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Area targeted for renewable energy program, 1,200 jobs


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and in the tri-county area has been chosen to promote the cultivation of crops that can be pro- cessed into renewable energy, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced.


Acreage in Lake and Geauga counties is included as


one of four Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) project areas designated to grow giant miscanthus, a ster- ile, hybrid, warm-season grass that can be converted into energy to be used for heat, power, liquid biofuels and bio- based products. Project Area No. 5 is in parts of Ohio and Pennsyl-


vania and targets 2011 enrollment of 5,344 acres in Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake and Trumbull counties in Ohio and Crawford, Erie and Mercer counties in Pennsylva- nia. The sponsor for this project is Aloterra Energy, and the project area surrounds the company’s biomass con- version facility in Ashtabula. “Renewable, home-grown, clean energy from Ameri-


can producers is vital to our country’s energy future be- cause it reduces our reliance on foreign oil and creates good-paying production jobs that cannot be exported,” Vilsack said. “Today’s announcement will make a sig- nificant contribution to rural America and create nearly 4,000 jobs, demonstrating the great economic potential the production of renewable energy holds for our rural communities.” It is estimated that each of the four project areas and


conversion facilities (others are in Arkansas and two in Missouri) will earn about $50 million per year. Accord- ing to industry estimates, a large number of biorefinery, agriculture and support jobs will be created in each area. The Ohio project is expected to add 1,200 jobs. These


numbers are estimated based on an economic impact study that measures the amount of jobs the projects will generate by 2014. There also is the possibility of estab- lishing “green hubs” in the project areas leading to other green industries, including green industrial parks. Yields for biomass from giant miscanthus are expected


to range between 10 and 12 tons of dry matter per acre and can be as high as 15 tons per acre. BCAP project areas provide financial incentives to eligible agriculture producers to establish dedicated energy crops that will


be used for production of heat, power, liquid biofuels or bio-based products. USDA provides an opportunity for teams of crop pro-


ducers and bioenergy facilities to submit proposals to USDA to be selected as a BCAP project area. Selected producers are eligible for reimbursements of up to 75 percent of the cost of establishing a perennial bioenergy crop. They can receive up to five years of annual pay- ments for herbaceous crops (annual or perennial) and up to 15 years of annual payments for woody crops (annual or perennial).


“ BE THERE, DO THAT


For more business events in the tri-county area, visit www.TriCountyBusinessJournal.com and click on the “events” button


» July 11: On-Base Business Start-Up Seminar Description: At the conclusion of this class, you will know what it takes to start a business. Some topics covered include your business idea, market research, writing a business plan, resources, ownership structures, record keeping and financing. Cost: free. Registration is required at 440-357-2290, ext. 235, or ivell@lcport.org. Location: Auburn Career Center, Concord Township Time: 6-10 p.m.


» July 20: Cloud Computing Seminar Description:Cornerstone IT will hold a seminar to help companies determine if cloud-based computing is right for your business applications. This seminar will discuss availability issues, technical support, advanced technologies, user friendliness and more. Cost: free, but registration is required at 440-639-1234 or rpaganini@ cornerstoneit.com. Location: LaMalfa, 5783 Heisley Road, Mentor Time: 8 a.m.-noon


» July 22: Lake County Safety Council Description:George LaPorte of Bureau Vertas North America will speak on back safety. Cost: $18 reporting members, $20 non-reporting members. RSVP by July 18 at www.councilnews.org. For more information, 440-255-0877. Location: LaMalfa, 5783 Heisley Road, Mentor Time: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.


» July 26 & Aug. 2: HR Essentials Description: This two-day course gives a broad overview of the human resource function and is designed for anyone involved with human resources. Instructors will be ERC's HR Help Desk professionals and Maribeth Wuertz, an employment, human resources and labor law attorney from Fisher & Phillips LLP. Cost: $225 ERC members, $275 non-members. Advance registration required at www.ercnet.org/events_


new/event.aspx?id=934. Location: ERC Workplace Center, 6700 Beta Drive, Suite 300, Mayfield Village Time: 9 a.m.-noon


» July 27: Fast Track Career Fair Description: Have you been laid off, downsized or just looking to change your career? If this sounds like you, then attend Summer Career Fair. Cost: free, but pre-register at fasttrackcareerfairs.org. For more information, call 440-447-0513. Location: Radisson, 35000 Curtis Blvd., Eastlake Time: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.


» July 28: Western Lake Chamber New-Member Orientation Description: If you joined the Western Lake County Chamber of Commerce in the last year and have not attended an orientation session, then this is for you. Learn more about the benefits of chamber membership. Cost: free for members. Register at www.westernlakecountychamber.org. Location: Chamber office, 28855 Euclid Ave., Wickliffe Time: 7:30-8:30 a.m.


» July 28: Lake County Chambers of Commerce Annual Membership Appreciation Event Description: Half-price beer and soda, free appetizers, free admission to Lake County Captains game vs. Bowling Green Hot Rods. Cost: free, with free parking at Bryant & Stratton College, 35350 Curtis Blvd., Eastlake. Due to ticketing, reservations are mandatory on any of the Lake County chambers websites. Location: Classic Park, 35300 Vine St., Eastlake Time: 5-7 p.m., with game at 7.


» Aug. 19: Lake County Safety Council Description:Marianne Crawford of the American Red Cross will speak on first aid in the workplace. Cost: $18 reporting members, $20 non-reporting members. RSVP by Aug. 15 at www.councilnews.org. For more information, 440-255-0877. Location: LaMalfa, 5783 Heisley


Road, Mentor Time: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.


