Lay of The Land

By Jeffrey Stern

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Telling the stories of entrepreneurship in Cleveland. Every Thursday, Jeffrey Stern helps map the Cleveland business ecosystem by talking to founders, investors, and community builders to learn what makes Cleveland special.

Episode Date
#96: Lukas Minkov & Logan Schouman (afters.io // IDRA)
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Lay of The Land's conversation today is with Lukas Minkov and Logan Schouman.


Born and raised in Vienna, Austria and a former member of the Austrian Armed Forces, Lukas is the son of first-generation immigrants. Launching his first startup at the age of 17, he’s serially created companies spanning e-commerce marketing businesses, to most recently in 2020, an organization providing masks to marginalized communities and selling into the German Red Cross during the pandemic.


Logan — born in Buffalo, NY — has a passion for entrepreneurship, a background in sales, and connected with Lukas as students at Kent State where together, they founded Afters[.]io and are building out IDRA — an acronym standing for Intelligent Demand and Revenue Augmentation.


As they can attest to firsthand, consumers — particularly college students today — expect instant gratification when it comes to e-commerce delivery. Existing options, like Instacart, offer same-day delivery on groceries but can’t accommodate 10-15 minute deliveries during late night hours when college students need it most. Their focus has been to build out a hyper-speed delivery service that delivers everyday convenience store items like drink mixers, cleaning products, and snacks in 10 minutes or less. Through their bootstrapped trial at Kent State, they’ve validated this hypothesis yielding a 7-minute avg. delivery time on 2,600 fulfilled orders with $31K in revenue.


As part of their experimentation, they also discovered value they could unlock beyond a local delivery service, where they are focused on coupling modern logistics best practices with AI to increase delivery speed and predict product demand with increased accuracy.

I enjoyed learning about Logan and Lukas’ experience so far and am excited to see where they take Afters and IDRA next — please enjoy my conversation with Lukas Minkov and Logan Schouman.

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Learn more about Afters.io
Follow Afters.io on Twitter @AftersTweets
Connect with Lukas Minkov on LinkedIn
Connect with Logan Schouman on LinkedIn

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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn
Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe
Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayoftheland
https://www.jeffreys.page/

Dec 01, 2022
#95: Ed Weinfurtner (Great Day Improvements & Blue Olive Partners)
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Lay of The Land's conversation today is with Ed Weinfurtner, Executive Chairman of Great Day Improvements & Co-Founder at Blue Olive Partners


Ed is an entrepreneur at heart and has been an investor, operator, and board member in a variety of privately held businesses over the past 40 years developing specific expertise in DTC home improvement, distribution, and manufacturing businesses. Most recently at the helm of Great Day Improvements, he’s grown the company by an order of a magnitude from $44M to $922M in sales in just 7 years — in the last year alone, the company grew its remodeling jobs from 9000 the year prior to nearly 68,000!

As one of the largest Northeast Ohio companies, employing more than 2,100 people, Great Day Improvements is a vertically integrated, direct-to-consumer provider of home remodeling and premium building products: including Patio Enclosures brand sunrooms and screen rooms; Stanek brand windows and doors; Apex Energy Solutions energy efficient windows and doors; and Hartshorn Custom Contracting pool enclosures.

Since Ed acquired the business in 2014, it has quadrupled in size and is now ranked as the 11th largest residential remodeling company in the US by Qualified Remodeler. It was recently named among the fastest-growing private companies in America by INC. Magazine and by Crain’s Cleveland Business as the fastest-growing privately held business in Northeast Ohio.

I really enjoyed Ed’s reflection on his career and learning how he navigated the business through the pandemic and the deluge of downstream headwinds to his business from labor shortages to inflated material costs, to double down on the company’s core competency and find success through it. Please enjoy my conversation with Ed Weinfurtner.


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Learn more about Great Day Improvements
Learn more about Blue Olive Partners
Connect with Ed Weinfurtner on LinkedIn

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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn
Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe
Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayoftheland
https://www.jeffreys.page/

Nov 17, 2022
#94: Chef Douglas Katz (Amba, Chimi, Zhug)
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Lay of The Land's conversation today is with Chef Douglas Katz.

For the past 25 years, Doug has focused on creating fulfilling experiences for Clevelanders to enjoy. As chef & owner of Zhug, Chimi, and Amba here in Cleveland, his driving purpose is to spread joy through meaningful experiences and shared passion. Doug is also a chef & partner of Provenance at the Cleveland Museum of Art, as well as the former chef & owner of Fire Food and Drink — which operated in Shaker Square for more than 20 years.

Doug is passionate about using fresh, high-quality ingredients with integrity and throughout his career has been celebrated for his unwavering support of local farmers and food artisans. He advocates nationally and internationally for sustainable, healthy and local food systems, and frequently consults with media and civic leaders on local food initiatives. He is an advisor for Seeds of Collaboration Tahini and Smart Soda. He also serves as a chef ambassador for the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafoodwatch program, which promotes environmentally responsible fishing and fish farming, and as a consultant for Perfectly Imperfect Produce, which aims to reduce food waste and improve healthy food access. He also serves on the board of the Countryside in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and has held leadership positions with Destination Cleveland and Cleveland Independents, an organization of 90 locally owned restaurants that nurtures and promotes local independent restaurants.

Esquire magazine named Zhug one of America’s best new restaurants in 2020 and back In 2014, the prestigious James Beard Foundation nominated Doug for Best Chef of the Great Lakes Region.

Doug’s passion for his work is inspiring. It’s hard not to be a huge fan of Doug if you’ve gone to any of his restaurants and witnessed the care and attention he and his team provide to create the best experiences — I loved hearing about Doug’s passion for service & food and his journey to become one of Cleveland’s most renowned restauranteurs and chefs. Please enjoy my conversation with Chef Douglas Katz.


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Learn more about Chef Douglas Katz
Connect with Douglas Katz on LinkedIn
Follow Douglas Katz on Twitter @phireman
Follow Douglas Katz on Instagram
Learn more about Amba
Learn more about Zhug
Follow Zhug on Instagram
Learn more about Chimi
Follow Chimi on Instagram

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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn
Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe
Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayoftheland
https://www.jeffreys.page/

Nov 10, 2022
#93: Michael Kubinski (Cleveland Clothing Company)
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Lay of The Land's conversation today is with Michael Kubinski — Founder & CEO of Cleveland Clothing Company.

From printing tees in a basement to the Best of Cleveland!, Cleveland Clothing Co. has been spreading Cleveland pride one t-shirt at a time since 2008. They are independent, local, and family-owned. A one-stop shop for Cleveland-themed graphic tees, apparel, accessories, gifts, and more!


Founded by two lifelong friends. One, a graphic designer, had always dreamed of starting a t-shirt company. The other, an entrepreneur, was looking for a fun new opportunity. One fateful night over some beers, chili, and burgers at one of their favorite spots, Whitey's in Richfield, Ohio, they decided to put their money where their mouth was and came up with a plan. They purchased a screen printing press, some blank t-shirts, and got to work on a couple of designs. Cleveland Clothing was born. 

They started a website, used social media to get the word out and spent $50 on business cards, which they left around local businesses. Word began to spread, and the company was literally "Spreading Cleveland Pride, One T-Shirt at a Time" as the guys screened and shipped the shirts themselves…and the rest is history, as they say — a history that we’ll cover in our conversation today! Please enjoy my discussion with Michael Kubinksi


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Learn more about Cleveland Clothing Company
Follow Cleveland Clothing Company on Twitter @CLECLOTHINGCO
Follow Cleveland Clothing Company on Instagram
Connect with Michael Kubinski in LinkedIn
Follow Michael Kubinski on Twitter @MK_Creative

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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn
Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe
Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayoftheland
https://www.jeffreys.page/

Nov 03, 2022
#92: Leopoldo Peña (Presta)
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Lay of The Land's conversation today is with Leopoldo Peña.

Leo is the Co-Founder and CEO of Presta — a digital lending infrastructure that allows traditional financial institutions to better lend to small and medium-sized businesses by allowing them to book loans digitally.

Leo’s prior professional experience has been centered around the world of government and civic technology — most recently focused on expanding access to equity investment. In 2019, he co-founded and launched The Opportunity Exchange, an equity investment marketplace for economic development projects. After powering projects in the majority of the US, The Opportunity Exchange was acquired by Bludot, a competitor in the space.

Prior to that, Leo and I actually worked together as part of the founding team of Votem to launch a mobile voting platform designed to securely cast votes in elections across the globe, allowing members of the US military to participate in general and midterm elections while serving abroad, in addition to building out other core election infrastructure like voter registration systems.

Leo currently resides here in Cleveland, Ohio with his dog Chamo, holds a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University, and is an alumnus of the Venture for America Fellowship.

Leo is one of the best people I know — so needless to say I’ve been looking forward to having him on the podcast for a while now. I’m glad the timing finally made sense and I hope you all enjoy our conversation!


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Learn more about Presta
Connect with Leopoldo Peña on LinkedIn
Follow Leo on Twitter @leodpena

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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn
Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe
Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayoftheland
https://www.jeffreys.page/

Oct 27, 2022
#91: Heather Lenz (Sangfroid Strategy)
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Lay of The Land's conversation today is with Heather Lenz, Founder & CEO of Sangfroid Strategy. 

Heather has spent the past 16 years working in the social impact space - with nonprofits, governments, and foundations who are all trying to make improvements for the good of humanity, the environment, and society. About a decade into her work in the social impact space, she realized that in order for this social impact sector to be effective, there needed to be a dramatic shift in the way that most of these organizations and institutions thought about and used data. 

This realization is at the center of Sangfroid Strategy (pronounced sahng-fwa), the company Heather founded in 2016 to help organizations tackle some of the most complex and difficult issues of our time - from combatting systemic racism, to changing antiquated systems that create barriers for people in poverty.


Heather is on a mission to shift this landscape from one that makes people feel good - to one that is effective for the people who need it and has done so by working with many Cleveland organizations like The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to The City of Lakewood, to name a few.


I loved hearing Heather’s story, learning about how data is currently used in the nonprofit sector, and where societally we have a massive opportunity right now to leverage advances in technology — automation, data science, open source software systems, and more — for social good.


Please enjoy my conversation with Heather Lenz.


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Learn more about Sangfroid Strategy
Follow Sangfroid Strategy on LinkedIn
Connect with Heather Lenz on LinkedIn

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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn
Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe
Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayoftheland
https://www.jeffreys.page/

Oct 20, 2022
#90: Pat Conway & Mark King (Great Lakes Brewing Company)
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Lay of the Land's conversation today is with Pat Conway and Mark King of Great Lakes Brewing Company.

Pat and his brother Daniel founded the company back in 1988 in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood where it’s been independent for over 30 years and employee-owned since 2018 — serving 14 states and Washington D.C. with an award-winning and beloved selection of fresh, flavorful, and innovative craft beers that Clevelanders and others around the country have come to love like their Dortmunder and Christmas Ale.

In 2019, Mark King joined the company as the CEO after an extensive career in the industry as a vice president at Anheuser-Busch, and most recently, having founded his own cidery back in 2013 down in Austin, Texas — Austin Eastciders.

We cover a lot in this conversation, from the history of breweries and beer production in Cleveland, to Great Lake Lake’s Brewing commitment to a triple bottom line of brewing good — from beer to community to environmental stewardship, to their role as a staple in Cleveland through events like the Burning River festival, to how they are handling the ever-changing beer industry — from the proliferation of craft breweries to “beyond beer” beverages like seltzers.

Great Lakes Brewing has blazed a trail for so many other Cleveland companies and entrepreneurs and it is a privilege to capture a piece of their story here and how they are thinking about what comes next — please enjoy my conversation with Pat Conway and Mark King!


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Learn more about Great Lakes Brewing Company
Connect with Mark King on LinkedIn
Follow Great Lakes Brewing Company on Instagram
Follow Great Lakes Brewing Company on Twitter
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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn
Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe
Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayoftheland
https://www.jeffreys.page/

Oct 13, 2022
#89: Lila Mills (Signal Cleveland)
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Lay of The Land's conversation today is with Lila Mills — founding editor-in-chief of Signal Cleveland (formerly known as the Ohio Local News Initiative Cleveland newsroom).

Lila has been working in community and media for more than 20 years. She most recently spent almost 11 years with the nationally-recognized community building program Neighborhood Connections where her work ranged from editing a community newspaper to serving as associate director. Prior to that, Mills was a student newspaper advisor at Cuyahoga Community College and a reporter at the Plain Dealer. Born and raised on the southeast side of Cleveland, Lila is a first-generation college graduate with degrees from Columbia University.


From 2000 to 2020, the newspaper industry's advertising revenue fell by an estimated 80%, from 2000 to 2018, weekday newspaper circulation fell from 55.8 million households to an estimated 28.6 million, 1800 communities have lost their local newsroom since 2004, over 2000 papers have closed since 2004 and there’s been a 60% reduction newsroom jobs since 2008 — needless to say, access to Local News across the country is waning.


Signal Cleveland — a nonprofit initiative formed by The American Journalism Project and a coalition of Ohio-based organizations like the Cleveland Foundation, the John S. And James L. Knight Foundation, Sisters of Charity Foundation, the Visible Voice Charitable Fund, and the Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation — has raised over $5.8 million in funding aiming to be a trusted source of daily news and information for Greater Clevelanders.


Lila has incredible perspective working through all of the challenges that come with starting a newsroom from scratch with real understanding of the Cleveland nuance — very much enjoyed hearing her thoughts on the whole endeavor and the implications this can have for Cleveland! Please enjoy my conversation with Lila Mills!

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Learn more about Signal Cleveland
Learn more about the American Journalism Project
Connect with Lila Mills on LinkedIn
Follow Signal Cleveland on Twitter @signalcleveland
Follow Signal Cleveland on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/signalcleveland/

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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn
Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe
Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayoftheland
https://www.jeffreys.page/

Oct 06, 2022
#88: Anne Skoch (Anne Cate)
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Lay of The Land's conversation today is with Anne Skoch — Founder and CEO of Anne Cate. 

Anne Cate is a made‐in‐America accessories brand and manufacturing firm specializing in skyline silhouette purses and pillows. A proud Kent State graduate and Clevelander, she has scaled her business from a sewing machine in her dorm room to a manufacturing studio, employing a team full time to create success with their hands. More than just made in America — Anne Cate is made in Cleveland where the production staff sews every product.


Anne Cate sells in over 150 small and large stores across the country, works with corporate clients such as Hulu and Keybank, and distributes thousands of products monthly through their site, AnneCate.com. Anne’s favorite part of her job is bringing joy to her customers through her products. To her customers, the products are more than just a purse or a pillow; they tell a story that is unique to each person.


Anne has been featured as one of Wawak's 2020 Finest Designer's and Sewists, honored as a 2021 Northeast Ohio Top 25 Under 35 Movers & Shakers, graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program, received the 2021 Best of Cleveland award, and featured as a 2021 Notable Entrepreneur in Crains Magazine.


With that, I loved learning about Anne’s perspective on how to marry art and business and pursue your passion as a profession — please enjoy my conversation with Anne Skoch.


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Learn more about Anne Cate
Follow Anne Cate on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annecate/
Follow Anne Cate on Twitter @shopAnneCate
Connect with Anne Skoch on LinkedIn

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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn
Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe
Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayoftheland
https://www.jeffreys.page/

Sep 29, 2022
#87: Sherrill Paul Witt (Lolly The Trolley)
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Lay of the Land's conversation today is with Sherrill Paul Witt — founder of Lolly The Trolley.

