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Spotlight: reality show illuminates Gordon Square, CLE's 'movers and makers'

Cleveland's maker economy constitutes a growing community of creators whose work is only limited by their imaginations — or perhaps the size of a screen. Here on the north coast, designer Susie Frazier helped bring maker dreams into locals' homes courtesy of a new reality-based television show.
 
"Movers & Makers with Susie Frazier," which launched March 25 on WKYC-Channel 3, illuminates local independent inventors and tinkerers with Frazier as the host. For the pilot, the 20-year design veteran and her team chose the Edison apartments in the Gordon Square arts district, developing furniture and art for a two-bedroom model suite.

View the trailer for last week's pilot:


 
Frazier worked with a local team of artists and designers to execute the project. Featured players in the 30-minute premiere were metal fabricator Alex Loos, wood craftsman Freddy Hill, woodworker Kurt Ballash, and artist/curator Hilary Gent of the HEDGE Gallery inside 78th Street Studios.
 
"The show is about my life as a designer and projects that come my way," says Frazier. "There's a synchronized process of working with the cluster of makers here, and that's what we're trying to highlight."
 
Although it aired last week, Frazier has posted the full pilot on her YouTube channel. The idea for the show germinated late last year after Frazier contracted the Edison gig. Her Los Angeles-based management firm pushed "Movers and Makers" as a vehicle for her work in creating home accessories, furniture and fine art using cast-off materials from the construction industry.
 
Filming took place in Frazier's 78th Street Studios space and in Gordon Square in late February and early March. Revealing the nuts-and-bolts progress of a complicated project is something unique to the reality design genre, she says.
 
"We're excited to share what we do and how we do it," says Frazier. "There are lots of 'before-and-after' design shows, but I'm excited to showcase the process."
 
"Movers & Makers" can be a beacon for a maker movement with approximately 135 million adherents across the U.S.," the budding TV host adds. 
 
"People want to be more resourceful and do something with their hands," Frazier says. "The show can be a model for people to get out there and do it. I have no formal training — I learned by doing like so many others."
 
Meanwhile, maker spaces represent a culture shift in how new startups are created. Cleveland's long history of mass production is transitioning into hyper-local manufacturing that emphasizes exciting technologies such as 3D printing.
 
Frazier is pleased to shine a spotlight on that ongoing evolution. While WKYC is not committed to carrying the program forward as a full series, Frazier's producers are set to pitch the show, which is in development as a nine-episode series, to various cable networks.
 
"There's so many directions we can go," Frazier says. "We want to have makers in every episode, and highlight other trades and crafts." 

Making organic dough 'feels good' to Cleveland food entrepreneur

Pizza, calzones, empanadas and pot pies are all delicious, there's no debate to be had on that. However, thanks to the efforts of a Cleveland-area food entrepreneur, those flavorful goodies are now healthier, too.
 
Terry Thomsen, founder of Frickaccio’s Pizza Market in Fairview Park and the West Side Market - where their pizza bagels have been a staple for more than 30 years - launched Feel Good Dough in January. Thomsen's new venture is a line of USDA-certified organic frozen dough balls, which their proprietor says are vegan-friendly and GMO-free. The all-purpose dough, made in a 3,000-square-foot production and retail space in Fairview, can be used for both dinner and dessert recipes.
 
"It's good for pizza, dinner rolls, or anything else that's 100 percent clean without GMOs or pesticides," says Thomsen.
 
Though Thomsen previously trucked in organic artisan breads and dough balls, her latest enterprise is a good option for people with food allergies or difficulty digesting gluten. Feel Good Dough recently partnered with Milwaukee-based Red Star Yeast to utilize the company's 100 percent organic yeast, a move Thomsen says will keep her treats pure.
 
Terry Thomsen"I insisted on 100 percent organic including the yeast," she says. "This is not a common practice for many manufacturers, which are just 'made with' (organic ingredients) or 90 percent clean. We chose not to be like the rest."
 
Thomsen, a Lakewood resident, exhibited her homemade dough last month at the Fancy Food Show in New York. Upcoming is Expo East in Baltimore, where she will display Feel Good Dough for potential distributors.
 
Consumers can find the frozen dough balls today in 12 states. Locally, Heinen's, Whole Foods, Mustard Seed and other local markets carry the product, with Kroger's and Giant Eagle serving as future potential landing spots.
 
Thomsen initially test-marketed the dough out of her West Side Market location. After getting picked up by Heinen's, she tweaked the recipe to withstand additional heat for grilling and baking. Clean ingredients aren't cheap - Feel Good  Dough's suggested retail price is $5.99 - but healthy eating is worth the price, the business owner says.
 
