J. Duncan Shorey is both President and CEO of The Foundry Project, and the Northcoast Fish Farm. With over thirty years of experience in managing commercial and industrial urban redevelopment projects, J. has a deep understanding of many of the obstacles which pose a challenge to economic development in the inner city arena. As an environmental lawyer with a strong technical/project management background, the urban environment has been his primary focus for most of his professional career. Since he first arrived in Cleveland in 1989 as the Environmental Compliance Manager for Oglebay Norton Company J. has advised clients in areas ranging from environmental risk assessment, (primarily means identifying the potential trouble spots for re-development projects), to devising the most cost-effective and efficient solutions to those problems. Forming ProActive Strategies, Inc. in 1995 to assist commercial ventures in identifying risk associated with environmental issues, J.’s responsibilities expanded to include devising cost-effective means to implementing the preferred solution as well. The Foundry Project and the North Coast Fish Farm together represent the greatest, most challenging and comprehensive redevelopment project that he has undertaken.
He is also President of ProActive Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm dedicated to advising clients on urban redevelopment projects, usually with a focus on how to manage the problems associated with environmental concerns. In addition, J. has an interest in Ohio PACE Energy, and Northcoast Geothermal, Inc. Both of these companies have pursued innovative strategies for incorporating new energy technologies into our commercial and industrial infrastructure. An attorney, he also volunteers on numerous projects to advocate for better strategies for sensible urban redevelopment. He also is on the Board of Trustees of the Philander Chase Corporation, a non-profit that serves to preserve the rural character of the land surrounding Kenyon College. He is also the Trustee in charge of the Philander Chase’s new Kokosing Nature Preserve, Ohio’s second “natural/green” burial cemetery.
In his free time, he ferries children from one athletic endeavor to another.
Curt Witchey is the Chief Financial Officer for The Foundry Project and North Coast Fish Farm. Curt has 25 years of experience as Controller and CFO of a variety of private companies. And he has worked in a diversity of industries including commercial banking, plastics manufacturing, insurance/ecommerce and private equity.
In his most recent CFO role at Brantley Partners, Curt had responsibility for financial reporting and analysis, portfolio management, investor, bank and legal relations, human resources, insurance, decision support and internal accounting. Along with CEO J. Shorey, Curt focuses on strategic issues for The Foundry Project, and handles capital raising (both equity and debt). Curt’s expertise extends to startup and early stage companies, and he specializes in financial modeling/analysis and in developing, streamlining and improving business processes. He will be instrumental in developing the accounting, HR, payroll and back office functions for North Coast Fish Farm.
Curt’s volunteer activities include mentoring a startup from the Shaker Launchhouse incubator, acting as a financial consultant for Business Volunteers Unlimited, and serving as a career mentor for MBA students at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU).
Curt majored in accounting and information systems at Bowling Green State University, and received his MBA in Finance from CWRU.
A native of Ohio, Curt lives with his wife in Cleveland Heights, OH and has a son in college.
Jay Szabo is the Chief Horticultural Officer for The Foundry Project and Northcoast Orchards. Jay brings 37 years of experience as a horticulturalist. He studied the mechanics of freezing injury in plants as a graduate student at Cornell University, and agricultural product development at Diamond Shamrock Corporation. Currently, Jay works as a horticultural consultant and garden designer, and operates a small urban farm at Dunham Tavern Museum, growing specialty crops for individuals and local chefs.
Collaborating with Foundry Project CEO J. Shorey, Jay is exploring business models for profitable urban farming at The Foundry. He brings knowledge of agronomy and plant physiology from work in academic and corporate research, experience in nursery management from work at Sunnybrook Farms nursery, business skills as owner of Heights Floral Shoppe for 16 years, and collective experience in farming practices as an advocate for and an advisor to Cleveland urban farms.
Jay’s volunteer activities include planning and development of Dunham GreensSpace, a 7-acre site in Midtown Cleveland that consists of a managed campus including an historic trail, display gardens, orchards, community gardens, and the first Green Corps farm of the Cleveland Botanical Garden. Proposed development of recently acquired land will include an outdoor event space within a restored Oak Savannah, a demonstration garden focused on horticulture, health, and community.
A native of Cleveland, Jay is passionate about the benefits of local food initiatives on community development and health.
Laura Minnig is the Shepherdess for The Foundry Project and manager of Northcoast Sheep Farm and Northcoast Lamb Co-Op. Laura brings 10 years of experience raising sheep, and many more in breeding horses. Her home farm is The Spicy Lamb Farm, a Cuyahoga Valley National Park Countryside Conservancy Farm, where she raises purebred production Dorsets and hosts the Cuyahoga Valley Sheep Dog Trials.
Laura is the Executive Director of Urban Shepherds, a nonprofit organization started in Cleveland to promote sheep grazing as urban farming grass fed lamb operations. She is a National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) Certified Ultrasound Scanner, completed her FAMACHA certification at Cornell She completed Lamb 509: Producing and Marketing Quality Lamb Products at the Ohio State University Department of Animal Sciences. She has an undergraduate in Philosophy of the Arts from Denison University and completed a master’s degree in Arts Management and her doctoral program in Urban and Regional Planning at The University of Akron
Laura’s interest in sheep began when she spent her adolescent years living in England near the rural countryside. She has visited and sought out mentoring and genetics following the Dorset breed around the world from K Bar K Farm in Pennsylvania, to Pollambi Farm in Armidale, Australia, to Ohio Farm in Gore, New Zealand, to Glengarry Poll Dorsets Farms in Fielding and Apiti, New Zealand, and to the Blackdown Flock at Great Garlandhayes Farm in Devon, England.
Laura also bring a background as an environmental planner and producer/director of television. She is passionate about using her skills and experience to educate the public about environmental stewardship and sustainable farming.