A beloved icon since 1985, Lolly the Trolley is itself a moving local gem, covering 3.1 million miles during its 37 years on the road where they had as many as 15 trolleys with about 150 people working there.

When the company was started, Cleveland didn't have the sites and tourist attractions that are known by residents and visitors alike — at that time Sherrill took a chance and provided Clevelanders and tourists with a new way to experience the city that was in the early stages of rebirth.

Lolly the Trolley became a rolling ambassador for the city, offering vantages and sightseeing for visitors and residents helping many — myself included — get to know Cleveland much more intimately and create lasting memories.

After almost 40 years of running the business, Sherrill and her co-founder Peter Paul decided to permanently close the company in May of 2022. It was a privilege to hear Sherrill’s reflections on the journey and the evolution of Cleveland throughout that time and how their tours affected so many from around the country and world — from brides to students to sports fans to tourists to locals. Please enjoy my conversation with Sherrill Paul Witt


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Learn more about Lolly the Trolley
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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn
Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe
Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayoftheland
https://www.jeffreys.page/

Sep 22, 2022
#86: Dallas Hogensen (Felux)
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Our conversation today is with Dallas Hogensen.

Dallas is the CEO of Felux — making steel sexy since 2019 — which was established by a team of steel and technology experts to create the world’s largest operating platform and marketplace to help solve commerce for the steel industry.

Having raised over $24 million since inception — under Dallas’ leadership, Felux has grown exponentially over the last few years in their effort to digitize the $2 trillion traditional, paper-based steel industry as they’ve built out their platform to manage the entire steel sourcing process — from procurement to logistics and financing — facilitating many hundreds of millions in transactions.

Dallas joined Felux after a decade building and scaling companies. His previous work includes co-founding Liveli and Signal HQ (which were acquired in 2016 and ’20, respectively), plus two top sales jobs at Lyft where he led Lyft Business to become a billion-dollar run rate business unit.

Dallas has deep and insightful perspective on marketplaces, the challenges of company building, and the importance of culture — this was one of my favorite conversations to date and I hope you all enjoy it as well.

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Connect with Dallas Hogensen on LinkedIn
Follow Dallas Hogensen on Twitter @dallashogensen
Learn more about Felux

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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn
Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe
Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayoftheland
https://www.jeffreys.page/

Sep 15, 2022
#85: Shawn Rech (Transition Studios, AGTV & TruBlu)
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Our conversation today is with Shawn Rech, a Cleveland-native and Emmy Award-winning producer and director who's created over 200 episodes of television programs that are currently licensed around the world and several films that have appeared on Showtime, Starz and Netflix.


Shawn's first film — A Murder in the Park — was named one of TIME magazine's “15 Most Fascinating Crime Stories Ever Told.”


In addition to the hundreds of hours of television programs and documentaries he has directed and produced through Transition Studios, where he serves as CEO and co-founder, he also is the founder of two boutique streaming services, AGTV and TruBlu — where he is focused on offering low-cost streaming services featuring factual programming and helping to grow Cleveland's permanent media industry.


I really enjoyed working through Shawn’s perspective on the importance of factual programming and positively affecting history through truth-telling and documentary production — please enjoy my conversation with Shawn Rech


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Connect with Shawn Rech on LinkedIn
Learn more about Transition Studios
Learn more about AGTV
Follow Shawn Rech on Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/shawnrech
Follow Transition Studios on Twitter: https://twitter.com/transitioncle
Follow AGTV on Twitter: https://twitter.com/gospel_american
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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn
Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe
Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayoftheland
https://www.jeffreys.page/

Sep 08, 2022
#84: Graham Veysey & Fisk Biggar (Graham+Fisk’s Wine-In-A-Can \\ Firehouse Can Co.)
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Our conversation today is with Graham Veysey and Fisk Biggar — founders of Graham+Fisk’s Wine-In-A-Can.

Headquartered in the 1854 brick firehouse in Cleveland’s Hingetown enclave, their wine in a can is now distributed in over 40 U.S. States, Asia, and the Caribbean and has won numerous accolades including being named #16 on the Wine Enthusiast Magazine Top 100 Best Buy list.


Graham and Fisk are childhood pals who met 25 years ago at Camp Roosevelt on the Shores of Lake Erie. In 2015 Graham came to fisk with the idea to put wine in cans and the rest, which explore in our conversation today, is history!


Prior to founding and running Graham and Fisk’s wine in a can — Fisk was a member of the founding team for BB’s Kitchen in Aspen, CO, where he served as the General Manager — in 2011, “BB’s” was named as one of Colorado’s top restaurants by Esquire.


Meanwhile, Graham is also a neighborhood developer in Hingetown, where the company resides — he serves on the boards of the Cleveland Foundation and the Bidwell Foundation; he’s the Principal of North Water Productions – an Emmy-Award-winning production firm creating content for global brands, arts and cultural institutions, and political campaigns. Additionally, Graham consults for the Aspen Institute and is a contributing producer for the Aspen Ideas Festival and New Orleans book festival; a Contributor for Vanity Fair, and formerly was the project director for the Ohio City Farm, a six-acre urban farm here in Cleveland.


Graham and fisk have an incredible story and dynamic as friends and co-founders and certainly seem to have the most fun doing it together — please, find yourself a Graham+Fisk's Wine-In-A-Can, crack it open, and enjoy my conversation with Graham and Fisk!


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Connect with Graham Veysey on LinkedIn
Connect with Fisk Biggar on LinkedIn
Follow Graham Veysey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/grahamveysey
Follow Graham+Fisk's Wine-In-A-Can on Twitter: https://twitter.com/grahamandfisk
Follow Graham+Fisk's Wine-In-A-Can on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/grahamandfiskwine/
Learn more about Graham+Fisk’s Wine-In-A-Can

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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn
Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe
Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayoftheland
https://www.jeffreys.page/

Sep 01, 2022
#83: Tom Tyrrell (Great Lakes Biomimicry)
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Our conversation today is with Tom Tyrrell, Founder and Chairman of Great Lakes Biomimicry, an entrepreneurial 501(c)(3) organization (recently having merged with the Ohio Aerospace Institute) with a mission to create conditions for innovation through biomimicry, focused on assisting organizations explore new opportunities, solve problems and drive sustainability.

Biomimicry, which we’ll explore in much more detail in our conversation, seeks to drive this innovation by harnessing the intelligence found in nature’s 3.8 billion years of R&D — asking questions nature has already found the answers to — for example questions like how does nature manage structural forces, sense motion and temperature, manage temperature, change shape, coordinate, optimize material and energy? how does nature evolve to survive; adapt to changing conditions; be locally attuned and responsive; be resource efficient; employ life-friendly chemistry?


Prior to founding Great Lakes Biomimicry, Tom was a co-founder and chairman of Segmint, a Northeast-Ohio-based startup and provider of data analytics-driven marketing technology (acquired by Alkami in April 2022).

He was a Co-Founder, Senior Advisor, and Director of Glengary, which combined a network of support services with investment capital.


Tom’s thirty-three-year career prior, all in the metals industry, included significant turnaround, M&A, and IPO experience, with responsibility for four start-ups, restarts, or consolidations ranging from $250M – $1.5B in sales, partnering directly with investment firms including Primus Venture Partners, PNC Equity Management, Warburg Pincus and The Blackstone Group.  In 1988 he was awarded Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) award for Business and Industry and, in 1989, was selected as an entrepreneur of the year finalist for the restart and operation of the American Steel & Wire Company.


Since moving to the Cleveland area in 1986, Tom has spent virtually all his spare time engaged with the three E’s – Education, Environment, and Entrepreneurism – all focused on enhancing Northeast-Ohio's regional economic development. He has actively supported both undergraduate and graduate-level entrepreneurial programs at midwestern colleges and universities as a trustee of Elmhurst College, Baldwin-Wallace College, and Lorain County Community College where he is also a member of the GLIDE Innovation Fund Board and served on the NorTech Board of Trustees, the Youngstown Business Incubator Board, and the Akron Archangels. He also was a trustee of the Ohio & Erie Canalway Association, the oversight board for the federally funded Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway. Tom has been involved with the Canalway since 1988, is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Conservancy of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, was the Founding Chair of the Trails Forever Endowment Leadership Initiative for the Conservancy and a former trustee of the Cleveland Zoological Society.


This was easily one of my favorite discussions to date covering a wide range of topics and the full breadth of tom’s experience — I hope you all enjoy my conversation with Tom Tyrrell!


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Connect with Tom Tyrrell on Linkedin
Follow on Great Lakes Biomimicry on Twitter: https://twitter.com/glbiomimicry
Follow Segmint on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Segmint
Learn more about Great Lakes Biomimicry
Learn more about Segmint

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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn
Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe
Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayoftheland
https://www.jeffreys.page/

Aug 25, 2022
#82: Baiju Shah (Greater Cleveland Partnership)
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Our conversation today is with Baiju Shah, who is the president and CEO of Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP).

GCP is the region’s leading economic development organization with over 12,000 members — the largest metropolitan chamber of commerce in the nation. Guided by a board of corporate and entrepreneurial CEOs, the organization focuses on accelerating growth and prosperity for Cleveland through strategic initiatives, business services, real estate development, and advocacy — which we will unpack more in our conversation today.


Prior to GCP, Baiju served as the Senior Fellow for Innovation at The Cleveland Foundation, and previously served as CEO and Board Member of BioMotiv, co-lead The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development, a $380 million US and UK drug development initiative which he helped launch, and also formerly served as CEO board member, and co-founder of BioEnterprise, a business formation, recruitment, and acceleration initiative that assisted companies in securing resources and funding to support their growth — During his tenure, BioE assisted more than 110 companies that together attracted $1.3 billion in new private funding.


Beyond this, Baiju has a plethora more of experience, has been named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and has been recognized as one of Cleveland’s most influential leaders. Please enjoy my conversation with Baiju Shah


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Connect with Baiju Shah on Linkedin
Follow Baiju Shah on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Baiju_R_Shah
Follow Greater Cleveland Partnership on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GCPartnership
Learn more about Greater Cleveland Partnership

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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn
Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe
Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayoftheland
https://www.jeffreys.page/

Aug 18, 2022
#81: David Sylvan (UH Ventures)
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Our conversation today is with David Sylvan, president of UH Ventures — the innovation and commercialization division of University Hospitals — a Cleveland-based health system with two dozen hospitals, more than 50 health centers and outpatient facilities, and over 200 physician offices located throughout 16 counties.


UH Ventures comprises a diverse array of professionals with deep domain expertise ranging from venture investing and company formation, to human-centered and experience design, as well as physicians, clinicians, and researchers who collectively seek to bring innovation to life in service to University Hospitals’ mission. Leading the organization, David gets a real breadth of exposure to intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship through a lens of the future of healthcare.


Through my own company, Axuall, I’ve had the privilege to see how David approaches this fascinating world of healthcare innovation as he’s invested in, advised, coached, and helped Axuall mature as a company over the last three years.


David comes to UH Ventures with more than 30 years of diverse corporate experience, most recently following a successful 15-year career in capital markets and investment banking, where he led a derivatives trading and public finance investment banking platform. Prior to this, David spent 8 years in a variety of responsibilities at the sports marketing giant, IMG. He started his career in public accounting with Deloitte in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is an adjunct professor locally at Case Western Reserve University’s (CWRU) Weatherhead School of Business in their department of Design & Innovation.


I really enjoyed pulling back the curtain here on the inner workings of hospital venture groups and the work David is focused on here at University Hospitals — Please enjoy my conversation with David Sylvan.


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Connect with David Sylvan on LinkedIn
Follow David Sylvan on Twitter @davidsylvan
Follow UH Ventures on Twitter @uh_ventures
Learn more about University Hospital Ventures

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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn
Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe
Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayoftheland
https://www.jeffreys.page/




Aug 11, 2022
#80: Dr. Colleen M. Lorber (Wraparound Experts)
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Our conversation today is with Dr. Colleen M. Lorber — Founder & CEO of Wraparound Experts.

Colleen Lorber has her Ph.D. in School Psychology and founded Wraparound Experts from over 15 years in the field, combining her knowledge of the environments and professionals that she has worked with to provide a model of services that “wrap around” a child and the environments and people that influence the success of the child every day.


Colleen knew she wanted to be a child psychologist in the 6th grade and that goal and determination drove her to complete her doctorate at the age of 27. During her undergraduate and graduate school years, Colleen worked at residential treatment facilities for at-risk youth where she helped children with autism through behavioral therapy and mobile therapy services.


When Colleen was completing her doctorate, she began working at a privately owned company as a psychology intern and after 15 years, she departed from the company as its Chief Operating Officer where she was managing over 1,000 employees spanning psychologists, speech therapists, special education teachers, Title 1 teachers, occupational therapists, physical therapists, RNs, LPNs, Medical Assistants, and School Health Aides.


Unfortunately, the research coming out examining the current state of our society’s mental health is dismal. The pandemic has clearly had an effect on how we are operating our everyday lives. Colleen and Wraparound Experts believe that the way to begin to work on our mental health, starting with children in Ohio, is to bring it back to concentrate on our basic human needs which include not only our physical/biological needs but also our feelings of safety/security, love and belonging, and esteem — this is the exact nature of the work Colleen is pushing forward with Wraparound Experts and what we spend our conversation exploring today — Please enjoy my conversation with Colleen Lorber.

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Connect with Dr. Colleen Lorber on LinkedIn
Learn more about Wrap Around Experts
Follow Wraparound Experts on Twitter @wraparoundexpe1

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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn
Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe
Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayoftheland
https://www.jeffreys.page/

Aug 04, 2022
#79: David Davis II (FBA Flip)
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Our conversation today is with David Davis II — Founder & CEO of FBA Flip.

David is a native Clevelander where he currently resides. After high school, David directly immersed himself into the tech-startup world. He’s been an entrepreneur his whole life — since the age of 13, he’s been involved in various direct-to-consumer eCommerce projects generating over 7-figures before he turned 21.


Gathering years of experience in online retail, David founded FBA Flip, a marketplace to service the emerging world of eCommerce M&A transactions in the Amazon ecosystem.


David is an orator with an endless mental well of intellectual and well-thought-through ideas — it’s always a pleasure getting to hear his perspective on entrepreneurship, the changing dynamics of the modern internet-first world we find ourselves in, and the challenges, opportunities, and prospects for the city of Cleveland — Please enjoy my conversation with David Davis.

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Connect with David Davis II on LinkedIn
Learn more about FBA Flip
Follow David Davis on Twitter

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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn
Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe
Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayoftheland
https://www.jeffreys.page/

Jul 28, 2022
#78: William Littlefield II (Wizest)
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Our conversation today is with William J. Littlefield II — President and CTO of Wizest!

At Wizest, Billy is on a mission to build a next-generation investment trading platform that democratizes access to financial expertise. Wizest recently closed on $1.7mm in financing and was featured in Forbes as a better solution to the problems posed by Robinhood.


Billy has an eclectic background — spending more than a decade training with various Olympic coaches and athletes in the sport of ice skating, qualifying and competing at the US Figure Skating Championships as a singles skater. Prior to Wizest, Billy spent a lot of time outside of the world of software development, academically working to reconcile 21st century technology, politics, and economics with longstanding concepts in philosophy where his recent research has been divided between applied ethics, social theory, and artificial intelligence. Specifically, he has explored the ethics of technological progress and its impact on climate justice and geopolitics.


