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Breaking business news and updates in and around Columbus

  • Guest Blog: Celebrating Family Business Milestones Strengthen Relationships by Honoring Special Achievements

    Posted on Sep 18, 2014

     (Editor’s Note: This is the tenth in a series of columns by family business leaders and advisors with information and ideas about topics unique to family businesses, developed in conjunction with the Conway Center for Family Business.)

     By Kelly Borth

     Whether a family business is celebrating 10 years or 100 years in business, it is a special time and an opportunity to be recognized for business longevity and best practices.

     There are many ways to leverage a milestone year. In all cases, how you celebrate should be fun and consistent with your company’s brand. Here are some things you might want to consider for your business.

     Determine a promotional timeframe

    It is not unusual for a company milestone to be promoted six months in advance of the milestone date and continue six months following the milestone year.

     Develop an anniversary logo

    Develop a special logo or adapt your current logo with a reference to the anniversary year. It is also common for companies to continue to use some form of the logo past the milestone year, sometimes as a standard part of the company’s corporate identity or logo and sometimes as a tagline. Incorporate the logo on the company’s website, company stationery, brochures (sometimes best done with a sticker) and other marketing and advertising materials, email signatures and social media sites. Also make it visible in all company offices.

     Create an anniversary theme

    Creating an anniversary theme can be a fun way to tie-in a special anniversary message. The theme can play off the milestone year such as, “100 Ways We’ve Led the Industry,” or emphasize a competitive advantage such as, “Emerging Through Innovation.” Incorporate the theme in all marketing and employee communications.


    Document the company’s history

    For many family-owned businesses, pulling together the company’s history can be a big task. Creating a company timeline, incorporating archive family and business photos and sharing tidbits of the company’s history can be fun ways to engage employees and social media contacts. Once documented, this information can reside on the company website and be incorporated into employee manuals and the on-boarding process. Another fun way to share company history is to produce an anniversary video (and if you have a theme, create a theme song) or a company history coffee table book.

     Celebrate with employees

    Commemorating company milestones with employees builds pride. Many family businesses use companywide corporate and family events, commemorative shirts, hats and other items to thank their employees during a milestone year.

     Celebrate with customers and vendors

    Communicating the company’s milestones, mailing or delivering commemorative gifts, planning celebrations such as open houses or plant tours and simple letters of thanks are great ways to involve customers and vendors.

     Share your story with trade and local media

    A company that reaches a milestone year is not necessarily newsworthy to most media, but if you can tie-in that message with what the company has done over time or recently that has assured the company’s growth and helped it obtain longevity, now you are talking about something that might catch the attention of a reporter. There might also be an interesting story that emerges from the company’s history, such as reinvention to remain relevant in the marketplace or an original building that is now a notable landmark. Also look to organizations like the Columbus Chamber or the Conway Family Business Center—both of which recognize company milestone years. Note: The Conway Center will be celebrating family business milestones at a luncheon on November 7th this year.

    Be philanthropic

    Giving back to the community in some way can also be a memorable way to share your milestone with all audiences. Choose a cause that your company is passionate about. Make a commemorative contribution such as 100 volunteer hours, 50 meals or a cash amount that ties back to your milestone year.

     So, don’t let a milestone year slip by unnoticed. Have some fun and celebrate these wonderful achievements.

     Kelly Borth is CEO and chief strategy officer for GREENCREST, a 24-year-old brand development, strategic and interactive marketing and public relations firm that turns market players into industry leaders™. She also is an advisory board member and service provider member of the Conway Center for Family Business. Kelly has received numerous honors for her business and community leadership and is one of 35 certified brand strategists in the U.S. Reach her at 614-885-7921,, @brandpro or for more information

  • Chase CEO Jamie Dimon announced as keynote for 2015 Columbus Chamber Annual Meeting

    Posted on Sep 16, 2014

    Chase CEO Jamie Dimon comes up frequently in conversation with Columbus' business leaders. JPMorgan Chase has more than 20,000 employees based in the Columbus market--the firm's largest employee base outside of its New York headquarters.

    Dimon's ascension as chairman and chief of JPMorgan Chase began in Columbus: Dimon was elected to succeed John B. McCoy as CEO of Bank One (formerly Banc One). Chase named Dimon COO and president following its Bank One merger in 2004. Dimon was named Chase's CE0 and president in 2005, its chairman in 2006. 

