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Read articles and learn more about the Cincinnati Chamber through our related news articles

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Recognize & Celebrate businesses & people

Great Living Cincinnatians: Honorees

Celebrating the leadership, vision, tenacity, and love of community shared by the recipients of the Great Living Cincinnatian Award, presented annually by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber since 1967.

Richard T. Farmer

Awarded In 2010

1934 – 2021

 

Richard T. Farmer’s path to being named a Great Living Cincinnatian is paved with a commitment to excellence in business and a passion to care for others.

Whn Farmer joined Acme Uniform and Linen Company in 1957, the family-owned business employed 12 people in a small plant on Ridge Avenue. Over the next five decades, Farmer demonstrated how his precise focus on a deceptively simple formula for growth transformed the small local company into a national powerhouse. Today, Cintas is the nation’s largest uniform rental company, with more than 5 million people wearing its gear.

Early in his career, Farmer described Acme as a company that designed, manufactured and cared for uniforms that helped companies like Texaco and Sohio upgrade worker morale by stressing a good appearance. In 1968, Farmer took critical steps by creating a holding company, the Satellite Corporation, to position the company for its transformation into a national corporation. The new company, renamed Cintas in 1983, pursued an aggressive growth program with the goal of having a “rental company in every metropolitan area in the United States.”

The result was an aggressive program of acquisitions that led to 40- to 50-percent annual growth rates in the 1970s. This growth led Cintas to a new 25,000 square-foot headquarters in Blue Ash in 1974 and a 275,000 square-foot headquarters in Mason in 1988.

Today, Cintas not only sets the national standard in the industry, but serves as a model for businesses all over the world.

Growth and success never separated Farmer from the needs of the Cincinnati USA community and the communities in which Cintas does business. In 1998, Cintas and the Farmer Family Foundation forged a partnership with Matthew 25: Ministries to make a difference in the lives of the poorest of the poor worldwide with donations of fabric, finished clothing, first aid products and anti-bacterial soaps and other items to fight disease.

Perhaps no institution has befitted more from Richard Farmer than Miami University. Through a series of gifts, including $30 million in 2005, Richard and Joyce Farmer and the Farmer Family Foundation helped transform Miami’s school of business. The new, high tech, modern home for the Farmer School of Business opened in 2009. The building reflects Farmer’s passions, as it is designed at every level to reinforce a sense of community by facilitating interaction between students and faculty and encouraging “spontaneous collaboration.”

Nominate a Great Living Cincinnatian

Recipients are selected from candidates by the Cincinnati Chamber’s senior council based on the following criteria: – Community service – Business and civic attainment on a local, state and national or international level – Leadership – Awareness of the needs of others – Distinctive accomplishments that have brought favorable attention to their community, institution or organization