Chamber Seeks Nominations for Community Salute Awards

Each year, the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce recognizes the area’s unsung heroes at the Community Salute Awards by honoring select individuals, corporations, businesses and organizations for outstanding contributions to the greater Canton community.

This year’s awards dinner will take place Wednesday, Nov. 5, at The University Center at Kent State at Stark.
Nominations for this prestigious award are due by Monday, Sept. 8. Chamber members are invited to submit nominees online at  

Awards are presented in two categories, the Award of Merit and the Award of Appreciation.
Awards of Merit are awarded to single individuals for continuous civic activities and dedication that goes beyond business or professional responsibilities.

Awards of Appreciation honor any or all of the following for outstanding performance that benefits the community: 

  • Corporations, business and organizations: the winner must have enhanced the welfare of Stark County citizens through outstanding success in business or service.

  • Individual business professionals: the winner must have demonstrated outstanding performance in his or her profession, which ultimately benefits the community at large.

  • Individuals in Chamber of Commerce work: the winner must consistently and for an extended period, have demonstrated outstanding performance on the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, producing benefits to the civic or business community.
  • Individuals in short-term activity: the winner must have initiated and completed a short-term activity resulting in widespread benefits to the community.
The 2014 Community Salute Awards will begin with a social hour at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and award presentation at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $50. Visit for more information, to nominate outstanding individuals and businesses in our community, or to register.

Leadership Stark County Announces 28th Signature Class

The 28th Class of Leadership Stark County’s Signature program has been selected and will begin their ten-month exploration of Stark County’s current issues, assets, and local and regional resources.  The group begins with two-day retreat and a one-day traveling investigation of Stark County then spends a full day each month on some aspect of the community including economics, social services, government, education and justice, among others.  A hands-on project designed to develop community assets completes the experience.  These community minded individuals have been charged to work together to make a lifelong commitment to Stark County.  The class includes:  

Robert Arnold, MIS manager, H-P Products Inc.
Gina Bannevich, marketing director, Belden Village Mall
Michele Boone, manager of programs and evaluation, Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Stark County
Karma Cline, operations/program coordinator children services, Canton YWCA
Mathew Connelly, district sales manager, HP
Louise Dalton, general manager, global distribution, The Timken Company
Gwendolyn Davis, director of finance and financial aid, Aultman College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Veda Davis, asst. director of housing management, Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority
Judge Kristin Farmer, Stark County Court of Common Pleas
Raymond Fryan, manager of purchasing, Canton Drop Forge
Sandra Fusillo, principal, St. Peter School
Patricia Gaston, golf services manager, Tam O’Shanter Golf Course
Jennifer Harrington, owner, The Ad Lab
Bryan Harris, technology director, Stark County District Library
Brian Hostettler, senior vice president, Key Private Bank
Dianna Huckestein, executive director – senior living services & corporate communications, GentleBrook
Maria Klutinoty Edwards, attorney, Tzangas Plakas Mannos Ltd
Ryan Kuchmaner, attorney, Black McCuskey Souers & Arbaugh, LPA
Leslie Letner, sr. manager, corporate relations & special events, Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank
Delrica Martin, escrow officer, Title One Agency, Inc.
Alex McCallion, attorney, Day Ketterer Ltd.
Dawn Moeglin, development coordinator, Stark County Park District
Keith Nutter, area manager, Aqua Ohio, Inc.
Mark Parent, director, special education, Plain Local Schools
James Patterson, principal vehicle systems engineer, Hendrickson Trailer Commercial Vehicle Systems
Melissa Patterson, mechanical design engineer, Powell Industries
Heather Pennington, advanced accountant, Marathon Petroleum Company LP
Jon Daniel Pizor, portfolio control manager, GE Capital Retail Bank
Larry Pollock, plant manager, Gambrinus – TimkenSteel
Heather Reda, advancement and training assistant, Pathway Caring For Children
Jason Smith, vp/banking office manager, Premier Bank & Trust
Bruce Stefancik, director of radiology, Mercy Medical Center
Robert Stewart, ceo, The M. Conley Company
Julie Stieber, head of school, Canton Montessori School
David Talenda, senior manager, Cohen & Company
Erica Thom, executive director, AHEAD Inc.
Benjamin Tobias, director – trio student support services, Stark State College
Stephen Weingart, vice president for advancement, Malone University
Ryan Wilson, cpa, vice president, R.J. Wilson & Co., CPA Inc.
For more information about Leadership Stark County’s Signature Program, visit


