TAFT TO LAUNCH PRACTICE IN CHINA

China's 1.3 billion consumers and its burgeoning economy offer rich opportunities for American entrepreneurs who are willing to navigate the country's labyrinth of local and national bureaucracies.

Enter Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, which has created a China Practice Group to help its clients gain a foothold or expand operations in the powerhouse economy.

"There is a lot of red tape, and we'll be able to help clients circumnavigate that," says Robert W. McAdams Jr., chairman of the firm's China team.

McAdams and a team of Taft lawyers have begun counseling clients on issues such as whether to structure new businesses as joint ventures with Chinese partners, or as wholly foreign-owned enterprises.

The rules are always changing in the rapidly developing Chinese economy, McAdams notes, and businesses need legal counsel with an intimate knowledge of the people and institutions who govern business there. To that end, Taft has begun the long process of opening a practice in Beijing, which will be led by Russell K.L. Leu, a specialist in trans-Pacific business relations. Taft plans to offer expanded legal counsel to Chinese companies doing business in the United States as well as American businesses working in China.

Nathaniel Lampley Jr. has been named managing partner of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease in Cincinnati. Lampley, 42, is the only African-American managing partner among major law firms in the Tristate. He has worked on contract and commercial litigation as well as on labor and employment litigation, representing corporate interests in both individual and class action cases. As managing partner, Lampley will oversee all of the attorneys in the Cincinnati office and focus on business development, practice group coordination and staffing, and strategic planning.

Michael R. Oestreicher, a corporate partner and executive committee member in the Cincinnati office of Thompson Hine, has been selected by President George Bush to serve as a member of the president's Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. Oestreicher will remain with the law firm as he serves his two-year term with the committee, which advises the U.S. trade representative on trade agreement policies.

Bev Lyman, a partner with Wood, Herron & Evans, was appointed to serve on the board of directors of the Northern Kentucky University Research Foundation by NKU President James Votruba. Lyman specializes in biotech patent law, and will view research issues from both a legal and scientific perspective for NKU.

The Best Lawyers in America, an annual list of top U.S. lawyers, included 47 Greenebaum Doll & McDonald attorneys in its 2006 edition. The list is compiled through more than 18,000 peer-review surveys and does not involve lawyers paying a fee to be listed. Cincinnati office designees are Richard Boydston, specializing in bankruptcy and creditor-debtor rights law; Suzanne P. Land, trusts and estates; William L. Montague, trusts and estates; Stephen E. Gillen, intellectual property law; Mark H. Longenecker, Jr., banking and corporate law; and Philip J. Schworer, environmental law. Covington office designees are Robert D. Hudson, labor and employment law; John A. West, commercial litigation; Harry D. Rankin, alternative dispute resolution and personal injury litigation; and William T. Robinson III, commercial and personal injury litigation.

Twelve partners at Taft, Stettinius & Hollister were listed in the 2006 edition of Chambers USA, America's Leading Business Lawyers. The leading lawyers include business and finance department partners Edward D. Diller, Timothy J. Hoberg and Jeffrey S. Schloemer; labor and employment department partners Roger A. Weber, Doreen Canton, Timothy J. Hurley, W. Timothy Miller and Mark J. Stepaniak; and litigation department partners L. Clifford Craig, Kim. K. Burke, Thomas T. Terp and David H. Wallace. Chambers USA, based in London, compiles its list through canvassing lawyers and their clients throughout the year. 


Law news relevant to the Tristate business community may be e-mailed to Cincy Business at news@cincybusinessmag.com.
--BobDriehaus


TRENDY AMENITIES SUIT EMPTY-NESTERS


Here's one thought that keeps Cincinnati baby boomers from downsizing their homes: hosting Thanksgiving in a one-bedroom condo or apartment.

Empty nesters still want the luxury of space to house and entertain the kids, grandchildren and friends. So the list of amenities that savvy condo developers offer has grown to include the guest suite.

Adams Landing and Park Place at Lytle, both on downtown's east side, have them. Now, The Ascent at the Roebling Bridge in Covington, designed by acclaimed architect Daniel Libeskind, is incorporating two such suites on its second floor, next to a private dining room that seats 35, and along with a library, billiards room, gathering room and indoor children's playroom.

"We felt that having extraordinary hospitality is what everyone would want,'' explains Debbie Vicchiarelli, chief marketing officer for The Ascent developer, Corporex. "It's the same experience that everyone would have at the home."

The one- and two-bedroom suites, which include kitchenettes and housekeeping services, will be booked through The Ascent's homeowner's association, Vicchiarelli says.