Billy earned a graduate degree in world literature and philosophy from Case Western Reserve University, where he also received a degree in natural sciences with a concentration in chemistry.


Really enjoyed this conversation spanning everything from how Wizest is working to democratize access to financial expertise to Billy’s path to Cleveland, to digital nomadacy, to philosophy, and more — hope you all enjoy it as well!

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Connect with William J. Littlefield II on LinkedIn
Learn more about Wizest
Follow Billy on Twitter @wjlittlefield2

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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedIn
Follow Jeffrey Stern on Twitter @sternJefe
Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter @podlayoftheland
https://www.jeffreys.page/

Jul 21, 2022
#77: Dr. Chelsea Monty-Bromer (RooSense // SweatID)
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Our conversation today is with Dr. Chelsea Monty-Bromer — founder & CEO of RooSense // SweatID.

Chelsea founded SweatID back in December 2017 in order to make personalized health sensors available for everyone after an ultramarathoner suggested the technology could help athletes better monitor their hydration status. She began working with health sensors in 2010 while developing a fabric-based temperature sensor for use in prosthetic sockets.


With her research focused on bio-electrochemical interfaces — Dr. Chelsea Monty-Bromer received her Ph.D. in 2009 from the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign and is currently an associate professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Cleveland State University.


I really enjoyed covering the breadth of Chelsea’s research in bio-electrochemical interfaces, the commercial implications and applications of it through SweatID (which just closed on its pre-seed funding), bridging the academic-entrepreneurial gap, and the future of wearables — please enjoy my conversation with Dr. Chelsea Monty-Bromer!


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Connect with Chelsea Monty-Bromer on LinkedIn
Learn more about SweatID
Follow SweatID on Twitter @YourSweatID
Follow Chelsea Monty-Bromer on Twitter @drchelseamonty

Jul 14, 2022
#76: Mark D’Agostino (ConnectedHR)
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Our conversation today is with Mark D’Agostino — founder and president of ConnectedHR.

Under his leadership, ConnectedHR has become one of the fastest-growing Human Resources consulting companies in NE Ohio. Before ConnectedHR, Mark began his entrepreneurial career in 2001 by starting Trifecta Business Products, Inc. As its CEO, it grew to two locations and over 40 employees. In 2011 he sold it to an independently owned Ohio corporation and the year after, co-founded a staffing and recruitment start-up and served as its president for two years.


Mark has worked hard to bolster the business community in NE Ohio having served on the board of Northeast Ohio’s leading economic development organization, the Middle-Market Committee of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, as well as the Greater Akron Chamber Task Force. Mark previously had the privilege to serve as President of the Cleveland chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO).


I really enjoyed hearing Mark’s perspective on the changing macro-dynamics of employment, how the nature of work is changing, the business of fractional Human Resources, and the journey Mark has been on building ConnectedHR — please enjoy my conversation with Mark D’Agostino.

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Connect with Mark D’Agostino on LinkedIn
Follow Mark D'Agostino on Twitter @mjpdagostino
Follow ConnectedHR on Twitter @connectedhr4
Learn more about ConntectedHR

Jun 16, 2022
#75: Chris Wentz (Everykey)
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Our conversation today is with Chris Wentz, Founder & CEO of Everykey. 

Chris has long been interested in entrepreneurship having founded an advertising network in middle school that grew into one of the largest video game advertising networks. He then started a consumer electronics resale business in college where he bought products that were only available in the US and sold them to customers in other countries. He also modified the Roomba Robotic Vacuum Cleaner to make it a better product and sold the improved Roombas to consumers — the improvements were so popular that Roomba implemented the features into their next product line. While finishing his BS in Computer Science at Case Western Reserve University, Chris invested the money he made from his previous business ventures into Everykey, which is what we spend most of our conversation on.

Everykey designs and builds a patented universal smart key that can unlock devices and logs into online accounts on those devices — it replaces your passwords and keys. Launched on Kickstarter in October 2014 — within 48 hours, the campaign had reached trending status and raised over $25,000 in pre-orders. Since then Everykey has grown substantially achieving scale as an organization and expanding its capabilities and offerings to the enterprise security space

I really enjoyed hearing the story of how Chris took Everykey from an idea at his case western entrepreneurship class to a leading cybersecurity company providing products and services to consumers, enterprises, and governments alike with a deep commitment to brand — please enjoy my conversation with Chris Wentz!


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Learn more about Everykey
Follow Everykey on Twitter @everykey
Connect with Chris Wentz on LinkedIn

Jun 09, 2022
#74b: Dennis Althar (Althar Audio) (Full/Long Edit)
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(Full / Long Edit)

Our conversation today is with Dennis Althar, founder of Althar Audio. 

Dennis has an incredible story — from mastering electronics at a very young to joining the United States Air Force at Keslers Air Force Base with the highest scores they ever had. After demonstrating his expertise in the field of electronics, he returned from the Philippines and ultimately started a field service company repainting medical electronics, ultrasound, heart stress testing equipment, and very high-tech computer-assisted graphic systems. In 1989, he started All-Tronics medical systems manufacturing high-resolution video recorders for cardiac catheterization labs (the majority of labs in the US used their equipment) and ultimately manufacturing teleradiology systems for 95% of Ohio, used for radiologists to read ultrasound MRI or CT scans remotely.

Most recently, Dennis started Althar Audio manufacturing professional speakers for churches, football fields, gyms, live music theaters, and any other space requiring audio systems where he's installed about 400 systems via word-of-mouth since inception.


Dennis not only has a deep passion for unlocking the highest levels of audible literacy — but there’s a real commitment to the craft itself and questioning — across the board — why we’ve always done things the way we’ve done things and digging into and solutioning where the justification for the way things are today is that this has always been the way we’ve done it. This curiosity Dennis carries with him has exposed him to a breadth of experience — from prodigal expertise in electronics to the US Airforce to medical technology to audio — and in this conversation, we cover everything from Dennis’s early life to hard physics to philosophy itself. This really was a special conversation and I hope you all enjoy it as well!

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Connect with Dennis Althar on LinkedIn
Learn more about Althar Audio @ altharaudio.com 

Jun 02, 2022
#74: Dennis Althar (Althar Audio) (Compressed/Short Edit)
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(Compressed / Short Edit)

Our conversation today is with Dennis Althar, founder of Althar Audio. 

Dennis has an incredible story — from mastering electronics at a very young to joining the United States Air Force at Keslers Air Force Base with the highest scores they ever had. After demonstrating his expertise in the field of electronics, he returned from the Philippines and ultimately started a field service company repainting medical electronics, ultrasound, heart stress testing equipment, and very high-tech computer-assisted graphic systems. In 1989, he started All-Tronics medical systems manufacturing high-resolution video recorders for cardiac catheterization labs (the majority of labs in the US used their equipment) and ultimately manufacturing teleradiology systems for 95% of Ohio, used for radiologists to read ultrasound MRI or CT scans remotely.

Most recently, Dennis started Althar Audio manufacturing professional speakers for churches, football fields, gyms, live music theaters, and any other space requiring audio systems where he's installed about 400 systems via word-of-mouth since inception.


Dennis not only has a deep passion for unlocking the highest levels of audible literacy — but there’s a real commitment to the craft itself and questioning — across the board — why we’ve always done things the way we’ve done things and digging into and solutioning where the justification for the way things are today is that this has always been the way we’ve done it. This curiosity Dennis carries with him has exposed him to a breadth of experience — from prodigal expertise in electronics to the US Airforce to medical technology to audio — and in this conversation, we cover everything from Dennis’s early life to hard physics to philosophy itself. This really was a special conversation and I hope you all enjoy it as well!

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Connect with Dennis Althar on LinkedIn
Learn more about Althar Audio @ altharaudio.com 

May 26, 2022
#73: John Wetzel, Alex Hilleary, Brooks Sime (Gather — Acquired by ChartHop)
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Our conversation today is with John Wetzel, Alex Hilleary, and Brooks Sime — Co-Founders of Gather (acquired by ChartHop in March, 2022) — on building a company oriented around a future of work that puts people first and streamlines workflows for People Operations teams.

Alex is the former COO of Gather where he led sales and marketing. John is the former CEO of Gather where he led product, design customer experience, and operations. Brooks is the former CTO of Gather and led all engineering efforts. As we cover in our conversation, Alex and John previously worked at BoxCast together here in Cleveland prior to working on Gather and separately, Brooks worked across several industries as a startup engineer in New Orleans.

After successfully navigating Gather to their new home at ChartHop, Alex is going back to his roots, building out a community marketing channel leveraging the assets he established at Gather while John is a now a senior product manager overseeing ChartHop's Employee Experience product and Brooks is a lead software engineer.

In our conversation, which all three founders would like to dedicate to Ari Kedoin and Emily Armando, the Venture for America fellows who joined the Gather team here in Cleveland last summer and who have also now joined the ChartHop Team — we cover the full story of Gather, from inception through to acquisition and learnings along the way – please enjoy!

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Learn more about Gather
Learn more about ChartHop
Connect with John Wetzel on LinkedIn or on Twitter @John__Wetzel
Connect with Brooks Sime on LinkedIn or on Twitter @BrooksSime
Connect with Alex Hilleary on LinkedIn or on Twitter @alex_hilleary

May 19, 2022
#72: Camille Heard (FELOH)
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Our conversation today is with Camille Heard — CEO & Co-Founder of FELOH — on building a beauty tech startup celebrating diversity in beauty through community and inclusion, the startup journey, building in and up Cleveland, and authentic inclusion in beauty.

Camille is a Cleveland native where she currently resides. She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and MSPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and also is currently an entrepreneur in residence at Jumpstart.

After spending 6 years in academia and 3 years in corporate working with healthcare lobbyists, Camille decided to embrace her natural gift as an idea creator and to take seriously her vision for the future of the beauty market.


Camille has such great energy and is an overall good vibes dispenser — this conversation is full of them and I hope you all enjoy it!


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Connect with Camille Heard on LinkedIn
Learn more about FELOH
Follow Camille on Twitter @camille_genise
Follow FELOH on twitter @f_e_l_o_h
Follow FELOH on Instagram

May 12, 2022
#71: Patrick M. Howard and Ben Kanelos (RustBit Studios)
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Our conversation today is with Patrick M. Howard and Ben Kanelos, of RustBit Studio and creators of the Grip of Madness!

Patrick is the CEO and a game developer of RustBit Studio — He is an entrepreneur passionate about building memorable experiences that keep players coming back.


Ben is an architect by day and a game designer by night. He comes to the table with a decade of experience designing board games and now video games where he is the lead game designer at RustBit Studio.


RustBit itself is a software accelerator client out of the Bounce Innovation Hub in Akron born out of another gaming startup called Strife AI and is currently in the process of releasing The Grip of Madness — the studio's debut game which we cover in-depth through our conversation. The Grip of Madness is a cooperative FPS (first-person shooter) where your teammates can betray you at any time shooting your way through hordes of monsters, gather clues, and complete the ritual to stop their invasion.


Really enjoyed getting into the weeds here on game design and mechanics and what the process looks like for bringing a game to market — please enjoy my conversation with Patrick Howard and Ben Kanelos


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Follow RustBit Studio on Twitter @rustbitstudio
Learn more about RustBit Studio
Learn more about The Grip of Madness
Wishlist The Grip of Madness on Steam
Connect with Ben Kanelos on LinkedIn
Connect with Patrick Howard on LinkedIn

May 05, 2022
#70: Eugene Malinskiy (Lazurite)
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Our conversation today is with Eugene Malinskiy — Co-Founder and CEO of Lazurite.

Lazurite got its start back in 2015 and to date, Eugene has led Lazurite through three rounds of funding raising more than $18 million.


As you’ll hear in his incredible recounting of the experience firsthand, Eugene founded Lazurite after identifying the need for a wireless arthroscope while working at his prior venture, DragonID, when he witnessed a trip and fall accident in a minimally invasive operating room where a staff member was injured as a result of her tripping over surgical camera wires and the surgery itself was canceled. This incident left a lasting impression on Eugene and inspired the ArthroFree wireless surgical camera system, which will be Lazurite’s first product to market. Prior to Lazurite, Eugene founded and served as CEO of DragonID, LLC, a healthcare innovation and engineering consultancy specializing in medical devices for the fields of cardiology and orthopedics.


While at DragonID Eugene not only incubated the idea behind Lazurite, but also earned a number of accolades including being named to Forbes 30 under 30. Even before his time with DragonID, Eugene began his entrepreneurship journey when he founded and ran Dragon Intelinet Development, an information technology company that was acquired by a leading company in the SMB computing segment, from 2000 to 2008.


This was truly an incredible recounting of Lazurite’s journey, Eugene’s first principles systematic approach to solving seemingly impossible healthcare problems, and what the operating room of the future will look like. Please enjoy my conversation with Eugene Malinskiy.


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Follow Lazurite on Twitter @LazuriteLabs
Follow Eugene on Twitter @emalinskiy
Connect with Eugene Malinskiy on LinkedIn
Learn more about Lazurite

Apr 28, 2022
#69: Ray Leach and Hardik Desai (JumpStart)
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Our conversation today is with Ray Leach and Hardik Desai to discuss JumpStart and its role here in the Cleveland startup ecosystem. Ray is the founding CEO of Jumpstart and has been with the organization since its inception. Hardik is a Sr. Partner at JumpStart focused on their investment strategy has been with the organization since 2012.


This conversation comes off the bat of JumpStart announcing a new division within the organization — branded Jumpstart Ventures —  focused on the organization's venture capital investment activity. Since 2005, JumpStart has invested $70M into 145+ technology startups throughout Ohio, with 82% of the startups located in Greater Cleveland. JumpStart Ventures now plans to invest $70M in new capital into startups through 2025. The organization also plans to raise additional capital, expanding current funds, and creating new funds in partnership with corporations, institutions, and private sector investors.


To date, JumpStart has 4 funds — Evergreen, NEXT, Focus, and the Healthcare Collaboration Fund — providing capital across stages and sectors which we’ll cover in more detail later in our conversation.


The first half of this conversation covers some of the basics, facts, and history of JumpStart as an organization and their investment approach, while the second half covers questions and themes sourced from Cleveland founders and the startup ecosystem at large, and focuses on Ray and Hardik’s perspective on them.


This was a really insightful conversation — hope you all enjoy my discussion with Ray Leach and Hardik Desai

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Connect with Hardik Desai on LinkedIn
Connect with Ray Leach on LinkedIn
Follow Hardik Desai on Twitter
Learn more about JumpStart Ventures

Apr 21, 2022
#68: Nolan Gallagher (Gravitas Ventures)
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Nolan Gallagher is the founder & CEO of Gravitas Ventures, which he founded in 2006. Under Nolan’s leadership, Gravitas has become a global all rights theatrical distribution company that has released more than 3,000 films on Video on Demand (VOD) and has since been acquired by Anthem Sports & Entertainment in late 2021.


Through its relationships with over 200 audience-facing customers, Gravitas can distribute a film into over 100 million homes in North America and over 1 Billion homes worldwide.


Nolan was born here in Cleveland and ultimately brought Gravitas Ventures back to Cleveland from the west coast, has been named a Hollywood New Leader by Variety and was chosen as part of the inaugural Indiewire Influencer class which recognized leaders in the independent film industry. Nolan has spoken on numerous industry panels including the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), SXSW Film Festival, and the Produced By Conference. Previously, Nolan worked in corporate marketing roles at industry leaders Comcast, Warner Bros., and General Cinema Theatres.


