Goodwill Columbus CEO Margie Pizzuti Receives Innovation Award at Smart Business ‘Smart 50’ Event

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Columbus business leaders gathered at the Hyatt Regency on Oct. 28 to celebrate the Smart Business “Smart 50” executives selected by Smart Business magazine as leading examples of how to effectively build and sustain successful organizations.

Smart 50 honoree, Margie Pizzuti, President and CEO of Goodwill Columbus, also received a special “Innovation” recognition, one of three juried specialty awards presented at the event by Robert J. Klonk, CEO of Oswald Cos., the corporate sponsor of the event. “Through her business acumen and dedication to serving the community, Pizzuti has helped nearly double the agency’s annual revenue since 2005,” said Klonk upon presenting the award, noting that this type of business savvy allows for the expansion of Goodwill services to better support persons with disabilities and other barriers.

“Being recognized by our corporate peers for innovation is an exceptional honor, especially given our agency’s social enterprise model that includes a variety of earned income businesses,” said Pizzuti. “Our ecommerce ventures including online auctions, Goodwill Studio and Gallery e-storefront and book sales through Amazon – along with our brick-and-mortar retail locations, auto auction and contract services offerings in unarmed security and janitorial services – form a diverse portfolio of revenue streams to fund programming that serves people with disabilities and other barriers.”

According to Smart Business, The Smart 50 Awards, now in their second year in Columbus, brings together like-minded leaders that share the common drive toward sustainability and growth for our region.

In addition to Pizzuti’s Innovation specialty award, Edgar W. “Bill” Ingram III, Chairman of the board and CEO of White Castle System Inc. was awarded a specialty prize in the category of “Sustainability.”

“Ingram has overseen a brand revitalization; watched the division he created to establish a grocery store presence for White Castle restaurant products grow to represent nearly 25 percent of total sales, and a larger percent of profit; and overseen a thoughtful transition to the next generation of family leadership,” Smart Business outlined in their program. “Ingram will retire from CEO duties at the end of 2015, knowing he leaves the business better than he found it.”

Kimberly Blackwell, CEO of PMM Agency, received a specialty award in “Impact.” Blackwell has grown PMM Agency from a startup to an industry-recognized agency that counts among its clients, Nationwide, Huntington National Bank, Honda, Macy’s, the State of Ohio and the City of Columbus. In a statement to Smart Business magazine, Blackwell cited the importance of insights and instincts, being relentless and taking a beast-like approach rooted in a standard of excellence. “If you want to be a bear in business, be a grizzly,” she said.

To learn more about the Smart 50 awards and the class of 2015, please visit