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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017

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CELINA — Citizens National Bank, headquartered in Bluffton, recently donated $25,000 to the Wright State University-Lake Campus Rise! Shine! capital campaign. The funds are earmarked for Lake Campus capital projects, including the Agriculture & Water Quality Center, the Advanced Manufacturing Center, and an academic expansion.

On January 31, 1920, Citizens National Bank opened its doors for the first time in Bluffton, and 1920 financial documents indicate the bank began with $50,000 in capital and approximately four employees. Now, 97 years later, the bank has offices in Celina, Defiance, Elida, Findlay, Lima, Springfield, Toledo, and Van Wert and employs about 160 people. CNB Ohio serves customers primarily in 11 counties: Allen, Hancock, Putnam, Hardin, Auglaize, Mercer, Van Wert, Paulding, Clark, Defiance, and Lucas.

The Rise! Shine! campaign had its regional launch at the Lake Campus in March 2015. In October 2014, Wright State University launched a $150 million fundraising campaign that was co-chaired by Tom Hanks, Academy Award winning actor, and Amanda Wright Lane, great grandniece of Wilbur and Orville Wright, the university’s namesake.

The campaign’s mission was to “create a level playing field for all our students to light their imagination with possibilities and to make necessary investments to help all students achieve, serve our communities, and advance applied research that answers important questions and creates jobs.”

To find out more about the Rise! Shine campaign, log onto http://rise.shine.wright.edu/.

Shown are (from the left) CNB Business Banking Officer Chris Dippold, Western Ohio Educational Foundation Development Officer Julie Miller, CNB President CEO Mike Romey (handing the check to Dr. Jay Albayyari, dean/chief administrative officer of WSU-Lake Campus), CNB Senior Vice President Rod Stover of the Celina banking office. (WSU-LC photo)

Shown are (from the left) CNB Business Banking Officer Chris Dippold, Western Ohio Educational Foundation Development Officer Julie Miller, CNB President CEO Mike Romey (handing the check to Dr. Jay Albayyari, dean/chief administrative officer of WSU-Lake Campus), CNB Senior Vice President Rod Stover of the Celina banking office. (WSU-LC photo)

POSTED: 02/21/17 at 8:26 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

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ST. MARYS — Cisco Realty Inc. in St. Marys welcomes its newest real estate agent, Bonnie Marlow of Delphos.

Marlow received her real estate education from Hondros College in Toledo and also has a degree in public relations from Bowling Green State University.

Bonnie Marlow

Bonnie Marlow

She successfully completed the national and state real estate test in January and is a member of the Midwestern Ohio Association of Realtors.

Marlow brings over 10 years of marketing experience with her to Cisco Realty. She is also currently employed at K&M Tire in Delphos as the assistant marketing/programs manager. At K&M Tire she helped to grow membership in an industry organization from 125 members to over 1,000 members in just seven years by utilizing her marketing skills, negotiating deals with vendors for associates, and selling the benefits of the program.

Passionate about family and friends, the move into real estate was natural. Caring for the community and its residents, Marlow has volunteered at the Delphos Relay for Life for over five years, has helped to raise money for the United Way, and served as a Girl Scout leader when her three girls were younger.

Specializing in residential and commercial real estate, Marlow will represent both buyers and sellers. She is excited and looking forward to offering personalized service to area residents. Find out more about Marlow by visiting her website at www.BonnieOhioRealtor.com or her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Bonnie.realtor.ohio.

Contact Marlow at 419.513.0378 or send her an email at bonnie@ciscorealty.com.

POSTED: 02/16/17 at 8:42 am. FILED UNDER: Business

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First Financial Bank is pleased to welcome Pedro Campos as the new vice president/retail market manager.

Pedro Campos

Pedro Campos

Campos will focus on leading and supporting the northern Ohio retail banking centers. He is responsible for the overall success of the banking centers and providing leadership through employee development, along with deposit and loan growth.

Campos will work out of the First Financial banking center at 1163 S. Shannon St. in Van Wert.

“Pedro brings a wealth of experience to First Financial and we are excited to add him to our Northern Ohio Market,” said George Brooks, First Financial market president. “We’re confident Pedro will meet and exceed our clients’ expectations.”

Campos comes to First Financial Bank with over 12 years of banking experience, most recently as a branch manager at Wells Fargo. He earned his degree in business administration from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

In addition to his professional experience, Campos served in the United States Navy. He has a passion for the community and looks forward to joining the local Chamber and non-profit organizations in the region.

Take another step on the path to success and schedule an appointment with Campos today by emailing Pedro.Campos@bankatfirst.com. For more information about First Financial, visit www.bankatfirst.com or www.facebook.com/firstfinancialbank.

