Spotlight on Women in Business: July 2010

Illana Diamond, Kirsten Womack, Beth Newbold and Amy Enrico




ILLANA DIAMOND
CEO
Sima Products Corp.
120 Pennsylvania Ave.
Oakmont 15139
412/828-3700
Simaproducts.com

Pulling a family business back from the brink and into the future

Illana Diamond never imagined she would be running her father’s company.
The Chicago native earned her undergraduate and MBA degrees from Northwestern University then went on to work in sales and marketing for AT&T and Motorola. She found her way to Pittsburgh when her husband enrolled in a graduate program at Carnegie Mellon University and joined Price Waterhouse’s local office as a strategic consultant.
Her father, Irwin Diamond, founded Sima Products in 1973 in Chicago to patent and market FilmShield, a lead-lined bag for protecting photographic film from airport security X-ray devices. Today, Sima creates and sells consumer electronic accessories, manufacturing accessories for photography, video, home theater, power and home safety in more than 20 countries worldwide. Sima’s nearly 100 products range from USB power adapters and inflatable home theater kits to tripods and emergency alert radios.
Diamond believed that mixing family with business could strain relationships, so she only served on Sima’s board over the years. “I thought, I can always get another job, but I can’t get another father.” Sadly, Diamond’s father passed away just before the birth of the first of her three children. After his passing, she took a leave of absence from Price Waterhouse and moved to Chicago, offering the board help in running—or selling—the company. When her husband received an offer to join the faculty at CMU, the board asked her if she would consider moving the company from Chicago to Pittsburgh. That was 14 years ago.
Since she took the reins, Sima Products has expanded its product and customer base and added First Alert and Cherokee brands to its roster. Privately held Sima doesn’t disclose its sales, but the company has won more than 20 industry awards for innovative engineering and product design, including a Blue Chip Enterprise award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. A leader in her industry, Diamond has been elected to the Consumer Electronic Association Board of Industry Leaders and is vice chair of the board for the Consumer Electronics Association Accessories Division. Last year, the Pittsburgh Technology Council selected her as a Tech 50 CEO of the Year finalist.
The Squirrel Hill resident credits her company’s success to new product development. “We’ve learned to fail small and try lots of different things.” Instead of expensive full-blown market research, the company conducts trials among its customers. “Sometimes you have to be willing to let people laugh,” she believes, which helps to foster an environment that encourages the exchange of creative and innovative ideas.
Diamond has a long history of supporting community and nonprofit organizations. She co-founded and served on the board of directors for PowerLink, which provides advisory boards to women-owned businesses. Currently she serves as vice chair of the board of directors for the Pittsburgh Jewish Community Center.

KIRSTEN WOMACK
Virtual Assistant
Im-mack-ulate Impressions
Turtle Creek
866/630-3357
Immackulateimpressions.com

Helping customers make an “im-mack-ulate” impression

Kirsten Womack is virtually indispensible to her clients. As the owner of a virtual assistant company, she puts “time back into their lives.”
Womack earned her bachelor’s degree in human resources management from Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio. A Cleveland native, she met her husband at a Browns/Steelers party and moved to Turtle Creek six years ago.
After graduating from college, Womack worked as an assistant to a state senator, then joined AT&T in human resources. A downsizing prompted her to start working from home, and soon she feared returning to an office environment. Inspired by a television program on virtual assistants, she decided to take an online course. Achieving Graduate Virtual Assistant status from Virtual Assistance U., she launched her own practice in March 2005.
Eventually, after nearly four years in business, she realized she could not serve all of her clients’ needs, so she hired others to fill the gaps. Her firm now employs six people located throughout the country and Canada. The team provides clients with services including social media, marketing, shopping cart support, blogging, graphic design, article marketing, video distribution and general administration. She also partnered with former client Donna Baxter to launch a second firm, 2 Tech Divas, after the women were frequently approached for technical support.
Womack attributes her success to staying abreast of new technology. “I train on something about once a week.” Her business philosophy: Don’t overpromise or overextend; see things from a different angle; introduce new ideas; be honest; and know your limits.