"It's about being a grandmother and making something for families," Thomsen says. "Knowing people are eating it without stomach issues makes me feel good."

Socially minded landscaping firm gives struggling Clevelanders a second chance

Rich Alvarez is a firm believer in second chances, an outlook shaped by 15 years in the police force and a firearms accident that nearly killed him.
 
Alvarez's experiences led him to create New Life Landscaping, a Northeast Ohio social enterprise that hires Greater Cleveland residents facing barriers to employment. New Life services include weekly landscaping maintenance, weed removal and installation of patios and decks. The ultimate goal is to train employees for franchise ownership, with newly minted entrepreneurs eventually hiring others in similarly challenged situations.
 
"When people are given a second chance, they really appreciate the opportunity," says Alvarez, a North Olmstead resident.
 
New Life currently has two employees and is seeking seasonal help for the summer. While some new hires may come from Craig's List, Alvarez is hoping to find workers through local ministries as well as nonprofits like Oriana House, a Cleveland area chemical dependency treatment center and community corrections agency.
 
Every New Life employee has a background that would likely make them unemployable elsewhere, Alvarez says. Ex-offenders, military veterans and destitute individuals are all job candidates at the landscaping company.
 
Alvarez, 46, met his share of underserved offenders during a long police career in Lakewood and with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA).   
 
"I noticed the same people coming back over and over," he says. "They'd say they couldn't find a job. It was easier to for them to spend time in jail where they'd get fed and have a roof over their heads."
 
A near-death experience involving an accidentally discharged firearm further pushed the ex-policeman into social entrepreneurship. Alvarez, who ran his own landscaping business while with the force, and his partner came up with the idea in 2014 when both were volunteering for a prison ministry. 
 
Now that New Life is off the ground, the next step is finding a qualified franchisee. New Life will front $30,000 to launch a prospective business, with the franchisee paying back the initial investment over time. New Life's model is based on ventures like Columbus-based Clean Turn, which trains the formerly incarcerated in an array of supportive services.
 
Alvarez aims to create employment opportunities for those who will eventually populate a growing and skilled workforce. It's a goal he think fits well in Cleveland.
 
"There's lots of parallels between the city of Cleveland and people here who are facing barriers," says Alvarez. "This is a Rust Belt town on the rebound that's reinventing itself. We're giving people left behind by society a chance to rebuild themselves as well." 

Nonprofit tackles LGBTQ teen bullying

"That's so gay" is a phrase common in most high-school settings, says Liz O’Donnell, co-founder of Dare2Care, a Cleveland nonprofit aiming to create a harassment-free environment for lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-questioning (LGBTQ) students.

The slur's casual nature, often used alongside words like "fag" or "dyke," typifies the many insidious ways LGTBQ students are bullied, says O'Donnell. According to the Human Rights Campaign, nine out of 10 students who identify as LGTBQ experience harassment and nearly two-thirds feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation.

Dare2Care is shedding light on what group officials believe is a hidden issue by training students as anti-bullying ambassadors. The goal is to inspire these young people to create communities free of harassment and intimidation.

"(LGBTQ) is often a taboo topic among school administrators," says O'Donnell, a mental health professional who launched the organization in 2011 with co-founder Don Wismer. "But students who attempt suicide are far more likely to identify as LGBTQ, or are perceived by their peers that way."

The nonprofit will endeavor to educate Greater Cleveland high school students on the importance of leadership and diversity through a free workshop on March 11 at St. Edward's High School. The workshop, held in partnership with the Global Youth Leadership Institute, will address color, culture and class, with participants encouraged to share their personal stories. About 90 students are expected to attend the program, along with 17 faculty members from representative private and public schools.

"We wanted to invite different schools that normally wouldn’t interact with one another,” says O'Donnell. "In that space, we'll already be creating a level of diversity that requires students to think differently."

Ideally, attendees will leave with an understanding of their personal identities, while recognizing their fellow students without the crutch of harmful stereotypes. The event, the second such program offered by Dare2Care, is reaching people at that critical stage of development where identity is being shaped, O'Donnell says. Those emerging from the workshop, meanwhile, will ostensibly have the tools to confront bullying in a non-punitive manner.

"Kids should be able to understand the impacts their words can have," says O'Donnell. "It's more than anti-bullying: We want to give students skills that allow them to make broader decisions in the larger world." 

Cleveland Tango School embraces the city with Argentinean flair

It may take two to tango, but it also takes two to run a promising dance company. For Micaela Barrett and Alberto Cordero, owners of the Cleveland Tango School, settling in Cleveland early last year warranted much more than picking a location to host dance lessons. It was about creating a community.
 
