Business Excellence Awards

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On April 26, the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce recognized six area businesses for their growth records over the last year.

Five of those companies received Outstanding Business Awards. One company, Day, Ketterer, Raley, Wright & Rybolt, received the Business of the Year Award.

This year’s winners were judged in several areas of growth, including number of employees, expansion of operations, capital improvements and product line expansion. The Business of the Year recipient had to meet not only the above growth requirements, but was also judged for its responsiveness to adversity and involvement in the community.

Each company offers a unique success story. Here’s why these companies represent excellence in Greater Canton.

Business of the Year: Day, Ketterer, Raley, Wright & Rybolt

Steeped in tradition

Founded by a Supreme Court Justice, Day, Ketterer has a rich tradition to uphold.

For 130 years, Canton law firm Day, Ketterer, Raley, Wright & Rybolt has had a tough standard of excellence to uphold.

The firm was founded in 1872 by William R. Day, a presidential legal adviser, Secretary of State and U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Since that time, the majority of Day, Ketterer’s practice has focused on business law.

But not much else has stayed the same. Many of the areas that the firm’s 32 attorneys practice in today didn’t exist back then. Environmental law, employment discrimination, occupational health and safety and Internet law are just a few of the areas the firm now practices in, says Managing Partner Sheila Markley, who has practiced with Day Ketterer for 26 years and been the managing attorney for the last five.

The firm’s experience with its larger clients, including The Timken Co., Aultman Hospital, Lauren Manufacturing, BankOne and USAir, has afforded its attorneys the ability to stay on the cutting edge of those practice areas, she says.

“Frequently, larger companies are more on the lookout for solutions to problems before they arrive,” says Markley. “They do a lot more preventative legal work than smaller companies do.”

She says that expertise developed from dealing with larger clients is passed on to the firm’s small business clients, who “tend to wait until they actually have a problem before calling a lawyer.”

Another unique characteristic of Day, Ketterer is its longstanding commitment to downtown Canton, says Markley. In 1999, the partners were faced with the decision of whether to relocate to Belden Village or the suburbs, or to stay in the center of downtown.

Despite attractive incentive packages from other communities, the firm’s partners decided to maintain their commitment to downtown Canton by moving their offices to the new Millennium Centre complex. The move took place in December 2000.

Even though the downtown economy has slowly declined over the last 40 to 50 years, Markley says the decision was based on the firm’s longstanding tradition of being downtown. Day, Ketterer has been headquartered in the heart of downtown Canton since William R. Day opened his doors.

“We looked at the potential of a comeback of downtown Canton,” she says. “It was exciting to think that we could be part of the project that turned around downtown.” How to reach: Day, Ketterer, Raley, Wright & Rybolt, (330) 455-0173

Connie Swenson