotiations to work in Further duplication without permission is prohibited. Visituncanny www.crainscleveland.com. #CC15040
I definitely believe in leading by example. I expect the people with whom I work, concert with her to achieve win/win solutions to difficult problems,” said my associates, to work hard, and they see me working very hard. For me, it’s all Scott Wolstein, CEO of Starwood Retail Partners and co-developer of the about working hard and doing good work. Flats East Bank project.
— Lee Chilcote WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING: WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO WORK W THE FLATS EAST BANK PROJECT? “Allyson is extremely bright and quick witted, but what truly distinguishes her successfulInc. attorneys her exceptional people skills. She has an Reprinted with permission from the Crain's Cleveland Business. © 2015from Crainmost Communications All Rightsisreserved. ability to encourage the ‘adversaries’ in her negotiations to work in Further duplication without permission is prohibited. Visituncanny www.crainscleveland.com. #CC15040 concert with her to achieve win/win solutions to difficult problems,” said Scott Wolstein, CEO of Starwood Retail Partners and co-developer of the Flats East Bank project.
Reprinted with permission from the Crain's Cleveland Business. © 2015 Crain Communications Inc. All Rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. Visit www.crainscleveland.com. #CC15040
Are you an individual with $10 million or more seeking advice? Advice and insight across generations 5PEBZ CBDLFE CZ IF FYQBOT WF H PCB FTPV DFT P 6#4 BOE T ZFB BE PO P TF W OH TPNF P IF XP E T XFB I FT BN FT PV FBN IBT OFWF CFFO CF F QPT POFE P TF WF PV B VFO D FO T BOE IF BN FT ' PN DPNQ FY NV HFOF B POB Q BOO OH P XFB I Q FTF WB PO T B FH FT BOE BOT F XF B F ZPV TPV DF P OBOD B T FXB ETI Q BOE BEW DF C eve and Wea th Management Team W am G Murphy C MA® 4FO P 7 DF 1 FT EFO ¾ 8FB I .BOBHFNFO 1 WB F 8FB I "EW TP
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Q&A: Walter Jones
Senior VP, transformation, MetroHealth Following a successful $1.3 billion expansion at Parkland Health in Dallas, a colleague asked what was next for Walter Jones, the man responsible for the planning, design and development of the 865-bed hospital project. “I asked, ‘Where’s the next billion-dollar project?’ ” Jones recalled. That led him to MetroHealth, the Cleveland-based health system in the throes of an ambitious
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effort to remake its aging campus off West 25th Street at a cost of about $1 billion. The project’s first phase — the 100,000-square-foot Critical Care Pavilion (CCP) — opened last summer in advance of the Republican National Convention. And now that financing for the remainder of the project has been secured, it’s Jones’ job to deliver what he believes will be the most impressive health care facility in Cleveland. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. — Timothy Magaw As of this month, you’ve been at MetroHealth for three years. What are you most proud of? Certainly, there have been some physical achievements — the CCP (Critical Care Pavilion) and the Brecksville Health & Surgery Center. Having the CCP act as an advance look of the direction we’re going has been nice to have. When I arrived, the CCP was just a budget number. That was it. Between then and Christmas of that year, the statement was made that we had to get this project started in January, finish it in 18 months to have it operating in time for the Republican National Convention. That was a bit of a feat — getting the architects, engineers, contractors on board, developing floor plans and getting it built. It was a compressed timeframe, but everybody pulled their weight and we got it done. With CCP, what lessons are being applied to the new hospital and broader transformation? The period of time between
completing the facility and operating it was less than 45 days. The environment is extremely different from anything else on the campus, and for a large component of the staff, MetroHealth had been their home for the majority, if not all, of their careers. So, a lesson learned would be being able to transition a little less suddenly. That’s something we certainly plan to do. Also, six months after we opened, we were able to measure a significant increase in patient satisfaction. These are the same types of ICU patients we lifted from the existing hospital and put in the CCP, and we changed only one variable: the environment — not the personnel, service or anything else. Yet the scores, in terms of patient satisfaction, skyrocketed. How do you manage expectations from employees, patients and the broader community? At its very core, what I have to do is responsibly use the funding provided
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to build a new hospital. In some cases, I may not be able to address every aspiration out there. We have to start with what we’re about — the core — which is meeting the health care needs of the population we serve. We have to make sure we provide the right environment for their health to be restored. Next, it branches out to the staff that supports them and that they have a space that is supportive of their work and a place they want to come to every day. And then beyond that is where it gets trickier — what it means to the community. What we will have is the largest privately funded public project in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County in a good long time. That commands a lot of attention for the construction industry, and that has trickle-down effects. How would you describe the aesthetic of the new hospital? To be honest, I don’t know yet. The CCP is a good example of the feel and tone of what we want to create. Are we looking to do something with what you would consider a “Cleveland design” or something more worldly or international? I don’t know. But we do recognize our geographic position here. We will be a gateway building. If you approach the city from the airport, you can’t miss us. We will be a reference point, so we will give careful consideration to the aesthetics. We don’t want to be the ugly icon. I expect those will be some of the more interesting conversations we’ll have.