    "Jamie is a great leader, he’s a great banker--there’s nobody better—and a nice person," says Jack Kessler (Columbus CEO, September 2014), chairman of the New Albany Company and a member of the search committee that appointed Dimon to lead Bank One. "There’s more employees (here) now for JPMorgan than when Bank One was headquartered here...Jamie loves it here because he said the work ethic is so good. He said he’d move everybody here if he could. He loves Columbus."

    The details of Dimon's keynote and the Columbus Chamber annual meeting, via the Chamber's announcement this afternoon:

    The Columbus Chamber today announced that James “Jamie” Dimon, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., will serve as keynote speaker at its 2015 Annual Meeting. The event is scheduled for 8 a.m. on February 12, 2015 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center’s Battelle Grand ballroom.

    “Jamie Dimon has been recognized as one of the most influential business leaders of our time, as well as one of the top CEOs,” said Michael Dalby, president and CEO, Columbus Chamber. “We are pleased that he has agreed to join us at the Columbus Chamber’s Annual Meeting, and we look forward to hearing him share his ideas and insights with our members.”

    JPMorgan Chase is the largest private employer in the Columbus Region, with more than 20,000 employees here.

    Pre-sale tickets for the 2015 Annual Meeting are on sale now through the end of the year. The cost is $85 for Chamber members and $100 for non-member guests. Along with hearing from Mr. Dimon, admission to the event includes breakfast, networking with more than 1,200 Columbus Region business leaders, and the presentation of the Columbus Award and Small Business Leader Award. After January 1, tickets will be $100 for members and $120 for non-member guests.

    For more details or to order pre-sale tickets to the Chamber’s 2015 Annual Meeting, visit

    The Columbus Chamber Annual Meeting is presented by State Auto Insurance Companies with support from Cassidy Turley and Bartha Audio Visual. The Small Business Leader Award is presented in partnership with Commerce National Bank.

  • Bob Evans colocates IT operations to Cologix Columbus using AEP Ohio incentive

    Posted on Sep 11, 2014

    The Bob Evans/Cologix partnership was announced in this morning's press release:

    Cologix, a network-neutral interconnection and data center company, is providing a bonus benefit to businesses that colocate IT and network equipment with Cologix in Columbus, Ohio via the AEP Ohio Energy Efficiency Data Center Program.  AEP Ohio, which provides power to much of central Ohio, offers incentive payments to business customers that invest in programs to increase energy efficiency and implement energy-efficient technologies. By replacing a legacy in-house data center with a deployment in Cologix’s enterprise grade data center, Bob Evans Farms met all of the programs’ criteria and is the first corporate user to qualify by leveraging third party data center services.

    Bob Evans owns and operates more than 550 family restaurants in 19 states, primarily in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the United States. Through the data center program, Bob Evans has achieved significant energy efficiencies and received cash incentive payments from AEP Ohio based on projected annualized energy savings.

    “By participating in the AEP Ohio Energy Efficiency Data Center Program and colocating in Cologix Columbus, Bob Evans has partnered with a hometown brand that enables us to focus on growing our business and serving our customers,” said George Haller, vice president, IT Infrastructure and Operations Services, Bob Evans. “The decision to move into Cologix was already compelling for us based on our confidence in their infrastructure and high touch support staff focused on our dedicated environment that allow us to focus more attention on creating a great experience for our own customers across the country.  The incentives from the AEP Ohio Business Incentive program presented a bonus for making the decision to work with Cologix and offered a great sense of pride for the company that we are doing our part for the environment.”

    “We are very pleased that Cologix Columbus is positioned as a strategic partner in the AEP Ohio Energy Efficiency Data Center Program,” said Frank Dargham, Customer Service Account Manager at AEP Ohio. “Cologix’s investment in infrastructure resiliency and efficiency make Cologix unique in our market, providing regionally headquartered enterprises the secure and efficient location they need to take advantage of our incentive program.”

    Cologix Columbus’ power and cooling systems work harmoniously with other efficiency measures engineered into the facility. Collectively, these measures help achieve a leading power usage effectiveness (PUE) ratio. A very high percentage of the power delivered to the data center is available to power customers’ IT equipment, with only a small percentage of total power utilized for power conditioning or cooling purposes.

