2020 Columbus Smart 50 Awards celebrate area’s top executives

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As business leaders, it’s important that we take time to recognize one another. And I’m honored that I have a chance to do just that. Thank you, Smart Business, for allowing Hylant to be part of the Smart 50 awards.
On behalf of Hylant, I want to personally recognize and congratulate all the honorees!
Wow. What a year! To be nominated for and to win a Smart 50 award this year is even more special. Sitting through the presentations that you made, I was amazed at the level of community giving, despite some of the challenges inside your own businesses. The results of your hard work are evident all over Columbus and Central Ohio.
My favorite part of Smart 50 is getting to know the honorees, not just as businesspeople but as individuals who are just as excited as I am to be part of this community. I continue to be humbled and inspired by the level of engagement each leader has with their organization.
When founding Hylant more than 80 years ago, Edward Hylant promised to treat our clients and employees like family — with honesty, respect, and trust. Today, we are among the largest privately held, full-service insurance brokerage firms in the United States and a 10-consecutive-year winner of Best Places to Work in Insurance. We offer business insurance, personal insurance and employee benefits services to protect the people and things you care about most.
Chris Godley
Hylant Columbus

Judy Huang
889 Global Solutions Ltd.
Global Solutions is a U.S.-based contract manufacturer with offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Ningbo and Guangzhou, China. Established in 2000, the company specializes in the creation of custom metal and plastic components and assemblies for the health care, oil and gas and general industrial industries.
CEO Judy Huang, a first-generation immigrant from China, leads a team of engineers, quality control personnel, project managers, custom brokers, freight forwarders and international legal agents who work together to reduce client risk.
Huang’s management team is adept at establishing long-term relationships across East Asia. All vendors for the firm must have an R&D program in place to continually improve their products and incorporate new technology to ensure maximization of collective resources.
Oyauma Garrison
A Kid Again, Inc.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, A Kid Again, Inc. has had to scramble. Its core service, offering adventures to families of children with life-threatening conditions, is performed in person. CEO Oyauma Garrison and his team quickly shifted to a completely virtual model early in the pandemic so they could adhere to local safety guidelines while still providing their valuable service to the families that need it.
In addition to planning virtual adventures, A Kid Again has sent personal protective equipment care packages to families to help them and their often-immunocompromised children. The PPE care packages come alongside “Adventures in a Box,” which allow families to have a positive experience together without leaving home.
Ryan Huyghe
Executive vice president
Able/Mr. Roof
(Crane Renovation Group)
As a member of the leadership team at the Crane Renovation Group, Ryan Huyghe serves as executive vice president of Able and Mr. Roof, running the company’s entire residential business. Huyghe joined the company in 2019 to help transform and grow these two business units.
He was challenged to come in and look at the business and learn it for the first several months. Huyghe had previously worked for a Crane Group company called Signature Control, and the company was confident he would be a valuable asset. Huyghe helped the team devise a plan for not only Able and Mr. Roof, but for Crane Renovation Group. The company reorganized four businesses into two divisions, and the result was a laser-like focus that has led to enduring success.
Peg Buehrle
ActionCOACH Columbus
The COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely challenging for everyone, but it’s been particularly difficult for small and midsize businesses that make up the client base at ActionCOACH Columbus. Some were essential businesses that were having record years and struggling to keep up with demand. Others were in complete shutdown mode and scrambling to keep their employees whole as they navigated government funding and the mental health challenges associated with being in a crisis.
As partner, Peg Buehrle led her team into action, bringing in experts to answer questions and creating weekly virtual client meetings to share ideas and encourage each other. Buehrle also created a Small Business Hotline to offer free advice and resources that is still in operation today.
Alan Kutasy
Agility Partners
In 2017, Alan Kutasy co-founded Agility Partners in response to an IT recruiting industry he viewed as long overdue for a makeover. Kutasy believed that if his company could leverage the relationships he had built over the past 10 years with cutting-edge technology, he could revolutionize the sector.
Agility Partners became the first-ever tech-centric recruiting company that leverages a crowd-sourced referral platform (AgilityConnect) and an innovative bootcamp (AgilityEvolve) to address the widening talent gap. Through his vision as CEO, his company created internal processes that allow colleagues to access top recruiting platforms and cultivate deeper relationships with the technical market. It’s an environment that values innovation and excellence and puts the focus on what really matters: Relationships.
