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AsiaTown/St. Clair Superior : Innovation + Job News

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Cleveland Neighborhood Progress awards $4.2M in grants with three-year initiative

Beginning in July, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP) will invest a total of $4.2 million in twelve community development corporations (CDCs) over the next three years. The Strategic Investment Initiative (SII) includes nine awards, three of which are collaborative efforts. The funding will have a direct impact on 16 Cleveland neighborhoods.

“These critical investments will help improve neighborhoods across the city," said Joel Ratner, CNP president and CEO in a statement. "We look forward to working with our grantees as they develop work plans and implement the strategies they presented to the committee."

The following grants will be administered annually through 2020:
Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization and Metro West Community Development Corporation, $220,000
Ohio City, Inc. and Tremont West Development Corporation, $215,000
Famicos Foundation, $200,000
Burten Bell Carr Development, $200,000
Northeast Shores Development Corporation, $140,000
Slavic Village Development, $125,000
St. Clair Superior Development Corporation and Collinwood Nottingham Villages Development Corporation, $100,000
Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation, $100,000
– Lee-Harvard Community Collaborative, $100,000
“We are also excited to invest in neighborhoods on the southeast side of Cleveland through our new capacity investment in the Lee-Harvard Community Partnership,” added Colleen Gilson, vice president of CDC Advancement for CNP. "This partnership is the result of a visioning and planning process supported by City of Cleveland Councilman Terrell Pruitt that will bring a dedicated community development entity into the neighborhood.”
CNP received a total of 14 proposals from a 23 CDCs for this competitive funding program. Senior staff reviewed proposals and recommended finalists to the organization’s SII Advisory Committee. Last month, that committee hosted two days of presentations during which the finalists highlighted the comprehensive community development goals and strategies they will employ during the 2017-2020 program cycle. CNP's board of directors’ final decision on funding was informed by the scoring process performed by the SII Advisory Committee.
“These selected CDCs will be taking on important work city-wide and we look forward to working with them as they implement community development strategies in their neighborhoods,” added Gilson of the SII recipients.
Over the past 10 years, CNP has committed more than $15 million to Cleveland CDCs via the SII program, funding for which is provided by the Cleveland Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, and Enterprise Community Partners.
Cleveland Neighborhood Progress is part of Fresh Water's underwriting support network.

Central-Kinsman resident advocates for 'Nature's Best Choices,' healthy community

Quiana Singleton believes you're never too old to learn a healthy way of eating, a fruitful lesson the Central-Kinsman resident was happy to impart upon a group of interested Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) seniors during a program of her own creation.
Called Nature's Best Choices, the February 1 event invited 16 seniors from CMHA's Outhwaite and King Kennedy communities to Asia Plaza, 2999 Payne Ave., for a day-long session on Asian culture and delicious new food possibilities. Fruits and vegetables were the focus of the trip, allowing participants to get their taste buds turned on to delicacies like star fruit, a juicy tropical fruit popular throughout Southeast Asia, the South Pacific and parts of East Asia.
"I wanted to open people up to another culture," says Singleton, a Cleveland community leader on tree-planting activities, gardening and healthy eating. "We picked out fruits and vegetables they've never tasted, seen or touched before."
Following the shopping excursion, the group visited CornUCopia Place, 7201 Kinsman Road, a community facility that provides nutritional education and cooking classes. There Chef Eric Wells prepared a fettuccini dish using ingredients from the seniors' healthy haul.
"Chef Wells mixed in another vegetable like a cabbage with the fettuccini," Singleton says. "It was an educational experience, because even though Asian fruits and vegetables look different from what we're used to, looks can be deceiving."
Elderly attendees also learned a new way to prepare their meals, notes Singleton.
"Older people use the same seasonings all the time," she says. "Asian stuff is organic, and they saw they could use olive oil instead of butter in their cooking."
Singleton secured a grant from nonprofit neighborhood development organization Burten, Bell, Carr (BBC) to fund the day out. The Cleveland native is continuously coming up with innovative ways to create a healthier community for her neighbors. Among her duties is serving as a neighborhood "climate ambassador," representing a group of concerned citizens aiming to combat the adverse effects of climate variability.
Nature's Best Choices is another means of teaching residents the value of a healthy lifestyle, Singleton says.
"I plant those seeds in people and water them, then let them teach others," she says. "If I can change one person's life, then I've done my job." 

Who's Hiring in CLE: Rick Case, Hyland Software, Cleveland Foundation...

