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Mercurio promoted to CEO of insurer National Interstate

By Jim Mackinnon Published: December 22, 2015

Specialty insurer National Interstate Corp. looked to its senior management ranks for a new chief executive officer.
The Richfield-based company on Tuesday announced that 42-year-old Anthony J. Mercurio will succeed David Michelson as CEO effective May 5, 2016. Michelson has been CEO since 2008.
Mercurio, National Interstate’s president and chief operating officer since 2013, joined the company in 1997. He is a Lorain native who played football as an offensive lineman for the University of Mount Union’s first NCAA championship team in 1993.
He was CEO of National Interstate subsidiary Vanliner Insurance Co. from 2010 through 2012. He becomes chief executive the day of National Interstate’s annual shareholders’ meeting and will be nominated to the board of directors at the meeting.
Michelson will continue as a board member until his term expires in 2017 and will be a senior advisor to the company once Mercurio becomes CEO.
According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mercurio will be paid a salary of $410,000 as CEO as part of a two-year employment agreement and will be eligible for an annual bonus up to $285,000 for the “2015 accident year” and an annual bonus of $410,000 for 2016 and subsequent “accident years”.

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Ohio jobs show increase even as unemployment rate rises slightly

By Jim Mackinnon Published: December 18, 2015

Ohio’s jobless rate rose slightly in November from October but remained below levels from a year ago.
The state’s unemployment rate hit 4.5 percent last month, up from 4.4 percent in October and down from 5.2 percent in November 2014, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported Friday.
The unemployment rate rose even though the number of people counted as employed last month also increased. There were 5,437,000 people counted as working in November, up 9,900 from 5,427,100 in October.
Jobs in November still remained below peak levels for the month since 2000.
The full story will be at and in the Akron Beacon Journal.

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Smucker announces management changes, retirement

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: December 16, 2015

Orrville-based food company the J.M. Smucker Co. announced several management changes. 

They include:

Barry C. Dunaway, currently president of international and chief financial officer, will become president of the company's Big Heart Pet Food and Snacks, effective March 1. Dunaway has 28 years experience with the company and played a significant role in the company's acquistiion of Big Heart and ongoing integration, the company said.

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Echogen of Akron awarded $1.3 million to help with U.S. Department of Energy project

By Katie Byard Published: December 14, 2015

The Department of Energy has awarded $1.3 million to Akron’s Echogen Power Systems LLC, which is developing systems to turn “waste” heat into energy.
The money is to further develop technology involving using supercritical carbon dioxide — carbon dioxide at elevated temperatures and pressures — to efficiently produce cleaner, more affordable electric power for consumers.
The funding comes from the Department of Energy for its Supercritical Transformational Electric Power (STEP) program.
“This award will give Echogen Power Systems in Akron the opportunity to lead innovation and research into sCO2 [supercritical carbon dioxide] technology,” U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Lorain, said in a news release. “Growing our clean tech sector is an important way to create jobs and drive economic development in Ohio.”
Echogen began in Akron’s business incubator, the Akron Global Business Accelerator, in 2007 and then moved to the city-owned, former Board of Realtors building on High Street in the city’s downtown.
Echogen received a $10 million cash infusion from a Texas company in 2011 and later moved into the former Hamlin Steel Co. building downtown with the city investing $800,000 in renovations and partial demolition of the facility.

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FirstEnergy CEO Charles Jones says leadership extends beyond the walls of business

By Jim Mackinnon Published: December 11, 2015

FirstEnergy Corp.’s top executive, Charles Jones, acknowledged that when he was a younger man, he wanted to be a Navy fighter pilot.

That didn’t pan out as his “eyes went bad” while he was at the U.S. Naval Academy, Jones said Thursday. So, the Akron native turned to becoming an electrical engineer.

Now, you could say Jones, closing out his first year as president and chief executive officer of FirstEnergy, is the top pilot for one of the nation’s largest public utilities.

And he told the audience at the monthly Akron Roundtable at Quaker Station that he is fighting for his company, industry and community.

