Vice President, Research
Brian Anderson is the Vice President of Research for the Greater Akron Chamber. Brian leads the Polymer Industry Cluster Initiative of Northeast Ohio, as well as the data and regional economic analysis functions of the organization. Prior to the Chamber, Brian worked at a wearable technology start-up and a Fortune 500 company. He decided to make a move because he wanted to contribute to an organization that he felt could improve the region and the lives of its residents.
Brian received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Emmanuel College in Boston where he was also a three-sport collegiate athlete. From there, he attended The University of Akron for his MBA, and University of Texas – San Antonio for his master’s degree in finance.
Brian and his wife Casey like to travel, cook, and are dedicated fans and season ticket holders of the University of Akron men’s soccer team.
Alyssa Carpenter has a unique role, serving in a dual capacity as the Director of Economic Development for the Greater Akron Chamber and the Director of Business Development for Team NEO, focusing on the rubber, plastic and polymer industries serving Stark and Summit Counties. Alyssa views the work of economic development much like a puzzle with intersections of building relationships, problem solving, and pulling the partners in the public and private sectors together in order help our companies and communities grow and prosper.
For her work professionally, Alyssa earned the Ohio Economic Development, Ohio Certified Economic Developer certification. She also frequently presents as a guest speaker as part of the Ohio Economic Development (OEDA) programing on topics of economic and professional development, as well as more locally, via Team NEO’s NODE program.
Most of her time outside of work involves her kids, Caroline and Grant, and their school activities. Alyssa also enjoys entertaining and being outdoors.
Senior Manager, Member Engagement
Pam is the Sr. Manager of Member Engagement at the Greater Akron Chamber. In this role she connects our mission and resources to members and connects members to one another. Pam enjoys meeting people, learning about them and their organizations. She has a passion for helping others succeed and grow. She loves what she does at the Chamber and the incredible people she works with.
Professionally Pam was awarded the NSME Award in 2020. She makes time to volunteer and make a difference in the non- profit world around her. She has also enjoyed being on committees and boards over the years.
Pam has been married for 33 years to her husband Rich. She has two children that are both are married and live close, and one granddaughter. In the winter she loves to vacation in warm places with her husband who loves to scuba dive. She also has an art degree and enjoys drawing and painting in her spare time.
Gregg P. Cramer
Vice President, Economic Development
Gregg Cramer is the Vice President of Economic Development for the Greater Akron Chamber. In this role he manages the day-to-day economic development operations, including Attraction and Business Retention & Expansion. Gregg also works with our Elevate Greater Akron partners to oversee the collective effort to meet with 300+ companies on an annual basis. Along with the County of Summit and City of Akron, he also co-chairs the “Akron, USA” domestic/international marketing initiative.
Gregg is inspired by the fact that his father worked at B.F. Goodrich for 25 years in the same office complex currently occupied by the Chamber; he literally looks out the window at his father’s office every day. Gregg truly believes we are a unique community with a rich history and have a great story to tell.
Professionally, Gregg received his Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) certification from the National Development Council. He also honed his public speaking skills during his run for public office. For the record, his family prayed he would lose the race; he lost the race.
Without question, the defining characteristic of his life has been raising a child with Special Needs; in countless ways - personally and professionally - it has made him a more appreciative, better, and focused person. Other than chocolate, Gregg’s only vice is American muscle cars.
Vice President, Opportunity & Inclusion
Robert DeJournett is the Vice President of Opportunity and Inclusion at the Chamber. In this role, Robert works to create more equity across our work here at the Chamber and in the broader business community. His favorite part of his job is working with minority-owned businesses to help provide access to resources and opportunities.
For his work professionally and in the community, Robert has received several awards recognizing his contributions. Some of the most recent being the 2018 BMe Genius Award from the City of Akron where his church received $10K as seed money for a community project, the 2016 Distinguished Leader Award, the 2015 Dorothy O. Jackson Society Community Leader Award from the United Way of Summit County, and the 2015 Multicultural Leadership Award for his outstanding contributions to the mission of the American Heart Association through the lens of diversity and inclusion.