Welcome to the latest edition of Fresh Water Cleveland's “who’s hiring” series, where we feature growing companies with open positions, what they’re looking for and how to apply. Please send your freshest job tips and postings to innovationnews@freshwatercleveland.com.
Rick Case Automotive Group
Rick Case Automotive Group is hosting a career fair on Wednesday, Feb. 8, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Rick Case Honda, 915 E. 200th St., in Euclid. Candidates can apply for product specialist and sales consultant jobs as well as dealership service advisor positions. For more information, call 216-416-6847 or visit the dealership website.
Cleveland Foundation
Cleveland Foundation is seeking a media relations officer to oversee external communications and support the chief marketing officer in providing counsel to the foundation team. Responsibilities include enhancement of the nonprofit's media outreach footprint. A minimum of eight to 10 years in media relations required. To apply, send resume and cover letter indicating salary requirements to resumes@clevefdn.org by February 19. Candidates selected for interview will be contacted on or around the week of February 27.
Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic is searching for an administrative program coordinator to identify operational improvement opportunities and coordinate policy implementation and evaluation. The successful candidate will work from the Clinic's Beachwood campus and is expected to lead multiple complex projects, assist with scheduling, and act as a liaison with committees, employees and vendors. Bachelor's degree in business administration, finance, communications, healthcare administration, or related field required. Apply through the company's career page

CBS Radio
Broadcast media company CBS Radio needs a full-time reporter for its in-house traffic team based in Cleveland. Duties include writing, editing and voicing traffic reports for broadcast on CBS Radio stations. Knowledge of broadcast area geography and transportation systems preferred. Apply through the company's website.
Hyland Software
Hyland is looking for a network and security engineer to perform general maintenance  and vulnerability assessments on its systems. Qualifications include experience as an IT security administrator, proficiency with Microsoft and Linux operating systems, and experience using various security tools. Apply through the company's website.
Rockwell Automation
Mayfield Heights industrial automation firm Rockwell Automation is hiring a senior-level mobile software engineer to develop large scale applications. Hires will work with software engineering areas such as SPA architectures, mobile platforms and test automation. Minimum four years of software development experience and a bachelor's degree in computer science or equivalent required. Apply through the company's website

Local startup unlocks the power of Amazon

Amazon.com is an unstoppable e-behemoth, ringing up nearly 40 percent of holiday web sales between Thanksgiving and the Monday after Turkey Day alone. As more consumer brands and general manufacturers harness the power of the online giant, a Cleveland startup is aiming to help them realize the powerful platform's nearly limitless potential.
Marketplace Strategy (MPS), housed in Tyler Village in Cleveland’s historic Tyler Elevator complex, is a five-person team of experienced digital marketers developing Amazon optimization programs for companies including Powerstep Insoles and Cyalume
Where other Amazon-specific agencies may focus on keywords and product page content, MPS takes what vice president of sales and marketing Jeff Walcoff calls an "end-to-end" approach. That means not only maximizing website visitors, but also creating a better user experience, increasing a business's presence on the platform, and optimizing company revenue.
MPS's work with Powerstep, in particular, demonstrated the Cleveland service's potential, Walcoff notes. The startup organized the shoe insert provider's sales listings while also fashioning back-end improvements. Powerstep's sales leapt significantly following the makeover.
"For us in digital marketing, unless you have some kind of software others don't, you have to offer something that makes you stand out," says Walcoff. "Growth with our clients has been across the board."
Walcoff and his colleagues developed the Amazon optimization program as part of a larger agency, but split off last year to launch MPS. 
"We saw potential to develop something unique; not just an SEO (search engine optimization) company," Walcoff says. "Right now we want to build a good foundation of clients. We've had conversations with local manufacturing companies big and small, and some national brands."
E-commerce will continue to grow, with Amazon leading the way, says the company official. According to a 2016 survey by BloomReach, 55 percent of consumers reported going directly to Amazon when searching for a product, nearly double those who cited search engines and other retailers.
MPS can be part of that evolution, considering that many companies—even larger ones—don't have much infrastructure around the Amazon platform.
"If you're selling something, Amazon is the epicenter of the internet," says Walcoff. "We love the companies in Cleveland and welcome the chance to work with them."  

