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Rust Belt Rundown

Business & Economics Podcasts

Shining a light on the meaningful work being done in Northeast Ohio, the Rust Belt Rundown convenes manufacturing executives and business leaders for candid discussions about business, regional happenings, industry trends, entrepreneurship, and more.


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Shining a light on the meaningful work being done in Northeast Ohio, the Rust Belt Rundown convenes manufacturing executives and business leaders for candid discussions about business, regional happenings, industry trends, entrepreneurship, and more.




Episode 70 featuring Brendan Anderson of ScaleCo

Our guest this week is Brendan Anderson, the Founding and Managing Partner of ScaleCo Capital. ScaleCo Capital is a Cleveland-based lower middle market private equity firm that focuses on control-oriented leveraged buyout and growth equity investments in fast-growing companies based primarily in the Great Lakes region. In this episode, we heard from Brendan about how he got his start in private equity, lessons in entrepreneurship through acquisition, and his personal and professional journey with EOS. Brendan’s Cleveland restaurant recommendation is Pizazz Pizza in Shaker Heights for its family-friendly vibe. Connect with Brendan Anderson on LinkedIn or click here to learn more about ScaleCo.


Episode 69 featuring Joe Cimperman of Global Cleveland

We are thrilled to kick off our 2024 episodes with such a fantastic guest! For this episode, we are joined by Joe Cimperman, President of Global Cleveland. We hear from Joe about growing up on the East Side of Cleveland as the son of immigrant parents and how it shaped his dedication to and appreciation of Cleveland. He and Paul discuss the ideals of America, civic engagement, and lessons in gratitude. We also hear from Joe about the mission of Global Cleveland and what they have in store for 2024. Of course, Joe is the expert on global cuisine in Cleveland and he was quick to list his favorites: Marie’s Restaurant (Eastern European), Banana Blossom (Thai), Nate’s Deli (Mediterranean), LJ Shanghai (Chinese), La Plaza (Mexican), and Half Moon Bakery (Latin-inspired). Connect with Joe Cimperman on LinkedIn or visit for more information.


Episode 68 featuring Adam Graves of Nestlé

This week we are joined by Adam Graves, President of the Pizza & Snacking Division at Nestlé. In this episode, we hear about Adam’s career journey with Nestlé over the last 16 years. He got his start as a marketing intern and has worked his way into his current position, which Paul has dubbed the greatest title of any podcast guest so far! Along with working in a variety of functions, he has also worked across the world in California, Switzerland, Colombia, Canada, and now Ohio. We learn how he applies his diverse experiences to his management and leadership, how Nestlé aims to be “consumer-obsessed” to succeed, and the importance of the manufacturing aspect of Nestlé’s operations among other things. He names Bogotá as the most interesting city for food that he’s lived in but gives Cleveland an honorable culinary mention as it’s the only city he has moved back to. Connect with Adam Graves on LinkedIn.


Episode 67 featuring Paul Roetzer of the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute

Our guest this week is Paul Roetzer, Founder and CEO of the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute. This episode is a must-listen if you are interested in (or even apprehensive of!) artificial intelligence. Paul shares with us how he got interested in AI in 2011 while he was running his marketing agency and how marketing and AI have evolved since then. He talks about the pivotal shift that AI made in 2022 when it became accessible to the public and how that has shifted the general perception of AI. He addresses the pushback from creatives, how companies need to implement change management, and even how AI is redefining the value of college degrees. Paul’s restaurant recommendation is Joe’s Deli in Rocky River and as an OU alum, his Athen’s go-to is Bagel Street Deli. For free resources on AI, visit To stay up to date on the latest AI trends, connect with Paul Roetzer on LinkedIn.


