Check out what’s new at Benesch! Exciting things are happening. VOL. 38, NO. 47
www.beneschlaw.com NOVEMBER 20 - 26, 2017
Akron APV is giving city a hand in revitalizing old Firestone site. Page 36
Jill Rizika, executive director, Towards Employment Page 39
The List NEO’s largest savings institutions Page 35
40 Under 40 What brings this year’s inspiring 40s together? They’ve all contributed to Northeast Ohio’s success — both through their careers and work in the community. This year’s honorees touch all corners of the regional economy, and we expect their influence to only grow in the coming years. In many cases, they’re just getting started. Pages 13-34 Portraits by Jason Miller for Crain’s
Hot holiday parties Nine food vendor choices to ensure the office party is a tasty treat. Page 37 Entire contents © 2017 by Crain Communications Inc.
United Way will use new algorithm to aid its funding process in 2018 By LYDIA COUTRÉ firstname.lastname@example.org @LydiaCoutre
Next year, the United Way of Greater Cleveland will have a little help from a computer algorithm in deciding which agencies and programs it funds. The organization, which is embarking on a new strategic plan with
August Napoli Jr. as its president and CEO, is now accepting documentation from health and human services organizations to help determine which will be eligible to apply for funding. Those that are eligible can then apply for grants. That’s a new approach for the United Way, which is the largest private funder for health and human services organizations in the Cleveland region. In the past, it had been
a one-step application process. “We have done a good job of ensuring we were allocating resources to quality programs in the past, but it is time we take the process and procedures to a whole new level,” Napoli said in a prepared statement. “Our funding priority going forward must be on solutions that address people’s needs, not simply fueling the system delivering the services.” SEE UNITED WAY, PAGE 34
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CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
SCG’s next success story could be USL partnership By KEVIN KLEPS email@example.com @KevinKleps
There was a nine-day span between Louisville City FC’s win over New York in the Eastern Conference final and the United Soccer League club’s title-clinching victory in the USL Cup on Nov. 13. That gave SCG Fields, a Brecksville construction company that transitioned full-time to sports once it landed a job installing the playing surface prior to the 1994 debut of Jacobs Field, a sufficient amount of time to transform Louisville’s minor league baseball stadium into a pristine, all-grass soccer pitch. “We approached them at the last minute — very last minute,” said Josh Keller, the USL’s director of business development, of SCG Fields. The reason: The soccer league that doubles as a feeder system of sorts for Major League Soccer didn’t want its championship match being played on a field that had synthetic turf placed over the dirt portions of the home of the Triple-A Louisville Bats. Four days before the USL Cup, SCG’s crew laid the sod, and the field drew rave reviews for what wound up being a 1-0 Louisville victory played before 14,456 fans. “They were working on the field right up until Saturday (Nov. 11),”
said Joseph Smith, SCG’s chief operating officer. Tight timelines are as common to SCG as a 1-0 score is to a soccer fanatic. In February, the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals debuted their $150 million spring training complex, which was built in 15 months and had 16 fields that were installed by SCG in West Palm Beach, Fla. The big-league clubs each have practice fields that mimic the dimensions of their home ballparks, plus five other full-sized fields. The project was an eight-figure coup for SCG, which has become an industry leader for installing grass and synthetic turf surfaces for the likes of the Browns, Indians, New York Yankees and Denver Broncos. Just this year, SCG has done work for Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Kent State, and as of mid-November, the company was closing in on finalizing a contract with a notable NCAA Division I conference. SCG also installed the football fields the Browns donated to five Cleveland schools, and it's putting in a new warning track at Progressive Field. “We had 12 (projects) going on this year at one particular time, and that can be multiple fields at each one,” said SCG president Paul Franks, who, according to his company bio, is known as “the Godfather of Turf.” A typical field costs between
$400,000 and $700,000, Smith said, and natural grass surfaces, such as the homes of the Astros and Nationals, often go for more. The workload — displayed by pinpoints scattered on a map in Smith’s office — has led to “significant” growth in annual revenue, the SCG COO said, though he would not provide a specific revenue figure. “But it’s a challenge in this industry because it’s big work,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of competition. We’re no different than other contractors. That’s what we are, a contractor.” And while gaining separation in a cluttered field is anything but easy, a recent deal SCG struck with the USL could lead to at least 30 new professional sports clients.
Successful soccer pitch In late September, the USL, a pro league that debuted in 2011, announced that SCG was its “official field builder.” Considering the Division II soccer league (with MLS operating one slot above it in the U.S. Soccer hierarchy) has more than doubled in size in the last three seasons and plans to launch a Division III league in 2019, the deal is a significant one for SCG. Keller, the director of business development for USL Division III, said the “conservative” timeline is for that division to open with eight to 12
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SCG Fields was hired at the “very last minute” to install a grass field prior to Louisville City FC’s win in the USL Cup. (Contributed photo)
teams, then eventually increase “to 30-40 franchises.” The USL, meanwhile, is adding four new franchises for 2018, and two more the following year. A few of its cities are candidates for open expansion slots in MLS, but even with a couple defections, the league could have at least 34 clubs in 2019. “Between the two (Divisions II and III), we could be adding 30, 40, 50 new franchises,” Keller said. Each team isn’t going to build a new facility, but the ones that do likely would be adding a practice facility, which Smith said typically includes two natural grass fields and one synthetic surface. Also not a guarantee is that each USL franchise will select SCG to install its new playing surfaces, but that deci-
sion will be encouraged by the league. “It’s not mandatory,” Keller said. “But when we hear they’re looking to build or renovate a venue, we say, ‘Hey, talk to these guys first.’ They have the knowledge; they understand our league. Ultimately, we want our teams to have the best facilities and pitches out there for the benefit of the league as a whole.” SCG believes that makes it the obvious choice. And the Brecksville firm can point out to each club that it is installing the pitch for the 19,400-seat stadium that Minnesota United, an MLS expansion club, will open in 2019. “That help brings confidence to the people that have to make decisions,” said Franks, the company president.
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‘Zero time’ for problems Soccer is a big growth market for SCG, but Franks said minor league baseball accounts for the most significant chunk of the business. And the 30-year industry vet thinks lacrosse “is going to be the next” sport for which the company sees a big spike in jobs. On average, SCG, which is owned by insurance industry veteran D. Michael Sherman, has 50 employees, Franks said, but the total can reach 75 during the crazy summer season. A dozen of the firm’s workers are in Brecksville, and a Florida office has 10 employees. Soon, Smith said, the company will be adding a satellite office in New Mexico, which will add to its West Coast presence. But it’s the Sunshine State — where SCG has recently installed fields for the University of Miami and Ave Ma-
N O V E M B E R 2 0 - 2 6 , 2 017
ria University, plus done work at the Citrus Bowl and the Naval Air Station Key West — that Franks believes could account for half of the company’s employees in the future. There, they’ve dealt with hurricanes — most recently when Irma knocked down a set of bleachers and ripped up the football field at Ave Maria. “Everything is so fast-paced once we get into a project,” said Franks, whose son, Chris, is an SCG executive vice president. “There’s zero time for any kind of issue. You got to problem-solve ahead of the problem.” That’s served SCG well for more than two decades, and the work has continued to pick up — from high school surfaces, to soccer pitches, to the NFL and MLB. “They can answer the questions we don’t even know to ask,” said the USL’s Keller.
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A customer who spotted new Wayne Savings Bank CEO Jay VanSickle II walking to lunch a few weeks back beeped his car horn and shouted at him out the window. He had some paperwork ready and thought that was the best way to let VanSickle know. “I’m like, ‘OK, I’ll be down to pick it up,’ ” VanSickle said. “I guess that’s what being a CEO in small-town Ohio is like.” VanSickle, a native of nearby Huron County and a Wooster resident for the past 15 years who’s spent many years with smaller banks, relishes that kind of interaction. He originally worked as a CPA but cut his teeth at First National Bank of Orrville as a CFO, and then Farmers National Bank of Canfield, for which he’d serve as chief risk officer after the latter finished an acquisition of the former in 2015. Committed to banking in one of Northeast Ohio’s more rural markets that’s rather similar to the small town he grew up in, VanSickle, 47, embraced the opportunity to run a community bank of his own — even though it’s one that has seen its share of drama the past several months. “It’s a special situation to be able to operate a full-service financial product institution like this, to have people in the community to interact with through the day. That’s something different, and it’s what community banking really is,” VanSickle said. “That’s important to me. And this feels like my hometown bank.” VanSickle in September became president and CEO of Wayne, a $446 million-asset community bank with a few offices clustered around Wayne County. His joining the bank was predicated by a contentious proxy contest with The Stilwell Group, a New Yorkbased hedge fund widely known in the banking world as an aggressive activist investor. Stilwell owns nearly 10% of Wayne, making it one of its largest shareholders. Amid pressures to improve bank profitability, Wayne saw longtime CEO Stewart Fitz Gibbons resign last December. After that, board member David Lehman took an interim CEO role, planning to be there only until a permanent CEO was selected. However, in January, Stilwell launched its proxy fight, seeking to replace an incumbent board member with one of its choosing on the grounds that the current board wasn’t doing enough to grow the bank. The CEO search was put on hold. Unsatisfied, Stilwell — which had called the bank “thoroughly disappointing” — sought new blood who’d help push the bank to improve or sell. Proxy filings disclosed that Stilwell offered its candidate financial incentives if the bank were sold a few years after his election. That ended up being one of several reasons why proxy
change allows the bank to work toward restructuring its loan portfolio into higher yielding, shorter-duration assets. Meanwhile, the bank has elected to delist its stock from NASDAQ, switching to over-the-counter trading on or around Nov. 20. For a smaller community bank that’s thinly traded, that move will trim costs going forward. Those moves align with two parts of VanSickle’s straightforward-yet-concerted approach to bank growth: increasing loans, trimming costs while enhancing revenues and growing deposits. In terms of culture, VanSickle is promoting a “sales mentality” at the bank. He said in terms of achieving growth, there’s “no silver bullet out there,” but that he’s shooting to push the bank toward a return on equity Wayne Savings delivered a return between 10% and 2%. on equity of about 8% in the third In the third quarter, though, Wayne quarter. (Contributed photo) had logged ROE of about 8%, which advisory groups encouraged Wayne was a record for the institution that shareholders to vote for the incum- dates back to 1899 and something that was in motion before VanSickle bent, Peggy Schmitz. Schmitz ended up winning by the came on board. “Lehman, the board and everyone narrowest of margins in the contest, receiving 50% of votes to the Stilwell here at the bank has done a lot in 2017 to turn things around and posicandidate’s 49%. Afterward, Stilwell vowed to “be tion us in a spot where we can add on back next year” if the bank isn’t im- to that success and hopefully, in ’18, ’19 and ’20, build off that and continproved or sold. The whole saga only slowed the ue to grow earnings.” VanSickle wants to grow market bank down. Besides delaying the onboarding of a new president and share around its Wayne County footCEO, the proxy fight cost Wayne print, adding new deposit products — the bank added a chief retail offi$420,000, according to filings. The board has said it has no desire cer in Amberly Wolf, who previously to sell the bank. VanSickle is on that worked alongside VanSickle at both boat and hopes to move past the con- First National and Farmers — and tentious fight that may have muddied going more aggressively after comthe relationship between Stilwell and mercial business. That’s in addition to targeting agricultural business and its current board and shareholders. “We have some out-of-state and those in the nearby Amish communiinstitutional ownership that might be ty, for which the bank has even startinterested in something more of a ed a courier service. With other community banks beshort-term nature. I’m not them. And I don’t want to speak for them,” he ing bought up and institutions like said. “But while we might come from FirstMerit Bank leaving the market different places, I think between the (following their acquisition by Hunlocal group of shareholders, who pre- tington Bank), VanSickle sees oppordominantly want to remain indepen- tunity to “take advantage of some of those situations” and win “We think we have a lot over new customers. “We think we have a lot of of opportunities for opportunities for growth, growth, from Millersburg from Millersburg to Ashland, Canton to Wooster,” he said. to Ashland, Canton to As far as whether Stilwell, Wooster.” the most vocal critic of Wayne’s performance lately, — Jay VanSickle II, Wayne Savings will give VanSickle some time Bank CEO to improve the bank or will dent and local, and the institutional initiate another proxy fight in the shareholders, I think what everybody near future is unclear. Before his arcould probably agree on is they rival, though, they did promise to would like Wayne Savings to be a keep the pressure on if they aren’t satisfied. high-performing bank.” But VanSickle has a plan in mind, A spokesperson for Stilwell declined to comment on Wayne’s per- and that doesn’t include being overly formance following the proxy con- focused on shareholder pressures at test, on VanSickle leading the bank as this time. “We understand the concerns of CEO and his plans for growing the some shareholders who just want bank. VanSickle is now focused on or- us to perform better. We want to ganic growth. And in the past several perform better, too,” the Wayne weeks, there have already been some Savings CEO said. “I would like othnotable developments toward that er groups to see value in us remaining independent, and that we can end. In September, Wayne changed its still provide value for them and to charter from an S&L to a commercial their investment in an ongoing nabank. With S&L’s facing requirements ture with us being independent. on mortgage lending and limitations And I’d like to get that opportunity on commercial relationships, the to show them that we can.”
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CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
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East Side office market heats up with new spaces By STAN BULLARD email@example.com @CrainRltywriter
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Fate has a way of changing history and the best-laid plans of real estate developers, and that is what’s shaping up in Cleveland’s east suburban office market. Two large office subleases have hit the market just as the first new multitenant building in a decade — builder and hair care chain operator Dino Palmieri’s Highland Centre, 3900 Park East Drive — opened in Beachwood. Within a year, it will be joined by new rental offices at the mixed-use projects Pinecrest in Orange Village and Van Aken District in Shaker Heights. Thanks to changes in corporate strategy and corporate downsizing, respectively, Nationwide Insurance has put on the market 86,000 square feet at Metropolitan Plaza, 22901 Millcreek Blvd. in Highland Hills, and DDR Corp. has put on the market 37,000 square feet at its headquarters at 3333 Richmond Road in Beachwood, according to listings by the CBRE realty brokerage, which is handling the subleases. Taken together, that’s enough office space to create two typical suburban office buildings. Moreover, the structures are among the newer properties in the east suburbs, with the DDR building dating from 2010 and Millcreek from 2000, and asking rents of $26 and $16 a square foot, respectively. Developers want to command more than $30 a square foot for new properties. The east suburban office market is 12% vacant, according to the Newmark Knight Frank realty brokerage’s report as of Sept. 30.
For their part, owners of new properties hitting the market are unperturbed by the surprise competition. “It’s like night and day to compare them,” said Palmieri, who also opened the last new east suburban rental office building in 2007. “My building has a lot of window space and is suited to new office furnishings that don’t have to accommodate older, larger PCs,” he said. “There’s going to be a reshuffling of the market, but a lot of companies want to be on the East Side. It’s like being on top of a mountain. There are fewer clients for this level of sophistication, but they are out there.” His agent, Cushman & Wakefield Cresco, is working with multiple prospects. The structure opened with money manager Glenmede as its anchor tenant. Palmieri’s team has about 35,000 square feet of office space left to fill. At Pinecrest, Adam Fishman, a principal at Fairmount Properties, which leads a group of developers in the venture, said, “This is suburban office 2.0. We’re creating a new downtown for the East Side with offices, retail, lodging and housing.” In contrast to most suburban office buildings created during his 30year realty career, Fishman said Pinecrest sits amid amenities and a garage instead of a sea of ground-level parking. “I’m not saying we’re immune to market conditions,” Fishman said, “but I’m not concerned about the subleases.” However, Pinecrest is pacing the marketing of its 160,000 square feet of office space by marketing half of it, which is in one building above retail space, now, and keeping the other 80,000 square feet in a separate
building off the market until the $240 million project opens in May. Bob Gross, an executive vice president in JLL’s Cleveland who is helping to market Pinecrest, said he has been impressed by the increasing volume of interest as contractors enter the last lap on the buildings. “Showings are up,” Gross said, “Requests for proposals are up. We have almost a floor leased, and we’re not open yet. We’re really excited.” Meantime, RMS Investments Corp., which is developing the first phase of the Van Aken District retail-office complex in cooperation with the city of Shaker Heights, already leased 80% of the 64,000 square feet of its office space, which is above storefront shops and restaurants. All told, five office tenants have committed to the $97 million project before it opens in June. Luke Palmisano, president of RMS, said he intends to hold firm on the mid-$30s per-square-foot asking price on the remaining space because of its pre-leasing and the nature of Van Aken’s design, amenities and location at the train station at the end of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s Blue Line. “This appeals to a different tenant than someone who wants to be in the typical suburban building near a highway,” Palmisano said. Even with different appeals from new buildings, David Browning, managing director of CBRE, which handles the Nationwide and DDR subleases, said they represent a big chunk of space and “will be challenging for developers.” The other factor in the situation is that more tenants are searching for east suburban office space than they had in years, brokers say. SEE OFFICES, PAGE 8
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CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
Team NEO: Manufacturing output will rise as jobs fall By JAY MILLER email@example.com @millerjh
Manufacturing will remain the largest sector of the Northeast Ohio economy, if not the fastest-growing. According to the latest analysis by Team Northeast Ohio, the business development nonprofit, the manufacturing sector plays the leading role in the region’s economic activity, contributing $42.5 billion to a gross regional product that approaches $232.2 billion. That figure is well ahead of the sector in second place, real estate rental and leasing, which generates $27.2 billion regionally. However, Team NEO reports the number of jobs in the manufacturing sector will continue to drop, from 265,437 now to an estimated 236,179 by 2027, an 11% decline over a decade. However, that projected decline is more modest than the region’s loss of about 217,000 manufacturing jobs, or 47%, in the period between 1990 and 2017. Team NEO reports that despite the loss of several thousand jobs a year for the next decade, area manufacturers will continue to grow their businesses over the decade, with the sector contributing $47 billion to GRP over the next decade, a 10.7% increase in output that would add $4.6 billion to the economy in 2016 dollars. By 2027, it’s
still projected to account for 18% of the region’s economic output. On balance, then, Team NEO is optimistic about the role manufacturing will play in the regional economy. This look at manufacturing is highlighted in the economic development organization’s most recent quarterly economic review. “We still make things, but with fewer people,” said Jacob Duritsky, Team NEO’s vice president for strategy and research, when he previewed the report for Crain’s editorial staff last Monday, Nov. 13. “If you think about where we’re sitting right now, we went through a pretty painful transition. We’re in a pretty good spot from an economic composition perspective.” Part of the reason for Duritsky’s optimism is the growth of employment in other sectors that will help regional employment grow by 5.5%, from 1,949,384 in 2017 to 2,056,487 in 2027. The report shows a healthy 127,500 increase in health care jobs over the next decade, and a 25,000 increase in jobs in professional, scientific and technical services. That growth, 0.55% a year, is only a slightly slower rate of growth in jobs than what is expected nationally. Recently released projections from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics for the 2016-2026 period peg annual growth nationally at 0.7%. In a similar quarterly report a year ago, Team NEO reported that several
sub-sectors of manufacturing were expected to show especially strong growth — semiconductors and other electronic components, and navigational/measuring/electromedical/ control instruments. This continued reliance on manufacturing often is viewed with skepticism, especially on the East and West coasts, where digital technologies are seen as the future. But a recent study by the Century Foundation suggests a strong manufacturing sector makes sense in the Midwest. The report released in June, “Why Manufacturing Jobs Are Worth Saving,” argues that there is an opportunity for growth in manufacturing in part because manufacturing jobs continue to provide above-average wages and in part because manufacturing is increasingly technology based. “We’ve had this idea that high-tech is not the same as manufacturing, that manufacturing is the past and hightech and services are the future,” said Andrew Stettner, the study’s lead author and a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, a public policy research institute formerly called the Twentieth Century Fund. “In fact, we know that manufacturing can be a place of high-tech innovation and invention,” he said. “Having a strong manufacturing sector can help you have a strong health care sector and a strong education and research sector.”
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CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
Schools amp up fundraising efforts With tuition costs already prohibitive, institutions putting added emphasis on donors By RACHEL ABBEY McCAFFERTY firstname.lastname@example.org @ramccafferty
As the Cleveland Institute of Music prepares to lower its tuition and purposefully shrink its enrollment, fundraising is taking on an increasingly important role. Historically, schools have turned to tuition increases and enrollment expansions as a way to raise money, but the cost of higher education is becoming too expensive, said Dale Hedding, managing director of external affairs and patron engagement. The Cleveland Institute of Music is in competition with other conservatories and large universities with music schools, and lowering costs for students is a way to stand out. And it’s not just private schools grappling with how to make higher education more affordable. Public universities have historically been dependent on state support or tuition. “I think those days are behind us,” said Stephen G. Sokany, vice president for institutional advancement at Kent State University. Both the Cleveland Institute of Music and Kent State University are among schools in Northeast Ohio that have put an increased focus on fundraising in recent years — and that have seen success as a result of their changed approach. In fiscal year 2017, Kent State saw its total “new commitments,” which includes cash gifts, planned gifts and
pledges, increase to nearly $39 million, compared with about $30 million in fiscal year 2016. But the number of donors actually decreased by 107 to 20,290. Sokany said the university has been putting a stronger focus on donors who can make significant gifts. Efforts to grow the Cleveland Institute of Music’s annual fund really began in fiscal year 2017, Hedding said. Hedding came to the institute in July from orchestras and other performing arts organizations, where fundraising has long had a large role. At orchestras, fundraising can make up about half of the operating budget, Hedding said. That “urgency” hasn’t always existed at universities, he said. The institute’s annual fund — which only accounts for money raised and spent in that fiscal year — grew from about $1.5 million in fiscal year 2016 to almost $2 million in fiscal year 2017, a fairly dramatic jump compared with the steady increases of the years prior. The institute does not include funding from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture in its total. Hedding said the focus at the Cleveland Institute of Music is making sure the school is communicating more with donors and letting them see what their dollars fund. The key at Kent State is an “individualized” approach that connects potential donors with opportunities at the university, Sokany said. And those opportunities put student needs at the forefront. For example, a gift from the KeyBank Foundation for the DEEDS program will help under-
represented students, while a gift from the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation will help students in the fashion school fund required study abroad/study away experiences. The fundraising approaches being tried by local schools vary, but many focus on making the process personal for donors. “No two donors are the same,” said Youngstown State University Foundation president Paul McFadden. One of the techniques the foundation has seen success with is donor-focused events, which bring together specifically chosen donors in different geographic areas. And the presence of YSU's president, Jim Tressel, certainly has helped. Planning for the foundation’s recently announced $100 million campaign was already underway when Tressel joined the university, but the enthusiasm he brought allowed them to set the goal higher than planned, McFadden said. The College of Wooster also recently announced a campaign for $165 million. While Wooster long has had a core group of donors, the college is working to engage a wider group of potential donors through alumni and parents, said Wayne Webster, vice president for advancement. One way it does that is by helping connect alumni and students, like through its CityTREK program. On breaks, Wooster will take groups of students to different cities to meet with alumni at their workplaces, learning about how they got where they are and how their education
supported that. And that kind of engagement with students often opens up to conversations about funding, he said. At Hiram College, the school tries to show potential donors how their gift would contribute to the college’s larger priorities. President Lori Varlotta said when she came to Hiram in 2014, she put a fundraising process in place where all the college’s five-figure asks get put into a written proposal and given to the potential donor early in the ask. The proposal is tied to a donor’s interests. Jennifer Schuller, vice president for development and alumni relations, said this kind of proposal is usually more common at the seven-figure level, and she thinks bringing it down to smaller gifts has helped the college increase its donors’ giving. Varlotta said Hiram College has had two strong fundraising years in a row. In fiscal year 2017, the college raised about $8.9 million in cash, not counting pledges or will commitments. In fiscal year 2016, that number was about $9.3 million, a sizable increase from the approximately $5.7 million received the year before. The funds can go toward the annual fund, endowment or other projects. Varlotta said Hiram’s focus right now is on cash gifts, instead of endowment or planned estate gifts, which lets donors see the results of their gift immediately. And giving is “contagious,” she said. “People want to be part of a winning story,” Varlotta said.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 6
Jeremy Steiger, a partner at the Lee Associates brokerage Cleveland office who represents about 10 east suburban office buildings, said, “There’s room for everyone in the sandbox. Landlords now can choose who to do business with, unlike earlier in my career, when there was really just one prospect for a given office.” Likewise, Jeff Cristal, an NKF executive managing director, said that despite the vacancy rate, the east suburban market has absorbed a lot of space the last few years. “The East Side has always absorbed what office space comes to market,” Cristal said. “It’s home to a large number of entrepreneurs and companies. There may be more negotiating, but the space will get taken by the business that it offers the right fit.” Cyndie O’Bryon, an NAI Daus senior vice president, said technology has made it possible for developers to sell space before buildings go up, but most tenants “really need to kick the tires” and inspect new buildings to commit to them. Most high-end East Side buildings are full, she said, so new space will give such tenants options they couldn’t otherwise consider. Palmieri sizes up the situation with a much broader view. “I’m glad I’m in the office market,” he said. “We’ve got more prospects but more competition. It’s not like the apartment market, where you wonder where the tenants will come from with all these new buildings.”
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CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
Opinion From the Editor
Standing tall in a stellar class
To benefit all Given its clearly stated side effects — death, most notably — it’s no surprise fewer people are smoking. In Cuyahoga County, of course, that inevitably means there are fewer dollars to go around for the county’s arts and cultural organizations. The county is the envy of many arts communities in the nation given the significant amount of tax dollars generated from the sale of cigarettes that ultimately are funneled to arts and cultural organizations — both big and small, in the city and ’burbs, on the West and East sides — through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the political subdivision of the state tasked with doling out the dollars through grants. Last week, the agency approved a $10.2 million allocation to support the 2018 operations of 61 local arts organizations. That’s almost 20% fewer dollars than the $12.7 million allocated for each of the previous three years — a sizable cut that will certainly be felt by many organizations that rely on the funding to prop up their already modest budgets. Grants range from $11,000 to $1.1 million. And although many distressed arts leaders are suggesting otherwise, these cuts should hardly come as a surprise. CAC has made no secret over the years that the cigarette tax, as its executive director Karen Gahl-Mills likes to say, is “not a 100-year solution” to fund the arts. It was a creative solution for a community that had no public investment in the arts. This year, for example, tax revenue through Oct. 31 was nearly $12.3 million — 0.5% below what was forecast and 1% lower than the like period in 2016. Take a broader look at what has happened to the revenue stream and ultimately what is expected, and the numbers are especially dramatic. In 2008, the cigarette tax brought in $19.54 million. In 2016, that figure shrank to $14.77 million — a 24% decline that shows no signs of slowing. It would have been naive — and, quite frankly, poor management — by any of the grant recipients to assume funding levels
would remain flat for the foreseeable future, especially given that CAC had dipped into reserves to buoy its handouts. The hope is to maintain the 2018 level at least through 2019, maybe even 2021. But given the amount of phone calls and emails from CAC intended to explain the planned cuts after a contentious October board meeting, it’s fair to say communication was likely lacking on both sides. And frankly, over the last year or so, CAC hasn’t done an exceptional job communicating change, particularly concerning plans to reinvent the Creative Workforce Fellowship program that supports individual artists. CAC is wisely launching a series of community meetings next year to hopefully rectify any of those communication shortcomings. It’s also certainly the right of the public to press CAC — a public agency — to ensure it’s properly handling taxpayer funds. And press they did at recent meetings. But if anything, CAC’s slimmer allocations should not be a source of bickering but rather a call-to-arms to anyone who cares about the arts in Cuyahoga County. As the county slides into the second decade of a smoker-supported arts scene — voters renewed the 10-year, 30-cent a pack tax in 2015 — the conversation about what could ultimately replace, or even supplement, that tax revenue must start now. The recent retirements of Tom Schorgl from the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, Kathleen Cerveny from the Cleveland Foundation and Deena Epstein from the Gund Foundation — three of the most important figures in the successful quest to bring public funding to the arts in Cuyahoga County — only underscores the need for new leadership and ideas to emerge. And it’s not a conversation that should be contained to CAC’s walls, but one that involves the city’s foundations, artists, nonprofits, business community — basically anyone who benefits from Northeast Ohio’s rich arts and culture ecosystem. You would, after all, be hard pressed to find somebody who doesn’t.
Publisher and Editor: Elizabeth McIntyre (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Scott Suttell (email@example.com)
Timothy Magaw (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In this week’s issue, you have the chance to meet 40 of Northeast Ohio’s young leaders who are rising in their professions while making an impact on their communities. Their contributions of time and talent enrich Northeast Ohio in many ways. I’m certain you’ll be impressed by the accomplishments of the Forty Under 40 class of 2017. Since 1991, Crain’s has recognized more than 1,000 Northeast Ohioans with this program, and I’m always amazed at the hundreds of nominations we receive and the quality of those nominations. It’s truly a difficult task for our editors to narrow down the list of candidates. Having gone through the judging process for several years now, here’s some advice if you are considering nominating yourself or Elizabeth someone else for the 2018 class. And please McIntyre keep in mind that we have an abundance of talented young leaders in Northeast Ohio. Even if your favorite candidate doesn’t make the list, the work they do benefits us all. J Get to the point. You have a maximum of 300 words to make your case. (For perspective, this column is about double that.) We’re not looking for writerly flourishes. The more concise you are in making the case, the better. Consider bullet points to list professional accomplishments. The more details, the better, especially those that show quantifiable results. Again, be succinct and specific. J Above and beyond. Think about the candidate’s civic and community involvement, activities that go beyond the work day. What is the nominee doing to improve our community, beyond his or her job description? J The intangibles. What is something that sets the candidate apart. Did he or she overcome an obstacle professionally or personally? Are they breaking new ground professionally? J Multiple nominations don’t matter. Just submit one good nomination. Every year, we see a handful of campaigns to nominate a candidate. We’re flooded with nominations that follow the same script. Quality matters. Quantity does not. J Recognize the right time. Is this the candidate’s year? The competition is stiff, and there are many who deserve to be honored. Make sure when you nominate yourself or someone else, the timing is right. If there is something on the horizon likely to make the candidate stand out even more, perhaps wait until that’s accomplished. J Keep trying. We’ve seen a number of repeat nominees who haven’t made the cut, but who were then chosen years later. So many factors go into our decision-making each year. We strive to create a diverse class, one that reflects the broad diversity of professionals in Northeast Ohio. We try for a mix that shows the range of business and industries in our area (from small businesses to large corporations; from nonprofits to for-profits; from startups to established companies, etc.) We also are cognizant of diversity as it relates to geography, age, race, culture, gender and experience. There is one caveat on this list. We’re not striving for age diversity. It is the Forty Under 40 list, after all. Our other programs, Twenty in their 20s and Eight in their 80s, seek to expand that type of diversity. J Know the birthdate. We traditionally hold the Forty Under 40 event the Monday before Thanksgiving, which means the nominee must be under 40 the day of the event. We’re strict about the title, and it can’t be changed to Forty Barely 40. J Won and done. You can only win this award once, so check out our database of past winners to see if your nominee has already been honored. Please join me in congratulating this year’s impressive 40 Under 40 Class and start considering whom you might nominate next year. We’ll open up our nominations on CrainsCleveland.com for all of our recognition programs on Jan. 1, 2018. Please know that because of the work that goes into processing the volume of nominations for Forty Under 40, Twenty in their 20s, and Women of Note, we will be charging a nominal fee for each nomination, beginning in 2018.
Write us: Crain’s welcomes responses from readers. Letters should be as brief as possible and may be edited. Send letters to Crain’s Cleveland Business, 700 West St. Clair Ave., Suite 310, Cleveland, OH 44113, or by emailing ClevEdit@crain.com. Please include your complete name and city from which you are writing, and a telephone number for fact-checking purposes. Sound off: Send a Personal View for the opinion page to email@example.com. Please include a telephone number for verification purposes.
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Web Talk Re: Four more years of Frank Jackson Jackson needs to make our airport serve the needs of global businesses like Lubrizol, Arconic Forgings and ArcelorMittal, and he needs to position Cleveland as a “smart city” with open government and efficient services that support local businesses and industry. That is not happening, and he has crippled our community with a failure to provide safe and healthy neighborhoods. — Laura McShane
Re: Transit in Cleveland and beyond The Editor’s Choice blog highlighted a Wall Street Journal opinion piece by Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute in which O’Toole stated that “low gas prices and ride-sharing” are the main reasons for the decline in transit ridership. A couple thoughts. First, will gas prices stay low forever? No. What happens when they go up? Motorists become more price-sensitive and switch to transit. Second, ride-sharing is great, and I use it at times. I also use transit. But by putting more ride-share cars on our roads, have we solved our traffic woes or just made them worse? — PeterL
Re: Breathing life into ailing malls Cleveland’s first indoor shopping mall, Severance in Cleveland Heights, continues to suffer after having been purchased by a firm known to buy troubled shopping centers and operate them without significant investment. It recently floated a proposal to turn the vacant Walmart into a
self-storage facility, with two to three jobs. Fortunately, the city government turned that proposal away. Without freeway access, the market for Severance as a regional retail center is gone. If it weren’t for the steep cost of redevelopment, the answer might be demolition of the retail buildings and replacement with a new neighborhood. This would require large financial incentives and public investment, but the alternative of a slowly dying shopping center would be worse. — Bob Brown
Re: Richard, Emily Smucker donate $15M to Cleveland Orchestra Fantastic! Maybe they could use $500,000 yearly to pay the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus. An orchestra of this stature should not be bragging about their all-volunteer chorus. Frankly, they should be embarrassed. The chorus rehearses year-round, three hours every Monday night, and should be paid union wages. — Daniel Craig
DECEMBER 31ST, 7:30 PM
Re: GOP tax plan The Republicans have already torpedoed the tax cut by allowing the Freedom Caucus to slap repeal of the ACA mandate into the bill. The moderates can’t agree, and the Rand Paul libertarians will walk without it. There is no Republican Party. There are three parties: a centrist American party; a populist, Trumpenabling coterie; and a libertarian caucus. All three have to be on board to pass legislation over a solid Democratic bloc. — Peter Talbot
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40 under 40 T
hese 40 people are making big decisions, bold moves and leading our region into the future. Selected by our editorial team to represent a diversity of businesses and backgrounds, they’ve all made a difference — and we expect will continue to do so — for Northeast Ohio. Name
Dr. Manmeet Ahluwalia Tracy L. Albers Lynn A. Capadona John Coughlin James D. Cowan Jr. Krystal L. Culler Stephen Fening John Fenn Jesse Grant Brandon Guzman Anne Hartnett Mary Herzak Adam Hill Elizabeth M. Hijar Michelle Hirsch Nancy Hutchinson Carey Fleming Jaros Adam R. Nazette Dorivette Nolan Tori Rendano Nook Srivishnu Pasumarthy Albert Peña Melissa Ramirez Michael R. Rasor Marques P.D. Richeson Maggie Rivera-Tuma Laura Rodriguez-Carbone Sherrie S. Royster Joseph Roszak Elizabeth Scheiderer Gino Scipione Jenny Spencer Gavin J. Svenson Jason J. Therrien Christina Vassallo George Vlosich III Alesha Washington Dionna Widder Kimberly J. Young Alexandra Yonkov Portraits by Jason Miller for Crain’s
18 30 14 27 22 14 30 16 34 25 19 31 13 28 30 32 21 20 18 20 16 18 34 24 24 24 17 32 17 22 26 29 26 23 28 14 13 27 15 33
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Alesha Washington, 34 Vice president, government advocacy, Greater Cleveland Partnership
s vice president for government advocacy at the Greater Cleveland Partnership, Alesha Washington represents the business community of her hometown to state legislators and public officials. Her job is to educate them about the needs of a region of the state that is a far-off place for many in Columbus and to fight to make sure public works projects important to Northeast Ohio make it into the state capital budget. It even sometimes surprises her that she enjoys the job — a far cry from the world of human services in which she started and grew her career. Starting when she was a student at Glenville High School on Cleveland’s East Side, Washington worked at social service organizations or foundations, from the Glenville YMCA to the Cleveland and Gund foundations. “My mom said I couldn’t work in fast food. She said, ‘Find something else to do to make money,’” she said. “So I found internships, starting with the American Civil Liberties Union.” After graduating from Oberlin College she headed for the Case Western Reserve University’s nonprofit management master’s degree program, believing that would get her where she wanted to go. And it did. After working her way through several nonprofit jobs, she landed at the Centers for Families and Children, a human services agency that rubs up against many other related agencies as well as several levels of government. There she
“It is public policy that drives so much of what we do as a city and a nation.”
started administering the agency’s government contracts, including Head Start and the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County. She recalled, though, that early on someone said, “And, oh by the way, if you can figure out how to restart our
government affairs program, have at it.” And she did. “I never saw that coming,” she said. “Over 10 years later, here I am still doing that work.” In 2014 she joined GCP, focusing on local and state level advocacy. “Alesha has been a remarkable addi-
tion to our GCP team,” said Martin McGann, the business group’s senior vice president for government advocacy. “She understands the government processes and points of possible influence on an issue, but sometimes even more important, she also has the relationships to get it done.” — Jay Miller
“That project included 34 layers in the capital stack and Phase One started in 2010 when nothing was happening development-wise in the country,” he said. Under Hill’s direction, Cohen also has played a role in dozens of downtown developments, including The 9
Cleveland, Cuyahoga County’s new administrative headquarters and K&D’s extensive redevelopment projects. “Right now it seems like there are endless opportunities, and we are trying to pick the right ones,” he said. — Judy Stringer
Adam Hill, 39 Partner, Cohen & Co.
s partner-in-charge of Cohen & Co.’s real estate and construction group, Adam Hill has fueled its growth from a modest base of clients in 2003 to $10 billion worth of industrial, office, retail and residential properties throughout the United States and Canada. Outside the office, the North Ridgeville native has helped the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lorain County expand from one Oberlin site and a $300,000 budget to 19 locations and a $3.5-million budget as a board member, past president and treasurer over 17 years. The two diverse roles have been a nice fit for Hill. “My clients look to me not only for tax advice but business advice as well,” he said. “Being on the executive committee of a rapidly growing organization, like the Boys and Girls Clubs, gave me experience with a lot of issues I would not have seen just by being a partner at Cohen.” Lorain County Boys and Girls Clubs executive director Mike Conibear said the benefits cut both ways, citing Hill’s expertise in accounting, which helped the nonprofit get a foothold in its early days, and in real estate financing. “We have had to negotiate and close some pretty complex deals to acquire and renovate properties,” Conibear said. “Adam’s help was one of the key drivers in being able to move forward and expand our services.” Hill joined Cohen in 2000 as a recent graduate of Baldwin Wallace Universi-
“Being on the executive committee of a rapidly growing organization, like the Boys and Girls Clubs, gave me experience with a lot of issues I would not have seen just by being a partner at Cohen.”
ty. He worked in the Lorain office for roughly three years before moving into the downtown headquarters, joining the firm’s nascent real estate and construction group. In recent years, Hill has worked on Flats East Bank, a $500-million waterfront development project now in its second phase.