“There’s definitely an untapped market here,” Barrett says. “There’s definitely an amazing opportunity for tango – especially for a younger generation.”
 
The Barrett-Cordero duo officially set up shop last March in the Canopy Collective, where they began teaching authentic Argentine tango lessons. In February, they found a permanent home at Vision Yoga, 1861 West 25th Street in Ohio City – a location they feel comfortable in because of its close proximity to other arts communities like Gordon Square.
 
Coming from New York City, the couple says that after a year in Cleveland teaching and hosting tango get-togethers, known as milongas, they are confident their new digs are ripe for a developing tango scene.

Although the Cleveland Tango School has only been around for a year, Cordero and Barret are eager to contribute to an already-exuberant community of Cleveland tango enthusiasts that has existed for about 13 years. The dedicated Cleveland dancer can find a milonga happening nightly, from Lakewood to Brooklyn Heights, which makes Cleveland the city in Ohio for tango aficionados.
 
Viva Dance Studio on E. 38th Street hosts its Milonga Nueva twice a month, and Mahall’s Cleveland Tango Bowling Marathon in Lakewood sees on average, 130 people at the weekend-long dance-a-thons. To add to the mix, Cordero and Barrett encourage what’s natural for them as tango experts: to harness the dance’s communal bond via weekend getaways to Detroit milongas with students or just relaxing over drinks after a local session.
 
Cordero and Barrett, who’ve been together after serendipitously meeting in a master class three years ago, were set for a change from the New York scene after a trip to Argentina in early 2014. So the two decided to relocate to a city with “fertile ground” for their own company.
 
After some research, and noticing the rising popularity of established schools in Northeast Ohio, Cordero, a former Puerto Rican radio journalist who later taught dance at Hunter College in New York, and Barrett, a lifelong milonga-hopping New Yorker, had found their spot.
 
“We wanted to put Cleveland tango on the map,” Cordero says. “There are cities around the United States, New York or Chicago, let’s say, where it’s considered a pedigree to be a tango dancer from that city. Our goal is to make Cleveland one of those centers.”
 
Fit for beginners or experienced dancers, Cleveland Tango caters to the novice as well as the aficionado. With three to four classes taught weekly, from Tango 101 to Wednesday late-night practices, Cordero and Barrett lead about a dozen students through hour-long instruction on everything from musicality and turning patterns to mastering the close embraces Argentine tango is known for. “Intimate” is a suitable descriptor for Cleveland Tango. 

"If you're here," Barrett says, "then you're going to be dancing."

Learned from his studies of Buenos Aires tango masters such as the legendary Horacio “El Pebete” Godoy or Mariano “Chicho” Frumboly, Cordero peppers his lessons with anecdotes of tango’s lusty history. These cultural tips are “coming from people,” he says, “who very much lived and breathed the dance.”
 
He and Barrett are confident that novices, with even just Tango 101 under their shoes, will be set to hit the milongas in about a month. Why wait any longer?

“We like to say we teach a lot of ‘self-defense dancing’ for that reason,” Barrett jokes, “meaning that we want to make it easy for people to go out really quick and dance. That’s just the fun of it.”

As Cordero and Barrett adjust to their new space on W. 25th, the two say they look forward to weaving in with Ohio City’s evolving art scene. As their class sizes increase with the incoming demand (they’ve booked two world-renowned dancers from Buenos Aires for a special class because of it), the two are taken aback how much community they’ve created thus far.
 
“To see a man in a suit go out next to a young cat in a full beard with tattoos up and down his arms is incredible to me,” Cordero said. “That confluence of worlds is just amazing – that people are dancing together.”

Millennials are flocking to Cleveland, report shows, but city must prepare for the future

Cleveland ranks eighth in the country for population growth among college-educated millennials, a report commissioned by the Cleveland Foundation shows, but officials say the city has to make sure the city continues to make Cleveland an attractive place to this generation going forward.
 
The study, “The Fifth Migration: A Study of Cleveland Millennials,” was done by the Center for Population Dynamics at Cleveland State University and shows that downtown Cleveland saw a 76 percent increase in residents ages 25 to 34 since 2000. The term “fifth migration” refers to the re-urbanization of metro areas.
 
Additionally, the study shows a higher concentration of millennial residents overall in Cleveland, regardless of education. In 2013, 24 percent of Greater Cleveland’s population was comprised of millennials ages 18 to 34, up from 20 percent in 2006. The report notes that Cleveland ranks eighth, tied with Seattle and Miami, for its millennial growth from 2011 to 2013 and for those with advanced degrees.
 