Episode 66 featuring Dan Rose of EOS Worldwide

This week we are joined by Dan Rose, a Certified EOS Implementer at EOS Worldwide. In this lively conversation, Paul and Dan discuss the multiple businesses that Dan has built and sold and what that taught him about entrepreneurship. They also talk about how to overcome risk aversion and different ways to define and approach happiness and success in relation to entrepreneurship. Dan also shares with us about EOS and how it helps various organizations succeed. Dan’s restaurant picks include Pier W, Nemo’s, Morton’s, and Joe’s Deli. Connect with Dan Rose on LinkedIn or visit


Special Episode featuring Bryce Sylvester of Team NEO

On this special episode of the Rundown, we are joined by Bryce Sylvester, Senior Director of Site Strategies for Team NEO. He joins us to discuss Team NEO’s upcoming Developing Opportunities event on November 14th. We learn more from Bryce on how his career journey brought him to his current role with Team NEO, which focuses on site development and location analysis throughout the Northeast Ohio region. Bryce and Paul discuss the importance of driving change in our communities and the significance of manufacturing attraction deals, a focus of the Developing Opportunities event. At this event, Team NEO will present a research and insights report based on recent (prior 2 years) site inventory demand. Learn more about the event here. Bryce’s Northeast Ohio restaurant picks include Ginko, Pier W, and King Wah. Connect with Bryce Sylvester on LinkedIn to keep up with economic development news in the Northeast Ohio region.


Episode 65 featuring Dr. Sherry Cross of Youngstown City Schools

Our guest this week is Dr. Sherry Cross, the Director of Adult Education & Assistant Principal at Youngstown City Schools. Dr. Cross has held a variety of positions in the education field and in this episode she walks us through her career journey and how she gained her expertise. She also shares with us what adult education looks like in today’s climate and how their program keeps pace with a variety of industries to fuel demand for skilled professionals. Other topics discussed include how manufacturing as an industry needs to keep schools informed to inspire the future workforce, how to deal with students in the age of rapidly advancing technology, as well as how K-12 education in general needs to evolve to reflect real-world demands. Dr. Cross’ favorite restaurants in the Youngstown area are Margherita’s Grille and Barry Dyngles. Connect with Dr. Sherry Cross on LinkedIn.


Episode 64 featuring Carmen Gentile of Postindustrial Media

This week's guest is Carmen Gentile, Founder & Editor-at-Large of Postindustrial Media. This episode is a must-listen for anyone who is interested in the revitalization of Rust Belt communities. In this episode, Carmen shares with us the story behind the inception of Postindustrial Media, a venture motivated by the shockwaves that the 2016 election started and driven by a mission to foster understanding of communities in the region. His unique perspective, informed by growing up in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, and his experiences as a war correspondent, provides valuable insights into the complex issues facing postindustrial communities today. From gun control and immigration to the re-invention of industrial jobs, Paul and Carmen engage in a thought-provoking conversation that uncovers the importance of community and resilience. As a Pennsylvania native, Carmen’s top choice for cheesesteaks is Pat’s King of Steaks. Hear more from Carmen by connecting with him on LinkedIn or check out his book, Blindsided by the Taliban.


Episode 63 featuring Josh Cramer of America Makes & NCDMM

This week we are joined by Josh Cramer, the Director of Education & Workforce Development at American Makes and the National Center of Defense Manufacturing & Machining (NCDMM). As a long-time educator, we hear Josh’s insights on how the education industry has evolved, namely the expanded opportunities for non-traditional career paths. He also shares with us his passion for workforce development, the critical work and mission at NCDMM - America Makes, and the needs of our workforce. As a resident of Western Pennsylvania, Josh’s food recommendation is The Red Caboose for the best hot dogs. Connect with Josh Cramer on LinkedIn.


Episode 62 featuring Jim Cavoli of Swagelok

On this episode of the Rundown, we are joined by Jim Cavoli, President & COO of Swagelok. In this episode, we hear from Jim about his career journey with Swagelok over the years and how he approaches being a business leader. Jim and Paul also discuss manufacturing in Northeast Ohio, what Swagelok is doing to mentor careers in manufacturing, and Jim’s involvement as a board member for Global Cleveland and Greater Cleveland Partnership. Jim’s recommendations for authentic Italian are Valerio’s in Little Italy and Giovanni’s in Beachwood. Connect with Jim Cavoli on LinkedIn.