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CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
CRAIN’S 40 UNDER 40
George Vlosich III, 38
Lynn A. Capadona, 39
Co-owner, GV Art + Design
Chief, science and space technology systems branch, NASA Glenn Research Center
ou might recognize George Vlosich from Etch A Sketch drawings that have been featured in interviews with the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman. But if you’re a Cleveland sports fan, it’s more likely that you’ve donned a T-shirt Vlosich designed. GV Art + Design began when George and his younger brother, Greg, were selling T-shirts out of their parents’ house. “It started in the basement, then moved upstairs, then there was nowhere else to work,” George said. At the time, George was working in advertising — a career that spun from the influence of his father, George, who has since transitioned to working with his sons full-time. The younger George quit his day job when GV opened its first store on Detroit Avenue in Lakewood. Four years later, the original location has moved across the street, more than doubling its space, and GV also has a store in Willoughby, plus kiosks it recently debuted in Akron and Columbus. Design has always been Vlosich’s thing — whether it was drawing at age 2, the Etch A Sketches that got him noticed or the freelance jobs he did in college and during off hours in his 9-to-5 days. It’s why he said he feels “blessed” to be doing what he loves, and doing so with his family. “I love this city and grew up going to Indians games and sporting events with my family,” Vlosich said. “It’s so cool that you see more and more
“I’m amazed at how blessed we’ve been. I also know we’ve put a lot of hard work into it.”
“G int ev th tim
people wearing our shirts — especially when you’re watching the World Series last year and you see the guys warming up in our shirts. It doesn’t get much better than that.” In August, GV became an officially licensed brand of the Major League Baseball Players Association, which means it’s no longer limited to having two deals at a time with big-leaguers. And soon, the company that created the ultra-successful “CleveLAND that I Love” line will launch “From
Within,” an inspirational brand for which GV will team with athletes and Vlosich said will have “a strong charity component to it.” George and his wife, Kelley, have five kids who range in age from 12 to 6 months. His brother, Greg, said he’s looked up to George since he was young enough to scribble. “I always know if we have an idea or I take an idea to him, it’s going to come out awesome,” Greg Vlosich said. — Kevin Kleps
ynn Capadona saw her baby take flight on March 22, 2016. That night, she was in Cape Canaveral, Fla., watching as the OA-6 Cygnus spacecraft left its launchpad. It contained a payload designed to create the largest man-made fire ever set in space. As part of NASA’s $30 million Saffire project, Capadona and her team of engineers at NASA Glenn Research Center had spent three years designing and building that payload and two others like it that also would be launched into space in 2016 and 2017. Seeing the Saffire project come to fruition was a defining moment for Capadona. For one, she saw it go from an idea on paper to an idea in flight. But it also helped prepare her for her current role: chief of NASA Glenn’s science and space technology systems branch. The job is harder than she thought it would be. Capadona oversees a team of about 20 systems engineers working on roughly a dozen different projects scattered across NASA Glenn’s campus. And she always has more work to do than people to do it — a challenge she didn’t fully understand when she was “on the other side of the desk,” requesting more support. “You always know what that guy should have done ... until you’re the one in the seat,” she said. “I’m guilty of that, too.”
The Saffire project did prepare her in other ways, however. A chemist by training, she thought her biggest challenges on that project would be technical. But it was much harder to manage employees and get them moving in the same direction, she said. Now she has a new appreciation for employee happy hours and teambuilding events. Capadona said she’s received steady support from managers and mentors during her 13 years at NASA Glenn. Now she considers it her job to help
Krystal L. Culler, 32 Nathan and Lenore Oscar Family Director, Center 4 Brain Health, Menorah Park
er own experience with a seizure and neurological health issues led Krystal L. Culler to believe there had to be a better way to help people access information about brain health. She soon switched her degree from a Ph.D. program to a doctorate in behavioral health management and found her dream job before she even completed her degree: developing and leading the Center 4 Brain Health at Menorah Park in Beachwood. “What I wanted to do was find a way to design and develop evidencebased programs that could improve quality of care,” said Culler, who now directs the center. The center serves the community at large with classes, education, support and screenings for anyone who has brain health concerns. They offer free memory screenings, cognitive fitness-based classes, care partner educational support groups and more. Culler’s background and education in gerontology and the psychology of aging made her the perfect fit to launch and lead the center, said Ross Wilkoff, vice president of residential services at Menorah Park. “I could not have dreamed up a better candidate for the job,” he said.
Her hands-on approach, academic background and her “calm, reassuring demeanor” made her stand out, Wilkoff said. She’s a great communicator who is always thinking ahead and practices what she preaches. The vision for the new center was to reach as many people with concerns about brain health as possible, and deliver quality services and information. “When we’re talking about brain health, it encompasses sensitive issues like memory loss,” Culler said. “So how can we address those issues in a proactive way while still getting people the information and creating a welcoming, comforting environment where people want to come and that they can still thrive and get the information, being engaged and being social?” Brain health is a hot topic in health care right now, and Cleveland is putting itself on the map with research in the field, she said. People want to know what they can do to decrease their risk factors for late-life cognitive decline, and they’re willing to make lifestyle changes to that end, which is fantastic, Culler said. “Now is the time where the research is out there and people want to know,” she said. — Lydia Coutré
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CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
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Kimberly J. Young, 37
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“Go after what interests you even if you don’t think you have time to do it.”
other employees grow in their careers. Capadona has been quick to take initiative and take on challenges as she moved up the ranks, according to her current boss, Derrick J. Chest, chief of NASA Glenn’s systems engineering and architecture division. “Every move along the way for her was broadening her experiences. She was seeking challenges,” he said. Capadona lives in Avon. She enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with her daughters Olivia, 10, and Victoria, 7. — Chuck Soder
Assistant vice president, anti-moneylaundering manager, Huntington Bank
hat do you do when you’re torn between the legal world of criminal justice and the accounting world of keeping track of other people’s money? You could go into the dark world of money laundering detection and investigation. It worked for Kimberly Young, a 2004 graduate of the University of Akron and now a big backer of that city. “I ended up with a degree in political science and criminal justice, but I originally started out as an accounting major. I was less than three semesters away when I switched,” she said. “This combines the two.” Young manages a team that works with the bank’s computer systems and specialized algorithms to help spot patterns of behavior that could indicate money laundering is going on. To her, it may be a combination of diligence and procedures, but some of her friends think it’s more mysterious. “My friends think I’m like Penelope Garcia (from “Criminal Minds”) … My one friend thinks I have a dark ‘spidey web’ of stuff that I go into,” she said with a laugh. She started at the bank before she got her education and has been with Huntington for 16 years. She moved to Akron from her native Cleveland and has more than adopted the Rubber City as her home. Young has become an Akron advocate and is active in civic leadership groups, including Torchbearers, which strengthens the link between emerging leaders and nonprofits.
“I’m fortunate that my passion and interests align with my career. And brain health is really at the forefront of the health care field right now, and the research and what is coming out is new and changing.”
“Kimberly leads with an authentic passion for making a positive impact at work, home and in the community,” said Theresa Carter, president of the Omnova Solutions Foundation and Young’s mentor. “She inspires others by jumping all-in for whatever cause she is supporting, inviting us all to join her efforts. Young said she’s found the right town to which to apply her energies. “I like Akron. I like the fact that I still get my city feel, but it’s small enough and big enough. We use the term ‘smedium’ and it’s a smedium enough city for me,” Young said. Young still loves Cleveland, but said she finds Akron more livable — less traffic, lower costs and easier access to people and places. She also met her husband, Chris Faircloth, a lending manager for the Economic and Community Development Institute, while living in Akron. Since then the couple has raised their daughter Kendell and son Jalen. — Dan Shingler
“You live someplace — you should help take care of it and help take care of the people who are here. You’re neighbors.”
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CRAIN’S 40 UNDER 40 “The thing I’m most proud of is my family, hands down. I’d give up the business in a heartbeat for my family.”
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Lawyers who are strategic
stra•te•gic /str 'tejik/ adj. 1. Our ability to analyze problems and provide creative, insightful solutions that best serve our clients’ interests. 2. walterhav.com
John Fenn, 38 Co-founder and CEO, Budget Dumpster
he way John Fenn tells it, his co-founder and he happened upon their multimillion-dollar business model by accident. “We were cleaning out houses like 10 years ago, getting leads, renting dumpsters for the cleanout jobs,” Fenn said. “What happened was, we’d get calls from people who wanted dumpsters but didn’t want our labor.” After “10, 20, 30, 40” times hearing that, they called a dumpster company and asked if the company would care if they paid for its dumpster and then re-rented it for another’s use. That company gave the green light, and Fenn’s and Mark Campbell’s waste broker company, Budget Dumpster, opened for business. Since that year (2009), the Westlake company has grown its dumpster rentals to roughly 200 markets across the country. Gary Thomas, who joined Budget Dumpster in 2012, calls Fenn a “real visionary.” “He reads the forest, not just the individual trees,” said Thomas, now director of analytics. “He wants to help not only his company grow, but individuals grow,” he added. “People want to put
in the effort because they see the effort they (Fenn and Mark Campbell) are putting in for the company and their employees.” Campbell is Fenn’s business partner, best friend since grade school and brother-in-law (Fenn married Campbell’s sister). “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for him,” he said of Campbell. “I’m a creative guy. I’m a big thinker. I come up with ideas. Mark is an executor.” Budget Dumpster is now a 100-person organization that hauled in nearly $40 million in annual revenues as of year-end 2016. The business model is similar to that of Priceline for hotels, Fenn explained. Next up, Fenn said they’re eyeing recycling. He’s proud the company gives $35,000 or more annually in donated dumpsters to those in need — for example, people who’ve suffered house fires. A Cleveland native now living in Bay Village, Fenn helps coach his sons’ sports teams and hunts with them, too. His wife, Hallie, and he have two sons, Ethan, 9, and Cole, 7, and a daughter, Cece, 2. — Michelle Park Lazette
Srivishnu Pasumarthy, 38 Chief technology officer, LogicJunction
S The Attorneys of
Cleveland | 216.781.1212 | walterhav.com
If this is your definition of the type of attorney you want working for you, give us a call.
rivishnu Pasumarthy has never been afraid of the unknown, beginning when he emigrated from his native India at 21 to study computer science engineering at Louisiana Tech University. Years later Pasumarthy left a well-salaried tech position at PNC to join LogicJunction, a Beachwood software company developing what is said to be the country’s first geomagnetic-based indoor positioning mobile app. Both risks have paid off, as Pa-
sumarthy is optimizing indoor wayfinding solutions for the startup’s largely health care-based clientele. Since joining LogicJunction as chief technology officer four years ago, he has helped improve the patient navigation experience at Cleveland Clinic and other hospital systems via mobile app, web and kiosk-based platforms. The company is also looking to integrate its services into corporate offices and other spaces where navigation-friendly innovation can
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CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
“I kept going. Sometimes, college took me a little bit longer than other folks. Sometimes, I was the oldest person in the class. But it didn’t deter me.”
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N O V E M B E R 2 0 - 2 6 , 2 017
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“People were coming up and hugging me because they were so excited about something we were doing.”
Joseph Roszak, 39 Chief operating officer, Cleveland Metroparks
Laura Rodriguez-Carbone, 35 Community outreach coordinator, Lifebanc
aura Rodriguez-Carbone is driven to help others because so many helped her family in its times of need. Homeless for much of her youth, Rodriguez-Carbone and her family — two younger brothers and their mother — stayed with friends at times, but also on the streets and, when they could afford it, a hotel. Rodriguez-Carbone worked two jobs during high school to help keep the family afloat. Often, they turned to churches for food. “I remember the institutions, the churches that helped us, and I always wanted to give back,” Rodriguez-Carbone said. “I know how I was affected by that kindness.” Despite limited resources, she earned her bachelor’s in political science and her master’s in public administration and built a career heavy on public service. Rodri-
“Coming to the U.S. was a risk, but there’s something wonderful in the unknown. It makes you work with your full heart and you want to make things happen.”
guez-Carbone has worked to enforce civil rights laws in public schools, to tutor at-risk children in Cleveland schools, and today, works to educate people about organ, eye and tissue donation for Lifebanc, an organ procurement organization in Warrensville Heights. Conversations about organ donation don’t tend to happen in the Latino community, said Rodriguez-Carbone, until people find that someone they know needs a transplant. People are most likely to be organ donor matches for people of their own ethnic makeup, so Rodriguez-Carbone is working to spread the word that one donor can save up to eight lives and heal up to 75 more. Rodriguez-Carbone and her husband, Christopher, moved to Lakewood in 2015. City council selected her for the Lakewood Wellness Foundation Planning Task Force,
which is working to build a foundation to meet Lakewood citizens’ health care needs following the hotly contested closure of Lakewood Hospital. “We have an opportunity to help close some of the gaps left by the hospital (closure), and what we’re doing will likely impact generations of Lakewoodites,” she said. Rodriguez-Carbone has a unique ability to say yes to lots of things and get them all done, said Lamar Ratcliffe, an agent emeritus at MassMutual who has advised her on her career. “I would describe her in four ways,” he began, calling her very positive, an entrepreneur, a learner, and a giver. “She asks a lot of questions and really seeks to understand where the person before her is coming from. She feels this purpose in her life (to) really make a difference.” — Michelle Park Lazette
lifelong Wisconsite, Cleveland wasn’t necessarily on Joseph Roszak’s radar. That is, until a recruiter for the Cleveland Metroparks gave him a call. “I was definitely hesitant — I’m not going to lie,” said Roszak, who had been the chief of recreation and business operations at the Milwaukee County Parks system. “I had the stereotypical reaction to Cleveland. Why would I want to move there?” But after a tour of town and hearing about the Metroparks’ grand plan for the lakefront and elsewhere, he was sold. He was sworn in January of 2013. “All of those things really excited me,” Roszak said about the Metroparks’ plans. “To be in an agency and take care of someone else’s baby is rewarding because you’re still doing good for the public. But to build something from the ground up and see the fruits of your labor is very rewarding.” As the Metroparks’ COO, Roszak is heavily involved in both the day-today management and long-term strategic planning of the 23,000-plusacre park system. Roszak has played a key leadership role in one of the
most ambitious periods of the Metroparks’ 100-year history. Notably, in 2013, the park system took the lead on managing several hundred acres of prime waterfront real estate the state had controlled for years. This year, the park system opened a stunning beach house at Edgewater Beach on the city’s near West Side. Moreover, an evolving network of trails is taking shape in old industrial pockets of the Flats, making it easier than ever to explore the city’s heritage and access its waterfronts. He’s been a key driver in the 155-acre restoration of the Acacia Reservation on Cleveland’s East Side. Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian Zimmerman described Roszak as being a “guiding force in helping the people of Cleveland fall back in love with the lakefront.” “Five years isn’t that long of a time,” Roszak said about the constant hustle since his arrival. “I had to adapt with my family to a new city. Now I have two kids. You mix all that in with a new job with a lot of things being thrown at you all at once ... It was hard work.” — Timothy Magaw
augment built-in wayfinding efforts. “We’re working with huge international organizations with 20- or 30-story buildings they need wayfinding for,” said Pasumarthy, who earned a master’s degree in computer and information science in 2003 from Cleveland State University. “Every day is something new.” Prior to his recruitment by the startup, Pasumarthy spearheaded PNC’s metadata services. However, the challenge of creating an innovative new directional tool was too exciting to pass up. “I saw the fire in (CEO and founder) Mark Jowell and (COO) Mike Drozda,” Pasumarthy said. “It felt like a great opportunity to work with these guys and make something great.” Drozda lauds his colleague for a tireless work ethic that includes 6 a.m. e-meetings with offshore devel-
opers on product engineering and deployment — all before embarking on a full work day. “Vish treats everyone on his team like they’re his customer,” Drozda said. “His contributions to our organization have been game-changing. We’re really happy he took the risk.” Pasumarthy, now living in Twinsburg with his wife, Vanessa, and their two children, is fueled by a creative mentality that includes vocal work as a professional Indian classical musician. A fulfilling life and career may never have happened if he hadn’t been willing to leave home all those years ago. “Coming to the U.S. was a risk, but there’s something wonderful in the unknown,” Pasumarthy said. “The experience is unbelievable and impeccable. It makes you work with your full heart and you want to make things happen.” — Douglas J. Guth
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CRAIN’S 40 UNDER 40 “Every day, something new is coming at me. For somebody who came in as a temp, hey, no, this is where I want to be.”
“A simple accident can cost you your job, your daily income, sometimes even your home. These are issues I take personally because in the end we do care.”
Dorivette Nolan, 39
Director of policy, planning and educational initiatives, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority
he took the job where her mother worked after graduating from Cleveland State University while she hunted for something that better suited her communications degree and her interests in anthropology and sociology. “This was a job until I found something else,” Dorivette Nolan said of her job redetermining the eligibility of people in the housing voucher program administered by the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority. Nolan has steadily climbed the corporate ladder, but she’s still at CMHA, enjoying it almost from the day she arrived 14 years ago, working in a satellite office as a recertification specialist. “In the first two weeks I was there I went to a training session and I thought, ‘Hm, you know I’m learning so much,’” she recalled. “Before I knew it, I was here (to stay).” CMHA is the public agency that helps keep roofs over the heads of 55,000 people in Cuyahoga County. “CMHA is an anchor in the community,” she said. “It provides stability and is always providing quality affordable housing.” Nolan now leads a team that keeps
CMHA’s programs in line with federal housing policy. She also creates and updates internal policies and administers the agency’s after-school learning programs. In addition to her job at CMHA’s headquarters on Kinsman Road, Nolan is on the board of trustees of the New Village Corp., which helps finance low- and moderate-income housing in Cleveland, and Campus District Inc., the community development nonprofit in the neighborhood east of downtown Cleveland, where CMHA is a large property owner. “As she moves on to different roles, Nolan leaves the position and/or department better off than when she was first in the position,” said Jonathan Stone, CMHA’s marketing and communications coordinator. “She inspires people around her to be better, honest and positive. As a leader, she is motivating and helpful.” With only a few years in her current post, Nolan sees her future continuing at CMHA. “Every day, something new is coming at me,” she said. “For somebody who came in as a temp, hey, no, this is where I want to be.” — Jay Miller
Dr. Manmeet Ahluwalia, 39 Professor of medicine, Miller Family Endowed Chair in Neuro-Oncology, Cleveland Clinic
r. Manmeet Ahluwalia’s interest in cancer began when he was just 12 years old and his grandmother, whom he was living with at the time, was diagnosed with the disease. “One aspect I really wanted to do in life was do clinical research to find new cancer treatments for patients, which I sincerely felt as a 12-year-old that my grandmother needed,” he said.
