CEO Live

Breaking business news and updates in and around Columbus

  • Ohio Secretary of State pushes for lower business fees

    Posted on Jan 30, 2015

    Secretary of State Jon Husted is asking Ohio legislators for a 21 percent cut in Ohio's business filing fees. This week's announcement from Husted's office (Dispatch file photo, 2011:

    Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is urging lawmakers to pass legislation to cut fees associated with forming a business in Ohio by approximately 21% to make it easier and less expensive to do business in Ohio. The proposed bill has been identified as a legislative priority for the Ohio House of Represent atives by Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and the majority leadership team.

    “This proposal is a success dividend. We are doing more with less in the Secretary of State’s Office, providing the best possible customer service, which has led to record business filings and increased revenues. Now we want to pass the savings on to our customers,” Secretary Husted said. “Passage of this legislation will make it even more affordable to do business, attracting more companies to Ohio. I applaud Speaker Rosenberger and his leadership team for making this a priority.”

    Under the proposed legislation, Ohio will see the first reduction in fees associated with business filings in modern history and make Ohio more competitive with other states. The cost to start a business in Ohio would drop from the current $125 to $99. In other states, filing fees can be as high as $500 and many states charge an annual fee on top of the initial filing fee, depending on the type of business. Over a five-year period, taking into account initial and annual fees, the proposed cut would make Ohio the most affordable place to start a limited liability company as compared to the surrounding states of Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

    Secretary Husted also noted that the benefits of cutting filings fees extend beyond making it easier to do business in Ohio.

    “This is not only good for Ohio’s businesses, but also for Ohio families,” Secretary Husted said. “Making it easier to do business encourages economic growth, which can lead to new and better employment opportunities for hardworking Ohioans.”

    The push to cut filing fees is the latest in a series of efforts by Secretary Husted to roll out the red carpet for businesses.

    In October 2013, Secretary Husted launched Ohio Business Central, allowing businesses to file some of the most commonly-used forms online. This saves businesses time and money and has significantly streamlined administration at the Secretary of State’s Office. To date, more than 35,000 filings have been submitted and half of all new companies are now started online in Ohio.

    Ohio is in a position to reduce filing fees as a result of Secretary Husted’s fiscal stewardship over the past four years. During that time Secretary Husted saved taxpayers more than $14 million in spending compared to the previous administration – representing a 16% cut. As part of that, payroll costs were down by $4.4 million and Fiscal Year 2014 marked the lowest spending on payroll in seven years.

    Ohio’s ever-improving business climate is evident in Secretary Husted’s recent announcement that the state experienced the fifth consecutive year of record new business filings. In 2014, 93,775 new businesses filed with the Secretary of State’s Office. These numbers were up from 2013, in which 89,735 filed. This is a positive trend Secretary Husted hopes will continue to build in the years ahead.

  • Canadian officials talk business, hockey at Columbus Metro Club

    Posted on Jan 28, 2015

    Canada's Consul General for Ohio entertained Columbus Metro Club guests with talk of trade relations and hockey during this afternoon's lunch forum.

    "What's good for Ohio is good for Canada and vice versa--hockey aside," said Douglas George, who represents Canada in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky. George is in town for Canada Week in Ohio, an eight-day trade junket through Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati.

    He and his delegation arrived early to attend the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus, beating the snowstorm that stopped travel in the northeastern US earlier this week.

    George's message for Columbus businesses was simple, if tongue-in-cheek: "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help."

    He was joined on the panel by Columbus 2020 Chief Economic Development Officer Kenny McDonald and Eric Marquis, Quebec's Government Representative in Chicago. The discussion was moderated by Daniel Ujczo, an international trade and customs lawyer with the Columbus office of Dickenson Wright.

    The discussion focused on the $37 billion trade and investment relationship between Ohio and Canada. That relationship "may be one that we look past too often," said McDonald. He extended an open invitation to George, welcoming Canadian investors and businesses to work with companies in the Columbus Region.

    Canada's pending trade agreement with the European Union promises to open even more international opportunites to Columbus exporters. "It gives Canada access into one of the largest, richest markets in the world," with potential benefits to the Ohio companies doing business with Canadian companies, George said.

    For more on the state's economic relationship with Canada, see this Briefing in the current issue of Columbus CEO's print edition.

