Shari Vedder, Maggiano's

Shari Vedder, Maggiano’s

What do you love best about what you do?
Creating special events for folks – there’s huge gratification in making memorable events for people. Usually once in a lifetime events. I love working with the variety of guests that come in, from business to social.

What do you like best about being a member of HRCC?
I belong to few other chambers, but with HRCC, it’s a real relationship. And that makes it possible for more personal relationships to develop between us and HRCC members. Our membership bring us business but I love HRCC’s special events as well.  LOVE the breakfast workshops, they’re very beneficial to me.  Really, I like the whole package! I gain a lot of knowlege from the HRCC seminars I attend, and the networking is vital for Maggiano’s business.

Do you have a motto, or any words to live by, that you’d like to share?
Enjoy every day! We only go around once.  Maggiano’s does what we do because we like making people feel special; we like to touch other lives, have impact. That’s the mindset I try to live with and recommend.

Photo: Sherry looks on as the Maggiano’s staff serves HRCC’s board of directors at their annual retreat

The RNC – What’s in it for your business?

Article by Christel Best, City of Richmond Heights,  HRCC Civic Involvement/Economic Development Committee Chair

With the start of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland only 3 months away, the RNC Host Committee held its first briefing before the City of Cleveland Safety Committee on April 6.

RNC Safety

During the briefing, City of Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams stated that he has been working with the Secret Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ensure RNC safety for the duration of the 4-day event. During the convention, Cleveland Police and Fire Departments will be operating at more than 100% full staff with no vacations or non-emergency leaves being permitted. In addition, the City is contracting with two private ambulance companies to ensure quick and effective transport in the event of injury or illness. It is anticipated that safety forces in the City of Cleveland will be self-sustaining and not reliant on safety force support from Greater Cleveland’s suburban safety forces except in the event of a severe emergency.  As for the Heights-Hillcrest neighborhoods, safety service levels should be normal without being impacted by the RNC.

For more information about safety of your business during the convention, please visit the City of Cleveland web site for the date and time of the May 2016 Cleveland Safety Committee meeting during which time the Secret Service will be presenting information on a variety of safety topics to the public.

Business and Volunteer Opportunities

Host Committee Chair and Destination Cleveland President, David Gilbert indicated that the RNC will bring an estimated 50,000 visitors to Cleveland between July 17 and 21. Of these visitors, approximately 600 will be members of national and international media organizations and it will take around 17,000 hotel rooms to house all these visitors.

Gilbert estimates that the Host Committee will use the services of 7,000 volunteers to help guide and direct all these people. As Gilbert talked about the plans for the convention, he identified certain specific opportunities that I believe can benefit the Heights-Hillcrest community.  Seize the opportunities created by this momentous occasion by exploring the following Host Committee suggestions.

  • Is it your dream to help Cleveland and its surrounding communities demonstrate to the onlookers of the world that we are an absolute gem of a region? Or maybe you feel that your business would benefit either now or in the future if you could network with some of the visitors who will be in town during the convention. If any of these scenarios applies to you, you may want to consider volunteering during the convention. Be one of the 7,000 volunteers to help with a variety of convention tasks. If interested, go to and complete the online application form. Volunteer training will begin in May.
  • According to Gilbert, the Host Committee website will have a business guide where your business can be listed. Simply visit to register your business.
  • Gilbert explained that Howard Hanna Realty downtown is helping to direct potential tenants to people with homes to rent. It is expected that the need for housing will certainly stretch into the Heights-Hillcrest neighborhoods.

Whatever your political leanings may be, having the RNC in Cleveland will go down in history as one of our region’s greatest achievements. It’s worthwhile to take some time and determine how best to position yourself and your business to be a part of the convention happenings.

HRCC Wins 3rd Connectors Choice Award

We’ve done it again!

CCA BNO of the year 2016 award webresYes! HRCC was recognized at the 2016 Connectors Choice Awards as Best Networking Organization all around! What a huge testament to all of YOU, our members, who inspire us every day to pursue our mission with gusto. We’re honored to be appreciated for the breadth and depth of relationships we help create.

This beauty makes three Connectors Choice Awards for HRCC; we’ve won twice for our outstanding business-to-business Expo.  Join us and see what all the fuss is about!

Member Milestones

HRCC is proud to recognize our long-standing members.   

