When Michael Berichon brought his business to the city of Delaware about three years ago, he also brought a lifestyle.
The company, Mediu, resells software to the call center industry. But its 12,000 square-foot facility at 106 Stover Drive contain some unexpected elements, such as Berichon’s laid-back style office with its collection of model cars and a vinyl record player, which he brought over to showcase at work for a couple of days.
Mediu’s founder and chief executive officer’s passion for music has a presence at headquarters, which has a band room filled with old-fashioned microphones, sound systems, guitars and a drum set. Berichon found like-minded employees to start a band, which plays after business hours Thursday evenings.
The sessions allow Berichon to relate to his employees “on a human level” that helps grow the business by developing loyalty among them. Berichon said his employees consider the facility a second home largely because of the culture he was able to cultivate after he relocated to Delaware.
“It’s a whole different lifestyle,” he said. “I don’t think we can get this anywhere else.”
After working with other software companies in the 1990s, Berichon founded Mediu in 2002. The name for the company derives from the saying “me to you,” which was brought up during a simple conversation between Berichon and his brother over a glass of wine. The founder resonated with the term’s Latin meaning of converging many to one, which sums up his company’s role in the call center industry.
“It’s just a really good name … real versatile,” he said.
But Berichon found a new cause after losing his mother and sister to cancer. In 2005, his sister died of breast cancer within three months after getting diagnosed too late because she didn’t have access as a working-poor adult.
Although some say time heals all wounds, Berichon said it’s placing that grief and pain on a shelf only to take it down occassionally. Since 2011, he’s done so through his annual “Project Blues” concert, which has raised more than $100,000 to help fund women’s mammograms through LifeCare Alliance’s Columbus Cancer Clinic.
“I wanted to do something more personal,” Berichon said. “Project Blues is very much that.”
The shows led Mediu to be recognized among the 21 finalists for small companies that earned the 2016 Corporate Caring Award from Columbus Business First newspaper.
“Mike has matched his love of blues to fighting cancer,” said Charles Ghering, president and CEO of LifeCare Alliance.
The Columbus Cancer Clinic is one of the oldest nationwide, Ghering said, but it’s also among the last because of funding issues. About 98 percent of the clinic’s clients live below the federal poverty line.
While proceeds from Project Blues helps keep the clinic running, Berichon and the musicians give a two-hour performance to about 350 of LifeCare’s clients the night before the concert, Ghering said.
The exclusive event is a “religious experience” for many clients as it improves self-esteem, he said.
This year’s concert takes place at LifeCare Alliance Center, 670 Harmon Ave., from 4 to 11 p.m. Aug. 13. A Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and winner of four Grammy Awards, Booker T. Jones, is the headliner for the event. Other artists include Diunna Greenleaf, John Del Toro Richardson, Tom Holland and Mediu’s own band.
“We practice hard,” Berichon said.
Before coming to Delaware, Mediu had about nine employees and was based at a small venue in Worthington. After its CEO moved to Delaware, he disliked the commute with its traffic and noise.
“We were growing, needed more space,” he said.
He eventually came in contact with the city’s economic development team.
“They really pursued me,” he said.
At that time, Sean Hughes, economic development director, had joined the team. He started changing the team’s focus from pursuing mainly traditional manufacturers. Berichon and Hughes worked together to secure Mediu’s headquarters, which was already vacated by the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
Mediu received a $30,000 grant from the city to update the building’s power and internet systems, including the installation of fiber optics. The grant came with a two-year commitment to create 20 jobs with an average payroll of $75,000, Hughes said.
Mediu now has more than 30 employees, Berichon said.
“They put a really good deal to me,” he said.
The company now occupies the whole building with initial renovations completed. Berichon said he plans to create conference and training rooms on the west side of the building for clients to become familiar with the software. The company’s current focus is on fueling and creating sustainable growth.
Berichon said the Delaware site has been an asset to his business for its facility and community, which has impressed Mediu’s visiting clients.
“I don’t think people outside of Delaware really understand what’s going on here,” he said.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.