New consortium board roles

Thomas Waltermire, retired chair of PolyOne Corp. in Avon Lake, has been elected board chair and Beverly Warren, president of Kent State University, has been elected board vice chair of the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education, a consortium of higher education and business leaders seeking to boost the region’s economy through degree and internship programs.

Waltermire and Warren assumed their new positions on Dec. 7.

Waltermire served for nine years as CEO of Team NEO, a regional organization focused on business attraction and expansion and job retention.

Warren has served as Kent State University’s president for more than three years. Before coming to Kent State, she was provost and senior vice president at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Recent additions to the board of the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education include Bill Blausey, vice president and chief information officer of Eaton Corp., with regional headquarters for North America in Beachwood; Tom Chema, chairman of the Gateway Group in Cleveland and former president of Hiram College; Bill Baddour, senior vice president of international operations at Cleveland Clinic; and Ray Leach, CEO of JumpStart Inc., the Cleveland-based nonprofit that invests in Northeast Ohio startups.


February workshops planned

Nonprofits will be the focus of Entrepreneurship Series workshops at the Hudson Library & Historical Society this month and in February.

William Glaeser and Bob Labbe of the Akron SCORE office will lead a nonprofit basics workshop from 9:30 to 12:30 p.m. Jan. 16.

At 10 a.m. Feb. 20, Bob Greene, owner of CommonGood Consulting Inc. will talk about the components of a diversified, sustainable funding base for nonprofits.

To register for the free program, go to hudsonlibrary.org or call 330-653-6658, Ext. 1010. The library is at 96 Library St. in the First & Main shopping complex.


Price cut OK’d for Amazon

Regulators have approved an electricity discount for Amazon in central Ohio, a plan that will increase in size as the online giant adds data centers, the Columbus Dispatch reported. But many specifics of the discount — such as an estimate of the dollar value and the percentage savings — have been not been disclosed to the public because Amazon says the information is a trade secret.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio voted 5-0 on Wednesday to approve the special electricity rate, which was jointly proposed by Amazon and American Electric Power, the region’s main electricity utility.

“It is important to note that although the construction of this arrangement exempts, limits, or discounts Amazon’s payments of some bill items, ultimately, consumers bills will not increase as a result of the commission’s approval today,” said Asim Haque, the PUCO chairman, following the vote.


Sears secures more financing

Sears Holding Corp. has secured more financing and is eying more cost cuts after reporting a big sales drop during the critical holiday season.

The company, which operates Sears and Kmart stores, said Wednesday that it secured $100 million in new financing, will seek twice that from other sources, and will attempt $200 million in additional cost cuts this year unrelated to store closings. It also warned that if the company’s efforts to complete these transactions are not fully successful, then the board will consider all other options to maximize the value of its assets.

The retailer, which announced last week the closure of more than 100 stores, said that during the November and December period, comparable-store sales tumbled by 16 percent to 17 percent. The metric — which measures sales in stores open at least a year — is a key indicator of retailers’ health.

Sears’ disastrous holiday sales mark a sharp contrast to the solid gains enjoyed by many of its department store peers, such as Kohl’s, J.C. Penney and Macy’s.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.