A Recipe for Success

January 29th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in From Our Alumni

By Patty Gelb


Seaweed, sauerkraut and corned beef on pizza? Not many of us would think of these as typical pizza toppings.

01232015-7913For Chuck Kreutz, self-acknowledged foodie and owner and president of The Original Gino’s Pizza — trying something unusual on a pizza is a regular experience.

“I am always playing around, testing and trying something new,” said Kreutz. “Sometimes things are horrible and sometimes they are really good.”

It was this innovative spirit that Kruetz brought to what is now the oldest pizza establishment in Toledo. His company serves up almost 30 specialty pizzas — some of which you can’t get anywhere else.

For nearly 60 years, Gino’s Pizza has been a University of Toledo tradition. It was founded in 1955 on Monroe Street near Central Avenue by Steve (Sparks) Sparagowski alongside his brothers, Eddie, Leo and Bill. They all worked full-time jobs and took turns working at the restaurant that was helping introduce pizza to the Toledo area.

“Back then, there were only a handful of pizzerias around town,” said Kreutz. “Pizza just wasn’t as big back then. I remember coming here when a small pizza was 70 cents and the large was 90 cents. It’s a little different than today.”

01232015-8004Gino’s, located close to campus with inexpensive and delicious pizza, has been a staple for students, faculty and staff and local Toledoans.

Kreutz remembered going to Gino’s as a young man with his parents. Growing up as a Toledo native, he attended St. Clement Grade School, then Whitmer High School. Gino’s Pizza was a regular stop for his family.

I grew up on Gino’s Pizza,” he said. “My parents used to bring me here. Then in college, this was our stop all of the time.”

He began his college career at Bowling Green State University and transferred to The University of Toledo in the middle of his freshman year during the oil embargo. He is very happy that he made that move.

“I ended up falling in love with UT,” he said. “There was so much going on and I made some great friends. In my business today, most of my associates are people that I knew from college.”

He joined Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity and was very involved on campus. He had many great times during school, including homecoming events, building floats with his fraternity brothers and attending MAC championship games. He loved his time at UT and is still very involved. To this day he tries to never miss a Rockets’ football game at the Glass Bowl (where Gino’s is served) and is currently working to help re-establish the alumni chapter of his fraternity.

While at UT, Kreutz worked at UPS and during his senior year, he was offered a full-time manager position. After eight years at UPS, he was offered the job of plant manager for J. Richards Industries. He worked there for five years and while he enjoyed what he was doing, he always had a very entrepreneurial spirit. Kreutz knew that he wanted his own business — and not just any business. He wanted to own Gino’s.

01232015-8023As a friend of the Sparagowski family who founded Gino’s, he told Steve and his brother Bill often that when they were ready to retire to give him a call.

Kreutz got that call in 1985.

“We made an agreement that I would buy it in 1986,” he said. “But part of the agreement was that I had to work for them for a year, without pay, to learn the business. I agreed.”

During that year, Kreutz learned operations, the recipes, the history and what it took to run the restaurant. Three of the Sparagowski brothers stayed with Kreutz for the first couple of years while he got his feet under him. Although he had plans to eventually expand the restaurant, he spent those early years learning the business and experimenting with different pizzas.

“When I first started I just wanted to survive,” Kreutz said with a laugh.

Kreutz knows what makes a great pizza is its core. He inherited The Original Gino’s Pizza recipes for sauce, dough and cheese blend. It was a pizza known and loved across the Toledo community and was the basis of his future plans to expand the company.

“Our sauce is our recipe and that is something that we have always done ourself,” said Kreutz. “We still make our own dough every day and we use different cheese than most other places in town. I have always said that a good pizza is a marriage between those three products. Those products have to match. It is not just a matter of buying a crust and throwing some cheese on it. You’ve got to get the right combination.”

Kreutz’s first goal when he took over Gino’s was to develop consistency and create procedures. He shared that each of the brothers did things slightly different and “handfuls” of cheese or sauce were interpreted depending on who was in the kitchen that night. Nothing was measured out, which did not lend toward expanding to other locations with uniformity.

“The biggest challenge that I had when I took it over was probably the consistency because there were four brothers in the business and they kind of operated as different companies,” he said. “There was a pizza on the menu called the deluxe and each one of the guys made the deluxe pizza a little different. That would confuse the customers even though they were all excellent.”

