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New Akron Chamber Chief Steve Millard Aims to Foster Collaboration in Akron, Beyond

7/2/2018
Crain's Cleveland Business

Call it a simple question. Or call it a concern.  Since the April announcement that longtime Cleveland-based economic development professional Steve Millard would take over as president and CEO of the Greater Akron Chamber, chairman Marc Merklin has fielded inquires about whether his board's choice of leadership signals a move toward greater regionalism. The underlying issue — a persistent worry among some — is that the Rubber City's identity could be at stake.

"If we were hiring someone from Florida or Illinois, no one would ask, 'Are you are getting closer, or too close, to Florida or Illinois?' " Merklin said. "The fact that Steve is from the area does not in any way detract that he is all in. He is not here to represent Cleveland. He is here to represent Akron and the Greater Akron area.  "And the fact that he already knows the region is a plus, not a minus."

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