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Every Monday -- News from GCP

2014 highlights: RNC: Next stop, Cleveland; a boost to Hopkins air service; a new regional economic development strategy; and much more

The decision to bring the 2016 Republican National Convention to Cleveland is the stand-out story among many highlights from this past year related to the Greater Cleveland Partnership and our strategic priorities.

How to volunteer

Ensuring involvement by Cleveland and Northeast Ohio companies, businesses and residents is an extremely important part of hosting the event. A new website has been launched where you can sign up to indicate your interest in volunteering.

Here's where you can sign up to indicate your interest in volunteering. Click here to get started.

Our Annual Meeting

In 2014 we welcomed a new Board chair, KeyCorp Chairman and CEO Beth Mooney, and our sold-out Annual Meeting featured Governor John Kasich as keynote speaker.

A year of significant progress

This year was one of significant progress in our areas of focus: economic and business development, advocacy, physical development, economic inclusion, education reform, and our middle-market initiative.

Here’s a snapshot of headlines from this year’s Every Monday e-newsletter.

Economic and businesses development : Nonstop flights added at Hopkins, a new regional economic development strategy takes shape and more

The GCP Air Service Demand Task Force, under the leadership of Lee Thomas, continued to work closely with the executive team at Hopkins Airport to advocate for airport friendly policies and revenue initiatives to support the attraction of new air service providers as well as the expansion of capacity with existing carriers.

The committee is prepared to ensure Cleveland has the right levels of service to support the needs of the RNC and beyond.

Our full-page ad in Crain’s Cleveland Business—talked about our commitment to ensure that Hopkins Airport has efficient service for Cleveland travelers and visitors. Click to read the ad.

Over the course of the year, airlines such as Frontier, Spirit, Southwest and Delta added nonstop service at Hopkins Airport (CLE). By year-end, JetBlue became a CLE carrier, announcing the launch of two daily nonstop CLE-Boston flights beginning in April 2015. Read more.

Other highlights:

New strategy announced to accelerate regional job growth, boost competitiveness: Northeast Ohio's business and philanthropy leaders who comprise the Regional Competitiveness Council (RCC) announced a new economic development strategy aimed at accelerating the pace of job growth and increasing the competitiveness of the region. Read more.

GCP Board approves five nominees to new regional economic development organization board: The slate, approved at its quarterly meeting in December, includes three former GCP Board chairs. Read more.

Public-private collaboration brings new business tenant to PlayhouseSquare: The Greater Cleveland Partnership Business Development Team, in collaboration with the City of Cleveland and OhioMeansJobs Cleveland-Cuyahoga County, assisted Inforce Technologies, LLC, a system integration and technology consulting firm for the insurance industry, with its headquarters expansion and relocation to Idea Center in PlayhouseSquare. Read more.

GCP members receive Ohio Third Frontier funding: Four Greater Cleveland Partnership members were among the recipients of grants announced by the Ohio Third Frontier Commission for cutting-edge technology companies and start-ups based in Northeast Ohio. Read more.

GCP wins three economic development awards: The Greater Cleveland Partnership Business Development Team and its partners were honored at the Team NEO Economic Development Plus Awards winning awards in three categories: asset creation, business attraction (more than 100 employees) and business expansion (more than 100 employees). Read more.

Advocacy: Our work helps drive budget increase for NASA, continuation of the New Market Tax Credit, and supports successful CMSD and Tri-C levies and ballot measure to “Keep Cleveland Strong”

Wrapping up the year in Washington with two wins: In this week’s segment of the GCP Insight video series, Nick Gattozzi, vice president of advocacy discusses two late-breaking positive results from action by Congress:

  • FY2015 budget bill includes funding increase for NASA: This was a result of direct advocacy by GCP.

    Following a delegation meeting in Washington, D.C . with Glenn Research Center (GRC) leadership and the GCP advocacy team, the delegation submitted a letter supporting agency missions critical to GRC. Funding increases were approved for specific mission areas important to the Center, including space technology and aeronautics. These dollars are expected to flow to GRC due to its role in these missions.
  • The New Market Tax Credit was included in the Extenders Bill: GCP added the voice of the Northeast Ohio business community about the importance of this incentive. Earlier this month, GCP President and CEO Joe Roman wrote a guest column for urging Congress to to extend the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC), which “has been an undeniable success. Click to watch.

