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Middle-Market Forum recap: Gen Y shaping our future, success strategies, responding to regulation and more

The impact of Generation Y—those born between 1985 and 2004—a generation that is larger than that Baby Boomers—is causing a significant change in the U.S. economy and the country's outlook on social issues.

Ken Gronbach (photo right), a futurist and one of the nation’s leading demographers told more than 200 middle-market executives at last Friday’s Greater Cleveland Middle-Market Forum that there will be a huge paradigm shift as Baby Boomers retire and members of Generation Y take their place in the workplace.

Bernie Moreno, chairman, Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Middle-Market Committee (photo left) and president, Bernie Moreno Companies, opened the forum, which was held at Corporate College East. He outlined the forum’s three goals:
  • To help attendees develop strategy and tactics that can be adapted for short-and long-term growth plans
  • To give attendees the opportunity to build their business network by connecting or re-connecting with middle-market executives from across the region
  • To provide more information about GCP’s work to strengthen and grow its connections with the region’s middle-market companies and encourage involvement
He also introduced Gronbach, the forum’s keynote speaker, whose insightful and high-energy presentation provided a snapshot of what is happening as Gen Y begins “moving out of their parents basements, marrying, starting households and having kids.”

Other characteristics of Gen Y that are noteworthy include:
  • They are very green, humanitarian and do not see race or color.
  • They will significantly influence trillions in consumer spending.
  • They are flooding the labor market and currently face 50 percent unemployment.
  • They will open a sea of small businesses because they need to eat.
  • They speak cyber as a first language
Gronbach says that the future isn’t a mystery. “It’s all about the numbers.” Based on his research, he is very positive about the future.

“The U.S. economy will restore and soar to new heights we can’t comprehend. The best days for the United States and Cleveland, Ohio are ahead of us, not behind us.”

The forum also featured three panel discussions:

“The Economy, Policy, Regulatory Compliance and the Middle Market” with (left to right):): City Club of Cleveland CEO Dan Moulthrop, moderator; Senate President Keith Faber, Ohio Senate Mekael Teshome, assistant vice president and economist, The PNC Financial Services Group and Ron Eidshaug, vice president, Congressional & Public Affairs, US Chamber of Commerce.

PNC Bank economist Teshome said that there are indications of a strong finish for the U.S. economy in 2015 continuing into 2016. Senator Faber said that the legislature is currently focused on passing a state budget. Ohio is doing better, he said, “but we want to do more to create an environment that’s conducive to job creation including reducing the tax burden and the size of government. Eidshaug commented that the U.S. Chamber is actively involved in reducing the burden of government regulation on middle-market businesses on such issues as health care, the environment and energy and labor costs.

"Circle of Growth Champions" with (left to right): moderator Tom Stewart, executive director, National Center for the Middle Market; Tilmon (Tim) Brown, CEO, New Horizons Baking Company; Victoria Tifft, CEO, Clinical Research Management Inc., Bernie Moreno, president, Bernie Moreno Companies, The panelists shared growth strategies and how they overcame challenges to become successful and sustain that success.

"Fast Pitch Presentations" with faculty from The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business; Speakers and their topics left to right:
  • Gretchen Goffe, executive director, The Innovation Initiative: "Is Innovation One Size Fits All? Lessons in Innovation from the Middle Market”;
  • Larry Inks, clinical associate professor of management & Human Resources: “Talent Acquisition and Employment Branding”;
  • Shashi Matta, clinical associate professor, faculty director, Full-time MBA Program: “Fueling Growth Through Customer Focus and the Power of the Brand.”

"The Business of the Middle Market" featuring a discussion by our middle-market sponsors about top-of-mind topics for their middle-market clients and customers. They include cyber security, the cost of healthcare and compliance with the Affordable Care Act and finding, retaining and training talent.

The panel left to right: Dan Hursh, Cleveland office managing partner, Plante Moran; Robert Peterson, president & CEO, Corporate College; John Campanelli, publisher, Crain’s Cleveland Business; Pat Pastore. executive vice president and market leader, Northern Ohio Corporate Banking, PNC Bank; Jay Lucarelli, president, Minute Men Staffing; and Bob Klubert, vice president Ohio Commercial Sales, Medical Mutual.

Also at the forum...Findings from the NCMM’s 1Q 2015 Indicator

Tom Stewart, executive director, of the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM), presented highlights from the 1Q 2015 Middle Market Indicator (MMI) that surveyed 1,000 U.S. CEOs, CFOs, and other C-suite executives on key indicators of past and future performance as well as confidence in the global, U.S., and local economies. Key findings include:
  • By a substantial margin, the middle market continues to lead the U.S. economy in revenue growth and job creation
  • While year-on-year growth is stable, the Middle Market appears to be entering a period of declining acceleration
  • Expectations for growth and job creation in the coming year remain strong but are lower across most revenue segments and industries
  • Confidence in the U.S. and local economies continues to be high
Click to view or download the MMI.

