First Financial Bank (Nasdaq: FFBC) and its associates responded to a difficult year in 2020 by finding resourceful ways to help communities served by
First Financial Bank (Nasdaq: FFBC) and its associates responded to a difficult year in 2020 by finding resourceful ways to help communities served by the bank, ultimately giving over $3.5 million in financial contributions and more than 8,900 hours of volunteer service.
“We are proud to be making a positive difference in our communities, especially in light of the struggles we all shared last year,” said Roddell McCullough, director of Community Development for First Financial Bank. “Our strategic intent is to be woven into the communities we serve. In 2020 and continuing into this year, we are working to understand the needs of our clients and communities so we can offer financial resources to help make lives better.”
While First Financial’s associates were generous with their time in the community last year, volunteering required a different approach because of COVID-19, the need for social distancing, and limitations on available in-person volunteer opportunities. They often adjusted by switching to virtual volunteering, which allowed them to help organizations outside of their immediate neighborhoods, and in other parts of the First Financial Bank footprint of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois.
Equity announces top producing agents
Equity, a national full-service commercial real estate company, announced its top three producing agents for 2020: Matt Lasky (Columbus, OH), Elaine Gillespie (Cincinnati, OH), and Tracey Herron (Dayton, OH).
“I’m proud of these agents who persevered throughout such an unpredictable year,” Austin Wathen, SVP of Equity’s brokerage division, said. “Despite the challenges we all faced due to the pandemic, Equity’s team of agents, including our top three, continuously showed resilience and dedication in their day-to-day work.”
Like almost every industry, the commercial real estate industry was largely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In July of 2020, Equity’s CEO, Steve Wathen, described how the industry was affected in a video released by the company. In the video, Wathen described various hardships such as low tenancy rates and late rent payments.
“When the pandemic first started having an impact on businesses, we didn’t know how long lasting or to what extent these businesses would be impacted,” Gillespie admitted. “When I saw this happen, I immediately sat down with my team to regroup. We just viewed the pandemic as another obstacle in the sales cycle and used that time to reach out to clients, see how they were doing, and see if there was anything we could do to help.”
Lasky and Herron too focused on client relations during the shutdowns.
According to Herron, she spent much of her time calling and checking in on her clients. In fact, she reported that due to her consistent communication tactics, she closed more restaurant and industrial deals than she ever had before.
In fact, Lasky and his team were able to complete four healthcare acquisitions ranging from $4 million to $20 million during the pandemic. “These deals took a lot more work, grit, and persistence than years prior,” Lasky said. Lasky also contributed his team’s success to diversifying their client portfolio to serve autism therapy tenants, behavior health tenants, and veterinary tenants.
Moving forward into 2021, these three agents agreed that they would continue to work hard to gain and maintain client relationships, close deals, and network.
4 Ohio companies honored
Columbus— Four Ohio companies have been announced as winners in the Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association (ONLA) 48th Annual Landscape Awards.
LWB Design, LLC, based in Willoughby, Ohio, was the only winner of a Grand Award this year for its complete landscape overhaul of a mid-century modern residential property located in Bath, Ohio. The project also received the highest recognition as it was named the 2020 Landscape Awards Project of the Year.
Dayton-based Grunder Landscaping Co. received two Merit Awards. The first was for a residential installation of a craftsman-style outdoor living space and another was awarded in the residential landscape maintenance category for a property it has been maintaining biweekly since 2017.
M.J. Design Associates, based in central Ohio, won a Merit Award in the category of Use of Seasonal Color, Container Garden, or Perennial Gardens for its Temple Residence project.
Finally, Cincinnati-based LawnScapes Inc., received a Merit Award for its Springboro project, an impressive residential installation of natural fieldstone walls, a full-range bluestone pool deck and concrete paver walkways.
The largest program of its kind in the state, ONLA’s Landscape Awards program encourages landscape contractors, landscape designers and landscape architects to continue their efforts to raise the industry’s image through consistent use of quality materials and outstanding workmanship. All awards were given based on a 100-point system. A Merit Award is given to any entry scoring a minimum of 70 points. One Grand Award is given in each category to the project, if any, that has the highest score above 85 points. A single Judges’ Choice: Project of the Year Award is given to one award-winning entry at the discretion of the judges.