Our Tristate Success Awards were founded on the premise that the Tristate's strength as a thriving business center is built on the growth and success of its businesses. Our second annual awards honor the public, private and emerging companies in the eight-county, three-state region we call the Tristate that grew in revenue and employees. The event also serves as a forum to discuss the issues and objectives our region shares. We discovered in a poll of winners that airline access ranks as a top area the region could improve.

"” Eric Harmon

Publisher, Cincy Magazine


NO KIDDING: SKIDADDLES SCORES

 
Tiffany Sams likes to joke that if she had a childcare background instead of a business one, she might have been talked out of getting into the childcare business. In 2008 she opened Skidaddles, Northern Kentucky's only drop-in day-care service.

The Florence center offers a new concept for the region. Parents can drop off kids on an hourly basis; no appointment is necessary, no weekly commitment is needed.

"Everyone I talked to in the childcare field said it was a crazy idea. They would say, 'Goodness, how are you going to do that?' " says Sams. "Since I had a business background, it didn't faze me."

Sams, a CPA who had done small-business consulting, discovered staffing a no-appointment-needed childcare service was not that big of a scheduling nightmare "” just hire a responsible staff, have dependable people on call and learn the trends for peak periods (snow days, holidays, etc). The concept was an instant success. Annual revenues have tripled since Skidaddles' first year. Sams is launching a Mason facility this spring and is entertaining franchise inquires.

Sams, a mother of three girls, 8, 5 and 3, says she was careful not to compromise quality of care for convenience. Degree teachers run the show. Each day has an enrichment theme in such areas as music, tumbling, yoga, art, cooking and foreign languages. The center can accommodate up to 50 children, ages 1-12.



JS GOLD & COIN'S METTLE IS PRECIOUS
 

Sometimes, "If you build it, they will come" is not a bad business model.

It has certainly worked for JS Gold and Coin, opening in 2008 with a single store in Kenwood as a buyer of gold, silver, platinum, jewelry, rare coins, estate items and vintage paper currency.

"We have been busy ever since the doors opened," says owner Nancy Hendricks, who purchased the business from Jon Saylor, who remains as chief numismatist.

Obviously, the astronomical rise in gold prices has spurred people to cash in. But Hendricks says this is not a business riding a bubble, since a significant part of their activity comes from coin collectors. "The rare coin business is on fire right now," says Saylor. "There has been a renewed interest in coin collecting."

And Hendricks points out, even if the gold bubble were to burst, the price would probably still be left at a historically high mark.

The key to their success is volume. From the very beginning, the plan was to have four stores covering each area of town. They are on track, opening stores in West Chester and Florence last year and Anderson this spring.

"We set up to be the only volume buyer in the Tristate," says Saylor. "High volume lets us pay higher prices. And that feeds word of mouth."

GENERAL DATA PUTS STAMP ON ITS FIELD

Enter General Data, the Clermont County company internationally known as a provider of bar code labeling, RFID, laboratory tracking identification and data collection services. And it has a specialty in developing such labels for hard-to-stick surfaces.

"We have come up with bar code labels to stick on oily aircraft parts, or the undercarriage of railroad cars," says Peter Wenzel, founder and CEO. "We have tags that will go on a pallet of bricks that can survive exposure in a distribution yard."

Those are just a few of the examples of the company's innovation in the high-tech bar code field, a reputation earned since Wenzel founded General Data in his Pittsburgh basement, moving here in 1993. The company is now poised to do $50 million in sales, employing over 190 people at its Union Township headquarters. Wenzel is using a $4 million package from the state for manufacturing expansion and is committed to adding 39 jobs this year.

General Data is also the world leader for laboratory tracking applications, developing a system that tracks tissue sample experiments through the lab process. In the healthcare field, it developed bar code wristbands containing a patient's picture and medical records that can include, for the maternity ward, a picture of the baby to serve as a security measure.

NB & T SUCCEEDS OLD-FASHIONED WAY

These days it almost seems like a radical banking idea "” take in money from depositors and loan it to the community for homes, business and farms.

Just doing what a bank traditionally does has paid off for Wilmington-based National Bank & Trust, with its roots as a community bank in the region dating to 1872.

