Fairlawn will gain nearly 500 employees when the new Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Hospital opens in mid-2020.

The physician-owned Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center announced this week that it is building a 60-bed hospital facility for orthopedic and plastic surgery patients. The planned four-story building in the 3500 block of Embassy Parkway also will have 12 operating rooms, expanded imaging services and Quickcare, an urgent orthopedic clinic that will move down the street from the existing Crystal Clinic outpatient campus.

The $100 million new facility has been a goal for the physician owners of the Crystal Clinic since 2008, when the clinic created a joint venture with Summa Health, Crystal Clinic President and CEO Ronald Suntken said. Construction began for a planned six-floor, 72-bed orthopedic facility on the campus of Summa’s Akron City Hospital, but plans were halted with the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009 and never resumed. Summa sold its 49.65 percent stake to an independent, third-party investor in 2014.

“We’ve never wavered once in our commitment to building a new facility,” Suntken said. “It was just a matter of where we would be and exactly what would be the size and scope of services.”

Since 2009, the Crystal Clinic has been leasing about 130,000 square feet on six floors at Summa’s St. Thomas Hospital in Akron.

Suntken said the group looked at many locations to build new and move its inpatient operations.

The 12-acre parcel on Embassy Parkway, while not directly next to the existing two Crystal Clinic buildings, is close enough for benefits, Suntken said. It also is close to interstate access, with access points at both ends of Embassy Parkway, he said.

The clinic has about 460 employees now and will be adding roughly 30 support staff, such as food service, building service and environmental service employees, who are now shared with Summa. Some new imaging service technicians also will be added, Suntken said.

“St. Thomas has been a great location for us,” Suntken said. But while patient satisfaction surveys have been good “for a 90-year-old facility” at St. Thomas, “we know [those scores] will be much improved once we move to a new facility,” he said.

Summa officials said no plans have been made for the space that will be vacated at St. Thomas when Crystal Clinic moves out in a couple of years.

The new orthopedic hospital, which will have both inpatient and outpatient orthopedic and plastic surgeries, may be the only free-standing specialty orthopedic hospital in Ohio, Suntken said.

Crystal Clinic doctors will continue to perform surgeries that require a postsurgery intensive-care unit at local full-service hospitals.

Crystal Clinic has 12 locations and about 900 employees. They currently employ 41 physicians with two more joining in the fall, Suntken said.

On Tuesday, the Revere Local School Board approved a tax increment financing agreement for the property. (While the land is in Fairlawn, it is in the Revere school district.) As part of the agreement, which still needs to be approved by Fairlawn City Council, Revere will receive 50 percent of property taxes based off the property and building estimated at $56 million.

That is estimated to be $460,000 per year for the first 10 years. After the 10th year, the schools will receive $920,000 a year. Additionally, the district will also receive an incentive payment of $250,000, made before June 30, for its upcoming building project.

Since the property is in a tax-sharing district between Fairlawn and Akron, the 2 percent income tax collected by Fairlawn will be split equally with Akron, said Fairlawn Mayor William Roth. The updated payroll for the new hospital is expected to be $20 million, so each city would receive $200,000 a year.

Roth said there were no incentives offered to Crystal Clinic, though there are some discussions to upgrade the road for higher traffic.

The project is “a very big benefit for the region. It’s a great investment. It’s not just something for Fairlawn, but for the region and an upgrade in medical care,” Roth said.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said: “we had a long, and open dialogue with Crystal Clinic in which we presented and discussed several viable options for them to build a new clinic in the city of Akron. Ultimately, they selected Embassy Parkway and we wish them success with this new facility. We will be available as collaborative support for Summa Health as they explore productive future uses for the St. Thomas facility.”

Medical writer Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or [email protected]. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or http://www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at http://www.ohio.com/betty

GREEN: After nearly two years of planning and negotiating, Green is about to welcome a Stark County manufacturer and upward of 80 employees to the firm’s soon-to-be-built new headquarters.

The final hurdle was cleared Wednesday night when the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-0 to approve the site plan and signage for Seco Machine.

Plans are in motion to break ground this spring to build a 120,000-square-foot metal fabricating business and headquarters on the southeast corner of Mayfair and Greensburg roads.

Seco general manager Tom Seccombe said he hopes to have the new site operational before the end of this year.

Established in 1985, Seco provides contract machining services, including turning and milling of steel and iron castings and forgings, and also supplies custom-molded urethane products, including cast urethanes and molded urethane parts.

The firm is a division of A. Stucki Co. of Pittsburgh, a leading manufacturer and supplier of railroad industry components and services.

“We’re very excited about moving into Green,” Seccombe said. We appreciate the support of City Council and look forward to working with community leaders to advance our plans to expand here in Northeast Ohio.”

The council passed a 15-year tax abatement for Seco to bring the firm to Green on a 20-acre former farm site already zoned for Industrial 1.

Seccombe said, “We have outgrown our current location [on Whipple Avenue Northwest at Applegrove Road in Jackson Township] and chose Green over several other area locations because of the closeness to Interstate 77, the city’s willingness to work with us on a tax abatement package and because the city is a growing area.”

He said construction is expected to cost between $7 million and $8 million for the combined shop and office complex, which is to follow once the plant is in operation. He added that the new space will accommodate more workers and equipment to support business at Seco.

“With improvements in the economy, our customers are doing well, and we have identified many opportunities to grow our business and capitalize on these opportunities.”

Seccombe said he plans to bring 65-80 current employees to Green with plans to add more as the company’s new, larger facility is completed.

Campbell Construction of Wooster designed and will construct the complex. The design-build specialists have been involved with this project since 2016.

Campbell architect David Aulger said the project will be built on 11.5 acres with the other reserved for potential future expansion. He said the building will have city water and sanitary sewer plus fire suppression.

Planning Director Wayne Wiethe, who explained that no further action is required for the project to proceed, suggested that the facility have a Mayfair Road address to make it easier for material delivery.

Akron area leaders are hoping to lure investment money from the coasts to the heartland.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, whose district includes part of Summit County, brought venture capitalists — many of them from the West Coast — to Akron on Wednesday as part of his Comeback Cities bus tour.

“We have all this wealth in places like Silicon Valley, all these venture capital funds [in the United States], but 80 percent of that venture capital money goes to [companies in] three states — California, New York and Massachusetts,” Ryan said in an interview at one of the Akron stops, the Bounce Innovation Hub, the business incubator/resource facility for entrepreneurs in the old B.F. Goodrich factory complex in downtown.

Companies in Ohio, meanwhile, attract and estimated less than 2 percent of capital investment from venture funds in the United States.

Ryan said the tour is about exposing the venture capitalists to the “sophistication, technology, small businesses and opportunity for growth here in Akron,” as well as in other tour stops.

“The economics work out here,” Ryan noted, saying that wages and real estate costs are considerably lower in Northeast Ohio than on the coasts.

“You can pay an engineer, a computer scientist out of the University of Akron $60,000,” Ryan said, “and in California you’re paying them $110,000, $120,000 a year.”

The tour is a nonpartisan one, with the venture capitalists meeting with businesses and elected officials “on both sides of the aisle,” according to a media advisory.

The tour began Wednesday morning in Youngstown — the Mahoning Valley also is part of Ryan’s district — and continues Thursday, with stops in Detroit and Flint, Mich., and wraps up Friday in South Bend, Ind.

Joining the venture capitalists and Ryan on the tour is U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., whose district includes a big part of Silicon Valley. Khanna has traveled to Middle America before to see how Silicon Valley might be able to boost heartland economies.

Khanna is interested in “sharing the wealth,” Ryan said while speaking at a roundtable discussion Wednesday at Bounce Innovation Hub.