BETH NEWBOLD
President/Owner
Rampart Hydro Services
530 Moon Clinton Road
Coraopolis 15108
412/262-4511
Rampart-hydro.com

Production manager stars on the hydrodemolition stage

How does someone go from working in the theater to heading a hydrodemolition company? For Beth Newbold it was a natural progression.
The president and owner of Rampart Hydro Services, a firm that provides hydrodemolition services, rubber removal, highway-stripping removal and surface cleaning for contractors and airports throughout the country, Newbold started her career as a theater lighting designer and production manager. Her work eventually led her to the Kennedy Center where the Boston native served as director of facilities.
“Surprisingly, technical theater and construction are very similar,” she explains. “You need to read blueprints.” When the garage at the Kennedy Center was in need of repair, she was tapped to help select an approach. The decision was made to use hydrodemolition because no vibration would be felt in the theaters. Rampart was selected as the contractor.
Eventually, Newbold left the Kennedy Center to join Rampart’s parent company, based in Coraopolis, as a construction manager in their Washington D.C. office. In 1998, the company was preparing to divest some of its assets, and Newbold had the opportunity to buy the company. She successfully closed the deal and moved to Pittsburgh. She and her husband, a division manager with whom she worked on the Kennedy Center project, now run the operation together. The company has $12 million in revenue and 45 employees, and Newbold plans to continue to grow and strengthen the company.
Newbold serves as president of PowerLink and is a mentor at the Katz School of Business Entrepreneurial Fellows Program. She also sits on the board of the City Theatre and Global Pittsburgh.

AMY ENRICO
President and Owner
Enrico’s Tazza D’Oro Café and
Espresso Bar
1125 N. Highland Ave.
Pittsburgh 15206
412/362-3676

Café owner sells community with coffee on the side

Amy Enrico swore she would never own her own business. She knew first-hand how hard it was because she had grown up in her family’s bakery.
So the Jeannette native earned a degree in neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh and then worked as a research specialist/laboratory manager in the department of infectious diseases and microbiology. She was approached by colleagues to join them in starting a clinical trial company, and she cofounded Novum CRC Inc. Her work with the company through the 1990s took her frequently to Seattle where she became enamored of the coffee shop culture. When she found herself back home in Highland Park she would seek out some of the city’s coffee shop landmarks, like The Beehive on the South Side and La Prima in the Strip District.
 One day she was walking her dog and saw a building up for sale on Highland Avenue, which eventually would become the home of her own coffee shop, Enrico’s Tazza D’Oro Café and Espresso Bar. In her travels she spent time trying to find a coffee roaster and immersed herself in the business, spending two years writing her business plan. She opened the shop in 1999 and says the early days were scary—sometimes the first customer wasn’t seen until noon. Today the shop serves 400 to 500 customers a day and a second location has opened at Carnegie Mellon University.
“Very little of what we do has to do with coffee. We sell community and connection that center around a cup of coffee.” She is passionate about her community and how redevelopment can improve the quality of life. To that end, she is working on the redevelopment of Bryant Street and has been a business enterprise coordinator for East Liberty Development Inc., helping other business owners to navigate the “learning curve.”

 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

With so many options in and around the city, every couple can find the special space that feels just right — whether they’re looking for nature, rustic charm, fairytale romance, stained-glass beauty, treasured religious ritual or classic tradition.
Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Delve below the surface to explore the underground areas that serve as vital pathways to our region.
Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Chefs who grew up in Pittsburgh are shaping the culinary scene in other cities across the country — and gaining national recognition in the process.
Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

The meat-centric restaurant in the Strip District is helping to redefine Pittsburgh's dining expectations.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Sweetheart Ideas: How to Make the Most out of Valentine's Day

Sweetheart Ideas: How to Make the Most out of Valentine's Day

From a hotel “Love Lockdown,” to a museum breakfast in bed, to a rooftop singles event - there's plenty to eat, drink at do in Pittsburgh on this weekend for love.
Beer News: East End Brewing Moving to Bigger Space in Strip District

Beer News: East End Brewing Moving to Bigger Space in Strip District

The new space, called the East End Brewery Taproom, will offer lunch and dinner service, expanded hours and a place for customers to sit and enjoy a pint of beer from one of the brewery’s 12 taps.
See How Pittsburghers Used to Get Around

See How Pittsburghers Used to Get Around

This rare video gives you a passenger's perspective of street car trolley travel in the 1960s.
Steelers' DeAngelo Williams Scores as Daughters' Hair Stylist

Steelers' DeAngelo Williams Scores as Daughters' Hair Stylist

In a pair of TV ads, watch the Steelers' running back tackle styling the hair of his two adorable daughters.

