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Great Lakes funding amended, bill yet to pass

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), an effort to restore the health of our five-lake, fresh water asset, faced an unprecedented cut in funding as the House of Representatives looked to reduce overall federal spending.

The (GLRI), an effort to restore the health of our five-lake, fresh water asset, faced an unprecedented cut in funding as the House of Representatives looked to reduce overall federal spending.

With the current fiscal year coming to a close, Congress is attempting to pass its 2014 federal spending bills, including the Department of Interior’s appropriations bill, which funds the GLRI. When the Interior bill emerged from the Appropriations subcommittee, funding for the GLRI bore the brunt of an unprecedented cut from its authorized level of $475 million to $60 million, which was much greater than cuts to other programs.

Congressman Dave Joyce (R-OH-14), working with a bipartisan group of House members, was able to amend the bill in the full committee to restore $150 million of the funds, bringing the total to $210 million. When enacted, the restored funding level, while below the authorized funding amount, will help continue the momentum since implementation of the GLRI in 2010.

The initiative addresses five urgent issues: (1) cleaning up toxic and areas of concern; (2) combating invasive species; (3) promoting nearshore health by protecting watersheds from polluted run-off; (4) restoring wetland and other habitats; and (5) tracking progress and working with strategic partners to achieve these goals.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership, through direct advocacy and that of the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, was able to mobilize and bring this issue to the attention of members of Congress across Ohio and the Great Lakes. Communicating our concerns to members through correspondence, our message was reiterated by a committee member during the hearing.

Disappointingly, the Appropriations Committee failed to act on the full bill prior to adjourning for the August recess. The committee is expected to resume the debate when Congress returns in September. However, with a shrinking legislative calendar, it remains to be seen if Congress will be able to pass this and other appropriations bills, or if a Continuing Resolution will be passed to continue funding the federal government.

Welcome, new GCP members

We’re pleased to welcome these Northeast Ohio companies and organizations who recently joined the ranks of GCP Investor members. Click on the links below to read more about them. 


Port of Cleveland helps create jobs, spur economic vitality

The Cleveland Cuyahoga County Port Authority, which will place a levy renewal on the November 5 countywide ballot, is a Build Up Greater Cleveland (BUGC) stakeholder. It is the only local government agency whose sole responsibility is to spur job creation and economic vitality in Cuyahoga County. The Port pursues this mission in two primary ways:

  • The Port Authority connects local companies and workers to the global economy by operating the Port of Cleveland, and

  • The Port helps manufacturers and other businesses expand, helps arts organizations civic institutions and hospitals grow, and helps neighborhoods and communities add new vitality by connecting private investors to local projects through its development finance program.

As part of its responsibilities at the waterfront, the Port is helping protect and preserve two of our most vital natural assets: the Cuyahoga River and the downtown shoreline of Lake Erie.

More about the Port levy

Proceeds from the renewal of the Port Authority’s levy will be used to sustain and advance strategic initiatives that are essential to protecting and growing the nearly 18,000 jobs and $1.8 billion in annual economic activity that depend on Cleveland Harbor.

Renewing the Port Authority levy will not increase taxes; the tax rate would remain at 0.13 mills, which is the same rate that was set in 1968 when the Port Authority was created and is the smallest countywide tax levy in Cuyahoga County.

A showcase for Northeast Ohio development projects

NAIOP Northern Ohio, the commercial real estate development trade group, recently held a Developers' Showcase at Cleveland's new Flats East Bank that highlighted Northeast Ohio’s development successes and opportunities.

After touring our region, national site selectors and capital markets professionals engaged in a panel discussion, moderated by Crain’s Cleveland Business Publisher Brian Tucker, which offered insights into our region's strengths, weaknesses and opportunities from an objective viewpoint.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership Business Development team participated in the genesis and planning of the event, which exceeded the Planning Committee’s expectations in registrations, exhibitors and sponsorships. Over 260 development and real estate professionals attended, with 17 exhibitors displaying their successes and opportunities. In addition to GCP, sponsors included Tucker Ellis, Geis Companies, and CBRE.

GCP President and CEO Joe Roman, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Keith Raker of Tucker Ellis, and Flats East Bank developer Scott Wolstein provided introductory remarks followed by the panelists’ discussion. Panel members had overwhelmingly positive Impressions of Northeast Ohio’s development environment.

