YSU Hosts Regional Development Summit Sept. 1

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – In an effort to identify federal resources that can help the Mahoning Valley create jobs and strengthen its economic future, Youngstown State University is hosting the Regional Economic Diversification Summit Sept. 1. 

The free virtual conference runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and features discussions with industry, government, community and economic development officials about emerging regional sectors, local strengths and challenges. The event will be streamed on the Williamson College of Business Administration’s YouTube channel.

The summit is part of the Economic Development Administration’s Lordstown Economic Recovery initiative, created to address near- and long-term solutions to local unemployment due to the closure of General Motors’ Lordstown Complex. The initiative is led by YSU, in partnership with Eastgate Regional Council of Governments and Cleveland State University. 

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and Daniel Simmons, assistance secretary for the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, will introduce the summit’s first panel at 9 a.m., focusing on electric-powered vehicles, battery research and distribution.

Taking part in the panel moderated by Randy Cole, president of Whiteboard Strategies, are Tom Gallagher, the plant manager for Ultium, the joint venture between General Motors and LG Chem to build batteries in Lordstown; Anna Siefken, director of the Scott Institute for Energy Research at Carnegie Mellon University; Ramsay Huntley, sustainable finance strategist at Wells Fargo; David Myhal of Toyo Systems; Chris Kerzich, director of government relations for Lordstown Motors Corp.; Western Reserve Port Authority Executive Director John Moliterno; and Brite Energy Innovators President and CEO Rick Stockburger.

The second panel, running from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m., focuses on the petrochemical industry. After an introduction from U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, Mousa Kassis, director of the Ohio Small Business Development Center at YSU, will discuss the supply chain and regional opportunities with Mariah Carna, an international trade specialist with the SBDC Export Assistance Network.

At noon, a panel on additive and advanced manufacturing will be introduced by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown. Barb Ewing, CEO of the Youngstown Business Incubator, will talk with America Makes Executive Director John Wilczynski, Oak Ridge National Laboratory corporate fellow Lonnie Love, YSU Excellence Training Center director David Sipusic and Juggerbot 3D President Zach DiVencenzo.

At 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., Kent State Univeristy Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative will moderate two panels. The first will feature Kristen Zeiber, project manager and faculty at the Cleveland Urban Design, and Joann Esenwein, director of planning at Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, discussing reuse and redevelopment in Lordstown and along the Mahoning River. The second will feature Trumbull County Planning Commission director Julie Green, AMK Services President James Dignan and Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission director Vito Abruzzino discussing the opportunities around Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna Township and Camp Garfield in Ravenna.

The final panel, focusing on unemployment mitigation and strategy management, will feature YSU economics professor Ou Hu, New Collar Apprenticeship Program manager Jennifer Oddo, Mercy Health Foundation President Paul Homick and YSU Department of Mathematics and Statistics chairman Tom Wakefield.

All sessions will feature a brief question and answer session.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.