Ingenuity Cleveland bridges the creative and manufacturing communities

Ingenuity blog photo

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Annie Weiss, Ingenuity Cleveland)

Ingenuity formed as an organization in 2004 to create a destination event in Cleveland, IngenuityFest, to showcase our region’s deep artistic and cultural resources and explore the space where humans and technology intersect. Conceived as a “moveable feast,” IngenuityFest transforms underused and unknown spaces into highly visible performance and exhibition venues, sparking renewed interest in these locations and bringing audiences to the city’s core. In 2011, it embarked on a mission to become a year-round organization. Since then, it added two annual programs: Bal Ingénieux and the Cleveland Mini Maker Faire, an ongoing program: IngenuityLabs.

Now, Ingenuity has launched a new series – Agents of Ingenuity – based on the success of the pilot Engines of Ingenuity Summit at the 2014 IngenuityFest. The 2014 summit featured panel conversations around gaming, audience retention, intellectual property, and hacking health, along with a workshop on “the Art of the Pitch.” Agents of Ingenuity is a conversation series that brings together individuals from the creative community, big business, small start-ups, and academia to discuss topics that highlight Cleveland’s unique opportunities as a globally competitive city for innovation and manufacturing. Structured as unlikely conversations between these representatives, our program will continue to grow with evening cocktail discussions, social hacks and a larger Agents of Ingenuity Summit (stay tuned for this one!).

This past November, Ingenuity hosted its first two live conversations at the Bop Stop and featured Jack Schron (Jergens), Ethan Karp (MAGNET), Jeff Epstein (Health-Tech Corridor) and Erika Anthony (Cleveland Neighborhood Progress). The intimate setting allowed for great audience interaction; so, be sure to mark your calendars for the 3rd Thursday of the month as we announce additional live conversations there! Tickets are $15 per conversation and include a drink ticket.

As part of our mission to engender the flow of ideas, we complement our live conversations with recorded podcasts, creating a year-round network of the people driving our region forward. We work in partnership with Design Lab Early College High School, a STEM and project-based learning institution, as part of an emerging program in recording technology for students. The shows feature interviews with innovators based in Northeast Ohio plus ingenious representatives from beyond. Content promotes our sponsors and local businesses and ties our community together through a permanent archive.

To stay up to date on the program, or to check out our current podcasts be sure to visit our website.

Self-labeled “design scientist” uses surplus to build chopper

Krager bike

(photo courtesy of Michael Lichter Photography)

As a child, Josh Krager of Eye Spy Designs was obsessed with finding out how things worked. He not only disassembled small machinery items, he even put them back together. As a teen, He enjoyed reading parts and tool catalogs when not working at a small engine repair shop. Josh befriended a welder who taught him the trade, and Josh perfected his skill. He is an engineer, welder and fabricator by trade but a Mad Scientist by nature who envisions one-of-a-kind designs by using imagination, engineering and vintage finds to create artistic and useful inventions. He says, “I always look at what something can do, not what it does. Most of my inspiration comes from just thinking that I can do it a better or a different way.”

He has taken a Dodge Durango daily driver and turned it into a 10-wheeled mud truck on a one-ton chassis, built National Hot Rod Association drag car and drag bike chassis from scratch, and the build list goes on and on until we get to his most recent and fantastic creation.

It all started in March 2014, while cleaning his 6,000-square-foot shop. He stood looking at a motor, housed 15 feet up on pallet racking and mixed in with mud truck parts. This wasn’t just any motor. It was a 1968 Mercedes 2.1L diesel power plant with 23,000 actual kilometers. He pulled it down and placed it on his workbench where it sat for four weeks.

He started to think, “What can I do with this engine?” Friends would come over and ask, “What are you going to do with that engine?” After hearing the same question over and over, just to shut his friends up, he said he was going to build a motorcycle. Well, that shut them up, except for one longtime friend. He bet Josh that he couldn’t build a bike with that engine and finish the project for Geneva-On-The-Lake’s, Sept. 3, 2014 Thunder on the Strip Bike Rally. Lesson learned? Don’t bet against Josh. You will lose.

For tech geeks, makers, engineers and other design scientists, here are the specs:

Frame: Fifteen giant ironworker wrenches and round tubing

Front wheel: a Harley Davidson Road King spoked wheel and tire

Rear wheel: a Harley Davidson Reproduction Pie Crust Drag slick

(He fabricated the forks in a girder style that uses two air shocks to raise and lower the front with an air compressor mounted under the seat. The rear end is rigid; so, to maximize ride comfort, a suspension was used under the seat.)

Transmission: Along with the engine came the original ’68 Mercedes manual, four-speed transmission with reverse coupled to an industrial-style, right angle, 1:1 ratio gear box linked with a #50 chain.

Cooling system: Honda Aspencade with electric fan and Ford F350 heater core.

