Community Salute Winners Honored on Nov. 5

Joe_HalterJoseph R. Halter, Jr., founder and president of Solmet Technologies, Inc., will be recognized with the highest honor, the Award of Merit, at the upcoming Community Salute Awards.

The award will be presented along with four Awards of Appreciation on Wednesday, Nov. 5, at the Canton Regional Chamber’s Community Salute Awards dinner, held at The University Center – Kent State University at Stark. Tickets are available online for $50 at or by calling (330) 458-2070.

Community Salute Award of Appreciation winners include: Jeffrey Dreyer, president, Canton Financial, Early Childhood Resource Center, Kent State University at Stark, and Robert  L. Leibensperger, retired COO and President-Bearings, The Timken Company. A Special Award of Appreciation will be presented to Steven J. Katz, senior vice president, Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Sponsors of this year’s Community Salute Awards (to date) include: ArtsinStark, Aultman, DeHoff Development Company, Gasser Jewelers, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Pro Football Hall of Fame, The Repository, Solmet Technologies, and The Timken Company.


Award of Merit

Canton native Joseph R. Halter, Jr., has been an active business and community leader for nearly 30 years. In addition to founding and leading Canton-based Solmet Technologies, Inc., he has committed much of his time to strengthening this community through his leadership and dedicated involvement. His service with numerous organizations truly imbodies the spirit of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce’s highest award, the Community Salute Award of Merit.

Halter is founding partner, president, and chief executive officer of Solmet Technologies, Inc., a local manufacturer of commercial open-die steel forgings serving the energy, fluid power, transportation, and metals fields which has been in operation since 1985. With a prime location in the Utica shale play, Solmet forges many of the parts used by oil and gas drillers in Ohio, West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania.

Halter has long been active in many Canton-area organizations. He has held numerous leadership roles, including service as Board of Trustees member and chair for the Stark County Arts Council, Arts in Stark, and Board of Trustees member for Goodwill Industries of East Central Ohio.

He is currently a member of the Aultman Health Foundation, Rotary Club of Canton and the Stark Development Board, having served each organization’s Board of Trustees as vice chair, president and chairman, respectively, and is Board of Trustee member for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and Pro Football Hall of Fame. Halter is also a member of Stark Community Foundation’s Capital Campaigns Committee.

In 2013, he was appointed by Gov. John Kasich to serve on the Board of Directors for Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED). In the same year, he also served as General Chairman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, a volunteer position that helps lead 26 separate committees and provide oversight of the massive two-and-half-week festival.

Halter is a member of Brookside Country Club and Christ Presbyterian Church. A graduate of Ohio University, he currently resides with his wife, Nancy Cumler Halter, in Stark County. They have two grown children, Matt and Joseph, and two grandchildren.

Halter was nominated by Vicky Sterling, president of Pinnacle Press.

Awards of Appreciation

Jeffrey Dreyer is receiving an Award of Appreciation for enhancing the welfare of Stark County citizens through outstanding philanthropy to the community and its causes.

Dreyer’s five nominations revealed tireless dedication to developing the downtown arts community and many years of board service for numerous organizations. He has used his knowledge and expertise in finance and marketing to assist local artists with their financial strategies. He has also served as president of the Red Ribbon Connection, an organization that provided education, awareness and hope for the local HIV community.

Dreyer is a third-generation Cantonian. He attended Canton Country Day School and Glen Oak High School, and two years at Indiana University. After graduating from Kent State University, he returned to Canton and immediately became involved in the community.

His grandfathers, Leonard Steinberg and Ben Dreyer, as well as his father, Mark Dreyer, ran Canton-area businesses. Jeffrey Dreyer is continuing that tradition by being the 3rd generation to run Canton Financial. During his 47 years in Canton, he has served on the boards of many organizations (and helped fundraise for many more) including:

Friends of The Canton Ballet, Quest Alcohol & Drug Recovery Services, American Cancer Society, The American Heart Association, The Alzheimer’s Association, The Canton Preservation Society, The Red Ribbon Connection, Canton Credit Bureau, Canton Jewish Community Federation, Temple Israel Brotherhood, and Region 4 HIV Prevention and Education Planning Advisory Group.

Dreyer was nominated by Su Nimon, owner of Journey Art Gallery; Joy Dougan, public health nurse at Canton City Health Department; Judi Krew, owner of Snarky Art; Diane Thompson, director of nursing at Canton City Health Department; Pamela Gibbs, health services coordinator at Canton City Health Department.

The Early Childhood Resource Center is receiving an Award of Appreciation for enhancing the welfare of Stark County citizens for outstanding success in service.

