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Public-private collaboration brings new business tenant
to PlayhouseSquare

The Greater Cleveland Partnership Business Development Team, in collaboration with the City of Cleveland and OhioMeansJobs Cleveland-Cuyahoga County, assisted Inforce Technologies, LLC, a system integration and technology consulting firm for the insurance industry, with its headquarters expansion and relocation to Idea Center in PlayhouseSquare.

The company recently announced that it is moving from Garfield Heights to downtown Cleveland.

The collaborative effort helped Inforce's leadership identify and secure government incentives to support its expansion project. The relocation opportunity allows the company to continue expanding both office space and workforce. Inforce is retaining 10 jobs and planning to create 20 new jobs in the next three to five years.

The company’s press release says that “the move coincides with a comprehensive corporate rebranding strategy to reflect the company’s growth and expanded footprint within the core insurance systems marketplace.”

The PlayhouseSquare website notes that in addition to being the second largest theater district in the U.S. (only New York City’s is larger), it also is becoming “a hub of new technology companies and real estate development.”

Region-wide involvement will help Cleveland shine
in 2016 RNC spotlight

Greater Cleveland and Northeast Ohio businesses and the community-at-large will have ample opportunities to be part of host city activities for the 2016 Republican National Convention. The need for 17 working groups has already been identified, as well as participation by 4,000 to 6,000 volunteers.

More than 175 middle-market executives who attended the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Middle-Market Fall Forum: “Fast Forward: Accelerating Progress for the 2016 RNC” heard an update on planning so far from panelists (top photo left to right): Terrance Egger, president and CEO, Cleveland 2016 Host Committee; GCP President and CEO Joe Roman; and David Gilbert, president and CEO, Positively Cleveland.

The working groups will be looking for people with “talent and passion,” said Egger. Their work will focus on areas including marketing and PR, security, transportation, community engagement and fundraising.

Roman said that GCP has been and will continue to be heavily involved in fundraising. He also noted that “we didn’t get lucky” in landing the convention.

He said that extremely hard work over the past 25 years, starting with construction of the Gateway complex, were essential in Cleveland’s selection to host the 2016 RNC. Backed by a strong public-private partnership, the message came through loud and clear that Cleveland has the facilities, infrastructure and leadership to successfully pull of an event of the magnitude of a national political convention. About 15,000 credentialed media are expected, which is huge when compared to the Super Bowl, which is covered by about 4,000 media representatives.

Ensuring involvement by Cleveland and Northeast Ohio companies, businesses and residents is an extremely important part of hosting the event, said Gilbert. “We want them to be fully engaged so they will know that they are a part of history.”

New chair named for GCP Middle-Market Committee

Greater Cleveland Partnership Board member Bernie Moreno, president of The Collection Auto Group, is the new chair of GCP’s Middle-Market Committee (MMC).

The MMC works with GCP staff to provide executive oversight for the organization’s ongoing Middle-Market Initiative. In this role, the MMC serves as a leading and trusted resource for Northeast Ohio middle-market companies by focusing on issues they face and offering solutions to their unmet needs.

In addition, the committee works with staff to identify policy issues affecting this segment and works to develop collaborative relationships with public officials and executives from the National Center for the Middle Market.

After graduating from the University of Michigan, Moreno began his career in the automotive industry with Saturn Corporation. He ascended through the ranks to become vice president for New England’s largest automotive dealer.

In May 2005, he purchased the assets of Mercedes-Benz of North Olmsted from United Auto Group and opened the doors to his first dealership. Since that time, the dealership has grown to become the largest volume dealership in the central U.S.

Less than two years later, Moreno began building what would become The Collection Auto Group through a series of acquisitions: Porsche, Spyker, AMG, Sprinter, Saab and Lotus. From 2010 to 2014, he added Acura, Aston Martin, Buick/GMC, Fisker, three Infiniti dealerships, Maserati, MV-1, Nissan, Rolls Royce, Smart, Volkswagen, MINI and the company’s first out-of-state dealership, Mercedes-Benz of Fort Mitchell (Kentucky).

Middle-market insights: How to connect with B2B customers

In the modern B2B marketing environment, customers have become much harder to reach by conventional sales methods, and traditional approaches are losing their effectiveness.

Plus there’s the influence of social media consumption, which makes marketing to a B2B customer a brand new ball game. National Center for the Middle Market contributor Dave Landry, an online business journalist and personal finance counselor, shares how a business can know what B2B customers value and how to connect with them. Here are a few tips:
  • Recognize that you’re marketing to a collective. Since businesses need to go through multiple levels of approval, marketing to a B2B customer to make a sale can be a lengthy task.
  • Offer the best product. While both B2C and B2B both use marketing strategies that involve public relations, advertising and direct/indirect marketing, the motivation to purchase is different. B2B marketing focuses on the logic of the product, while B2C marketing focuses more on the benefits of the product.
  • Bridge the gap: Given that B2B marketing from start to finish is a rather lengthy process, finding a marketing theme that will connect to B2B customers and making them feel as valued as a regular consumer should be central to your B2B marketing efforts.
Click to learn more.

Op-ed column notes progress in Cleveland public education reform

In a recent Op-Ed column in The Plain Dealer and on, Cleveland Transformation Alliance Executive Director Megan O’Bryan discusses recognition of Cleveland as a “Gates Compact City" by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

This designation, she says, is “an affirmation of the strong and growing collaboration between the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and high-performing charter schools.”

The column also notes that “the Cleveland Foundation, CMSD and its charter partners have received a planning grant of $100,000 from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, adding Cleveland to a select group of Gates Compact cities where public charter and district schools are working together to support student success.

“This partnership between CMSD and high-performing charters is essential for meeting the central goal of The Cleveland Plan: tripling the number of Cleveland students in high-quality schools by 2019.”

The Greater Cleveland Partnership played a significant role in helping to shape The Cleveland Plan and strengthening public education in Cleveland remains a priority for the organization. As part of the Transformation Alliance, which is charged with reporting on the Plan's progress and communicating that information to families and other stakeholders, GCP continues to be a strong supporter of the plan’s full implementation.