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2017 Business Longevity Awards

Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Business Longevity Awards

Reprinted from Smart Business Magazine

This year’s Business Longevity Award honorees are proof that hard work and a commitment to excellence can pay off. These 44 companies were built on timeless values and principles that set the stage for generations of economic achievement.

Some of these businesses have recognizable brand names that are imbedded in the communities they call home. Others have maintained a low profile while consistently offering a great product to their customers.

When things didn’t go their way, these organizations regrouped and bounced back stronger than ever. They are part of the Northeast Ohio business community’s rich history — and are well on their way to being part of its future.


Margaret Mitchell
President and CEO
YWCA Greater Cleveland
Founded: 1868

Established in 1868, YWCA Greater Cleveland is a community resource in Northeast Ohio committed to eliminating racism and empowering women. The organization, led by President and CEO Margaret Mitchell, is widely recognized as a thought leader on the issues of racial equity and the advancement of women.

YWCA Greater Cleveland is focused on three areas: early childhood education, youth services, and leadership and inclusion initiatives.

The Early Learning Center provides early education for children ages 3 to 5 years old. It enables working parents to pursue their career and educational goals, while preparing their young children for a lifetime of learning.

Nurturing Independence and Aspirations is a trauma-informed system of care model focused on permanence, education, employment, housing, physical and mental health, and personal and community engagement for youth 14 to 24 years of age transitioning from failing systems, including foster care.

YWCA Greater Cleveland advocates for the civil and human rights of women, children and people of color — educating and communicating public policies that impact underserved communities and populations. Its Women’s Leadership Initiative empowers women to become effective leaders by providing them with the essential skills necessary at each stage of their career while ensuring that organizations are prepared to do the same.


R. Robertson Hilton, DM
President and CEO
The McGregor Foundation
Founded: 1877

The McGregor Foundation, led by R. Robertson Hilton, DM, president and CEO, continues the work it began in 1877 to improve the experience of aging in Northeast Ohio.

Tootie McGregor established McGregor to honor her late husband, Ambrose. The foundation’s services include assisted and independent living, rehabilitation, long-term care and hospice.

Investing in resources and education, McGregor is creating awareness while establishing business relationships and partnerships that have led to programs such as Ask Our Experts, which held a White House Conference on Aging Forum, and Knowledge Empowers You, providing continuing education to health care professionals and others.

Through technology, McGregor is supporting features and connectivity in health care information management required to optimize existing businesses and participate in integrated care delivery solutions shared among peer organizations.

The newly established McGregor Institute’s Social Work Training Collaborative recognizes the need to provide training, insight and influence for the investment of human and financial resources by enhancing the skills of social service professionals.

Recognizing the need for more affordable housing options, the foundation has plans to build two new facilities on its campus to increase options for a growing senior community. Completion is expected in the summer 2019.

CELEBRATING 131 YEARS IN BUSINESS – Chapman & Chapman Inc.

Walter Chapman
Chapman & Chapman Inc.
Founded: 1886

Chapman & Chapman Inc. has provided services to corporate and individual clients in Cleveland and around the country for more than 130 years. Twelve members of the Chapman family have joined the firm over the past five generations, with four family members now representing the fourth and fifth generations.

Beginning in the 1920s, GB Chapman (known as Byron) and his son, George, ran Aetna’s general agency. The father/son team was the largest producer of insurance business for Aetna in the U.S. for three decades. Chapman & Chapman pioneered the development of employee benefit programs for clients such as Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., Goodrich Corp., The Timken Co., Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. and Lubrizol Corp., among others.

The company continues to advocate on behalf of its clients under the leadership of CEO Walter Chapman, who has led the firm as an independent agency for the past 40 years. Chapman & Chapman has grown to offer myriad core benefit and supporting services to corporate clients as well as financial planning and wealth management strategies to personal clients. The leadership team includes Philip Amos, a second-generation professional; Aaron Marinelli; and Kristin Chapman, representing the fifth generation of family leadership.

CELEBRATING 128 YEARS IN BUSINESS – Philpott Solutions Group

Mike Baach
President and CEO
Philpott Solutions Group
Founded: 1889

John W. Philpott pushed his wooden cart through Cleveland’s industrial complex to meet with potential industrial customers to exchange ideas.

He listened to the customers’ challenges, which enabled him to fabricate and deliver custom solutions and keep the promises he had made. It was in 1889 that the company’s foundation was set. Philpott’s belief that success comes from keeping promises guides Philpott Solutions Group to this day.

Promises are made to suppliers and in the community, as well as with customers. This commitment ensures that productive, long-term links are formed and maintained.

Every Philpott employee, from President and CEO Mike Baach down, maintains the philosophy in everything they do. These critical communication paths then receive support from the company’s web presence, formal public relations and marketing initiatives.

As a further indication of Philpott’s commitment to its core beliefs, even the finance and administrative personnel regularly meet with customer and supplier counterparts. Perhaps most importantly, each employee proudly conveys the Philpott story when attending social events, doing good deeds with nonprofit organizations and while interacting with others in their fellowship activities. Management takes steps to ensure that every employee takes the commitment to heart and can act as Philpott ambassadors in the community.


David Sokol
The Garland Co. Inc.
Founded: 1895

Garland’s history began in 1895 when Jacob B. Wise purchased Garland Co. Inc., known then as the Garland Refining Co., for $100, which he borrowed from his brother.

Since then, Garland has become a leader in the commercial roofing industry by providing high-performance, innovative waterproofing solutions engineered for long-term performance.
Since its founding, Garland has been building lasting partnerships with customers. The company prides itself on its unwillingness to sacrifice quality or good roofing practices just to win a sale.

Garland, led by President David Sokol, is driven by a simple philosophy: listen to what today’s customers need, anticipate what tomorrow’s customers will want. The company has developed numerous award-winning innovations, including some of the industry’s most sustainable solutions. It was among the first roofing companies in North America to embrace green technologies, and it remains at the forefront of sustainable solutions through a combination of product research and development.

Because Garland is a 100 percent employee-owned company, each representative has a very personal interest in the outcome of every project. By monitoring each project, during and after the job, the company is able to ensure that its clients’ roofs are installed as specified and properly maintained.