2016 Vibrant City Award winners announced

Earlier this week Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP) honored the 2016 Vibrant City Award winners amid 600 guests gathered at the Cleveland Masonic Auditorium. The winners were chosen from a field of 21 finalists.
CNP president Joel Ratner honored Cleveland Metroparks with the first-ever Vibrant City Impact Award. The community partner was recognized for its role in managing the city’s lakefront parks, rejuvenating Rivergate Park and bringing back a water taxi service.
Ratner also bestowed the Morton L. Mandel Leadership in Community Development Award upon Joe Cimperman.
"Joe is a true champion of the city of Cleveland and Cleveland’s neighborhoods," said Ratner. "He truly is a visionary for making Cleveland a fair and equitable place to call home for all city residents."
Cimperman recently left Cleveland City Council after 19 years and is now the President of Global Cleveland.
The seven other Vibrant City Award winners include:
CDC Community Collaboration Award: Stockyards, Clark Fulton, Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office
La Placita – A Hispanic-themed open-air market providing business development opportunities to entrepreneurs and access to local goods and fresh foods for residents.
CDC Placemaking Award: University Circle Inc.
Wade Oval improvements - the main greenspace in the University Circle neighborhood received a musical themed amenity boost and became an even more attractive and comforting destination for residents and visitors.
CDC Economic Opportunity Award: Famicos Foundation
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program management – This organization has excelled in focusing on the financial well being of its residents and had a record-breaking year with its EITC work. 
CDC Neighborhood Branding & Marketing Award: St. Clair Superior Development Corp. & Campus District, Inc.
Night Market Cleveland  -  the two CDCs partnered and capitalized on past successes and momentum in the AsiaTown and Superior Arts District neighborhoods to create a new destination event that brought exposure to the neighborhood and appreciation for the diverse cultures that surround the area.
Corporate Partner Award: Dave’s Supermarkets
The local grocery chain stayed committed to Cleveland and provides a much-needed amenity to city residents, providing access to fresh food and produce and on-going constant community support.
Urban Developer Award: Case Development, Mike DeCesare 
A residential developer that has successfully completed development projects in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood and is actively pursuing new developments in other city neighborhoods
Civic Champion Award: Joseph Black, Central neighborhood
The Neighborhood Engagement Manager for the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland that possesses a passion to serve at-risk communities and has aided and mentored Cleveland’s children and families for years.

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress announces finalists for Vibrant City Awards

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP) has announced 21 finalists for its 2016 Vibrant City Awards. Winners will be revealed on May 2 at the second annual Vibrant City Awards Lunch, hosted by CNP and presented by Key Bank and Community Blight Solutions.
“We are proud to convene community partners and stakeholders to celebrate city neighborhoods. These leading efforts in neighborhood revitalization are what help us all create a vibrant city,” says Joel Ratner, president and CEO of CNP. “The organizations and individuals being honored have displayed tremendous passion, dedication and collaboration. We’re excited to recognize them for their successful efforts in community development.”
CNP received more than 70 nominations for this year's awards.
“The complete list of nominations tells an inspiring story of neighborhood transformation that is taking place in Cleveland," says Jeff Kipp, CNP's director of neighborhood marketing for the organization. "From community development corporations to corporate partners and everyone in between, there are amazing people performing incredible work in our neighborhoods.”
Additionally, CNP will present the Morton L. Mandel Leadership in Community Development Award and the first ever Vibrant City Impact Award at the May 2 luncheon. During the event, civic leaders, community development professionals, local developers, investors, realtors and passionate Clevelanders will gather to celebrate neighborhoods at the Cleveland Masonic Auditorium, 3615 Euclid Ave., an iconic structure located in Midtown on the RTA Healthline. A locally sourced meal catered by chef Chris Hodgson of Driftwood Catering will be served. This event is open to the public. More information and registration details are available online.
The 2016 Vibrant City Awards finalists include:
• CDC Community Collaboration Award
Ohio City Inc. – Station Hope
Held in May 2015, Station Hope, a collaboration of Ohio City, Inc., Cleveland Public Theatre, Saint John’s Episcopal Church and Councilman Joe Cimperman, was a free multi-arts event that celebrated the history of St. John’s Church, the triumphs of the Underground Railroad, and contemporary struggles for freedom and justice. Station Hope featured a diverse selection of theatre and performance ensembles, including more than 30 companies and 150 individual artists.

Slavic Village Development – Cleveland Orchestra at Home in Slavic Village
In spring 2015, The Cleveland Orchestra At Home in Slavic Village residency brought a world-class orchestra to the Broadway Slavic Village neighborhood. Partners included Slavic Village Development, the Cleveland Orchestra, Broadway School of Music and the Arts, the Broadway Boys and Girls Club, cultural organizations, and area churches and schools. In April, the orchestra performed a free public concert for an audience of 1,000 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. The residency continued throughout the year with a host of events.
Stockyards, Clark Fulton, Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office – La Placita
In 2015, the Stockyard, Clark Fulton and Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office partnered with the Hispanic Business Center and local businesses and entrepreneurs to launch La Placita, an open air market near the intersection of Clark Avenue and West 25th Street that featured 24 local vendors and cultural offerings for five Saturday events that attracted thousands. The events also served as an effective venue to showcase “La Villa Hispana,” which is home to a growing ethnic population in the City of Cleveland.
• CDC Placemaking Award
MidTown Cleveland – East 55th Street railroad bridge mural
The railroad bridge above the intersection of Euclid Avenue and East 55th Street has been transformed into a symbol of the innovation and emerging economy embodied in the MidTown neighborhood and the Health-Tech Corridor. The mural, designed by Twist Creative, Inc., includes a graphic of DNA molecules, and logos of MidTown Cleveland, the City of Cleveland, BioEnterprise and the Cleveland Foundation.