  • Fisher's Innovation and Entrepreneurship programs join in new OSU-wide initiative

    Posted on Jan 26, 2015

    Directors of the innovation and entrepreneurship programs at Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business hope to bring renewed focus and extend the reach of their efforts across all disciplines by consolidating and restructuring these initiatives as the Ohio State University Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

    The details of the new program were announced in a press release last week by OSU and the Fisher College of Business:

     Fisher College of Business has announced the integration of two of its centers of excellence -- the Center for Entrepreneurship and the Innovation Initiative -- into a single, universitywide initiative: The Ohio State University Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

    “Innovation and entrepreneurship are two of the most important aspects of today’s economy and, as such, they represent significant priorities for our college in the ways we prepare tomorrow’s business leaders, advance our thought leadership through research, and engage with the global business community,” said Anil K. Makhija, dean and John W. Berry, Sr. Chair in Business at Fisher.

    “Integrating the center and advancing both its capabilities and outreach will further position our college and university as leaders in these ever-evolving, increasingly vital areas of business learning.”

    The mission of the center is to provide world-class training in innovation and entrepreneurship through sponsored research for faculty; engagement with corporate partners; and the delivery of best-in-class, trans-disciplinary curricular and extracurricular learning experiences for undergraduate, graduate and executive-level students. The newly revised, universitywide undergraduate minor in entrepreneurship and innovation will play an integral role in the student experience. Plans for the center also include delivery of symposia, programming for corporate members, and the creation of an innovation lab for applied student-learning experiences and corporate engagement on real -world projects.

    Michael Bills, executive in residence at Fisher with more than 25 years of private sector and academic experience, will lead the center as its executive director. He will be responsible for its integration and the development of strategic planning and programming, including curriculum and outreach across campus and industries.

    “We are excited by the opportunity to work with design, engineering and a cross section of colleges and departments at Ohio State to help students, faculty and corporate partners collaborate on innovation and entrepreneurship challenges of global dimension,” Bills said. “The center will combine the theories, tools and practices of general, social and technology-based entrepreneurship as well as corporate intra-preneurship to help create innovation-based competencies for both individuals and organizations.”

    “The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will play an important role in providing opportunities for discovery, research and student learning,” said Caroline Whitacre, vice president for research at Ohio State. “We are delighted to be partnering with the center and its leadership team in this endeavor.”

    Michael Leiblein, associate professor of management and human resources at Fisher, will serve as the center’s academic director and be responsible for curricular development, academic research, the formation of a universitywide academic advisory board, and integration of the Integrated Business and Engineering Honors Program.

    Michael Camp, who for the last two years has served as interim director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, will serve as executive director of the Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (TEC) Institute, which he founded at Fisher in 2011.

    The newly integrated Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will service multiple colleges and departments across the Ohio State campus as well as companies and corporate partners throughout the community and around the world.

  • APPOINTMENTS--PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

    Posted on Jan 23, 2015

    PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

    SPIRIT SERVICES CO.

    • Scoonie Penn hired as brand consultant
    • Bryan Vaughn hired as director of strategic branding
    • Dave Wolfe hired as plant manager

    ATRIUM TECH SOLUTIONS

    • Kim Waits hired TO sales team


    ACCOUNTING, BANKING, FINANCIAL

    HOLBROOK & MANTER, CPAs

    • Carmen George, CPA, promoted to manager

     


    STRATOS WEALTH PARTNERS

    • Chad Tom joined firm as partner
    • Wayne Wycoff joined firm as partner

    HW & Co.

    • Jordan Keller promoted to manager
    • Amber Smith promoted to office manager
    • Adam Wright promoted to senior accountant

    GBQ

    • Rebekah Smith, CPA, CFF, CVA, MAFF, director of Forensic and Dispute Advisory Services, named partner


    LAW

    MCDONALD HOPKINS

    • Ben Pfefferle III joined the Columbus office business department as co-chair of the Natural Resources Practice Group

     

    • Sara Hutchins Jodka has joined the Columbus office litigation department as senior counsel


