Honorable mentions

These innovators and companies deserve special recognition for their efforts and achievements.

Mike Burke, Trek Diagnostic Systems. One of the fastest-growing firms in the region, Trek Diagnostic Systems manufactures and distributes automated systems for microbiology diagnostic labs. Burke’s Value Initiative has instilled a company culture that rewards employees for exceeding customer expectations.

James Cole, Noshok Inc.

It is Cole’s belief that if his employees develop their minds, bodies and spirits — not only at home but at work — that the result will be productive, happy employees who enjoy their lives and jobs. That has helped lead his company from annual sales of $250,000 in 1976 to more than $14 million today.

Mark Collins, Hitchcock Fleming & Assoc.

Through HF&A’s Buzzwerks division, Collins and his team develop technology-based solutions for client challenges, including brand identities that generate strong returns on investment.

Nicholas Di Cello, Ohio State Home Services

Twenty-five years after launching his company with a $200 investment, Di Cello has built the leading waterproofing company in the nation, serving thousands of customers across the Midwest.

Jennifer Downey, Ambiance

After more than 20 years of growth, Downey’s business savvy has turned Ambiance into one of the most recognizable brand names and visitor-friendly retail chains in Northeast Ohio.

Jim Fisher, Ideastar

Develops and distributes Web-based software products such as CorpMeetings, which automates the invitation and registration process for business events, and Pulsar, which automates e-mail newsletters.

Larry Goddard, The Parkland Group

At the core of Goddard’s successful consulting practice is his "Top Down Vision, Bottom Up Management" concept, which has proven to be highly effective in achieving performance results in distressed companies.

Gary Habeeb, United Mortgage Group

Innovative with its unique consumer-use technology in the retail mortgage field, UMG has grown in five years from a start-up to more than 100 employees while servicing more than $300 million in annual loan production.

Jim Hickey & Staff, The Arras Group

Hickey’s "Radical Common Sense" four-step approach to tackling client needs has helped the company go from two employees in 1991 to 65 today, with annual capitalized billings in excess of $100 million.

A.J. Hyland, Hyland Software

Hyland’s OnBase is a globally recognized software that combines the technologies of enterprise report management, document imaging, electronic document management and workflow into a single Web-based application.

Bob Leon, Colortone

Leon has taken the art of staging business conferences and events to the next level by providing an total experience for attendees. Among his successes is the annual Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year awards ceremony.

Chad Schron, Tooling University

By combining the power of educational material with the ability to control software, Tooling U leverages parent company Jergens’ understanding of manufacturing to design, develop and distribute online training modules for basic manufacturing skills.

Rita M. Singh, S&A Consulting Group

Singh’s dedication to developing innovative ideas for clients has turned S&A into an internationally recognized firm, with clients in Europe and Asia to complement her prestigious American roster.

Thomas N. Sudow, NOACC

Sudow played a key role in bringing the Northern Ohio Area Chambers of Commerce from an idea to fruition in the mid-1990s. Today, the group boasts 106 chambers of commerce as members and serves more than 28,000 member businesses across Northern Ohio.


Judging innovation


Smart Business, Anthem, and the other sponsors of the 2003 Innovation in Business Conference would like to thank the following people for their hard work on the 2003 judging panel:

Gregory Stoup, director of research, Center for Regional Economic Issues, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University

Dan Colantone, director, Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce

Rachel Torchia, president, Gateway Title Agency (2002 Rising Star honoree)

Don Campbell, former director, NASA Glenn Research Center

Bruce Murphy, president, community banking, KeyBank

Mark Goldfarb, managing partner, SS&G Financial Services (2000 Visionary honoree)

Joe LaGuardia, regional vice president, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Ohio

Dustin S. Klein, executive editor, Smart Business Network Inc.