Venture capitalists on the tour include Robert Wolf, a former president and chief operating officer of UBS Investment Bank, and J.D. Vance, author of the best-selling Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, about Vance’s journey from an Appalachian family to Yale Law School.

Vance is one of several on the tour not based in the San Francisco area. Vance, who grew up in Middletown, Ohio, and is a graduate of Ohio State University, last year moved to Columbus from Silicon Valley.

Venture capitalist Patrick McKenna, vice president of High Ridge Venture Partners in the San Francisco Bay area, said he searches out investment opportunities in places outside of Silicon Valley, such as Portland, Maine, and Youngstown, where he’s invested in a startup, as well as a Northeast Ohio venture capital fund.

These areas, as well as Akron, he said, offer investors the benefit of collaboration between civic, education and business leaders.

“That’s what gives me confidence in willing to make these investments,” he said. “I’m investing in a community as well…. The community support is essential.”

At the roundtable discussion, the venture capitalists met with founders of Akron tech companies, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro, and Kim Lee, director of the Minority Business Assistance Center at the Akron Urban League, among others.

Horrigan told the visitors about a new partnership with eBay aimed at promoting small retailers in the city.

Startups represented included Segmint, developer of software used to analyze data for customers, and Komae, the baby-sitting app that allows parents to earn “Komae points” when they baby-sit, and they use the points to “pay” for baby-sitting.

Segmint, formed in 2008, announced last year that it had struck a deal with IBM to integrate Segmint technology with two IBM financial services products. It has some 40 employees. Komae, meanwhile, is a small startup that last year attracted $500,000 in “pre-seed” — early — funding.

Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or [email protected].

The Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center is building a new specialty hospital in Fairlawn.

The 160,000-square foot facility with 60 inpatient beds and 12 operating rooms is expected to open in mid-2020, down the street on Embassy Parkway from its existing outpatient facility. It will also feature an urgent orthopaedic clinic, imaging and other support services.

The hospital will move its services from space it currently leases from Summa Health at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron.

“We spent the first half of 2017 developing a business plan that included the project scope, timeline and projected cost. After much consideration, we selected this location in Fairlawn, close to our existing outpatient locations, because it will be easily accessible for patients throughout Northeast Ohio,” said Ronald Suntken, president and CEO of Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center, in a news release.

The project should take 20 to 24 months with move-in an occupancy anticipated by mid-2020, he said. Construction is expected to start in the spring on the facility at 3517 Embassy Parkway.

Crystal Clinic officials were not available for further comment Tuesday evening.

The press release did not list financials for the project, but also on Tuesday night, the Revere Local School Board approved a tax increment financing agreement with the Crystal Clinic.

As part of the agreement with the schools, which still needs to be approved by Fairlawn City Council, the property and building project are estimated to be a minimum of $56 million though Crystal Clinic officials told Revere school officials that the full project, including equipment could top $90 million.

As part of the agreement, Revere will receive 50 percent of property taxes based off that $56 million, estimated to be $460,000 per year for the first 10 years. After year 10, the schools will receive $920,000 a year. Revere Superintendent Matthew Montgomery said the district will also receive an incentive payment of $250,000, made before June 30.

“The Revere school district is excited to partner with the Crystal Clinic and the city of Fairlawn to ensure that the Clinic stays in the community for years to come,” Montgomery said. “The support they’re able to offer the community in terms of patient care is expanding as well as increasing the financial stability of the district,” he said.

Fairlawn Mayor William Roth, reached at home Tuesday evening, said Akron and Fairlawn will get an equal share of income tax revenue from the new hospital because the property is in a tax-sharing district.

“It’s a huge investment,” Roth said.

Crystal Clinic Chairman of the Board Dr. Gordon Bennett said the clinic was proud to be “owned by local physicians who are focused on optimally serving our patients’ needs.”

The Clinic has been leasing space from Summa Health inside St. Thomas Hospital in Akron for its inpatient hospital operations. Summa was a part owner of the Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center until the health system sold its 49.65 percent stake to an independent, third-party investor in 2014.

The Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center joint venture between the doctors and Summa originally planned to construct a six-floor, 72-bed orthopedic facility on the west side of Akron City Hospital on Adolph Street between East Market and Forge streets. However, construction halted in 2009 and never resumed.

Summa spokesman Mike Bernstein said “congratulations to everyone at the Crystal Clinic. We wish them all the best moving forward. Regarding St. Thomas, we are continuing to review future options for the facility, but no decisions have been made.”

Beacon Journal/Ohio.com writer Rick Armon and correspondent Jody Miller also contributed to this report. Medical writer Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or [email protected]. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter.

Akron-based RVshare, a peer-to-peer recreational vehicle rental business, has secured $50 million in funding from a Texas investment firm. Tritium Partners in Austin has agreed to provide funding to RVshare, which was founded in 2013 and calls itself the world’s largest RV rental marketplace with about 60,000 RV owners.

The Akron firm said in a news release it plans to immediately use $20 million “to accelerate its already rapid growth, focusing on enhancements in user experience, marketing and hiring more top-tier talent.”

“A $50 million investment from Tritium is an incredible validation of RVshare and its already multimillion dollar marketplace business that is poised to disrupt an entire industry,” Jon Gray, RVshare’s recently hired chief executive officer, said in a news release. “We will reshape the way people think about RVs, turning them into a second source of income for RV owners and broadening the uses for renters from classic family vacations to weekend warriors and overflow accommodations to tailgating.”

Gray previously was a senior executive and the third employee of HomeAway, a Tritium vacation rental investment.

Tritium’s managing partners Phil Siegel and David Lack said they believe RVshare will redefine a category, similar to how HomeAway did for vacation rentals. Expedia ended up buying HomeAway for $3.9 billion.

“HomeAway … took vacation home rentals from a fringe category to a celebrated mainstay of global travel,” Siegel said. … We see RVshare doing the same for RV rentals.”

J.M. Smucker Co. is pouring sugar on thousands of employees in the form of $1,000 bonuses.

The Orrville food company announced the employee bonuses as part of its third quarter earnings report released Friday morning.

Corporate earnings were significantly higher than a year ago in large part because of federal tax reform that lowered corporate tax rates. Smucker also increased its earnings outlook for the year.

The company said it is giving $1,000 one-time bonuses to nearly 5,000 employees, will make $1 million in charitable contributions, and will contribute an additional $20 million to its employee pension plan because of federal tax reform.

Smucker reported net income of $831.3 million, or $7.32 per share, on revenue of $1.9 billion for the quarter ending Jan. 31. The bulk of the net income increase was due to a nonrecurring benefit from recently enacted federal tax reform, the company said.

The company had adjusted earnings of $2.50 a share for the quarter, up 25 percent from a year ago.

A year ago, Smucker reported net income of $134.6 million, or $1.16 a share, on revenue of $1.87 billion.

Third quarter revenue and profit were boosted by strong coffee and pet food sales, while U.S. food sales declined.

The company announced results before the stock market opened.

Earnings and revenue beat analyst estimates.

Shares rose Friday afternoon after dipping in the day, closing up $1.81, or 1.5 percent, at $124.02.

“We had a strong third quarter, with sales growth for key brands in every business and strong earnings per share growth fueled by the benefits of U.S. income tax reform and ongoing cost discipline,” Mark Smucker, chief executive officer, said in a statement.

“These results reflect our commitment to delivering top and bottom line growth and supporting our portfolio of iconic and emerging brands. In addition, the benefits of income tax reform provide incremental fuel to invest in our growth initiatives and support our employees and communities as well as opportunities to increase cash returned to shareholders.”

Third quarter coffee sales increased $12.9 million to $550.5 million compared to a year ago.

U.S. food sales fell $5.7 million to $511.6 million compared to a year ago.

