State Issue 1 Endorsed by Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce

State Issue 1, renewal of the Ohio capital improvements program for 10 years, has received the endorsement of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors. A 10-year renewal of the program is on the May 6 ballot.

The capital improvements program supports local road and bridge, water, sewer and solid waste projects. Since 1987, the inception of the program, Stark County projects have received $128.2 million in funding.

“This state program benefits the community’s businesses and the people they employ,” said Dennis P. Saunier, president and CEO of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Regular improvements in a community’s transportation and utility infrastructure are essential for maintaining a strong business environment.”

The state sells bonds to raise money for the program and budgets money in the biennial state budget to service the debt, so the program does not add to Ohioans’ tax burden.

If the program is reauthorized for another 10 years on May 6, Ohio will make $175 million per year available for local projects for the first five years and $200 million per year for the next five years.

State Issue 1 has received broad support across the state from other big-city Chambers of Commerce, from the AFL-CIO and from the Ohio Manufacturers Association, to name a few.

Enshrinement Festival Names Key Committee Chairs for Special Events and Staging

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival department of Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Pro Football Hall of Fame have named the following key committee chairs:  Maureen Schmucker, Special Events, and Gregory Briggs, Staging.

SchmukerSchmucker is a math teacher and volleyball and track coach at Oakwood Middle School in the Plain Local School system.  A graduate of Canton Central Catholic High School, she obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Kent State University. A member of the Hospitality Committee since 2008, she also served as vice chairman of the Special Events Committee in 2013, and this is her first year as chairman of that committee.  She is a volunteer for the Stark County Exceptional Olympics, active with the Stark County Mathematics Vision Project, and is a lector at St. Louis Church.  She and husband Larry are the proud parents of one son and one daughter.

As Special Events chairman, one of her major tasks will be to coordinate the Hall of Fame Board of Trustees Reception, which is staged as the first official function for the Enshrinees and their presenters, returning Hall of Famers and other out of town guests. Additionally, the Special Events Committee provides services such as emergency medical and dental assistance for guests of the Hall of Fame during their stay in Canton, and the committee is always on call to assist the Enshrinees and their families as needed. Smith will be assisted with these many duties by vice-chairman Sharon Griffith.

BriggsBriggs is a sub-contractor in the flooring business, so he brings a great amount of expertise to his second year as chairman of the Staging Committee, after serving as a volunteer on the committee for the past 15 years.  He graduated from Timken High School and attended Stark State. An Eagle Scout, he is the proud father of one son and one daughter.

The Staging Committee directs the planning, preparation and production of the Queen Pageant, Fashion Show Luncheon, Enshrinees’ Gold Jacket Dinner, and Enshrinees GameDay Roundtable. Mark Miller is assisting Briggs as vice-chairman.


Enshrinement Festival Queen Committee Chair Named; Pageant Tickets Available

Crystal McClendonCrystal McLendon has been named chair of the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival Queen Committee. This is her second and final year in that capacity and assisting her with leadership responsibilities will be Brenda Stevens, committee vice-chair.

A Canton native, McLendon is a graduate of Sandy Valley High School and Walsh University. She is employed by Nationwide Insurance as commercial processing supervisor and in addition to her years of service on the Queen Committee, she has previous Enshrinement Festival experience as a hostess for Hall of Famers during the Enshrinement ceremony.  She and husband John are the proud parents of three children.

The Queen Pageant will take place Thursday, May 8, beginning at 7 p.m. at The Canton Palace Theatre where 49 outstanding young ladies will vie for the crown. All seats are reserved at $20 each (subject to additional processing fee and handling charge).  For tickets, please visit or call 330.458.2048.

At the conclusion of the Pageant, a Queen and seven court members will have been selected on the basis of personality, poise, beauty, communication skills, academic achievement and service to community.  The number of court members selected coincides with the number of members of the Class of 2014 Enshrinees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Queen and her court will serve as role models and goodwill ambassadors throughout the community, and one of their most memorable experiences will be their ride on a float in the TimkenSteel Grand Parade.

The Queen Committee is responsible for working with Enshrinement Festival staff in coordinating all activities relating to the Enshrinement Festival Queen and court and serving as chaperones during their community service activities and official event appearances.

For more information regarding the Queen Pageant or sponsorship opportunities, contact Joanne Murray at (330) 458-2050 or visit the Enshrinement Festival Web site at

Leadership Stark County Signature Program Now Accepting Applications

Apply Now to the Signature Program!

Applications are now available at for the 28th Class, 10-month Signature Program.  The Signature Program is an in-depth examination of Stark County’s assets and challenges, along with an introduction to affecting community change.

The Signature Program is ideal for business and community leaders. Each year, selected participants enhance their leadership skills and gain an understanding of local issues, assets, and resources.

Your leadership experience begins with an intense two day Opening Retreat in September that will provide you with an in-depth personal leadership assessment and dynamic workshops. From there you’ll meet once per month to expand your capacity for leadership and service in our community.

Your Signature experience includes:

  • Exploring the cultural, economic, and historic features of Stark County on a wide ranging
    bus tour.
  • Delving into economic development with on-site tours and small-group interaction with
  • Taking a jail tour, meet with local judges, and investigating the justice system on a
    cruiser ride with sheriff’s deputies and police.
  • Examining social and economic issues through panel discussions with political and
    civic leaders.
  • Role-playing within a poverty simulation and visiting non-profits to understand their
    unique concerns.

Applications are online at and are due April 25. Tuition is $2,500 and includes meals, lodging, and materials. Tuition assistance is available for candidates from non-profit, education, and government organizations. Apply on-line.

For more information please call Fran Wells, director, at 330-458-2094

Enshrinement Festival Announces Key Committee Chairs for 2014

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival department of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce has named the following key committee chairs:  Randy Reed, Balloon Classic and Todd Hawke, Jackson-Belden Food Fest & Fireworks; Brian Harbert, Ribs Burnoff.

Randy ReedReed is an escrow officer at Title One Agency and is a long-time Enshrinement Festival volunteer, previously serving on the Ribs Burnoff committee for 21 years, including two years as chairman. A graduate of East Canton High School and the former Stark Technical College, he is married to Jay. He is a past president and chairman of the board of Canton Jaycees, JCI Senatorship, and WCR Affiliate of the Year.  In addition to his support of the Jaycees, he has been an active member of East Canton Rotary and Stark County Association of Realtors.

Assisting Reed as vice-chairman of the event committee is Casey Weisend, as the event proudly celebrates its 28th anniversary this year. What started in 1986 with 25 balloons at Weis Park has grown to a capacity field of nearly 70 balloons on the campuses of Kent State University at Stark and Stark State College, with nearly 125,000 people enjoying the two-and-a-half day event.

The Balloon Luminary was added in 1993 and is currently known as the Night Glow, and a further milestone was marked in 1995 when the Jackson-Belden Food Fest & Fireworks came under the umbrella of the Enshrinement Festival and joined forces with the Balloon Classic, a great partnership that continues still today.

Todd HawkeThe Food Fest Committee is chaired this year by Todd Hawke, principal at GDK & Company, and also currently serving as a Jackson Township Trustee.  He is a graduate of Kenton Ridge High School and Ohio Wesleyan University and has served in various capacities on the Food Fest Committee since 2002.  He is actively involved in the community and serves on the boards of the Jackson-Belden Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement of East Central Ohio, and American Cancer Society of Stark County.  Todd and wife Tricia have one son and one daughter.

Hawke will be assisted in the planning and staging of the Food Fest by vice chairman Carles Moore.

It’s important to remember that the Balloon Classic and Food Fest activities will take place once again one week earlier than was tradition for many years, and will be held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 18, 19 and 20 so as not to be in conflict with several other major ballooning events throughout the country.

The combined Balloon Classic/Food Fest event will include a wide variety of food and beverage vendors, children’s activity area, musical entertainment, and a spectacular fireworks display.

Brian HarbertHarbert, director of Aultman Management Services Organization, is a graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School and Walsh University.  A long-time Ribs Burnoff Committee volunteer, this is his second year as chairman, and he previously chaired the Parking, Facilities, and Vendors sub-committees.  He is vice president of Our Lady of Peace Men’s Club and past finance chair for the American Cancer Society Canton Relay for Life.  He and wife Laurie are the proud parents of two daughters.

Another long-time Ribs Burnoff Committee volunteer, Darren Faye, is serving as vice-chairman of the committee.  Together, they will oversee all aspects of the Ribs Burnoff, which will take place July 30, 31 and  August 1 at Stark County Fairgrounds. Special attractions include a wide variety of rib and specialty food vendors, beverages, children’s entertainment area, fantasy football zone of interactive inflatables, enormous sand sculpture, and musical entertainment.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival Names Auxiliary Committee Chairs

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival department of Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce has named the following auxiliary committee chairs: Sally Hoce, Communications; Diane Novak, Special Services; and Michele Shaffer, Security & Logistics.

