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!

Students can earn ACES points for attending, so meet us in the East Hall Lobby at 7 p.m. by the fireplace. 

Fireside Chats - Fall 2015 (Wednesdays at 7 p.m.)

Sept. 9:  "The Business of Art!" with Jack Kotz ’83, Fine-Art and Commercial Photographer

After earning a B.A. in Art from Hiram, Jack started his career as a fine-art and commercial photographer in the Washington, D.C. area and later moved to Santa Fe, N.M. Much of his commercial photography has been architectural, but also includes editorial portraits and photographs of people for advertising. A collection of Jack’s personal projects will be highlighted in a month-long show, A Small Retrospective, at the Gelbke Fine Arts Center Gallery. Come hear Jack Kotz discuss his career as a fine-art and commercial photographer.

Sept. 23: "Perception is Reality!" with Donald Wayne McLeod, Founder, PERCEPTIONOLOGY, LLC

Donald Wayne is an interpersonal communication consultant for individuals and corporate clients. He created PERCEPTIONOLOGY to help people realize how they are truly being perceived. Understanding PERCEPTIONOLOGY can give anyone an advantage to set them apart from the crowd in both their personal and professional life. Come hear Donald Wayne share his message of PERCEPTIONOLOGY.

Sept. 30: "International Business!" with Joe Bica, Managing Partner, U.S. Wine Exports Company, LTD

Joe is a managerial executive and international business development specialist with over 24 years of experience in start-up business, incubation, growth planning, strategic analysis and corporate development. U.S. Wine Exports is a wine industry service company that establishes and sustains strategic partnerships between U.S. wine makers and wine buyers in specific international locations. Come hear Joe discuss being entrepreneurial in an international market.

Oct. 7: "Brewing up Success!" with John Najeway, Owner, Thirsty Dog Brewery

Come hear John’s story of how his love of beer and a visit to Beer Camp lead him to build an award winning microbrewery in Akron, OH. Starting out first as a brewpub, he switched to production brewing and now Thirsty Dog is available in 14 different states. Come hear how John is brewing up success.

Oct. 14: "Design Your Business!" with RJ Thompson, Asst. Prof. Graphic & Interactive Design, YSU and Owner, Zola Design LLC

RJ Thompson is a practicing graphic designer, graphic design educator and entrepreneur. As an educator, RJ is able to combine his hobby with his job to present design in a fun and easy-to-understand way, not only to students, but clients as well. RJ's entrepreneurial spirit and initiative drive him to do work that positively impacts the community. Come hear RJ talk about designing your business using visual communication and design to cultivate creativity.

Oct. 21: "When it Rains it Pours!" with Andrew Ratcliff ’86, freelance Project Manager and Artist

Andrew received his BA in economics from Hiram in 1986, and a degree in digital multimedia from the Cleveland Institute of Art. He is a freelance Project Manager with 25 years of experience managing technical projects and international art installations. He is one of the inventors and patent holders of the Waterfall Swing (as seen on the Today Show), a collaborative project and interactive art piece that has traveled the world. Come hear Andrew’s story of being an inventor and a freelancer in the new gig-economy.

Oct. 28: "Go With Your Skills!" with Betsy Juliano ‘84, Founder and CEO, Litigation Management, Inc.

While a humanities major at Hiram’s Weekend College Betsy considered becoming a lawyer, but decided to launch Litigation Management, Inc., a firm that provides services to defense lawyers fighting medical product litigation suits. Her legal and medical records experience from the Cleveland Clinic provided her with an idea and a great competitive advantage. Betsy also serves on the Hiram College Board of Trustees. Come hear how Betsy used her Hiram liberal arts education and work experience to launch a successful company.

Nov. 4: "Cleveland’s Tree Doctor!" with Lauren Lanphear ‘79, President, Forest City Tree Protection Company, Inc.