CRAINâ€™S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
O C T O B E R 9 - 15 , 2 017
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HEALTH CARE Adviser: Jeff Smith
Cyber attacks too often take aim at benefits plans Over recent years, cybersecurity attacks facing the health care industry have grown increasingly more frequent and sophisticated. Given its relatively weak security and access to highly sensitive information, the health care industry is particularly vulnerable to devastating data breaches. In fact, a recent survey by Accenture revealed that health care data breaches impact more than one in four Americans. In addition, 50% of the victims eventually suffer medical identity theft, with an average of $2,500 out-of-pocket costs. With the rise of electronic means such as mobile technology and carrier apps to improve the access to and delivery of health benefits, company-sponsored health benefit plans are now becoming a major target for cybercriminals. By gaining access to health benefit plans, hackers can expose two types of valuable data: personally identifiable information such as names, addresses and social security numbers, and protected health data such as health insurance information or an employeeâ€™s medical history. The stolen data is then monetized by selling it to cybercriminals who use the information for financial transactions, or through ransomware attacks that demand payment in exchange for the security of the private data. But as this new area of compliance unfolds, what does it mean for the way plan sponsors should operate their health benefit plans and protect participant data? If a plan sponsor maintains all health benefit plan data on paper under lock and key, there is clearly no cybersecurity risk at play. However, in todayâ€™s digital age, it is rare for a health benefit plan to operate in this way. In most cases, company-sponsored health benefit plans involve many different parties, with participant data being stored and transmitted almost entirely online â€” such as in the cloud or via mobile technology and carrier apps. As a result, this puts plan sponsors at an increased risk of cybersecurity attacks by opening up a variety of potential entry points for cybercriminals to easily access the private data of plan participants.
Smith is a partner at the Cleveland office of Fisher Phillips.
third-party service providers, as well as their contracts or terms of service, to determine whether they will adequately bear responsibility for their security risks. Do they adhere to cur-
rent standards for data security? Can this be demonstrated through a certification or audit report? Does the agreement unfairly place the burden of security risk on your company? Does the service provider limit the amount of damages resulting from a data breach in its system? Itâ€™s common for service providers to limit damages to costs paid under a contract. However, will that be enough for your company to cover the fallout from a data breach? â– Consider a cybersecurity insurance policy that will help your com-
pany get through the immediate aftermath of a cybersecurity attack. When shopping for insurance, plan sponsors should avoid a policy that only pays out once claims have been filed, as this may not fully protect the company. Instead, look for a policy that pays upon a data breach because it can be used immediately to address the threat, such as paying for specialists to help manage and control the data breach and for legal counsel to develop a defense. â– Be informed on changing securi-
ty standards. Cybercriminals will always find ways to hack into the latest technology, so itâ€™s important that plan sponsors be vigilant in ensuring their cybersecurity measures and insurance policies remain up to date â€” and perhaps even ahead of the curve. By having proactive measures in place to help protect company-sponsored health benefit plans, employers will be better equipped to identify and address any cybersecurity threats before a data breach occurs.
THEREâ€™ S ONLY ONE THING TO DO WITH A CROOK E D S TOCK BROK E R .
Developing a strategy Although plan sponsors typically think about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) when it comes to the security of their participant data, there is far more that needs to be considered. In order to help minimize cybersecurity risks, plan sponsors should develop a strategy for addressing potential cybersecurity threats to their health benefit plans. This cybersecurity strategy should: â– Identify areas where there is risk. First and foremost, plan sponsors should take a look at their own internal controls for data security. Are there any vulnerabilities that should be shored up? If yes, fix them. This will not only help protect data associated with health benefit plans, but other company data as well. Next, identify all third parties that will access or store plan data. â– Conduct a thorough review of
