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Who's hiring in CLE: Cleveland Codes, CMSD, Bad Girl Ventures and more

Welcome to the latest installment of Fresh Water’s “who’s hiring” series, where we feature growing companies with open positions, what they’re looking for and how to apply.
 
Cleveland Codes
As a senior account executive at the online marketing firm Fathom, Matthew Fieldman witnessed first-hand the demand for tech talent in Cleveland. “I saw a need for basic website coders, nothing too fancy.” With a proven track record of having helped launch Edwins Leadership and Restaurant Institute, Fieldman is knowledgeable of the concept of giving people the tools to succeed in any industry.
 
So, Fieldman, who is now vice president of external affairs for MAGNET, decided to launch Cleveland Codes. The organization will prepare inner city youth between the ages of 17 and 25 for software development careers.
 
“Here we have lots of brilliant kids in the Cleveland School District and a need for coders,” explains Fieldman. “This will bridge the gap." He says employers are willing to pay the tuitions for training instead of the usual placement fees they pay agencies to find talent.
 
Cleveland Codes is on track to launch in the spring of 2016. Students will go through a six-month boot camp to learn coding and then be placed in apprenticeships.
 
In the meantime, Fieldman is looking for a co-founder, lead educator and coding instructor to help get the program off the ground. “We need to get this person on to complete funding for it, finalize the curriculum and build it from the ground up,” he says. “This person would be the face of Cleveland Codes.”
 
For more information or to apply for the position, contact Fieldman directly.
 
MakerGear
MakerGear, a leading manufacturer of desktop 3D printers, is looking for an experienced electrical engineer with excellent programming skills. Candidate will work in a collaborative environment with mechanical and materials engineers on product improvements and new product design development. MakerGear also needs a production technician to perform mechanical assembly of 3D printers using standard tools. To apply for either position, send resumes to the hiring manager.
 
Cleveland Metropolitan School District
The Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) has a number of non-teaching positions open, including an admissions and recruitment coordinatordirector of student services and a college registrar at Bard High School Early College; dean of arts and dean of academics at Cleveland School of the Arts; and director of bilingual education in the CMSD administration offices. To apply for these positions or to see more positions, go to Teach Cleveland.
 
Panzica Construction Company 
Panzica Construction Company needs an experienced estimator with five to 10 years of experience in commercial construction. Responsibilities include set up of projects to bid, soliciting interest from subcontractors, and managing the bidding process; preparing conceptual estimate and studies throughout the pre-construction process, providing the project team with cost input throughout the process; and performing in-depth quantity and qualitative takeoffs.
Qualified candidates must have a strong knowledge of all CSI divisions including MEP and knowledge of all types of commercial construction. Strong K-12 experience is a plus. Applicants must possess strong communication skills and be proficient with current industry technology. To apply, submit resumes to executive vice president Mark Panzica.

Bad Girl Ventures
Bad Girl Ventures (BGV), an educational and micro-finance, non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and supporting female entrepreneurs in key areas of their business, needs a part-time program manager on a contract basis. Hours range from 15 to 20 hours a week during the academic year and five to 10 hours a week in the summers. Most work will be done remotely, but some Saturday morning and evenings may be required.
 
Responsibilities’ include program and event logistics related to classes; facilitation of classes and seminars; recruit, organize and communicate with volunteers; organizing alumni events and support alumni program development; develop contact lists; conducing follow-up interviews and surveys; marketing tasks, including a newsletter. Apply BGV Cleveland executive director Reka Barabas.
 
Because I Said I Would 
Because I Said I Would, a social movement and nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity by making and keeping promises to end suffering, establish peace and build happiness, needs a fulfillment specialist. The organizations ships promise cards to 150 countries and sells products to fund charities. Qualified applicants will have a college degree in business, fashion merchandising or equivalent professional experience; strong communication skills; experience in online research; excellent customer service skills; and experience in e-commerce sales and fulfillment. To apply, email the HR manager with “Fulfillment Specialist Applicant” and your name in the subject line.

Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation
Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation needs a community outreach coordinator to engage and coordinate community members in order to connect stakeholders, improve the quality of life, and encourage empowered leadership in Old Brooklyn. Preferred experiences and skills include community outreach; group and project management; education and youth programming; and volunteer coordination. Comfort with basic software such as MS Office is required. Spanish-speaking candidates preferred. Visit the Old Brooklyn website for more information. Applicants must provide a cover letter and resume to the hiring manager by Friday, July 24th.
 
