Campus to Career Connections (Ohio Business Magazine Feature)

By Eric Spangler

By Eric Spangler

Rob Twitchell knows the value of an education from an independent college in Ohio. Twitchell, the COO of Reliant Capital, an accounts receivable management company headquartered in Gahanna, Ohio, graduated from Ohio Northern University, an independent university located in Ada, Ohio.

That’s one of the reasons Twitchell says Reliant Capital recently decided to make a donation to The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges to fund three renewable scholarships for students attending one of 33 independent colleges and universities in Ohio.

The only stipulation for the scholarship is that students preferably live in Franklin County and contiguous counties, since that’s where Reliant Capital is located; they should major in business, communication, finance or marketing; and must meet the academic standards of The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges and demonstrate financial need, says Twitchell.

“We just kind of feel that as our company grows it’s our responsibility as a corporate citizen to give back to the community,” Twitchell says. “And since we support the higher-education industry it just kind of made sense for us to get involved and support their work.”

Reliant Capital helps colleges by managing their outstanding debt, he says. “We treat our borrowers with dignity and respect,” says Twitchell. “The institutions we support are extremely important to us and expect us to treat their alumni and former students well and we pride ourselves on doing that.”

He says Reliant Capital does everything possible to help people resolve their distressed loans so they can get back on with their life. “We just want to make sure that we participate in every phase of this by offering scholarships and helping people make it more affordable and hopefully people don’t end up as our customers,” Twitchell says.

Making a donation for scholarships is important to Reliant Capital because the money is being used to make a difference in students’ lives, he says. “I’m personally a big fan of a liberal arts education and I’ve seen the value of it in my own life.

“I realize that there are some people that might be on the edge of being able to afford attending one of these schools,” Twitchell says.

Scholarships through The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges gives companies access to the state’s future workforce.

Scholarships through The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges gives companies access to the state’s future workforce.

Scholarships through The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges gives companies access to the state’s future workforce.

It’s that personal touch that has elevated The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges, the national leader in providing unrestricted gifts and student scholarships to Ohio’s independent colleges and universities since its founding in 1950 to now, says Bill Spiker, president of the organization. Until 1986 the group raised money through corporate donations for general expenses at its member institutions, he says.

But The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges started raising money from corporate donors specifically for student scholarships at member institutions in 1986.

“I like to say we dipped our toe in the water in 1986 and then today we’re up about chest high,” says Spiker. Today, about three-fourths of the money the group raises is distributed back to its member schools in the form of scholarships, he says.

The scholarships have been successful because corporate officials like to know where their gift is going and what their money is supporting, Spiker says.

Twitchell agrees with that assessment. “I really can’t stress enough that the money for The [Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges] goes right to the student so we’re getting the money right to the point of need, which I think is pretty critical,” Twitchell says.

Corporate officials can even get introduced to a scholarship recipient and that may lead to a new employee upon graduation, he says.

“Students may have a choice as to where they want to start their career and if a company has stepped forward with a contribution to help reduce the cost of attending a member school then that student may look more favorably on joining that company,” says Spiker. “So it’s a way of establishing that relationship,” he says.

That relationship creates a “campus to career connection,” Spiker says. “That’s what we’re saying to corporate Ohio, we’ve got something to return to you,” he says.  “It’s not just, ‘Give us money and we’ll do a good job with it.’ It’s really saying to them we can potentially give you a return on your investment, especially if you’re hiring.”

The scholarships provided by The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges are creating a talent pipeline for corporate Ohio, says Spiker. “The reason we exist is to raise money from corporate Ohio, return it to the students who are attending the member campuses, making their education affordable and creating a future workforce for Ohio,” he says.

That, in turn, may help keep Ohio’s economy strong and growing. Twitchell says it’s well documented that Ohio is going to face a shortfall of qualified workers in the very new future. By providing scholarships to students with financial needs businesses are making it possible to address that shortfall of qualified workers, he says.

Spiker agrees that keeping qualified workers in Ohio is important to the economy and says the scholarships offered by his organization are creating a talent pipeline for Ohio business.

