In retirement Bill Franz bought a camera, learned how to use it, and became a volunteer photographer. He has done photo projects for the Humane Society of Greater Dayton and for almost two dozen other local organizations. In 2013 Bill started a project of his own – photographing people at work. Since then he has photographed hundreds of workers, from butchers and bakers and candy makers to clowns and sculptors and fire eaters. The photos have appeared in solo and group art exhibitions and also in less traditional venues such as hospitals, retail stores, nature centers and breweries. They have been seen by hundreds of thousands of people. Profits from photo sales go to Dayton area nonprofits.
Brian Petro is a designer, educator, mixologist and bon vivant. His quest for knowledge never stops and he loves to share what he learns with others. Visit him on Facebook/Twitter at Smart Guy in a Tie Cocktails.
Bryan Suddith is a former government bureaucrat and nonprofit executive. He is the proud owner of Patrick the Wheaten Terrier and father to two teen boys. He blogs occasionally at bryansuddith.com. Bryan is an aspiring foodie and is passionate about all things Cuban and storytelling.
Caressa Brown is a native Daytonian and former employee of G.M. Truck & Bus in Moraine. A 1998 graduate of Jefferson High School she went on to earn her degree in Educational/Organizational Leadership from Wright State University in 2007. Caressa, began her modeling career at the age of 12 having had contracts in major markets as well as smaller markets. Ms.Brown served as the Director of Operations for the first Fashion Week in Dayton in 2012. Active in the community since childhood, Caressa enjoys volunteering her time for local events, non-profit organizations, and is also a Community Voices Producer for 91.3 FM WYSO. In 2013, Caressa was nominated for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Woman of the Year, added to the Council of Fashion Designers of America's Volunteer Program for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, and was unanimously appointed by the Montgomery County Commissioners to sit on the Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District Board of Trustees . Currently, Caressa is the CEO of the Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator (DE-FI) LLC which helps and mentors area fashion professionals from designers to models and help them take their careers to the next level.
Downtown Dayton Partnership
The Downtown Dayton Partnership is a nonprofit organization that provides a variety of services, including site search assistance, business development, advocacy, public relations and marketing. The DDP also hosts such events as Urban Nights, First Friday and the Dayton Holiday Festival. Visit www.downtowndayton.org or call 937-224-1518.
The Duante Beddingfield is a nocturnal mammal found at watering holes throughout the Dayton region. Its diet consists of vodka and cheese, and it is noted for its hypnotic scent and brightly colored plumage, which it displays as part of courtship. It has two short, fixed fangs in the front of the mouth which channel venom into the prey like hypodermic needles. It can be easily irritated by pickles, death metal, and knock-knock jokes.
Food Adventures with Big Ragu & The Crew
Together, your humble Food Adventurers will seek out locally owned restaurants, unique places off the beaten path, and even give our slant on some familiar favorites. Whenever we visit a place, we call it a “Food Adventure.” You can expect pictures of each Food Adventure we embark on. You can expect us hugging waiters, posting nostalgic blogs, and emotionally eating our way through life. We are not food critics, we just love to eat!
Jason is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and fitness lifestyle coach who believes that the pursuit of strength, mobility, and wellness can help people live healthier and more vibrant, fulfilling lives. A graduate of Wayne High School and The Ohio State University, he's trained clients in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and now Dayton, Ohio. Follow him on Twitter @presenttensefit or Instagram @presenttensefitness. You also can email him at [email protected] or visit him in person at his gym on 222 East 6th Street in the Oregon District.
Jonathan McNeal, a graduate of Wright State's Motion Picture Production program, has been managing THE NEON in downtown Dayton since the Fall of 2001. Having grown up in a small town in northeast Ohio, the idea of an independent movie theater that showed hard-to-find films seemed like something that could only be found in a major metropolis. Upon moving to Dayton in the early 1990's, finding THE NEON was a was like finding a new home. McNeal's film work includes the documentary of Dayton's beloved drag troupe - THE RUBI GIRLS. The doc premiered in San Francisco in 2003 and played across the country and as far away as Australia. The film continues to be played at night clubs and on college campuses as an educational and outreach tool. McNeal himself has been a part of the performance troupe since 1997.
