2019 Annual Report

Our Mission

The mission of the Greater Akron Chamber is to drive economic growth and prosperity for Greater Akron by supporting the success of the business community and acting as a convener of stakeholders on key issues facing the region.

Greater Akron Chamber: Our Blueprint

Four Strategies to Lead Greater!

Support Company Growth; Jobs and Investment

Grow company revenue, capital investment and jobs in Greater Akron by leading targeted business attraction, retention and expansion efforts for high potential opportunities.

Support Small and Mid Sized Businesses

Create advantage for the region’s small and middle market businesses by connecting them to customers, capital, content and ecosystem support resources.

Drive Economic Inclusion

Advance economic opportunity through diversity and inclusion to accelerate the growth and success of Greater Akron’s companies.

Facilitate Employer Workforce solutions

Drive employer focused solutions to critical skill gaps by increasing job access and employer engagement with the talent development system.

Four Competencies of the Chamber to help us Lead Greater!

Catalytic Research and Advocacy

Drive ideas and decision-making on action to further Greater Akron’s economic success from the perspective of the business and employer community.



Bring visibility to the region’s assets, companies, needs and opportunities with a focus on driving value for the business community, its employers and their workforce.

Convener and Facilitator

Bring companies, organizations and key stakeholders together to dialogue and connect around opportunities for mutual economic success in Greater Akron.


Distinctive Products, Services and Resources to Support Members

In places where gaps exist and the mutual needs of our members can be supported, the Chamber will invent and/or invest in capacity to fill the need and support their success.

Year In Review

100 Million Dollars
Invested in Redevelopment

The $42M Bowery District project is redeveloping, restoring and rehabilitating six historic – and long-vacant – buildings on SouthMain Street as a mixed-use residential, retail and office complex. 

As of Oct 1, 2019 the Women’s Network joined forces with the Greater Akron Chamber to gain a seat at the inclusion table and expand the reach of programming for women.

The Summa Health Tower along East Market Street represents a $220M investment and strengthens the Greater Akron Region’s (well-deserved!) reputation for world-class health care.   

The $10M+ relocation project involved a unique “land swap” involving Signet LLC, City of Akron, County of Summit and United Way of Summit County.

The Greater Akron Inclusion Summit, held on September 12, 2019, outlined the business case for economic inclusion and shared the findings of Elevate Greater Akron’s Inclusion Narrative for the region.

The Chamber worked with key partners to complete the first phase of a project to identify and catalog the resources available to small and mid-size companies, with specific resources for MBE/FBE companies.

BOUNCE – a hub of entrepreneurship and technology situation in the former B.F. Goodrich headquarters along South Main Street – conducted its Grand Opening in May 2019.

An $11M+ renovation and reuse of the United One Building at the corner of Main and Market Streets in Downtown Akron.  

Along with SummaCare, Babcock & Wilcox is a major tenant anchoring the redevelopment of the former Goodyear World Headquarters along East Market Street.

Officers & Board

Greater Akron Chamber 2019 Executive Committee

Marc B. Merklin

Managing Partner Brouse McDowell

Grace Wakulchik

President, Akron Children’s Hospital

Donzell S. Taylor

Immediate Past-Chair
President & CEO Welty Building Company, Ltd.


Ernie Pouttu

Vice Chair, Chamber Services Council

President & CEO Harwick Standard Distribution Corp

André Thornton Sr.

Vice Chair, Economic Inclusion

President & CEO ASW Global, LLC

Tia M. Ramlow

Vice Chair, Finance

President GreatWork! Employment Services

Elizabeth Z. Bartz

Co-Vice Chair, Government Affairs

President and CEO State and Federal Communications

Para M. Jones, PhD

Vice Chair, Talent and Workforce

President Stark State College

Shon Christy

Vice Chair, Business Owners Council

Shon Christy, Founder and President Shon Christy Social Media

Timothy M. Burke

President, Eastern Ohio Market KeyBank

Whitt Butler

Akron Office, Managing Partner Ernst & Young, LLP

Laura B. Culp

Partner/TaxServices Sikich, LLP

Ella R. Hochstetler

Director, Business Development and Strategic Partnerships
Dominion Energy

John T. Petures Jr.

President & CEO Akron Community Foundation

Jennifer Savitski, MD, FACOG

Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Cleveland Clinic Akron General

Steven E. Strah

SVP & CFO FirstEnergy Corp.


Chair Circle Investors