OHTec
OHTec is looking for a quality assurance manager to act as the quality assurance representative for one of the product teams; define, create and maintain test plans and strategies for existing and new products and projects; lead and mentor QA testers; work with product managers, development managers, and others to help drive a test strategy based on Scrum/Agile methodologies and implement best practice; and help design and implement automated testing strategies across multiple systems and platforms
 
The ideal candidate should be able to understand complex cross-platform software systems and implement manual and automated test strategies. To apply, click here.
 
Metisentry
Metisentry, which builds, manages and integrates software and data center systems through web, mobile and cloud platforms to manage workflow and change the way people do business, needs a PHP developer with one to three years of experience in WordPress, Magento, MySQL, PHP and jQuery. Send resumes to Medisentry’s HR department.
 
KnowBase Talent Management Solutions
KnowBase Talent Management Solutions, a growing software solutions company focused on the selection, vetting, training and tracking of talent to make it easier to hire and train people who will have an impact, is seeking an experienced developer and a software engineer. Apply through JumpStart’s careers page.
 
Casentric
Casentric, an intelligent software solutions provider, needs an inside software salesperson with two to three years of telesales experience. For more information or to apply, go to JumpStart’s careers page.

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture
Cuyahoga Arts & Culture needs a manager to oversee the day-to-day operations and contribute to the overall strategy of the general operating support grant program. The job requires an understanding of nonprofit organizations, including their operational needs and complexities; and a keen interest in and understanding of arts and cultural assets, and the benefit of these assets to the community. Submit resume, cover letter and salary requirements via email to by July 31.

Old Brooklyn pitch competition winners aim to fill empty storefronts

In an economic development effort to fill vacant storefronts in the city, Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation (OBCDC) last Wednesday, June 17 hosted a business plan competition for chance to win training and grant funding to launch their businesses.
 
Ten finalists were chosen from more than 30 applicants, says Jeff Verespej, executive director of the OBCDC. “It’s been an incredibly exciting time he last couple of months in Old Brooklyn,” he says.
 
The 10 finalists then went on to receive Small Enterprise Education Development (SEED) training from ECDI and met with OBCDC staff to discuss possible locations for their businesses. “For me it was really important to have the finalist pool to have the education piece,” says Verespej. “I didn’t want a competition where 30 people threw their hats in the ring and one business gets a check. All of the participants praised the education component. They found the training to be comprehensive and in-depth.”
 
One of the winners found the educational component particularly helpful. “The ECDI class was good refresher course from college,” says Jim Conti of Cleveland Jam, which makes jams from local beer and wines. “It touched on some of the technical parts of the business such as licenses, permits, web traffic and sourced information that was all helpful for any small business.”
 
Nine of the companies made it through the training and went on to give four-minute business plan pitches to an audience and a panel of judges at the MetroHealth Old Brooklyn Health Center last week.
 
Three companies were chosen to receive grant funding through ECDI, which received a $30,000 grant from a fund seeded by Huntington Bank at the Ohio Capital Income Corporation to help Cleveland-area cities with their economic development efforts. In addition to Cleveland Jam, the other two winners are Jason Minter of Connie’s Affogato, which pours espresso over locally-made ice cream and sells it via bicycle, and JAC Creative, a design and marketing firm.
 
“We’re going to be able to help these businesses make their dreams a reality,” says Verespej. The winners will receive a portion of the grant money, one-on-one assistance finding a location in Old Brooklyn, additional financial incentives and training.
 
“Winning the competition has been really exciting,” says Mike Caparanis of JAC Creative. “We set aside a lot of time to construct the business plan and our presentation, and it’s nice to see our hard work paid off. It's also really empowering to have the support of the city and our neighborhood. Our next step is to use our grant funds to establish a creative studio in Old Brooklyn by the end of year.”
 
While the three were chosen as the winners of the competition, Verespej says he hopes the other six companies will also open in Old Brooklyn. “We’re going to work with all of them,” he says. “The goal is to open nine businesses in Old Brooklyn. I am confident we’re going to have more than three success stories from this program.”

