Kirk Neiswander, President and Founder
Founded EDGE to foster entrepreneurship, innovation and economic development in Northeast Ohio and support area mid-market companies.
- Kirk serves as an advisor to a number of smaller growth companies and has developed a substantial level of expertise in creativity/innovation, entrepreneurship, economic development, management strategy and planning as well as managing growth.
- He has an MBA from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in General Management, and a B.A. from Denison University in Mathematics/Economics.
- Prior to EDGE, Kirk was an officer of Enterprise Development, Inc. and created the entrepreneurial programs at the Weatherhead School of Management.
- Over a 22-year career at Case Western Reserve University, he created many new courses, conferences, retreats, breakfast series, recognition events, networking events and specialized services for mid-market companies.
- He was recently honored by Case Western Reserve with the “Distinguished Alumni Award” (2022).
Brittany Bush, Program Manager
Serves as the administrator to the Scalerator NEO program and leads the coordination of programs including Emerging Leaders, Rising Professionals and the Day at the Ballpark event with Breakthrough Schools. Promotes and assists team with EDGE programs, events, and services.
- Brittany has over 15 years of experience in program coordination, media relations, employment branding, and candidate attraction with national brands.
- Served as a leader with John Carroll University’s Cleveland Alumni Chapter and with the Young Professionals of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
- She holds a B.A. in Communications from John Carroll University.
Christopher Keller, Director, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Leads EDGE’s Innovation Management Program (InnoQuest), the Summer EDGE Fellows Program, The Commons Innovation Accelerator Program and university partnerships efforts; assists with the Scalerator NEO initiative; facilitates the regional Scale Up Discussion Group with other economic development leaders; and organizes ongoing EDGE events.
- Chris grew up connected to two family-run businesses (The Salem China Company and Brass Accents), and both companies forged manufacturing relationships in Japan, China, Taiwan, India and other parts of Asia. This developed his love for business and international collaboration.
- He earned his B.A. degree at Bates College and Master’s (M.Ed) at John Carroll University.
- He is an experienced teacher, community leader and organizer and has 30+ years of program development and non-profit management experience at The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity, and EDGE.
- Chris is a leader with community-based initiatives and is a graduate of Neighborhood Leadership Cleveland Program.
- He serves on JumpStart’s Higher Education Council on Entrepreneurship and is Treasurer of the Community Garden Association.
- He enjoys playing softball and engaging in community activities with his wife and two kids.
Grant Marquit, Director, Executive Education
An economic development professional for 25+ years, Grant specializes in creating educational experiences for senior management teams that focus on strategy, innovation, organization development, leadership and operational effectiveness.
- He is a co-founder of the non-profit Entrepreneurs for Sustainability and serves on several other non-profit boards.
- He is also a graduate of Cleveland Bridge Builders’ flagship program and holds a B.A. from The Ohio State University.
- He is a veteran producer of Cleveland’s Ingenuity Festival of Art + Technology as well as the Hessler Street Fair.
Doug Suna, Chief Operating Officer
Doug is EDGE’s Chief Operating Officer. He is responsible for making sure that EDGE’s back office processes in areas such as finance, human resources, and new program development operate smoothly. He feels very fortunate to have an opportunity to learn from and implement best practices EDGE observes from our member companies.
- Doug has held similar operational and finance roles at Professional Services, Healthcare, and Manufacturing organizations.
- He started his career in Management Consulting, where he advised Fortune 500 companies on strategy and supply chain issues.
- Doug has a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from Brown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
- As a native of Elyria who has lived around the country and travelled all over, Doug is thrilled to be contributing to an organization that promotes economic growth and networking in his favorite place.
Rick Dawson, Business Development Director
Rick is a a performance driven executive with over 20 years in sales, fundraising, business development, account management, marketing and staff management experience. Outstanding record of achievement in building and maintaining key business relationships, partnerships, market penetration and exceeding targets in spite of highly competitive markets.
As Director, Membership Development for Manufacturing Works, membership sales increased by over 100% and the organization grew to an all-time high. He designed and negotiated affinity and channel partnerships which brought value to the members and an additional revenue stream to the organization.
He helped to plan and execute 40-50 events a year for the organization and event attendance was up over 40%, along with an increase in event revenue. He secured 100% of goal in corporate event sponsorships as well and exceeded fundraising goals.
His passion lies in spending time with family and friends, traveling to different spots around the world, and developing people and empowering them to become future success stories.