S T R A IGH T E N HIM OU T. At Meyer Wilson, weâ€™ve been successfully representing individual investors against their brokerage Â€UPVIRUPRUHWKDQ\HDUV:HČ‡YHGRQHLWORFDOO\:HČ‡YHGRQHLWQDWLRQDOO\$QGZHČ‡YHEXLOWRXU UHSXWDWLRQRQRXUVXFFHVV6RLI\RXNQRZRIDVWRFNEURNHUZKRLVFURRNHGQHJOLJHQWRUMXVWSODLQ QRWVPDUWHQRXJKWRGRWKHULJKWWKLQJFDOOXV:HFDQKHOS
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PA G E 18
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CRAINâ€™S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
Largest Accounting Firms Ranked by Number of Local CPAs
LOCAL PERSONNEL ENGAGED IN
FULL-TIME LOCAL WORLDWIDE EMPLOYEES; EMPLOYEES % 2016 REVENUE CHANGE 8/31/2017
Ernst & Young LLP, Cleveland (216) 861-5000/www.ey.com
Julie Boland, Cleveland office managing partner; Jerry Gootee, Akron office managing partner
PwC LLP, Cleveland (216) 875-3000/www.pwc.com
Mark Ross Lake Erie Market managing partner
Cohen & Co., Cleveland (216) 579-1040/www.cohencpa.com
Randall S. Myeroff president, CEO
Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries, Cleveland (216) 589-1300/www.deloitte.com
Paul Wellener Northeast Ohio managing principal
KPMG LLP, Cleveland (216) 696-9100/www.us.kpmg.com
John S. MacIntosh managing partner
BDO, Solon (440) 248-8787/www.bdo.com
Robert M. Littman Ohio managing partner
RSM US LLP, Cleveland (216) 523-1900/www.rsmus.com
Dave Andrews Ohio Market managing partner
Meaden & Moore, Cleveland (216) 241-3272/www.meadenmoore.com
James P. Carulas CEO
Maloney + Novotny LLC, Cleveland (216) 363-0100/www.maloneynovotny.com
Matthew J. Maloney managing shareholder
Skoda Minotti Cos., Mayfield Village (440) 449-6800/www.skodaminotti.com
Gregory J. Skoda chairman
Bober, Markey, Fedorovich & Co., Akron (330) 762-9785/www.bmfcpa.com
Richard C. Fedorovich CEO, managing partner
CliftonLarsonAllen, Canton (330) 497-2000/www.CLAconnect.com
Steven O. Pittman, managing principal, Canton and Akron offices
Grant Thornton LLP, Cleveland (216) 771-1400/www.grantthornton.com
Thomas P. Freeman Office managing partner
HBK CPAs & Consultants, Canfield (330) 758-8613/www.hbkcpa.com
Phillip L. Wilson COO
Jerome P. Grisko Jr. president, CEO
THIS YEAR COMPANY
Inc., Independence 15 CBIZ 447-9000/www.cbiz.com THE(216) LIST
Largest Accounting Firms Ranked by Number of Local CPAs
LOCAL CPAS THIS YEAR COMPANY
TOP LOCAL EXECUTIVE
YOUR BUSINESS IS OUR BUSINESS LOCAL PERSONNEL ENGAGED IN Â˜Â—Â?ÂŠÂŒÂ?ČąÂŠÄ´Â‘ÂŽÂ ČąÂŠÂ•Â˜Â—ÂŽÂ˘ČąĆ¸ČąÂ–Â–ÂŠÂ•Â˜Â—ÂŽÂ˘Č“Â–ÂŠÂ•Â˜Â—ÂŽÂ˘Â—Â˜Â&#x;Â˜Â?Â—Â˘ÇŻÂŒÂ˜Â–ČąĆ¸ČąĹ˜Ĺ—ĹœÇŻĹ™ĹœĹ™ÇŻĹ–Ĺ—Ĺ–Ĺ–
FULL-TIME LOCAL WORLDWIDE EMPLOYEES; EMPLOYEES % 2016 REVENUE CHANGE 8/31/2017
TOP LOCAL EXECUTIVE
HW&Co., Beachwood (216) 831-1200/www.hwco.com
John P. Fleischer president, CEO
Apple Growth Partners, Akron (330) 867-7350/www.applegrowth.com
Charles Mullen chairman
The Siegfried Group LLP, Cleveland (216) 912-1342/www.siegfriedgroup.com
Brian Seidner, managing director, Lake Erie Markets-Cleveland, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Toledo
Barnes Wendling CPAs Inc., Cleveland (216) 566-9000/www.barneswendling.com
Jeffrey D. Neuman president, director
Walthall LLP (2), Independence (216) 573-2330/www.walthall.com
Richard T. Lash chairman
Pease & Associates LLC, Cleveland (216) 348-9600/www.peasecpa.com
Joseph V. Pease Jr. chairman
Corrigan Krause, Westlake (440) 471-0800/www.corrigankrause.com
Thomas L. Harrison managing director
Sikich LLP, Akron (330) 864-6661/www.sikich.com
David A. Brockman partner-in-charge, Akron
Ciuni & Panichi Inc., Beachwood (216) 831-7171/www.cp-advisors.com
Brian D. Marita president
Plante Moran PLLC, Cleveland (216) 523-1010/www.plantemoran.com
Daniel P. Hursh office managing partner
Four-Fifteen Group, Canton (330) 492-0094/www.415group.com
Frank J. Monaco managing partner
Hobe & Lucas CPAs Inc., Independence (216) 524-8900/www.hobe.com
James P. Gero, chairman; William F. Wildenheim, president, CFO
Novogradac & Co., Cleveland (216) 298-9000/www.novoco.com
Renee Beaver partner
Zinner & Co. LLP, Beachwood (216) 831-0733/www.zinnerco.com
Robin L. Baum managing partner
Crowe Horwath LLP, Cleveland (216) 623-7500/www.crowehorwath.com
Greg McClure office managing partner
RESEARCHED BY CHUCK SODER
Want the full version of this list Ă‘ and every other Crain's list? Become a Data Member: CrainsCleveland.com/data
The full digital list includes 37 companies and names of additional executives. Information is supplied by the companies. Crain's does not independently verify the information and there is no guarantee these listings are complete or accurate. Have questions, suggestions or corrections? Contact Chuck Soder: email@example.com (1) Apple Growth Partners acquired KPFF LLC of Beachwood on Jan. 1, 2017, and it acquired Schlabig & Associates on July 1, 2017. (2) Walthall LLP is slated to be acquired by Rea & Associates on Nov. 1.
