Regulatory and legal issues were identified as a local challenge in the 2017 Central Ohio CEO Survey conducted by Capital University for Columbus CEO. Here are how some past CEO of the Year honorees are addressing it.

Chuck Gehring President and CEO, LifeCare Alliance

As business leaders, if we feel that regulations have gone too far, we must advocate for changes. While regulations can be frustrating, the core reasons for the regulations shape how we operate every day. I have found that those initiating the regulations are willing to listen, especially when we propose reasonable alternatives. When businesses intentionally attempt to avoid regulations, the resulting legal issues can ruin what we strive to protect—our reputations. I have always worked to closely follow the regulations that affect our agency. It is not only the right thing to do, but it allows us to avoid an area that can provide even more frustration and damage to our reputations.

Nick Akins, Chairman, President and CEO, AEP

One of our biggest regulatory challenges is effectively communicating to our regulators and other stakeholders how much our business has changed—driven by technology advancements and our customers’ evolving energy needs. Regulatory frameworks must support bringing new energy technologies to market faster and with more flexibility than traditional models. For example, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio saw this need and developed a PowerForward roadmap, which looks at ways to modernize Ohio’s energy grid and allows the state to take control of its energy future–one that will bring innovative technologies and cleaner energy to every customer.

Dr. Steve Allen, CEO, Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Nationwide Children’s considers our regulatory and legal environment to be an opportunity, not an obstacle. For example, there are now more than a dozen startup companies using our licensed research, helping bring our discoveries to patients and generating millions of dollars to support the hospital. Those companies exist, in part, because our technology commercialization, regulatory and legal teams are adept at applying for patents, at obtaining Investigational New Drug designations and otherwise navigating the regulatory process. The rigorous process, and our ability to work within it, gives potential funders confidence in their investments—and the investments allow us to bring important therapies to market.

Gail Kelley, President, Two Men and a Truck

The instability of regulatory and legal issues causes the most challenges. Without having across-the-aisle consensus being applied to passage of bills or amendments, these issues continue to come up each time there is a change in Congressional majority. When change appears on the horizon, we monitor, research and devise a plan to be prepared and then wait and see what happens.

When possible, we create a small change in anticipation of legislation, but this can create uneasiness within the group. As always, we will continue to be a part of the business community so that our voice can be added to the conversation about regulations and other topics.

Central Ohio corporate and nonprofit executives can provide contact information to 
participate in the 2019 CEO Survey at