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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." 

Medical competition set to put Cleveland at forefront of big data revolution

Healthcare is undergoing a big data revolution, with a decade's worth of research, clinical trials, patient records and other pertinent information being aggregated into giant databases. Organizing this tsunami of information is a massive industry challenge, one an upcoming Cleveland-based event is attempting to tackle.
 
The inaugural Medical Capital Innovation Competition — orchestrated by The Global Center for Health Innovation (GCHI), Cuyahoga County, BioEnterprise, and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) — invites professional and collegiate teams to offer up their best big-data ideas for a chance at $100,000 in prizes along with critical feedback from Cleveland's world-renowned healthcare sector. The two-day event will be held April 25 and 26 at GCHI's Innovation Center.
 
"From a startup perspective, it's a great opportunity for companies to come up with unique solutions," says BioEnterprise president and CEO Aram Nerpouni. "We're getting applications from around the country and all over the world."
 
Big data is becoming an increasingly big deal both domestically and internationally. According to a 2016 BioEnterprise report, the healthcare IT industry outpaced biotech and medical devices for the first time since the organization began compiling the study 12 years ago. In Cleveland, Explorys, Hyland Software and CoverMyMeds have made headlines with their attempts to take on the data overload from an industry generating huge amounts of new information every day.
 
"Every community in the country has the same challenge," says Nerpouni. "We are looking for some solutions and doing it in a way that plays to a regional strength."
 
Application deadline for the competition is March 31. Ideas will focus on the management, analysis and optimization of health data and be judged upon their commercial viability.
 
Nerpouni says the competition will be attractive for startups searching for a medical innovation hub. Trends like the Internet of Things (IoT) and Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) foretell a future where even more data will need to be collected and translated in order to improve access to patient care.
 
“Cleveland continues to build upon the strengths of its health IT, biotech and medical device assets,” says Nerpouni. "The competition is a celebration of the growth of that critical mass while letting the rest of the country know what's going on here." 

For local firm, virtual reality imparts new dimension to design

Cleveland architecture and design firm Vocon is employing virtual reality software to give its clients a sense of depth and space on their projects before a single brick has been laid.
 
Utilizing the HTC Vive headset, Vocon creates "walkable" renderings precisely to scale with a client's plans. Users get a full visual representation of their work, allowing them  to identify potential design issues ahead of time.
 
"We're giving clients a tool to understand their plans earlier in the process than we've ever been able to do," says project architect Michael Christoff.
 
Vocon integrated 3D software late last year, with a half dozen clients using the technology so far. Real-time views of a space let users study, for example, the visual difference two feet can make in the height of a ceiling. One company changed the placement of maintenance equipment after getting a virtual viewing of how it would appear in reality. Layouts are even changed on the fly — to the point where renderings can be studied in different types of sunlight.
 
"When people put on a pair of goggles, they have a better understand of the decisions they're making," says Christoff. "It helps them walk through the space and look at every nook and cranny."
 
Before VR, Vocon made 360 degree panoramic renderings that were static and fell short of delivering real immersion.
 
"Now clients can walk from one room to another, or sit in a space and look around," Christoff says. "Walking around a space gives them peace of mind about a design. It's not a mystery anymore."
 
As part of its marketing process, Vocon sends a headset and digital files to out-of-town companies. Vocon technology guru Brandon Dorsey schools clients on how to use the Vive software, which can be mapped to an XBox One controller.
 
"It takes about 15 to 20 minutes teach someone," says Dorsey. "It's an intuitive technology that anyone can use."
 
Christoff wants to roll out VR to more Vocon customers this year. The technology, he adds, is not limited to office spaces. For instance, city planners can harness the software for citizens interested in studying a virtual master plan design. And while high-end headsets are expensive, budget-conscious residents can purchase a Google Cardboard headset for $15.
 
Whatever the case, Vocon officials are satisfied with their leap into the virtual world.
 
"I'm seeing us make better design decisions earlier in the process," says Christoff. "Any tool that allows us to make a better looking project is an important tool for us to have."