The other thing that Kreutz worked on was expanding the pizza menu. He was constantly trying new things on pizzas.

“I am a foodie at heart and I like to play with food so I kept adding new things to the pizza,” he shared. “There are so many toppings that we have on our pizza that others are taking credit for all over the country. Like BBQ chicken pizza. We have had it on the menu for years but yet there are other people saying that they invented it.”

Although he experiments, he doesn’t change the original Gino’s pizza sauce or their signature dough. Kreutz tries unusual combinations and today’s Gino’s is known for their excellent food, particularly their specialty pizzas.

01232015-8056“Sometimes we put a pizza on the menu that’s crazy and we know that we are not going to sell a lot of it,” he said. “But we know we are going to get a lot of publicity out of it.”

An example was Gino’s Asian style pizza that included seaweed. Kreutz tests his creations as samples in the dining room and had some skeptical tasters on that one.

“It was actually a very good pizza,” he said. “But to some people it sounded crazy. It was like sauerkraut, we couldn’t get people to even try that. When they did, they would be surprised and say, ‘Wow, that didn’t even taste like sauerkraut.’”

His specialty pizzas range from Toledo’s Famous Chili Dog pizza that features Tony Packo’s hot dog sauce and Hungarian sausage and Stanley’s Kickin’ Kielbasa pizza using locally made kielbasa, to Jiggs pizza which includes white sauce, sauerkraut and corned beef. Kreutz likes incorporating local companies into the food at Gino’s wherever he can.

Although they offer inimitable pizzas, Gino’s carryout, delivery and dine-in also offers a variety of subs, salads and appetizers. The menu is not the only thing that has grown over the years. Gino’s has expanded from the first location that opened in 1955 on the corner of Monroe and Central to now having six corporate owned locations with plans to franchise soon. The store that is on Alexis Road has been closed for the last several months for remodeling but is scheduled to reopen in March. Gino’s now employs almost 100 people in the Toledo area across its locations.

More exciting changes for Gino’s are coming this year.

01232015-7974a“This year is going to be incredible,” said Kreutz. “We’ve got a lot of things in the mix coming up. What we are coming out with this year has been in the process for the last couple of years. It will be a totally new menu and there will be a big advertising launch – so look for it coming out in 2015. We are keeping what we have but changing a few things. I can’t say too much, because, believe me if I say it, 15 other places in town will have it.”

Kreutz entrepreneurial spirit and love of trying new things with food has even intruded on the little downtime that is available to a restaurateur. He owns a cottage up on Devil’s Lake in Michigan. He enjoys boating, fishing, riding his motorcycle and relaxing lakeside. These pleasures have all been put aside in recent years when he opened his second restaurant called Captain Chuck’s.

“We were a little disappointed in what was available at that time,” he said. “We found this old dilapidated bar, bought it and redid it. As a foodie, it is a lot of fun up there because there is a wide variety of items and we change the menu constantly.”

Captain Chuck’s offers a diverse menu, including a variety of fish, steaks, even Mexican style food — Taco Tuesday is often their biggest night of the week. Of course a staple on the menu is Gino’s pizza. Although they do not offer all of the specialty pizzas, the Toledo-based pizza now has a foothold in Michigan. As soon as Kreutz heads up north, he ends up at the restaurant.

“Yeah, that restaurant blew the relaxing idea – that was a bad call on my part,” said Kreutz laughing. “We use to have nice quiet weekends, which no longer happens.”

With the expansion to franchising of Gino’s, the addition of his new restaurant in Michigan and the entirely new menu being launched in 2015, relaxing doesn’t seem to be on the horizon for Kreutz anytime soon. But for those who grew up loving Gino’s pizza near campus, or those who enjoy it at the Glass Bowl or Savage Arena, this is probably a very good thing.

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The GoDaddy Bowl in Pictures

January 29th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in The Rockets

The University of Toledo Rockets completed a very successful campaign with a 63-44 victory over Arkansas State on Sunday, Jan. 4 in the GoDaddy Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. The bowl experience included a pre-game event for 600 alumni and friends who came from 15 states and the District of Columbia, six student busses, and memorable trips to the U.S.S. Alabama, a Mardi Gras Parade, and the mayor’s luncheon featuring guest speaker Joe Theismann.