In 2000, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton established the Early Childhood Resource Center (ECRC) to provide high-quality education, resources, support, and advocacy for early childhood professionals and families with young children.

The ECRC offers a wide spectrum of resources that are found nowhere else in our region. By supporting both educators and families, the ECRC’s multi-faceted system of support helps young children thrive, both educationally and developmentally, as they grow to become the future of our community.

For families, the ECRC offers educational family programming and parenting education, both in its Cleveland Avenue facility and throughout the impoverished neighborhoods that need these resources the most.

For educators, the ECRC offers a wide variety of professional development opportunities and works directly with early learning centers to help them build strong relationships with families.

The ECRC works collaboratively, both locally and with state agencies and initiatives, to coordinate and develop training courses, disseminate information, and clarify requirements to ensure that educators have the tools and resources they need to work effectively with young children.

In 2012, Stark Education Partnership evaluated the ECRC’s impact on Stark County and concluded that the ECRC conservatively returns nearly $1,000,000 annually in direct benefits to the Stark County early childhood community.

The ECRC’s highly collaborative approach has established it as the cornerstone of the local early education and care community. It partners with a multitude of organizations and agencies that include the Canton City School District, the court system, the Department of Job and Family Services, Community Services, Help Me Grow, the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Stark County, and the Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority, among many others.

The Early Childhood Resource Center was nominated by Bradley Belden, board chair for the ECRC and director-support services at Belden Brick.

Kent State University at Stark is receiving an Award of Appreciation for enhancing the welfare of Stark County citizens through outstanding philanthropy to the community and its causes.

Kent State University at Stark serves the community far beyond its education programming. From use of its campus for community events like free one-day Melanoma screenings to hosting the Balloon Classic Invitation/Jackson-Belden Food Fest to its free concert and lecture series, KSU-Stark is truly the community’s campus.
Kent State University at Stark is the largest regional campus of Kent State University, serving more than 11,000 students each year, comprised of 6,600 enrolled in academic coursework and 4,500 enrolled in professional development courses, and offering bachelor’s, master’s and associate degrees, as well as the opportunity to begin coursework in the more than 250 bachelor’s degrees at Kent State University.

The only public university in Stark County, Kent State Stark is nestled on a beautiful, 200-acre campus in Jackson Township. The University Center, which houses The Corporate University and the Small Business Development Center, is accredited under the stringent guidelines of the International Association of Conference Centers.

Combining a top-quality major university with a community-oriented college, Kent State Stark serves our region as a key intellectual resource, providing access to academic, economic and cultural advancement through excellence in teaching and learning.

Kent State University at Stark was nominated by Jim Porter, publisher of The Repository/Gatehouse Ohio Media, and Dr. John Humphrey, executive director, North Canton Medical Foundation.

Robert L. Leibensperger is receiving an Award of Appreciation for initiating and completing a short-term activity resulting in widespread benefits to the community.

Leibensperger, a longtime Canton Symphony Orchestra board member, spearheaded the Capital Campaign to build the Zimmermann Symphony Center and provide a permanent home for the Canton Symphony Orchestra.

Born near Allentown, Pennsylvania, he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University in 1960 and a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Akron University in 1970.  He started his career with The Timken Company in 1960 as a Sales Engineer but spent most of his career on the technical side of the business, eventually serving as VP Technology for 10 years. He retired in 2000 as Chief Operating Officer of the Timken Company and President-Bearings.

Leibensperger’s present community volunteer activities include board positions for the Canton Symphony Orchestra (Past Chairman), McKinley Presidential Library and Museum (Secretary), Stark Community Foundation Capital Campaigns Committee, Stark County Schools’ Business Advisory Council, Akron University’s Engineering Dean’s Advancement Council and Mechanical Engineering Advisory Council (Past Chairman), Kent State Stark Advisory Councils, Church Council member at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Past President) and President of the Nobles Pond Homeowners’ Association.

His hobbies are antique cars, woodworking, industrial history and Leibensperger genealogy. He and Donna, his wife of 54 years, live in Jackson Township.  Their son Kurt and his wife, Pam, live in Green with grandchildren Megan, Andrew, and Kristen.

Leibensperger was nominated by Michelle Mullaly, executive director of the Canton Symphony Orchestra.

Steven J. Katz is receiving a Special Award of Appreciation for his outstanding service to the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, the city of Canton, and the local business community. In January 2015, Katz plans to retire from the Canton Regional Chamber, after nearly 33 years of employment.