From garage startup to multi-million dollar maker, Beachwood company is a 3D success

Desktop 3D printing is new enough that there's still room for exciting yet practical uses of the technology, says Rick Pollack, founder of MakerGear, a Beachwood designer and manufacturer of affordable desktop 3D printers.
 
The innovation is currently used to print human teeth and organs for study, while businesses are making prototype tools and other parts. Pollack has tapped into the nascent industry's energy to develop the company, which he started in his garage, into an award-winning, multi-million dollar enterprise with 25 employees.
 
MakerGear engineers and builds machines by hand from its Beachwood headquarters, with components manufactured at the company's 6,000-square-foot facility in Newbury. Growth has been in the double digits over the last few years, while revenue is steadily in the millions.
 
"We're self-funded with no outside help or sales and marketing department," says Pollack. "Our growth has been organic and done completely through word-of-mouth or positive press."
 
Local businesses, entrepreneurs and educators use MakerGear printers to innovate in their respective fields, Pollack notes. Clients range from companies producing multiple iterations of a part to makers and hobbyists interested in what the machines can do. Printers come in two configurations: the MakerGearM2 ($1,825) and a kit version ($1,500) that allows consumers to build the device themselves.
 
Pollack entered the 3D printing industry in 2009 wanting to manufacture goods on a desktop. While product creation requires sometimes exorbitant expenditure of time and money, the former software developer learned that 3D printing allows for low-volume, low-cost production without any special tooling.
 
With this knowledge in mind, Pollack bought a desktop lathe for $250 and started making printer parts for hobbyists out of his garage. Today, he produces thousands of parts that are shipped all over the world.  
 
"Starting this, I had no commercial experience, and had to learn to how to be a manufacturer post-recession," says Pollack. "I treated this industry like I'm a customer, in that I'm making a quality product at a reasonable price and with great customer support."
 
MakerGear has received its share of accolades since launch. In November, the MakerGear M2 was ranked No. 1 worldwide by 3D Hubs, an independent 3D printer review site. Pollack is proud of the distinction as well as contributing to the rapid expansion of high-tech manufacturing in the Cleveland area.
 
"This technology has lowered the barrier of entry for manufacturing," he says. "We stand out because we're focused on making a great product for our customers that's manufactured in the U.S." 

Cleveland contingent wins gold, spreads awareness at inaugural Cybathalon

A Cleveland-based group of researchers and athletes recently harnessed an innovative technology - along with a nearly superhuman will to win - to take home gold at the world's first "cyborg games."
 
The gold medal team journeyed to Zurich, Switzerland, in October to compete in the first ever Cybathlon, an international "cyborg Olympics" open to disabled people who use electronic prosthetics to compete daily tasks. Sent by the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, the contingent won a gold medal in the Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) bike race, which modified recumbent bikes for competitors with spinal cord injuries.
 
Team Cleveland "pilot" Mark Muhn, a California native paralyzed from the armpits down after a skiing accident, finished 1:10 ahead of his nearest competitor, thanks to training and a locally-born experimental research program that implanted a pulse generator under his skin.
 
Designed by the Cleveland VA's Advanced Platform Technology (APT) Center, the device was connected to an external control box that Muhn and his fellow riders activated with a button press. The implant sent electrical stimulation to Muhn's paralyzed muscles, allowing him to create a pedaling movement in sync with the bike around a 750-meter track.
 
"The pulse generator is like a pacemaker that delivers current to the back, hips and legs," says Dr. Ron Triolo, team leader on the project. "That small amount of current fires the nerve, resulting in muscle contraction."
 
Cleveland's 10-person Cybathlon crew consisted of a biomedical engineer, a neuroscientist/certified bike mechanic and a world-class competitive cyclist. Triolo traveled to Zurich with Team Cleveland athletes bolstered by two months of training in the implant technology.
 
Winning the gold was exciting, but the Cybathlon's competitive aspect came in second to showing off an innovation that helps individuals with devastating spinal injuries regain some form of movement, Triolo says.
 