But just because millennials are choosing to settle in Cleveland – 63 percent of the downtown population were millennials in 2012 – does not mean city planners can relax.
 
“This fifth migration, the force of the millennial generation in the United States, is real and powerful,” says Lillian Kuri, program director for arts and urban design at the Cleveland Foundation. “This study makes it clear that we have to start planning. All of the things they’re interested in are different than the fourth migration, or baby boomers. We have to attract them.”
 
Millennials are moving here from places like Brooklyn because of the low cost of living and job opportunities, Kuri says, but officials need to ensure that the opportunities continue.
 
“We need to continue to do that,” she stresses. “There are policy changes we need to think about. This generation finds it easier to work out of the house. We need to not just allow that, but encourage people to start their own home businesses.”
 
Kuri stresses that this is just the beginning of the fifth migration, and Cleveland needs to keep up with the millennial population if it is to continue to attract this generation. “All of the things they are interested in, we have to attract them,” Kuri explains.
 
For instance, this generation demands a variety of transportation options. “Transportation is important,” says Kuri. “Millennials want multiple forms of transportation. They’re okay with having one car and sharing the car. We need to have choices of transportation and be robust in it moving forward.”
 
While the numbers show that well educated millennials are moving to the city, officials need to maintain a diverse population and create an urban environment that attracts all ethnicities, races and education levels. “We have to think about diversity,” she says. “How do we keep millennials here who don’t have college degrees? We have to think about leveraging technology education and creating jobs for these people.”
 
Housing is another factor. Kuri says millennials are marrying later and therefore enjoy the array of rental housing now available downtown and around University Circle. But they may eventually want to buy homes.
 
“How do we create the next generation of products?” Kuri asks. “We don’t think they’re just going to move to the suburbs. Eventually millennials will want to buy [homes].”
 
Kuri cites Lakewood, which has a high millennial population, as an example of a city that’s doing things right -- with a good mix of both rentals and homes for sale.
 
“Lakewood has the highest concentration of millennials, both college and non-college educated,” she explains. “One should understand what’s going on in Lakewood. Their focus on housing there is really interesting.”
 
Kuri stresses that Cleveland has to harness this trend to ensure a prospering city in the future. “The millennial generation is such a large percentage of the population that is emerging as a force in the city,” she says. If we don’t continue this trend we’re not going to see any growth in this region. The question is, who’s going to do it best, who’s going to make it sustainable. If we don’t have good product, they will go to another city.”

Cleveland Coffee and Dellavedova create a buzz with a new blend

Just in time for Australia Day today, Tuesday, Jan. 26, Cleveland Coffee Company yesterday introduced a new coffee blend in honor of Australian native and Cavs point guard Matthew “Delly” Dellavedova, called G’Day Mate.

Created by Delly himself, the blend is of Sumatra and Peruvian coffees – Sumatra, which borders Australia, and Peruvian, which is known for its velvety texture, create a rich aroma and bold flavor.
 
After going through the chain of command, Cleveland Coffee owner Brendan Walton first invited Delly to come to his roaster back in December, after taking note of the basketball player’s love for coffee during the NBA Playoffs.
 
“It seemed to be his beverage of preference before, and sometimes during, the game,” says Walton. “So I invited him to our warehouse to do coffee roasting 101, which was cool because he’d never seen it done before. He was very interested and asked a lot of questions, so we had him do one of the roasts.”
 
Walton says Delly, who drinks his coffee black, prefers a dark roast with bold flavor. So after tasting a few blends, Walton and Delly developed a suitable flavor profile in G’Day Mate.
 
Walton delivered the new blend to 40 area retailers yesterday. The G’Day Mate blend will be available through the end of June in stores, online and at Walton’s cafe in A.J. Rocco’s, 816 Huron Road.
 
Furthermore, Walton announced that Cleveland Coffee Company will donate 10 percent of the proceeds from G'Day Mate sales to All Faiths Pantry, a non-profit organization in Old Brooklyn that works with the Cleveland Food Bank to deliver groceries to seniors and other people with limited mobility.
 
“I think it will go over well, and Delly was very receptive to that,” says Walton. “[Executive director] John [Visnauskas], he’s a good soul working to help people out. I’m sure it will sell.”
 
The Cavs played their first "Australia Day" game last night against the Minnesota Timberwolves and wore their gold uniforms to honor Australia’s colors, gold and green. The Cavs won, 114-107.

TechPint marks 10th networking with beer event at Agora Thursday

When Paul McAvinchey launched TechPint back in June 2013, he was simply looking for a forum where entrepreneurs could  casually share ideas over a beer.

