CEO Live

Breaking business news and updates in and around Columbus

  • Guest blog: Five business policy changes needed to help central Ohio working women

    Posted on Mar 31, 2014

    Nichole Dunn of The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio shares five workplace policy changes to help local women.


  • Ohioans to receive e-book price-fixing settlements this week

    Posted on Mar 25, 2014

    From today's announcement from the Ohio AG's office:

    Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that Ohio consumers will begin receiving account credits or checks this week in settlement funds from a 2012 e-books price-fixing lawsuit. The lawsuit was brought by Attorney General DeWine and attorneys general from 32 other states against Apple, Inc. and five of the six largest e-book publishers in the country for conspiring to fix the price of e-books. Those e-book publishers — Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Simon & Schuster Inc., Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC, d/b/a Macmillan, and Penguin Group (USA) Inc. — settled the claims against them for a total nationwide payment of $166 million, of which approximately $4.7 million will be distributed to Ohio consumers. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York approved those settlements on December 6, 2013.

    “Ohioans should be able to purchase goods in a fair, competitive marketplace free from illegal price-fixing. I’m glad consumers who purchased these e-books are able to recoup the overcharges they paid,” Attorney General DeWine said.

    Ohio consumers will receive either an account credit or check based on the number of eligible e-books they purchased during the claims period of April 1, 2010, to May 21, 2012. Eligible consumers should watch their email for communications from their e-book retailer, or from the Settlement Administrator regarding account credits or checks. For more information on the settlements, individuals may call 866-621-4153 or visit

  • New members join Columbus Chamber board

    Posted on Mar 25, 2014

    During the 2014 Columbus Chamber Annual Meeting, the COlumbus Chamber of Commerce announced the following board appointments and re-elections:

    * John McEwan, managing partner of Deloitte & Touche, Columbus, has been named chariman of the board of directors (pictured, right)

    * Brian Tierney, EVP & CFO of AEP, has been named chair-elect.

    * Chris Culley, Curt Dieck and Brian Worth have been elected to the board.

    * Board members Lisa Bachmann, Michael DeAscentis, Jim Kunk and Bill Porter have been re-elected to the board.

  • Ecohouse recognized as a green home innovator

    Posted on Mar 24, 2014

    Columbus-based Ecohouse was recognized today as one of the top three green home innovators in the nation.


  • New Medical Staff President Named at Grant Medical Center

    Posted on Mar 14, 2014

    Harlan Meyer, M.D., has been elected the next medical staff president at Grant Medical Center.


  • Guest blog: Local entrepreneurs make voices heard

    Posted on Mar 14, 2014

    How the Columbus Songwriters Association & Local Music Shelf are uniting area music lovers


  • Q&A: Chris DeCapua, owner of Dawson Recruiting

    Posted on Mar 14, 2014

    About Dawson:

    Staff: Approx. 80
    Contracts for job placement: 1,200 to 1,500 weekly
    2013 revenue: Approx. $70 million  

    Tell us a little bit about your company’s history:

    Our company was started in 1946 to help soldiers returning home from World War II. My father, (Joseph DeCapua) he’s 72, and he came down here when I was 6 months old. He had been working for a similar company in Cleveland.

    He came down to Columbus because my mom was from here with the idea that he was going to go work for someone or start his own business. But he didn’t have two nickels to rub together. He noticed this one company, Dawson was basically shutting its doors.

    It had traded hands a couple times (from the founding Dawson family). (In 1966) he took over the responsibility (for paying bills due) and they handed him the keys.

    You and your brother David bought the business from your dad?

    In 1999, we signed the paperwork to make the transition complete.

    You grew up watching your father run the business—what did you learn in those years?

    How the business was doing on a month-to-month basis affected our home life, in a sense that, one month we’re buying clothes at Lazarus, the next we’re buying them at Schottenstein’s. I saw the peaks and valleys of running a business.

    I learned very early on that I did not want that, so I worked to create a business that was less volatile, more residual income. For example, we used to place people and get fees from companies. We still do that, but every month you’re starting over again. What I’ve really put a focus on is building our temporary/contract business so that if I come in here on January 3 after not being in the office for two weeks, our business hasn’t missed a beat.

    I made a decision that we were going to build a business that had value, something that we wouldn’t have to come in every month and reinvent ourselves.

    What has your growth been since you and your brother David acquired the business in 1999?

    Revenue was $24 million when we bought the business. We did $60 million in 2012, close to $70 (million) in 2013.

    To what would you attribute that tripling in revenue?

    In 1999, we had offices in Cleveland and we had seven offices in Columbus. We now have no offices in Cleveland and two offices in Columbus. We’ve done the opposite of expand. Our focus changed--we are 100 percent focused on Columbus, Ohio. We’ve decided that we are going to be specialists. I would say just having a very narrow focus on what we wanted to be good at.

    What role has technology played in Dawson's growth—you have an online resume, for example.

    That’s been a piece that we kind of invented, my brother David’s behind that. But we’ve always been very innovative.

    We want people when they walk in the door—a lot of them have been to other staffing companies—we want them to say, ‘Holy cow, this is different.’ Because when people come in, they’re nervous, they’re uptight, they’re not sure what to expect, so we really, really want people to feel very comfortable here. We’ve worked very hard to differentiate ourselves, (beginning with) our office space.

    It’s a really beautiful space—you spent $3 million on it?

    That’s probably about right, all in all that’s about what we spent. We wanted a place where people want to be. My philosophy is: The strongest motivator you can have to motivate somebody to do a good job is take care of them. That to me has proven to be a very strong motivator to keep people working hard.

    Do you gauge your success in that regard on the number of people who return after their contracts end?

    Yes and no. I gauge it by the fact that we added $10 million in growth from 2012 to 2013.That’s all the measurement I need. We haven’t hired any other sales people.