"We were using technology that's not commercially available and showing the potential difference these interventions can make in someone's life," he says. "We're raising awareness that hopefully sparks investment."
 
Combining sports and medical research was instructive for Triolo's team as well.
"Biking was new for us," he says. "It's a powerful exercise tool that made our volunteers stronger. They feel like they're part of society again."

MOOS teens to shake up IngenuityFest

Ten-foot-tall swings, climbing walls and a sculpture bristling with lights. This is not a description for some fantastical playground, but a project a group of Cleveland-area youth are bringing to this year's IngenuityFest.
 
Eleven students from Shaker Heights' Moreland district, all members of the Making Our Own Space (MOOS) placemaking initiative, are currently conceptualizing plans for the popular arts and technology festival, which is now in its 12th year. MOOS co-founder David Jurca expects his young participants' creative skills to successfully transfer from neighborhood public spaces to the festival's larger stage.
 
"The project's driving goal is to build confidence in this generation regarding their ability to transform their environment," says Jurca of an effort led by Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC). "At Ingenuity, students are going to step up as workshop leaders because they're more knowledgeable about using tools to build and give direction to others."
 
MOOS's workshops create physical and social infrastructure in collaboration with the surrounding community. Parks and vacant spaces in Moreland as well as Britt Oval in Cleveland's Buckeye neighborhood have been host to swings, snow forts, benches, observation towers and other high-visibility projects. Hildana Park in Shaker Heights has a student-built performance stage along with "trash hoops," where garbage cans are fitted with mini-basketball rims in the name of fun litter control.
 
Seventh through 11th graders involved with Ingenuity are designing mobile playscape elements like a light sculpture and a combined giant swing/climbing wall, which will be built at The Dealership business accelerator space, then transported to the event site. The creative method includes brainstorming a concept like swinging, then building out from that idea.
 
"The climbing wall suggestion came from a community member," Jurca says. "We went to the library to get images, and looked at playscape equipment from all over the world."
 
The 2016 IngenuityFest takes place in the former Osborne Industrial Complex, 5401 Hamilton Ave., Sept. 23-25. MOOS's efforts during the weekend will include on-site build opportunities for attendees.
 
"Students are going to take on the role of design leaders," says Jurca. "People coming for the event will be learning from our students."
 
Helping guide the process will be Alex Gilliam, Philadelphia-based founder of Public Workshop, a national program for placemaking projects aimed at youth. Gilliam will be in town the week ahead of Ingenuity to gently push ideas to fruition while identifying group members eager to grab leadership roles.
 
"These are people who want to do more and do better - and want to be connected with others with similar aspirations," says Gilliam.
 
Ingenuity itself can be a beacon for empowerment due to the crowds it attracts, adds the project supporter.
 
"Give a 15-year-old girl a circular saw and the chance to build something wonderful that meets a community need, and do it in a public way," Gilliam poses. "The effect can be dramatic. Young people will realize their self-efficacy in a manner that would typically take years in a school setting."
 
Ingenuity's highly visible backdrop is also valuable for a society that doesn't always recognize the contributions of teenagers and their place in the community at large.
 
"There's an important opening here for Cleveland," says Gilliam. "Having this (initiative) go on outside of a community building aspect is creating more space for this work in schools and other places." 
 
MOOS co-founder Jurca adds that the Ingenuity experience will not only prepare African-American and Latino youth for a range of hands-on design careers, it will also teach them how to define improvements in ongoing projects, where "failure" is deemed a lesson rather than a stopping point.
 
"It's about celebrating success and jumping into things we can do to make a project better," says Jurca. "That kind of confidence can be carried into the classroom." 

The City of Shaker Heights is part of Fresh Water's underwriting support network.

StartMart entrepreneur hub to welcome community during open house

StartMart, Flashstarts’ 35,000-square-foot coworking space in the Terminal Tower, is opening its doors next month to welcome the community to explore the budding entrepreneurial hub.
 
StartMart's open house, scheduled for July 12 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., will show off a startup atmosphere that pools Cleveland's business incubators and accelerators into one continuously buzzing space, says community manager Anna Buchholz.
 