    FISHEL HASS KIM ALBRECHT LLP

    • Brad E. Bennett named partner

    COOPER & ELLIOTT

    • Sean Alto joined firm


    ICE MILLER

    • Robert Cochran named partner
    • Patrick Kennedy named partner


     TAFT STETTINIUS & HOLLISTER LLP

    • Janica P. Tucker named partner, labor & employment, litigation 

     

  • APPOINTMENTS--EXECUTIVES

    Posted on Jan 23, 2015

    APPOINTMENTS—EXECUTIVES

    KYE BANK

    • Jason Muhme named Vice President/Relationship Manager in Commercial Banking 

    FROST BROWN TODD

    • Noel C. Shepard named member-in-charge of Columbus office

    D.P. DOUGH FRANCHISING

    • Matt Crumpton named new president and CEO

     

     

    DISPATCH PRINTING COMPANY

    • Tani S. Mann promoted to VP of human resources

    THE OHIO HOTEL & LODGING ASSOCIATION

    • Joseph Savarise named new executive director

     

  • APPOINTMENTS--BOARDS

    Posted on Jan 23, 2015

    Recent appointments of central Ohioans to boards and commissions

    read more...

  • Guest Blog: Understanding the ACA Net Investment Income Tax

    Posted on Jan 23, 2015

    By Justin T. Linscott

    If you make more than $125,000 a year, you will want to read on. A new tax as a part of the Affordable Care Act may mean you will owe more in taxes. The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act has presented us the Net Investment Income Tax, referred to by many as NIIT or the super Medicare tax. This tax exposes the net investment income of individuals, estates and trusts to a 3.8% tax when their modified adjusted gross income exceeds certain threshold levels.

    These levels are: $250,000 for married individuals filing a joint return, $125,000/each for married individuals filing separate returns and $200,000 for unmarried individuals and other cases. Trusts and estates have a much lower threshold for when this tax applies. This new tax is creeping up on many and there could be unpleasant consequences for those that don't comply.

    This new tax calls for taxpayers to truly understand what constitutes net investment income. The obvious components are involved- interest, dividends, annuities, royalties and rents. These are just the tip of the iceberg and those that feel they could be affected by the tax should consult a CPA immediately to understand its complexity.

    Interest, dividends, trusts and estates can all make their way to a taxpayer through a pass through entity and then maintain their net investment character.  The concept of “passive activity” also comes into play here. As income from passive business activities, this includes any capital gain from the sale of those activities, is generally subject to the NIIT, whereas income from nonpassive business activities generally is not. Bloomberg BNA summarizes this concept best, explaining that it stems from the IRS's passive activity loss rules, which prohibit taxpayers from deducting losses from so-called passive activities, or activities in which the taxpayer does not materially participate. These guidelines usually apply to the actions of the owner of the business interest, not the business itself, although special rules apply to real estate activities. When is your interest in a business not to be a passive activity? Again, according to IRS rules and regulations, you must materially participate in the operations of the business. Meaning, your involvement in the business operations is regular, continuous and substantial. The IRS regulations provide both quantitative as well as qualitative tests for meeting this requirement. For example, you will be materially participating if you work more than 500 hours during the year in the business.

    Because the IRS passive activity rules apply to restrictions on deducting losses, taxpayers with positive income from passive activities may have had little reason to differentiate those activities from nonpassive activities. However, the distinction might become significant. For example, the IRS has rules that have allowed taxpayers to “group” related activities in order to determine whether the overall group represents a passive or nonpassive activity. Taxpayers with multiple business or real estate investments might be able to eliminate or reduce their exposure to the NIIT with appropriate decisions in this area.

    The super Medicare tax will affect the tax returns of many people. Knowing the ins and outs of this new tax could save them thousands of dollars. Don't wait until your return is prepared to learn how this will affect you. Contact a tax professional today that is already well versed on 1411.

    Justin T. Linscott is a Principal with Holbrook & Manter, CPAs. He can be reached at 614-437-7596 or JLinscott@HolbrookManter.com

  • GUEST BLOG: Family Businesses Focus on Past, Present and Future

    Posted on Jan 21, 2015

    By LISA INGRAM

    (Editor’s Note: This is part of an ongoing series 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.)

    This year, White Castle will celebrate its 94th year as a family-owned business. From a humble beginning in 1921 in Wichita, Kans., to its move to Columbus in 1934, the company has always been proud of its roots. Founder Billy Ingram believed strongly in the power of team members and the essential role they play in the company’s current and future success.

