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At the ribbon cutting for the George V. Voinovich (Innerbelt) Bridge in November 2013, the former U.S. Senator, governor and mayor (third from left) was joined by family members, state and local elected officials and hundreds of onlookers.While in several elected positions, he was a leader in addressing transportation issues facing our region and country.

Remembering George Voinovich

By Joe Roman

While no one leader or institution precipitated Cleveland’s decline in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s, there was a man who used vision, cooperation and dedication to launch the renaissance and momentum we all feel today in our city.

George Voinovich was a true believer and avid practitioner of the so-called public-private partnership—a vital cooperative effort that he led as mayor in the dismal wake of municipal default.

I met with the former mayor, governor and U.S. senator just two weeks ago. He was, in many ways, my professional mentor and a father of sorts. Whenever I asked him for help, guidance or his opinion, I always received a prompt and thoughtful reply.

During what turned out sadly to be our final conversation, we discussed many things including his career, things he wished he would have had time to do, and his just-completed book. He was also kind enough to note what he described as highlights of my career.

But—and people who knew George Voinovich will totally get this—he spoke most of all about his incredible passion for public-private partnerships among civic, elected and business leaders.

Getting the city back on track through public-private partnership

When he stepped into the mayor’s office in 1980, he knew there was a lot of heavy lifting to do to get the city back on track, and that he wasn’t strong enough alone to do it.

So he swiftly formed his effective partnership, and it has provided a lasting foundation for Cleveland’s ongoing, multi-billion-dollar turnaround.

This was a man who was not hung up on partisan politics.

He was much more interested in getting things done. He could work across any aisle or make new paths between groups who had similar goals but who may not have always worked together to accomplish them.

He was a facilitator who didn’t have a phony bone in his body. What you saw was what you got, and what you got was a man—a leader—who knew what he wanted and then set out to get it done. He was approachable, sincere and believable.

He loved Cleveland.

Vision and effort restored fiscal integrity and our confidence

His great vision and effort restored Cleveland’s fiscal integrity and also has helped to instill confidence in our city again. Public-private partnerships continue to be the right approach for building stadiums and museums but also for tackling education, workforce and safety issues. These partnerships can make for sustainable solutions, but they also require a lot of work.

The entire Greater Cleveland Partnership expresses deep condolences to the Voinovich family and to all of Greater Cleveland. For we all share this loss of such a unique dedicated public servant, who stepped up and succeeded when Cleveland needed him most.

Joe Roman is president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership

Urban neighborhood revitalization continues in Cleveland

Last week, the Wall Street Journal included a story about young, educated, high-earning professionals who are moving to city neighborhoods across the U.S., with a focus on Ohio City in Cleveland.

Click to read the story about how this trend has changed the neighborhood, including a reduction in the office and retail vacancy rate to 2 percent and increased housing values.

Now, the redevelopment is expanding to just beyond Ohio City.

Recently, the Board of Cleveland Development Advisors (CDA), the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s real estate and business development finance affiliate, approved $12.5 million in financing to support the W25d project, located in the Ohio City Market District Sub-market. (Image right: map of Ohio City, including the Ohio City Market District )

The $60 million multi-purpose development at the corner of West 25th Street and Detroit, is being developed by the Snavely Group.

It will include a newly constructed 194-unit market rate apartment building, and 50,000 SF of Class A commercial space that will house the Music Settlement, co-working space (Beauty Shoppe) and a small grocery. The developer also plans to add 38 low-income apartment units.

CDA investments have helped to fuel Cleveland's revitalization by focusing upon the city's waterfront, central business district, University Circle, the Health Tech Corridor and more. It collaborates with a strong network of public and private partners to structure the financing for these catalytic projects.

What companies should know about medical marijuana legalization

Learn how Ohio’s recent legalization of medical marijuana will impact employers around state in this “GCP Insight” interview with Greater Cleveland Partnership Vice President of Advocacy Sante Ghetti and Steve Luttner, vice president, Lesic and Camper. The discussion includes:
  • The implementation timetable

  • How rules and regulations will be established

  • A company’s right to set and enforce HR policies for medical marijuana use by employees.

Click to watch.

The ”GCP Insight” video series focuses on topics of interest to the Greater Cleveland business community.

Employer resource coming to help companies navigate
state regulations

In last week’s Every Monday, we shared information about our plan to unveil a state regulatory toolkit for businesses in the near future.

While it’s understandable that a certain degree of regulatory requirements can be a part of doing business, our members frequently let us know how important it is that these regulations are created and enforced in a way that does not pose an undue burden.