    Our philosophy is, we are 100 percent a relationship-based company. …We hire the people that people want to work with, they want to be friends with them, they like talking to them. We grow as our customers grow—we haven’t hired a bunch of salespeople to go out and blanket the market. We’ve grown because the companies that work with us are doing better, they have a need and they trust us. Our largest clients have been with us for eight or nine years.

    You couldn’t have chosen a better time to refocus on Columbus—the city has been outpacing state and national employment 

    There’s no doubt about that and to be honest, that’s part of the reason why we made the decision. We bought this building with the idea that we want to own this market. When you think about a job in Columbus, Ohio, we want to be the first one that pops in your head.


  • CEO Insights: George Barrett on leadership and Columbus collaboration

    Posted on Mar 12, 2014

    A recap of the Columbus Chamber's CEO Insights event featuring the Cardinal Health CEO


  • Kasich named 2013 Governor of Year by National Multiple Sclerosis Society

    Posted on Mar 7, 2014

    Ohio Buckeye Chapter of the NMSS celebrates the honor in advance of March 18 Advocacy Day at the Ohio Statehouse


  • Bob Evans' CEO honored with 2014 People of Vision Award

    Posted on Mar 7, 2014

    The Boat House at Confluence Park provided an idyllic setting for the Prevent Blindness Ohio 2014 People of Vision Award, held on Thursday evening. Approximately 320 individual and corporate guests enjoyed a three-course dinner, vision-related activities and an award ceremony emceed by WBNS-10TV anchor Jeff Hogan.

    Steven Davis, chairman and CEO of New Albany-based Bob Evans, was the recipient of the 29th annual People of Vision Award. Davis and his wife, Lynnda Davis, are very active in the philanthropic community. Bob Evans has put corporate support behind a number of Davis' nonprofit causes, including Pelotonia and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. 

    Davis was tapped for the People of Vision Award by previous recipient and event chairman Jordan Miller, president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank. (Fifth Third sponsored the event.)  

    Former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery introduced and bestowed the award on Davis (pictured at right). Retired Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, an honorary PBO board member, was also among last night's speakers. Established in 1985, next year marks the 30th anniversary of the People of Vision Award. During his acceptance speech, Davis announced his selection for next year’s award recipient and event chair: Ohio State University Athletic Director Gene Smith

    Founded in 1957, Prevent Blindness Ohio is a nonprofit advocacy, early detection and support-services provider. PBO served 800,000 Ohioans in 2013. The organization is volunteer-driven, depending entirely on individual, corporate and foundation donations (it receives no government or United Way funding). PBO partners with Central Ohio retailers, vision labs and optometrists to gain nearly 10,000 in-kind donations of vision products and services. To volunteer, donate or learn more about PBO programs, visit

  • Mayor, development leaders talk future growth at CMC forum

    Posted on Mar 5, 2014

    The guest list at Wednesday afternoon’s Columbus Metropolitan Club forum was a veritable Who’s Who of city policy makers and business leaders. Panelists Alex Fischer (president and CEO of the Columbus Partnership), Guy Worley (president and CEO of the Columbus Downtown Development Corp.)and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman convened to tell “The Story of (Columb)US.”

    The discussion was presented by Columbus Monthly, Columbus CEO’s sister publication. Complete coverage of the city’s "Downtown Rebirth" and “The Story of US” appear in the current issue of the newly redesigned city magazine.  

    "I heard a lot of great stories being started on stage today, about transportation, education, economic development, housing and job creation and retention,” says Kristen Schmidt, editor of Columbus Monthly. “Columbus is having documented success in some of these areas, while others remain big, tough questions and, frankly, challenges for the community.”

    The panelists are, without question, the major players behind the city’s renaissance. “Why we’ve been able to succeed as a city, it’s definitely because of private and public sectors working together,” said Worley. The CDDC’s redevelopment of the Columbus Commons and the Scioto Mile resulted in $225 million in private investment within the two block area surrounding the public parks. (For more, see “Downtown Development,” Columbus Monthly, March 2014).

    Thirty-three acres on the Scioto Peninsula and 56 acres in Franklinton are the panelists’ next redevelopment targets.

    In addition, the mayor has been working hard this winter on dual bids to bring the Republican and Democratic National Conventions to Columbus in 2016. The chances look good for both, the mayor told the crowd. “I play to win. I want one of those conventions in our city. However, if we lose, we’ll learn a lot

     about ourselves.”

    When conventioneers look at Columbus it’s an opportunity to gauge the city against competing cities, whether the bids are successful or not. For example, in 2006, the mayor submitted a bid for a political convention through Experience Columbus; he withdrew the application upon realizing the city lacked key requirements, such as a hotel capacity. However, that failed bid resulted in a financial package developed between the city and Franklin County that funded the construction of the Columbus Hilton Hotel.  

    Six years ago, Columbus wasn’t “ready for prime time,” the mayor said. “Now we are.”

    “At the root of all the progress being made is economic development,” said Fischer. The panel agreed that challenges to the city’s continued growth are education, workforce development and transportation.

    Transportation comes up a lot in national and local discussions about Columbus, the panelists agreed. Mayor Coleman called for more direct flights from Port Columbus, and said he believes in rail. “We’re the largest city in the nation without rail and we’re getting larger.” (Columbus CEO will feature in-depth coverage the intersection of transit and economic development in the city of Columbus in the forthcoming April issue.)

    (Pictured above, l-to-r) Alex Fischer, Elfi DiBella and Todd Tuney attended the CMC Luncheon Wednesday March 5, 2014 at the Columbus Athletic Club.(Jodi Miller)

  • Guest blog: Oscars for family business

    Posted on Mar 4, 2014

    Family businesses have winners every year too, and here's who the Oscars would go to