Co-owner of Square One Salon and Spa, Agnes & Orson Gifts and Goods, founding member of The Rubi Girls and a retired school teacher, Joshua is often seen at all the happening places in Dayton.
Kevin J. Gray is passionate about promoting Midwestern craft beer. Kevin helps run three local festivals (Montessori School of Dayton’s Brew Ha-Ha Big Beers and Barley Wines and Big Brews and Blues) and writes for a variety of national publications. When not exploring breweries, Kevin can be found playing in the woods—hiking, backpacking, or kayaking.
Kim loves to share her passion for organization and design. She enjoys educating and helping others live better lives through organization. Her company, Designed to Organize, LLC, has solutions for everyone: from helping small families to those individuals suffering from chronic disorganization.
Kristen has fancied herself a writer since she was able to make scribbles with a crayon, and particularly since winning the Miami Valley's Young Author's Contest in grade school with her debut novel, The Twixies' Journey to Fantasy Castle, a Smurfs rip-off, and since "self-publishing" (on a dot-matrix printer) a collection of poems in high school titled 101 Ways to Depress Yourself. Growing up the daughter of a military civilian, and later in life being a loose cannon, Kristen has lived in such places as Tehran, Iran; Cairo, Egypt; Grand Canyon, Arizona; and Myrtle Beach, S.C. These days, she lives, works, works out and hangs out in downtown Dayton and feels quite exotic when she ventures to the far-off locales of Piqua and Beavercreek.
Co-host @GemCityPodcast • President @DayBalletBarre • Music Promoter • Photographer • Art Director • Proud Daytonian!
Lisa Grigsby is a Special Events Director with over twenty five years experience in promotions, event coordination and public relations. Owning Jokers Comedy Cafe for 20 years taught Lisa to maintain a sense of humor under pressure. She credits Leadership Dayton for exposing her to the amazing assets of the region and Clothes That Work for being her reason she stayed in Dayton. Her proudest accomplishment as a past president of the Miami Valley Restaurant Association was creating Restaurant Week, a twice a year tradition that continues to grow and benefit local charities as well. As a foodie, it's only natural that she continues to promote local restaurateurs with DaytonDining. As a Dayton Catalyst, her desire to have ONE community calendar and advocate for the amazing assets of the region helped create the vision for the relaunch of DaytonMostMetro.
Megan is a Dayton transplant who works at the Dayton Metro Library. Past work includes stints at Eastway Behavioral Healthcare and as the Executive Director of FilmDayton, as well as a volunteer for multiple area arts groups, Activated Spaces and UpDayton. She enjoys checking out local restaurants and breweries plus exploring the many bike trails around the region. Additionally, she performs at local theatres in roles ranging from Shakespearean heroines to crazy convicts.
Melissa Ledinsky has over 16 years of experience in the fitness, wellness, and nutrition fields. She is a group fitness instructor, Pilates instructor, yoga instructor, nutritionist, body worker, Reiki practioner, and martial artist. Melissa holds a degree from the University of Dayton in Dietetics.
Conversation starter, wearer of smartypants & sassypants - both with stilettos. Loves sparkle and lipgloss with the same vigor as football and baseball. Enamored with home, but always willing to head out on a new adventure. Just add water (or champagne).
Rodney Veal, an independent choreographer and interdisciplinary artist, serves as adjunct faculty for both Stivers School of the Performing Arts and Sinclair Community College. He is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a B.S in Political Science and Visual Arts. He recently received his M.F.A in Choreography from The Ohio State University. Mr. Veal is the recipient of several Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District grants and fellowships, Mr. Veal was recently awarded a MCACD Fellowship for 2010-2011. Upcoming projects includes, directing “Rise to Dance” a multi-disciplinary show on street culture and dance, the culmination of the culture builds community-Intensive Cultural Residency Project created by CityFolk; a solo multi-media performance exhibition at the Springfield Museum of Art, Reveal: Five Zones of Beauty in the summer of 2011.
Russell Florence, Jr.
