Central Ohio’s Smart 50 make success happen by being on target

col_TomKrouseTom Krouse
President and CEO
Donatos Pizza
Tom Krouse’s career has spanned over three decades of marketing and management in the restaurant industry. In 2010, Krouse was appointed as president and CEO to oversee Donatos Pizza’s 154-store restaurant business as well as Jane’s Dough Foods, the company’s bakery division.
Prior to his current position, Krouse was responsible for franchise development, where he placed an emphasis on growing through franchising, after the Grote family purchased Donatos back from McDonald’s Corp. Last year, Donatos entered two new markets — Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Raleigh, North Carolina — to now operate in seven states.
Krouse also was the catalyst behind Donatos’ gluten-free push, an initiative that took nearly three years. Its methodical approach, spurred by high-quality standards, has proved worthwhile — what started as an idea to help an employer with Celiac disease morphed into a major business line. Today, customers can order gluten-free pizza or pick up gluten-free Take & Bake pizza at local Kroger stores.

col_CatherineLang-ClineCatherine Lang-Cline
President and co-founder
Portfolio Creative
Founded in 2005, Portfolio Creative is the nation’s fastest-growing creative staffing and recruiting firm.
Under the leadership of president and co-founder Catherine Lang-Cline, Portfolio Creative’s business model is built on developing relationships — both with clients and talent. Many of the same companies and creative talent that gave Portfolio Creative a chance during its first year of business are still loyal clients today.
The road to success hasn’t always been a smooth one for Lang-Cline and co-founder Kristen Harris. Both walked away from steady jobs, guaranteed paychecks and reliable benefits to start their own endeavor.
Self-funded since inception, the business has grown steadily. An Inc. 500/5000 fast growth company for the past five years, Portfolio Creative is headquartered in Columbus with a branch office in Pittsburgh.
The company recruits creative talent in Columbus, Pittsburgh and New York. It also provides direct hire, educational resources and payroll services.

col_MaryLouLuebbe-GearhartDr. Mary Lou Luebbe-Gearhart, Au.D.
President and CEO
Luebbe Hearing Services
Dr. Mary Lou Luebbe-Gearhart’s passion for helping people through the field of audiology was determined at age 3 when she witnessed her father help a former soldier regain his hearing through hearing aids.
Since 1973, Luebbe-Gearhart has been president and CEO of her late father’s company, Luebbe Hearing Services, and is recognized as one of America’s most experienced and trusted hearing experts. She has redecorated, installed state-of-the-art equipment and transformed Luebbe Hearing Services’ marketing and business communications. Luebbe-Gearhart even created its famous jingle, “Luebbe Hearing Services, you’ll hear what you’ve been missing!™”
She has grown the business immensely and continued her father’s legacy. Luebbe Hearing Services’ expertise is measured by its commitment to patient satisfaction, continuing education and the application of current technologies. Its professionals understand that value is not measured by price alone — it’s about translating their professional knowledge into customized hearing solutions that exceed customer expectations.

col_FarahMajidzadehFarah B. Majidzadeh
Chairwoman and CEO
Resource International Inc.
Farah B. Majidzadeh has led Resource International Inc., as chairwoman and CEO, from a startup in her basement to a broad-based, multidisciplined engineering consulting firm.
Under Majidzadeh’s guidance, the company has implemented new methods of delivering services to exceed client expectations. For example, design engineers used an accelerated delivery method for a reconstruction project in Morrow County to push the completion date a full year ahead of schedule.
Resource International’s information technology and pavement divisions also are working in tandem to develop bulky, outdated data collection equipment into an app accessible by smartphone. The end result will be an innovation that saves engineers time, money and resources.
As a woman in a male-dominated field, Majidzadeh has faced numerous challenges. As a result of these struggles she has devoted herself to equality inside and outside of the firm. She makes sure women have an opportunity for growth in Resource International and is dedicated to supporting the education of women.

col_PatMcCurdyPat McCurdy
Kimball Midwest
Kimball Midwest, led by President Pat McCurdy, responded to cost pressures in a challenging marketplace by focusing on superior performance and exception value in the parts and services the company offers for maintenance, repair and operations.
Its commitment to quality, American-made products has Kimball Midwest consistently named among the top 50 industrial distributors by trade publications. The company also is a two-time winner of the Top Workplaces Award in Columbus.
When adding new products, Kimball Midwest adheres to the highest performance and quality standards. Continuous improvement is so ingrained in company culture that a team of specialists is dedicated to researching items that solve customer problems.
The company mantra “green and growing” reflects a forward vision that has helped fuel growth. Kimball Midwest recently announced expansion of its Columbus warehouse and the purchase of a fourth distribution center in Savannah, Georgia, joining facilities in Columbus, Dallas and Reno, to improve shipping times.