Structure & Leadership
The Evergreen Cooperatives are an integrated network of for-profit, employee-owned, green businesses in Cleveland. The Evergreen Cooperative Corporation (ECC), the holding company leading this initiative, has built within it a performance-driven process of new business development and ongoing management that ensures the long-term success of each of the businesses and the effort in general.
ECC is the keeper of the Evergreen vision: to promote and expand economic opportunity in disinvested neighborhoods of Cleveland, with an ultimate goal of stabilizing and revitalizing these areas of the City.
ECC provides strategic guidance, coherence and continuity to the Evergreen network, which includes individual Evergreen cooperative businesses, a revolving loan fund, a real estate unit, a shared-services company (Evergreen Business Services), and other units still to come.
The mission of the Evergreen Cooperative Corporation is:
- to promote, coordinate, and expand economic opportunity for low-income individuals through a growing network of green, community-based enterprises;
- to promote community stabilization and revitalization of the disinvested neighborhoods of Greater University Circle and similar areas of Cleveland, Ohio;
- to promote public understanding of cooperative principles and how cooperatives and other community wealth building models function; and
- to encourage and enable cities and other areas throughout Ohio and the United States to implement their own local programs inspired by Evergreen’s mission, vision, strategy and principles.
The intent behind establishing ECC is to create a new kind of “anchor institution” in Cleveland – an ongoing and sustainable vehicle that will partner with the City’s major anchors (such as hospitals and universities) to assist them in conducting their business activities in ways that will benefit Cleveland’s residents and neighborhoods. Thus, ECC is not a project or a program – it is an institution that will work on behalf of Cleveland’s citizens for decades to come.
John McMicken, Acting CEO
John McMicken, acting CEO of Evergreen Cooperative Corporation, currently oversees day-to-day operations, and is responsible for ongoing business planning and the evaluation of new service offerings for Evergreen’s three operating entities: Evergreen Energy Solutions (solar), Evergreen Cooperative Laundry, and Green City Growers (hydroponic greenhouse). John comes to Evergreen from Virtical Technologies, LLC, a Cleveland consulting firm he founded in 2009, with over 18 years experience in the technology services field, holding senior level positions in both business development and operations management. He has successfully launched a variety of technology startups, offering services such as: document imaging, web-hosted document management, data storage, and most recently, Desktop as a Service (DaaS).
John formerly served as President of Inventus Technologies (providing document management services to law firms) where he was instrumental in opening four new markets over a five year period. His executive-level track record, launching and growing small to mid-sized technology firms, has given John the expertise needed to deliver solutions tailored to meet the needs of clients of all sizes.
John holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He currently resides on Cleveland’s east side with his wife, Sarah, and their five sons.
Evergreen Cooperative Corporation
Robert Sorin, Acting CFO
Robert Sorin is the Acting Chief Financial Officer of the Evergreen Cooperative Corporation. In this role he overseas the financial management of each of the Evergreen companies. Bob is also the COO of Royal American Group and the Board Chair of the Northeast Ohio Apartment Association. He is also the Board Chair of a local credit union and has over thirty years experience as a Certified Public Accountant. Bob began his career as a CPA in 1976 at Arthur Young & Co until starting his own business in 1979. In 1983 Bob was also appointed to the position of State Superintendent of Credit Unions. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance with a degree in accounting in 1976.
Evergreen Cooperative Development Fund
Rosalyn (“Roz”) A. Ciulla, Director
Roz Ciulla manages the strategic direction for the internal structure and operation of Evergreen Cooperative Development Fund and oversees the day-to-day operation of the Fund from the perspective of Evergreen Cooperative Corporation (“ECC”). In this capacity, Ms. Ciulla works on Evergreen initiatives and with Evergreen related companies to review, analyze, and strengthen business plans, evaluate and structure financing requests, and assists with securing additional funding needed. She also provides ongoing technical assistance to the cooperative companies and assists in fund raising efforts.
Ms. Ciulla formerly was a Senior Vice President and Manager of Key Community Development Corporation (“Key CDC”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of KeyBank National Association (“KeyBank”). In that capacity, Ms. Ciulla initiated equity investments and loans in businesses and projects that promoted community welfare by providing affordable housing, creating jobs, and stimulating reinvestment in low and moderate income communities on a national basis. She managed a staff of eleven and was responsible for an equity portfolio of nearly $1.3 billion and a loan portfolio of nearly $700 million. During her tenure, Key CDC’s subsidiary, Key Community Development New Markets LLC, was awarded an aggregate of $280 million in financing for the New Markets Tax Credit program.
Roz has 24 years banking experience in small business and commercial real estate lending, mezzanine financing, and equity investing. She holds a MBA from Lake Erie College, Painesville, Ohio and a BA in Business Administration and Accounting with a minor in Finance from Notre Dame of Ohio in South Euclid, Ohio. She is Board Treasurer of One Bratenahl Place Condominium Association and on the Future Search Planning Committee for the East 140th Street commercial corridor. She is a past Board Member of North East Shores Development Corporation, Family Transitional Housing, Coastal Ventures, Inc., Centerfield Capital Partners, and First New Capital 2 LP and formerly Board Treasurer of the Small Business Investors Alliance and Board Secretary of Affordable Housing Investor’s Council.