Russell Florence, Jr. is a member of The American Theatre Critics Association and The Drama League. In addition to his role as arts and culture editor of Dayton City Paper and theater critic for Dayton City Paper and Impact Weekly, he served as a Dayton Daily News freelance writer and editorial page contributor. He has also written features for such theater publications as Spotlight Ohio and The Sondheim Review. He attended 30 Broadway/Off-Broadway productions during the 2015-16 season. Overall, he has seen over 400 Broadway/Off-Broadway shows.
Shana Lloyd (once Douglas) returns to Dayton Most Metro, only this time she’s writing about a different type of adventure. Once a single girl in the city sharing her never ending stream of consciousness about dating and musings from the life of a thirty something returns to Dayton after a journey of love and long path of self-discovery. Shana relocated to Columbus in 2012 to chase career goals, but left her heart in Dayton and ultimately found herself right back where she started, full circle and the happiest she’s ever been. Residing downtown with her Husband, she’s passionate about life, family, friends, giving back, creating, travel and ADVENTURE. Shana will be covering all things outdoors in the Dayton region, from parks & rec, hiking and climbs, must experience trails, day trip ideas and interviews with our cities biggest outdoor enthusiasts and businesses bringing outdoor fun to the city. We’re excited to have her back and hope you enjoy her articles!
Shane Anderson is the founder of the soon-to-open Ghostlight Coffee on Wayne Avenue. He holds a Master of Education degree from Indiana Wesleyan University & a Bachelor of Music degree from Wright State University. Shane is a former music teacher in the Vandalia, Miami East & Cincinnati Public Schools. Additionally, Shane works with locally based Encore Theater Company. ETC has a mission to help develop new works of musical theater through readings, concerts, developmental workshops & productions and the podcast MusicalWorld (www.MusicalWorld.us). The local theater company recently moved into the new arts collaborative space in the Oregon Arts District, along with Zoot Theatre Co & Rhythm In Shoes.
Tabari McCoy recorded his first comedy album in his basement when he was either 10 or 11 years of age. But it was terrible – and like the item central to the plot of Indiana Jones and The Lost Ark – it was filed away, never to be heard again. An award-winning journalist, Tabari continues his writing pursuits today – most prominently at McCoy On Movies, his online movie blog Now with his debut album Laughing With a Panther (Rooftop Comedy) in stores and his national TV debut on Fox's Laughs under his belt, his future on stage is looking bigger and brighter ... Or that's at least what he tells all the financial institutions to whom he owes money. But no matter what he says, he does it with one simple goal in mind: Making people laugh – and hoping he doesn’t anger his family or God in the process.
Teri Lussier is a lifelong Daytonian, and believes in the power of Daytonians to create positive change. If you give people the freedom to create their own perfect lives, they will do it. Teri has been a real estate agent for 12 years, currently with The Home Group Realty Co, and writes about local real estate on her own blog, TheBrickRanch.com. Married for 31 years, with two always-amazing grown children and an odd assortment of usually pleasant animals, it's just another day in paradise.
Tom Gilliam is a father, husband, IT support professional, advocate for Dayton, photographer (for hire), founder of DaytonGram (bringing people together in this city by showing them why they should be inspired), Dayton History volunteer (Bell Board & photographer/admin for Dayton History's Instagram), Musician (lead guitarist/co-lead vocalist/co founder in the band Ghost Town Silence), a Cincinnati Reds fan since birth & now a writer in training.
Tommy Johnson moved to the Dayton area 10-plus years ago from a small town and hasn’t looked back. With his obsession for music, a love affair with Dayton, and a passion for writing, Tommy recently developed a blog called The Dayton Scene. Tommy guides readers through local events, and shows from local talent. He also visits local shops, and gives you an in-depth look into what the business brings to the Gem City. Tommy is also on Twitter @thedaytonscene.
Originally from Tiffin, Ohio, Val Hunt Beerbower is a 2005 graduate of Ohio University and currently serves as PR and communications manager for the Downtown Dayton Partnership. She and her husband, Mike, enjoy their home base in Dayton where they can easily access the city's unique shopping, dining, arts and culture, breweries, sporting events, festivals, water trails, bikeways, and all the rest of the amenities that make downtown Dayton and its surrounding neighborhoods one of the best places to live!