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Class Notes/Obits

January 29th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Class Notes

Please submit your class notes to: Amanda.schwartz@utoledo.edu

Spiros, Mike Michael Spiros (Bus ’69, Law ’72) received the UT Varsity T Hall of Fame Meritorious Service Award for his forty-plus years as men’s basketball statistician. Spiros currently works at UT as an associate professor in the criminal justice department.
*Dr. Cheryl A. Smith-Miller (A/s ’79, MEd ’82) was selected 2014 Nurse of the Year by the division of Nursing Practice and Professional Development at UNC Health Care. She is the nurse researcher at University of North Carolina Hospitals and an adjunct faculty member at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Nursing, located in Chapel Hill, N.C. Smith-Miller recently co-authored an article that was published in the September issue of The Journal of Nursing Administration. Cheryl Smith-Miller_pub

Dr. Steve Huffman (A/S ’87, A/S ’88, MED ’92) was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives for the 80th District. Huffman currently serves as the coroner in Miami County. He also played football during his time at UT. Huffman was a three-year starter for the Rockets, a two-time all Mid-American Conference selection as linebacker and served as team captain in 1987. He was also a two-time all-MAC academic performer and was the 1987 Jim Nicholson honoree.


George Kral (UTCTC ’93) was appointed to the position of Chief of Police for the Toledo Police Department. Kral is a 24-year Toledo police veteran and plans to move the department forward by enhancing community relations and community policing efforts.

Engle Erik Engle (Eng ’98) was honored by the city of North Ridgeville, Ohio as one of the first four inductees of its Athletic Hall of Fame. Engle was a member of both the track and football teams during his time at North Ridgeville High School. He also played football at UT, where he was a two-time varsity letterman and a member of the 1995 Mid-American Conference Championship team.

The Hon. Tammie Hursh (Law ’91)was appointed judge in the Lima Municipal Court in Allen County, in September 2014. Hursh is the former deputy law director of the city of Lima, Ohio.

Dr. Rupak Rauniar (MBA ’98, PhD ’05) is one of six faculty members from the University of Houston-Victoria School of Business Administration who were recognized with financial awards for their efforts in teaching and research. Rauniar was given the Bloomberg Spring 2014 Teaching Award, based on his use of the Bloomberg Businessweek’s teaching materials in the classroom.

Jay Demagall (A/S ’94) and his business partners have a spring target date to open Forest City Brewery in the Duck Island part of Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood.


Cindy M. Ursell (A/S ’04) was recently promoted to director of sales and marketing of the YES-FM radio network in Toledo, Ohio. YES-FM is a Christ-honoring radio network, located in Northwest Ohio.

*Ken Haynik (Bus ’00) is now the global head of data operations for Imagine Software, located in Cleveland, Ohio. Haynik has worked at Imagine Software since 2006.

Colonel Daniel L. Tack Jr. (MEng ’01) was promoted from lieutenant colonel to colonel in October 2013. He is the 179th Airlift Wing Support Group Commander. Tack commands more than 300 personnel, providing mission support to 1,200-plus personnel assigned to 179th Airlift Wing and 200th RED HORSE units. Tack
Mecklenborg Laura Mecklenborg (Bus ’09) recently joined Pilkington Architectural Glass North America, located in Philadelphia, Pa. She is a regional sales and marketing director for a territory stretching from Northern Virginia through New York and Long Island.

Becky Ziviski (Bus ’00) was selected by Penta Career Center as a recipient of the 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award. She was recognized in a banquet in November 2014. Ziviski, of Swanton, Ohio, is currently the administrator of Heartland of Waterville, Ohio, a skilled nursing facility.

*Alexandria Heinonen (Law ’14) joined the law firm of Smith and Miller, located in Jefferson, Ohio, as an associate attorney. Heinonen
House_Rebecca_300dpi Rebecca S. House (Law ’14) has joined the Toledo office of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP as an associate in the REIT, corporate, and real estate practice groups. While in law school at UT, House was the editor-in-chief of The University of Toledo Law Review.
*Gary Johnson (Bus ’13) is the CEO of American Floors and Interiors (AFI), located in Toledo, Ohio. AFI was recently named to the 2014 Inner City 100 by Fortune Magazine and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. Johnson’s company came in first place in the fastest-growing inner-city construction company and eleventh fastest-growing inner-city company overall. GaryJohnson
Taj Dr. Asma Taj (RES ’11) joined St. Mary’s of Michigan’s medical staff as a medical oncologist. Taj is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and practices at St. Mary’s of Michigan Towne Center in Saginaw, Mich.
Faculty, staff & friends

*Katheryn Eckles (LLSS ’13), Erin Vogel (current UT psychology graduate student) and Lindsay Roberts (current UT psychology graduate student) along with Dr. Jason Rose (UT associate professor in the College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences) conducted two studies to examine how people compare themselves on Facebook and how those comparisons affect them. Results showed that people feel worse about themselves after looking at others’ Facebook profiles, and frequent Facebook users have lower self-esteem in general.