Today, Ahluwalia is the Miller Family Endowed Chair in Neuro-Oncology at Cleveland Clinic — a title endowed by the family of a former patient. He spends about half of his time in clinical practice and education and the other half doing research and administrative work. The primary tumor he treats is glioblastoma, which is the most com-
“It pe co ne —a tha sta
Albert Peña, 33 Partner, Tsilimos, Dolesh, & Peña
lbert Peña knows personal injury lawyers get a bad rap. He also knows seeing someone get justice — particularly those who are disenfranchised and/or live in the kind of rough-and-tumble neighborhoods where he grew up — vastly outweighs any negative perceptions cast upon his chosen field. “A simple accident can leave you bedridden. A lot of people don’t know that. It can cost you your job, your daily income, sometimes even your home,” said Peña, a partner in the Brecksville-based office of Tsilimos, Dolesh, & Peña. “These are issues I take personally because in the end we do care. That is what my field is really about — caring for your clients, doing what you can for them.” Peña, Joshua Dolesh and Jonathan Tsilimos founded TD&P in 2015. The practice specializes in personal inju-
“I think the most important thing is the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of my patients.”
ry, medical malpractice, wrongful death and worker’s compensation cases. Dolesh said Peña has the rare combination of legal intellect and compassion that make a successful plaintiff’s attorney. “He can be really aggressive in the representation of his clients but flip the switch and be completely compassionate and empathetic with them on a personal level. It’s a hard tight rope to walk,” Dolesh said, “and few people do it better than Albert.” The son of Dominican parents, Peña grew up in the Bronx, not far from the iconic Yankee Stadium and the formidable Bronx Courthouse. He loves baseball and was a good athlete, but it was the latter that made the dominant impression. “I was always fascinated with the suits and ties going up and down the courthouse steps. I think it start-
ed from there,” he said. Before law school, Peña worked for a large New York municipal bond firm and as a trial preparation associate at the New York County District Attorney’s Office. He attended the College of Mount St. Vincent in Riverdale, N.Y., on scholarship, including the United States President’s award for academic achievement, and earned his law degree from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. In his spare time, Peña is president of the board of directors for the Hispanic Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program — a position that gives him a front-row seat to the horror and devastation caused by the heroin epidemic. “It’s a battle every day,” he said, “and we are on the brink of losing it.” — Judy Stringer
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CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
N O V E M B E R 2 0 - 2 6 , 2 017
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DON’T LET UNCLE SAM BE YOUR
“It’s all about people feeling connected to their neighborhood — and how we do that is on a stationary bike.”
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Anne Hartnett, 34 Founder, Harness Cycle
successful fitness entrepreneur, sure, but most importantly Anne Hartnett considers herself a community builder. Hartnett’s Harness Cycle, for one, was one of the earliest tenants in the up-and-coming Hingetown section of Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. The cycling studio, which opened in 2013, has since become one of the linchpins of the West Side neighborhood. And as one of the participants on LeBron James’ “Cleveland Hustles” television program, she’s become one of the faces of Cleveland’s small business community helping fuel the city’s resurgence. The community aspect of spinning, after all, is what drew her to the workout in the first place. “The experience is not just the workout you’re getting,” Hartnett said. “It’s all about people feeling connected to their neighborhood — and how we do that is on a stationary bike.” She added, “It’s this 45-minute retreat in your day. The intention is to really take a timeout, surround yourself with some of the most motivated, energetic and vibrant people in our city.” Growing up, Hartnett saw firsthand the impact a business can have on a struggling neighborhood. Her aunt’s brothers — Pat and Dan Conway — started Great Lakes Brewing
Co., one of Cleveland’s iconic businesses that helped transform Ohio City into the beerdrinker’s paradise it is today. That drive and determination always stuck with her, she said. Graham Veysey, Hartnett’s Hingetown landlord and one of her strongest cheerleaders, credits her with much of Hingetown’s success because of the wellness component she introduced to the neighborhood. “When you think about Harness as a business, it doesn’t do it justice,” Veysey said. “It’s a community. You see that in everything they do. She’s not a transaction-based person. She’s a relationship cultivator.” Recently, Hartnett opened Harness’ second location in the historic Garfield Building, hoping to contribute to downtown’s transition into a true neighborhood. Going forward, she hopes to become an even stronger advocate for small businesses in the Cleveland area. “How do we support small businesses better as a city so we’re not all going through the same struggle?” she said. “That’s something I hope is in my future.” Harness, of course, is a high-octane gig — both on and off the bike. Still, it probably doesn’t compare to Hartnett being a mom of three boys ages 4 and under. — Timothy Magaw
mon type of malignant brain tumor in the United States and yet, it has only one FDA-approved medical therapy that has been shown to increase survival, he said. “Our patients are in desperate need of treatments. And that’s what I do,” Ahluwalia said. He first joined the Clinic for his internal medicine residency in 2003. After leaving for a few years, the Clinic recruited him back as a staff attending physician in 2009. Since then, he has received $8 million in funding for his research, written more than half a dozen clinical trials and led 20-30 trials. “He’s driven by the need to try and help his patients and to do so, offer innovative cutting-edge treatments for them,” said Dr. Gene Barnett, director of the Rose Ella Burkhardt Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center.
Last year, he received the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Leadership Development Program award, which took him to the FDA and Capitol Hill and kicked off a new passion for advocacy work. “As a researcher and a physician scientist, my heart will always be with patients and brain tumors,” Ahluwalia said. “But as a citizen of this country, you just realize you have duties toward society.” Since then, he’s made repeated trips to Washington to talk with people and ensure they understand the realities of research and clinical practice. “There’s just one very, very clear goal, and that is to be associated with a treatment that increases survival and to work on something that will make a difference.” — Lydia Coutré
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CLEVELAND BUSINESS VOL. 36, NO. 47
NOVEMBER 23 - NOVEMBER 29, 2015
ALLYSON O’KEEFE, 37 Partner; Porter Wright
NOVEMBER 23 - NOVEMBER 29, 2015 Allyson O’Keefe started her legal career at Porter Wright in 2004 after completing a summer internship there as a Case Western Reserve University law student. Since then, she has worked on many significant deals across Cleveland, including Flats East Bank, The Metropolitan at the 9, Uptown in University Circle and Steelyard Commons, and has been promoted to real estateALLYSON partner. O’KEEFE, 37 “Young professionals who live downtown are so excited about the city,” said O’Keefe, a Partner; Porter Columbus native who lived downtown forWright 10 years before moving to Rocky River. “The ones who aren’t from here are often more excited about it. When you move here from somewhere else, you don’t for granted.” VOL. 36, NO. take 47 it Allyson NOVEMBER 23 - NOVEMBER NOVE EMBER 29, 29, 2015 201 O’Keefe started her legal career at Porter Wright in 2004 after completing a sumWhen O’Keefe is not working or spending time with her husband and two children, she can mer internship there as a Case Western Reserve University law student. Since then, she has be found volunteering on the boards of nonprofit organizations and watching college football. worked on many significant deals across Cleveland, including Flats East Bank, The Metropolitan at the 9, Uptown in University Circle and Steelyard Commons, and has been proWHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT YOUR WORK? moted to real estateALLYSON partner. O’KEEFE, Just seeing what Cleveland has gone through in the time that I’ve 37 been here, there’s obvious“Young professionals who live downtown are so excited about the city,” said O’Keefe, a ly a lot of excitement around real estatePartner; development. I started in 2004 when we were crazy Porter Columbus native who lived downtown for Wright 10 years before moving to Rocky River. “The ones busy with development. That was sort of the boom from ’04 through ’08. I saw it go through who aren’t from here are often more excited about it. When you move here from somewhere the downturn, then I saw it rise again, even stronger than before locally. else, you don’t take it for granted.” Allyson O’Keefe started her legal career eer at Porter Wright in 2004 after completing comple etin ng a sumsumWhen O’Keefe is not working or spending time with her husband and two children, she can mer internship as a Case Western Reserve University law student. Since tthen, hen, she sh he has has WORKED ON there ARE MIXED-USE URBANnPROJECTS. IS MANY OF THE PROJECTS YOU be found volunteering on the boards of nonprofit organizations and watching college football. worked on many significant deals across ss Cleveland, including Flats East Bank, The The THAT AN AREA OF EXPERTISE? Metropolitan at the 9, Uptown in every University and Steelyard Commons, and rsity d has has ha s been be een proproro Yes, definitely. Real estate is extremely interesting because deal Circle is differWHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT YOUR WORK? moted to real estate ent. You can never get bored because there’s so partner. much variety there, from tax Just seeing what Cleveland has gone through in the time that I’ve been here, there’s obviousown are O’Keefe e, a “Young who live downtown so excited about the city,” said O’Keefe, credits to historic renovations, from professionals ground-up development to rehab, from ly a lot of excitement around real estate development. I started in 2004 when we were crazy Rive er. “The ““T The ones ones mixed-use to residential. Columbus native who lived downtown for 10 years before moving to Rocky River. busy with development. That was sort of the boom from ’04 through ’08. I saw it go through who aren’t from here are often more excited xcited about it. When you move here from m somewhere som somew ewhere ere the downturn, then I saw it rise again, even stronger than before locally. else, you LEADERSHIP don’t take it for granted.” YOUR STYLE? HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE
CLEVELAND BUSINESS USINESS
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VOL. 36, NO. 47
O’KeefeI expect is not working or spending can timeI work, with her husband and two children, child dre en, she sh he c he an I definitely believe in leadingWhen by example. the people withding whom MANY OF THE PROJECTS YOU WORKED ON ARE MIXED-USE URBAN PROJECTS. IS be found volunteering on the very boards off nonprofit and watching college collle eg ge football. foo fo ottball. my associates, to work hard, and they see me working hard. For me, it’sorganizations all THAT AN AREA OF EXPERTISE? about working hard and doing good work. Yes, definitely. Real estate is extremely interesting because every deal is differWHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT YOUR WORK? RK? ent. You can never get bored because there’s so much variety there, from tax hrough here e’s obviousobviousus Just WHAT seeingWAS whatITCleveland has gone the time that I’ve been here, th there’s LIKE TO WORK WITHthrough O’KEEFEinON WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING: credits to historic renovations, from ground-up development to rehab, from ly a lot of excitement around real estate te development. I started in 2004 when we we were were e crazy crazy THE FLATS EAST BANK PROJECT? mixed-use to residential. busy with development. of the boom from ’04 through ’08. I saw itt go go through th hrough “Allyson is extremely bright and quick witted, butThat whatwas trulysort distinguishes her the downturn, then I saw itpeople rise again, even from most successful attorneys is her exceptional skills. Shestronger has an than before locally. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE? uncanny ability to encourage the ‘adversaries’ in her negotiations to work in I definitely believe in leading by example. I expect the people with whom I work, OF THE PROJECTS YOU YOU WORKED Wsaid ORKED ON ON ARE ARE MIXED-USE MIXED-USE URBAN URBAN PROJECTS. PROJECTS. IS IS concert with her to achieve win/win MANY solutions to difficult problems,” my associates, to work hard, and they see me working very hard. For me, it’s all THAT AN AREA EXPERTISE? TISE?of the Scott Wolstein, CEO of Starwood Retail Partners andOF co-developer about working hard and doing good work. e is extremely interesting because every deal deal is differdifferrYes, definitely. Real estate Flats East Bank project. ent. You can never get bored there, red because there’s so much variety the ere, ffrom rom m tax tax — Lee Chilcote WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING: WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO WORK WITH O’KEEFE ON credits to historic renovations, tions, from ground-up development to rehab, re ehab, from fro om THE FLATS EAST BANK PROJECT? mixed-use to residential. “Allyson is extremely bright and quick witted, but what truly distinguishes her
successful Inc. attorneys is reserved. her exceptional people skills. She has an Reprinted with permission from the Crain's Cleveland Business. © 2015from Crainmost Communications All Rights YOU DESCRIBE RIBE YOUR YOUR LEADERSHIP LEADERSHIP STYLE? STYLE? HOW WOULD ability to encourage the ‘adversaries’ in her negotiations to work in Further duplication without permission is prohibited. Visituncanny www.crainscleveland.com. #CC15040
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— Lee Chilcote YING: WHAT WHAT WAS WAS IT IT LIKE LIKE TO TO WORK WORK WITH WITH O’KEEFE O’KEEFE ON ON WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING: THE FLATS EAST BANK PROJECT? PROJECT? “Allyson is extremely bright right and quick witted, but what truly distinguishes dis stin nguish hes her hes
skills s. She She has has an ha successfulInc. attorneys her exceptional people skills. Reprinted with permission from the Crain's Cleveland Business. © 2015from Crainmost Communications All Rightsisreserved. ourage negotiatio ons to to work w wo orrk k in n ability to encourage the ‘adversaries’ in her negotiations Further duplication without permission is prohibited. Visituncanny www.crainscleveland.com. #CC15040
hieve win/win solutions to difficult probl bllem ms,” s,” said concert with her to achieve problems,” co-deve evel velo ve elo el ope pe er off the the e Scott Wolstein, CEO off Starwood Retail Partners and co-developer ct. Flats East Bank project. — Lee Le Ch Chilcote C
Reprinted with permission from the Crain's Cleveland Business. © 2015 Crain rain Communications nss Inc. IInc nc. nccc. All n Al Rights Rig reserved. reserved d. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. Visit www.crainscleveland.com. ww.crainscleveland. and.c nd d.ccom. o om. m #CC15040
Congratulations, Adam! We are proud to recognize our partner,
Adam R. Nazette, and his fellow honorees in the Forty Under 40 Class of 2017. Adam is one of the firm’s leading partners representing lenders across the country in complex financial transactions. He also devoted to community service, making a difference in the lives of many in Northeast Ohio.
Adam R. Nazette Partner 216.566.5940 Adam.Nazette@ ThompsonHine.com
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CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
CRAIN’S 40 UNDER 40
Adam R. Nazette, 39
Tori Nook, 39
Partner, Thompson Hine
Principal, Anchor Cleveland
dam Nazette is the first to admit familiarity and perhaps a “lack of creativity” landed him in law. His grandfather and father are attorneys. But, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native knew even as a student at Case Western Reserve University School of Law that litigation was not his path. To that end, Nazette paired his law degree and an MBA from Case’s Weatherhead School of Management. “Then, once I was exposed to commercial and public finance at Thompson Hine, I began to gravitate to that area,” he said. Nazette credits former Thompson Hine partner Leslee Miraldi with being a longtime mentor and training him in the legal strategies and structures involved in corporate financings and debt transactions. Miraldi, who recently retired, said Nazette was a quick study. “He would never make the same drafting mistake twice,” she said. “That is an amazing thing to say about an associate at a large firm.” Nazette joined Thompson Hine in 2004 and was named partner in 2012. His practice focuses on representing borrowers and lenders across the country in financial transactions involving a wide range of industries, including energy, manufacturing, chemicals, consumer products, health care, financial services, technology and agriculture. The financings, according to Nazette, can range from $10 million to over $2 billion and are typically used for acquisitions, fixed assets, working capital and other general corporate purposes. While large, multi-party syndicated financings are among the most complicated — and “exciting” — to negotiate, even the smallest transaction “can be all the sudden
“I walk out feeling energized by the opportunity to do something with a direct and meaningful impact on the local community.”
very complicated and intense,” he said. For six straight years, Nazette has been recognized among the top Ohio banking and finance lawyers in Chambers USA and as one of Ohio Super Lawyers’ rising stars. He brings that same zeal to endeavors outside of the office. A resident of Rocky River, Nazette is the president and past vice president of the Rocky River Education Foundation. In addition, he serves on
the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity board of directors. “I can walk into a Rocky River Education Foundation or Habitat for Humanity meeting at night feeling very stressed out and tired from my work day,” Nazette said, “but I walk out feeling energized by the opportunity to do something with a direct and meaningful impact on the local community.” — Judy Stringer
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he only regret Tori Nook has about starting her own boutique real estate firm in Cleveland is not doing it a decade earlier. She doesn’t lament over those lost years of independence, as she’s having too much fun today running her retail-focused agency. As principal of Anchor Cleveland, Nook represents national retailers, restaurants, landlords and developers in site selection, strategic planning and business term negotiations. Her clients include Covelli Enterprises, the largest Panera Bread franchisee in the country, along with national brands such as Skechers Shoes, Dollar Tree and Mattress Firm. An average week may find Nook staking out a new PetSmart location or a spot for Wahlburgers’ next downtown restaurant. “What I love is being an independent contractor and making my own destiny,” Nook said. Nook launched Anchor Cleveland a year ago in partnership with Charles Townsend, founding partner of Cincinnati-based Anchor Associates. Nook’s real estate career spans 20 years, a wealth of experience that allowed her to bring over long-term clients. For Covelli Enterprises alone, she has secured more than 80 deals statewide, including 35 new sites in Cleveland. Entrepreneurship has its challenges, but Nook has gotten valuable support and advice from Townsend as well as her husband Jonathan Nook, president of The NOCO Co., and Cleveland attorney Jon Pinney.
“What I love is being an independent contractor and making my own destiny”
“I have an amazing support staff here,” Nook said of her four-employee Cleveland operation. “We have to keep up with the times and invest in our people and programs, all the way down to the coffee machine. We want everything to be first class.” Pinney works with Nook on a retail leasing portfolio he manages for BEK Developers LLC. The entrepre-
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CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
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Carey Fleming Jaros, 39 Chief strategy officer, GOJO Industries
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neur’s drive and encyclopedic knowledge of the Midwest marketplace forecasts a successful career as a business owner in a competitive industry. “Tori works around the clock and does a great job in helping us work through transactions,” Pinney said. “She’s an exceptional player in the industry, and it’s time she gains the notoriety she deserves.”
