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A new chapter for Cleveland!

The city and people of Cleveland have so many reasons to be proud of its comeback over the past 30 years through results delivered by a focused and extraordinary public-private partnership.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership’s 2016 Annual Meeting on Sept. 7 highlighted many of those reasons and how this momentum can continue to propel the city forward.

Thanks to the more than 1000 members who attended the event held at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown. For a recap, please see the stories and photos below.

Governor Kasich praises Cleveland’s comeback

We were pleased to welcome Governor John Kasich as our guest speaker. He praised the efforts of Clevelanders that have led to the city’s economic rebound and changed the perceptions about Cleveland by people over the U.S.

This economic transformation reflects what is happening throughout the state of Ohio.

“We have diversified the economy of this state,” he said. “We have a focus on areas that are 21st century economic drivers” including health care, logistics, pharmaceuticals, IT and advanced manufacturing.

He also talked about priorities for the remaining two years of his administration including a focus on providing resources to deal with community challenges such as mental illness & drug addiction to ensure that people have lifelines when they need them.

Celebrating successes that can be leveraged for the future

The Annual Meeting also included the transition of the GCP Board Chair position from Beth Mooney, chairman and CEO of KeyCorp, to Rick Chiricosta, chairman, president and CEO of Medical Mutual. Mooney, a co-chair of the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee, noted the results that were among the key reasons the city delivered a remarkable convention and visitor experience.

“We raised over $61 million, the highest total ever, most of which came from local and state efforts to meet what was the highest budget goal for a political convention in anyone’s memory,” said Mooney.

“We also successfully accelerated and completed crucial projects integral to the RNC’s success, such as Public Square, the Hopkins airport renovation, and the very hotel we are sitting in. And there were many other investments between public and private sources totaling nearly $300 million in the past two years—investments we can leverage for generations.”

GCP to focus on continuing Cleveland's positive momentum

Incoming Board Chair Rick Chiricosta said many projects and initiatives will need the business community’s attention to move forward. 

“Between the incredible development at Flats East Bank, proposed development on the West Bank and the further planned housing north of the Stadium, we are now truly seeing the lakefront opportunities emerge,” he said.

“But every former unsuccessful plan for the lakefront called for the pedestrian bridge connection and with about 75 percent of the funding in hand from all of our public partners, we need to finish the job.”

As the GCP embarks on an update of its strategic plan, he outlined priorities that will be front and center during discussions. They include:

Workforce and Education: “Our growing body of work in this area, with CMSD, mentorships, internships and specific work with the county to close gaps in identified job classifications could take us into new territory.”

Cyber Security, Technology and Related Issues: “This is an area ripe for developing a collective group of strategies that can both better protect our companies while simultaneously looking for growth.”

Venture/Access to Capital: “Ten years into our partnership with JumpStart, its network of partner organizations like Case Western Reserve University and the Ohio Third Frontier, the GCP could decide to play a stronger role by doing what we can to support high-tech entrepreneurs and efforts to provide intellectual and financial capital to existing small and medium size companies.”

Population growth: “Many groups are focusing on growing our immigrant and refugee population which can bring new entrepreneurs and expertise to northeastern Ohio. For many reasons crucial to employers and the entire region, this is an area ripe for our collective consideration.”

GCP presents inaugural Business and Civic Leadership Award

Citing their work as business and civic leaders, the GCP presented the inaugural Business and Civic Leadership Award to Alexander (Sandy) Cutler, who recently stepped down as Eaton chairman and CEO, and Chris Connor, former chairman and CEO and now executive chairman of The Sherwin-Williams Company.

The award, which going forward will bear their names, honors in their “incredible leadership in the private sector of a city that depends on public-private partnerships to thrive.”
Above photo left to right: Chris Connor, Sandy Cutler, Rick Chiricosta and Beth Mooney.

GCP prepares to support, oppose ballot issues impacting Cleveland’s economy

In his remarks at the Greater Cleveland Partnership Annual Meeting, GCP President and CEO Joe Roman discussed four major advocacy issues in which he urged GCP members to become active in over the next 60 days.

In explaining the positions taken by GCP Board and related committees, he noted that the issues “are interestingly split in their ability to grow or, unfortunately, decelerate the current economy of the City of Cleveland itself.”

Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) operating levy renewal: “Improvements and other benchmarks, the fact that the enrollment in the district itself is growing again speaks volumes for the district as well as the neighborhoods of our city.

“GCP has endorsed this extension and would hope you would support the levy renewal—not a tax increase—as well. It is an issue important to the city and region since it is the largest single feeder to our workforce pipeline.”

City of Cleveland income tax increase: The proposed increase, from 2 percent to 2.5 percent, is the first such increase in over 30 years.

“We studied this one a great deal and almost immediately saw the need for more resources based on other revenue losses and growing needs in the city. But we had two questions: How much money is necessary and how would the new proceeds be used?

“These new dollars could, indeed, restore valuable services lost over time and also create a safety force and other enhanced services that could be an asset to attraction and neighborhood investment.

“At the end of the day, the Board was convinced by the Mayor’s passionate advocacy for creating environments in our neighborhoods that allow for continued stabilization and growth.”

He also discussed two ballot issues that are opposed by the GCP. “Both could be disastrous for the city and neither are homegrown initiatives.”

A Cleveland-only minimum wage increase and a plan to create a set of rules for part-time employees working in the city would be “artificial burdens for only Cleveland employers and residents.”

“The GCP will work hard to beat these latter two issues in any way that we can,” he said. “These kinds of issues could send negative signals to the marketplace that Cleveland and its neighbors are ripe for other noncompetitive economic issues that could stifle business growth in much more than just the City of Cleveland.”

NOTE: See the next story for an update on these two ballot issues.

Update on ballot issues: Special election after November likely
on minimum wage; Cleveland part-time workers’ measure withdrawn

A vote is not likely to take place in November on a Cleveland-only minimum wage increase that would phase in a $15 minimum wage—starting with $12 an hour in January—while the rest of the state remains at $8.10.

The measure is, however, expected to appear on a date-to-be-determined ballot after November.

A separate Cleveland-only part-time workers’ initiative that was in line to appear on the November ballot has been withdrawn by petitioners. Cleveland City Council is expected to pass legislation Monday afternoon granting the request and repealing the proposal.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership opposes both of these misguided efforts due to the bevy of job-threatening regulations the part-time workers’ issue would mandate on businesses and because the Cleveland-only minimum wage issue places the city at a disadvantage, would hinder job creation, business growth, and the overall momentum the City of Cleveland is now experiencing.

Read more.

Meanwhile, two local ballot measures that the GCP supports and will appear on the ballot this November were assigned issue numbers:

  • Issue 32: Cleveland's proposal to increase its income tax by 0.5 percent. 
  • Issue 108: The renewal of a tax that provides operating revenue for Cleveland city schools.

New Commission on Economic Inclusion co-chairs named

Roman also announced the transition of the Commission on Economic Inclusion’s leadership.

The new co-chairs are Paul Clark of PNC Bank Northern Ohio (photo left)and Lonnie Coleman of Coleman Spohn Corporation, replacing Eddie Taylor, Taylor Oswald, and Dan Walsh, City Mark Capital.

Achievements in diversity highlighted

The Commission on Economic Inclusion, a program of the GCP, presented its annual Best-in-Class awards for diversity achievement at the GCP Annual Meeting. Here are the winners:

  • Board Diversity: Eaton (large corporation); Cleveland Foundation (small to mid-sized business/nonprofit);
  • Senior Management Diversity: Enterprise (large corporation); Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (government/nonprofit); United Way of Greater Cleveland (small to mid-sized business/nonprofit);
  • Workforce Diversity: Enterprise (large corporation); Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (government/nonprofit); Ozanne Construction Company (small to mid-sized business);
  • Supplier Diversity: Gilbane Building Company (large corporation); NASA Glenn Research Center (government/nonprofit); Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (small to mid-sized business/nonprofit).

In addition, the Commission announced the induction of three Northeast Ohio employers to its Hall of Fame after winning best-in-class three times in one category: 

  • Board Diversity: Eaton
  • Workforce Diversity: Ozanne Construction Company; and  
  • Supplier Diversity: Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.

JumpStart CEO receives Shatten Leadership Award

The 2016 Richard A. Shatten Leadership Award was presented to Ray Leach, founding CEO of JumpStart, a nonprofit venture development organization that has gained a national best-in-class reputation for its innovative economic development models and its ability to leverage its experience and expertise across the U.S.