CRAINâ€™S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
List: Local accounting MRI firms stock up on CPAs
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
By CHUCK SODER firstname.lastname@example.org @ChuckSoder
The number of certified public accountant employed by the companies on our Largest Accounting Firms list just keeps rising. The 37 firms on the full digital list added 59 local CPAs to their ranks over the past year â€” a 3% increase. That sort of increase has been typical over the past six years. Consider the top 27 firms on the list, all of which have consistently submitted data for this list since 2008: In August of that year â€” just before the stock market crashed â€” they employed 1,626 local CPAs. That number fell slightly over the next few years, but in 2012 it started creeping up year after year. Now itâ€™s up to 1,883 â€” a 16% increase in 10 years. From this data, we canâ€™t tell whether local firms have been hiring lots of CPAs or the other accountants they employ have been passing the CPA exam in large numbers. But one thing is clear: There is strong demand for accountants in general, according to a story we ran last week called â€œWin or get eaten: The war for accounting talent heats up.â€? For that story, we asked the companies on this list whether recruiting had become easier or harder over the
last two years. Seventeen of the 28 respondents, 61%, said recruiting had become harder. Only six respondents, 21%, said it was getting easier. So the number of CPAs at these firms is growing. But are these companies adding other types of positions? On the whole, no, at least not this year: For the entire list, total local employment was up, but when you factor out the CPA increase, it was roughly flat between Aug. 31, 2016 and that same date in 2017. But things were different a few years ago: The top 27 firms have added about 300 non-CPA positions in Northeast Ohio since 2011 â€” an 11% increase. Now they employ 2,966 non-CPAs in this region, which is about where they were before the 2008 stock market crash. Throughout the entire decade, Ernst & Young has been the No. 1 firm on the list, which is ranked by number of local CPAs. And itâ€™s not even close: They have 305 local CPAs; PwC, at No. 2, has 160. But the firm at No. 3 â€” Cohen & Co. â€” has been adding CPAs to its roster almost every year. It has moved up a few spots on the list over the past decade. And this year Apple Growth Partners jumped from No. 24 to No. 17. How? It acquired KPFF LLC of Beachwood and Schlabig & Associates of Akron.
â€œWeâ€™re going to improve our facilities across the board,â€? Ghilani said. â€œWeâ€™re getting rid of the old-school, high-wall cloth cubicles to add new furnishings and world-class socialization places.â€? To provide an incentive for the new work, the city of Solon recently replaced its half-expired prior 10year tax incentive agreement with MRI with a new, 10-year agreement. The company had pledged to have 295 workers by the end of 2016. It now has 405. Under the pact Solon City Council approved on Sept. 18, MRI will receive an incentive equal to half the city income taxes paid by staffers if it adds another 133 jobs by the end of another 10 years, according to Peggy Weil Dorfman, Solon economic development coordinator. The income tax incentive means the company will get a check from the suburb for $440,000 annually for the next five years and about $95,000 annually after that, Weil Dorfman said. The figure drops as the original incentive expires in five years. â€œWeâ€™re happy to provide the incentive,â€? she said. â€œWe know they had other options they could pursue.â€? Although MRI's global headquarters is Solon, it also has U.S. offices in Atlanta and Dallas, and offices in five other cities around the globe. The Solon pact maintains in the suburb a company with a payroll of about $28 million yearly that looks poised to continue to grow. â€œWeâ€™re super happy to exceed the
â€œWeâ€™re going to improve our facilities across the board.â€? â€” Patrick Ghilani, MRI Software CEO
prior guideline,â€? Ghilani said, adding that MRI sees the 133 jobs it agreed to create as conservative. â€œThe numbers go up and down through the year, but we have a newhire class monthly,â€? Ghilani said, with 12 current openings here listed on its website. MRI has completed five acquisitions in the last year, which accounts for the larger part of its current revenue growth, but is also expanding at a double-digit percentage rate through continued sales of its existing and additional software packages. Privately held MRI does not disclose specific revenues, but announced Sept. 12 it had its 15th consecutive quarter of revenue growth and the number of its clients grew by 136% during the second quarter of 2017 compared with the like period in 2016. The company credited some of the expansion to â€œstrong adoptionâ€? by MRIâ€™s existing client base of two recently acquired solutions integrated into the companyâ€™s residential suite for owners and operators of multifamily properties. One is Call Max, an automated communications solution, and another is ResidentCheck, a resident screening service. MRIâ€™s technology platform is designed to meet the needs of real estate businesses from property-level management and accounting to in-
O C T O B E R 9 - 15 , 2 017
Phone: (216) 771-5276 Contact: Lynn Calcaterra E-mail: CLBClassified@crain.com
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vestment modeling and analytics for the global commercial and residential markets. â€œSince 2010, when the recovery of real estate occurred as an investment asset, weâ€™ve had more successful public (real estate investment trusts) than at any time in the history of that business type. Real estate has matured globally as an asset,â€? Ghilani said, which has brought greater interest in financial reporting. â€œItâ€™s not the case any more that real estate is a laggard in adopting technology,â€? he added. â€œNow itâ€™s highly demanding technology.â€? MRI products are structured so that they can be suited to various property types, from office and industrial to retail and affordable housing, or to different types of users, from property managers to investment fund managers. Ghilani said MRI serves some of the largest institutional investors, property managers and owner-operators around the globe, but declined to specifically identify any. However, MRIâ€™s website discloses the identities of some as they have signed on or agreed to use new versions of its software, such as London-based Savills Plc brokerage and management firm and Arlington, Va.-based AvalonBay Communities Inc., which operates 75,000 apartments. MRI, now owned by GI Partners of San Francisco and global private equity fund TA Associates and MRI Management, was founded in 1971 in Beachwood and used mainframes for its services that later migrated to personal computers. Now, Ghilani said, 95% of its sales are cloud-based.