Pet food sales in the United States rose by $11 million to $561.9 million compared to the third quarter of 2017.

International sales totaled $279.3 million, up $6.3 million from a year ago.

The company said it now expects to have adjusted earnings of $8.20 to $8.30 a share for the full 2018 fiscal year compared to previous estimates of $7.75 to $7.90 a share.

Full year revenue is expected to be flat to down slightly compared to fiscal 2017.

Smucker food, coffee and pet food brands include Smucker’s, Folger’s, Jif, Crisco, Dunkin’ Donuts, Cafe Buselo, Pillsbury, Milk-Bone, Meow Mix, 9Lives and others.

Summa Health lost money last year, but the Akron-based health system didn’t lose as much as it predicted.

For the 12 months ending Dec. 31, Summa said its operating loss was $28 million, according to public financial disclosures posted this week on a website for bond holders.

In late June, Summa Interim CEO Dr. Cliff Deveny warned that the hospital was projecting a $60 million loss for the year and that if the hospital didn’t get on solid financial footing following turmoil that began earlier in the year, the hospital could be the target of a potential sale.

However, in mid-November, when Summa’s credit worthiness was downgraded by a national credit rating agency and the financial outlook of the system was revised from stable to negative, Deveny said the system expected to end the year with a loss of $35 million.

The hospital stemmed that loss by $7 million. By comparison, the hospital made $29.5 million for the year in 2016.

Summa Interim Chief Financial Officer Thomas O’Neill said the health system was “more aggressive in right-sizing the organization” with cuts in staffing and operations during the second and third quarter of the year.

In June, Summa officials said they would eliminate about 300 positions — about half of which were filled at the time — and would discontinue and consolidate some services.

In November and December, the health system saw “a little more activity” though “I wouldn’t say we were extremely profitable,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill said the flu and other respiratory illnesses spiked near the end of December, accounting for some of the uptick in volume. Elective surgeries, which tend to increase toward the end of the year when patients meet their yearly insurance deductibles, also were up, but “I don’t think it was anything dramatic,” he said.

For 2017, the hospital’s revenue was $1.31 billion, down 3.9 percent or $53.1 million from $1.36 billion in 2016.

In its filing with the Electronic Municipal Market Access website, Summa said surgical cases increased 2 percent last year. All other types of care were down, including inpatient admissions (9 percent), emergency-room visits (6 percent), outpatient visits (6 percent) and observation cases (7 percent).

Summa’s total employment number is about 7,000, spokesman Mike Bernstein said. That reflects about 250 job reductions systemwide last year.

About 295 former Summa employees transitioned to a new joint venture Feb. 6 for home health care and hospice services. Another 55 employees were not included in the transition, though some found other jobs with the health system, Bernstein said.

Ben Sutton, Summa senior vice president for strategy and performance management, said Thursday the new joint venture was not “about right-sizing in any way and not part of any reduction plan. That really is about an opportunity to partner with someone for growth.”

Deveny was hired as Summa’s interim president and chief executive officer last March following the resignation of CEO Dr. Thomas Malone amid demands by hundreds of doctors for a change in leadership.

The situation was exacerbated with the abrupt changeover in Summa’s emergency room physician staffing in January 2017 and subsequent loss of accreditation to train emergency medicine resident physicians. The hospital’s overall probation of its residency programs was lifted by an accreditation agency in October and hospital officials say they are determined to get the emergency medicine residency program reinstated.

Bernstein said the search for a permanent Summa CEO is ongoing. Deveny has said he is a candidate.

Medical writer Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or [email protected]. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or http://www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at http://www.ohio.com/betty

Fairlawn polymer company A. Schulman Inc. is being purchased by a plastics and refining company for $2.25 billion.

LyondellBasell Industries, a publicly traded company with $34.5 billion in revenue last year, said it has a definitive agreement to purchase A. Schulman Inc. for $42 a share using cash on hand.

The purchase should be a good deal for both A. Schulman shareholders and its employees, Schulman Chief Executive Officer Joseph Gingo said.

While Gingo said he expects there will be some job and plant consolidations, the new corporate owner plans to invest in and grow Schulman’s business.

“I’m very encouraged. I really am,” he said. “I’m glad it’s a good deal for our shareholders. I also think it’s a good deal for our people.”

The agreement, announced Thursday morning before the stock market opened, will create a $4.6 billion combined business inside the larger corporate parent.

At one point in recent history, A. Schulman, which makes plastic compounds, composites and powders, was on the prowl for “transformative” acquisitions, including a failed $855 million bid in 2013 for specialty chemicals company Ferro Corp.

It ran into unexpected rocky financial waters following its $800 million purchase in 2015 of Citadel Plastic Holdings; A. Schulman subsequently filed a lawsuit claiming it was a victim of fraud in the purchase. The company wrote off about $200 million of the purchase.

In 2016, A. Schulman’s board fired Bernie Rzepka as its chief executive officer following a surprising lower earnings outlook and replaced him with Gingo, then the board chairman and the company’s former CEO who was initially hired in 2008 after 40 years with Goodyear.

About a month after Rzepka left, Schulman announced it had hired advisory firm Citi to help it with a business plan review and to look at strategic options.

All of that led to rumblings that A. Schulman could be putting itself up for sale.

Last September, A. Schulman agreed to expand its board of directors by two members, giving the additional seats to representatives of two of its largest shareholders.

Up until the purchase agreement was signed, A. Schulman was looking at a number of options, including continuing to operate as a standalone company, Gingo said.

“We wanted to look at every option,” he said. The company had an active search for a new CEO to succeed him right up until the sale announcement, he said. (Gingo’s two-year CEO contract expires in August.)

LyondellBasell’s per-share purchase price of $42 is an 8.7 percent premium over A. Schulman’s closing stock price on Wednesday.

A. Schulman shares popped above the $42 offer in trading Thursday. Shares were up $4.10, or 10.6 percent, to $42.75 at market’s close, and reached a 52-week high of $43.35 earlier in the day. Shares are up 14.6 percent since Jan. 1 and are up 26.8 percent from a year ago.

The higher trading range could mean some investors think a higher bid for Schulman may come in. But the more likely reason is investors anticipate Schulman winning a major lawsuit tied to its troubled Citadel acquisition, with the money eventually to be redistributed to shareholders, an industry analyst said.

Thursday’s announcement also raises questions about what will happen with A. Schulman’s Fairlawn presence. The company signed a 20-year lease when it moved into new corporate headquarters off Ridgewood Road in Fairlawn in 2013; it also has other facilities in the Akron area. A. Schulman is one of Fairlawn’s top five taxpayers.

In a conference call Thursday morning with industry analysts, LyondellBasell’s chief executive officer did not offer specifics on what impact the acquisition may have on A. Schulman employees, facilities and its Fairlawn headquarters.

Fairlawn Mayor Bill Roth said he and city leaders want to meet with the new owners to talk about the company’s future in the community. A. Schulman has been in Fairlawn since the 1970s.

“We’ve been told that things will pretty much stay the way they are,” Roth said.

The mayor added that the city has had a positive relationship with Schulman. “Schulman has been a very good company and we hope to continue the relationship,” he said.

Industry analyst Michael Hocevar of Northcoast Research in Cleveland said he would not be surprised if there eventually are local job cuts. He noted that LyondellBasell anticipates $150 million in annual savings, or synergies, after the acquisition and he thinks that dollar figure is “huge.” A. Schulman seems like a good fit with LyondellBasell, he said.

Cost savings could come in form of plant closings, consolidating back office operations and other areas, Hocevar said.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are cuts in the Akron area. That’s just a guess on my part,” Hocevar said.

But Gingo said while there may be reductions in corporate overhead and possibly some plant closings, he does not think there will be major cutbacks.