Courtney Guzy
Executive Director
The Hiram House
Founded: 1896

The Hiram House was founded as Ohio’s first settlement house in 1896 by George Bellamy to address the needs of Cleveland’s then-burgeoning immigrant and poverty-stricken slum dwellers. He sought to establish a “fresh air camp” for tenement families, especially their children.

As Ohio’s oldest camp, it has been offering a continuous summer program each year for more than a century with the mission of enriching the lives of children through camping. Throughout its history, Hiram House has subsidized camping costs for its overnight summer camp children who live below the poverty line as well as children in foster care. The Hiram House Campership fund is subsidized through grants and donations from individuals, companies and trusts.

The camp, led by Executive Director Courtney Guzy, strives to address children’s lack of adult role models; social, cultural and economic diversity; cooperative learning; leadership skills; and respect and responsibility.
Hiram House continues to add new programs to adapt to changing times.

For example, over the past several years Hiram House has partnered with the Cleveland Clinic to enroll youth diagnosed with autism and Asperger’s syndrome for day camp and is partnering with the Lerner School for Autism to provide one week of overnight camp.

CELEBRATING 118 YEARS IN BUSINESS – Doylestown Telephone Co., dba

Thomas Brockman
Doylestown Telephone Co., dba
Founded: 1899

For decades, the Doylestown Telephone Co. operated basic telecommunications services for residents and businesses in a small corner of Wayne County. Other than basic upgrades to equipment (analog to digital) and extending coverage to remote corners of the service area, not much changed until the early 1990s and the fourth generation of family ownership.

In 1994, President Thomas Brockman and his wife, Sandy, expanded the business and presented a newer technology to allow customers access to the internet using standard phone lines. The DBAs and were established as original internet providers in Northeast Ohio. With a focus on covering rural as well as metro markets, these companies grew quickly and developed a large dial-up internet customer base reaching all across Ohio.

Meanwhile, the original telephone company was expanding its services to include a cable TV company in 1996, which today competes head to head with Spectrum, formerly known as Time Warner Cable. It offers premium residential service, including fiber, to the home as well as an all-digital network.

Today, supports thousands of internet-connected devices and networks. Brockman holds a position on the board of the Ohio Telecom Association and manages five companies, including the original Doylestown Telephone Co.


William F. (Pepper) Boyd II
E.F. Boyd & Son Inc.
Founded: 1905

E. F. Boyd & Son Inc. is one of the oldest African-American funeral homes in the Cleveland area.

When Elmer F. Boyd started the business, he was entering one of the few professions open to blacks at the turn of the 20th century. Boyd opened his business following his graduation from Clark’s College of Embalming in Cincinnati, (now the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science). After passing the state examination, Boyd opened an office on Central Avenue in the fall of 1905. It was known as the E. F. Boyd Funeral Parlor.

He took on a partner, Lewis J. Dean, and officially opened in 1906. The initial establishment was described as “a combination funeral parlor and haberdashery.” Dean left the business in 1911, but Boyd, along with his wife, Cora, continued on.

During the early 1930s, Boyd was joined by his son, William F. With his business beginning to prosper, Elmer and Cora purchased the present headquarters location on E. 89th Street in 1938 and changed the name to E. F. Boyd & Son Funeral Home. Elmer Boyd died in 1944, but his wife and son, along with his daughter-in-law, Mary, continued to improve and enhance the overall business and its presence in the community. The business is now led by CEO William F. (Pepper) Boyd II.


Pat Finnegan
President and CEO
Buckeye Fasteners
Founded: 1905

Buckeye Fasteners is a hidden gem in Northeast Ohio. While fasteners may seem like a small, minor part, they are a critical component of everyday life in our society.

Fasteners hold together everything from cars, where there can be hundreds of different weld fasteners, to refrigerators. Buckeye serves Tier One and Tier Two suppliers as its parts end up in larger assemblies that range from the hinge assembly in the trunk to brake assemblies to parts of a gas tank for a major motorcycle manufacturer.

Over the past four years, Buckeye Fasteners has become more invested in solar technology. Under the leadership of President and CEO Pat Finnegan, the company worked with a manufacturer of commercial and residential solar rooftop systems in a synergized effort to develop a unique welded assembly that creates a water-tight seal on solar attachments. This would be a nearly impossible task using a traditional screw-on bolt. The weld of the solar attachment is so strong that it withstood Hurricane Sandy.

Buckeye Fasteners is a division of Fasteners Industries Inc. The fastener group includes two Cleveland production facilities featuring the latest engineering and metallurgic skills to tackle the most challenging fastening requirements.


Robert Stewart III
The M. Conley Co.
Founded: 1910

Established in 1910, The M. Conley Co. is a local, family-owned business headquartered in Canton that carries a variety of janitorial, packaging and office supplies, as well as products and equipment to service the health care, education, government, industrial manufacturing, food service and building maintenance industries.

Led by CEO Robert Stewart III, the company recently expanded from its single Canton location to two offsite warehouses in the city, as well as a location in Lincolnton, North Carolina.

The company has increased its product offering more than 30 percent in the past five years. In early 2013, M. Conley launched its own Phenom line of products that comprises top-of-the-line paper, chemical, equipment and food service products.

Over the past few years, M. Conley has been recognized by various organizations throughout the community. In late 2013, the company was chosen to be among the Stark 100 Most Interesting Businesses.

The M. Conley Co. believes in having a strong relationship with its community. The company and/or its employees are involved with boards that include The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, United Way of Greater Stark County, ArtsinStark, Canalway Partners, The American Heart Association and many more.


Roger Seid
Kaufman Container Co.
Founded: 1910

When a fire in June 1979 destroyed the company offices and warehouse of Kaufman Container Co. on E. 71st Street, it could have meant the end of a business that had been around since 1910.

The day after the devastating blaze, Bernard Seid, then the company’s CEO, gathered his employees. Together, they formulated a strategy with key suppliers and other business associates to continue providing products to customers uninterrupted. By September, Kaufman had relocated its offices and warehouse to Brooklyn Heights.

As the business continued to grow, Kaufman determined that it needed to support its smaller customers who wanted to decorate their containers. In 1982, under the supervision of Bernard’s son, Roger, Kaufman Container launched its special services division in another building and began screen printing glass and plastic containers.

