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Contact Us:

The Corporate University
Kent State University at Stark
6000 Frank Avenue NW
North Canton OH 44720

Phone: 330-244-3512
Fax: 330-244-3535
Email: thecorporateu@kent.edu
Web: www.YourCorporateU.com

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Small Business Development Center at Kent State Stark

Our Consultants


Julie Cremeans-Smith, Ph.D.
Research * Survey * Focus Groups * Data Analysis

Dr. Julie Cremeans-Smith is an associate professor at Kent State University at Stark. She also serves in a research capacity for The Corporate University, where she utilizes a vast array of resources and research methodologies to connect organizations with beneficial information to assist in strategic planning, performance improvement, marketing, economic development and other decision-making initiatives. She possesses a wide variety of expertise and experience in environmental scanning, interviewing, conducting literature reviews, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, interpretation and reporting. She has served as the research expert on projects with the City of Green Division of Parks and Recreation, Union Hospital, Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority, Team NEO, Kent State University and several regional campuses. Julie has a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, and has published numerous articles on topics related to stress, coping, and resilience.  


Diane DeRubertis, SPHR
HR Training and Consulting * SHRM Learning System

Diane DeRubertis has over 20 years’ experience as a human resources professional working in small business, consulting and corporate environments.   Her area of expertise is talent management and most recently she has been involved in helping organizations develop and implement customized performance management, talent management and succession planning systems.  Diane is a member of the adjunct faculty at Kent State University’s College of Business as well as an instructor for The Corporate University, where she facilitates The SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) Learning System, the #1 certification program to prepare human resource professionals for the PHR and SPHR certification exams.  Diane holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Kent State University.


Deborah Easton
Communication Skills * Generations * Presentation Skills *

Performance Management and Coaching
Deborah Easton has been a nationally known Communication Skills Consultant, Trainer and Coach for 32 years. Through a comedic theatrical approach she demonstrates techniques for effective interactions with colleagues, customers or direct reports, while providing practical strategies for handling difficult interactions. Deborah has provided training for health care, manufacturing, public utilities, technology, insurance, social services, finance, and telecommunications companies.  She has been instrumental in numerous special projects, including developing performance evaluation systems, facilitating cultural change and conducting a yearly curriculum of courses for several clients. Having a master’s degree in rhetoric and communication, Deborah taught communication and managerial skills courses in Kent State’s Department of Communication Studies and Graduate School of Management (1981-1991). She received the Distinguished Alumni Award for contributions to the field of communication in 2012.


Gary Fitzmartin
Sales * Leadership * Corporate Coach * Technology

Gary Fitzmartin is an experienced business consultant, public speaker and corporate coach. Building on sales success, he spent six years leading his first entrepreneurial venture to more than $26-million in annual sales.  He went on to guide a $60-million manufacturing company out of bankruptcy; and headed the FurnitureMax division of OfficeMax. For over ten years, he has traveled the US and Canada helping business grow profitability and maximize the return on their resources. Today, Gary is available to help you and your business grow and prosper through the “Business Roundtable" and other programs which he has developed to enhance the performance of companies of all types and sizes. He earned a bachelor’s of arts degree from the University of Maine and is certified by the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches as a Registered Corporate Coach.


Patty Flauto
Creative Thinking * Product Design * Innovation

Patty Flauto has years of business experience in entrepreneurship, product design and innovation. She has taught creative thinking techniques locally, nationally and as far as Shanghai, China. Her training and development sessions provide companies with practical solutions to creating and sustaining a culture of innovation in any organization. Patty speaks on a wide variety of topics that challenge her audiences to “get unstuck” and harness the power of their “idea assets.” Patty received her master’s degree from Kent State University and a bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University.


Kristy Frieden
Emotional Intelligence * Team Effectiveness* Change Management *Performance Management * Positivity and Happiness at Work

Kristy Frieden has over 18 years of experience working with all levels of leadership. She specializes in executive and team coaching, training, and facilitation.  Kristy has worked with a variety of organizations and industries including healthcare, higher education, manufacturing and technology.  She has extensive facilitator training with GE Healthcare Solutions, as it relates to selecting, developing, coaching and evaluating top performers.  Kristy’s passion and dynamic presentation style, coupled with her sense of humor and positive approach, engages and motivates clients to focus on their strengths while achieving success.


Bob Jewell
Project Management * Effective Decision Making *Leading Through Strengths * Employee Engagement

In 2000, Bob left his corporate career behind and committed the second half of his life to teaching and inspiring a passion for excellence in the areas of project management and leadership. His thirty years of real-world business experience combined with his humor and facilitation skills creates a dynamic learning environment. Bob’s expertise and advice has earned him the respect of clients such as Diebold, Timken, General Electric, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Sherwin-Williams, Federal Express and The Cleveland Clinic. Bob earned a degree in engineering from The Ohio State University in 1980 and is certified by the Project Management Institute as a Project Management Professional. He has been facilitating programs for The Corporate University since 2002.