“In my judgment, they are not going to be massive,” he said. There are not many areas where A. Schulman and LyondellBasell overlap in terms of product, he said.

“They are not competitors of ours,” Gingo said.

In addition, there should not be many overlapping jobs involving A. Schulman employees, Gingo said. A. Schulman has about 5,100 employees globally.

It does not make sense for company to pay $2.25 billion for another business to close a lot of plants and cut a lot of jobs, Gingo said.

“It probably creates a lot more developmental opportunities for our people,” said John Richardson, A. Schulman’s chief financial officer.

It’s likely that if A. Schulman had continued as an independent company, it would have experienced slow growth, perhaps coupled with job cuts, because of its significant debt levels and other financial matters related to its Citadel purchase, Gingo and Richardson said.

If the Citadel purchase had not turned out as it did, Gingo said it is his opinion that A. Schulman would be in a better position today.

Gingo said he had bittersweet feelings about the sale of the company because of his personal ties to A. Schulman.

LyondellBasell said it will assume all A. Schulman debt as part of the purchase. The company expects to close on the deal in the second half of the year, pending regulatory and other approvals.

LyondellBasell, which has its U.S. headquarters in Houston and other corporate offices in London and the Netherlands, describes itself as one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world. It has about 13,000 employees and is valued at about $43.4 billion, based on Thursday’s closing stock price of $109.97 per share.

Adding A. Schulman will help LyondellBasell create what it said is a “premier Advanced Polymer Solutions business with broad geographic reach, leading technologies and a diverse product portfolio.”

The two companies have complementary strengths, Bob Patel, chief executive officer of LyondellBasell, said in a conference call Thursday morning. His company’s $2.1 billion compounding business, with about 1,500 employees, is largely focused on the automotive market, while A. Schulman is in other industries.

He said LyondellBasell has been looking into buying A. Schulman for the last six months.

“It’s a business we thought of as a platform,” Patel said. “It makes us a great full-range compounding company.”

LyondellBasell said it expects to see $150 million in annual synergies in two years and that the purchase will add to the company’s earnings within a year of the deal closing.

“The acquisition of A. Schulman is a natural extension of our current platform. This combination will allow us to provide our customers with a wider range of innovative solutions while adding the ability to serve high-growth end markets beyond the automotive sector, such as packaging and consumer products, electronics and appliances, building and construction, and agriculture,” Patel said in a news release.

The transaction provides A. Schulman Inc. shareholders with a compelling, immediate cash premium, Gingo said in a statement.

“We are delighted to join forces with LyondellBasell, an industry leader we have admired for many years,” Gingo said. “The combined business will be better positioned to address a broader range of customer needs by integrating across applications and offering customers a wider range of solutions in attractive and growing markets. We also expect this combination to create significant opportunities for A. Schulman employees, whose professionalism and expertise will be integral to advancing LyondellBasell’s vision, values and commitment to making a positive global impact.”

Beacon Journal reporter Rick Armon contributed to this story. Reporter Jim Mackinnon covers business and county government. He can be reached at 330-996-3544 or [email protected]. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or http://www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ

The recent stock market correction and ongoing volatility are happening in an economic upturn and do not appear to be something to lose much sleep over, Huntington Bank’s chief investment officer says.

Meanwhile, the Akron-area economy is performing well but also needs to generate more jobs, Huntington’s John Augustine said during an economic forecast presentation Tuesday morning. He spoke before about 300 people at a breakfast meeting in the Sheraton Suites in downtown Cuyahoga Falls, touching on stocks and investments, economic indicators and more.

“The stock market is going through an adjustment phase,” Augustine told the audience.

But not because of a bad economy.

“It’s coming from a position of strength,” Augustine said. The U.S. and global economy are doing well and should continue to do well, Augustine said.

The 30-stock Dow Jones industrial average had the fastest 10 percent correction in decades and has recently bounced back several percentage points, he said. The main reason for the correction is that stocks grew too far too fast in January, he said.

“Now markets are trying to find the right level,” he said. “It’s most interesting because it comes from a position of strength.”

This is a good time for people to review their investments, to rebalance out-of-alignment portfolios and to look at upgrading their investments if need be, Augustine said.

The U.S. economy is going to benefit later this year by the influx of hundreds of billions of dollars because recent U.S. tax reform cut corporate tax rates, he said.

That means employees will see such things as better employer matches in retirement plans, the repatriation of corporate money into the U.S. and more, he said.

“You are probably going to hear a lot of dividend increases this spring,” Augustine said.

Corporate earnings “are going up noticeably,” which is good for stock prices, he said.

People and businesses need to “turn optimism into action,” he said. For individuals, that means working this year on improving their investments and financial management, he said.

Augustine said his previous economic forecast for 2018 may need to be revised upward.

“What is all this money going to do when it hits the economy?” he said.

The U.S. economy historically grew at an average of 3 percent a year, Augustine said. That average growth fell down to the “2s” in the aftermath of the Great Recession, he said.

“Now it’s going to speed up,” Augustine said. “The economy is doing fine.”

Not every economic segment will shine, he noted.

The automobile industry likely will be “sideways” for a while, Augustine said. That has implications for all the businesses that rely on the U.S. auto industry, he said.

Meanwhile, housing construction appears to be improving based on building permit figures, he said.

Good news for the manufacturing-heavy Midwest is that capital expenditures are increasing and exports are up, he said.

“A lot of our businesses are tied to capital spending,” he said.

Farming, which has struggled, may be able to pass along increased prices later this year, he said.

The Greater Akron area is also doing well, Augustine said.

Housing prices have recovered, gross domestic product is up, and the unemployment rate is down, he said.

But while the jobless rate is down, the number of people who are employed has not climbed back to levels in 2007, at the start of the Great Recession, Augustine said.

“That is a trend in our state,” he said.

One solution is to encourage people who have moved elsewhere to come back, Augustine said. Businesses continue to say they have labor quality issues, Augustine said. Managers are spending more of their time on talent management and recruiting, he said.

“The economy is doing good. Labor is what’s in shortage,” he said.

Nick Browning, Huntington’s Akron Region president, briefly addressed the audience and said Northeast Ohio residents should encourage young people who have moved elsewhere to return home. One big attraction is that Akron has a “culture of caring,” he said.

And there will be lots of job openings in upcoming years as baby boomers such as himself retire, he said. The area cannot afford to lose any talent, he said.

“I think Akron is thriving,” Browning said afterward. “It is on the cusp of something I think is really great. … I think we’re seeing the benefit of having new thought leadership in town. The possibilities are out on the table.”

Reporter Jim Mackinnon covers business and county government. He can be reached at 330-996-3544 or [email protected]. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or http://www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ

Shares in Goodyear sold off Thursday after the Akron tire maker reported a fourth-quarter loss.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. also finished fiscal 2017 with higher revenue but significantly lower net income than in 2016.

Goodyear lost $96 million, or 39 cents per share, on revenue of $4.07 billion for the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31. That compares to net income of $561 million, or $2.14 a share on revenue of $3.7 billion a year ago.

The fourth-quarter loss was largely attributable to a one-time $299 million noncash charge related to U.S. tax reform, the company said.

Goodyear had adjusted earnings per share of 99 cents compared to adjusted earnings of 95 cents a year ago.

For 2017, Goodyear had net income of $346 million, or $1.37 per share, on revenue of $15.4 billion. That’s 72.5 percent less than net income of $1.26 billion, or $4.74 a share, on revenue of $15.16 billion the company had in 2016. Full-year tire sales totaled 159.2 million, down 4 percent from 2016.

Shares fell even as Goodyear’s fourth-quarter earnings and revenue beat analyst expectations.

