Page 1

VOL. 38, NO. 48


Source Lunch

Akron West Hill neighborhood is getting reconnected to downtown. Page 18

Charlie Lougheed, former president of Explorys/IBM Page 23


The List Largest banks in Northeast Ohio Page 20


Shaker grads often circle back to help beloved community By JAY MILLER @millerjh

Top row, from left: W. Michael Fleming, ’94; Todd Federman, ’92; Shana Black, ’95; Jeff Epstein, ’93; Chris Nance ’79; Ayesha Bell Hardaway, ’93; Kandis Anderson Williams, ’92; Bishara Addison, ’06. Bottom row: Michael Jeans, ’92; Jeremy Paris, ’93; Colette Jones, ’93; Tania Menesse, ’92; Jenny Spencer, ’96 (Yearbook photographs courtesy of Shaker Heights City School District; Shaker High School photograph by Kevin Reeves)

Holiday business gift guide Ten gift ideas — from extravagant to practical — sure to please everyone on your list. Page 9 Entire contents © 2017 by Crain Communications Inc.

The students who were voting for president of Lomond School in Shaker Heights in spring 1989 couldn’t go wrong. They were choosing between two quality students, soon-to-be sixth graders who would be firmly committed to serving their community. One candidate would go on to be a law professor at Case Western Reserve University and a member of the team that is monitoring the consent decree between the city of Cleveland’s police department and the U.S. Department of Justice. The other would be senior counsel for oversight and investi-

gations for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee before returning to Cleveland and, in 2014, becoming executive director of the Group Plan Commission, where he would oversee the makeover of the city’s Public Square. Because it was so long ago, and since no one puts a sixth-grade election win on a résumé, it doesn’t matter whether the elementary school students chose Ayesha Bell Hardaway, the future law professor, or Jeremy Paris, the Group Plan executive director. What really matters is that Hardaway and Paris are just two of a large group of Shaker Heights High School alumni who are engaged in civic affairs, working to strengthen the Greater Cleveland community. SEE SHAKER, PAGE 17


Bridgestone Invitational’s future in Akron questionable beyond ’18 By KEVIN KLEPS @KevinKleps

The Bridgestone Invitational will celebrate 65 years of professional golf in Akron when the World Golf Championships event tees off at Firestone Country Club on Aug. 2, 2018. But John Feinstein — a best-selling author and contributor to the Golf Channel and PGA Tour Radio — believes the event could be a last hurrah of sorts for the tournament in Akron.

Feinstein has reported on his PGA Tour Radio show, A Good Walk Spoiled, that when the Tour changes its schedule around for the 2018-19 season, there might not be a Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone, a club whose history with pro golf dates back to the Rubber City Open in 1954. “That’s the plan at the moment,” Feinstein told Crain’s. Feinstein said multiple sources have told him that, because the PGA wants the FedExCup Playoffs to end before Labor Day, there are several other scheduling changes that must take place.

The Tour announced the two biggest in August, saying that, beginning in 2019, the PGA Championship will be moved to May and The Players Championship will be contested in March. According to Feinstein, FedEx, the title sponsor for the four playoff events that determine the season-long PGA champion, wants its annual tournament in Memphis, the St. Jude Classic, to be a WGC event. If the sponsor gets its wish, Feinstein said “the plan is to move it to Akron’s spot in August.” SEE BRIDGESTONE, PAGE 19




TECH MATTERS What is UX and UI? MR: User experience is the entirety of a user’s experience when they interact with a product or service. It includes every aspect of their interaction and shapes their positive or negative opinions. JW: The user interface is a set of components that you interact with when you use a computer, like buttons, menus, textboxes, photographs, and how those are arranged on the page. For example, when you click on a cell in Microsoft Excel and type in your data, you are using a user interface. Why does UX and UI matter to a business or organization? MR: The user experience drives users’ perceptions of the brand. Users with negative opinions of a product or service will not use it. To remain profitable, businesses must ensure they are delivering a high-quality experience for their users. In a world where users’ interactions translate directly to revenue, companies can’t afford to deliver a poor user experience. JW: User interfaces are the way that users can work with software programs. By updating your user interface to be more easy to use, you make it easier for workers to get their job done. This means work is done more reliably, efficiently and with fewer errors. By giving your customers an intuitive and reliable user interface, you encourage them to do more business with you. How are UX and UI different and the same from one another? MR: The UI is a big part of the UX, but it is only one part. Items like page layout, navigation, branding, buttons and labels are all UI elements. The user experience goes beyond those elements to include things like ease of ordering, customer service, feelings of trust and on-time delivery. While the UI is very visual, the UX is very experiential. They are both critical in creating goodwill toward a brand. Both require a deep understanding of how users interact with a product. JW: User interface design determines what the product looks like. User experience is the internalized experience that a user has with your software. They determine how you feel using the product. Designers spend a lot of time researching how people feel using the products,



customer’s experience with a product or service depends on user experience (UX) and user interface (UI). How do you make sure you’re optimizing functionality and interaction with UI and UX? Crain Content StudioCleveland consults two local tech experts who shed light on how to make sure your product or service’s UX and UI align with the organization’s and users’ expectations. As a self-proclaimed UX tech nerd, Monica Ralston teaches user experience design classes at the undergraduate and graduate Ralston Walsh level at Kent State University. She has worked domestically and internationally for organizations ranging from boutique consulting firms to Fortune 100 companies. Much of her career has been spent in the financial sector doing user research and UI design/testing with banks, brokerages and accounting software.  Monica is a co-founder of Cleveland’s UXPA chapter (User Experience Professionals Association) and serves on its board as a student liaison.  Josh Walsh is the guy you call when something is hard to use. As a career entrepreneur, Josh’s vision for software and technology user interfaces has shaped products used by millions of people all over the world. His work spans from one-person startups to large applications for Fortune 100 companies. He is CEO of The Refinery, a Rocky River-based digital design consultancy.



taking recommendations from their research, and sending new design concepts back to the team to test with users. The user interface designer collaborates with a product owner who controls what features and benefits the product needs to have to serve the business need. The user interface designer is also responsible for communicating how the design works to the developers who write the code to make the user interface work.

so they can design better user interfaces. Which individuals or teams should be involved in decisions relating to UX and UI? MR: Typically, UXD (user experience design) professionals work in a creative capacity. They will either collaborate with user researchers, information architects and UI designers, or they may fill those roles themselves. Product managers are valuable partners because they have deep product expertise. Developers and business analysts are also closely involved in decision-making because ultimately they have to execute the plan. JW: The user interface is primarily controlled by a user interface designer, but involves collaboration with several other members of a software development team. The user interface designer works closely with the user experience designer,

What features does a product need to optimize UX and UI?   MR: The best user experiences anticipate users’ issues and solve them proactively. The design should be straightforward and accessible. Additionally, the product should engender feelings of trust. This is particularly important in e-commerce settings where financial information is being shared. To optimize the user experience,

a product should offer an element of delight that leaves the user surprisingly satisfied and would make them a promoter of the product or service. JW: The features and characteristics of good design are ultimately driven by the user experience, designers’ research and the business needs of the product owner. Among those common to most projects include design systems and responsive design. Design systems create consistency around how a user interface works. This system both encompasses how the user interacts with design elements like tab bars, buttons and links, and also what those design elements look like. Responsive design is a technique for making designs work across screens of different sizes, different resolutions and for different accessibility needs. What are some of the current trends in the evolution and sophistication of UX and UI? MR: As technology changes, users’ needs change and new approaches to solving problems must be created. When I started working in this field, I couldn’t order pizza from my computer. Now I can on my 5.5-inch phone while I walk our dog down the street. Virtual reality continues to gain momentum, as does artificial intelligence. Both will bring new opportunities and challenges to the user experience. We live in a world where technological expectations are high and the need to meet those expectations, gracefully, is even higher. It’s an exciting time and one ripe with opportunity. JW: One of the biggest impacts on the experience a person has with a product is that they have to adapt to changing design trends between products. If someone uses two products to do their job, and those products use very different design patterns, it can create a frustrating user experience. One of the most encouraging trends that I’m seeing is that user interface designers are working toward consistent design patterns across companies and products. The mobile revolution is driving the need for new types of user interfaces as well. For example, on your mobile phone or tablet you use gestures to control things, not just tapping on buttons. People use software by talking to Siri on their iPhone, or to Alexa on an Amazon Echo. And while a bit more on the bleeding edge, we have new user interfaces coming for directing driverless cars.


Good UX and UI are largely invisible to the user. But we have all interacted with bad UX and UI, and we definitely recognize it when we see it. Think of the last time you used an umbrella in a windy rainstorm, or signed your name on a digital display or lost your money in a vending machine. Seamless integration of UX and UI creates a complete and positive experience for the user. You know you’ve had a good user experience when you were able to seamlessly complete your task and when, for the most part, you didn’t even notice the product you were interacting with.” — BECKY BRISTOL, associate manager, advisory and experience, OEC



DEC. 6

DEC. 14

DEC. 21-JAN. 5

Core City Cleveland — Entrepreneurship Showcase: 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., 6701 Carnegie Ave, Cleveland. Come meet participants of the Core City Cleveland impact program as they deliver “demo day” style pitches. Attendees can network with resource providers and program alumni. Info: events/core-city-cleveland-entrepreneur-showcase/

OHTec’s Tech Thursday Networking Night: 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Winking Lizard, 14018 Detroit Road, Lakewood. Eat, drink, be merry and network about tech over delicious food and drinks. Info:

Great Lakes Science Center’s Camp Curiosity — Winter Break Series: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland. Kindergartners through eighth-graders have an opportunity to explore their STEM world through a series of camps (single day or multiple) centered around seven different themes — including forensics, rocketry and outer space. Camps are held over nine days throughout late December and early January. Info:



November 27, 2017


A Season and a Reason to Give C E L E B R AT I N G # G I V I N G T U E S D A Y 2 0 1 7

The holiday giving season QHĆ‚EKCNN[MKEMUQHH0QXYKVJ #GivingTuesday

National Black MBA Association, Cleveland Chapter


Shaker Heights Public Library

and support important charitable causes in our community. The

Nature Center at Shaker Lakes Polonia Foundation of Ohio, Inc. Reaching Heights, Cleveland HeightsUniversity Heights Public Schools Foundation

Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity Tau Boule South Suburban Montessori Association St. Edward High School

Cleveland Foundation is pleased to highlight its Organizational Fund Partners listed below for supporting the social fabric of our community and presenting numerous giving opportunities for caring

The Union of Poles Boosters and Sports Committee Inc.

Art House, Inc. Bedford Historical Society The City Club of Cleveland

Breakthrough Schools Business Volunteers Unlimited

Adoption Network Cleveland

Circle Health Services

Westlake Porter Public Library Foundation

RECREATION Cleveland Championship 2000

Stella Maris United Way Services of Geauga County

The Great Geauga County Fair Foundation

Bethany Baptist Church

Cornerstone of Hope Cornucopia, Inc.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Euclid Hunger Center

Credo Music

Early Childhood Enrichment Center, Inc.

Dobama Theatre

The Educational Gift Fund of The Woman’s Club of Chagrin Valley

Family Planning Association of Northeast Ohio, Inc.


Front Steps Housing and Services

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad East Cleveland Township Cemetery Foundation Intermuseum Conservation Association Lake County Historical Society

Building Hope in the City Cleveland Church of Christ, Citadel of Hope Ministries East View United Church of Christ Faith Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America Forest Hill Church, Presbyterian Lee Memorial Endowment Incorporated

North Cuyahoga Valley Corridor, Inc.

The Lutheran Chaplaincy Service of Greater Cleveland dba Chaplain Partnership

Western Reserve Historical Society

Olivet Institutional Baptist Church

The Lakewood Historical Society

St. James A.M.E. Church


The Word Church

Bay Village Foundation

Cleveland Sight Center


Dress for Success

Esperanza, Inc.

Greater Cleveland Food Bank

Euclid Public Library Foundation

Hattie Larlham Foundation

Family Connections of Northeast Ohio

Healthnetwork Foundation

Foundation Center

HELP Foundation, Inc.

Friendly Inn Settlement, Inc.


Friends of Breakthrough Schools

Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland

Friends of Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library

Lake County Council on Aging

Cleveland Metroparks

Lake-Geauga Habitat for Humanity

Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority

Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries

Lake Humane Society

Harvey Alumni Association

The Lakewood Foundation

Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization

Hawken School

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center of Greater Cleveland

IPM (International Partners in Mission)

Western Reserve Land Conservancy

Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cleveland Grays Armory Museum

Cleveland Public Theatre

American Orff-Schulwerk Association

Scarborough House, Inc.

Cleveland Rape Crisis Center

Easter Seals Northern Ohio

Alpha Omega Foundation

The Salvation Army - Greater Cleveland Area Services


Cleveland Eye Bank Foundation

College Club of Cleveland Foundation

The Adhesion Society

Western Reserve Junior Service League

Antioch Baptist Church

Cleveland Play House


Prayers From Maria Foundation

University Circle Inc.

WomenSafe, Inc.

East End Neighborhood House

Zygote Press

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio

Union Miles Development Corporation

The Centers for Families and Children

Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation


Phillis Wheatley Association of Cleveland


Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra

Singing Angels


Tremont West Development Corporation

Womankind Inc.

Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center

Scottish-American Cultural Society


Project Hope for the Homeless

The Center for Community Solutions

Cleveland Leadership Center

Rabbit Run Community Arts Association

North Coast Community Homes

Blossom Hill Foundation

Cleveland International Film Festival

Polish-American Cultural Center

Princeton Alumni Association Northern Ohio

Volunteers of America Greater Ohio

Cleveland Arts Prize

Near West Theatre

National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services (NACBLVS)

Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland


Cadiz Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, Inc.

Fine Arts Association

MidTown Cleveland Painesville Community Improvement Corporation

Recovery Resources

Association of Indian Physicians of Northern Ohio

Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation

League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland

NAMI Greater Cleveland

Zeta Omega Scholarship Fund Inc.


Apollo’s Fire: The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra

Milestones Autism Resources

Ravenwood Mental Health Center

American Society of Andrology

Bay Village Public Schools Alumni Foundation

Merrick House

United Macedonian Diaspora

donors. Learn more about them, and give to a cause via:


MedWish International

Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation Famicos Foundation


Forum for Volunteer Administrators Geauga Growth Partnership NewBridge Cleveland Center for Arts & Technology United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland, Inc. Vocational Guidance Services


Andrews Osborne Academy

Lake/Geauga Educational Assistance Foundation

The Andy Nowacki Foundation, Inc.

The Literacy Cooperative

Long Term Care Ombudsman

Green Ribbon Coalition

Assad Abood Foundation


Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry

Historic Gateway Neighborhood

Girl Scouts of North East Ohio

Bay Village Educational Foundation

Metro Catholic School

Magnolia Clubhouse

JumpStart, Inc.

Youth Challenge

Lifeline, Inc.

Greater Cleveland Sports Commission

To learn more about giving through the Cleveland Foundation, please call 877-554-5054.



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N O V E M B E R 2 7 - D E C E M B E R 3 , 2 017 |


Database provides help for fight against opiates By LYDIA COUTRE @LydiaCoutre



In the months following the loss of his daughter to a drug overdose, Bill Ayars and his family began looking for a way to get involved in combating the opioid crisis. The Bay Village resident knew firsthand how daunting the search for addiction resources could be. His family searched online and heard of facilities through word of mouth, but he wasn’t aware of any one place that collected all of the available resources. “As you begin to do research, you get so overwhelmed with specific questions,” Ayars said. “And what we wanted to do is just create a starting point.” In November 2016, he created the Emerald Jenny Foundation, named for his daughter, Jennifer Emerald Ayars, who died at 28 earlier that year. The website was launched on her birthday, May 14, of this year. It offers a free, searchable database for rehabilitation and treatment facilities, health care providers, counselors and other organizations that serve people who are struggling with addiction. The initial goal of a database covering Cuyahoga County soon expanded to include all of Northeast Ohio, and then, the entire state. As of November, the Emerald Jenny Foundation’s database includes nearly 1,200 resources throughout the state for families and

their loved ones struggling with a substance use disorder. “No one else there out there is doing this, which kind of surprised me,” said John Meyerhoffer, a board member for the foundation. “But when we talk to folks who are doing this, they’re like, ‘Oh my god. I cannot believe that somebody finally took this task on.’ ” To create the database, the foundation’s researchers started with existing lists. And from there, they began calling every program. All of the resources listed on the website were called and interviewed once to begin and again to double check the information. The plan is to call back and update information every four to six months to maintain accuracy. “We believe it’s the best available resource today,” Ayars said. “Each facility has been called at least twice. We go through our checklist with them. Instead of just grabbing websites and listing them, what we’re doing is creating something that begins and it goes back to our needs.” The website also defines much of the terminology that those seeking help may come across. The need for this kind of information was “definitely” out there, Meyerhoffer said. “One of the biggest problems is you as a family member are thrust into a situation that you know nothing about, with a bunch of vocabulary that you know nothing about,” he said. “And you’re forced to have to make decisions and find help very, very quickly, because quite literally the

next dose could be the lethal dose.” Ayars, who serves as founder and president of the foundation, has been supporting the lion’s share of the cost. The foundation is beginning to look at grants and accepts donations on its website. Before Jennifer died, Ayars wrote a book about a family trip to jet ski the Mississippi River. A portion of proceeds from the book, now updated with her death, also supports the foundation. They’re looking to expand the information available on the site, such as adding in programs and resources for pregnant women and infants affected by the crisis. Valeria Harper, CEO of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County, said that other existing databases in the county are the United Way of Greater Cleveland’s 2-11 service and a crisis hotline that covers the county, but she doesn’t know of anything as broad as the Emerald Jenny Foundation’s statewide database. To have the information as organized and current as the foundation maintains it is “just amazing,” said Harper, who’s been working in the field for 35 years. A growing number of family members who have lost loved ones are getting involved in combating the opioid crisis, Harper said. “I believe that a lot of the families are doing the work so that the loss of their family member or close friend is not in vain.”

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Another multimillion-dollar real estate development is ready to start taking shape in Cleveland near The Edison, Battery Park and Lake Erie. “Cyan Park” is the name of the group of for-sale townhouses, costing upward of $399,000 each, that started going up last week on the northwest corner of West 58th Street and Herman Avenue in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. J Roc Development, the same team of builders of eye-catching townhouse projects Tremont Black and Tremont North on the city’s South Side, is behind the 20 modern, three-story units constructed with a matte white exterior. Jesse Grant, a partner in J Roc, wrote in an email, “After the success and recognition of Tremont Black, a white project felt like an appropriate encore!” Grant replied to Crain’s queries about Cyan Park by email because he was traveling overseas in his full-time role as a corporate real estate outsourcing executive for the CBRE brokerage’s Cleveland office. “We wanted a simple brightness to the project appropriate for the proximity for the lake and horizon views,” Grant wrote in an email. He observed that as a market the Detroit Shoreway area shares more with Tremont than it differs. “With the lake in its back pocket,

Cyan Park, located in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, will feature townhouses that have the lake “in its back pocket.” (Contributed rendering)

it’s pretty tough to beat in terms of livability,” Grant added. Like its other for-sale projects, J Roc used the Portland, Ore.-based Works Progress Architecture firm for what Grant described as the development team’s goal to drive by its projects in 20 years and feel they “still say something.” “We think that when you take a clean aesthetic and overlay it with a thoughtful texture of materials and an awareness of the surrounding context, modern design can feel classic in its own way,” Grant wrote. A ground-up development was not on the J Roc team’s mind when it staked its claim to the site a year ago. It paid $1 million, according to Cuyahoga County property records, early this year for a multistory warehouse adjoining Herman Park near

Edgewater Beach. J Roc partnered with the Catanzarite family and others on The Shoreway, 1200 W. 76th St., which converted a former factory building to apartments overlooking Edgewater. J Roc hoped to do the same on the Herman site. “Despite significant effort, the lack of care over the years had put the building in such disrepair there was little that could be actually saved,” Grant said. “To effectively save the structural steel would have defeated the purpose and become cost prohibitive.” Cyan Park, which takes its name from cyan accents on the structure, is represented by Howard Hanna’s Ted Thephylactos. The first units will be available in summer 2018.



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Website will link manufacturers, schools By RACHEL ABBEY McCAFFERTY @ramccafferty

A new website will connect manufacturers and Lake and Geauga county schools, helping students learn about the opportunities available in the industry and companies prepare the next generation of workers. NextWork, which was started under the direction of the Wickliffe City School District, is just one of many programs working to close the skills gap in manufacturing. The approach NextWork is taking is a collaborative one that allows companies and schools to get involved at whatever level works best for them. NextWork grew out of Wickliffe City School District’s workforce and career development program, which helps students in fourth through 12th grades connect with resources ranging from classroom speakers to job fairs to shadowing and internship opportunities. The idea is to get them to think about what comes after high school, said superintendent Joe Spiccia. About two years ago, the district posted a thank you to a local company on social media for hosting a worksite visit, Spiccia said. That employer then started getting calls from other local districts seeking similar opportunities. Spiccia said it wanted to help but wasn’t able to handle all the requests. Wickliffe’s leadership saw an opportunity.

NextWork will help students in Lake and Geauga counties learn about opportunities in the manufacturing industry. (

The district reached out to the Alliance for Working Together Foundation, with which it already had a strong relationship, and began discussing ways to create a centralized process for scheduling activities like site visits, Spiccia said. But this process wouldn’t just be for the Wickliffe schools; it extends to all districts in Lake and Geauga counties. Collaboration is important, Spiccia said. “We think it’s the way the world should work,” he said. Right now, those kinds of connections happen more informally, but NextWork could create one cohesive system for the schools and companies in the region, said AWT Foundation executive director Alice Cable.

“If we keep the talent at home, the economic prosperity grows.” — Joe Spiccia, superintendent of the Wickliffe City School District

The group behind NextWork brought in other partners, like the Geauga Growth Partnership Inc., Magnet and Lakeland Community College, and began seeking funding. Spiccia said what’s now known as NextWork received $55,000 from the Cleveland Foundation to get the website off the ground and $200,000

— $100,000 this fiscal year and $100,000 the next — that was included in the state budget. The site will be free to browse, Spiccia said, but companies that want to add events and job opportunities will be charged $300 per year. The Lake County Educational Service Center is serving as the fiscal agent for NextWork, and Spiccia said the group is in the process of putting together a governing board to oversee NextWork’s growth. Julie Ramos, director of strategic innovation at the Wickliffe City School District, said businesses will be able to put as much or as little on their profiles as they want. That way, schools will be able to go online and immediately see which companies are willing to provide speakers, or which ones are open to site visits. And companies will be able to offer these options without having to field countless calls, she said. There are a lot of students — and people in education, generally — who don’t know all that goes on in a modern manufacturing plant, said Scott Seaholm, chairman and CEO of Universal Metal Products Inc. There’s the shop floor, sure, but companies also need employees in areas like human resources, sales and marketing. The NextWork program is a way to get the word out and bring more people into manufacturing, Seaholm said. The Wickliffe-based metalforming company has been involved in putting it together. NextWork will give the schools and the companies a dedicated way to communicate. Seaholm said it also will serve as a

way for companies to better spread out opportunities and to plan for when they will be hosting events. Roger Sustar, CEO of Mentor-based precision machining shop Fredon Corp., isn’t the biggest fan of technology, but he knows manufacturers have to do a better job of embracing it if they don’t want to become obsolete. The students are the future, he said, and he thinks NextWork could help parents and students see what factories are all about. Though the participating districts are in Lake and Geauga counties, there is no geographic restriction for companies that want to take part. Spiccia said the group wants to make sure students have as many options as possible, even if those options are in other counties. “If we keep the talent at home, the economic prosperity grows,” Spiccia said. On the academic side, participating students will have a digital portfolio of all of their experiences through the program, Ramos said. While NextWork is beginning with a focus on manufacturing, where it knows there is a high demand, there are plans to expand it to other industries like health care and information technology, Spiccia said. And Ramos said other districts already have expressed interest in learning about the model. The official launch of the NextWork website will be Dec. 7. It will be marked with a celebration at the Auburn Career Center.

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N O V E M B E R 2 7 - D E C E M B E R 3 , 2 017 |


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Call Carol at 440.449.0700 •

As San Francisco-based Bank of the West looks to fill in some of the Midwest gaps in its U.S. footprint, it sees opportunities to lead that charge through its new Cleveland commercial banking hub. The bank — which is particularly strong along the American coasts, doing business globally through its parent company and one of the world’s largest banks, BNP Paribas — announced a push toward opening commercial offices in various markets across the country this summer, from Los Angeles to New York. Yet, it punctuated those expansion plans in the fragmented market here with the naming in June of David Dannemiller, who previously oversaw the Cleveland/Akron region for Fifth Third Bank, as its Ohio market executive. A similar office also is starting up in Dallas. But before those, the bank's last commercial office added was in Atlanta in 2014. Dannemiller joined the bank about a year ago, but he spent the first several months preparing to open a commercial lending office in downtown Cleveland. From there, the bank is servicing clients across all of Ohio, eastern Michigan, central Indiana and western Pennsylvania. In essence, its target markets are Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh. But Cleveland is the focal point in that swath, which marks one of their first geographic expansion areas in this new push. It’s not just because of its central location among those key Midwest areas, Dannemiller said, or his own familiarity with the region, even though those things certainly help. The variety of companies here and high expectations for their growth as the region enjoys something of a renaissance that should deliver fresh opportunities for work and credit needs from businesses, creating a landscape for opportunity despite the number of banks already here, he said. He acknowledged Cleveland is

a region where “we seem to get more than our share of banks trying to invest rather than divest.” Economically s p e a k i n g , Dannemiller said Dannemiller the Cleveland region is doing better than he has seen since 1992, when he became ingrained in this market and has spent the bulk of his last 25 years in banking. He worked nearly two decades with U.S. Bank before joining Fifth Third ahead of shifting to Bank of the West. “There is much more diversity of industry than there was before. Health care was hardly even on the radar 25 years ago. Industrial is doing as well as it’s done in the last two decades,” Dannemiller said. “The specialty sectors in transportation and the growing service economy and the remake of downtown and investments there ... I think it’s as healthy here as it’s ever been.” That’s why the bank has planted itself in Northeast Ohio today. “When competing in regions like Ohio and surrounding states, we do think we offer an expertise the local banks can't provide,” said Mark Glasky, executive vice president and head of commercial banking coverage for Bank of the West, in a statement at the time of the new office’s launching. “We see many companies in that region that need international capabilities.” Dannemiller did note that Cleveland is in the middle of “this zone of opportunity for us,” though, geographically. “Especially considering the number of middle-market companies and corporate names, many of whom are doing business outside the U.S. or trying to do more,” he said. “That plays nicely with our BNP affiliation. And we believe we bring a unique value proposition to the marketplace.” Bank of the West belongs to holding company BancWest Corp., which is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas USA

