Chamber Unveils Hillary Bobblehead, Salutes 5

BOARDMAN, Ohio – After a long buildup this morning at its annual Salute to Business Breakfast, the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber at last unveiled a life-sized bobblehead of Hillary Clinton.

Her 3-D likeness stood five feet from the previously and often unveiled bobblehead of Donald Trump. It’s likely their human counterparts won’t stand this close together until Sept. 26, when the Democratic and Republican nominees meet again at the first presidential debate at Hofstra University.

After the campaign ends Nov. 8, the bobbleheads will be displayed at the Butler Institute of American Art, Guy Coviello, chamber vice president for government affairs, said.

Recognized for their contributions to the economic vitality and social well-being of the Mahoning Valley were Ron Klingle, Arno Hill, Bob Hannon, Erin Mellinger and Mark Cole.

Klingle, chairman and CEO of Avalon Holdings Corp., Howland, was honored as “Business Professional of the Year”; Hill, mayor of Lordstown, as “Business Advocate of the Year”; Hannon, president of United Way of Youngstown and Mahoning Valley, “Nonprofit Professional of the Year”; Mellinger, owner of Fitness Together, as “Entrepreneur of the Year”; and Cole, owner of the Mark Cole Agency of American National Insurance Co., “Small-Business Professional of the Year.”

Klingle was cited for “turning the Avalon Inn into a world-class business destination,” and recognized in his role as chairman of the board of the Western Reserve Port Authority. Avalon Holdings has acquired and improved former country clubs and their golf courses in Trumbull and Mercer counties.

So when asked about his golf game in the brief film clip that introduced him, Klingle responded, “I’m a horrible golfer. I have a 25-handicap and even that isn’t enough.”

In his live response, he continued in a self-deprecatory vein, downplaying his accomplishments and giving the credit to his staff,

When he entered business, Klingle concluded, the future of the Mahoning Valley looked bleak. Today, “it’s bright. We’re a different community now than we were 35 years ago.”

Hill followed suit in his remarks, crediting his family, village officials and the school district for working with him during his 15 years as mayor.

He has worked to establish and sustain good relations with all stakeholders,

During service in village government, Lordstown has seen $1.2 billion in investment and added 1,000 jobs, the chamber said.

Most employed in Lordstown live elsewhere but that is changing, leading the mayor to say the next challenge his village faces is “the need for more housing because of this growth.”

Hannon, who became president of United Way in 2008, praised his staff and his board for their involvement in his agency’s focus on helping “children in crisis.”

The agency continues to fund social services agencies and Hannon has led successful annual campaigns. Getting volunteers to give their time as well as their money – such as during the Day of Caring Friday – reflects “a winning culture” and his goal is to work with all Youngstown city schools.

Mellinger, who started Fitness Together with three employees in 2008, has seen it grow to four centers and 24 employees. They provide 2,000 personal training sessions a month, the chamber said.

The people, including her parents and staff, “who believed in me,” made her success possible, she said, and her goal is to “keep opening more centers” and make Valley residents more aware of what they can do to stay healthy or adopt a healthful regimen.

Remembering the personal aspect of business allowed Cole to increase business at his agency in Austintown, he said. In 2015, American National named him agent of the year in Ohio and said his agency ranked fourth in sales in the United States

He has been deeply involved in the civic life of the township, serving as president of the Austintown Rotary, and active in Business Network International.

Pictured: Avalon Inn owner Ron Klingle, Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill, United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley President Bob Hannon, Fitness Together founder Erin Mellinger and Mark Cole Agency founder Mark Cole were presented with awards at the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber’s annual Salute to Business.

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