Philip Kim, D.Sc.
Employee Engagement * Leadership * Technology * StrengthsFinder

Dr. Philip Kim is an educator, speaker and management consultant.  As a consultant, he has worked with over 50 small to mid-sized institutions including higher education, financial services, non-profits, healthcare and manufacturing.  In 2012, Phil published, Big Business Problems: Small Business Solutions as a guide for small businesses on effective technology solutions.  Phil received his doctorate of science in Information Systems and Communications and his master’s degree in Management Information Systems from Robert Morris University.


Tim Kraft
Business Communications * Business Writing

Tim delivers two primary services to Kent State clients. First, he provides instructional design, helping clients create engaging and effective employee training. The materials may take the form of live training, online (eLearning) training or other modes of instruction to meet the needs of the client and their learners. Tim also provides highly interactive, entertaining and, most importantly, effective seminars to improve communication skills. Attendees consistently agree that he fulfills the promise of his main course titles: “Be a Better Business Writer” and “Be A More Powerful Presenter.” Clients include Alco, Diebold, Eaton, Summa Health, Timken and other major organizations. He earned a BS in communications and MA in educational media at Miami University (OH).


Tim Lybarger
Human Resources * Organizational Development

Tim is a Human Resource and Organizational Development professional with 20+ years of hands on experience in line management roles in the small business environment, and15 years of Internal Consulting and Classroom Training within the large corporate environment. He has functioned as a strategic business partner with business leaders at all levels to facilitate the design and delivery of interventions to solve problems and develop programs in support of enterprise-wide initiatives. Tim has a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a master of science in Organizational Development and Analysis from the Weatherhead School of Business at Case Western Reserve University. In addition, he holds certifications in the areas of; Leadership Development, Personal Initiative, Time and Project Management, Execution of Strategic Priorities, Effective Interpersonal Communications, Principled Negotiation Skills, Management & Supervisory Skills, Team Effectiveness, Personal Style Preferences, and 360 degree Feedback Instruments. Tim has worked in the areas of Hospitality and Recreation, Machining and Manufacturing, Aviation, Electric Utilities, Telecommunications and Consumer Products


Marvin Montgomery
Sales * Motivation

Marvin Montgomery has over 30 years of experience as a professional sales training specialist and motivational speaker. He has assisted hundreds of organizations improve productivity. As director of sales for one of the country’s largest jewelry chain leaders, Marvin trained 1,200 associates in 95 stores. His informative, practical and stimulating programs reflect his basic philosophy that preparation and practice are the keys to sales success. His compelling message can be applied by employees in any industry that provide a product or service to their customers. Marvin spent two years as vice president of The Robinson Group, a consulting and venture capital firm. He is the author of Practice Makes Perfect: The Professional’s Guide to Sales Success.

Kordell Norton, CSP
Sales * Marketing * Customer Service

Kordell Norton is high energy, highly engaging trainer and speaker with a focus on customer experiences and engagement. He was a senior executive with several Fortune 500 companies. The author of three books, he works with those who want to develop increased sales, inspired leadership, marketing that connects and customer experiences that result in explosive growth. Former clients include IBM, PNC Bank, L’Oreal, First Energy and Microsoft. Kordell is a Certified Speaking Professional, a member of the National Speakers Association and past president of the Ohio chapter.


John Novak, CQA
Process Improvement * Green Belt * Lean Six Sigma

John Novak provides consultation and training to clients looking to enhance their continual improvement efforts in order to improve their business processes.  John utilizes his experience as an industrial engineer, consultant, software developer and internal auditor.  John is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt.  He has worked with many organizations in the healthcare, manufacturing, and service industries, including Akron General Medical Center, University Hospitals, TechniGraphics, Inc., M.K. Morse, Aultman Hospital, Elyria Foundry, and W.W. Grainger.  He received his bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from Bowling Green State University and his master’s degree in business administration from Kent State University.


Robert J. (Bob) Pacanovsky
Professional Development and Etiquette * Personal Branding *Customer Service/Corporate Culture * Hospitality Training and Coaching

After catering over 5,000 events in his career, Bob has witnessed the poor behavior choices that people exhibit at events, dinners, meetings, etc.  How we act and treat people is still a vital part of the business relationship today.  But for many of us, our soft skills, professional etiquette and customer service skills are lacking.  And we may lose business because of them.  Bob is passionate about helping individuals sharpen and polish these skills to make more effective leaders.  He conducts trainings for all types of companies, organizations, associations and other civic groups.  He has spoken at the national Catersource Conference in Las Vegas as well as the COSE Small Business Convention.  Bob received his bachelor’s degree in Finance from The University of Akron and has owned several businesses in the hospitality industry including restaurants, an off-site catering company and a training/consulting company for close to twenty years.