» Aug. 24 & 31: Emerging Leaders Series Description: This two-part series covers professional etiquette in and out of the workplace, communication skills and the traits of a strong leader. Aug. 24: Social Styles and Interpersonal Communications. Aug. 31: The 24/7 Professional (featuring special keynote lunch: “Straight Talk on Leadership” by Pat Perry). Cost: $250 ERC members, $300 non-members. Advance registration required at www.ercnet.org/events_ new/event.aspx?id=926. Location: ERC Workplace Center, 6700 Beta Drive, Suite 300, Mayfield Village. Time: 9 a.m.-noon


» Aug. 26: Painesville Chamber Meeting Description: The Painesville Area Chamber of Commerce's General Membership Meeting. Topic: community updates. Cost: $20. Register at www.painesvilleohchamber.org. For more information, 440-357-7572. Location: Auburn Career Center, Concord Township Time: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.


» Aug. 30: Top 10 Things Every Supervisor Should Know Description: Supervisors and managers are the eyes and ears of your organization. Do they have the correct information they need to keep your organization legal and out of court? This course is designed to give supervisors the information they need to handle trying situations. Cost: $125 ERC members, $150 non-members. Advance registration is required at http://www.ercnet.org/ events_new/event.aspx?id=935. Location: ERC Workplace Center, 6700 Beta Drive, Suite 300, Mayfield Village Time: 9 a.m.-noon


FOCUS EASTERN CUYAHOGA HOT SPOT Continued from page 1 While Unsdorfer might take


full credit for the sales success, he prefers to point to the company’s focus on customer service as the real reason. From initial customer contact through job completion, the whole team is committed to excellence. “We bend over backwards for


our customers,” he says. “I’m willing to do the right thing.” Having the phone answered


Renewable, homegrown, clean energy from American producers is vital to our country's energy future because it reduces our reliances on foreign oil and creates good-paying production jobs that cannot be exported. TOM VILSACK U.S. Agriculture Secretary


BCAP, which was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, is


a primary component of the strategy to reduce U.S. reli- ance on foreign oil, improve domestic energy security, reduce pollution and spur rural economic development and job creation. The Farm Service Agency (FSA), administering the


program on behalf of the Commodity Credit Corporation with conservation planning assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and other partners, will enter into contracts with landowners and operators in these project areas. The sign-up period for these project areas is under way.


The deadline to sign up will be announced at a later date. Producers interested in participating in the project areas should visit their local FSA county office. Information about BCAP may be found at www.fsa.usda.gov/bcap.


cheerfully from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. is just one of many personal touches to support the customer. For those uncertain of the BBB accreditation value in some cases, Unsdorfer counters that it’s very important to him. “I take my BBB record very seriously,” he said. With a full-time staff of 15 and


several part-time employees, there is a lot of problem-solving go- ing on at Central Heating and Air Conditioning. “Everybody [here] takes pride in their work.” Instead of touting an elaborate


business plan, he states that “tak- ing care of the customers” is the goal, so everything in the com- pany converges in support of that mission.


Looking out for customers Today’s customers may be more


knowledgeable on the need for en- ergy efficiency than in the past, but they still may fall prey to the “big- ger is better” fallacy for heating or cooling systems, Unsdorfer says. Heating and cooling systems


need to be appropriately sized for the home or office, and it makes Unsdorfer cringe when he hears a customer say, “I went to another company that gave me a bigger furnace for the money.” That hasty decision may lead to


everything from excessive noise to high utility bills. “It’s really critical not to oversize,” he says. Conversely, some may agree


with the importance of good air quality, but balk at the added cost of a top-of-the-line filter, which could help those with asthma or allergies. Not only is the correct system


necessary, but it also must be in- stalled properly, Unsdorfer says. “I don’t think the general pub-


lic understands how important the installation is. We see a lot of


systems that are not installed prop- erly,” he laments. Consumers may assume that


the lowest cost offers the best value, but service is an intangible that can reap dividends in the long run. Poor service may leave the homeowner out in the cold — or steaming — at an urgent time.


A seasoned owner A heating or air conditioning


system can be a bit perplexing to the uninitiated. Unsdorfer learned the ropes step by step, first com- pleting a program in the field, then working for other contractors and eventually striking out on his own in 1988. What was the total time from


tentative first step to current thriv- ing business? Just 30 years, that’s all. In his spare time, Unsdorfer


enjoys walks in nature, does pho- tography and spends time with family. What other tips does he offer on not getting burned out as a business owner in a demanding field? “I make sure only to deal with


emergencies once I go home,” he says. Clearly a multi-tasker during


the work day, and with an open- door policy in an urgent business, he stops to help two employees with quick questions. His is a busi- ness in which quick response is es- sential, with employees as well as customers. Stepping back from his con-


cerns to consider the bigger pic- ture, he contemplates the beauti- ful green space that surrounds the Richmond and Chardon intersec- tion, which has seen downturn and overturn in businesses. A nearby restaurant site has changed own- ers three times in recent years, he estimates. “It’s a tough economy to have a


business,” he says. Yes, Unsdorfer and his crew


have withstood the extremes of heat and cold through this reces- sion, but look forward to helping people bask in indoor comfort for years to come.


As well as serving as eastern Cuyahoga contributing editor for the Tri-County Business Journal, Maria Shine Stewart is owner of Shine Writing Services (www. makeyourwritingshine.com) in Richmond Heights.


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