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Ĺ˜60,000 SF building on 5.93 acres (approx.) Ĺ˜2IÂżFH(GXFDWLRQDO)) ($YDLODEOH (ULF06LOYHU5HFHLYHU Ag5HDO(VWDWH*URXS,QF LQIR#DJUHDOHVWDWHJURXSFRP
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A place for retail, entrepreneurs to grow By SUE WALTON email@example.com @SueWalton_Bolts
Joel Testa sees the new Northside Marketplace as an antidote to retail’s woes. “This is how we bring retail back,” the president of Testa Companies said on a recent tour of the project. He also sees it as a springboard for young Akron businesses to gain a foothold. And if those companies can do that, it’s another step in revitalizing downtown and bringing in residents. Set for a soft opening in mid-October, the roughly 10,000-square-foot Northside Marketplace, on the ground floor of the Testa’s Northside Lofts development on Furnace Street, brings together 40 local entrepreneurs under one roof. “We wanted to capitalize on the demand generators that were already here,” Testa said, referring to the Northside’s already bustling businesses: Courtyard Marriott, Dante Boccuzzi Restaurant, Luigi’s Restaurant and assorted galleries. The project isn’t Testa’s alone. It’s also backed by the Downtown Akron Partnership — which is offering business mentoring and aid to qualified entrepreneurs through its pop-up retail program — and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Of the marketplace vendors, seven are part of DAP’s pop-up program, said Christine Vadala, DAP’s director of business development, adding the program can accommodate about seven more. Through a $22,000 grant from the Knight Foundation, DAP is running the third phase of its pop-up program at the marketplace, Vadala said. The first two phases aimed to fill up downtown storefronts. The third focuses on the marketplace by subsidizing small business owners’ rent for six months. Subsidies work on a sliding scale so owners get more help at the start, when their businesses might be most vulnerable. DAP anticipates a fourth phase to the program, going back to brick-andmortar stores, Vadala said. At the end of the four phases, DAP anticipates over $1 million in lease revenues and 100 employees to the Akron market, she said. All for an investment of about $86,000. What makes the marketplace different from the retail mall, which has died a slow death? It’s dense, it’s urban and it’s all local, Testa said. It’s those unique products that still make folks yearn for personal interaction, he said. Want sheets? Any online store or big box can give you that. Want a made-in-Akron gift from somewhere unique? This is your place. “Akron’s struggled to have a place for small businesses to have a start without a big loan for a big building,” said Kyle Kutuchief, Akron program director for the Knight Foundation. He said the marketplace gives budding entrepreneurs — some who might be trying to grow out of a home business, for example — a lower-risk place, with more traffic, to try to establish it. The idea is a few years coming. DAP set up a committee to look at how to establish something that Akron lacked: a downtown marketplace. The Knight Foundation sponsored tours to three cities: Portland, Detroit and Copenhagen, where ideas were all
Testa Companies president Joel Testa has developed the Northside Marketplace, which is also backed by the Downtown Akron Partnership and the Knight Foundation, on the ground floor of his Northside Lofts in Akron. The marketplace will house more than 40 local vendors and serve as an incubator of sorts for young Akron businesses. (Shane Wynn for Crain’s)
Rubber City Clothing is one of the Northside Marketplace’s anchor stores.
The marketplace has an open, airy common area with tables, TVs and two bars.
Sure House Coffee Roasting Co. is another of the anchor businesses at the marketplace.
gleaned. As information was gathered, a lightbulb went off in the mind of Cassie Testa, Testa’s then-fiancee and now wife who works as a leasing and sales agent for Testa Companies. Why not use the then-dormant space on the ground floor of the Northside Lofts but specialize in all local companies?
