Winners will be celebrated at April 28 banquet

CANTON, OH (March 23, 2009) - The Business Excellence Awards of Greater Canton, presented by the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, have announced the 2009 award winners. Winners include: Drs. Bernard and Eimer, Inc., Hilscher-Clarke Electric Company, Kenan Advantage Group, SõL Harris/Day Architecture, and Standard Plumbing and Heating Company. All five winners will be honored with an Outstanding Business Award; and one will also receive the Business of the Year Award. The Business of the Year recipient will be announced at the awards dinner.


In addition, Lakeside Center Banquet & Meeting Hall, Inc. has been recognized with a Committee's Choice Award and Brian Bailey and Tim Hug of Old Carolina Barbecue Co. will receive the coveted, inaugural-year "Entrepreneur of the Year" award.


The Business Excellence Awards committee, chaired by Ronald Manse, managing partner of Bruner-Cox LLP, selected this year's winners. Selections were made on the basis of business and employment growth, expansion of operations/efficiencies, outstanding customer service, investments in capital improvements, innovation/expansion of product line(s), responsiveness to business and industry challenges and adversity and community involvement.


Honorees of this year's Business Excellence Awards will be recognized during the gala awards dinner held on Tuesday, April 28, at University Center at Kent State University Stark, 6000 Frank Ave. NW, North Canton. Visit to register.  The Business Excellence Awards of Greater Canton are made possible by our generous sponsors: Bruner-Cox LLP, Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty Co., LPA, Stark State College, Chase Bank and The Repository.


Drs. Bernard and Eimer, Inc. have been "creating spectacular smiles with care" for 45 years. They work exclusively in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. The practice has grown from 400 patients to more than 1,200 active patients and they have increased staff by 450% since 1971. Throughout their history, they have expanded their facility to a total of 6,000 sq. ft., including employee lounge, lab, and a "playroom" for their young patients. They are dedicated to technology, having fully computerized their practice in the early nineties, including treatment charting. The practice has lead the charge in next-generation communication, sending patient reminders and promotions via email, launching a redesigned website and sending automated "house call" phone reminders with passwords so that patients may access account balances and appointment times online. Their customer service is unparalleled in the dental field; at every step they offer the full package - onsite coffee bar, lending library and on-deck treatment area, where parents can observe their children's treatment. Throughout treatment, patients receive perks - including "wahoos" given for good brushing and cooperation - that can be redeemed for prizes like hand-helds and ipods. They offer the latest, cutting edge products in braces and at the same time make their services more affordable via financing and an in-house, no-interest payment plan.


Hilscher-Clarke Electric Company is an electrical contracting and engineering firm providing electrical construction services in Northeast and Central Ohio. Hilscher-Clarke believes that "the second phone call is more important than the first," and they provide each customer with electrical construction and services of proper quality, with the highest integrity and workmanship, at a fair price. Since 1997, they have doubled business revenue and employees. Clients include large and small industrial and commercial facilities, institutional and retail business. They have grown to add six new divisions and have expanded their business to include the voice, data and video markets, building automation and integration, and security. In addition, they have expanded into LEED Certified building designs and partner with architectural firms on many projects.


Kenan Advantage Group is North America's largest bulk transportation and logistics provider to the petroleum and specialty products industries. They operate three unique platforms, including the fuels delivery group, refined petroleum and reusable fuels including gasoline, diesel, aviation and ethanol; specialty products group, food grade products and chemicals; and logistics group, maximizing value for customers through design and delivery of nationwide supply-chain solutions.


KAG sales are greater than nearly six times that of their next largest competitor. More than 240 employees work at the corporate office in North Canton, and the company operates 100 terminals, 98 satellite locations and employs over 5,000 people across the country. KAG recently relocated to the former Seiple Lithograph building on Mount Pleasant Road, growing from 23,000 sq. ft. to 77,000 sq. ft., while remaining in Stark County. These capital improvements required a $9.1 million investment in the new location, and over $12 million in proprietary and industry-leading technology. Safety is the number one priority for the company, and they have added anti-rollover devices in 400 of the tractors in their fleet, with plans to extend this to their entire fleet over the next five years.