POSTED: 02/02/17 at 7:53 am. FILED UNDER: Business

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Keith Goad has been hired as chief financial officer for both Central Mutual Insurance Company and All America Insurance Company.

Keith Goad

Keith Goad

As CFO, Goad holds overall accountability for the company’s finance, investments, accounting, actuarial, analytics, risk management, and innovation functions.

Goad comes to Central from Nationwide Insurance, where he was most recently an associate vice president in the Office of Corporate Strategy. Prior to that, he was associate vice president/CFO of Nationwide’s Growth Solutions & Direct division for several years. Before joining Nationwide, Goad was involved with financial planning and analysis in the energy industry.

Goad earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and his Master of Business Administration (corporate finance and strategy) from The Ohio State University. He is a certified valuation analyst (CVA).

He serves on the Board of Governors for The Ohio State University Honors & Scholars program, is a board member of The Ohio State University Risk Institute, and has served as an adjunct professor for Franklin University and Ohio State University.

Central Mutual Insurance Company was founded in Van Wert in 1876 and provides insurance for more than 350,000 automobiles, homes, and businesses in 20 states. The Central group of companies has combined assets of over $1 billion. Central’s A.M. Best rating is A (Excellent).

POSTED: 01/20/17 at 8:05 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

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Gary Clay, president of Van Wert Federal Savings Bank, has announced the appointment of Mike Keysor to the bank’s Board of Directors.

Mike Keysor

Mike Keysor

Keysor serves on the Board of Trustees of Van Wert County Hospital, as president of the Van Wert County Regional Airport Authority, treasurer of the Lincolnview Bible Board, and is on the Community Health Professionals/Visiting Nurses Association Board of Directors.

Keysor is a 1987 graduate of Paulding High School and a 1991 graduate of the University of Toledo, with a bachelor’s degree in business management.

He began working during college at RDSI, a subsidiary of The State Bank and Trust. After graduation, he was hired full-time at the State Bank and Trust. In 1992, Keysor began working for Custom Assembly — a family owned business. He currently serves as president of Custom Assembly, which has seven different locations throughout the United States.

Keysor lives in the Van Wert community with his wife, Kelly, and two children, Jacob and Delaney.

POSTED: 12/08/16 at 8:42 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

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Leland Smith Insurance Services and the Hickey-Morris Insurance Agency are pleased to announce the addition of Kyle Strawn to its sales force. Strawn has more than four years of insurance experience, most recently as a territory manager with Auto-Owners Insurance Company in the Toledo area.

Kyle Strawn

Kyle Strawn

Strawn was born in Van Wert and later moved to Lima, where he graduated from Shawnee High School. He then went on to continue his education at Adrian College in Michigan, earing his degree in business management while also being a four-year letter winner on the baseball team.

Strawn is a huge sports fan and recently started coaching baseball. He and his fiancé, Lindsay, are also looking forward to their upcoming wedding in 2017.

Area residents are invited to stop by the Hickey-Morris Agency in Delphos and let Strawn help them with insurance needs. Strawn said he is looking forward to being part of the Delphos community.

Leland Smith Insurance Services is an independent insurance agency representing multiple insurance companies, offering home, auto, business, life, and health insurance at locations in Van Wert and Antwerp; Shisler Insurance Agency in Paulding; Kulwicki-Hilton Insurance Agency in Convoy and Ottoville; and Hickey-Morris Insurance Agency in Delphos.

Find more information, access the company’s website at www.lelandsmith.com.

POSTED: 11/23/16 at 9:36 am. FILED UNDER: Business

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The eighth annual Entrepreneurship Fair scheduled for this Saturday, November 12, at Vantage Career Center has been postponed until early next year.

In the meantime, those who need immediate assistance with starting their own business should contact Jennifer Rigdon with the Wright State University-Lake Campus Business Enterprise Center at 419.513.5111, Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce President Susan Munroe at 419.238.4390 or Main Street Van Wert Program Manager Adam Ries at 419.238.6911.

POSTED: 11/08/16 at 10:10 pm. FILED UNDER: Business, News

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The Central Insurance Companies were recently awarded the prestigious Pinnacle Award from Applied Systems at the Applied User Group National Convention held in Orlando, Florida.

The Pinnacle Award recognizes Applied’s best customers and business partners for technology innovation and business success. Of the five Pinnacle awards given out this year, Central was the only carrier out of several hundred in the industry to receive this recognition.