Twitchell succinctly sums up the scholarship program and its importance to the state’s economy. “I think by participating in this [scholarship program] we’re making the Ohio economy better, which benefits us all,” says Twitchell.

OFIC Names Liz Johnson, Cindi Marshall, Regional Vice Presidents for Development

Liz Johnson

Liz Johnson

Liz Johnson has been named Regional Vice President for Development, NE Ohio. "Liz has a great background in both fundraising and sales which will allow her to be successful in approaching Northeast Ohio business leaders in support of Ohio's independent colleges and universities," said OFIC President Bill Spiker. Most recently, Johnson was the Director of the Mount Union Fund at the University of Mount Union. Under her direction, the university raised over $5 million in philanthropic support toward the Fund during her three years as director.

A graduate of Cuyahoga Falls High School, Johnson enrolled at the University of Mount Union and with her liberal arts education in Communications and Elementary Education secured, Johnson began her business career upon graduation in 1993.  First hired as a patient representative at Berger Hospital (Circleville), followed by three years as a professional representative of pharmaceutical giant, Merck & Co., Johnson then extended her sales career with a very successful eight-year engagement with Progressive Insurance (Mayfield).  Prior to joining the advancement staff at Mount Union, Johnson worked six years for the Solon Board of Education as an educational aide. Johnson resides in Solon with her husband, Matt, and two high school aged children, Connor and Evan.

Liz will be responsible for Northeast Ohio regional campaigns of OFIC in greater Akron, Canton, Cleveland and Youngstown seeking support from businesses, corporations, private foundations, and individuals. 

Cindi Marshall, MCM

Cindi Marshall, MCM

Liz joins Cindi Marshall, MCM, who has been promoted from Senior Director to Regional Vice President for Development. Cindi has been with OFIC for 4.5 years and has 20 years of resource development experience, which includes leadership development positions benefitting higher education, health and human service, and health care organizations. Cindi holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Science in Communications and Marketing. Cindi will continue to be responsible for seeking support from businesses, corporations, private foundations, and individuals in Central Ohio, and in Western Ohio from Cincinnati and Dayton, north to Toledo.

Marietta names Dr. William Ruud as its 19th President

Marietta College announced today that Dr. William N. Ruud, current President at the University of Northern Iowa, will be the College’s 19th President. Dr. Ruud will succeed Dr. Joseph Bruno, whose four-year tenure at Marietta ended on May 13.

Dr. Ruud will begin his Marietta presidency on July 3, and Tim Cooper ’73 will serve as interim President until his arrival.

2012 OFIC Service-Learning Leadership Award recipient Jenelle Krumlauf named to Business First's Forty under 40

Jenelle Krumlauf, founder and president of Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, and 2012 OFIC Service-Learning Leadership award recipient (Ohio Dominican University '13), has been named to Columbus Business First's Forty under 40 list this year.

Ashland University Names New President

ASHLAND, Ohio – The Ashland University Board of Trustees has announced that it has hired Dr. Carlos Campo as the 30th president of Ashland University. Campo has considerable experience in higher education, including serving as president of Regent University. He will start in his new role on June 1, 2015.

“We have conducted a thorough, national search for our next leader, and we are very excited to be able to announce that Dr. Carlos Campo has been selected to serve as the next president of Ashland University,” said AU Board Chair Lisa Miller. “Dr. Campo is a proven, highly motivated and accomplished higher education professional with more than 25 years of exemplary experience, from professor to university president.”

Campo replaces Dr. William Crothers, who is serving as an interim president for one year while the board launched a national search for the new president.

The newly selected president and his wife, Karen, said they were anxious to get settled in Ashland.

“Karen and I look forward to getting to know the Ashland community,” Campo said. “In our brief visit, we were impressed by how kindly we were treated and the real sense of community we felt.”

Campo also noted that “the Ashland University community blends excellence and tradition in such a way that reflected their commitment to quality and the individual. We are honored and blessed to become a part of Eagle Nation.”