The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, May. 27, 2018

VW independent/submitted information

“Connecting the Dots” was the message at the Central Mutual Insurance Company’s annual policyholders’ meeting held May 9 in Van Wert.

President and Chairman of the Board F.W. Purmort noted the “dots” represent the different facets of the company: its values, its people, the actions it takes, and the results it hopes to achieve.

“Each dot has value,” said Purmort. “They connect what we value with what we want our company to be. The ideals of integrity, relationships, and excellence resonate in everything we do as individuals and as a company to maintain the financial strength to provide security, protection, and peace of mind to our policyholders.”

Purmort noted the company grew the strength of its Policyholders’ Security Fund by 10.6 percent to an all-time high of $822 million. The fund not only allows the company to be adequately prepared to respond to a catastrophe, but to maintain a long-term viewpoint on products and pricing, as well as the ability to invest in the future.

“Connecting our value proposition to the people we serve drives the actions that produce positive results,” Purmort said. “It’s a simplistic but challenging plan in the market we’re in, but we’ve executed it successfully.”

In conclusion, Purmort thanked policyholders for their investment in the company and noted that Central will continue to connect the dots and deliver on its promise.

“We have a fantastic group of people who come to work and do much more than just show up,” he said. “We solve problems and create solutions. We interact with our partners and customers who want to help us make this company more than it was yesterday. That is a great connection.”

Thad Eikenbary, vice president and treasurer, began the treasurer’s report by stating, “I am pleased to report that Central Mutual continued to add to its outstanding financial position in calendar year 2017.”


POSTED: 05/26/18 at 1:41 pm. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

Edward Jones is recognizing May 29 as Save for Education Day, a companywide holiday that’s name is derived from a popular education savings tool called a 529 Plan.

Eric Hurless is hosting a “529 Day” ice cream social from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, May 29, at Sycamore Ice Cream, 1126 Westwood Drive, to help Van Wert residents recognize the significance of the day. Children may attend and participants are encouraged to wear their favorite college apparel to get into the college spirit.

“At Edward Jones, we know that seven out of 10 families do not have 529 savings plans for their children’s future education expenses, so we are hoping to build awareness of the many options families have to help pay for these expenses,” said Hurless, whose office is located at 1119 Westwood Drive..

Edward Jones, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, provides financial services in the United States and, through its affiliate, in Canada. Every aspect of the firm’s business, from the investments its financial advisors offer to the location of its branch offices, caters to individual investors. The firm’s 16,000-plus financial advisors serve more than 7 million clients and care for $1 trillion in assets under management.

Visit the firm’s website at and its recruiting website at Member SIPC

POSTED: 05/26/18 at 1:38 pm. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

Keister & Baker Law Office welcomes a new attorney to its firm. Justin Dickman recently joined the firm as an associate attorney after he was sworn in at Van Wert County Common Pleas Court. In his new role, he will practice in areas that include real estate, estate planning, and business law.

New attorney Justin Dickman is sworn in by Van Wert County Common Pleas Judge Martin Burchfield. photo provided

Dickman graduated from Ohio Northern University’s College of Law in December 2011. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and communications, graduating summa cum laudefrom Youngstown State University in 2009 and is a 2006 Van Wert High School alumnus.

Prior to his employment at Keister & Baker Law Office, Dickman had been a licensed attorney in Michigan since May 2012, where he most recently was the legislative counsel for the Michigan Townships Association. Dickman has extensive experience serving on staff for both state and federal legislators, serving as a law clerk in the U.S. House of Representatives and as chief of staff and legislative director in the Michigan Senate.

Dickman is married to Dr. Rachel (White) Dickman, who is originally from New Lothrop, Michigan. She is currently a post-doctoral research fellow in education policy at the University of Southern California and will soon join the faculty at Old Dominion University as a tenure track professor in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership. The couple now resides in Van Wert.

Dickman is the son of Denny and Maribeth Dickman of Van Wert County and the brother of Brittany (Dickman) Adams of Herndon, Virginia.

“I am ecstatic to be back home in Van Wert,” Dickman said. “It has been a dream of mine to come to my home town and serve friends and neighbors through the practice of law.

“Van Wert County is a great place to be a part of a community and raise a family. Keister & Baker is an exceptional firm and I am thrilled to join the team,” he added.

