Revolution is coming

Industry changing fast for better.
PEOPLE TO KNOW IN HEALTH CARE, 18

HAMILTON ROAD

TAGGART
LANDS PARTS
SHIPPER
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Automotive parts distributor
from New Jersey setting up
operation in developer’s
Whitehall industrial building.

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EVAN WEESE, 7

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IN THE NEWS

After the deal

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Uptivity’s acquisition has led to more
jobs in Columbus, additional startup
investments by founders.

MEET THE NEW
CRANE GROUP

CARRIE GHOSE, 12

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Luxury is back

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High-end car sales in Central Ohio
lagged national pace last year, but
the trend has made a U-turn.

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DAN EATON, 8

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You might be thinking ‘plastics,’
but the family of companies has built a new
and growing identity – in roofing.
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EVAN WEESE, PAGE 4

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DAN TRITTSCHUH

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PAGE 14

HEADLINE
OHIO
STATEGOES
AIRPORT
IN HERELY
PLANSXXTAKING OFF
3

Central Ohio’s largest private schools.

DON SCOTT

56525 10731

PAGE 15

BIZSMARTS

6

Hamilton Local tops for
enrollment increase among public
school systems in 2014-15.

COLUMBUS
BUSINESS FIRST
April 22, 2016
Vol. 32, No. 34, $4.99
303 West
Nationwide Blvd.
Columbus, OH 43215

10

TOY STORE OWNERS:
BATTLING ‘A BEAST’
news online
r Breaking
ColumbusBusinessFirst.com
On smartphones and tablets
ColumbusBusinessFirst.com/apps
email updates
ColumbusBusinessFirst.com/email
L Daily

4

COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST

COVER STORY

BOLD MOVES MAKE ROOFING,
With plastics company gone, family
centered on Able Roofing and
national expansion of Mr. Roof sister
company as diversification takes off.
BY EVAN WEESE
eweese@bizjournals.com
614-220-5450, @EvanWeeseBiz1st

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COMPANY TREE

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BEYOND PLASTICS

The modest plastics company started in 1947 by Robert Crane
has grown and evolved into a portfolio of brands in diverse
industries across the U.S.:

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FAMILY LEGACY: Chairman’s civic engagement carries on Crane tradition. PAGE 6

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Crane of a different breed
Crane Renovation’s parent, Crane Group,
traces its start to the 1920s, when family patriarch Robert S. Crane designed
imaginative light fixtures, including for
the Ohio Theater.
After the Great Depression left him
jobless, Crane in 1947 launched Taytec
Corp., a plastics maker that later would
become Crane Plastics, establishing his
family name in Columbus for the next
seven decades.
But under the watch of the founder’s
granddaughter, CEO Tanny Crane, the
Crane Group has boldly shifted away
from its original business and into new
high-growth industries selected by its

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T

he more than 250 employees of Crane Renovation
Group gathered early this
year at Franklin Park Conservatory for a first ever
all-staff meeting, with
some traveling from as far as Texas on
the company’s dime.
It likely won’t be the last get-together
for the new umbrella company of Crane
Group Co., known in Central Ohio for its
ubiquitous Able Roofing brand, and in
six other markets by Able’s sister roofing
outfit, Mr. Roof.
With yet two more companies in the
Crane Renovation fold - Contractors
Inc. and Responsiv Disaster Recovery Crane Renovation President Jim Ziminski felt the meeting was needed to foster
cohesion.
“We had them stand up, and 176 were
(with the company) three years or less.
That’s the kind of growth we’ve had and
that’s why we had the all-in,” said Ziminski, who joined the company in August
2014 to lead an aggressive growth plan
for the newly aligned units. “Most people didn’t even know one another. So we
said, ‘No cell phones, unless it’s a break
or emergency. Talk to people. We spent
a lot of money to bring you here, spend
time together.’ ”
Of course, Crane Renovation isn’t why
the Crane family is among Columbus’
most successful business empires.
But it may be how it’s recognized for
generations to come.