Greg Guy
Air Force One, Inc.
As CEO of Air Force One, Inc., Greg Guy works closely with his leadership team to keep his finger on the pulse of the company and its clients. With the objective of analyzing associate feedback and discussing opportunities that will lead his team to success, he engages with associates to deliver smart solutions for optimal building performance.
He is constantly searching for ways to improve and grow his HVAC business in an industry that is constantly changing. The past several months have presented a hurdle no one ever anticipated facing, but true to his company’s core value of serving others, Guy has led his team by using what he knows to help others stay safe through difficult times.
Alex George
President & Chief technology officer
The story of Alex George’s time at Astute is one of transformation — transforming how the company thinks about itself and the future, and driving the technological innovations that transform how customers engage with the world.
Starting as the company’s CTO in 2010, George has since become its president. He has a passion for pushing the boundaries of what technology can do, constantly reimagining how the same fundamental building blocks can be applied to solve new challenges. In recent months, he has sought to prove himself again by leading the company through the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He orchestrated a pivot that has allowed Astute to not only remain stable, but to grow during this challenging time.
Sasha Saberi
Atlas Venture Partners
Sasha Saberi has earned accolades in the Columbus business community for his leadership acumen, growing Atlas Venture Partners, as well as other organizations, in Central Ohio. Saberi brings an international understanding of corporate innovation into the region and has successfully translated those skills and experiences into the work done at Atlas Venture Partners.
As president of Atlas Venture Partners, he has enabled travel across the country with a focus on connecting with other markets and building bridges of experience, standards and resources. Saberi has supported the LGBTQ community as COO of the Pride Fund. Most recently he has founded and developed a new venture studio focused on growing and commercializing Central Ohio businesses to be able to work around the world.
Lou Von Thaer
President & CEO
It’s March 13, 2020, and the nation’s supply of N95 respirators is running out, with no immediate replacements in the supply chain. With an FDA study as its backdrop and only internal funding, Battelle fielded a working prototype in less than two weeks that could reliably decontaminate tens of thousands of used N95 masks per day.
CEO Lou Von Thaer encouraged the Battelle team to muster all of its creativity and know-how to bring this solution to struggling health care workers across the U.S. Battelle sought and gained emergency use authorization from the FDA and began to decontaminate masks from local Ohio hospitals and soon, at hot spots around the country, including New York, Boston and Seattle.
By mid-August, more than 2 million masks had been decontaminated.
Benjamin Clarke
Chief data officer
Bold Penguin
Since 2016, Benjamin Clarke has actively served as CIO — and now CDO — of Bold Penguin, a rapidly growing insurtech company based in Columbus. Bold Penguin is focused on making the fractured, $100 billion market of commercial insurance more profitable by revolutionizing the quoting process.
Clarke led a team of engineers in developing the Bold Penguin Exchange, a software solution that, to date, has saved those who buy and sell small commercial insurance policies more than 630 million hours, increasing the rate of efficiency in the process by a staggering 91.6 percent in just three years.
Clarke promotes innovation and collaboration at every turn. And in spite of the trail of smart solutions behind him, he is still excited most about what’s next.
Hugh Cathey
Chairman & CEO
Chairman & CEO Hugh Cathey has developed a smart organization at ChromoCare in several impactful ways. Through co-sharing, the company finds employees who can work part time for ChromoCare and part time for other employers in the same building complex. By providing employee benefits from one organization or the other, employees learn two job skills, have flexibility in their scheduling and maintain full benefit plans.
Flex-time is another useful tool as ChromoCare employees are set up with technology needs at their homes, including tools to manage child care issues. Typically twice a week, employees convene at the corporate office to maintain socialization, allowing ChromoCare to maintain less office space, as work stations are set up to handle different users as needed.
Diane Reed
Diane Reed was named CFO at City BBQ, LCC in June 2019. A veteran of the restaurant and food service industry, she brought a wealth of knowledge to growing a company that has stayed true to its guiding principles, while expanding far beyond its humble beginnings.