The decorating business grew and Kaufman invested in more screen printing and labeling machines to meet the demand. Two years later, another product was developed that can be applied to glass, plastic or metal containers and can be in color, printed or perforated to the customer’s specifications.

Roger Seid now leads the company as CEO. In 2006, Kaufman Container moved to a new 230,000-square-foot location in Cleveland.


Douglas J. Sibila
President and CEO
Peoples Services Inc.
Founded: 1914

Ray Sibila had a single truck and a dream that has evolved to over 100 trucks, employees in six states, 38 locations and over 6 million square feet of warehouse space at Peoples Services Inc., which it grew from hauling and storing goods in a single location in Massillon for companies and individuals in 1940.

Peoples Services has identified three areas necessary for sustained growth and longevity. The first is growth in sales, whether through rate increases, expanding services to existing customers, expanding the customer base or making acquisitions.

Next is the leveraging of technology to improve productivity, communications, accuracy and decision-making. It’s also used to build in redundancy so that in an emergency, there is not a failure in customer service.

Finally is the enhancement of human resource functions. Technology installed in trucks has improved communication, benefits have been expanded and training and mentorship programs have been bolstered.
Sibila worked hard and learned to grow and branch out as opportunities arose.

His work ethic and values are guidelines that the company, now led by his grandson, President and CEO Douglas J. Sibila, still use today. The company continues to expand and make a footprint in each community that it connects with the resources of the world.

CELEBRATING 100 YEARS IN BUSINESS – Renner, Kenner, Greive, Bobak, Taylor, & Weber Co. LPA

Edward G. Greive
Renner, Kenner, Greive, Bobak, Taylor, & Weber Co. LPA
Founded: 1917

This year, the intellectual property law firm Renner, Kenner, Greive, Bobak, Taylor, & Weber Co. LPA, is celebrating 100 years of service to Northeast Ohio and clients around the world.

Founded in 1917 in Akron by Albert Ely Sr., Renner Kenner obtained thousands of patents and trademarks for its hometown clients in the city known as “The Rubber Capital of the World,” in all aspects of rubber processing, tire manufacture and related industries.

As the focus of the region’s inventors expanded from rubber-based inventions to polymer science, liquid crystals and biomedical devices, Renner Kenner’s broad expertise in mechanical chemical and electrical engineering, and chemistry and biology has enabled its attorneys to keep pace with innovations in those industries.

Renner Kenner currently has 13 attorneys, with more than 250 years of practice in intellectual property law. Renner Kenner’s President, Edward G. Greive, has been practicing intellectual property law for 50 years.

Looking to the future, new challenges are ahead as entrepreneurs and established businesses struggle to protect inventions, copyrights and trademarks from online predators unimaginable only a few years ago. Renner Kenner will continue to provide unparalleled value and personalized attention to its clients.


Tom Williams
Chairman and CEO
Parker Hannifin Corp.
Founded: 1917

Parker Hannifin Corp. began with two people: Arthur Parker and Carl Klamm. The path from that two-person enterprise to become a global company had stories of both success and setbacks along the way.

However, the entrepreneurial spirit never wavered and it enabled Parker to become the world leader in motion and control technologies.

In 1919, company representatives made plans to travel to a trade show where Parker would demonstrate the capabilities of its brake system to several large bus and truck manufacturers. Along the way, a trailer carrying Parker’s entire inventory fell off a cliff east of Pittsburgh. Arthur Parker was forced into bankruptcy, but immediately began his efforts to rebuild. Ultimately, the company bounced back — it survived the Great Depression and supported the war effort — and continued to grow.

By 1993, Parker was ready to reorganize into global businesses establishing regional group presidents and a sales company structure to support local customers with products from multiple divisions. The strategy proved to be a major catalyst for growth as sales nearly doubled and earnings quadrupled.

More recently, led by Chairman and CEO Tom Williams, Parker implemented a refreshed Win Strategy based on global feedback from team members, customers and even shareholders.


James P. Carulas
Meaden & Moore
Founded: 1919

In the 98 years since its founding, Meaden & Moore has grown to 18 locations in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. The firm expanded beyond individual income tax preparation to advising a wide array of public and private business clients on various accounting, tax, technology and business consulting matters.

Over its history, the firm has added new service lines and focused on a variety of industries and markets. Niche areas of expertise have evolved into substantial business operations, such as the growth of the firm’s investigative accounting group. Launched in 1959, this group is now one of the foremost forensic accounting advisers in the areas of business interruption, damage assessment and litigation support services in the Americas and Europe.

Led by CEO James P. Carulas, Meaden & Moore has been able to adapt, expand and thrive for over six generations of ownership because of the culture of professionalism and entrepreneurial spirit created by its founders. The core values are preserved from one generation to another: do what’s right for your clients, your people and your communities. Each generation has been able to develop the firm by enabling employees to cultivate the professional skills necessary to support the changing needs of clients.


Jodi Berg, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Founded: 1921

William Grover Barnard, who founded Vitamix in 1921, discovered that his purpose was promoting the benefits of whole-food nutrition. After being introduced to blender technology, he saw its value in preparing healthy foods and focused his attention on selling the “Vita-Mix” blender.

His son, Bill Barnard, took over the business and produced the first TV infomercial, selling hundreds of units and creating a new genre of advertising.

Third-generation Vitamix leader John Barnard used his engineering background to improve the Vitamix product line, which led to the development of its first commercial blender, the Mix’n Machine, for the food service industry. Today, a full line of commercial Vitamix machines can be found in gourmet restaurants and leading chains around the world.

Vitamix had been a direct marketer before completely changing its business model to take advantage of the health and wellness movement, reorganizing the company to be forward facing.

Under the current fourth-generation family leadership of President and CEO Jodi Berg, Ph.D., Vitamix has used the appreciative inquiry process to engage employees in creating a vision, mission and values that it has integrated into everything it does. Today, Vitamix’s purpose-driven culture has helped make it a global brand with a presence in more than 140 countries.

CELEBRATING 94 YEARS IN BUSINESS – Sheet Metal Products Co. Inc.