    A frequently asked question is, “What is unique about a family business?”  The answer comes down to three key points: 

    1.  Respect for the past. 

    2.  Relevance for the present.

    3.  Imagination for the future

    Respect for the Past

    Each family business is unique, and often their history revolves around the founder’s vision and the passion to succeed above all else. For White Castle, that is the story of Billy Ingram. In 1921 with $700 in borrowed money, he and his business partner, Walter Anderson, started what his friends referred to as his “wild experiment in the hamburger business.” At the time, there was no such thing as a “fast food” restaurant, and hamburgers were considered a novelty item you might buy at a fair but certainly would never serve your family. Billy thought there was a way to change all that through a focus on quality and cleanliness.

    He also believed that the business practices of the day were outdated. He described the prevailing management philosophy as "treat 'em rough and keep ‘em in ignorance."  He knew there had to be a better way and impressed on his teams the importance of treating each employee with the respect and dignity they deserve. This essential belief became the platform for White Castle’s customer service philosophy that remains in place to this day—“Happy employees make happy customers.”  A respect for the past guides the decisions made today as the management team continues to focus on what’s next.

    Relevancy for the Present

    One challenge facing family businesses is to adapt products, business model and mindset to ever-changing customer needs and wants. At White Castle, reflecting often on a history of innovation while trying new ideas to meet changing customer demands is key. In the past 24 months, new products have included grilled chicken sandwiches, Belgian waffle breakfast sandwiches, chicken sriracha sandwiches, and veggie Sliders. The company has learned a lot through asking customers good questions, listening to their responses, and then responding quickly to their needs. Surprisingly, one of White Castle’s first major new products—the cheeseburger—happened in 1962 in its 41st year of existence!

    Change is never easy. But considering change through the lens of where you've been and what you've learned empowers leaders to remain grounded in a way that matters most to team members as they work together to address challenges.

    Imagination for the Future

    Perhaps the most important point of difference as a family business is having imagination for a  future that extends beyond solely this week, next month, the next quarter, or even next year’s results. This perspective tends to be about what each generation is able to do to build and grow on the strengths that already exist. At White Castle, this gives leaders a unique ability to make better decisions because they can consider a longer view, and invest patient capital that is focused and steady. 

    A longer view also provides an opportunity to be responsible for your own destiny. For those committed to remaining family-owned, it also offers something invaluable—an opportunity for the next generation of family members to grow and build something together that makes a positive difference in the lives of others. 

    Lisa Ingram is President & COO of White Castle System, Inc. She is a fourth-generation member in the 94-year-old family business, which operates 400 restaurants in 12 states. Visit WhiteCastle.com.

  • CEO Refresh: Kirwan Institute MLK film resonates with business community

    Posted on Jan 19, 2015

    The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University uses its original film, A Reading of the Letter From Birmingham Jail, to facilitate diversity discussions among local organizations and their employees. Columbus CEO visited the Kirwan Institue for a conversation with filmmaker Jamaal Bell last July as the film was being screened by area businesses:

    “A Reading of the Letter From Birmingham Jail,” directed by Jamaal Bell, director of communications for the Kirwan Institute, features Columbus business-community leaders, adjudicators and political figures reading the landmark civil rights document, penned in 1963 by Martin Luther King Jr. Among the film’s featured readers are L Brands’ founder, Chairman and CEO Les Wexner; Columbus Foundation President and CEO Doug Kridler; United Way of Central Ohio President and CEO Janet Jackson; Moody Nolan CEO Curtis Moody and OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith.

    After an initial screening of the film, Robert M. Franklin Jr., president emeritus of Morehouse College, praised it as a “powerful public witness” and a “cosigning” of King’s Letter by Columbus’s civic leaders.

    The film project began in Birmingham, Ala., where Sharon Davies, Kirwan executive director, was researching her book Rising Road. Davies and Jim Baggett, head archivist of the Birmingham Public Library, planned a public reading of King’s Letter on the 50th anniversary of its writing. The idea to film Columbus leaders as they read it aloud evolved from there.

    The project strengthened and forged relationships between the Kirwan Institute and the wider Columbus business community, says Bell. For those executives in the film, he believes the reading made public their sense of corporate responsibility in terms of economic equality and workforce diversity.

