(North Canton, OH – Oct. 30, 2012) – Water pump manufacturing and a Tuscan-like vineyard that includes winery, bistro and villas may seem worlds apart, but Gervasi Vineyard owner Ted Swaldo launched both businesses and more.
On Nov. 15 at 1 p.m. Swaldo will open the 2012-2013 Homegrown Entrepreneur Series hosted by Stark State College in M100 of the Business and Entrepreneurial Studies Building, 6200 Frank Ave. NW in Jackson Township.
Through a co-op program with The Timken Co., 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 became ASC Industries. Swaldo then bought the company, sold off the electrical division and turned ASC into the largest water-pump manufacturer in the world.
After he sold the company, his four months of retirement didn’t sit well with him, he said, and he started Gervasi Vineyard. In less than a year, he and his family transformed the picturesque 55-acre farm into a winery, an Italian bistro, a marketplace, an outdoor pavilion and, now, villa suites.
A member of the North Canton Jaycees and the North Canton Rotary Club, Swaldo was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship by Rotary Club International. He has served as executive director and board member of Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps and as board chairman of Drum Corps International. He was named Tri State College Outstanding Alumni in 1987 and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame committee.
A native of Goshen and one of 10 children, he has been married to his high school sweetheart, Linda, for 49 years. Their family includes children Scott Swaldo and Christi Blackerby; sons-in-law Tom Blackerby and Jeff Hicks, and three grandchildren.
“The same way families work together, I have been able to re-create this environment in the business world,” Swaldo said. “Although I have managed numerous businesses and have had thousands of employees, I have always thought that no one has ever worked for me, everyone has always worked with me. Together, we have worked to improve the quality of life for all concerned.”
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