Fireside Chats

Join us every Wednesday evening for an hour or two of stimulating conversation with local entrepreneurs!  If you have ever wondered how businesses or organizations get started, here's the chance to find out.

Each Wednesday an entrepreneur will tell their story.  Some of these entrepreneurs may be well seasoned, some may be just starting out.  Hear how they did it...what they did right...what they might do differently...what they might do next!

So meet us in the East Hall Lobby at 7 p.m. by the fireplace. 

Fireside Chats - Spring 2014 (Wednesdays at 7 p.m.)

Jan. 22: "Family Business is in the Bag - or is it?" with Anahid Thompson, Co-founder of Noubar Bags, Ltd.

Anahid and Armin Thompson grew up as members of a family-owned and operated Cleveland company, but they always wanted to find their own place in the family business. Utilizing vinyl waste from the family's outdoor advertising business, the sisters launched their company creating one-of-a-kind handbags. Come hear how they found their passion and voice!

Jan. 29: "Powering Connections!" with Lev Gonick, Co-founder and CEOr, OneCommunity

Lev has been named "Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers in Public-Sector Innovation" by Government Technology, named one of Crain's Business Cleveland's "10 Difference Makers", honored by Broadband Properties with their Cornerstone Award for "using fiber to build an inclusive society and empower individuals", recognized by ComputerWorld as a Premier 100 IT Leader, and by Northeast Ohio's Inside Business as one of their Power 100. Come here Lev share his story and vision for creating a robust regional fiber network in northeast Ohio!

Feb. 5: "A Squeaky Clean Idea!" with Dave Baiko, Founder and CEO, Shower City LLC

A recent graduate and business plan competition winner of Miami University, Dave is working on launching his business venture Shower City LLC.  Shower City provides an engaging brand experience at multi-day events, such as music festivals and fundraising events.  Come hear this young entrepreneur’s story!

Feb. 12: "Mustard: It's not Just a Condiment!" with Jim '88 and Karen '89 Scher, owners, Uncle Jim's Pepper Mustard

After years of food appreciation, especially mustards, Jim created his own mustard recipe and began manufacturing it alongside his wife, Karen, in their Warren, Ohio kitchen.  He shared his pepper mustard with his friends, and after a few years of encouraging responses from family and friends, Jim decided to make his product available commercially. Come hear how Jim and Karen launched their product to rave reviews and intense demand, and are now expanding their product line.

Feb. 19: "Hiram's Entrepreneurial President!" with Thomas V. Chema, President, Hiram College

As his presidency at Hiram draws to a close, come here President Chema talk about Hiram’s entrepreneurial endeavors over the past 10 years, as well as his entrepreneurial life outside of Hiram.

Feb. 26: "Growing Greens by Going Green!" with Tim Ryan, Co-founder, Great Lakes Growers LLC

Great Lakes Growers’ mission is to become a year-round, large-scale local producer of hydroponic lettuces in northern Ohio through the utilization of new architectural and processing techniques. Come hear how they are responding to the customer demand for fresh, locally grown food.

March 5: Driven by Passion! with Chris Hostetter, Co-owner, Titan Media Blasting

Chris has always been passionate about cars and about owning his own company one day.  Chris pitched his first automotive business idea at ideablitz! in 2009 and took 3rd Place.  Chris persevered through several setbacks and recently opened Titan Media Blasting.  Come hear Chris’ story!

March 26: Taking Cleveland Clinic's Expertise to Market! with Dr. Thomas Graham, Chief Innovation Officer, Cleveland Clinic Innovations (CCI)

Dr. Graham, a highly regarded orthopedic and hand surgeon, heads the commercialization arm of the Cleveland Clinic.  CCI turns the breakthrough inventions of Cleveland Clinic employees into patient-benefiting medical products, thus aiding in the economic growth of Northeast Ohio and beyond.  Come hear how the Clinic is transferring its research into innovative bio-tech businesses!

April 2: "A Flowering Entrepreneur!" with William Goldner '78, National Program Leader, USDA-NIFA, and co-owner, Woodstream Orchids 

Woodstream Orchids is the largest active producer of seed grown and hybrid orchids in the United States) Come hear how a national program leader in bioenergy and biobased products finds time to pursue his passion for breeding, growing and selling orchids. 