The last few years, NB & T has grown to $700 million in assets with 23 full-service branches serving Clinton, Brown, Highland, Clermont, Warren and Montgomery counties. It expanded last year, acquiring a $70 million bank in Northeast Ohio.

"We never got into the exotic mortgage financing rampant at some of the larger institutions," says John Limbert, president and CEO. "We have our share of loans that struggle, but they weren't hybrid loans and they weren't to people who didn't have to tell us their income. We were doing good old-fashioned vanilla owner-occupied mortgage borrowing."

Limbert also says NB & T did not overload its ledger with aggressive commercial real estate business.

Limbert, who previously had a 20-year career at a large regional bank, says there is a lot of professional satisfaction running a community bank. "I get to see my customers every day, and get to see the loans that we make at work in the markets that we're in."
 

 
 
These winners were selected from many nominations in a review by their peers in business and economic development. All winners are either locally headquartered or reported local figures.
 
EMERGING COMPANIES 
 
ElitAire, Inc, Hamilton Co. 
Company Profile: ElitAire promotes sustainability in the commercial/industrial market with its high-efficiency HVAC systems. Most personnel are LEED certified, degreed engineers, allowing the company to offer low costs, increased productivity and environmental benefits.
Business Type: Construction/Engineering/Real Estate
Year Established: 2008
Web Address: www.elitaire.com
2010 Employees: 17
2009 Employees: 15
2010 Revenue: $5-9 million
2009 Revenue: $5-9 million
 
Focus Solutions, Inc., Hamilton Co.
Company Profile: Focus Solutions is a private, for-profit performance improvement company specializing in the re-engineering of business processes.
Business Type: Performance & Process Improvement, Staffing
Year Established: 2007
2010 Employees: 21
2009 Employees: 12
2010 Revenue: $1-4 million
2009 Revenue: $1-4 million
 
HiFive Development Services, Inc., Warren Co. 
Company Profile: While offering affordable construction/design services, HiFive gives about half of its net revenue to faith-based groups every year.
Business Type: Design-Build, Construction, Master Planning & Development Services
Year Established: 2001
Web Address: www.hifive1.com
2010 Employees: 26
2009 Employees: 24
2010 Revenue: $25-49 million
2009 Revenue: $10-24 million
 
Infintech, LLC, Hamilton Co. 
Company Profile: By focusing their efforts on target growth markets, they have managed to successfully face the recent economic crisis.
Business Type: Electronic Payment Processor
Year Established: 2005
2010 Employees: 15
2009 Employees: 12
2010 Revenue: $1-4 million
2009 Revenue: $1-4 million
Intelligrated, Inc., Warren Co.
Company Profile: Intelligrated now has operations in Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, California, Canada and Mexico.
Business Type: Manufacturing
Year Established: 2001
2010 Employees: 1,730
2009 Employees: 1,650
2010 Revenue: $250-499 million
2009 Revenue: $250-499 million
JS Gold & Coin, Hamilton Co.
Company Profile: A company that offers its customers fair payments on products and has also made investments with the Cincinnati Reds RBI program.
Business Type: Rare Coin & Precious Metal Buyer
Year Established: 2008
2010 Employees: 15+
2009 Employees: 5
2010 Revenue: $25-49 million
2009 Revenue: $5-9 million
 
MobileTEK Consulting, Hamilton Co. 
Company Profile: MobileTEK is focusing on offering solutions to companies that will help them save more and become more efficient and effective.
Business Type: Information Technology
Year Established: 2002
Web Address: www.mobile-tek.com
2010 Employees: 7
2009 Employees: 5
2010 Revenue: $5-9 million
2009 Revenue: $5-9 million
 
OMEGA Processing, Campbell Co.
Company Profile: A company that makes the client its main focus by offering comprehensive services.
Business Type: Credit Card Processor
Year Established: 2003
Web Address: www.omegap.com
2010 Employees: 20
2009 Employees: 16
2010 Revenue: $5-9 million
2009 Revenue: $1-4 million
 