    “That message could be meaningful, especially for businesses that have foundations attached to them like L Brands,” says Bell. “It can strengthen their mission, (help them) say ‘that’s why we do what we do.’”

    With the help of the Central Ohio Diversity Consortium and the United Way, the Kirwan Institute scheduled initial screenings earlier this year. The film inspired dialogue on racial equality between audience members. Pretty soon, word spread among corporate diversity officers and human resources departments around town. Cardinal Health, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Ashland, Inc., the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Ohio State University human resources department all reached out to Kirwan to schedule in-house employee screenings.

    “The film articulates the struggles of different groups in their pursuit of equal rights,” says Aida Sabo, vice president of diversity and inclusion for Cardinal Health, via email. “We are planning to use this as a learning opportunity in the context of inclusion.”

    Cardinal has already hosted one screening; Sabo’s office is working with the Kirwan Institute to bring the film back to Cardinal’s Dublin HQ for more. Cardinal’s diversity department encourages the company’s employee resource groups to find ways to integrate the film into their programming.

    “Human resource officers have a very hard job building a very diverse office (and) at the same time hiring the best people they can find,” says Bell. HR departments that have hosted screening have reported to him that employees leave the screenings “talking about what (race) means to them at the job that they have today.”

    Companies are invited to schedule their own screening, or tap the institute’s additional resources and research capabilities. Learn more online at kirwaninstitute.osu.edu or by calling 614-688-5429.

  • GUEST BLOG: Corporate Giving From Head and Heart

    Posted on Jan 16, 2015

    By Ted Saunders

    Corporations approach community giving in a variety of ways. One way is to determine specific areas of philanthropic interest and then encourage employees to focus efforts there. Another approach is to encourage employees to volunteer their time and talent to an organization or cause of their choosing, with no real structure or guidance provided.

    Then, there is a third way. It’s a more organic way. And it has changed our company. 

    Several years ago, we realized that individually our employees were generous with their time, talent and money. But as a company, we were not maximizing our employees’ desire to give back, and so we established the Community Cares program.

    Community Cares is structured yet informal. For example, we encourage employees to contribute to local causes or charities that provide financial education, hunger prevention or emergency hunger relief. As our thanks for their involvement, employees are given paid time off or rewards. While these parameters provide focus and incentives, our employees are given wide latitude in choosing how to give back.

    At the same time, putting corporate resources toward a more limited number of causes can make a bigger difference than by giving money willy-nilly. The question we had at the beginning was, “What are the right causes?”

    Our leadership team understood the devastating effects that heart disease can have on individuals and families through personal experiences. People with heart disease aren’t just the “usual suspects,” but also include children. The story of an employee’s 10-year-old grandson who needed open-heart surgery opened our eyes to that reality. For the third year now, we have encouraged our Columbus associates to participate in the annual Central Ohio Heart Walk—an event for which our associates in 2014 raised more than $50,000—twice our goal, and we were the third-highest fundraiser among central Ohio corporations.

    Another personal cause for us is Volunteers of America. We know from those who come into our stores that there is great need in our communities. Our employees, who see that need every day, accepted donations in our retail stores during September to support services to our most vulnerable families, children and seniors. We raised $205,000 for Volunteers of America through our Helping Hands Campaign.

    In March 2011, six-year-old Noah Maloney, the son of Community Choice employee John Maloney, lost his life on a Dublin playground. Noah’s family decided they wanted to keep his generous spirit alive by donating his organs and tissue. In the months that followed, Noah’s mother, Jennifer, discovered Dash for Donation, an annual event sponsored by Lifeline of Ohio to raise awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation.

    Jennifer decided it was a perfect way to honor her son. So did we, and within seven days, more than 165 Community Choice team members had signed up for “Team Noah Man.” We’ve sponsored “Team Noah Man” every summer since, which raised $7,500 in 2014 alone.

    When deciding on a philanthropic philosophy, every organization has to think intellectually about what makes sense from a financial and strategic standpoint. But what my employees have shown me is that philanthropy means way more than using one’s head. It’s also about following one’s heart. 

    Ted Saunders is chairman & CEO of /Community Choice Financial Inc.  