Dickman joins attorneys Steve Keister, Aaron Baker, and Keri McClure.

POSTED: 05/17/18 at 9:38 pm. FILED UNDER: Business

Purmort Brothers Insurance Agency was named the winner of the Blue Streak Circle of Achievement Regional Agency of the Year award. The Agency of the Year award is Central Mutual Insurance Company’s highest honor and annually recognizes the agency that has demonstrated superior performance in production, retention, customer service, and underwriting. Purmort Brothers Insurance Agency’s consistent commitment to these areas has earned them the honor of receiving this award. Purmort Brothers Insurance Agency has been recognized as one of the most trusted, locally owned insurance agencies in northwest Ohio. For more than 143 years, the agency has built strong and loyal relationships with its customers, companies, and the community. Shown are (from the left) Michele Purmort-Mooney, Purmort Brothers CEO; and Dianne K. Byrne, senior account specialist, and Deidra Gunderman, personal lines underwriter, at Central Insurance Company. photo provided

POSTED: 05/17/18 at 9:33 pm. FILED UNDER: Business

The Convoy Business Association welcomed a new business, McCoy Automotive, this week. Quality services business owner Taylor McCoy provides includes dent repair, rust repair, mechanical work, bedliner spray for pickups, rocker liners, painting, patch panels, and rebuilds, quality work. Those interested can call for an appointment at 567.259.7895.Shown are (from the left) Jason Burns, McCoy, Max Oberly, and David Kulwicki. photo provided

POSTED: 05/09/18 at 7:53 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

VW independent/submitted information

The Central Insurance Companies was recently awarded the prestigious Best Practices Award of Excellence from the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”). This is the 11th consecutive year the company has received this award.

Evan Purmort (right), vice president and Northeast Regional Office manager for Central, accepts the Best Practices Award of Excellence from Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president and CEO. photo provided

The award recognizes those companies that have made imaginative, outstanding, and unique contributions in advocating Best Practices philosophies that enhance the independent agency system. The Big “I” Best Practices Program provides performance benchmarks and business strategies that serve as a guide to improving agency performance. Central was one of only five insurance carriers nationwide to receive the award.

Central has long been a supporter of the Best Practices program, sharing these best practices concepts with agents through education and business consulting, its website, and monthly agency newsletters.

Central’s Vibrant Personal Lines Program, in consultation with Reagan Consulting Inc., uses the Best Practices studies to educate agencies on developing and growing their personal lines books of business. Throughout the years, the response has been very positive and the program has proven to be beneficial to both Central and the agencies who have participated.

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 businessesin 23 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: 05/03/18 at 8:47 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

Staffmark, a leading provider of staffing services, announces the addition of six new computer kiosk stations in Van Wert. These kiosks can be used by applicants to submit job applications online and complete their hiring paperwork in the office.

“We have seen tremendous growth throughout the entire Van Wert area,” said Nicole Bristoll, Staffmark branch manager. “These new kiosks will allow us to keep pace with this growth and provide additional job opportunities for our employees.

“Having six kiosks will allow us to take walk in candidates and allow the candidates to complete the process same day,” she added. “We are excited about this opportunity.”

The addition of the six kiosks will allow the office to accept walk-in applicants daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., instead of having to make appointments, offering employment opportunities to the citizens of Van Wert and the surrounding areas.

There will be a ribboncutting and grand opening celebration on Friday, May 11, at 8:30 a.m. at the Staffmark office. The public is invited to attend.

POSTED: 05/03/18 at 8:43 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert Health Pediatrics is proud to welcome Teri Grothaus, Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP), to its pediatric team in Van Wert. Grothaus will join pediatric providers Jane Sande, M.D., and Allison Harting, Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP).

Teri Grothaus

“We are excited to have Teri join our pediatric team,” shared Dr. Sande.  “She has a gentle and kind-hearted way of working with patients that makes children and their families feel comfortable.”

Grothaus received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the University of Phoenix and received her Master of Science degree from Wright State University in Dayton.

Prior to joining the Van Wert Health pediatrics practice, Grothaus worked for Pediatrics of Lima as a CPNP; at Lutheran Children’s Hospital in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit; and at Dayton Children’s Hospital in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

In addition to more than 24 years of experience working with patients, Grothaus is also a national spokesperson for Safe Haven Baby Boxes and has participated in several medical mission trips to Guatemala with Refuge International, a non-profit organization based out of Longview, Texas.

