SBDC Business Excellence Awards recognize five Clermont businesses

In keeping with a now long-standing practice, the Ohio Small Business Development Center at the Clermont Chamber of Commerce (SBDC) is once again preparing to honor five local businesses for Business Excellence in 2015. The five indicated below will be honored as part of the Clermont Chamber’s Annual Meeting at 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 6, 2015 at Receptions East.

Excellence in Customer Service Awards – Recognizing organizations that have successfully implemented policies demonstrating a commitment to customers that exceeds expectations

Glutz-McIntire Photography

Glutz-McIntire Photography began more than 25 years ago by a man with a camera and a love of photography. Although it was never anticipated, he soon found his photographic skill and professional service in high demand which led him to open his first portrait studio. As the company’s reputation grew, so did the business. To keep up with growing demand, the current studio was built to meet the needs of the company and its customers. Since then, the company has experienced many modifications and updates from physically remodeling sets to the transition from film to digital photography platforms. Each opportunity was met head on to ensure that customers receive the highest quality service possible. Times are always changing and Glutz-McIntire strives to stay ahead of the curve, using the highest technology in the photography market, adding new variety to the studio, fine tuning artistic ability and always making sure that they are prepared to serve their customers with the excellence they have come to expect.

The Studio supports 27 schools and nearly 18,000 students as well as many business customers such as The Kroger Company, Tano Restaurant, The Clermont Chamber of Commerce, etc.

Marsh & McLennan Agency

Founded in 1935, Brower Insurance Agency on Wards Corner Road joined forces with Marsh & McLennan Agency in 2012 as its Midwest hub. This enabled the agency to provide optimal services to its clients, pursue new business opportunities, and foster a workplace where each individual may excel. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC, a subsidiary of Marsh, was established in 2008 to meet the needs of midsize businesses in the United States. MMA operates autonomously from Marsh to offer commercial property, casualty, personal lines, and employee benefits to clients across the United States.

Marsh & McLennan Agency provides property/casualty insurance, employee benefits services, and consulting services to businesses and individuals. In addition, Marsh & McLennan Agency has specialty practices in surety, construction, health care, transportation, and schools and municipalities. Marsh & McLennan Agency is dedicated to providing quality and value while offering a comprehensive array of specialized products and services.

In 2015, Marsh & McLennan acquired Kinker-Eveleigh Insurance in Kenwood and will soon be moving that large agency practice to the Clermont County location.

Cincinnati Nature Center

We had a rare tie this year in the Customer Focus category and will be also recognizing the Cincinnati Nature Center. Those familiar with Cincinnati Nature Center value the award-winning trails, in two locations, that wind through the region’s natural habitats of Eastern deciduous forest, fields, streams and ponds. Rowe Woods, located in Milford, Ohio, spans 1,020 acres (including 65 acres of old growth forest) and offers more than 16 miles of hiking trails. Long Branch Farm & Trails, located in Goshen, Ohio, contains 642 acres of forest and farmland with five miles of hiking trails accessible to members only.

Cincinnati Nature Center is establishing the Center for Conservation & Stewardship. The Center will act as a community resource by promoting research, developing education programs and helping people become better stewards of the land in Greater Cincinnati. As the first of its kind in the region, they will serve those with an interest in land and water management, applied ecology and environmental research—providing hands-on experience, education and support for students, homeowners, landowners, scientists, researchers, high school and college teachers and professors, land and water managers, municipalities and community partners.

Emerging Excellence Award – Recognizing organizations with entrepreneurial spirit that are positioning to grow substantially into the future.

Savor Seasonings

For thousands of years spices have been blended together to give foods greater taste appeal. Wars were fought, empires built and lost, and the world circumnavigated for the first time in search of aromatic seeds, barks, leaves, and roots. Today spices combined with colors, sugar, salt, and flavors yield a medley of seasonings for food manufacture. Advances in spice processing offer derivatives used in manufacturing such as concentrates, extracts, and oils which are more economic and easier to store. Still Mother Nature has the final say on spice quality and origin, consequently contemporary transportation continues to circumnavigate the world harvesting these commodities for enjoyment in an endless variety of foods. 

