Want to discover the personalities, leaders, and voices who are making things happen and making a difference in our region? Welcome to Dreamers, Drivers, and Doers, where Greater Akron Chamber CEO and President Steve Millard engages in conversations with business owners, influencers, and government officials to discover what makes a group of people come together, the possibilities on a local and regional level, and the potential of an area that pulls together. Fascinating journeys, strong opinions, unique perspectives, and a behind-the-scenes look at some of the business and legislative initiatives that are the heartbeat of our community.
Ep. 66 - Commercial Real Estate Trends in Relation to Economic Development
Since the pandemic, businesses have been struggling to figure out the hybrid work environment and how it relates to their commercial spaces. As may be obvious, many businesses have decided to scale down their properties and invest more in other quality of life improvements for their employees, essentially doing more with less. Meanwhile, unused office spaces are being converted to residential, and mixed-used developments are becoming more and more popular in suburban communities.
Commercial real estate is constantly changing due to issues with lending and construction prices, but that doesn't mean there aren't opportunities to develop in downtown Akron that could greatly affect the economy. In this episode, Steve Millard explores real estate trends and downtown revitalization with Warren Blazy III, Senior Vice President of CBRE, the Northeast Ohio market leader in commercial real estate.
Ep. 65 - Preserving and Renovating a Historic Piece of Greater Akron
Offering a unique historic experience does numbers in attaching citizens to their community andencouraging outsiders to visit. Greater Akron is chock full of attractionslike this, and the Cuyahoga ValleyScenic Railroad (CVSR) is one that continues to preserve the past while constantly changing andimproving. From the North Pole Adventure to Dinner on the Train, Steve Millard explores how Presidentand CEO Joe Mazur and the team at CVSR have turned the nonprofit into a bastion of shared history, andopened up the experience to history buffs, couples, families, children, and businesses through their variedevents and rides. Joe also dives into the prospect of expanding therail line further north, attracting moreresidents from the Cleveland area
Ep. 64 - Fighting the Stigma and Managing a Wide Range of Services at Planned Parenthood
There's often more to an organization than initially meets the eye. Many of them offer services and products that the public may not even be aware of, making it of utmost importance to market these services to their communities. Steve Millard sits down with Erica Wilson-Domer, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, to discuss how the organization provides and markets a wide array of healthcare services to communities, making it much more than what is often characterizes as an "abortion clinic." Erica alsoshares her favorite Stark County gem for listeners to check out!
Ep. 63 - Evolving Business to Attract New Markets
Malleability is an important quality for any business to display-it's not often that you'll find a successfulbusiness that says no to change. Oftentimes, that need for changecomes from adversity or strife, something we've recently seen on a large scale as businesses exited the Covid pandemic with vastly different operations, goals, and functions, as well as a better understanding of their markets. On this week’sepisode, Steve Millard sits down with MGM Northfield Park executives Yanina De Vargas, VP of Finance, and Sam Alonso, Director of National Sales, to talk about how they grew their facility from a racino into an entertainment complex boasting restaurants, merchandise stores, concerts and more to attract a younger demographic. The pair also discusses community engagement, employee volunteering programs, and MGM Northfield's Supplier Diversity Mentorship Program.
Ep. 62 - The Importance of Exit Strategies in Business
Interested in buying a business but unsure where to start? Or, are you a business owner without a clear exit strategy in place? While it seems counterintuitive to open a business and think about how you leave the business at the same time, it's important for business owners to be prepared when the unexpected happens. Steve Millard explores the world of business mergers and acquisitions, selling, and franchises, and learns how Brian Adolph, Investment Banker at Transworld, and Jessica Fialkovich, Founder andPresident of Exit Factor, work together to help businesses prepare for the unexpected. Jessica also sharesinsights from her book, “Getting the Most for Selling your Business”, and the need for business owners toproactively ready themselves for exit.
Ep. 61 - How Digital Solutions are Empowering Employees and Improving Efficiency in Business
Investing in new business processes, especially those using technology, is intimidating to many business owners and leaders, especially in the world of AI. Rest assured, the team of CliftonLarsonAllen LLP has you covered. What started as a primarily accounting-focused business has evolved into a team of trusted advisors helping their clients in all aspects of their business, from accounting to operations to digital technology. On this weeks episode, Steve Millard sits down with Dave Supelak, Principal and Noel Hopkins, Digital Growth Director, to talk about the evolution of digital technology and how they're helping business increase their efficiency, and empower and elevate their employees, through automation and other digital solutions, and workforce trends in their business.