CEO Live

Breaking business news and updates in and around Columbus

  • CCAD names Thomas White president

    Posted on Jun 24, 2014

    CCAD announced this afternoon the confirmation of Thomas White as incoming college president:

    Thomas White, an award-winning industrial designer and branding expert who has positioned organizations for growth in a variety of business sectors, including higher education, was named president of Columbus College of Art & Design today at the board of trustees’ annual meeting.

    White, 58, is a passionate advocate for the power of art and design to fuel economic growth and innovation. He succeeds Dennison W. Griffith in leading one of the nation’s oldest and largest private colleges of art and design. Griffith, who announced in August that he would retire when his contract expired June 30, was president for 16 years and most recently oversaw the opening of the CCAD MindMarket as a hub for businesses to engage with the college.

    “Tom’s career accomplishments, combined with his passion for creativity and commerce, made him the ideal next president of CCAD,” said Robert P. Restrepo Jr., chair of the CCAD board of trustees and president, chairman and CEO of State Auto Insurance Companies. “He has the perfect blend of experience in academia and business. His expertise in branding, marketing and business development presented a skill set the search committee recognized as key for today’s competitive higher education marketplace.”

            White, who has taught drawing and industrial design at California campuses during his business career,             begins his tenure at CCAD immediately.

    “This is a college with a rich legacy in an amazing city,” White said. “We have unlimited potential to deliver value to a growing population of creative thinkers that seek a quality education. I’m here to build on the value of CCAD regionally and nationally. Collaboratively, we will lead the college into a new era of growth.”

    White sees the changing global business environment as a call to action for art and design educators.

    “We’ve entered the ‘Era of the Creatives.’ The financial, legal and technical voices will always be critical to any endeavor, but the creative voice has emerged as the engine for innovation and growth,” White said.

    Prior to accepting the CCAD presidency, White was vice president of corporate development at Co-Optimum Connect+ in Sherman Oaks, Calif. His business career includes leadership roles in technology design, marketing, advertising and branding with Citicorp and Lockheed-Martin as well as international design firms RKS Design and EDG Visual Communications in the Netherlands. Among White’s consultancy engagements was leading the strategic planning effort for the Savannah College of Art and Design.

    White earned his undergraduate degree in industrial design at California State University, Northridge, and an MBA at Pepperdine University. In the classroom, White taught drawing in the interior design Extension program at the University of California, Los Angeles, and industrial design at his alma mater, CSUN. He also created the Commerce of Creativity Distinguished Speakers Series, known as C2, at CSUN.

    Restrepo said the nine-month search for Griffith’s successor was extensive and attracted a diverse pool of international candidates. Board member Jane Ramsey, chief human resources officer for L Brands, Inc., chaired the committee, which worked with search firm Korn Ferry.

    “The search committee was very thorough and included a well-rounded group of trustees, faculty and senior staff members,” Restrepo said. “We owe them our thanks for the hard work they invested to bring forward such a fine candidate.

    “The board is very confident Tom’s personal style, strong leadership experience, and clear, concise communication skills will enable him to tell the CCAD story well,” Restrepo said.



  • Book review: Executive Presence

    Posted on Jun 23, 2014

    Economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett on the “missing link between merit and success”


  • Crimson Cup partners with vet-owned business to launch patriotic blends

    Posted on Jun 16, 2014

    Veteran-owned Charlie Foxtrot Group has enlisted local coffee roaster Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea to launch Charlie Foxtrot Coffee. Army veteran Alvin Burzynski and partner, U.S. Air Force veteran Rick Isbell, pitched the concept to Crimson Cup as an innovative way to keep veterans top-of-mind among Columbus' coffee-drinking civilians.

    Charlie Foxtrot's partners have spent their civilian careers advocating on behalf of Central Ohio's veterans: Burzynski  as former public affairs officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Columbus, and Isbell as the city’s first full-time veteran-affairs coordinator.

    In addition to the patriotic theme of the coffees (the “Victory” house blend, the “Warrior” dark roast and the decaf “Honor” blend), one dollar from every $10 bag sold will be donated to the Disabled American Veterans, Capital City Chapter #3. The DAV provides support services and advocates on behalf of disabled veterans.

    The partnership reinforces Crimson Cup's veteran-support efforts. According to spokesperson Melissa Rogner, the company matched customers' 20-pounds in coffee donations to deployed service memebrs as part of its annual military coffee drive, then donated an additional 60 pounds of coffee to service members last year. 

    Charlie Foxtrot Coffee is available through the CFC homepage and through Crimson Cup. Watch for the coffee this summer at veterans' support groups and events.

  • Guest Blog: The serendipitous failure of the anti-poaching pact

    Posted on Jun 16, 2014

    By Rob Rishel

    In 2011, many Central Ohio communities endorsed a development “anti-poaching pact” that sought to prevent any single community from offering economic development incentives to any company proposing to relocate to a different Central Ohio community.