This was a fascinating conversation covering the business of entertainment and Nolan’s journey building Gravitas into the pivotal distributor it is today. Please enjoy my conversation with Nolan Gallagher.

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Follow Nolan on Twitter @NolanGravitas
Follow Gravitas Ventures on Twitter @GravitasVOD
Connect with Nolan on LinkedIn
Learn more about Gravitas Ventures

Apr 14, 2022
#67: David Kennedy (Binary Defense and TrustedSec)
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Our guest today is Dave Kennedy (@HackingDave), a cybersecurity authority whose mission is to drive the industry forward and make the world a more secure place. In addition to founding two large-scale cybersecurity firms — TrustedSec and Binary defense — Dave has testified before Congress on issues of national security and has appeared as a subject matter expert on hundreds of national news and TV shows.


Dave started his career serving in the United States Marine Corps focusing on cyber warfare and forensic analytics, including two tours to Iraq. All experience he was able to leverage to become Chief Security Officer for Diebold — a fortune-1000-company based here in northeast Ohio.


In 2012, Dave left Diebold to found TrustedSec — an information security consulting company — and sister company, Binary Defense which is a full-service 24/7/365 monitoring and detection company that focuses on the detection of attackers in its early stages. Simultaneously, Dave started the DerbyCon which became one of the highest regarded and attended security conferences in the industry over its tenure.


Dave is a true cybersecurity champion — online, he goes by his @hackingdave handle where he has over 150,000 followers across social media; he’s served as an advisor to the hit TV show Mr. Robot, and he is the co-author of Metasploit: The Penetration Tester’s Guide, co-creator of the Penetration Testing Execution Standard (PTES), and creator of the Social Engineer Toolkit (SET).


Really special to hear Dave’s story and learn about the incredible organizations he’s founded and grown here in Cleveland — please enjoy my conversation with Dave Kennedy!

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Follow Dave Kennedy on Twitter @HackingDave
Connect with Dave on LinkedIn
Learn more about Binary Defense
Learn more about TrustedSec
Follow TrustedSec on Twitter
Follow Binary Defense on Twitter

Mar 31, 2022
#66: Tony Pietrocola (AgileBlue)
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Our guest today is Tony Pietrocola — Co-Founder & President of AgileBlue, a lifelong Clevelander extremely passionate about The Land, and now, a three-time Cleveland founder!

In the midst of the first internet wave in 2001 and in an effort to make website development easier for those organizations looking to create their online presence, Tony started his first company in Cleveland called Tenth Floor which developed a web application management software solution and was later acquired by Bridgeline Digital out of Boston in 2008. In 2014 Tony started vLoan.com for Union Home Mortgage in the direct-to-consumer financing world which was a direct competitor to Rocket Mortgage. And most recently and where we spend most of our time in the conversation today — in 2019, Tony co-founded and is president of AgileBlue a cybersecurity technology company.


One of many things we discuss is the nature of technology waves which Tony has been successful in identifying over his career — spanning the internet, direct to consumer financing, and cybersecurity. I really enjoyed hearing Tony’s perspective on the Cleveland ecosystem, the ever-changing landscape of cybersecurity, and how he’s planning to navigate it and help organizations stay ahead of threats with AgileBlue — please enjoy my conversation with Tony Pietrocola

Connect with Tony Pietrocola on LinkedIn
Follow Tony Pietrocola on Twitter
Learn more about AgileBlue

Mar 24, 2022
#65: John Nottingham (Nottingham Spirk)
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Our guest today is John Nottingham — Co-Founder & Co-President of Nottingham Spirk.

If you’ve ever used a Swiffer Sweep+Vac, a Crest Spinbrush, a Dirt Devil, a Jacuzzi, a Little Tikes Playhouse, Duck Tape, SmartMouth Mouthwash, an Axe Bullet, a Sherwin-Williams Twist & Pour paint container...you’ve used one of their inventions. Nottingham Spirk is a Cleveland-based product innovation firm responsible for these worldwide product platforms and many more — and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.


Since founding the company in 1972 on Case Western Reserve University's campus, John and his co-founder, John Spirk, have led their team of innovators to create hundreds of breakthrough products, resulting in over 1,350 issued (and commercialized) patents and counting — more than Thomas Edison!


Although Nottingham Spirk started in a garage on the campus of Case Western Reserve University, they now operate out of the 66,000-square-foot Nottingham Spirk Innovation Center, a mile and a half from their original location. With teams dedicated to insights, product design, engineering, prototyping, digital design and commercialization, the projects – and ideas – stay within those walls until market launch.


This was a true pleasure of a conversation — amazing to hear John’s stories and reflections on building some of the most ubiquitous products while stewarding a firm with such a commitment to the creative process and innovation — please enjoy my conversation with John Nottingham

Connect with John Nottingham on LinkedIn
Learn more about Nottingham Sprik
Follow Nottingham Spirk on Twitter

Mar 17, 2022
#64: Rick Simmons (the telos institute)
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Our guest today is Rick Simmons — CEO of the telos institute, a firm he co-founded in 2006 which offers specialized expertise to leaders and leadership teams around the world in the areas of business strategy, leadership development, and change management. 

In his role, Rick is responsible for shaping the vision and guiding the strategic direction of the firm, while inspiring a growing cohort of world-class practitioners to deliver insight, growth, and transformational experiences for telos clients. Prior to founding telos, Rick spent ten years in various senior strategy and sales leadership positions within the financial services industry. Most notably, he led several organizations through periods of transition, which afforded him the opportunity to share his experience and insight in the best practices of managing personal and organizational change.

More recently, he was named a Founding Fellow at The Harvard Institute of Coaching at the MacLean Medical School where he contributes insights and best practices to the growing field of executive coaching. Rick is a sought-after speaker on the topics of resilience, achievement, and personal and organizational performance and recently published a book "Unleashed" that helps readers launch their own liminal spaces.

Personally, Rick tests his beliefs around achievement by running ultra marathons. His recent tests include the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 US Track and Field 24 Hour Run National Championships. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and telos co-founder Amy, and their four children. 


We go quite deep in this conversation on topics spanning leadership, personal betterment, liminal spaces, embracing disruption, ultramarathoning, and much more — please enjoy my conversation with Rick Simmons.


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Learn more about the telos institute
Connect with Rick on LinkedIn
Learn more about "Unleashed" — Rick's most recent book
Follow the telos institute on twitter

Mar 10, 2022
#63: Drew Kraemer (Code3)
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Our guest today is Drew Kraemer — CEO of Code3 & Founder of Marketplace Strategy. 

Code3 is a digital performance marketing agency that serves some of the largest digital advertisers globally. With over 250 employees and offices based in Cleveland, and other cities around the country, Code3’s mission is to be the best growth partner to brands by running advanced, high-scale data-driven and efficient digital media campaigns across the most important paid media platforms including search, social, programmatic, marketplaces, and emerging channels.


At Code3, Drew oversees the strategic direction for the agency and its primary services across media, creative, and commerce. Additionally, he focuses on company culture, corporate strategy, and key clients such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, LVMH, Gap, Chipotle, and FoxBet, to name a few. Prior to Code3, Drew founded and led Marketplace Strategy which was ultimately acquired by Social Code which has since rebranded to Code3 where he is currently steering the ship — Please enjoy this fascinating deep-dive into the world of marketing & advertisement and my conversation with Drew Kraemer!

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Learn more about Code3
Connect with Drew on LinkedIn
Follow Drew on Twitter

Mar 03, 2022
#62: Jamie Van Doren (NeverEnding)
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Our guest today is Jamie Van Doren — Founder & CEO of NeverEnding, a Cleveland-based gaming and entertainment start-up that aims to change how stories are told and by whom.

NeverEnding is a new kind of social media platform, with easy-to-use art and animation tools that help you bring your stories to life! With NeverEnding you can create fantastic custom illustrations and animated videos, without relying on complicated, time-consuming tools. Initially, targeting gamers and fans of pen and paper RPGs, NeverEnding builds on the popularity of live streams and podcasts, by allowing anyone to transform their recorded audio into animated videos.

Jamie Van Doren is an entrepreneur and gamer, with an unusual background; a mixed-race Latino who grew himself from teen homelessness to the C-Suite. He’s been successful in a variety of industries including consumer products, professional services, even clinical research and non-profit management. 

I loved hearing Jamie’s inspiring story, his path to entrepreneurship, perspective on the market at large from the metaverse, to NFTs, to pseudonymity, and the ambitious vision he’s set out building NeverEnding — please enjoy my conversation with Jamie Van Doren about empowering a whole new generation of storytellers!


Learn more about NeverEnding
Connect with Jamie on Linkedin

Feb 24, 2022
#61: Ryan Lambacher (Graffle)
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Our guest today is Ryan Lambacher —  Founder & CEO of Graffle, a venture-funded web3 infrastructure provider for projects built on blockchain (starting with Flow) — which recently closed on a nearly $4 million-dollar round. 

Ryan has a unique cross-section of skills that accelerated him ahead of the competition in the world of NFTs. First, his technical experience building product at Drips (with former Lay of the Land guest, AC Evans) and second, years of building hype and generating sales with his marketing firm. This combination allowed him to see the value of NFTs and recognize the massive opportunity in solving the infrastructure layer for every project built on blockchains.

For context, the Flow blockchain, which was originally conceived by the team behind CryptoKitties and has since powered applications like NBA Topshot and established partnerships with organizations like the UFC and Dr. Suess — is a blockchain designed from the ground up to support consumer user experience at mainstream scale with a growing community of brands and web3 builders leveraging its infrastructure.


From entrepreneurship to Flow to NFTs, we make our way down the crypto rabbit hole and cover a wide range of topics here through the lens of Graffle — please enjoy my conversation with Ryan Lambacher!


Learn more about Graffle
Connect with Ryan on Linkedin

Feb 17, 2022
#60: Cal Al-Dhubaib (Pandata)
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Our guest today is Cal Al-Dhubaib — Founder & CEO of Pandata.

Pandata helps innovative organizations design and develop human-centered, trusted AI. They are a team of creative thinkers, relationship builders, and problem solvers from diverse backgrounds, both professionally and personally. They believe that diversity leads to Trusted AI.

Their high-performance AI solutions drive business transformation while addressing privacy, fairness, and transparency.

Cal is a data scientist, entrepreneur, and professional speaker on AI. He founded Pandata on the core values of "Approachability and Ethics". Empowering organizations to design and develop AI solutions that grow their bottom line, Pandata has overseen 80+ transformative projects with leading global brands including Parker Hannifin, the Cleveland Museum of Art, FirstEnergy, and Penn State University.

Cal is especially passionate about the ethics of AI and how organizations can orchestrate the right talent to support AI initiatives. Cal has been recognized as a Notable Immigrant Entrepreneur, Crain's Cleveland 20 in their 20s, and two-time Cleveland Smart 50 recipient. In addition to becoming the first data science graduate from Case Western Reserve University, Cal is also known for his role in advocating for careers and educational pathways in Data Science through workforce development initiatives.

Learn more about Pandata: https://pandata.co/
Follow Pandata on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ohpandata
Follow Cal on Twitter: https://twitter.com/caldhubaib
Connect with Cal on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dhubaib/

Feb 10, 2022
#59: Daniel Brown (Rust Belt Riders & Tilth Soil)
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Our guest today is Daniel Brown — Co-Founder of Rust Belt Riders and Tilth Soil.


Rust Belt Riders provides businesses, organizations, and individuals with a clean, timely, and community benefiting alternative to landfills for their food waste — namely composting! These services produce Tilth Soil a line of organic, biologically active soils that help to advance regenerative agriculture. Together these efforts demonstrate a model for advancing our circular economy that is centered around workplace democracy, climate justice, and regenerative agriculture — all terms and concepts which we’ll explore more fully in this conversation.


While the majority of the work Dan and his partners are doing through Rust Belt Riders and Tilth Soil is focused locally here in Cleveland and the greater North East Ohio region, we also cover how this local model works at scale and how Dan is shaping these reusable economic models and spurring their development and implementation across the country.


Please enjoy my conversation with Daniel Brown.

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Connect with Daniel Brown on LinkedIn

Learn more about Rust Belt Riders

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Feb 03, 2022
#58: Ryan Young (FlashHouse)
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Ryan Young is the Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at FlashHouse where he's on a mission to create a seamless real estate experience, empower realtors, and simplify the stressful process of buying and selling homes.


Ryan was born with real estate in his blood as a third-generation in this industry. He is also the CEO of the Young Team, named by Real Trends and The Wall Street Journal as one of the top 250 real estate teams In the country where they have helped thousands of clients buy and sell homes.


We cover the ins and outs of iBuying, trends in the larger real estate industry (and here in Cleveland), Ryan's journey as an entrepreneur, and how FlashHouse has differentiated itself in a truly competitive market — please enjoy my conversation with Ryan Young.--

Learn more about FlashHouse
Connect with Ryan on LinkedIn

Jan 27, 2022
#57: Jack Grover (Grove Bags)
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Our guest today is Jack Grover — Founder and CEO of Grove Bags, a provider of cannabis packaging specifically tailored for the unique physiology of the plant to create the perfect climate for cannabis preservation.

After graduating from Babson College in 2014, Jack was inspired by his brother Charlie’s battle with cerebral palsy to enter the cannabis industry and create packaging that preserves medicine at its highest quality. Four and a half years later, Jack’s company Grove Bags continues its commitment to manufacturing products in the United States and has gained industry-wide praise for its proprietary TerpLoc technology — which we'll explore in great detail in our conversation. Grove Bags' growth and positioning to take advantage of the growing cannabis space is more than apparent here — we cover the ins and outs of the cannabis industry, the history and challenges of marijuana's legalization and regulatory standing, and building a market-leading company in the space.

Connect with Jack Grover on LinkedIn

Follow Grove Bags on Twitter

Learn more about Grove Bags


Jan 20, 2022
#56: Dr. Daniel German (orthobrain)
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Our guest today is Dr. Daniel German — founder & CEO of orthobrain!

Dr. Dan German is a man who loves smiles. All kinds of smiles. So much so, he’s devoted a lifetime to bringing more of them to the world. Thirty-plus years ago, Dr. German started an orthodontic practice that became one of the largest privately held practices in the country; he has cared for 30,000 patients. Through this, he became an orthodontic pioneer in the field and today he is well known throughout the dental world for educating 1,000s of professionals.


In 2016, Dr. German transitioned from his practice to found orthobrain®.  orthobrain has effectively transformed the delivery of orthodontics, solving the global orthodontic skills shortage with proprietary technology that puts a virtual orthodontist chairside with every dentist. Now, dental practices from around the globe have access to Dr. German’s predictable and proven systems -- and to the orthodontic expertise that enables them to create successful orthodontic outcomes for their patients at scale.


He has served as Faculty in Orthodontics at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, where he trained post-doctoral residents and was an attending clinical doctor, and for the past 25 years he has traveled the world as a keynote speaker, teaching orthodontics and business optimization to specialists and general practitioners alike. This includes teaching tours in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and throughout the USA. Recently, he was a full-day keynote speaker at the Global Orthodontic Program at the Greater New York Dental meeting where 53,000 people attended the conference.


In 2014, Dr. German received what he considers the crown jewel of his career - The Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Louisville Orthodontic Department. This is only the second time the award has been bestowed.