"Amenities that are commonplace elsewhere are now coming to Cincinnati,'' notes Christine Schoonover, a metro specialist and senior vice president of Huff Realty. She knows what choosy buyers want in upscale condos. "It's raising the bar, and developers should take note."

The Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors is hosting a June 16 seminar called "Smart Women Finish Rich," in conjunction with David Bach, author of the best-selling book of the same name. The program, which is free, offers tools for women to take charge of their financial futures. More information is available at www.cabr.org.

Robert Wassler was named 2005 Project Manager of the Year at the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Subcontractors Association's annual awards banquet this spring. Mr. Wassler joined Oswald Co. in 2003"”following a career at Schumacher Dugan and Messer Construction. Other ASA award winners: Architect of the Year, Michael Schuster Associates Inc.; Engineer of the Year, McGill Smith Punshon Inc.; General Contractor of the Year, Danis Building Construction Co.; Owner/Developer of the Year, Paul Hemmer Cos.

Carla Crabtree has been named director of real estate management for IDI's Cincinnati region. Atlanta-based IDI is among the top industrial developers in the nation, locating warehouse and distribution facilities for high-profile clients such as Fortune 500 companies.

Kristi Grogan has founded Naviga Real Estate Services, a residential and commercial real estate firm with offices in Over-the-Rhine, Burlington and Aurora. The firm employs 10 real estate specialists. They specialize in siting offices for medical and dental practitioners, and helping the 50+ population downsize their homes. Among Naviga's staff are Dennis Bettis and Lynnette Houston-Bettis, based at the Cincinnati Business Incubator.

Turner Construction Co. has named Denny Humbel vice president of its K-12 Education Group for its Ohio office, where he previously was a director. Humbel earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Ohio State University.

Dan McDonald was promoted to vice president at Carey Laumer Commercial Realty Inc. He joined the firm in 2001 after working at Sibcy Cline Realtors. The Miami University graduate has a commercial real estate portfolio of about 1.01 million square feet and more than $51 million in sale and lease transactions.

The University of Cincinnati and the Hoyt Institute of Real Estate recently collaborated on a new book, Commercial Real Estate Career Education and Resource Guide. It focuses on improving the commercial real estate brand and providing information about real estate careers. The book was funded by the Appraisal Institute, the CCIM Institute, CoStar Group, the National Association of Industrial & Office Properties and the Pension Real Estate Association.

Mason native and ESPN Sportscenter anchor Dan Patrick was the keynote speaker at the 17th Annual University of Cincinnati Real Estate Dinner. Information on other UC Real Estate program events is available at www.business.uc.edu/realestate

Real estate news relevant to the Tristate business community may be e-mailed to Cincy Business at news@cincybusinessmag.com.
--Annie-Laurie Blair


LILY PADS SPROUT ALONG RIVERFRONT

After emerging in other, drier parts of the city, Lily Pads now are surfacing in a more expected place: along the riverfront.

Those are Lily Pads as in wireless internet "hot spots""”areas where anyone with a WiFi-enabled laptop computer or personal digital assistant (PDA) may surf the web free, courtesy of Project Lily Pad. The strength of this non-profit project is that volunteers do the work and funding comes from sponsors, says project leader Joe Hansbauer. No government money was used in the grassroots effort, which has yielded about a dozen hot spots before the riverfront expansion. Hansbauer also touts that usage is always free and does not require registration.

On the riverfront, the broadband wireless covers one extended area, extending from Sawyer Point to Paul Brown Stadium on the Ohio side, and from the Purple People Bridge to the Covington RiverCenter on the Kentucky side. "We've got about 40 locations in the pipeline," says Hansbauer, adding that Lily Pad hot spots are expected to number 60 to 70 within a year. "The growth will be based on demand."

Major Lily Pad partners are Give Back Cincinnati, the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Time Warner Cable and LPK (Libby Perszyk Kathman). Smaller sponsors support individual hot spots, and in return get signs and a listing on a Lily Pad web page the user sees when connecting.

Hansbauer says the project is important because people value internet access more, and it puts Cincinnati in a league with progressive cities. One goal is for business travelers to be able to use free wireless service from arrival until departure.

Having already established "pads" in places including Main Street in Over-the-Rhine, Findlay Market, Fountain Square, Tri-County Mall, Piatt Park and Cincinnati Museum Center, Project Lily Pad is expected to go online in additional locations around the city, including the Walnut and Sixth street area, the new Government Square, most of Cincinnati's parks, and Northern Kentucky.

