Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake blimp base, which dates to World War I, is certifiably historic.

And it is getting a plaque to prove it.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. said the Suffield Township blimp hangar will be officially recognized as a prominent Ohio landmark with the unveiling Thursday afternoon of an Ohio Historical Marker at the facility. The unveiling is not open to the public.

The blimp base has operated since 1917, making it the oldest airship hangar in the United States.

“The Wingfoot Lake hangar has a rich history of contributions to aviation in Ohio and our nation,” Paul Fitz­henry, Goodyear senior vice president and chief communications officer, said in a prepared statement. “From training the first class of United States Navy pilots in lighter-than-air to building of airships for the defense of the nation during WWI and WWII and serving as the home base of our current airship fleet, this facility is an Ohio and American treasure.”

Goodyear bought the property and adjacent lake in 1916. The lake was intended to provide water for tire manufacturing in Akron, with the hangar used to build airships for the U.S. Army and Navy.

Wingfoot Lake is now an Ohio state park and is open to the public.

The hangar and surrounding property are still owned by the Akron tire maker. Goodyear uses the hangar to build and maintain its fleet of three New Technology, or NT, semi-rigid airships, built in conjunction with German manufacturer Zeppelin. (Goodyear still refers to its airships as blimps.)

The newest Goodyear blimp, Wingfoot Three, will be christened at the complex Aug. 30.

Several Northeast Ohio hospitals again ranked in a national look by U.S. News & World Report.

For the third year in a row, Cleveland Clinic was ranked the No. 2 hospital in the nation. The Cleveland-based health system also ranked first in Ohio in the annual list, released Tuesday by the news organization.

Cleveland Clinic Akron General ranked 11th in Ohio, while Summa Akron City Hospital tied for 18th in the state with MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. The two Akron-based hospitals both fell slightly from their 2017 statewide rankings when Akron General ranked 10th and Summa ranked 15th.

In Stark County, Aultman Hospital in Canton ranked 13th statewide, down from 12th in 2017.

Also in the Cleveland area, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center ranked second in the state.

Cleveland Clinic also ranked among the country’s top 50 hospitals for patients in 14 specialties, the same number as 2017, including No. 1 in cardiology/heart surgery and urology. Twelve of its 14 rankings were in the top five. It was the clinic’s 24th consecutive year to rank first for cardiology and second consecutive year for the urology department to get the top ranking in the country.

University Hospitals ranked among the nation’s 50 best hospitals in 10 specialties, which was three more than in 2017. Its highest ranking was 16th in ear, nose and throat.

In Summit County, the only hospital to make the national list in a specialty was Akron General, which ranked 47th in pulmonology, down from 31st in 2017.

In its 29th year, the U.S. News & World Report rankings compare more than 4,500 medical centers nationwide in 25 specialties, procedures and conditions.

For the third consecutive year, the Mayo Clinic claimed the No. 1 spot on the Best Hospitals Honor Roll with the Cleveland Clinic at No. 2 and Johns Hopkins Hospital at No. 3.

According to U.S. News, the methodologies used in most areas of care are based largely or entirely on objective measures, such as risk-adjusted survival and readmission rates, volume, patient experience, patient safety and quality of nursing, among other care-related indicators. Prominent changes to this year’s rankings methodology included more emphasis on patient outcomes and patient experience measures.

For the full list, including a ranking of regional hospitals, go to

Medical writer Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or [email protected]. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or and see all her stories at

FAIRLAWN: Tufin is putting down deeper roots in Ohio.

The global cybersecurity company on Monday celebrated its new offices in the Embassy Corporate Park with a ribbon cutting, saying it opted to remain in the city instead of relocating and growing elsewhere.

Tufin co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Ruvi Kitov praised the Akron region, citing lower costs and the talent pool available here.

“We already had a good center, and we didn’t want to lose it,” he said.

The private company, which began in 2004, develops and maintains network and firewall security policies for about 2,100 clients around the world. Earlier this year, it was named to JMP Securities’ “Super 70” list of the hottest and most strategically positioned private companies in the cybersecurity, data management and communications infrastructure industries.

Tufin opened its new digs last month. It has about 30 technical support, professional services, customer service and sales workers based in Fairlawn and hopes to double that number by the end of next year.

Kitov said the company is hiring now for the local office. Officials also noted that they have developed a relationship with the University of Akron.

Overall, the company has about 360 employees worldwide.

Tufin, which has U.S. headquarters in Boston and is based in Israel, had outgrown its previous Fairlawn office in Jefferson Park on West Market Street. The company now occupies 13,500 square feet on the fifth floor of a building at 3700 Embassy Parkway East.

Fairlawn Mayor Bill Roth said he’s pleased that the company remained in the city.

“Obviously in a more complicated world, security is huge,” he said. “I think you have found a niche market that is greatly needed.”

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.

GREEN: Diebold Nixdorf is close to resolving its future financial flexibility, according to a statement the company issued before the stock market opened Monday.

Meanwhile, unverified reports from CNBC state the company has hired Credit Suisse and Evercore to seek a potential sale.

The business news network reports that the financial advisers were hired to help seek potential buyers, including private equity firms. Representatives for Diebold Nixdorf, Credit Suisse and Evercore all declined to comment to CNBC about the reports.

The deal two years ago that saw Diebold merge with Wincor Nixdorf seems to be at the core of financial concerns. The combined companies have been working to integrate operations, but that effort has been complicated because some Wincor Nixdorf shareholders didn’t tender their stock.

Diebold Nixdorf said Monday morning it soon will hold more than 90 percent of the stock in Diebold Nixdorf AG, but the company had to use cash on hand and borrow from its revolving fund to cover part of the cost.

Monday’s announcements came on the heels of a rough eight days of stock trading following the company’s second-quarter earnings announcement Aug. 1. The value of Diebold Nixdorf shares fell by more than half, closing at $3.95 on Friday. Investors traded more than 14.5 million shares on Friday.

In its statement Monday, Diebold Nixdorf said it “is in constructive and productive discussions with its lenders regarding its future financial flexibility and expects to reach a resolution in the near-term.” More information will be released “in due course.”

During the earnings announcement, the company revised its financial outlook, projecting a net loss — previously expected to be $75 million to $95 million — that could range from $325 million to $365 million. Because of the revised projection, the company said it was talking with its principal lenders to amend its credit agreement.