LaunchHouse hosts community open house to show off its new focus

LaunchHouse announced in April that they were moving away from their accelerator programs and returning to their roots in entrepreneurial education, investment and community involvement. On Tuesday, June 30, the Shaker Heights organization will show off its planned new office space with a community open house.

Community members, entrepreneurs and small business owners are invited to learn more about this vibrant entrepreneurial community and how LaunchHouse can help grow their business. The event is also meant to show how LaunchHouse is trying to attract more startups and small businesses to Shaker Heights.
 
“It will show people this is really what happens at LaunchHouse,” says CEO Todd Goldstein. “We’re going back to our foundation of what works best.”
 
Between tenants and companies in the new coworking space, LaunchHouse is home to almost 100 entrepreneurs, with room for more. Two 1,000 square foot modified shipping containers, which will be located in the garage behind the main LaunchHouse facility, will offer additional office space for growing companies. Goldstain says additional containers can be added. Plans for the  containers are in the process of being completed.

Membership at Launchhouse ranges from $125 a month for flex space to $500 for a dedicated office. Student memberships are also available.
 
Goldstein’s vision is to create a thriving entrepreneurial community along Lee Road, rich with startups, restaurants and other businesses. “Those businesses are more likely to grow and have a larger impact; it’s not unreasonable for people to look at Lee Road as a place to grow a business community like Tremont,” he says.
 
Economic development organizations and the city of Shaker Heights are behind Goldstein’s vision. “The Shaker Heights Development Corporation (SHDC) is committed to enhancing the commercial districts in the community,” says Nick Fedor, SHDC executive director. “The Chagrin-Lee commercial corridor, where Shaker LaunchHouse is located, is a strategic area for our revitalization efforts.  Building on assets such as the Shaker LaunchHouse, and the companies that are located there, is critically important to enhancing the commercial activity in the corridor and in Shaker. The SHDC is proud to partner with the City of Shaker Heights and businesses like LaunchHouse to turn this vision into a reality.”

Part of the new look includes a strong educational component, says Goldstein. The organization hosts regular Meetups on topics ranging from hackerspace and bookkeeping help to coding for game developers. Lunch and Learn is a free quarterly event with speakers from various Cleveland companies.
 
“It’s for small to mid-sized companies that are growing,” says Goldstein. “You’re going to see a lot more educational programs.”
 
Tuesday’s event will include a pitch event, sponsored by the Small Business Development Center at Cleveland Heights Library, and Cleveland State University will host a crowdfunding pitch competition. Four winners will receive all-inclusive assistance to help create their crowdfunding campaign.
 
Special guest Gina Prodan Kelly, founder and brand storyteller at Unmiserable, will talk about successfully launching and running a crowdfunding campaign. Registration for the pitch competition is over, but last minute entries can be obtained by calling LaunchHouse at 216/255-3070.
 
The open house runs from 3pm to 7pm tomorrow. Registration for the open house is not required, but encouraged.

KeyBank prides itself on sustainability in and out of the workplace

Four years ago,KeyCorp, one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies and headquartered in Cleveland, decided to be a pace setter in corporate responsibility by releasing its first corporate responsibility report to demonstrate its commitment to responsible operations.
 
A big part of that report illustrates Key’s commitment to sustainable practices. In May the bank released its fourth corporate responsibility report for 2014. A large part of that report centers on “responsible operations”— a commitment to green building practices, reduced waste and reduced energy consumption.
 
That commitment translates into a good corporate neighbor to Clevelanders. “At Key we look at the operational footprint as well as our impact on the community,” explains Andrew Watterson, head of sustainability at KeyBank. For instance, Key’s Tiedeman Road facility, which employs 3,000 workers, is Leadership and Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certified, the highest of four levels recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
 
“Beyond energy efficiencies, we focus on waste streams, particularly paper,” says Watterson. “We’re really proud of where we’ve come in the last five years. Key has reduced paper use by 60 percent and the goal is to reduce use by an additional 30 percent by 2020. “We’re performing significantly better than our peers,” boasts Watterson.
 
The environmental concerns transfer over to the retail side of Key’s operations as well. Last year saw a 40 percent jump in the number of mobile accounts and 80 percent of Key’s active accounts now rely on e-statements.
 