Hub officials hope to draw 300 guests for the event, guiding them through a collaborative environment designed to propel participants to success. Early returns have been positive, at least in terms of filling StartMart to capacity since its founding last September by serial entrepreneur Charles Stack.
 
About 140 individual tenants representing 30 different companies - among them We Can Code IT, Wheedle, Handelabra Games and <remesh - are utilizing StartMart's prime downtown space, which is also bolstered by meetups, startup training and hackathon events.
 
"We want to show how much we've grown," says Buchholz. "Back in September we didn't even have furniture in half the space."
 
Although you can sign up for a waiting list, every one of StartMart's 250-square-foot private offices, called "startpods," is occupied by new companies including a full-service design agency and a variety of tech-related enterprises. Desk space is also available to entrepreneurs via a fee-based per-person monthly membership upon which StartMart has built its model.
 
"It's not just tech," says Buchholz. "We have a CPA, an attorney and other types of businesses here."
 
Since its launch, the hub has added a 3D printer and bike racks to its second-floor location at Terminal Tower. In addition, six to 10 companies that started out at a desk have since moved into private offices, a strong measure of success for a business-building effort only eight months old, says Buchholz, adding that she is confident the venture's popularity will continue to rise as members spread the word to other entrepreneurs searching for a home.

StartMart has even created enough momentum for organizers to consider expanding the hub to an additional floor
 
"We could add another 25,000 square feet," she says. "Everything took off so fast; we could accommodate so many more businesses with that extra space."

Motorcycle garage owner gets real with upcoming TV show for Esquire Network

Motorcycle aficionado Brian Schaffran has been running his Cleveland-based hotrodding fix-it clubhouse Skidmark Garage for over a year. While bringing in new riders has been a slower process than Schaffran would like, a forthcoming motorcycle competition television series he recently finished filming could rev up that all-important customer base.
 
Schaffran will serve as co-host of "Wrench Against the Machine," an unscripted motor-cycle centric show pitting teams of enthusiasts against one another to construct badass bikes of all styles and builds. A panel of judges will evaluate contestants' creations following each build challenge.
 
Filming began in Los Angeles at the end of April and wrapped last week. As host, Schaffran was on call during day-long taping sessions - sometimes lasting until 10 p.m. - where he would he would recite scripted lines for one or two scenes. Downtime was spent on a laptop working his day job as a customer support rep for a software company.
 
"The whole thing felt a little surreal," says Schaffran, whose 2,800-square foot community garage in the Hildebrandt Building rents out tools, lifts and storage bays to riders. "I never thought I'd be on TV. Everything is hitting me all at once."
 
Schaffran's workaday world turned when a production company that makes reality shows contacted him following a March 2015 Fresh Water article about his shop. 
 
"They thought the community garage idea was original, and said somewhere inside the garage was a show," Schaffran says. "They finally came up with this build competition idea."
 
Though excited at first, Schaffran was put off by other motorcycle build shows where drama is heightened to extreme levels.
 
"I've seen these shows and how people are portrayed," he says. "I didn't want to be part of some soap opera bullshit like every other reality show."
 
Schaffran's concerns were allayed after additional conversations with production company officials. When not filming or helping folks trouble-shoot their computers, he visited area community garages to scope their physical layout and how they marketed themselves.
 
"It was enlightening to see how clean their shops were," says Schaffran. "They're leveraging social media more than I am, too."
 
"Wrench Against the Machine" will premiere this fall on the Esquire Network. Ideally, the program will give Skidmark Garage a membership and branding boost, says its owner.
 
"Everyone is pretty excited for me," says Schaffran. "So many people's comments are like, 'Holy shit, dude, you're living the dream.' Everyone's been really supportive." 

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.

Recap: Space App Challenge at NASA Glenn

On an average day, Brian Gesler works as a computer programmer at a Cleveland insurance company. But for one weekend last month, he was busy creating jet packs that could one day be used by astronauts on Mars.
 