Crane Investment Co., similar to the way
a private equity firm makes and shapes
its investments.
“It’s a gradual diversification of our
portfolio, we’ve moved a little bit away
from just building products and just
vinyl plastics to more healthy and diversified,” said Crane, who is ingrained in
Columbus’ business community as a
director for Huntington Bancshares
Inc., the Columbus Partnership and
the Fisher College of Business Advisory
Board, among others.
It’s a strategy outlined amid the Great
Recession that’s now taking shape, with
various businesses plucked from or
sprouting up on the company tree over
the past several years.
Crane Group shed a siding company,
for which Ziminski previously served as
CEO, for $72 million in 2011. It then sold
a decking business the following year for
an undisclosed amount.
Sensit Technologies, a gas leak detection business based in Valparaiso, Indiana, was bought in 2014.
And last year, the holding company
quietly sold off its remaining 25 percent
stake in its legacy business, Crane Plastics. It still operates on Columbus’ south
side but under separate ownership and
the name Engineered Profiles.
The diversification strategy is not
unusual for high-net worth families or
private equity funds, said Bob Tannous,
managing partner of the Columbus office
of law firm Porter Wright, which serves
as outside counsel to Crane Group, handling acquisitions and investments.
To be sure, it’s bold for a family so
closely tied to plastics manufacturing
for nearly 70 years.
“They came to the determination
among family members. Tanny was the
architect behind that. It was just really
looking for different opportunities,”
said Tannous, a securities, mergers and
acquisitions and corporate attorney who
also works with White Castle System
Inc.’s Ingram family of Columbus. “It
makes sense to diversify away from one
core area of the market, it helps avoid...
the up and down. In the 2008 downturn,
I’m sure as construction slowed down
it would have impacted the (building
trades) business.”
The evolution continues, with Crane
eyeing purchases in health care and pet
services in particular.

CRANE INVESTMENT CO.
Based: Columbus
Diversifies the holdings of Crane Group’s private shareholders, overseeing a
private equity portfolio, real estate holdings and other investments.

CRANE MATERIALS
INTERNATIONAL

SENSIT
TECHNOLOGIES

SCREEN MACHINE
INDUSTRIES LLC

Based: Atlanta

Based:
Valparaiso, Indiana

Based: Etna

Develops technologies
for the construction
industry, including
floodwalls and
barriers.

Designs gas-leak
detection instruments.

Manufactures
machinery to crush,
screen and stockpile
aggregates and soils.

APRIL 22, 2016

5

RENOVATION CHIEF AT CRANE
THE RANKINGS

WHO’S ON TOP OF ROOFING

Crane Group’s Able Roofing has
been a mainstay in Central Ohio.
But only since the parent company’s
acquisition of Mr. Roof in 2005
has Crane Group been among the
top national players. The top 10,
according to the Roofing Contractor
trade publication:

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CentiMark Corp.
(Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania)
$508 MILLION (2015
REVENUE)

2

Tecta America Corp.
(Rosemont, Illinois)
$397 MILLION

3

Baker Roofing Co. (Raleigh,
North Carolina)
$140 MILLION

4

North American Roofing
Services Inc. (Asheville,
North Carolina)
$132 MILLION

5

Nations Roof LLC (Lithia
Springs, Georgia)
$122 MILLION

6

Mr. Roof/Able Roof
(Columbus)
$115 MILLION

7

Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet
Metal (Wheeling, West
Virginia)
$95 MILLION

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American Dream Home
Improvement Inc. (Downers
Grove, Illinois)
$82 MILLION

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Saratoga Roofing &
Construction (Oklahoma City,
Oklahoma)
$82 MILLION

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10

Beldon Group of Cos. (San
Antonio, Texas)
$90 MILLION

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CRANE RENOVATION GROUP
Based: Columbus | Includes four brands:

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Tanny Crane, left,
and Jim Ziminski
are leading change
at Crane Group.