Other highlights:

State funding received for priority projects:  GCP was asked by Governor Kasich to conduct a capital bill economic development project prioritization process that culminated in 2014. State leaders ultimately funded over $30 million worth of projects in Cuyahoga County including the lakefront pedestrian connector bridge (connecting Mall C to the North Coast Harbor), Flats East Bank, and the New Economy Neighborhood in the Fairfax neighborhood of Cleveland. Read more.

GCP’s comprehensive 2014 Overnight Election Report: Our advocacy team provided a comprehensive analysis of the November election results on GCP priorities, the Northeast Ohio business community and economic development in our city and region.

In addition to commentary on the re-election of Governor John Kasich (R) and the election of Armond Budish (D) as Cuyahoga County Executive, it discussed outcomes from the passage of Issue 4, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District capital levy, and Issue 6, the Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) operating levy.GCP led business community efforts to support both levies. Read more.

Passage of Issue 7 continues downtown Cleveland’s ongoing revitalization: Cuyahoga County voters’ approval of Issue 7 to fund repairs to public-owned sports facilities provides support for the positive momentum that continues to revitalize downtown Cleveland.

“Downtown Cleveland is in the midst of a multi-billion dollar revitalization that includes new buildings, new residents and new jobs,” said Greater Cleveland Partnership President and CEO Joe Roman. “The trigger for that revitalization was the decision to build the ballpark and the arena downtown. Having our sports facilities downtown yields untold benefits for Greater Cleveland." Read more.

GCP speaks out for immigration reform: GCP joined more than 600 business organizations from around the country in signing a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris-Rodgers in support of immigration reform. Read more.

GCP and Cleveland Development Fund host D.C. Fly-in: This event was held in in conjunction with Congressmen Dave Joyce (OH-14) (right) and Jim Renacci (OH-16) on May 29-30.

The event, now known as the "Empowering Local Leadership Conference," goes back many years for GCP and our predecessor organizations. It has been expanded in recent years to encompass a broader representation of the region, as well as the public and private sectors. Read more.

Creating jobs and protecting the Great Lakes: GCP led a local and regional effort to draft and enact the next Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) bill. That work culminated with votes in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate on the act’s renamed and reauthorized conference report, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA).The legislation was signed into law on June 10. Read more.

New legislation supports Ohio's aerospace and aviation assets: Governor Kasich signed two pieces of legislation in June to support Ohio’s aerospace and aviation assets. The impact: (1)establishment of a committee with representation from the public and private sectors focused on developing a unified strategy on behalf of the state's aerospace and aviation assets and related businesses; and (2) creation of the Federal Military Jobs Commission to develop community-specific strategies to retain and grow Ohio’s federal assets. Read more.

Business and political leaders connect at the 51st annual Public Officials Reception:
thanks to our members for making this event a tremendous success! More than 550 Northeast Ohio business and community leaders and elected officials attended the event last Friday at Windows on the River. U.S. Senator Rob Portman (left in photo with GCP Government Affairs Council Chair Thomas Zenty III, CEO, University Hospitals) spoke at a pre-event program attended by members of the GCP Board, GCP Government Affairs Council, Ohio Assembly, Cleveland City Council and our event sponsors. Read more.

Proposed EPA regulations a hindrance to region’s manufacturing renaissance: GCP filed formal comments with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opposing its proposed regulations limiting the production of electricity within the region. Read more.

GCP continuing support for Medicaid expansion in Ohio: In an interview with "GCP Insight" host Steve Luttner, vice president, Lesic and Camper, GCP’s senior director of advocacy, Alesha Washington provides background on GCP’s support of Medicaid expansion in Ohio and about the need for legislature approval to continue the expansion, which was approved in 2013 by the State Controlling Board. The approval expires June 30, 2015. Click to watch.