He crowded around tables in a conference room at NASA’s John H. Glenn Research Center campus with a team he’d just met. Some sketched prototypes across sheets hung on the walls, others pecked away frantically on laptops. They called themselves Moon Tang Clan.
 
Gesler and his team were one of 17 groups in Cleveland that took part in the 2016 International Space Apps Challenge. Since 2012, the hackathon has brought together coders, artists, and general tinkerers to use open data provided by NASA to spark solutions to many of the aeronautics and space agency’s most pressing hurdles. The event now spreads across 161 locations around the globe.
 
“Other hackathons are hyper-local, but with this, you’re part of a global effort,” says Gesler.
 
The program is part of openNASA, an initiative to share NASA’s own data, code and APIs with the public in effort to foster transparency and collaboration. The idea is: NASA provides the knowledge of their experts, their data and their resources (3D printers and virtual reality systems, to name a few) and the more than 15,300 participants around the world endeavor to help the organization see things from a different perspective – if only for one weekend.
 
In the past, participants have produced mobile apps, software, hardware and data visualizations, among other creations. Some of the works have gone on to be implemented by NASA or garnered venture capital to get off the ground.
 
In 2013, former NASA Glenn chief information officer Sasi Pillay approached Brad Nellis, who was the executive director of OHTec at the time, about organizing Space Apps in Cleveland. Nellis added the program to Tech Week and from 2013 to 2014, the program was held at Cuyahoga Community College’s Advanced Technology Training Center. Last year, NASA officially brought the program home, making NASA Glenn the only host of a Space Apps Challenge among the organization's 10 facilities across the United States.
 
“This event offers a great opportunity for local tech folks to unleash their creativity and ingenuity for a great cause,” said Nellis. “Being here at NASA Glenn adds a unique and exciting dimension to the hackathon, fellow space geeks love it here.”
 
Herbert Schilling, a NASA computer scientist who works on the scientific applications and visualization team and is now a Space Apps organizer, remembers coming to NASA in high school as part of an outreach program. Now that he’s an employee, he says it’s his turn to give back.
 
“I run into NASA fans all the time and I like offering them an opportunity to cultivate that love even more,” Schilling says. “I love learning from them. I’m inspired by the things they come up with.”
Organizer Sarah Dutkiewicz, President of Cleveland Tech Consulting, was instrumental in bringing new participants on board. Dutkiewicz utilized different social media channels to connect with an array of user groups in the region and also reached out to the growing number of coding boot camps in Cleveland, many of which are designed to bring more women and minorities into the field.
 
“I’m a space geek; Sally Ride was always one of my idols,” she says enthusiastically. “To be here seeing all different walks of life working with NASA, I’m beyond thrilled.”
 
Mission Control
 
As the sounds of the NASA Glenn band, an employee brass ensemble, filled the auditorium on Friday night, participants passed through security and filed into the building. This year was the first that youth were able to take part in the hackathon, and plenty circled the room with school backpacks.
 
Sean Gallagher, current Chief Information Officer of NASA Glenn Research Center and David L. Stringer, Director of the Plum Brook Management Office offered opening remarks.
 
“Once a year, we get a chance to step back, open up the treasure trove of NASA data you’ll get to access over the weekend, and ask you to solve some of our bigger problems,” said Gallagher.
 
Stringer spoke on understanding each team member’s strengths and weaknesses.
 
“Know your job, work together and have no surprises,” he said. “Degrees don’t measure the human being – smarts, persistence and the willingness to co-operate does. Be curious, learn as much as you can and talk to as many people as possible.”
 
Teams were introduced to this year’s challenges, which included space fashion and design, aeronautics, biomimicry, missions to Mars and even ideas to improve the planet. The challenge concepts were collected by NASA and then handed over to organizers like Stacey Brooks, NASA’s Open Government Datanaut Community Manager, who gathered data from their own archives and the web to give participants enough information to get started.
 