Episode 61 featuring Robert Guy of WLS Stamping & Fabricating Co.

This week we are joined by Robert Guy for Episode 61! Robert is the Controller of WLS Stamping & Fabricating Co., a full-service short-run stamping and fabrication facility. They have two locations in the Cleveland area and have been partners with Rust Belt Recruiting since 2021. Listen in as Robert shares his perspective on running a manufacturing operation, including finances, training their workforce, working with Rust Belt Recruiting, and more. Robert’s Cleveland food recommendations include Amba and Salt+. Connect with Robert Guy on LinkedIn.


Episode 60 featuring Shannon Lee of Leadership Columbus

On this episode of the Rundown, we are joined by Shannon Lee, Executive Director of Leadership Columbus. Leadership Columbus provides state-of-the-art education and training for emerging and existing leaders. In this episode, Paul and Shannon discuss what it means to be a leader, the nuances of leadership, and the resources that are available to prioritize learning how to be a successful leader. They also discuss the process Shannon underwent to write her book, Servant Leader Mindset. This book is designed to help people adopt the mindsets that create great organizations and teams that solve community problems and heal broken systems - all without sacrificing themselves. Shannon’s go-to food spots in Columbus are Kitchen Social, Jeff Ruby, East Market, and Budd Dairy Food Hall. Connect with Shannon Lee on LinkedIn to stay in the know on all things leadership in Central Ohio!


Episode 59 featuring Sandy Doyle-Ahern of EMH&T

Our guest this week is Sandy Doyle-Ahern, President of EMH&T. EMH&T is a civil engineering firm based in New Albany, Ohio that offers a variety of services such as landscape architecture, infrastructure evaluation, urban design, and more. In this episode, we learn about Sandy’s extensive career with EMH&T and how their service offerings have evolved. Paul and Sandy also discuss some key regional problems and opportunities that Central Ohio is facing such as affordable housing and rail service. Sandy is also a member of numerous boards and organizations and she shares how her passion for community work led her to establish her own group known as ‘The Edge Sisters’. Sandy’s favorite food spot in Columbus is True Food Kitchen. Connect with Sandy Doyle-Ahern on LinkedIn.


Episode 58 featuring Sheri Chaney Jones of SureImpact

On this episode we are joined by Sheri Chaney Jones, the CEO & Co-Founder of SureImpact. SureImpact is a software that enables day to day case management and data collection, while also enabling organizations to manage, measure, and communicate their unique social impact in the nonprofit sector. In this episode, Sheri shares her lessons in entrepreneurship and her insights on how social change impact is modernizing. She also discusses her inspiration for starting SureImpact as well as her other ventures as a professor and an author. Sheri resides in Columbus and cites The Rusty Bucket as her go to spot. Connect with Sheri Chaney Jones on LinkedIn or visit to learn more!


Meet the Host! Episode 57 featuring Paul O’Connor

We have an exciting episode this week on the Rundown! Taylor Evans (Founder & Owner, Rust Belt Recruiting) takes over as host this week to help our listeners get to know his close friend and our host, Paul O’Connor. This is a great episode to learn more about the host you hear each week. Listen in to learn about why they chose Episode 57 for this conversation, how Paul and Taylor became friends at OU and more about Paul’s background in podcasts and his career outside of podcasting. This conversation also includes Paul’s favorite parts about hosting the Rundown, discussions about Cleveland’s unique identity and lessons in entrepreneurship. Paul resides in Columbus so his local recommendations include Jackie O’s on Fourth (of course), Paulie Gee’s for the best pizza in Columbus and Stav’s Diner for your classic greasy spoon spot. Connect with Paul O’Connor on LinkedIn.