Mark Fleiner Named Chair of Chamber Economic Development Committee

mark-fleinerThe Canton Regional Chamber has named Mark Fleiner, CEO of LG Fuel Cell Systems, as chairman of its Economic Development Committee.

This committee focuses on business retention and expansion (R & E) as a key method of driving local and regional economic development. One of the key goals of the committee is to utilize committee members to help identify local R & E opportunities.

Mark comes with ideal experience to lead this committee. In addition to serving on the Chamber’s board of directors and executive committee, he serves on the Stark Development Board and Team NEO. These are important economic development organizations and help connect our efforts throughout the region, which fits within our strategic plan.

Mark was also on the Steering Committee that developed the Regional Economic Competitive Strategy (RECS), focusing on R & E efforts of local, established companies. These efforts looked at economic development throughout northeast Ohio to develop strategies to promote growth.

We look forward to Mark’s leadership on this committee, as well as his wisdom and knowledge as we promote economic growth in Canton and throughout the region.

Vintage Canton is ‘ripe’ around the corner

Vintage-Canton-LogoThe Canton Development Partnership, a department of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, will host its annual Vintage Canton event on Wednesday, Sept. 10, from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. along Central Plaza North in downtown Canton.

Vintage Canton is a sophisticated downtown gathering, offering distinctive center city charm alongside live music, vibrant art exhibits and, of course, fine food and beverages.

The event gives guests the chance to relax and unwind while enjoying wine from local wineries, craft beers, delicacies from downtown and greater Canton eateries, memorable live music, and artists.   

This year’s Vintage Canton gathering will feature some of the finest quality wines from area wineries and abroad, including Barrel Run Winery, Breitenbach Wine Cellars, Easley Winery, Gervasi Vineyard, and Raven’s Glenn Winery, along with selections from distributors and retailers, including Grapes in a Glass, Heidelberg Distributing, L.A. Dick Imports, and Natural State Wines.

Craft beers from Heidelberg will also be available in lieu of the eight wine samples included with event admission. 

Vintage Canton

Guests will also be able to enjoy small tasting plates for a nominal charge from downtown restaurants and Stark County favorites, including Bender’s Tavern, Canal Tavern of Zoar, The Canton Club, Chocolates by Erin, Desert Inn Restaurant, George’s Lounge, Peace Love & Little Donuts, Tapas 218 and Thorpe’s Market Avenue Grill & Pub.

The whole evening will be set to a musical backdrop of the rhythms of Yankee Bravo.

Tickets for Vintage Canton are $30 if purchased prior to 5 p.m. on Sept. 9, and $40 after that time and at the door. Special group-rate pricing is available for groups of 20 at $25 per ticket.  

Tickets can be purchased online, at  Carpe Diem Coffee Shop (in downtown Canton and at Belden Village Mall locations), Grapes in a Glass, Kempthorn Motors, and at the Canton Regional Chamber offices (222 Market Ave. N in downtown Canton).

The ticket price includes eight wine tastings or craft beer samples, a variety of breads and cheeses courtesy of Brewster Dairy and Biery Cheese, and a collectible souvenir wine glass.

The event is conveniently located in Central Plaza North, on Market Ave. between Tuscarawas St. and Third Ave. NE. The event will be held rain or shine.

This year’s generous event sponsors include KeyBank, along with About Magazine, Belden Village Mall, Brewster Cheese, Brookside Country Club, Kenan Advantage Group, KnitSpot,  M. Conley, the Downtown Canton Special Improvement District, The City of Canton, News-Talk 1480 WHBC and Mix 94.1, Canton Chair Rental, Rice’s Nursery and PPI Graphics.