SõL Harris/Day Architecture is a medium-size architectural firm that provides full-service planning, design and construction services for markets throughout Ohio and beyond. They have grown to more than 20 employees since they were founded in 1969. They are the Stark County leader in LEED building sustainable architectural services and six of their staff members are fully accredited LEED professionals. They have also sponsored workshops on LEED principles, "green" building practices for energy efficiency and improved building function. The firm is currently planning to expand into a 4,000-4,500 sq. ft. space with sustainable "green" features.  The firm invested in Building Information Modeling (BIM), a 3D computer aided drafting software, to improve project management between design and construction. Repeat clients account for 60 percent of the firm's client workload. Recent projects include Aultman Compassionate Care Center, Jackson High School, Tuscarawas and North Canton YMCA, Central Catholic High School, Stark State College Digital Library and Diebold World Headquarters. In addition to architectural construction, the firm added historic preservation and interior design services to provide their clients with a truly full-service experience.


Family owned and operated since 1912, Standard Plumbing and Heating Co. has transformed from a plumbing shop to a full-service mechanical contractor. The company is the largest mechanical contractor in the area, providing commercial and industrial plumbing and piping services, with their main emphasis on large commercial and institutional heating and cooling, as well as complete HVAC services. They have grown from 15 to 80 employees over the past 30 years, including adding 20 field employees and a branch in Mansfield. The company is improving communication channels by upgrading software and working to equip each service employee with a handheld dispatch device. They have completed the two largest design build projects in Stark County: McKinley Life Care Center, the old McKinley High School, and the G.E. Capital building on Munson Avenue. These structures are over 100,000 sq. ft. and were designed and constructed by the firm. They are also the largest HVAC maintenance contractor for The Timken Company and perform much of the maintenance work in the Canton plants. The company partners with Honeywell and Johnson Controls and is a preferred contractor on performance contracting projects throughout the state because of their work quality.


The Business Excellence Award selection committee also awarded a Committee's Choice Award to Lakeside Center Banquet & Meeting Hall, Inc. in Perry Township. When owner Laurie Weinfeld, a newcomer to Stark County, purchased Lakeside in 1998, it came with no end of issues and obstacles. From permit issues, grossly inadequate building and grounds elements and uninspired food without a food license, Weinfeld had her work cut out for her. She rolled up her sleeves and persevered through these obstacles. As a result, she now runs an award-winning facility with 20 employees, all of whom go the extra mile on unexpected service (whining kids threaten to end a bridesmaid's evening early? Babysitting is no problem!). Weinfeld prides herself on high-end cuisine at a mid-level budget, and has hired two gourmet chefs, expanded her kitchen and improved her facility to attract customers who want affordable, high-quality experiences.


For the first time, the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce is recognizing an important segment of our business community - visionary, innovative and forward-thinking individuals that drive companies to greatness - entrepreneurs!


The Chamber is awarding the inaugural "Entrepreneur of the Year" award to partners Brian Bailey and Tim Hug of Old Carolina Barbecue Co. High school friends Bailey and Hug imagined Old Carolina in 1999. During a lunch in a barbecue joint in St. Louis, Bailey had an epiphany: Canton did not have an authentic barbecue restaurant, and he and Hug needed to open one! After obsessing for a few years over how to launch their company with limited funding, the two came up with an idea - start out as a competition barbecue team.


They sold their first ribs in 2003, and won a total of 27 awards in the first two and a half years. Soon faithful customers began to demand they open a restaurant. Bailey and Hug's Old Carolina was finally born, and they will open their third location this May in Akron. They have now won 54 awards, including five-time champion of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival Ribs Burnoff People's Choice Award. The partners' vision extends beyond their excellent food and hospitality. Bailey and Hug are very community-minded. They offer the most generous fundraising program in the area, allowing local organizations to host fundraising nights in the restaurant and keep a portion of the profit. They also engage the "pitmaster" in each of us with their "Q School" classes, designed to teach barbecue secrets for the home grill. Late last year, Bailey and Hug added an entirely new element to their successful model - franchising! Now in the process of filing documents to begin the franchise sales process, they envision that Old Carolina Barbecue Co. will spread quickly into neighboring cities.