Robert is currently the Board President of the Akron Regional Transit Authority. He also serves on several nonprofit committees and advisory boards within the region.
Outside of work, Robert loves pastoring St. Ashworth Temple Church of God in Christ. His faith in God defines him and leads him to help others in whatever capacity he can. He has a blended family which includes five children and five grandchildren.
Coordinator, Government Affairs
Natalie is the Government Affairs Coordinator for the Greater Akron Chamber. In this role, Natalie serves in multiple capacities assisting with research, coordinating schedules and meetings, and also, helping with data. Natalie has always had a lot of pride in Greater Akron so she is happy to be working at an organization where she can contribute to the betterment of the region.
Natalie is currently a Senior at the University of Akron and will graduate in the Spring of 2022 with a bachelor’s degree.
Natalie loves living in Akron. She regularly visits the gorgeous parks we have scattered throughout the area, whether it’s to go for a run or to photograph nature. Also, when she has the time, she loves cooking and playing the piano.
Smaranda is a Research Associate at the Greater Akron Chamber. She chose to work at the Chamber because it is deeply rooted in the local business community and has a long history in the Akron area. She wanted her work to impact the community and neighborhoods where she lives in a positive, constructive way and the mission and values of the Chamber align with that.
Throughout her academic career, one of Smaranda’s focuses was research tied to social justice. She looks forward to applying this knowledge to the Chamber’s diversity and inclusion work.
Smaranda has a diverse and high-impact publication record. She likes building stories around data and being able to highlight the voices of research participants.
Outside of work, she is extremely proud to be raising an intelligent and kind child. She also has a number of close friends that are scattered around the world. They manage to stay close through video calls. She enjoys cycling, hiking, gardening in summer, knitting in winter and being a foodie.
Manager, Business Operations
Heather is the Manager of Business Operations at the Greater Akron Chamber. In this role she handles many responsibilities ranging from bookkeeping for the organization, human resource support for staff, as well as general office management. A couple years ago Heather chose to make a change in careers and join the Chamber after seeing the positive impact being made by the team in this region. She wanted to be a part of the change the Chamber was making in the community.
Heather is a proud Veteran of the United State Marine Corps, having served for eight years from 2004 – 2012, during that time she received various Medals and Letters of Commendations. Heather has a bachelor’s degree in social psychology from Park University and is a Certified Notary Public for the State of Ohio. She is also a graduate of Torchbearers Class of 2019 and served as the Co-Chair for Membership in 2020.
Outside of work her favorite things to do include hiking and reading. In 2020 she read over 140 books! She also likes to find volunteer opportunities she can share with her kids to get them immersed in their community. Heather lives in Copley with her husband, their three children, and their dog.
Senior Manager, Projects and Initiatives
Paige is the Senior Manager of Projects and Initiatives at the Greater Akron Chamber. In this role she works to advance the organization’s key projects with a focus on the Chamber’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Paige started working at the Chamber as an intern out of college and fell in love with the mission, the culture, and the people. She loves being part of an organization and a community that focuses on collaboration for the betterment of Greater Akron.
Paige received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Mount Union where she was also played collegiate soccer. She is now attending the University of Akron for an MBA.
Outside of work Paige’s favorite thing to do is spend time with family and friends. Being an Ohio native, her hobbies change with the seasons ranging from skiing to camping and always traveling when possible.
Vice President, Investor Engagement
Sante is the Vice President of Investor Engagement for the Greater Akron Chamber. In this role he works to support our members goals, ensuring our members are connected, engaged, and supported in our shared work and mission. Sante chose the Greater Akron Chamber because he has a passion for supporting the business community and the region. His favorite part of his job is getting to know and working with people, he is always learning something new from everyone he meets.