He called his first event a mini-tech conference in a bar with pints. Ten events later, TechPint has evolved into a popular and regular event in both Cleveland and Akron, hosting startup summits, winter jams, and even paired up with Flashstarts for a pitch competition.

“It’s only been two-and-a-half years, but I personally have learned so much and met so many people,” says McAvinchey, adding that more than 1,000 people have attended TechPint events since the first one. “We started with a bang when nearly 200 attended our first event in 2013 but that number kept growing.”
 
This Thursday, Dec. 3, TechPint will mark its 10th event with a combined Winter Summit and regular TechPint event at the Agora.

TechPint speakers: Jess Erickson, Director of Diversity at 500 Startups, Emily Baum, Founder of Keyrious and Kim Gardner, Former Agile PM at New York Times and Founder of Pigeon.io
 
The day will begin at 1 p.m. with the Winter Summit – a tech conference with speakers and time to connect with other business founders from across the region – followed by a regular TechPint, complete with JumpStart’s Demo Pit of startups, Flashstarts Pitcher Night, and speakers Ed BucholzCEO and founder of ExpenseBot, and Morris Wheeler, founder of Drummond Road Capital.
 
This time around, McAvinchey says he wanted to highlight successful women who know the startup industry. He says he has found it difficult in the past to find female speakers. Thursday, three of the six scheduled speakers are women – including Jess Erickson, director of diversity at 500 Startups; Emily Baum, founder of Keyrious; and Kim Gardner, founder of Pigeon.io.
 
“All three are great examples of high caliber females not just participating, but succeeding in tech,” says McAvinchey. “It's refreshing to hear from such impressive people in startups, never mind the fact that they happen to be women.”
 
Other speakers include Guy Turner, managing director at Hyde Park Venture Partners; John Knific, founder and CEO at DecisionDesk; and Nick Solaro, former Google android business development executive and partner at Drive Capital.
 
At 5:30 p.m., the beer starts flowing and the doors open to TechPint.
 
Tickets to both the Winter Summit and TechPint are $75, while tickets to just TechPint are $20. Discounts are available on the TechPint website.

Artist Gina DeSantis puts a new spin on showcasing her work

As much as she likes to show off her ceramics, artist Gina DeSantis wanted a new way to highlight the works she creates in her studio at the Screw Factory in Lakewood. “I hate showing my work in galleries,” she declares. “It just sits on a white pedestal and it’s like, ‘oh look, a mug.’”

Then DeSantis started thinking about the whole farm-to-table movement, and the practice of sourcing food locally. She thought, why can’t that practice apply to the plates people use to eat their local food?
 
So DeSantis contacted her friend Jillian Davis, owner of Toast restaurant, about a showing her work in the restaurant. Davis loved the idea, and with that Kiln to Table: An evening of fine craft and fine dining was born.
 
DeSantis designed 50 three-piece place settings – a salad plate, a dinner plate and a soup bowl – for the restaurant. Diners have the option to buy their place settings after dinner (the setting will be cleaned and packed up for pick up on Friday). Of course, guests are not obligated to buy their settings.
 
"I came up with rustic, simple dinnerware for Toast,” DeSantis says. “It accentuates the food and doesn’t distract from it.”
 
Kiln to Table is a one-night exhibit. But DeSantis would like to see restaurant shows become a regular thing. “It’s one night only, but hopefully it will be more,” she says. “I might get other artists involved and we’ll hop around the city. “
 
DeSantis adds that she wants to continue the trend of buying locally. “There’s this frenzy for everything local,” she says. “We’re growing and sourcing everything locally and then throw it on a 50-cent Ikea plate.”
 
She encourages people to take the trend a step further and buy their dinnerware locally as well.  We’re so concerned about sourcing everything local, but we get from A to Y,” DeSantis explains. “It may be more costly, but if you’re really concerned about sourcing local, it’s worth it.”
 
 Kiln to Table is scheduled for Thursday, November 5 from 4:30 pm to 11 pm. Reservations are recommended.

Who's Hiring in CLE: IBM UrbanCode, NewBridge 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.
 
IBM UrbanCode
Companies around the world in the gaming, retail, banking and technology fields have turned to IBM UrbanCode for help in supporting their DevOps needs. A leader in its field with headquarters in Cleveland, IBM UrbanCode continues to save its customers money with automation tools that enable organizations to deliver software to production faster while reducing errors.

“Organizations are finding that they can save money and increase customer satisfaction by simplifying and speeding up their entire software development and delivery process by using IBM UrbanCode software,” says Tracy Gavlak, IBM UrbanCode’s business operations specialist.
 