It’s something that certainly seemed unique, Joel Testa said. The marketplace has three anchor stores — Rubber City Clothing, Sure House Coffee Roasting and Dirty River Bicycle Works — that must be open when the marketplace is but can have extended hours. The rest is filled with local names, some famil-
iar, some not, including Akron Honey, Akron Creamery, VR Territory and b.lovely. Testa said he’s also talking to a local “well-known specialty grocer” about possibly having a presence. Testa made the vendor spaces customizable, so that if a business grows, so can its space by adjusting movable walls throughout the marketplace. With a look that mixes modern touches (streamlined tables and chairs) with rustic (reclaimed wood accents), the marketplace includes a common area with multiple televisions and two side-by-side bars, one for craft beer and one for wine and champagne. Light fare, provided by Testa’s restaurant group, will be available at both. One unique space is the Made in Akron area, where a variety of vendors not large enough to hold their own space can rent a set of shelves or a small area to show off their wares. One of the keys to making the marketplace work for the entrepreneurs, many of whom still have full-time jobs, was a central checkout, Testa said. That way, vendors can make
sales even if they aren’t physically there. Each vendor can take a couple of shifts per month working the checkout in exchange for a discount in rent. Another big puzzle piece was finding a point-of-sale system that would ensure each vendor’s revenue went directly into his or her account regardless if the sale is made at their vendor space or the main checkout, Testa said. They also wanted something that would help new business owners understand and be able to control inventory and e-commerce sales, and even do email marketing. When the cost comparisons came back showing such a system was just too expensive for tenants, Testa decided to make it happen anyway, footing the bill and getting subsidy help from the Knight Foundation, he said. “It’s a critical piece,” Kutuchief said of the POS system. Rental space costs about $2.33 per square foot, including all utilities, the POS system and security, Testa said. Orchestrating the day-to-day operations is Joanna Wilson, the marketplace’s coordinator and formerly of Crafty Mart, who was brought on for a two-year stint with the help of another grant from the Knight Foundation, Kutuchief said. For many of these businesses, though, the marketplace is more than just a space. It also will provide them mentoring and support through programs coordinated by Wilson. Plus, the business community is stepping in to lend some of their knowledge. For example, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. marketing employees will offer their expertise as part of the Akron tiremaker’s corporate volunteer program, Testa said. DAP, of course, provides support as well for those in its pop-up program, Vadala said, with monthly meetings and bringing in resources such as banks, leadership groups and other service organizations. And if a small business should grow and be ready to stretch its wings beyond the marketplace, all the better, Vadala said. “It’s their models, their goals. If it’s their goal to expand … we’d love to bring those businesses to the neighborhoods,” she said, adding that DAP would be willing to link a local company with a local area, not just downtown, that might benefit from it. As for Testa, his company, like all others, wants to make money. But he said he sees this venture as a breakeven proposition. The space was already available in his Northside Lofts building and he spent about $380,000 renovating it, saving as much as he could by using materials reclaimed and repurposed from some of his company’s other projects. And while Testa Companies likely will make money from offering the marketplace as a private event space and perhaps even from residual business at his other projects, like the Canal Square Lofts, should downtown become bustling with residents, it’s easy to see when talking to Testa that he’s driven by something else. “We are all put on this world and are given a God-given ability to help somebody else,” he said. And by helping these entrepreneurs, he’s helping Akron, he said. “I keep trying to build the Akron I want to live in,” he said.
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to reduce tuition for out-of-state students and to roll out the new so-called Akron Guarantee scholarship, which increases in value over time and is automatically renewed for students with high academic standing, to transfer and non-traditional students. Overall, the undergraduate side of the equation, in particular, is still a “challenging marketplace,” said Rob Spademan, associate vice president at Cleveland State University. Cleveland State is trying to make itself stand out by emphasizing its urban location and its overall low cost. And while the region’s other public university, Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown, is much smaller than the University of Akron, Youngstown State, Kent State and Cleveland State, and offers a tighter academic focus, it too saw enrollment decline this year, from 959 last fall to 930 this year.
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When Matthew J. Wilson came on as president in 2016, the university was on the heels of a few turbulent years of leadership change, branding confusion and steep budget cuts. Freshman enrollment was down, as was dorm occupancy. Now, he said, dorms are almost full and freshman enrollment increased by about 8%. “We’ve seen a lot of really positive interest along those lines,” Wilson said. Overall, enrollment at the University of Akron declined by about 4.5% to 22,104, less than the expected 5% drop. Counteracting the large freshman class, the university attracted fewer graduate students this year — something Wilson said could likely be attributed to the fact that the university has invested less in its graduate assistantship program.