Joseph J. Mahovlic
Sheet Metal Products Co. Inc.
Founded: 1923

The Sheet Metal Products Co. Inc. was founded in 1923 in Cleveland as a job shop. It produced display cases, testing stands, machine guards and material-handling systems as well as countless specific projects for the area’s largest manufacturing companies.

During World War II and the Korean conflict, Sheet Metal Products Co. supported many defense-related industries. As the company grew and serviced more customers, it transitioned to a contract manufacturer and moved to larger facilities with increased capabilities. In 2000, the company built a 55,000-square-foot plant in Mentor and has since built two 25,000-square-foot additions, giving the company a total of 105,000 square feet of manufacturing space.

Its growth and sustainability can be attributed in part by finding a way to exceed customer expectations, being on time and partnering with them to solve their problems.

Over the years Sheet Metal Products Co. has maintained its pride in being a good place to work. Its employees have a combined 700 years of experience in metal fabricating and it currently employs its third generation of workers, many of whom are father-and-son or brothers.

The company, under President Christopher M. Mahovlic, is pursuing continued growth by providing exceptional customer service, outstanding quality and unmatched value as it approaches its 100th anniversary.

CELEBRATING 86 YEARS IN BUSINESS – Great Lakes Integrated Inc.

Jim Schultz
Chairman of the board
Great Lakes Integrated Inc.
Founded: 1931

Joseph Schultz was a European immigrant who moved to the U.S. to continue his passion for commercial printing and pursue both the American dream and freedom.

After working for a number of commercial printers and a short stint printing money for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, he decided to go into business for himself. His first desire was to engineer and build printing presses.

When a large industry manufacturer came in to see his invention, it did not perform up to expectations. It was the middle of the Great Depression and he had a family to feed. Both Schultz and his wife, Elsie, decided to fix the defects of the press and then Elsie would go out and sell commercial printing in downtown Cleveland. It was the start of Great Lakes Lithographic Co., which would later be rebranded as Great Lakes Integrated Inc.

As the printing business got off the ground, Joseph Schultz continued developing inventions that would revolutionize the printing industry. One of his inventions is still used on every offset printing press in the world. In total, he has secured 57 patents. Today, the company is led by Joseph’s son, James, who became CEO in 1986 and now serves as chairman of the board.


Tom Fraser
President and CEO
First Federal Lakewood
Founded 1935

First Federal Lakewood has enjoyed a strong, stable presence as one of the leading financial institutions in Ohio since its founding in 1935.

Currently, as the largest independent, depositor-owned bank headquartered in the state, First Federal has a clear vision of continued growth, stability and evolution for the future. It is led by President and CEO Tom Fraser.

The most important factor in the company’s success is its commitment to supporting the local economy to help build stronger communities. Decisions are made to benefit three entities: customers, First Federal employees and the community. These groups are all invested in each other’s well-being and each helps the other thrive.

First Federal calls this concept “mutuality” and it has guided the company’s growth. No matter what kind of changes the bank has faced or what new products, services or technology it introduces, it always comes back to whether the change will benefit all three of these players.

In 2015, First Federal announced a major evolution in its mutual banking concept with the formation of First Mutual Holding Co. Based on the belief that strong, independent banks play a vital role in their communities, FMHC provides a structure that allows affiliate banks to better serve their customers while continuing to grow as depositor-owned institutions.


Robin Baum
Managing Partner
Zinner & Co.
Founded: 1938

The principles of leadership, dating back to the firm’s founding by Harry Zinner in 1938, never waver. From the partner group to the interns, each level of Zinner & Co. has an opportunity to grow through leadership development.

A comprehensive mentoring program allows each staff member to own their career development, foster growth in their technical and soft skills, and learn from and contribute to experiences through meaningful discussions. Zinner believes in supporting its staff by providing a welcoming and communicative environment.

Led by Robin Baum, managing partner, the firm has enjoyed steady organic growth throughout the decades. Careful staffing through intentional hiring has led to low turnover and high retention in senior leadership. The firm also cultivates talent through a robust internship program — its first intern is still with the firm and is now a senior level manager.

The firm’s ability to understand clients, their needs, and adapt and evolve with changing times has contributed to its longevity. Many of its clients have been with the firm for decades. Each client is served by a client service team that recognizes the importance of year-round communication. From startup to succession and transition planning, the client-first focus remains at the forefront of Zinner’s daily work.

CELEBRATING 78 YEARS IN BUSINESS – Cinécraft Productions Inc.

Maria Keckan
President and CEO
Cinécraft Productions Inc.
Founded: 1939

When Cinécraft Productions Inc. started telling the stories of Northeast Ohio businesses, cameras still operated with a crank. Almost 80 years later, the company thought to be America’s oldest active corporate film and video producer is still going strong.

Founder Ray Culley brought his Hollywood style and savvy to the making of films for industry. Culley pioneered the use of sound on 16mm film in professional filmmaking and developed the concept of using three film cameras simultaneously to save time shooting close-ups and reverse angles. Between 1939 and 1959, Cinécraft produced 299 films and 900 TV commercials.

Culley retired at 65 in 1970 and sold Cinécraft to his younger brother, Paul Culley. During Paul’s leadership, the new media of filmstrips and slide shows were added to the mix. Motion picture films were released on super 8mm cartridges and presented with briefcase-size projectors with tiny self-enclosed screens. In 1986, Neil McCormick and his wife, Maria Keckan, purchased Cinécraft together as 50/50 partners.

Keckan, now the company’s president, was a writer-producer of internationally distributed and award-winning educational videos for nursing, patient and health care workers at Fairview Hospital. Together, she and McCormick increased the company’s investment in capital-intensive, state-of-the-art video equipment. Today, Keckan’s son, Dan, is poised to continue Cinécraft’s success.


Jack Schron Jr.
Jergens Inc.
Founded: 1942

It was March 1942 and the world was at war. The U.S. had recently entered the conflict following Pearl Harbor. Factories all over the country were switching from making cars to manufacturing weapons.

A 25-year-old tool and die maker, Jack Schron, was unable to serve in the military because of a childhood illness. Jack convinced his father to start a business. So both men quit their jobs to start a tool shop named Glenn Tool and Manufacturing to support the war effort.