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Public can see new Goodyear airship as Toys for Tots program kicks off

By Jim Mackinnon Published: December 9, 2015

Starting Friday at noon, the public can drive into Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake blimp hangar and donate to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves' Toys for Tots program.
The annual Toys for Tots drive will run noon to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday at the hangar. The address is 841 Wingfoot Lake Road in Suffield Township.
The event will allow the public to see Goodyear’s under-construction, state-of-the-art NT (for New Technology) airship. This is Goodyear’s second NT airship, which is expected to fly in early spring 2016 for the first time.
Visitors can enter a drawing to a win a blimp ride.
There is no charge and a donation is not required.
This is the fifth year for the Toys for Tots program, which has raised $38,500 and collected nearly 25,600 toys over that period.
For the first time, Goodyear will have a “gift shop stop” at the hangar, with a portion of sales proceeds going to Toys for Tots. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has also committed to donating $10,000 to Toys for Tots.
Official entry forms for the Goodyear Toys for Tots Blimp Ride Sweepstakes can be obtained at the hangar or by visiting Completed forms can be submitted at the hangar or be mailed in.

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Welty Building Co. in new partnership, makes hires and expands project portfolio

By Jim Mackinnon Published: December 9, 2015

Welty Building Co. in Fairlawn has created a new business in partnership with Pennsylvania-based real estate developer Millcraft Investments. Welty also has hired new executives and updated its portfolio of projects.
The new company will be called Millcraft-Welty Construction, playing to the strengths of both firms. The company will have facilities in Pittsburgh and in Washington, Pa. Millcraft-Welty expects to have 20 to 25 employees by the end of 2016.
Welty head Don Taylor is also president and chief executive officer of Millcraft-Welty and will oversee day-to-day responsibilities. Millcraft-Welty will hire a new president.
Welty Building also named Bill Paolillo as executive vice president, sales and marketing; Jay Griffith as vice president, business integration; and Tia Stathopoulos as general manager of facility services.
New Welty projects include a Salvation Army family shelter in Cleveland; an office building renovation in Beachwood; “repurposing” a historic building into apartments in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood; a mixed use building in Kent; Akron’s Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel; and renovating and expanding Main Street Gourmet in Akron.

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FirstEnergy's Davis-Besse nuclear plant gets OK to operate another 20 years

By Jim Mackinnon Published: December 8, 2015

FirstEnergy's Davis-Besse nuclear power plant east of Toledo, Ohio, got the federal government's OK to operate another 20 years.

Here's the text of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's press release on the license renewal:

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has renewed the operating license of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio, for an additional 20 years.
Davis-Besse, located about 21 miles east-southeast of Toledo, has a single pressurized-water reactor.

The renewed license authorizes the plant to operate through April 22, 2037.

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UH Case Medical Center names new president

By Katie Byard Published: December 4, 2015

University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland has appointed Dr. Daniel I. Simon as the academic medical center's new president, effective Jan. 1, 2016.

Simon, president of the UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute in Cleveland, will succeed Dr. Fred C. Rothstein, who is retiring after serving as president of UH Case Medical Center for the past 12 years.

Simon is a nationally recognized leader in the field of cardiology, according to a news release from UH Case Medical Center.

Additionally, he has served as chief of the division of cardiovascular medicine at UH Case Medical Center and professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

He holds the Herman K. Hellerstein, MD, Chair in Cardiovascular Research at UH Case Medical Center and the School of Medicine.

Simon received his MD from Harvard Medical School where he graduated summa cum laude

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Dominion December SCO to go up slightly, still low

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: December 3, 2015

Barberton company expands R&D; gets coveted accreditation

By Katie Byard Published: December 3, 2015

Barberton’s Preferred Compounding, which touts itself as the second largest custom compounder of rubber in North America, has increased the size of its  R and D facilities, receiving a coveted accreditation.
The company, which employs 125 at its Barberton plant and offices, says the accreditation means the company will be able to meet customers’ orders faster as it now will do all testing in-house. Preferred Compounding supplies proprietary and custom-mixed rubber compounds to customers including molders, extruders, mixers and others in the rubber goods market. The primary industries Preferred Compounding serves include automotive, construction and power generation.

See later for more information.


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Summa Health reports community benefit

By Amanda Garrett Published: December 3, 2015

Signet Jewelers of Akron boosts relationship with Pandora

By Katie Byard Published: December 2, 2015

Signet Jewelers Ltd. of Akron, whose stores include Jared and Kay, said Wednesday it will add Pandora boutiques in 200 Jared stores carrying Pandora jewelry.
The  move will boost the footprint of the Pandora brand to about 150 square feet in the stores, Signet [NYSE: SIG] said.
Pandora is one of the world’s largest mid-priced jewelry brands and is known for its charms and bracelets. Check later for more information.