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged City BBQ to adapt its model and offer new services and solutions on the fly. In response to the closure of indoor dining in March, the company developed and rolled out a curbside delivery model — no easy feat for a concept that has historically focused primarily on dine-in, walk-in carryout and catering.
The company also adapted its online ordering platform to successfully compete with the larger fast-casual chains.
Matt Davis
COhatch is more than just a co-working space. The innovation and impact of revitalizing spaces in communities that can be used to serve a greater purpose illustrates the larger role the company plays in and around Columbus.
It is a service that local governments and other companies want to bring into their cities to help put idle spaces to good use. People who would normally be working at home have a place where they can come and be part of a community with others while still being productive.
Under the leadership of CEO Matt Davis, the culture of COhatch and the diversity of its services have attracted more investors who want to see communities impacted in the ways COhatch is working.
Michelle Heritage
Executive director
Community Shelter Board
In her role as executive director at Community Shelter Board, Michelle Heritage facilitates and leads work with her community to make sure everyone in Columbus and Franklin County has a place to call home. She brings together diverse organizations to work together as an efficient system, rather than as a fragmented set of resources.
She uses an outcome-based funding model that measures performance, monitors success and assures the system’s effectiveness as a whole. She also combines innovative solutions and best practices with time-tested strategies to implement programs that quickly and stably house people in crisis.
Under Heritage’s leadership, Community Shelter Board’s system of care served 15,000 people last year with homelessness prevention, shelter, street outreach, rapid rehousing and permanent supportive housing.
Ira Sharfin
Continental Office
For years, Continental Office has been recycling more than 1 million pounds of flooring and other products annually. However, last year, the company implemented recycling into its offices with trash receptacles that have one side for trash and one side for recyclable materials.
In addition, CEO Ira Sharfin eliminated all plastic water bottles from the company’s facilities and purchased water bottles for all associates. For clients, he purchased carafes to fill with water. He also installed filtered water stations within both of Continental Office’s Columbus locations and asked the company to stop purchasing disposable silverware, paper plates and cups. The company purchased silverware and glassware that can be washed to lessen landfill usage.
Frederic Bertley
President & CEO
COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for people and organizations around the globe, and COSI has not been exempt. However, President and CEO Frederic Bertley has found numerous ways to turn this strife into an opportunity to create innovative solutions to serve the community.
Due to the pandemic, COSI temporarily closed in March 2020. Bertley challenged the COSI team to create online educational programming as an alternative to on-site museum experiences, and within days of closing, the COSI Connects website was born.
This digital doorway to science, originally featuring online activities and videos, has grown to include an expanded mobile app, onsite distribution of science kits and outreach opportunities in areas where Wi-Fi is not widely available.
Cheryl Stauffer
CEO & principal
Crimson Design Group
Cheryl Stauffer was born in Paraguay to Mennonite missionaries and spent the first seven years of her life surrounded by wild, unfettered beauty. She was taught that the world is so much larger than just ourselves and that we can only gain when we give.
In 2003, she took a risk to fulfill her lifelong dream of being a business owner. She built Crimson Design Group on two ideals — the pursuit of beauty and fearless giving. The company’s CEO and principal chose the name “Crimson” to reflect the passion that she feels for the business and for her clients’ projects. Over the last 16 years, her one-person studio has turned into a 14-person team full of visionaries and creatives.
Robert Lester
President & CEO
As president and CEO of Dura-Seal, a sealcoating, asphalt and concrete services company, Robert Lester is focused on providing maintenance solutions while beautifying and extending the life of Central Ohio properties. Lester has serviced a variety of clients in industries ranging from health care to retail to real estate development, dramatically increasing Dura-Seal’s revenue in just 10 years.
Lester attributes Dura-Seal’s growth to his people-first philosophy and cites it as a core reason the company is able to sustain growth during challenging times, such as the 2008-2009 recession. By prioritizing people, Lester has lowered Dura-Seal’s turnover rate and built a strong culture that makes for more productive, happier employees.
Peter Coratola
President & CEO
Ease Logistics
Peter Coratola had a vision for a logistics company that would better serve customers by being more responsive, transparent and efficient. By pulling together a team that shared this vision and working every day to raise the bar, he has built Ease Logistics.