Starting her own business is satisfying on a personal level, said Nook, but assisting others in shaping their careers is equally enjoyable. “What makes me excited is to empower other people so they feel good going to work,” Nook said. “And there’s satisfaction in knowing I’m finding the best real estate for my clients.” —Douglas J. Guth
lumna Carey Jaros was invited back to Laurel School recently, to talk about her career, as part of Day of the Girl. She brought a GloGerm kit, which includes a black light, to show the girls — including her own 7- and 5-year-olds — how germs pass between hands, surfaces and other people. She then taught them how to wash their hands, according to CDC guidelines, and let them practice using GOJO’s new Purell Healthy Soap. The lesson produced more than just cleaner students. “When I was at Dealer Tire, my older daughter always said she wanted to sell tires,” she said. “Now, all three of my girls want to work at GOJO.” Jaros is GOJO’s chief strategy officer. In that role, she is charged with driving strategy development for the sanitizer maker, co-leads the innovation process and has functional responsibility for marketing and product management. Like all GOJO professionals, she is also part of cross-functional teams. “This year, the chief science officer and I co-sponsored the team that developed the breakthrough Purell Healthy Soap,” she said. “This was one of the many teams that played a role in the major Purell Solution launch this past October — the biggest launch in the company’s history.” The former Bain & Co. consultant estimates she has worked on and in more than 50 companies with her early years spent in Boston, London and Amsterdam. It was a desire to live closer to family that brought Jaros, a Shaker Height native, and her
“When I was at Dealer Tire, my older daughter always said she wanted to sell tires. Now, all three of my girls want to work at GOJO.”
husband home to Cleveland. Back in Northeast Ohio, Jaros became a vice president at Dealer Tire in 2011. She was introduced to Marcella Kanfer Rolnick, the vice chair for Akron-based GOJO, through a mutual friend in 2014. Rolnick said when the two sat down, “sparks flew, synapses were firing.” Jaros has a rare combination of high-level “conceptual business acu-
men and the capability to translate that into applied strategy,” Rolnick said. “We knew immediately that we wanted to work together.” Jaros soon became president of the Kanfer family’s management company and joined the GOJO board of directors. She moved over to GOJO full time in spring 2016 and relishes her newfound role. — Judy Stringer
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CRAINâ€™S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
CRAINâ€™S 40 UNDER 40
Elizabeth Scheiderer, 32
James D. Cowan Jr., 33
Financial adviser, NCA Financial Planners
Project designer, ThenDesign Architecture
elentlessâ€? is the word Kevin Myeroff, president and CEO of NCA Financial Planners, said best describes Elizabeth Scheiderer. â€œIn a good way,â€? Myeroff clarified. â€œIt was all her â€” her pushing to get the internship and her coming in here and doing a really great job. The rest is history.â€? Scheiderer is a financial adviser at the Cleveland firm. The two met in 2006 when Scheiderer, an Ohio University senior contemplating radio and television management, was doing a summer internship at WKYC Channel 3â€™s â€œGood Companyâ€? show. Myeroff is a regularly appearing financial expert. After several of his weekly tapings, she asked him for an internship. â€œI said â€˜Elizabeth, we require a really high GPA.â€™ She answered, â€˜Mine is almost a 4.0.â€™â€? Scheiderer interned with NCA over winter break and joined the firm as a paraplanner â€” sort of like a paralegal for the financial planning world â€” after graduation. Once she received her Certified Financial Planner designation in 2011, the Richmond Heights native became a full-fledged financial planner, a role that, she said, provides her with an opportunity to improve lives. â€œThe fact that I can shape families and their decisions for the better, to help them reach their goals, that is a very powerful motivator for me,â€? said Scheiderer, who works with more than 120 families. â€œThatâ€™s what drew me.â€? Outside of the office, Scheiderer has been busy building a local support network for future financial planners. The industry is riddled with older advisers â€” many close to retirement, she said.
â€œThe fact that I can shape families and their decisions for the better, to help them reach their goals, that is a very powerful motivator for me.â€?
In 2010, Scheiderer began volunteering on the membership committee of the Northeast Ohio chapter of the Financial Planning Association (FPA). Two years later, she partnered with Marissa Beyer of True Wealth Design to launch a local NexGen chapter. Part of FPA, NexGen aims to develop and foster young financial advisers. The Cleveland area group, which was the first in Ohio, now boasts 30 active members. Scheiderer has remained involved
in the local FPA as well, now serving as board president. She is particularly excited about a budding partnership with the Cleveland Foundation that will educate financial planners on how they can support clients who want to give back. The new mother also alternates television appearances with Myeroff. For now, thatâ€™s enough. â€œIâ€™ve got a 10-month old at home, and I am trying to let the dust settle,â€? she said. â€” Judy Stringer
ames Cowan had a happy childhood in a supportive, two-parent household in the Glenville neighborhood of Cleveland, but he knows not everyone from disadvantaged communities can say the same. â€œWe grew up on a street where everyone had supportive parents,â€? he said. â€œIt was a true village.â€? He calls those people who guided him in pursuing his goal of going to college his â€œlighthouses,â€? and heâ€™s determined to be a beacon for youth himself. Now 33, Cowan and his wife, Nikita, have moved into Glenville and are expecting their first child. â€œBe the light in the world that you want to see, thatâ€™s what I live by,â€? Cowan said. â€œI want to thank all the lighthouses that were there for me. When I feel like I was lost, there were a lot of people that pulled me to shore. Thatâ€™s my purpose now, is to be a lighthouse.â€? Bookshelves are one vessel heâ€™s using to positively influence others. Through his NOMAD Art & Design Book Initiative, Cowan is placing bookshelves of donated art and design books within disadvantaged communities. Two barber shops are early spots, his hope being that people, particularly youth, will browse books as they wait and be exposed to creative professions they could pursue, be they graphic design, the culinary arts, even Cowanâ€™s chosen vocation, architecture. As a project designer for Willoughby-based ThenDesign Architecture, Cowan works on pre-kindergarten through 12th grade
schools. Design was an early intrigue inspired, in part, by architectural magazines his grandmother received. Cowan also has sought to make an impact through youth leadership at church and the ACE (Architecture, Construction, Engineering) Mentor Program. He also guest-cri-
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CRAINâ€™S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
Jason Therrien, 38
Founder and president, thunder::tech
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â€œMy parents are two hard-working people who have sacrificed a lot. That was my motivation to finish school even if I struggled in something.â€?
tiques student work at his alma mater, Kent State University. Cowanâ€™s level of caring for his community is what impresses Claire M. Bank most about him. â€œI think you usually see that in older people as they mature,â€? said Bank, an architectural associate with ThenDesign Architecture. â€œHe
very much looks out for young people in his community to make the possibilities clear to them. â€œHe always looks for ways he can help people, moving things in the office, making sure someone has an umbrella,â€? she added. â€œItâ€™s refreshing. It makes us all want to be a little bit better.â€? â€” Michelle Park Lazette
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ason Therrien grew up in an entrepreneurial family, so it wasnâ€™t a complete surprise that heâ€™d become a business owner himself. But pretty much everything else on the road to developing integrated marketing firm thunder::tech from a dorm room startup at John Carroll University to a business with nearly 50 employees and operations in Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago has been quite a trip â€” and one Therrien has enjoyed every step of the way. â€œWe just grew up working,â€? Therrien said of his childhood, in which the family business was trucking and logistics. In college, he said, he became attracted to the web for its potential in marketing and beyond, and thunder::tech has grown at steadily since its launch in 1999. The agency sees itself as a counselor and partner with its clients, Therrien said. It has grown, he said, by combining both traditional and digital marketing efforts. Therrienâ€™s comfort in the digital marketing world led to him being named co-chair of the Digital Committee for the 2016 Republican National Conventionâ€™s Host Committee. He spent more than two years working on the committee and is proud of the role it played in making the convention a success for Cleveland. He also is a member of the boards of Destination Cleveland and Youth Opportunities Unlimited. In 2015, Therrien led a strategic planning committee for Y.O.U., which helps teens and young adults by providing educational and workforce opportunities, skills development and other services. Therrien later become vice
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â€œI believe Iâ€™ll look back at (co-chairing digital efforts of the 2016 RNCâ€™s Host Committee) and it will be one of the big bullet points of my career.â€?
chair of the organization and, for 2018, heâ€™ll be its chair. â€œThis is the most data-driven nonprofit Iâ€™ve been exposed to,â€? he said. Carol Rivchun, president and CEO of Y.O.U., said the planning process Therrien oversaw has led to important expansions of the organizationâ€™s services. She said Therrien is a valuable part of Y.O.U. because â€œheâ€™s very involved, he gets into the details. ... He appreciates that you have to do a lot of
hard work to make collaboration work.â€? At thunder::tech, Therrien said he wants the firm to continue on a â€œsustainable, stable growthâ€? path focused on the needs of clients. â€œWe donâ€™t need five more offices for ego purposes,â€? he said. Therrien, his wife and two children, ages 7 and 3, live in Lakewood. He said theyâ€™re â€œanchors in his life who keep me going in the right direction.â€? â€” Scott Suttell
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CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
“The main ‘pro’ of being young in politics is that we are not bound to the old methods.”
“There’s nothing like going to trial in terms of the adrenaline rush and seeing the culmination of all your efforts. All the puzzle pieces magically come together.”
Michael R. Rasor, 32
Partner, Cavitch, Familo & Durkin
ichael Rasor is used to achieving milestones a little younger than everyone else. He was one of the youngest people ever elected to Stow City Council when he ran at age 24. He was unanimously elected council president last year. At age 29, Rasor achieved another early-in-life milestone, becoming the youngest partner in the 130year history of his law firm, Cavitch, Familo & Durkin. Rasor was just re-elected to his fifth two-year term on the Stow City Council earlier this month, which will be his last due to term limits. He is proud of the fiscal improvements that have been made during his tenure, including cutting the city’s debt from $31 million to $17 million without enacting tax hikes. “We did it by making a lot of small decisions right and avoiding any future big blunders,” he said. “We tightened belts, and cut 20% of our workforce without impacting city services.” The Republican is being encouraged to run for the Ohio House of Representatives’ 37th District seat next year, a seat currently held by the term-limited Kristina Roegner. Rasor said that move could be a good fit because it would allow him to continue to practice law, which is important to
him because he believes politicians who don’t have another source of their livelihood can struggle to make the right decisions at times, as it might jeopardize their income. “People in politics should have another career, so it’s not an all-ornothing thing,” he said. Rasor believes his generation is not tied to the politics that is being seen in Washington and Columbus today, and is therefore uniquely ready to lead. “We have a great opportunity, and even an obligation, to reverse the hyper partisanship that is involved now. Anytime a compromise that is in the best interest of the country is reached, both parties win,” he said. U.S. Rep. David Joyce (OH-14) called Rasor one of the shining stars in today’s political arena who can help the GOP overcome the perception that it is only for older, white people. “Mike fits the model of being someone who is going to take care of business now and look to continue on in leadership and help Ohio continue to grow and prosper,” Joyce said. “He’s a thoughtful, caring leader and I look forward to working with him when he hopefully becomes our next state rep.” — Beth Thomas Hertz
Maggie Rivera-Tuma, 35 Vice president, community consultant for Northern Ohio, PNC Bank
ecalling a childhood spent in poverty, Maggie Rivera-Tuma said she never thought she’d become the successful banker she is today. Rivera-Tuma grew up poor and spent a few years homeless. She lived all across the country — not by choice — and attended 23 different elementary schools before finding some stability in Elyria, where she lives with her own family today.
After high school, Rivera-Tuma took a part-time teller job with PNC Bank. Her drive and thoughtfulness didn’t go unnoticed, and she progressed through the ranks. Now, she’s a vice president and community consultant for Northern Ohio for the bank, a role that lets her help those who’ve come from backgrounds like hers. “Never in a million years had I dreamt I’d end up in banking. I just sort of fell into it,” she said. “But I feel
Marques P.D. Richeson, 33 Senior associate, Squire Patton Boggs
hether at his firm, in his community, at home with his daughter or performing on stage for strangers, Marques Richeson has long been driven by a need to impact the world around him. With a passion for musical theater — he studied singing, dancing and acting throughout high school, college and law school — Richeson does most of his performing nowadays in the courtroom, where he focuses on complex commercial litigation as a senior associate for Squire Patton Boggs. He still dances, and even sings in his church choir, but both are more stress relievers for a high-pressure job. Outside of contentious lawsuits, some of which have involved the firm’s largest clients, Richeson is friendly, soft-spoken and easy to talk to — qualities that probably wouldn’t be used to describe most
“I’ve learned throughout life to shoot higher than you think you’re worth.
successful corporate litigators. “I think with my background in theater, when it’s time to perform and switch into another character, I can do so,” he said. Richeson is the first lawyer in his family. He discovered one of many passions in the world of law while interning at the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office, working in the understaffed major trial unit. “As a federal clerk, you spend a lot of time behind the closed doors of the judiciary and get to see how judges arrive at their decisions. You get to see the good trial attorneys and the bad ones,” he said. “Just being in that courtroom environment invigorated me. It was then I knew what I wanted to do with my career.” After college, the Euclid native worked in Washington, D.C., with major New York-based law firm Skadden before joining Squire’s
Cleveland office about three years ago. Impressive credentials as a young attorney from Harvard Law School and a unique degree of collegiality and enthusiasm endeared him quickly to the firm’s veteran ranks. “Marques is a remarkable guy firing on about five or six different cylinders,” said Fred Nance, Squire’s global managing partner and Richeson’s mentor. “He’s so substantively involved in so many areas I sometimes wonder if he has a twin.” Beyond working on massive, multi-district cases, Richeson serves in the board of trustees for Cornucopia Inc. and the Cleveland High School for Digital Arts. He supports firm hiring, drives diversity initiatives, mentors attorneys of his own and still finds time to be with his 6-year-old daughter Nari. — Jeremy Nobile
Shoot for the moon. If you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
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CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
“You have a lot of people who are looking to you for answers on every single decision, day after day.”
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CONGRATULATIONS 2017 FORTY UNDER 40 AWARD RECIPIENTS The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) is proud to honor Director of Policy, Planning and Education Dorivette Nolan for her leadership, professional success and civic contributions. We join Crain’s Cleveland Business in recognizing one of our outstanding staff members who has made a significant impact as a leader in our community.
Brandon Guzman, 33 President, MFS Supply
arlier this year, MFS Supply began a nationwide search for a president. At the time, a team of executives — sales and marketing director Brandon Guzman, operations director Mike Hajec, general manager Jay Klein and CFO Jeff Muencz — ran the Solon company, which distributes appliances, cabinets and HVAC and security equipment to contractors and multifamily property owners across the country. But, it was growing fast, Guzman said, and there was an escalating sense that “the buck had to stop with somebody.” Now he is that somebody. MFS named Guzman president July 1. The 33-year-old does not take his newly minted position lightly. “You have a lot of people who are looking to you for answers on every single decision, day after day,” he said, “and counting on you. It’s a lot of pressure, but you hopefully sleep well at night knowing you are making the right decisions.” Guzman joined MFS in 2007 shortly after graduating from Ohio University. He was the first sales representative and the third employee in a startup finding great success supplying lockboxes to contractors charged with caring for the wave of foreclosures. But by 2010, the company’s base was growing at about 1,000 to 1,500 new contractors a month, Guzman said, and he
was on the front lines fielding requests for additional products. “We started carrying cabinets. We started carrying appliances, heating and cooling products,” he said. “Then we realized a lot of these products could be sold vertically into multi-family or hospitality.” Today, the distributor boasts 167 employees, has launched three outof-state branches and won numerous awards, including six-time consecutive listee on the Weatherhead 100 list of fastest growing companies in Northeast Ohio. And, Guzman has played no small part. As a sales rep, he drafted and implemented the company’s sales structure and process. As sales manager, he built out a sales team that brought in MFS Supply’s first $10 million. As director of sales, he doubled the size and profit of his department and targeted new markets. Muencz also credits Guzman with creating and sustaining a culture that fosters growth and achievement. “He’s very intelligent, but more importantly he’s charismatic,” said Muencz. “His enthusiasm for our business is infectious. Employees are inspired by his work-ethic, attitude and his anything-is-possible drive.” Guzman said he calls on King James for inspiration. “I am striving for greatness as LeBron would say.” — Judy Stringer
my journey has taught me and invigorated me to be in this position to connect with the community in a meaningful way.” Rivera-Tuma works closely with people, nonprofits and other organizations in the local low-income community. As a working mom who sits on five boards, including the Hispanic Business Center and the Cleveland Housing Network, she’s motivated by helping people who struggled like she once did. It’s qualities like that which not only make her an asset in the bank’s community development efforts, but inspires her colleagues, said Rivera-Tuma’s mentor at the company, PNC COO Kristen Baird Adams. “What impressed me most about Maggie is she does not forget where she came from, and took a really
tough situation and with a whole lot of determination and a little grit and a lot of passion, created and paved the path to where she is today,” Adams said. “She’s building an amazing career and has a lot of runway ahead of her.” Rivera-Tuma is used to creating her own opportunities, wanting to be “at the top of every chart.” When she moved into more-management based roles at the bank, she said she learned to tailor her behavior and hone a leadership style that allows her to work more effectively with others. While she’s ultimately driven by a yearning to help others, her other passion is her family. “My ultimate goal in life is to lead my child in a place where they have a strong platform to build on to go farther than I ever could,” she said. — Jeremy Nobile
Dorivette embodies the agency’s core values and works tirelessly toward its mission to create safe, quality, affordable housing opportunities and improve the quality of life for the communites we serve.
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CRAIN’S 40 UNDER 40 “I have always been willing to put myself out there to do things that maybe others weren’t willing to do or didn’t have the capacity to do.”
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Gino Scipione, 38 Audit partner, Grant Thornton
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ino Scipione believes that being willing to take on projects that others might avoid is one of the keys that helped him become a partner at age 35 in the audit practice at Grant Thornton. For him, that meant actively developing a deep expertise in the energy industry after he was assigned to the local office’s only client in that realm when he joined the firm in 2003. “Northeast Ohio is not necessarily a hotbed for natural gas and oil production, but when I got put into it, I found it very interesting and spent a lot of time learning the industry and the accounting involved in it,” he said. “I think that really helped myself and the firm grow this practice.” The public accounting firm was able to capitalize on the explosion in natural gas production in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York between 2010 and 2013 and, led by Scipione, carve out a successful niche energy practice. They grew the industry practice group from about $2 million year to more than $5 million a year during that time period, he said. This led to Scipione being promoted to partner in a shorter-than-expected timeframe.
Gavin J. Svenson, 38 Assistant director of science, curator & head of invertebrate zoology, Cleveland Museum of Natural History
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“I have a passion for energy. I have a passion for my firm. And I have a passion for working with my clients and helping them grow, always being there for them. I think that trifecta has really helped propel my career,” he said. Rick Gross, a senior partner in the audit group at Grant Thornton, said Scipione’s extensive knowledge of oil and gas, particularly in exploration and production, gives him instant credibility with clients. “It is clear he knows and understands their business and their industry and the challenges they face,” he said. “People in that industry recognize quickly if you know what you are talking about or not.” Scipione also has undertaken a number of volunteer efforts in the community, including serving on the audit committee at Notre Dame College and being on the board of the Children’s Museum of Cleveland and the Cleveland Earth Day Coalition. “I enjoy finding things that interest me, and opportunities that are there for me to contribute, and that’s what I do,” he said. — Beth Thomas Hertz
n hundreds of drawers in Gavin J. Svenson’s lab at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History are pinned displays of insects from all over the earth: Rhinoceros beetles, New Guinean walking sticks and thousands of types of praying mantis. Pointing to a phylogeny sheet over a drawer of mantis religious, Svenson explained, beaming: “Pretty cool, right? Before us, none
of these mantises were classified properly,” he said. Svenson has spent more than half his life building a career as a well-to-do entomologist, specializing in the evolutionary biology of praying mantises. It’s a life, he said, aware of its scientific niche, albeit one that has garnered multiple National Science Foundation grants and a collaboration with famed evolutionist E.O. Wilson.
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“If you love what you do, if you love who you are, if you love the people around you, how can you not be happy? And that ultimately is success for me.”
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“It takes a team to execute these complex projects. It’s important that you take a personal approach.”
John Coughlin, 31 Senior manager, Gilbane Building Co.
