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Growth strategies and insights for middle-market leaders

Expert insights on three top-of-mind topics for middle-market executives were shared with more than 125 attendees at the 2016 Greater Cleveland Middle-Market Forum held May 12th at Corporate College East.

Following a welcome from Greater Cleveland Partnership Board member Bernie Moreno, president of Bernie Moreno Companies and chair of the GCP Middle-Market Committee (above photo), the program featured conversations about:

The Mighty Middle Market

Tom Stewart, executive director of the National Center for the Middle Market, shared results from the 1Q 2016 Middle Market Indicator including:
  • By a substantial margin, the middle market continues to lead the U.S. economy in revenue growth and job creation; Ohio companies are outpacing national trends
  • Revenue growth rates have stabilized and turned slightly upward, as have expectations for growth for the rest of 2016
  • Employment numbers are solid, too, and middle market companies are seeing a need to offer wages to attract the talent they need.
Read more results from Ohio companies here. Get details on the national picture here.

Cyber Security/Risk

Gunpat Wagh, special supervisory agent, FBI Cleveland provided an overview of the types and sources of cyber threats that individuals, institutions and businesses are facing and how the FBI responds to them.

He recommended several ways companies can be prepared to prevent or respond to a cyber breach including having a dedicated IT staff, proper access control & incident response plan.

The discussion on how companies can respond to and prevent cyber threats continued with these panelists (photo below) joining Agent Wagh (left to right): Howard Forman, senior vice president, PNC Bank; Jon Steiger, director, East Central Region, Federal Trade Commission; and Ralph Greco, director, Business Analytics Institute, Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University.

Export Readiness

Amy Liu, vice president and director, Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution discussed why middle-market companies need to look to develop and implement globalization strategies to stay competitive.

She also discussed The Global Cities Initiative, a five-year project that aims to help leaders in U.S. metropolitan areas reorient their economies toward greater engagement in world markets by focusing on competitive clusters and identifying their core competencies.

The panel featured (above photo left to right): Tom Stewart, National Center for the Middle Market; Jack Schron, Jr. president Jergens, Inc., Melissa Blackledge senior international trade specialist, U.S. Department of Commerce Oded Shenkar, Ph.D. Academic Director, NCMM Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University and Amy Liu. The discussion included strategies and tactics companies can use to launch of expand their presence in the global marketplace.

Attracting Top Management Talent

Panelists (photo above left to right): Larry Inks, clinical associate professor of management & human Resources, The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business (moderator); Dominic Ozanne, president and CEO, The Ozanne Construction Company; Lynn Kernya, manager, human resources, Bernie Moreno Companies, and Beth Svec, vice president, human resources and corporate communications, MCPc, discussed strategies and practices that help them recruit and retain top management and what’s important when seeking to attract millennials and develop their potential.

More highlights and forum information

For more highlights, check out the @GCPartnership Twitter stream (hashtag #GCMMF).

You also can download the forum app to your smart phone to access the agenda and information about the speakers. Go to

Thanks again to our Middle-Market Initiative sponsors: