Team NEO Promotes IIoT for Manufacturers

By Bill Koehler, CEO

CLEVELAND, Ohio – A high-performing, collaborative economic development network is key to advancing northeastern Ohio’s economy in 2019. In Trumbull and Mahoning counties, Team NEO is working with the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, Youngstown Business Incubator, Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center and many other partners who are helping to pull the public, private and higher-education sectors together for the greater good of the region.

As northeastern Ohio’s JobsOhio network partner, Team NEO shares resources and expertise with the organizations and businesses that anchor the 18-county region. We provide business attraction marketing, research, site selection, project management, talent pipeline development and innovation efforts that are advancing technologies across key industries.

Since 2013, Team NEO has worked with local partners to help 33 companies grow in Trumbull and Mahoning counties, yielding 2,643 new jobs and more than $1.8 billion in capital investment. One of the many successful collaborations of 2018 was the TJX HomeGoods project. A number of entities – the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, the village of Lordstown and many state and federal legislators – joined forces to ensure that Lordstown would be successful over competing states.

With challenges including the rezoning of 290 acres of land, the team rallied to advance the opportunity that would result in the creation of 1,000 jobs plus the attraction of major capital investment into the 1.2 million-square-foot logistics facility.

As we look ahead to 2019 and beyond, we see technology taking center stage, as manufacturers contemplate implementation of technology enabled by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to drive greater productivity and efficiency; Manufacturing is poised to become the largest beneficiary of IIoT investment.

By 2025, IIoT is expected to have an incremental economic impact between $4 billion and $13 billion annually in northeastern Ohio.

With a vision toward capitalizing on the great potential of IIoT, a working group comprising prominent end-user companies, key supply chain participants and leading academic institutions came together in 2018 to develop the Smart Manufacturing IIoT Roadmap for Northeast Ohio.

The roadmap lays out an IIoT commercialization strategy, tactical framework and plan of action for IIoT implementation. Formally launched Nov. 2, this roadmap became the centerpiece for subsequent events held throughout the region, including a gathering at TBEIC for Trumbull and Mahoning counties.

During these informative, interactive sessions, manufacturers are encouraged to take a complimentary IIoT readiness assessment, available at, to evaluate their digital maturity and readiness for IIoT implementation.

This relatively new regional focus on IIoT aligns strategically with work Team NEO has been doing for years in developing and nurturing the Smart Manufacturing Cluster. This group of organizations and business leaders focuses on building networks that will advance knowledge and drive adoption of IIoT. It works with major market segment leaders to identify product innovation gaps and develop programs that create the specialized intellectual capital that enables IIoT implementation and innovation.

The enthusiasm surrounding the potential of IIoT to fortify and re-energize northeastern Ohio’s manufacturing sector is evident throughout the region and will continue to grow in strength throughout 2019.

Many business leaders look to the technological advances in this arena to transform their businesses as well as our regional economy. To get involved with the Smart Manufacturing Cluster, interested, parties should connect with Jay Foran, Team NEO senior vice president of industry and innovation at 216 363 5407 or

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