Thanks to our Middle-Market Initiative sponsors:

Best-in-Class strong contenders: Board Diversity

The Greater Cleveland Partnership’s 2015 Annual Meeting of Members on Wednesday, June 17, at the Cleveland Convention Center, includes presentation of the Commission on Economic Inclusion’s Best-in-Class winners.

Commission members who completed the annual Employers Survey on Diversity™ are eligible for consideration. In addition to survey responses, information also is gathered through follow-up interviews by Commission staff. Three honorees—nonprofit/government; large corporation and middle-market—will be chosen in four categories: Board Diversity, Senior Management Diversity, Workforce Diversity and Supplier Diversity.

Here are the strong contenders for the Board Diversity award:
Join us on June 17th and find out who wins!

Click to purchase a corporate table
to secure prime seating for your company.

The Best-in-Class Awards are sponsored by:

MBDA Cleveland earns “outstanding” performance rating; receives approval for renewal funding

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center Cleveland, operated by the Commission on Economic Inclusion has received an “outstanding “ performance rating for the semi-annual period of “April 1-September 30, 2014. It has been approved for FY 2015 renewal funding in the total amount of $432K (federal share $225K; nonfederal $207K).

The MBDA Business Center reports $27 M in economic activity from April-December 2014 with 159 jobs created. The Center expects its final reporting for the program year that ended March 31, 2015 will include $34M in economic activity ($27.6M in contracts and procurement and $6.8M in investment capital).

GCP hosts DC Fly-in

The Greater Cleveland Partnership’s advocacy department hosted its annual Empowering Local Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. April 30-May 1.

Presented in conjunction with Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) (photo left) and Congressman Jim Renacci (OH-16) (photo right), the “DC Fly-In” brought together the region’s business leaders and mayors and managers to two days on Capitol Hill.

The trip began with a Capitol Building briefing, just steps from the floor of the House of Representatives, from Joyce and Renacci, as well as House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight Chairman Peter Roskam (IL-6) and Congressman Steve Stivers (OH-15), Ohio’s only member of the Financial Services Committee. This briefing, new for this year’s trip, provided business attendees with the opportunity to learn more about the status of important issues impacting their companies such as tax reform, the Internal Revenue Service, and the financial markets.

The following day began with the traditional Ohio Delegation breakfast at the Capitol Visitor Center, with remarks from Members of Congress, including Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Brad Wenstrup (OH-2), Bob Gibbs (OH-7), Bill Johnson (OH-6), Mike Turner (OH-10), and Steve Chabot (OH-1), with Tim Ryan (OH-13) attending the closing luncheon.

Following breakfast, many members of the business community used the trip as an opportunity to visit the offices of delegation members and committees important to their industries. Concurrently, the local elected officials participated in presentations on: working with the US Marshals Service; how to seek government grants via; and the Kaufmann Foundation talked about best practices in supporting entrepreneurs within their communities. The day wrapped up with a luncheon and a final opportunity to engage Congressman Joyce and Congressman Renacci before heading back to Ohio.

Largest Fly-in to date

The event, the largest D.C. Fly-in to date, would not have been possible without the support from GCP members including Dominion and Westfield, as well as sponsorships from NOPEC, Inc., OHM Advisors, Aultman Health Foundation, Cleveland State University, CT Consultants, Gardiner, MetroHealth System, SecureView USA, the Cuyahoga County Mayors and Managers Association, the Northeast Ohio Mayors and Managers Association and host of corporate attendees.

Thanks to all who made this year’s event a success.

MAGNET names new CEO; Berry to become president emeritus

MAGNET, the Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network has named its next CEO: Ethan Karp (photo right), who currently serves as the group’s vice president of client services and marketing.

Karp will replace Dan Berry, who announced his retirement in February. According to a MAGNET news release, Karp will become CEO effective May 15. Berry, who has been named president emeritus, will retire in June. He also will join MAGNET’s board and consult with the organization.

Berry served as MAGNET’s interim CEO for several months on loan from the Greater Cleveland Partnership where he had been executive vice president since the organization’s founding in 2004.

Karp joined MAGNET in December 2013 and had been overseeing its PRISM program, which aims to create long-term relationships with companies to help them grow, instead of focusing on more traditional, short-term projects.

Karp, who previously worked at McKinsey & Co., has a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and physics from Miami University and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University.

MAGNET is part of the regional economic development system that the Greater Cleveland Partnership helped to create and continues to support.

“Pass the Plus:” Good news from the region

Keep up with the positive news from around the Cleveland Plus region by reading the “Pass the Plus” monthly e-newsletter.

In this month’s issue, read about the latest quarterly Cleveland Plus Economic Review ,which reports that from 1990 to 2015, the gross regional product (GRP) of Northeast Ohio grew by 17 percent while productivity increased by 92 percent. In addition, the GRP is projected to grow another 25 percent over the next 10 years.

Click to read more.

"Pass the Plus" is a Cleveland Plus/Team NEO free monthly e-newsletter that provides informative news and information related to the many positive developments shaping Northeast Ohio. Cleveland Plus and Team NEO are part of the economic development system that the Greater Cleveland Partnership helped to create and continues to support.

Click to subscribe.