Professionally, Sante has a unique background having previously working in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. He is particularly proud of his time working for The White House as well as raising money for pediatric cancer patients and survivors. A few awards he has received as recognition for his work have been 2014 COSE Staff Service Award, 2018 Catalyst of Leadership & Excellence (CLE) Award, and he was a member of the Leadership Cleveland Class of 2020.
Sante has a wife and two daughters that inspire him daily. While it’s his family that inspires him the most, he also enjoys golfing and traveling to anywhere that has a beach.
President & CEO
Steve Millard is President and CEO of the Greater Akron Chamber. Steve was attracted to the Chamber in 2018 to become a part of an emerging new collaboration among economic development partners led by the County of Summit, the City of Akron, the GAR Foundation, and the Chamber’s Board leadership. The promise of an enterprise approach across disparate ecosystem partners to increase jobs, investment and opportunity for the region was a bold idea for the region and the business community that he wanted to be involved in creating.
That bold idea became the unique collaboration that is working to advance economic development in Greater Akron called Elevate Greater Akron. The commitment by more than 20 ecosystem partners working together to do the right things to drive growth and success for the region has allowed for some early wins including the ability to support a community response to the challenges of COVID-19 providing information, resources and support to the region’s leaders and its businesses including a team effort to manage relief grants of more than $14 million to over 3,500 small businesses to help in a small way to get them through some of the challenges of the pandemic.
Prior to joining the Chamber in 2018, Steve spent more than 20 years leading in various roles in economic development including as the President and Executive Director of the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) and the Executive Vice President of the Greater Cleveland Partnership.
Professionally, Steve is a Certified Chamber Executive and has been recognized in a variety of ways for community leadership, Board service and professional contributions. Steve holds a B.S. in Finance, a B.S. in Transportation and Distribution Management from Syracuse University and an M.B.A. from Case Western Reservice University. Prior to his work in Economic Development, he spent time at both GE Medical Systems (now GE Health Care) and Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) in supply chain operations and strategy consulting roles.
He currently serves on several boards including Leadership Akron, Summit Education Initiative, TeamNEO, ConxusNEO, Business Volunteers Unlimited, Downtown Akron Partnership, Downtown Akron Development Corporation and Medical Service Company.
Steve is often called on to share the work we are doing in Greater Akron to advance economic development, inclusion, and business support. He is always up to share what he knows; what he thinks he knows; and what he doesn’t know as convincingly as possible to those that will listen! Steve and his wife are proud to have a daughter who is a high school English teacher and a son in his first year at Marietta College. They live as the guests of three cats and two dogs who go out of their way to be perfectly good at doing absolutely nothing. Steve has no impressive hobbies or world adventures to brag about, but does have some bad habits like good bourbon, great scotch, and an occasional cigar that he is happy to share.
Kathy is the Executive Assistant to the President and CEO of the Greater Akron Chamber. In this role she works on calendar management, meeting and event prep and support our members by connecting them to resources, events, and other opportunities. Kathy chose to work at the Chamber because she loves the mission of serving businesses throughout the region. Kathy also enjoys working on the Chambers events because she has the opportunity to connect with members and leaders in the community.
Personally, Kathy is proud to have completed a half marathon right here in Akron.
Kathy has been married for 24 years and has two kids. She loves spending quality time with her kids and extended family. She also enjoys practicing yoga, hiking, and vacationing with her family.
SVP, Strategic Initiatives & Engagement
Brynn is the Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Engagement for the Greater Akron Chamber. For the last 15 years, Brynn has been immersed in economic development work, where she has advanced public policy efforts impacting business, played leadership roles in the coordination of collaborative economic development partnerships and worked to enhance the climate for business success in Northeast Ohio. In her current role, Brynn oversees the many operational efforts as well as key strategic initiatives of the Greater Akron Chamber, including the Chamber’s work as the convener and collaborator for Elevate Greater Akron. Among all of her roles, perhaps one of her most prized is the one she plays as a leader of teams – identifying unique talent, helping people to harness their skills and advance the organization’s work in impactful ways. Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, Brynn is proud and humbled to have the opportunity to impact change in her hometown and is inspired by the collaborative spirit in the region, illustrated by the strong public private partnerships that make all his work a possibility.
