Backlash at YSU; Discussion on Cybersecurity

The Youngstown State University Board of Trustees’ decision last week to offer a contract to U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson to serve as the next president of the university was met with immediate criticism.

This week, the backlash ramped up. Five YSU alumni sent an email Monday to those who signed a petition opposing Johnson’s selection. They said the campus community would fight the selection and urged supporters to withhold financial support.

The YSU Foundation issued a statement Tuesday, saying it would have preferred “a more inclusive [YSU presidential search] process that represented the university’s students, faculty, and staff, along with its donor base, supporters, and alumni.” On Wednesday, we learned that Ed Muransky, founder and chairman of Muransky Companies, resigned as chairman of the foundation.

On Tuesday, Bruce Zoldan, whose family donated $5 million for a new student center at YSU, said he is considering not having his family name on the building.

Johnson was on campus Thursday and said he met with deans, faculty members, students, union leadership and others. “I’m going to go about doing the job and, hopefully, people that believe in this university will look past the fog and friction that’s been created by the hair on fire that’s going on right now,” he said. “If they sit down and talk with me, I hope I can change their mind. I would be willing to talk to anybody and everybody.”

In this week’s “Byline Breakdown” episode, The Business Journal’s Mike Moliterno, chief operating officer, and reporter Denise Dick discussed the YSU presidential search process.

Also this week, we previewed the next Business Journal Roundtable Series discussion, which focuses on cybersecurity. The full discussion will be published in The Business Journal’s December print edition.

Here’s a look at those stories and other top stories this week from

Zoldan Considers Pulling Name from New YSU Center

Bruce Zoldan, president and CEO of Phantom Fireworks.

Businessman Bruce Zoldan, whose family donated $5 million for a new student center at Youngstown State University, is considering not having his family’s name on the building because of how trustees selected the university’s new president.

Zoldan said he hasn’t made any “nuclear” decisions regarding the center and he doesn’t plan to ask for his donation to be returned. But he may ask that the money be used for student scholarships instead of the center bearing his family’s name. READ

Valley Experts Discuss Cybersecurity Threats, Precautions

From left are David Daichendt, Mercy Komar, Ralph Blanco, Michael Edwards and Robert Merva.

Nothing will prevent 100% of cybersecurity threats, but contracting with an IT company, training employees, updating software and equipment and maintaining cybersecurity insurance provides safeguards.

That’s the message from a panel of experts assembled Nov. 14 at Courtyard by Marriott for a Business Journal Roundtable Series discussion on cybersecurity. READ

Historical Society Unveils $10M Campaign, Plans for IBM Building

Bill Lawson, MVHS’s executive director, and Scott Schulick, chairman of the historical society’s board of directors.

Improvements to the former IBM Building in Youngstown, recently acquired by the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, will be the keystone of a capital fundraising campaign MVHS leaders announced Tuesday.

Bill Lawson, MVHS’s executive director, and Scott Schulick, chairman of the historical society’s board of directors, shared details of the campaign and plans for the building. READ

Commission Extends Eastern Gateway’s Probation

The Higher Learning Commission extended Eastern Gateway Community College’s probation, citing among the reasons an “unrealistic” fiscal year 2023 budget, ongoing litigation and a federal review that hasn’t been finalized.

The commission will visit the campus in spring 2024 and determine the college’s status in November 2024. John Crooks, Eastern Gateway interim president, said at a Nov. 15 board of trustees meeting that the college is “moving in the correct direction.” READ

Alexander Concrete Coats Path to Success

Alexander Concrete Coatings co-owners Sam Frazzin, Lisa Cardona, Michael Cardona and Carl Alexander.

Since 2018, Alexander Concrete Coatings has been solidifying its reputation as a reliable provider of premium floor coatings.

Founded by Carl Alexander, alongside partners Michael and Lisa Cardona, and Sam Frazzin, the company has experienced a significant growth trajectory, expanding its operations from 48 jobs in its first year to 181 in 2019.

“It was a huge challenge starting off with people not knowing what this is,” Lisa says, referring to the coating the company sells and installs. READ

Other Top Stories

Johnson Says He’s ‘Looking to Make a Difference’ at YSU
Muransky Resigns as Chairman of YSU Foundation
YSU Foundation Shares Concerns about Presidential Search
Alumni Urge Withholding of Financial Support for YSU
Commissioners Allocate $1M for Economic Development Initiative
Accounting Educators Address Fewer Students in the Discipline
Businesses Will Need Their Accountants More Next Year
Early Innovators Academy Opens Pathways
Middle School Students Get Exposure to Manufacturing
Graduates of Flying High Programs Make the Grade
ODNR Issues 16 Permits for New Columbiana County Wells
Shop Local: Family Atmosphere at Health Food Center
Shop Local: Family is Instrumental for Hubbard Music
Shop Local: Consignment Shop is a Good Fit for Working Women
Shop Local: Comic Book Shop Appeals to Young and Old
Candace Campana Releases 4-Song Christmas EP
Youngstown Native in ‘The Color Purple’ Sets Screening Event
Commentary: Business Imitating Valley Company Should Repay Loan
Commentary: TY – Remembering Key Ingredients to Recipe for Life
Entry Price Matters | The Investors Edge


Students Get a Glimpse at STEM Careers
From Polka Hall of Fame to Giving Tuesday: Stories of Achievement and Philanthropy
A Look at the Chevy Blazer EV
Flashback Minis: The Development of Women’s Sports at YSU
MVHS to Begin $10M Fundraising Campaign
Educational Innovation Meets Industry Demand
Flashback Minis: Arms Family Silver Collectables
Farmers National Bank Teams Up with Salvation Army
Holiday Shopping Events and Ideas for this Weekend

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