Physical development and infrastructure: Catalytic investments, infrastructure projects continue to change the face of Cleveland

Cleveland Development Advisors, the GCP’s real estate development affiliate announced investments in several catalytic projects that are designed to advance economic and community development projects throughout Cleveland.

GCP also worked to inform policy and public-sector leaders about the importance of continuing the New Market Tax Credit program, which has allowed CDA “to expand private investment in its strategic and targeted redevelopment effort.”

Other highlights:

Historic renovation of Fairmont Creamery (image right) proceeds with CDA financing: CDA provided a $5 million New Markets Tax Credit allocation and $1.25 million loan to Oberlin developer Sustainable Community Associates, which has closed on financing to transform the vacant Fairmont Creamery site in Tremont into apartments, retail and office space.

Project financing also included federal and state historic tax credits, State Clean Ohio grant, Cuyahoga County brownfield loan, and forgivable loan from the City of Cleveland. Read more.

CDA plays key role in financing of The 9: Financing for the highly anticipated project, The 9, closed in late March. CDA provided a $7 million New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation and $6 million in financing, including $4 million from the new Advance Cleveland Development Fund. Read more.

CDA makes another investment in University Circle: Uptown Phase II, MRN Ltd’s latest investment in the City of Cleveland, is well underway. In late March, CDA closed on a $5 million loan for the build out of the anchor retail tenant, Corner Alley (above photo). Uptown Phase II will add 84 apartment units and 46,000 square feet of retail to the vibrant University Circle neighborhood. Read more.

CDA invests in second phase of Flats East Bank: Financing for the second phase of the Flats East Bank closed in mid-April, including $4.5 million in financing fromCDA. This development follows the $275 million Phase One, opened June 2013, and will complete the vision of a fully integrated sustainable waterfront district. Read more.

CDA invests in catalytic University Circle/Hough neighborhood project: After years of collaborative efforts, The Finch Group has closed on financing for the first phase of The Preserve at Upper Chester in the Hough neighborhood, including a $3 million loan from CDA’s Advance Cleveland Development Fund. Read more.

New Market Tax Credits, EB-5 program highlighted in visit by Congresswoman Fudge: The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP), Cleveland Development Advisors (CDA) and the Cleveland International Fund (CiF) hosted Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH-11) and her staff in May for a tour of New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) and EB-5 projects in downtown Cleveland and the Tremont neighborhood.

In the photo: Naomi Sabel from Sustainable Community Associates, the Fairmount Creamery developer (left), talks about the project with Congresswoman Fudge (right).

The GCP actively and successfully lobbied on behalf of CDA for New Market Tax Credits allocations, including four allocation awards totaling $105 million. Read more.

Federal program helping attract private investment in Cleveland neighborhoods needs Congressional support: Earlier this month, GCP President and CEO Joe Roman wrote a guest column for urging Congress to to extend the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC), which “has been an undeniable success,” before leaving Washington this month. Read more.

Cleveland neighborhood advocate named Opportunity Corridor project director: GCP announced in June that long-time community leader Marie Kittredge was named as project director for the Opportunity Corridor project. Kittredge (photo right) serves as the civic liaison for the Opportunity Corridor Steering Committee, overseeing and coordinating all activities including infrastructure construction as well as community and economic development activity. Read more.

Transforming downtown Cleveland: Q&A with Jeremy Paris, executive director, Group Plan Commission: As the first executive director of the Group Plan Commission (GPC), Paris will shepherd efforts to connect Clevelanders by reinvigorating signature downtown public spaces and linking Lake Erie to the city's core. Read more.

Impact of BUGC investments: Stakeholders in Build Up Greater Cleveland (BUGC) continued to invest with a focus supporting waterfront development 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 discussed these and many other investments made during fiscal years 2012 and 2013, which totaled more than $1.4 billion at the BUGC Annual Meeting in July. Read more.

Inclusion: Commission membership growth, Construction Diversity Initiative gains traction and minority business development efforts earn "commendable" rating

The Commission on Economic Inclusion, a program of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, launched a membership drive adding 20 members and growing its roster to 113 Northeast Ohio employers.