Katz has served as senior vice president of the Canton Regional Chamber for nine years. His primary responsibilities include economic development, government affairs, human resources and he works closely with the president and CEO regarding internal operations. He also oversees some aspects of events, finance and information systems for the Chamber. Katz joined the Chamber in 1982 as manager of Government Affairs and has also served as vice president of Economic Development and Government Affairs.

Katz graduated from Kent State University with a master’s degree in public administration. He is a member of the Stark Labor Management Council, and sits on the board of Employment Source, Canton Community Improvement Corporation and the Stark Development Board Finance Corporation. He and his wife, Karyn, have two children, Elizabeth and Eric.Katz was nominated by Kelly Haer, business manager of OhioMeansJobs.

Utica Summit II Brings Top Industry Leaders to Canton on Oct. 14

Main logoAn ethane cracker plant, which can “crack” Utica natural gas into ethylene (one of the building blocks of plastics and chemicals) is anticipated in Ohio. This is an important step for the Utica shale play and “downstream” manufacturers who rely on these products.

The Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, The Repository, and brought the first conversation about these topics to the Utica and Northeast Ohio in 2013 at its initial Utica Summit, and the same partnership is advancing the conversation at Utica Summit II.

This event is happening Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, at The University Center, Kent State University at Stark (6000 Frank Ave. NW, North Canton, OH 44720).

Utica Summit II will be a forum for high-level conversation about what is possible, now and in the future, all because of the technology that permits horizontal drilling of the shale plays in the United States. The event will explore the downstream benefits of the Utica Shale energy boom:

  • What will natural gas and the natural gas liquids mean for sustainable manufacturing in Ohio, the Northeast and the United States as a whole?
  • What is the latest on the proposed ethane cracker in Ohio and whether it will bring new plastics manufacturers to its doorstep?
  • If you want to ship coast to coast by natural gas-fueled trucks, how soon can you rely on a network of fueling stations?
  • From the perspective of federal government policy, what could happen to help or harm the development of America’s rich shale?

View the tentative agenda here.

“The downstream benefits of Utica natural gas are exciting for this region because it means we can build and grow sustainable business with Utica energy,” said Dennis P. Saunier, Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce president and CEO.

The event is intended to bring people together to talk about what can be done to fuel transportation across the United States with Utica energy, to build sustainable businesses powered by Utica energy, and to grow businesses that use Utica energy as its raw product to create industrial and consumer goods.

“We expect to host over 200 people from the oil and gas industry, as well as government and universities,” added Repository Publisher Jim Porter. “We have a full lineup of nationally and internationally known speakers from companies that are doing extraordinary work in this industry.”

Who Should Attend?

  • Based on past events we anticipate attendees from mid-market companies, government entities and educational institutions.
  • Companies working directly and indirectly in the oil and gas industry who are seeking to learn about the future developments in the Utica Shale.
  • CEOs and C-Level managers across many industries looking for strategic growth opportunities as the result of lower energy and feedstock costs.
  • Controllers, CFOs and finance directors searching for ways to effectively reduce costs through the use of LNG/CNG driven vehicles.

Utica Summit II Speakers:

Our speakers will lead us in discussions regarding what the Utica Shale means to manufacturing, transportation, job creation and more:

Rayola Dougher, Senior Economic Advisor, American Petroleum Institute
Tom Gellrich, Founder, TopLine Analytics of Philadelphia, and an expert on the ethane market
Christopher Guith, Senior Vice President for Policy, US Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy
Dr. Iryna Lendel, Assistant Director of the Center for Economic Development at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University, the academic leader in Utica economic research
Anthony J. Palmer, Vice President, IHS Chemical Consulting
Bill Renz,
General Manager for GAIN® Clean Fuel, which is helping to build the CNG fueling network across the nation
Michael Taylor, Senior Director for International Affairs and Trade at SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association

Register now at or by calling Monique Thompson at (330) 458-2070. Tickets are $250 per person, or $1,500 for a table of six. Questions or inquiries can be directed to David Kaminski, director of energy and public affairs for the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce at (330) 458-2059.

Conde, Ruda Named to Leadership Roles for the 2015 Enshrinement Festival

The Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and Pro Football Hall of Fame have named two long-time community volunteers to leadership positions for the 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival.

