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Why the Cuyahoga County arts and culture renewal levy needs your support

In this week’s “GCP Insight” interview, Marty McGann, the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s senior vice president of advocacy, discusses the importance of the Cuyahoga County arts and culture renewal levy and why the organization supports it.

The ballot issue calls for the 10-year continuation of the 30 cents per pack tax on cigarettes, which, over the past nine years, has provided about $125 million for 300 Greater Cleveland arts and cultural organizations of all sizes.

“Arts and economic development are inextricably linked,” says McGann noting that levy funds help support PlayhouseSquare, the nation’s largest performing arts center outside of New York City that also has become a vibrant downtown neighborhood.

Funds from the levy also are used to promote arts and cultural experiences for children by helping pay for thousands of classes, workshops and field trips and hundreds of internships and apprenticeships.

The “GCP Insight” video series is hosted by Lesic and Camper Vice President Steve Luttner.

Click to watch.

Click to read the press release about our endorsement.

GCP business development efforts helped secure Nestle’s $50M R&D center for Solon

Last week, Nestlé celebrated the grand opening of its new Nestle Research and Development center in Solon, marking the completion of a $50 million, two-year development project.

This marks the culmination of efforts by the Greater Cleveland Partnership Business Development Team’s efforts, in partnership with the City of Solon, Cuyahoga County and JobsOhio, to work with Nestlé’s property management team to secure the research and development center for Solon.

By coordinating meetings and relaying information between stakeholders, the GCP team compiled a set of incentives that made Solon the most attractive location for Nestlé’s investment.

In a story about the center’s opening, GCP President and CEO Joe Roman talks about this big win for Greater Cleveland.

“Anytime a major corporation, like Nestlé, makes an investment in research and development in a region, it is an incredible sign of growth for an area," he said.

"Global corporations don't place their research facilities in areas they do not believe have potential to continue to grow and develop right along with them. Their presence here is an investment in our future"

The center, a 144,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility, is an expansion of the Nestlé’s already strong presence in the region and establishes Solon as a center of excellence for the largest frozen and chilled market in the world. The company has more than 3,400 employees in Ohio with 2,200 who work in Northeast Ohio.

In addition to developing R&D strategies for Nestle’s worldwide frozen and chilled food businesses, the center’s team of chefs, scientists and designers will focus their research around Nestlé’s Nutrition Foundation requirements, aimed at balancing taste with nutrition for the company’s international frozen and chilled foods business.

Additionally, an on-site pilot plant will evaluate and refine the latest recipes and technological advances in order to provide expert guidance to Nestlé facilities around the world.

Investing in our infrastructure: Port of Cleveland

Public-private partnership helps keep Cuyahoga shipping channel open and bring river sediment to market

The Port of Cleveland and Kurtz Bros., Inc. have launched the Great Lakes’ first bed load interceptor  (photo right)—an innovative technology that passively collects Cuyahoga River sediment for use in the commercial market.

The interceptor provides benefits for taxpayers, businesses, and the environment by reducing reliance on dredging to keep the Cuyahoga open while also producing high quality sediment for local users.

To keep the Cuyahoga deep enough for large commercial ships, up to 250,000 cubic yards of sediment must be dredged each year from the riverbed—enough to fill a major league baseball stadium 30-feet deep. Traditionally, that sediment had to be placed in confined disposal facilities (CDFs) due to concerns about potential contamination.

The interceptor, installed at Kurtz Bros. headquarters in Independence, is located five miles upstream of the shipping channel and collects larger “bed load” sediments before they can encounter downstream contamination. The material is clean enough for Kurtz Bros to use in structural fill, custom soil blends, and the like. The collection process is fully automated, reducing costs dramatically, from $17 per cubic yard for dredging to less than $2 per cubic yard for interception.

The interceptor was funded largely by a $1.2 million grant from the Ohio Healthy Lake Erie Fund, which promotes innovation to reduce sediments and nutrients from entering Lake Erie.

“The Port is committed to keeping the Cuyahoga open for business while reducing environmental impacts,” said Port President and CEO Will Friedman. “The interceptor should cut annual dredging up to 20 percent, and we’re proud to partner with Kurtz Brothers to reuse sediment in environmentally safe, productive, and cost effective ways.”

