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GCP Board approves next phase of strategic plan 

At their quarterly meeting last week, the Greater Cleveland Partnership Board of Directors provided preliminary approval of the GCP Strategic Plan.  Over the last 30 days, four task teams with representatives from member companies met to focus on prioritization of the various projects and initiatives within each of the strategic plan pillars:  Talent that Fuels Growth; Places with Impact; Driving Connectivity; and Environment to Support, Start, Scale and Stay.  Each group had the opportunity to hear from experts on the topics within each pillar and was tasked with identifying the most important areas of focus for the business community.  The results of this work were shared with the GCP Board for their review and support. 

With the Board’s approval, the next steps in the strategic planning process will include: 
  • Outlining the specific resources needed to support each strategic plan initiative,
  • Developing metrics to track impact and success,
  • Socializing the plan with partner organizations,
  • And developing a plan of action for implementation of work in 2018.
The fully-completed Greater Cleveland Partnership Strategic Plan with all the steps outlined above included will go to the GCP Board for final approval at the December board meeting.

We also welcomed two new board members to the GCP Board at the September Meeting:  Gabriel Torok, principal and CEO of PreEmptive Solutions and Ann Noonan, President and Chief Executive Officer of OMNOVA Solutions Inc.  We look forward to their participation and impact.

Gabe TorokGabriel Torok is a principal and CEO of PreEmptive Solutions which helps companies protect the value of their software innovation and the integrity of their applications & data through a combination of binary obfuscation and application shielding. Gabriel has significant experience in software development and protection, as well as broad functional experience in operations, sales management, marketing and finance. He has an Engineering Degree from CSU and has authored two software development books. He has been a speaker on various topics related to software and application protection at many national and international conferences including Software Developer’s Conference, SD Best Practices Conference, TechEd, VSLive and others.

In addition to his work at PreEmptive, Gabriel is the current chairman of OHTec and on the board of the Cleveland chapter of EO (Entrepreneur Organization).

Ann NoonanAnne P. Noonan is President and Chief Executive Officer of OMNOVA Solutions Inc. (NYSE: OMN), a $760 million global producer of emulsion polymers, specialty chemicals, and decorative and functional surfaces. She was appointed to this position as of December 1, 2016.

Ms. Noonan joined OMNOVA in September 2014 as President of its Performance Chemicals business segment. The business develops and produces emulsion polymers and specialty chemicals for a variety of end use applications, including specialty coatings, construction, nonwovens, oil & gas exploration, and elastomeric modifiers.

Prior to OMNOVA, Ms. Noonan spent 27 years at Chemtura Corporation, a global manufacturer of specialty chemicals. She most recently served as Senior Vice President and President of Chemtura’s Industrial Engineered Products business, which included flame retardants, brominated performance products and organometallic specialties. These products went into numerous applications and end markets, many of which overlapped with OMNOVA’s. Previously, she held a dual role as Vice President of Strategic Business Development for Chemtura and President of its Great Lakes Solutions business.

Through her early roots in new product development, Ms. Noonan developed a deep understanding of the importance of having clear insights into customer needs, and utilizing technology to meet those needs and create a clear and compelling value proposition for the customer.

GCP supports Port of Cleveland and Tri-C ballot issues; opposes questionable drug pricing measure

Members of the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) recently voted to endorse a renewal of the Port of Cleveland’s .13 mill operating levy.  The levy, on the ballot this November, costs a homeowner $3.50 for every $100,000 of home value, making it one of the smallest tax levies in Cuyahoga County.

GCP member companies actively support commerce generated through the Port and utilize its services.  Levy funds support maintenance of lakefront docks, the Cuyahoga River navigation channel, and other maritime activities.  Specific projects related to the initiative include the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve and the Irish Town Bend stabilization efforts (an initiative the GCP supported in the 2015 state capital bill).

"Thousands of jobs exist because of the Port of Cleveland maritime activity," said Debbie Read, Managing Partner/CEO of Thompson Hine and GCP Board Member.  "Partnerships formed between the Port and the Greater Cleveland business community have led to billions in overall economic impact to the region and generated millions in state and local taxes.  The Port leverages the resources it receives and it plays a critical role in Cleveland's lakefront development."

The GCP backs the Port of Cleveland because a stable, strong Port drives growth and opportunity.  Ample resources are also necessary to ensure tomorrow’s economy and workforce remain equally strong, leading the GCP to take a formal position on the Cuyahoga Community College’s (Tri-C) election day bond issue.

The GCP Board decided to support a .5 mill bond issue – that will generate $227 million in funding – to support new Tri-C facilities and facility upgrades across all campuses.  This issue would annually cost $17.50 for every $100,000 of home value.  If approved, the capital bond would be in addition to the college’s two operating levies.