Goodyear reported its results before the stock market opened. Shares closed down $2.72 Thursday at $30.75, a 8.1 percent decline. The broader stock market also experienced a significant selloff Thursday.

Tire sales for the quarter totaled 42 million, up 2 percent from 2016. Replacement tire shipments were up 3 percent while original equipment tire volume was down 1 percent.

“Our fourth-quarter results were highlighted by our performance in the 17-inch-and-larger segment in consumer replacement, which delivered nearly double the industry growth in the U.S. and Europe,” Richard J. Kramer, chairman, chief executive officer and president, said in a news release. “Our strong volume recovery in the quarter gives us positive momentum as we head into 2018.”

Goodyear had 2017 segment operating income of $1.5 billion, down 23 percent from nearly $2 billion for 2016.

Goodyear said it experienced challenging global industry conditions in 2017 that included higher raw material costs, increased competition and weakening demand for original equipment and consumer replacement tires in the United States and Europe.

Full-year 2018 segment operating income is expected to range between $1.8 billion and $1.9 billion, Goodyear said. The company said it expects tire sales to rise 3 percent for the year.

The company also is “highly confident” it will have at least $2 billion of segment operating income in 2020, Kramer said. Segment operating income for 2020 could go as high as $2.4 billion with favorable market conditions and hard work on Goodyear’s part, Kramer said.

Laura Thompson, Goodyear’s chief financial officer, told industry analysts in a conference call that Goodyear’s projections do not contemplate a recession in the company’s key markets.

Goodyear expects strong demand over the next several years for replacement tires, Kramer said.

Goodyear’s introduction of the Assurance WeatherReady tire line in 2017 was the company’s most successful premium tire launch ever, he said.

Kramer said as he looks to 2020, he is confident Goodyear’s will execute its long-term strategy of profitable growth in key market segments and significantly grow earnings.

Reporter Jim Mackinnon covers business and county government. He can be reached at 330-996-3544 or [email protected]. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or http://www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ

WASHINGTON, D.C.: While the U.S. solar industry work force declined last year, Ohio saw a 12 percent increase in workers.

The Solar Foundation reported Wednesday in its annual National Solar Jobs Census that Ohio employment jumped from 5,831 jobs in 2016 to 6,564 last year.

Nationwide, there were 250,271 Americans working in solar last year, a 3.8 percent decline from the previous year. It’s the first year that jobs have decreased since the Solar Jobs Census was first released in 2010, the group said.

Twenty-nine states saw the number of jobs increase.

California remained the state with the largest number of solar jobs (86,414), but jobs there fell 14 percent in 2017.

“After six years of rapid and steady growth, the solar industry faced headwinds that led to a dip in employment in 2017, including a slowdown in the pace of new solar installations,” Solar Foundation President and Executive Director Andrea Luecke said in a prepared statement.. “Uncertainty over the outcome of the trade case also had a likely impact on solar jobs growth. At the same time, the fact that jobs went up in 29 states is an encouraging sign that solar is taking hold across the country as a low-cost, sustainable, and reliable energy source.”

To read the full report, go to: SolarJobsCensus.org.

The fast-growing Medina County business originally called Concept Services has a simpler name and soon will move — again — to a new headquarters.

The rebranded name, Concept, isn’t a radical departure from the original moniker.

And the future, larger headquarters for the business-to-business firm likewise sits near its current locale in Akron Medina Corporate Park off Medina Road (state Route 18) in Granger Township.

Still, both the shorter name and the bigger space are intended to better position Concept and accommodate continued growth, say the two brothers who 16 years ago in Wadsworth started what has now grown into a 130-plus employee firm.

Keep in mind they and others at the firm like saying the word “concept.” A lot.

“We’ve moved six times in the last X years. We’ve been constantly growing,” said Dan Harsh, Concept’s president and chief executive. He co-owns Concept with his brother, Greg, company vice president. And Jeff Harsh, Dan’s son, is vice president of operations.

Business leads

Concept’s core business, to put it very simply, involves employees making cold sales telephone calls all day long to generate business leads on behalf of clients. Closing a sale remains the primary responsibility of the client.

“We were founded back in 2002. And we were founded on a concept. And that’s how we came up with the name Concept Services,” Dan Harsh said. “We believed you had to separate new business development, lead generation, from any other part of your sales process. That was the concept. Over the years, that was the concept that built the company.”

The company has expanded beyond making sales calls. Other services include inside sales — what happens after successful cold calls — for clients, providing the behind-the-scenes live person engaging customers on chat pop-ups on business websites, and offering what is called customer relationship management, or CRM.

As Concept Services expanded its offerings, the management team also worked to streamline processes, Harsh said.

And that lead to streamlining the company name.

They started to look at rebranding Concept Services in September 2016, rejecting numerous other proposed name changes. They realized that “concept” was their building block, Harsh said.

“Why do we want to move from that?” he said. “We don’t want to say anything else but Concept. The concept has sold from the beginning, the concept sells today, the concept has moved us into all kinds of different areas.”

New logo

The new logo incorporates the name Concept — beginning with just a half, or cut-out, C — and an orange dot at the end.

“We do the front part of the sales process. And the front part of the sales process is represented by this missing C, because that’s what we do,” Harsh said. “We do the front piece so you can do the back end. And so, that’s the whole premise. It’s very clean, it’s very streamlined.”

As part of this latest iteration, Concept will merge its three offices, currently in close proximity to each other, under one roof. The move takes place in a couple of months into another part of the corporate park — when they first moved to the park in 2013 the company had 38 employees.

“This corporate headquarters will be 25,000 square feet,” Harsh said. “It will house up to 200 employees.”

Training facility

The headquarters will incorporate a 2,500-square-foot staff training facility that Concept will let outside businesses use as well.

As it has evolved over the years, Concept also has made changes to improve employee recruiting and retention.

“The nice thing about our business, people want it,” Harsh said. “The difficult thing about our business, it’s not an easy business to manage. It’s a tough job. Making calls all day, it’s not easy. Finding that right person and keeping that person is difficult.”

As a result, Concept’s merit increases are three times the national average for their industry, Harsh said.

The new headquarters also will have recreation and lounge areas, along with other touches that reflect a more modern approach to management and help employees with what can be a difficult job.

Regional expertise

When it comes to hiring, employees often are selected for certain geographic markets, Jeff Harsh said.

Someone who makes cold sales calls to businesses in New York City and New Jersey requires a different character and ability to carry on different type of conversation than would be required when calling on businesses, for example, in South Carolina, he said.

Concept also needs for people with Spanish language skills for customers who have business in South America and French language skills for Canadian business calls.

“We found that Canadian French is a very different type of French,” Jeff Harsh said. “There’s a certain dialect there. We actually had to find that kind of dialect to call into that area.”

In the meantime, Concept has launched a redesigned and rebranded website, http://www.conceptltd.com.

And the company’s executives hope everyone stays put for a while.

“We seem to be moving a lot,” Greg Harsh quipped.

Reporter Jim Mackinnon covers business and county government. He can be reached at 330-996-3544 or [email protected]. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or http://www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ

The Akron Zoo will host a seasonal job fair from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday.

Positions are available in admissions, food service, rides, gift shop, groundskeeping, custodial and birthday parties. The zoo’s seasonal employment runs April 1 to Dec. 31.

To be considered, applicants need to bring a completed application and resume to the job fair, where they will be interviewed on the spot. Candidates must be 18 years or older and be available to work at least one weekend day and some evenings and holidays.

Applications and more details are available online at akronzoo.org/employment.

A lot has changed in the four decades since psychologist Georgette Constantinou arrived at Akron Children’s Hospital.

“The hospital was moving from a well-loved community hospital and over the next couple decades it grew into the world-class institution it is,” she recalled.