The multioperational supply chain and transportation company uses state-of-the-art technology, software and data analytics to ensure customer needs and expectations are met.
Historically, the logistics industry has not been customer-centric, which makes Coratola’s innovative approach all the more impressive. He recognized an unmet need and addressed it through a team-based customer service model that involves several teams working simultaneously to provide more efficient, effective service.
Randall Gerber
Founder and principal
Gerber, LLC
As a first-generation entrepreneur himself, Randall Gerber understands the unique challenges his clients face. As founder and principal at Gerber, LLC, he is dedicated to helping them succeed. He identifies where they are with their business and where they want to go, then develops a tailored plan to help them get there. Gerber has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs integrate their business and personal goals so they can live a happier life.
The Gerber team develops and commercializes new products, services and solutions by fully immersing themselves in the first-generation entrepreneur ecosystem. Gerber connects clients with successful business owner experts for education and networking. This process has given many entrepreneurs the opportunity to benefit from his experience, make new connections and grow their businesses.
Tina Fisher
Co-Founder & CEO
Some of the smartest market innovations often appear too good to be true when first presented to the public. How can someone support their favorite charities at no monetary cost to themselves? How can nonprofit organizations find a new funding stream during a time of social and economic crises? Co-Founder and CEO Tina Fisher has accomplished this at Givevia by adapting the retailer-supported cash-back model to fund nonprofit causes.
Now just the act of everyday online shopping will generate funding for a charity the shopper chooses. Givevia empowers people from all walks of life to do more for causes they care about, and it especially helps usher in younger generations to the philanthropic world and to the forefront of donation support.
John Ammendola
President & CEO
Grange Insurance
Under Grange Insurance President and CEO John Ammendola’s leadership, Grange has made enormous progress in adopting innovation, operationalizing it into plans and driving real transformation to move the company forward.
Grange established G-Force Innovations with Rev1, invested in and partnered with startups like TNEDICCA, Mobikit and Tarmika, and developed AI capabilities like image recognition and natural language processing. Grange has also seen a significant increase in robotic process automation to reduce friction in processes and allow associates to focus more effectively on the needs of policyholders and agency partners.
When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, he responded effectively, clarifying Grange’s purpose, supporting stakeholders and reinforcing emotional and organizational resilience.
Kelly Borth
CEO & chief strategy officer
GREENCREST, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in October, was inspired in 1990 by the vision of its CEO and Chief Strategy Officer Kelly Borth. She wanted it to be an agency that specializes in developing and executing integrated marketing programs. Its purpose would be to increase market penetration and awareness for small and midsize businesses across the country.
GREENCREST is a business-to-business marketing firm serving a diverse range of clients in multiple industries, rather than remaining focused on one vertical. Many of GREENCREST’s clients are businesses that do not have an in-house marketing team. In that scenario, the firm becomes a marketing partner, often working directly with the company owner, CEO or COO to develop and execute the appropriate marketing strategy.
Joel Guth
Founder & CEO
Gryphon Financial Partners
Joel Guth believes it is vital to find the right team and people to support the kind of culture necessary to serve clients and grow a business while also having a great time. As founder and CEO, Guth has effectively built and led Gryphon Financial Partners by finding teammates who instinctively fit the culture he believes in.
After founding Gryphon Financial Partners, Guth had the foresight to know he had to bring on partners and third parties that had the experience and knowledge to help advise and guide him in the right direction. In addition, he believes returns from traditional investments are going to become more challenging, requiring creative solutions through private investments to help achieve client goals and objectives.
Max Brickman
Managing director
Heartland Ventures
Max Brickman envisioned a different type of venture capital firm when he founded Heartland Ventures. He didn’t seek to start a fund just to help companies scale and make financial returns for himself and his partners. As managing director, he sought to design and construct the fund on a bedrock foundation that has been around for generations: successful medium to large Midwestern businesses found throughout Ohio and nearby states.
At Heartland Ventures, investors are these businesses. Some are well-known, billion-dollar corporations. Others are off the beaten path, content with their security in the marketplace and the craftsmanship of their stellar products. However, they all feel the need to embrace technology to create safer workplaces, hire good people more quickly and enhance operational efficiency.