  • Guest blog: Why executive presence is essential for women in leadership

    Posted on Jan 15, 2015

    What is “executive presence?” What does it mean to “command the room?” And why is it important for women in leadership to master both? 

    read more...

  • Editor Mary Yost to speak at PRSA luncheon on Jan. 15

    Posted on Jan 14, 2015

    Editor Mary Yost will speak to PR professionals Thursday at a luncheon sponsored by the Public Relations Society of America Central Ohio Chapter.

    read more...

  • Appointments: Mayor Coleman's former deputy chief of staff for communications to join Paul Werth Associates

    Posted on Jan 13, 2015

    Appointments through the week of Jan. 12

    read more...

  • Mayor names new communications director

    Posted on Jan 9, 2015

    Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman begins his final year in office with a new communications director.

    Dan Williamson, Coleman's outgoing deputy chief of staff for communications, has joined Paul Werth Associates as senior vice president. From the agency's announcement, released Wednesday:

    "At Werth, Williamson will lead client work focusing on strategic public relations, public affairs, writing and media training.

    'Dan’s distinguished communications experience and deep-rooted connection to the city of Columbus will help us continue to surpass our clients’ needs,' said Sandra W. Harbrecht, Werth’s president and CEO. 'His breadth and depth of experience with education and economic development issues will undoubtedly benefit our clients.'

    During his time in the mayor’s office, Williamson oversaw communications, media relations and messaging. He served as a senior policy advisor to Mayor Coleman and as the mayor’s primary media spokesperson and speechwriter.

    Williamson also served as Mayor Coleman's liaison to the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department and the Central Ohio Workforce Investment Corporation (COWIC). As a mayoral appointee, he serves on the Experience Columbus board of directors.  

    Before joining the City of Columbus in June 2008, Williamson was a journalist best known for his work for Columbus Monthly and The Other PaperHe holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina.'

    Tyneisha Harden assumes the role of communications director on Monday. Coleman has promoted Harden from her previous position as communications coordinator. Read Columbus CEO's profile of Harden as an up-and-coming Columbus young professional in the July 2013 cover story, Young Professional Payoff.

  • Guest Blog: Recession lessons work in good times, too

    Posted on Jan 7, 2015

    BY STEPHEN METZ, PRESIDENT SMBH, INC.

    We are now five years since the onset of the Great Recession and most of us are seeing a comeback, whether minimal or significant. Unfortunately, for many, our busy ways will replace the memory of the tough times and the lessons will be quickly forgotten. After all, economic booms are typically followed by recessions, and then the cycle repeats itself every eight to 12 years. When times get tough we tighten our belts, and when the rebound occurs, fees are plentiful.

    However, what if this time is different? Many will argue that with the advent of technology, generational differences and a global economy, we can’t simply return to business as usual. Instead, what if we applied what we learned during the recession to the good times as well?

    As workload and revenues have increased steadily during the last two years, SMBH has added staff as well as resources to remain competitive. However, I dare say we are now doing it through a different filter and prism with a commitment to three key areas of focus:

    1)    Commitment to communication: In all aspects of our business, we are communicating with our team members and clients now more than ever. Transparency results in trust and can be a rallying point for change. Be open about cash flow, workload and other challenges. With increased workload, it is often tempting to cut back on communication, meetings and even skip steps in our defined processes to optimize our working hours. However, once transparency and trust is established, it shouldn’t be removed from the culture.  

    2)    Engage your entire team in cost-cutting measures on an ongoing basis: By looking at all of your expenses that you take for granted as fixed costs – everything from office supplies to the cleaning service – you’ll find areas for adjustment and continual improvement. For example, you don’t have to cut out your training budget entirely, but find a way to deliver educational programs in a different manner, such as employees having to brownbag lunch instead of catering the meal. In terms of maximizing cash flow, get better at collections.  

    3)    Keep marketing: There has long been an adage that those who continue to market during the tough times will come out strong when the economy rebounds. Although we certainly made cuts related to marketing expenditures because of our decreased cash flow and workload, we didn’t stop promoting our firm. Our tactics may have changed – such as decreased consultant costs or less sponsorships -- but we replaced these costs with grassroots efforts and communication with our clients. Today, as we begin to spend more money related to marketing, we look at all expenditures through the new prism.

