Proforma’s new look

Proforma has unveiled a new logo and tagline, which it is marketing as a signal for future dramatic growth.

”We are projecting the organization will become the world’s first billion-dollar distributor,” says Proforma CEO Gregory Muzzillo. ”(Our) long-range goal is to exceed $10 billion in sales.”

During the past five years, Proforma sales have increased 450 percent through its 600 member offices in North America.

QQLink climbs a Tree

QQLink, the agent-connected e-commerce program of Ceres Group Inc., joined the affiliate program of Lending Tree Inc., a lending exchange and technology provider. The agreement expands the scope of products available to QQLink’s visitors to include customer loan services in addition to health and life insurance products.

Go global

Management Recruiters International Inc. reports many companies have increased the number of mid-management, executive and other professionals in international offices over the last five years and will continue the trend over the next five years. Of the more than 2,800 executives surveyed by MRI, 42.5 percent said they increased their international staffs over the last five years; 45.7 percent expect add even more staff in the next five years. The same is true for sales and marketing staff, according to the survey.

Fed says privatize

Gaps between the rich and poor grow once people hit retirement, and some say privatizing Social Security will increase the disparity among retirees. But, according to Jagadeesh Gokhale, a senior economic adviser at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, establishing individual accounts could result in greater wealth equality and intergenerational wealth mobility.

Gokhale contends Social Security may encourage lower-earning households to save less for retirement than they would otherwise, causing a greater difference in wealth between rich and poor among retirees. Using a computer simulation of the U.S. economy, Gokhale shows that an individual-accounts-type Social Security system, in which the money is privately owned and controlled, may slightly reduce the inequality.

To read the entire commentary, go to the Cleveland Fed site at

Puttin’ on the Ritz

Three Ritz-Carlton hotels are among the top 10 employers in Asia, according to a study by global management consulting and outsourcing firm Hewitt Associates, in conjunction with The Asian Wall Street Journal and Far Eastern Economic Review. According to the study, the top employers showed three common characteristics: They have engaged and committed employees; they contribute to Asia’s competitiveness and growth; and they have a culture that meets the needs of the business and the work force.

Tops on the list was the Portman Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai, China; No. 3 was the Ritz-Carlton Millenia in Singapore; and No 8 was the Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong. American companies Ford Motor Co., Hewlett-Packard, Federal Express and Intel also ranked among the top 20 for affiliated facilities located in Asia.

Safety first

The top five most often cited OSHA violations for 2000 in Region 5, which includes Ohio, are no hazard communication program, failure to guard live parts, failure to guard nip points, no lockout/tagout procedures and failure protect conductors. If you haven’t done so recently, review your safety program to avoid a citation for these common errors.

Levy gets legal

Levy Media Group on West Ninth Street in downtown Cleveland launched its legal division to offer digital and analog video services for attorneys who need to record anything from a deposition to a documentary. In addition to digital services such as CD and DVD encoding, Levy can stream depositions anywhere in the world over the Internet from its in-house servers. The firm also offers the use of its Warehouse District studio at no extra charge to customers.


Cleveland-based Glazen Creative Group, which produces films and creates interactive multimedia for marketing, training, fund-raising, meetings and entertainment, recently landed several projects. They are a quilting video for Husqvarna Viking, a manufacturer of sewing machines; a community outreach video for the Cleveland Museum of Art featuring Wynton Marsalis; a training video for Things Remembered; a television campaign for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History; an orientation video for the Cleveland Metroparks; and a fund-raising video for St. Charles Preparatory School, an all-male, Catholic high school in Columbus.

Warm up, pay less

Dominion East Ohio customers will pay 25 percent less for natural gas this month, December, and in January 2002 than they paid during the same period a year ago, under a gas cost recovery (GCR) decrease filed with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), according to the utility company.

Dominion East Ohio sales customers will pay $5.38 per thousand cubic feet (MCF), down 12.8 percent from the current $6.17 per MCF and down 25 percent from the $7.18 per MCF they paid during the same quarter last year. For more information about Dominion, visit the company’s Web site at

Taft touts technology

Gov. Bob Taft awarded NASA Glenn Research Center with the 2001 Thomas Edison Award and recognized 11 technology companies, including five from Northeast Ohio, with Emerging Technology Awards. Area companies awarded are Cleveland Medical Devices Inc., FiberLead Inc. and Secant Technologies, all of Cleveland, and Accelent Systems Inc. of Akron and AlphaMicron Inc. of Kent. Secant Technologies was also 2001 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner in the Emerging category.

Big award

Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Greater Cleveland and its agency, Robert Falls & Co. Public Relations, won the national media relations award at the 2001 Marketing & Communications Awards ceremony hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Of 508 chapters across the country, only the Cleveland chapter was a recipient of the ”Media Relations” award.

Direct hit

Tried direct mail marketing yet? The U.S. Postal Service wants you to. On its Small Business Tools Web Page, you can hook up with a mailing list broker, designer or printer; download sample templates of brochures, envelopes, letters and other print items; and download the Postal Service’s Direct Mail Guide in Adobe Acrobat format. You can also pay the Postal Service to print, assemble and mail your marketing materials or cards, all online. Check it out at and click on Small Business Tools.