Ted Swaldo Headlines Garage Blueprint Speaker Series


School News

On Wednesday, October 19, entrepreneur Ted Swaldo, owner and founder of Gervasi Vineyard & Italian Bistro, was the featured speaker at the Garage Blueprint Speaker Series.

The Garage initiative was developed by Walsh business students Iagos Lucca, Josh Ippolito, Andrew Chwalik and Matt Strobelt, with a plan to transform an unused garage space at Walsh’s St. Katharine Drexel House into a student innovation center. The Garage formally opened in January 2016 and includes the Blueprint Speaker Series, a monthly forum that connects aspiring innovators to regional thought leaders.

Through a co-op program with The Timken Company, Theodore "Ted" Swaldo graduated with honors from Tri-State College (now Trine University) with a degree in mechanical engineering. He was engineering manager with Air Enterprises of Akron before co-founding a high-voltage electrical manufacturing company, American Switchgear Corp., in North Canton. That company developed a division dedicated to manufacturing automotive and truck water pumps, and later became ASC Industries Inc. Swaldo then bought the company, sold off the electrical division and turned ASC into the largest water-pump manufacturer in the world with factories in four countries.

His two months of retirement after he sold the company did not sit well with him, so he started Gervasi Vineyard as "something to do." In less than a year, he and his family transformed the picturesque 55-acre farm located in Canton into a winery, an Italian bistro, a marketplace and an outdoor pavilion. Since opening in 2010, they have added a conference center, Italian designed villas, a state-of-the-art winery, and a pub-type restaurant called the Crush House. In 2014, Swaldo decided to expand hospitality operations and opened another restaurant in Green, The Twisted Olive.

"To invest in a winery and an upscale Italian restaurant, some might say that is kind of crazy. But that’s what entrepreneurs do. They see something and they take a chance," said Swaldo. "Entrepreneurs dream more than others think is practical. They risk more than others think is safe. They care more than others think is wise. They expect more than others think is possible.* I think that’s a pretty good definition of most entrepreneurs that I know. What’s the key to success? Know yourself. Know who you are and what you’re good at and what you’re bad at. And don’t be afraid to get help in the areas you need. Find people to around you that are excellent at what they do and who can compensate for your shortcomings. And always expect the unexpected."

A former member of the North Canton Jaycees and the North Canton Rotary Club, Swaldo was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship by Rotary International. He has served as executive director and board member of the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps for nine years and as board chairman for Drum Corps International, the governing body of the Drum Corps activity worldwide, four years. He was named Tri-State College Outstanding Alumni in 1987. 

Swaldo currently serves on the Walsh University Board of Directors and is a member of the Arts in Stark Eleven Committee that is selecting football-themed art for downtown Canton. He has also served on a number of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival Committees and is a member of the About magazine advisory board.

Upcoming Events: Wednesday, November 9 - Garage Hack-a-Thon from 8 p.m. to midnight. Open to all Garage members to gather together and hack away at their business ideas.

 *Quote by Claude Thomas Bissell