The announcement seemed to help, as Diebold Nixdorf shares closed at $4.60 on Monday, up 65 cents.

Part of Diebold Nixdorf’s cash problem stems from the 2016 merger between Diebold and German financial equipment company Wincor Nixdorf. The merged company still is acquiring shares of the German company.

At the end of July, Diebold Nixdorf, through a subsidiary, owned 77.1 percent of the Diebold Nixdorf AG shares. But in August, shareholders exercised their right to redeem about 3.8 million shares at a value of $255 million. Diebold Nixdorf has used cash on hand and borrowings from its revolving fund to cover $160 million of the redemption. The remainder will be resolved later this week, the company said. Once the additional shares are redeemed, Diebold Nixdorf will own more than 90 percent of the outstanding shares of Diebold Nixdorf AG, allowing it to take the final step in the integration of its German subsidiaries.

GREEN: The new head of the Akron-Canton Airport wants to know what businesses and residents want from their regional airport.

“It takes a village” to grow an airport, Renato “Ren” Camacho said Wednesday in an interview the day after the airport’s board of trustees revealed his hiring.

“Engaging the community [is critical], I can’t say that enough,” he said.

Camacho arrives as the airport faces challenges, including the loss of carriers and flights.

Allegiant left the airport in 2016 and Southwest Airlines departed in 2017 after dramatically reducing flights. The passenger count peaked in 2012 at 1.84 million and has declined each year since. Last year, passengers totaled 1.27 million, down 9.48 percent from the prior year.

Camacho, who has worked since 2007 for Cleveland’s Department of Port Control, will take over as CEO and president Oct. 1.

He will replace longtime CAK chief Rick McQueen, who is retiring at the end of this year.

“There are many, many airports throughout the country facing our same dilemma, especially the regional airports,” said Camacho, who since 2011 has been chief of planning and engineering at Cleveland port control, which oversees Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Burke Lakefront Airport and Lakefront Harbors.

The challenge for the regionals is to provide nonstop service to desired destinations while nearby hub airports have established nonstop routes, he said.

And low-cost carriers are increasingly flying out of hubs, he said.

Camacho said he will explore all options to add flights. Those include travel banks in which businesses pay an airline in advance, giving the airline an incentive to fly a route desired by a community.

“Nothing is off the table,” Camacho said, noting that the Pittsburgh International Airport is offering financial incentives to land carriers.

The Pittsburgh airport authority last month said it is awarding $1.5 million a year for two years to British Airways to begin year-round flights to London starting April 2.

Ready for dialogue

Camacho, 48, said that a primary task will be to “engage the community” to both promote the airport’s assets and learn what businesses say they need in terms of flight frequency and routes.

That information is vital when courting airlines, he said.

“Are there opportunities for American, Delta, United and Spirit to add service?” he asked, ticking off the names of the carriers serving the airport. CAK offers nonstop flights to 12 destinations.

In meeting with business leaders, he’ll be continuing McQueen’s efforts, he said.

The airport’s work paid off in June when United began daily nonstop service to Houston from CAK.

“We’re working to increase frequency to Houston,” CAK’s director of marketing Lisa Dalpiaz said Wednesday.

Camacho said he’s still learning about the area and didn’t know details of Akron Fulton International’s rebranding as Akron Executive Airport.

Officials with Akron city and the airport said last week they want to attract more corporate and business small airplanes and jets.

Camacho noted that CAK has room to grow corporate travel as well as commercial travel.

Looking ahead

Camacho will oversee a $240 million, 20-year plan guiding capital improvements at CAK that was unveiled two years ago.

On Aug. 28, the airport will break ground on a gate replacement and modernization project. Camacho said he won’t be making any changes to this $32 million endeavor.

Earlier improvements overseen by McQueen include the extension of a runway and renovations to the ticket wing. McQueen has been at the airport for 36 years, the last 10 as its president and CEO.

McQueen said Camacho’s engineering background “is going to help that project go very smoothly.”

Camacho’s annual salary at CAK will be $175,000.

Camacho, a native of New York City, received a master’s degree in transportation and planning and engineering from New York University-Polytechnic School of Engineering. He attended the Brooklyn campus. He received a bachelor’s of science in civil engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.

Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or [email protected]. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook at

Dr. Russell Platt, the first African-American doctor to finish his residency at Akron City Hospital, has died.

Platt, who turned 91 on July 10, was one of the first African-American doctors in Akron to have an integrated practice of Caucasian and African-American patients.

He is thought to be the longest-serving doctor affiliated with City Hospital.

Platt died Thursday after several months of declining health.

Platt, an Akron resident for 58 years, continued to see patients until last fall. He practiced medicine in Akron for 51 years.

In many ways, Platt was a Norman Rockwell-style doctor, modeling himself after his hero and family doctor, Dr. F.L. Carpenter, in his hometown of Latta, S.C.

Platt, who estimated he cared for more than 25,000 patients, handed out his cellphone number for after-hour emergencies, saying it made more sense for his patients to call him directly.

In an Akron Beacon Journal article in May 2017, Platt said retirement wasn’t in his vocabulary.

“I love what I do and without being presumptive I think I’m pretty good at what I do,” he said at the time.

His patients and colleagues agreed.

Platt’s bedside manner is “what we try to teach our residents — to really know a patient,” said Dr. Dale Murphy, a Summa internal medicine physician and former president of the Summa medical staff, who had worked with Platt for more than 40 years.

Platt “was a true gentleman, one of a kind and this community was fortunate to have him for such a long time,” Murphy said.

Robert DeJournett, Summa Health director of community relations and diversity, was a longtime friend of Platt’s. He also supervised Platt, who was a popular fixture at Summa health fairs.

Platt’s health started to decline last year, DeJournett said. Platt’s final health fair was last August and he stopped seeing patients around September. He was placed in hospice care in December.

“I went to visit him a week after his 91st birthday at his home,” DeJournett said. “When I saw him, he was still sharp. He loved Scripture. I would start a Scripture for him and he would finish it.”

Platt came to Akron to train as a doctor because he knew that as a person of color in the 1960s, he would not get a job in a hospital in the South. Once Platt arrived in Akron, he stayed and built his family and his practice. It wasn’t always easy. Early in his career, racism was blatant, even among his colleagues, DeJournett said.

In an interview last year, Platt shared this advice about taking time with your family: “You can’t go back. Take care of those kids while you can — go to their concerts, take them to piano lessons, take them to horse shows, attend horse shows.”