The award honors the memory of Shatten’s role in the economic revitalization of Cleveland as an accomplished educator and research mentor at the Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management and through his civic leadership with Cleveland Tomorrow and other organizations.

Above photo: GCP President and CEO Joe Roman (left) presents this year's Shatten Leadership Award to JumpStart CEO Ray Leach.

Collaborative efforts help Pison Stream Solutions expand
into Northeast Ohio

Pison Stream Solutions, a global research & development company and leader offering special niche chemical coatings, defense, antimicrobial, additives compositions, renewable energy solutions, and communication systems designs, announced they will expand their operations by opening a new research and manufacturing facility in Brecksville, Ohio.

The new facility is expected to employ 150 people within three years, and create an annual payroll of $8.5 million.

Pison Stream Solutions considered many regions for this expansion. The company chose Northeast Ohio in large part because of the proximity to their suppliers and customers, and an ideal real estate option that met all of its needs.

The support of JobsOhio, Team NEO, the Greater Cleveland Partnership and the City of Brecksville made this deal possible.

Click to read more.

Above photo:
Participants at the Pison Stream Solutions ribbon cutting included Pison Stream Solutions executives Frank Koger, vice president, manufacturing and laboratories; Fran Oroson, business case manager; and Joe James, president and CEO. Also attending: Mayor Jerry Hruby, City of Brecksville; Vince Adamus, vice president, business development, Greater Cleveland Partnership; and Mary Cierebiej, director, business attraction, Team NEO.

Northeast Ohio tech CIOs convene at symposium

More than 200 technology executives from across Northeast Ohio attended the 17th Annual CIO Symposium presented by OHTec and the Greater Cleveland Partnership on September 8.

The full-day event, the longest-running gathering of CIOs in Northeast Ohio, featured a number of deep-dive “Tech Talks” from leading technology experts.

This included a discussion on the leadership lessons learned by Dr. Janet L. Kavandi, a former astronaut and current director of NASA’s John H. Glenn Research Center.

In addition to the Tech Talks, attendees had the opportunity to sit in on several breakout sessions that centered around topics such as next gen IT security; mobile strategy; and monetizing business intelligence.

Also, the CIOs of the Cleveland Indians and Cuyahoga Community College shared stories of enterprise adaptability; enabling technologies; and data-driven strategic planning.

To learn more about the CIO Symposium, visit
Above photo: Dr. Janet L. Kavandi shared a number of leadership lessons she learned from her time as an astronaut during the recent CIO Symposium.

Port continues opposition to open lake dumping of sediment

The Port of Cleveland continues to oppose the US Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) effort to reduce funds for maintaining Cleveland Harbor and force open lake dumping of potentially harmful river sediment in Lake Erie. The Port and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) are currently involved as co-plaintiffs in federal litigation against the USACE to prevent the practice.

The latest court pleadings filed by the Port and OEPA in the U.S. Sixth District Court request a temporary restraining order against the Corps that forces it to dredge the Cuyahoga River and dispose of the sediment produced without dumping it in Lake Erie.

The U.S. Senate recently passed a bill (now in committee) containing language that would prevent the USACE from disposing of dredged materials in Lake Erie without prior sign off by the Ohio EPA. The Port is also actively working to have language included in the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA) that would add balance between states and the Corps when determine dredging disposal.

The USACE has refused to dredge the Cuyahoga at all in 2016, threatening the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in maritime commerce that depend on river transport. While the mild winter and dry summer months of June and July have allowed for a delay in dredging this year, a rainier August have made the issue of dredging urgent once again.

“The Cuyahoga River must be dredged annually, or Northeast Ohio’s industrial and maritime economy could suffer major losses, including negative operational impacts at ArcelorMittal’s Cleveland steel mill,” said Will Friedman, Port President and CEO.

“The Port has developed environmentally safe solutions to dealing with dredged sediment, and we remain dumfounded by the Army Corps’ battle to dump this potentially harmful material in our drinking water and our greatest natural resource.”

Friedman noted that a recent study by Martin Associates found that the Port of Cleveland and Cleveland’s maritime industry now produce over $3.5 billion of annual economic value and support more than 20,000 jobs in Northeast Ohio. That economic activity is at risk due to the failure to dredge the Cuyahoga River.

To learn more about supporting the Port’s efforts, contact Jade Davis, the Port’s vice president of external affairs, at