UrbanCode was acquired by IBM in 2013 but they still have a start-up vibe. “The Cleveland office is great because we have retained a startup feel,” explains Gavlak. “It's a professional yet relaxed atmosphere in a bright and fresh office space just a block from Playhouse Square.”

To keep up with demand for its software, IBM UrbanCode is looking to fill 23 positions on its software development team. The developers will code new features, do bug fixes and perform integrations with software development lifecycle tools. Qualified candidates may even help develop new products as they design, test, research and review existing code.
 
Open positions include senior Java software developer; software development manager, software tester and a business development representative. Qualified candidates should have a computer science degree or equivalent, Java coding experience, be a self-motivated strategic thinker with an analytic and problem solving skills and a passion for writing code. Register and apply online on IBM UrbanCode’s careers page.
 
C.TRAC
C.TRAC, marketing solutions provider specializing in interactive marketing, database management and related support services, is looking for a development lead to develop and deliver solutions that answer client needs using salesforce marketing cloud and related interactive capabilities. Experience managing projects from whiteboard to delivery is critical. This person will lead the development team and collaborate with account service and technical solutions teams. To apply, please send resumes to the hiring manager.
 
NewBridge
NewBridge, an arts and technology vocational training center for youth and adults, has four open positions, including a chief program officer/director of student experience, a student employment specialist, a student recruitment specialist and an administrative assistant. Email resume, cover letter and NewBridge application form to the hiring manager.
 
NLDP
The Neighborhood Leadership Development Program (NLDP), which is dedicated to enhancing the leadership abilities of engaged Clevelanders who are committed to creating a city and region which works for everyone, is looking for a graduate support manager to provide support and resources to NLDP graduates to enhance the development of their leadership skills and expand networking opportunities to create positive change in Cleveland. The manager will develop and maintain a broad based multi-faceted graduate support program using a variety of strategies. For questions or to apply, send resume and cover letter to Yuolanda Murray by Friday, September 25.
 
Terves
Terves, Inc., a materials science company producing engineered composites used in the oil and natural gas well completions and defense industries, has a variety of open positions, including an executive assistant to provide support to the COO and a project manager to manage all aspects of product development projects from feasibility to pilot scale production. To apply, email resume to the hiring manager.
 
OnShift
OnShift, a provider of staffing solutions software for long-term care and senior living facilities, currently has 15 open positions, including front end and back end software developers and a marketing communications manager.   Click here to create a profile and submit an application.
 
Complion
Complion, an early stage software company whose cloud-based software stores critical clinical trial documentation for hospitals and medical centers, needs a director of marketing, a software product manager, an inside sales executive and a software developer. Email resumes to Rick Arlow  
 
SplashLink
SplashLink, an online resource for the water industry focused on connecting water challenges all over the world with expertise, solutions and the tools to manage projects from conception to deployment, needs collaborative and internet-savvy associates to provide research, data-entry and related support to assess water industry information and input applicable content; and identify and capture pertinent contact information to aid SplashLink’s sales team. Send cover letter and resume to Michele Kilroy by Thursday, October 8.  
 
Software Answers
Software Answers, which helps improve the learning of K-12 students through its software suite, ProgressBook, needs a technical support analyst to provide technical support to customers. Candidate must have knowledge of SQL and Microsoft Office applications and have one year of customer service experience. Email resume to the hiring manager.
 
Jakprints
Jakprints, a custom printer, needs a designer and two production operators. Email resumes to the hiring manager.

Unique urban cycling event returns for a second year

Thousands of cyclists and bike enthusiasts will descend on Cleveland from September 11th-13th for the second annual NEOCycle, an urban cycling festival that offers races, rides, concerts and other events.

The event is the first and only urban cycling festival in the country, according to the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, the organizer behind the event. “We wanted to create a cycling festival that brought different races and rides together,” explains communications manager Nick VanDemark.  “It was incredibly successful in our first year – we went way past the goals we set. There’s a lot of positive momentum around the cycling community and infrastructure in town.”
 
Last year almost 2,700 people registered for five different race events and 10,000 came to Edgewater Park for the live music. This year, organizers are hoping to register 4,000 cyclists.
 
The center of activity takes place at the event's Hub at Edgewater Park. Two stages will feature 25 bands over the course of the weekend and there will be food trucks, vendors, activities and a beer garden with four craft breweries. Admission to the Hub is free.
 
This year, VanDemark says organizers hope to grow the event even more. Competitive races include the Velodrome – high speed track racing -- on Friday, September 11th at the Cleveland Velodrome, and the Cyclocross, in which riders will navigate the crowds and other obstacles in a race around Edgewater Park, on Saturday, September 12th.