    “Energy efficiencies and cost savings are extremely important to our customers, which is why we’re excited to market the AEP Ohio Energy Efficiency Data Center Program,” said Kim Gerhart, general manager, Cologix Columbus. “Once prospective customers tour our facility, many are already convinced about the resiliency, performance and cost benefits of adopting our colocation model to replace legacy in-house environments.  The AEP Energy Efficiency Data Center program further validates those customers’ business cases and strategic decisions.” 

  • National MS Society honors OhioHealth Riverside president

    Posted on Sep 9, 2014

    Dr. Stephen Markovich, president of OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, will receive the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's Norm Cohn Hope Award tomorrow evening as the Ohio Buckeye Chapter of the NMSS hosts its 9th Annual Dinner of Champions gala.

    The award is given in recognition of individuals who "exhibit vision and commitment to leadership, philanthropy and community service" in the effort to research, treat and cure the central nervous system disease. The Buckeye Chapter National MS Society serves an "estimated 14,000 people affected by MS and their families in 64 Ohio counties."

    Past Dinner of Champions honorees have included Mills James president Ken Mills and former Ohio State University president Gordon Gee.

    As president of OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, Dr. Markovich has overseen the establishment and construction of a $321 million Neuroscience Center and 10-story tower, scheduled to open in summer 2015. The Neuroscience Center, led by Dr. Janet Bay, will unite all of OhioHealth's neuro services--including the hospital's dedicated MS clinic--in one central location, and allow for more tightly integrated neuro-patient care across all of Riverside's practice areas.

    The 9th Annual Dinner of Champions will take place tomorrow, Sept. 10 from 6-9 p.m. at the Ivory Room at Miranova.

    Individual tickets are $150 and sponsorships to benefit the Ohio Buckeye Chapter are available. Tickets available by contacting Michelle Wohlfeiler at ,216-503-4184 or by visiting .

  • Guest Blog: Designing for a Growing Columbus

    Posted on Aug 29, 2014


    By Curtis J. Moody

     In recent decades, Columbus has managed to thrive amid economic downturns that battered Ohio’s other major cities. Even when the rest of the state struggled through the Great Recession, Columbus continued to grow.

     Building trends within our city reflect this vitality. Major new public and private projects are contributing both to quality of life and more economic growth, providing another arrow in the quiver of corporate recruiters and economic development professionals who can cite Columbus as a shining star in the Midwestern sky.

     All of which brings to mind two primary questions: First, what is causing our growth? And second, assuming we continue to grow, how should we design our infrastructure to meet future needs?

     The first question is relatively easy to answer. Columbus is growing because it is endowed with a highly diversified economy, strong corporate and government leaders, an advantageous location and a high quality of life.

     While the city has some light manufacturing, that has never been the core of our economy. Instead, financial services, retail, education and government, healthcare and other predominantly professional industries turn the gears to the engine that makes Columbus run.

      Education and healthcare are two of the biggest drivers and attract smart, young new residents. We boast the state’s largest university—the Ohio State University—and the state’s largest economic impact project—the $1 billion Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center expansion. Yet, we’re also home to Ohio’s largest community college, numerous smaller private colleges, two other major healthcare systems and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

     Major banks, insurance companies, attorneys, architects, engineers and similar professions make Columbus a major Ohio services center. We are one of the largest fashion centers in the country, due to LBrands and other clothing retailers. Having state government and its support structure here doesn’t hurt either.

     Finally, Columbus has also emerged as a growing transportation hub, benefiting from both a strategic location and a core logistics infrastructure supporting commerce by air, rail and truck.

     These stable and growing industries mean Columbus is continually creating new jobs and attracting new businesses. But to entice new workers and employers, we need to make Columbus an attractive place to live, work and play. That requires offering engaging infrastructure in the form of housing, office space, hotels, shopping, entertainment and neighborhoods. This will become even more important in the next two decades.

     Projections indicate that the central Ohio region will need 250,000 new residential units by 2050. We will likely accommodate the demand both with new housing and by filling current vacancy rates.

     We’re beginning to see more people who want to live within urban settings that feature mixed-use properties, higher population densities, entertainment options and public transportation. Consequently, the city of Columbus has made bold efforts to attract new residential development within the city, and that effort is paying off. During the first decade of the 21st century, the population of Downtown Columbus grew by 40 percent.

     While residents are demanding more housing options, businesses face new needs as well. During the recession, some downsized their quarters, while others did not. However, one thing practically all are emphasizing is sustainability. We, as architects and engineers, are increasingly employing greener, healthier designs and fitting buildings with recycled materials, right down to the carpets.