Slavic Village Development – Cycle of Arches
The Cycle of Arches installation evokes allusions to nature such as trees or grasses bending in the wind, while nodding to the industrial heritage of the community by representing the neighborhood's "steel roots" with its steel tube construction. Part of the $8 million Broadway Streetscape and Road Improvement Project, the installation is located at the intersection of E.49th Street and Broadway Avenue. Jonathan Kurtz, AIA, designed Cycle of Arches. Partners included Slavic Village Development, Land Studio and the City of Cleveland.
University Circle Inc. – Wade Oval improvements
University Circle Inc. recently invested in several improvements to Wade Oval including a permanent musical park that offers four large-scale instruments, benches, Adirondack chairs and a chalkboard with the “This is CLE to Me…” tagline emblazoned across the top. Visitors are encouraged to creatively express themselves in this eclectic area.

• CDC Economic Opportunity Award
Famicos Foundation – Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program management
Famicos Foundation weaves together a diverse portfolio of economic opportunity programming to aid family financial stability in the Glenville neighborhood. In 2015, the organization helped complete 1,917 tax returns with a total refund of $2.3 million for residents. 549 of those returns were for EITC clients and those individuals received $869,000 in refunds. Also in 2015, while participating in a pilot program, Famicos referred 90 tax preparation clients interested in receiving one-on-one financial counseling to the Community Financial Centers.
Stockyards, Clark Fulton, Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office – La Placita
The Stockyard, Clark Fulton, Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office was instrumental in the planning and implementation of "La Placita," which served as a catalyst project encouraging collaboration between the local CDC and stakeholders in the community. This initiative served as a business incubator for new businesses with free business training and as an accelerator for established businesses. Situated in an economically challenged food dessert, "La Placita" also served as an access point for fresh, affordable produce and culturally relevant prepared foods and ingredients.
University Circle, Inc. – Business outreach and development efforts
In 2015, University Circle Inc's business outreach and development efforts included three key components: the Uptown Business Association (UBA), NextStep: Strategies for Business Growth and a financial literacy and QuickBooks bookkeeping program, all of which fostered networking amid business owners in the greater University Circle area. UCI consistently convenes the 17 NextStep alumni, a current class of nine business owners, 65 UBA members, and seven bookkeeping program participants at UBA meetings to network, enhance their skills and find new opportunities. 
• CDC Neighborhood Branding & Marketing Award
Northeast Shores Development Corp. – Welcome to Collinwood website
With the help of the CDC, the neighborhood has taken its brand as Cleveland's premiere artists’ neighborhood to a new level with the Welcome to Collinwood website. The homepage offers an artistic display of images and designs, and visitors are met with compelling copy that boasts the compelling opportunities available to artists in Collinwood. 
Slavic Village Development – Rooms to Let
St. Rooms To Let, a temporary art installation in vacant homes created by Slavic Village Development, was a successful marketing event that changed perceptions about the surrounding neighborhood. In May 2015, more than 1,000 visitors toured St. Rooms to Let, which included installations by 30 artists, live music performances and activities for children.