The Fundo, an un-timed ride for cyclists of all ages and ability levels, will take place on Sunday, September 13th. Proceeds from the Fundo go to Bike Cleveland, an organization dedicated to making the streets safer for biking and walking. The Criterium, also on Sunday, is a fast-paced race in partnership with Case Cycling that will travel through closed city streets in Battery Park.
 
“It’s a great collaborative event for a lot of people in cycling,” says VanDemark of the races.
 
The signature biking event is the Night Ride. The event takes place Saturday evening and offers spectacular views of the Cleveland skyline and Lake Erie as more than 2,000 cyclists ride down the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway in costume and glow lights. “It’s an eight-and-a-half mile course that anyone can do,” says VanDemark. “It’s an awesome visual scene to see thousands of bikes whizzing through downtown on the Shoreway.”
 
For those more inclined to hit the lake, NEOCycle has teamed up with Nalu Standup Paddle and Surf for standup paddleboard races, lessons and demos throughout the weekend. There are two mile and four mile races, plus a one mile kids’ race on Saturday, and a three-quarter mile buoy race on Sunday.
 
Registration is required for all of the NEOCycle races.
 
Even if biking is not your thing, there's plenty to do at NEOCycle, says VanDemark. “There are a couple of ways to get involved, even if you’re not a biker. There’s something there for just about anyone, whether you’re a cyclist or not.”

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 to 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 Cimperman declared June 20 as World Refugee Day on behalf of the Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. 

RapChat allows users to share their raps with friends

One day in 2013 while on spring break from their junior year at Ohio University, Seth Miller and three of his friends were killing time in the car on their way to Florida. “My buddy and I were freestyling on the way down to spring break,” he recalls. “It was pretty terrible, but they were hilarious. I knew people would enjoy doing it.”
 
Miller, now 22, then spent the next two years developing his app concept – pick from a curated rap beat, freestyle over it and send it to friends in a one-minute message. The Lakewood resident presented RapChat at Startup Weekend Athens and won $1,000. Miller officially launched RapChat for iPhones in June 2014.

The app targets 16-24 year olds and spans gender and racial lines. RapChat is available for free download in the iTunes App Store.
 
“In December, we ramped up and started going like crazy, like a rocket ship,” says Miller. Today, RapChat has already seen 410,000 downloads and 4 million raps sent in 2015. There’s no shortage of beats to choose from, either. “We haven’t had to do much recently,” Miller brags. “Producers submit beats and we pick out the best ones. We curate new beats once a week.”
 
The app features beats from more than 20 artists such as Cal Scruby and Matt Houston. The company has plans to add bigger producers as time goes on and also to release a beat by ASAP Ty Beats, a member of the ASAP Mob and producer of ASAP Rocky’s hits “Purple Swag” and “Peso.”
 
When the app hit 300,000 downloads last year, Miller decided to quit his job and focus on RapChat full time. The company now has 10 team members – all located throughout the Midwest. One of the other three original founders, Brandon Logan, is still with RapChat.

Right now, the company is not focusing on revenue. Miller takes freelance jobs to pay the bills. But he says they already have some "major brands" interested in partnering with RapChat when the time is right.

Pier W celebrates 50 years of superior seafood

Since 1965, Pier W in Lakewood has been a seafood destination for special occasions. On May 11th, the restaurant will mark its 50th anniversary and it seems there is no shortage of memories to be shared about the iconic dinner spot on Lake Erie.

“We’re 50 years and still going strong,” says general manager Mark Kawada. “We’re having some of the best years of the restaurant’s history and it’s great to be a part of it, and great to hear the stories.” Only a handful of area restaurants have the bragging rights to 50 years in business, he says.
 
Kawada recalls a man who recently came in for brunch and brought in a Polaroid photo of himself and his prom date from 30 years ago. “That happens all the time here,” he says.
 
Although the world has changed in 50 years, Pier W has kept up with the times while maintaining its commitment to fresh seafood in a beautiful setting. “Back then we didn’t have social media or a ton of websites that review you,” he says. “And people have a fascination with food now. When times were tough and most people pulled back, we didn’t pull back. We have to stay true to who we are and what we make.”
 
What they make is fish that is handled only seven times or less before cooking – the average restaurant serves seafood that has been handled an average of 100 times before it is served – by sourcing it from places like Copper River Salmon in Alaska or tuna over-nighted three times a week from Hawaii.
 
“We get fish in almost every day and when we say we get all of our fish in whole, we get it quicker and we get it fresher,” Kawada explains. “We have a whole cooler with running water and we cut all of our own fish. It does make a difference.”
 
