Economic Development

Board to Interview 2 Finalists to Lead WRPA

VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Ohio – The Western Reserve Port Authority Board of Directors will hold a special meeting next Wednesday to interview the two finalists for executive director as part of a staff reorganization, the chairman of the committee conducting the search said yesterday.

Neither finalist was identified.

The committee has interviewed seven candidates after an eighth dropped out.

Following the closed-door session, David Mosure, chairman of the strategic plan committee, informed reporters that the board had narrowed its search to two, both of whom would be interviewed next week. He declined to identify them, saying only both would attend the meeting.

“We’re looking at a reorganization of the staff and two of the candidates are going to fit that role really well for us,” he said.

“We’re moving in the right direction, with [WRPA Chairman Ron Klingle’s] leadership and the board,” he said. “We’re looking to do some things that are going to set us for the future so the board doesn’t have to be so involved.”

He demurred when asked whether the port authority could hire both candidates as part of the reorganization he mentioned. “We’ll have your full story after the meeting next week,” he said.

Among the seven interviewed was John Moliterno, who has served as interim executive director since last September. Following yesterday’s meeting, he declined to say whether he is one of the finalists. “It would be unfair to make any comments on the process,” he remarked.

During the meeting, Sarah Lown, senior manager for economic development, reported on the staff and economic development committee’s visit to Toledo where they met last week with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.

“It was a wonderful trip and I think we learned a lot,” Lown said. The Toledo port authority has been involved with economic development nearly 30 years, as opposed to five for Western Reserve.

In those three decades, the port authority in Toledo has mastered “the whole spectrum,“ she said, from lending to small businesses to financing large projects as well as opening and operating facilities that created jobs in Greater Toledo, she said.

“I’d love to see us get to that point and I think we’re well on the way,’ she remarked.

WRPA could partner with Toledo on its bond fund, something it lacks.

“They have a $30 million bond fund and we’re looking to tap into that,” Mosure said.

“That bond fund is rated A-, which is the highest rating of any port in the state of Ohio, so we’re talking about doing some things with them,” Moliterno said. Partnering with Toledo on its bond fund could allow the Western Reserve Port Authority to “move into that arena much more quickly than we could on our own,” he said.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.