Unfortunately, many companies are not aware that resources are available when they are confronted with a state rule or regulation that negatively impacts their operations.

Through in-depth discussion with our members and with our partners at institutions such as Ohio’s Common Sense Initiative (CSI), a solution was born, and we’re busy putting the finishing touches on the final product.

By producing a user-friendly online application—a state regulatory toolkit—we will help interested parties directly connect with resources that can help in this space.

Watch for more information in the coming weeks to learn more about how your company can stay informed, participate, provide feedback, and offer solutions when faced with a state regulatory challenge.

How Ohio’s business climate is improving

In this week’s “GCP Insight” interview, State Senator Larry Obhof discusses how state government is working to help businesses and the Ohio economy grow with Marty McGann, the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s senior vice president of advocacy.

This includes recently passed legislation that would re-pay a federal government loan to the state for the unemployment compensation fund. Repaying the loan in full would benefit Ohio’s employers and economy by granting essential unemployment tax relief.

GCP/COSE is supporting the unemployment debt payment plan and urged the House and Senate to approve it.
  • Watch our video and learn more about what the state is doing to create a business-friendly climate for Ohio companies.

Save the Date! Greater Cleveland Partnership Annual Meeting
on Sept. 7

Please mark your calendar and save the date for the 2016 Greater Cleveland Partnership Annual Meeting of Members on Wednesday, September 7 at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown.

Reception: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.; Program: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Click for more information.

Thanks to our Presenting Sponsor:

Awards to recognize exemplary achievement in diversity

Congratulations to these Northeast Ohio employers who will be honored as inductees into the Commission on Economic Inclusion’s Hall of Fame at the GCP Annual Meeting on September 7.

They will be recognized for their consistent demonstration of commitment to workplace diversity and inclusion. Alll are multi-year winners of the Commission's Best-in-Class award in these categories:

Share the positive: Pass the Plus!

In this month’s issue of “Pass the Plus,” read about the positive happenings in the Cleveland Plus region including: how Northeast Ohio has emerged as a key player in the growing health IT space; Cleveland’s growing reputation as a business and leisure destination and more.
  • Click to subscribe and start sharing our region’s good news with your networks of colleagues, friends and family.
“Pass the Plus” is a Cleveland Plus/Team NEO free monthly e-newsletter that provides informative news and information related to the many positive developments shaping Northeast Ohio.

Cleveland Plus
and Team NEO are part of the economic development system that the Greater Cleveland Partnership helped to create and continues to support.

Apply today for the 2016 Weatherhead 100

Since 1988, the Weatherhead 100 awards have acknowledged and honored the 100 fastest-growing companies in Northeast Ohio. Apply today for the chance to join this elite consortium of the best businesses in our region!

Winning companies will be honored in December at a black-tie awards ceremony and will be listed a special issue of Community Leader magazine.

APPLY NOW! Application closes Friday, August 5, 2016 at 5 p.m. ET. For a full list of qualifications, please visit

Questions? Please contact Cassie Pinkerton at 216.368.0927 or

Study finds maritime has $3.5 billion in economic impact
for Northeast Ohio

An economic impact analysis sponsored by the Port of Cleveland found significant growth in the Port’s economic impact in Northeast Ohio.

The report, authored by international maritime and logistics consulting firm Martin Associates, found that maritime commerce in Cleveland Harbor produces over $3.5 billion of total economic value annually for Northeast Ohio.

The Port’s maritime capacity also supports 20,000 jobs, including more than 4,000 direct jobs in the region, an increase of more than 10 percent from the most recent economic impact study conducted in 2011.

“The growth in economic impact from the Port of Cleveland is significant, especially given that it is located on the Great Lakes and not one of the traditional larger coastal ports,” said Dr. John Martin, founder of Martin Associates.

“It suggests that the innovative work being done by the Port of Cleveland, including its international container service and its key infrastructure investments, are indeed generating new jobs.”

“The new impact report makes it clear that the Port of Cleveland and maritime trade is truly an economic driver for Northeast Ohio,” said Port President and CEO Will Friedman.

“It also shows that our recent strategic investments in our marine terminals and services are paying off, growing the total value of maritime activity by $1 billion, almost a 30 percent increase, to $3.5 billion since our last analysis.”

Friedman cited the creation of the Cleveland-Europe Express (CEE), the Great Lakes’ first regular international container shipping service in 50 years, as a key factor in the Port’s recent growth.

To learn more about using the Cleveland-Europe Express or the Port’s maritime services, contact Dave Gutheil, vice president, maritime & logistics, at or 216.377.1363.