All-Star Case Studies

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

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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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.

Stalcop was founded in 1981 to serve its customer by creating cold-formed and precision machined components and sub-assemblies for a variety of industries, including automotive, heavy duty truck, power transmission and distribution, specialty battery, ordinance and ammunition. Kerrigan worked for the company from 1994 until 2005, when he decided to leave the company because he was unhappy about the direction the management team at the time was taking it. But the ownership group asked him to come back as president in 2012, which gave him the opportunity to implement The Great Game.

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Willoway Nurseries

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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Be Found Online

Company Background

BFO (Be Found Online) is a Chicago-based digital marketing agency that delivers organic media, paid media, local search, and digital analytics solutions to medium-sized and enterprise-level businesses. The company discovered the Great Game of Business based on its interest in the so-called “gamification” of business.

BFO’s roots date back to 2009 when its two founders, Dan Golden, now president, and Steve Krull, CEO, left their big agency careers to create a more nimble and vibrant working environment. As Krull puts it: “We maintain a culture of passionate, fun people who cultivate enduring client relationships based on accountability, inspired by creativity, and driven by analytics.”

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Mid America Metals

Company Background

Mid America Metals is a 29-year-old firm based in Forsyth, Missouri, that provides metal, stone, wood, and glass refinishing and restoration services to primarily Class A office buildings across the U.S.

Great Game Solutions

Mid America had always been a company with strong family values because so many of the Donat family worked there. It all started when Donat, who had earned his chops in business working at a large auto dealership in Chicago, teamed up with his two brothers, who were both metalworkers, to start their own business.

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Pizza Gallery & Grill

Company Background

It was back in 1989 that Chris Conneen, then 21 years old, started his business, Pizza Gallery & Grill (PGG) in Melbourne Beach, Fl., after he had what he calls, “an entrepreneurial seizure.” But it wasn't for another 20 years until Conneen, whose 260-seat restaurant combines gourmet food with eye-pleasing art, learned about the GGOB from fellow culinary entrepreneur Nick Sarillo, owner of Nick’s Pizza & Pub in Illinois. “Learning about and studying the GGOB in 2009, the worst economic year in our lifetime, helped us get focused on the fundamentals of business – particularly how to generate cash,” says Conneen.

Business Challenges

As he and his team began to play the Game, Conneen, like many business owners struggling through the recession, faced the challenge of paying off his long-term debts despite seeing fewer customers walk through his establishment’s doors. Other challenges facing the business included sky-high overhead fueled by a $19,000 monthly rent payment and the notion of teaching financial liter-acy to a staff of 70 who have an average age of 21. “We have always been great about giving our customers great products, service and atmosphere,” says Conneen. “We just haven’t made a lot of money doing it.”

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Greene County, MO

Company Background

Greene County is located in Southwest Missouri with a population of some 275,174, making it the fourth most populous county in Missouri. Its county seat is Springfield – home of SRC and The Great Game of Business. Due to the success of companies like SRC, Bass Pro Shops and O’Reilly Auto Parts, Greene County ranks in the top five counties nationwide based on economic strength and viability.

Business Challenges

“Our business is the public's health, safety and welfare,” says Tim Smith, the County Administrator for Greene County. “But unlike a company like SRC, each of our departments has a different mission. We have struggled to find a way to bind ourselves together as we provide a whole spectrum of almost unrelated activities.” While Greene County might be home to a Who’s Who list of companies who have successfully weathered the Great Recession of 2008, the county itself, like many others across the U.S., has continued to struggle in managing its resources across its various departments. Specifi-cally, the cash balance in the county’s general fund is currently on life support. With tax increases politically unfeasible, the county has looked to the GGOB for other potential solutions.

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