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Finalists Announced for Region’s Premier Internship Awards Program

March 3, 2015 – The Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education (NOCHE) and Cleveland Business Connects (CBC) magazine are excited to announce finalists for The Expys, the region’s flagship awards program to honor the best interns, mentors, and internship programs in Northeast Ohio.  NOCHE received hundreds of nominations for six categories: best intern, best mentor, best new internship, best small company internship, best large company internship and coolest internship.

The Expys awards luncheon kicks off at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25, at Windows on the River in Cleveland, and is open to the public.  Tickets are $45 ($35 for NOCHE member schools and subscribers of CBC magazine) and may be reserved online at Advance registration is recommended because tickets are expected to sell out prior to the event. The Expys celebrates its fifth anniversary this year.

“The Expys is an exciting event in which business and higher education in Northeast Ohio come together to celebrate the value of internships and co-ops,” NOCHE Vice President Shawn Brown says.  “Internships and co-ops are a key strategy for strengthening Ohio’s workforce, and NOCHE and its higher education partners are committed to creating new internship and co-op opportunities.”

A panel of independent judges selected 10 finalists for best intern and five finalists in the other categories. The judges will determine the winners, which will be announced live at The Expys luncheon.

The finalists in the best intern category are

·         Vince Shannon (Kent State University, PGA Tour),

·         Melissa Nagel (Kent State University, Autism Speaks),

·         Paula Oliver (Cleveland State University, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority),

·         Katherine Smith (The Ohio State University, Lincoln Electric),

·         Ali Benedetti (The University of Akron, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District),

·         Anna Ponx (Bowling Green State University, FormFire),

·         Ruidi Lu (The Ohio State University, Flashstarts),

·         Ross Richey (Cuyahoga Community College, Sherwin-Williams),

·         Ray Russ (Notre Dame College, ESPN Cleveland/Good Karma Brands), and

·         Rachel Daub (Ohio University, ASG Jergens).

The finalists in the best mentor category are

·         Benjamin Borns (Sherwin-Williams, Cleveland),

·         Cynthia Boyd (Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, Cleveland),

·         George Cabe (Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Akron),

·         Jodi Marchewitz (FlashStarts, Cleveland), and

·         Jeff Ream (PolyOne Corporation, Avon Lake).

The finalists for best new internship are

·         KTG Advertising Solutions (Lakewood),

·         LifeLaunch (Cleveland),

·         Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (Cleveland),

·         Kleidon & Associates (Akron), and

·         quasar energy group (Independence).

The finalists for best large company internship are

·         Cohen & Company (Cleveland)

·         Swagelok (Solon),

·         Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (Akron),

·         Lincoln Electric (Euclid), and

·         Nordson Corporation (Amherst).

The finalists for best small company internship are

·         Arena Enterprises (Solon)

·         FlashStarts (Cleveland),

·         Kleidon & Associates (Akron),

·         Speedeon Data LLC (Cleveland), and

·         Vizion Solutions (Independence).

The finalists in the coolest internship category are

·         Dwellworks (Cleveland),

·         Entrepreneur’s EDGE (Cleveland),

·         Parker Hannifin (Cleveland)

·         Rosetta (Cleveland), and

·         Sherwin-Williams (Cleveland).

The independent judges for this year are Nora Stickney (Experiential Education Coordinator, Lakeland Community College), J.T. Neuffer (Director of Employer Relations, Cuyahoga Community College), Nicki Grambo (Internship Coordinator, The University of Akron), Andy Halko (Founder and CEO, Insivia) and Nelson Beckford (Senior Program Officer for Strong Communities, Saint Luke’s Foundation).

“The judges for The Expys spend a great deal of time and effort evaluating nominations, and we truly appreciate their time and expertise,” Brown says. “The finalists should be proud to be selected by this group of knowledgeable experts.”

NOCHE’s signature regional internship program, NEOintern, connects students, employers and internship opportunities in collaboration with the region’s colleges and universities.  With the launch of a new employer-student matching portal, the NEO Talent Exchange, Northeast Ohio will have another tool to enhance collaboration and ensure we continue to develop and retain talent.

For sponsorship and VIP table opportunities, contact Renee DeLuca Dolan at 216.831.9557 or

About the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education (“NOCHE”)

Founded in 1951, NOCHE’s ( mission NOCHE is to increase educational opportunity and attainment leading to postsecondary credentials and employment for all Northeast Ohio citizens. We advocate for higher education as a stimulus for economic development through education, work-based learning, research, and commercialization.  NOCHE is leading the effort to increase college attainment in the region through the Northeast Ohio Talent Dividend, is connecting employers with college students through NEOintern and provides a student employer connecting platform through the Northeast Ohio Talent Exchange.

About Cleveland Business Connects Magazine (“CBC Magazine”)

CBC Magazine is Cleveland’s premier B2B publication featuring corporate events, networking, and business trends in Northeast Ohio. It is distributed monthly to 20,000 business professionals including owners, presidents, CEOs and female entrepreneurs in our region (

For more information, contact

Shawn Brown, Vice President, NOCHE



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