The world has changed, too, with the internet, smartphones and social media making those already difficult adolescent years even more challenging for kids and parents.

It used to be, she said, “if kids were having a bad day, the world wouldn’t know. If as a teenager I made a misstep, my friends might know, or my immediate circle might know. But everybody in the world wouldn’t know.

“We are giving this potential weapon to kids who have limited judgment … in the moment and they can’t really calculate the long-term consequences. Suddenly, they have this little machine at their disposal,” she said.

Constantinou, 69, is retiring Wednesday after nearly 40 years as a pediatric psychologist at Akron Children’s and, most recently, administrative director of the division of pediatric psychiatry and psychology.

Leaders at the hospital and in the community say she leaves behind a legacy of advocating for and developing mental health services to care for children and their families.

“For many people, she has been the single most important person in the arena of advocating for children’s mental health,” said Dave Lieberth, a longtime community advocate, lawyer and former deputy mayor.

Constantinou was active in coordinating work among county advocates and agencies and their work with neglected and abused children, Lieberth said.

“Summit County is a good place to be a child. We have this safety net … and this aura of cooperation and collaboration,” Lieberth said. “Georgette is responsible for much of the safety net that exists today for children who are neglected or abused.”

Akron Children’s Hospital Chief Executive Officer Bill Considine, who has one less year of tenure than Constantinou with 38 years, said it will be difficult to imagine the hospital without her.

“She has been a ‘true north’ voice in telling me what our patients and their families need, and always sees the world through their eyes,” Considine said. “It would be impossible to guess how many lives she has touched, and how many children and teens are now successful adults, better able to cope with the complexities of today’s world because of her.”

Constantinou was one of the first liaisons with the Parent Advisory Council, giving patients’ parents a voice to hospital administrators.

She also had a hand in developing many behavioral health programs and services, including the hospital’s partial hospital and intensive outpatient programs, behavioral health emergency services and the recent expansion of the inpatient behavioral health unit. She advocated for the creation of the NeuroDevelopmental Science Center, the consultation/liaison service and the model of having pediatric psychologists embedded in clinical programs to help children — and their families — deal with ongoing difficulties of chronic illnesses such as cancer and diabetes.

In addition, she has worked to include a mental health therapist at every Akron Children’s Hospital primary-care office to make it easy for families to get easy access to integrated care.

“I think I’m proudest of standing for patients and families and their needs no matter what. I was always being honest with the hospital about what the patients and families need,” said Constantinou said in a recent interview as she reflected on her career and the changes in children’s behavioral health since she came in July of 1978.

Parents need to step away from wanting to be their child’s friend, be aware of what their kids are doing and make tough decisions and hold their kids accountable, she said.

She said she is a big proponent of something that has been lost with many families — family time, whether that is a shared meal or other time together.

Constantinou has “a passion for children and parents and what’s needed for what healthy families need to grow — that every child in this situation not only comes with physical problems or challenges, but they also come with emotional and family issues as well, that’s part of treating the whole child,” said Dr. Stephen Crosby, director of the hospital’s division of pediatric psychiatry and psychology and Constantinou’s co-leader for 15 years.

Constantinou’s first time applying for a grant was about 10 years ago when she asked, with Crosby, the then Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation (recently renamed Peg’s Foundation) for $1.2 million to establish a special program within the emergency room for children in a mental health crisis. The Psychiatric Intake Response Center (PIRC) allows for an evaluation 24 hours a day to help families determine the next step for their child.

Having that specialized part of the ER is invaluable to families in crisis, Peg’s Foundation President Rick Kellar said.

“If you break your arm, you go in [to the ER] and get care and come out with a pink or blue cast. If you go in and you’ve cut yourself or there’s self harm, you walk into the emergency room and there’s an emotional need and first aid that’s required for that adolescent,” Kellar said.

He had no idea when he was at the ribbon cutting for the new program funded by his organization that a few months later he would be there with his own teen daughter in a mental health crisis.

“Thank goodness that obviously those services were there,” he said.

An Akron native and Firestone High School graduate, Constantinou went to Vassar College and then to Ohio State University for her doctorate. While working in Chicago, she was asked to come back to Akron to take a one-year position at Akron Children’s.

“The truth of the matter is it was not my intention to come back here,” she said.

She met her husband of 35 years, Stavros Constantinou, a geography professor at Ohio State’s Mansfield campus, and they raised two now-grown children in Akron.

Constantinou credits Considine for giving her full support and “understanding the needs of behavioral health and really allowing us to grow and develop over all of these years.”

Constantinou said she’s not sure about her post-retirement plans. She will stay on as an on-call retiree at primary-care sites for children.

“I’m going to look for my next act. I’ve been to Ukraine and Belarus to help countries that were coming out of the fall of Communism with huge drug and alcohol problems. How do you care for traumatized children? For my second act, I have to let that evolve.”

Medical writer Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or [email protected]. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or http://www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at http://www.ohio.com/betty

“For many people, she has been the single most important person in the arena of advocating for children’s mental health.”

Dave Lieberth

Community advocate, lawyer and former deputy mayor

Goodyear introduced a long-lasting Assurance MaxLife tire and an Eagle tire for police vehicles at its annual dealer conference, held in Nashville this year.

The new Assurance MaxLife is the highest-mileage tire Goodyear has ever made and comes with an 85,000-mile warranty, the Akron tire maker said Friday.

The MaxLife uses what Goodyear calls “TredLife Technology” that provides up to 30 percent more miles compared to the standard all-season tire. The tire also features a treadwear gauge that shows drivers how much tread life remains as the tire wears.

The MaxLife will be available in 45 sizes, from 15 inches to 20 inches, meaning it will fit on approximately 75 percent of the cars, minivans and SUVs now on the road today.

The Assurance line of tires was first introduced in 2004. Goodyear said it has since sold more than 60 million Assurance tires.

Goodyear also showed off the Eagle Enforcer All Weather police tire at the conference.

“This tire is for law enforcement agencies that need the enhanced winter traction of a mountain snowflake tire and the reliability and responsiveness of a pursuit tire,” Andy Traicoff, vice president, North America Sales, said in a statement.

Goodyear said the Eagle tire uses a multi-zoned tread compound to improve grip and cornering stability; a soy-based rubber compound with silica for all weather traction; an asymmetric tread design with sweeping tread grooves for better traction, control, and enhanced steering response; and aggressive shoulder blocks and wide lateral grooves.

I know I’m not alone.

Many of us have an area in our homes that is cluttered, messy or just a plain dumping ground for things that don’t belong somewhere else.

So let me to explain — and defend — the horribly cluttered and embarrassingly messy craft room in my basement you see in the photos with this story and accompanying video online.

The things I do for my job…

When I spoke with Lynne Poulton, a professional organizer and owner of Wholly Organized who is teaming up with me for this series, I talked about a potential project to use to jump-start this column by giving practical tips. I sheepishly offered my cluttered craft room.

It used to be neat and clean.

About four years ago, I couldn’t stand the clutter in our combination computer room (when we used to have a desktop computer on a computer desk instead of a laptop) and craft room. So I spent several days and cleaned it all out, decorated it, and made it somewhere I wanted to be.

But slowly, it became a dumping ground. A place where I’d put “extra” things or things I’d get to later. I would climb over totes to get to what I needed and then quickly leave.

Before Poulton even came over to my house for our one session, she asked me what I wanted out of the room.

I want to banish the dumping ground. I want it to be functional, though I recognize I need to update its purpose. We no longer have a desktop computer and I used to do a lot of scrapbooking in a built-in work area my husband built. I do want to finish a scrapbook for my daughter’s upcoming high school graduation.