Throughout Dr. German’s career, all of his energy has consistently been focused on giving people the confidence they need to achieve more and to make smiles happen. 


I can tell you that Dan made me smile more than a few times throughout this conversation — very much enjoyed this one and I hope you all do as well.

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Connect with Dr. Daniel German on LinkedIn

Follow orthobrain on Twitter

Learn more about orthobrain


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Jan 13, 2022
#55: Jane Alexander (Cleveland Museum of Art)
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Our guest today is Jane Alexander, who is the Chief Digital Information Officer for The Cleveland Museum of Art where she is responsible for creating awe-inspiring and iterative digital projects supporting a vision of innovation, technology implementation, and digital transformation that exemplify the CMA’s mission. 


In her tenure at the museum, Jane has moved the organization to be a data-driven, forward-thinking institution through championing endeavors like the Open Access initiative in 2019, allowing the public to share, collaborate, remix, and reuse high-resolution images of 30,000 public-domain artworks as well as metadata for 61,000 artworks for commercial and non-commercial purposes. 


Jane has led the many iterations of ARTLENS Gallery, originally known as Gallery One. This world-renowned, innovative experience uses cutting-edge technology to inspire visitors to look closer, dive deeper, and connect with the museum's encyclopedic collection.


Jane also leads the development of in-gallery digital experiences, including Revealing Krishna, an unprecedented, immersive mixed-reality exhibition that opened in November 2021, an entirely new museum experience where technology is used alongside exceptional Cambodian artworks, to tell the story of these objects and their restoration. This will be the first scholarly exhibition of its kind.


Prior to joining the CMA, Jane developed and directed Columbia University’s distance education program and has served as the technology director and design consultant to Frank Gehry's Peter B. Lewis Campus at Case Western Reserve University and as the virtual CIO to Great Lakes Science Center.


This was an awesome conversation — I hope you all enjoy it.


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Connect with Jane on LinkedIn

Follow Jane on Twitter

Learn more about The Cleveland Museum of Art

Learn more about Revealing Krishna Exhibition 

Learn more about Open Access

Learn more about ArtLens Gallery


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Jan 06, 2022
#54: Eric Diamond (Central Kitchen)
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Our conversation this week is with Eric Diamond who is the co-founder and CEO of Central Kitchen, which has a massive physical presence here in Cleveland, hundreds of thousands of square feet out of their main food hub headquarters located at 7501 Carnegie Ave. off East 77th where former lay of the land guest Cleveland Kraut (now Cleveland kitchen) operates out of in addition to other staples like Cleveland Bagel!


From incubating startups, to co-packing for successful brands like Randy's Pickles, to supporting ghost kitchens, to educating aspiring food entrepreneurs, to trends like fermenting and veganism, Central Kitchen is the driving force behind the local craft food scene here in Cleveland and it's clear from Eric's passion and vision they’re just getting started!


Previously Eric spent over twenty years in banking, lending and community development. Throughout his career, Eric has developed a passion for helping small businesses and entrepreneurs start and expand their businesses — realizing their aspirations and seeing them through. Loved learning the story of Central Kitchen and the outsized impact it has had on Cleveland's food scene and some of my own favorite local brands. Please enjoy my conversation with Eric Diamond

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Connect with Eric on LinkedIn

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Learn more about Central Kitchen

Follow Central Kitchen on Instagram


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Dec 23, 2021
#53: David Boone Jr. (BlendED)
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Our conversation this week is with David Boone Jr. — co-founder and CEO of BlendED — an education technology company which has raised over $1mm in funding from leading education-technology investors and local-Cleveland investors like Jumpstart.


David is a Cleveland native who has recently boomeranged back to Cleveland from Seattle, where he gained experience leading data teams at Microsoft, to found and grow his company BlendED — an instructor experience platform, making hybrid learning experiences more accessible for instructors. 


David experienced firsthand the discrepancies in available resources of college instructors between Ivy League schools and community colleges, which account for 0.4% and 46% of U.S. undergraduates, respectively. So he set out to create an all-in-one solution for multi-modal digital resources with a specific focus on community colleges.


Based here in Cleveland, the company will be launching in the spring semester of 2022 with Lorain County and Wake Technical Community Colleges.


I know I've said this a few times, but genuinely one of my favorite conversations so far hearing David's story and the work he's doing with BlendED. We're lucky to have him back here in Cleveland and look forward to collaborating with him going forward! Please enjoy my conversation with David Boone.


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Connect with David on LinkedIn

Learn more about BlendED

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Follow David on Twitter


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Dec 16, 2021
#52: Mike Belsito (Product Collective)
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Our conversation this week is with Mike Belsito who is the Co-Founder of Product Collective — an organization he started here in Cleveland back in 2015 which now boasts a thriving community for over 30,000+ product management professionals —  and Co-Organizer of INDUSTRY: The Product Conference & New York Product Conference, two of the top rated conferences for product people anywhere.


For his leadership at Product Collective, Mike has been named one of the Top 40 influencers in the field of Product Management on several occasions. Mike also serves as a Faculty member of Case Western Reserve University in the department of Design and Innovation, and is Co-Host of one of the top startup podcasts online, Rocketship.FM.


Prior to Product Collective, Mike spent over a decade in startup companies as an early employee, Co-Founder, and Executive. Mike's businesses and products have been featured in national media outlets such as the New York Times, The Atlantic, CNN, NPR, and elsewhere. Mike is also the Author of Startup Seed Funding for the Rest of us, one of the top startup books on Amazon.


This is a fascinating deep dive into the world of product management and the business of community and conferences.

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Connect with Mike on LinkedIn

Learn more about Product Collective

Follow Product Collective on Twitter

Follow Mike on Twitter

Follow rocketship.fm on Twitter


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Learn more about Jeffrey Stern @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey Stern on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter and on LinkedIn


Dec 09, 2021
#51: Robert Baskette (Roundtable Learning)
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Our conversation this week is with Robert Baskette — founder and CTO of Roundtable Learning (originally founded as Knowbase) — on immersive learning and the commercial applications of virtual reality.


Bob founded Roundtable Learning in 1998 as a learning management technology (LMS) company where he shaped the vision and led technical growth to where it is today as a leading corporate training company leveraging and pushing the boundaries of mixed, virtual, and augmented reality for immersive learning. 


A fascinating deep dive into the future of learning!


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Connect with Bob on LinkedIn

Learn more about Roundtable Learning

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Learn more about Jeffrey Stern @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey Stern on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter and on LinkedIn


Dec 02, 2021
[REWIND] Justin Bibb (Cleveland Mayor-Elect) (Episode 15)
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Happy holidays everyone! We’re revisiting a topical and popular episode now that Justin Bibb has secured his position as Mayor-Elect of Cleveland. 


We cover a lot in this conversation — through a lens of technology, entrepreneurship, and equity, we explore Justin’s vision for the city of Cleveland. Really enjoyed this conversation and hope you do too!


We’ll be back next week with new founder stories!


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Learn more about Justin’s Platform: https://www.bibbforcle.com/

Follow Justin on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JustinMBibb

Follow Justin’s Campaign on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BibbForCLE


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Learn more about Jeffrey Stern @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey Stern on Linkedin or on Twitter

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Nov 25, 2021
#50: Jeffrey Stern’s Reflections on 50 Episodes & Startup Flywheels
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Lay of The Land’s 50th episode is a reflection on the 50 before it, my own professional journey & how Lay of The Land came to be, and some musings on what gets a startup ecosystem’s flywheel going.


Thanks for tuning in for a year now!


Please enjoy and let me know if you all have any feedback. To the next 50!


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Learn more about Jeffrey Stern @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey Stern on Linkedin or on Twitter

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Nov 18, 2021
#49: Michael DeAloia (Evergreen Podcasts)
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Our conversation this week is with Michael DeAloia — CEO at Evergreen Podcasts  — on the business of podcasting, building a media company here in Cleveland, content creation, and Cleveland startups!


Evergreen Podcasts is a fast growing podcast network designed for the creative class to create, listen and inspire. To date, Evergreen Podcasts has grown from four podcasts to over 30 with millions of downloads. 


Prior to Evergreen, Michael served as the executive for technology development, more colloquially as the “Tech Czar”, for the City of Cleveland under Mayor Jane Campbell's administration where he was responsible for economic development for technology startups — essentially helping attract new technology companies to Cleveland and supporting the ones already here. 


Before stepping into city hall, Michael was a co-founder and CFO at Blue Bridge Networks, a data storage company also based here in Cleveland. On the side, Michael is a Cleveland history buff and author of Lost Cleveland, Lost Hotels of Cleveland, and Lost department stores of Cleveland where he traces the cherished places in Cleveland that time, progress and fashion have swept aside. Please enjoy my conversation with Micahel DeAloia


Learn more about Evergreen Podcasts

Follow Michael on Twitter

Connect with Michael on LinkedIn

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Learn more about Jeffrey Stern @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey Stern on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter and on LinkedIn


Nov 11, 2021
#48: Scott Colosimo (LAND Energy & Cleveland CycleWerks)
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Our conversation this week is with Scott Colosimo  — Founder at Cleveland CycleWerks & LAND Energy  — on Cleveland manufacturing, commitment to design, and the future of motorcycles, electric vehicles, and energy distribution!

Scott founded Cleveland CycleWerks, a global motorcycle lifestyle brand, back in 2009. More recently he founded LAND Energy which focuses on distributed power and e-mobility! LAND paints a fascinating vision for the future of motorcycles, mobility, and connectivity — I loved hearing about Scott's transition from CycleWerks to LAND shifting focus from heritage and tradition to innovation and thoughtful applications of technology with a firm commitment to design tying it all together.

I believe this conversation is greatly complemented with a visual counterpart, so I definitely recommend taking a look at LAND Energy & Cleveland CycleWerks’ motorcycles to visually understand what Scott means when he talks about his commitment to design.

As a motorcyclist, it is hard for me to not be a huge fan of Scott's work to push this space into the future, with a focus on keeping the manufacturing here in Cleveland, sourcing it from the US, reducing the supply chain, all while implementing new manufacturing techniques spanning hardware, software, and technology. One of my favorites so far, please enjoy my conversation with Scott Colosimo.

Learn more about Cleveland CycleWerks

Learn more about LAND Energy

Follow Cleveland CycleWerks on Instagram

Follow LAND Energy on Instagram

Connect with Scott Colosimo on LinkedIn

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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on Linkedin or on Twitter

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Nov 04, 2021
#47: Stan Garber & Alex Yakubovich (Scout RFP)
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Lay of The Land's 47th conversation is with Stan Garber & Alex Yakubovich — Co-Founders of Scout RFP (now known as Workday Strategic Sourcing) — on serial entrepreneurship and Scout RFP’s journey from inception here in Cleveland to acquisition by Workday for $540mm in 2019, where both of them still work leading Workday’s strategy and growth in the source-to-pay space.

Stan Garber is Vice President, Spend Management GTM at Workday, and leads the effort to deliver exponential growth within the procurement source-to-pay space. As Scout RFP’s President, Stan set the company’s growth strategy and spearheaded go-to-market activities. 

Alex Yakubovich is General Manager, Spend Management at Workday, and leads product development and strategy within the source-to-pay space. As Scout RFP’s CEO, Alex set the business direction and product strategy for the company. 

Prior to ScoutRFP, Alex and Stan co-founded Onosys together, a digital ordering platform for restaurant chains, which they sold to Living Social in 2012. Both Alex and Stan are graduates of Case Western Reserve University.

There's a lot from this conversation I'm working to internalize and apply to my own work — it was awesome to learn about their startup philosophies and practices which have allowed them to be successful multiple times over in serial entrepreneurship here in Cleveland.



Learn more about Workday Strategic Sourcing

Learn more about ONOSYS

Follow ONOSYS on Twitter

Connect with Stan Garber on LinkedIn

Follow Stan on Twitter

Connect with Alex Yakubovich on LinkedIn

Follow Alex on Twitter

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Learn more about Jeffrey Stern @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey Stern on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter and on LinkedIn

Oct 28, 2021
#46: Steve Potash (OverDrive)
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Our conversation this week is with Steve Potash  — Founder, President, and CEO of OverDrive.


Steve founded OverDrive here in Cleveland back in 1986. Over the last 3 decades Steve has led OverDrive to become the leading digital reading platform for ebooks, audiobooks and other digital media for libraries, schools, government agencies, corporate learning centers and colleges and universities worldwide. OverDrive now manages the largest global network of digital book lending libraries — over 40,000 libraries and schools worldwide in over 72 countries, with over a billion checkouts of eBooks.


As CEO, Steve focuses on OverDrive’s vision to create a world enlightened by reading. A pioneer in the digital content and distribution industry, Steve was among the first to develop useful applications for digital books in the 1980s. He began his career offering innovative floppy diskette, CD-ROM and print-to-digital conversion services, and introduced early versions of digital books to the law, accounting and healthcare industries, which we cover in our conversation!


Really enjoyed Steve's perspective on the importance of libraries in our society and technology's implications for reading and literacy. Hope you all heed Steve's advice to visit your local library and enjoy my conversation with Steve Potash.


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Learn more about OverDrive

Learn more about OverDrive’s Libby app

Follow Steve on Twitter @OverDriveSteve

Connect with Steve on LinkedIn


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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on Linkedin or on Twitter

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Oct 21, 2021
#45: India Johnson (UAVistas)
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 Our conversation this week is with India Johnson — Founder of UAVistas.


With a background in biology and computer science, India Johnson is an unmanned aerial systems pilot, entrepreneur, public servant, and geospatial developer. India is responsible for flying, processing data from, and maintaining the Cleveland Metroparks drone fleet flying. Applications of her work include natural resource management, planning and engineering projects, as well as marketing videos and stills. In her role as a geospatial developer for the Metroparks, she wears many hats from securing and maintaining servers, developing web apps, and writing code to solve problems.


Outside of her work with the Metroparks, she’s founded her own business, UAVistas, where she incubates different drone applications. 


Really enjoyed learning about drones and India’s passion for them —  please enjoy my conversation with India Johnson!

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Learn more about UAVistas

Connect with India on LinkedIn


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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter and on LinkedIn


Oct 14, 2021
#44: Jake Bailosky (PROJiTECH — OnStation)
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Our conversation this week is with Jake Bailosky  — CTO & Founder of OnStation — on revolutionizing how road workers locate and communicate in the field.


Jake spent 10 years as a construction project engineer with the Ohio Department of Transportation after studying and becoming a Civil Engineer. Through his time working on transportation projects in the field, he experienced firsthand the challenges that would later inspire PROJiTech (parent company) & OnStation. 


Jake taught himself how to code and spent 5 years developing the initial product and validating OnStation in the market. Earlier in 2021, Jake secured $1.4mm in funding from Jumpstart and pre-seed investment Glide — OnStation is now being used on over 200 transportation projects and has 1500 users including major contractors, consultants, and a handful of state Departments of Transportation.


Please enjoy my conversation with Jake Bailosky!

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Learn more about OnStation

Connect with Jake on LinkedIn


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Connect with Jeffrey Stern on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter and on LinkedIn


Oct 07, 2021
#43: James Barnes Jr. (Immaculate Cleaning)
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Our conversation this week is with James Barnes Jr. — Founder & President of Immaculate Cleaning — on building Northeast Ohio’s fastest-growing janitorial services company.