Executive chef Regan Reik is an expert in sustainable seafood, building relationships directly with the fishermen who fish responsibly. The same practices hold true for Pier W’s meat and chicken.
 
The commitment to quality is what has kept Pier W going for five decades. “How we evolved, even in slow times, is we’ll spend the time and money to do it right, because it’s the best,” Kawada says. The restaurant closed for a year about 10 years ago for a $4 million remodel.
 
Yes, a lot of practices have remained the same. “We have the same bouillabaisse recipe we made 50 years ago,” Kawada says. “A lot of things are old school, the same way we did it 50 years ago.”
 
Yet a new generation of regulars come to Pier W every day, as well as folks who have been coming for the past 50 years.

Local furniture designers gain national notice in Spike TV's 'Framework' finale

For the past 10 weeks, Northeast Ohio furniture designers Jason Radcliffe and Freddy Hill have competed against 12 other contestants on Spike TV’s furniture design-build reality competition “Framework.” The two made it all the way to the show’s finale. 
 
Ultimately, Hill placed second last night and Radcliffe placed third. Jory Brigham from San Luis Obispo, CA won the competition, taking home the $100,000 prize, $20,000 worth of tools from Ace Hardware and a chance to have a line of furniture with CB2.
 
Jason RadcliffeRadcliffe, owner of custom furniture design company 44 Steel and founder of the Cleveland furniture show The F*Sho, and Hill, owner of Freddy Hill Designs AKA the Bomb Factory Furniture in Lakewood, have known each other for years and have collaborated on projects together in Cleveland. The fact that they came together on “Framework,” and both made it to the finale, was a coincidence.
 
“Freddy and I work together all the time,” says Radcliffe. “He’s a great woodworker and I’m a great steel worker. Basically if he needed a steel item I did it for him and if I needed a wood item he did it for me.”
 
But the two each took different routes on the show. Radcliffe played the straight and narrow. Hill, however, earned a reputation for being a jerk. “I’m a real prick, but I’m not the person you see on the show,” says Hill. “I never criticized anyone’s character but I didn’t shy away from criticizing people’s work. It I thought it stunk, I told them. It really worked by the end, but it was a character. When they would call ‘cut’ I’d walk up and smack someone on the shoulder and say, ‘Hey, great job.’”
 
Both Hill and Radcliffe say the show was taxing. “It was grueling,” says Radcliffe. “We were running around, all stressed out, working against a clock and then you hurry up and wait. I was living on Red Bull and Coke. Halfway through, I thought, 'I’m done with this. I don’t care anymore.' I’d been married for two months and I wanted to go home.”
 
Freddy HillHill felt the same. "It was a miserable experience, to be honest,” he says. “You’re overworked, eating terrible food and stressed out. Two weeks into it, a piece of bone broke in my jaw and I had to have emergency surgery. I had won the first two, then plummeted to the bottom on the next three. It was not enjoyable. It was just hard.”
 
But dreams of putting Cleveland on the map for furniture design kept both Radcliffe and Hill going all the way to the finale. “One thing Cleveland does well is very honestly display industrial design,” explains Hill. “Environment is going to influence you to some degree. It’s a great time to be a designer in Cleveland.”
 
Now that the “Framework” is over, Radcliffe is busy promoting a Los Angeles version of his F*SHO, the LA*SHO, which will feature many of his competitors on the show, including Hill, and designers on HGTV’s “Ellen’s Design Challenge.”
 
Back in Cleveland, Radcliffe created the annual F*SHO to showcase up-and-coming fabricators, designers, companies and students in the area. “It’s bringing new light to what people are doing in Cleveland, bringing makers to light,” he explains. The location changes each year. “It’s always a random, obscure, usually abandoned building. It brings to light a space in need of a home. It brings to light the space of the building itself.”
 
Radcliffe held a finale watch party at Kenilworth Tavern in Lakewood. His work can be found around the region in places like Lola BistroTrentina and Lilly Chocolates. His furniture is for sale at New York’s ABC Carpet + Home, and online retailer Rypen. One of Radcliffe’s most popular pieces is the mouse desk, which Madonna purchased.

While Hill's work is mostly on commission, it can also  be purchased at Wine & Design in Tremont and Hazel Tree Interiors in Akron. He also has a handbag business and sells them at NOTO in Akron. Hill's work is featured in Tremont's Studio Le Beau and Akron's Nuevo restaurant. One of Radcliffe's and Hill's many collaborative efforts include the tables upstairs at the Ohio City Mitchell's Ice Cream.
 
Hill is also working on a project in California with Brigham. The two watched the finale together.
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