When World War II drew to a close, the country no longer needed military parts. Glenn Tool responded by supporting the huge demand for consumer goods. The company changed its name to Jergens Tool Specialty Co., created the industry’s first catalog of standard replaceable parts for tooling and began to establish a network of distributors.

The business of Jergens Inc., now led by President Jack Schron Jr., has evolved and adapted to changing times during the past 75 years. Jergens built its own regional distribution business in Cleveland so it can better understand the distribution market. The company also acquired a number of manufacturing companies that complement its growing range of products and used its established distribution model to expand overseas, selling its standard tooling in Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom.


Richard T. Lash, CPA
Managing Partner
Walthall CPAs
Founded: 1944

Since 1944, Walthall CPAs has adapted to the many changes that have affected not only the industry, but also the entire workforce.

The firm started as Walthall & Drake — two college professors working part time after meeting during World War II — and has since adapted to meet the changing requirements of business, government and economic influences.

The accounting industry is very different than it was in 1944. CPAs now help shape businesses and futures, playing a critical role in business decisions.

One of the most impactful changes to the industry over the past seven decades is technology. Business owners turned to accountants to learn about financial systems and IT matters. To that end, Walthall started a Technology division to assist clients, not only helping clients with IT matters, but also hosting websites.

In the last decade or so, workforce culture has changed and with it, so has Walthall. The firm adopted a business casual dress code, an open door culture, employee recognition, personal development and mentoring, wellness programs, green practices, business development opportunities and an improved work-life balance.

Walthall has been able to not only adapt to, but also embrace change, while keeping its original mission of focusing on expertise and stellar client service.


Rick Busby
The Rogers Co.
Founded: 1945

Scenic artist Van Rogers, a pioneer in the display industry who worked with the Walt Disney Co, founded the Rogers Co. in 1945.

The company is an award-winning designer and manufacturer of branded environments for trade shows, corporate events, showrooms, customer experience centers, corporate interiors and executive conference centers. It attributes its continuity of excellence over the past 70 years to its staff — craftsmen and engineers who average more than 15 years of experience in the industry, and staff in its graphic and design departments who average 20 years in the industry.

The company offers state-of-the-art solutions, lightweight fabrics, LED lighting and an array of digital products to better serve its clients. Process improvement is vital to its continued success, so it invests in advanced software to add efficiencies to its exhibit processes. The Rogers Co. also focuses on collaborative planning to ensure the most cost-effective exhibits are created with high-price value.

The company was one of the first in its industry to offer clients an online ordering and inventory system for their portable displays and all graphics. Today, it’s expanding its reach outside of traditional trade shows and creating exhibits for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Public Library.


Jeff Malish
President and CEO
The Malish Corp.
Founded: 1945

When John and Pauline Malish started Malish Brush & Specialty Co. in their Garfield Heights basement in 1945, they could not have imagined that the company would become one of the world’s largest brush manufacturers.

The Malish Corp., a third-generation, family-owned company led by President and CEO Jeff Malish, now boasts manufacturing plants in the U.S., China and Europe.

When the Malish family started the business, they used a time-intensive, hand-lacing process to make its products. Today, automated equipment produces over 1,000 tuft holes a minute, leading to the production of high volumes of brushes per hour.

The company has added scores of products and capabilities to better meet the needs of its customers, like its full line of original equipment manufacturing, janitorial food service and specialty brushes. Because the company found itself sourcing numerous plastic extruded products for its own use, it started a custom thermoplastic extrusion division, Malish Plastics, more than 30 years ago. The division’s focus is on pipe and profile extrusions for a variety of customers.

Through the vision of the company’s trusted and experienced leadership team, Malish has weathered numerous downturns and recessions because of its ability to quickly find solutions for problems and keep its operation nimble and efficient.

CELEBRATING 69 YEARS IN BUSINESS – Murtis Taylor Human Services System

Lovell J. Custard
President and CEO
Murtis Taylor Human Services System
Founded: 1948

Murtis Taylor Human Services System is a countywide, United Way charitable organization that provides behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment, as well as youth, family and senior services.

The organization has expanded from two service locations used between 1948 and 2000, to 12 locations utilized since 2000, and customer growth accelerated threefold over the past 15 years.

Murtis Taylor’s success in adapting to changing business environments over the years can be attributed to an institutional focus on quickly expanding into new service areas based upon market need assessments and attracting and retaining highly qualified generalists and technically-trained management talent.

Another priority has been expanding and diversifying the funding base beyond the traditional philanthropic sources, and establishing partnerships and collaborations that serve the needs of its customer base. This has enabled Murtis Taylor to expand its footprint to offer and deliver services that are close and highly accessible to potential customers.

The organization is led by President and CEO Lovell J. Custard. It has been part of numerous, formal collaborations with more than 40 not-for-profit service providers. This has enabled it to more effectively and completely provide services within its areas of expertise in an efficient manner, and leverage its own skills and experiences with those of other organizations.


Kirk Zehnder
Earnest Machine
Founded: 1948

In 1948, when most families did not yet own a TV and the average family income was less than $3,000, opportunities abounded for men willing to take risks.

Paul Zehnder was one of these men. Together with his brothers, Paul started a small machine shop in downtown Cleveland that manufactured license plate holders, tire wrenches and thread gauges. Soon, another prospect presented itself that helped shift the focus of Earnest’s product offerings. Paul Zehnder was able to purchase a large amount of war surplus bolts and from there, Earnest Machine dove into the business of fastener distribution.

On the personnel side, Earnest has always invested in its employees, creating a culture of development, trust and fun. As the company grew to have employees in multiple states, the Zehnder family continued to lead with a strong message of respect for its employees.

Today, the company is run by President Kirk Zehnder, grandson to Paul, and son to John Zehnder, who had been president of Earnest Machine from 1974 to 2007. Under his leadership, Earnest Machine has continued to focus on innovation. The company has launched an e-commerce site, as well as a quoting app for specialty fasteners.


Bill Steere
Chairman and CEO
Steere Enterprises
Founded: 1949

In 1949, Frank W. Steere Jr., a chemical engineer, started a business around a vinyl plastisol material he was introduced to in the rubber industry. With less than $1,000 to his name, Frank quit his job and made his first product — vinyl-coated 3/8-inch hex bolts — in the basement of his Akron home. It was so well received that filling the orders required he move out of his basement and into rented space.

