HCDC Announces Business Award Winners

Seven Companies/Individuals Honored at 32nd Annual Meeting

Award winnersJanuary 19, 2015—HCDC, Inc. is pleased to announce the 32nd Business Development Award winners for their outstanding contributions to growing jobs, businesses, and communities. The formal presentation of the awards took place on January 16, 2015 at the Cooper Creek Event Center, in Blue Ash, OH. Jamie Smith, Publisher of the Business Courier, was the emcee at the luncheon that celebrates business and community partners in HCDC’s three program areas: Business Loans, Business Incubation and Economic Development.

The following individuals and local companies were recognized for their exceptional contributions to expanding businesses, creating jobs, and contributing to the overall economic health and development in our communities.

Tenant of the Year: GNGF


Mark Homer, CEO of GNGF, accepts HCDC’s Tenant of the Year Award

When GNGF entered HCDC’s business incubator in early 2013, CEO Mark Homer and his CIO Jabez LeBret had 6 employees. After two years at HCDC they have tripled the size of their team while quadrupling revenues. Last year they took over half of an entire floor in the incubator with over 20 employees. This breakout company provides digital marketing strategies & web content for law firms all across the nation. The GNGF team is known to work hard and play hard. They have hammock chairs, a ping-pong table, and beer:30 Fridays is part of the culture- earning them an award for the Best Place to Work by the Business Courier.

Lending Advocate of the Year: Randy Church, Director of Business Development & Commercial Lending at Spring Valley Bank.

Randy Church, Spring Valley Bank Lending Advocate of the Year

Randy Church thanks his co-workers at Spring Valley Bank while accepting the Lending Advocate of the Year Award

Every year, HCDC honors an individual banker for their continued support of SBA financing and the 504 Loan program that encourages economic development through business investment and job creation. In 2014, Randy Church partnered with HCDC on three projects totaling more than $3.2 Million to finance Wegman Construction (West End), Troy’s Café (West Chester) and Julian’s Deli (Loveland). Combined, his projects have helped directly create 37 Jobs and retain 87 local jobs!

Lender of the Year: Huntington Bank and Fifth Third Bank

Tim Blankenhorn, Senior Vice President at Huntington Bank, accepts HCDC's Lender of the Year Award

Tim Blankenhorn, Senior Vice President at Huntington Bank, accepts HCDC’s Lender of the Year Award

David Jackson, Fifth Third Bank accepts HCDC's Lender of the Year Award

David Jackson, National SBA Director of Fifth Third Bank accepts HCDC’s Lender of the Year

HCDC’s Lender of the Year was a tie between Fifth Third Bank and Huntington Bank. Of the 39 loans approved by the SBA, Fifth Third Bank and Huntington Bank accounted for over 20 percent by both partnering on 4 deals. Huntington Bank’s four (4) SBA 504 Loan Projects totaled $3.3 Million dollars and helped create 21 Jobs and retain the existing 74 jobs in Hamilton, Warren and Boone Counties. Fifth Third Bank’s SBA 504 Loan Projects totaled nearly $3.2 Million dollars and helped create 54 Jobs and retain the existing 121 jobs in Hamilton, Warren and Montgomery Counties. Overall, HCDC teamed up with 22 different lending institutions in FY 2014 to provide financing to small and mid-size businesses.

Ronald Schallick Economic Development Award: Ameritas

HCDC Annual Meeting Commissioner Hartmann & Steve Valerius

(from left to right) David Main, President of HCDC; Commissioner Greg Hartmann; Steven Valerius with Ameritas; and Harry Blanton, Vice President of HCDC

The Ronald Schallick Economic Development Award recognizes those organizations that have made a significant contribution to economic development, job creation and overall quality of life in Hamilton County. Ameritas serves individual, families and business nationwide with a wide range of insurance and financial products and services. Originally as Union Central and now as Ameritas, the company has been located in Forest Park for nearly fifty years. In September 2014, nearly 350 Ameritas employees moved into a newly constructed facility on Waycross Road. The nearly 70,000-square-foot building represents Ameritas’ ongoing commitment and long-term partnership with the Forest Park community. Not only did Ameritas build a new facility in Forest Park, the company is currently renovating an existing office building to create a contemporary and modernized work environment. These two projects represent an impressive reconfiguration of the Ameritas Forest Park campus and brought together approximately 620 associates into one location in Hamilton County.

Project of the Year: Listermann Brewing.

Dan Listermann

Dan Listermann takes the stage to accept HCDC’s Project of the Year Award

Many of HCDC’s partner companies have similar origin stories. It starts in an entrepreneur’s basement and Listermann Brewery is no exception. Dan Listermann first came to HCDC as an incubator client in 1991. The beer enthusiast was working out of his basement part-time creating homebrewing equipment while working full-time as a quality engineer. Dan grew his homebrewing business over the next three and half years and after he graduated from the Business Center, he partnered with HCDC again on a 504 loan to buy his iconic building on Dana Ave. Now Dan has one of the largest homebrew supplies stores in the Mid-West and he brews and bottles his own craft beer. When it came time to expand his Tap Room and brewing capacity, Dan and HCDC partnered again to finance the renovation and expansion.

Larry Albice Entrepreneurship Award: Melvin Gravely

Mel Gravely accepts award from David Main (left) and Board Chair Brent Messmer (right)

David Main (left) and Board Chair Brent Messmer (right) congratulate Mel Gravely on his award

The Larry Albice Entrepreneurship Award is given to honor individuals who are successful entrepreneurs who have also given back to the community. Mel Gravely is the President of TriVersity Construction Company, the ninth largest commercial builder in the Tri-state. With more than 25 years of business management, sales and strategy experience, Gravely has a personal passion for supporting the growth and development of women and minorities in business. Gravely is the founder of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Thinking, Ltd. The Institute is a think-tank focused on getting the best results from minority business development initiatives. He is seen as one of the leading national thinkers on the topic of minority business development. Gravely, is the author of eight books on business success, leadership and minority entrepreneurship. His latest; The Capacity to Succeed: Fulfilling the Mission of Minority Business Development. He is an active civic leader and is the immediate past chair for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber Board.