“We get volumes and volumes of data from all the space craft we have,” says Brooks. “But I will look at that data in one way and you might look at it in another way. And if everyone has an opportunity to view it through their own lens, we’ll get a lot more research out of it. The more we all collaborate together, the more interesting our solutions will be.”
 
Of course, often times that information is only a stepping stone. The hackathon also brings in subject matter experts that teams can consult. Jay Horowitz, who retired four years ago from the graphics and visualization department, has been helping teams who come to him with questions on topics such as virtual reality.
 
When they ask about using the VR technology for a mission to Mars or to control a rover, he fills them in on ways NASA has already used it in the past. For example, the Elon Muskateers team created a camera with light field photography capabilities that could be attached to rovers to create more 3D images.
 
His best advice? Think beyond today’s tools.
 
“I’ve been encouraging them to not think of today’s cameras,” he says. “Cameras ten years from now are going to be radically different. A large part of that was just encouraging them to think outside of the box. Any time NASA tries to design something, we have to be prepared for everything to change a few years from now.”
 
To Infinity and Beyond
 
On Sunday afternoon, Gesler and the rest of Moon Tang Clan took the stage to present a battery-powered exoskeleton with jet turbine generators. Imagine a wearable machine that could reduce strain on astronauts as they traverse Mars, help them lift heavy objects and enhance their stride to cover more ground. On the screen, they played a first-person simulation of the red terrain, which was created in Unity 3D using a topographical map of Mars freely available online.
 
The Moon Tang Clan took home first place.
 
Team Star-whals took second by developing a real mission to retrieve a near Earth asteroid for future mining.
 
“We didn’t just build the sensor package or the impactor,” says participant Brian Stofiel, who is also CEO of Stofiel Aerospace. “This was a mission. We went from the very beginning to retrieving. We really wanted to address the whole topic.”
 
People’s Choice winning team Dragonfly also focused on asteroids. The exploratory satellites they proposed, called “Dragonflies,” can be released in a cluster formation. In the middle of each is a javelin that opens like an umbrella six to 12 feet deep inside the asteroid. Each would contain sensors that could allow them to create effects, like 3D images.
 
The javelin’s inception was rooted in biomimicry, the practice of using nature as a model for design. Its inspiration? A porcupine’s quill, the prickly, arrow-shaped spines that easily penetrate predators but are difficult to remove once lodged. In this case, the javelin is the quill; the asteroid is the predator.
 
Another team, the hackathon’s local winner, created a prototype of a motor for an electric aircraft that could be made out of 80 percent 3D printed parts. The motor is flatter than usual, which would create higher power density and efficiency.
 
As much as many Space Apps teams focused on the possibilities of exploring the great unknown, other groups shared how NASA’s data can have an immediate effect on understanding our own planet. One created an app to self-diagnose allergies by finding correlations between pollution and NASA data. Another offers better communication between residents of pastoral areas by using NASA maps and weather data.
 
It’s a subtle reminder on the year of NASA Glenn’s 75th anniversary that the discoveries of space exploration continue to impact our everyday lives – from the solar panels we’re building on our homes for sustainable energy to the firefighter who pulls a breathing mask over his face before rushing into a fire to the enriched formula a parent trusts when feeding their newborn.
 
For one weekend a year, 15,310 extra hands help us see that the future isn’t really so far off.
 
As part of NASA Glenn’s 75th anniversary, it will host a free public open house at its Lewis Field main campus, 21000 Brookpark Rd. on May 21 and 22 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
 

New CSU engineering building to emphasize high-tech teamwork

Enrollment at Cleveland State University's engineering school has doubled over the last five years, making the program's planned $46.2 million new building a necessity. The facility, which is scheduled to open in 2017, will offer spacious, high-tech work areas to accommodate the recent influx of students, school officials say.
 
Though the proposed 100,000 square-foot facility is about 10,000 square feet smaller than the engineering college's current location at Fenn Hall, its open floor plan will better meet the demands of an academic environment where collaboration is key, says Anette Karlsson, dean of the Washkewicz College of Engineering at CSU.
 