Huilan Zhang (current UT PhD student) and Dr. Amal Said (UT associate professor in the College of Business and Innovation) were winners of the 2014 Excellence in Lean Accounting Award from the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute. Zhang is conducting research into lean management in healthcare and manufacturing for her dissertation. Said was given the award for mentoring and encouraging undergraduate and graduate students to study lean principles as they learn about accounting and management. ZhangSaid
Births and Marriages

*Dr. Benjamin Joseph Reuben Wierwille (Eng ’05, MBA ’07) and Amber Michelle Kish announced their engagement and will exchange vows on May 23, 2015. Wierwille is employed at T-Cetra, LLC in Columbus, Ohio.

Wagner Brett Wagner (Bus ’09) and Haley Ann Whitcomb were in engaged in 2014 and are planning a July 25, 2015 wedding. Brett is employed at General Fabrications Corp. in Sandusky, Ohio.

Jason Allen Stienecker (Eng ’07) and Raquel Chacon Luna of San Rafael Alajuela, Costa Rica, were married on June 21, 2014 at Playa Mantas Beach in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. The couple honeymooned in Honolulu, Hawaii. Jason is currently employed by St. John’s Medical Center and Parkview Hospital in the Cleveland, Ohio area.

*Kyle Henry (Eng ’12) and Megan Gross (Bus ’13) announced their engagement in late 2014. Kyle is a turnaround engineer at Toledo Refining Co., in Oregon, Ohio. Megan is a marketing specialist at Therma-Tru Doors in Maumee, Ohio.

Jessica Mary Dupes (HSHS ’11) and Jacob Daniel Keller exchanged wedding vows on December 13, 2014 at St. John Catholic Church in Lima, Ohio. Jessica is currently working towards her doctor of physical therapy degree at UT. She will graduate in 2015.

Death Notices

Faculty, staff & friends

Dr. Robert Ehrlich, New York City, N.Y. at 76. This former MCO faculty member joined the college in 1977 as an assistant professor in the department of pediatrics and was named an associate professor three years later. In 1985, he began a joint appointment after being named an associate professor in the department of anesthesiology. Ehrlich was director of the pediatric cardiology division when he resigned in 1988. He also served as director of the poison control center.

Nancy S. Kemper, Toledo at 93. Nancy worked in Carlson Library for 15 years. She joined the staff as a clerk in 1966, was promoted to clerk 2 in 1968 and clerk 3 in 1969. One year later, she became a library assistant and in 1975, a bibliographic assistant. In 1976, Kemper was named library media tech assistant 2, the position she held when she retired from the University in 1981.

Samantha Cozad, Toledo at 20. She was a security officer on the Health Science Campus. She worked at the University since 2013 and was taking classes and majoring in criminal justice at UT.

Edith A. Gholston (MEd ’72), Clarksburg, W.Va. at 92. She worked as a supervisor of student teachers.

JoAnn Redfern, Toledo at 75. She was a cashier in the UT bursar’s office from 1991 until her retirement in 2001.

Samuel P. Szor, Toledo at 84. He taught music at the University during the 1960s. Szor joined the UT faculty in 1963 as an assistant professor and conductor. He was director of the University band and concert bands. In 1969, he was named associate director of student activities and in the 1970s he left UT to teach for Toledo Public Schools. The local legend became known as “Mr. Music” for conducting the Music Under the Stars concerts at the Toledo Zoo and for leading the Toledo Choral Society for decades. He also played the bassoon in the Toledo Symphony Orchestra for years and later conducted the symphony’s Casual Concerts for 10 years. He was the conductor of the Perrysburg Symphony Orchestra for 20 years.

John P. Williamson, Northwood, Ohio at 92. He was a longtime chair and CEO of Toledo Edison Co. To celebrate the centennial of light in 1979, the company gave the University the Toledo Edison Memorial Foundation, which is located in front of the Student Union. A quote by Williamson is on a plaque on the fountain: “As Thomas E. Edison brought the light of electricity to mankind, this university brings the light of knowledge to its scholars.”

