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Four GREENCREST clients named to Smart Business Magazine’s Smart 50 list


GREENCREST, a full-service marketing agency, celebrated Sept. 20 when four of the agency’s clients were honored by Smart Business Magazine at a ceremony in Columbus.

Dianne Grote Adams of Safex, Inc., Phil Derrow of Ohio Transmission Corporation, Jennifer Kuntz of Greenleaf Job Training Services, Inc., and J. Michael Vargo of VARGO® Companies were named to the publication’s Smart 50 list, which recognizes the top 50 executives of leading companies in the Columbus region for their passion and adherence to the tenets of the Smart 50 award: innovation, impact and sustainability.

While each of the honorees’ businesses vary dramatically in products and services, all four leaders have built their companies with an emphasis on customer service and top-notch quality, in addition to several unique factors that differentiate their companies from the competition.

  • At Safex, Grote Adams has built a company laser focused on providing high-quality environmental, health and safety training and consulting to companies throughout the United States. The company culture emphasizes employee well-being — the health and safety of clients’ employees and the well-being of her own team. Associates enjoy a flexible work environment and ample professional development opportunities.
  • Employee loyalty is top of mind at Ohio Transmission Corporation as well. During the recession, Derrow stuck to the company’s commitment of no layoffs, and did not lay off any of its associates despite a 25-percent drop in revenue.
  • While Greenleaf Job Training Services already had a successful business helping people with disabilities secure employment, Kuntz pushed the envelope and developed four new business-to-business initiatives to drive new revenue to her company.
  • Mike Vargo leads a company that is not content to rest on its laurels. VARGO®’s efforts to develop new features of the company’s Continuous Order Fulfillment Engine (COFE®) software impressed the judges.

At the ceremony, one GREENCREST client took home an additional top honor when Derrow received the specialty award for achievement in sustainability. When accepting the award, he again emphasized his obligation to his employees.

“It became clear that the responsibility is to ensure that the business outlives whatever I might do, so that when it’s time for me to move on, the business continues on as well for our 800 associates,” he said.

That sentiment – of continuing to look forward – is sure to bring continued success to all of the Smart 50 honorees as they grow and expand their businesses for the future.


GREENCREST donates time and resources to help a local nonprofit that serves soldiers




For the months of June and July, GREENCREST adopted Operation Buckeye, a local nonprofit organization that sends care packages to active military.


Giving Back

The full-service marketing agency believes in giving back to the community by donating time or treasure. By the end of July, GREENCREST’s staff had filled multiple boxes with personal hygiene items, snacks, entertainment and games, such as crossword puzzles, and other miscellaneous items, to be delivered to Operation Buckeye. In addition, GREENCREST performed pro-bono public relations work to promote Operation Buckeye’s recent move from Clintonville to Worthington. These efforts resulted in a Joe Blundo column in The Columbus Dispatch and articles in editions of ThisWeek News.


The items GREENCREST donated will be put into an Operation Buckeye care package, which includes a thank-you note and a return envelope from the packer, food and snacks, puzzle books, reading materials, and personal hygiene. In addition, each box contains an American flag, a real buckeye and a Beanie Baby.


These care packages are then sent to deployed men and women of the armed forces. Last year, Operation Buckeye sent nearly 4,000 care boxes and, to date, the organization has sent out more than 30,000 boxes in 16 different countries.


Repeated Efforts

The work with Operation Buckeye is part of GREENCREST’s efforts to help others in need. At GREENCREST, every two months a “culture captain” chooses a charity and employees donate their time and resources to assist that organization. GREENCREST’s June culture captain, Brandi Odgers, chose Operation Buckeye because her husband is a Marine.


The company’s April and May charity was New Directions Career Center. GREENCREST donated scholarship money as well as career clothing for women going through the program.


GREENCREST’s Living Hope Foundation is another way that the company gives back. Inspired by CEO Kelly Borth, the foundation helps individuals in the community who may not have the opportunity to live life to their full potential without some assistance.


Build Your Brand Workshop® comes to Columbus


Brand Workshop

COLUMBUS, OH, [Nov. 13, 2015] – Business owners who want to uncover their company’s brand and discover the secrets to developing their competitive advantage can gain that advantage in the Build Your Brand Workshop® sessions taught by Kelly Borth, the only Certified Brand Strategist in central Ohio.

The next Build Your Brand Workshop® will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 2 at GREENCREST, 120 Northwoods Blvd., Columbus. The workshops cost $347. More information and online registration is available at

In this three-hour workshop, led by Borth, the CEO and chief strategy officer of GREENCREST, participants will learn what a “brand” really is, how it can increase a company’s profitability, as well as the secrets to defining competitive advantage. GREENCREST is the only Certified Brand Agency in central Ohio and one of only 35 in North America, and Borth is one of only five certified brand strategists in North America offering the Build Your Brand® workshop.

“There is much confusion in the marketplace about what ‘brand’ really is,” Borth said. “In order to differentiate, you must stand out from the clutter. You need to be able to articulate what you have to offer the marketplace, know why it matters and why someone should choose your company. Defining the brand and making it the company’s
primary focus helps clarify for employees what is brand behavior and what is not.”

During this workshop, attendees have the opportunity to discuss their brand and business challenges with Borth.

“Kelly helped me realize that having a Brand is just the start of branding your company,” said Joe Williams, director of business development at Kirk Williams Co., a mechanical contractor. “[Having a brand] is useless without a top-down commitment, and the whole team needs to live it so that the customer knows they are getting what your brand promises and that your team is committed to the brand.”

Borth received her accreditation from The Brand Establishment, which was developed in 2000 to assist, train and certify agencies in their brand-development process. Each certified brand strategist must demonstrate and pass a rigorous program to achieve certification in their respective markets and be critiqued by The Brand Establishment’s Certification Advisory Board. After completing the program in 2008, Borth joined a new generation of thought leaders in brand development.

About Kelly Borth
Kelly Borth is CEO and chief strategy officer for GREENCREST, brand development, strategic and interactive marketing and public relations firm that turns market players into industry leaders.™ As one of only 35 certified brand strategists in North America, and the only marketing consultant in central Ohio to achieve this elite status, Kelly personifies dynamic communications in action and understands what it takes to define a brand and turn that into an increase in market share and solid results.

Inspired in 1990, GREENCREST is the only brand certified agency in central Ohio, and one of only 35 in North America. GREENCREST is a Google Partner with Google AdWords certified professionals. As a full-service marketing, advertising, public relations, digital and social media agency, GREENCREST specializes in brilliantly executed communications programs that follow the GREENCREST philosophy: Brand. Plan. Ignite your Business.™ More information is available at


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  • The Only Business Book You’ll Ever Need

    cover of The Only Business Book You'll Ever Need

    GREENCREST Chief Strategy Officer Kelly Borth brings together today’s great marketing thought leaders in one book that helps business owners identify strategies to transform their business.

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