Advancing the region’s potential is something Brynn strives to do both professionally and personally. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Akron Civic Theater as well as the United Way Summit Medina. In 2011, Brynn was recognized for her work and leadership as a recipient of the Crain’s Cleveland 40 Under 40 Award. Brynn received her undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Sociology from John Carroll University and her Masters of Public Administration from Cleveland State University.
When she has the time, Brynn enjoys traveling, running, cooking and binge-watching Netflix series. She lives in Copley with her husband, Greg and two daughters.
Manager, Programs and Events
Anna is the Manager of Programs and Events at the Greater Akron Chamber. In this role she creates opportunities for our members to come together, make connections, and stay informed. Anna has always enjoyed bringing people together and helping others, so she chose the Chamber to be a part of an organization that connects people and businesses in the region.
Anna dedicates time to volunteering, especially with the University of Dayton Cleveland Alumni Community actively serving in the Akron Chair and Service Chair roles.
Outside of work, Anna loves to spend time with her husband and two boys. They enjoy crafting, traveling, kayaking, and baking.
Vice President, Government Affairs
John Rizzo is the Vice President of Government Affairs for the Chamber. In this role, he works to connect chamber members to key information on relevant political activities, convene regional stakeholders on pressing issues facing the business community, and advocate for identified solutions. Coming from a family of small business owners, John really enjoys working with companies to understand and pursue the various policies and opportunities they stand to benefit from. Although not every effort results in a “win”, he finds it rewarding to facilitate conversations that identify real issues and solutions and work to achieve tangible results on behalf of small businesses.
John Rizzo received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of Akron from which he is a proud alumnus. He also serves on several nonprofit committees and advisory boards within the region and participates on various panel discussions during advocacy-related events.
Coming from a large multicultural family, there is nothing John enjoys more than spending time with family, friends, and his dog, Bella. And, when Ohio’s weather permits it, he really enjoys cycling through Summit Metro Parks, golfing, and playing intramural sports.
Senior Business Relationship Manager
Sheri is the Senior Business Relationship Manager at the Greater Akron Chamber, working with the Economic Development team. In this role, Sheri works closely with small businesses with a focus on woman and minority owned companies. Prior to joining the Chamber team, she was a Chamber member and benefit provider. As a member, her experiences with the Chamber were great and when she was asked to join the team, she said yes! That was 25 years ago.
Sheri’s favorite thing about her job is getting to work with and help people. She enjoys developing relationships, making introductions, and providing memorable experiences. Sheri is a proud Alumni of the University of Akron and stays engaged with the university.
Sheri has a husband, two sons, and a very opinionated dachshund as a granddog. Outside of work, Sheri loves spending time with her family, traveling, going to parks, and enjoying music and theater.
We have identified the Board members that also participate on our Executive Committee with a * by their name.