Waste reduction also relies on Key employees across the bank’s facilities. During Green Office Week in April, Key employees were reminded of what they can do to reduce paper usage and even tracked the amount of food they threw away at lunch “to measure how much food waste is being generated on a daily basis,” says Watterson. On Waste Recycling Day, employees brought paper from home for shredding and recycling.
 
Employees also are charged with making sure the recycling containers on every floor are well placed and labeled. “We won’t be successful without engaging our employees in our efforts,” says Watterson, who also polls employees on areas of improvement in sustainability.
 
Key and its employees regularly sponsor and participate in community activities. Furthermore, Key boasts that it was one of the first backers of Sustainable Cleveland 2019, the initiative to encourage residents to implement green practices.

? “Key was one of the early supporters of Sustainable Cleveland 2019 since it launched in 2009,” says Watterson. “We encourage employee participation and attend the summits.”

Five local filmmakers unveil documentaries on refugees in Cleveland

Ohio is one of the top 10 states in the country that takes refugees – people who have fled their native countries for fear of persecution for race, religion, nationality, being part of a social group or political beliefs – and Cleveland is second in the state for helping these people call the area home.

From 2000-2012, 4,518 refugees resettled in Cleveland, according to a report prepared in 2012 for the Refugee Services Collaborative (RSC).  And the number is growing. So, to celebrate and educate the Cleveland community on the city’s refugee population, five local filmmakers produced short documentary films about refugee life before and after Cleveland.
 
Those films were shown for the first time on Saturday, June 20 at the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood. About 120 community leaders, advocates, refugees, business owners and volunteers gathered to watch the films, as some of the filmmakers introduced them.
 
“It’s going represent a broad swatch of who the refugees are, the different ethnicities and nationalities they represent, and what’s changed after they got to Cleveland,” explains Tom Mrosko, director of Cleveland Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services. “The RSC tried to invite people who aren’t as familiar with the Collaborative or people coming to the community.”
 
The films are meant to educate people on the 70,000 refugees who resettle in the United States each year. “They come to almost every state in the country and they want to fit in and they want to better themselves,” says Mrosko. “It really comes down to lack of understanding of who refugees are. The goal is to involve people who may not understand the process – show them in a way that they can embrace it. We thought doing short films really gets the message across.”
 
The filmmakers are: Kevin Kerwin with “The Interpreter;” Chelsie Corso with “Just Keep Going;” Chris Langer with “Rangers United;” Paul Sobota with “Alida;” and Robert Banks with “Ashmita.”
 
Now the films will be shown at various community centers, film festivals, churches, universities and other public venues. Locations and time will be announced on the RSC website. Four of the five films can be viewed on YouTube.
 
Councilman Joe declared June 20 as World Refugee Day on behalf of the Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. 

Porath Print Solutions helps nonprofits and small businesses with free seminars

As a small printing company in Warrensville Heights, Porath Print Solutions has seen its share of struggles and issues in the non-profits and small businesses the 16-person company has served since 1968. So this year, Porath chief problem solver Gerry Engelhart decided it was time to start sharing his knowledge with a bi-monthly seminar series.

“Our boss is a very community-oriented person,” says Porath’s Rachel Gordon. “We all kept seeing our clients, especially  non-profits, coming to us with printings and mailings and we realized we’re not giving them the bigger picture of what different organizations were doing to raise money. It could be much easier for them on the front end if they knew some things. ”
 
So Porath started a series of free breakfast seminars to educate organizations on how to organize fundraising campaigns. “The first two were just about fundraising – how to connect with your current donors,” says Gordon. “It’s so [much] less expensive to keep the supporters you have than to find new ones.”
 
Now, Porath will team up on Tuesday, June 30 with Simone Cameron of Cleveland Heights marketing firm the Annek Group to host another free seminar on social media. “Social Media: The Basics” will cover all the things Porath learned while implementing its own social media strategy. “A few months ago we didn’t have a social media presence at all,” says Gordon. “Then we connected with Simone and now we have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and an e-newsletter.”
 
Seminar attendees will learn about the importance of multi-channel marketing and how and when to use the different social media outlets. “For us, it was kind of a revelation,” says Gordon of Porath’s own foray into social media. “As we’re learning about this we realized there are definitely other people going through the same thing. There are basic questions that are overwhelming.”
 
Gordon says the seminar is just Engelhart’s way of giving back. “He’ll make time for anyone,” she says. “For us, it’s helpful because it just keeps us fresh and it keeps the ideas flowing.”
 