Chip Conde, Stark County Property Tax Supervisor and long-time Enshrinement Festival volunteer, will serve as general vice chairman of the Enshrinement Festival activities planned by the Enshrinement Festival department of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce. And for the fifth consecutive year, Guy Ruda, sales associate for R. Z. Marketing Group, will serve as general vice chairman of the Enshrinement Festival activities planned by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

CondeConde, a graduate of Canton Lincoln High School and the former Mount Union College (now University), has chaired many Enshrinement Festival committees including Enshrinees GameDay Roundtable, Concert & Fireworks, and Drum Corps International, and he continues to serve as a member of each of those committees, as well as the Enshrinees’ Gold Jacket Dinner Committee. In 2013, he served as co-chair of the 50th Anniversary Community Celebration Day at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He and wife Kathy are strong supporters of the Canton Palace Theatre, including his tenure as a former Board member and current Capital Campaign Chairman. He is a Board member and treasurer of the Friends of the Children’s Network, member of the Canton Lincoln High Alumni Association, and member of the Spanish-American Center.

RudaDuring the 2014 Enshrinement Festival, while serving in the leadership role as general vice chairman, Ruda also completed his 14th year as chairman of the Enshrinement Committee. He will continue to lend his expertise and extraordinary work ethic by serving in that dual capacity again in 2015. He previously served 18 years as a member of the Enshrinement Committee, as well as three years as chairman of the former NFL Experience Committee. An effective mentor, he provides leadership to his volunteer team by adhering to a favorite motto, “People never improve unless they look to some standard or example higher and better than themselves.” Ruda and his wife Gail are the proud parents of David and Danielle.

Enshrinement Festival General Chairman Alumni Association Holds Annual Dinner

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival General Chairman Alumni Association held its annual dinner on September 17. The event was emceed by Barbara Hammontree Bennett, current association president and 2009 general chairman. Members offer assistance to the Enshrinement Festival in the areas of sponsor recognition, promoting community awareness and support in planning and producing the annual festivities.

The Association was formed in 1993 and has been comprised of general chairmen of the committees under the auspices of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Pro Football Hall of Fame since the inception of the Enshrinement Festival in 1963.

At the annual dinner, Barbara Hammontree Bennett, presented an Award of Merit to Diebold, Inc. in grateful recognition of their long-time outstanding and generous support of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival. She noted that Diebold, Inc. has been an important partner to the Enshrinement Festival since the beginning 51 years ago, including as an annual ticket holder, supporter of the cash sponsorship campaign, and encouraging their employees to volunteer for the Enshrinement Festival. Such continuous support has been critical to the Enshrinement Festival’s success. The award was accepted on behalf of Diebold by Chris Chapman, Sr. Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and John Kristoff, Vice President and Chief Communications Officer.

A second Award of Merit was presented to Stephen A. Perry, by Thomas W. Schervish, 1986 General Chairman and immediate past president of the Board of Directors of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Perry was recognized for his service as the fifth President/Executive Director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, serving from 206 through his retirement in early 2014.  During his tenure, the Hall realized great success, including the celebration of its 50th anniversary and the completion of a $27 million renovation and expansion project. Steve also served as the 1999 General Chairman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, and he had an extensive career in management of large private sector and public sector organizations. Most recently, he served in the Federal government as the Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) in Washington, D.C. Perry was a former member of the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors (1993-2001) and has been an active volunteer in numerous professional and community organizations.

Another tradition at the annual dinner is the initiation into the association of the most recent General Chairman. The ceremonial green jacket was presented by 2013 general chairman Joe Halter to 2014 general chairman Vicky Sterling, who joins 46 other women and men who have held this prestigious position over the years. She was commended for her extraordinary leadership and dedication to the enhancement and growth of the Enshrinement Festival.

She was especially recognized for her unmatched hands-on role in supporting all of the Enshrinement Festival committees, and was celebrated for her internal theme, “Smile, It’s Contagious – Let’s Start An Epidemic!”  In 2015, Sterling will continue to serve the Enshrinement Festival as chairman of the Steering Committee.


While nearly 25,000 men have played in at least one National Football League game, there are only 287 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame; this number will be increased by not more than eight when the Class of 2015 is announced January 31 during Super Bowl weekend.  The central focus and highlight of the festivities will be the induction ceremony for the Class of 2015 Enshrinees at Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium.

More than nine million fans have visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame since it first opened its doors on September 7, 1963, and the first Enshrinement Festival events were held that year.  In the last 51 years, the Hall has expanded from its original 19,000 square feet to 118,000 square feet following the 2014 conclusion of its $27 million “Future 50” Expansion and Renovation Project. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is a not-for-profit educational institution that focuses on education, promoting, preserving, and honoring the great individuals and moments that have shaped the sport’s history, with an emphasis on “Celebrating Excellence Everywhere!” 

