Government

Brown Outlines Efforts to Draw New Business

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Mayor Jamael Tito Brown is assembling an economic advisory team to help his administration attract new business to Youngstown.

In addressing the Rotary Club of Youngstown Wednesday, the mayor related the insights his administration gained during its first two months and of initiatives he wants to take.

The economic advisory team is a concept he touched upon last year during his campaign for mayor, Brown said.

“I’m smart enough to know what I don’t know,” he said. The economic “think tank” he is assembling will be diverse, Brown said, and consist of representatives of small and large companies, organized labor and the public sector. “I want expertise in certain areas,” he said, such as finance and legal issues.

One function the team will be charged with is to encourage businesses to come to the city by providing testimonials of businesses here about the success they have enjoyed.

Among them is Mitchell Joseph, chairman and CEO of Joseph Company International, which is developing a $20 million chill-can manufacturing and research campus on the East Side. “He’s looking to help me attract other business owners to come into the city as well,” he said.

Brown also said the challenge of “food deserts,” remains, or the absence of full-service grocery stores in the city, and he is studying whether that problem is best solved with a central grocery store or an alternative.

One thing he learned at the U.S. Conference of Mayors is that all of the nation’s mayors face many of the same problems, Brown said.

The difference between a good mayor and a great mayor is that a good mayor knows what the problems are, Brown said. A great mayor finds solutions.

The mayor of Youngstown has learned not only to talk to his fellow mayors about their successes, he said, but their failures and the lessons they took away.

The issues Youngstown faces center on its budget, which faces more than $2.5 million in expenses above revenues. “We have to figure out how we’re spending money, if we’re spending it appropriately,” he said.

Brown stressed the need to build relationships with the communities that surround Youngstown. The mayors of Campbell and Girard have offered him advice, he said, and he has met with officials from the townships that abut Youngstown.

“At the end of the day, this is our Valley. This is our community,” he stated.

The mayor noted the Rotary’s contributions to the city, including its involvement with Harding Elementary School and the pavilion reconstruction project at Wick Park. “I ask that you help me build our city through your service projects, through your professional positions,” he said.

Afterward, Rotarian Scott Schulick, a vice president/investments at Stifel Financial Corp., said Brown provided “a realistic and enthusiastic projection” for his goals as mayor and for the city’s progress. He praised Brown’s plans for his economic advisory team and to pursue partnerships with surrounding communities.

“There’s no doubt that if we’re going to move business and the economy forward in Youngtown that we need a team of experts, and we need to be partners with the adjacent communities so that we move our whole area forward,” Schulick said. “What happens in the city affects the suburbs, and vice versa.”

Pictured at top: Mayor Jamael Tito Brown addresses the Youngstown Rotary Club during its meeting Wednesday at the YMCA Central Branch downtown.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.