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Investments in water quality supporting Cleveland’s waterfront development

The importance of water and sewer infrastructure on the economic and environmental health of Northeast Ohio was the central theme of the 2014 Build Up Greater Cleveland (BUGC) Annual Meeting on Monday, July 21.

Keynote speaker George S. Hawkins, Esq., (photo left) general manager of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority and a Greater Cleveland native, provided an engaging and passionate talk on the essential and often overlooked investments being made in D.C., Cleveland, and cities around the country to both provide safe drinking water and ensure healthy rivers and lakes for the benefit of the public.

Hawkins’ message is incredibly timely, as development in Greater Cleveland has become increasingly focused on its waterfronts. From the rejuvenation of our lakefront parks—thanks to investment by the Cleveland Metroparks—to the revitalization of the Flats East Bank along the Cuyahoga River to the promising realization of substantial development on the downtown lakefront, our waterfronts are helping to fuel our region’s economic growth.

Impact of BUGC investments

BUGC stakeholders continued to invest with a focus supporting these efforts, with projects involving improved access to the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie, stormwater and wastewater management programs, and the expansion of waterborne trade through containerized shipping from the Port of Cleveland.

BUGC Chairman Debbie Berry (photo center) discussed these and many other investments made during fiscal years 2012 and 2013, which totaled more than $1.4 billion.

Senator George V. Voinovich BUGC Public Works Employee of the Year

The meeting concluded with the presentation of the Senator George V. Voinovich BUGC Public Works Employee of the Year Award to Robert Brown (photo right), the recently retired director of city planning for the City of Cleveland. Brown concluded a nearly 30-year career with City Planning where he worked to improve the quality of life in Cleveland's neighborhoods while contributing to the numerous waterfront investments that have been completed or are currently taking shape.

Created in 2010, the Senator George V. Voinovich BUGC Public Works Employee of the Year Award recognizes a public works employee whose commitment, hard work, and enthusiasm have been instrumental in advancing the BUGC mission.

Insights into the middle-market

Ohio's middle market reports 4.9 percent revenue growth

Ohio’s middle-market companies report a 4.9 percent revenue growth during the second quarter of 2014 when compared to growth of the second quarter in 2013, according to results of the National Center for the Middle Market’s (NCMM) 2Q2014 Middle Market Indicator released last week. A slight decline is projected for the next 12 months with revenue growth of 4.3 percent.

In other results, the survey found that Ohio middle-market companies have less confidence in the local, national and global economies than the national middle-market average.

However, Ohio companies say they are prepared for growth through capital investment with 69 percent saying they will invest in the next 12 months.

The jobs picture

Employment growth among Ohio’s middle-market companies is expected to slow. Companies reported a 2.6 employment growth during the second quarter of 2014 dipping to 1 percent growth forecasted for the next 12 months.

Ohio’s middle market is composed of about 5,400 companies generating more than $220 billion in annual revenues. Middle-market companies are those with annual revenues between $10 million and $100 million.

Click to read more about what Ohio middle-market companies are saying.

Click to read or download the 2Q2014 Middle Market Indicator report.

The Middle Market Indicator, a quarterly survey of 1,000 C-suite executives. is produced by the NCMM, a strategic partner of the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Middle-Market Initiative.

Middle-market confidence in U.S. economy reaches record high

The National Center for the Middle Market’s 2Q2014 Middle Market Indicator says that the second quarter of 2014 marked the second consecutive quarter of solid revenue growth for U.S. middle market firms.

The center’s press release notes that “business leaders representing the nation’s nearly 200,000 mid-sized firms are bullish about the U.S. economy, fueled by consistently strong revenue growth...over the past 12 months at 6.6 percent, nearly twice as fast as the S&P 500 at 3.4 percent...

“These results suggest continued growth for the nation’s economy despite the first-quarter drop in U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).”

In addition, middle-market companies maintained hiring increases that were reported in the first quarter of the year. Middle-market leaders continue to express higher levels of confidence in the global, U.S., and local economies and investment patterns have remained relatively stable in each industry.

Healthcare costs still remain a top challenge, with other margin pressures following closely behind.

Visit the NCMM website for more insights.

Mid-market firms can generate long-term customer retention through word-of-mouth marketing

In today's world of mass communication and widespread social media usage, it's important that middle market firms remember the value of word-of-mouth marketing remains.

Rob Carey, a National Center for the Middle Market contributor and features writer, recommends that mid-sized firms continue to train employees on how to encourage word-of-mouth communication among customers, prospects, and any points of contact in order to increase customer retention.

He says that successful word-of-mouth communication does not have to be face-to -ace; it can occur through any social channel (in person, on the phone, e-mail, social media.

What's important is that a back-and-forth conversation is generated from any interaction between a person who represents a brand and a person who is interested in that brand.

Click here to read more.

