‘A great relationship’

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry At the Bollinger Enterprises Founders Day and Capital Campaign Kick-Off event Friday, BEi official honor representatives of the Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust with a work of art created as part of the BE Inspired program. The trust contributed $450,000 to the campaign. Pictured (from left) are: Campaign Committee Chair Kelly Johnson, BEi artist Jen Kersey, BEi Executive Director Dr. William Clark, Larry Blair and Jessica Reitzel of the Trees Trust, and BEi Board Member John Barber.

BE inspired. BE involved. BE invested.


Bollinger Enterprises recently celebrated its accomplishments and kicked off a capital campaign.

BEi Executive Director Dr. William Clark announced the “three-year capital campaign to help us better serve adults with disabilities and their families here in the Warren and Forest county community.”

Campaign Committee Chair Kelly Johnson said the campaign will require a lot of work, but “our clients are worth it.”

The campaign will focus on three primary goals — “building updates, additional parking, and expanding our fleet,” Johnson said.

Johnson introduced Jessica Reitzel and Larry Blair of the Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust, an entity that contributes regularly and generously to BEi.

The trust has given close to $1 million to BEi, she said. The most recent donation was $450,000 to the capital campaign.

Clark recognized exceptional employees.

Tyler Haner (first quarter), Casey Haner (second quarter), and Mary Farnsworth (third quarter) were named the employees of the quarter so far this year.

The business partners of the year were also introduced.

“The people that come over from BEi are an extension of our employees,” Ellwood National Forge Senior Buyer Patrick Hamilton said. “They are doing a phenomenal job… very professional. I recommend them to any company out there.”

“It’s been a great relationship,” he said. “At Ellwood, we really appreciate that and we plan on building on that.”

Warren County Commissioner said “without any degree of hesitation” that the decision to employ cleaning services from BEi “was the best decision we’ve made as commissioners.”

There were questions at first, but “once BEi came in and started working, everything changed,” Eggleston said. “What you have managed to do was bring a breath of fresh air and a positive attitude to the courthouse. I’m going to tell you about the smile you brought to my face. That’s way more valuable to me than cleaning.”

Works of art created by BEi clients as part of the Be Inspired program were given as thank yous to the business partners of the year and the representatives of the Trees Trust. A work by Priya Khare was given to Ellwood. Earl Duvall’s work was given to the commissioners. And Jen Kersey’s work was presented to the Trees Trust.

Videos were produced by the Barber National Institute’s external affairs department, Clark said, just one of many benefits BEi has seen since the two groups formally affiliated in 2017.

Three videos were shown during the Founders Day and Capital Campaign Kick-Off Lunch, featuring Gary Stoops of Dairy Queen in North Warren regarding his employment of three BEi clients; BEi client and 2018 (former BEi Executive Director) Bob Klebacha Award for employee of the year Jim Farnsworth, who works at the Warren County 911 Center and Courthouse; and Sue and Justin Allen.

Sue Allen said she initially opposed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). “I was a flat-out no,” she said.

Her son, Justin, however, was excited about the opportunity.

He now works at Dairy Queen in North Warren on Tuesdays and that is his favorite day of the week, she said.

She hung on to a napkin he brought home from work one day. “A customer wrote, ‘You are doing a great job. Keep it up.'”

“I can’t thank BEi enough for being here in Warren,” she said.

“BEi is and will continue to be first and foremost about the individuals we serve,” Clark said.

“It has been our great honor to have BEi as part of the Barber National Institute system,” President and Executive Officer John Barber, who is a member of BEi’s board, said. “I think Annabel and Clifford (Bollinger) saw the great things that could be accomplished. We should strive for nothing less than having the very best for our people.”

More information about BEi may be found at BEiWarren.org.


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