Overflow for the cooling system: a vintage brass fire extinguisher

Front brake: stock Harley Davidson

Rear brake: stock Harley Davidson disc brake

(Braided stainless brake lines tied it all together.)

Clutch: Honda Goldwing master cylinder, Toyota Land Cruiser slave cylinder and stock Mercedes single disc with a nickel copper clutch line

Electrical system: 60-amp screw-in house fuse with vintage cloth-covered wiring leading to vintage knife switches for headlamp, turn signals and air system controls

Front turn signals: 1930’s glass doorknobs

Rear brake and turn signals: vintage Power Pole insulators. All are LED illuminated.

Fuel tank: U.S. military Jerry can that is secured with a manure spreader chain

Fuel lines: custom-formed nickel-copper tubing

Foot boards: vintage 1950’s water skis

Horn and cheesy siren: donated by his best friend

Rear fender: inverted 1950 Ford 8N tractor fenders

Front fender: old-school posthole digger

Chin fairing: an old cultivator plow blade

Handle bars: right-angle ironworker spud wrenches

Rearview mirror: Moon Eyes Peep Mirror

Saddle: vintage horse saddle

Rear rack: an old iron fence

Where did he get all the “stuff” to make this fabulous creation? Garage and barn sales, auctions, antique stores, picking his friends’ and family members’ junk piles, donations left at the shop door, eBay, Craigslist, swap meets, and HGR Industrial Surplus’ showroom. Krager says, “I discovered HGR years ago when I used to shop at a competitor and HGR’s prices were much better. I have been shopping at HGR since the day they opened their doors. I have purchased everything from office furniture to surface grinders and milling machines. I even bought a very large off-road crane. The bike does have some electrical items and a few driveline pieces that I purchased from HGR. I am currently working on another bike similar to this one and three Rat Rod semis for which we’ve already purchased a few items for from HGR.”

The bike took slightly more than four months but less than 250 hours to build, weighs 1,312 pounds, can cruise up to 55 mph and gets 40 mpg. It is a street-legal, titled Ohio motor vehicle. If you see Josh out on the road, make sure to give him a thumbs up.

Welcome to the Makers Movement

maker manifesto

According to Wikipedia, the maker culture is a technology-based extension of the DIY culture that intersects with the hacker culture. Makers’ interests include engineering-oriented pursuits, such as, 3D printing, electronics and robotics, as well as metalworking, woodworking, and traditional arts and crafts with an emphasis on informal, shared learning through doing. Many products focus on health, sustainability (upcycling) and local culture.

The maker culture, in contrast to the consumer culture, has turned into a movement with its own manifesto and market ecosystem. Many makers sell their creations on Etsy, eBay and Craigslist. Dale Dougherty, who launched MAKE Magazine in 2005, was the catalyst for the movement. He also is the creator of Maker Faire and CEO of Maker Media. Here’s an interesting TED Talk that he gave about the maker culture.

In the Cleveland area, many makers come to HGR Industrial Surplus to shop the showroom for used, low-cost technology in order to reuse it for their projects. Look through our blog for recent posts on Larry Fielder, Jerry Schmidt and Matt Hummel’s projects.

2015 HGR Manufacturing Scholarship recipient chooses career in welding

Jonathan Berkel

With the manufacturing industry in need of skilled labor, it is important to encourage careers in manufacturing. With that in mind, HGR Industrial Surplus created a $2,000 scholarship in 2013 to assist high school seniors and college students with a minimum 2.5 GPA who are planning to attend or are enrolled in a credit-based certificate, associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering, engineering technology, electrical, mechanical, welding, manufacturing or construction; and, in 2013, it originally was opened to students attending Lorain Community College, Lakeland Community College and Cuyahoga Community College. In 2014, Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University were added to the list. Information on the 2016 scholarship will be announced shortly.

The 2015 winner, Jonathan Berkel, is a welding student at Lorain County Community College. We talked with him to learn a little bit more about his chosen career in welding.

How did you hear about the scholarship? One of my counselors at the joint vocational school in my welding class gave me an application because I was the only one thinking about going to college.

What are your future educational plans? I am at Lorain County Community College until spring 2016 taking general electives and liberal education requirements before going to Ohio State University in fall. I will be majoring in welding engineering, and after three years I can work at Lincoln Electric or Miller Electric, travel and fix companies’ problems. I’m more of a hands-on person and want to weld and get my hands into the project instead of just design.

Did you know anything about HGR before applying? After I got the email saying that I won, I went on the website to learn about HGR.

What were your first thoughts when you found out you had won? When I read the email I took a screen shot of it and sent it to my father who is a truck driver and was on the road. He said, “Cool, now I don’t have to pay for your first semester.”