Addressing the wage gap

Wage gap and income inequality conditions are most commonly associated in big companies with big revenues. But many middle-market companies now offer generous executive compensation packages.

A noticeable wage gap in a middle-market business can pose several challenges to company executives, including low morale and high turnover, both harmful to the company. Erik Sherman, a National Center for the Middle Market contributor and author, corporate communications consultant, says that to avoid these problems, the company must recognize:

  • All employees have something of value to contribute.
  • No company can succeed on the commands of upper management alone.
  • Opacity of strategy, operations, and financials ultimately detrimental to success.

Click here to read more.

National experts to speak at diversity conference

The Commission on Economic Inclusion’s sixth annual Diversity Professionals Conference, “Maximizing Your Impact for the Future,” will feature will feature four national speakers representing three award-winning employers and a nationally known diversity and inclusion consulting firm (left to right):

Haynie and Khan will speak on recruitment best practices and effective employee communication and engagement strategies.

Click here to register.

GCP scores three Team NEO Economic Development
Plus Awards

The Greater Cleveland Partnership and its partners were honored at the Team NEO Economic Development Plus Awards event earlier this month winning awards in three categories:

Asset Creation: BioEnterprise, City of Cleveland, Cleveland Clinic, Cuyahoga County, Greater Cleveland Partnership, MetroHealth System, Positively Cleveland, Sisters of Charity Health System and University Hospitals for the Global Center for Health Innovation.

The Global Center, once billed as the medical mart, is a showcase for the leading-edge of health care technology. Built as part of the $465 million Cleveland Convention Center project, it opened in October 2013, ahead of schedule and under budget.

First adding value by advocating for the project and helping to secure securing financing, the GCP participated in a steering committee to recruit and select tenants, ultimately convincing global companies and organizations such as GE Healthcare, Philips, Johnson Controls and Siemens to occupy space.

Business Attraction (more than 100 employees): City of Solon and Greater Cleveland Partnership for attraction of Nestlé pizza division.

The GCP and Team NEO staff spearheaded the effort to bring Nestlé’s $3.7 billion pizza division to Solon from Northbrook, Illinois, in a multi-state competition. Many area sites were considered, and Nestlé (known only as a "consumer products company" throughout most of the process) settled on Solon, where the company already employs more than 1,900.

The project has brought 250 new jobs with $21 million in new payroll. The GCP helped to coordinate company visits and tours, and incentives including state and municipal grants and tax credits to assist the move. Northeast Ohio's livability and the quality of our workforce were also cited as important factors in Nestlé's decision to relocate the division here.

Business Expansion: (more than 100 employees): City of Strongsville, Greater Cleveland Partnership and MAGNET for the expansion of Vitamix.

In the midst of lean implementation and double-digit growth, Vitamix needed to expand from its increasingly cramped production facility without interrupting production. A Strongsville location afforded Vitamix proximity to its existing Olmsted Township facility, major highways and Strongsville’s industrial park system.

The GCP's Business Development Team assisted in coordinating financial incentives from Strongsville and the state of Ohio, included extending an existing state Job Creation Tax Credit from a previous Vitamix expansion. This project will create 500 production and call center jobs.

In the above photo left to right): Brent Painter and Mayor Thomas Perciak, City of Strongsville; Kevin McGann, Greater Cleveland Partnership; Mike O'Donnell, MAGNET; Vince Adamus, Greater Cleveland Partnership; and GCP Board member Paul Clark, regional president, PNC Bank, and chairman, Team NEO Board of Directors.

Click here for more information about the event.

Team NEO is part of a regional economic development system that the GCP helped to create and continues to support.

Healthcare largest employment growth sector in Northeast Ohio

Northeast Ohio healthcare employment is climbing steadily, growing from almost 149,000 employees in 2000 to nearly 177,000 employees in 2014, according to Team NEO’s July 2014 QER Assessment.

The report notes that this represents a 20 percent increase, making healthcare the largest employment growth sector in the region’s economy. The sector makes up 8.5 percent of the region’s employment and is one of the largest in Northeast Ohio.

In addition, the report says that the healthcare Gross Regional Product (GRP) has grown 25 percent from 2000 to 2014. It is nearly $14 billion, representing 25 percent ($3 billion), growth from 2000 to 2014.

Click here to read or download the report.

Cleveland healthcare start-ups raise $97.7 M in first half of 2014

Twenty-four Cleveland healthcare start-ups raised $97.7 million during the first half of 2014, according to the BioEnterprise Midwest Healthcare Venture Investment Report released today.

The report says that the total investment is an increase from the same period in 2013 when 27 Cleveland companies raised $79.1 million. Statewide, 31 Ohio companies raised $155.3 million during the first half of 2014.

Overall, in the Midwest region, 139 companies reported raising $777 million, the highest recorded for the region both in dollars of financing and number of companies funded since BioEnterprise began compiling the report in 2005.

Click here to read more.

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