Clair Superior Development Corp. & Campus District, Inc. – Night Market Cleveland
St. Clair Superior Development Corp. and Campus District Inc. teamed up last summer to spark awareness, foster a creative economy, and bring attention to the hidden gems of AsiaTown and the Superior Arts District with Night Market Cleveland - a series of four summer events with local art vendors, Asian food and cultural entertainment. The inaugural season attracted a staggering 50,000 attendees and garnered coverage in 22 media publications.
• Corporate Partner Award
Community Blight Solutions
Community Blight Solutions focuses on understanding, solving, and eliminating blight. Prominent solutions currently include promotion of the organization's SecureView product and the Slavic Village Recovery Project, which aims to align demolition and rehabilitation to eradicate blight one block at a time and fosters corporate volunteerism amid the area's for-profit partners. The project is also focused on gaining access to a critical mass of real estate owned properties and those that are abandoned with the intention of either demolition or rehabilitation.
Dave’s Supermarkets
Dave’s Supermarkets' portfolio of stores sells products that match the profile of the communities they serve while their employees and customer base reflect Cleveland’s diverse population. Asian, Hispanic, African American and Caucasian residents all feel at home at Dave’s Supermarket. Dave’s has provided significant financial support in the form of food donations to community organizations, churches, and neighborhood groups. The local chain employs over 1,000 people in 14 stores, providing health care and retirement benefits to hard-working Cleveland residents.
PNC Bank
PNC was the lead sponsor of UCI’s summer concert series, Wade Oval Wednesdays – WOW! - a free weekly concert that draws up to 5,000 attendees. In addition, PNC supported UCI’s Clean and Safe Ambassador program expansion from seasonal to year-round with twice as many staff.  Additionally, PNC supported the creation and development of a children’s map and activity book to complement UCI’s newest education initiative, Circle Walk, a 40-point interpretive program set to launch in May 2016.
• Urban Developer Award:
Case Development – Mike DeCesare
Mike DeCesare of Case Development has been a pioneer in residential development in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, which he also calls home. He successfully finished the Waverly Station community in 2015 and completed the Harborview development at Herman Avenue and West 54th Street.
Geis Companies – Fred Geis
Fred Geis instigated the MidTown Tech Park, which boasts nearly 250,000 square feet of office and laboratory space leased to health and technology firms, and is part of the growing Health-Tech corridor. One of Geis’s most transformational projects is The 9, into which Geis moved its headquarters from Streetsboro. This spring, Geis will break ground on an Ohio City project converting the industrial Storer Meat Co. facility into 67 market-rate apartments. Fred Geis was also recently appointed to the Cleveland Planning Commission and will donate his stipend to the Dream Neighborhood refugee housing initiative.
Vintage Development Group – Chip Marous
Vintage Development Group provides well-built multi-family residential properties in Detroit Shoreway and Ohio City, thereby helping to support the associated commercial districts with residential opportunities and financial support. Not to be content with the footprint of his Battery Park project, Marous has executed plans for expanding it. His passion for complete, walkable urban development is made possible through established relationships in Cleveland’s urban neighborhoods.
• Civic Champion Award:
Joseph Black – Central neighborhood
Joe Black is committed to Central neighborhood youth. He is currently the Neighborhood Engagement Manager for the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland. As the leader of the engagement team, he is responsible for fostering a seamless experience for youth and families to progress through their education from cradle to career. Black’s passion was sparked by personal experiences with the inequities linked to men of color, and has since matured into a responsibility to serve “at risk” communities. He is a tireless, dedicated community volunteer, mentoring youth at his day job as well as during his free time.
Charles Gliha – Slavic Village neighborhood
Lifelong Slavic Village resident Charles Gliha strives to improve the neighborhood with art, civic engagement and business development. As founder of Broadway Public Art, he has championed the Warszawa Music Festival, is the founder of Street Repair Music Festival, organizes the Polish Constitution Day Parade, and volunteers at Rooms to Let. Gliha is an active member of the Slavic Village Neighborhood Summit planning committee and hosts cash mobs and live music events in area retail establishments. He also created a printed business directory and garnered $25,000 in grants for the neighborhood.

Alison Lukacsy – Collinwood neighborhood
A Cleveland transplant turned North Collinwood artist, advocate and promoter, Alison Lukacsy sees opportunities where others see problems. She has secured over $20,000 in grants, resulting in projects such as Storefront Activation utilizing debris from Adopt-a-Beach cleanups, Phone Gallery - Cleveland's smallest curated art gallery, a Collinwood Vibrancy Project, Yarn n’ Yoga on Euclid Beach Pier, Euclid Beach Book Box, and Bus Stop Moves RTA shelter exercises.

Wizard World features everything from Thor to Doctor Who to local sci-fi talent

For the second year in a row, Wizard World Comic Con, the convention for all things fantasy, science fiction and the arts, will stop in Cleveland this month as part of its 21-city tour. Attendees dress in costume, wander 120 vendor booths and attend workshops centered around the likes of “Dr. Who,” zombies and Marvel Comics movies and super heroes.
“It was such a huge success in the first year that we’re here again,” says Jerry Milani, Wizard World’s public relations manager. “Wizard World offers all dimensions of the pop culture world – sci-fi, gaming, comics and art – and puts it all together in one place."
Wizard World takes place Friday through Sunday, Feb. 26 - 28 at the Cleveland Convention Center, 300 Lakeside Ave.
Celebrity guests include actor Chris Hemsworth, or Thor, from the “Avengers;” actors Matt Smith and Karen Gillan from “Dr. Who;” and actor Robert Englund, or Freddy Krueger, from the cult classic “Nightmare on Elm Street,” among others.
In addition to national celebrities, about half of the exhibitors will be local artists. Among the group will be filmmaker Johnny Wu, owner of film and production house Media Design Imaging (MDI) in Creative House Studios in the St. Clair Superior neighborhood.
Wu, who is also co-founder of the Cleveland Asian Festival and co-producer for Cleveland One World Day, got involved with Wizard World last year after producing the Dr. Who fan film series, T.R.A.C.E. The first five films have each had more than 47,000 hits on YouTube, and Wu plans to make three to four more.
“Because of that popularity we were noticed by Wizard World last year,” Wu says. “I love science fiction and I love time travel movies, so I've been on and off watching Dr. Who. One day, while talking to my friend in the UK, he suggested I do a Dr. Who fan film. I've done one about Batman's offspring, and one about Superman. So I thought: why not?”
Wu’s booth garnered more than 300,000 visits last year. His workshop on how to make fan films was the most attended workshop outside of the celebrity workshops.
This year, Wu will again show his fan films, along with having a Dr. Who (David Tenant) lookalike, a TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space) phone booth and Weeping Angels. Attendees can pose for pictures with all of these icons. He will conduct his fan film workshop again this year on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m. in room 26BC.
Wu himself has a ball at the three-day event. “Wizard World is fun. You get to meet a lot of people, and knowing that we aren't there to sell something but to let the public have a good time and in return hearing them thanking us is touching and gives us warm hearts,” he says. “We also get to meet a lot of other cosplayers and such. It's a fun weekend.”
To encourage Clevelanders to come out to Wizard World, MDI is holding a raffle to win a pair of tickets for Sunday.
Why should people stop by? “Because it's Comic Con,” Wu says. “It's for all the people who want to dress up, to be comic book superheroes or villains, who are into games, and to get together to express who you are without the fear of being ridiculed. And to get to meet celebrities and have a great time.”
Tickets are $35 to $75. Wizard World runs Friday, Feb. 26 from 3-8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 27 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 28 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Up to two children under age 10 are admitted free with a paying adult. Photos and autographs cost extra.

