Awards & Events

RNC Concludes 10-Year Journey for Valley Native

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Bringing the Republican National Convention to Cleveland represented the culmination of a decade-long effort, says a Boardman native involved with helping lure the event to the city.

Jon Pinney, managing partner with the Cleveland law firm Kohrman, Jackson & Krantz, served as counsel, secretary and treasurer of the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee and drafted the bid that resulted in the Republican National Committee selecting Cleveland for its 2016 nominating convention, which concluded Thursday.

For Pinney, a 1993 graduate of Cardinal Mooney High School, the road to this week’s convention began in 2006, when Mayor Frank Jackson asked his firm to work on a bid for the 2008 convention. Although that bid was unsuccessful, they learned from the process, and applied those lessons in the also unsuccessful effort to land one of the 2012 conventions.

The firm was asked to take a more active role in preparing the bid for one of this year’s conventions, and the RNC selectors chose Cleveland.

The primary reason the city pursued the convention wasn’t for the economic impact, he said.

“The community really wanted it,” Pinney said. “We were very cognizant that the city had a very mixed reputation nationally and globally.” The city put a lot of money into rebuilding and wanted to showcase those improvements at what the Boardman native described as “the second-largest media event in the world” for the visitors including global media outlets covering the event.

“It’s just a great opportunity to showcase the city to the world,” he said.

This week, Pinney was responsible for legal affairs during the convention.

“As you can imagine, when you have several hundreds contrasts a lot of things can come up,” he said. For the most part, it’s been extremely smooth.” He acknowledged security was heightened but praised local police as well as the Department of Homeland Security for their efforts.

“The transportation plan worked to perfection” and Quicken Loans Arena, the site of the convention, looked “amazing,” he continued. “We’ve had minimal complaints from all of our guests.”

The success of Cleveland’s efforts won’t be judged solely in terms of economic impact but rather on how the city is perceived globally – not just in the short term but also over five or 10 years. The impact on the city’s worldwide image and brand value will be as relevant as any measure of economic impact.

“This was never a short-term strategy,” he remarked. “This truly is a strategy designed to improve the region’s and the city’s image across the world. It was really an opportunity to introduce a brand-new city of Cleveland to the world’s media.”

Pictured: Jon Pinney, Fox News Channel Host Megan Kelly and Pinney’s wife, Amanda.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.