     What’s the future of Downtown, and how can we design for future growth? While development is occurring along High Street in the historic Downtown area—consider the Columbus Commons and 250 High, the new mixed-use development next door—you have to also include in our “Downtown” the Short North and Ohio State University. Today, there is activity at all three locations, which has not occurred for many years.

     The activity we’re seeing points to the need both for urban housing and ancillary developments that accommodate the work, living and entertainment needs of a wide range of residents: families, “creative class” singles, empty nesters and college students.

     At the same time, we must not neglect the public sector projects that also improve quality of life. Reclamation of the Scioto River is a wonderful thing for the city, but we have a bountiful collection of city parks that also must be maintained to assure our city is a place people want to be. Amenities like new library branches, which the Columbus Metropolitan Library is building, and providing multipurpose public recreation facilities are also the kinds of things that improve and reclaim neighborhoods and help our city to grow.

     The stars are aligned in Columbus. We are fortunate to have visionary leaders and talented developers, architects, engineers and construction managers who are helping us to design for the future. Once a trait of the suburbs, these trends have moved into our urban core. Success for our city is sure to follow.

     Curt Moody is the President and CEO of Moody Nolan, a Columbus based architectural firm and the largest African American owned firm in the Nation. Visit the Moody Nolan site to learn more:


  • Guest Blog: Everyone’s A Winner—NOT!!!!

    Posted on Aug 22, 2014

    (Editor’s Note: This is the ninth in a series of columns by family business leaders and advisors with information and ideas about topics unique to family businesses, developed in conjunction with the Conway Center for Family Business.)

    By Beatrice E. Wolper

    We are raising a generation of winners. They win at everything they do. They win trophies for playing, for showing up, for “trying,” for listening and for being. No one loses. Ever.

    But, in the long run, we are not doing them any favors. Unless they learn how to lose, how to face adversity and how to face defeat, they may not be able to face failure. And everyone fails, sometime.

    But it is natural for a parent try to avoid exposing a child to failure—something that would make his or her child sad. And yet, as reported in Psychology Today, February 2013, failure gives a child a “solid foundation and a springboard for the trials and tribulations of life.”

    For family businesses, the inability to face failure is a huge stumbling block to the successful transition from one generation to another. The more resilient a person is, the more he or she is able to create alternatives to roadblocks. The more confident a person is, the more he or she can face a defeat, learn from it and move on.

    When family business founders make it so that the next generation never has to create alternatives to failure, the next generation is stumped when a situation arises that they can’t fix. And since they have no skills built in to cope with such a loss, they lack the confidence to figure out a solution on their own.

    Consequently, a disastrous domino effect takes place: the next gen can’t figure out what to do; they panic; the founders step in to quickly fix the situation, and the next gen hears: “you are incapable of success.” The result may be that they feel inadequate, and then next gen begins to think about leaving.

    So what can the family business do to correct years of…everyone wins!!!  One of the first things is to start being realistic—no matter the age of the next gen. Children are not always on a winning team (especially if the team loses).  Children are not ALWAYS wonderful, fabulous, marvelous, or outstanding!!!!  Sometimes they need to hear, “that may not have been your hardest try” or “oh, that’s too bad you didn’t have a good score, but you tried and next time you may do better.”

    Another extremely important corrective action is to have a conversation about confidence and resilience at a family business council meeting. Since it may be difficult for a founder to talk about failures, a facilitator may help guide the discussions and can use illustrations to emphasize the importance of accepting some failures along the path to success. Have the founders give examples of failures that they have overcome or discuss  a list of disappointments. Let them share their worst failures, their greatest risks, and their greatest achievements—all under an umbrella of overcoming defeat. 

    Many times the next gen hears only about the achievements, rather than sharing the dumb ideas, the total loss and the embarrassing “great idea” that failed. It is helpful to know even founders made mistakes.

    As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

    Bea Wolper is a co-founder of the Conway Center for Family Business and serves as an Advisory Board member. She facilitates the Center’s Women in Family Business and Succession Planning Peer Groups. She is a partner in the law firm of Emens & Wolper LLP, in Columbus, Ohio. Her practice focuses on succession planning, estate planning, general corporate law, contracts and the buying and selling of businesses, with an emphasis on family-owned businesses. Wolper and her husband, Dick Emens, the Center’s Executive Director, co-authored Family Business Basics: The Guide to Family Business Financial Success.