Kelly Backscheider receiving Rising Leader award, pictured with John Goering and Larry Grypp.

Kelly Backscheider, BGR, 2018 Rising Leader winner, pictured with Eric Arling, Integrity Express Logistics, 2019 Rising Leader winner and Larry Grypp, Goering Center president emeritus. Photo/Jay Yocis/UC Creative Services.

Goering Center Rising Leader Award

Vote for your 2020 Rising Leader Honoree

Nine up-and-coming leaders from Cincinnati-region family and private businesses are in the running for one honoree position, who will receive the “Rising Leader” Award given by the University of Cincinnati Goering Center for Family & Private Business this fall. 

Since Covid-19 has precluded the traditional annual awards ceremony from taking place at JACK’s Casino, the nine Rising Leader finalists and final honoree will be recognized in the Cincinnati Business Courier supplement coming out on Sept. 18 along with the honorees of the Family & Private Business Award and the Volunteer of the Year Award. Honorees will also be celebrated across the Goering Center’s social media and digital channels.

Voting for the 2020 Rising Leader Award is now closed.

About the Rising Leader Award

Cultivating bench strength is critical to long-term success. By investing in a rising generation of leaders, we lay a foundation for succession, and by acknowledging the accomplishments of these rising leaders, we create highly engaged and motivated teams. These new leaders shape the future of our companies and collectively grow our regional economy.

To demonstrate its commitment to this region’s future generation of leaders, the Goering Center honors one “Rising Leader” at its annual Family and Private Business Awards. Nominations were submitted by the last business day of every month, were considered for selection the following month and thereafter through the close of the nomination period.


July 2020

Headshot of Trey Harness

Trey Harness

President & Chief Client Officer, Curiosity Advertising

Best Practice: Business Growth

After joining the company in 2018, Trey has implemented a new and better organizational structure, which has been a key driver of leadership and management training. Trey has also driven in plenty of new business, which resulted in a 40% sales growth in 2019, and continues to manage dozens of client relationships. "[Trey] is a good steward of Curiosity's financial growth to nearly $10 million in 2019” says Susana Max, Marketing Manager for Curiosity. Due to Trey’s significant contributions, the original founders are transitioning day-to-day leadership responsibilities to Trey and other new senior leaders that he has brought to the company.  

June 2020

Headshot of Anton Gaffney

Anton Gaffney

General Manager, Sweets & Meats BBQ

Best Practice: Business Growth

Anton Gaffney has grown business at Sweets & Meats BBQ and has positively impacted their bottom line. Kristen Bailey, CEO, says that “it is because of Anton’s personal commitment, loyalty, business savvy and leadership that Sweets & Meats BBQ has been able to continue growing at the level we have.” This private business has gone from a road side pit stop in 2014, to a brick and mortar carry-out restaurant, two food trucks and a premier BBQ caterer in Cincinnati – thanks to Anton’s contributions, says Kristen.

May 2020

Headshot of Geoff Culbertson

Geoff Culbertson

Director of Sales & Marketing, Omni Technologies

Best Practice: Business Growth

In 2019, Geoff Culbertson helped revamp the Omni Technologies sales team and boost sales by 12 percent. The company is also on track to match this growth in 2020, despite the current economic challenges. Geoff has played other critical roles such as implementing EOS, improving prospecting of the sales team and publishing company marketing content to various platforms. Way to go, Geoff!

April 2020

Headshot of Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt

Senior Consultant, HORAN

Best Practice: Business Growth

Chris Pratt is a senior consultant at HORAN and is being nominated for his achievements in business growth at HORAN. “Chris has helped the Small and Emerging Business Segment, one of HORAN's growth engines, almost double in size in the past three years. His commitment to clients, the community and his own leadership development has made a great impact on our team”, says Julie Highley, President of HORAN Emerging Business Advisors.

March 2020

Headshot of Genevieve Kramer

Genevieve Kramer

Project Coordinator, Wm. Kramer & Sons

Best Practice: Dynamic Business Strategy

Genevieve has an ability to visualize business processes and excels at problem solving to achieve the best, most streamline ways to conduct business. She “eliminates the slack variable, if you will” explains Wm. Kramer & Sons president Steve Kramer. She has advanced Wm. Kramer & Son’s service department to mobile-friendly and paperless. Genevieve has developed extensive field and project experience as well as a clear understanding of accounting practices, which has allowed her to foresee and solve high level business problems.

February 2020

Headshot of Grant Taylor

Grant Taylor

General Manager of Warehousing, Taylor Logistics

Best Practice: Dynamic Business Strategy

Grant has expanded the Taylor Logistics network from one public warehouse to three contract warehousing solutions in Greater Cincinnati and Omaha. This expansion came with the hiring of 100 new Team Taylor members and an entirely new service portfolio for Taylor. Grant's project also led Taylor Logistics to reach an all-time high of $47.8 million in revenue in 2018, a significant increase from $27.5 million in 2017.

January 2020

Headshot of Kelly Ackerman

Kelly Ackerman

COO, Frame USA

Best Practice: Giving Back

Kelly has been a valuable leader for Frame USA in their annual Fill the Truck charity event. Frame USA CEO, Daniel Regenold says of Kelly’s recent work, “the complexity of running a major charitable initiative the last two months of the year while trying to also run a business has shown Kelly's keen leadership abilities, along with one of our core values of giving back through our monthly charitable giving program.” Kelly also led marketing efforts to bring in more than 51,000 items for last year’s charity event, filling over two semi-trucks.

December 2019

Headshot of Nick Enger

Nick Enger

CTO & Senior Consultant, Advanced Technology Consulting, Inc.

Best Practice: Business Growth

Nick has played a major part in ATC's Ohio office seeing seven consecutive years of record revenue growth. He has secured more and larger clients for the company each year, trains junior consultants to support clients and bring in new clients, and develops strategies on sustaining explosive growth. "There isn't a lot Nick hasn't done to help with ATC's business growth," says David Goodwin, managing partner and co-founder of ATC.

November 2019

Headshot of Nichole Ramsey

Nichole Ramsey

COO, Woodhouse Day Spa

Best Practice: Leadership Development

"Nichole has created a truly amazing mentoring and leadership development program," says Chris Mann, owner of Woodhouse Day Spa. "She identifies internal talent and then works with them weekly on leadership skills, mentorship, emotional intelligence and a host of other skills." The company has grown from one store with $1 million in sales to three stores with over $7 million in sales in 2019, under Nichole's leadership.

Nomination process and awards criteria

The fourth annual Rising Leader nomination process was from Aug. 1, 2019 until June 30, 2020. Over these months, an independent panel of judges selected nine semi-finalists from a pool of nominees, one each month from Nov. through July. Semi-finalists were chosen for their demonstrated success advancing one of the 10 Best Practices of Family and Private Business.

A nominee must be on a leadership or succession track of a family or private business. The Goering Center will showcase semi-finalists in our publications and live events. By publicly acknowledging their accomplishments we will help establish them – and the companies they work for – as Rising Leaders in Greater Cincinnati’s business community.