In 1980, as a young teenager, Jeff Higgins mixed up his first seasoning in the lab of his father’s new seasoning company. Jeff enjoyed the work and despite his plans to become a doctor, after graduating with a BS in Biology from the University of Cincinnati he continued to work in his father’s seasoning business. Jeff worked in the family business in a variety of capacities including manufacturing, quality control, research and development, sales, and management. Eventually Jeff’s father sold the business which allowed him different experiences with a new company, and after a couple of years the company was sold again to different owners affording even more new experiences. In 2002 Jeff found himself looking for his next career move after departing his employer, and while he researched several available positions nothing felt quite right to him so he considered starting his own seasoning business. Jeff knew that if he was going to take this weighty decision that it had to be for the right reasons and after consultation with his wife Shelly, and extensive prayer he discerned the reason and a company vision was born out of his faith “Serve People”. This simple vision and a love for the work led to the birth of Savor Seasonings and Jeff and Shelly opened the doors for the first time on December 6th 2002. Of course there have been ups and downs but focusing on the vision to serve people has always brought Jeff and Shelly back to their real purpose and sustained them and their business. Another aspect which has been important to the success of Savor Seasonings is focus, which Jeff understood is important for a company. Therefore, from day one Savor Seasonings has maintained the unique market position of only making seasonings for snack food manufacturers and to this day it is the only company in the industry that can say this. This focus along with the solid vision and great people has propelled Savor to success in our industry. Today Savor Seasonings manufacturers millions of pounds of seasoning annually which are enjoyed by Americans everywhere snacks are found. Whether it is serving our employees, serving our customers, or serving our neighbors Savor Seasonings is always serving up something good. For all of these reasons, Savor Seasonings is being honored as the Emerging Small Business of the Year 2015.

Excellence in Innovation Awards – Recognizing organizations demonstrating unique and inventive practices, products or procedures

Springridge Partners LLC

Springridge Partners can trace its beginning back to 2004 when Matt Diepenbrock started offering professional engineering services and technical consulting in his spare time. As business opportunities and investments grew, Mr. Diepenbrock started a holding company called Springridge Partners, LLC. This company offers engineering and technical services, as well as management & financial services for its subsidiary companies and strategic clients. Among its investments, Springridge Partners owns a high tech infection control company called SaniSolve, LLC ( In fact, the infection control business helped them become the 1st place winner of the 2014 Clermont County Business Plan Competition. There are many more innovative ideas in the pipeline, and they intend to create many jobs here in Clermont County as these businesses grow both domestically & globally.

Mr. Diepenbrock continues to push facility & business performance thru infection control improvements and liability reduction, various energy conservation measures (ECMs), capital equipment acquisition & financing services, project management services, and other building system optimization solutions. He has been an expert speaker on topics such as energy reduction in air handling systems, engineering economics, infection control & prevention measures, risk reduction in environmental health, heat transfer systems for critical defense electronic systems, USP 797 Pharmacy requirements, humidification & dehumidification systems, and water system filtration & efficiency.

Since 2008, Mr. Diepenbrock has been a member of the CEO Roundtable Program (Roundtable 11), and he has volunteered his time with St. Andrew Catholic Church, Loveland Youth Soccer, and several other local organizations. Though he acknowledges himself as a work-a-holic, he does find time to spend with his family and giving back to the community. He and his wife (Sara) have three adorable children (Addison, Grant, and Claire), and make their home in the Miami Township area.

Fourteen years ago, the Clermont Chamber of Commerce followed up on a recommendation from the U. S. Chamber of Commerce that its member recognition program be enhanced and expanded beyond the long-standing Pacesetter Awards. A task force made up of chamber members and chamber staff came back with five award categories, all aligned to recognize the best of the small businesses that made up over 80 percent of the chamber’s membership. The first of those awards were presented at the chamber’s annual meeting in 2001. The awards have been tweaked over the years, but the goal and the timing have remained constant.

Nominations are requested in the fall of each year and then reviewed by a selection committee with the responsibility of selecting the most deserving honorees.