All-Star Case Studies

Learn from the "Best of the Best" - the Great Game™ All-Stars

2018 Case Study - Anthony Wilder Design/Build, Inc

Organization Background

Anthony Wilder Design/Build, Inc. is a high-end residential architecture-led design/build firm. The Anthony Wilder team has been creating award-winning projects in and around the Washington DC metropolitan and tri-state area for more than 20 years.

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Induction Heat Treating Corp.

Company Background

Induction Heat Treating Corp. hardens steel products through the induction heating process for customers in the automotive, construction, agricultural, and military sectors. The company was searching for a solution to help improve profits. Dave Haimbaugh’s father started the business back in 1946. Three of his other sons and Dave, who is now 60, have played a role in its operations ever since. Dave Haimbaugh now owns the company outright after his brothers, both older, retired about a decade ago. The family legacy promises to continue as Haimbaugh says he has two of his nephews now working in the business.

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AEP SWEPCO Pirkey Power Plant

Company Background

The H.W. Pirkey Power Plant, located in Hallsville, Texas, has been providing low-cost, reliable power to its customers since 1985. The plant’s operators were looking for a way to reduce costs through employee engagement.

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Stalcop, LLC

Company Background

Stalcop is a manufacturer of cold-formed metal with a special expertise and focus in copper components. They were looking for a way to re-engage their employees by creating transparency, opening new lines of communication and repairing damaged customer relationships.

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Willoway Nurseries Case Study

Company Background

Willoway Nurseries is a wholesale grower of trees, shrubs, perennials and seasonal color crops that ships to retailers and contractors in 26 states. The company was searching for a way to operate leaner and to get its workforce, employees in the field and in the back-office, on the same page.

Founded by Les and Marilyn Demaline in 1954, the second generation oversees current operations. The third generation has also taken an interest in the business - granddaughter, Emily Showalter, oversees the HR department and grandson, Eric Demaline, is a foreman in operations. During the past 61 years, the company has transitioned from landscaping to a wholesale nursery, growing more than 2,000 varieties of plant material on 1,000 acres. Willoway is currently the largest wholesale grower of nursery products in Ohio, with a customer base of more than 1,200 independent garden centers and landscape contractors in the Midwest and East Coast.

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Comfort Supply

Company Background

Nashville-based Comfort Supply, an $8-million wholesale distributor for the HVAC industry, proudly serves the building contractors of central Tennessee and beyond. The company’s 18 highly skilled business people help contractors and dealers become more profitable and successful by providing them with tools, training, marketing solutions and other value-added services that save time, energy and money.

Business Challenges

“In 2005, we were facing a serious financial situation,” recalls president and owner Clay Blevins. “Our biggest customer had just gone bankrupt, leaving us with a $300,000 bad debt. Our credit line at the bank was inflating faster than we had ever expected. If we didn’t get the company under control we could have been out of business.”

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National Center for Employee Ownership

Company Background

Founded by Corey Rosen back in 1981, The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) is a private, nonprofit membership and research organization that serves as the leading source of accurate, unbiased information and research on employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), equity compensation plans such as stock options, and ownership culture. Rosen says he started playing the GGOB back in 1984 after reading about it in an issue of Inc. magazine. “I knew right away that the GGOB was a perfect fit for the way we wanted to operate,” says Rosen, who was succeeded as the director of the NCEO by Loren Rodgers in April 2011.

Business Challenges

Rosen started the NCEO with the idea that there was a need for an organization that could create an awareness and understanding of how companies could benefit through employee ownership. Initially, his goal was to use grants to fund the growth of his new organization. But, after multiple rejections, Rosen decided that the NCEO would become self-sustaining by selling the information he was compiling through books and conferences – which created unique challenges for his not-for-profit organization. “Unlike a for-profit business, we didn’t want to set a market-clearing price as we wanted to keep prices low to make the information as accessible as possible,” says Rosen.

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Integrity Technology Solutions

Company Background

The truth is that Integrity founder Harlan Geiser first read the book, “The Great Game of Business” back in 1999, after which he picked a few concepts to implement like sharing revenues and handing out year-end bonuses. But after few successful years, those practices fell by the wayside. When the recession hit and the company lost money for the first time in its history during the first quarter of 2009, Geiser was ready for a change. After meeting with GGOB practitioner Jack O’Riley, Geiser decided it was time to revisit GGOB once again.

Business Challenges

The truth is that Integrity founder Harlan Geiser had first come across the GGOB back in 1999, from which he cherry-picked a few concepts like sharing revenues and handing out year-end bonuses. But after a few years, as the company continued to blossom, even those practices fell by the wayside. Then the recession hit and the company lost money for the first time in its history in the first quarter of 2009. That‟s when, thanks to a chance meeting GGOB practitioner named Jack O‟Riley, Geiser decided to revisit the GGOB once again.

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Meadows Regional Medical Center

Company Background

Meadows Regional Medical Center is a not-for-profit community hospital located in Vidalia, Georgia – a rural part of the state about two hours west of Savannah. CEO Alan Kent first introduced the practice of The Great Game of Business to the 400 employees of Meadows back in 2003. In the 11 years since, the organization has thrived and grown like crazy in an era where most healthcare facilities have been forced to cut staff and services as they try and compete in the modern healthcare market.

Business Challenges

Before they began playing the GGOB, Meadows Regional was chugging along nicely: the hospi-tal was profitable and employees were happy. Then, the figurative wheels came off in 2003. Triggered by a doubling of their own health insurance and worker’s compensation insurance premiums, coupled with stagnant revenues, the organization posted an annual net income loss of some $2.8 million. But rather than lay off employees – and put patient safety and satisfaction at risk – Kent empowered his doctors, nurses, technicians and administrative staff to come up with the solutions to drive their growth forward.

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Turbonetics Holdings, Inc.

Company Background

Turbonetics is a business based in Simi Valley, California which designs, engineers and manufactures turbochargers it got its start 34 years ago to meet the burgeoning demand for performance automobiles. The company once worked with the California Highway Patrol, for example, to outfit its vehicles. The business has since diversified into other markets like industrial and military by specializing in delivering custom-built forced-induction solutions. Hit hard by the recession, the company credits starting the Great Game of Business in 2010 for helping spark its recent turnaround.

Business Challenges

When the recession hit, the automotive industry flat-lined – which slashed the company’s revenues by 27% in 2009. “The industrial markets were being cut in half and even our customers were going out of business at the time,” says President Brad Lewis. With reve-nue down, cash became short, which made it difficult for the company to service its debt. Turbonetics’ bank even suggested that the company go looking for another lender. In re-sponse, the company began a work-share program and mandatory pay cuts at all levels to help to cut costs and reduce its cash needs moving forward.

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