Members for over 30 years:

City of Cleveland Heights

City of Shaker Heights

City of South Euclid

City of University Heights



Members for over 25 years:

City of Lyndhurst

Heights Libraries

Members for over 20 years:

City of Richmond Heights

Cleveland Heights – University Heights Schools

Cuyahoga Community College

Focal Plane Photography

Goodman & Saks, CPAs

Hillcrest Family YMCA

Hippo Direct

Richmond Town Square

South Euclid-Lyndhurst City Schools

Stratus Advisors

University Suburban Health Center

Weiss Movers

Members for over 15 years:

A.M. McGregor

bd’s mongolian barbecue

Brookdale Senior Living & Brookdale Rockefeller

Cedarwood Plaza

Doreen Davis, ReMax

Effective Training & Communication

Fastsigns Lyndhurst

GBA Solutions

Kindred Transitional Care & Rehabilitation

media schmedia, llc

Nephrology & Hypertension Associates


Members for over 10 years:

Century Federal Credit Union

First Interstate Properties

Glass Doctor


Hospice of the Western Reserve

IMG Jewelers

Kofron Construction Company

Motorcars Honda

Sharon & Kalnoki, LLC

Third Federal Savings & Loan


Ken Kovach, HRCC’s 2015 “Bright Star”

ken-kovachEach year, HRCC, along with scores of chambers who belong to NOACC (Northern Ohio Area Chambers of Commerce), recognizes an outstanding member who has gone “above and beyond” for their organizations.

On October 29th, HRCC will recognize Ken Kovach, The Kenneth J. Kovach Company, at NOACC’s Annual Bright Star event, for decades of service to HRCC.  Ken’s contributions in the areas of strategic planning, organizational development, and professional development have helped to shape the organization and create leadership capacity. Ken has been a long-standing advocate for HRCC, and has consistently been a link to like-minded organizations.

HRCC thanks and congratulates Ken!

David Keller, Keller National

NOACC Bright Star David Keller-webres for profile









What do you love best about what you do?
Different every day, get to meet new people, learn new businesses, love the mobility  — not stuck at a desk!  I can’t sit still!

What do you like best about being a member of HRCC?
Meeting the new people.  I’ve met so many great business contacts that have turned into friendships.
My service on the board  is way to give back to an organization that has given so much to me!  When I first started, I didn’t have a lot of resources, and HRCC really helped me get my business going.

Words of advice for other business people?
Don’t go to chamber events to try and sell.  Go to meet people and develop relationships and it will pay you in so many ways in the long run.

Photo: David, 2nd from right, receives the 2015 NOACC Bright Star award for service to HRCC


Lenny Carlsen, TPI Efficiency Consulting

Jane, Lenny, AJ webres

What do you love best about what you do?
I love working with locally-grown businesses to help them be more efficient. When our clients can lower their energy usage and save a ton of money, they can focus more on growing their business. And as my clients grow, my company grows. I’m a huge Cleveland guy too – I love helping small businesses grow to make us an even better city.

HRCC is much more advanced than other chambers at attracting member engagement. The Business Expo is a prime example. HRCC is so well put together – a very people-generated organization, with great energy. Sometimes we are sought out for business JUST because we’re HRCC members.

Words to live by:
Give it all you can.

Photo: Lenny, middle, with Jane Carroll and TPI colleague AJ Faggionato, enjoying an HRCC All-Networking Breakfast


Ashley Gay, Covelli Enterprises / Panera Bread

HRCC_2014_Ashley Gay_028.pollack webresWhat do you love best about what you do?
Getting to meet so many phenomenal people and becoming involved in projects bigger than myself. Acting as liaison between 48 stores and the local communities helps me see partnership opportunities and share the wealth – to spread the good work that chambers and other organizations do.

Why do you support HRCC?
HRCC has that group of likeminded individuals promoting each others’ businesses, because they understand that without successful overall economic growth, none of us will succeed. I love the way HRCC works with their member cities to achieve these goals; the partnership is vibrant and forward-thinking.

Words to live by:
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
~ Buddha

I try to keep that in mind in all aspects of my work. Having a happy attitude makes everything work better.

Photo credit: Joe Pollack, Pollack Studio

Nathan Wright, Mar-Lou Shoes

expo team with nathan fun webres
What do you love best about what you do?
I love the figuring out my customers’ needs, and giving them such great choices. We’re an old fashioned business. We take the time to bring quality to the customer.

Why are you involved with HRCC?
I love having the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. My involvement also helps me practice interacting with others, and builds my confidence.

Words to live by:
Be yourself. Don’t put on airs, just be true to who you are. If you do that, doors will open up for you that you never thought possible.

Photo: Nathan, second from left, with members of HRCC’s Business Expo planning team.