Citing world-class destinations such as Cleveland Clinic, University Circle and PlayhouseSquare, the strength of the region’s workforce and our recent track record of development success, it was agreed that Northeast Ohio offers strong economic opportunities in a highly livable environment.

Before and after the panel discussion, tours were provided of occupied and unfinished spaces in the Flats East Bank office tower, including the penthouse, with its panoramic views of Cleveland’s downtown and waterfronts. Based on the success of this event, NAIOP will discuss holding it again.

Corporate inclusion strategist to speak at diversity conference

The Commission on Economic Inclusion’s 2013 Diversity Professionals conference speaker line-up will include Shirley Engelmeier, CEO and Founder of InclusionINC, a corporate inclusion and diversity strategist and consultant for more than 19 years. The conference, “Inclusion as a Competitive Edge,” will be held Tuesday, August 20 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Corporate College East, 4400 Richmond Road.

Engelmeier also has held senior management positions in global consumer product organizations, Brown & Williamson and Frito-Lay. She pioneered inclusion and diversity initiatives that currently have a major impact on improving business results through employee engagement, innovation, productivity and retention. 

Other conference presenters include Jim Norman, vice president, diversity, for Kraft Foods and keynote speaker Dr. Rohini Anand, senior vice president and global chief diversity officer at Sodexho. Both companies are on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list; Sodexho is No. 1 and Kraft is No. 18. 

Click here for more information about the conference.

MBA student competition benefits minority businesses

The Commission on Economic Inclusion, a program of GCP, and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center Cleveland, are collaborating with the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) on a student competition that will help minority business enterprises (MBEs) address marketing challenges.

Four MBEs (two Hispanic-owned, two African-American owned), who are MBDA Business Center Cleveland clients, will participate. Student teams from Cleveland State University, Case Western Reserve University, DeVry University and The University of Akron will be paired with a participating MBE to analyze a business issue and provide recommendations. Each team will be coached by a Fortune 500 executive.

Student teams will present their recommendations to representatives from the Greater Cleveland Partnership and the MBDA Business Center Cleveland on October 28. Final presentations will be made to a panel of judges from GCP, JumpStart, KeyBank, and Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland on November 8. The winning and second-place teams will be announced at an end-of-the-year celebration.

Save the Date! Burke Corporate Aviation Expo

Mark your calendar for the fourth annual Burke Corporate Aviation Expo on Thursday, September 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. on the ramp of Burke Lakefront Airport.

The Expo represents a unique opportunity for Cleveland area firms that use—or are considering using—corporate aviation services to meet with the leading players in this industry, including aircraft manufacturers, charter services and fractional-ownership companies. Plus, you’ll enjoy a cocktail reception catered by leading Cleveland restaurateur Zach Bruell.

“The Burke Corporate Aviation Expo has become the preeminent event that celebrates corporate aviation in the region,” said Airport Director Ricky Smith.

Plan to attend this event to see the latest in corporate aviation and enjoy the city’s best sunset, with dramatic views of Lake Erie and the Cleveland skyline!

Mid-market confidence growing in global, U.S. economies

Mid-market companies are becoming more confident in the global and U.S. economies, according to the 2Q Middle Market Indicator released recently by the National Center for the Middle Market at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business. 

Almost half of surveyed companies say they are at least somewhat confident in the global economy, more than double the 22 percent that reported similar sentiments a year ago. Almost two-thirds of respondents said they are at least partly confident in prospects for the U.S. economy, up from 50 percent a year earlier. 

This growing confidence in the national and global economic outlooks is encouraging executives to undertake growth-related initiatives through new investments. A year ago, middle-market companies were divided about whether to invest or hold onto extra cash, at 51 percent and 49 percent respectively. In 2Q 2013, nearly two-thirds of middle-market executives surveyed plan to invest rather than hold on to extra cash. 

Click here to read more in the 2Q Middle Market Indicator.

Economic growth potential of advanced manufacturing

New research conducted by the National Center for the Middle Market and the National Association of Manufacturers shows that advanced manufacturing has great potential to spur economic growth without infringing on employment.

But manufactures must first overcome overcome key challenges, including sourcing employees with the right skills to take full advantage of the new technologies. 

Click here to access the report.