Hoce, a retired Perry Local Schools teacher, has been a member of the Communications committee since 2007, served as vice chairman in 2011 and 2012, and chairman in 2013.  A graduate of the former Glenwood High School, she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Kent State University and a Masters in Gifted Education from Ashland University.  A member of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International for Women Educators, she is active with Mercy Service League and as a member of the women’s board of Springhill Historic Home.  She has one son, and he preceded her as chairman of the Communications committee.

Hoce will be assisted by committee vice chairman Gary Bradway.

The Communications committee assumes responsibility for communications equipment utilized at all Enshrinement Festival events. Members are responsible for distributing equipment, charging radios and telephones, monitoring EMS activities and serving as a clearinghouse for inquiries from guests, patrons and media.

Novak graduated from Hoover High School and University of Akron and is currently owner/president of Novak Accounting.  She previously served on the Appreciation Party committee for 10 years and has been on the Special Services Committee for six years, with this her first as chairman. She is extensively involved in community activities, serving on committees for a wide array of entities including Aultman Hospital Women’s Board and Angel Auction, Wilderness Center, Taste of the NFL, Central Catholic High School, and St. Michael Church.  She and husband Joe are the proud parents of a daughter and son.

Assisting Novak with committee duties is vice chairman Jerry Gilin.

The Special Services committee assists many of the event committees with varied duties, including media and sponsor hospitality, registration at the Balloon Classic media flight, transportation for Drum Corps Competition, and hosting the Grand Parade float judges.

Shaffer is a principal within the Louisville City Schools. She graduated from Canton South High School, received her Bachelor’s Degree from University of Akron, and Master’s Degree from Ashland University where she continues to pursue post-Master’s work.  She has been honored as a Stark County Person of Character, recognized by the Louisville Chamber of Commerce as a School Employee of the Year, and is proud that her school has been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School.  She is a member of the Ohio Association of Elementary Principals Association, Louisville Kiwanis, Diversity Team for Louisville Schools, Eastern Stark Legacy Chapter #596, and Delta Kappa Gamma, Delta Upsilon. She serves as vice president of the Board of the Louisville YMCA.

Serving as vice chairman of the Security & Logistics committee is Doug Froelich.

The Security & Logistics committee issues security passes for all personnel servicing the events, oversees the delivery, distribution and security of food, beverage, flowers, favors, programs and other items necessary to the success of the three indoor events, and monitors movement of people from the perimeter rooms into the main auditorium for the program portion of each of the three events.  The committee also provides security support for the Queen Pageant, Drum Corps Competition, Community Parade, Ribs Burnoff, Concert & Fireworks, Race, and Grand Parade committees.

Utica Capital Series Continues on April 7th with Paul Boulier of Team NEO

The Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Paul Boulier, vice president for business development for Team NEO, will speak at Glenmoor Country Club on April 7, 2014, as part of the Utica Capital Series Presented by Huntington Bank.

Boulier is a veteran of the plastics and chemicals business – an industry which expects to benefit greatly from the abundance of natural gas liquids being found in the Utica Shale. He will offer a Northeast Ohio view of the plastics and chemicals industry as it relates to regional energy sources.

Team NEO is a nonprofit business attraction and growth organization that works to market Northeast Ohio, attract new businesses and aid in growth of existing busineses. Boulier develops business for the 18-county region’s core industries, including metal fabrication and machinery; polymers, chemicals and coatings; energy, oil and gas; and packaging and transportation. He comes to Team NEO with senior management experience at A. Schulman, Core Molding Technologies, Avery Dennison and Nova Chemicals.

Join the Chamber for a business lunch and get industry insights directly from a seasoned business leader. Tickets are $40; seating is limited for this unique opportunity in the oil and gas community.

Utica Capital Series: Plastics Products from Utica Energy
Monday, April 7, 2014
11:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m.
Glenmoor Country Club
Canton, Ohio 44718

Register online by April 2nd  at or contact Monique Thomas-Kennedy at for more information.

This is the second event in the Canton Regional Chamber’s 2014 Utica Capital Series Presented by Huntington Bank. Additional support is provided by Furbay Electric and Legrand Cablofil.