Soon after, Frank made dip-molded, vinyl coin purses known as “Quikoins.” Millions were sold and it led to creating vinyl grips and sleeves that the company sold to a variety of industries.

As the decades progressed, Steere Enterprises produced dip-molded seat belt sleeves for the automotive business, which it would later be molded out of polyethylene using a blow molding process. Steere took its blow molding capabilities under the hood of the car and started making air induction applications, and later launched its patented dual-process overmolding technology that enabled the company to join dissimilar materials and parts.

As it entered the 2000s, Steere focused on complex assemblies and built a stand-alone machining business. Today, Steere is a third-generation, family-owned business led by Bill Steere, chairman and CEO.


John Crum
President and CEO
Seaman Corp.
Founded: 1949

Since its founding in 1949, the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship has been central to the culture of Seaman Corp.

Founder Norman Seaman went from sewing lace onto baby doll diapers in the basement of his family home to experimenting with polymers and coated fabrics, eventually commercializing products that include truck tarps, roofing solutions, geomembranes and architectural fabrics.

In recent years, the company has undergone organizational restructuring. With John Crum at the helm as president and CEO, the company created an Innovation and New Business Development department that has since analyzed dozens of markets, and vetted and ultimately commercialized more than 20 products in existing and new markets.

The company made investments to better serve and support its customers with software integrations that have improved new product project management and launch, allowing Seaman Corp. to bring new products and solutions to market faster. It has also invested heavily in its IT staff to further harvest, analyze and harness the power of data and systems integration.

Seaman Corp. has diversified its workforce pool by age, geography, background and culture, recruiting from all over the world to support its current and future growth goals by creating a diverse, yet sustainable, organizational structure.


Matt Hlavin
Founded: 1950

Matt Hlavin, CEO, leads Thogus, a family-owned-and-operated plastic injection molder, as the company looks to transition to its fourth generation of family leadership.

Founded in 1950 by Jack Thompson and Walter Gus, Thogus started as a tool and dye shop. Thompson ran the company until his daughter, Kay Hlavin, became president. In 2008, Kay’s son, Matt, took over just as the Great Recession took hold. When one of Thogus’ large automotive customers declared bankruptcy, the company had to reduce its staff by half to adjust to the drastic reduction in sales.

However, Matt saw an opportunity to take Thogus from a small shoot-and-ship molder to an innovative, cutting-edge manufacturer, which required a complete overhaul of the offerings, focus and capabilities.

Matt adopted a complementary technology that enhanced plastic injection molding; added engineers to the staff to support clients; added a new enterprise resource planning system, automation and robotics; and laid out the plant floor according to Lean manufacturing principles. Matt also created two additional companies to support the diverse offerings: rp+m and JALEX Medical.

Thogus today is looking toward a bright future. More than 20 new programs have been launched this year, new capital equipment has been added and new industries have been entered.


Brian Robbins
MidWest Materials Inc.
Founded: 1952

MidWest Materials Inc. was founded in 1952 in Cleveland as a small sales office. The company experienced rapid growth that led to two moves before finally ending up on 70 acres in Perry in 1974. This move accommodated the need for a larger warehouse and better rail and truck access to serve its customers.

It allowed for the installation of new processing equipment to handle continued growth and adaptation to customers’ desire for additional processed goods. And it led to the addition of an in-house testing laboratory equipped with a full complement of testing equipment.

MidWest also added a full fleet of trucks to service customers and expanded its rail facility to accommodate the continued growth and geographic spread of its customers and producers, and accommodate steel coils, the size of which began to exceed what could be carried by truck.

In 1997, MidWest went through another major expansion, adding new offices, a maintenance building and additional warehouse space to cover 240,000 square feet. With Brian Robbins serving as CEO, MidWest Materials continues to prove its slogan, “Together we are stronger than steel,” emphasizing its prolonged focus on customer service initiatives and a relationship-based business model.


Ronne D. Proch
President and CEO
Zircoa Inc.
Founded: 1953

Zircoa Inc., an industrial ceramic manufacturing company, owes its longevity to its dedication to developing successful materials and products requested by loyal customers, then repurposing those processes to create and deliver new products using similar technologies into new markets.

The company, led by President and CEO Ronne D. Proch, was founded in 1953 by a group of scientists who were able to develop a specific product for a customer with very special needs. Zircoa’s proprietary knowledge and internal capabilities to adapt technological processes differentiates it most from its competition, allowing the company to offer new and existing customers innovative solutions.

Because of Zircoa’s expertise and knowledge in adopting its technological processes, the company is able to find new industries where customers can save money and become more efficient using a Zircoa product. This constant drive to innovate products for different industries has enabled Zircoa to evolve over time and sustain economic downturns.

Over the past seven years, Zircoa has invested in and implemented multiple technologies such as enterprise resource planning systems, planning and scheduling systems and a custom software that ties those systems together. Their implementation has allowed Zircoa to further diversify its product offering and improve efficiencies on the manufacturing side.


Tony Mazzella
Mazzella Cos.
Founded: 1954

At Mazzella Cos., history has served as a foundation for the company’s identity, its beliefs and its values. In 1954, James Mazzella started his own business, called Mazzella Wire Rope & Sling, and began making wire rope slings that were braided by hand. It wasn’t the cleanest and certainly not the easiest job around, but Mazzella was supplying an essential tool to construction businesses and industries all across Northeast Ohio.

His son, Tony, took over the business in 1988, and as CEO has helped the company increase its employee count exponentially and grow from two locations in Ohio to 28 locations across North America. The management team believes it is important to run a smart business to remain competitive and to be the employer of choice to attract and retain the top talent needed to run a successful organization.

One of the unique programs that has been put in place is MazzU — an internal training program for employees. MazzU helps develop leadership skills and teaches managers how to embrace and promote the company culture. With Tony’s two sons, Matt and Adam, both actively involved in management roles with the company, the future and legacy of Mazzella Cos. looks bright.


Jeff Sadar
Hoist Equipment Co. Inc.
Founded: 1954

Since the company was founded in 1954, Hoist Equipment Co. Inc. has specialized in overhead crane systems, monorails, hoists, conveyors and many types of standard and custom material handling equipment. The Bedford Heights-based company’s involvement in this field virtually covers all aspects, including product applications, sales, engineering, fabrication, installation, parts, service and inspections.