    The theory was that eliminating competitive economic incentives would improve inter-community cooperation and result in greater inter-community benefit. The pact gained some initial momentum in 2012 but ultimately stalled. The pact’s failure resulted in an increased sense of a regionalism that will promote prosperity far better than the pact ever could.

    The anti-poaching pact rested on a faulty proposition and would have negatively affected Central Ohio. Economic incentives don’t cause companies to leave one location for another. Economic incentives are rarely the motivating factor in site selection. Typically, a company has already identified a location for its expansion project well before inquiring into incentives. However, incentives are incredibly important; they may decide whether the project moves forward or stalls. Thus, economic incentives may dictate if a company will be able to expand in the region rather than the motivating factor of where a company will expand.

    A Central Ohio company might expand, for example, if business booms and it requires additional space or wants to take advantage of a new economic niche. It might relocate for the name recognition of a “Columbus” address or a negative experience with its current community. In some instances, companies move to a different community to take advantage of a place that better fits current and future business needs.  

    The anti-poaching pact would not have fixed companies in place. The motivation to move would have remained. However, the ability to do so within Central Ohio would have been diminished, forcing companies to seek relocation outside of the region. The anti-poaching pact would have stripped local communities of the tools necessary to keep relocating businesses in the region. 

    Fortuitously, after the anti-poaching pact stalled in 2012, collaborative regionalism took its place. Collaborative regionalism uses development incentives to direct the economic investment that is already occurring in Central Ohio companies. The result is a regional approach focused on promoting companies currently within the region with a plethora of incentives for companies of all sizes. Economic incentives are no longer limited to out-of-state companies trying to move into Central Ohio. Additionally, community Development Directors have learned to facilitate a diverse range of business investment through equally diverse incentives. This approach more accurately addresses the economic situation to the benefit of all Central Ohio communities. 

    As managing partner of Rinehart, Rishel & Cuckler, Ltd., Rob Rishel represents Ohio business clients in matters concerning land-use planning and regulation including zoning, annexations and permitting, as well as clients in economic development projects. Since starting his practice in 2002, Mr. Rishel has helped businesses obtain and maintain more than $30 million in government financial incentives for expansion and relocation projects in Central Ohio.



  • Guest blog: Recruiting battle won on brand appeal

    Posted on Jun 13, 2014

    By Mike Niederquell

    Thanks to a rebounding economy but a drought of available talent, many businesses are not able to realize the tremendous opportunity available in today’s marketplace. Recruiting is now a business imperative and a competitive advantage for companies that can do it well.

    While branding is often considered a sales and marketing discipline, brands have a significant influence on attracting top talent. Companies searching for new recruits can help themselves by first polishing their brands.

    CEOs often underestimate the importance of brand image as it pertains to drawing in talent. However, every HR manager knows just how hard it is to catch the eye of a prospective candidate without the aid of a recognized brand.

    Well-established brands like Google, Mercedes-Benz USA, Intel and Quicken Loans have job seekers lined up with pedigreed resumes in hand. These companies have little need for headhunters. Their logo is all they need.

    But not all companies are household names. For firms flying under the radar, filling jobs can be an expensive battle. But even these lesser-known companies can get their pick of the litter if they practice a few techniques to promote brand awareness.

    It’s the old story of David and Goliath—doing battle against the big guys doesn’t have to end in defeat. Small companies can land the best recruits by leveraging the power of their brand.

    Consider these four tips when searching for the market’s best and brightest:

    1. Get involved.  The CEO must champion the cause and drive brand awareness and promotion across the company.
    2. Define your brand. Does your company know what it really stands for? If not, no one else will. Market research and branding exercises are helpful in defining the brand’s position, value proposition and what makes it special.
    3. Marry marketing and HR. Cross-functional teams are best suited to crack the code for winning new recruits. Use market outreach together with HR initiatives to find the best candidates.
    4. Curb appeal wins. It’s just like real estate—candidates are attracted to the external package. In branding terms, that means a perception of being smart, strong, unique and passionate. Recruits are looking for the “it” factor. Share yours via websites, social media, community outreach and corporate activism.

    A candidate’s employment decision will be based on a number of elements. Today’s job seeker may want a company that is socially responsible, environmentally kind and offers a culture that is inclusive, flexible and nurturing. Any company can increase its odds of attracting top talent with a powerful brand that exudes the values most important to its targeted pool (demographic) of recruits.

    If you can establish your firm as the hot company in your industry, you may just find the best candidates knocking on your door, regardless of the competition.

    CEO Mike Niederquell founded and leads The Quell Group, a premium, integrated brand communications firm with a strategic approach, proprietary processes, diversified talent and aggressive execution that defines and aligns the true value of companies with the needs of their constituents to achieve enterprises success. 


  • Guest blog: Conquering healthcare reform challenges in your family business

    Posted on Jun 10, 2014

    How a proactive approach can make handling healthcare reform easier