Central’s Sr. Vice President of Information Technology John White (right) accepts the Pinnacle Award from Reid French, CEO of Applied Systems. (photo submitted)

Central’s Sr. Vice President of Information Technology John White (right) accepts the Pinnacle Award from Reid French, CEO of Applied Systems. (photo submitted)

“Central has been a great partner with Applied and IVANS, and we are proud to recognize them as one of this year’s Pinnacle Award winners,” said Reid French, CEO of Applied Systems. “Central’s technology strategy embraces automation to increase internal productivity and ease of doing business with agency partners through technology like commercial download, IVANS Market Appetite, Applied Rating, and ACORD eDocs, enabling Central to provide a greater customer experience to both agents and the end insured. In this digital world, connectivity is critical to enhancing competitive advantage and driving growth, and we applaud Central’s efforts to drive digital transformation throughout the insurance industry.”

“Applied, IVANS, and Central share a common vision to provide the best user experience for our partners in the independent agency system,” said Central’s Senior Vice President of Information Technology John White. “Working together in a digital world, we can enable agents and insureds with the information necessary to quickly and accurately satisfy their daily needs. Our technology and service capabilities are critical in providing the competitive edge our partners need to realize growth and profitability in their organization.”

Central Mutual Insurance Company was founded in 1876, and has evolved into the Central Insurance Companies, a successful property and casualty group providing insurance for more than 350,000 automobiles, homes, and businesses in 20 states. Central is based in Van Wert, Ohio and operates regional offices in Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, and Van Wert. The Central group of companies has combined assets of over $1 billion. Central’s A.M. Best rating is A (excellent).

POSTED: 10/26/16 at 7:19 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

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CINCINNATI — First Financial Bancorp announced financial results for the third quarter 2016. For the three months ended September 30, the company reported net income of $22.9 million, or 37 cents per diluted common share.

These results compare to net income of $22.6 million, or 36 cents per diluted common share, for the second quarter of 2016 and $18.7 million, or 30 cents per diluted common share, for the third quarter of 2015. For the nine months ended September 30, First Financial had earnings per diluted common share of $1.05, compared to 89 cents for the same period in 2015.

Return on average assets for the third quarter of 2016 was 1.09 percent, while return on average tangible common equity was 14.08 percent. These compare to a return on average assets of 1.11 percent and return on average tangible common equity of 14.49 percent in the second quarter of 2016 and a return on average assets of 0.97 percent and a return on average tangible common equity of 12.33 percent in the third quarter of 2015.

Third quarter highlights include:

  • First Financial Bank logo-color-2-2014Loans increased $88.3 million, or 6.2 percent on an annualized basis, from the linked quarter
  • Stable net interest margin of 3.61 percent; 3.66 percent on a fully tax equivalent basis
  • Provision expense declined $2.4 million consistent with stable credit quality
  • Noninterest income included $0.4 million of gains on sales of investment securities
  • Noninterest expense included $0.8 million of severance costs, $0.2 million of gains related to branch consolidation activities and a $0.2 million legal recovery
  • Efficiency ratio of 59.6 percent
  • Effective tax rate of 30.7 percent included seasonal adjustments

“We are extremely pleased with another quarter of solid results, which produced our 104th consecutive quarter of profitability, said First Financial CEO Claude Davis. “Solid demand in our metropolitan markets resulted in annualized loan growth of 6.2 percent for the quarter.

“Net interest margin remained stable and our third quarter results reflect continued discipline in managing expenses as well as a steady credit environment,” Davis added. “As we look to close 2016 on a positive note, we will focus on continuing the momentum generated through the first three quarters and delivering on our stated goals of top quartile performance and being a premier business bank.”

POSTED: 10/24/16 at 2:37 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

The Marsh Foundation has hired Melissa Gearhart, LSW, as the agency’s new supervisor of its foster care division. Gearhart will oversee consultation, recruitment, licensing and maintenance of The Marsh’s foster care program.

Melissa Gearhart

Melissa Gearhart

Gearhart holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Defiance College and is a Licensed Social Worker. After beginning her career at The Marsh as a family teacher in the residential group home program, she went on to serve as a foster care consultant at Adriel for nearly five years.

“Over the past several years, foster care has been my passion. I love connecting kids to families as well as connecting these families to kids,” Gearhart said. “I am so excited to be able to do this back in my hometown.”

She also said that she is looking forward to her new position.

“My goal here at The Marsh Foundation is to grow our foster program to not only be able to help a wider variety of kids, but also to be able to offer our foster families a bigger network of support and services,” Gearhart added. “We already have many exciting things in the works for the foster program and I can’t wait to see them take shape.”

Originally from the Van Wert area, Gearhart is a Lincolnview High School graduate. She enjoys spending her time away from work with her 2-year-old daughter, Elliot.

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children’s services agency that provides behavioral treatment in a variety of settings. Services include group homes, family foster care for children 0-18, an intensive treatment program and independent living.

The mission of The Marsh Foundation is to inspire hope, to teach and to care for children and families. For more information about The Marsh, visit www.marshfoundation.org.

POSTED: 10/19/16 at 6:53 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News