Broader challenges While they all face unique challenges, colleges and universities face similar headwinds. For one, the pool of high school graduates remains lower than in the past, and international enrollment — something that has become increasingly important to universities’ bottom lines in recent years — has become a challenge. International students, for instance, generally live on campus and pay the full freight for tuition, rather than the discounted rate afforded to in-state students. T. David Garcia, senior associate vice president for strategic enrollment management at Kent State University, said there were a few factors leading to a significant decrease in the uni-
Youngstown State University’s enrollment dropped by fewer than 1% in the fall of 2017. (Contributed photo)
versity’s international population, especially at the graduate level. On the Kent campus, international student enrollment fell by more than 770 students to 2,090. There are broader factors, including increased competition for students worldwide and the contentious political environment in the United States, and the narrower ones, such as changes to Saudi Arabia’s sponsorship of students who go abroad. But transfer numbers were up by 24 to 1,111 on the Kent campus this year. Garcia said the university is working on a plan to better connect with the community colleges and to make the transfer process more user-friendly. Affordability concerns may push more people to start their higher education career at community colleges, he said. Costs are something the University of Akron is focusing on, too. Wilson said there are plans
Small successes The story was a bit less uniform at the region’s private colleges and universities. While many saw enrollment short of their fall 2016 numbers, a few were able to overcome the challenges facing higher education. Hiram College in Portage County saw headcount grow by 107 to 1,221, which President Lori Varlotta attributed to a host of new strategic plans and academic programs implemented since she joined the college in 2014. Those include Hiram Health, which put a focus on health-related programs, and Hiram Complete, which strengthens relationships with area community colleges. Malone University in Canton saw its total enrollment increase by 39 students to 1,746 this
A look at the enrollment figures for the region’s public, four-year universities in the fall of 2016 and ’17, along with the year-over-year change (in percentages): 2016
Youngstown State 12,756
fall. The university has seen some success in growing enrollment by offering more online options for its programs, like its MBA and counseling programs, said Mark Seymour, vice president for enrollment and financial aid. While overall enrollment at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike declined slightly to 1,124 this fall, some of its programs saw strong growth. Its Second Degree Accelerated Program in nursing showed an increase of 86%, from 35 students last fall to 65 this fall. The 15-month program, which lets students with a bachelor’s degree in any field earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing, started in 2004, said Patricia Sharpnack, dean of the Breen School of Nursing. A similar program, the Master Apprenticeship Program, which allows students with a bachelor’s degree in any field to earn a master’s degree in education in a condensed time, also saw growth from 13 students last year to 20 this year.
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FINANCIAL SERVICES Zachary Kuehn
Senior Manager, Assurance Services
J.P. Morgan Private Bank
Corporate Responsibilty Officer
Vice President, Commercial Relationship Manager
Home Savings Bank
Adriene Bruce has been named Corporate Responsibility Officer in Cleveland. In her new role, Bruce will oversee a broad community engagement strategy, which will include CRA compliance and the execution of KeyBank’s $16.5 billion National Community Benefits Plan in the area. Prior to joining KeyBank, Bruce most recently served as Vice President, Community Development Relationship Manager for Southwestern Ohio and Northern Kentucky at Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati.
Home Savings is pleased to announce that Joe Spetz has joined the Bank as Vice President, Commercial Relationship Manager serving the Cleveland market. Spetz has over 15 years of experience in commercial banking. He was most recently employed as Vice President and Relationship Manager in the Cleveland market for a regional bank based in Columbus, OH. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Finance and Logistics from The Ohio State University, and is active in the community.
Zachary Kuehn has joined J.P. Morgan Private Bank as an Analyst. He supports the Private Bank team in Cleveland, which advises high net worth individuals, business owners and non-profit organizations on investing, wealth and estate planning, credit and banking solutions. Kuehn earned his Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Financial Management Services from Miami University.
RSM US LLP We are pleased to announce that Jessica Leonard has been promoted to Assurance Senior Manager. She has approximately ten years of experience in public accounting, providing professional services and business advice to a diversified base of clientele, primarily in the manufacturing and distribution, private equity, and employee benefits groups in Ohio. Jessica joined RSM approximately seven years ago after having started her career at a Big Four firm.
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Annika L. Vorhes Training and Development Manager
Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio Launches In-house T&D. PPGOH proudly announces Annika Vorhes as the manager of the newly-launched Training and Development Department. She will ensure the high quality of PPGOH’s network of service providers and community educators through in-person and online courses, in-service training and peer learning. Ms. Vorhes, a Navy veteran, holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Wright State University, and a Doctor of Philosophy (ABD) from Miami University.up.
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Indians broadcaster, SportsTime Ohio Matt Underwood’s entire professional career — 27 years — has been spent covering Cleveland sports teams. Underwood, the Indians’ play-by-play voice on SportsTime Ohio since 2007, has announced Indians games for the last 18 years. ¶ Asked where the 2017 Tribe season ranks on his list of most memorable experiences in the business, Underwood first mentions the 1995, ’97 and 2016 Indians, all of whom lost in the World Series. ¶ “But I think it’s pretty safe to say,” he said, “that when my career is all said and done, I’m going to look back at 2017 as probably one of the most special seasons that I’ve ever been a part of. Because of everything that happened.” ¶ Underwood isn’t calling the Tribe’s playoff games for STO, but he’ll still be traveling with the team and working every contest for the network’s pre- and postgame shows. ¶ “We’re on the inside. It’s just different because we’re not sitting down at the first pitch ready to call the game,” he said. — Kevin Kleps
Five things Offseason project Underwood produced his first documentary this year. The film told the story of Addie Joss, who threw a perfect game for the 1908 Tribe, and debuted on SportsTime Ohio in April.