Likewise, the annual Enshrinement Festival has expanded from its original four small events to 23 diverse events over a two and a half week period, enjoyed by nearly 700,000 people and producing an economic impact of over $32 million for the Canton/Stark County area and nearly $56 million for the State of Ohio. In addition, millions of people experience aspects of the Enshrinement Festival as events are televised and covered by other media. With a record of success for the past 51 years, the Enshrinement Festival has earned its reputation as “A One of a Kind Celebration!”

Visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival website >>

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For information contact: Joanne K. Murray, Director

Phone: (330) 458-2050 |

Enshrinement Festival Announces 2015 General Chairs

The Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and Pro Football Hall of Fame have named two long-time community volunteers to leadership positions for the 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival. The world-renowned festival will celebrate the 52nd anniversary of the annual enshrinement of football players, coaches, and contributors into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, in the annual “One of a Kind Celebration!”

George LemonGeorge Lemon, a retired business leader and long-time community activist recognized for his ability to get things done and bring people together for positive change, will serve as general chairman of the Enshrinement Festival activities planned by the Enshrinement Festival department of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce.  For the fifth consecutive year, Robert J. McFarlane, director of the outdoor division for Bruce Foods Corporation of New Iberia, LA, will serve as general chairman of the Enshrinement Festival activities planned by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

With the 2014 Enshrinement Festival just a few weeks behind them, strategic planning for the 2015 Enshrinement Festival is already well underway. The collaborative efforts of this leadership team, combined with the professional staffs at the Canton Regional Chamber and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the dedicated team of more than 4,200 extraordinary community volunteers, will ensure the success of this special celebration. The 2015 Enshrinement Festival dates will not be confirmed until after the NFL confirms the date for the NFL/Hall of Fame Game, so information will be posted on the web site as soon as available:

Lemon will lead the chairmen of 26 Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce committees, who hold in excess of 350 meetings throughout the year, to attend to the massive details of planning and staging several Enshrinement Festival events.  He is well-known for his reputation for getting involved, getting things done, and bringing people together for positive change.

His strong leadership skills led to a 23-year career in the U.S. Army and National Guard.  As a Commissioned Armor Officer and Helicopter Pilot, he commanded numerous Army units including a Helicopter Group located at the Akron Canton Airport.  He retired from Military service as a Senior Aviator and Intelligence Officer at the rank of Major.  He was employed at AMETEK for 25 years, a Fortune 500 company, where he held a variety of positions, including Vice President of Marketing and Sales. He founded Technical Products Group, Inc., and led this very successful business as its president until his retirement in 2007.

Lemon served on United Way’s Board of Directors, and in 2005, he received the United Way of Stark County’s prestigious “Gold Key Award” for outstanding community service. His active membership in the Canton Museum of Art was instrumental in bringing the first two nationally-known African artists, Bing Davis and Dean Mitchell, exhibits to Canton Museum of Art and Stark County Schools. As the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Goodwill Industries, he was instrumental in leading the initiative to bring the $5-plus million dollar community campus at Goodwill to Canton, Ohio. He is a past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce.

He is a member of the Aultman Health Foundation and Aultman Dunlap Hospital Board of Directors and is current President of the Aultman Foundation.  He serves as the President of the Stark State College Foundation Board, and Stark State College honored him as “Alumnus of the Year” at their commencement ceremonies in 2003. In May of 2010, he was presented with the Ohio Association of Community Colleges’ Distinguished Alumnus Award which highlighted his contributions toward the improvement of the community, professional achievement, volunteer service, participation in public service organizations, and involvement in civic functions. George and his wife Kaleen reside in Jackson Township, have four children and thirteen grandchildren.

Bob McFarlaneMcFarlane will lead the chairmen of 11 Pro Football Hall of Fame committees in planning and implementing other Enshrinement Festival events, including the central focus of the entire festival, the Enshrinement Ceremony itself, as well as the NFL/Hall of Fame Game and the First Play event. McFarlane also will lead the support committees that assist the Pro Football Hall of Fame in providing hospitality to the Class of 2015 Enshrinees, the returning Hall of Famers and their families. He is a 25-year veteran of the Hall of Fame Hospitality Committee, having served as chairman for 11 years.

In addition to his volunteer work with the Hall of Fame committee, McFarlane is past-chairman of the Enshrinement Festival Balloon Classic Invitational Committee, past-president of Wishes Can Happen, Inc., co-founder and past-president of Jackson Township Jaycees, JCI Senator and Ambassador, included in Outstanding Young Men of America, and retired football official after 26 years. He has been very involved in Jackson Township where he resides and has served as a volunteer fireman and was involved in the early formation of the Jackson Township Police Department. He is a graduate of Capital University with a Bachelor’s degree in management. He and wife Sharon are proud of daughter Kelly and son-in-law Scott.

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