By Ed Felton
From the July/August 2014 issue
In 2013, the Greater Akron Chamber assisted 14 companies with location and expansion investments of $123.8 million, the addition of 701 new jobs and the retention of 1,201 jobs.
Highlights of the year include:
- EnviroScience moving into new headquarters fashioned from an underutilized public building and growing its work force to 70 employees. EnviroScience, the City of Stow and the Chamber received a Team NEO 2013 Economic Development Plus Award in the category of Public-Private Partnerships for the accomplishment.
- Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems in Akron announcing a $6 million investment in manufacturing, engineering and building upgrades that will retain more than 500 jobs.
- The groundbreaking by Steelastic/RMS of a 95,000 square-foot facility in Ascot Industrial Park in Akron that will create and retain 100 jobs. Steelastic and RMS are both divisions of HEICO, a billion-dollar conglomerate headquartered in Chicago.
- The announcement by Involta of plans to expand the company’s world-class data center in Akron, adding millions more to an original investment of $17 million. The high-security data center houses mission critical computer systems and related components for health care organizations, businesses, government and educational institutions.
- The Greater Akron Chamber and our regional partners received the Regionalism and Cross-Border Collaboration Award from Team NEO for the expansion of Newell Rubbermaid’s Summit County injection molding plant and the construction of its Portage County Distribution Center.
- An investment of $5 million by A. Schulman in Fairlawn for a new 34,000 square-foot world headquarters, retaining 135 jobs.
- An investment of $4.5 million by Fuserashi International Technology in Valley City for a 60,000 square-foot expansion of its auto parts manufacturing facility.
- The expansion of PPG’s manufacturing in Barberton was one of three projects that created and retained 175 jobs.
- Northeast Ohio Medical University’s (NEOMED) $166 million investment in campus construction that includes classrooms, housing, research and development, and the Research, Entrepreneurship, Discovery and Innovation Zone (REDIzone).
- The $150 million in private sector development that leverages The University of Akron’s $666 million investment in construction over the past decade.
- Medina County companies invested more than $94 million in expansion projects, creating more than 800 jobs.
- Portage County will benefit from 14 projects representing an investment in excess of $23 million and the creation and retention of 1,000 jobs.
- Completion of the new Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company world headquarters, Phase I of the East End Development, an investment that will transform East Akron. The Chamber and City of Akron received a Silver Excellence in Economic Development Award for this project in the category of Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse from the International Economic Development Council.
GREATER AKRON CHAMBER NAMED AEDO
This year, the Greater Akron Chamber became the first and only economic development organization in Ohio to be named an Accredited Economic Development Organization (AEDO) by the International Economic Development Council, the largest group of its kind in the world. The AEDO program is a highly competitive comprehensive peer review process and an industry “gold standard.”
The Greater Akron Chamber conducted 405 face-to-face business visitations through the Greater Akron Partnership Program, covering Medina, Portage and Summit counties, to help companies stay and expand in the Greater Akron Region. The accomplishment merited an award for Excellence in Economic Development from the International Economic Development Council.
To facilitate successful business start-ups, the Greater Akron Chamber created opportunities for high-growth businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive. Among other efforts, the Chamber connected companies with potential investors through ARCHAngles (Akron Regional Change Angels) Network.
In 2013, ARCHAngels assisted 20 high-tech, early-stage companies throughout the region. Since the program’s inception, nearly $450 million in follow-on funding has been provided to more than 117 of the companies that have presented. Akron-based companies such as Echogen, Ortho Helix, Segmint and Vadxx have all received funding.
The Greater Akron Chamber, in collaboration with The University of Akron Research Foundation (UARF), participated in the 7th annual Kent State University Entrepreneurship Extravaganza held at Kent State University, providing a unique learning experience for students, entrepreneurs and local businesses.
In other efforts in 2013, the Chamber developed Entrepreneur Connect into a more broad-based recruiting and entrepreneurial support tool. Entrepreneur Connect is a monthly program for small-business owners to connect with peers, share strategies and engage in discussions to help each other succeed. Each month a new topic is selected and expert guest speakers are invited to present best practices and facilitate the discussions.