Episode 56 featuring Kyle Triplett of Olympic Steel

This week we are joined by Kyle Triplett, Director of Aluminum at Olympic Steel! In this episode Paul and Kyle discuss their experiences at Ohio University and how their student involvement influenced and enhanced their careers. Kyle tells us about his extensive career with Olympic Steel and how his role and the company has expanded over the years. Paul and Kyle also discuss the benefits of careers in the manufacturing industry and how many different opportunities there are as the workforce continues to evolve. For Kyle’s favorite food shoutouts, he mentions Brenen’s Coffee Cafe as an Athens favorite and Prosperity Social Club as a Cleveland favorite. Connect with Kyle Triplett on LinkedIn.


Episode 55 featuring Dr. Ethan Karp of MAGNET

Our guest this week is Dr. Ethan Karp, President and CEO of MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network. In this episode we learn about Ethan’s educational background and what led him to ultimately pursue the impact that business and manufacturing can make. He shares with us the vision of MAGNET and how they aim to grow the local economy through collaboration. He offers us his insight on how the workforce is evolving and how automation and technology play into that as well as the workplace flexibility that is emerging in manufacturing. Read Ethan’s Forbes article on employee flexibility here. He also shares with us the importance of providing an experience to showcase careers in manufacturing and how it becomes a powerful marketing tool because of the social proof that it creates. MAGNET offers these experiences at their new headquarters in Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood. Ethan’s top pick for food in Cleveland is Li Wah in Asiatown. Connect with Ethan Karp on LinkedIn and check out to learn more about MAGNET’s impact.


Episode 54 featuring Elad Granot of JCU’s Boler College of Business

On this episode of the Rundown, we are joined by Elad Granot, the Dean of John Caroll University’s Boler College of Business. Elad shares with us how his career evolved beyond venture capital and marketing strategy into higher education in his current role. He offers his perspective on the landscape shifts in higher education, specifically in Midwest business schools. He tells us about Boler’s Jesuit take on serving others through business skills and knowledge to positively impact the ecosystem they operate in. Elad is also a founding board member of OhioX, a statewide nonprofit on a mission to build Ohio into a tech hub so Elad and Paul discuss emerging tech trends such as AI in relation to higher education. When asked his favorite restaurant in the Cleveland area, his pick for breakfast is The Original Pancake House on Chagrin Boulevard and Hyde Park in Beachwood for dinner and drinks! Connect with Elad Granot on LinkedIn to keep a pulse on emerging tech and education trends in Ohio.


Episode 53 featuring Megan Kim of Greater Cleveland Partnership

On this episode we are joined by Megan Kim! Megan is the Senior Vice President of Membership Development and Marketing at Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP), our region’s leading economic development organization. She is also the Executive Director of COSE, (The Council of Smaller Enterprises) a non-profit designed to help small businesses succeed. Megan details her career, starting with her interest in public relations and her desire to make an impact by telling the stories of businesses. Wanting to do work that mattered is what drew her to GCP where she has held many roles within the organization over the years.She tells us how she balances her two roles within the organization and how GCP, and COSE specifically, help small businesses. She offers us insight on how recent changes in regional leadership are accelerating economic development in our region and what makes Cleveland such a great place to live and work. A self-proclaimed ambassador for Cleveland, she knows all the good craft beer spots! Her top picks in the Cleveland area include Saucy Brew Works, The Brew Kettle, Southern Tier and Brew Garden. Connect with Megan Kim on LinkedIn to stay in the know on all things happening with economic development in our region!


Episode 52 featuring Connie King of the Precision Metalforming Association

Our guest this week is Connie King, Workforce Development Director for the Precision Metalforming Association! In this episode Connie offers us her expert take on workforce trends and the importance of investing in and upskilling workers. We also learn more about what resources PMA provides their members such as METALFORM EDU. Paul and Connie also discuss AI and automation in relation to how the workforce evolution. Connie’s food recommendation is Kelly’s Cafe in Brunswick for breakfast! Connect with Connie King on LinkedIn and follow the Precision Metalforming Association.