James launched his first successful business endeavor as a high school student. From this experience he learned the basic principles of running a profitable business enterprise which he then leveraged to build Immaculate Cleaning. He’s since been able to expand from janitorial services to a broader conglomerate model rolling up and starting up service providers across other industries like lawn services.


To James, Immaculate cleaning is more than a business — it's a means to his passion for community engagement and economic empowerment — working toward social impact in the areas where he grew up in Cleveland. As of 2021, Immaculate Cleaning Company has become the proud Cleaning Partner of The Cleveland Monsters hockey team to amplify their impact in Greater Cleveland communities.


Loved learning about Jame's story and preparedness for every opportunity that comes his way. Hope you all enjoy my conversation with James Barnes.


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Learn more about James Barnes

Connect with Charlie on LinkedIn


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Learn more about Jeffrey Stern @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey Stern on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter and on LinkedIn


Sep 30, 2021
#42: Charlie Lougheed (Axuall)
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Our conversation this week is with Charlie Lougheed — Co-founder & CEO of Axuall, a Cleveland-based company which recently closed on $10.4mm in financing.


Axuall is a bot-enabled, real-time HR data network that empowers healthcare providers to manage and share their verified career data and credentials with healthcare organizations and plans. This enables these organizations to build better networks, eliminate deployment delays, meet patient demand, and improve their bottom line. 


Prior to Axuall, Charlie co-founded and co-funded Explorys, now IBM Watson, in 2009 as a spin-off from the Cleveland Clinic. In six years, the company became the leader in healthcare big data and value-based-care analytics, spanning 26 healthcare networks, 60 hospitals, and 60 million patients across the US.


Prior to Explorys, Charlie co-founded Everstream in 1999 which later became the market leader in broadband and content analytics before being acquired by Concurrent, a public company in 2005. There he served as CTO and later as President of the company enabling its clients to leverage their data to exponentially scale their networks and broker better deals with their content providers.


Charlie is also an active leader in the local community serving as the Chairman of The Lougheed Initiative Foundation, Vice Chairman of Friends of Breakthrough Schools, and Chairman of the Galen Foundation and PeopleBeatingCancer[dot]org.


Incredibly exciting to finally have Charlie on the podcast to share his story and the work we're doing together at Axuall — I’ve personally learned an immeasurably great deal from Charlie over the last two years and I hope through this conversation you all can enjoy and glean some insights as well. Please enjoy my conversation with Charlie Lougheed.

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Learn more about Axuall

Connect with Charlie on LinkedIn


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Learn more about Jeffrey Stern @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey Stern on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter and on LinkedIn



Sep 23, 2021
#41: Aaron Grossman (TalentLaunch)
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Our conversation this week is with Aaron Grossman — Founder & CEO of TalentLaunch.


TalentLaunch, which Aaron founded back in 2016 after over a decade working in the staffing industry, is a network of independently operated staffing and recruitment companies that share back-office support, now generating hundreds of millions in sales and employing over 200 employees.


TalentLaunch was established to help solve a problem that is prevalent throughout the staffing industry. There are over 20,000 staffing firms in the United States, with 97% of all staffing firms having less than $25 million in annual revenues. 82% of the 20,000 staffing firms have less than $5 million in annual revenues. While this fragmentation in the industry could suggest that local communities enjoy working with local community based staffing firms, the average Net Promoter Score which gauges the customer experience is an abysmal 4 out of a possible 100. Many small and mid sized staffing firms do not have the tools and resources available to them to drive a better experience. By design, Talentlaunch infuses big company resources and tools into the member companies that operate within the network to help them reach new heights.


This was one of my favorite conversations so far hearing about how Aaron thinks about culture and the intentionality he brings to it, in service of helping others realize their potential. Hope you all enjoy my conversation with Aaron Grossman. 

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Learn more about TalentLaunch

Connect with Aaron on LinkedIn


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Sep 16, 2021
#40: Brian Zimmerman (Cleveland Metroparks)
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Our conversation this week is with Brian Zimmerman — CEO of The Cleveland Metroparks. 


As CEO of the Metroparks, Brian is responsible for the management of over 24,000 acres of green space in Northeast Ohio including 18 park reservations, eight golf courses, and the nationally-acclaimed Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, roughly 1000 employees, hundreds of miles of parkways and trails serving roughly 40 million visitors annually. 


Brian has helped lead the Park District’s highest rate of land acquisition under any Cleveland Metroparks leader in the park’s 104-year history aside from the Metroparks' founder, William Stinchcomb. Under Brian's leadership, Cleveland Metroparks has been recognized nationally through several agency awards including the 2016 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park Management by National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the highest national honor in parks and recreation.



It is quite awesome to learn about the history and diversity of all the work that goes into maintaining and preserving what so many of us here in Cleveland value and treasure in the nature afforded by the Metroparks. Please enjoy my conversation with Brian Zimmerman.


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Learn more about The Cleveland Metroparks

Connect with Brian on LinkedIn


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Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter 


Sep 09, 2021
#39: AC Evans (Drips)
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Our conversation this week is with Aaron Christopher (A.C.) Evans — co-founder & CEO of Drips.com recently ranked one of the 20 fastest-growing companies in North America.


Drips is the first conversational texting company of its kind, founding a new market category and leading the way for some of the biggest brands in the world to use automated, humanized conversations at scale. On a daily basis, Drips engages in tens of millions of completely humanized conversations with zero client-side human resources or operators.


Starting at the early age of 16, A.C. has been passionate about ‘scaling the unscalable’ in all of his business ventures and Drips is no exception. Really enjoyed covering AC's vast experience in performance marketing, experimentation, consumer conversion and retention, and entrepreneurship, all while building and scaling Drips to a company with a multi-billion trajectory. Please enjoy my conversation with AC evans!


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Learn more about Drips

Connect with AC Evans on LinkedIn


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Sep 02, 2021
#38: Dan Collins (Wastebits)
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Our conversation this week is with Dan Collins — Founder & CEO of Wastebits (based in Akron) — on building a software waste-management company and bringing technology to the trash industry.


Dan is a veteran of the waste industry bringing more than 30 years of experience to the space which he leveraged to found Wastebits back in 2014. Since then, Wastebits now provides a full-service waste platform that connects the disparate parties in the space, from waste generators to waste facilities to service providers. 


Wastebits now supports clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small and medium independent service providers across North America and beyond with a focus on reducing the pain of waste categorization by helping these organizations understand and take immediate action on their waste streams to improve operational performance and reduce costs.


Loved peeling back the curtain on such an enormous industry that affects everyone so deeply but that we all collectively think so little about — fascinating to hear about the inner workings of waste management and how technology can drive change there. Please enjoy my conversation with Dan Collins!

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Learn more about Wastebits

Follow Dan on Twitter

Connect with Dan on LinkedIn


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Learn more about Jeffrey @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter 


Aug 26, 2021
#37: Brent Zimmerman (Saucy Brew Works)
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Our conversation this week is with Brent Zimmerman — Co-Founder & CEO of Saucy Brew Works, a Cleveland-based production brewery and brewpub with roots based in the Steelman building off 29th and Detroit Avenue.


Over the last year, Brent has grown Saucy to become the fourth fastest growing brand in the state of Ohio and one of the top grossing craft breweries in Cleveland winning Beer and Brewpub awards across the board from cleveland.com's best brewery to Ohio City's business of the year.


Brent is an entrepreneur, beer fanatic, and has steered Saucy Brew Works from inception to where it stands today, valued at over $100mm dollars, across capital raising, branding, construction, distribution, community building, culture, product and geographic expansion.


I loved hearing about Brent's story starting up what is now a true staple in Ohio City and beyond — I hope you enjoy my conversation with Brent Zimmerman.

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Learn more about Saucy Brew Works

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Aug 19, 2021
#36: Shane Bigelow (CHAMPtitles)
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Our conversation this week is with Shane Bigelow — CEO at CHAMPtitles — Cleveland-based startup, which has raised over $17.5 million in funding, on digitizing the process of vehicle titling. 


Currently, vehicle title creation, management and transfer - when a car is acquired or changes hands - is a cumbersome, paper-based process with different laws and practices in each U.S. state, creating significant complexity. The difficult process impacts everyone who comes in contact with the vehicle title, from citizens, to retailers, lenders, insurance companies, and state governments, leading to unnecessary costs, inefficiency and waste in the marketplace for all ecosystem participants.

CHAMPtitles was built for insurance carriers, automotive retailers, lenders, state governments, and others to allow insurance carriers to more quickly acquire and dispose of vehicles in instances of total loss by digitizing the process from owner engagement to title application submission, reducing cycle times significantly. CHAMPtitles also gives state agencies the ability to modernize their title and registration systems, providing significant benefits to all users of these upgraded systems.


I have a general affinity for those working to close the gap between the ubiquity of technology in people's everyday lives and the relative lack of it in the governments supporting those people, which is why it was awesome to have Shane on the podcast — hope you all enjoy our conversation!


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Learn more about CHAMPtitles

Follow CHAMPtitles on Twitter

Connect with Shane on LinkedIn


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Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

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Aug 12, 2021
#35: Kate Volzer (Wisr)
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Our conversation this week is with Kate Volzer — Co-Founder and CEO at Wisr, an education technology company based here in Cleveland which was acquired by EAB back in March of 2021.


Wisr, which specializes in building affinity between prospective students and colleges, was acquired by EAB — a key player in the education industry — in March 2021 in a move to further EAB's efforts to help schools and students find, learn about and interact with each other. 


Wisr, which Kate co-founded back in 2016, has grown rapidly since the company began building private, online communities for colleges that enable students to connect with peers and campus leaders. Prospective students use the platform to get a sense of what life is like at a given school and to find friends and mentors with similar interests. The technology also enables faculty to offer guidance on majors and classes, while giving institutions a direct channel for delivering personalized content to interested students.


I loved learning about Kate's reflections on transitioning post-acquisition to EAB and working through the challenges she encountered taking Wisr from idea to exit. I hope you all enjoy my conversation with Kate Volzer!

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Learn more about Wisr (@ EAB)

Follow Wisr on Twitter

Follow EAB on Twitter

Follow Kate on Twitter

Connect with Kate


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Learn more about Jeffrey @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

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Aug 05, 2021
#34: Jacob Sheridan (TPA Stream)
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Our conversation this week is with Jacob Sheridan — Co-Founder and CEO at TPA Stream, an insurtech software company based here in Cleveland having raised ~ $4mm in capital.


TPA Stream is focused on automating employee benefits and solves communication challenges across all benefit types, making it simpler, safer, and more cost-effective for everyone that helps make employee benefits happen.


As CEO, Jacob oversees company growth and investment, helps lead product development, and works directly with customers to help save them time and eliminate manual workloads. Jacob brings over a decade of experience to TPA Stream, leveraging deep experience in technology to help individuals, employers, brokers, and third-party administrators streamline and simplify healthcare administration challenges.


Prior to his role at TPA Stream, Jacob founded Lake Erie Partners, a consortium dedicated to providing resources to young professionals and companies in the Lake Erie region. He also served as channel sales manager at OnShift and president of Calverton Consulting.

Learned a lot from Jacob in this deep dive — hope you all enjoy our conversation!


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Learn more about TPA Stream

Connect with Jacob



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Learn more about Jeffrey @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

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Jul 29, 2021
#33: Charu Ramanathan, PhD (vitalxchange)
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Our conversation this week is with Charu Ramanathan, PhD  — Co-Founder and CEO at vitalxchange, based here in Cleveland having raised over $2mm in capital.


vitalxchange and Lokyata are the latest iterations of Charu’s entrepreneurial career, which began transitioning her Case Western Reserve University PhD thesis into a medical device company — CardioInsight — which she grew and sold to Medtronic in 2015 for nearly $100 million. 


Charu spent the following two years shepherding the technology's integration, before co-founding Lokyata, a fintech company promoting financial inclusion and providing digital self-learning software solutions & services in emerging economies, and vitalxchange, whose mission is to enable participatory healthcare by empowering healthcare consumers. 


We spend most of the conversation focused on her current work at vitalxchange, but cover the breadth of her experience and impact as well.  Charu is a force, a wealth of knowledge, and genuinely passionate about her work to elevate human life — really enjoyed and learned a lot from this conversation!

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Learn more about vitalxchange: https://vitalxchange.com/about-us

Connect with Charu: https://www.linkedin.com/in/charu-ramanathan-phd/

Follow Charu: https://twitter.com/charuramanathan?lang=en

Follow vitalxchange: https://twitter.com/vitalxchange


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Learn more about Jeffrey @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter 


Jul 22, 2021
#32: David Edelman (Thrivable)
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Our conversation this week is with David Edelman  — CEO & Founder of Thrivable, based here in Cleveland. 


David is an entrepreneur, author, and speaker who developed the vision for Thrivable through his work building Diabetes Daily, a leading online community helping those with diabetes thrive. A firm believer that every key decision health care companies make should have patient input, he created the Thrivable rapid-research platform to make it easy for companies to connect with the patients that matter most to make better products and services. Thrivable recently closed on $1.7mm in seed funding.


We cover everything from how to foster and build community, to market research, to fundraising, to the challenges of company building and many of David’s entrepreneurial stories along the way! Enjoy.


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Learn more about Thrivable: https://thrivable.app/

Connect with David: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidedelman/


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Learn more about Jeffrey @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

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Jul 15, 2021
#31: Terence McCarron (OpinionRoute)
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Our conversation this week is with Terence McCarron — CEO & Founder of OpinionRoute LLC, a Cleveland, OH-based Market Research Data Collection Services and Sample Technology firm. 


Terence’s career spans 20+ years including leadership positions for firms like Greenfield Online (sold to Microsoft in 2008), Kantar Health (now a Cerner subsidiary), and Cint AB (STO: CINT). A native of New Jersey, Terence moved with his wife and 4 kids to Cleveland in 2013 in order to start OpinionRoute, which is in the business of helping market researchers produce accurate results through both their technology and services.


We’re lucky to have Terence here in the Cleveland startup scene as both a mentor and entrepreneur — OpinionRoute has flown under the radar for a bootstrapped business generating over 8-figures in revenue and growing rapidly! Excited to amplify Terence and OpinionRoute’s story here! Enjoy.


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Learn more about OpinionRoute: https://www.opinionroute.com/

Follow OpinionRoute: https://twitter.com/OpinionRoute

Connect with Terence: https://www.linkedin.com/in/terence-mccarron-mr/

Follow Terence: https://twitter.com/tmccarron


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Learn more about Jeffrey @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter 


Jul 08, 2021
#30: Lindsay Watson PT, MPT (Augment Therapy)
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Our conversation this week is with Lindsay Watson, CEO & Founder of Augment Therapy.


Augment Therapy was founded in 2017 when Lindsay — who is a pediatric physical therapist from Chagrin Falls, Ohio — was searching for a way to solve the problems she was experiencing in her own physical therapy practice. Lindsay had spent years working with children and was frustrated with the inefficiency of treating kids once a week, with no way to help them exercise on a daily basis for faster progress. And with that, Lindsay set out to find a way to encourage and motivate them to exercise and Augment Therapy was born.


Augment Therapy is an interactive software that uses the medium of augmented reality to engage kids to exercise. Using depth-sensing camera technology, Augment Therapy functions as a motivational tool, exercise prompt, and progress tracker for children needing therapeutic exercise – with no headsets or other wearables required. It can be used in the hospital and clinical setting or in the home environment – any place where added motivation is needed.