Dionna Widder, 33 Vice president of ticket sales and service, Cleveland Cavaliers
hen she was in high school, Dionna Widder attended a Detroit Pistons game and got to slap hands with Vince Carter, then a second-year phenom for the Toronto Raptors. Seventeen years later, she puts young fans in position to do the same with LeBron James. “It’s full circle,” Widder said. “Who knows now what that one kid is going to end up doing. Just knowing that you’re part of that experience and creating those memories is special.” Widder — who is one of just two women, and the only African-American woman, in her role in the NBA — joined the Cavs in May 2014. Two months later, James returned home, and what was already a whirlwind for the mother of young twins got even more hectic. The Cavs have played for a championship each year, they reached
“When I can go into my lab and put specimens under a microscope, all of that’s therapy for me.
their self-imposed cap on season tickets shortly after James announced his commitment, and the franchise has transitioned to Wine & Gold United, a year-round membership platform. Widder grew up in Flint, Mich., raised by a single mom, and was the first person in her family to go to college. An NBA career fair in Chicago during her senior year at Central Michigan University brought six job offers and solidified her belief that she would one day get to work in basketball. “I wanted to live this great life. I wasn’t going to let that break me down,” she said of her father leaving when she was 10. “It started there with this sense of family. And then from there, it stopped being about revenge and it started being about purpose.” Happiness defines success, Wid-
der said. That’s in her career, and her expanding family. Widder and her husband, Mark, recently welcomed a baby girl, Rowan. The fraternal twins, Wells and Ellis, will be 5 in December. She’ll rejoin her other team, the Cavs, early in 2018. In addition to being able to bring fans closer to the action, she said one of the most gratifying parts of her job is being a mentor for young employees. “I love meeting a college student, hiring them entry level, and then being a part of their story of their growth and their career,” Widder said. Cavs chief revenue officer Brad Sims, who recruited Widder to Cleveland after she spent a couple years working in the league office, said the nine-year NBA veteran “has a passion for her craft and a drive to be the best that is unmatched.”— Kevin Kleps
It returns me to the base of my interest: Why the heck did I ever get into this?”
t 31, John Coughlin is making his mark on construction management firm Gilbane Building Co. and Northeast Ohio’s landscape — and those who knew him during his early tenure with the firm might have predicted he’d do it. Because even several years ago, as an intern with Gilbane, Coughlin proved to be a leader, said Mark Hill, a Gilbane vice president. “He became a clearinghouse for all questions on architecture and engineering drawings,” he said. “He as an intern did it by going through the drawings, page by page, and understanding the job: ‘This doesn’t seem right. The light doesn’t seem connected.’ “He asks a lot of very good questions, and he cares,” Hill added. “He doesn’t jump to conclusions.” Coughlin’s been involved in construction longer even than the three internships he did with Gilbane — his earliest role, a laborer for his grandfather who was a carpenter. He graduated with one degree in construction management and another in business administration and marketing from Bowling Green State University. Today, he’s responsible for Gilbane’s client relations in his home-
town Cleveland market. “What’s rewarding to me is solving complex problems for our clients who have a vision of where they want to go with a capital project, then having the opportunity to work with design professionals and institutions to make their vision a reality,” Coughlin said. One particularly “awesome” project was leading recent renovations at Progressive Field, particularly since Coughlin is a diehard Cleveland Indians fan. “That’s amazing for a guy that age to have that responsibility because of the schedules that had to be met, the pressure to meet the deadline of opening day,” Hill said. Coughlin is passionate, really, about all things Cleveland, he said — “the great people who are here and what it (the city) is all about.” “The hard work, the commitment — people truly enjoy being a part of this community and giving back to it,” he said. Coughlin gives back himself, as a member of the associate board that supports the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and as a member of the advisory board to Bowling Green State University’s business school. — Michelle Park Lazette
“A entomologist is pretty narrow,” he admitted. “An evolutionary biology entomologist is even narrower. And a person studying praying mantises? I’ve cornered myself in the deepest, darkest corner of all time.” Raised in the lakeside town of Bemus Point, N.Y, Svenson exhibited a fascination for insect-collecting by the time he was 12. “I swear this kid started collecting when he got out of the crib,” said Thomas Szydlo, Svenson’s biology teacher in Bemus Point. “You think it wouldn’t be labeled properly, or it wasn’t the right pins. But then you saw what he brought in. We were all just flabbergasted.” At 21, Svenson earned the rare opportunity as an undergrad at Cornell to scour the jungles of Papa New Guinea with biologist Michael Whiting. Thrilled by the pursuit of
the exotic, Svenson shot for a Ph.D. in entomology with Whiting as adviser, the research which would form the basis of his forte: a 2007 paper titled “The Origins, Evolution, and Phylogeny of the Praying Mantises.” Over the next decade, grants were lost, and Svenson suffered at the whims of his unique work. Come 2015, while living with his wife in New Mexico, Svenson won his CMNH position, one he serves today with high purpose, with research assistants to train, papers to write, science grants to submit. All while Svenson’s ever-growing mantis collection sits three floors below. “When I can go into my lab and put specimens under a microscope,” he said, “all of that’s therapy for me. It returns me to the base of my interest: Why the heck did I ever get into this?” — Mark Oprea
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Elizabeth M. Hijar, 39
Christina Vassallo, 37
General counsel, The Centers for Families and Children and Circle Health Services
Executive director, SPACES Gallery
lot of times, when her family moved every two years during her childhood, Elizabeth M. Hijar found herself the only Mexican-American in her grade — or in her school. While those moves following her dad’s transfers proved difficult at times, they bestowed positive and enduring lessons. “You learn to be adaptable and to bloom where you’re planted,” she said. “It also influenced me in a way where I knew, once I’m an adult, I want to feel rooted in a community.” A Harvard Law School grad, Hijar left a law firm job to give back to the community. She worked with the Hispanic Roundtable for a time, joined The Centers for Families and Children in 2014 part-time as director for board engagement, and then filled the first in-house general counsel role the Centers created. Again, blooming where she’s planted. Hijar has laid roots with the Latino community in Northeast Ohio, having helped to manage Convencion Hispana, an event whose goal is empowering Latinos to improve their lives in the region, and serving as a board member of the Hispanic Roundtable. Almost immediately after The Centers for Families and Children — which offers integrated health care, early learning centers and workforce development to individuals and families — created the general counsel role, the organization started to pursue collaborations, requiring complex legal work, said president and CEO Elizabeth Newman. “She is a gifted attorney and non-
“Life is such a mix of working your butt off, not giving up. There certainly have been a lot of missteps and some failures along the way. You just can’t let that define you.”
profit leader, but she’s also an incredible mom,” Newman said. “When you look at what she achieves professionally, what she achieves personally, and in terms of giving back to the community, she’s very unique in her talent and her ability to contribute in a lot of different ways.” For Hijar and her husband, Justin
Herdman, Friday movie night with their two children — Lucy, 8, and Julian, 6 — is “sacred.” When asked to name her greatest achievement until now, she replied, “Doing the best I can to be able to have a rewarding career and a family as well, I feel very lucky that I have been able to do that.” — Michelle Park Lazette
CON G RAT ULAT I ON S D R. G AVI N SVEN SON
PACES Gallery describes itself as a nonprofit that serves as a resource and public forum for artists “who explore and experiment.” Christina Vassallo did a little experimenting herself when, in early 2014, she came to Cleveland from New York to run SPACES and lead it into a new era that includes a new home on the ground floor of the former Van Rooy Coffee building in the hot Hingetown neighborhood on the West Side. When she took the job, SPACES was in the early stages of looking for the new building to replace its longtime home on Superior Viaduct. Immediately, she took on the tasks of managing the search while planning a $3.5 million capital campaign (SPACES now is most of the way there) and helping to continue adventurous programming at the artist-run gallery. “I didn’t know Cleveland very well when I came here, but it’s been incredibly encouraging to see the support for artists and the willingness to take some risks,” said Vassallo, a Tremont resident who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from New York University. SPACES programmed an exhibition of political art in summer 2016 that coincided with the Republican National Convention, and it’s one of several institutions taking part in FRONT International, a modern art triennial that debuts next year. One exhibition organized by SPACES leading up to FRONT is “A Color Removed,” a participatory project from artist Michael Rakowitz about the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice.
“I still feel like I’m in my honeymoon phase of living in Cleveland.”
Vassallo said SPACES’ new home is “a purpose-built design that comes from 40 years of working with artists.” It has helped to double attendance and raise the institution’s profile with artists and the community. It boasts open rooms to display art, but other places for art creation, plus a mounted bike rack on a wall. (That’s especially important to Vassallo, an avid cyclist who bikes everywhere, including trips to Kelleys Island.) Artist Lauren Davies, whose work
AT GILBANE, LEADERS INSPIRE, INNOVATE, COLLABORATE AND ENGAGE.
C E L E BRAT ING CRAIN’S C L E V ELAND 40 UNDER 40 The Cleveland Museum of Natural History congratulates Dr. Gavin Svenson, Assistant Director of Science and Curator of Invertebrate Zoology, and all of the honorees named to Crain’s Cleveland 40 Under 40.
I N N OVAT IV E LEADERSHIP. BO L D V ISION. TR A NSFORMING T HE F UTUR E. Building on a foundation of excellence in scientific discovery and STEM education, our vision for the Museum is to fully integrate our world-renowned collections and the field-leading research of our curators into the visitor experience. With new discoveries at every turn, our Museum will spark visitors’ curiosity about science and the natural world for generations to come. Learn more at cmnh.org/cmnh100.
Congratulations John Coughlin, for being named one of Crain’s Cleveland Forty Under 40. 1 Wade Oval, University Circle, Cleveland, Ohio 44106
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Managing director, Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization
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Jenny Spencer, 39
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has been showcased at SPACES, described Vassallo as “super high energy, really smart, someone who gives her all, all the time.” Beyond being a skilled administrator, Davies said, Vassallo has a sharp eye and works with artists to “really
push us to dig deeper on our projects.” For her part, Vassallo said she wants SPACES to be a place “that puts art in a social context, with the artist as problem solver.” — Scott Suttell
enny Spencer makes it clear that she is very idealistic — and passionate. Those are maybe the best reasons why this graduate of Shaker Heights High School, Ohio State University and Harvard University’s public policy and planning master’s program has spent most of the last decade living and working in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood. “Living in the community I serve, I find it keeps me engaged in a way that enhances my work,” said Spencer, who considers herself first and foremost a community organizer. A Peace Corps veteran, she described organizing as helping people harness the power to change their community. She believes she is doing that as a Detroit-Shoreway homeowner and as a staff member of the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization (DSCDO) where she’s worked for the last decade, except for two years working for Team Northeast Ohio, the regional business attraction nonprofit. “The power is there and the role of the organizer is to help people get the change they want to see,” she said. Though it has suffered from the flight to the suburbs and the loss of industry, Detroit-Shoreway has retained a strong base of long-term residents and retained its cohesiveness after an influx of African-American families and Hispan-
“Living in the community I serve, I find it keeps me engaged in a way that enhances my work.”
ic and Vietnamese immigrants. Now, it’s seeing a lot of new, high-end housing construction that is attracting a new kind of resident — younger and more affluent. Spencer sees a big part of her job as knitting those newcomers into the existing community fabric. “Diversity won’t preserve itself without intervention,” she said. Carrie Carpenter, executive director and president of the Gordon Square Arts District, which oversees the theater
district at the heart of Detroit-Shoreway, praised Spencer’s effort to create a local job training program,“Hire Local,” that prepares residents for jobs at Gordon Square businesses that have had trouble keeping staff. “Jenny stopped in to ask why businesses closed and how her organization could help,” she said. “Jenny’s creative thinking developed a winwin for residents, business owners and patrons.” — Jay Miller
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CRAIN’S 40 UNDER 40
Michelle Hirsch, 35
Stephen D. Fening, 38
Senior vice president, Brunswick Cos.
Director, Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership
ometimes, a company will identify a young employee as an up and comer and begin early to groom them for a potential slot in management — maybe even top management. Michelle Hirsch got targeted earlier than most. Her father, Brunswick Cos. president Todd Stein, knew before his daughter did that she would make a great executive. “She’s smart, she’s bright and she’s got incredible fortitude and an understanding of what it takes to develop good clients and she knows how to handle our people inside,” he said. “But more important than anything, she’s just a good solid person all-around. She shines not only on the outside but on the inside. Everything she does is full tilt. She never does anything half-assed.” Hirsch didn’t want to go into the family’s third-generation insurance business with her father and other family members. So, like any good dad, he tricked her. Well, sort of — he figured if he could get her a little involved in the business, she would want to become involved and improve it. He knew his daughter well. “I did not intend to join the family business. I wanted to live in Chicago and at that time we had an office in Chicago. So my dad said, ‘I know you don’t want this job, but if you take it you can live in Chicago and look for another job.’ So I took the job … then I realized there was so much more we could be doing as a company. One
“It’s way more rewarding to work for a family business than some big corporation.”
thing led to another and I married a Cleveland boy, we moved back in 2006 and have never looked back,” Hirsch said. But it’s not as if Hirsch just moved into a C-suite. First, her father made her learn the business from the ground up, beginning as a claims adjuster. “I worked my way through each department, both on the operations side and the business development side. Now I’m focused mostly on large strategy for the company and
client development and client retention,” she said, on her way to visit a client in Minneapolis in October. In her spare time, when she and her husband Evan Hirsch aren’t busy raising two children, she volunteers for community organizations like the Cleveland Jewish Federation and the Mandel School. She said that’s just how she was raised. “The more you give, the more you get,” Hirsch said. “It’s all one big circle.” — Dan Shingler
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tephen D. Fening knew he wanted to make a difference, and he thought the medical field was the way to do it. But before he made his way to medical school, he realized he didn’t like the one-on-one nature of medicine. “I thought there was an opportunity to try and use engineering to make a broader scale impact across people,” Fening said. Today, Fening is the director of the Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership at Case Western Reserve University. The partnership, one of a few across the country, aims to commercialize university research, supporting it with staff and funding. At Case-Coulter, Fening’s role is to turn faculty discoveries into products, by helping them connect with industry. “He’s done a really fabulous job with that,” said Bob Kirsch, chairman of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve. Fening has the right personality to work in both business and science, Kirsch said, smoothly bridging that gap. Most of Fening’s background is in science, but he has always had an interest in business. When he was earning his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at Ohio University, he even added classes from the MBA program. “So I always thought that the business side of everything was important, because everything is business,” Fening said. Before joining Case-Coulter, Fening held roles at local institutions in-
“To me, a successful day is when I’ve done so many things that I can’t even remember what I started with at the beginning of the day.”
“I thought there was an opportunity to try and use engineering to make a broader scale impact across people.”
cluding the Cleveland Clinic and the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. Fening also began his own startup, Apto Orthopaedics, which aimed to minimize the number of surgeries needed by children with scoliosis. Fening said his experience with Apto, where he’s still a board member and chief technology officer, taught him that he most enjoyed the early stages of a startup. “I liked figuring all of that out, figuring out the business model, you know, working on the technology,” Fening
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CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
Vice president of strategic client solutions, IBM Watson Health
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Mary Herzak, 35
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said. “And I didn’t like working on the downstream things, like going through regulatory and that kind of thing.” At Case-Coulter, the partnership works on about five to 10 projects a year. The partnership focuses on healthcare, and often serves technologies with small markets that many won’t. For example, one of the research projects is developing a sweat test for babies to detect cystic fibrosis at an earlier age, hopefully allowing doctors to treat the disease earlier, too. — Rachel Abbey McCafferty
ary Herzak grew up in an extremely tight-knit community — which explains a lot about her. Herzak’s maternal grandparents emigrated from Russia through Ellis Island in 1931, so as a kid in Minnesota, she and her family were active members of the Russian Orthodox Church. Herzak played sports through the church. She raised money for church projects. She even met her husband through the church. That sense of community is why she sees it as her duty to help anyone she meets, through mentoring and helping people make connections. But she also has indirectly helped countless people she’s never met through her work at IBM Watson Health, which established a presence in Cleveland in 2015 when it acquired Explorys, a health care data analytics company. As vice president of strategic provider solutions, Herzak leads a team that helps large hospital systems figure out how to improve patient care and population health management efforts with the help of IBM Watson Health’s software and expertise. Lately, however, she’s been preparing to pass those duties along to other leaders within the company, since she’ll be taking on an operational role within IBM Watson Health’s new Strategic Advisory Practice. Luckily, she’s not afraid to take on new challenges. After all, she didn’t know anything about running a clinical laboratory back in 2009, when she left a career in the fashion business to lead Laboratory Outreach Services at
Mercy Health in Lorain. And she wasn’t a data expert when she joined Explorys in February 2013. “Being uncomfortable is the best way to be impactful because I think you kind of find out, ‘What are you capable of?’ ” she said. She’s capable of quite a lot, according to former Explorys president Charlie Lougheed, who founded the company with Stephen McHale and Anil Jain in 2009. Herzak behaved like a leader well before she joined the company’s leadership team, Lougheed said, noting that she regularly coached other employees and took on tasks outside of her job description. “Mary just did it without asking. ... It was like, ‘Maybe it’s time to make Mary a manager,’” he said. Outside of work, Herzak and her husband Michael have two children, M.J., 5, and Camille, 3. She’s an active volunteer with Archangel Michael Orthodox Church in Broadview Heights. — Chuck Soder
“As citizens of Northeast Ohio, we should have a vested interest in ultimately everyone we come in contact with.”
