The Outstanding Ohioans show, Episode 56-Interview with Heather Shumaker, author of “It’s OK To Go Up The Slide”


This show brings the audience great things Ohioans are doing to make their communities, the state, the region, and the world a better place as entrepreneurs, leaders, historical and popular culture figures.

For episode 56, I had the pleasure of speaking with Heather Shumaker, author of It’s OK to Go UP the Slide… Renegade Rules for Raising Confident and Creative Kids It’s OK NOT to Share… and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids

To connect with the Outstanding Ohioans show, here are a few ways:

The two books that Heather Shumaker has written provide great insights and ideas on how to raise children to be responsible, creative human beings with the ability to communicate.  Many of her thoughts counter the current culture of overprotective parents & practices within the school system.

Here were the topics we discussed in our conversation:

  • growing up in Columbus, Ohio
  • the background of her mother and father, who both recently retired as educators
  • attending the School for Young Children, founded in 1969 in Columbus
  • why she structured specific tools & ideas in her books that parents could use
  • her two central parenting themes
  • street smarts and stranger danger
  • sharing
  • calendars & clocks
  • homework
  • recess
  • reading
  • conflict resolution
  • reading for pleasure vs. forced reading
  • technology temptation
  • kid evaluation/resolution vs. adult intervention
  • fairness & justice
  • establishing boundaries

Listeners can connect with Heather in the following ways:

Thank you for taking the time to listen to the show.  Please leave a review on ITunes or Stitcher, or email me at  Please refer any recommended future guests to my email.

The Outstanding Ohioans show, Episode 55-Interview with Seth Cramer, Co-Owner of Phoenix Bat Company


This show brings the audience great things Ohioans are doing to make their communities, the state, the region, and the world a better place as entrepreneurs, leaders, historical and popular culture figures.

For episode 55, I had the pleasure of speaking with Seth Cramer, Co-Owner/General Manager of Phoenix Bats Company in Plain City, Ohio.  Phoenix Bats specializes in manufacturing WOOD baseball bats for baseball and softball players of all ages and abilities.

To connect with the Outstanding Ohioans show, here are a few ways:

Baseball has a following from what are commonly called “purists”.  These purists love the tradition of baseball, the history of baseball, and the intricacies of baseball.  The resurgence in the use of wood bats at all levels is something the purists enjoy seeing.

Seth joined the Phoenix Bat team in 2007 representing a venture capital firm in Columbus, Ohio.  Here were some highlights of our conversation:

  • his journey from Connecticut to Ohio
  • his personal and business influences
  • how Seth got involved with Phoenix Bats
  • what role does venture capitalists play in business
  • the difference between venture capital and angel investors
  • the history of Phoenix Bats Company
  • the differentiation that makes Phoenix Bats special
  • the importance of customer service
  • how Phoenix Bats gets involved with tournaments to promote their product
  • how wood bats have come back into vogue at all levels, the rule changes to metal bats, the expected future trends, and the benefits to the player that uses wood
  • why Division I college baseball has been resistant to using wood bats
  • how Phoenix Bats entered a market dominated by Louisville Slugger, what has happened to Louisville Slugger, and new growth opportunities for Phoenix Bats
  • how different types of wood serve different styles of hitters
  • selection process for wood supplier
  • Adam Eaton is a prominent major leaguer using Phoenix Bats
  • in-roads being made in foreign markets
  • economic impact in the local community and using local suppliers
  • Seth’s best business advice-sell to the right person, at the right time, at the right amount

To contact Seth and/or Phoenix Bats, here are some ways to do so:

Thank you for taking the time to listen to the show.  Please leave a review on ITunes or Stitcher, or email me at  Please refer any recommended future guests to my email.

The Six Levels of Customer Service

ryan ballgame

In my experiences working in a “brick & mortar” business, I have come to believe there are Six Progressive Levels of Service that Staff can attain with our customers.  While supervisors can provide expectations, interaction tools, and knowledge training, empowering staff through autonomy to provide service within their personality is most effective.  Supervisors need to coach through the expectations and frequent feedback for continual reinforcement.

Setting, discussing, and clarifying expectations is the most powerful tool an organization has.  I believe the most powerful outcome an organization can strive to attain is that the staff and customers feel like “they are part of something special”.  Progression of staff competency through these six levels will create special relationships with your customers.  Here are the Six Levels:

  1. Alertness/Movement-More often than not, customers notice when staff are “heads down” on their phone, looking bored, not making eye contact, etc.  Simply having eye contact, moving around, and having positive non-verbal cues give an appearance of a staff member who is engaged and invested.
  2. Acknowledgement/Knowledge-Staff need to make eye contact and give a greeting upon a customer’s entrance, exit, and travels through the space.  Staff providing the acknowledgement and looking open to conversation creates an environment of rapport.  Customers who ask questions that can be answered without staff needing to call for assistance or pass onto another person feel very good about that organization.
  3. Conversation-Magic begins to happen when staff and customers engage in conversations.  During these moments, insights on the customer’s true experience, level of satisfaction, reason for using your business, and creating identification of this staff members representing the brand can take place.  If the situation exists when the customer habitually uses the business at the same time that a certain staff person is present, a bond will develop if the conversation has started.  Staff simply asking how their experience was today can start the talk.  I am always amazed on the number of areas of “common ground” that are discovered during the conversation.
  4. Connection/Re-Connection-When the conversation becomes more frequent and longer in duration, a connection has been established.  If a staff member has the competency to recall a previous conversation with the customer and reference the previous conversation in the next interaction, this staff member is able to Re-Connect and demonstrate to the customer they were truly listening and valuing their connection.
  5. Relationship-When customers begin asking other staff where a particular staff may be, it is evident there is a strong relationship present.  When a staff member is perceived as the “Go-To” person to a customer, valuable word-of-mouth will often occur on the part of a customer.  Networking can often result from these relationship, as opportunities will present themselves from the deep conversation taking place at each interaction, whether it’s meeting associates of each other, helping each other, or working together on a project.
  6. Partnership/Advocacy/Community-It is a special situation when the relationship is so deep that the relationship has gone from a want to a need in the person’s personal perception.  When customers advocate for the business and will DEFEND it when others have negative comments, that is the epitome of the value the customer derives from the relationship.  In situations where there is consistent, constant participation within a niche community, this group will often reach connection, kinship, & partnership within each other.  The participants in this community will develop a partnership with the staff member(s) to the point they may no patronize the business if the staff person leaves.  The community has become a cult that will often work & play together outside of the business.  Feelings abound within this community truly feel they are part of something special.

I would love to hear your thoughts on these levels and the stories of great staff-customer relations.  Thank you for reading.


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The Outstanding Ohioans show, Episode 52-Interview with Rikki Teeters, Owner/Founder of @OhioExplored





For episode 52 of The Outstanding Ohioans show, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rikki Teeters, Owner/Founder of Ohio Explored LLC.  We had a great conversation about our mutual love for the Buckeye State, and discovered some things we had in common.

To connect with the Outstanding Ohioans show, here are a few ways:

I was so impressed to hear how Rikki pivoted from a great job in Portland, Oregon and how she envisioned and created Ohio Explored.  Here are some highlights from our conversation:

  • Growing up in Waverly, Ohio, and who her role models were
  • how she developed her creativity and technology skills
  • Her experience at Miami University, and how her User Experience Designer skills serve her in this ownership role
  • the value of combining interests and disciplines to create great work
  • her reason for starting Ohio Explored, based on a lack of information
  • what she wants the “heads down” generation to do
  • what surprises people about Ohio
  • what sites/attractions does she hear people talk about the most-among those we talked about were:  Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure, Hocking Hills, Cleveland Metroparks, Toledo Metroparks, Cincinnati Parks
  • what is her favorite place in Ohio
  • how to apply to be a featured Ohio Explorer
  • the Ohio Explored Product Line
  • she wants her legacy to be that “Ohio is a beautiful place and we need to enjoy it”

Connect with Ohio Explored on the website; instagram; twitter; facebook

Thank you for listening, have a great day!

The Outstanding Ohioans show, Episode 50-Interview with the Learning Leader Ryan Hawk @RyanHawk12

ryan hawk webpage cover

For episode 50, I had the pleasure of interview Ryan Hawk, who hosts an incredible, highly rated podcast called “The Learning Leader Show“.  Ryan is an amazing business leader who shares his message in many ways.

To connect with the show, here are a few ways:

Here were some highlights of our conversation:

  • growing up in Centerville, Ohio with two amazing parents and two brothers…he was given space to grow and learn
  • the impact of his football coaches
  • his thoughts on youth sport specialization vs. year-round competition
  • why he attended Miami University to play football, and why he transferred to Ohio University
  • what he learned about himself competing against Ben Roethlisberger
  • his professional football experience, and challenging transition from professional athlete into the business world
  • In his current work, why he embraces nervousness, anticipation, and competition
  • how a dinner with Todd Wagner changed his life
  • “Don’t follow your passion, have your passion follow you”
  • why the podcast medium is gaining in popularity, and the profile of podcast listeners
  • Developing his avatar for his podcasting platform
  • how he prepares for a conversation
  • how prospecting is important in sales and podcasting
  • developing your platform and leveraging it
  • his personal philosophy of leadership
  • People who “Kiss Up” & “Kick Down”
  • the importance of routine and 5-minute journaling
  • “My success only follows the success of my customers”, and why referrals are so valuable

Connect with Ryan at and

Here were some of the resources mentioned during this interview:

The Outstanding Ohioans show, Episode 47- Sunglasses for any situation, Interview with Dan Robinette, Sales Manager of @UmbraSunglasses


For episode 47 of The Outstanding Ohioans show, I had the great pleasure to interview Dan Robinette, Sales Manager for Umbra Sunglasses and an aspiring chemistry teacher.

To listen to the show, click on one of the following:

During our conversation, here were some of the topics we discussed:

  • Growing up in Dayton, Ohio and how he developed a fondness for the outdoors
  • the influential people who shaped his life
  • how he came to grow in his religious faith
  • why he is drawn to being outside facing the “challenge” of nature
  • what he got out of his time at Miami University
  • the story of how he met his wife in 2009
  • his occupations post-Miami and decision to visit Turkey
  • how his work in Turkey connected him to his current role with Umbra Sunglasses via Marvin Wilson
  • what makes the Umbra product so unique, including the name itself
  • his alternative pathway Ohio offers to becoming a teacher
  • His legacy challenge:  Raise his children to have a greater impact on the world than he has had
  • how to contact Umbra Sunglasses

To connect with me, you can email me at