Favorite restaurant Johnny Mango, of course. Underwood’s wife, Shelley — a member of Crain’s 2014 Women of Note class — opened the Ohio City establishment 21 years ago.
Make no mistake ... While discussing the success of his wife’s restaurant, Matt said, “I had nothing to do with this. I don’t want anybody to think I had a hand in this. This is all her.”
Family of four The Underwoods have two children — Max, a freshman at Baldwin Wallace University (Matt’s alma mater), and Devan, who is a junior at Avon Lake High School.
Broadcast idol growing up The late Curt Gowdy
Lunch spot Johnny Mango World Cafe & Bar 3120 Bridge Avenue, Cleveland 216-575-1919 www.jmango.com
The meal One had the chicken pad Thai with water, and the other had the three-bean vegan chili with water. Both shared the vegan nachos.
The vibe The Ohio City staple has colorful artwork and a relaxed vibe. And if you’re looking for delicious vegetarian or vegan choices, Johnny Mango is quite the spot.
The bill $30.24, plus tip
The TV ratings on STO have been incredible this year. Is there extra pressure that goes along with something like that? Honest to God, this is not a cliché. I treat every game the same. If I thought about that part of it, I’d go crazy. “Oh man, there’s a lot of people watching tonight. We’ve got to be perfect.” That would be like going to bat and saying, “I’ve got to get four hits tonight because we have a sold-out house.” You can’t do it. You’ve got to be the same every single game. ... If the viewer tunes in and can tell that I’m disengaged, that I don’t care, they’re not going to enjoy the broadcast. I try to treat every game the same. Yes, there are ups and downs. There are times when you feel great and there are times where you are dragging because you just flew across the country and got in at 4 in the morning. You may not have the same energy, but for me, the approach has to be the same every game. How does baseball compare to doing play-by-play for other sports? To use a musical analogy, football is the encore number. Everybody waits all week for it, they’re standing up the whole game. For three hours, it’s just one big crescendo. Whereas baseball is more the entire set. There are songs that everybody knows and everybody gets up and sings in unison, and there are some songs you just sit back and want to watch, you just want to listen, just kind of soak it in. Baseball has that rhythm to it. There are points in the season that are like that NFL Sunday, and there are points in the season where you’re just like, “All right, where is this team? Where are they going? Is this going to be a great team, is this going to be bad team, is it going to be an average team?” Baseball, unlike any other sport, has a rhythm to it. That’s why it’s fun to be able to do every game, because you get into that rhythm and you know when one game maybe has a little bit more added importance than another. It’s fun to be a part of that. When did you know that this was what you wanted to do? I’d say when I was in college. When I was at Baldwin Wallace, I did the baseball games for our campus radio station when I was a junior. That’s when it just sort of hit me that this is really what I want to do. The question is how do I get from Baldwin Wallace, a 100-watt radio station, to
the major leagues? That was a little tricky because there is no clearly defined road map. What’s the best part of your job? The last at-bat, when the game is still in question, and I’m in the chair pushing forward, waiting to see what’s going to happen. Is there a worst part? Yes. The worst part of the job is in August 2012, we went through a month where the Indians lost 24 of 29, including 15 of the last 16, and your job is to try and engage the audience, get them to watch, but they’re not stupid. They can look at the lineup and go, “Brent Lillibridge? Jason Donald? This is not the future of the Indians. Casey Kotchman at first base? This team doesn’t have a chance.” That’s not fun, but it’s still part of the job, so it’s a challenge. You search for ways to keep the audience engaged, even when this is probably not going to end well. Who is your favorite person to interview, Indians or otherwise? This is going to sound really easy, but hear me out. Tito (Francona) is probably my favorite person to interview because he’s so damn real. He understands his job as a communicator better than anybody I’ve ever been around. He’s able to tell you what you need to hear, but he can do it in a “I’m sitting next to you at a bar, having a beer” kind of way. That makes it enjoyable. You’re on social media. Do you check your mentions? Do you listen to any of the criticism? I have in the past. I was listening to Jerry Seinfeld the other day on Howard Stern. And Jerry Seinfeld said that one of his greatest gifts is that he’s oblivious. I think if you’re going to be in this business and have one of these jobs, you have to have a little bit of that as part of your approach or your daily routine. If you get caught up in every single thing that somebody tweets or says about you, it will eat you up from the inside. Look, I’m not perfect. I realize that not everybody is going to love me. Not everybody is going to care for my style. That’s part of it. You don’t laugh at the stuff that people say. I’m just like, “Oh well. What can you do? I can talk to you until I’m blue in the face. I’m not going to change your mind.” That’s fine. Not everybody liked me in high school either.
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October 9 - 15, 2017 issue