Its Construction Diversity Initiative also gained traction with the hiring of a new director, completing and reporting its study of construction activity in Greater Cleveland and launching CDI updates online.

Other highlights:

Commission premieres “Join Us” video at GCP Annual Meeting: Learn more about the Commission’s value proposition and hear testimonials about its member benefits. Click to watch.

Commission presents Best-in-Class, Hall of Fame awards: Members were honored at the GCP Annual Meeting at the Cleveland Convention Center. Read more.

Commission announces Commission 50: This recognition of 50 of its members for measurable progress in advancing their diversity and inclusion strategies based is based on their responses to the Commission’s annual Employers Survey on Diversity. Read more.

MBDA Cleveland office generates $27M in economic activity in its third year and receives commendable rating: Results include $22 million in awarded contracts and procurement and $5 million in awarded capital. Read more.

MBDA Cleveland receives supplemental grant to support advanced manufacturing initiatives:
The grant will be used to implement focused services to support advanced manufacturing initiatives. Read more.

2013 Employers Survey on Diversity results
: For those organizations reporting in the year-to-year group, MBE spend as a percentage of total spend nationally increased from 4.1 to 4.4 percent nationally, and from 6.0 percent to 6.6 in Northeast Ohio. Read more.

Commission presents $1,000 Esperanza scholarship:
Lilliana Morales, a recent graduate of New Technology High School at Garrett Morgan Cleveland School of Science Academy will major in math at Cleveland State University. Read more.

Diversity Professionals conference wrap-up: More than 225 diversity and HR professionals, attended the sixth annual session featuring speakers from three award-winning employers and a nationally known diversity and inclusion consulting firm. Read more.

Left to right: Tammy Nunn Haynie, diversity and inclusion program manager, BASF, 2014 DiversityInc Top 50; Doug Harris, CEO, The Kaleidoscope Group (facilitator); Julie M. Hansen, diversity and inclusion leader, AbbVie, 2014 DiversityInc Top 50 (keynote speaker); and Rahman Khan, director, diversity and Inclusion, Time Warner Cable, 2014 DiversityInc Top 50.

CDI releases results of Greater Cleveland construction study: Commissioned by a public-private partnership working to increase participation by diverse and City of Cleveland residents in Greater Cleveland construction projects the study found significant long-term job opportunities based on $6.2 billion in planned projects. Read more.

CDI’s Pre-Apprenticeship Training (PATs) graduates third class in six months: at Tri-C: Forty percent of the students have been placed into the trades. Tri-C has hired a part-time staff resource to support the placement of PAT graduates. Read more.

Education reform and workforce: Levy’s passage generates funds for new CMSD schools, grant awarded to support goals of The Cleveland Plan; more state dollars for employee training

The passage of Issue 4, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District Capital levy by voters in November supported a key goal of The Cleveland Plan: To ensure that every child in Cleveland attends a high-quality school and that every neighborhood has a multitude of great schools from which families can choose.

GCP played a leadership role in providing the business community’s support of the levy, whose funds will help ensure that CMSD students are educated in an optimal learning environment. The levy will generate about $200 million of revenue for construction and another $2.5 million annually for maintenance.

Other highlights:

National foundation awards nearly $3 million to Cleveland’s Plan for Transforming Schools: The grant by the The Laura and John Arnold Foundation will allow the Cleveland Transformation Alliance, which is charged with overseeing the implementation of The Cleveland Plan, to develop and disseminate comprehensive, independent and user-friendly information on every public school choice in Cleveland. Read more.

New tools introduced to help families make informed choices about Cleveland schools: This includes a new website with a comprehensive, interactive and searchable “report card” on every public school in the city. Read more.

Speakers at the press conference announcing the new report card and website included (photo right) Mayor Frank Jackson and Megan O'Bryan, the Alliance's executive director.

GCP, other Ohio metro chambers voice support of Common Core’s higher learning standards: GCP, seven other Ohio metro chambers and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce submitted a joint memorandum to the Ohio House Rules Committee opposing House Bill 597, the legislation that would eliminate the Common Core standards.