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Myers Industries' new CEO is Princeton grad, fighter pilot

By Jim Mackinnon Published: December 2, 2015

The new chief executive officer of Myer’s Industries Inc. is a former Navy fighter pilot and an executive with overseas experience.
Myers Industries on Wednesday announced that R. David Banyard will be the Akron company’s new president and CEO starting next week. He succeeds John Orr, who earlier this year announced he is retiring after 10 years as the company’s chief executive.
Banyard comes to Myers Industries from Roper Technologies, where he was group president, Fluid Handling Technologies, and led a diverse portfolio of companies serving a wide array of markets, Myers Industries said. He previously worked at Danaher Corp.
Banyard “has a proven track record of outperforming market growth while delivering expanded profit margins, reducing working capital requirements and driving improved cash flow performance,” the company said.
Banyard was the unanimous choice of Myer’s Industries board. He starts his new job on Dec. 7 and will be elected to the company board effective Jan. 1.
Orr will stay on as vice chairman and a company director until Dec. 31 and will work with Banyard during a short transition period.
“We undertook a comprehensive CEO search, and the board believes that Dave fits both the leadership characteristics and the industry experience we sought to succeed John Orr,” Robert Heisler, board chairman, said in a statement. “His strong track record at both Roper Technologies and Danaher Corp. brings significant expertise and experience to Myers.”
Banyard is a 1990 graduate of Princeton and also has a degree from The University of Virginia Darden School of Business. After college, Banyard was a U.S. Navy fighter pilot.
He started his business career with Danaher Corp., where his experience includes leading the Vehicle Systems business unit of Kollmorgen, based in Stockholm, Sweden. He then joined Roper in 2010.
He and his wife, Diane, have three children.
“I believe that the re-focused [Myers’] Material Handling and Distribution operating segments have attractive prospects for growth and value creation, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to lead these businesses to their next level of success,” Banyard said in a statement.
Heisler praised Orr’s leadership at Myers Industries.
“John has overseen Myers’ transformation to a more streamlined, focused industrial company, and guided us through many challenging times in his ten years as CEO,” he said. “His leadership has positioned our company as a value added manufacturer with strong positions in the agricultural, industrial and automotive market segments. We wish him well in his retirement and thank him for his dedicated service since becoming CEO in 2005.”

Myers Industries makes rubber and plastic products and also is a specialized tool distributor.

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Goodyear to combine North America and Latin America units, shuffle executive jobs

By Jim Mackinnon Published: December 1, 2015

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is combining its North American and Latin American businesses starting in 2016.
The Akron tire maker is also reorganizing some of its top executive positions. As part of that, Darren Wells, former treasurer, chief financial officer and current head of Goodyear’s European, Middle East and Africa tire division, will be leaving the company.
“While the two former regions approach their markets differently, there also are many increasing similarities, especially the growth of high-value-added tires,” Goodyear chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard J. Kramer said in a release. “This new organization is structured to accelerate growth and maximize earnings over time through simplicity, speed, and an intense focus on our customers and markets.”
All manufacturing plants in the combined region – including the new Americas plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, scheduled to open in 2017 – will be leveraged to serve all customers in Mexico, Latin America and North America, the company said.
Goodyear said the new structure will give it greater flexibility to anticipate and react faster to market changes.
Stephen R. McClellan, president of North American tire, will head the combined Americas business. Marcelo Toscani, vice president of global manufacturing, will become president of the Latin America operations and report to McClellan.
Jean-Claude Kihn, president of the Latin America unit, will be president of the Europe, Middle East and Africa unit, Goodyear’s second largest unit after North America. Kihn succeeds Wells, who will leave the company in early 2016, Goodyear said.
Wells was named president of what is called the EMEA unit in October 2013.
Kramer said Wells lad the groundwork for future success in the Goodyear EMEA division.
“We deeply appreciate everything Darren Wells has done for Goodyear during his 13 years with the company,” Kramer said. “First as treasurer and later as CFO, Darren led numerous initiatives that were critical to the company’s turnaround and ensuring its long-term financial health.”

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FirstEnergy files proposed settlement in its rate case

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: December 1, 2015

Here is the updated story: proposed settlement in FirstEnergy's controversial rate plan has been filed with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio this morning.



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