County approves $10 million for quality preschools

The expansion of early education in greater Cleveland received a $10 million boost last week when Cuyahoga County Council and executive Armond Budish reached a biennial budget agreement for 2016 and 2017.
The two-year investment creates the Cuyahoga Early Childhood Trust, a public-private partnership meant to attract private funds to continue the push for universal, high-quality pre-kindergarten education to children across the county.

It’s the kind of support partners of the PRE4CLE initiative say is necessary to achieve and surpass the original goal of enrolling 2,000 additional children into high-quality preschool seats at public and private schools in Greater Cleveland by 2016.
“We are so grateful to the county leadership for this new investment,” PRE4CLE director Katie Kelly says. “It’s going to make a big difference in the amount of kids served across the county. The impact on Cleveland will be significant in not just number of students served, but the quality of our early learning program.”
The investment will fund teacher education and retention programs, as well as social, emotional and behavioral support for low-income students. According to the council presentation supporting the investment, there are 20,800 preschool-aged children in the county, but only 4,700 are in high-quality programs.
“We know it’s one of the most important factors in providing high quality outcomes for students,” Kelly says of teacher education. “Those additional supports in staff coaching and training on how to help students experiencing those challenges is a big part of quality as well. It can make our already good programs even better.”

MAGNET's second annual ProtoTech Pitch competition aimed at product-focused startups

On Thursday, Oct. 29th, area entrepreneurs will present their product-focused technology startups at the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET)’s second ProtoTech Pitch event. Six companies will have about 12 minutes each to pitch their product and take questions from a panel of judges in hopes of winning cash prizes and free business services.

"There's going to be a wide breadth of companies,” says Dave Crain, executive director of entrepreneurial services at MAGNET. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

About 15 applicants will be chosen. From that pool, six finalists will then be chosen to present their pitches. The first place winner will receive $12,000, the runner-up will win $7,500 and the audience favorite will get $1,000.

The winners will also receive free entrepreneurial business services from MAGNET and other sponsors. MAGNET will provide a voucher for $5,000 in business services; Apple Growth Partners has offered $5,000 worth of start-up consulting to the top three finalists; and Dyan Sutton, owner of Creative Ideas Matter, is donating brand analysis and development services valued at $2,000 to the winner and one-hour consultations to the second place and audience favorite.

The event will also include a display section where startups will showcase product prototypes and talk to audience members before they give their presentations.
Chris Wentz, founder and CEO of Everykey, a company that makes wristbands that replaces keys and passwords, won last year’s ProtoTech Pitch. He will speak about his experiences at this year’s event. Everykey has gone on to raise more than $1 million in funding and also ran a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Winning last year’s ProtoTech pitch competition was a real turning point for Everykey. “Not only did the money help us immensely, but we also received a huge surge of press opportunities to get Everykey out in front of the masses," says Wentz. "The timing was impeccable because just a week later, we launched our Kickstarter campaign that raised $117,000.  The exposure we received from ProtoTech almost certainly drove to a large portion of that.”
ProtoTech Pitch will be held at the Ariel International Center on Oct. 29th from 4:00-6:30 p.m. Entrepreneurs have until Friday, Oct. 16 to submit their applications to pitch. Tickets to the event are $50 and include dinner.

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, 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, 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.
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, 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, 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, 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, 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, a custom printer, needs a designer and two production operators. Email resumes to the hiring manager.

