Disabilities Board gets chance to check out marketing firm’s work

LISBON — Board members of the Columbiana County Board of Developmental Disabilities got a chance to see what the new marketing firm they hired a few months ago has been able to do.

Connie Kovolenko of Integra Marketing Group made a presentation to the board, showing them new brochures, websites and logos designed to market not only the Beaver Creek Candle Company, but also the clients of the CCBDD as a workforce for area businesses.

While Kovolenko said there was a consistent use of the CCBDD logo on the website and materials, she said at IMG they believed the logo did not truly reflect the story of who the CCBDD is and who are the people they serve. A new logo, which has been going up recently at locations served by the CCBDD is a Reach4More program. Kovolenko noted that name reflects what the young adults working at facilities in Columbiana County are attempting to do. They are transitioning, learning to be employees and for many it includes the goal to go out into the community and work in other places.

A brochure she showed the board included how the Reach4More program benefits the community, the families, the employers and the clients. It also included a list of community employers who are currently employing clients of the CCBDD program.

One board member, Michael Parkes, said he liked that the list of community employers included both large and small employers and those in both the north and south parts of the county. Parkes said there is such a diverse group on the list that most people in the business community would probably know someone involved in the places on the list.

Additionally, Kovolenko said they are working on videos where employers are interviewed about their experiences with client workers and how well they fit into the rest of their workforce. Other videos in the works include the clients talking about what they like about working and the family members talking about the impact it has on their son or daughter to have meaningful employment.

She also talked about short biographies they are creating of some of the clients, which include a photo and the skills they have learned which would make them employable, as well as what types of work they would be suitable to do. Finally, the biographies include a list of a couple of the client’s hobbies and things they love, such a sports team.

The Reach4More program includes transportation options for the clients and job resources to help support them in finding the type of employment for which they are suited.

Kovolenko also talked about the update IMG has given the Beaver Creek Candle Company logo and the marketing plan which has been put into place to get the candles into more gift shops in a wider area. Kovolenko said they have taken the candles to trade shows and received a lot of feedback on how wonderful the candles are. She also has talked to the employees at the candle company.

“They’re proud of their work and it shows,” she said. “Whenever we take these pies, people are head over heels for how real they look and how good they smell.”

At this point, she said there are 43 stores in three different states which now have ordered candles and displays for their stores. She believes many of these same stores will reorder some of the holiday candles soon.

The contract with IMG was approved by the board in late-February and is costing $6,000 per month.

In other matters:

— The board approve hiring Michael Reiner as an Employment First Intern for the next eight months for eight hours per week at $12 per hour. Superintendent Bill Devon explained Reiner is a college sophomore now, but gives a good presentation to represent the BDD programs. The board also approved Avery Andric to be hired to handle website sales for Beaver Creek Candles and manage the Reach4More website, along with the board’s website. Andric will be paid $150 per week.

— The board also approved sponsoring the Columbiana County Youth Summit at a cost of $1,000; sending Keri Beil to participate in the Leadership Columbiana County; approved a contract with the Medicaid Consulting Group at a cost not to exceed $2,000; and approve the renewal of membership in both the Ohio Association of County Boards (not to exceed $15,000) and the ARC of Ohio ($2,500).

— After declaring the four box trucks, which were used to haul supplies to the workshop sites, obsolete; the board voted to place the box trucks up for public auction. Sealed bids will be accepted.

— Devon announced the CCBDD was recently awarded the maximum three-year accreditation.