Port Authority Retains Officers Ahead of Leadership Change

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The Western Reserve Port Authority’s board of directors retained its current leadership at its meeting Wednesday.

Board members – including the newest member, Heidi Brown of Vienna Township – elected Marty Loney, business manager of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 396 and president of the Western Reserve Building and Construction Trades Council, as chairman. 

They also voted to retain Sam Covelli, owner and CEO of Warren-based Covelli Enterprises, as vice-chairman and Rich Edwards, owner of “R” Ski Ranch in Austintown, as secretary. All three have held their respective posts since 2017. 

“We’re moving along pretty good,” said Loney, who joined the WRPA board in January 2014. “The board has enough faith in what we’ve been doing the last few years to continue.”   

Part of the rationale behind keeping the existing officers in their roles is the upcoming leadership transition, CEO John Moliterno said. Moliterno is stepping down next month, to be succeeded by Anthony Trevena, the port authority’s chief operating officer. 

Board members “didn’t want a whole lot of change if they could help it,” Moliterno said.     

Loney succeeded Ron Klingle, chairman and CEO of Avalon Holdings Corp. in Howland, as chairman of the port authority. 

Klingle joined the board in 2014 and took over as chairman that spring upon the resignation of then-chairman James Floyd. He has not been reappointed to the board by Trumbull County commissioners for another four-year term. 

Klingle brought significant expertise to the port authority, including on projects such as the former BDM Steel property, which the port authority recently acquired and plans to redevelop, Loney said. He has not been in contact with Trumbull commissioners regarding why Klingle wasn’t reappointed.    

During the meeting, the board approved two resolutions. One authorized the port authority to apply for a $500,000 brownfield remediation grant to remediate portions of the Castlo Industrial Park in Struthers, while the other was to accept a $1 million state grant from the state of Ohio for the Mahoning Valley Campus of Care. 

The remediation grant will be used on a five-acre site at Castlo that fronts Struthers’ central business district, said Sarah Lown, public finance manager for the port authority and Castlo’s executive director. The property is the only part of the Castlo park that needs remediation. 

Plans also call for rehabilitating a 60,000-square-foot building on the site and utilize it as a mixed-use community/small business center, she said. 

The $1 million in state funds will be used for various upgrades at the Campus of Care site in Austintown including roads and parking areas, Moliterno said 

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.