Mary T. Wolfe, Toledo at 82. Mary was a UT benefactor and advocate for the arts. She and her husband, Frederic “Fritz,” gave the lead gift of $1.5 million for the research laboratories for the College of Pharmacy and the departments of biological sciences and chemistry. Dedicated in 1998, Wolfe Hall is adjacent to Bowman-Oddy Laboratories on Main Campus. To honor the $2.5 million gift to support diabetes research, the new home for the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences on the Health Science Campus was named the Frederick and Mary Wolfe Center when it opened in 2011. She also served on the UT visual arts committee, which was responsible for integrating the arts on campus.

*Donna Mohn, Toledo at 81.

*Jacqueline Mattison, Toledo at 78.


Eleanor Stephens (A/S ’42), Manitou Beach, Mich. at 95.

Gid Searle (Pharm ’41), Boise, Idaho at 97.


**Martha Shoun (Ed ’53), Brigham City, Utah at 83.

Robert O’Connell (MBA ’53), Toledo at 83.

Robert Taylor (Pharm ’57), Midland, Mich. at 79.

Romaine Clark (Ed ’51), Toledo at 85.


John Riehle (Bus ’61), Toledo at 83.

James Harton (Bus ’65), Toledo at 75.

Ella Heath (Ed ’69), Toledo at 76.

G. Roberts (MA ’69), Greensboro, N.C. at 77.


**Alyce Lutomski (A/S ’74), Toledo at 63.

Barbara Thames-Vaughan (Ed ’79), Toledo at 74.

Richard Vail (Ed ’73, MEd ’89, Ed Spec ’93), Walbridge, Ohio at 65.

Stephen Prudente (Bus ’71), Freehold, N.J.

Richard Hettel (A/S ’77, MS ’78), Whitehouse, Ohio at 61.

James Everett (UTCTC ’76), Toledo at 69.

Daniel McLaughlin (MEd ’78), Bay Village, Ohio at 77.

Dr. Charlie Grice (MEd ’73, Ed Spec ’77, PhD ’84), Cape Coral, Fla. at 83.

*Dr. William Wolfe (A/S ’75, MEd ’76, PhD ’94), Toledo at 67.


Rodger Hall (UTCTC ’84), Cordova, Tenn. at 74.

Suzanne Dennis (Univ Coll ’81), Toledo at 85.

Michael Young (Law ’83), Cincinnati, Ohio at 58.

Sheryl Shipman (Univ Coll ’88), Toledo at 57.

Randy Dossat (Eng ’80), Las Vegas, Nev. at 60.

John Green (Univ Coll ’85), Toledo at 52.

Kerry Myers (Eng ’88), Oregon, Ohio at 51.

Merrilee Ehrlich (NRSG ’88), New York, N.Y. at 57.

Lavern Miller (Eng ’82, A/S ’82), Cheyenne, Wyo. at 57.

Timothy Ireland (A/S ’88), Richmond, Va. at 59.

Arthur Lovisi (Law ’83), Norfolk, Va. at 59.

Mildred Balzer (UTCTC ’85), Gwynedd, Pa. at 85.


Joshua Martin (Bus ’01), Newark, Ohio at 35.

Elizabeth Kelley (MEd ’09), Ironton, Ohio at 51.


*Martin Peters (Pharm ’11, PharmD ’13), Toledo at 31.

Katie Morrissey (Pharm ’12), Toledo at 29.

*Annual Alumni Association Member
**Lifetime Alumni Association Member

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UT in the News

January 29th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in In The News
Finalists for President of The University of Toledo Announced

The University of Toledo has announced its presidential finalists. Candidates who will be invited for campus interviews are:

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UT’s Human Trafficking Initiative

Neurologist’s Research Shows Abused Children More Likely to Suffer from Migraines

Adults who experienced abuse or neglect in their childhood are more likely to develop migraines, according to new research by a University of Toledo neurologist.

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Frostbite Prevention with UTMC’s Dr. Kris Brickman

GoDaddy Bowl Media Coverage

Huntington Bank Scholarships

MLK Unity Celebration 2015

Tie One On 2015

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Click Here to Save On Rocket Technology!

January 29th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in UT Technology

Feb_Alumni Article_2015-1

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