And how about saving money on gas, fighting smog and getting a jump on e-mail on your way to work in the morning? A Lily Pad pilot program is testing the possibility of having wireless service on Metro buses.

Horizon Certified Development Co., under the Hamilton County Development Co. Inc., received honors from the U.S. Small Business Administration as the No. 1 certified development company in Ohio for the second consecutive year. In  fiscal year 2005, Horizon approved 51 loans in SBA's "504 program," totaling nearly $19.5 million, which leveraged over $58 million in new small business investment.

Will the refurbished Fountain Square be an exciting downtown hub? The Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC) hopes the hiring of Bill Donabedian as the square's managing director will up the amperage. Donabedian was co-founder of the successful MidPoint Music Festival. Now the former Convergys training executive and musician will oversee square operations and plan programming.

The "One Hot Ticket" auction on eBay"”a collaboration of Labor Day weekend event organizers and the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network"”raised $2,500 for the Barrett Cancer Center at University Hospital. Paul Raffaelli made the winning bid, which covers VIP treatment for two at the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Championship in Mason, the Toyota/WEBN Fireworks at the Penn Station Riverfest, a tour hosted by Purple People Bridge Climb developer Dennis Speigel, Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati USA (Sept. 16-17)"”and hotel rooms and dinners.

Two residential projects are envisioned for downtown Blue Ash, as detailed in the Town Center Comprehensive plan, according to Judy Harris-Clark, the city's economic development director. Park Manor would add 42 single-family homes, Towne Square Lofts features 26 condos. In other Blue Ash news, the Wornick Company has started a $10 million expansion project that will create 225 jobs. 

Economic development news relevant to the Tristate business community may be e-mailed to Cincy Business at news@cincybusinessmag.com.
-- Shelley Coffman


ENTREPRENEUR DEGREE NOW OFFERED AT NKU

This fall the College of Business at Northern Kentucky University will launch a Bachelor of Science in entrepreneurship, the first major of its kind in the state.

Dr. Rebecca White, director of The Fifth Third Bank Entrepreneurship Institute at NKU, notes that the entrepreneurship major will not only teach students how to successfully start and operate their own businesses, but also how to be successful in a large corporate environment. She says that, according to research sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, students who study entrepreneurship in college make more money when they graduate and are more likely to be innovative in their jobs.

White says the goal of the major is to help students learn how to establish new enterprises, to grow, manage and maintain them efficiently, and to develop the skills necessary to operate entrepreneurially within large, established organizations. The program will emphasize civic engagement with the business community, particularly small businesses and entrepreneurial ventures. Course topics will include new venture creation and venture financing, and emerging enterprise law.

NKU 's College of Business also is offering a new Master of Science in Leadership and Organizational Change, designed to help managers and other professionals meet the challenges in rapidly changing business environments. In addition, NKU begins a 30-credit-hour online Master of Arts degree in education this fall. The eighth online degree offered at NKU, it includes 12 courses and can be completed on a home computer within 20 months.

In "America's Best Graduate Schools 2007," U.S. News & World Report ranked part-time MBA programs for the first time. The Williams College of Business MBA program at Xavier University bypassed a lot of big-name schools to get ranked at 24th in the nation among 450 accredited schools.

The budget passed by the Kentucky legislature in April awarded Gateway Community and Technical College $28 million to fund a Center for Advanced Manufacturing Competitiveness, designed to train workers for higher skilled manufacturing jobs. Northern Kentucky University received $36 million to build a new information technology center.

As the University of Cincinnati College of Business celebrates its centennial, a UC team"”Progressive Cooling Systems LLC"”received the $5,000 first runner-up prize in the Stuart Clark New Venture Challenge, held in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The team also earned a bid to compete for more than $125,000 in prizes at the 2006 MOOT Corp. competition, called the "Super Bowl" of business plan competitions.

The College of Mount St. Joseph is introducing a new Accounting Plus Program this fall, enabling people who already have a business degree to earn an accounting degree within 18 months and become eligible to take the CPA licensing test. Tuition runs $15,000 for the complete program, which features evening classes.

Northern Kentucky University's Small Business Development Center received a $10,000 gift from Humana Inc. to help with programming and services. The center provides professional consulting and training services to several thousand people each year in Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati.

Alan deCourcy has been named the interim chief academic officer at the College of Mount St. Joseph, stepping in for Cynthia Zane, who was appointed president of Hilbert College in New York. Dr. deCourcy was associate academic dean; he also teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in the Department of Religious and Pastoral Studies, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1992. 
-- Marilyn Green