|Anne Armao||SummaCare||VP, Medicare & Individual Products and Sales|
|Dunja Augustin||Energy Harbor||Vice President, Operations|
|Elizabeth Z. Bartz*||State and Federal Communications||President and CEO|
|Samuel L. Belcher||FirstEnergy Utilities||Senior Vice President & President|
|Julie Brandle*||Metis Construction Services LLC||President|
|Marie Brilmyer||Cohen & Company||Partner|
|Nicholas V. Browning||Huntington Bank||President, Akron Region|
|Traci Buckner||Childrens Museum||Executive Director|
|Timothy M. Burke*||KeyBank||President, Eastern Ohio Market|
|Whitt Butler||Ernst & Young||Akron Office Managing Partner|
|Nicholas M. Buzzelli||Fifth Third Bank||Senior Vice President, Commercial Middle Market Team Manager|
|Ren Camacho||Akron-Canton Airport||President & CEO|
|S. Theresa Carter||Synthomer||President|
|John Cavanuagh||GOJO||Chief Fnancial Officer & Vice President|
|Shon Christy*||Shon Christy Social Media||President|
|Laura B. Culp*||Sikich, LLP||Partner|
|Romona J. Davis||Huntington Bank||Vice President - Senior SBA Business Development Officer|
|Cliff T. Deveny, MD||Summa Health||President & CEO|
|Todd Diacon, PhD||Kent State University||President|
|Dawn Distler||METRO RTA||Executive Director|
|Marc Divis||Akron Energy||President/CEO|
|Jason Dodson||Roetzel & Andress||Shareholder|
|Laura P. Duda||The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company||Vice President, Americas Communications|
|Gino Faciana||Pleasant Valley Corporation||co-CEO|
|Richard Fry||Buckingham Doolittle & Burrough||Akron Partner in Charge & Taxation Group Chair|
|Nicholas Gattozzi||Kent State University||Executive Director of Government & Community Relations|
|Peter Geise||Focus CFO||Area President|
|Chirs Gessner||Akron Children's Hospital||President & CEO|
|Dwayne Groll||Environmental Design Group||President|
|Brian J. Harte, MD||Cleveland Clinic Akron General||President|
|John Higgins||Charter Communications||Regional Vice President, Operations|
|Ella R. Hochstetler*||Dominion Energy||Director, Business Development and Strategic Partnerships|
|Dan Horrigan||City of Akron||Mayor|
|Para Jones*||Stark State College||President|
|Halle Jones Capers||Halle's Engineering and Design||Owner|
|Ethan Karp||MAGNET||President & CEO|
|Danielle Kimmell||Apple Growth Partners||Audit Principal|
|Darrin Kotecki||GPD Group||President|
|Mark Krohn||The Law Office of Mark E. Krohn||Owner|
|John Langell, MD PhD*||Northeast Ohio Medical University||President|
|Amanda Leffler||Brouse McDowell||Partner|
|Teresa LeGrair*||Akron Urban League||President & CEO|
|Erin Leppo Palmer||Leppo Equipment||CFO & In-House Legal Counsel|
|Robert Littman||BDO USA||Ohio Managing Partner|
|Leia Love||Leia Love Hair, Nail and Eyelash||Owner|
|Christian Lucci||Charles Schwab||Branch Manager|
|Joe Luckring||PNC Bank||Regional President|
|Fred Luecke||CBIZ||Sr. Managing Director|
|Christine Amer Mayer||GAR Foundation||President|
|Marc B. Merklin*||Brouse McDowell||Attorney at Law|
|Jim Merklin||Bober Markey Fedorovich||Partner|
|Steve Millard*||Greater Akron Chamber||President & CEO|
|Gary Miller, PhD||University of Akron||President|
|Lakisha Miller-Barclay||Rubber Division, American Chemical Society||President and CEO|
|Melissa Monaco||The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company||Vice President, Americas Communications|
|Michelle Moran||Involta||VP, Sales|
|James Mullen||United Way of Summit and Medina Counties||President & Chief Eecutive Officer|
|L.T. Myers||Excel HR Consulting||President / Executive HR Consultant|
|Erika Moore||(YP/Young Professionals of Akron) Marcum LLP||Senior Manager|
|Pastor Eugene Norris||Fame Fathers||CEO|
|Jon Park*||Westfield Bank||CEO and Chairman|
|Bhavin Patel||Green Harvest Capital||Principal|
|Joseph Paul||The Davey Tree Expert Company||EVP, CFO & Secretary|
|John T. Petures, Jr.*||Akron Community Foundation||President & CEO|
|Lucia M. Pileggi||KeyBank||Private Banking Executive, Eastern Ohio Market|
|J. Parker Platt||Citizens Bank||Senior Vice President, District Sales Manager|
|Ernest E. Pouttu*||Harwick Standard Distribution Corporation||President & CEO|
|Tia M. Ramlow*||GreatWork! Employment Services||President|
|Christopher Richardson||CHC Addiction Services||Chief Operating Officer|
|James L. Ruhlin||The Ruhlin Company||President|