Michael Corey
Executive director
Human Service Chamber of Franklin County
Michael Corey is finding community-altering answers as executive director at the Human Service Chamber of Franklin County — one of America’s only local nonprofit chambers of commerce. It provides advocacy and member services to health and human service nonprofits. Under Corey’s visionary leadership, the once-fledgling organization has nearly doubled its number of member agencies and doubled its annual budget.
As executive director, Corey has established the organization as a respected voice within the community — a place people turn to for insights, answers and solutions. That impact is being celebrated. In 2019, The Columbus Foundation named the Human Service Chamber among its Five Nonprofits to Watch, while YWCA Columbus honored the Human Service Chamber as its Community Partner of the Year.
Dr. Patrick Maynard
President & CEO
I Am Boundless, Inc.
Dr. Patrick Maynard strives to practice meta leadership and believes in the empowerment of all staff at I Am Boundless. He has shifted the budgeting process from being exclusively the responsibility of the executive leadership team to a process in which managers and directors have ownership.
As president and CEO, he empowers managers and directors to develop, defend and manage their own budgets. Through this process, they gain a greater knowledge of the organization, have emotional buy-in to the finances of the organization and build their own leadership skills.
Maynard values teamwork and open communication and is available to staff when needed, regardless of title or tenure with the organization. He believes in the power of cooperation, collegiality and partnership.
Wendy Ivany
Chief growth officer
Leading EDJE
Leading EDJE got off to a strong start in 2020 by moving into its new home at Bridge Park in February. It was the build-out of the company’s dream home and its first commercial real estate investment. On March 12, the entire team gathered together, as happens each quarter, for a quarterly review and to celebrate the new space. Instead, the world began to shut down due to COVID-19 and so did Leading EDJE’s beautiful new workspace.
Led by Chief Growth Officer Wendy Ivany, the team banded together and found new projects for all 24 displaced team members and replaced a significant portion of the lost revenue. Ivany kept the company together, conducting herself with the same compassion, respect and grace she’s always shown.
Navin Goyal
Co-Founder & CEO
LOUD Capital
Navin Goyal developed his balance of urgency and patience through years as a doctor and has successfully translated those skills into the venture industry. Goyal is co-founder and CEO of LOUD Capital, a Central Ohio-based international venture and financial firm.
He co-founded this project with a successful tech entrepreneur, Darshan Vyas, and a highly skilled former business banker, Ryan Retcher. The three of them turned the venture concept upside-down through a mantra that venture capital should be a tool to support, inspire and help all people.
The trio has built a team of employees and partners from extremely diverse backgrounds and skill sets. Their intentions were proven through their first two funds and the partnerships they developed with other organizations, including the Chicago Bulls and Morehouse College.
Chris Gabrelcik
Owner & CEO
Lubrication Specialties, Inc.
Chris Gabrelcik founded Lubrication Specialties, Inc. in 1997 with a desire to solve real problems with the best possible problem-specific solution. He didn’t want a solution that would perform adequately but one that was significantly better than any other on the market.
LSI manufactures its 35-plus performance oils and additives under the Hot Shot’s Secret brand. Innovation is key in keeping with the company’s focus on only bringing products that can be tested and proven to be a substantial upgrade over any other marketed option.
Under Gabrelcik’s leadership as owner and CEO, LSI’s products are created to effectively and affordably solve customer problems. This can only be achieved by a company not afraid to continuously test, research and implement new technologies.
Stephen Behnke, M.D., MBA
MedOne Hospital Physicians
MedOne Hospital Physicians is a team of clinicians dedicated to providing the highest quality care in the most efficient manner for its patients. Founded in 2000, MedOne is the largest physician practice exclusively dedicated to hospital medicine in Central Ohio. The organization credits its success to the quality of its people, and its focus on service and excellence in patient care.
Under the leadership of CEO Stephen Behnke, M.D., MBA, MedOne Hospital Physicians provides comprehensive, high-value care for patients in and around their hospitalizations. From acute hospitalist programs, to post-acute practice centered around skilled nursing, long-term care and assisted living facilities, to its pre-admission testing clinic, MedOne has solidified its reputation as an expert in managing patients through the entire continuum of care.