Led by President Jeff Sadar, Hoist Equipment believes that its one source, one responsibility concept allows customers to bring together all of the important aspects of their projects with one qualified source.

With 40,000 square feet of manufacturing space and a team staffed with experienced technical personnel, full engineering capabilities and a professional installation crew, Hoist is equipped to identify what needs to be done and then make it happen.

Whether the requirement is a completely new crane system, modernization or service work, every effort is made to recommend the best, most cost-effective solution. By combining quality and value in a timely manner, while also being attentive to the unique needs of the customer, the successful conclusion of each project is assured.

CELEBRATING 61 YEARS IN BUSINESS – Jamestown Container Cos.

Joseph M. Palmeri
Regional Vice President
Jamestown Container Cos.
Founded: 1956

Jamestown Container Cos. was founded upon the principles of innovation and superior customer service. Started in 1956, it has evolved from a simple brown box plant to a multi-plant custom corrugated packaging provider.

The company has grown its employee count exponentially, with some of its staff working with the JCC family for over 50 years. Jamestown’s plants work continuously to serve customers throughout Western, Central and upstate New York, Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and Ontario.

The selection of products and services available at Jamestown Container has continually grown to keep up with customer needs. Led by Regional Vice President Joseph M. Palmeri, Jamestown Container is always looking for ways to improve its operations, quality and service to ensure customers receive the highest quality solutions for their business.

Over the years, Jamestown has instituted a number of cutting-edge programs and initiatives to provide exceptional quality and operational excellence. This includes establishing a network of in-house design labs and ink kitchens in every facility to provide customers with exceptional custom blends and designs that will make their packaging stand out. The company has also implemented Lean manufacturing principles that empower employees, eliminate waste and make it more competitive in the global market.

CELEBRATING 61 YEARS IN BUSINESS – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland

Yolanda Y. Armstrong, MSSA, L.S.W.
President and CEO
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland
Founded: 1956

For more than 60 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland has provided quality youth mentoring services to thousands of at-risk youth. According to the National Governors Association, young people at risk of alcohol and drug abuse, teen pregnancy, school failure and criminal activity, as well as those without a strong adult influence in their lives, benefit from relationships with caring and dedicated mentors.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland serves Cuyahoga County children who are between the ages of six and 18, most of whom live in low-income, single-parent homes with few support systems.

Most children are referred to the program by their parent or guardian, schoolteachers or counselors. They may be facing potential school failure or delinquency, or simply be in need of adult guidance and supervision.

Led by President and CEO Yolanda Y. Armstrong, MSSA, L.S.W., Big Brothers Big Sisters is the largest mentoring agency in Cuyahoga County. It has changed and sustained throughout its existence by responding to the needs of the community and the social climate of the region. The organization has a model and method to make relationships fun, strong, meaningful and life-altering.

CELEBRATING 59 YEARS IN BUSINESS – Sedlak Management Consultants Inc.

William J. O’Brien
Sedlak Management Consultants Inc.
Founded: 1958

Sedlak Management Consultants Inc. was founded by Shaker Heights native Joseph A. Sedlak. While working at an aircraft engine parts manufacturer, he developed an interest in the processes and workflows to and from the manufacturing machines. This planted a seed that led to a career designing material handling systems and the formation of his own business in 1958.

Having witnessed many consulting firms over the years acquiring products and systems to offer immediate solutions to clients, and many equipment and systems providers now offering consulting services, Sedlak chose to remain a fully independent consultancy.

This allowed Sedlak to differentiate itself in a murky marketplace and enabled the company to thoroughly understand its clients’ needs and develop best-fit solutions to support their business goals and direction.
In 2013, the family company brought in an outsider, William J. O’Brien, to be president. At the same time, the firm broadened its service verticals to include a stronger focus on supply chain strategy and health care.

Joseph Sedlak passed away in 2013 at the age of 90, but his passion and legacy live on. The firm maintains numerous longstanding client relationships, some spanning decades, because of its reputation for distribution and logistics expertise and quality associates.


John Bader
Tom Bader
Vice President
OGS Industries
Founded: 1959

Ohio Gasket was founded in 1959 by John A. Bader and his sons John and Thomas Bader joined the company in 1976 and 1981, respectively. John serves as president while Tom is vice president. Through steady growth, prudent decision making and moral and ethical business practices, the company has evolved into a national leader in metal stamping and fabrication.

The business began as a small shop committed to supplying local industries with superior shims and gaskets. Ohio Gasket has a variety of stamping presses, in addition to a complete fabrication department with lasers, brake presses, spot welders and CNC punching machines. Through growth and acquisition, the OGS Industries umbrella covers not only Ohio Gasket, but Progressive Stamping & Fabrication, a sister company with heavier tonnage presses, an in-house tool room and robotic welders.

OGS is a national leader in high-precision metal stampings, gaskets, shims, metal fabrication, brackets, machined parts and military and export packaging. The company works with customers to consolidate their vendor bases in an effort to save both time and money. Plans are in the works to build an addition at Lehner Screw Machine Co., which OGS bought in 2014, as well as make an entry into the waterjet field and purchase a new fiber laser.

CELEBRATING 58 YEARS IN BUSINESS – McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman Co. LPA

Kenneth B. Liffman
Managing Principal
McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman Co. LPA
Founded: 1959

In 1959, two certified public accountants with law degrees, Daniel R. McCarthy and Edward M. Greenwald, left their positions as internal revenue agents and along with Gilbert S. Savransky, a general practice attorney, formed the boutique tax and business law firm of McCarthy, Savransky and Greenwald.

The firm’s initial focus was to serve clients with legal matters involving tax consulting, tax compliance, estate planning and various aspects of business law.

Through the years, the name changed to McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman Co., LPA as Edward A. Lebit, a former CPA and internal revenue agent, then Larry Crystal, a former CPA and tax supervisor of a major certified public accounting firm, joined the firm. They were followed by Kenneth B. Liffman, who for many years has been the firm’s managing principal.