Why did you choose welding as a career? It all started back in 2011. I’ve been drag racing at Norwalk Raceway Park since I was eight and was always fascinated with how the car was built. In 2011, I went to my buddy’s shop in Vermillion, and he let me work with his TIG motor for seven hours. I fell in love with it.

Are you currently working? I am going to school full time but I have a part-time job as a fabricator at a pattern shop for foundry molds.

What are your thoughts on manufacturing? I would encourage people to have careers in manufacturing because there’s a wide parameter, and you could go anywhere from marketing all the way to being an ironworker. There are a lot of opportunities.

HGR’s surplus used on multiple film sets


(photo courtesy of NASA)

Through the years, a number of film set decorators have purchased items from HGR’s showroom for use on the sets of films being shot in Cleveland, including Captain America and The Avengers. One designer stumbled across HGR about four years ago while trying to track down electrical waste (aka computers) for use on a set.

If you carefully watch the 2011 Avengers film, you can see 9,385 pounds of equipment, including a Sercem automation winder, a welding station enclosure, five germfree S/S fume hoods, an air pressure control, an assembly station, and a neat inspection machine purchased from HGR in two memorable scenes:

  • At the beginning, Black Widow is fighting off Russian mobsters and tangles one with chain hoists. Yep, the hoists came from HGR. And, the opening scenes were shot at the Space Power Facility at NASA Glenn’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio (pictured above)
  • In another scene in Loki’s lair, Dr. Erik Selvig, played by Stellan Skarsgard, and his minions are working with machinery on the Tesseract. The machinery, originally from a pill factory, was purchased from HGR. This scene was shot under an unfinished transit bridge in Cleveland.

Ever wonder what happens with the items used on a film set after the movie has been finished? The film company containers it and ships it to Los Angeles then keeps it in storage for six months to a year in case it needs to reshoot scenes. After that, it is scrapped, sold to a company such as HGR, or the film company has a huge studio sale, often advertised on Craigslist. Who’s up for a trip to L.A.? If not, you always can come to HGR’s showroom to see the stuff from which science fiction/fantasy films are made.

Cleveland’s East Side residents served by Kosher Food Pantry

food drive

For the past four or five years, at HGR’s Euclid, Ohio, holiday party employees have brought nonperishable food items to donate to The Greater Cleveland Food Bank, which serves Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Ashland and Richland counties. Each department is given a stipend to go shopping and create a raffle basket for the party. Every employee is given one ticket. For each food item the employee donates, he or she gets an extra raffle tickets. It becomes a friendly competition to see who can donate the most items. Some employees have donated more than 100 items. Each year, due to their generosity, HGR has been able to donate 800 to 1,000 pounds of food.

This food is distributed by The Greater Cleveland Food Bank to more than 750 local food pantries, hot meal programs, shelters, mobile pantries, programs for the elderly and other nonprofit agencies who then distribute it to the communities they serve. Kosher Food Pantry, located in South Euclid, Ohio, is one such charity that distributes more fresh produce than any other pantry in the system.

More than 40 years ago, Rabbi Zalmen and Shulamit Kazen started a food bank and soup kitchen to help new immigrants with basic needs. Today, their daughter Devorah Alevsky has expanded this humanitarian effort to include deliveries to shut-ins, four weekly satellite distribution centers, a walk-in pantry, and a monthly outdoor produce market. From a humble facility housed in a dated synagogue in South Euclid, they serve more than 3,500 people each month.

Every week, needy individuals and families throughout Cuyahoga and Lake counties, including Cleveland Heights, South Euclid, University Heights, East Cleveland, Beachwood and Wickliffe receive more than 10,800 pounds of food. All who qualify are welcomed.

Julie Diamond Food Bank“At Kosher Food Pantry, we see firsthand the growing number of struggling families who have come to rely on us for supplemental and nutritional fruits, vegetables, dry goods and dairy products to feed their families,” says Alevsky. “On a shoestring budget we are working in overdrive to meet the need of all who call on us.” This outpouring of goodwill is accomplished on a budget of $300,000, with four part-time paid staffers and 100 volunteers.

Enter Ben Katz. For five years, his wife has gone to the pantry to volunteer, and he has donated financial support. But, this year he was invited to visit. When he did, he was put to work unloading bags and boxes of food. He said that it was hard work for a fit man. After moving 300 pounds of pickles, he jokes, “I never want to see a jar of pickles again.” He explains that items not on skids have to be carried by hand. They can fit two skids inside and have three outside the building, which they have to manually unpack. In the past, these were about 50 feet from the door. To solve this problem and make this back-breaking work easier on volunteers, Katz purchased a rolling accordion conveyor and a pallet jack from HGR Industrial Surplus and donated them to the pantry. Now, volunteers can move the pallets to the door and more easily unload them from the door.