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ABLE
ROOFING
Home
renovation
and roofing
company
operating only
in Central Ohio

Crane Plastics,
the company
so well-known
in Columbus
for decades,
was shed by the
family in 2015.

MR. ROOF
Sister
company to
Able Roofing.
Locations
in Ohio,
Michigan,
Kentucky,
Tennessee and
North Carolina

CONTRACTORS
INC.
Exterior
and interior
renovation and
remediation
company
operating in
12 cities.

RESPONSIV
DISASTER
RECOVERY
Mitigation and
restoration
company

CRANE PLASTICS CO.
Based: Columbus
The former Crane Plastics
Co. began operating
as Engineered Profiles LLC after a stake was sold in 2009.
Crane Group’s remaining stake was sold off in 2015.

Tanny Crane notes pet boarding, for
example, is recession-proof, unlike those
Crane Renovation Group brands tied to
residential real estate.
“Those are both high-growth opportunities that are fractured, they’re ma
and pa,” she said. “We were looking at
in-home (health) care aids - there’s a
lot of those. Our idea was to be able to
assemble and scale ... a little bit of what
Jim is doing with Mr. Roof... really developing a concept like what Able Roof does
here in Columbus, replicating that in different cities.”
Unlike some investment companies,
Crane Group provides more than just
financial backing.
With only 35 employees at corporate
offices in the Arena District, it provides
administrative services such as informa-

tion technology, accounting and human
resources to its four majority-owned
companies - Crane Renovation, Crane
Materials International, Sensit Technologies and Screen Machine Industries serving 600 employees in all.
As that pool of companies changes
and perhaps grows, Crane Renovation
will provide the model to emulate.
“Right now, it’s our largest (subsidiary),” Crane said. “It is probably one of
the most promising in terms of overall
growth.”

Renovation as growth engine
The plastics maker’s foray into the roofing business came in 1997, when it
acquired Columbus-based Able, then Mr.
Roof of Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 2006.
With strong name recognition in
Central Ohio, the Able name isn’t going
anywhere.
But its success will be spread to new
markets through the Mr. Roof brand,
which already has been introduced in six
new markets, including most recently in
Raleigh, North Carolina.
As a company only doing business in
Central Ohio, Able didn’t register among
the country’s largest roofing providers.
But combined with Mr. Roof, and
with that brand expanding, Crane Renovation Group’s brands have climbed
to sixth largest in the roofing industry
with more than $100 million in sales last
year, according to the Roofing Contractor trade publication.
The combined revenue of Able and
Mr. Roof is growing at a double-digit
clip, Tanny Crane said, and accounts for
more than half of Crane Group’s roughly
$200 million top line.
The Mr. Roof brand will grow at a
pace of about one new market per year,
Ziminski said, with a focus on midsize
cities in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic.
Crane and Ziminski said key to the
expansion strategy was rebranding
under the Crane Renovation umbrella,
touting the company’s service rather
than price.
Columbus already knew the Able
name.
“I asked people their impressions and
they said, ‘You’re everywhere,’ but nothing after that,” Ziminski said. “We take
care of people, but we do a really good
job of keeping that a secret.”
The new marketing message, including websites and advertising designed by
Baltimore creative agency Planit, is resonating with employees, too.
“All these separate companies feel like
‘Hey, there’s something more than just
our own company down here in Texas,’
or what have you,” he said. “And that’s
why we had this all-in meeting. The
thing I heard most from 250 associates
was, ‘Wow, I now know what we’re trying to do, and I didn’t realize how big we
were and all the opportunities that were
available to us.”

6

COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST

COVER STORY

Join us in the Įght against cancer!
CRANE
DYNASTY

Please join The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for a free
breakfast to learn how you and your company can make a diīerence in
the Įght against cancer through the 2016 Light The Night Walk.