Fireside Chats - Fall 2013

  • “A Brighter Idea!” with Gary Allen, Physicist, Principal Engineer, LED Innovation Team, General Electric (9/4/13)
  • Making a Difference! with Rob Nicholson, serial, social entrepreneur and Founder, Nicholson Center (9/25/13)
  • The Psychology of Management!  with Dr. Kimberly Bell, Management Psychologist, PRADCO (10/2/13)
  • It’s What You Say, Now How You Say It! with Nobby Lewandowski (10/9/13)
  • Lights, Camera, Action! with Nancy Carver Adams ’65 & Matt Starr, Co-Owners, I-CONN Video Production (10/16/13)
  • Liberal Arts for a Life Time! with Marshall Winkle ’57, retired HR Director, Ariel Corporation (10/23/13)
  •  What Color Are Your Glasses? with Mel McGee, CEO& Director of Technology, Sales Whale, President, imageNation, and Google Glass Explorer (10/30/13)
  • The Business of Healing! with Dr. John Cassidy ’76, CMO, CEO, President, Nexus Health Systems (11/6/13)

Fireside Chats - Spring 2013

  • Partnering with a Winning Brand! with Sal Baglieri, Owner/Operator, McDonald’s (1/16/13)
  • Keepin’ It Fresh! with Trevor Clatterbuck, founder, Fresh Fork Market (1/23/13)
  • A Dynamic Duo! with Halle and Benjamin Barnett, co-owners media.schmedia and mighty little (1/30/13)
  • Helping Students Achieve! with Jimmy Malone, co-host of the Lanigan & Malone Show on WMJI 105.7 FM, and founder of the Malone Scholarship Fund (2/6/13)
  • Money from a Hole in the Ground!  with Nick Barron, founder, Hole Patch, LLC (2/13/13)
  • Providing Support for Start-ups! with Jack Crews, President & CEO, Regional Economic Growth Corporation (2/20/13)
  • Revolutionizing Recycling! with Jay Schabel, CEO of RESPolyflow (3/13/13)
  • Launching Bio-Tech Spin-Outs! with Al Hawkins, Vice President of Business Development, BioMotiv LLC (3/20/13)
  • An Entrepreneur’s Day at the Beach! with Debbie Kuhn ‘86, founder girltrunks (3/27/13)

Fireside Chats - Fall 2012

  • The Business of Art! with Anthony (Tony) Mastromatteo, artist (9/5/12)
  • Mustard: It's not just a Condiment! with Jim '88 and Karen '89 Scher, Owners (9/12/12)
  • For-Profit Meets Not-For-Profit! with Jennifer Fredricks '95, President, Cancer Angel Network and Phire Branded Apparel and Graphics (9/19/12)
  • Baking Up Success! with Christina Benton '02 WEC, owner Just Pizzelles (9/26/12)
  • Spice it Up! with Sally Koepke, co-founder, Mom's Gourmet, LLC. (10/10/12)
  • Healthy Food from a Vending Machine?! with Tim Klug, co-founder, Essentially Organic Vending (10/17/12)
  • The Family Business! with James Busch '86, President, Busch Funeral Homes (10/24/12)
  • Find a Need and Fill It! with Bonnie Warren, Owner, Comfort Keepers (10/31/12)
  • Discovering Your Authentic Work! with Harriet Rubin, founder of Currency Imprint and Double Day Publishing; contributing editor for Fast Company Magazine; author; journalist; and Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow (11/7/12) 

Fireside Chats - Spring 2012

  • Acting Intrapreneurially! with Erik Weyls, President, Coventya, Inc. (1/18/12)
  • Applying 21st Century Technology to a Centuries-Old Process! With Tom Lix, CEO, Cleveland Whiskey (1/25/12) 
  • A Family E-Affair! with Bill Moss ’79, President, Towpath Polymers and David Moss, Founder, MossMedia (2/1/12)
  • Hatching Great Ideas! With Jim Cossler, Chief Evangelist, Youngstown Business Incubator, John Dearborn, President, JumpStart Inc., and Dar Caldwell, Founder and managing Partner, Shaker LaunchHouse (2/8/12) 
  • The Internship Queen! with Lauren Berger, CEO of Intern Queen Inc. and National College Speaker (2/15/12)
  • The Power of Love! with Alka Subramanian, Founder, Power of Love Foundation (2/22/12)
  • Success= Integrity + Connecting the Dots! with Dr. Fujita, Founder, President and CEO, Quality Electrodynamics LLC (QED) (2/29/12) 
  • Focused on Success! with Lisa Orlandi, Founder and President of Focus Design Technologies (3/14/12)
  • Building a Bio-Enterprise in Northeast Ohio! with Jon Snyder, President and CEO, Neuros Medical (3/21/12)

