Hansbauer sees Findlay as haven for food entrepreneurs

Cincinnati native and nonprofit entrepreneur Joe Hansbauer took over as president and CEO of the Corporation for Findlay Market on Jan. 14.

Hansbauer was raised in Fairfield, Ohio, and earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Cincinnati. He currently lives in Newport with his wife Melanie and their three children: Greta, 5, Otto, 3, and Selma, 1.

Before coming to Findlay Market, Hansbauer spent eight years as an executive consultant for Accenture, where he managed technology projects and project teams for Fortune 500 companies. He also founded and is a board member of Give Back Cincinnati, a volunteer organization for young professionals; he was the board chair for Give Back, but stepped down in 2011.

Hansbauer also served as executive director for UGIVE.ORG, a nonprofit that supports volunteerism among high school and college students across the country. He also helped launch the Cincinnati Community ToolBank, the third affiliate of the national nonprofit ToolBank USA.

Hansbauer sat down with Soapbox to answer a few questions about his new position.
What is your background working with nonprofits?
“I started volunteering with Give Back Cincinnati when the organization first started in December 2000. I jumped right in and fell in love with the way you can leverage your passion to make a difference. From there, Give Back was a catalyst for starting and growing new programs like Lily Pad, Fall Feast, Paint the Town and Fuel. It was this that sparked my interest in social entrepreneurship and led to my departure from Accenture and the corporate world to lead the launch of UGIVE.ORG.”
Are you still a board chair for Give Back Cincinnati?
I am on the board, but stepped down as chair in 2011.
Are you involved in any other organizations?
I was one of a small group of people who helped launch the Cincinnati Community ToolBank in 2012.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I mostly spend time with my family. I also spend a lot of time on my bike, commuting and road riding.
How will your background help you in your new role with the Corporation for Findlay Market?
I think it’s a good blend of experiences, but all of them are focused on turning ideas into reality. My definition of entrepreneurship is someone who executes innovation. I am definitely an idea person, but my real value is in taking those ideas and putting them into play.

At Accenture and UGIVE, that is what it was all about—finding solutions to problems and then implementing. I will be taking that to Findlay Market. The market is sitting in a really great position with 100 percent occupancy and nearly one million annual visitors.

It’s now time to allow the market to be a catalyst for a neighborhood, and be the district in Cincinnati that caters to and supports food entrepreneurs. We are spinning a lot of new ideas right now, and hope to have some launched in 2013.
What does the Corporation for Findlay Market do for the Market itself?
The primary role of the Corporation is to be a steward for the Market. It is our role to develop programming, manage the physical market assets and drive traffic. That includes not only bringing people to the market, but finding new and interesting ways to bring the market to the people.

In addition, we should be looking at ways to help spur the success in the market to the surrounding neighborhood and creating all new opportunities for economic growth in the area north of Liberty in Over-the-Rhine.
What initially interested you about Findlay Market?
I am a Cincinnati cheerleader. I love this city as much as anyone. Findlay Market is one of a handful of treasures that is truly a unique Cincinnati place. The opportunity to be connected to that, to steward it into the future, was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up.
What are your plans for Findlay Market in 2013 and beyond?
In 2013, we are going to be focused on driving people to the market and bringing the market to the people. There are too many people that have never been to Findlay or haven’t been in more than a decade.

We are also going to put a significant focus on finding new ways to drive weekday traffic to the market. Saturdays and Sundays are amazing cultural experiences, but we want to make the weekday experience something that is truly authentic.

We will launch some new ideas to support those weekdays. In addition, we hope to launch one to two new programs and expand our Findlay Market Farms and Farmer’s Market programs. Now that I say that, it sounds like we are going to be pretty busy in the next year or two!
What do you feel is the best thing about Findlay Market?
Hands down, it’s the diversity. Findlay Market is truly unlike any other place in Cincinnati when it comes to people of all backgrounds coming together around a common love of food and community. It’s the coolest thing about the market and something we will strive to hold on to.
What are some things Findlay Market has to offer that grocery stores don’t?
People. You are buying product from small business owners who stand across the counter from you and are knowledgeable about their product. You aren’t just grabbing something off a shelf and moving on. It’s also much more than grocery shopping, it’s a cultural experience.
What’s the best thing about the neighborhood that houses Findlay Market?
In a word, potential. The neighborhood has an amazing built environment, but those buildings are mostly vacant and screaming out with new opportunities to bring them back to life. Some new ideas, a bit of investment and the Findlay Market district will be buzzing. Stay tuned for that to develop.
Caitlin Koenig, who graduated from the Univeristy of Missouri School of Journalism, is Soapboxmedia's development news editor.

Read more articles by Caitlin Koenig.

Caitlin Koenig is a Cincinnati transplant and 2012 grad of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. She's the department editor for Soapbox Media and currently lives in Northside with her husband, Andrew, and their three furry children. Follow Caitlin on Twitter at @caite_13.  
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