Editorial: Chamber Scores with ‘Victory for the Valley’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber and its business partners in this week’s “Victory for the Valley” campaign deserve praise for seizing the opportunity presented by the Republican National Convention and capitalizing on it.

Using the GOP convention as a marketing hook, the chamber sought to bring site consultants – the professionals that businesses engage to scout locations for new businesses and expansions – to the Mahoning Valley.

In addition to familiarization tours of the area, chamber officials took the site selectors to Cleveland for events associated with the convention (READ STORY).

The chamber’s efforts were funded by the Mahoning Valley’s business community, and 75 executives with member companies rode buses the organization chartered for a trip to Cleveland Tuesday that included networking and  luncheon at the Calfee Building downtown, free time to browse convention sites and the reception that afternoon for Gov. John Kasich.



The chamber and its partners also created a clever attention-getting device that showcased advanced manufacturing in the Mahoning Valley, in particular its federal designation four years ago as a manufacturing hub focused on additive manufacturing.

The 300-pound, 3-D-printed bobblehead of Donald J. Trump drew delegates and convention visitors to the Alliance of American Manufacturers tent outside the Quicken Loans Arena. Some just wanted to have their pictures taken with the faux Trump and many were business leaders who wanted to learn more about 3-D printing technology from those who greeted them — representatives of Youngstown State University, Freshmade 3D and Humtown Industries, who collaborated on producing bobblehead. But it also drew attention from members of the international press looking for a counter to the Rust Belt narrative typically attached to our business community.

“It was a grand slam for our community,” Guy Coviello, vice president of government affairs for the regional chamber, said. “The return on investment over time is going to be far above what we put out to do it.”

Coviello’s colleague, Sarah Boyarko, senior vice president of economic development, agreed. The site consultants were pleased to be exposed to the local business community and to participate in the “unique experience” of the GOP convention in addition to learning more about the Valley, potential sites and other local assets. “Overall it was a big success,” she said, and leads already are developing.

One point that must be made is the chamber’s effort aimed to capitalize on proximity, not ideology.

“If Hillary Rodham Clinton were here and the Democratic National Convention was here, we’d be here,” said Tom Humphries, president and CEO of the chamber. “It’s an opportunity to showcase us and our community, and that’s really what we focused on and what we’re doing.”

When the chamber unveiled the prototype of the Trump bobblehead, officials also announced plans to build a Hillary Clinton bobblehead using 3-D printing

Plans were for both bobbleheads to be displayed at the Sept. 26 general election debate that was to take place at Wright State University in Dayton. But Wright State announced July 19 that it decided against hosting the debate because of “mounting costs and security concerns.”

Given the chamber’s creativity in conceiving and carrying out its “Victory for the Valley” campaign, we’re confident that a Plan B will emerge and the Trump and Clinton bobbleheads will be displayed in a venue that will attract favorable attention to the region.

To the chamber and its partners, we say, take a well-deserved bow.

Chamber Capitalizes on Republican National Convention

‘3 Minutes With’ Tom Humphries, CEO of the Regional Chamber


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