Investing in our infrastructure: Northeast Ohio Regional
Sewer District

$330M savings reported in program to reduce Lake Erie pollution

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District recently announced $330 million in realized savings just five years into the implementation of Project Clean Lake, its $3 billion, 25-year construction program aimed at dramatically reducing pollution entering Lake Erie.

“Not only is the Sewer District reducing the amount of raw sewage discharging into the environment, it is reducing the project costs through smart and fiscally responsible methods,” said Sewer District Chief Executive Officer Julius Ciaccia.

Several factors have contributed to the current savings, including value engineering, construction contract management, and enhanced competitive bidding. Through value engineering, the Sewer District assesses designs to determine if more efficient construction methods can be implemented in an effort to reduce costs.

As the project progresses, construction contract management assures the project is on schedule and within the allotted budget as well as minimizes the number of change orders.

Additionally, thanks to its aggressive pursuit of implementing Project Clean Lake, the Sewer District has seen an increased number of bids from construction firms that have resulted in very competitive contracts.

To date, the Sewer District has initiated or completed more than 25-percent of Project Clean Lake projects with just 1.2 percent in change orders and has eliminated more than one billion gallons of overflow from the system. For the remaining Project Clean Lake projects, the Sewer District has already identified another $300 million in projected savings and is working cooperatively with the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) to realize those savings.

Above photo: Construction on the Euclid Creek Storage Tunnel, which is a key component in the Sewer District's Project Clean Lake program. The tunnel is a $197 million project that will capture combined sewer overflows, drastically reducing raw sewage that enters our waterways during heavy storms.

The Port of Cleveland and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District are members of Build Up Greater Cleveland (BUGC), a program managed by the Greater Cleveland Partnership that brings together public-sector leadership in promoting infrastructure investment and advocacy throughout the region.

More about Build Up Greater Cleveland

The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) is a leader in coalition-building initiatives that promote infrastructure investment, enhance the creation of jobs and wealth, and improve the quality of life in the region.

Through our involvement with the Build Up Greater Cleveland (BUGC) Infrastructure network, GCP staff works with stakeholders to review regional infrastructure priorities, develop a consensus agenda and advocate on behalf of the network on public issues.

Since its inception in 1983, BUGC has been instrumental in facilitating over $6 billion in infrastructure investments in Greater Cleveland. For more information, email Chris Urban or call 216.592.2444.

Click here to view or download
the BUGC 2013-2014 Annual Report.

Middle-market perspectives: Use diversity in hiring
as a growth strategy

One of the worst decision-making practices of any company is "groupthink," says Chuck Leddy, a National Center for the Middle Market contributor and free-lance reporter, who describes it as “a passionless consensus around the company's current and future actions.”

He writes that “groupthink is bad for every single middle-market business. When you're hiring, remember that difference can be challenging in the best sense of the word.

“Embracing difference in hiring isn't just about being warm and fuzzy or complying with government regulations; it's about becoming more and more strategic every day, in every enterprise."

He notes that “if you put the same people with the same backgrounds and the same assumptions in a room to develop new ideas, it's no surprise when they come back with the same old concepts based on the same old assumptions.

He recommends “a more participatory hiring process, one that focuses on finding differences that your middle-market company has identified as necessary. Instead of eliminating those (people) who supposedly don't fit you culture, try to understand what a particular candidate would add to the office climate.

“Be more active in understanding and altering exactly what your middle market company's culture is and should become.”

Read more.

The National Center for the Middle Market, a collaboration between The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and GE Capital, is a strategic partner of the Greater Cleveland Partnership's Middle-Market Initiative.

Commuter Choice Awards recognize employers offering environmentally friendly commuter options

Are you an employer who supports environmentally friendly transportation choices?

You can be honored for your efforts by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency’s (NOACA) Commuter Choice Awards. Eligible employers are those with facilities in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain or Medina counties.

Please note that the deadline to apply is Friday, July 31.

The awards recognize companies and organizations that practice and promote environmentally friendly commute options including transit, carpooling, bicycling and walking, or offer telecommuting options and flexible work weeks.

Learn more.

Click to apply.