And as for his work: “I would say that mine is a calling, really. It’s not just a career or a passion I chose.

“My journey to where I am now was a long journey and wasn’t that easy. Besides, I’ve put in too much time to give it up.”

Platt is survived by his six children and 10 grandchildren. His late wife of more than 50 years, Barbara, died in 2012.

A community tribute service will be at 6 p.m. next Friday at the House of the Lord, 1650 Diagonal Road, Akron. Calling hours will be held there from noon to 6 p.m. before the service. A funeral service will be at noon the next day, Aug. 11, also at the House of the Lord.

Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or [email protected].

Akron-Canton Airport is offering a hands-on program next month to help parents who need to fly with small children.

The airport said it will provide another session of its CAK Moms’ Tour, which is designed to familiarize kids and parents with the airport experience.

The program will run from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 13. People have until Aug. 6 to sign up at http://www.akron­

Groups will be small to allow for questions and comfort, the airport said in a news release. Families will practice parking, riding the shuttle bus, security screening with baby gear, and navigating the airport.

“We recognize there are a lot of parents, and grandparents, in our community who feel overwhelmed by the idea of flying with children, and we see the opportunity to turn what could be a stressful experience into an extremely memorable one,” said Lisa Dalpiaz, Akron-Canton Airport director of marketing.

Representatives from the airport and the Transportation Security Administration will cover common questions, including “Do I have to pay to check my stroller?” and “Do formula and milk fall under the 3.4 ounce rule?” the airport said.

Goodyear tires in space?

Sort of — and it’s a return trip.

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plans to test tire components in space as part of a project later this year on the International Space Station U.S. Laboratory, it announced Tuesday.

The Akron company will study the formation of silica particles in the weak gravity, or microgravity, of the space station.

Silica particles are commonly used in the car, SUV and truck tires that most of us drive on.

It’s not the first time Goodyear has sent its tires or tire components to space.

“Goodyear has been a pioneer in tire innovations related to space, with the first and only tires on the moon, numerous projects with NASA and now this,” Eric Mizner, Goodyear’s director of global materials science, said in a prepared statement.

Goodyear announced the project during the International Space Station Research and Development Conference in San Francisco.

The experiments in space could lead to improvements in fuel efficiency, traction and other performance factors on Earth.

The in-space project is part of an agreement with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, a nonprofit group selected to manage the space station U.S. National Laboratory.

“It underscores our passion for going to the ends of the earth — and beyond — to develop new technologies that help us deliver breakthrough products with true consumer benefits,” Mizner said.

Foreign trade touches just about every part of every state.

The tariffs enacted this year by the United States, Canada, European Union, Mexico and China make every state — along with every consumer and business for that matter — a loser in some way. Some states are getting hit harder than others though, according to a report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that is urging the Trump administration to back off from imposing tariffs as a way to resolve U.S. complaints about unfair trade.

Thanks to ports such as Seattle, Washington is the biggest loser, with $6.2 billion in exports at risk from tariffs. Louisiana is No. 2 with $5.6 billion at risk — almost all of it coming in the form of soybeans transported down the Mississippi River for shipment to China. Rounding out the top three is California, whose ports handle a large portion of the American-built cars shipped overseas.

Ohio is seventh out of the 50 states, with $3.3 billion in exports to Canada, China, Mexico and Europe that are affected by the new tariffs. The state is home to 25 Fortune 500 companies — fifth most in the country — and has a large manufacturing sector.

Ohio ranks first when it comes to tariffs on trade with Canada. Our neighbor to the north has aimed tariffs at an estimated $2.1 billion worth of Ohio goods, from iron and steel products, to soap made by Procter & Gamble to washing machines built by Whirlpool.

Tariffs threaten $830 million in farm exports from Ohio to China, including $620 million in soybeans, according to the chamber. That number might be low. In recent years, the trade in soybeans with China has topped $1 billion, but the number fluctuates.

“Our two core industries are getting slugged by this,” said economist Bill LaFayette, owner of local economic-consulting firm Regionomics.

Fraction of economy

The $3.3 billion in exports listed in the chamber report make up a fraction of Ohio’s $650 billion economy and about 6 percent of the state’s exports of $50.1 billion in 2017. It’s a bump in the road, not a blown tire.

But tell that to Bret Davis, a Delaware County farmer who grows corn and soybeans on more than 3,000 acres. China slapped a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans, effectively cutting American farmers off from the world’s largest market, and leading to a cancellation of orders. Soybean prices dropped 20 percent in the past month. Corn has tumbled as well.

“We’re looking at a $200,000 loss on beans in just the last month and a half,” Davis said. “On corn, we have lost another $200,000.”

Even without tariffs, agriculture has been shaky. Farmers have seen a 40 percent drop in revenue in the past five years since commodity prices reached records in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In a report published in June, researchers at Ohio State University projected that tariffs would cut a row-crop farmer’s net income by 59 percent.

“We’re going to have farmers who will have to exit the industry,” said Ben Brown, manager of Ohio State’s farm-management program.

Could help some

Still, tariffs don’t figure to push the state into recession and could help some businesses, such as steel makers, that have benefited from the rising prices this year. An Indian steel company, for example, has proposed spending up to $500 million and hiring several hundred workers at an old steel plant in the eastern Ohio village of Mingo Junction, in part because of tariffs that are supporting prices.

“For now, people are saying it will cause [economic] headwinds,” LaFayette said. “It’s still something to be concerned about.”

The concern, though, is that this is just the beginning — that tariffs will escalate into a worldwide trade war leading to higher prices for consumers, lost jobs and maybe a global recession. Tariffs are widely believed to have exacerbated the Great Depression.

Today the average person pays about $100 a year in tariffs on imported goods, according to a CNBC analysis of international trade data. Impose stiff tariffs on goods from China and Mexico, and that cost could jump to $1,000, assuming higher tariffs are passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices.

“It’s not a good thing,” LaFayette said. “It’s going to raise prices for consumers and raise prices for the important businesses in Ohio.”

Inflation has been mostly benign over the past decade. But it hit a 2.9 percent annual rate in June, the highest since 2012, due in part to tariffs.

Some sectors, though, are feeling plenty of pain already — or are about to.

The cost of washers and dryers, for example, skyrocketed by nearly 20 percent for the three-month period that ended in June because of the surging cost of aluminum and steel, according to government inflation data released this month. That’s the biggest increase in more than 10 years.

