On April 16th, we attended a luncheon put on by the Solon, Twinsburg, and Aurora Chambers of Commerce that featured Patrick Conway, Co-Owner & President of the Great Lakes Brewing Company (GLBC), as the speaker and special guest. We were very inspired by Mr. Conway’s presentation in which he discussed the history of the Great Lakes Brewing Company, founded in 1988 by him and his brother Dan, as well as the Burning River Foundation (also present was Gretchen Faro its Executive Director) and his constant striving to be responsible to the community through sustainable practices while maintaining a profitable business.
From our standpoint, Mr. Conway is more than meeting his goals. For instance, the GLBC is a collaborative partner in the 6-acre Ohio City Farm which is a center of urban agriculture, community development and job training. As far as the business, itself, the GLBC makes use of 12 solar panels to heat the facility and the unused brewery grain is shared with local farmers to feed their livestock and poultry. Reclaimed restaurant oil is used to create the fuel that powers the beer delivery truck and “fatty wagon” shuttle bus in Ohio City. The GLBC is constantly looking to improve itself and its services so meetings are often held in which the viewpoints and suggestions of all of its employees are respected.
Created in 2007 based on the core values of ecological conservation, environmental protection and education/public involvement, the Burning River Foundation has awarded hundreds of thousands of grants to local non-profits and, according to Mr. Conway, would really like to restore the Coast Guard Station on Whiskey Island which is an important part of Cleveland’s heritage.
Mr. Conway’s presentation motivated us to go to our computer and look up both the GLBC and the Burning River Foundation to learn more about them. He received a very well-deserved round of applause and is, in our opinion, the type of businessman that should serve as a role model for up-and-coming entrepreneurs in Cleveland, the United States, and the world.