Fenn Hall will remain, while the new building will be erected nearby along Chester Avenue just west of East 24th Street. Architects for the project include Harley Ellis Devereaux and Cleveland firm CBLH Design Cleveland-based Knight & Stolar is on board as the venture's civil engineer. 
 
Unlike the closed-off, column-filled classrooms at Fenn, the facility will have a 6,000-square-foot "makerspace" boasting a variety of machine-shop gear as well as 3D printers, laser cutters and other tools.
 
"It's one big area that will be divided into compartments," says Karlsson. "We're very excited about getting students a space that will give them the hands-on experience they need."
 
New engineering majors, meanwhile, will interact and create in a specially designated design area for freshman.
 
"It's more of a prototyping room where they can build light materials like plastics and paper," says Karlsson. "The idea is to teach the concept of design."
 
Other building plans include a hydraulics lab and classrooms. The larger design spaces will be separated by glass walls, which will let in natural light and further emphasize a sense of DIY ambiance. The new facility's interactive trappings were inspired by, among other projects, the Sears think[box] innovation center at Case Western Reserve University.
 
"We want the space to be open because were doing all these fun things," Karlsson says. "We want to show off what we're doing."
 
Ideally, students from all majors will use the facility to collaborate and build whatever their imaginations conjure.
 
"The first thing an employer asks about is a graduate's interpersonal and communication skills," says Karlsson. "Those (skills) are what students can learn by working in groups." 

Cleveland motorcycle entrepreneur rides into CIA to inspire, guide students

Though it's been a decade since Cleveland CycleWerks owner Scott Colosimo graduated from Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA), he has stayed connected to the school as both a teacher and professor.
 
This spring, Colosimo has returned to his formative digs once more as sponsor of CIA's transportation design class, which "exposes students to the basic knowledge, skills and qualities that are important for a career in transportation design." The semester-long role is part-time, as the Parma native spends most days running his small-volume motorcycle manufacturing facility in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, where he builds custom bikes and restorations of British, Japanese and Italian motorcycles.
 
At CIA, Colosimo serves as a motivator and critic in helping students solve real-world transportation design questions. The role is more instructional than professorial, and is meant to reflect a designer/client relationship in the professional world.  
 
"My work is to push students further than they would be by the traditional OEM (original equipment manufacturer)," says Colosimo, who graduated from CIA in 2004. "Companies tend to pull students back in to make concepts more contemporary. I'm pushing them out and making sure they're looking well off into the future."
 
That conceptual outlook includes designing vehicles for racing along the surface of distant planetary bodies. Colosimo, who wrote the class curriculum with Professor Haishan Deng, oversees teams tackling the challenge of building vehicles for transportation on Mars.
 
"The vehicles take on a more unique design, proportion and function than cars of today," says Colosimo, 35. "This kind of problem-solving is key to developing a young designer's ability to step beyond the surface and become a competent, well-rounded designer."
 
Colosimo's partnership with CIA emerged as part of a long-standing CIA tradition of bringing in automotive officials to offer students professional-level feedback. The self-proclaimed "motorcycle geek" is proud to present his particular brand of two-wheeled insight to a creative, energetic classroom.
 
"These students are already thinking and sketching on a professional level, so I like to think of them as professionals," Colosimo says. "I'm there at a design director level to push them in the right direction when they get off track."
 
Though the entrepreneur has been in the motorcycle-building game since 2009, returning to school has illuminated new innovations unburdened by the limits of running a bottom-line manufacturing business.
 
"Students are working on unique propulsion, suspension and wheel solutions that I never would have thought of," says Colosimo. "They're so quick to adapt and think of ways to use that technology. It's amazing how natural it comes to them."

The Cleveland Institute of Art is part of Fresh Water's underwriting support community.
 

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.
 