Visit to learn more or purchase tickets.

Enshrinement Festival Announces 2014 Emcees

StefaniThe Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival is pleased to announce emcees for the Fashion Show Luncheon on Friday, August 1, and TimkenSteel Grand Parade on Saturday, August 2. Stefani Schaefer, co-anchor of Fox 8 News in the Morning, will emcee this year’s Fashion Show Luncheon on Friday, August 1, and it promises to be a high energy production. An Alliance native, she is a graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School and University of Mount Union where she was an All-American Scholar and a National Collegiate Academic Honoree. While in high school, she was a featured vocalist for the Enshrinement ceremonies and she has sung the National Anthem for the Game, so she truly has a soft spot in her heart for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

She first started at WJW Fox 8 in Cleveland in 1992, then took a hiatus to pursue other opportunities including hosting a national network show broadcast out of Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. In 2007, she returned to WJW Fox 8, and in 2008, she was inducted into the Broadcasters Hall of Fame. In 2012, she was named Cleveland’s Favorite News Anchor and Favorite News Team.

Football and fashion might seem like an unlikely mix, but it’s a perfect fit for the nearly 3,200 guests who enjoy the event that includes state-of-the-art sound, lighting, and video to showcase male and female models featuring the season’s hottest fashions.  An exclusive bridal scene will be a new element in this year’s show, and all the fashions will be enhanced by the excitement of several performances by Jeff Timmons of 98º.  Great tickets are still available by calling the Chamber at (330) 458-2048.
Dan Dierdorf
Early the next morning on Saturday, August 2, Schaefer will join Dan Dierdorf as co-commentators for the TimkenSteel Grand Parade.  Stefani and Dan teamed up as co-commentators  in 1999 and 2000, then again last year.  A Canton native and 1996 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Dierdorf will bring his extensive knowledge of the game to the parade broadcast for the 16th consecutive year.  After an illustrious career with the St. Louis Cardinals, he transitioned to the broadcast booth, most notably at ABC with the Monday Night Football team with Al Michaels and Frank Gifford. After 12 years, he moved to CBS where he stayed until his retirement after the 2013 season, and in April 2014, he was introduced as the new color analyst for the football radio broadcasts at his alma mater, the Michigan Wolverines. Dierdorf was the 2008 recipient of the prestigious Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Joe DunnJoe Dunn will be joining the team for the second consecutive year as man-on-the-street for interviews with the Class of 2014 and many returning Hall of Famers.  After a stint with the Canton/Stark County Convention & Visitors’ Bureau, he became Director of Sports Marketing at the University of Akron and is currently Vice President of Sales at Big Time Sports, a regional company producing sports talk shows and featuring high school sports coverage.

Parade units step off at Sixth St. and Cleveland Ave. SW and move north to 25th St. NW, where they will begin to disband. For Enshrinement Festival and football fans wanting to enjoy the parade, great reserved chair and bleacher seats are still available for only $9 by calling the Chamber at (330) 458-2088 or stopping in at 222 Market Ave. N from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays. Spectators will be required to show their tickets before being permitted to sit in reserved areas, and this will be strictly enforced.

AultCare Fast Break Breakfast Announces Lineup for Second Half of 2014

FBBThe second half of the 2014 AultCare Fast Break Breakfast Series season has been announced. The Canton Regional Chamber’s monthly AultCare Fast Break Breakfasts are held the second Friday of each month, where guests hear compelling speakers, meet new business contacts and enjoy a delicious breakfast. Plus, through exciting icebreakers, each attendee has the opportunity to network and promote their business.

AultCare Fast Break Breakfasts are open to the public and held at the Courtyard by Marriott, 4375 Metro Cir. NW in Canton, from 7:30 to 9 a.m., with registration beginning at 7 a.m.  Members can attend for $18 per breakfast; non-members for $25.