Tracy L. Albers, 38 President and CTO, Rapid Prototype and Manufacturing
racy L. Albers likes the predictable nature of science and research, but as president and CTO at contract additive manufacturer rp+m, she’s had to get used to the unpredictability of the market. “So the days that I can work on technical problems, and outcomes have a solid foundation, and things happen for a reason, and we generally can explain why those things happen, gives me some sort of comfort,” Albers said. Her role at rp+m gives her the chance to do both hands-on technical work, like serving as the principal investigator on an America Makes project, and day-to-day responsibilities that make a business run smoothly. Albers came to rp+m from GrafTech International, where she started her professional career after earning her Ph.D. in physical chemistry. She spent about a decade at the graphite company, working her way from analytical chemist to leadership roles in research and development. She oversaw the company’s 3D printing efforts when she first got to know rp+m. When the company reached out about an opening, Albers said she thought it would be a good opportunity, though a big change. “We’re a small business in a very
volatile industry versus big business in a highly predictable industry,” Albers said. She started at rp+m in January 2015 as a vice president, quickly moving into her current role as president and CTO. The company now has 10 employees. Right from the start, Albers’ “maturity and sense of calm” impressed Matt Hlavin, CEO of Thogus and founder of rp+m. She’s patient, well-prepared and willing to seek advice. Hlavin said he’s someone who tends to move quickly in business, but her influence has encouraged him to slow down a bit. “I learn from Tracy every day,” Hlavin said. Albers said work-life balance is different for everyone, but it’s “incredibly important” for people to embrace what it means for them. For her, it’s the chance to prioritize her children over work. And that makes her more efficient and focused. Albers and her husband, Joshua, have two children. Cooper, 9, is involved in a variety of sports, including hockey, and Elise, 7, plays piano and figure skates. “I take a lot of conference calls from various ice rinks around the Tristate region,” Albers said. — Rachel Abbey McCafferty
The team at thunder::tech would like to toast Jason Therrien, our founder, president and chief motivator for being recognized as a part of Crain’s Forty Under 40. Here’s to the leadership and contributions to our agency, clients and region that made it happen. thundertech.com
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CRAIN’S 40 UNDER 40
Sherrie S. Royster, 39 Partner, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard and Smith
or Sherrie S. Royster, becoming an attorney was a natural way to combine her strong verbal skills with her inherent desire to help others. “I’m not the silent type. I have always enjoyed talking and being an advocate for people,” she said. For the past year, Royster has been a partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, where she practices general commercial law. Before that, she was an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor for eight years, working her way up to the major trial division. Among the high-profile cases on which she was lead prosecutor was the trial of Michael Brelo, the Cleveland police officer charged in 2015 in the shooting death of two unarmed motorists in 2012. “That was the epitome of a big case. There were so many moving parts, so many t’s to cross, i’s to dot, different entities to deal with,” she said. That job also thrust her into a position to help for people who were less newsworthy but no less important to her. Having been raised by a single mother in Cleveland, she has a unique perspective on the elements that bring victims and perpetrators into a courtroom, and how to help them. She also has earned a reputation for helping develop younger attorneys, including Aqueelah A. Jordan, an assistant prosecuting attorney in
“If you’re doing something that you feel good about at the end of the day, that’s the key to success.”
the major trial unit. The two women met in 2013, when Royster was assigned to be Jordan’s mentor for six months. Their relationship blossomed, however, and they still talk at least weekly today. “Things you wouldn’t even think of trying, she has already thought of. She
is a well-rounded person and a phenomenal source of help,” Jordan said. In fact, Jordan laughs at the memory of the many times when she went to Royster’s office to seek advice, only to find someone else was already in there for the same reason. Royster said she believes the key to
Nancy Hutchinson, 39 Vice president of marketing, Sherwin-Williams Co. Congratulations, Elizabeth! We are grateful for your leadership. The team and Board of Directors at The Centers
ancy Hutchinson puts people first. That’s been a common thread throughout her personal life, as well as through her sales and marketing career. “I think I was always curious what made my customers tick, whether it was a plumbing contractor or a painting contractor or a mason,” Hutchinson said. Hutchinson is vice president of marketing for the midwestern division at paint and coatings giant Sherwin-Williams Co., a role she took on in July. She’s worked in other areas of marketing for the company, as well as in sales excellence, but this role puts Hutchinson closer to the field, to the stores and their employees and to the customers. As a marketer, it’s important she understands them and their perspectives. That may entail making sales calls with reps, visiting stores to observe their daily operations or checking on the effectiveness of a promotion. Naturally, her new role involves a lot of travel — as a vice president of marketing, Hutchinson said she’s typically on the road two to three days a week, two to three weeks out of the month — but she views it as a positive. It’s helped her see the U.S. and other countries. “You can sometimes look at travel as a grind, but a lot of times, I really look at it as an additional life experience I wouldn’t have had otherwise, without a career that physically took me there,” Hutchinson said. Hutchinson is first generation, which she thinks shapes her perspective. Her parents grew up in the Philippines, and she said her dad “lit-
“You have to have the wherewithal to take the skills that you learned along the way and keep building upon them.”
erally lived the American dream.” His hard work ethic was ingrained in her, and she wants to pass those values onto her daughters. Hutchinson has twin 9-year-old girls, Avery and Ella, with her husband, Tim. Hutchinson and her family stay busy outside of work, but that’s how she feels balanced. “I’m just stubborn enough to believe I could have both, and the imbalance is my balance,” Hutchinson said. Though Hutchinson gives a lot of
time to her career and to her family, she also makes time to give back as a board member of Youth Opportunities Unlimited. Hutchinson is enthusiastic and passionate, said Carol Rivchun, Y.O.U.’s president and CEO. As a board member, Hutchinson has served on the program committee, and Rivchun credited her with helping the group raise a lot of money by connecting it with new funders. — Rachel Abbey McCafferty
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Alexandra Yonkov, 36 Principal, Brickhaus Partners
her success has been following her natural-born passion. “A lot of times, people go after jobs that make them money, which of course can be good, but I say go with what drives you because that’s the only way you’re going to be your greatest at it,” she said. — Beth Thomas Hertz
ew York. Chicago. Los Angeles. Those are the cities that Alexandra Yonkov told her fiancée she would move to from Bulgaria, where she was happy to stay near her family and already an established architect. Cleveland? “I want to build modern architecture, not wooden houses,” Yonkov said. But Rudy Yonkov, who already made his home in Cleveland for years, got his fiancée introduced to Andrew Brickman because she was impressed by his first project, Coltman 25 in Little Italy. From a start serving as Brickman’s assistant in 2012, her responsibilities and role in the firm grew along with her English-speaking fluency and she was made a principal in 2016. Today she runs the office, oversees billing and works with architects and contractors on designs while Brickman focuses on finding sites for new projects and selling suites in the firm’s always-expanding portfolio in interesting locations, such as the rim of the Rocky River Valley. “She wanted an opportunity and I like to give people opportunities,” Brickman said. “When I met her, I knew she got it. She understands that we are trying to do something special with each project that we do. We are not interested in doing something mundane, something not world-class.” When business dried up in Bulgaria in the 2008 recession, she used her
“I really want to help (Andrew Brickman) grow this company. I am dreaming big.”
savings to add a master’s in project management at University College, London, to her Bulgarian architecture degree to help her move to the developer’s side of the business. She’d originally planned to return to Bulgaria when love and marriage intervened. Now she’s fully engaged and works
with architects the firm engages for its designs. The concept for One Seventeen, which won Brickhaus the opportunity from the city of Cleveland to redevelop part of the former First Church of Christ Scientist site as townhouses was her first U.S. victory. The design is
modern yet recalls the architecture of the old church. “I really want to help (Brickman) grow this company. I am dreaming big. We want to grow outside of Cleveland and build different types of buildings, such as apartments.” she said. — Stan Bullard
Nationally Acclaimed Zoo
18 PARK RESERVATIONS
Cleveland Metroparks would like to recognize Chief Operating Officer, Joseph V. Roszak, and his fellow honorees in the Forty under 40 Class of 2017.
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CRAIN’S 40 UNDER 40
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Jesse Grant, 35 Senior vice president, CBRE
s a senior vice president at CBRE, Jesse Grant travels the world working on property matters for big corporations with stops in China, Singapore and Paris. Yet somehow he also manages to be part of a team developing eye-catching, pricey townhouses in the city such as Tremont Black. Most people scarcely could handle one such pursuit. But Grant is a high-energy person. And he has awards to prove it. He does “sprint triathlons,” which are half the length of the Olympic triathlon. He represented the U.S. 35-39 age group in the 2017 ITU World Triathlon last September in Rotterdam. At CBRE, Grant is the younger of two senior partners who lead a 15-person team that consults on real estate for mid-sized private companies and Fortune 500 firms and operates for them more than 4,000 properties. “It is a multi-million-dollar business,” said David Browning, managing director of CBRE’s Cleveland office. “He’s a strategic thinker as well as a good leader. He’s working 60 hours a week at CBRE. Then, bingo! He comes up as partners with (real estate developer) Fred Geis to buy Scranton Peninsula from Forest City Realty Trust.” For his part, Grant said it’s not just himself but a team he partners with that is in the peninsula deal. “We’re happy to be a small part of it,” Grant said. He said his group being part of the project had an unlikely start all of nine years ago.
“I’m this kid from the West Coast who sees Cleveland with fresh eyes.”
“(Geis) and I drove through the peninsula on the way to lunch. We looked at each other and asked how many cities have such a parcel available,” he said. Now the partners control the property; plans for it are still under wraps
as it is in the planning stages. Grant attributes his interest in real estate and “how cities work” to growing up as a city kid in Portland, Ore. He came here partly to attend Cleveland State University’s highly ranked College of Urban Affairs for a mas-
ter’s in urban planning, finance and real estate. He also chose Cleveland over New York City for study or going home to Portland to live. So, why here? “It’s a city that is reidentifying itself.” — Stan Bullard
Melissa Ramirez, 35 Executive director, Parker Hannifin Downtown YMCA
hen Melissa Ramirez first walked into the Parker Hannifin YMCA in January of this year, she knew a makeover was urgent. “It felt very corporate,” she said, “It’s very bright. There were no children. To me, it didn’t look and feel like The Y.” Ramirez set out quickly to make a change. She partnered with area high schools, like the Davis Maritime Academy, to provide space for swim lessons. She provided English-learning class space for Syrian refugees. And just recently, this fall, Ramirez helped facilitate an after-hours swim class made entirely of Muslim women, she said, when no men are around. As her leadership philosophy goes: “Whatever is happening across the country that I disagree with, I’m trying to do whatever on my level to fix it.” Born to a Puerto Rican electrician father and Ohio-born mother in Lorain, Ramirez’s path to becoming the boss was, she says, hard-sought until her late teens. Active in sorority-led charity efforts, Ramirez first found a commanding role as a TV news director for Toledo’s BCSN, a role she took off a professor’s push. Come 2012, Ramirez fled the media role for a managerial position at Avon’s YMCA, where she instantly found value in leading good-minded people under one goal. “She really likes to develop others,”
YMCA lit afire by the 2016 presidential election. “Manager of a gym” was no longer a sufficient title. Her role as mother and leader would go hand-in-hand, and in January 2017, Ramirez assumed such with zest: she would open up the Y’s reach under the same principles — feminism, inclusion,
“It’s no longer just about providing funding, but we have to encourage agencies to gather together and assess best practices, encourage them to collaborate.” — Helen Forbes Fields, United Way vice president of community impact
“I’ve always thought the Y was more than just a gym. That’s why it’s our tagline.”
Nate Long, a former hire of Ramirez’s at the Avon YMCA, said. “Melissa wants to bring out the best in you. Like, she wants front-desk people to make decisions, not have them have to go to their supervisor.” After a two-year-stint in West Park, and becoming mother of two kids, Ramirez arrived at the downtown
While United Way has always allocated funds based on an agency’s status and qualifications, this year the organization has broken it into the two clear steps. The second step, in which agencies that have been deemed eligible apply for grants, is where a new computer algorithm comes in. The hope is to eliminate funding outliers in which one entity may receive a substantial amount of dollars more than others. “The algorithm will also allow us to have greater transparency and equity in terms of that funding, and we want to be able to reward our high-performing programs by funding them at a higher level,” said Helen Forbes Fields, vice president of community impact and general counsel for United Way. “We think that that’s in the best interest of the program.” The mathematical process looks at the total program budget of an agency, the total number of programs funded by United Way and the total amount available to United Way for funding. The request for qualifications process to determine eligibility launched Nov. 10 and runs through Dec. 1. United Way will let agencies know whether they’re eligible by early January, and then begin accepting applications. Volunteers will review applications and score them for the algorithm. The components in the algorithm are pushed and determined by volunteers’ review of the applications. The effort is part of United Way’s new strategic plan announced over the
minority-support — she grew over the years to hone. “I’ve always thought the Y was more than just a gym,” she said. “That’s why it’s our tagline. That’s what I want to carry us through 2018: build on collaborations, include nonprofits who need space. Just to make this place feel more like the YMCA.” —Mark Oprea
summer, in which it introduced its Community Hub Model, a model designed to bring together players that best align in terms of issues, challenges and potential solutions. The model changes how United Way responds to community needs with the standardized algorithm and by funding for program capacity. It also requires programs to participate in quarterly meetings and ad-hoc work groups to address critical community issues, as well as report outcome indicators to the organization every six months. In the past, funding was given to agencies, not the specific programs delivered by those agencies, according to a release from the United Way. The organization then evolved into a process that funded programs. “We have a duty to our donors and the community that an agency receiving United Way funds is healthy, strong and has a good reputation in the community,” said Nancy Mendez, associate vice president of community impact for United Way. The new approach will be “laser-focused,” Napoli said, on solving problems by bringing together people and organizations around a common cause. “It’s no longer just about providing funding, but we have to encourage agencies to gather together and assess best practices, encourage them to collaborate,” Forbes Fields said. “We’re looking at a different way to fund, to expand the use of dollars, to bring various partners together.”
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Largest Savings Institutions Ranked by Northeast Ohio Deposits
LOCAL DEPOSITS (MILLIONS) THIS BANK NAME YEAR MAIN LOCAL OFFICE
2017 LOCAL MARKET SHARE %
TOTAL DEPOSITS/ ASSETS (MILLIONS)
FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT EMPLOYEES COMPANYWIDE
TOP LOCAL EXECUTIVE
Third Federal Savings & Loan 7007 Broadway Ave., Cleveland 44105 (800) 844-7333/www.thirdfederal.com
Marc A. Stefanski chairman, president, CEO
Ohio Savings Bank, a division of New York Community Bank 1801 E. 9th St., Cleveland 44114 (216) 588-4100/www.mynycb.com
Cynthia Flynn executive vice president
Dollar Bank FSB 1301 E. 9th St., Cleveland 44114 (216) 736-8983/www.dollarbank.com
William M. Elliott executive vice president
First Federal Lakewood 14806 Detroit Ave., Lakewood 44107 (216) 529-2700/www.ffl.net
Thomas J. Fraser president, CEO
Westfield Bank FSB Two Park Circle, Westfield Center 44251 (800) 368-8930/www.westfield-bank.com
Jon W. Park chairman, CEO
Northwest Bank 457 Broadway Ave., Lorain 44052 (440) 244-7185/www.northwest.bank
Kevin Nelson president, Ohio region
Wayne Savings Community Bank (2) 151 N. Market St., Wooster 44691 (330) 264-5767/www.waynesavings.com
James "Jay" R. VanSickle II CEO
First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Lorain 3721 Oberlin Ave., Lorain 44053 (440) 282-6188/www.fflorain.bank
Michael E. Brosky president
Geauga Savings Bank 10800 Kinsman Road, Newbury 44065 (440) 564-9441/www.geaugasavings.com
Jim Kleinfelter president, CEO
Hometown Bank 142 N. Water St., Kent 44240 (330) 673-9827/www.htbnk.com
Howard T. Boyle II president, CEO, chairman
RESEARCHED BY CHUCK SODER Source for financial data: FDIC. Numbers are as of June 30, 2017 unless otherwise noted. Includes deposits in Ashland, Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Huron, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull and Wayne counties. Send questions, suggestions or corrections to Chuck Soder: firstname.lastname@example.org. (1) NYCB/Ohio Savings Bank announced in July 2017 that it would cut 224 jobs in Greater Cleveland as part of its decision to sell its mortgage business to Freedom Mortgage of New Jersey. (2) Wayne Savings converted its charter from a savings and loan association to a commercial bank in September 2017.
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APV lends a hand to revive Firestone site By DAN SHINGLER email@example.com @DanShingler
The land around where Firestone’s headquarters and plant once hummed, about a mile south of downtown Akron, probably has never looked worse. And that’s just fine with local officials hoping to redevelop it into Firestone Business Park. Things have to get ugly before they can get better, they say, referring to the demolition that’s going on in much of the old industrial complex. “No one likes to look at the rubble, but I also see potential when I see that. … I know that’s clearing the path for good stuff,” Summit County deputy law director Greta Johnson said. “With the demolition that’s happening right now, there’s some additional mess. But when I see demolition, I see jobs,” she added. Johnson and others say the site is making progress toward becoming something other than what it has been in recent years, which is mostly a home for shuttered factories, a source of delinquent real estate taxes and a stark reminder of business the city has lost. Every day, folks like Johnson — who drives past the site on her way to work — say they see more progress. That progress might be more broken cement or piles of fill dirt amassing on now vacant lots, but it’s a necessary step toward what is envisioned for the site. And now the county and the city of Akron, which owns part of the site, have a champion on their side, one they say already has accelerated the pace of redevelopment: APV Engineered Coatings. The company, in addition to spending millions during the past couple of years to expand and improve its own facilities adjacent to the site, so far has spent about $3 million acquiring and cleaning up other
APV Coatings president Tom Venarge stands atop some of the rubble that litters the former Firestone headquarters site. APV is working with the city of Akron and Summit County to remake the property into Firestone Business Park. (Dan Shingler for Crain’s)
properties in and around the area, APV president Tom Venarge said. That includes paying for the cost of the recent demolition of the old Burger Iron plant, which the city owned but did not have the funds available to demolish. Venarge came up with a proposition: The Burger site included a newer 32,000-square-foot building that was still in good shape. APV desperately needed more warehouse space to accommodate its growth. “(The city was) stuck with an 8-acre facility that’s 100 years old, and it’s hideous,” Venarge said. “The best thing to do is tear it down, but the city doesn’t have the money to do that. … We said, ‘Hey, we want to be
good neighbors, and we want the area to look nice. How about we pay for the demolition, and in return for the demolition, we get that building?’ They said, ‘Deal!’ ” That building is gone now, and on much of its former site APV has paid to bring in almost 500 dump trucks of new fill while removing acres of old concrete. Now the city has a lot it can sell as buildable, Venarge said. All told, there are about 18 acres of the site now ready for development. APV owns about 12 of them, and the city owns the rest, Venarge said. At $25,000 an acre, companies are already starting to express interest, because good industrial lots are in short supply in Akron right now, he added.
That’s one reason he wants to be able to build on more of his site as well. For now, though, Venarge is a poster child for local economic developers, including with the city and Summit County, who are also beginning to show off the site. His company is growing right where it is, in the middle of the current mess, and has been for quite a few years. APV employs about 100 people and does about $30 million in annual sales — up from 28 people and sales of $6 million in about 1990. He tells whoever will listen that the site is a great place for a business serving other industries, like his industrial coatings company, and has even made a video with his father that the county uses to market the site. “The Venarge family has been leading the charge for a decade or more in terms of revitalizing that Firestone park business area. They’ve been real champions,” Johnson said. County economic development director Connie Krauss said the county has been working with APV for more than a year on the project, “on creating an industrial park and cleaning up the area.” APV has a definite vision for the proposed park, Venarge said. “We don’t want Firestone Parkway to exist between Emerling Avenue and Coal (Avenue) … We’ve got people crossing Firestone Parkway twice a day. We want it to be a campus,” he said. But his ambitions don’t end there. He’d like to see the area along adjacent South Main Street get redeveloped, possibly into more mixed uses, like stores and restaurants. Toward that end, APV has been buying lots, including some old homes, along South Main. “We want to have some control of that property. We don’t necessarily want the homes, although some of our employees did live there for a while,” Venarge said. “But it’s just time to improve this section of Main Street.” It’s not philanthropy, though, Ve-
narge insisted. “It’s kind of a selfish story really. We’re interested in our continued growth here,” he said while giving a recent tour of his company’s facilities and the city’s property at the site. This time he was with a reporter, but on several occasions he’s taken company executives from manufacturers who are interested in possibly locating to the site and want to know when it will be more accessible. That likely will be in about a year, when the city completes the reconstruction of Main and Broadway streets. That project will also give the city easy access to I-76 and I-77, Venarge noted. The site already has rail access, available high-voltage power and upto-date fiber-optic lines, Akron economic development director Sam DeShazior said when discussing the property in May. In the meantime, the Venarges and officials from the city and county work to improve the site with new utilities, creating larger buildable parcels and devising plans for how the industrial park might be laid out. “This is true collaboration. Not one entity participating in this could do it without the others,” Johnson said. “APV can’t do it without the city, the city can’t do it without the county, and it just goes all the way around the table.” Krauss said she has little doubt the site will soon attract tenants. Local commercial real estate agents have been saying for at least a couple of years that there’s not enough manufacturing space, and she said that’s working in favor of the industrial park’s development. “It’s industrial. And, quite frankly, if you look at the space we need for business, we need industrial space more than anything, and that’s why this park is going to happen. When people look for industrial sites, they’re not available in the city — or really even in Northeast Ohio,” Krauss said.