MidTown Cleveland names health-corridor head as new executive director

For almost two years, Jeff Epstein led efforts to attract health-tech and high-tech businesses to the Cleveland Health-Tech Corridor in Midtown. As the newly named executive director of the MidTown Cleveland nonprofit, Epstein expects a smooth transition in helping guide development of the entire two-mile stretch connecting downtown with University Circle

Epstein, named to the position by MidTown Cleveland's board on March 10, will coordinate marketing, business growth and real estate/amenity expansion for the area, including the tech-centric corridor which he previously spearheaded. In the Midtown position, he replaces Jim Haviland, who left the group last August and is now director of local government relations at The MetroHealth System.   

According to MidTown Cleveland, Epstein's work in the self-styled innovation hub resulted in more than 1,800 new jobs and 500,000 square feet of new or renovated office and lab space. Working in the 1,600-acre tech corridor, which contains four world-class healthcare institutions and more than 140 high-tech companies, was an experience Epstein says has prepared him for strategizing Midtown's continued makeover.

"I've built some tremendous relationships over the last 18 months," says Epstein. "There are a number of partners eager to work with us."

Though Epstein's duties with the corridor will continue, the nonprofit will hire on a project manger and additional staff to bolster its mission. For now, the new executive director is meeting local property owners on redevelopment and safety/security issues. Epstein is also looking ahead to various projects planned for 2016 and beyond, among them University Hospitals' proposed women's and children's primary-care clinic on Euclid Avenue.

MidTown Cleveland has several other projects in the pipeline, along with neighborhood-connecting events like "The Chomp," a seasonal weekly midday food truck rally on East 46th Street between Euclid Avenue and Prospect Avenue.

"As an organization we'll look at all the ways we can play an active and smart role in community development," Epstein  says.  

While Midtown is growing, there are pockets that need to be stronger, adds the nonprofit official. Gaps in retail amenities means driving five minutes to University Circle for a cup of coffee or after-work drink.

Meanwhile, areas surrounding Midtown should be included in the larger-scale revitalization effort, be it through job opportunities or projects that add value to underserved neighborhoods. Epstein points to partner group JumpStart's "core city" program, which provides investment and advice to minority and low-income businesses owners.

"There's such potential to transform this district," says Epstein. "I'm excited to be part of a team that's going to be working toward that." 

Forbes editor: Cleveland must foster rise of the "digital native"

Not long ago, young entrepreneurs were designing software or other technological advancements far away from the old-guard industries that didn't rely on high-tech innovation to succeed.

Now that technology has infiltrated most every business, these youthful "digital natives" have a professional advantage, and it's up to Cleveland and similarly sized cities to be part of this powerful sea change, says Randall Lane, editor of Forbes.

"It's not just a Silicon Valley, or Austin, or Boston phenomenon," Lane says of what he believes to be a historically unprecedented event. "It can be a Cleveland phenomenon, or Minneapolis, or any city that wants to grow and tap into this audience."

Tech-savvy millennials grew up never knowing a time without the Internet, meaning their brains are wired for the intricacies of digital entrepreneurship from the jump, Lane told Fresh Water during a March 15 interview, a day before he spoke on the topic at the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center on the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) campus.

"This is a generation that no longer thinks that working for a big company is the be-all and end-all," says Lane, creator of Forbes'  popular 30 Under 30 lists as well as author of You Only Need to Be Right Once, which chronicles the rise of the young tech billionaire. "They understand there's no lifetime job anymore. The safest career move is becoming an entrepreneur and building an opportunity for yourself." 

The fact that high-tech ideas can take root virtually anywhere is a potential boon for Northeast Ohio, Lane says. Cleveland already has a critical mass of talent from CWRU and other nearby universities; it's a matter of convincing a sizeable percentage of these go-getting agents of change to stick around.  

Ultimately, Cleveland faces the same talent recruitment challenges as Pittsburgh, Columbus and other mid-sized cities that host academic institutions, Lane says.

"Regional schools here are already a national draw," he says. "The easiest thing for these smart, ambitious people to do would be to stay."

A walkable urban city has long been in Cleveland's plans. Creating that exciting culture, along with an environment that nurtures entrepreneurship, can help attract and keep the bright millennial tech heads who are transforming the business world.

"You've got to have enough for young people to say, 'I can plant a flag and grow with this place,'" Lane says. 
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