Known as Cleveland’s Tree Doctor, Lauren, who doubled majored in Science (Botany) and Religion while at Hiram, is president of the Forest City Tree Protection Company, a tree care firm founded by his grandfather, William P. Lanphear, Jr. in 1910. Come hear Lauren’s story of working in, running and growing a family business.

Nov. 18: "Hurricane Defense!" with Glenn Brzuziewski, Managing Partner, Hurricane Labs

Experiences while working for untrustworthy IT service companies lead Glenn and his partner Bill to launch Hurricane Labs. Hurricane Labs provides managed security services, including security monitoring, network monitoring and vulnerability management for companies ranging from mid-sized to enterprise class businesses. Come hear how Glenn and his company are taking IT security services by storm.


Fireside Chats - Spring 2015

  • When it's Good to be Bad! with Reka Barabas, Director, Bad Girl Venture (1/21/15)
  • What I did Last Summer! with Hiram's 2014 EIW Team (1/28/2015)
  • Ready, Set, Accelerate! with Charles Stack, co-founder and CEO, FlashStarts (2/4/15)
  • Boldly Beating the Odds! with Nichelle McCall, founder and CEO, BOLD Guidance (2/11/15)
  • Social Enterprise: Money, Mission and Making a Difference! with Kay Molkentin (2/18/15)
  • Funding Your Start-Up! with Bob Cohen, CEO, Braintree Business Development Center (2/25/15)
  • Business in a Box! with Jack Warren '86, Director of Operations, Comfort Keepers (3/4/15)
  • Training with Bioskills Professionals! with Richard Anthony '82, Ph.D., President, Device Company International LLC (3/25/15)
  • A Renegade Risks Everything to be Unforgettable! with Cathy B. Horton, serial entrepreneur (4/1/15)

Fireside Chats - Fall 2014 

  • Helping Colleges Market Internationally! with Kevin Wang, Co-Founder, Mango. (9/13/14)
  • E = R! with Thom Ruhe, Founder and President, EcDev Partners LLC. (9/10/14)
  • Innovation: Powering People Forward! with Ryan Farris, Engineering Manager, Parker Hannifin Corporation. (9/18/14)
  • Sweat, Hydrate, Pursue! with Jarred and Brandon Smith, Creators and Co-Founders, NOOMA. (9/24/14)
  • From Mom and Pop to Millionaires! with Rita Scott, President, Young Explorers Montessori (10/8/14)
  • Social Enterprise: Money, Mission and Making a Difference! with Bill Leamon, Joe DeLoss, and Alison Tanker (10/15/14)
  • Developing the Secret Sauce for Success! with Forrest Reed, Founder, R&R Specialty Foods. (10/22/14)
  • Title TBD with Toby and Melanie Maloney (10/29/14)
  • This Doc Makes House Calls! with Sharmyn Clark, DVM, Mobile Veterinary Care (11/5/14)

Fireside Chats - Spring 2014

  • Family Business is in the Bag - or is it? with Anahid Thompson, Co-founder of Noubar Bags, Ltd. (1/22/14)
  • Powering Connections! with Lev Gonick, Co-founder and CEOr, OneCommunity (1/29/14)
  • A Squeaky Clean Idea! with Dave Baiko, Founder and CEO, Shower City LLC (2/5/14)
  • Mustard: It's not Just a Condiment! with Jim '88 and Karen '89 Scher, owners, Uncle Jim's Pepper Mustard (2/12/14)
  • Hiram's Entrepreneurial President! with Thomas V. Chema, President, Hiram College (2/19/14)
  • Growing Greens by Going Green! with Tim Ryan, Co-founder, Great Lakes Growers LLC (2/26/14)
  • Driven by Passion! with Chris Hostetter, Co-owner, Titan Media Blasting (3/5/14)
  • Taking Cleveland Clinic's Expertise to Market! with Dr. Thomas Graham, Chief Innovation Officer, Cleveland Clinic Innovations (CCI) (3/26/14)
  • A Flowering Entrepreneur! with William Goldner '78, National Program Leader, USDA-NIFA, and co-owner, Woodstream Orchids (4/2/14)

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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