I have re-purposed an old cabinet into a school-supply area. Both of my kids are in high school, so I no longer need all of the crayons and wide-rule paper, among other elementary-school items. I also do some selling and swapping of things like video games my son no longer uses or books online, so I utilize a printer and postal scale in the room, and use the computer desk as a mailing center. What doesn’t sell well then goes to donation.

But that was where I had the biggest “problem.”

Over the years, I have brought home different-sized manila envelopes co-workers or I get in the newsroom so I didn’t have to buy any to ship items. But I also was tossing all of the envelopes that came in the mail when I received something at home, including Amazon packages, in a tote “just in case.”

Well, my “just in case” became a problem.

I had one tote on a shelf already filled with envelopes and then parts of other totes and boxes and piles with more envelopes.

Upon seeing pictures and videos of my cluttered room, a few of my co-workers teased that I was a person with a hoarding disorder.

Although Poulton, a licensed social worker, doesn’t diagnose, she told me that from what I had shared with her about my envelope-keeping, she was pretty confident that I did not have hoarding disorder. She said she had worked with people with the disorder, and congratulated me that I was making some rules for myself and recognizing that I might be keeping too many envelopes.

“I am not here to tell you what to do,” Poulton told me as we discussed my potential rules. “You are the absolute boss. I’m not saying you have to get rid of anything.”

I told her I knew I had way more envelopes than I would ever need. She suggested collating the envelopes by size and choosing a certain number of each size that were in good shape. We would only keep enough to fit in my dedicated tote.

That was very fair. We spent time together and I spent more time on my own collating all of the envelopes in the room and around the house and recycling a lot of them. Did I say a lot of them? I counted. I recycled 198.

After I established the envelope rule, it has given me permission to take envelopes I receive now and toss them in the recycling. The first time, I still had a pang of guilt that I was recycling a perfectly good envelope, but knew it was a necessity.

Poulton also gave me several great ground rules before she left me to my task of cleaning up. Here are several of her tips:

Before going out to buy bins, baskets and boxes, consider your goal. You may very well have what you need in your house. You also need to identify what you will keep.

Gather a few supplies: trash bag, donation bag or box, “lives somewhere else” box, Sharpie markers, painter’s tape or post-its for labeling. I also had a recycling bin I filled many times and used totes to collate like items.

Start small. If you are working on a big project like your basement or kitchen, then pick one area, task or category. Set a timer for 20 minutes. Poulton likes a descending clock app called TimeTimer ($3.99 on iTunes) so it shows you on a clock face how much time you have left. You can also find free other apps for your phone or use the built-in timer or a kitchen timer. When the timer goes off, decide whether you stop or keep going. When you’re done with each session, be sure to empty the “lives somewhere else” box and put those items in the right place — or at least the right room.

Being a deadline person, I originally told Poulton I would get the room decluttered and repurposed in a week. She politely told me that was unrealistic, unless I had nothing else to do in life but clean. She was right. While I am trying to schedule some good chunks of time on a weekend, I found it very manageable to give it 20 minutes at a time during weekdays. There were also several days when I didn’t go downstairs because I didn’t have time and that was OK.

Establish your rules. Poulton said the process will start to unfold as you work. Are there items that you are no longer using or items better suited for donation? Set your limits on the number of items in a category that you will keep or a number based on the size of a drawer or shelf.

Post your goals somewhere that you will see them daily. Rewards are a good idea — what will motivate you? If you can’t think of anything, then plan to invite some friends over on a certain date and work to that date.

Poulton and I set a goal for me to finish my project within a month. I will follow-up with another column to let you know whether I succeeded. I will post photos on Twitter (@blinfisherABJ) and my Facebook page (search for Betty Lin-Fisher, Akron Beacon Journal) and you can keep me encouraged and share your own progress.

More tips to succeed: Play music, invite a friend over to help, drink water and get fresh air when getting sluggish.

A final thought: After you finish your project, be realistic that it’s not always going to be perfect, said Poulton. The same goes for the rest of your home.

“We don’t live in a magazine cover,” she said.

Beacon Journal consumer columnist and medical writer Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or [email protected]. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or http://www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at http://www.ohio.com/betty

Columbus-based Huntington Bancshares continues to reap benefits from its acquisition of Akron-based FirstMerit, the company said Tuesday as it released its fourth-quarter earnings report.

“When we announced the transformational FirstMerit acquisition two years ago, we expected it would help drive material improvement in our profitability,

accelerating the achievement of our long-term financial goals,” said Steve Steinour, Huntington’s chairman, president and CEO, in a news release. “With the FirstMerit integration complete, our fourth quarter results illustrate the performance improvements realized over the past two years. We achieved our long-term financial goals for Return on Tangible Common Equity and Efficiency Ratio on a GAAP basis for the first time.”

Federal tax reform also gave a big boost to Huntington’s bottom line in the last three months of 2017, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

The bank said Tuesday that it earned $432 million for the fourth quarter, an 81 percent increase from the same period of 2016. Profit was 37 cents per share.

Of that $432 million, $123 million, or 11 cents per share, is because of tax reform legislation passed by Congress right before Christmas that cut the corporate tax rate. The tax benefit was primarily the result of a revaluation of deferred tax liabilities at the lower rate, the bank said.

Excluding the tax benefit, the bank earned 26 cents per share, in line with analyst estimates.

Associated Press

NEW YORK: Amazon narrowed its search for a second headquarters city Thursday to 20 locations, concentrated mostly in the East and the Midwest. Toronto made the list as well, as the company kept its international options open.

The online retailing giant said that after sorting through 238 proposals, the potential locations still include tech-strong places such as Boston and New York. Other contenders: Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Indianapolis; Columbus, Ohio; and Los Angeles, the only West Coast city to make the list.

Among those that didn’t make the cut were Detroit, a disappointment for those excited about progress since the city came out of bankruptcy, and Memphis, Tennessee, where Mayor Jim Strickland said the city gave it its “best shot.”

“Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough,” said Holly Sullivan, who oversees Amazon’s public policy. “All the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity.”

The Seattle-based company’s announcement last fall that it was looking for a second home touched off a fierce competition among states and cities looking to lure Amazon and its promise of 50,000 jobs and construction spending of more than $5 billion.

Both Texas and Pennsylvania had two cities that made the cut: Austin and Dallas, and Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In the South, Miami and Atlanta are being considered.

Officials in cities that made the shortlist took the opportunity to further tout their cities, with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney noting “all that Philadelphia has to offer” and officials in Allegheny County, including Pittsburgh’s Mayor William Peduto, citing the region’s “world-class talent pool” and other advantages.

The other contenders: Denver; Montgomery County, Maryland; Nashville, Tennessee; Newark, New Jersey; Northern Virginia; and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Amazon said it will make a final selection sometime this year.

“It’s a long list, for a shortlist,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist at job site Indeed.

He said Amazon may use the list to pit the locations against each other and get better tax breaks or incentives. Two metro areas, New York and Washington, have more than one location that made the list, increasing competition there, he said.

“It’s hard to say whether all these places are in play or Amazon wanted to encourage continued competition,” Kolko said.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether locations would be able to change their proposals or offer better incentives, but said in a statement that it would “work with each of the candidate locations to dive deeper into their proposals.”

State and local governments played up the amenities they think make their locations the best choice for Amazon’s second headquarters. Some pulled off stunts to stand out, such as New York, which lit the Empire State Building in Amazon orange.

Some stunts didn’t work: Tucson, Arizona, which sent a 21-foot cactus to Seattle, did not make the list. Neither did Birmingham, Alabama, which installed giant replicas of Amazon’s Dash buttons.