    Our team looks at decisions not simply in terms of the implications on tomorrow, but long-term. This approach helped us navigate the tough times, but it also is helping guide our decisions today when we enjoy a healthy backlog and great optimism for the future.

    Stephen Metz is president of SMBH structural-engineering services firm. He can be reached at smetz@smbhinc.com.

  • ExpressMed property sold

    Posted on Jan 6, 2015

    Commercial real estate news via Marcus & Millichap, from today's press release:

    Marcus & Millichap (NYSE: MMI), a leading commercial real estate investment services firm with offices throughout the United States and Canada, today announced the sale of ExpressMed Gahanna, a 6,000-square foot net-leased property located in Gahanna, OH, according to Michael L. Glass, regional manager of the firm’s Columbus office. The asset sold for $1,480,000.

    John P. Reehil, a senior investment specialist in Marcus & Millichap’s Columbus office, had the exclusive listing to market the property on behalf of the seller, a limited liability company.  The buyer, a limited liability company, was secured and represented by Stephen Lieberman, an investment specialist in Marcus & Millichap’s Chicago Downtown office.  Michael Glass, Ohio Broker of Record also assisted in this transaction.

    ExpressMed Gahanna is located at 445 Rocky Fork Boulevard in Gahanna, OH.  The former bank branch on an out-parcel to a Kroger anchored shopping center, was doubled in size and converted into an urgent care facility.  Construction was completed in the fall of 2014.  The property is encumbered by a 15 year absolute net lease.  This is ExpressMed’s second Central Ohio location with plans for more.

    Pick up the February issue of Columbus CEO magazine (on newsstands this Friday) for more Gahanna development news.

  • CEO Refresh: OSU Athletic Director talks team finances

    Posted on Jan 5, 2015

    OSU AD & VP of Athletics Gene Smith took to Twitter to back head coach Urban Meyer's argument for championship game travel stipends for the families of OSU football players. From Saturday's post via @OSU_AD:

    "STATEMENT: I have always been in agreement with Coach Meyer. I wish we could help the families of players more than we currently can...I will initiate NCAA legislation to allow us to provide more financial assistance in the future for postseason trips."


    Smith discussed a range of topics related to the business of Ohio State athletics with Columbus CEO, including player stipends and the economic situation facing many OSU recruits. From Smith's Sept. 2013 Executive Q&A:


    Q: You’ve been an athletic director for 28 years. What have you seen change in that time, and why do student-athletes need a stipend program?

    A: When I was at Iowa State University, I recruited a young man by the name of Troy Davis from Florida. We were in Ames, Iowa, and he came from Bradenton, Fla. His mother was a custodian and Dad was a lawn-care guy. He had seven brothers and sisters, Pell Grant eligible, meaning they were … defined as needy students. So he didn’t have extra money. Whenever he got his room and board money, he would send half of it home to help his family.

    We recruited him to come to Iowa State. We recruited him there, so the reality is, we put him in a financial situation that made it very difficult for him to survive. We’d pay his tuition. We’d pay for his books. When he’s on campus, we’d pay him for his room. When he moves off and lives in an apartment we’re giving him a check to pay for his apartment, but he’s siphoning off a little bit to send home to his brothers and sisters. So it became a strain on him. And a lot of times, that’s what takes young people to the decision—and they can’t work, they don’t have the time—so they [do] something different. They sell their rings. That’s what happens. And so the cost of attendance is really additional funds to allow those young people to live more comfortably.

    Keep in mind I give you that example because a lot of athletes don’t come from an environment where they come up aspiring to go to a four-year school. In your family, it may have been talked about when you were 11, 12, 13, 14 years old, and your parents may’ve said, ‘We’re going to build a fund and help fund you.’ Or you may say, ‘I’m going to get a student loan,’ and you’re going to work and all that. Well, a lot of our athletes don’t know that they’re capable of going to college and being recruited until their sophomore years, and they say, ‘My goodness, I’m good enough to go and play at the college level.’ There’s no family structure setting aside funds.

    So at the end of the day, they’re going to college for the first time in their family, many of them first generation, and there’s no financial backing. So that’s what’s missed publicly about some of these young people who come into athletics. Now that’s not all of them, but there’s a percentage.