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Growing Two Communities

When Jeffrey T. Verespej (CWR '07, MGT '11) walks out of the office and onto the tree-lined streets of Ohio City, he sees more than charming homes and boutique retailers.

He sees possibility.

The historical urban neighborhood in Cleveland is known for diversity—a place where dog lovers, business owners and porch sitters are all part of an eclectic community.

Some 9,200 residents and more than 150 independent businesses—20 of which made their debut in the last 18 months—call Ohio City home. It's also home to one particular alumnus who wants to make those numbers grow. Verespej is director of advocacy and operations for Ohio City Inc., an organization working to rebuild the area into a top-notch artisan neighborhood.

"I want to help make people aware of the great story that is Ohio City," Verespej says. "Residents and businesses feel more than just welcome here—they feel like they're part of here."

Across town, Verespej is busy building a second community—a new Cleveland chapter of the Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University. The new chapter held its first event in August, a Summer Send- Off at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. More than 30,000 alumni live in the Cleveland area, Verespej says, creating huge potential for both networking and enjoyment. "Alumni are chomping at the bit to get this going."

"Every day, I wake up with the goal of making Cleveland a better place," Verespej says. "I have two very strong commitments in my life outside my family. One is Cleveland, and the other is Case Western Reserve University. I feel honored to contribute to both of them."

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