The company had stipulated that it wanted to be near a metropolitan area with more than 1 million people; be able to attract top technical talent; be within 45 minutes of an international airport; have direct access to mass transit; and be able to expand the headquarters to as much as 8 million square feet in the next decade.

But Amazon also made it very clear it wanted tax breaks, grants and any other incentives.

Some state and local governments have made public the details of the financial incentives they are dangling. Boston’s offer includes $75 million for affordable housing for Amazon employees and others. Before he left office Tuesday, Republican Gov. Chris Christie approved a measure to allow New Jersey to offer up to $5 billion to Amazon. Newark also proposes to give Amazon $2 billion in tax breaks.

But many of the state and local governments competing for the headquarters have refused to disclose the tax breaks or other financial incentives they offered. Of the 20 finalists, 13, including New York, Chicago and Miami, declined requests from The Associated Press to release their applications.

Several said they don’t want their competitors to know what they’re offering, a stance that open-government advocates criticized.

Amazon plans to remain in its sprawling Seattle headquarters, and the second home base will be “a full equal” to it, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos had said.

The extra space will help the rapidly growing company, which had nearly 542,000 employees at the end of September, a 77 percent jump from the year before. Some of that growth came from Amazon’s nearly $14 billion acquisition last year of natural foods grocer Whole Foods and its 89,000 employees.

————

Associated Press writer Josh Cornfield in Philadelphia contributed to this report.

Sometime this spring, a gaping hole will appear in the top floor of the PNC Building where a row of windows now looks 300 feet down on Cascade Plaza.

From the corner of Main and Bowery streets, a crane 10 feet taller than the building — the second tallest in Akron — will swing over and grab a 25,000-pound hunk of machinery. It hasn’t moved since the skyscraper went up in 1968. But it’ll go all the way down to the ground.

First to be removed will be the old chiller. By summertime, it’ll be replaced with a more efficient unit that could ease the building’s dependence on natural gas. After that, workers will do the same for two equally enormous boilers, also relics from 1968. The pair of cylinders, a puzzle of curved and flat steel plates bolted and welded together, stretch out 24 feet and stand 10 feet high. After they’re removed, five leaner and greener units, each small enough to send up the maintenance elevator, will kick on before next winter.

The $8.5 million project, which also includes new lighting and other energy efficiency upgrades, is the first of its kind for the way it will be funded.

The Development Finance Authority (DFA) of Summit County, formerly known as the Summit County Port Authority, will issue bonds with the blessing of state law and approval from locally elected leaders.

The bond sales, which will cover the project, will then be repaid over the next 18 years at an average rate of about $477,000 annually attached to the skyscraper’s property tax bill.

It’s called property-assessed clean energy (PACE) financing, and Ohio is one of 28 states to allow it. City and county officials worked with DFA to bring it to Summit County last year.

Win for everyone

This first PACE-financed project in Summit County is being touted by government officials and private business leaders as a win for everyone: the building owners, the tenants, the city (which has no financial responsibility), even the environment.

Upon completion next year, building manager Kathy Cunningham said energy usage will drop 10 to 15 percent. That means a smaller carbon footprint and a lower utility bill. “Savings are always used and passed along to tenants,” Cunningham said. “To the extent that we make this building more efficient, obviously the tenants would benefit.”

And it’s those future energy savings that the building’s owners, Cascade Plaza Associates LLC, say will cover the semi-annual increase in their property tax bill. Even so, no private lenders would cover the renovations on the iconic Akron building, which bears the name of a national bank.

Christopher J. Burnham, the president of DFA, said national companies like Greenworks, which specializes in exactly the type of financing that makes this project possible, wouldn’t lend the money. So DFA, whose board includes CEOs from some of Akron’s largest businesses and a couple of its civic-minded nonprofits, will be issuing bonds just as local, state and federal governments do when financing costly infrastructure projects.

Project green light

Akron City and Summit County Councils approved the special funding arrangement this past week. Once the bonds are sold and the money becomes available, the project is a go.

Already, bids are going out for the work and engineers are contemplating the best ways to remove the top-floor boilers and chiller and replace most of the lighting. The work will likely take place at night.

Overseeing the entire project is Plug Smart, an energy services company in Columbus, which Cascade Plaza Associates had hired to make similar cost-cutting upgrades to another property it owns.

Craig Burkett, chief engineer for the PNC Building, has one of the highest offices in Akron. His desk sits on the 23rd floor in the maintenance section of the building, where blue-collar workers behind the scenes keep the heat and air running and the lights on.

Burkett has spent the bulk of his career, 35 years in all, inside the nearly 50-year-old PNC Building. Cascade Plaza Associates bought the skyscraper in 1999, almost immediately investing $8 million in the landmark structure.

As the chiller and boilers have aged with Burkett, the engineer has found the cost of repairing, maintaining and buying replacement parts has gone up.

The old-school chiller, for example, runs on lithium bromine pumped by steam through 18,056 individual copper tubes, he explained.

The unit that will replace it will run on greener and cheaper electricity, and more efficient motors. “So the gas [use and bill] will go way down,” Burkett said from his office, surrounded by mechanical dinosaurs, 300 feet above the city streets.

Reach Doug Livingston at 330-996-3792 or [email protected]. Follow him @ABJDoug on Twitter or http://www.facebook.com/doug.livingston.92 on Facebook.

COLUMBUS: State Rep. Thomas West, D-Canton, and Majority Leader Kirk Schuring, R-Jackson Township, introduced bipartisan legislation this week to try to prevent the closure of Affinity Medical Center in Massillon.

House Bill 462 would create a set of conditions that Quorum Health Corp. must meet before it’s allowed to close the facility.

“Affinity Medical Center has served the people of Massillon for over a century,” West said in a prepared statement. “Closing Affinity would remove a community cornerstone, devastate Stark County’s medical system and eliminate over 1,000 jobs. We cannot allow this to happen, and House Bill 462 can help prevent a closure.”

The bill would require any for-profit hospital in Stark County to prove financial hardship, make at least three attempts to sell the facility and create a plan to transfer the hospital’s patients and employees to another facility within 15 miles. It also would require a nine-month transition period between the public announcement of intent to close and final closure.

“Creating a set of conditions that must be met for closure will force a real conversation about whether everything possible has been done to save Affinity,” West said.

Affinity’s corporate owner stunned the Stark County community last week when it announced the hospital will end clinical operations in February and be shuttered for good in March.

Tennessee-based Quorum said it failed to find a buyer for the hospital, which it said has lost money in each of the last six years.

However, officials from at least two area hospital systems — Aultman Health Foundation and the Cleveland Clinic — said they were unaware of Quorum’s plans to sell or close Affinity until last week’s announcement.

An Affinity spokesperson didn’t respond to a request via email Friday for comment.

In a prepared statement Friday, Reginald Fields, spokesman for the Ohio State Medical Association, criticized Quorum’s plans to shutter the hospital with a month’s notice and voiced support for House Bill 462.

“While we understand this decision is being attributed to financial pressures, the OSMA is unsettled by the extremely brief period before the facility is scheduled to be shuttered,” he said. “We share the trepidation expressed by the over 200 physicians affiliated with Affinity and other health-care professionals worried for the well-being of their patients and the community at-large.

“The OSMA supports calls from medical professionals and elected leaders to allow additional time to evaluate alternate solutions that may keep the hospital open or, at the very least, allow for an appropriate period for the community to transition to other accessible health-care options in the area.”

Nurses at Affinity Medical Center rallied outside the Massillon hospital Tuesday morning to seek public support to keep the facility from closing.

Massillon Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry, a registered nurse, has said she asked Quorum to keep the hospital open past the announced deadline but the company said no.

She has been urging the public to make telephone calls and write letters to put pressure to keep Affinity open. The 156-bed acute-care facility has about 800 employees.