Partner Professional Staffing, Hamilton Co.
Company Profile: Partner decided to actively grow the business in a rough economy by providing the best customer service possible, adapting to customer needs and ramping up marketing efforts.
Business Type: Staffing, Recruiting
Year Established: 2006
Web Address: www.partnerps.com
2010 Employees: 38
2009 Employees: 26
2010 Revenue: $5-9 million
2009 Revenue: $5-9 million
Pep Strategic Promotion Management, Hamilton Co.
Company Profile: A team of strategy, creative, marketing and project management professionals that delivers marketing promotions on-time, on-budget and on-strategy.
Business Type: Strategic Promotion Management
Year Established: 2004
2010 Employees: 85
2009 Employees: 72
2010 Revenue: $10-24 million
2009 Revenue: $5-9 million
 
PrideStaff, Clermont Co.
Company Profile: PrideStaff purchased an additional territory in theCincinnati market and will be opening an office in Hyde Park or Kenwood in the second quarter of 2011.
Business Type: Recruiting/Employment Services
Year Established: 2008
Web Address: www.pridestaff.com
2010 Employees: 7
2009 Employees: 4
2010 Revenue: $1-4 million
2009 Revenue: $1-4 million
RoundTower Technology, Hamilton Co.
Company Profile: RoundTower's IT solutions include assessment and managed services, data storage, virtualization, data security and data protection.
Business Type: IT Data Storage Reseller
Year Established: 2007
Web Address: www.roundtower.com
2010 Employees: 26
2009 Employees: 18
2010 Revenue: $25-49 million
2009 Revenue: $10-24 million
 
RSW/US, Hamilton Co. 
Company Profile: In an innovative industry, RSW/US works as a lead generation/business development firm, helping marketing agencies find business.
Business Type: Outsourced Business Development for Marketing Services
Year Established: 2005
Web Address: www.rswus.com
2010 Employees: 22
2009 Employees: 18
2010 Revenue: $1-4 million
2009 Revenue: $1-4 million
Skidaddles, Inc., Boone Co.
Company Profile: Skidaddles provides a unique service in that it offers its child-care services not only on a weekly basis but also on an hourly basis.
Business Type: Child Care Center
Year Established: 2008
Web Address: www.skidaddles.com
2010 Employees: 23
2009 Employees: 18
2010 Revenue: <$1-4 million
2009 Revenue: <$1-4 million
 
ThinkVine Corporation, Hamilton Co. 
Company Profile: A leading provider of advanced marketing optimization software and services that was chosen as 2010 and 2011 Consumer Goods Technology Magazine Editor's Pick.
Business Type: Marketing Software
Year Established: 2008
Web Address: www.thinkvine.com
2010 Employees: 26
2009 Employees: 19
2010 Revenue: $1-4 million
2009 Revenue: $1-4 million
 
Three Degrees Creative, Hamilton CO.
Company Profile: With a conservative and well-planned approach to growth, Three Degrees Creative has been able to add more services since 2009.
Business Type: Marketing/Branding/Design
Year Established: 2004
Web Address: www.threedc.com
2010 Employees: 5
2009 Employees: 4
2010 Revenue: $1-4 million
2009 Revenue: $1-4 million
 
TiER 1 Performance Solutions, Kenton Co. 
Company Profile: TiER 1 works to improve employee performance though learning, knowledge and change-management.
Business Type: Software & Consulting
Year Established: 2002
2010 Employees: 54
2009 Employees: 34
2010 Revenue: $5-9 million
2009 Revenue: $5-9 million
TSJ Media, Hamilton co.
Company Profile: Over five years, TSJ has expanded its weekly newspaper to three other cities, launched two Spanish radio stations in Cincinnati and Columbus and acquired a monthly Spanish language magazine for five markets.
Business Type: Hispanic Media
Year Established: 2006
Web Address: www.tsjnews.com
2010 Employees: 20
2009 Employees: 14
2010 Revenue: $1-4 million
2009 Revenue: $1-4 million
 
Worldwide Graphics & Sign Co.  
Company Profile: Worldwide gives back to the community by donating graphics and signs to community events and non-profit organizations.
Business Type: Graphics & Signage
Year Established: 2006
2010 Employees: 9
2009 Employees: 7
2010 Revenue: $1-4 million
2009 Revenue: $1-4 million
 

