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GCP Annual Meeting celebrates city’s successes; lays groundwork for continuing momentum

Governor Kasich praises Cleveland’s comeback

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 today highlighted many of those reasons and how this momentum can continue to propel the city forward.

The transformation of Cleveland and the Ohio economy

In his remarks, Governor Kasich praised the efforts of Clevelanders that have led to the city’s economic rebound and changed 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.  

Celebrating success, planning for what’s next

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.”

Incoming Board Chair 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.”

Achievements in diversity highlighted

The Commission on Economic Inclusion, a program of the GCP, presented its annual Best-in-Class awards for diversity achievement: 

  • 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: Eaton, board diversity; Ozanne Construction Company, workforce diversity; and Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, supplier diversity. The new Commission co-chairs also were announced: Lonnie Coleman, president, Coleman Spohn Corp,. and Paul Clark, regional president, PNC Bank, Northern Ohio.

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.-end-

About the Greater Cleveland Partnership
The Greater Cleveland Partnership mobilizes private-sector leadership, expertise and resources to create attractive business conditions that create jobs, grow investment and improve the economic prosperity of the region.