Ned Parks
Strategic Planning * Leadership * Performance Improvement * DiSC

Ned Parks is a matter-of-fact business coach and trainer, drawing on his background as a U.S. Army Officer/Helicopter Instructor, business owner and consultant. Combining proven business strategies with humor and creativity, Ned guides individuals and organizations to business and leadership solutions. Ned is particularly skilled at helping leaders connect with their teams and to combine both personal and organizational objectives. Ned works with organizations in healthcare, manufacturing and service, as well as not-for-profits, including libraries, faith organizations and the United Way. Ned is certified as a Registered Corporate Coach by the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches. He studied business at The University of Akron, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Case Weatherhead School of Management.  

Marti Peden
Leadership * Communications *Conflict Resolution * Change Management * Organizational Development * Work/Life Balance

Marti Peden has over 25 years as a human resources consultant. She specializes in management training and organizational development. Prior to becoming a consultant, Marti worked in the Training and Organization Development Department at The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company.  Marti holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The University of Steubenville and a master’s of education degree in Counseling from Kent State University.  


Harry Poston
Leadership

Harry Poston takes a practical approach to leadership acquired through years of experience with organizations such as Terex, Swagelok, Nutro, VCR Inc. and Daimler Trucks of North America/Detroit Diesel. He has worked in the operations area of various manufacturing organizations. He has experience with the not-for-profit sector through years of service to the Boy Scouts of America and YMCA Indian Guides and Princesses. Harry received his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the General Motors Institute (now known as Kettering University).


Kay Potetz, Ph.D.
Emotional Intelligence * Leading through Coaching

Dr. Kay Potetz is a motivational speaker and management consultant. She has been conducting professional development programs since the early 1980s. Kay is the author of Take It Back: The Personal Power You Give Away Everyday, released in 2012. She has over 25 years of management and administrative experience health care. She holds a certificate in Developing Leadership through Emotional Intelligence from Case Western Reserve University and is a graduate of The Hay Group Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI) accreditation program. Kay received her doctor of philosophy degree in Business Management from Century University and her master’s degree in Business Administration from Baldwin Wallace College.
Dr. Potetz is featured as an expert source and news commentator on powerful radio stations across the country including top rated CBS Radio affiliates WBBM, Chicago, WTOP Washington, DC, KRLD Dallas, KDKA Pittsburgh, as well as national shows such as Wall Street Journal This Morning.


John Potkalitsky
Process Improvement * Problem Solving* Lean Six Sigma

John Potkalitsky retired from Eaton Corporation after 20 years of successfully deploying Lean in manufacturing and office environments. During the last eight years, he was part of a corporate group that provided hands-on leadership in Lean transformation activities at plant sites, both domestic and international.  John has 40 years of experience in various engineering and management positions.  He has provided Lean training for organizations such as Akron General Health System, Sherwin-Williams and University Hospitals. John has a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from Kent State University.


Bob Skillman
Lean * Six Sigma

Bob Skillman is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt and Lean Master Sensei. He has been training and certifying Black Belts in Six Sigma and Lean methods since 1997. Bob has over 35 years of experience as an engineer. Prior to becoming a trainer, coach and consultant, he held positions ranging from engineering to executive corporate management.


Stephen Skillman
Lean * Six Sigma

Stephen Skillman is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt. He currently serves as consultant/facilitator for Kent State University, training Lean Six Sigma Black Belts. Steve has held positions in the automotive, government ballistics and electrical insulation industries. He received his bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Lake Erie College.


Helen Stevens-Sheats
Leadership * Effective Meetings

Helen Stevens-Sheats is a retired CEO with more than 25 years of leadership and management experience in the behavioral healthcare field. She has facilitated training for all levels of management and staff. She holds a master’s degree in management of rehabilitation services from DePaul University and a bachelor’s degree in education from Kent State University.


Scott Tackett
Motivating Employees * Managing Discipline * Management and Supervision Training * DDI

Scott Tackett has over 32 years of operations and human resource management experience. He is an adjunct professor, teaching management business courses at Kent State University at Trumbull. He served as the vice president of human resources and administration for Denman Tire Corporation. His responsibilities included employee/labor relations, recruitment, hiring and retention, all human resource related policies and procedures for both union and non-union environments, safety and health programs and numerous leadership development programs for supervisors through mid- to upper-level management. All of Scott’s programs focus on “real world” application. He earned his master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management from Geneva College.


Lisa Waite
People-Centric Leadership * Interpersonal Solutions * Team Interaction * Culture Management

People. Performance. Results. Lisa's expertise is in developing people-centric leaders and transforming organizational culture. Working with C-level staff, her courses carve a path to develop employees at every level leading to lasting change. Culture documents like mission and vision are realized through tested strategies that support individual success, accountability, and strengthen teams to innovate. With a pragmatic style, Lisa is also active in individual coaching and sharing her compelling message with women's leadership audiences. Lisa holds a Masters degree in Organizational Communication from the University of Akron and CST Master Certifier status from Barry-Wehmiller University. Successful partnerships spanning nearly three decades include: Education, Food and Beverage Industries, Government and Civic Agencies, Health Care, Manufacturing, Military, Non-Profits, Small Business, and Technology.