F*Sho celebrates Cle furniture makers for seventh straight year

Jason Radcliffe – steel furniture designer, owner of 44 Steel in Avon, reality show finalist on SpikeTV’s Framework, and a cheerleader for the Cleveland maker movement – will once again bring the F*Sho to Cleveland on Friday, Sept. 18th from 5-8 p.m.

The F*Sho is a contemporary furniture show featuring work by local designers, furniture makers and Cleveland Institute of Art students. Radcliffe has been staging the show for seven years now, primarily to highlight the style and talents of local builders. “Time flies,” he says. “I feel like we just started this a couple of years ago.”
Radcliffe says there’s no doubt these makers are Clevelanders. “The best thing about this show is we are hands-down Cleveland builders and you can see that in everything we do,” he explains. “We all use local materials, reclaimed wood or fallen trees from here, all local steel. If you look at how we do steel in this city – it’s undeniably us.”
This year’s show features 27 furniture makers – six of whom are new to the show. One home builder, David Krebs of Modern Smart Homes, will also showcase his work. “I’m excited at the idea of a home building company that designs, builds and has furniture,” says Radcliffe.
Other designers and makers include 2nd Shift Design, Sawhorse Woodworks, blacksmith and metal fabricator Stephen Yusko, and Framework co-finalist Freddy Hill.
The F*Show is never in the same space twice. “We move it every year to an obscure location,” he says. “We try to show some buildings and spaces that are not normally on the radar.” This year’s show is in 20,000-square feet of space on the fifth floor of the 44 Building, 3615 Superior Ave. E., in Tyler Village – a new hotspot for furniture builders. “One of the cool things about Tyler Village is there are soon to be five makers in space there,” says Radcliffe.
Radcliffe and Hill hosted the first F*Sho in Los Angeles last March, after Framework was over. “L.A. went unbelievably well, he says. “We had almost double the response we had from the first Cleveland F*Sho. We’re working on doing another one out there in the spring.”
The F*Sho is free and open to the public. Everything the artists show is also for sale. Food and drinks will be served and a D.J. will spin tunes. “The fifth floor is all windows, all the way around,” says Radcliffe. “You can see the lake, downtown, and south. When the sun goes down the space lights up. We’re really happy about this space, these designers.”

Tourism hits record numbers as word spreads about Cleveland

The word is out that Cleveland is a cool place to visit. According to Destination Cleveland's 2014 Convention and Leisure Tourism Metrics Report, Cleveland hit a five-year high in the number of visitors to the city, with 16.9 million visitors last year.

That number represents a 4.5 percent increase over 2013, which counted 16.2 million visitors coming to Cleveland. In 2010 there were 14 million visitors. The report is based on a combination of industry statistics and the convention and Destination Cleveland’s performance metrics.

“We’re really excited about it,” says Jennifer Kramer, Destination Cleveland’s communications manager. “The numbers continue to go up. As Cleveland is starting to revitalize, we’ve piqued people’s interest and they’re giving a second look at Cleveland.”

The record numbers show a change in attitude about Cleveland, especially among Millennials and arts and culture enthusiasts. “There’s an increasingly positive feeling about Cleveland but it wasn’t always that way,” says Kramer. ““Some folks think of Cleveland in the old days and they can't get past some things. But this has really helped drive visitors to the market and get everyone interested in visiting. The campaign has been successful in changing that attitude.”

Kramer says the increase in tourism is in part because of the investment in downtown. “There’s been $3 billion in visitor-related infrastructure,” she says. “We attribute the increase in numbers to the development going on in downtown Cleveland over the last five years.”

The report also shows that Destination Cleveland’s marketing and media efforts have paid off. The #ThisisCLE social media campaign that encouraged locals to share photos and stories about Cleveland, brought a 21 percent increase over 2013 in new page views of Destination Cleveland’s website.

“It has given us an opportunity to share what we see from a local perspective,” explains Kramer. Fifty four percent of residents who participated said they would recommend Cleveland as a destination, up from 34 percent.

Furthermore, travel and leisure writers have taken an interest in the city. Cleveland has made it on various top cities lists among travel writers, including the New York Times 52 Places to Go in 2015 and Travel and Leisure Best Places to Travel in 2015. “We’ve become one of the must-see places,” says Kramer. “When you start to see Cleveland on the same playing field as places like Las Vegas or Italy, we’re very fortunate.”