|Jennifer Savitski, MD*||Cleveland Clinic Akron General||Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology|
|David J. Schipper||The Schipper Group||President & CEO|
|Steven P. Schmidt||Northeast Ohio Medical University||Vice President for Research and Dean, College of Graduate Students|
|Ilene Shapiro||County of Summit||County Executive|
|Steven E. Strah*||FirstEnergy Corporation||President & CEO|
|Donzell S. Taylor||Welty Building Company, Ltd.||President & CEO|
|Andre Thornton||ASW Global||President & CEO|
|Liz Watson||Crum & Forster Pet Insurance||Chief Marketing Officer|
|Bernett L. Williams||Akron Children's Hospital||Vice President of External Affairs|
|Christopher Wyche||AT&T||Director of External Affairs|
Women’s Network Leadership Institute Advisory Council
In October of 2019, Women’s Network and the Greater Akron Chamber memorialized an official Affiliation Agreement for the purpose of creating women’s programming within the Greater Akron Chamber. The Women’s Network Leadership Institute Advisory Council oversees the mission of the Women’s Network to Connect, Empower and Inspire through Best-in-Class Curriculum offerings, Research and Thought Leadership.
Business Owners Council
The business owner’s council is designed to ensure that the Chamber is appropriately focused on issues and programs specifically tailored to business owners in Greater Akron. This council is comprised of business owners and members from the Greater Akron region.
Diversity Professional Roundtable
Driving inclusive economic growth cannot be done without harnessing the knowledge and experience of our region’s diversity professionals. The Diversity Professional Roundtable is a group of DEI leaders with a regular opportunity to brainstorm, problem-solve and connect as they work to advance their company’s and the regions diversity, equity, and inclusions efforts.
Equity and Inclusion Committee
As the representative and convener of the business community in Greater Akron, the Chamber is focused on providing businesses with the tools, resources, and information necessary to become more inclusive, to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within their companies, and to support the growth of minority-owned companies. The Economic Inclusion Committee is focused on ensuring that the Chamber is meeting the needs of the business community in this space and working to advance inclusive growth in the region.
Government Affairs Committee
The GAC’s ability to effectively advocate on these issues is largely due to ongoing support and input from its Government Affairs Committee. This group is comprised of leaders from within business, nonprofit, higher education, and community-based organizations. This committee is, at its core, a tool that enables the GAC to understand members’ perspectives on relevant issues and collaboratively explore solutions. Doing this work is critical to the GAC’s ability to effectively advocate on our members’ behalf and provides us with a platform to collectively engage elected officials.
Interested in getting involved with our committee work?
We are always looking for new perspectives at the table.
Our Chair's Circle represents our most significant investors and the drivers of our work.
City of Akron
Cleveland Clinic Akron General
Cohen & Co
County of Summit
Northeast Ohio Medical University
University of Akron
United Way Summit-Medina
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND GROWING GREATER AKRON
One voice for business really can make a difference –
especially when that voice represents thousands of businesses.
Join the Greater Akron Chamber and become active in the
Greater Akron Region’s dynamic business community.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND
GROWING GREATER AKRON
One voice for business really can make a
difference – especially when that voice
represents thousands of businesses.
Join the Greater Akron Chamber and
become active in the Greater Akron Region’s
dynamic business community.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND GROWING GREATER AKRON
One voice for business really can make a difference – especially when that voice represents thousands of businesses. Join the Greater Akron Chamber and become active in the Greater Akron Region’s dynamic business community.