Augment Therapy looks like a game to the child, but solves real problems of exercise adherence – its portability and anywhere/anytime access make the completion of daily therapeutic exercise simple, convenient, and fun!


This was one of my favorite conversations to date! Lindsay’s passion for her work is infectious and I learned a lot from her story — hope you enjoy it too.

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Learn more about Augment Therapy: https://augmenttherapy.com/

Follow Augment Therapy: https://twitter.com/augment_therapy

Connect with Lindsay: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindsay-watson-pt-mpt-68103a134/

Follow Lindsay: https://www.twitter.com/@lindsaywatson26


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Learn more about Jeffrey @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter 


Jul 01, 2021
#29: Brandon and Jarred Smith (NOOMA)
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Our conversation this week is with Jarred & Brandon Smith — co-founders of NOOMA.


The NOOMA journey began for Jarred & Brandon as hockey-playing brothers who couldn’t stand the sugar-packed, artificial sports drinks we've all been given our whole lives, all the way up to their time as professional athletes. 


The whole thing made no sense to them; they were competing at the highest level, yet given products based on big corporate partnerships, not what’s actually good for you. So they forged their own path using only organic, plant-based, and real ingredients - and no added sugar - to make products that taste great and actually work. The other part of their mission is to go beyond making drinks and build a company that makes an impact on society.


NOOMA is a Cleveland staple and increasingly a national one! Really enjoyed this conversation!

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Learn more about Nooma: https://www.drinknooma.com/

Follow Nooma: https://www.instagram.com/drinknooma/

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Learn more about Jeffrey @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

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Jun 24, 2021
#28: Todd Federman (North Coast Ventures)
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Our conversation this week is with Todd Federman — managing director of North Coast Ventures.



North Coast includes six funds and has closed $65M+ of capital in 60 early-stage companies since 2007. Prior to joining North Coast, Todd launched a consumer packaged goods company, One With Nature, and worked for technology consulting company, DiamondCluster. 



We cover a lot in this conversation from what makes for a good early-stage funding ecosystem to what’s working in Cleveland and what could we be doing better. We deep dive into angel networks, founder mentality, valuation, risk aversion, startup quantity, geographic competition, and much more!



Todd’s perspective is critical in understanding the lay of the land — Enjoy!


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Connect with Todd: https://www.linkedin.com/in/toddfederman/

Learn more about North Coast Ventures: https://northcoast.vc/

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Learn more about Jeffrey @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter 


Jun 17, 2021
#27: Brett Lindsey (Everstream & Snip Internet)
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Our conversation this week is with Brett Lindsey — CEO of Everstream & Founder of Snip Internet here in Cleveland!



We cover the infrastructure of the internet, the future of telecom, and how he’s realizing that future by growing Everstream to over 25,000 route miles of fiber and multiple $100 millions in contract value while simultaneously building Snip Internet as a residential internet provider.



Previously as Chief Operations Officer of OneCommunity, Brett oversaw the $100 million expansion of the network that became Everstream. Brett brings more than 25 years of experience in successful operations management and business development efforts for venture-backed organizations to the Fortune 500. He has extensive experience in the telecom industry, having served as President of Elantic Telecom and Chief Operations Officer of Vox Mobile. Brett also held management positions with City Signal Communications, Qwest Communications, XO Communications, and Williams Communication Systems.



Brett is an absolute force and it’s amazing to see what he’s been able to build. Listen and Learn!


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Connect with Brett: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brettrlindsey/

Learn more about Everstream: https://everstream.net/

Learn more about Snip Internet: https://www.snipinternet.com/

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Learn more about Jeffrey @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter 


Jun 10, 2021
#26: Gordon Daily (BoxCast)
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Our conversation this week is with Gordon Daily!



Gordon is the founder & CEO of BoxCast which offers an end-to-end live streaming platform and is one of Cleveland’s fastest growing companies off the bat of a $20 million series A and series of strategic acquisitions. 



BoxCast simplifies the whole process of streaming and video capture which historically has been complicated, risky, and expensive for organizations wishing to connect with their constituents. We cover a lot in this conversation from building hardware, Cleveland entrepreneurship, the future of BoxCast, and the wildest streamed content Gordon has come across! It’s been awesome to see BoxCast’s prolific growth over the last few years and hear the story of how they’ve made it happen. Take a listen and learn!


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Connect with Gordon: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gordon-daily-b47b8

Learn more about BoxCast: https://www.boxcast.com/

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Learn more about Jeffrey @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter 


Jun 03, 2021
#25: Laura Steinbrink (Brilliency & Emerald Built Environments)
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Our conversation this week is with Laura Steinbrink!


Laura is the CEO and founder of Brilliency and managing partner at Emerald Built Environments where she's spent the last decade driving environmental change and ecological and  sustainability initiatives spanning heavy industry to retail housing, commercial, education, medical facilities and roads and bridges. We cover everything from the macro-level infrastructure work she's doing through Emerald Built Environments to the micro-level behavioral changes spurred on by Brilliency, bridging the gap between utility companies and consumers by giving people access to their own energy consumption data. 


Sustainability and energy consumption are some of those topics that truly affect everyone and our qualities of life — awesome to learn more about the important work Laura is doing here in Cleveland!

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Connect with Laura: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-e-steinbrink-089340a4/

Learn more about Brilliency: https://www.brilliency.com/brilliant-efficiency

Learn more about Emerald Built Environments: https://www.emeraldbe.com/ebe-home



May 27, 2021
#24: Ryan Cleary (FloatMe)
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Our conversation this week is with Ryan Cleary — co-founder & COO of FloatMe — on how they’ve helped save their users over $30mm in fees and boost savings via alternatives to the $46 billion overdraft and payday lending industries.


Ryan grew up here in Cleveland in Lakewood, OH and graduated from Case Western Reserve University before getting his masters from Harvard. He ultimately ended up moving to San Antonio, TX where he co-built and managed a startup accelerator before pursuing his long-time passion for financial equity by starting FloatMe in late 2017 when he met his co-founder, Josh Sanchez, at a startup weekend event there.

Today, FloatMe — co-located here in Cleveland and in San Antonio — has raised over $28mm in funding on its mission to make financial prosperity achievable for all Americans, focusing on the 78% of Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck to help them cover cash gaps and improve their finances.


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Connect with Ryan: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryan-p-cleary

Learn more about FloatMe: https://www.floatme.io/


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Learn more about Jeffrey @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter 


May 20, 2021
#23: Justin McLoughlin (airCFO)
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Our conversation this week is with Justin McLoughlin — founder & CEO of airCFO — on building a bootstrapped company, scaling a professional services organization, the future of work, the importance of taking care of your employees, and finance!

Justin McLoughlin is a midwesterner who fell in love with the tech startup scene and turned entrepreneur when he realized that when other people start startups, payroll, back-office management, account reconciliation, taxes, and general accounting is not what they have in mind.


Justin started airCFO to deliver entrepreneurs and growing companies peace of mind by taking ownership of these accounting responsibilities — maintaining the books so they can focus on maintaining the business.


Learned a lot from Justin’s unique perspective on company building — please enjoy!

Connect with Justin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jmmcloughlin/

Learn more about airCFO: https://aircfo.com/ 

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Learn more about Jeffrey @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter 


May 13, 2021
#22: Marisa Sergi (Red Brands & L'uva Bella Winery)
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Our conversation this week is with Marisa Sergi — founder & CEO of Red Brands & chief growth officer of L’uva Bella Winery — who is a third-generation wine maker and studied viticulture and enology — the art and science of winemaking — at Cornell University before starting her first brand RedHead (now known as Red Brands).

We cover starting a wine brand from scratch that is now available in over 3,000 stores nationally and levereging the success of her company to acquire her family’s winery, L’uva Bella Winery, the largest wine operation in the state of Ohio.

Really enjoyed this conversation — Marisa is not only passionate about wine and spirits, but also the entrepreneurial spirit!


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Connect with Marisa: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marisasergi

Follow Marisa on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marisasergi/

Learn more about L'uva Bella: https://luvabella.com/


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Learn more about Jeffrey @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter 

May 06, 2021
#21: Tom Lix (Cleveland Whiskey)
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Our conversation this week is with Tom Lix — founder & CEO of Cleveland Whiskey — on pushing the boundaries of convention while building on tradition to artfully blend science with craft to create unique award-winning Whiskey.


Tom is a serial entrepreneur — prior to founding Cleveland Whiskey, he founded Public Interactive which he sold to National Public Radio, he served as President/COO of Yankelovich Partners, and as you'll hear later, Tom has always been a tinkerer through and through.


Lix spent some formative years in the US Navy where in addition to some early bootleg distilling; he was cross trained in nuclear physics and thermodynamics along with seawater/freshwater distillation. A college dropout who hitchhiked across the country, fought forest fires in Alaska at the age of 17, and founded the first University-sponsored Motorcycle Club in America. He later earned his Doctorate in Business from Boston University.


 Tune in for a spirited conversation!


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Connect with Tom: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tomlix

Learn more about Cleveland Whiskey: https://clevelandwhiskey.com/


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Learn more about Jeffrey @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter 

Apr 29, 2021
#20: Mac Anderson (Cleveland Kitchen)
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Our conversation this week is with Mac Anderson — co-founder & CMO of Cleveland Kitchen (formerly Cleveland Kraut) — on creating world-class culinary fermented foods for all and how Cleveland Kitchen has grown from a side-hustle at local-Cleveland farmer’s markets to the #1 brand in sauerkraut with distribution at over 9,000 locations nationwide.


Mac is a Cleveland native with a passion for business, good food, and good people. After studying Economics at Miami University, Mac started a career in finance and law before ultimately pursuing his longtime passion for business to help start Cleveland Kraut with his brother and brother-in-law.


We cover a lot in this conversation from the history of fermentation, to the health benefits of probiotics, the transition from Cleveland Kraut to Cleveland Kitchen, starting a business with your family, and much more...I came away hungry for food but quenched with knowledge!

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Connect with Mac: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mac-anderson-98500973/

Learn more about Cleveland Kitchen: https://www.clevelandkitchen.com/


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Learn more about Jeffrey @ https://jeffreys.page

Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter

Apr 22, 2021
#19: Manoj Jhaveri (Hyr Medical)
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Lay of the Land’s nineteenth conversation is with Manoj Jhaveri — co-founder & CEO of Hyr Medical — on transforming the healthcare staffing industry by empowering clinicians to find the best freelance opportunities while simultaneously offering more flexibility for hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare employers.

We cover a lot in this conversation — from how to build healthcare marketplaces, to solving the growing clinician shortage. Manoj is on a mission to transform the $18B healthcare staffing industry and enable an elastic, on-demand workforce.

Prior to Hyr, Manoj was a mechanical & industrial engineer at several Fortune 500 companies. He then spent 10 years as an innovation strategy & product development management consultant. Manoj was also a faculty member at Case Western Reserve University where he taught innovation management and marketing strategy.

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Connect with Manoj: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mjhaveri/

Learn more about Hyr Medical: https://www.hyrmed.com/

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Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter 

Apr 15, 2021
#18: Cullen Naumoff (Farm Fare)
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Lay of the Land’s eighteenth conversation is with Cullen Naumoff — co-founder of Farm Fare, based in Cleveland, Ohio — on why local food is better food and how Farm Fare allows family farms to compete in a world built for economies of scale. 


Local food is better food, and our world is hungry for a more principled system that stands for people and planet as well as profit. But agriculture in the middle cannot compete against a highly consolidated industrial food system without the tools to match its efficiency. Farm Fare is offering those tools and believes we need to recreate the food supply chain entirely.


Hailing from the agriculture-rich lands of Ohio’s densest dairies, Cullen spent a decade before Farm Fare learning and working in NYC to West Virginia, gaining a better understanding of the dynamics of local economies. Upon her return to Ohio, she saw an opportunity to grow a local food economy through starting and managing a food hub. Her engineering background shed light on the obstacles to scalability a single food hub faces while highlighting how collaborating strategically with like-minded businesses could yield an entirely different scale of impact.


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Connect with Cullen: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cullen-naumoff-717baa2/

Learn more about Farm Fare: http://www.farmfare.io/


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Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter 

Apr 08, 2021
#17: Anthony Hughes (Tech Elevator)
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Lay of the Land’s seventeenth conversation is with Anthony Hughes — co-founder and CEO at Tech Elevator — on their recent acquisition to Stride, the future of education, unlocking people’s potential, and software development.



Tech Elevator is a coding bootcamp based in Cleveland, Ohio with physical locations across the Midwest. Their programs are oriented around rapidly teaching students to become software developers while helping them build necessary professional-readiness skills so they can have more meaningful careers.



Founded in 2015, Tech Elevator has placed nearly 2,000 graduates into software development roles in over 400 companies nationwide. 



Anthony’s passion for helping individuals find fulfillment and realize their career potential is more than apparent in this conversation.

Apr 01, 2021
#16: Brandon Bryant (Harlem Capital)
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Lay of the Land’s sixteenth conversation is with Brandon Bryant — co-founder and venture partner at Harlem Capital — on investing in companies started by people of color & women with the purpose of changing the face of entrepreneurship.


Harlem Capital closed on its inaugural oversubscribed $40 million fund back in 2019 and is focused on investing in 1,000 diverse founders over the next 20 years.


Brandon — who recently boomeranged from NYC back to Cleveland — is taking Harlem Capital’s mission and vision and applying it to Cleveland and the greater midwest opportunity.


I’m incredibly excited Brandon is joining the Cleveland entrepreneurial ecosystem and to share his work, whose awesomeness and importance speaks for itself!


We cover a lot in this conversation — from investing to content creation to storytelling (on the side, Brandon created and manages WallStreetPaper, a brand now harboring over 200,000 followers on instagram) — hope you all enjoy it! 


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Follow Brandon on Twitter: https://twitter.com/wallstreetpaper

Follow WallStreetPaper on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wallstreetpaper/

Follow Harlem Capital on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HarlemCapital


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Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter 


Mar 25, 2021
#15: Justin Bibb (Mayor of Cleveland)
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Lay of the Land’s fifteenth conversation is with Justin Bibb, Mayor of Cleveland.


We cover a lot in this conversation — through a lens of technology, entrepreneurship, and equity, we explore Justin’s vision for the city of Cleveland. Really enjoyed this conversation and hope you do too!


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Justin Bibb is a proud Cleveland native who grew up in Mt. Pleasant on the southeast side of the city. He has dedicated his career to rebuilding neighborhoods and making cities safer, healthier, and more resilient. Justin currently serves as the Chief Strategy Officer of Urbanova, a start-up focused on solving the unique challenges faced by mid-sized cities.


Over the last 15 years, Justin has worked at the intersection of government, business, and the nonprofit sector as an executive and nonprofit leader. He interned for President Barack Obama when he was in the U.S. Senate and has served as Special Assistant for Cuyahoga County, Head of the Global Cities Practice at Gallup, and most recently, Vice President for KeyBank.


He co-founded Hack Cleveland in 2014 following the death of Tamir Rice and launched Cleveland Can't-Wait in 2019, a nonprofit focused on advancing racial equity and economic opportunity in underserved neighborhoods across the city. Justin also serves on the boards of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, Teach for America – Ohio, Destination Cleveland, and LAND Studio Inc.