Inc., the U.S. intermediate holding company for BNP Paribas that also runs First Hawaiian Bank of Honolulu. BNP Paribas has a presence in 74 countries. Despite a global presence — which the bank is expecting to resonate with the larger commercial clients it has on its radar — Dannemiller confesses that an uphill battle he’s currently facing comes down to brand recognition: People here don’t know about the $89 billion-asset Bank of the West. “The biggest (challenge) for me is fighting brand awareness,” he said. “We’re not putting up billboards. We don’t have branches all over the place. So the Bank of the West story needs to be told. It’s a fun thing to do. But the fact you have to do it and pay attention to it is a headwind. It slows down everything else we do.” So far, Dannemiller has hired one relationship manager, and intends to hire another in early 2018. He has added six clients in these past few months, noting they’re of “reasonably substantial size.” “We’re not targeting the small end of the market,” he said. There are no hard goals of hiring a certain number of people or attracting a particular number of clients. But Dannemiller expects the global proposition Bank of the West offers to appeal to a certain business demographic, regardless of the number of banks here. That’s what he believes will set the bank apart in the crowd. “If someone is doing business overseas, or wants to be, that differentiator means a lot,” Dannemiller said. While there are no hard goals for this region Dannemiller would share, he said that in the coming years, he aims to position his company to be thought of as the “global bank of the Midwest.” “I’d like to be, in five years, known across the corporate market as the place to turn for solving business’ overseas banking needs,” he said. “There’s a lot of competition here, but you have to find your niche. We have to find our niche. But we think there are a couple unique opportunities for us.”

Duo buys shuttered Walmart Lichter and Semarjian purchase former Bedford Supercenter STAN BULLARD @CrainRltywriter

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There they go again. The massive Walmart Supercenter in Bedford was acquired Friday, Nov. 17, by real estate developers Chris Semarjian and Stuart Lichter. The business partners recently sold much of the former Randall Park Mall site, after demolishing the mall, for construction of an Amazon fulfillment center, one of their many massive industrial real estate projects over the last 20 years. “This is just down the street,” Semarjian said in a phone interview about the Walmart Supercenter property at 22209 Rockside Road. “I’m so happy. It’s in beautiful shape. Randall Park was hard work. This is a question of fine-tuning.”

The 200,000-square-foot building sits on 23 acres. It was constructed in 2008 and renovated in 2015. It has modern lighting and skylights, and it’s fully air-conditioned and equipped for heavy power for the grocery section. Walmart shut the supercenter in 2016. “It converts well for as many as three large tenants,” Semarjian said. The new owners will market it for auto dealerships — it’s near the Bedford Auto Mile and I-271 — and other uses. The site is zoned retail, but Semarjian said he will work with the city to find what industrial uses it would accept. Bedford city manager Mike Mallis said he has met with Semarjian and is excited a developer “with such a track record invested in the property. “Bedford has prided itself on being a business-friendly city,” Mallis said. “It is zoned retail. But we will work with them to see what they want to

accomplish. We want to see what can be accomplished there.” Cuyahoga County values the property at $12.8 million, but the buyers likely paid far less. Online court records did not show the sale as of 10 a.m. last Tuesday, Nov. 21. Semarjian said he signed a confidentiality agreement with the retailer and could not to disclose his purchase price. It is his and Lichter’s first property purchase from Walmart. Although what becomes of cast-off big-box stores has become a major challenge for cities, retailers and property owners due to the ascent of online shopping, this is not Lichter’s and Semarjian’s first such retail makeover. They have done such big-box deals as far back as the 1990s in Euclid and Akron. Among their other properties are the former Goodyear headquarters in Akron and the former Ford plant in Lorain.




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Opinion Personal View

Akron’s immigrant entrepreneurs need a help group By HEATHER ROSZCZYK


Open up It’s not quite time for New Year’s resolutions, but we’ll count last week’s launch of GovQA as one by the city of Cleveland that represents a much-needed step in addressing what has been its slow and inadequate process for responding to public records requests. Public records “should be readily available, and we want to streamline the process in which citizens receive information,” Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said in announcing the online portal in October. He acknowledged that the new system “is not the final answer, but an important first step in a comprehensive effort to fulfill requests in a timelier manner.” That’s not a high bar to clear, since prior to the launch of GovQA, public records requests had to be made in person, by letter or by email. (If you’re so inclined, you can still make requests in person at City Hall.) Under the new system, people who file requests through GovQA will be able to track progress of those requests online and will receive email updates on their status. The site also has sections called “Find Information” that enables users to search for an answer to a specific question or browse frequently asked questions, and “Trending Topics,” which will allow public access to information without filing a formal request. Assuming the system works as advertised, that’s real progress. But improving IT capabilities is only one part of the equation. We trust the mayor means it when he talks about meeting information requests in a “timelier manner.” Journalists and others seeking public records from the city of Cleveland have long complained about slow response time. Cleveland Scene, for instance, on Nov. 10 published an account of an update it had just received on a public records request made three years ago. Those kinds of delays are unacceptable in what should be a technology-enabled era of open government. Also, the new system doesn’t automatically make publicly available information that the city chooses to keep confidential. This issue came up more recently, and most prominently, when the city and Cuyahoga County drew criticism for their refusal to release details of the local bid for the Amazon HQ2 project.

They considered the information proprietary, but the public surely had a right to know, with some redactions of sensitive information, what kind of tax incentives were being offered. We don’t expect that the city will immediately meet the standard of public records compliance that journalists, good-government advocates and others would like to see. But we are encouraged that GovQA is a move in the right direction that will help give all citizens access to the information they deserve about the actions of their local government.

The right notes

The Cleveland Orchestra is one of the region’s jewels, and it shines a little brighter this month with the announcement of a $15 million pledge from board president Richard Smucker and his wife, Emily. The gift, which is in celebration of the orchestra’s 100th season, is designed to fund artistic and education programs, with an emphasis on programs for young people. The Smuckers are designating $3 million of their pledge as challenge grants, which will be used “to inspire the Northeast Ohio community to support the orchestra as the ensemble enters its second century of musical excellence and community engagement.” Engaging the community has become a hallmark of the orchestra. A recent story in Symphony magazine noted that since the 2010 launch of the orchestra’s Center for Future Audiences, “more than 220,000 young people” have taken advantage “of a broad range of new opportunities to attend Cleveland Orchestra concerts.” Today, 20% of the classical concert audience is made up of patrons 25 years old and under, an increase of 12% in the last six years. The Center for Future Audiences was created with a $20 million lead endowment gift from the Maltz Family Foundation. The Smuckers’ pledge should make a similarly large impact, and we hope members of the community rise to the challenge of helping to keep this cultural powerhouse strong.

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Through the International Institute of Akron (IIA), I recently had the opportunity to meet with Sima, an Iranian refugee who has made her home in Akron. Over tea in Sima’s living room, we learned about the intricate, stunningly beautiful clay flowers she makes by hand. The details of each flower are exquisite, down to delicate veins carved into the underside of each petal. Sima had some success selling individual roses last Valentine’s Day and was interested in growing the hobby into a business. But when we suggested she create business cards to attach to her product , Sima was overwhelmed. What should be included on the card? What should it look like? Who could design it? Where should she print them? For Sima, an invisible framework — basic knowledge and understanding of American systems — was missing. These issues are not insurmountable, of course. The very tea to which I refer was part of a pilot project managed by IIA and funded by the Fund for Our Economic Future aimed at addressing the common barriers — transportation, language, cultural — that foreign-born entrepreneurs face. But this experience with Sima helped me understand the depth of the challenge. As was reinforced at the Welcoming Economies conference I attended in October in Syracuse, N.Y., the economic impact of welcoming refugees and immigrants to our cities is significant. A new report released at the conference, “New Americans and a New Direction: The Role of Immigrants in Reviving the Great Lakes Region,” explores the effects new Americans are having on Rust Belt economies in particular. Immigrants accounted for more than half of the population growth in this region. In multiple cases, immigrants were directly responsible for the reversal of cities’ population decline. Immigrants are more likely to have a college degree, more likely to be of working age, and their presence has helped manufacturing companies (and jobs) remain in the U.S. All of these are welcome findings, especially coming on the heels of October’s unveiling of the Strategic Welcoming Plan, a joint effort by the city of Akron, Summit County and other local organizations. What most caught my eye, however, was the information on entrepreneurship, namely that immigrants are starting businesses at a higher rate than native-born residents and own more than one out of five “Main Street” businesses. In Akron, we are seeing exciting levels of development on “Main Street,” both downtown and in several key neighborhoods. Based on these numbers, it is safe to assume that our rising immigrant population will make a significant contribution to this growth. The trouble is that our current entrepreneur assistance model is ill-prepared to address the challenges our foreign-born entrepreneurs face. Classes held downtown or near the University of Akron create transportation barriers, and the American-style classroom setting can be unfamiliar and uninviting. Most daunting of all is the lack of experiential context, as was exhibited during my meeting with Sima. That missing support means each step of her entrepreneurial journey will take considerably more time than average, both for her and for the individuals assisting her. And while we have several wonderful organizations that provide assistance to new Americans in Akron, none has the capacity to fully address the very specific needs of these entrepreneurs. Akron needs an entity whose primary focus is to help entrepreneur-minded immigrants succeed. The challenges these entrepreneurs face are significant, but their success will be the success of Akron. I hope we rise to the challenge. Roszczyk is the Akron entrepreneurship fellow for the Fund for Our Economic Future.

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 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 Please include a telephone number for verification purposes.


The Business of Holiday Giving | Fourth in a series

10 holiday gift ideas to bring comfort and joy By JOE CREA


ow many holiday gift ideas are there out there? The sky’s the limit, right? That’s also, approximately, the amount you could spend for just the perfect gift. Impossible? Well, maybe we can help. So with the limitless boundaries of imagination (and the much more limited boundaries of budgets) — and hewing to the goal of just 10 ideas — here are a few things that have caught my attention for this season of giving. They range from a terrific Cleve-O-centric book and a couple of cool kitchen tools, to high-polish winter dress boots and a super-fine Irish whiskey. Every budget is relative, so we drew some parameters. You’ll find ideas priced as low as about $20, a couple costing a few hundred bucks, and one — reasonably described as the 2017 tech dream gift — priced at a cool grand. A few of these lean toward the personal end of gift-giving. Maybe you’ll find a couple here that might be just the thing for your mate, a family member or even yourself. After all, doesn’t everyone want something cool under the tree?

“Lost Cleveland,” by Laura DeMarco, is available on Amazon and in local bookstores. (Contributed photo)

More information: “Lost Cleveland,” by Laura DeMarco (Pavilion Books, $19.95). Order it from local booksellers or on Amazon.

“Lost Cleveland”

J Nostalgia can be an exquisite sentiment, particularly when it’s fed by an intelligently provocative source. In “Lost Cleveland,” veteran Plain Dealer reporter Laura DeMarco has crafted a fascinating pictorial chronicle of Cleveland’s storied architecture. More than 140 pages of vintage black-and-white photos chart over a century of historic buildings, landmarks and cultural icons — from clothing, jewelry and department stores to churches and nightclubs. If there is a travelogue worthy of your coffee table this holiday season, one that’s sure to evoke fond memories and intergenerational chatter, here’s your book.

The Courg A-11 Watch from RDX & Co. is shown with an optional leather strap. (Crain’s photograph)

The Courg A-11 Watch from RDX & Co.

J With tens of thousands of timepieces on the market (much less that electronic one built into your cellphone) it’s no wonder so many of us collect them. If you’re into retro stuff, how about The Courg (shorthand for “courage”) in an iconic design that recalls the gear fighter pilots wore during World War II? Constructed of premium materials such as titanium and sapphire, then fused together with limited diver functionality, it sits proudly, with bold understatement, on your wrist.

More information: The A-11 is available in two grades of titanium — Grade 5 ($450) or Grade 2 ($395) — and is fitted with a ballistic nylon strap. Or you can upgrade to an American leather strap ($75, in black or clay) with complementary titanium appointments. The Courg is available in four other “variants” (designs). Details are online at SEE GIFT GUIDE, PAGE 21

For business presents, gift cards, money better than ‘a damned ham’ By JOE CREA

A gift under the tree, or an envelope handed to you at the office holiday party, is a welcome surprise. But in an era in which personalized business gift-giving has become rife with misinterpretation, inflated expectations or unwelcome “white elephants,” many business professionals suggest steering clear of retail gifts. Instead, either give the gift of a check or a cash card — always useful — or donate to a charity. Dick Blake, who’s been teaching personal development to Cleveland-area individuals and business organizations for about 50 years, says if you’re going to give workers a gift,

make certain it’s something they really want. “Give them something of substance. Not a fake crystal vase: That would be perceived as a joke,” Blake said. “I’m talking about giving them money. It’s simple to mail it out. It’s time-saving, efficient and carries no responsibility or room for misinterpretation.” Barbara Fairchild, former editor of Bon Appetit magazine and a leader in the publishing industry for more than 30 years, strongly agrees. “Maybe the company sends everyone a gift card for $50 or $100 with a note in the envelope that says, ‘Have some fun on us,’ ” she said. “That’s better than hearing feedback like, ‘This company is worth how much, and the best they could do is

send me a damned ham,’ ” she added. Making a contribution to a noncontroversial charity is a solid alternative, Fairchild said. “Keeping it local is good,” she added. “I think everyone, particularly millennials, appreciate it. The food bank, Harvest for Hunger, Habitat for Humanity, public broadcast or even an international group like UNICEF represent groups that people generally respect.” Instead of making it a unilateral decision, “have your staff become part of the process,” Fairchild said. “Pick three or four charities, have some discussion. Why not put it up to a vote of the company’s employees? “Don’t be reluctant to change things up,” she added. “Most people will appreciate that.”


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Fat Head’s packaging worker Andy Green boxes cases of Bumble Berry Honey Blueberry Ale in the company’s Middleburg Heights brewery. (Photographs by Tim Harrison for Crain’s)


Fat Head’s is building ‘mothership’ Brewery’s ‘extreme’ growth reaches next phase — a $13M expansion

By JEREMY NOBILE @JeremyNobile

As Fat Head’s Brewery co-owner Matt Cole plodded through soft gray mud at the sprawling Middleburg Heights construction site for what he calls his “beer mothership,” surveying the perimeter of the facility’s shell and pointing out spots where his new brew equipment, outdoor tanks and Texas-built hardwood smoker would soon go, the grandeur of the project seemed to sink in. “It’s been a lot of, not just my doing, but a lot of people’s doing, to get us to where we are today. A lot of it is just pride and passion,” said Cole, dusting off his dirty blue overalls as he paused to take in the scene. “But I don’t think anybody expected the growth to be this extreme.” While the Fat Head’s concept is 25

years old, having begun in Pittsburgh as a craft beer bar — at a time when “craft beer” was hardly part of the beer scene’s lexicon — Cole forged its brewery identity when he opened the first Fat Head’s brewhouse in 2009 in North Olmsted. Just three years later, the brewery expanded with a new production facility in Middleburg Heights, which serves as Fat Head’s headquarters today. Since then, Fat Head’s has enjoyed steady growth, expanded distribution and added a taphouse in Portland. Cole is also eying a project in Charlotte, N.C., which is in its preliminary phases. Most recently, Fat Head’s began construction on a Canton taphouse in tandem with the massive brewery and beer hall being built off I-71 near the current Middleburg Heights facility, which will double their beer output in the near term and provide space for even more growth in the future. SEE FAT HEAD’S, PAGE 12

Anise Nakhel, left, CEO of Global Custom Furniture, and Fat Head’s brewmaster Matt Cole walk through the site of the new brewing facility and taphouse that is being built in Middleburg Heights.



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SMALL BUSINESS TaxTips: Carl Grassi

Small biz tax breaks gaining traction on Capitol Hill Will tax reform happen? Will it be good for business owners? It is too soon to say, but some tax breaks are gaining traction in Congress. The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are taking different approaches to giving a tax break to pass-through entities like S corporations and LLCs. If the Senate passes a tax reform bill this month, it will be fascinating to see how the differences in the House and Senate plans get worked out in the conference committee and whether Congress will send a tax bill to President Donald Trump in December. (As of this writing, the House has passed its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and the Senate plan just came out of committee and is expected to go to the full Senate after Thanksgiving.) There is a lot that we do not know. But we do know that if tax reform happens, it will happen fast, and it will create many interesting planning opportunities for business owners and the potential for meaningful tax savings, including a potential rate adjustment or a deduction for business income and increased capital expensing. Putting aside the procedural maneuvering and the political intrigue, it appears that Congress and the president agree the corporate tax rate should be reduced and that owners of pass-through businesses also should get a meaningful tax reduction so that the earnings of family owned and other closely held businesses will not be taxed more heavily than the earnings of the largest public corporations. By the time you read this, the legislative proposals may have changed, but here is a brief summary of the

Grassi is chairman of McDonald Hopkins LLC.

House and Senate versions of tax relief for pass-through entities: The bill passed by the House on Nov. 16 would create a maximum rate of 25% on individual business income. The Senate version of the plan, which has not yet had a vote in the full Senate, would allow individuals to deduct up to 17.4% of domestic qualified business income. Both plans would only apply to income earned through a pass-through entity, which includes S corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies and sole proprietorships. These businesses are called pass-throughs because the entity itself does not owe any taxes, rather the income from these entities passes through to the owners. Because pass-through business income is reported on the owner’s personal return, it is taxed at the individual tax rates, up to a current maximum individual rate of 39.6%. In some cases, the rate can be even higher after adding in the net investment income tax of 3.8%. Both the House and Senate plans aim to change that, but through different means. Under the House plan, “business income” would be taxed at 25%. How do you know if you are eligible for this new preferential tax rate? Merely owning a pass-through business is not enough to lock in the lower rate on pass-through business income. Owners of personal


has been recapitalized by




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service pass-through entities are excluded from the 25% rate. The House plan defines personal services entities to include legal, medical, accounting, architectural and consulting practices, among others. There also is a difference between active and passive business income in the House plan, with passive business income taxed at the 25% rate and only 30% of active business income qualifying for the 25% rate, unless certain additional criteria apply. The Senate plan takes a different approach by creating a deduction for

owners of pass-through businesses of up to 17.4% of qualified business income, but the remaining business income would still be taxed at the marginal individual tax rates. Like the House plan, the deduction would not apply to personal service businesses, but the Senate plan includes an exception in which the taxpayer’s taxable income does not exceed $500,000 for married filers and $250,000 for single filers, with phase-outs above these levels. The Senate plan limits the amount of the business income deduction to

50% of the W-2 wages of the owners of any pass-through entities, with similar thresholds and phase-outs. Currently, the Senate version will sunset in 2026, whereas the 25% rate proposed by the House is “permanent.” Both the House and Senate plans aim to provide a tax break for passthrough business owners, but they take very different paths to that end. We may know within days or weeks if either of these versions will be presented to the president. Then, the planning can begin in earnest. Stay tuned.

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The $13 million-plus project for Fat Head’s will usher in the next era for the company. “I would like to see our production grow regionally. We don’t want to be nationwide, but grow in our backyard and deeper in the places we are now,” said Glenn Benigni, Cole’s business partner, who started the first Fat Head’s bar in 1992. “I’d like to be able to say that no matter how big we get, the focus is going to be on quality beer more than anything.”

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Cole, a native of Ada, is the reason Fat Head’s came to Ohio and has grown into what it is today. While attending the University of Pittsburgh, Cole took his first brewery job at Pennsylvania Brewing Co. in the Iron City, working there from 1992 to 1995. It’s that period, through the early and mid-1990s, when he learned about Benigni’s bar in the same city. Cole returned to Northeast Ohio in 1998, helping Rocky River Brewing Co. grow from its inception that year. He’d work there, refining his skills, until 2008, when he was recruited to Cleveland’s Great Lakes Brewing Co. He did some brewing and product development there for a little more than a year before scratching an itch to start a brewery of his own. With a site lined up — the one that would become the Fat Head’s Brewery and Saloon in North Olmsted, where Cole had some other business partners — he began exploring the feasibility of opening the flagship location of what he intended to call Aviator Ale Works. Cole signed the lease in 2008 right as the economy tanked and banks were cutting off fresh credit to highrisk small businesses, like bars and restaurants. Cole had a federal small business loan lined up, but he still needed more cash. He asked Benigni if he’d invest. Besides some more money, having connections to an established business via Benigni’s Fat Head’s bar — the name for which comes from a nickname a jokester high school friend gave Benigni (even though his head really isn’t fat) — made leery lenders happy. It also took some work out of building a food menu and a new brand, among other things. “Glenn had one of the better craft beer bars in Pittsburgh,” Cole said. “And we decided it would be in everyone’s best interests to make this a Fat Head’s.” The brewery opened in 2009 with flagship beers that are still Fat Head’s top sellers today — Head Hunter IPA and the Bumble Berry Honey Blueberry Ale. Just months after opening in North Olmsted, Cole was entering beer competitions. In August 2009, Cole’s Head Hunter earned a gold medal at the West Coast IPA Festival, beating out some well-known California competitors at the time, including Bear Republic Brewing Co., Russian River Brewing Co. and Stone Brewing Co. “That was pretty exciting,” Cole said. Cole’s flagship beers then began making their rounds in various other beer competitions (though his first win at the renowned Great American Beer Festival in Denver went to his Up in Smoke smoked porter, which isn’t currently being made). Cole said it was in 2011, a time when Fat Head’s merely sold a few cases to

patrons directly out of the saloon, “when me and Glenn looked at each other after our second back-to-back medals (at the GABF) and said, ‘We got to get our beer to more people.’ ”

Early success Seizing an opportunity to get their award-winning beers in more glasses, Cole and Benigni opened their current taproom and production facility in Middleburg Heights in May 2012 on a “shoestring budget,” Cole said, adding not just brew space but a production line. The project cost about $1.2 million. Fat Head’s brewed about 6,500 barrels of beer that year. They’ve grown strong and steady since then, increasing production by about 5,000 to 6,000 more barrels annually. They’re on track to close out this year with about 30,000 barrels. Revenues have risen steadily with that. The business logged $9.65 million in revenue in 2016 and is forecasting $11.27 million this year. That’s a year-over-year growth of 16.7%. By 2013, Cole knew it would be just a few more years until they outgrew their current space. That observation set the current expansion plans in motion. “We were going to hit this point where we are either going to have to stay idle or find a way to increase our capacity,” Cole said. A taproom opened in 2014 in Portland. But, confessing a dedication to his native Northeast Ohio, Cole said he always planned to build his new production facility here. Lining up a slew of financial incentives, Cole came online as the anchor tenant to the Geis Cos.’ 125,000-squarefoot building off Bagley Road, of which Fat Head’s will occupy 75,000 square feet. That’s about double the size of the current space in Middleburg Heights, which lacks some visibility being on Sheldon Road far back from the street itself, versus the new facility that can be seen from the highway. Fat Head’s currently distributes its portfolio of beers — which comprises about 15 at any point, with three year-round beers and 12 seasonals — across all of Ohio, Indianapolis and in western and eastern Pennsylvania. Distribution will definitely grow with the expansion, and Cole said he already has a national salesperson “planting the seed” in other markets that are most likely to come online next, including New York, Kentucky, Michigan, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. But his focus remains on his home market first. “We’re building a brewery to get us from 30,000 to 60,000 barrels. I’m OK if it takes us five years to get there,” Cole said, commenting on his measured approach to growth and concern about taking out too much debt. “I don’t want to have to put our beer in 22 states to get to that point. I’d rather see us grow more regionally and be strong in our backyard.”

A ‘destination brewery’ The new facility will feature a customized, German-made BrauKon brew system with an innovative setup for steeping hops — it allows the leeching of oils without capturing the bittering qualities — and propagating yeast. Critical components on the brew system can be controlled remotely through workers’ smartphones. In terms of production and brew equipment, the only thing Cole didn’t get on his wish list for that project is a canning line, though he says one is “definitely” in Fat Head’s future.

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N O V E M B E R 2 7 - D E C E M B E R 3 , 2 017


PA G E 13

SMALL BUSINESS Full kegs of Fat Head’s Head Hunter IPA wait to be delivered.

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Fat Head’s brewmaster Matt Cole stands in the current Middleburg Heights brewery. “We really want this to be a destination brewery,” he said of its under-construction replacement. (Tim Harrison for Crain’s)

“It’s an absolutely state-of-the-art brewhouse,” Cole said. “We put all our money into the brewhouse and technology because you can always build a canning line. But you’re only going to get one brewhouse.” The equipment will start being installed in January, with the facility scheduled to open to the public in late spring 2018.

Cole is having it designed as a massive beer hall with high ceilings and a mix of wood and metal, creating a semi-industrial feel. Plans show a dedicated gift shop, seating for 275, a large indoor tree, plus an outdoor bar-patio that could potentially provide space for another 75 people, among other features. Inside, the layout is designed to

not only show off fancy, modern brew equipment, but to give a natural path for guests to walk through the building on tours. There’s a 15-barrel brew system that will exclusively serve the taps at the restaurant and be used for test batches, plus another 70-barrel system that will be used for production. Up to 32 tanks can be stored on the

back side of the building facing the highway, which will draw motorists’ eyes. They’ll open with eight outside to start, Cole said. Meanwhile, gas grills and convection ovens used at the other restaurants are being replaced with 100% hickory based hardwood smokers and broilers at the new space’s 3,000-square-foot kitchen. “We’re creating a beer hall atmosphere,” he said. “The days of ‘if you brew it, they will come,’ those days are over. That’s why we need that ‘wow’ factor. We really want this to be a destination brewery.” All those plans are on top of another 10,000-square-foot brewpub being built in Canton’s Belden Village. A $2.1 million project, that facility is expected to open in mid-January and is being closely modeled after the flagship brewery and saloon In North Olmsted. While Cole won’t need the current Middleburg Heights facility Fat Head’s is in now when his new space opens, plans are in the works to turn

It’s about Your passion, your path.

over most of that operation to another aspiring brewery, effectively giving them a turnkey business. Cole declined to share specifics of that plan, noting it’s not yet a done deal. In total, by mid-year 2018, Fat Head’s should have a staff of 250 to 280 people in Ohio, which would comprise the new “beer mothership” and the two brewpubs in North Olmsted and Canton, Cole said. Revenues next year are targeted to cross $14 million. Reflecting on his beer career so far and what the future seems to have in store, Cole said he “never imagined I’d get into something like this.” Benigni feels similarly. After starting the bar in 1992 as a way to pay the bills, he said he never expected he’d be partnering in one of Ohio’s fastest-growing breweries. So where does this duo see themselves in another five or 10 years? “Hopefully still growing,” Cole said. “Maybe a few more brewpubs. And taking more vacation time.”


In the shadows of the Vatican, I served the homeless while learning Italian in my study abroad program. On campus and in the community back in Cleveland, my professors and classmates inspired me to act, innovate, and lead with confidence and heart. John Carroll has taught me how to be a person with passions, who cares about others, and who works to share this with the world.

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Duo aiming to be Northeast Ohio’s car wash kings By JUDY STRINGER


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Atlantic City is known for its casinos, beaches and boardwalks, but probably not for transformative personal experiences. It was at an Atlantic City convention five years ago, however, that Elyria natives and lifetime friends Brian Krusz and Andrew Bendik Jr. were inspired to launch a car wash business. “It was a life-changing event,” said Krusz of the 2012 trip to the Northeast Regional Carwash Convention. “We are both people oriented. When we learned about this ‘people person’ business, we were definitely attracted to it.” The duo opened their first Sgt. Clean’s Car Wash in Strongsville in 2014, renovating an existing car wash on the city’s south end. This month, their fourth location, a site in Parma, became operational and plans already are underway for an undisclosed fifth Sgt. Clean’s. In each case, they purchased and renovated under-performing car washes, investing millions to date in facility upgrades and new equipment. Although neither Bendik nor Krusz will disclose how many locations are in their sights, they will say the end game is express wash domination. “Our goal is still the same as it was four years ago. We want to change the

face of car washing in Northeast Ohio,” said Krusz, a former Marine and the “Sergeant” behind the brand. That begins with cleaning up the image of drive-thru washes as places where vehicles are herded through dark and dingy tunnels by grungy, chain-smoking employees. When you’re in the business of clean, Krusz said, your staff and facilities need to reflect it. He is also a stickler for hiring employees who are personable. “I can train someone how to load and send cars properly,” Krusz said, “but I can’t teach you how to smile and be friendly. … We want employees who are fun-loving and energetic, and want to come to work.” On a related note, Sgt. Clean’s doesn’t pay minimum wage like many conventional car wash operators, Bendik said. It compensates employees at a premium to attract, retain and reward customer-savvy people, even offering salaried positions and benefits like health insurance and 401(k) plans. About 30 people work at the four sites. Yet the most significant change — and this is the meat of Sgt. Clean’s strategy — is the company’s focus on the sale of unlimited monthly passes, which start at $14.97. Think of it as the Turnpike meets Netflix, Bendik explains. A small RFID tag is applied to the vehicle so that monthly customers can roll up to any Sgt. Clean’s and without even opening a window, so long as they

“We want to become Northeast Ohio’s car wash, hands down. Our goal is to wash a million cars a year … and we are well on our way.” — Brian Krusz, co-owner of Sgt. Clean’s Car Wash

Adviser: Rob Gilmore

Save Local Businesses Act proposes answers to employment uncertainties Imagine a franchise sandwich shop located here in Cleveland that employs a dozen workers. Though it’s part of a franchise, the restaurant is independently owned, pays its workers directly and manages their day-to-day supervision. And yet those same employees have to adhere to an employment manual created by the franchise corporation that dictates workplace behavior, dress code and job training. So who do these employees work for? The franchise corporation? Or the local franchisee? These are critical questions for many small businesses that are impacted by the Joint Employer Doctrine. It doesn’t just impact franchise operations. It’s also an issue for organizations like staffing agencies and companies that employ temps or subcontractors. For 30 years, the National Labor Relations Board and the Department of Labor defined a joint employer as one that had “direct and immediate control” over essential terms or conditions of employment — things like hiring and firing, setting wages, supervising and disciplining employees. In the example of the sandwich shop, if both the franchisee and franchisor had such control, they would be considered joint employers. But a 2015 lawsuit involving waste hauler Browning-Ferris Industries and

Gilmore is chair of the Labor and Employment Law practice group for the law firm Kohrman Jackson & Krantz.

staffing agency Leadpoint upended that definition and created uncertainty around the Joint Employer Doctrine that still hasn’t been resolved. Now the NLRB only requires “indirect control” or “significant control” over the essential terms of employment to qualify a company as a joint employer, even if they don’t actually exercise that control. This decision is on appeal in the federal courts, and the expected outcome is unclear. So why does it matter whether your organization is deemed a joint or a single employer? Well, it can pose a risk of liability if the staffing agency you use, for instance, engages in discriminatory behavior or has a wage dispute with its employees. It can also be an issue if the temporary workers you use try to sue your company for employment discrimination. If you’re a franchisor with “indirect” control over the franchisee’s employees, the Browning-Ferris standard could deem you to be a joint employer.

Congress has now stepped into the fray, seeking to overturn the Browning-Ferris decision. On Nov. 7, the House of Representatives passed the Save Local Businesses Act, which would redefine a joint employer under the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act as one that “directly, actually and immediately, and not in a limited and routine manner, exercises significant control over the essential terms and conditions of employment.” If this bill is approved by the Senate — where it will need eight Democratic votes to avoid a filibuster — and signed by President Donald Trump, small businesses would be able to better determine whether they are a joint employer, and in practice, fewer small businesses would fall into that category. Not sure if you meet the current criteria of a joint employer? Until there’s clarity on this issue, use caution in your employment practices. Check your contracts with staffing agencies. There are changes you can implement in your human resources department and regular business activity to avoid liability. If you use temporary employees, ensure that in practice you don’t have day-today control over their essential terms of employment, and require language in subcontracting and franchising agreements that protects your interests.

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N O V E M B E R 2 7 - D E C E M B E R 3 , 2 017


PA G E 15


Sgt. Clean customers can purchase unlimited monthly passes, which start at $14.97.

Owners Andrew Bendik Jr., left, and Brian Krusz are shown at the Sgt. Clean’s Car Wash in Westlake. (Photos by Ken Blaze for Crain’s)

are in good standing, get as many washes as they want. “It’s convenient for the customer and it gives us the ability to have guaranteed revenue, which then allows us to have responsible, professional salaried employees. It’s a win for the customer. It’s a win for us,” Bendik said, adding that the pass revenue has been integral in financing expansion as well. “It’s definitely helped springboard us to four sites.” According to longtime industry

watcher Ken Brott, car wash operators are in the midst of a boom. Sure, part of that has to do with the economic recovery, but the move toward subscription-based business models is another big factor, said Brott, who owned Akron-based DRB Systems Inc., which automates car wash pay stations, until he sold the business to a private equity firm in 2016. He now consults with operators, including Krusz and Bendik. With a single car wash between $7

Sales and marketing manager Nick Rodia directs a customer at the Sgt. Clean’s Car Wash in Westlake.

Get ahead of the curve.

to $10, Brott said many consumers view monthly passes in the $15 range as a value. And from the operator’s standpoint, the incremental cost of running a single car through the tunnel is almost negligible. In other words, the benefits of a guaranteed revenue stream outweigh the cost of additional washes. Plus, he said, “for the first three months, pass holders come in about two times a week, but then convert back to a more normal visit frequency.” Recent data suggest 20% to 30% of car washes nationally now offer some sort of monthly pass option, although Brott predicts in another five to 10 years “the Netflix model will apply to almost all car washes” as young owners buy up properties from older, more traditional operators and the model gains validity. The sites Sgt Clean has revamped with the new methodology saw “a doubling and tripling of volume,” Brott said. Krusz and Bendik would not elaborate on vehicle volume or revenues. Still, the friends — who began working together selling potato pancakes out of a concession truck owned by Krusz’s grandfather at the age of 12 — are pleased with how their car washes are faring and excited to take the business to the next level. “We want to become Northeast Ohio’s car wash, hands down,” Krusz said. ‘”Our goal is to wash a million cars a year … and we are well on our way.”

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Shaker Heights High School snapshots A look at just some of the notable Northeast Ohio leaders who graduated from the school Bishara Addison, Class of ’06

W. Michael Fleming, ’94

Chris Nance, ’79

Senior manager of policy and strategic initiatives, Towards Employment, a nonprofit that helps low-income adults and adults who have trouble finding work prepare for and find jobs that lead to careers. After a fellowship in Boston, Addison returned to Cleveland to do public policy work at the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Addison is active with Cleveland Social Venture Partners. Education: George Washington University, B.A, political science and government

Executive director, St. Clair Superior Development Corp., a neighborhood community development nonprofit. After a decade as a chef in places like Boston, Madrid and Miami, Fleming moved back to Cleveland, getting his master’s degree and working for a private developer in urban redevelopment. Fleming is active with Upcycle St. Clair, an organization that specializes in the retail sale of unwanted industrial and residential materials for the purpose of reuse. Education: Boston University, B.A. in international relations; Cleveland State University, master’s in urban planning, design and development.

Director, construction diversity and inclusion, Greater Cleveland Partnership Nance began his professional life as a fundraiser, serving as a United Way professional in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Hartford, Conn., and with several organizations in Connecticut and New York City. He returned to Northeast Ohio in 2004, serving as deputy district director for Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones and then as Ohio Assistant Secretary of State. Education: Boston College, B.A. in political science, government and communications

Shana Black, ’95

Ayesha Bell Hardaway, ’93

Jeremy Paris, ’93

Owner, Be Ready LLC, a business support firm, and a blogger at Black Girl in CLE, whose goal is to “get you out of your normal hangouts” and into other Cleveland neighborhoods. Black taught at Shaker Heights High School before starting Be Ready and Black Girl in CLE. Education: Mount Union College

Jeff Epstein, ’93

Executive director, MidTown Cleveland Inc., the community development corporation that serves Cleveland’s Midtown neighborhood. Epstein clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Solomon Oliver, then served as vice president of development for the Coral Co., the real estate development firm that redeveloped Shaker Square, before becoming director of the Cleveland Health-Tech Corridor. Epstein is active with the Cleveland Tenants Organization. Education: Duke University, B.S. in public policy studies; Georgetown University Law Center, J.D.

Todd Federman, ’92

Managing director, North Coast Angel Fund and North Coast Venture Fund. The two funds invest in early stage technology businesses in Northeast Ohio. Before returning to Cleveland in 2005, Federman worked as a management consultant in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Durham, N.C., and

Washington, D.C. Federman is active with Youth Opportunities Unlimited. Education: Kent State University, B.S. in finance; Duke University, M.B.A.

Assistant Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law. A former assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor and practicing attorney, Hardaway serves as a federal monitor for the consent decree between the U.S. Department of Justice and the city of Cleveland. Earlier this month, she was elected to the Shaker Heights school board. Education: College of Wooster, B.A., sociology; Case Western Reserve University School of Law, J.D.

Michael Jeans, ’92

President, Growth Opportunity Partners, a small business lending arm of JumpStart Inc., the startup business support nonprofit. Before joining JumpStart, Jeans worked for financial service firms KPMG, Morgan Stanley, National City Bank and KeyBank. He is active with Our Lady of the Wayside and the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. Education: Ashland University, B.A., business administration and management

Colette Jones, ’93

Vice president of marketing and communications, Destination Cleveland, the regional travel and tourism bureau. Jones started a career in banking for KeyCorp in Cincinnati but soon discovered she preferred marketing. She worked for 15 years in marketing positions in Cincinnati, Columbus and Chicago before returning to Cleveland, first in her own marketing firm. She’s involved with The Historic Gateway Board and the Campus International School. Jones is active in the Cleveland Leadership Center and was a Marshall Memorial Fellow, a leadership program focused on trans-Atlantic relations. Education: Miami University, B.S. in communications education; Ohio State University, MBA

Tania Menesse, ’92

Director of economic development, Shaker Heights. Board member, Cuyahoga County Community Improvement Corp. Menesse spent a decade in a variety of staff and consulting positions in telecommunications in several cities before moving back to Cleveland from Denver. She is active with the Saint Luke’s Foundation, Land Studio and Global Cleveland. Education: University of Virginia, B.S. in commerce, marketing and management; Cleveland State University, master’s in urban affairs

Strategic adviser for public affairs, University Circle Inc. Paris is the former executive director of the Group Plan Commission, where he managed the fundraising, design and construction of the $50 million revitalization of Public Square. Before returning to Cleveland, Paris worked for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, for which he served as chief counsel for nominations and oversight from 2005 until 2013. Education: Yale University, B.A. in political science; Harvard University Law School, J.D.