July-December 2014 AultCare Fast Break Breakfast Lineup:

July 11: Create, Communicate and Innovate
Jon Washington, The Innovation Garage

Many organizations struggle with how to define innovation, capture value, and measure results.  Come and learn the three key lessons that will drive successful innovation and growth of your company. Jon will teach you about solutions that will solve customer problems, help you leap ahead of the competition, and further your business and influence.

August 8: Intentional Communication: Changing the way we see and interact with people!
Carolyn Santos, Santos Coaching

Communication! We talk all the time, but do we REALLY understand and connect with people? We take all kinds of assessments, but do we know any more what to do with and for people than before we took them? Carolyn Santos is changing the way we do communciation training and understand people – professionally and personally. It’s easy, intuituve, and profoundly effective.

September 12: Leadership: The Difference Maker
Maria Stevens, Stevens Coaching & Consulting, LLC

Why do some businesses fail, while others grow? Why are some companies able to handle change successfully, while others get stuck? Why do some organizations struggle with uncommitted employees, while others thrive with a winning culture?The answer is leadership. Leadership is the difference between struggle and success and between winning and losing. It’s very simple, but it’s not always easy.

October 10: The 5 Rules of Engagement – How to Motivate Your Employees
Philip Kim, Walsh University

Do you have a motivated and fired up workforce?  Do they love your business as much as you do?  If you’re like most small businesses, probably not.  Currently, seven out of every 10 U.S. workers are dissatisfied with their jobs. 40% or more are disengaged with their work.  What’s the deal?  You pay them a competitive wage already, so what else do you need to do?  You need to engage them.  Research continues to show that truly engaged employees are more likely to be self-motivated, positive, and focused.  You don’t need to re-structure your whole day on pampering your employees, but you do need to create an environment of engagement.  Find out how the best companies do this, and steal from them to implement your own 5 Rules of Engagement.

November 14: Ready, Set, Plan!
Tom Scully, Sandler Training

Do you ever wonder why it takes you so long to finish a project, realize a goal, or make a change. It’s all about the plan. Learn to implement a specific plan of action for personal and professional goals.  Create a consistent daily behavior designed to eliminate mediocre prospecting and follow-up. And, develop a formula for success and understand goal setting.

December 12: Digital Brand – You.  Understand – Support – Amplify.
Shon Christy, Proximity Marketing

Everyone understands the concept of a brand but often overlooks the brand that is most important – THIER OWN! This presentation will explore your brand and how to leverage it in the social media universe to help you stand out and get the attention you deserve.  You will walk away completely understanding the value of your digital brand, how to support it and how to amplify to the right audience.

Visit to purchase tickets, or contact Monique Thompson-Kennedy, events assistant, at or (330) 458-2070 for more information.

Enshrinement Festival Announces 2014 Key Chairs: Pigskin Run • Concert and Fireworks • Enshrinement • Fan Parties

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival department of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Pro Football Hall of Fame have named the following key committee chairs: Cathy Wyatt, Pigskin Run; Mike King, Concert and Fireworks; Guy Ruda, Enshrinement; and Gina Bannevich, Fan Parties.

WyattWyatt is a graduate of Lake High School and attended Kent State University.  She is owner/operator of two Carpe Diem Coffee Shops and is President of the Palace Theatre Board.  A Leadership Stark County graduate, she serves on the Stark Community Services Women’s Impact Board and the Canton Development Partnership Board of Architectural Review.  She has been a member of the Pigskin Run committee for five years, and this is her first as chairman.  She and husband Patrick have one daughter and one son.

Vice chairman Susan Bodnar is assisting Wyatt and working closely with the committee to make some great adjustments to this year’s event.  The courses will be slightly revised and recertified in order to accommodate both the start and finish on the campus of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, providing fantastic photo opportunities.