Allen Grasa, President
Allen Grasa joined Evergreen Cooperative Laundry (ECL) in June 2013, became the Interim President during October 2013 and was named President in January 2014. In this capacity, Mr. Grasa manages ECL’s day-to-day business activities. Prior to joining ECL, he was the Operations Manager at Integrity Textile Service in Cleveland where he was responsible for the overall function of a commercial laundry facility that serviced and delivered over three million pounds of laundry to a multitude of customers. Prior to that he was the Operations Manager with Sodexo, Cleveland, a national management company known for providing services to the healthcare industry including laundry, food and environmental services
Domenic Fatica, General Manager
Domenic Fatica, General Manager of Evergreen Energy Solutions, has a construction career spanning 37 years. He has managed projects ranging from high-end residential renovations to large scale commercial construction. He started his career in the concrete business in 1975, where he quickly rose to operations manager for a multi-facility company. In 1981, Domenic founded Lakeshore Construction, Inc., a residential remodeling company, geared toward high-end renovations and new construction. Over a fifteen year period, he produced revenue of $3mm annually. In 1996, Domenic was recruited by Able Contracting Group, where he introduced them to two new national revenue streams – commercial fence and security, which generated over $4mm in new revenue per year. Domenic has also led successful construction startups for Crowley Group, LLC, and Mr. Excavator.
Domenic has served three terms as the president of the Cleveland Chapter of the American Institute of Constructors. He holds a B.A. in Public Relations from the Ohio State University, and has lived and worked in and around the Cleveland area his entire life.
Green City Growers Cooperative
Mary Donnell, Chief Executive Officer
Mary Donnell, CEO of Green City Growers Cooperative (GCGC) is responsible for building and managing the 3.25-acre leafy greens, hydroponic greenhouse. Her experience includes leadership roles in the fresh produce industry in supply chain management; national produce sales and marketing; branding and packaging; new product development; quality assurance; international produce procurement; and food safety. She has held key roles in the integration of two fresh produce companies and managed a fresh herb production facility in Florida.
Mary has been the featured speaker at many conferences and has given presentations in United States, Europe, and Puerto Rico. Topics have included business management, business development, financial management, marketing, food safety, and renewable energy.
In addition to working in the produce industry, Mary was Director of the Ohio State University Extension Agricultural Business Enhancement Center and co-creator and Director of the Ohio Hydroponic Vegetable Program and the Ohio Good Agricultural Practices Program. Mary has a B.A. in Zoology, an M.S. in Horticulture, and an M.B.A.
India Pierce Lee
India Pierce Lee is Program Director for Neighborhoods, Housing, and Community Development at the Cleveland Foundation. Lee, a Cleveland native, has 20 years of experience in housing and community development. Her most recent accomplishments have been through the work with the Greater University Circle Initiative, connecting major anchor institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Case Western Reserve University with non-profit based organizations to develop place-based strategies in the six contiguous neighborhoods that go beyond the institutional borders. This initiative involves transportation, housing assistance, education, safety, community wealth and economic inclusion.
Prior to joining the Cleveland Foundation, Lee served as senior vice president of programs at Neighborhood Progress Inc. (NPI), where she led several joint initiatives, including the Cleveland Neighborhood Partnership Program. Lee also spent six and a half years as senior program director for the Northeast Ohio Local Initiatives Support Corp. Previously, she was director of the Cleveland Empowerment Zone with the city’s department of economic development and an executive director of the Mt. Pleasant NOW Development Corporation. Prior to her work in the community development industry, Lee was an Air Traffic Control Specialist.
Lillian Kuri is currently the Program Director for Architecture, Urban Design and Sustainable Development at the Cleveland Foundation. The Cleveland Foundation is the oldest and one of the largest community foundations in the United States. The Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Greater Cleveland.
Lillian Kuri joined the Cleveland Foundation in 2005 as a consultant to develop a comprehensive strategy for one of the foundation’s priority initiatives: the revitalization of the Greater University Circle area – a comprehensive anchor institution initiative that involves cross cutting issues such as transportation, mixed-use development, housing assistance, education, sustainability, community wealth, and economic inclusion. This initiative includes a path-breaking and innovative model of inclusive economic development and job creation called the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative. The Evergreen strategy is catalyzing new businesses that are cooperatively owned by their employees. The first two to launch are the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry and Ohio Cooperative Solar.
Ted Howard is the founding Executive Director of The Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland. Howard directs the Collaborative’s partnership with The Cleveland Foundation on the Evergreen Cooperative Business Initiative, a path-breaking strategy to create green jobs and wealth for low-income families in six of the city’s underserved neighborhoods.
For the past three decades, Howard has worked in the not-for-profit/civil society sector, including more than 15 years in international development with NGOs and agencies of the UN system. Most recently, he was the Executive Director of the National Center for Economic and Security Alternatives, a research and policy institute.
Howard served for nine years as Chairman of the Board of Search for Common Ground, the world’s largest conflict resolution NGO. He also serves on the board of LIFT, a national organization dedicated to engaging college students and youth in combating poverty in our nation’s urban areas.