Jenny Spencer, ’96

Managing director, Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, a neighborhood community development nonprofit; board member, Cleveland Citywide Development Corp. Spencer has spent most of the last decade after returning from work as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay at the Detroit Shoreway nonprofit. In between stints at the CDC, Spencer was a manager of business attraction at Team Northeast Ohio, the regional business development nonprofit. Education: Ohio State University, B.A. in political science; Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, master’s in public policy and urban planning

Kandis Anderson Williams, ’92

Vice president, community development lending at Citizens Bank. Williams previously was a loan officer at Village Capital Corp., a community development financial subsidiary of Neighborhood Progress Inc. She is active with Shaker Heights Development Corp. and CHN Housing Partners. Education: Cleveland State University, master’s in urban planning, design and development



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It’s hard to know if, as a group, more Shaker grads are working for nonprofits, educational institutions, government or other civic-minded organizations than any other high school in the region. But it’s clear in hearing from them that their Shaker experience played a role in drawing them to the civic arena. Some are boomerangers, drawn back home by family but also by the attraction of Cleveland and Shaker Heights. Tania Menesse, economic development director of Shaker Heights, left home for the University of Virginia and then spent a dozen years in the telecommunications industry in thriving Western metropolises. Wherever she and her husband, artist and Shaker grad Rick Smith, moved, they looked, unsuccessfully, for a neighborhood that felt like Shaker. “I was pregnant with our second child and Rick felt it was time to return to Shaker Heights rather than trying to recreate it in Dallas and Denver,” she said in an email. “Growing up in a community and a school system that exposed me to people at all ends of the socioeconomic spectrum and that valued the contributions of people of different creeds and ethnicities, made (returning) a no-brainer for me and my fellow Shaker graduates.” Coming back also gave Menesse an opportunity to change careers. She earned an urban studies degree from Cleveland State University with an emphasis in economic development. “When I was thinking about coming back to Cleveland, the opportunity to help the city I was from and really make an impact was appealing,” said Jeff Epstein, executive director of


N O V E M B E R 2 7 - D E C E M B E R 3 , 2 017


PA G E 17

necting and making friendships beyond the racial, social and economic comfort zones of students. Jaffe said diverse groups of SGORR members, high school students, went into fourth-grade classrooms to talk about sensitive topics like prejudice and discrimination along with explaining things like peer pressure and how students make decisions. One goal was to help ensure that the generally positive relationships black and white students had in elementary school survived the transition to middle school as children became aware of social pressures. “What do you mean you didn’t sit at that table at lunch? What were you afraid of?,” Jaffe recalled as being one of the consequences of the peer pressure that SGORR members challenged elementary school students to understand and overcome. Perhaps most of all, graduates credit the quality of the education they got in the Shaker schools. “There was a level of ‘why’ as opposed to ‘what’ that more closely mirrored the college experience — a lot of nuance and insight,” said Todd Fetterman, managing director of the North Coast Angel Fund and the related North Coast Venture Fund, investShaker Heights High School has produced an impressive collection of Northeast Ohio leaders. (Kevin Reeves) ment funds committed to growing MidTown Cleveland Inc., the com- openness to others and the ability of til I became an adult, but they are a emerging businesses in Ohio. “Lookmunity development corporation the people I grew up with to be bedrock of who I am,” said Jenny ing back, many of the other students that serves Cleveland’s Midtown friends with me just because I was Spencer, managing director of the at Shaker were just as impressive as neighborhood. “Shaker was a big funny, quirky, whatever — not be- Detroit Shoreway Community Devel- anyone I’ve worked with since.” Menesse had a similar experience part of why I am doing the work I am cause they felt like they would be opment Organization. “As a child in doing today. Teachers like Terry Pol- more enlightened or cooler because elementary school, we talked about when she went to the University of Virlock and Jerry Graham instilled a love they had a black friend (plus I wasn’t segregation, prejudice, slavery. In ginia. “At the time, I couldn’t discern what of policy, history, government and very cool, so there’s that!),” she said high school, educators and SGORR I found dissatisfying about my years at pushed us to go deeper.” in an email. civic responsibility.” SGORR, the Student Group on Race UVA, but I think in retrospect the expeMany of the graduates said that the Colette Jones, the vice president for marketing and communications economic and social diversity of Relations, was mentioned as an import- rience lacked the peer group I had in at Destination Cleveland, the region- Shaker helped give them a broad per- ant influence by a number of the gradu- Shaker that was intellectually stimulatates. An elementary school teacher now ing and always pushing me to try new al nonprofit travel and tourism bu- spective on community. CLEVELAND μ NOVEMBER 27, world 2017 μaround PAGE 21 things and question the e, created the pro- BUSINESS “Shaker gave me a baseline of val- retired, Marcia JaffCRAIN'S reau, said she found in her classmates in the Shaker schools “an ues that I did not fully appreciate un- gram in 1983 to foster the value of con- me,” she said.


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Neighborhood Watch

Historic, weird West Hill getting reconnected After Innerbelt is gone, backers hope for redevelopment in area within walking distance of downtown By DAN SHINGLER @DanShingler

If Akron’s got a neighborhood vying for the title of “most quirky,” it’s likely West Hill. The old neighborhood is not only a hot spot for Akron’s history, it’s a budding haven for the city’s arts community. Soon, it also will be closer to downtown, since it borders Akron’s Innerbelt highway, which is in the process of being removed and will create at least 30 acres for new development that could reconnect West Hill with downtown. But make no mistake: West Hill can be, well, weird. But don’t take our word for it. “West Hill has always been one of my favorite neighborhoods in Akron. It is wonderful, and historic, and weird, which means that it is a perfect microcosm of a city that is most certainly all of those things,” according to Jason Segedy, Akron director of planning and urban development. That was his take when he wrote a blog on the neighborhood three years ago. But his opinion of and affection for West Hill had not changed when he gave a recent tour. He started where Rhodes Avenue meets West Market Street, in the far northern corner of West Hill that juts into Highland Square. Right off the bat, it’s obvious that West Hill is a little different. Segedy pulled into a Marathon station at the intersection. “Gotta gas up,” he said. Then he just sat there. It was probably a purposeful ploy, but it worked. “You want me to pump?” said this reporter, who really would have done it, by the way. “No. They’ll get it,” Segedy said, adding his payoff line, “This is probably the last full-service gas station you’re going to see, but they still pump it for you here.” And sure enough, an attendant soon came out, got the standard “Fill it up, please” from Segedy, and without either of us getting cold or wet, we were on our way. “That’s West Hill for you,” said Segedy, grinning. The gas station isn’t far from another famous West Hill haunt, Rockne’s Pub — the second location to open in the chain and perhaps the best known. That’s because of the number of Akronites who knew longtime owner Chris Hamad, who was as popular as one of his regular customers, the late Summit County executive Russ Pry. In a cruel twist of fate, the two friends each died young last year, leaving a bit of a vacuum at the end of the bar where they used to hang out together. Hamad’s son, also Chris Hamad, now mans the bar, alongside his mother, Sandy; grandmother, Peggy; and others. At 33, Hamad already is a neighborhood fixture. “Since I was 12,” he said when asked how long he’s been at the bar and restaurant. “I started out busing

The dismantling of Akron’s Innerbelt highway will connect the West Hill neighborhood to downtown. (Shane Wynn for Crain’s)

About this series We thought we knew a fair amount about Akron, which is the hometown of some of us at Crain’s. That is, until we started driving around with Akron planning director Jason Segedy, who agreed to take part in an ongoing series to show us his knowledge and passion for the city — one neighborhood at a time. This month, we look at West Hill, a neighborhood with a rich past and hopeful future as artists and makers move in and ideas of redevelopment take hold as a barrier to downtown — Akron’s Innerbelt highway — is removed.

Chris Hamad mans the bar at Rockne’s Pub in West Hill. Hamad and others took over running the well-known neighborood hangout after his father died in 2016. (Dan Shingler for Crain’s)

the tables.” He said he’s seen the neighborhood, like the rest of Akron, go through its ups and downs in the time he’s been pouring beers and serving food to area residents. The bar is so close to Highland Square, which is known for its nightlife, that it tends to follow the trends of that neighborhood, and that’s been a good thing recently. “Highland Square has definitely picked up — quite a bit!” Hamad said, looking out over a full lunchtime dining room. From there, Segedy’s drive around West Hill was a historic tour de force. There’s the house where Thomas Edison got married, Oak Place on Dawes Avenue. Big houses had names back in 1886, when Edison lit the matrimonial bulb. Behind it is a bluff overlooking what’s left of the Innerbelt, which isn’t much, and an iconic view of downtown. Then there’s one of Segedy’s favorite spots, Glendale Cemetery on Glendale Avenue. Founded in 1839, it

Glendale Cemetery marks the neighborhood of West Hill. Seen here is its Civil War Chapel. (Shane Wynn for Crain’s)

West Hill’s history is evident in Oak Place on Dawes Avenue, where Thomas Edison got married in 1886. (Shane Wynnfor Crain’s)

is a beautiful, almost fantastical place in terms of its layout, grounds and memorials. There are the Glendale steps — a study of the Depression in stone and cement, built by the Works Progress Administration in 1936. Back then, the steps gave folks access to get down a 200-foot embankment to Glendale Park. Thanks to local residents, they’ve been kept in decent shape and might get new life leading to an area the city may turn into public green space, Segedy said. West Hill has a lot of history for a reason: time. “It was developed, like, pre-1900s, so it’s one of the oldest parts of town,” Segedy said. But, sorry, West Hill’s is not really a business story, at least not yet. There are some spots, like Rockne’s or The Tangier, which was once a 50,000-square-foot restaurant and evening hot spot but is now more of a wedding and event center. “The thing I think West Hill is struggling with right now is it doesn’t have an identifiable business district, like Highland Square does,” Segedy said. SEE RECONNECT, PAGE 19



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“It has a lot of commercial strips, but they’re mostly things like car dealers or things like that, and they’re not those small local businesses that people immediately identify with.” That said, the neighborhood is also in a pretty unique position. When the Innerbelt is gone, the highway will be replaced by green space or some development that the city says will include public space. That will mean that West Hill, already connected to the city center by the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, will be a short walk from downtown. In the meantime, artists and their friends have been moving in, getting involved in the neighborhood by opening businesses, holding festivals and other such shenanigans. “It’s an oasis for me,” said Karen Starr, a native of Stow who found the suburbs stifling and who’s been living in West Hill since 2013. Starr said artists and makers like the neighborhood because they can find cheap space, it’s close to active art communities downtown and in Highland Square, and, lately at least, they have plenty of neighbors with similar interests. The neighborhood is a top destination on Akron’s

Neighborhood advocates say they’d like to see West Hill get more businesses like Temo’s Candy, which would better cater to pedestrians and give the community more places to shop.

PorchRokr event that puts area musicians on neighborhood porches to perform for more than 10,000 people a year. Starr helps organize the event in West Hill, where she says she finds plenty of eager supporters among a growing community of artists and related businesses. “Everybody lives there. It’s very diverse,” Starr said. “It is home to so many cultures and so many different types of people. I love it … We live smack dab between downtown and Highland Square, so if I’m going to a


The corresponding domino, according to the writer and media personality, is that Bridgestone — headquartered in Tokyo — wants to have an event in Japan. That tournament, Feinstein said, would be added to the Asian swing on the fall calendar. “It certainly wouldn’t be the first time the Tour went away from a great, traditional golf venue,” Feinstein said of the possibility of the Bridgestone Invitational not being held in Akron after 2018. “But the first priority is always what sponsors want. I hope that’s not the case.” Through a spokesperson for Falls Communications, which has worked with the tournament since 2008, Bridgestone Invitational executive director Don Padgett III told Crain’s that conversations about the future of the event continue. “All of our focus and energy now is going toward hosting a great tournament next summer, and planning for the 65th anniversary of professional golf at Firestone Country Club,” Padgett said. Reached later by phone, Padgett, who is entering his 12th year as the executive director of the tournament, expressed similar sentiments to Crain’s. “I think we will continue to talk with them,” he said of the PGA. Chris Smith, the senior director of public relations for the Tour, declined comment. Bridgestone’s sponsorship of the WGC event expires after the 2018 tournament at Firestone. Four-year sponsorship extensions were announced prior to the final rounds of the 2009 and 2013 Bridgestone Invitationals. Both deals were announced one year before the lucrative title sponsorship was scheduled to expire. The 2017 Bridgestone Invitational was played without the tournament and PGA celebrating another sponsorship extension. The most recent extension, announced in August 2013, covered the 2015-18 tournaments. Paul Oakley, the vice president of communications for Bridgestone

Sponsorship timeline 2006: Bridgestone and the PGA Tour agree to a five-year sponsorship deal, which results in the NEC Invitational at Firestone Country Club being renamed. Aug. 9, 2009: The PGA and the Japanese manufacturer announce that the sponsorship deal has been extended through the 2014 event. Aug. 4, 2013: The deal is extended another four years, through 2018.