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Learn more about Justin’s Platform: https://www.bibbforcle.com/

Follow Justin on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JustinMBibb

Follow Justin’s Campaign on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BibbForCLE


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Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin or on Twitter

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter 

Mar 18, 2021
#14: Matt Buder Shapiro (MedPilot)
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Our fourteenth conversation is with Matt Buder Shapiro — co-founder and chief marketing officer of MedPilot which was recently acquired by Vytalize Health in a big win for Cleveland startups!


Matt is a Cleveland native and champion of the ecosystem here (he also has just been genuinely kind and giving of his time, supporting all of Lay of The Land’s progress so far). He has been responsible for developing MedPilot's brand and patient engagement strategy — to date, MedPilot’s helped over 1,000,000 patients and boasts a 97% patient satisfaction score.


Matt also sits on the advisory board for Blue Star Families, the nation's largest chapter-based military family organization, and the Catamount Innovation Fund. Prior to MedPilot, Matt led the New York media team at Bully Pulpit Interactive, a political strategy firm created by the digital marketers of Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns. BPI's experience with leveraging data to target communication helped provide the foundation for MedPilot's engagement engine. Matt is also a political strategist and advisor for Dr. Tom Lee, the founder of One Medical, ePocrates, and Galileo. Most recently, Matt serves as a Technology Policy Advisor for Justin Bibb’s mayoral campaign.

Please enjoy our conversation!


Connect with Matt: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattbudershapiro

Follow Matt on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mbudershapiro


Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreypstern/

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PodLayOfTheLand

Mar 11, 2021
#13: Dan Whalen (INTRO Cleveland | HarborBay)
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Lay of the Land is about telling the stories of what people are building in Cleveland, and today we’re taking that literally! We’re talking about building buildings.



Our (lucky) thirteenth conversation is with Dan Whalen — Harbor Bay’s vice president of design and development — and we’re covering INTRO: Cleveland’s first and America’s tallest mass timber project located at Market Square in the heart of Ohio City in the shadow of the historic West Side Market.



Living in Ohio City, this was one of my favorite conversations so far. There is an incredible amount of innovation that has gone into INTRO and Dan’s vision for this building and community is inspiring. Please enjoy!



Learn more about INTRO: https://introcleveland.com/

Follow Dan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dwhalen5


Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreypstern/

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PodLayOfTheLand

Mar 04, 2021
#12: Bob Sopko (LaunchNet - Case Western Reserve University)
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Our twelfth conversation is with Bob Sopko. 


Bob is the director of Case Western’s LaunchNet focused on helping students and alumni build startups and supporting their entrepreneurial efforts. Bob is also an entrepreneur-in-residence at Youngstown Business Incubator where he mentors early-stage technology companies. 


Through this conversation, we map a whole breadth of the Cleveland entrepreneurial space and cover the impact of institutions like Case Western. Please enjoy!


Learn more about LaunchNet: https://case.edu/launchnet/


Connect with Bob: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robertsopko/


Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreypstern/

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PodLayOfTheLand

Feb 25, 2021
#11: Nicole Paolozzi (OndeCare)
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Our eleventh conversation is with Nicole Paolozzi  — founder & CEO of OndeCare based here in Cleveland!


We cover the challenges of in-home healthcare for loved ones of all ages and needs — infant, childcare, special needs care, and eldercare — and how OndeCare meets this need by connecting credentialed care, safety, and education professionals with busy families that are juggling demanding jobs and care of loved ones. We also cover the challenges of being a first-time founder, iterating on business models, raising a seed round, and more.


I really enjoyed this conversation with Nicole and I hope you all do too!


Learn more about OndeCare: https://ondecare.com/


Follow OndeCare on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ondecare

Connect with Nicole: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicole-paolozzi/


Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreypstern/

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PodLayOfTheLand


Feb 18, 2021
#10: Taher Hassonjee (RVshare)
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Our tenth episode is a conversation with  Taher Hassonjee — director of business development at RVshare (based on Akron, Ohio)  — exploring the world of recreational vehicles and why RVshare has been able to capitalize on it raising more than $100 million in capital and growing bookings over 650% in late 2020.


As continentally confined Americans look for domestic vacation options that won’t expose them to too much risk of infection from the pandemic that’s still rampant across the country, the RV rental company RVshare has positioned itself as a market leader to meet the booming demand for RVs as we hit the road in unprecedented numbers.


Taher is a wealth of knowledge and it’s no wonder RVshare has become one of the most well-capitalized companies and fast-growing companies in the MidWest.


Please enjoy the conversation with Taher!


Learn more about RVshare: https://rvshare.com/


Follow Taher on Twitter: https://twitter.com/thassonjee

Connect with Taher: https://www.linkedin.com/in/taherhassonjee/


Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreypstern/

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PodLayOfTheLand


Feb 11, 2021
#9: Steve Muszynski (Splash Financial)
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Our ninth episode is a conversation with  Steve Muszynski — founder & CEO of Splash Financial — exploring the student loan crisis and how Splash is helping people save on their student loan debt


I met Steve back when Splash Financial was known as GradSchoolLoans and their growth and impact since then has been extraordinary. Splash has been recognized as the 8th fastest growing company in Ohio having raised $17 million in venture capital, and was named one of the top 250 private Fintech companies in the world by CB Insights. Even during the pandemic this last year, they’ve experienced tremendous growth on both the revenue and headcount side - employing over 70 people - and show no signs of slowing down. 

I'm excited to share the story of Steve and Splash because I think they've flown relatively under the radar for how much they've been able to accomplish in the past few years here in Cleveland. Please enjoy our conversation!


Learn more about Splash Financial: https://www.splashfinancial.com/

Follow Splash Financial on Twitter: https://twitter.com/splashfinancial


Connect with Steve: https://www.linkedin.com/in/steven-muszynski-16341b2b/


Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreypstern/

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PodLayOfTheLand


Feb 04, 2021
#8: Joe DeLoss (Hot Chicken Takeover)
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Our eighth episode is a conversation with Joe DeLoss — founder of Hot Chicken Takeover — about service, entrepreneurship, chicken, and change for good.


He’s spent the last decade building business creating employment opportunities for those who have experienced significant adversity in their lives. From incarceration to addiction to homelessness, Joe believes everyone deserves a fair chance to build a new story for themselves. 


Hot Chicken Takeover is a fast-casual restaurant chain taking over the Midwest. Joe’s dedication to fair-chance hiring and social entrepreneurship has allowed him to positively impact the lives of thousands of people and I’m incredibly excited to have him on the podcast to amplify his message encouraging change on an exponentially larger scale. 


I came away from this conversation truly inspired by Joe and craving some Hot Chicken Takeover. Hope you all enjoy it!


Follow Hot Chicken Takeover on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChickenTakeover

Learn more about Hot Chicken Takeover: https://hotchickentakeover.com/


Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreypstern/

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PodLayOfTheLand


Jan 28, 2021
#7: Lee Zapis (Zapis Capital)
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On our seventh episode, we’re speaking with Lee Zapis


Lee Zapis is the former president of Zapis Communications which owned and operated WZAK along with other radio stations in Cleveland, Akron and Youngstown. Zapis Communications' stations received numerous national broadcast awards and were nominated eight times for the Marconi Award, the highest honor of the National Association of Broadcasters. 


After the sale of Zapis Communications' radio stations in 1999, at which point WZAK had become Cleveland’s #1 radio station, Lee continued his entrepreneurial journey founding a multitude of other successful Cleveland-based companies and in parallel, formed Zapis Capital Group in 2003, investing in the technology, healthcare, real estate and media industries across NorthEast Ohio.


We cover a lot of ground in this interview and I hope you will enjoy it!

Connect with Lee on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/leezapis/

Follow Lee on Twitter: https://twitter.com/leezapis


Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreypstern/

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PodLayOfTheLand


Jan 21, 2021
#6: Gerald Hetrick (Able)
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On our sixth episode, we’re speaking with Gerald Hetrick, CEO of Able. 


Gerald has a decorated past here in the Cleveland entrepreneurial space as a technology leader at MCPC, co-founder, CTO and COO at Vox mobile, and more recently, CEO of Able (formerly known as Employstream) which just closed on a $7mm Series B and has experienced tremendous growth over the last year. 


Gerald is a mentor of mine who I have learned a great deal from, a boon to the Cleveland startup scene, and I hope you all enjoy our conversation!


Learn more about Able: https://www.ableteams.com/

Connect with Gerald on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/geraldhetrick/

Follow Gerald on Twitter: https://twitter.com/geraldhetrick


Connect with Jeffrey on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreypstern/

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PodLayOfTheLand

Jan 14, 2021
#5: Mansfield Frazier (Chateau Hough & Neighborhood Solutions)
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On our fifth episode, we’re speaking with Mansfield Frazier, founder of Château Hough - the country’s first inner-city vineyard located in the historic district of Hough, where he resides. 


Our conversation spans growing grapes and selling wine in Midtown Cleveland, triple-bottom line businesses, conscious capitalism, institutionalized racism, combating recidivism, and lots more.


Mansfield is a native Clevelander and a product of the Cleveland public school system. He left Cleveland in 1969, and for the next 30 years lived all over the United States, pursuing activities that can best be described as checkered at best, an experience he feels greatly shapes his perspectives as a writer and journalist, primarily focused on social justice issues.


Self-taught as a writer, he returned to Cleveland in 1995 and began his career as the associate editor of an urban news magazine, The Downtown Tab. He served briefly as the editor of the minority-focused weekly, The Call & Post before moving on to edit CityNews, a startup urban weekly. His writing is currently featured nationally on Newsweek/The Daily Beast, and locally on both CoolCleveland.com and The Cleveland Leader.


He currently serves as the executive director of Neighborhood Solutions, Inc. a non-profit that publishes Reentry Advocate, a national magazine that goes into various prisons, libraries, county jails, halfway houses and prison ministries around the United States.


Learn more about Chateau Hough: https://www.chateauhough.com/

Follow Fiveable on Neighborhood Solutions: http://www.neighborhoodsolutionsinc.com/

Connect with Mansfield on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mansfieldfrazier/


Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PodLayOfTheLand


Jan 07, 2021
#4: Tagan Horton
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Today's episode is a special one as our guest is our very own co-host, Tagan.

Over the next few episodes, Tagan will be waning off of Lay of The Land as a co-host and so we wanted to share her own Cleveland entrepreneurial journey as a guest on the show before her departure. Lay of The Land will continue to tell the stories of Cleveland entrepreneurship every Thursday, and Tagan and I will still collaborate on the show, but we both wanted to have a proper send-off in the form of this episode. It's been an absolute pleasure working with Tagan to get Lay of The Land up and running and I think you'll all enjoy learning about her background and Cleveland story.


Connect with Tagan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/thetagan
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Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PodLayOfTheLand
Visit our website: http://layoftheland.fm
Say hello: jeffrey@layoftheland.fm

Dec 31, 2020
#3: Ron Stubblefield (Jumpstart)
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Ron Stubblefield is a nationally recognized lawyer, scholar, economic development professional and entrepreneurial advisor. As a shared Entrepreneur-in-Residence, he acts as a collaborative resource for the Economic Community Development Institute, the Hispanic Business Center, The Presidents’ Council, The Urban League of Greater Cleveland and JumpStart. Ron works with these organizations to advance Black and Brown tech and tech-enabled entrepreneurship within the City of Cleveland.

In this role, Ron coordinates community and neighborhood outreach and programming, provides direct assistance to entrepreneurs and advocates for the needs of these entrepreneurs with partner organizations in the state-funded Entrepreneur Services Provider (ESP) network.

Prior to taking on this role, Ron was Assistant Director for Emerging Technology Centers, a venture of the Baltimore Development Corporation focused on the incubation and acceleration for early-stage technology-based startups. Before this, he served as a Neighborhood Legal Fellow and a Neighborhood 360 Fellow with the NYC Department of Small Business Services, where he assisted with corporate governance and economic development research and program management.

Outside these positions, Ron has also designed and implemented financial models and strategic plans for a variety of colleges, financial institutions, non-profit organizations, political campaigns and foreign governments. Additionally, he is a published thought-leader on topics of diversity equity and inclusion and has traveled both nationally and internationally to speak on these topics, as well as overall startup incubation and financial management.

Ron is a proud alum of Morehouse College. He also holds a master’s in Management Science and Engineering from the Stanford University School of Engineering and a Juris Doctor from the New York University School of Law, where he was a Jacobson Law and Business Scholar and graduated with distinction as a Vanderbilt Medal winner.


Learn more about Jumpstart: https://www.jumpstartinc.org/
Connect with Ron on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ronaldstubblefield/

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PodLayOfTheLand
Visit our website: https://layoftheland.fm
Email us: hello@layoftheland.fm

Dec 17, 2020
#2: Carrie Murphy (Venture for America)
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Carrie Murphy was born and raised in Cleveland. After graduating from Syracuse University with a degree in Public Policy and Strategic Management she decided to move to New York City. Her first job was working for the startup, The Ladders, where she began her career in recruiting.

From there, she went into retained executive search working at a boutique firm, Daversa Partners, where she placed executives across the C-Suite for high-growth, venture-backed companies. This is when she realized the positive impact startups and disruptive technology can have on the economy and global population.

In 2015, Carrie decided it was time to move back to her hometown and became the Director of HR and Talent Acquisition at a series B technology company, Vertical Knowledge. There she saw the company nearly double in size from 35 – 65+ employees and helped with not only identifying and retaining the best talent but also figuring out the processes needed in order to successfully scale the business.

Carrie found herself inspired to want to help Northeast Ohio attract the best talent and further help the startup ecosystem grow and thrive. She’s extremely excited to be able to join the VFA team as the Director of Northeast Ohio and hopes to expand VFA’s footprint and impact locally and beyond.

Learn more about Venture for America: https://ventureforamerica.org/
Follow Carrie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarrieMarkworth

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PodLayOfTheLand
Visit our website: https://layoftheland.fm
Email us: hello@layoftheland.fm

Dec 10, 2020
#1: Ed Buchholz (Start in CLE)
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This week, we're talking with Ed Buchholz, the founder of Start in CLE.

Ed is founder of three venture-backed software companies and has more than twenty years product leadership experience with multiple B2B and B2C products. Since recording this episode, Ed has taken a job as a product manager at Facebook in Menlo Park.

In this episode, we not only talk about Ed's journey and Start in CLE, but we also have a very transparent letter from Ed about the Cleveland ecosystem and how it can be successful moving forward.

Learn more about Ed: https://edwardbuchholz.com/
Learn more about Start in CLE: https://startincle.com/
Follow Ed on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ebuchholz

Follow Lay of The Land on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PodLayOfTheLand
Visit our website: https://layoftheland.fm
Email us: hello@layoftheland.fm

Dec 03, 2020
Introducing Lay of The Land
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Jeffrey Stern is a New York City transplant building companies in Cleveland. And TheTagan is an Atlanta-born strategist with a passion for creating content to amplify voices.

We love learning about the Cleveland ecosystem and, if you're listening to this podcast, we bet you do to. We both moved here to work at startups, and we've had our fair share of ups and downs. We use those experiences to have REAL conversations about both opportunities and challenges in Cleveland.

We found from our experience and talking with local friends it was HARD to learn about ALL the Cleveland business ecosystem has to offer - Cleveland native or not. There is a dynamic network of resource hubs & initiatives that make it difficult for anyone to get a holistic view of Northeast Ohio.

And so, we're building this podcast to give you what we would have wanted when we arrived in Cleveland: a Lay of the Land.

Lay of The Land will air every Thursday beginning December 3 on the upside podcast network.

Learn more: http://layoftheland.fm

Nov 19, 2020