Linda Lehmkuhl
MedVet Medical & Cancer Center for Pets
Linda Lehmkuhl became the CEO of MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets in January 2019, when her predecessor, Eric Schertel, moved into the executive chairman role. Lehmkuhl has overseen the addition of six hospitals and two teleradiology practices, which increased MedVet’s footprint to locations in 15 states with more than 2,200 employees (including 400 veterinarians). Last year, MedVet provided care for 250,000 patients and their loving families.
Lehmkuhl was instrumental in the recent recapitalization efforts that will provide for MedVet’s continued future growth and investment in their existing hospitals. She understands that in times of rapid growth, it is essential to pause and prepare for future success. Lehmkuhl’s values are reflected in MedVet’s values of teamwork, leadership and compassion.
Hiten Shah
President & CEO
MES, Inc.
Most companies relegate project success to Excel sheets and endless email chains requesting information from multiple team members. Identifying responsibility for which forms and data elements are to be provided by which team member is never resolved, and accountability is poorly established. This leads to redundancy and a lack of transparency, not to mention delays leading to budget overruns and customer dissatisfaction.
Led by President and CEO Hiten Shah, MES has developed a project management software tool called MESH Advanced Product Quality Planning to ensure a successful completion of all projects.
There are five phases of APQP: Product planning and quality program definition; product design and development; manufacturing process design and development; process and product validation; and launch, assessments and continual improvement.
Stokes McIntyre
MindForge, LLC
Construction consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous jobs in America, and the number of job-related serious injuries and fatalities has been slow to decline across the industry. MindForge, LLC is changing that in Columbus and nationwide through its innovative and life-saving mobile-based training program that supports increased safety, quality and communication in the field.
President Stokes McIntyre led his team through years of researching the behavioral, motivational and systematic issues related to serious injuries and fatalities on construction jobs. After understanding more about the thought processes and challenges of the current state of construction, he helped launch MindForge to reduce fatal risks within the construction industry. MindForge has proven that, with the right approach, you can start to shift industry thinking.
Kyle Shen
President & CEO
Kyle Shen is the president and CEO of Nexceris, an energy company that develops innovative sensor, power generation and catalyst solutions. Founded in 1994, Nexceris’ vision is to create a better world through energy innovations.
The company collaborates with global customers and partners to transform powerful ideas to make energy production safer, more efficient and environmentally responsible. Along with his business partner, Randy Stacy, Shen purchased Nexceris in 2017 with the vision to accelerate commercialization of Nexceris’ portfolio of sustainable technologies.
Shen recapitalized the company, injected growth capital and created three customer-focused business units — Sensors, Materials and Fuel Cells. Each business unit has a leader responsible for P&L and specific long-term goals.

Jim Caldwell
Pearl Interactive Network
Pearl Interactive Network is a 15-year-old for-profit social enterprise that gives hiring priority to challenged populations. Jim Caldwell brings a strong and varied portfolio of professional experience to his work as CFO at Pearl.
Caldwell is driven by an internal code of ethics both in how he conducts his life and how he navigates his peers and those reporting to him. When issues arise that require thoughtful resolution, he seeks to impart views and opinions that position Pearl beyond reproach.
His commitment to his church and to Kairos Prison Ministry, an organization that provides morale, support and encouragement to people who are incarcerated, is motivated by the desire and belief that it is imperative to give back and support those facing life challenges and obstacles.
Debbie Penzone
President & CEO
PENZONE Salons + Spas
Debbie Penzone is not fearful of change. In fact, she embraces innovation and instills that expectation every day within her salons and for team members at PENZONE Salons + Spas. As a former hair professional and now as president and CEO, the innovation Penzone envisions flows creatively.
Penzone recognizes that her company’s work goes far beyond just beauty. Great haircuts and amazing opportunities for self-care are a standard within salons and spas. But the innovation she brings to the table is how the concept evolves to more.
Especially in light of COVID-19, she has encouraged and inspired process improvements and technology upgrades to continue to propel the brand forward. Even during these challenging pandemic times, the innovation cannot stop.