The name, however, was not the only thing that changed. While upholding the philosophy of the firm’s founder, which is to surround yourself with smart people who are willing to work hard for reasonable fees, the firm grew and evolved into a full-service law firm priding itself on its ability to remain accessible in managing complex legal matters and cases across a variety of practices.

The firm offers personalized and responsive legal services for individuals, small and medium-sized businesses and larger corporations.

CELEBRATING 58 YEARS IN BUSINESS – Bober Markey Fedorovich

Rick Fedorovich
CEO and Managing Partner
Bober Markey Fedorovich
Founded: 1959

Business longevity means you’re doing something right. For nearly 60 years, Bober Markey Fedorovich has relied on its core expertise and commitment to client service to grow and thrive in a region currently brimming with CPA and consulting firms.

Rather than adding numerous products and services, the firm has evolved by focusing on its audit, attestation, tax, transaction, valuation and consulting services. BMF is not trying to be all things to all people, but rather be excellent at what it does best.

As clients continue to grow, more complex issues arise in their needs. Under the leadership of Rick Fedorovich, the firm’s CEO and managing partner, BMF has adapted in supporting these changing needs by making investments in its own infrastructure — including in technology and professional resources — to be on the leading edge in understanding and consulting on ever-changing regulations and standards.

To that end, the firm also participates in a worldwide network of professional independent CPA firms, and makes significant investments in professional training and development, and technology and leadership opportunities. These investments reinforce BMF’s ability to provide responsive and proactive best practices for client needs.

Starting off as a three-person CPA firm serving businesses and individuals in Akron, BMF has grown to a multi-office operation, serving clients with worldwide operations.

CELEBRATING 57 YEARS IN BUSINESS – Kent Elastomer Products Inc.

Bob Oborn
Kent Elastomer Products Inc.
Founded: 1960

Kent Latex Products was founded in 1960 to manufacture natural rubber latex made in a continuous dipping process for the medical, dental, food and distribution markets. The company grew out of its original location and moved to its current corporate headquarters in Kent in 1970.

During the early 1980s, Kent added dip molding to its product line and expanded into products such as gloves, drains and catheters. With the onslaught of the AIDS crisis, natural latex products were targeted by claims of latex sensitivity due to the explosion of personal protective equipment (latex gloves). Kent Latex became proactive and bought its first thermoplastic extrusion line with the intent to offer TPE products if the latex sensitivity issues continued.

Most of the medical industry began moving away from latex products in the 1990s and Kent was able to not only retain existing business, but grow with its TPE offerings. The business grew so rapidly that TPE became a substantial part of the business, leading the company to change its name to Kent Elastomer Products Inc. in 1998.

It has grown into a three-facility company that can rapidly adapt to change. Today, led by President Bob Oborn, Kent Elastomer Products is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of precision-engineered, natural rubber latex and thermoplastic tubing.


Harlan Diamond
Founder and President
Executive Caterers
Founded: 1960

Executive Caterers is known for continuously reinventing itself. As the premiere caterer and event center in Northeast Ohio, the company’s philosophy under the leadership of Founder and President Harlan Diamond has always been to evolve and change to meet the needs of its customers.

The company’s innovative chef has brought new creativity to both the cuisine and the way in which it is presented. Executive Caterers can custom-design any menu to satisfy new generations of customers. The company takes an innovative approach to all of its work, including special ethnic events, and is proud to offer exceptional kosher catering.

The décor at the Landerhaven location makes every event unique and ensures that guests who come to an event at Landerhaven every month never see the same thing twice. Executive Caterers also manages the English Oak Room in downtown Cleveland and Cleveland Public Auditorium & Conference Center.

The company’s in-house audio/visual department is state-of-the-art, and is upgraded regularly to keep up with the times. It prides itself on its mix of young, professional employees and seasoned, knowledgeable veterans in every department. The goal is to make every event at Landerhaven, or anywhere, a special event. That’s the one thing that hasn’t changed in 50 years.

CELEBRATING 55 YEARS IN BUSINESS – Home Appliance Sales & Service

Beth Grayson
Home Appliance Sales & Service
Founded: 1962

Home Appliance Sales & Service was established in 1962 by a Cleveland firefighter looking for a career during his days off. He started the business in his garage as an appliance repair company. In the early 1970s, his three sons entered the business and opened a store on Pearl Road in Brunswick. In addition to appliance repair, they also sold Speed Queen laundry equipment, used appliances and parts to retail customers.

In 1982, Brian Grayson went to work for Home Appliance as a technician apprentice. Six years later, after learning the trade, he purchased the name and phone number and moved the business to his home in Medina.

The business evolved from a service-only business to one selling reconditioned appliances. When the appliance parts business that occupied the original Brunswick location went out of business in 2001, Brian was joined by Beth Grayson and a second location was opened.

In 2005, Brian and Beth knew they needed to expand further. Land was purchased on Pearl Road and a new 10,000-square-foot store was built that opened in October 2006. Under the leadership of Beth Grayson, who serves as the company’s president, Home Appliance Sales & Service is looking to expand into a third location on the west side of Cleveland in the next few years.



Dale Bissonette
Founded: 1965

SDMyers, an electrical transformer management company based in Tallmadge, is a pioneer in the transformer reliability field.

In little over half a century, the company has become a major player, both nationally and globally, in terms of laboratory diagnostics, innovative monitoring and remediation equipment manufacturing, training and education, and specialist consulting. It has the largest transformer oil-testing lab in the world, and its software and hardware products, coupled with its expertise, afford intelligent transformer management to clients across the globe.

Founded in 1965, SDMyers began with a discovery — its founder, Stan Myers, worked for a motor rewind shop that brought him in close contact with faulty transformers. Seeing how dielectric oil in the transformers correlated with its overall health, he invented the “Re-refiner,” the first piece of equipment that removed moisture, gas, acids and sludge from the oil while the transformer remained energized. The onsite solution minimized the costs associated with taking a transformer out of commission, and his newly founded company, SDMyers, became very busy.

Today, led by President Dale Bissonette, the community-aligned company has a focus on being an advocate for its customers while building a “Good Place” — a common attitude governed by Biblical principles and values.

"Your Factory Source for Ohio Weld Fasteners" Employee Owned Since 1980