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our new, daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

With so many options in and around the city, every couple can find the special space that feels just right — whether they’re looking for nature, rustic charm, fairytale romance, stained-glass beauty, treasured religious ritual or classic tradition.
Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Delve below the surface to explore the underground areas that serve as vital pathways to our region.
Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Chefs who grew up in Pittsburgh are shaping the culinary scene in other cities across the country — and gaining national recognition in the process.
Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

The meat-centric restaurant in the Strip District is helping to redefine Pittsburgh's dining expectations.
Cranking Out Old School Valentines Sealed with a Quirk

Cranking Out Old School Valentines Sealed with a Quirk

In Lawrenceville, a love for letterpress leads to a business whose greeting cards reach audiences across the country.
Pittsburgh's Third Renaissance and Complaints from 2007

Pittsburgh's Third Renaissance and Complaints from 2007

This third Renaissance has allowed us to be spectators as Pittsburgh changed from a city suffering the damages wrought by the collapse of its steel industry to a vibrant, active place known for its academic, medical and technology sectors.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Sweetheart Ideas: How to Make the Most out of Valentine's Day

Sweetheart Ideas: How to Make the Most out of Valentine's Day

From a hotel “Love Lockdown,” to a museum breakfast in bed, to a rooftop singles event - there's plenty to eat, drink at do in Pittsburgh on this weekend for love.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: Yikes! Imagine This Instead of a Fountain at the Point

PittGirl: Yikes! Imagine This Instead of a Fountain at the Point

City leaders considered many options for Pittsburgh's confluence including something that looked like it was designed by the Jetsons, or an absolutely bonkers, batpoop insane idea by the one and only Frank Lloyd Wright.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Wigle Whiskey Ripe for Expansion with Threadbare

Wigle Whiskey Ripe for Expansion with Threadbare

The Strip District distillers will launch a hard cider business this fall.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
7 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

7 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

Easy access from universities, wallet-friendly prices and really good food make these our favorite choices for the university set.

Comments


Head to 'Quick and Shameless' For an Unpredictable (and Essential) Night of Pittsburgh Comedy

Head to 'Quick and Shameless' For an Unpredictable (and Essential) Night of Pittsburgh Comedy

The LGBTQ-friendly variety show offers one of the city's most unusual (and often unforgettable) lineups of comedic talent.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Super Bowl Predictions: Can I Have That One Back?

Super Bowl Predictions: Can I Have That One Back?

Denver's upset win over Carolina -- predicted by hardly anyone (including yours truly) -- should be interpreted as good news for Steelers' fans.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Shirts We Love For Valentine’s Day

Shirts We Love For Valentine’s Day

Let your heart do the talking with these fun sweaters from Rosewood Boutique.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
George Clooney, Jane Austen, Nicholas Sparks and Some Zombies Walk Into a Multiplex

George Clooney, Jane Austen, Nicholas Sparks and Some Zombies Walk Into a Multiplex

Our reviews of "Hail, Caesar!," "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and "The Choice."

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Love and Lace: Six Stand-Out Dresses

Love and Lace: Six Stand-Out Dresses

To coincide with the launch of our Spring 2016 Weddings magazine, we’ve created a Week of Wedded Bliss — seven stories to introduce you to the couples featured in our Real Pittsburgh Weddings. On day two, we fall head over heels in love with these six dresses.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Pillow Talk: Pittsburgh's Skyline Inspires New Design Line

Pillow Talk: Pittsburgh's Skyline Inspires New Design Line

Check out the new pillow collection from local interior designer Zach Mitchell. Plus, get the scoop on The Pittsburgh Christmas Carol Tour.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Mock Crime Scene to be Held at Waynesburg University

Mock Crime Scene to be Held at Waynesburg University

The event is for high school students who are interested in criminal justice, law enforcement and forensic science.

Comments