2020 Northeast Ohio Smart 50 Awards celebrate area’s top executives

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Ken Taylor
Owner & President
Ohio CAT
Ken Taylor, owner and president of Ohio CAT, has been a force within his company, leading it to bring strong value to everything it is involved in. Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, the family company has grown since Taylor’s father passed it down to him. Taylor has built an exceptional facility in Cleveland and is using it as a jumping off point for the company’s expansion throughout the state. That expansion is executed in part through the company’s healthy acquisition strategy.
Taylor differentiates himself as a leader through empathy, treating clients and employees as family. He is driven to create value for his company and has helped Ohio CAT consistently grow its revenue year over year, as well as double its staff from its 2010 numbers.

Carole Sanderson
Co-owner & CFO
Mike Crislip
Co-owner & president
Onyx Creative
The leadership of co-owners Carole Sanderson and Mike Crislip has developed Onyx Creative into a national industry leader in architecture.
Sanderson, CFO, and Crislip, president, have created new profit centers for the organization, starting with an interiors procurement division and reprographics center. After developing a plan to add engineering services, the firm has a continuously growing staff of electrical, mechanical and structural engineers. The firm started a dedicated design department to expand creative capabilities, and later added branding and graphic design services.
Sanderson and Crislip have also led the firm’s acquisition efforts, bringing five firms into Onyx Creative’s fold since 2005.

David Jacobs
President & COO
Oswald Companies
As president and COO of Oswald Companies, David Jacobs is dedicated to managing Oswald’s services and support capabilities, including strategic leadership of all practices and branch operations. A veteran of the insurance industry with more than 25 years of experience, Jacobs’ leadership has been instrumental in the company earning recognition for the seventh consecutive year as a Top Workplace, and climbing from 47 to 39 as a Top 100 Brokerage Firm in the U.S.
Oswald’s ability to respond to and thrive amidst the challenges of 2020 can be tied directly to the character of its people and the strength of its culture, driven by Jacobs’ efforts to focus time and investments in its talent and market-leading innovations, from its Cleveland home and throughout the world.

Victoria Marquard-Schultz
Victoria Marquard-Schultz, Esq., is CEO of OxyGo, a fast-growing, 26-year-old, multinational medical and industrial gas equipment manufacturing company. She is known for embracing technology as a way to improve quality of life, which can be seen in OxyGo’s innovative ambulatory oxygen solutions.
The daughter of founder Dave Marquard, Marquard-Schultz was promoted to CEO in 2018 and has grown the company significantly, both through geographic expansion and product line development. She has founded several subsidiaries and product lines under the family’s umbrella of brands.
During the pandemic, OxyGo committed to stable employment for its employees, as well as granting raises for everyone. The teamwork culture at OxyGo has led to the production of a new product that cleans and disinfects oxygen equipment.

Cal Al-Dhubaib
Managing Partner
Cal Al-Dhubaib founded Pandata in 2016 with the goal of helping local organizations tap into the advances of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
With lockdowns looming and economic uncertainty starting to set in early March, Al-Dhubaib and the Pandata leadership team prepared for the worst. The leadership team took a pay cut and enforced one for its remaining staff, but doubled the profit-sharing bonus to incentivize working collectively for Pandata’s success.
Pandata won a series of new projects from local organizations looking for AI experts to help them recover from the impacts of the coronavirus recession. Because of that, Pandata went on to have its two highest revenue and profit quarters on record, with continued momentum toward 2021 while making the team whole through the profit-sharing program.

Chris Adams
President & CEO
Park Place Technologies LLC
Park Place Technologies’ solutions offer advancements that come at the apex of digital transformation across numerous verticals. As CEOs are held more accountable than ever to be a revenue source for their organizations, this innovation allows enterprise IT to be as efficient and error-proof as possible, while reducing costs. Cognizant of this, Chris Adams, president and CEO of Park Place Technologies, has led the launch of Entuity Network Analytics (ENA). ENA provides infrastructure and network monitoring, flow data and other vendor-proprietary APIs covering virtualization and software defined platforms.
Adams has also helped keep Park Place continuing on a path of rapid growth by guiding it through 13 acquisitions in the last 24 months, resulting in significant revenue during 2019.

Douglas J. Sibila
President & CEO
Peoples Services Inc.
Douglas J. Sibila, president and CEO of Peoples Services Inc., believes acquisitions are key to the company’s continued growth. Peoples offers warehousing and logistic services in polymers, chemicals, automotive, industrial and consumer goods, with more recent acquisitions offering food grade storage. The mix of services should help the company weather challenging economic cycles.
Each acquisition has enabled the company to increase its cash flow and reduce overhead costs as a percentage of revenue, providing Peoples with additional cash flow for more acquisitions and investment. The company’s revenue has doubled since 2012 and more than quadrupled from 2009. By the end of 2020, Peoples will have grown over 500 percent in the last 10 years.

Kristie Beck
Kristie Beck, CEO of Proformex, has an extensive background in scaling both privately held and public companies, and delivering results that improve internal operations, increase profitability and enhance the customer experience.
Recently, Proformex expanded its platform’s capabilities to monitor annuity contracts in addition to life insurance policies. The leadership team took feedback from the company’s growing customer base and implemented a much-needed change that is expected to enhance the usability and ROI on its software for customers.
Beck’s leadership has helped Proformex continue to expand while remaining laser focused on its mission and vision: to change the way life insurance is sold and maintained. By combining an innovative product with an ever-increasing presence in the marketplace, Proformex has positioned itself to tap into a huge market.

Hiroyuki Fujita, Ph.D.
Founder, president, CEO & Chairman of the Board
Quality Electrodynamics
Hiroyuki Fujita, Ph. D., is the founder, president, CEO and chairman of the board of Quality Electrodynamics. He founded the company in 2006 with a vision to revolutionize medical imaging through advanced technical innovation in clinical diagnostic equipment. Under Fujita’s leadership, the company continues to accomplish its vision and frequently introduces new products to improve people’s health through the use of advanced diagnostics.
At the beginning of the pandemic, QED quickly designed PPE products, specifically face shields, and adapted its manufacturing equipment to make 500 3D printed face shields. These were donated to the front-line workers at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, which will help support health care professionals working to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Ryan Markham
When Ryan Markham founded QualityIP in 2004, it was primarily a VoIP company working to provide voice solutions to businesses in Northeast Ohio. The company quickly grew to be a one-stop shop for all business technology needs.
In 2019, QualityIP rolled out QVoIP, a voice solution with enterprise-level features and benefits at a price point affordable to small and mid-sized businesses. This evolution has enabled QualityIP to provide customers with computers, servers and phones.
By embracing emerging technology and finding ways to offer enterprise-level solutions to small and mid-sized businesses, Markham and his team have grown QualityIP into an organization that has enjoyed, on average, revenue growth of over 26 percent a year for the past five years.