Whirlpool, which makes washing machines in Ohio, is feeling the effect from several angles. The steel that Whirlpool buys to make its machines is now more expensive because of tariffs, and in retaliation to U.S. tariffs, Canada targeted washing machines with tariffs. Whirlpool figures tariffs will cost it about $50 million through the rest of this year.

Honda woes

Honda is getting buffeted by the trade war like no other company in Ohio.

Its cars and SUVs built in Mexico and Canada — about 25 percent of all Hondas sold in the U.S. — could be hit with tariffs. Billions of dollars of components that Honda buys from around the globe to build Accords, CR-Vs and several Acura models in Ohio, as well as transmissions and engines, could get significantly more expensive due to proposed tariffs. Honda also exports parts and vehicles, which are targets of some retaliatory tariffs.

Honda, whose manufacturing headquarters is based in Marysville, did not give a dollar-figure impact of the tariffs, but the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents most major makers, believes the tariffs could raise the price of an average car by $5,800.

Honda employs 31,000 people at its U.S. operations. It has plants in Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama.

[email protected] @BizMarkWilliams, [email protected] @j_d_Malone-

Ohio needs to significantly invest and innovate so it can grow and thrive, a business-led group says.

The danger to not acting quickly risks placing Ohio at a severe economic disadvantage in upcoming years as other states innovate and pull ahead with more competitive workforces and industries, according to the group’s in-depth report.

The report, Ohio BOLD: A Blueprint for Accelerating the Innovation Economy, was released Wednesday by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation and research and analysis firm Teconomy Partners LLC.

Ohio has “pockets of success” but the state needs to do much better and at a much quicker pace to turn innovation into economic growth, they said.

“We want to raise the entire state,” said Katie Koglman, executive director of the chamber research foundation.

“Generally speaking, we’re not moving as fast as we want to be, or should be,” said Brian Hicks, president of the research foundation’s board and one of the authors. “This is ambitious, which is why we’re calling it Ohio BOLD.”

A main goal is to get the state’s top policy makers and political leadership, no matter who is elected into office in November, to rally around the group’s findings and take action. The authors recently presented their plan to the staff of Ohio’s two major gubernatorial candidates before going public with the report.

The group spent months talking with numerous people around Ohio and pored over economic data to identify and analyze trends before coming up with recommendations.

Ohio’s economy is growing, but not as quickly as other peer states, Hicks and others said.

That results in:

• Slower population growth

• Slower growth in income and wages

• Increased poverty

• An aging and nondiverse population.

A fast-paced statewide approach is needed to make things better and to attract and retain young, talented people and vibrant businesses, the Ohio BOLD authors said.

Ohio needs to build on its strengths and invest in four key areas, or platforms, the group said:

• Next generation manufacturing.

• Innovative health care.

• Smart infrastructure, including driverless vehicles.

• Data analytics.

Failure to advance what the group calls “the four innovation platforms” will hurt Ohio in upcoming years, they said.

The group calls for the creation of four statewide innovation hubs, funded in part by taxpayers and in part by the private sector, to address the platforms.

In particular, Ohio manufacturing and production industries need to innovate because they are especially vulnerable to disruption by new technologies and automation and represent a sizable portion of the state’s industry strength, according to the report

Modern, innovative health care will improve Ohio’s quality-of-life attractiveness, while smart infrastructure leadership is key in branding the state’s future attractiveness, the report said.

Ohio is behind other regions in realizing long-term success is tied to the importance of a data analytics talent base to improve business intelligence and insights, the report said.

“We think data analytics is driving a lot of the innovation economy,” Hicks said.

While the report doesn’t put a specific price tag on how to achieve key goals, the cost to achieve the four key goals won’t be cheap, Hicks said. A similar effort in smaller Massachusetts calls for spending as much as $1 billion over 10 years, he and the report authors said.

“$50 million, $100 million won’t be big enough to have an impact,” Hicks said. “We think there is a price tag for not doing it.”

The full report can be found online at

Reporter Jim Mackinnon covers business and county government. He can be reached at 330-996-3544 or [email protected]. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or

Las Vegas-based MGM Growth Properties said Thursday that it has completed the previously announced deal to buy the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in Northfield for $1.06 billion from Milstein Entertainment LLC.

“We are excited about the addition of the market leading Hard Rock Rocksino to our portfolio,” MGM Growth Properties Chief Executive Officer James Stewart said in a prepared statement. “This transaction brings further geographic diversification and is expected to generate mid to high single digit percentage accretion to AFFO. We look forward to welcoming the Rocksino team, customers and partners into our portfolio and have entered into a new agreement with Hard Rock to continue to serve as the manager.”

The Rocksino joins other gaming properties owned by MGM Growth Properties, including the Borgata, Mandalay Bay, the Mirage and MGM Grand Detroit.

MGM didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Hard Rock Rocksino opened in 2013. It was the second of what would ultimately be seven racinos in the state after Gov. John Kasich signed an executive order allowing Ohio racetracks to expand video gaming.

Unlike the state’s four casinos, racinos offer no table games such as blackjack and roulette. What look like slot machines are actually video lottery terminals (or VLTs) regulated by the state lottery commission, not the state gaming commission.

The 200,000-square-foot Rocksino has more than 2,300 video lottery terminals.

“The success of the Rocksino is a true testament to our hard working and dedicated employees and our loyal customers,” Brock Milstein, former chairman of the Rocksino board, said in a prepared statement. “The Rocksino is a perfect fit to MGP’s portfolio of high quality assets and I am certain that the legacy that has been created will continue for many years to come.”

FAIRLAWN: Arhaus is opening a retail store at Summit Mall.

The Boston Heights-based home furnishings company is taking over space once held by Christopher & Banks and Massage Envy. The store will have entrances inside and outside the mall.

“We’re extremely excited about it,” mall manager Dean Phillips said. “It’ll really change the dynamic of the mall and the merchandise. It will enhance the entire experience.”

The company, which has about 70 stores throughout the United States, didn’t responded to a request for comment.

Paperwork submitted to the city indicates it’s a $1.4 million project and that Arhaus will employ 10 people at the store.

Phillips said he expects the new store to open in the second half of next year. It will occupy about 17,000 square feet, he said.

“We’re very happy to get them,” Mayor Bill Roth said. “It shows how healthy the retail market is in Fairlawn.”

Arhaus has a nearby store at 2246 W. Market St. in Akron. It’s unclear whether that store will remain open or will relocate to the mall.

Christopher & Banks has closed at the mall, while Massage Envy is relocating to a space once occupied by Coldwater Creek.

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.

CANTON: Stark County officials like it when contractors in their communities have plenty of work constructing and renovating buildings.

But the downside this summer is builders have become so busy that some governments have had difficulty attracting enough companies to take on all the work.

Some government projects have gotten only one or no bids. Those in the construction industry are blaming a shortened construction season due to a cold and wet spring and a higher number of outstanding projects, especially at schools.

The Akron-Canton Airport last month sought construction bids for its $32 million, two-year project to tear down an old concourse dating back to 1962. It will be replaced by a new concourse area with new gates, larger restrooms and additional restaurant space.

But only one company bid to do the site work. Great Lakes Construction submitted a base bid of $10.88 million. Other aspects of the project attracted bids from two to four contractors each.

But the bids totaled $89,419 less than the architect’s estimate.

“We’ve been very aware there’s a shortage out there of contractors, and we were concerned we had started a little later in the year than we had hoped to bid it,” Akron Canton Airport CEO Rick McQueen said. “But we were pleased to get bids for all of our packages.”

Could the cost have been less if more contractors had competed for the work?

“Typically in years past, we could get easily three to five contractors bidding on each project,” said Domenic Ferrante, chief operating officer of the airport’s architecture firm SoL Harris/Day. “We’re just not seeing that right now.”

Ferrante said bids are coming out to roughly where local governments had budgeted. However, in the past, they often came under the projected amount, so in cases when bids are higher than anticipated, there may be alternative, optional work like upgraded flooring that officials may choose not to do.

Ferrante said he’s advising clients to postpone work until the late summer or fall as contractors seek work that could go into the winter when they become less busy.

“We’re just trying to delay projects going out to bid and hoping contractors catch up on the workloads they have now, and they would be primed to bid stuff in the fall,” Ferrante said. “There’s a lot of work out there, and there’s a shortage of labor, in my opinion, in the area to perform the work.”

For example, Massillon was set to bid begin a renovation project for its Fire Station No. 3 on Wales Road NE and Hankins Road NE in the spring. Sol Harris/Day advised the city to postpone it for a few months.

The architect said several Northeast Ohio school districts won voter approval of levies in 2016 to fund school construction work. After a year of design, many of those projects, he estimates the total cost will be hundreds of million dollars in school districts statewide, went out to bid this year.

The Lake Local School District managed to put its long-term school renovations and construction projects out to bid around the end of 2016. Its contractor, Hammond Construction, is still working this summer to complete work on the elementary school, high school and middle school, said Ferrante.

The Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities had hoped to replace the roof of its Eastgate Early Childhood and Family Center this summer.

Tim Beard, Stark DD’s manager of building and grounds, said he was excited that eight or nine representatives of contractors showed up in April to evaluate the old, increasingly leaky roof with some asbestos. The Stark DD Board had already voted to spend up to $625,000.

Then came the scheduled opening of the bids on April 30 in the Stark County commissioners office.

Not one contractor submitted a bid.

“We showed up and nobody else did,” Beard said. “That has never happened before.”

Ferrante, whose firm is also Stark DD’s architectural firm, contacted contractors who told him they were behind due to bad spring weather and abundance of other jobs. They would not be able to finish the roof replacement before the children were due back from the summer. And Eastgate can not have loud work taking place on the roof when children with special needs are in the building.

“We got it out to bid a little late,” Ferrante said. “In the 20 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never experienced the crazy bidding process that I’m seeing right now.”

Beard said Stark DD will re-solicit bids in January in hopes of booking the contractors before they take on other summer work to replace the roof in the summer of 2019.

Last month, only one contractor bid to construct the new Jackson Township amphitheater in North Park. The estimated cost was $2 million, about 75 percent to be covered by a state grant. Cavanaugh Building in Akron offered to do the work for $3.6 million. As that was more than 10 percent more than the estimate, township trustees rejected the bid.

Matt Sutter, an architect with SoL Harris/Day, told the trustees his firm contacted 19 contractors. Many said they were too busy with other projects.

Jackson Township Fiscal Officer Randy Gonzalez said the amphitheater is expected to take nine months to a year to build. He said the trustees will decide in the next few weeks when to bid it out again.

Jack Ford, senior vice president of Beaver Excavating, said Beaver plans to bid for the project when the time comes.

“At the time, the amphitheater came out, the timing on that was such, was our resources were stretched both on bidding and also on getting the work done,” he said. “We definitely don’t want to take on a project that we can’t give our best effort. … if we had better weather, I know we would have been bidding more work.”

And as for the airport project, “we would have been extremely interested in it but for our other commitments,” Ford said.

Ford said Beaver Excavating and its affiliated Beaver Constructors with its thousand employees are tied up on numerous projects.

That includes finishing for Canton the upgrades and bridge replacements at 12th Street NW in Monument Park. Completion has been delayed from late spring to at least August due to the cold spring weather and lower-than-expected rock levels.

The company is also building an athletic facility at Canton South High School until August and constructing an athletic complex at Tallmadge High School. And that doesn’t include work at Malone University, Kent State University’s Tuscarawas campus and Ohio State University’s agricultural extension campus in Wooster. Overall, the company is working on projects in three states and Ford said, like everyone else, they got backed up with the severe spring weather.

Stark County Administrator Brant Luther expressed concern last month about a lower-than-expected number of contractors submitting bids for county construction projects. The county later this month will solicit bids for its dog pound renovation and the replacement of the Stark County Courthouse roof.

Luther said that while the county’s architect SoL Harris/Day is confident that the dog pound renovation could be done in four months, the county will give the winning contractor five months to do the work. That’s in hopes of drawing in more bidders because the project terms would give them more flexibility to juggle that job with others.

“Everyone’s moving dirt. Everyone’s building things. It’s very tight,” Luther said.

Ford said he doesn’t anticipate the lower number of bidders will be a long-term issue, and he expects more contractors, including Beaver, will be seeking to line up work for the fall and winter.

“I really think this was more of a glitch than any type of ongoing scenario,” he said.

Bankrupt FirstEnergy Solutions plans to sell $140 million of retail and wholesale contracts to Exelon Generation Co.

The deal, initially agreed upon Monday, is part of FirstEnergy Solution’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court and is subject to court approval.

According to a federal regulatory filing from Exelon, FirstEnergy Solutions will assign all of its retail electricity and wholesale load serving contracts and other related commodity contracts to Exelon Generation for a $140 million cash purchase price.

The process calls for the assets to be put up for a proposed auction on Sept. 6, according to a court filing.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, according to Exelon’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The deal can be terminated by either party if it is not consummated by Dec. 31.

Exelon was the winner out of 19 businesses looking to buy the electricity contracts, according to bankruptcy court documents. Exelon Generation was one of two finalists and, under bankruptcy code language, is known as the stalking horse purchaser.

FirstEnergy Solutions is the unregulated generation arm of Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 31.

The bankruptcy filing is part of FirstEnergy’s plans to become a fully regulated electric utility. FirstEnergy and its distribution, transmission, regulated generation and Allegheny Energy Supply subsidiaries are not part of the filing.

Reporter Jim Mackinnon covers business and county government. He can be reached at 330-996-3544 or [email protected]. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or

FirstEnergy Corp. has offered buyouts to nearly 600 support staff members, including more than 200 who work in the Akron area.

About 100 of these Akron area employees work in the corporation’s downtown Akron headquarters on South Main Street.

The company will know after Monday how many of the nearly 600 employees have accepted the buyout offer.

FirstEnergy offered the buyouts earlier this month.

The employees all work for a subsidiary, created in 2001, called FirstEnergy Support Services Co. — which oversees human resources, information technology and communications for the parent corporation’s divisions.

Prompting the buyout offer — called an “enhanced retirement program” by the company — was FirstEnergy’s decision to exit its competitive businesses, including its coal-fired plants and nuclear power plants, and become a fully regulated utility again.

FirstEnergy Solutions, the subsidiary that owns the power plants, and FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co. have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

FirstEnergy Solutions cited costly environmental requirements, weak electricity demand and strong competition from cheap, fracked natural gas and renewable energy sources as reasons for needing to reorganize under Chapter 11.

“We’re going to become a regulated only company,” FirstEnergy spokeswoman Diane Francis said Thursday. “We need fewer support staff to support regulated-only operations.”

Personnel such as line workers, meter readers and customer service workers were not among employees eligible for the buyout.

Francis said most of the 600 eligible employees work in either the Akron area or in Pennsylvania, where FirstEnergy owns utilities.

Workers offered buyouts in the Akron area include the roughly 100 in downtown Akron as well as about 130 who work at FirstEnergy’s White Pond Drive location in West Akron and other facilities.

Total FirstEnergy employment at the downtown Akron office tower is about 1,000; workers occupy all of the South Main Street building. FirstEnergy employs about 550 at the White Pond site.

Employees had until 5 p.m. Wednesday to accept buyouts, but those who waited until the last minute to accept have until 5 p.m. Monday to change their minds.

The employees offered buyouts are nonunion workers with at least 10 years of service and who are at least 58 years old.

They were eligible for lump-sum payments based on base pay and their years of service, as well as health benefits and prescription coverage also tied to their years of service.

Also included in the severance package: a $1,500 monthly payment for at least 24 months or until the employee reaches the age of 65. FirstEnergy Support Services’ employment totals about 2,400, Francis said.

Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or [email protected].

RPM International Inc. is reviewing its business with a large activist hedge fund and expanding its board of directors with two representatives nominated by the fund.

The Medina specialty coatings, adhesives and building materials company said as part of the review it is creating an operating improvement committee made up of four board members, including the two new appointees.

The moves, announced Thursday, are intended to “bolster operational and financial improvement and enhance shareholder value,” RPM said in a news release.

“These initiatives follow constructive dialogue and collaboration with Elliott Management Corp. and entry into an associated cooperation agreement between RPM and affiliates of Elliott,” the company said.

Elliott Management Corp. is a New York-based hedge fund with about $34 billion in assets under management. Fortune magazine last year called Elliott, which was founded in 1977, the world’s largest, most successful activist hedge fund.

Elliott first approached RPM months ago about making changes to the business to improve shareholder return, said Barry Slifstein, RPM’s vice president of investor relations.

“It’s been a pretty constructive conversation,” Sliftsein said. “They came to the table with some ideas. We came to common ground on a number of them.”

Elliott Management likely owns stock in RPM, Slifstein said. As of the latest available regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the firm was not listed among the company’s largest shareholders.

Plans for change

RPM’s board and senior executives had been having their own internal discussions on making changes before being contacted by Elliott Management, Slifstein said.

The company had performed well from 2010 to 2016 and then “we hit a wall in ’17,” Slifstein said. “The stock moved sideways.”

RPM management response so far has included cuts, evaluating facilities and tightening selling, general and administrative costs, he said.

“We started to make some changes because we weren’t happy,” Slifstein said. With Elliott involved now, there’s more of a sense of urgency in making change, he said.

RPM stock rose on Thursday’s news. Shares rose $4.77, or 8.9 percent, to $58.09. Shares have traded from a low of $46.36 to a high of $60.53 over the last 52 weeks.

RPM said it hired AlixPartners LLP, an outside management consulting firm, to work with the new committee and management on the review.

RPM said it expects to provide a comprehensive update on the initiatives “as promptly as practicable” but no later than Nov. 30.

The two new board members are Kirkland B. Andrews and John M. Ballbach; their addition brings the board to 14 members.

Andrews is chief financial officer of NRG Energy Inc. He helped NRB with a financial transformation and also has 15 years investment banking experience.

Ballbach was an operating advisor from 2014 to 2017 with Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, a private equity investment firm. He also was chairman and director for Solenis, a specialty chemicals manufacturer. He was a director at Valspar from 2012 until the company was sold to Sherwin-Williams in 2017.

Cost-cutting strategy

RPM has been making progress in reducing expenses and making other improvements, Frank Sullivan, RPM chairman and chief executive officer, said in a news release.

“The initiatives announced today position us to progress significantly on these plans,” he said. “Both Kirk and John add new perspectives and proven operational track records to our board, and we look forward to benefitting from their expertise and experience as we take action to drive operational efficiencies, long-term performance, and value creation.”

In the company’s third-quarter earnings conference call with analysts in April, Sullivan said RPM was at the beginning stages of an operational improvement process that started in 2017. At that time, he said RPM was planning to realign businesses and consolidate business systems where appropriate.