Kimberly Blackwell
PMM Agency
PMM Agency CEO Kimberly Blackwell is heralded as one of the country’s top executives in new media, marketing and advertising. In addition to quantifiable results, Blackwell’s ability to lead and hone her team’s soft skills and intangibles further exude her ability to run a smart organization.
Her open-door policy with her team, which she rarely, if ever, refers to as staff, is indicative of the PMM culture. Over the years, PMM has implemented a companywide culture of servitude and giving back through organized volunteer activities with area organizations and social responsibility through officewide sustainability efforts such as Columbus GreenSpot.
With a standard that begins at excellence, Blackwell considers peak performance to be nonnegotiable for #TeamPMM.
Catherine Lang-Cline
Portfolio Creative
Portfolio Creative President Catherine Lang-Cline created the Illumination Bureau podcast to help talent, hiring managers and entrepreneurs in the creative community better navigate the hiring process and the building of a business. There are now close to 50 episodes of Illumination Bureau.
Lang-Cline records the podcast with Kristen Harris, her business partner and COO at Portfolio Creative. The combined experience they have in 15 years of business ownership and staffing is something they believed they could share, at no cost, with the community. The project has been beneficial to the internal team at Portfolio Creative as well, given that a lot of the conversations with talent and clients revolve around topics shared in the podcast.
Steven Knight
Quantum Health
Steven Knight is a 14-year Quantum Health veteran leading the company’s ongoing operational growth and people strategies. He also oversees the successful delivery of its industry-leading health care navigation and care coordination services and solutions.
As COO, Knight leverages his deep leadership experience gained in a number of roles at Quantum Health to lead the Quantum Health Pod, clinical and support team operations, health care ecosystem partnerships and human resources management. He has successfully led Quantum Health’s service delivery for the past five years as the company tripled in size in both members and clients.
Knight is a proven, results-driven leader with a thorough understanding of every aspect of Quantum Health’s business, instrumental in consistently delivering a high-quality experience and results.
Aaron Boggs
Aaron Boggs strives to maintain a culture at RevLocal where his people feel inspired, flourish professionally and are empowered to serve others. As president, Boggs is dedicated to creating employee experiences that have an impact far beyond the business. He believes his superpower is helping others find their own strength and passion for their work and career journey.
Boggs understands that creating an environment where people can build and utilize their talents while feeling supported is a competitive advantage. He leads many of the functional area leaders and pushes them to continually grow professionally. He pushes for results while supporting people to get outside of their comfort zone. As a servant leader, Boggs focuses on leading with energy, integrity and innovation.
Rick Ricart
Ricart Automotive Group
Rick Ricart, a third-generation automotive dealer, is president of Ricart Automotive Group. He is leading the company through the current economic and social challenges, all while continuing to prioritize family values, philanthropy, meaningful business practices and expansion.
Ricart has worked at Ricart Automotive for 18 years in all areas of the business, including sales, marketing and business development, but his leadership has excelled most in the area of innovation. He leads his team with one ear to the ground and one eye on the horizon.
Within the past two years, Ricart Automotive acquired Farrow Harley-Davidson, the world’s oldest Harley-Davidson dealership, opened a new warehouse and deepened its partnership with Smart City Columbus to support the move toward electric vehicles.
James Merkel
Rockbridge CEO James Merkel has more than two decades of experience building and leading smart, successful hospitality, investment and operating brands. He has always focused on creating great teams while providing a vision for how to grow, lead and identify opportunities for success in an ever-evolving industry landscape.
Merkel’s passion and vision extend beyond Rockbridge and drive a strong commitment to making a difference in the community in which Rockbridge operates. Merkel created and launched RTRX, a leadership and innovation event that inspires curiosity, ignites conversation and enables meaningful action.
RTRX raises money for high-risk cancer research and benefits Pelotonia, a two-day cycling event in Columbus. Through RTRX, Rockbridge has raised nearly $6 million in eight years.
Nick Potts
Nick Potts is the founder of ScriptDrop, a company focused on solving one of the biggest and most expensive issues in health care today — medication abandonment and adherence. In the U.S. alone, 20 to 30 percent of patients leave a prescription at the pharmacy instead of picking it up. This practice, known as medication abandonment and nonadherence, costs the U.S. health care system $313 billion annually.