Fireside Chats - Fall 2011

  • Sweet Entrepreneurship! with Joel Fink, owner, Fantasy Candy (9/7/11)
  • Envisioning Success! with Tony Manna, President, Signet Enterprises (9/14/11)
  • Manufacturing in a Global Economy! with Michael Canty, CEO, President and Chairman of Alloy Bellows (9/21/11)
  • Food, Glorious Food! with Anne Hayman '88, chef and owner, On the Spot Gourmet (9/28/11)
  • A Business Born of Necessity! with Kimberlee Ullner, Founder, President, 1-2-3 Gluten Free (10/5/11)
  • Take Note! with Art Geigel '05, President and Founder, Ground Booth Software, Inc. (10/12/11)
  • From Hiram College to Silicon Valley! with Jim Waschura '83, President and Founder, SyntheSys Research, Inc. (10/19/11)
  • The Art of the Merger! with Doug Grimm '84, Chairman, President & CEO, Grede Holdings LLC. (10/26/11)
  • The Art of Publishing! with Molly McQuade (11/9/11)
  • Collaborating to be Green! with Bud Perry and Robert Stockham, Principals of Great Lakes Design (11/16/11)

Fireside Chats - Spring 2011

  • The Business of Art! with Clayton Pond (1/19/2011)
  • International Entrepreneur! with Isaac Yomtovian (1/26/2011)
  • The Art of the Merger! with Doug Grimm '84, Chairman, President & CEO, Grede Holdings LLC (2/2/2011)
  • GREENnPower! with Aaron LeMieux, Founder & CEO, Tremont Electric (2/9/2011)
  • Exit Strategy! with Kipp Krukowski, Owner & President, Confidential Business Sales, Inc. (2/16/2011)
  • On the Move with Mobile Food! with Chris Hodgson and Jeremy Esterly, owners, Dim and Den Sum Food Truck (2/23/2011) From Nurse to CEO! with Sandra Maddock, CEO & President, IMARC Research (3/16/2011) A Non-Profit Acting Entrepreneurially! with Dennis Allen, CEO, Hattie Larlham (3/23/2011) Measure 'Em Up! with Alex Neals, President, MeasureMeUp! (3/30/2011) A Lifestyle Brand of Doing Well While Doing Good! with Sharie Renee, Creator and President, Cosmic Bobbins (4/6/11)
  • Fireside Chats - Fall 2010
  • Mustard, It's Not Just a Condiment! with Jim '88 and Karen '89 Scher, Owners (9/8/10)
  • Acting Intrapreneurially! with Erik Weyls, President, Coventya, Inc. (9/15/10)
  • Global E-Commerce! with Michael Keresman III, CEO, President and Chairman of CardinalCommerce Corporation (9/22/10)
  • Risky Business! with Steve Osborn, President, Trilogy Plastics (9/29/10)
  • Imagine "What If...! with Jennifer Miller '01, Founder, President, Mission Savvy (10/6/10) Supporting New Business in Northeast Ohio! with Dennis Cocco & Cliff Reynolds, Co-Directors, GLIDE and the Innovation Fund (10/13/10)
  • When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Goat Cheese! Part II, with Jean Mackenzie, founder of Mackenzie Creamery (10/20/10)
  • Building a Bio-Enterprise in Northeast Ohio! with Jon Snyder, President and CEO, Neuros Medical (10/27/10)
  • Building the Future, One Venture at a Time! with Bill Recker, Hiram Trustee and Founder, IronBridge Partners (11/10/10)
  • On the Cutting Edge in Garrettsville! with Bill Whittenberger, President Catacel (11/17/10)
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