For the first nine months of its 2018 fiscal year, RPM International reported net income of $252.1 million on revenue of $3.76 billion. That compares to net income of $53.8 million on revenue of $3.47 billion for the same period the previous year.

Jeff Rosenbaum, portfolio manager at Elliott Management, said in the release that the fund has worked constructively with RPM.

“RPM has an outstanding collection of leading brands and we believe the company has significant potential for further operating, financial, and balance sheet improvements,” he said.

Reporter Jim Mackinnon covers business and county government. He can be reached at 330-996-3544 or [email protected]. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or

COLUMBUS: J.M. Smucker and Columbus-based tech incubator Rev1 have become partners in an effort to boost food and agriculture startups.

Smuckers, based in Orrville, has contracted with Rev1 to help the 120-year-old company gain access to cutting-edge innovators and give young entrepreneurs the resources and experience of a big packaged-goods company.

“It’s really an exciting partnership,” said Tom Walker, CEO of Rev1. “It is a way to drive additional innovation in the region and hopefully bring food and agriculture tech [startups] to Columbus.”

Ohio has a robust food-manufacturing base and a large agricultural sector. Rev1 hopes that its reputation for helping to boost tech startups, married to Smucker’s success in making and marketing foods, will create more opportunities for food innovation in Ohio.

“We think Ohio and the Midwest have the potential to be the leader,” Walker said. “It is a huge growth market in the U.S.”

Smucker’s brands, beyond its eponymous jellies and jams, include Jif, Folgers, Meow Mix, Crisco and Milk-Bone. It is looking for startups in specific areas related to food and agriculture, including snack foods, supply chain and processing technology.

“By tapping into Rev1’s extensive network of entrepreneurs, we can gain access to and more easily adopt technologies for our operations and products,” Tina Floyd, vice president of consumer foods at Smuckers, said in a press release, “while also driving startup success in our backyard.”

Summa Health’s new West Tower on its Akron City Hospital campus is taking significant shape overlooking the state Route 8 and East Market Street corridor near downtown Akron.

The $220 million, seven-story building — which will also become the health system’s new front door — is the centerpiece of the $270 million first part of a two-phase project over the next six or seven years. Other Phase 1 projects include a makeover at Barberton Hospital’s campus and a new proposed medical office in Kent. Phase 2 will include renovations to the departments moving to the new building, making upgrades and creating single-patient rooms, said Ed Friedl, Summa vice president of construction and property management. The overall project is expected to cost $350 million.

Dr. Cliff Deveny, Summa interim president and CEO, has described the rise of the new tower as a metaphor for “the rebirth of Summa Health System,” which has had a tumultuous year and a half after abrupt changes to its emergency room staffing, ousting of its former CEO and subsequent loss of its emergency medicine residency program.

The tower was designed by Hasenstab Architects and Perspectus Architecture.

When the new 343,000-square-foot space is complete by next summer, the tower will feature private patient rooms; expanded surgery suites; two floors dedicated to labor and delivery services; a breast center; a multipurpose conference center and two floors of private medical surgery patient rooms.

The building’s “front door” will move from Arch Street to Forge Street.

Drivers will be able to drop off patients or their cars on a circular loop — which runs off North Forge at North Adolph — for access to the new main hospital entrance, the emergency room or the North Adolph parking deck. That will become the hospital’s main parking deck, although all other hospital decks and the current “main entrance” to the hospital on Arch Street will remain open, Friedl said. There is no parking directly at the front door, although there will be valet services, he said.

Creating a new and distinct front door is needed, Friedl said.

“If you said ‘Go to the main entrance’ and didn’t know Akron, where would you go?” Friedl asked. “If you Google it, it takes you to the center of the hospital.”

Once the structure is complete, patients will be able to see and access the main entrance from state Route 8 with easy signage, he said.

Night view

A distinguishing feature on the new building will be a back-lit screen wall facing Route 8, which will be able to glow in the evening. Friedl said the color will mostly be white, though he’s already fielded questions about other colors.

“It’ll be a beacon of light when you go up and down Route 8,” he said.

The exterior front of the new tower will be a modern style, featuring mainly glass and textured gray metal panels. The back of the facility will blend the hospital’s past with the future, using some terra-cotta brick that is seen on many of the existing older buildings on the City Hospital campus.

A covered entrance will protect the visitors from rain and snow. Inside the front door, patients will find a two-story atrium with a grand staircase, reception desk and a long, connecting curved corridor that mimics the curve of the building’s exterior. Pre-admission testing, Summa’s breast health center and a gift shop will also be based on the same level, which Summa refers to as its ground floor.

Bridges will connect the new West Tower to the old campus and from the Adolph parking deck.

The construction, which began in May 2017, also incorporates more than $100 million in local trade labor, including $70 million for the West Tower project, Friedl said.

The new tower includes an increase by 30 percent for facilities dedicated to expectant mothers, labor and delivery and postpartum care, Friedl said. That’s because when women are in the hospital to have a baby, it’s one of the happiest times a person wants to be at the hospital. The hospital is also expecting a 30 percent growth in this area, he said.

“The mother also often makes decisions on which facility to go to, so once they’re here, they often will stay here” for future services, he said.

Floor plan

Here is what will be on the floors of the West Tower:

• Ground floor/Street level: Registration, Women’s Breast Center (moving from Hamlin Pavilion with all new imaging equipment, such as MRI and mammogram machines), pre-admission testing, Aladdin’s Restaurant, relocated gift shop, conference center and art gallery.

• First floor: Same-day surgery and expansion of existing general surgery area by eight new operating rooms.

• Second floor: Labor and delivery, including 18 labor and delivery rooms (four rooms with birthing tubs, up from one now); nine ante-partum rooms (for high-risk pregnancies before labor); 10 triage rooms; three C-section rooms and a 24-bed neonatal intensive care.

• Third floor: Mechanical floor — heating and cooling equipment, generators.

• Fourth floor: 36 new mother/baby in-patient rooms, along with a newborn nursery.

• Fifth and sixth floors: Each floor will have 36 private patient medical surgery rooms.

Medical writer Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or [email protected]. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or and see all her stories at

It happened in Ohio, New York, Iowa, Arkansas, New Jersey and possibly other states. Pharmacy middleman CVS Caremark suddenly cut the reimbursements it paid community pharmacies for drugs, some of them far below pharmacists’ costs for potentially lifesaving medications.