Kramer admits that the upcoming Republican National Convention and the Cavaliers in the NBA finals boosted interest in Cleveland. But the recent completion of the Cleveland Convention Center and the increase in downtown hotels has increased the city’s capacity to host both conventioneers and tourists.
And things seem to only be getting better. “Our plan is to build on this momentum,” says Kramer. “The Republican National Convention is a huge deal, but it’s a launchpad for more. We know we will continue to welcome this market as we get the word out.”

magnet and nasa invite startups to present 'tech-based products' at prototech

The Incubator at MAGNET and NASA Glenn Research Center are looking for product-focused startup companies to join its pitch competition on September 18 at Ariel International Center. Unlike other pitch competitions in the region, ProtoTech focuses on those companies with an actual product to market.
“There are a number of pitch competitions, but most of them are IT focused,” says Dave Crain, MAGNET’s director of entrepreneurial services. “What we’re trying to do is highlight product-focused startups in the region.”
What is a technology based product exactly? “At the end of the day, when a customer buys your product and you put it in a box and you ship it to them, that’s a product,” says Crain.
Six companies will be selected as finalists and receive promotion and fundraising tools. The teams will then pitch their products to a panel of judges and a live audience. The teams will be rated on their products’ feasibility, investability and the quality of their pitches. The audience also gets a vote.
Each team gets to keep any money raised for their products through the event, and the top three teams will receive matching funds.
Crain says they are hoping to receive 20 to 30 submissions for ProtoTech. The competition is open to anyone who meets the entry guidelines listed on the submission form. The deadline for submission is mid-August.
In addition to the pitch competition there will be an Investors Hall Exhibition, where 15 to 20 more established startups will have tables among an invited group of investors.
“These are later-stage startups who have entered the market,” explains Crain. “We’ve already chosen two companies to exhibit. We’ll continue to choose companies until the tables are filled. To be considered for the Investors Hall, submit an exhibitor request form.  

'queen of pork' spreads love of artisan cured meats one sausage at a time

Melissa Khoury loves pork so much that she's earned the title “Queen of Pork.” Growing up watching local butchers cut her steaks, then gaining even more exposure to butcheries while living in Atlanta, Khoury discovered her passion early on.
When Khoury moved back to Cleveland in 2009, she worked as a chef in a number of well known restaurants with no intention of staying in town. But then, everything began falling into place and Saucisson was born in 2013.
Saucisson sells hand-cured meats and specialty sausages, all sourced from local farmers and butchers. Currently, Khoury works out of the Cleveland Culinary Launch and sells her products at local farmers markets and the Cleveland Flea.
From chorizo to smoked Tasso ham, Khoury has found her calling. “I love everything about it,” she says. “It’s like my Zen. It’s me and my animal and it’s relaxing to me.”
Khoury’s love of pork was no secret to area chefs, but she was less known to retail consumers. “When I started the company, chefs in the city knew who I was and knew about my pork obsession, but the general consumer didn’t know unless they were patrons of one of the restaurants I worked at,” she says.
Khoury is a big supporter of other local businesses like Fresh Fork Market, Thirsty Dog Brewing Company and New Creations Farm in Geauga County. They often work together to share their creations. For example, Khoury buys her meat from New Creations, sells her sausage through Fresh Fork and uses Thirsty Dog lager in some of her sausages.
Now that customers have had a chance to get to know Khoury and the products she sells through Saucisson, her next goal is to open a female-owned butcher shop. In doing so, she wants not only to sell her products, but also inform the general public about fresh and cured meats and sustainable butchery.
"I educate the general consumer, whether it’s a sausage sandwich or spaghetti sauce,” she explains. “It’s cool to see people get adventurous with my products. But I don’t want to make anything that will scare anyone away. I’m making sausage approachable.”
To help achieve those goals, Khoury recently brought on Penny Barend as a business partner.

Source: Melissa Khoury
Writer: Karin Connelly

who's hiring in cle: ganeden biotech, youth opportunities unlimited, opusone...

Welcome to the latest edition of Who’s Hiring in Cleveland?
There are plenty of good jobs to be found here in Cleveland. This is the latest installment in a new regular series of posts in which we feature companies that are hiring, what those employers are looking for, and how to apply.
Global Cleveland and NEOSA will host a virtual IT job fair during NEOSA Tech Week, April 11-18. New this year, job seekers and employers will receive a list of potential candidates and companies that match the job requirements. Top IT talent can sign up here. Employers looking for talent can register here.
Ganeden Biotech, a leader in probiotic research and product development, needs two business development account managers to identify and service new partners.
In addition to hiring youths for its summer employment program, Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) has multiple positions open, from administrative team leaders to a database and file captain and a field supervisor. Read about all the open jobs here.
OpusOne Staffing is actively recruiting talented IT professionals, ranging from entry level to senior level. Interested candidates should send resumes to Melissa.
The Cleveland Foundation needs a program officer to review and research grant proposals and community issues, meet with prospective grantees and prepare evaluations and recommendations for funding. To apply, send resume and salary requirements to the hiring manager.

New Directions, a recovery center for teens and their families, needs an experienced planned giving officer to secure major gifts from donors through estate planning and other gifts. The qualified candidate must be a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Have hiring news you’d like to share? Email Karin at Fresh Water Cleveland and send us this information or career links!
26 AsiaTown/St. Clair Superior Articles | Page: | Show All
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