Formerly known as the 2-Mile and 5-Mile Races, the Pigskin Run race distances will remain the same.  Both serious and recreational runners are welcome to participate in the 2-Mile run, 5-Mile run, or 5-Mile Competitive Walk divisions.  Race day registration will be available, but at an increased cost, so participants are encouraged to register now and save at  Cash and/or other prizes will be awarded to top finishers in the three categories.  Kids six and under are encouraged to participate in the free Kids Fun Run which kicks off the morning’s festivities at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In celebration of the name change, a Pigskin Run “High School Pride Award” is being launched.  When registering for the Pigskin Run, registrants will have the opportunity to cast their vote for the name of the high school they proudly support.  The high school garnering the most support will receive a traveling award that they get to keep until the 2015 winner is declared.

KingKing, of King Properties, is a graduate of Hoover High School and attended Kent State University. After serving on the Concert and Fireworks committee for 10 years, this is his second as chairman.  Very active in downtown development, he is the recipient of the ArtsinStark Turning Point Award for the Canton Arts District, and five Downtown Canton Special Improvement Awards for downtown developments. He is past chairman and current vice chairman of the Downtown Canton Special Improvement District and has served on numerous downtown and housing boards and committees. He is a founding member and past president of the Stark County Real Estate Investors Association as well as a member of the Lake Cable Recreation Association. He and wife Mary Ellen are parents to two daughters and two step-daughters.

King, vice chairman Jeff Burner, and their team will be attending to the many details involved with this event on the evening of Saturday, July 26. A variety of activities are planned at the Cornerstone Square area in the vicinity of Tuscarawas Street and Walnut Avenue and will begin at 6 p.m. with food and family fun, including face painting, balloon artists, costumed characters and crafts for the kids in the Chesapeake Energy Family Fun Zone.  Musical entertainment will include Jimmy and the Soul Blazers, and the festivities will conclude with an incredible pyrotechnic display launched from the Cornerstone Square parking deck approximately 10 p.m. – featuring the magic of Zambelli, “the First Family of Fireworks!”

RudaRuda, a sales associate for R. Z. Marketing Group, is serving his 14th year as chairman of the Enshrinement Ceremony Committee. He previously served 18 years as a member of the committee, as well as three years as chairman of the former NFL Experience Committee. Ruda and his wife Gail are the proud parents of David and Danielle.

Ruda and his team of volunteers prepare the facilities and programming for staging, seating and logistics of the Enshrinement Ceremony program.  Assisting him will be co-vice chairmen Terry Coyne for planning and Dave McRoberts for facilities. The Enshrinement Ceremony for the Class of 2014 football greats will be held Saturday, Aug. 2, at 7 p.m. at Fawcett Stadium. The stellar Class of Enshrinees includes linebacker Derrick Brooks, punter Ray Guy, defensive end Claude Humphrey, tackle Walter Jones, wide receiver Andre Reed, defensive end Michael Strahan, and cornerback/safety Aeneas Williams.

BannevichBannevich graduated from Tuscarawas Central Catholic High School and University of Mount Union and completed coursework at the Corporate University at Kent State University.  She is currently marketing director at Belden Village Mall. A member of the Fan Appreciation Tailgate Party committee since 2002, this is her third year as chairman. Her community volunteer includes The Golden Key for Exceptional Children, Greater Northeast Ohio ALS Walk Group and chapter volunteer, and a member of International Council of Shopping Centers.  She and husband Jason have a son and a daughter.

There are five fantastic fan parties that are held on Hall of Fame grounds. Friday, fans from across the nation will enjoy an exclusive event prior to the Enshrinees’ Gold Jacket Ceremony. Following a reception guests will have exclusive after-hours access to the museum and view the Gold Jacket Ceremony via a broadcast.

New this year will be the Legends Club VIP Enshrinement Tailgate Party that will be on both Saturday and Sunday and will include four Pro Football Hall of Famers — the party of a lifetime for the game’s most elite fans to enjoy.

Also this year the traditional Fan Appreciation Parties will be a great opportunity for football fans from all across the nation to get ready for The Enshrinement Ceremony and the big game featuring the Buffalo Bills vs. New York Giants. Saturday and Sunday Fan Parties always include great food and refreshing beverages in typical tailgate fashion as a deejay plays party music.

Bannevich is assisted by Valerie Nash.