“I love what I do and am thrilled to be caring for patients at the Van Wert Health Pediatric practice,” Grothaus noted. “I see myself as both a healthcare provider and an advocate for patients and their families.

“It’s important to me to not only treat acute illnesses, but to teach healthy habits early on for each of my patients,” she added.

Grothaus spent much of her early childhood living in the Van Wert area and is a graduate of Delphos Jefferson High School.

“I’m thrilled to return to Van Wert and to see many familiar faces,” Grothaus said. “My first pediatric nursing position was at Van Wert Health in 1993. Though a lot has changed since then, I can confidently say that it’s so good to be home.”

POSTED: 04/30/18 at 7:14 am. FILED UNDER: Business

VW independent/submitted information

ROCKFORD – Lisa Rolfes, Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP), recently joined the practice at Van Wert Health Family Medicine Associates, located in Rockford.

Lisa Rolfes

Rolfes will join medical staff providers Dr. Jerry Sell, Dr. Norman Means, and Rona Dellinger, APRN, CNP.

“Lisa is a tremendous addition to Van Wert Health Rockford, and we are pleased to welcome her to our team,” said Jerry Sell, MD.

Rolfes received her Bachelor of Science nursing degree from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and received her Master of Science family nurse practitioner degree from Kaplan University, which is headquartered in Davenport, Iowa. Prior to coming to Van Wert Health/Rockford, Rolfes worked for St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima as a Registered Nurse in the intensive care unit and post-anesthesia care unit.

“I love the field of medicine and caring for patients of all ages,” shared Rolfes. “I especially enjoy helping patients attain better physical and mental health, and ultimately improving their quality of life.”

Rolfes is accepting new pediatric and adult patients. To schedule an appointment, call 419.363.3008.

About Van Wert Health

Van Wert Health is an independent, nonprofit community hospital and physician group that provides comprehensive healthcare to Van Wert County and the surrounding region. The organization works to meet the health needs of its patients by continually assessing and improving the quality of care it provides. Van Wert Health has served the region since 1905. The organization’s patient-focused approach is at the forefront of its mission to be the best community hospital.

POSTED: 04/30/18 at 7:10 am. FILED UNDER: Business

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Employees and board members of ambulance makers Braun Industries and Demers Ambulances gathered Wednesday — just 86 days after a merger of the two companies — for a ribboncutting ceremony celebrating the completion of work on a new production line at Braun to manufacture smaller ambulances on van chassis.

Both Kim Braun, president/CEO of local Braun Industries, and Alain Brunelle, CEO of Canadian ambulance maker Demers Ambulances, were pleased with the quick work on the expansion at Braun. The new line, sited in the former Life Star Rescue facility north of Braun’s main plant, adds 20 jobs at the Van Wert-based company.

“A lot of people made this happen,” Braun said, commending the quick work needed to get the production line operational. “One of those milestones that you remember for a very long time in what we accomplished together.”

Kim Braun of Braun Industries and Alain Brunelle of Demers Ambulances cut the ribbon Wednesday on a new production line for smaller Type II ambulances. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

“We see the difference today because of the people, we see a difference because of the passion of the people, their knowledge, so we can see a good ramp up here, and we have maybe lots of projects to go forward, lots of units to be built,” Brunelle noted. “This is a good start, a beginning, and we expect a lot from this place.”

The two companies, Braun Industries, which has been manufacturing quality ambulances since 1972, and Demers, established in 1960 and now Canada’s largest ambulance manufacturer and the second largest in North America, announced their merger in February.

“The time is right to partner with Demers Ambulances, company that shares our values, spirit of innovation, and commitment to quality and customers,” Braun said during the merger announcement. “As the family contemplated many growth plans for a successful future, joining another successful brand that creates value for our workforce and customers was top of mind.”

Braun continues to lead her company’s day-to-day operations, while Brunelle will head the combined company.

“We are very pleased with our progress in strengthening our presence and pursuing growth,” Brunelle said during the merger announcement. “Partnering with Braun provides us the right opportunity to better serve and service our customers, strengthen our employee base, and enhance our capacity to operate and innovate in a competitive, global industry.”

POSTED: 04/26/18 at 6:40 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News