ScriptDrop is striving toward its mission to help 1 billion patients. Potts hosts weekly office hours, one-on-one meetings and weekly town hall events to get to know his team better, as well as to improve communication inside the company. Potts is passionate about being transparent and open to ideas from his teammates.
Susan Lewis Kaylor
St. Vincent Family Care Center
St. Vincent Family Center is a pediatric nonprofit agency with expert behavioral health care services that extend beyond its doorstep. Counselors travel to homes, schools and to other community organizations to ensure they can reach and connect with families where support is most needed. The mission: To make good kids better.
The agency is considered one of Ohio’s best pediatric behavioral health care providers, working closely with families and caregivers to help children who struggle with a wide range of mental health and behavioral challenges.
Led by CEO Susan Lewis Kaylor, St. Vincent Family Center serves over 5,000 families a year, helping kids acquire the skills they need to live their best life.
Rachel Friedman
Founder & CEO
Under the leadership of Founder and CEO Rachel Friedman, Tenfold is always seeking to innovate within its focus area of building brands through culture. Recent innovations include strategic culture content creation distributed through multiple digital channels and display technologies, creating immersive experiences.
The firm’s work enables leadership to reach their team in new, unique and impactful ways in both the physical and digital workplace to drive company culture and enhance the brand. The positive reputation of Tenfold, led by Friedman’s creativity and integrity, enables the firm to establish valuable collaborative partnerships across a wide variety of expertise. These partnerships range from fabricators to technology partners to business consultants. Through collaboration, Tenfold continues to stay curious, learn and innovate new products, services and solutions.
Michael Morgan
Historically, health care providers have struggled with incorporating telehealth and patient engagement applications into their practice. As a next-generation telehealth provider, CEO Michael Morgan leads Updox’s understanding of health care’s immediate need for easily implemented, secure technology solutions.
This was all taken into consideration when developing Updox Video Chat. The solution has proven to be easily implemented and offers a quick learning curve for both health care providers and patients. There is no app to download or log-in needed. Patients simply click a link and are connected to their health care provider in a HIPAA-compliant environment. What previously might have taken several back-and-forth phone calls and a possible office visit can now be handled virtually in less than 10 minutes.
Rob Johnson
Formerly known as Emerson Network Power, Vertiv emerged as a stand-alone company in 2016. CEO Rob Johnson took on the challenge of running Vertiv at that time because he saw an opportunity to transform the company into one that offers solutions to customers — not just products they’re forced to plug into their operations. Johnson led Vertiv to become a public company in February 2020, and it is now trading on the New York Stock Exchange as VRT.
Johnson has led Vertiv to improve data center reliability and capability, even as technology trends have continued to change the market. A few years back, cloud services were the rage, but today carriers and enterprise networks are putting more emphasis on the network edge to power emerging 5G services.
Dr. Melissa McRae
Physician & Owner
Vitality Natural Wellness and Medspa
Vitality Natural Wellness and Medspa is a functional medicine office that uses a systems biology-based approach to discover and treat the root cause of disease rather than the symptom. Providers at Vitality also offer nonsurgical aesthetic procedures such as Botox, fillers, chemical peels and facial treatments.
Owner and Physician Dr. Melissa McRae utilizes treatment modalities that work with the body to naturally restore youthfulness and functionality. Treatments like peptide therapy and platelet-rich plasma help the cells to function as they used to — before aging and damage interfered. McRae applies sound business principles to health care.
McRae has a well-established set of core values that infiltrates everything from hiring to management and even office design, as well as the patient experience at Vitality Natural Wellness and Medspa.
Lisa Carmona
Lisa Carmona arrived at Zaner-Bloser as president of the company in 2018. She has more than 20 years of experience in the education, tech and publishing industry, which has prepared her to tackle head on the unique challenges the company is facing.
Once it became clear that COVID-19 was going to make in-person learning impossible, Carmona led the effort to make critical Zaner-Bloser learning resources available to teachers and parents for free online.
The effort started with literacy resources to help students finish the school year, such as Superkids lesson videos, ZB Handwriting practice and language arts activities. Parents and teachers appreciated the easy-to-use resources, and since then, the Zaner-Bloser site has expanded to include activities from across Highlights for Children.