Katz works for Cedar Brook Financial Partners and is in the benefits business. He came to HGR’s Euclid office to meet with leadership on two past occasions since one of the owners is a client of his firm; so, he was familiar with the showroom. When he was trying to find a solution for the pantry, he called and asked if we had items that could solve their challenge. He says that he knew HGR probably would have it if it is an industrial product. “It’s a nice way two places can work together to do some good for someone else,” he states.

Food Bank LogoTo volunteer or donate, please call 216-382-7202 or visit

Community development corporations serve Collinwood

Beachland Ballroom

Collinwood originally was a village within Euclid Township, but it was annexed by the City of Cleveland in 1910. The neighborhood was built so manufacturing and railroad workers could walk home. Now, there are 17,000 people living in North Collinwood with 220 businesses, 195 of which are locally owned.

So, where does a community development corporation (CDC) come into the picture, and what role does it play? A CDC is a not-for-profit organization that promotes and supports community development through community programs, housing and real estate development, and small business support.

Collinwood is lucky enough to have two CDCs serving the neighborhood: Northeast Shores Development Corporation in North Collinwood and Collinwood-Nottingham Development Corporation serving South Collinwood.

Northeast Shores Development Corporation serves North Collinwood, the primarily residential area between East 140rd Street to the west, East 185th Street to the northeast, Lake Erie to the north, the Collinwood Railroad Yards and tracks to the south. A few facts about North Collinwood:

  • In the Waterloo Arts District, there was a 45-percent vacancy a few years ago with only four vacancies now due in large part to the Welcome to Collinwood initiative.
  • There’s a new effort to attract makers to East 185th through the Made in Collinwood initiative being unveiled in 2016 (stay tuned for further information). The CDC currently is interviewing 44 makers in the area and will do a public presentation of the interview report results in the first quarter.
  • There are 20-25 makers currently on East 185th Street, including a salsa producer, a soap maker, a vintner, an audio engineering production company, a hat maker, a dressmaker, an awards and trophies company, a newspaper publisher, and a digital designer.
  • A new video and music production facility is being built in the former LaSalle Theater with a scheduled early 2016 groundbreaking.
  • The CDC has a desire to connect makers with manufacturing facilities who can manufacture or package the items being created by the makers or for job opportunities for skilled production people.
  • Northeast Shores is funded through taxes, real estate transactions and philanthropy.

Collinwood-Nottingham Development Corporation serves South Collinwood, the primarily industrial area between East 134th Street on the west, Euclid Creek to the east, the Collinwood Railroad Yards and tracks to the north, and Woodworth Avenue to the southwest and Roseland Avenue to the Southeast.


Change. Nothing stays the same.


How many of you remember the 1980s Van Halen song “Unchained?” David Lee Roth sang, “Change. Nothing stays the same. Unchained. Yeah, you hit the ground running.” Believe it or not, that’s how HGR Industrial Surplus in Euclid, Ohio, got its name. Founder Paul Betori had left his previous employer with a vision for a new business model. As he sat in his living room listening to Van Halen, Paul decided to hit the ground running (HGR) and formed HGR Industrial Surplus in 1998 with 13 employees.

Since then, the company has grown to more than 110 employees with a showroom of 500,000 square feet and recently purchased and dedicated its Nickel Plate Station building on Euclid Avenue. The mission of the company is to serve as a conduit between customers looking for affordable used machinery and equipment and manufacturers hoping to recoup some portion of their capital investments.

Because of its passion for manufacturing and the growth and development of industry in Northeast Ohio, the company decided to work with John Copic, publisher of The Euclid and Collinwood Observers, to offer this monthly column to showcase the amazing, fun, interesting and cutting edge manufacturing taking place in the region. It’s just another way of connecting customers and industry. There’s so much going on right in your neighborhood that you may not know about, but it affects you directly. Your friends and neighbors work for these companies. You buy their products. Their taxes improve your roads and schools. You have a vested interest in their success because they are contributing to a recovering and, hopefully, stable economy.

And, as the song says, change is inevitable, especially in manufacturing and industry. The economy has been a roller coaster ride for quite a few years. Families and businesses have had to learn to adapt and creatively problem solve to overcome challenges and turn them into opportunities.

In this column, we intend to showcase some of those opportunities and inspire you with success stories. What are local businesses doing in the community? What new development is happening in The Euclid Corridor? Let’s hear firsthand from some local businesses. What are their plans for the area? What tips and tricks do they have for others? What best practices can we apply to our own businesses for success? What weird and wacky manufacturing and product photos can we share?

Speaking of wacky photos, did you know that HGR Industrial Surplus buys and sells everything? Literally! Here is an example of an interesting item that recently became available in its showroom. These GM gears are 19,000 pounds each. Does anyone know how they might have been used? We started the conversation on Facebook.

You also can see this article in our new monthly column “Hit the Ground Running” in the Collinwood Observer and the Euclid Observer.