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Great Lakes chambers explore collaborative opportunities to advance region’s priorities

Speaking on behalf of the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, Greater Cleveland Partnership Senior Vice President of Advocacy Carol Caruso participated in a panel discussion hosted by the Canadian Studies Center at Michigan State University on October 10.

The conference examined public policy issues and business development opportunities in the Great Lakes region and explored ways in which the Great Lakes states and Canada can collaborate to achieve common goals. Former Michigan Governor James Blanchard moderated the conference that featured speakers from both sides of the Great Lakes.

“It was a great opportunity to speak to an influential group about the benefits of collaborating on federal public policy issues” said Caruso. “The Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition has made significant strides in this arena lately, including the inclusion of language helpful to the Great Lakes region in legislation moving through Congress now.”

The Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition was created by metropolitan chambers of commerce in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York and now includes members from more than 40 chambers throughout the region. The coalition’s mission focuses on five areas of public policy: transportation infrastructure, border crossings, base load energy development, immigration reform and the water quality of the Great Lakes.

According to Caruso, “Our collective voices can be much more effective than any single chamber. The reality is that this region is losing seats in Congress as a result of a population losses over the past couple of decades. But together, we have real impact and we’re beginning to see the results of collaboration.”

More information about the coalition, including the public policy agenda, can be found at

Washington‘s gridlock impact on Cleveland

With Congress and the Administration unable to reach a weekend agreement on the federal government shutdown and increasing the nation’s debt ceiling, expect to see continued brinksmanship in Washington, D.C.

In the Senate, leaders continued negotiations over the weekend with the latest sticking point being the continued implementation of sequester spending levels if the government is reopened. In the House, leaders were unable to find agreement either and are expected to wait for the Senate to act prior to coming back to session this evening.

Senate negotiations are likely to focus on what level of funding to include in the Continuing Resolution, as well as its length funding. Senate Democrats had been willing to accept a $986 billion level in any stopgap plan, which includes the first year of sequestration but only for a relatively short period of time and with no extraneous policy riders.

Republicans, however, have been pushing for at least a six-month extension of current spending that would allow for the second year of sequester to kick-in, which would lower spending to $967 billion annually.

While the Greater Cleveland Partnership continues to track the activities in Washington, the organization remains concerned about the long term economic implications of the shutdown and the debt ceiling debate to the region and the overall economy. As described in our 2013/2014 Public Policy Agenda, we are fully aware of the importance of our civic assets such as NASA Glenn Research Center and the Defense Finance and Accounting Services.

As the shutdown enters its third week, we are reminded that:

  • NASA Glenn Research Center employs over 1,600 civil servants and another 1,600 contract employee positions who have been, or are expected to be, laid off by their employers in the coming weeks; The Center’s annual economic impact to Ohio is more than $1.3 billion.

  • Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), an organization GCP fought to expand in Cleveland, has over 2,300 local employees and an annual economic impact to Ohio of over $300 million. The number of employees to be laid off is expected to increase with a prolonged shutdown.

  • The United States Coast Guard Ninth District, headquartered in Cleveland, has over 500 employees in the region and contributes over $100 million to Ohio’s economy. The number of employees impacted at this time is undetermined.

  • Many other federal agencies, such as the Minority Business Development Agency Business Center Cleveland, headquartered at GCP, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the International Trade Services Center-Cleveland, have been impacted as well.

Five former members of Congress to be special guests at 50th anniversary Public Officials Reception

A reunion theme will help mark a major milestone of one of GCP’s premier events, the Public Officials Reception, which observes its 50th anniversary on Friday, November 22 at Windows on the River. Special guests expected to attend include five former members of Ohio’s Congressional delegation: Ralph Hobson, Steve LaTourette, Mary Rose Oakar, Ralph Regula and Louis Stokes. Click here for more information on the event.

Dave Hobson: U.S. House of Representatives – 1991-2009; Ohio Senate – 1982-1991

Even though Dave Hobson was a congressman from southwest Ohio, his efforts reverberated through Greater Cleveland. Mr. Hobson, who served 18 years in Congress, supported efforts to stimulate the economies of ailing industrial cities and towns.

He supported the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland and favored the allocation of federal funds for research projects at educational and health care institutions.

Steve LaTourette: U.S. House of Representatives – 1995-2013

Though Mr. LaTourette’s congressional district was based east of Cuyahoga County, he provided constant and significant assistance to Cleveland. The nine-term congressman was a singularly instrumental force in saving more than 1,000 Department of Defense jobs in downtown Cleveland that the Pentagon had targeted for elimination.

Mr. LaTourette also fought and delivered for preservation of the Great Lakes, construction of the Euclid Avenue Corridor, the expansion of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and much more.

Mary Rose Oakar: Ohio House of Representatives 2001-2002; U.S. House of Representatives 1977-1993

Ms. Oakar served eight terms in Congress, representing Cleveland, and used her influence to assist her hometown in various ways. She was instrumental in securing federal funds that were used to rehabilitate Cleveland’s inner harbor.

Ms. Oakar also played a role in helping to lead the effort to bring the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to Cleveland.

Ralph Regula: U.S. House of Representatives – 1973-2009; Ohio Senate – 1967-1973

Ralph Regula, who retired in 2009 after serving 18 terms in Congress, made lasting contributions to Northeast Ohio. Mr. Regula helped secure $200 million for improvements within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

He also helped facilitate joint efforts by Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University that helped lead to the development of the National Center for Regenerative Medicine.

Louis Stokes: U.S. House of Representatives – 1969-1999

A living piece of our local and national history, Louis Stokes served 15 terms in Congress. Raised in a federal housing project in Cleveland, Mr. Stokes, a World War II veteran who was drafted into a segregated U.S. Army, would later fight in Congress for funding for veterans hospital facilities in Cleveland.