Americas, said the company is “in talks with the PGA Tour about our official marketing partnership and the Bridgestone Invitational. “Those conversations,” Oakley said, “are taking place at a natural stage, as our current contract ends after 2018.” The Bridgestone Americas VP added that the company can’t comment on the current negotiations, and that it has “a great relationship with the PGA Tour dating back 12 years.” That partnership began with the Bridgestone Invitational in 2006. Prior to that, the event had been called the NEC Invitational. Asked if the company’s commitment to golf extended to having an event in Akron, Oakley, via email, said, “Bottom line, there is nothing better than a Bridgestone sponsored tournament at the Firestone Country Club.” Steve Carter, the general manager of the Akron club whose South Course became a stomping grounds of sorts for Tiger Woods once the tournament became a WGC event in 1999, obviously agrees with Oakley’s latter statement. “We have hundreds of amazing employee partners, thousands of incredible volunteers and the best golf

meeting it takes me like three minutes to get there.” She’s excited to see the Innerbelt go and is both eager and anxious to see what takes its place. Like a lot of city residents who have traded the suburbs for a more urban lifestyle, she’d like to see more walkable streets, places to stop — and, oh yeah, can you preserve some of the neighborhood’s old architecture in the process? West Hill has a shot at that, Segedy said, for the very same reasons that Starr loves it: It’s got a great location, a fans in the world that will be ready in 2018 and well into the future to welcome the best players in the world,” Carter said in an email. After calling Bridgestone “an amazing partner,” the Firestone GM said, “Unfortunately, they don’t give me a vote, but if they did, my vote would be to extend this terrific run for another 60+ years.” The tournament was moved from the first weekend in August to the weekend before July 4 to accommodate golf’s return to the Olympics in 2016. That year, Padgett told Crain’s in July, the tournament’s total attendance slipped to about 75,000. In 2014, the last year in which Woods competed at Firestone, the attendance for the event was in the range of 90,000, tournament officials told Crain’s in 2015. Padgett told the Akron Beacon Journal that the gate total for the 2017 tournament rebounded, and was “in the neighborhood” of 85,000. The event annually produces a seven-figure commitment to charity, and a 2011 study estimated that the Bridgestone Invitational generated $21.4 million in economic impact and 42,000 visitors. Should the event not be held in Akron in 2019, it wouldn’t be the first time the Tour moved a well-regarded tournament away from the Rubber City. The 2002 NEC Invitational was played at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash. That year, Akron hosted the Senior PGA Championship. It’s possible, then, that Firestone, no matter what happens with the future of the Bridgestone Invitational, will continue to host a pro golf tournament beyond 2018. “Nothing is set in stone yet,” Feinstein said. “They have to square everything away with the sponsors.” If it were left up to the golfers, Feinstein — whose 1995 book, “A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour,” reached No. 1 on The New York Times’ best sellers list — knows where the Bridgestone Invitational would be held. “It would be unpopular with the players. I can tell you that,” Feinstein said of the possibility of Akron losing its WGC event.

Artwork sits at the bottom of the Glendale steps, which were built by the Works Progress Administration in 1936. Residents have kept the steps in decent shape throughout the years. (Shane Wynn for Crain’s)

budding artist community and is ripe for rehabilitation and redevelopment. But it’s far from a done deal he noted. Federal Historical Tax Credits that many say are necessary to redevelop places like West Hill are under threat, and attracting investment is already tough. “West Hill still has its challenges. There are a lot of old houses that haven’t been kept up,” Segedy said. But there is also some new energy from folks like Starr. And Akron just passed a new tax abatement to make

it more attractive for investors to restore some of the city’s old places. Starr gives the city high marks for its efforts to support neighborhoods. She’d like to see some more help, such as zoning changes that would allow artists and others to use homes and other spaces more flexibly. She said she’s found a place she loves too much to not help improve. “I love the architecture of the homes, I love the trees … and I love that I have a giant backyard half a mile from downtown.”


Start Giving Today Visit Call us at 330-376-8522

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Largest Banks in Northeast Ohio Ranked by Local Deposits










Huntington National Bank (1) 200 Public Square, Cleveland 44114 (800) 480-2265/



90.1% (1)



Huntington Bancshares Inc. Columbus

Sean P. Richardson regional president - Cleveland


KeyBank NA 127 Public Square, Cleveland 44114 (216) 689-3000/






KeyCorp Cleveland

Beth E. Mooney chair, CEO


PNC Bank 1900 E. 9th St., Cleveland 44114 (888) 762-2265/






PNC Financial Services Group Inc. Pittsburgh

Paul G. Clark regional president


Citizens Bank 1215 Superior Ave., Cleveland 44114 (216) 566-5326/






Citizens Financial Group Inc. Providence, R.I.

Ralph M. Della Ratta Ohio president


JPMorgan Chase & Co. 1300 E. 9th St., Cleveland 44114 (800) 935-9935/






JPMorgan Chase & Co. New York

James M. Malz head of commercial banking, Ohio


Fifth Third Bank 600 Superior Ave. E, Cleveland 44114 (216) 274-5533/






Fifth Third Bancorp Cincinnati

Joseph D. DiRocco regional president, Northeastern Ohio


U.S. Bank 1350 Euclid Ave., Cleveland 44115 (216) 623-9300/






U.S. Bancorp Minneapolis

Alan Zang president, Northeast Ohio market


Home Savings Bank (2) 275 W. Federal St., Youngstown 44503 (330) 742-0500/



609.1% (2)



United Community Financial Corp. Youngstown

Gary M. Small president, CEO


Chemical Bank (3) 23240 Chagrin Blvd., Suite 600, Beachwood 44122 (800) 867-9757/






Chemical Financial Corp. Midland, Mich.

James R. Lynch Jr. regional president, Northeast Ohio


The Farmers National Bank of Canfield 20 S. Broad St., Canfield 44406 (888) 988-3276/






Farmers National Banc Corp. Canfield

Kevin J. Helmick president, CEO


First National Bank of Pennsylvania 55 Public Square, Cleveland 16125 (800) 555-5455/






F.N.B. Corp. Pittsburgh

Boyd K. Pethel regional president, Cleveland


Middlefield Banking Co. (4) 15985 E. High St., Middlefield 44062 (440) 632-1666/



36.8% (4)



Middlefield Banc Corp. Middlefield

Thomas G. Caldwell president, CEO


Civista Bank 100 E. Water St., Sandusky 44870 (419) 625-4121/






Civista Bancshares Inc. Sandusky

James O. Miller, chairman, CEO; Dennis G. Shaffer, president (5)


First Commonwealth Bank NA 601 Philadelphia St., Indiana, Pa. 15701 (800) 711-2265/

$581.1 (6)





First Commonwealth Financial Corp. Indiana, Pa.

Jane Grebenc president


Cortland Savings and Banking Co. 194 W. Main St., Cortland 44410 (330) 637-8040/






Cortland Bancorp Cortland

James M. Gasior president, CEO


Andover Bank 600 E. Main St., Andover 44003 (440) 293-7256/






Andover Bancorp Inc. Andover

Stephen E. Varckette president, CEO


Portage Community Bank 1311 E. Main St., Ravenna 44266 (330) 296-8090/






Portage Bancshares Inc. Ravenna

Richard J. Coe CEO


Farmers Savings Bank 111 W. Main St., Spencer 44275 (330) 648-2441/







Thomas W. Lee president, CEO


Consumers National Bank 614 E. Lincoln Way, Minerva 44657 (330) 868-7701/






Consumers Bancorp Inc. Minerva

Ralph J. Lober president, CEO


Peoples Bank NA 24400 Chagrin Blvd., Suite 100, Beachwood 44122 (216) 910-0550/






Peoples Bancorp Inc. Marietta

Cindy Crotty executive vice president; regional president, Northeast Ohio market


Independence Bank 4401 Rockside Road, Independence 44131 (216) 447-1444/






Independence Banccorp Independence

Christopher Mack CEO


Sutton Bank 1 S. Main St., Attica 44807 (419) 426-3641/






Sutton Bancshares Inc. Attica

Eric A. Gillett vice chairman, CEO


CNB Bank (dba ERIEBANK) (7) 7402 Center St., Mentor 44060 (440) 205-8100/






CNB Financial Corp. Clearfield, Pa.

Andrew L. Meinhold senior vice president, area manager


Buckeye Community Bank 105 Sheffield Center, Lorain 44055 (440) 233-8800/






Buckeye Bancshares Inc. Lorain

Bruce E. Stevens president, CEO


Commercial & Savings Bank 91 N. Clay St., Millersburg 44654 (330) 674-9015/






CSB Bancorp Inc. Millersburg

Eddie Steiner chairman, president, CEO


CFBank NA (8) 3009 Smith Road, Suite 100, Fairlawn 44333 (330) 666-7979/






Central Federal Corp. Worthington

Timothy T. O'Dell president, CEO


Want the full version of this list Ă‘ and every other Crain's list? Become a Data Member:

Financial data comes from The full list includes 36 banks. It excludes banks registered as savings institutions. It includes deposits in 15 counties: Ashland, Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Huron, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull and Wayne. (1) Huntington acquired FirstMerit Corp. of Akron in August 2016. (2) Home Savings & Loan Co. of Youngstown merged into a smaller bank, Premier Bank and Trust of North Canton, on Jan. 31, 2017, after its parent company bought Premier. (3) Formerly Talmer Bank and Trust, which was acquired by Chemical Bank in August 2016. (4) Middlefield acquired Liberty Bank of Beachwood on Jan. 13, 2017. (5) Shaffer is slated to become CEO of Civista Bank at the end of the year when Miller retires. Miller will remain chairman. (6) First Commonwealth held no local deposits until it acquired 13 FirstMerit branches in 2016. (7) Formerly Lake National Bank, which was acquired by CNB in July 2016. (8) CFBank converted from a federal savings bank charter to a national bank charter on Dec. 1, 2016.



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Tullamore D.E.W. Trilogy 15-Year

JJWhen it comes to Irish whiskey, I’ve been a Jameson man for years. But during a recent adventure to the Auld Sod this summer, I became acquainted with the sweet pleasures of Tullamore D.E.W. and upon returning home got a chance to sample Trilogy. Tullamore’s 15-year-old is a sublime elixir, creamy and full-bodied, with intriguing notes of honey, toasted nuts and oak. Anyone who hammers this as shots has more money than brains (or class). Let its honeyed viscosity trickle down your throat, then savor its l-o-n-g, velvety finish. Because Trilogy runs in short supply, also consider TD’s 12 Year Old Special Reserve. It’s a less-finessed treat, with tasty notes of dried fruit and a distinct hint of chocolate livened by spicy accents.

More information: We found it at Simone’s Beverage (18414 Detroit Ave., Lakewood; 216-221-2221; and Independence Beverage (7103 Brecksville Road, Independence; 216-524-4030). Marc Zkiab, co-owner of Simone’s, has a very limited supply but is trying to order more. “Trilogy is really hard to find. We order it and it may or may not come in,” he said. Peter Patel of Independence Beverage has a few bottles of 12- and 15Year Tullamore D.E.W. Retailers set specific prices. Locally, Tullamore D.E.W. 12 Year runs about $50, while the 15 Year Trilogy is priced in the $75 to $80 range (plus tax). Call your local beverage store to check availability.

Samuel Hubbard Winter’s Day Boots JJIt

seems there are a million brands of boots out there. But let’s say you know someone who wants to go from slushy Cleveland streets to the office (or boardroom) and still look like a million dollars? From the outside, Hubbard’s Winter’s Day chukkas are a handsome gentleman’s shoe with Gore-Tex construction and Davos Ice Sole Super Grip tread. For good measure, the glove leather and shearling-lined inners are toe-warmingly cozy. I’m a big fan of Hubbard. Their boots are handcrafted in Portugal, durable and among the most comfortable shoes I’ve owned. More information: In espresso brown with black soles, $300 (free shipping and returns). Men’s sizes, 7-14. Online at Szabo Shoes in Fairview Park and Nordstrom in Beachwood carry Hubbard and may be able to order them for you.

Cleveland Independents Gift Cards and ‘The Deck’ JJLet’s

say you want to treat someone to an evening out but aren’t sure of their preferences. Cleveland Independents, a professional trade organization representing dozens of independent Northeast Ohio chefs and restaurants, offers gift cards good at participating member restaurants. Cards are available in $25, $50 and $100 values; tax and gratuity are not included. Or consider “The Deck” ($29.95), a set of 49 “playing card” style coupons, each one good for a discount (typically, $10 off a purchase of $30 on food only) at a participating member restaurant. If you’re on a tight budget, consider the CI’s “discount gift certificates.” Many member restaurants offer reduced-price certificates: You’ll pay $17.50 for a $25 value, or $35 for a $50 certificate. Complete the transaction on the organization’s secure website, print out the certificate and enclose it with your own card. Only one card can be used per table. Though the discounted certificates are available year-

Samuel Hubbard Winter’s Day Boots can help you go from Cleveland’s slushy streets to the office in style. (Crain’s photograph)

ly shaped cone carafe. The fiber filters pull bitterness and stray sediments, yielding the pure, bold flavor of that cup of Joe. If the most effort you can manage in the morning is pushing a button on the Keurig, this isn’t for you. It takes a certain cool Zen to endure, but for fans, the results are worth your patience. More information: About $45 for the unit, plus $8.99 for a pack of 100 bonded filters. We found ours at World Market in North Olmsted. Tullamore D.E.W. Trilogy is an Irish whiskey that can be difficult to find, but is worth tracking down. (Crain’s photograph)

round, CI holds quarterly sales and many for the hottest restaurants are snapped up fast. Cards available for each remaining restaurant vary. More information:

Classic Pepper Mill from Urban Herbs

The Chemex Coffee Maker

JJAn endless procession of devices promise the perfect cup of coffee. If you happen to be a pour-over devotee, the Chemex is one of the best. Slowly pouring boiling water through grounds resting in one of Chemex’s thick, bonded paper filters, your fresh brew slowly drips into a unique-

Silicone Safe Grabs by Lori Greiner JJAfter a long career in the food business, I’m not readily impressed by the next new gadget. But when I was channel surfing one evening, I was struck by a clever idea on QVC: 8-in-1 Silicone Safe Grabs by Lori Greiner. Use them as a spatter guard or under dishes in the microwave, a jar opener, a utensil rest, a trivet, hot mitt, placemat, etc. Each comes with two 10inch and two 12-inch Safe Grabs, all

microwave-safe and heat-resistant. They stack to store. You could easily split them up for multiple gifts. More information: A set of four, with a choice of three colors, is $19.98, plus shipping and handling. Order at

The iPhone X

JJIs there really any debate? Sneer all you want (I’m talking to you, Android loyalists): For Apple fanboys and fangirls, and a whole lot of techies from the other side of the street, critical acclaim is nearly universal. The Ten is the tech world’s gift of the year. Period.

More information: Starting at $999 (64GB) or $1,149 (256GB), in silver or Space Gray, at Apple Store locations (Summit Mall, Akron; Legacy Village, Lyndhurst; and Crocker Park, Westlake) or online at apple. com, as well as major retailers. If you can’t bear the freight, consider addons such as cases, wallets, wireless chargers, etc.

JJA fine kitchen tool can also be a thing of beauty. This handsome copper grinder from Urban Herbs is a lovely statement piece on your table, with a practical utilitarian purpose: Fill the hopper with Tellicherry or other peppercorns, and invite dinner companions to lend a touch of spice to their dishes.

More information: The copper mill ($75) is in extremely limited supply, but Urban Herbs, in stand E-2 at the West Side Market (1979 West 25th St., Ohio City, Cleveland; 216-241-5444), offers more moderately priced models in steel or brass. Plus, it offers a wide selection of spices, herbs, blends, gift sets and more.

Oils and Vinegars from Olive Scene

JJOlive oil is olive oil, right? Think again. Minutes after entering this neat little shop, I was drawn into the surprising flavors, fragrances and other nuances of oils and vinegars. You can certainly order online (prices from $6.50 and up), but if you’re “culinarily curious,” you owe yourself a trip to the store for a fascinating dive into the diverse characteristics of the array of varietals. Once you’ve decided between, say, Chilean Manzanillo and a spectrum of infused flavors (harissa or blood orange, anyone?), dive into a sampling of balsamic vinegars. In fact, if you’re beyond just gifting someone with a basic, consider booking a tasting for your group.

More information: 19132 Old Detroit Road (Old River Shopping Area), Rocky River; 440-895-9999; Locations in Chagrin Falls, Strongsville and Vermilion.

do you have the right players on your

financial team? The Middlefield Banking Company can get it done. Give us a call today to get started!

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To place your listing or for more information, please call Lynn Calcaterra at (216) 771-5276 or email




Cheryl Donahue

Samantha J. Stahler





Cheryl Donahue is an associate in Benesch’s General Practice Group. Cheryl works on matters ranging from complex corporate transactions to challenging commercial litigation disputes. While in law school, Cheryl served as judicial extern to the Honorable Karen Nelson Moore of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and as extern to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio.

Samantha Stahler has joined Benesch as an associate in the firm’s Corporate & Security Practice Group.


LAW Diana L. Selzer Vice President Relationship Manager

Wells Fargo Wells Fargo is pleased to announce that Diana Selzer has joined the Commercial Banking Group as a Relationship Manager. Diana has significant experience advising across a multitude of both private and public companies; she brings a unique perspective that draws best practices from all industries. Based in Akron, Diana provides bank financing to middle-market companies in the Northeast Ohio region with revenues greater than $20 million.




James J. Walsh

Nathan D. Sargent




Benesch Nathan Sargent is an associate in Benesch’s Health Care & Life Sciences Practice Group. Prior to joining Benesch, Nathan worked in multiple capacities for a Northeast Ohio health system, which included responsibilities in board and committee governance and administration as well as physician contracting services.

James J. Walsh is an associate in Benesch’s Litigation Practice Group. He is developing his practice in complex commercial litigation, securities litigation, and general business disputes. James’ experience includes all aspects of motion practice, including preparation of pleadings, e-discovery and document review, complex legal research, and preparation of materials for use in trial, arbitration, mediation, and settlement.



Samuel A. Mintzer

Bradley N. Ouambo




Gallagher Sharp

Sam Mintzer is an associate in Benesch’s Real Estate & Environmental Practice Group. He focuses his practice on a wide range of commercial real estate matters, including the acquisition and disposition of assets. Sam’s practice also includes the representation of corporate landlords in the leasing of retail and industrial properties.

Gallagher Sharp announces that Bradley N. Ouambo has joined the firm as an Associate in the firm’s General Litigation and Transportation Practice Groups. Brad received his law degree from Case Western Reserve University in 2017, where he served as Executive Notes Editor for Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine and on the Ault Mock Trial Team. He received his undergraduate degree from Miami University in 2014. For more information visit


LAW Mia L. Ulery

Justin W. Younker



Frantz Ward LLP

Frantz Ward LLP

Frantz Ward welcomes Mia L. Ulery as Associate to the firm. Mia received her J.D., cum laude, from Case Western Reserve University, where she was a Certified Legal Intern at the Community Development Clinic. During law school, Mia also served as a Law Clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Mia received her B.A. from University of California, Davis in 2012.

Frantz Ward welcomes Justin W. Younker as Associate to the firm. Justin received him J.D., magna cum laude, from ClevelandMarshall College of Law, where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Cleveland State Law Review. Also during law school, Justin also served as a Judicial Extern to the Honorable Judge John Russo. Justin received his B.A. from College of Wooster, cum laude, in 2010.


LAW Daniel Jackson Director of I.T.

Virtual DataWorks Virtual DataWorks is pleased to bring on Daniel Jackson as the Director of I.T. Jackson will handle management and operations of Virtual DataWorks’s managed I.T. offerings while working closely with Matthew DeWees, President, to develop and facilitate client relationships. Jackson graduated from The University of Akron with a B.A in Computer Information Systems and Networking.

Kyle Cramer

Mike Corcoran

Litigation Associate


Winter Trimacco Co., LPA

Institute of Real Estate Management

Kyle Cramer joins Winter Trimacco Co., LPA as a Litigation Associate in their Cleveland office. Kyle focuses his practice on a wide range of professional liability, employment, commercial, casualty, and white collar criminal matters, with an emphasis on high exposure and catastrophic injury disputes.

Playhouse Square Real Estate Services Property Manager Mike Corcoran will serve as President of the 175-member Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Northern Ohio Chapter for 2018. Corcoran has more than 16 years of management and real estate experience. He joined Playhouse Square Real Estate Services in 2011. The IREM CPM of the Year in 2016, Corcoran serves on the Board of Zoning Appeals in Bainbridge Township.

REAL ESTATE Jake Kluchin


Real Estate Analyst

Anita Iyer

Carnegie Companies, Inc.


Jake Kluchin recently joined Carnegie Companies as Real Estate Analyst. Jake is focusing on deal analysis and assisting with deal flow facilitation. Prior to Carnegie, Jake had experience in risk management and in sales and marketing. Jake holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan.

Carnegie Companies, Inc. Anita Iyer has joined Carnegie Companies, Inc. as an Accountant. Anita will be involved in every area of financial reporting and internal audit. She has previously worked in Corporate Finance in the banking industry. Anita has an MBA in Corporate Finance and a Masters in Accountancy from CWRU.

KNOW SOMEONE ON THE MOVE? For more information or questions regarding advertising in this section, please call Lynn Calcaterra at (216) 771-5276 or email:


Source Lunch


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PA G E 2 3

Charlie Lougheed

Former president, Explorys/IBM Charlie Lougheed admits that he’s “a little religious about data.” Crain’s readers may know him as one of the three guys who started Explorys, a health data analytics company that was acquired by IBM in 2015. But he also helped start Everstream, a data company focused on the cable industry, and he has worked in the data-intensive world of online banking at both KeyBank and PNC. He and fellow Explorys co-founder Steve McHale transitioned out of the company (now called IBM Watson Health) on good terms this summer, as co-founder Anil Jain remained. Now Lougheed is focused on coaching startups and running The Lougheed Initiative, a donor-advised fund that focuses on issues related to health, education, fostering entrepreneurship and raising social consciousness. Plus, he and McHale are in the very early stages of a new project — one that involves collecting even more data on an even larger scale. Lougheed wouldn’t go into detail, but he noted that it will have a philanthropic goal. “Now it’s not so much about how I put food on the table and send my kids to college. Now it’s about, ‘How can I help this community I love be vibrant 100 years from now?’ ” — Chuck Soder

Five things Separation anxiety “Since August, I’ve had these points where I wake up in the middle of the night and say, ‘Oh my god, I’m not going into Explorys anymore.’ ”

Into A.I. Lougheed said computers are on pace to pass human intelligence during the 2040s. Cleveland should position itself to benefit from the trend.

Worried about Skynet? “No, not obsessively. But you’ve got some really smart people like Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates and others who say we’ve got to pay attention to this and not let it get out of control.”

Old photos “I can stare at old pictures. I just get lost in them,” he said, referring to the book “Lost Cleveland.”

On data security Technology isn’t usually a problem. People are, especially when they leave a hard drive at an Applebee’s.

Lunch spot Fat Cats 2061 West 10th Street, Cleveland

The meal Fried chicken sandwich with fries; salmon entrée

The vibe A restaurant that lets you know you’re in Tremont. It’s built inside an old house not far from Cleveland’s industrial valley. The menu gives a shoutout to local farmers who provide raw material for the kitchen. Lougheed recommended the fried chicken (it’s solid!).

The bill $ 23.76, plus tip

What can you tell me about this new initiative you’re working on? I don’t want to spill too much of the beans, because frankly, the beans are still being sprouted. You can go so far as to say we’ve been taking a very hard look at how our community can come together around very big data to begin to move our whole city, our whole region forward, (and to) compete at a whole new level and in that process maybe even eradicate much of the poverty that exists today. You’ve got to set your goals high. If you get 20% of the way there, you’ve done something amazing. You do. Everything was impossible at one time. Fire was impossible, wheels were impossible, iPhones were impossible, going to the moon was impossible. Is Steve McHale involved with any of these things you’re working on now? In many ways, he’s been drawing me into it. He’s been talking about this a long time. It’s one of those things where I think we feed off each other. Was there a moment when you decided to be an entrepreneur? I don’t know if I’m a typical entrepreneur. I have these moments of just paralyzing fear about failure, about overestimating the value of an idea. And you get these moments of extreme doubt. But they’re also balanced by these moments of euphoria when you connect with somebody and they light up, they get engaged, they believe that this technology can have a profound impact on their business. That fixes all of that. It gives me this, call it instant synthetic courage. I’m familiar with Explorys and Everstream. But you told me you’ve done three businesses. The first one was when I was in high school. I was 15 when I started it. I didn’t even have a driver’s license. Don’t ask me how I got to customer sites. There was a big age difference between my brother and I — 14 years. So my brother was in the business world selling commercial insurance. ... He was nice enough to let me ride along with him. I’d sit in the lobby or I’d actually sit in the

room while he talked to his clients. And they’d be like, “Oh, what do you do?” “I do computers.” “Oh, can you fix this?” ... A lot of these were manufacturers in Detroit. Small manufacturers. They weren’t looking at inventory management or supply chain. So that was the first things around data. It was small data. What’s one the biggest lessons you’ve learned about entrepreneurship? Leadership is not just inspiring people to do things. Leadership is developing people. That is not an art. That is a science. Basic blocking and tackling. That is making sure you hold regular career updates with people. I don’t mean once a year, I don’t mean once a quarter; I mean once a month. Engage — “Hey, how’s it going? Let’s write down the things you’re going to accomplish this month and re-engage.” Give us one more lesson You might as well go big. Maybe it’s even easier to go big than it is to go small. If you really want to move the needle, create a lot of jobs, we’ve got to encourage our future leaders to go much bigger. Be a billion-dollar company. You mention being religious about data. Would we all benefit from a little bit of that data religiousity, in our personal lives and in politics? I think of the saying, “In God we trust. All others bring data.” I think that’s really important. On the way here, I was listening to an NPR story about this issue with Russian influence and bots that are spreading news that’s completely false, and the whole issue of fake news. How much time are we actually doing fact-checking that’s relatively unbiased? We choose our facts. So your mom is an immigrant? My mom immigrated from Germany. She grew up during Nazi occupation. My grandfather immigrated over here with just a few dollars in his pocket and formed a tool and dye business. That and my parent’s money — my brothers and sisters were the first generation to go to college because of all that hard work and all that luck. So that’s always had a big impact on me.

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Crain's Cleveland Business  

November 27 - December 3, 2017 issue

Crain's Cleveland Business  

November 27 - December 3, 2017 issue