Dayton Business Hall of Fame

By the Editors

In celebration of Dayton’s heritage of business accomplishments, Dayton Magazine, in partnership with the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, has created the Dayton Business Hall of Fame to recognize the rich tradition of success and civic involvement of the region’s business community.

The Dayton Business Hall of Fame honors men and women who have made a lasting contribution to the community in economic, cultural and civic endeavors. Inductees were honored at the inaugural Dayton Business Hall of Fame event at The Mandalay on March 16. Premier Health; Flagel, Huber, Flagel & Co.; Taft Stettinius & Hollister; Evans Motorworks; US Bank; Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield; ITA Audio Visual Solutions and Nova Creative sponsored the event.

Posthumous Award
Dr. Eugene “Dean” Imbrogno
Medical director and head physician for MedWork Occupational Health Care

A Renaissance man. That’s what David Imbrogno calls his late father Dr. Eugene “Dean” Imbrogno.

“He studied acupuncture, he studied Eastern medicine, he was always learning, always educating,” says David.

His father, who died last year at the age of 62, founded MedWork Occupational Health Care in 1985 and grew the company into the largest locally owned and operated occupational health-care provider in Dayton with two locations and more than 50 employees, says David.

His father’s business acumen was unbelievable, he says. “He was always on the cusp of what’s coming, what trends are … going to help injured workers in Ohio.”

That incredible business acumen was acquired from hard work and a constant desire to learn, says David. “He was successful because he never stopped learning,” he says. “He would always be reading, always be studying, always be implementing these things.”

Though he was a savvy businessman David says everyone who came in contact with him liked his father. “Everyone just absolutely loved him,” he says. “He was just amazing at dealing with people. Just the nicest, smartest guy.”

Although many people will associate his father with being a hard worker—including those who received emails from Dr. Imbrogno at 3 a.m.—David says most people may not know that his father cared immensely about family.

“He would always make it a point for us to go visit my grandma and grandpa,” says David. Family was also part of the last conversation that David had with his father before he died.

“The last conversation I had on the phone with him was to make sure I was going to make it to Columbus the next day because the whole family was going to get together and visit my older brother,” he says. “He always made it a point for all of us to get together.”

—Eric Spangler

Raj Soin

Founder and chairman of Soin LLC

Entrepreneur Raj Soin says his friend, the late George Voinovich, former Ohio governor, Cleveland mayor and U.S. senator, used to say, “It’s our obligation to leave this place better than we found it.”

Soin and his wife, Indu, who came to Dayton in 1984 with $1,700 in cash and a few credit cards to build Modern Technologies Corp. into one of the nation’s fastest growing defense-consulting companies before selling it in 2002, have certainly done that.

The Soins’ generosity in 2012 made the Soin Medical Center in Beavercreek, part of the Kettering Health Network, possible. In 2003 Raj Soin received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for leadership and humanitarian work.

Soin, who was born in New Delhi, India, in 1947, is founder and chairman of Soin LLC, a Beavercreek company with extensive global holdings. He says he knew early on he wanted to be an entrepreneur. The Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce established the Soin Award for Innovation in his name.

“I always joke that an entrepreneur is person who quits a 9 to 5 job to work from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. for less money.”

But the key to a successful business career isn’t to make money, he says.

“In my book, money is a byproduct,” he says. “The main focus should be creating a service that’s needed by people and try to be the best at that service.”

—Mike Boyer

Harold Rieck sees his life pass before his eyes every morning.

Rieck, chairman and majority owner of Rieck Services, Dayton’s largest mechanical contracting company, has been involved in the business for 60 years. His company has worked on or serviced thousands of buildings during that time.

“I get to see my biography every day when I come to work on (Interstate) 75 because I’ve worked on a lot of buildings in Dayton,” says Rieck.

Rieck, who joined the company in 1956 and became CEO of the consolidated Rieck enterprises in 1967, grew the business into the premier mechanical contractor in the Dayton region. Rieck’s great-grandfather, Herman F. Rieck, started the company in 1892.

Rieck says he was successful in growing the business because of one reason: the company’s employees. “It’s gotta be long-term employees who have the same desire and want to grow as I have,” says Rieck. “And we had a lot of good people.”

But in order to keep those employees Rieck says it was important to make sure they were happy and knew that they were wanted. So how did he do that? “Good bonuses, good wages and love,” he says.

And there’s no shortage of love for his hometown. “What a lot of people don’t know about me is I love Dayton and Dayton has loved me back,” Rieck says. Although Rieck is transitioning out of the business and into retirement, he still manages to come to work for a few hours every day. “I just don’t come in at 6 o’clock anymore,” he says with a chuckle.

— ES

Larry Connor
Managing partner of the Connor Group

An important part of his business success is due to hiring the right people and implementing a planning strategy, says Larry Connor, managing partner of the real estate investment firm The Connor Group.

“There is no substitute if you get the P and P going, and that’s what we call people and planning, magical things will happen,” says Connor. That magic has transformed The Connor Group from a single investor with $400,000 and three apartment complexes into a company with more than 900 investors, $2 billion in assets and 13,000 units in 11 markets across the country.

Much of that success is due to the people who work at The Connor Group, he says. “We have been fortunate to assemble an immensely talented group of individuals with different skill sets, different expertise, but all who share kind of a common belief which equates to a pretty unique company culture,” Connor says.

Strategic and business planning are processes he wishes he implemented sooner in his business, he says. “A lot of the strategic planning and initiatives that we’ve done have really helped propel us from our start some 25 years ago to where we are today,” says Connor.

The most important piece of business advice he received was from a neighbor after graduating from college. “Go sell something to the public no matter what it is,” Connor says his neighbor told him. “Learn to sell and learn to sell to the public.”

So Connor did just that. He got a job selling Volkswagen cars for a year. “That was an invaluable learning experience for me about one, how to deal with the public, two, how to treat customers and three, how to sell,” Connor says.


Mary Boosalis
President and CEO of Premier Health

Mary Boosalis, president and CEO of Premier Health, is most proud of how the organization conducts itself.

Boosalis, who has been with the largest health system in southwest Ohio for more than 30 years, says she has seen a lot of difficult decisions made during that time and all of them have been made because they were right thing to do for people.

“Always at the core of difficult decisions it would err toward … what’s the right thing to do, even though it’s not the most popular thing,” Boosalis says.

That integrity is actually what led Boosalis to the health system in the first place, she says. “That is one of reasons that I ended up here,” Boosalis says. “I was just so impressed with the people and their conduct. They just were very real and very focused on their mission.”

Now that the health system’s mission to build healthier communities is under her control, Boosalis says the organization is focused on transforming the company as fast as the health-care industry is changing.

That means looking beyond the walls of its four hospitals in the Miami Valley and reaching out to consumers sooner through prevention and wellness programs, she says. Most of that will be done through technology, such as being able to consult with a physician through a smartphone, says Boosalis. “We have to transform to a more consumer-oriented vision while maintaining great acute care services,” she says.

Although the health system has seen more changes in the last five years than in the previous 20 years, Boosalis says one thing that will never change is her love of Dayton.

“My husband and I talk about this all the time and we just feel like Dayton has just been great for us,” she says. “My life has been so good here and I’m thrilled that I’m here.”


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