Mr. Stokes also was a staunch supporter of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. 

GCP supports four levies

The Greater Cleveland Partnership is urging a “yes” vote on four levies on the November ballot. Click on the links below to learn more:

Fund raisers this week for Issues 79 and 80

“$79 for 79”

You’re invited to support Issue 79, the Cleveland Public Library Levy at the campaign’s “$79 for 79” fundraiser on Thursday October 17, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Margaret W. Wong and Associates, 3150 Chester Avenue. Guests will enjoy cuisine from Pearl of the Orient restaurant in Shaker Heights.

Tickets are $79 for each person attending. Proceeds will help the campaign continue its mission to pass Issue 79. RSVP by calling Nelson Devezin at 216.882.7209 or emailing with the number of people in your party.

You also can mail donations to: Citizens for the Cleveland Public Library, 32125 Solon Road, Cleveland, OH 44139. Corporate checks are accepted.

Metroparks Happy Hour

Come show your support for Cleveland Metroparks and Issue 80 at the Metroparks Happy Hour on Wednesday, October 16, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at The Club at Key Center, 127 Public Square. The event features guest bartenders Brian Zimmerman, CEO of Cleveland Metroparks, and Cleveland Metroparks Board of Park Commissioners, Debbie Berry, Bruce Rinker and Dan T. Moore.

All tips and donations go toward the Issue 80 levy campaign for Cleveland Metroparks. Please RSVP to Debbie Berry by email,, by Tuesday, October 15. For more information on Issue 80, visit


Stakeholders add input on Opportunity Corridor project

The Opportunity Corridor, a transportation project that will connect I-490/East 55th Street to University Circle, was recently vetted in two public arenas. On October 1, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) held a public hearing on the preferred alternative and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement at Mt. Sinai Church on Woodland Ave.

On October 9, a panel discussion was held at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The panel included (left to right): moderator Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer’s art and architecture critic, Deb Janik, GCP’s senior vice president, real estate and business development and Jennifer Coleman, architect, Jennifer Coleman Creative.

Also on the panel: Vickie Johnson, executive director, Fairfax Development Corp., Chris Ronayne, president, University Circle, Inc., and Angela Schmitt, writer and activist for Streetsblog Network.

With funding in place to move to final planning, it continues to be important to hear from area stakeholders about this important project. Each event drew over 100 attendees. Like many public infrastructure projects before it, the Opportunity Corridor is planned to blend transportation benefits with redevelopment, community development and economic development opportunities that otherwise would be more difficult to achieve or not attainable at all.

For example, the project will enhance the ability to redevelop the area of Fairfax known as the “New Economy Neighborhood” adjacent to University Circle and focusing on health and technology sector activity. And, for the first time in decades, the project will facilitate new investment in the area south of Woodland Ave. between Kinsman and Buckeye roads often called the City’s “Forgotten Triangle.”

Opportunity Corridor has been in the planning stages for years, overseen by a GCP Steering Committee that engaged infrastructure providers, planning agencies, community members and business representatives. Recent funding commitments of more than $265 million from the State of Ohio and $60 million from local partner agencies allows the $331 million project to be fully funded by 2017. The entire corridor will be completed by 2019, nearly 13 years ahead of schedule.

GCP will continue to support the efforts of the Steering Committee as we are now in a position to transition towards final planning and construction of the roadway and advance community and economic development initiatives designed to create new jobs and opportunities for our community’s most disenfranchised neighborhoods.

Forum provides insights into what drives innovation

GCP’s Middle-Market Innovation Forum on October 8 featured presentations on the latest research on middle-market companies’ perspectives on innovation and strategies and tactics to move from ideas to action.

About 80 Greater Cleveland mid-market executives attended the program. Presenters were (left to right): 

MCPc Chief Technology Officer Darin Haines, chair, GCP Middle-Market Committee, moderator; Gretchen Goffe, executive director, The Innovation Initiative at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business, and Plante Moran executives Dan Hursh, Cleveland office managing partner and Chris Jones, who heads the firm’s national service industry practice.

The Plante Moran survey revealed how business leaders are rethinking their innovation strategies. The focus is shifting from addressing regulatory and financial concerns to optimizing capacity, flexibility, and quality. The survey also found that 94 percent of top management say that innovation is important to business strategy and growth.

Ms. Goffee outlined a five-step process to turbo charge innovation known as SPARK: Strategy development; Problem-solving, Answers to the question: How an idea can make money; Rapid product development and Killer ideas, which are those deemed the best for further action.

Ribbon-cutting at health innovation center opens project first championed by GCP

The ribbon-cutting at the Global Center for Health Innovation last week was the culmination of a project first supported by the Greater Cleveland Partnership in 2009.

GCP was the first group in the region to support the medical mart/convention center project and, in 2010, helped secure the property tax exemptions needed to keep the project moving forward.

Our advocacy team played a key role in advancing legislation that created sales and property tax exemptions for the project. The exemptions were consistent with tax provisions granted for similar projects and allowed the project to break ground in December 2010.

United introduces new signature seat design

United Airlines recently unveiled a new, signature seat design focused on customer comfort and environmental responsibility, with a sophisticated, modern look.

The new design multi-tonal leather seat covers, double-stitch patterns, sculpted contouring and a new United-branded tag.

Customers will enjoy more ergonomic and supportive cushioning and additional seat-back storage space in United Economy Plus® and United Economy®.The technology behind the design makes the seats more environmentally friendly by reducing seat weight and volume to contribute to less fuel burn. 

Click here to read more.