THRIVING
FAMILY TREE

Thursday, May 12, 2016
7:00-8:30 am
The WesƟn Columbus
310 S High St.
Columbus, Ohio

Tanny Crane heads a
family business with
roots from the 1920s.
Tracing the Crane
Group’s beginnings
to current family
executives:

RSVP by May 5, 2016
Call or email your response
to Alicia Taylor
614/498-0422 or Alicia.Taylor@lls.org

Robert Sellers Crane Sr. (1889-1967): After losing his lighting fixture business to the
Great Depression, started a manufacturing company in 1947 called Taytec Corp., the
genesis of Crane Plastics.

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Robert S. Crane Jr. (1922-1992) and Jameson Crane: Under the tenure of Robert
Crane Sr.’s sons Bob and Jim, the company became a specialist in extruding rigid vinyl, a
difficult feat at the time, and grew into an important employer in the Columbus area.

Thank you to our ExecuƟve Leadership CommiƩee!
Mark Yale
ExecuƟve Vice President and
Chief Financial Oĸcer
WP Glimcher

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Tracy Peters
Senior Managing Director
Red Capital Group

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Loann Crane, wife
of Bob: An artist,
Mrs. Crane’s ideas
and involvement
helped build the
Columbus Museum
of Art and
Columbus College
of Art and Design
into the institutions
they are today. Crane founded the
Women’s Fund of Central Ohio and has
championed equal opportunity and rights
for people from diverse walks of life.

Tanny Crane: President and CEO, Crane
Group (daughter of Loann and Robert S.
Crane Jr.)
Mike Crane:
President, Crane
Group Cos.,
managing Crane
Group’s operating
business units (son
of Jim, cousin of
Tanny)
 
Tim Miller: Vice president and general
counsel (brother-in-law of Tanny)

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Lonni Dieck
Senior Vice President Corporate
Planning and BudgeƟng
American Electric Power

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Brian Hanna
Senior Plan Consultant
Everhart Advisors

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PHILANTHROPY, COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP

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Measuring the Crane effect

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FACEBOOK | GOOGLE+ | INSTAGRAM | LINKEDIN | TWITTER

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Follow us on
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and more!

Columbus Partnership members vary
widely, from executives of national
financial conglomerates to founders of
small manufacturing outfits.
But in the growing, evolving coalition
of business leaders, those with a deep,
multi-generational knowledge of the
region aren’t easy to come by.
“It has become more and more diverse
over the years, a reflection of how
Columbus has grown and, specifically,
as Columbus’ economy grows,” said Stephen Lyons, executive vice president for
the Partnership. “Our CEOs tend to be a
little more transient, coming from different parts of the country. Only a handful
of CEOs can call Columbus their original home.”
Crane Group CEO Tanny Crane is
among those providing that familiarity,
carrying on the company legacy started
by her late father, Robert S. Crane Jr.
“She in particular brings a different
appreciation for the community, the
place she was born and raised,” Lyons
said. “What it offers in terms of the Partnership - one of her roles is she serves as
a mentor to up-and-coming CEOs.”
What Crane brings to the Partnership also extends to the broader business and philanthropic communities,
said Doug Kridler, CEO of the Colum-

bus Foundation.
Crane and her family have maintained
a 40-year relationship with the nonprofit
philanthropic adviser at the individual level and through the Crane Family
Foundation.
Millions of dollars have been given to
various causes, especially the rejuvenation of Columbus’ south side and to Ohio
State University, the alma mater of many
Crane family members.
“It’s really hard to exaggerate the
value to Columbus of such a multi-generational success story of such high character,” Kridler said. “They’ve been able
to show that conscience and profit can
beautifully coexist.”
Perhaps most impressive, Lyons said,
is Crane Group’s willingness to evolve,
from Robert S. Crane’s light fixture company in the 1920s to Crane Plastics and
now to a portfolio of brands.
“I think what people don’t recognize is... Tanny’s innovation to be able
to continue to evolve and transform
and expand her company,” Lyons said.
“They’re probably one of our greatest home-grown startup companies of
today. I would suggest that Crane Group
is one of our original startup companies.
I think it will be here for (generations).”
–Evan Weese

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