Each of the cuts happened late last year or early this year — all within a few months of when CVS Health announced a merger with health insurer Aetna.

In a Columbus Dispatch review of data collected from 40 pharmacies, the numbers back up what lawmakers and critics said happened in the fourth quarter of 2017: CVS Caremark sharply reduced payments to pharmacies.

In the first quarter of 2017, CVS Caremark received $370,000 in taxpayer dollars from those transactions. In the fourth quarter of the same year, CVS Caremark’s portion was $522,000, according to the data. The data represent less than 1 percent of the $3 billion Medicaid paid for prescriptions in 2017. CVS Caremark handles the prescriptions for four of the state’s five managed care plans.

CVS Health, parent company of both CVS Caremark and CVS Pharmacy, reported a net revenue of $34.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to its website. That is a $3 billion increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2016.

Timing questioned

Some pharmacists question the timing of the reimbursement reductions and say they think it was no coincidence. They question whether CVS Caremark used that spending reduction to help raise $70 billion to merge with Aetna and create a health conglomerate that would include CVS Caremark, the nation’s No. 2 pharmacy-benefit manager; Aetna, the No. 3 health insurer; and CVS Pharmacy, the nation’s largest retail pharmacy chain.

“Dramatically, within days [of the merger announcement], reimbursements for many mental health generics dropped through the floor; below anyone’s ability to buy the product and provide it to the patient,” New York Assemblyman John T. McDonald III said in a legislative hearing this month.

CVS officials say emphatically that there was no relationship between the reimbursement cuts and the proposed merger.

“That’s absolutely not true,” Mike DeAngelis, CVS senior director of corporate communication, said Tuesday when asked about questions raised by some pharmacists and lawmakers.

Last fall, CVS Caremark cut so deeply the reimbursements for Suboxone, an important drug in the fight against Ohio’s opioid epidemic, that some pharmacists said they were forced to stop stocking it. The Ohio Department of Medicaid intervened with CVS officials, and the company quickly increased reimbursements.

Ohio Medicaid Director Barbara Sears on Wednesday said that along with Suboxone, her department received complaints about big cuts in reimbursements for hundreds of other drugs.

At the same time, CVS was sending letters to pharmacies citing their likely financial woes stemming from declining reimbursements and offering to buy out its retail competitors.

Complaints dismissed

Complaints also came to the Ohio Department of Insurance, which provides some oversight of the actions of pharmacy benefit managers — companies that negotiate prices with drug companies, help decide which medications are covered by health insurance plans and set reimbursement rates to pharmacies.

The department received 40 complaints about CVS Caremark from independent and large-chain pharmacists in 2017, according to state records.

Of those, 35 were filed in the fourth quarter. In all but two instances, the state sided with CVS Caremark in the dispute.

Department of Insurance officials say they are enforcing the law as written, and the statute doesn’t allow them to address pharmacy benefit manager reimbursements.

“Our authority with respect to PBMs is very narrow, and we cannot take action if there is no violation of the law,” said Chris Brock, spokesman for the insurance department.

In two instances, the complaints were referred to the Ohio Department of Medicaid.

“CVS Caremark just seems to make up their own price,” said Joel Wolfe, a pharmacist for Dave’s Pharmacy in Cleveland, in his complaint. “When you call CVS Caremark … no one will tell you what is going on.”

One of Wolfe’s complaints was for the generic version of Suboxone.

“On 10/30/2017 we were paid $18.88. On 9/30/2017 we were paid $23.50 and on 10/31/2017 were paid $5.09,” Wolfe wrote.

Mimi Hart, owner of Hart Pharmacy in Cincinnati, said CVS Caremark drastically cut the price of the generic for Antivert, an antihistamine used to treat motion sickness and dizziness. Hart said CVS Caremark paid her 54 cents per pill, when the cheapest she should find it from a wholesaler or manufacturer was 95 cents.

Other pharmacies complained of similarly large price swings for drugs that treat incontinence, seizures, ulcers and mental health.

“Wake up, legislators,” said Rick Marlin, a pharmacist for 46 years and director of pharmacy for Allen’s Pharmacy in Youngstown. “PBMs are doing whatever they want, whenever they want.”

CVS Caremark’s response to pharmacists’ complaints often was that the drug could be purchased at the lower price from drug wholesalers McKesson or Cardinal Health. The state accepted that argument when telling pharmacists why they agreed with CVS Caremark.

“What the state doesn’t seem to understand is that there are three major wholesalers, and normally a pharmacy only contracts with one of those three,” Marlin said. “So you can’t buy from the other ones, and we check with our colleagues that do have contracts with those other wholesales and they say there’s no way I can buy it at that price either.”

Contact Marty Schladen at [email protected]

Goodyear’s first female chief financial officer, Laura K. Thompson, said she will retire in the first quarter of 2019 after 35 years with the Akron tire maker.

Thompson is the company’s highest-ranking female executive. She joined Goodyear in 1983 and over the years worked in a wide range of finance and business roles of increasing responsibility. She was promoted to executive vice president and CFO in 2013 at age 49.

Thompson is an Akron native whose father and grandfather worked for Goodyear.

Prior to becoming chief financial officer, Thompson played a key role in the turnaround of Goodyear’s North America business as vice president of finance, the company said. She also led business development and investor relations for the company.

In 2007, Thompson took over development oversight of the Goodyear headquarters project on Innovation Way and also was involved in the redevelopment of the former Goodyear campus, now called the East End.

She was named an officer of the corporation in 2008.

“As I look ahead to marking 35 years with Goodyear in the coming months, I have given this decision a great deal of thought and concluded that the time is right for me to take this step,” Thompson said. “I’m grateful to have had such a long and fulfilling career at this great company and I’m confident that we have the right strategy and team to drive our business forward.”

Thompson has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an MBA, both from the University of Akron.

The company said it has started a search for Thompson’s successor.

Goodyear Chairman, Chief Executive and President Richard J. Kramer said the company expressed its sincere gratitude to Thompson for her leadership throughout her career.

“Our entire company, from our business units to our finance teams, has benefited from her substantial contributions to making Goodyear a strong competitor in our industry,” Kramer said. “Laura has left an indelible mark on our company and everyone she has worked with in her time at Goodyear.”

Goodyear in 2017 earned $346 million on revenue of $15.4 billion. The company has about 64,000 employees around the globe.