A skilled workforce and talent attraction strategy are key drivers of the GCP’s work.  Cuyahoga Community College’s plan will aid the school and the region in:
  • Building a 15,000-square foot addition to the Advanced Technology Training Center for manufacturing and engineering programs.
  • The expansion of the Transportation, Distribution & Logistics Academy to provide offerings in supply chain, logistics, diesel technology, warehousing and distribution.
  • An expansion of the Automotive Technology program at the Western Campus.
  • College-wide laboratory renovations, specifically those used in programs that provide credentials and training for some of the region’s fastest growing industries: engineering, medical technology, nursing, pharmacy, radiology and respiratory therapy.
“Investing in facilities, technologies, and the education of our youth – particularly in high-demand industries – is not an aspiration in today’s economy, it is a necessity,” said Joe Roman, President/CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership.  “Tri-C graduates live and work in Northeast Ohio.  Retaining those skills and keeping that talent in Cleveland is a key ingredient, building upon the momentum our region is experiencing.”

Tri-C was recently ranked number one in Ohio and in the top twenty nationally among two-year institutions in awarding associate degrees across all disciplines.

Separate from the aforementioned local ballot issues, the GCP board also voted to oppose a statewide ballot proposal that would change how state of Ohio purchases prescription drugs.  The proposed initiated statute, Issue 2, would attempt to prohibit the state from purchasing a prescription drug unless the net cost of the drug is equal to or less than the lowest price paid for the drug by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely the proposal could be implemented or be able to achieve its purpose.  Issue 2 is vague and lacks certain definitions, meaning it is questionable how differing entities and state agencies would choose to implement it.

The GCP – and more than 60 other organizations ranging from the Ohio Hospital Association to The American Legion – are extremely concerned the proposal will lead to cost shifting and drive up prices for employers, their employees, and even increase the cost for veterans.  The Act would not apply to the approximately 7 million Ohioans who use private insurance or other coverage.  Moreover, one provision in Issue 2 would give the four co-sponsors of the issue an unprecedented right to intervene – at taxpayer expense – in any post-election legal challenges to the law.  State taxpayers would be on the hook to pay attorneys' fees and expenses, as well as any bills incurred by the Attorney General in litigating the matter. 

While Issue 2 appears to be well-intended, it is a big risk in a volatile health care environment.  

Cleveland bids on 2nd headquarters for Amazon

Amazon recently announced that the company is seeking a home for its second headquarters. Cleveland is among more than 100 cities that have expressed interest in bidding. On last Thursday's "Wills and Snyder" program, GCP President and CEO Joe Roman talked about Cleveland's decision to bid on Amazon's second headquarters and the positive long-term outcomes. The new headquarters could bring close to 50,000 jobs to the winning city. Proposals are due in October.

Listen to the complete interview.




It's not too late to sign up! Help build Cleveland’s talent pipeline

From talking and listening to our members of all sizes from all across the region, we know that their single biggest issue of concern is talent. 

Educational attainment, a focus on skills development, and improving the level of talent within the workplace are key areas of opportunity for business community involvement.

One way for direct involvement—right now—is for our member companies to offer True2U—a career awareness and mentoring program for Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) eighth-graders—as an opportunity for your employees to volunteer as mentors for the 2017-2018 school year.

It's not too late for you to sign up! Applications will be accepted until the end of September.

Why participate?

As you know, the business community is an essential component in efforts to prepare our youth to be successful as adults in tomorrow’s workplace.

One part of the solution to the challenge of attracting and retaining talent lies in early exposure to career pathways and helping students make decisions that best position them for lifetime success.

Our goal: To connect with all CMSD eighth-graders

More than 150 business volunteers recruited by the GCP joined mentors from the wider community in serving approximately 1,700 youths in 44 Cleveland schools during the 2016-2017 school year.

During the 2017-18 school year, True2U’s goal is to serve approximately 2,500 students in 68 schools—every enrolled CMSD eighth-grader—to help prepare them for the transition from middle school to high school.

Three hundred business volunteer mentors are needed. Starting in October, mentors will work with eighth-grade students to create career awareness and goals for success on a monthly basis. The program uses a unique advisory model in which small groups of students are led by a team of two to three mentors and supported by a CMSD teacher.

Getting started with True2U

True2U is the shared vision of community leaders from the Cleveland Foundation, MyCom, the CMSD, Neighborhood Leadership Institute, Greater Cleveland Faith-Based Collaborative, Inc., and the GCP, the lead business partner.