The free seminar is from 8 am to 9:30 am on June 30 at the Porath offices, 21000 Miles Parkway in Warrensville Heights. A light breakfast will be served. Register or call (216) 626-0060 for more information. Guests are encourage to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Cleveland Food Bank.

We Can Code IT launches coding boot camp for minorities and women

Mel McGee has been a computer programmer and teacher for the past 20 years. Now, as CEO of We Can Code IT, McGee and community outreach director Shana Mysko are holding coding boot camps that are targeted at getting women and minorities careers in IT fields. The boot camps are held in their new offices at LaunchHouse.

“There will be one million unfilled jobs in IT by 2020,” explains McGee. “It’s a very in-demand industry and it continue to grow. Our whole economy is becoming IT based. There’s such a lack of diversity in IT. Employers would like to have more diversity.”
 
We Can Code IT held its first boot camp in March, and has partnered with several area employers, such as Hyland Software and OEConnection, to place its graduates in jobs. The next part-time coding boot camp starts this Saturday, June 20. The class meets Saturdays and Sundays from 8am-4pm for five months.
 
The cost of the program is $10,000, but women and minorities are eligible for a $1,000 grant. Starting with the upcoming session, We Can Code IT is testing a program where students don’t pay the tuition until they get a job.
 
“We’re trying to make it very appealing,” says McGee. “We have bent over backwards to make this doable for our students, who are coming from jobs where they are underemployed and unemployed. So we are offering an option where we don’t get paid until they get a job. We’re putting our money where our mouth is.”
 
We Can Code IT is also offering a free one-hour program, Programming Experience, on Thursday, June 18 at 7pm at LaunchHouse to learn about an IT career. Register through Meetup.
 
Registration for the part-time boot camp ends Thursday, June 18. Click here to apply for the program. The next full-time boot camp starts September 8.

Acceleration Systems offers fast internet for small businesses

Mike Kister likes to look out for the little guy. As a veteran entrepreneur – having started four internet service, e-commerce and web companies – Kister’s latest venture, Acceleration Systems, offers faster internet speeds and enhanced bandwidth on a subscription basis to small companies that previously couldn’t afford such services.

With Acceleration Systems’ cloud-based tools, customers can see download speeds 10 times faster and uploads 17 times faster than a regular internet connection. “That’s a pretty dramatic kind of improvement,” Kister, president and CEO, says.
 
“Bandwidth optimization has been around for a while, but it’s only available in Fortune 1000 companies for the past decade,” says Kister. “With our cloud-based monthly subscription, now bandwidth optimization is affordable to small businesses.”
 
Kister and his team have been working on their technology for two years and filed patents in January 2013. A year ago, the group had its first working prototype. “We then went on a fundraising tour and two weeks later we were fully funded,” he says. “We took the prototype and had a working model in eight months.”
 
The company headquarters are in Northfield, just three miles from Kister’s home. Acceleration Systems also has offices in Philadelphia, R&D offices in Lexington, Kentucky and four sales offices throughout the eastern United States. The company recently hired two additional engineers to its team of 18.
 
“We’ll get them up to speed and then hire a couple of more,” says Kister of their recent hiring. “We’re just growing like gangbusters right now. We’re scrambling to keep up with demand. It’s a lot of fun.”  
 
Kister envisions Acceleration Systems’ software will eventually be in all sorts of computer devices. “Ultimately, this technology will be embedded in your cable modem, embedded in your smart phone,” he says. “We have additional twists we put on the problem – businesses with multiple locations can tie together through private cloud services.”

 

Trust Navigator helps college students prepare for life beyond academia

When students head to college, they expect to received four years of learning and, hopefully, to graduate with a career plan and a good job lined up. But Tom Roulston noticed a disturbing discrepancy. “Seventy percent of seniors really don’t know what they want to do when they graduate,” he says. “And 50 percent are unemployed or underemployed when they graduate.”
 
So Roulston created Trust Navigator, a multi-tiered program that supplements the book smarts taught in colleges with some networking, life lessons and guidance to prepare students for successful careers. Trust Navigator will work with colleges to provide the “real world” component of education.
 
“We have created a platform with schools that allows you to take a lot of different tests, identify interests, passions, strengths and weaknesses,” Roulston explains. “We’ve archived interviews with hundreds of thousands of individuals, asking them ‘what do you do, how did you get started, how much money did you make when you started and what was your career path?’”
 
The Trust Navigator program has four components. First, students take classes in addition to their academic work, that teach “real world” lessons. “There are classes that supplement academic work – life skills, communication skills, financial literacy, how to buy healthcare insurance, networking and communications,”
 
Second, Trust Navigator offers experiential learning, with events that re-engage alumni with the campus. The third component involves an online form to partner students with different organizations and identify career interests.
 
The fourth tier focuses on success coaching and testing and surveys to identify career paths. “Someone who will sit with these students every month and ask them what courses they are taking,” says Roulston.
 
Trust Navigator is a “pay-to-play” program that Roulston says will alleviate the problem of college grads with tons of debt and no job, as well as encourage alumni to be more involved with their alma maters. “Large gift giving has increased over the years, but annual fund participation has dropped pretty dramatically,” says Roulston of alumni support. “More and more kids aren’t finding jobs right away, don’t have money and blame the colleges. There’s $1.3 trillion in student debt.”
 
Roulston closed his investment research business last year to focus on Trust Navigator. He plans to be in five to 10 colleges of varying sizes this fall.

New Ventures in Healthcare Challenge to kick off Medical Innovation Summit

Cleveland Clinic Innovations 2015 Medical Innovation Summit will once again this year kick off with the New Ventures Healthcare Challenge – the search for the next great early-stage health IT company poised to hit the market with better healthcare solutions.

Cleveland Clinic Innovations New Ventures Healthcare Challenge is designed to identify technologies that present the most compelling new ideas designed to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs as we remain focused on patients first," says Gary Fingerhut, Innovations executive director.
 
Last year, 46 companies from around the world presented their products and services in a YouTube video in the first round. The group was narrowed down to 12 in the second round before four companies were chosen to present at the Innovation Summit’s onset.
 
Boston-based Admetsys, which has created a system to monitor and manage blood glucose levels in diabetic patients while they are in hospital ICUs after surgery, won the challenge in 2014. “In critical care patients, hypoglycemia is a killer and it’s a challenge nurses are faced with every day in the ICU,” says Admetsys CEO Jeff Valk. “
 
Admetsys’ system has now gone through three clinical trials. The system should hit European markets in 2016 and the United States in 2017. As the winner of the New Ventures Healthcare Challenge, Valk says the support his company received after the Summit was valuable.
 
“The Cleveland Clinic is not a name that needs any particular introduction,” says Valk. “The Summit is fantastic and going to talk to people at the Innovation Summit was a no-brainer. Gary Fingerhut and his team did an outstanding job. He’s very plugged in and has lots of resources on his team.”
 
The winner of the challenge receives free consultation from commercialization experts at Cleveland Clinic Innovations and the Innovations advisory board, which consists of well-known industry experts, entrepreneurs, and healthcare investors.
 
“Any health IT entrepreneurs should submit a video,” says Fingerhut.
 
Applications for this year’s challenge are now being accepted through Friday, June 26. To apply, send a 90 -second video to MIS2015@ccf.org. The video should cover what is unique about the technology, why the technology will be game changing, how big will the impact be, and what the company’s strategic goals are. Companies selected to present will do so on Monday, October 26.
 
The Summit takes place Sunday, October 25 through Wednesday, October 28 at the Global Center for Health Innovation. The theme this year is around neurosciences, “Memory, Mood and Movement.” Registration is now open for the event.

Olivia Rose Bakery makes confections a family affair

Saidah Farrell has always enjoyed baking with her two daughters. While cupcakes were their favorite confection to make, the three always used a box mix. But when Farrell lost her job as a help desk manager almost six years ago, she decided it was time for a career change. “When you lose your job, what are you going to do,” she asks. “You either find another job or go back to school.” Farrell decided to go back to school.
 
In 2010 Farrell enrolled at Cuyahoga Community College to earn her associate of applied business degree in hospitality management with a concentration in culinary arts. This weekend will be the grand opening of Olivia Rose Community Bake Shop at 16832 Chagrin Boulevard in Shaker Heights. Farrell runs the bakery with the help of her two daughters, Olivia, 12, and Rose, 16.
 
“The oldest works on the cupcakes and croissants, while the younger one does the cookies,” Farrell explains. “I went back to school and then I saw my 16-year-old making croissants from scratch. You never realize how much they pay attention of you.”

Farrell received a lot of help to make her vision a reality. She went through ECDI for help securing loans get things off the ground.  “I started off needing nearly $20,000 but if you don’t have collateral, it’s hard to get a loan, she says. “ECDI got me $15,000 in loans through the SBA, the City of Shaker Heights and Cuyahoga County.”

Farrell has been marketing her bakery mostly through Facebook and has already gotten a lot of support from the community. Word has gotten out about her macaroons – especially her maple bacon macaroons. Other goodies include croissants, cookies, eclairs and cinnamon rolls. All of her creations use natural ingredients.

Farrell, who taught baking before opening her shop, plans to offer baking workshops, classes and kids' baking parties at the shop. She also welcomes other area bakers to bake and sell at her shop. Eventually, she plans to exhibit the works of local artists on a regular basis.

The grand opening runs Friday, June 12 through Sunday, June 14 with the ribbon cutting on Saturday.

ProtoTech: Invest showed investors the region's top startups are worth a look

Seventeen companies in various stages of development pitched their causes to about 30 local investors last Thursday, June 4 at MAGNET’s ProtoTech: Invest at the Metropolitan at The 9. All of the companies are in significant fund-raising mode.

“It was a good event, it was a lot of fun,” says Dave Crain, executive director of the Incubator at MAGNET and ProtoTech organizer. “I don’t think people realized how many great startups are in the region. There were 17 presenters and not a dud in the group.”
 
Crain traveled to other entrepreneurial hubs around the country to research “investment summits,” or pitch events geared toward attracting investors. ProtoTech: Invest, was the first event of its kind in the state, Crain says. “No one is really doing it in Ohio, statewide,” he says. “Great entrepreneurial regions do these all the time.”
 
In fact, Crain says he will consider hosting ProtoTech: Invest a couple of times a year, based on feedback he heard from investors in attendance. “There are lots of great opportunities, lot of great companies, but we need more money in the region,” he says. “I would tell the investors, when we do this next time, call all your friends on the coasts.”
 
While investors on the East and West coasts have started to take notice of Cleveland’s entrepreneurial scene. “I do think it’s changing,” Crain says. “The coasts have a much more developed ecosystem out there.”
 
But Crain enjoyed hearing about the progress of many of the startups presenting on Thursday, such as Rick Pollack’s 3-D printer manufacturer MakerGear. “I know Rick, but I never realized they are the number-one rated company on Amazon,” Crain says. “They’re asking for money to fund their growth. It’s fun to hear how much they’ve grown. There’s a breadth of opportunity here, from life sciences to products.”

Ryan Harmon's eye for design set him on a career path early in life

On Ryan Harmon’s 16th birthday, his dad was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. “There was nothing they could do,” he recalls of getting the news. “He looked at alternate medical treatments in Europe and we said, ‘let’s throw a party. It may be his last party.’”

Not exactly the party Harmon was hoping for, but he and his family went ahead with planning a fundraiser to raise awareness of the importance of screening for prostate cancer. Harmon contacted a friend at a local radio station and began planning the event.
 
“Over 500 people attended and someone said “wow, you’re really good at this,’” recalls Harmon. “They said, ‘I’d like to hire you when you turn 18.’” That comment launched Harmon on a successful career path in event planning. Now 22, Ryan Harmon Design has earned a reputation for putting on some the most beautiful events in Cleveland.
 
At 18, in 2010, Harmon organized the Downtown Cleveland Alliance’s Sparx City Hop. For the next two years he landed clients doing “logistical events – things where you’re not being too creative.” Then last year a friend asked Harmon to plan his wedding.
 
After the wedding, things took off for Harmon. Now he does everything from flower arranging for dinner parties to golf outings and weddings. “I still love logistical events, I enjoy them,” he says. “I see people leave logistical events or technical events, and in that moment you realize, wow I’ve made such an impact.”
 
Harmon says he’s sometimes frustrated that he’s not taken more seriously because he’s so young. “The hardest thing when I started this, from 16 to 18 I wasn’t focused. When I turned 18 I was thrown into this. A lot of people in the industry are older – 30s, 40s, 50s – and I look a lot younger than I actually am.”
 
But Harmon uses his age to his advantage, keeping an eye on the trends and coming up with new ideas in events. “It’s nice to bring a fresh, new creative eye,” he says. “In Cleveland, when so many things are done over and over, my biggest accomplishment so far is getting respect from the industry.”
 
Harmon prefers events where he has complete control. “My favorite clients are the ones who say ‘here’s my budget, here’s kind of what I want.” He says. “When they say, ‘you take the ropes.’” In the five years since Ryan Harmon Design started, Harmon has done weddings, parties, concerts and fundraisers all over town.
 
Event planning is not a job to Harmon, and he says he’s looking forward to all of the upcoming potential parties around things like the Republican National Convention  in the Cleveland area. “When I do an event, it’s not about getting recognized,” he says. “I thoroughly enjoy what I do. I don’t consider it work. It’s like one big vacation.”
 
Ryan Harmon Designs is based out of the Offices at the Agora.

In the 216 shop celebrates grand opening in Coventry Village

 Last summer, Jenny Bendis Goe, artist and owner of Jewelry by Jenny, was touring Coventry with Angie Hetrick, director of the Coventry Village Special Improvement District. Goe, who has lived in the area for her entire life, was heartbroken by the amount of vacant shops at the top of the hill.

So, Goe made it her mission to transform the vacancies to thriving storefronts, starting with her own. She contacted landlord Lewis Zipkin in August, and after some persistence and a business plan, Zipkin agreed to lease Goe former Phoenix Coffee space.  
 
In January Goe opened In the 216, a store that features not only Goe’s artwork but the word of nearly 60 other local artists.
 
Last Thursday, May 28, Goe officially held a grand opening for In the 216 – offering more than 200 guests food, drinks and a look at some of the works for sale at the store.  “There are 58 small businesses represented here,” says Goe. “I have works from $2 to $3,000.”
 
Goe decided to postpone the grand opening until she had her bearings and the weather improved. “It was a little nerve wracking when we first opened up, but all of the Coventry veterans are right, it’s gotten increasingly better,” she says. “I feel like Coventry is just the perfect place for this. Business has doubled, if not tripled since we first opened.”
 
Bodega Coventry next door served food at the grand opening, and encouraged guests to come have a drink on the patio, while burlesque star Bella Sin welcomed people on the street. The event was a success, with both familiar faces and strangers in attendance. “It was fantastic, it was wonderful,” Goe says.
 
In addition to her husband, Steve, Goe has two of the artists helping her out in the store, and just had two high school seniors interested in pursuing art perform their senior projects at In the 216.
 
Now Goe is moving ahead with the next part of her vision for the empty space on Coventry. “I’d really like to see exhibits in the [former] Strickland’s Custard space,” she says. “Not just for artists. I hope anything we do will encourage businesses to open in the empty spaces.”  Goe has a few artists in mind who would like to exhibit in the space. She is talking to Zipkin about her plans to implement exhibits or studios in the area.

National experts to discuss concussions at upcoming symposium

The issue of concussions among both professional and student athletes is a hot topic these days. But repetitive brain injuries – how to detect, prevent and treat concussions – are also a concern among people in virtually every walk of life.

So on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 23 and 24, national scientists, engineers, clinicians and researchers will gather at the Global Center for Health Innovation to brainstorm and share their ideas at Concussion: A National Challenge.
 
The event, ,sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C., Case Western Reserve UniversityMetroHealth and Taipei Medical University, among others, will focus on medical advances in concussion detection, prevention and treatment in areas such as athletics, auto accidents and military personnel.
 
“This is bringing people together who don’t normally attend the same meetings for a frank discussion of what we need to do,” says Jay Alberts, director of the Cleveland Clinic Concussion Center and one of the event’s speakers. “It’s unique to have people from the automotive industry, sports and military. All of these groups are concerned about concussions and mild to moderate brain injury. We will take the best practices from each group to address what the fundamental practices are.”
 
The public is invited to join the discussions and presentations. “You don’t have to be a trained specialist or an engineer to be a part of the talks,” stresses Alberts. “Parents and coaches are encouraged to attend. They will ask questions that will force people on the panel and the speakers to think about it differently. It’s always important to get the patient perspective to understand the fundamental problems and the questions that need to be answered.”
 
 
The symposium is free, but registration is required. 
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