The standards “place greater emphasis on reading and writing, as well as critical thinking and depth of knowledge in contrast to memorization. (These) new standards will drive improvements to the quality of education that Ohio’s children—and our future employees—need and deserve.” Read more.

Resolution approved in support of CMSD IT systems upgrade: The GCP Board approved a resolution supporting efforts of GCP Investor member The Lubrizol Corporation, which has partnered with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), to perform an extensive audit of the CMSD’s information technology (IT) systems.

As a result, Lubrizol created an information technology and business process investment strategy that advances implementation of Mayor Frank Jackson's "Cleveland Plan," which calls for dramatic changes in how the CMSD operates. Read more.

New round of workforce training money available: The State of Ohio is making a third round of funding available to businesses--$29.4 million in Fiscal Year 2015 for employers to enhance the skills of their employees. Read more.

Leading tech companies connect with IT talent: GCP, in collaboration with the Northeast Ohio Software Association (NEOSA) and the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education organized and hosted the “Linking IT Talent to Opportunity” in April. More than 240 attendees included more than 170 young professionals and students from 40 colleges, 51 representatives and recruiters from 24 companies, and other guests such as faculty members and career services administrators. Read more.

Middle Market Initiative: New healthcare plan introduced, programming explores strategies to boost mid-market company growth

The Greater Cleveland Partnership's Middle-Market Initiative provides resources and information to help create and sustain long-term success for Northeast Ohio's middle-market companies. This past year we presented a series of programs to spark ideas and provide connections to support these companies' growth strategies, as well as naming a new chair of the GCP Middle-Market Committee, GCP Board member Bernie Moreno, president, The Collection Auto Group.

Also, in collaboration with Medical Mutual, we rolled out a new member benefit for middle-market companies, The Middle Marketplace™ a consumer-driven health plan solution for middle-market companies (50 to 500 employees) in Northeast Ohio. The plan was developed around the concept of defined contribution. Employees receive a specific amount to spend on their healthcare benefits, and they select the best plan for them from a variety of plan options. Read more.

Other highlights

Middle-Market Forum includes discussions on latest research government regulation and success strategies:
The government regulations panel featured (photo left, left to right): Dan Moulthrop, CEO, City Club of Cleveland, moderator, and panelists Mekael Teshome, economist, PNC Financial Services Group; Linda Woggon, executive vice president, Ohio Chamber of Commerce; and former Congressman Steve LaTourette, president, McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies..

The forum also featured: (left to right) Ohio CAT Chairman and President Ken Taylor and Stewart Kohl, co-CEO of The Riverside Company, who shared some of the strategies that have driven their companies' phenomenal growth. City Club of Cleveland CEO Dan Moulthrop and Crain's Cleveland Business Publisher John Campanelli moderated the sessions. (In the above photo left to right: Moulthrop, Taylor, Campanelli and Kohl.) Read more.

Middle-Market Health Care Forum: ACA extensions and middle-market companies: Medical Mutual Vice President and General Counsel Patricia Decensi and Plante Moran Associate Scott McLellan spoke to about 75 middle-market executives about what mid-market companies need to know and stay compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Read more.

First-ever Ohio middle-market survey: GCP spearheads participation by Northeast Ohio companies: The results:: Ohio middle-market revenue, employment growth top U.S. averages. Read more.

Fall Forum: Region-wide involvement will help Cleveland shine in 2016 RNC spotlight: More than 175 middle-market executives were advised that there will be ample opportunities to be part of host city activities for the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Panelists at the Middle-Market Fall Forum: “Fast Forward: Accelerating Progress for the 2016 RNC” provided an update on planning so far: Terrance Egger, president and CEO, Cleveland 2016 Host Committee; GCP President and CEO Joe Roman; and David Gilbert, president and CEO, Positively Cleveland. Read more.

4Q Middle-Market Forum: 2015 outlook of the Cleveland/Northeast Ohio economy: Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland economist Dr. Joel Elvery provided an overview of current economic conditions in the U.S. & Cleveland/Northeast Ohio and a forecast for 2015 to more than 125 middle-market executives. Read more.