Growing Pav’s Creamery embracing every season By BETH THOMAS HERTZ firstname.lastname@example.org
Pav’s Creamery, a longtime, iconic Portage Lakes seasonal ice cream favorite, is fast becoming a year-round option for area dessert seekers as it adds new locations with indoor and outdoor seating and offers its products at a growing number of retailers. The company opened its first yearround venue on Massillon Road in Green in 2015 and is due to open its second one in North Canton by late November. Construction on another store in downtown Cuyahoga Falls is scheduled to start this month, said Nik Pappas, majority owner of the family business. Pappas also has worked in recent years to get Pav’s products on local store shelves and restaurant menus, and today it can be found in Acme Fresh Market and Buehler’s stores, the West Point Market and more. “Contrary to what people think, the ice cream business doesn’t die in August,” Pappas said. Pav’s traces its roots back to the 1950s, when the Portage Lakes location was a Tasty Freeze. It was pur-
Pav’s Creamery majority owner Nik Pappas shows off some flavors at the new North Canton store. (Shane Wynn for Crain’s)
chased by Robert Pavlik in 1969, and he renamed it Pav’s, his childhood nickname. The business was purchased in 1978 by Bill and Claire Micochero, and they operated it until they sold it to their daughter, Michelle Micochero, in 1994. Her son, Nik, and his wife, Melody, joined her in the business in 2013. Green was selected for the first spinoff store in part because it was close enough to the Portage Lakes to
be a familiar name but not so close that it would poach too much business from the original, Pappas said. “It was a good test run for a second store,” said Pappas. The Green site has indoor and outdoor seating and sells a variety of hard and soft ice creams and custards with unique mix-in offerings that change seasonally. The location, which took about $250,000 to open, was also appealing to Pappas because there was a liquor license available, allowing the shop to launch a line of “adult shakes.” The upcoming Pav’s opening in North Canton represents eight months and about $170,000 in renovation work to turn a former video store into a dessert destination on Main Street, near the Hoover District. Numerous delays pushed back the original plan to open this summer. Work on the Cuyahoga Falls location on Front Street began on Nov. 15 in an area of downtown that is becoming a “sweet district,” with Pav’s to be located near Metropolis Popcorn and Yum Sweet Shop. The location, which is expected to cost about $170,000 to launch, will feature a nostalgic design reminis-
cent of a 1950s soda bar. It will also have a liquor license. After the Falls spot opens in April, “I think I have one more up my sleeve,” said Pappas, who is eyeing Jackson Township. He doesn’t see Pav’s venturing too close to Cleveland, though, which he describes as a saturated ice cream market. “We are more well-known in the Akron/Canton area,” he said. Such name recognition has been a key part of the success of Pappas’ efforts to bring Pav’s products into area stores. He launched this segment in 2013, when he moved home after 12 years of living abroad as a hotelier. He wanted to join the family business, but his mother wasn’t ready to retire, so he set about seeking wholesale opportunities as his own niche. Pappas began working with a distributor about two years ago to increase his reach outside of the geographic area, and the company’s products are now available in five states. All products for the wholesale side of the business, which Pappas said has sales of about $200,000 a year, are made in the Portage Lakes location. Some of these sales help boost his
brand, but some go out under a private label. He feels he’s maxed out that segment’s growth for now unless he undertakes changes to increase the manufacturing space’s capacity. (Renovations to help boost production in 2015 already have been fully utilized.) The limitation is part of the decision to focus on store growth for now, as each store makes its own ice cream on site, he said. Each store employs about 25 to 30 people, most part-time, and the wholesale segment employs another five to 10. The Portage Lakes and Green stores each bring in about $400,000 in sales annually, he said. Private investors have helped finance the business expansion over the years. “Banks don’t want to touch restaurants,” Pappas said. Lynda Utterback, executive director of the National Ice Cream Retailers Association, said members at her group’s annual meeting in early November seemed optimistic about their business status overall, which matches the Pappas’ attitude. “The economy is good and many stores are doing well,” she said.
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The Business of Holiday Giving | Third in a series
Feasts that will elevate any office party By JOE CREA email@example.com
hat to serve, what to serve … and where to get it. Come office party time, those are the big questions — ones that need to be answered fast. If you don’t already have a caterer or to-go source lined up, here are nine vendors that have proven good and reliable. Some specialize in familiar fare, like chafing dishes filled with pastas and Parmesans, chicken wings, sandwich platters, cold colds and other party staples. Others take the phrase “party tray” to a whole new level, with meat boards and other charcuterie displays composed of house-cured sausages, classic terrines and other meats or cheeses; or exquisite and imaginative pastries and Old World confections; or even an ice cream buffet. And consider standard-bearers such as local supermarkets with good deli departments. Heinen’s Grocery Stores, for instance, produce some excellent traditional meat-andcheese trays, as well as an impressive selection of freshly prepared salads. Giant Eagle, Dave’s, Whole Foods and Earth Fare also can provide whatever you choose. Check vendors at the West Side Market, or your favorite restaurant can probably arrange your menu favorites to go.
Coquette Patisserie JJSome
of Northeast Ohio’s most sophisticated little treats — sandwiches, savories, pastries and desserts — come out of this little shop in Cleveland’s University Circle. Proprietor Britt-Marie Culey has drawn a passionate following by producing miniatures and single-serve delectables that are both elegant and delicious. Specialties: Although Coquette’s vividly colorful French macarons first put the shop on the map, Culey concocts trays to order. “I like to cater the menu to the specific event,” she said. “If there’s a theme — say, a tea party — I’ll want to throw in little tea sandwich or petit fours, little quiches, one-bite eclairs, things that are dainty and pretty. Really, I try to hone in on the theme of the event the person is hosting, and try to develop a menu or tray to go with that.” Price range: Each order is customized. Miniatures typically range from $1.50 to $2.50 each. Orders of 50 or more of a single item get a discount. A charcuterie board for 10 is about $50 to $60. More information: 11607 Euclid Ave. (University Circle), Cleveland; coquettepatisserie.com; 216-3312841. Call the shop to discuss orders.
Farkas Pastry Shoppe JJIt’s
a strong-willed shopper who can emerge from Farkas empty-handed. Truly one of Cleveland’s treasure troves, the bakery has been serving its decadent Hungarian “Kremes” — custard and cream-filled Napoleons — for more than 50 years. Over that span, the menu has grown to include fruit-filled Linzer squares, raspberry-walnut-and-chocolate layered Gerbeauds, tortes and other temptations. Specialties: Check out the shop’s website to get a gander of the options, but bear in mind that not ev-
Specialties: While pizzas and stromboli are cornerstones of Santo’s reputation, good portions of Parmesans, marsalas, milaneses and traditional Italian pasta favorites are staples here.
erything may be appropriate for an open buffet. “The Napoleons are very popular,” said partner Mike Harrison, “but you have to ‘man’ the station because you can’t stack them or let them sit out for several hours. The nonrefrigerated items are perfect for self-serve parties.”
Price range: Click on the “catering” button on the website to see an array of courses available in full- or halfpan chafing dishes. An example of pricing: pastas ($45 to $80, full); entrees ($60 to $105). “But we can put together other dishes from our menu,” co-owner Anthony Raffin added.
Price range: A whole sheet of Napoleons runs $150 (they sell individually for $3.50 and up) and can be cut into 54 portions (the shop’s regular size) or as many as 108 half-size servings. “And I have a pastry tray ($50) for 25 to 30 people,” Harrison said. “It’s a 16-inch round with bite-sized pieces of all nonrefrigerated items.”
More information: 7565 Pearl Road, Middleburg Heights; santospizzaandpasta.com; 440-234-6480. Ask for Anthony or Mike for catering.
More information: 2700 Lorain Ave. (Ohio City), Cleveland; farkaspastries.com; 216-281-6200. Contact Harrison for more information or to place pastry orders.
JJMelissa Khoury and Penny Barend, classically trained chefs, had been working together for four years before opening their Slavic Village shop earlier in 2017. As butchers, their focus is on cured meats, sausages, roulades, spreads and other classics.
Holiday Sausage, Grill and Catering JJDon’t judge a book by its … industrial parkway location. I’ve had food from Holiday on at least a half-dozen occasions, and while it’s nothing “fancy,” it’s simply down-to-earth hearty and well-prepared.
Specialties: Fresh sausage in all sorts of forms and flavors (and sold in a variety of small markets and through big wholesalers) are the backbone of co-owner Roy Razek’s business. The sausage finds its way into chafing dishes laced with peppers and onions, or as sandwiches big or small. But Razek also offers a fairly extensive menu of party specials like wings, full meals and some of the tastiest (and fiery) sausage-stuffed hot peppers you’ll find. Price range: “Our create-your-own menu starts at around $10 per person, for entrees like lemon chicken and Italian sausage, a vegetable, plus potato and pasta, rolls and butter, plus paper products,” Razek said. Platters of two kinds of wings (the Parmesan-crusted version is quite good) to serve around 20 people go for $50. As for those stuffed peppers? Figure on $2 each. More information: 13408 Enterprise Ave., Cleveland; holidaysausage.com; 216-433-1187. For catering, call Razek.
Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream JJWhen
a couple of dear friends married recently, instead of a cake, they surprised guests with a wonderful treat: an ice cream sundae buffet provided by Mitchell’s Homemade. What fun! Guests could choose from a variety of velvety flavors, adding toppings to their heart’s content. Specialties: Small-batch ice creams, made as much as possible with local ingredients, are the centerpiece. The host determines the number and selection of flavors and toppings. “Then we can come and scoop the ice cream, or set up a sundae bar,” Mitchell’s events director Amanda Dempsey said. “Or we can do a ‘pack-and-go’ setup, where we hand out the cups or just drop everything off at the party (bring all supplies, set up the table), then let the hosts hand them out.” Price range: Typically $5.50 to $6.50 per person for scooped ice cream, or $7 to $8 for a sundae bar. “Prices rise with extra toppings,” Dempsey said. An ice cream buffet usually runs within a two-hour window.
On the Rise bakery in Cleveland Heights offers a wide selection of sandwich trays and plenty of other goodies. (Contributed photo)
On the Rise
The chocolate Napoleon is one of the signature treats of Farkas Pastry Shoppe in Cleveland. (Contributed photo)
More information: 1867 West 25th St. (Ohio City), Cleveland; mitchellshomemade.com; 216-861-2687. To make arrangements, ask for Johnny or Melissa during daytime business hours.
Ohio City Provisions
JJOhio City Provisions (OCP) teams two of Cleveland’s most talented (and visionary) culinarians. Owners Trevor Clatterbuck (founder of Fresh Fork Market) and chef Adam Lambert (formerly of Bar Cento and The Black Pig) bill their shop as an “all local butcher.” Working directly with area producers such as Wholesome Valley Farm, the duo sells a full range of high-quality, pasture-raised meats and operate an in-house curing room to produce an extensive selection of sausages, smoked meats and charcuterie.
Specialties: Custom-created meat boards are OCP’s primary offering for events. “It pretty much all comes from us,” Lambert said. “I like to talk everything through with the customer, because I want them to have exactly what they want.” Price range: “We try to stick around $10 per head, and up,” Lambert said. “Start by looking at the website and then call us to talk.” More information: 3208 Lorain Ave. (Ohio City), Cleveland; ohiocityprovisions.com, 216-465-2762. To discuss event planning, call Todd Joyner.
JJFrom an unassuming storefront in Cleveland Heights, baker Adam Gidlow sells some of the best breads, rolls and pastries in town. Or maybe you’ve savored those fragrant artisan baked goods while sitting in some of Northeast Ohio’s foremost restaurants. On the Rise is one of those rare bakeries that beckons me to drive crosstown for morning pastries.
Specialties: Slowly fermented yeast doughs baked into an array of guises — from rustic Italian Olive to Fig and Walnut or Bacon & Gruyere — are the basis of many On the Rise cafe specialties. That cafe menu should be your starting point. Breakfast trays, or selections of finger pastries, cakes and tarts are available. Check out the sandwiches, salads and other offers, then call to discuss your menu. Price range: “Typically we price anywhere from $7 to $9 for full-sized sandwiches,” Gidlow said. “If someone wants something on a serious budget, we can modify the size — say, smaller tea-sized sandwiches, or halves — with varying prices. And usually we have a grain salad made with faro or wheat berries, or some with fresh vegetables. We’re happy to work with customers on serving sizes, varieties and pricing.” More information: 3471 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland Heights; ontheriseartisanbreads.com; 216-3209923. Discuss requests with chef and general manager Brian Evans.
Santo’s Italian Restaurant JJThere’s nothing fancy about this old-school family joint in a Middleburg Heights strip mall — just good, hearty, Italian-American food. That’s Santo’s calling card. The same menu that has drawn generations of customers to sidle up to a plateful of chicken Parmesan or baked seafood manicotti with a salad and warm bread.
Specialties: Parties of 20 to 40 are the shop’s specialty, but they’ve catered for 250. “We do charcuterie, meat and cheese boards, and full barbecues because those are the kinds of products we usually have in stock,” Barend said. Their culinary backgrounds enable them to produce far more. “We have ready-to-eat soups, pulled pork, smoky beans, chili and other things to feed a crowd in the cases,” she added. Price range: Charcuterie boards can be as low as $6 per person. Full barbecue menus start at $18 per person. “And we have a few tables here, so you can pop in, pick from the displays or even book for a party,” Barend said. More information: 5324 Fleet Ave. (Slavic Village), Cleveland; saucissoncleveland.com; 216-303-9067. Call to discuss options.
Vita Urbana Bistro and Artisan Market
JJThis little restaurant-market tucked away in Cleveland’s Battery Park neighborhood is a cozy spot to sip a glass of wine or craft beer and savor some of the delectable culinary creations by chef Scott Popovic. Because the space is half-grocery store, it’s also a place to pick up a few staples and specialty items.
Specialties: With years of experience as former chef for Certified Angus Beef, Popovic has a way with finessing great flavor and tenderness from meats. The delicious house meatballs, pastas and beef popcorn (with smoked sea salt and scallions) are favorites. “I cater everything to the client,” Popovic said, “anything from little habanero shredded pork with cider slaw ‘slider’ sandwiches to banana cream puddings.” Price range: As just one example, expect to pay about $6-$7 per person for pasta with meatballs, done in party casseroles. “We work out prices as we discuss,” the chef says. “I love catering events for business clientele because it allows me to work handin-hand with them, and then exceed their expectations.” More information: 1200 West 76th St. (Battery Park), Cleveland; 216600-5303; vita-urbana.com. Call Scott Popovic at 216-903-8375 to discuss catering.
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Executive Director, Towards Employment When Jill Rizika enters Bloom Bakery, she’s welcomed with smiles and hugs. ¶ The bakery is a benefit corporation owned by Towards Employment, the nonprofit she leads as executive director. Towards Employment’s mission is to empower individuals to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through employment and last year, Bloom Bakery became a part of that mission. ¶ The retail bakery, which opened in March 2016 at Public Square, provides jobs for low-income and disadvantaged adults in Greater Cleveland. ¶ As Cleveland’s economy comes back and downtown sees a renaissance, some neighborhoods still haven’t seen the benefits of that. ¶ “(We) are not going to have the community I think that we all want to live in if we continue to have these disparities,” Rizika said when she sat down for lunch with Crain’s. “And getting a job is the first step to reduce recidivism, to be getting off public benefits, to be able to care for your family, to be able to feel connected and like a contributing community citizen. So we should all care about the health of all of the neighborhoods.” — Lydia Coutré
Five things Favorite book(s) “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood,” by Trevor Noah; and “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” by Matthew Desmond
Favorite place you’ve traveled? Morocco
First job Scooping ice cream
Hobbies Cooking, eating, reading and walking on the beach
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received “My dad always encourages us to do what we love. I feel in some ways I have the luxury to do that, and not everybody has that luxury. But trying to find a way.”
Lunch spot Bloom Bakery 200 Public Square Cleveland
The meal Tuna Niçoise salad and butternut squash soup; Cheesy baby panini with potato salad and an iced tea.
The vibe This cozy eatery serves up soup, salads, sandwiches and breakfast, as well as bakery items made at Bloom Bakery’s location near Cleveland State University, where it offers catering and maintains a retail store.
The bill $23.30, plus tip
What drew you to this work? I came to Cleveland as a “trailing spouse” from Washington, D.C., where I had spent 15 years in a career in international development, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. I had to figure out how to reinvent myself and make a new career. … Workforce development drew me in because of the multilayered approach. Every day we impact individual’s lives, in many cases truly changing the trajectory of their future and that of their family, while we also work on system and policy issues to try to address some of the reasons why so many people are underskilled and un- or underemployed in our community in the first place. To support someone with barriers to employment, you need to understand not just what business hiring needs are, but how the housing, health care, criminal justice, mental health, education, economic development systems work as well. ... On the one hand, we help individuals navigate all these systems to help them change their lives; and on the other we look at the system as a whole and think about how we could better align services, programs, information flow to get more people who need work and businesses who need talent connected more efficiently. We also think about how policies and practice influence inclusion and access to opportunity. Our direct service work helps inform policy and systems discussions. How does Towards Employment support ex-offenders? First, it is important to note that we serve all kinds of people who lack the resources to gain the skills and experience to get a job on their own, or advance and build a career pathway. Their challenge may be lack of housing, low educational attainment, a young adult aging out of foster care, or those in a dead-end job that have not been able to advance. Of the 560 people placed in jobs last year, about 60% had some criminal justice involvement, but it is important to note that our services are not exclusively for those with that history. We have been offering specialized services to people with backgrounds since we merged with Cleveland Works in 2004. What goals do you have for Towards Employment? We want to grow and scale our successful programming in order to
have greater impact on the community. We want to help people achieve greater economic mobility so they can care for their families and help their communities thrive. We want to help businesses find the talent they need that reflects the full diversity of our community. We want to leverage what we have learned to help strengthen and align the workforce system so that it creates more opportunities for those who have been left behind, while making it easier for businesses to find talent. What opportunities do you see for growth in the work you’re doing? The labor market is tightening and business is citing “talent” as a constraint on growth. Everyone is talking about workforce! We are hopeful that this will lead to new opportunities for creative partnerships to prepare people for the jobs of today and tomorrow — more earn-and-learn programs (apprenticeships), more wraparound supports and coaching linked to technical training, more employers creating supportive policies to help entry-level workers advance, more attention paid to job quality, more openness to those with criminal backgrounds. What keeps you interested in and passionate about your work? Every day there’s a story of somebody who did something for the first time, whether they got a job or got a promotion, the first time they were able to actually have benefits. Somebody who was able to change their shifts so now they can be home with their kids for dinner. They bought their first car. I mean, there’s always something amazing happening at an individual level. And then sort of thinking about how you can use that learning to change the system so more people can see that kind of change … contributing to these broader conversations about how to make the system work more efficiently and effectively, but also more equitably. I would say the one other thing is that Towards Employment is a pretty special place to work. It’s also the people, the staff that we have who are amazing. We’ve hired graduates of our programs, and so we have great role models. People are extremely passionate about what they do, and that really makes going to work every day a different kind of experience.
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