PRIVATE COMPANIES 

Abstract Displays, Inc., Hamilton Co
Company Profile: Abstract Displays focuses on relationships and service with its customers with a primary strategy for growth and sustainability.
Business Type: Exhibit Sales & Design
Year Established: 2000
2010 Employees: 22
2009 Employees: 19
2010 Revenue: $1-4 million
2009 Revenue: $1-4 million
 
Apollo Heating, Plumbing and Cooling
Company Profile: Apollo's main goal is finding and keeping customers for life by focusing on customer experiences.
Business Type: Mechanical & Energy Home Services
Year Established: 1910
2010 Employees: 49
2009 Employees: 36
2010 Revenue: $5-9 million
2009 Revenue: $5-9 million
Barleycorn's, Campbell Co. 
Company Profile: Barleycorn's is independently owned and operated by brothers Joe and Ken Heil. A new location opened recently in Florence, Ky.
Business Type: Restaurant
Year Established: 1975
2010 Employees: 166
2009 Employees: 160
2010 Revenue: $5-9 million
2009 Revenue: $5-9 million
 
Barleycorn's, Campbell Co. 
www.general-data.com
2010 Employees: 196
2009 Employees: 175
2010 Revenue: $25-49 million
2009 Revenue: $25-49 million
 
Guardlink of Kentucky, Campbell Co. 
Company Profile: Guardlink is a two-time recipient of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce "Emerging Top 30" network.
Business Type: Security
Year Established: 1999
Web Address: www.guardlink.com
2010 Employees: 17
2009 Employees: 15
2010 Revenue: $1-4 million
2009 Revenue: $1-4 million
 
Innovative Labeling Solutions, Butler Co.
Company Profile: Innovative Labeling Solutions is a highly successful comprehensive label and packaging operation manufacturing out of a 65,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility.
Business Type: Manufacturing & Printing
Year Established: 1996
2010 Employees: 56
2009 Employees: 46
2010 Revenue: $10-24 million
2009 Revenue: $5-9 million

The Matrix Companies, Hamilton Co. 
Company Profile: The Matrix Companies has had to deal with jurisdictional and governmental/law changes, but it has diversified and expanded services.
Business Type: Risk Management Claims & Consulting
Year Established: 2000
Web Address: www.matrixtpa.com
2010 Employees: 50
2009 Employees: 45
2010 Revenue: $5-9 million
2009 Revenue: $1-4 million
 
Richards Industry, Hamilton Co. 
Company Profile: Richards Industries focuses on international business and expansion and has had no layoffs despite the hard-hit industry.
Business Type: Manufacturing
Year Established: 1948
2010 Employees: 145
2009 Employees: 130
2010 Revenue: $25-49 million
2009 Revenue: $25-49 million
Sheakley, Hamilton Co. 
Company Profile:Sheakley helps businesses reduce their workload to spend more time managing by adding payroll and benefits paperwork services.
Business Type: HR Outsourcing
Year Established: 1963
Web Address: www.sheakley.com
2010 Employees: 2,203
2009 Employees: 2,098
2010 Revenue: $100-249 million
2009 Revenue: $100-249 million
Suhre & Associates, Hamilton Co.
Company Profile: During an unstable economy Suhre & Associates expanded its services to include a family law practice group in Cincinnati. New locations include Columbus, Akron, Lexington, Louisville and Chicago.
Business Type: Law Firm
Year Established: 1999
Web Address: www.suhrelaw.com
2010 Employees: 10
2009 Employees: 5
2010 Revenue: $1-4 million
2009 Revenue: $1-4 million
Transducers Direct, LLC, Hamilton Co. 
Company Profile: Transducers focuses on customer service and creating lower cost, high quality solutions through technology and research.
Business Type: Electronics Component Manufacturer
Year Established: 1999
2010 Employees: 15
2009 Employees: 13
2010 Revenue: $1-4 million
2009 Revenue: $1-4 million
 
Triplefin, LLC, Hamilton Co.  
www.triplefin.com
2010 Employees: 176
2009 Employees: 136
2010 Revenue: $100-249 million
2009