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!”

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For information contact: Joanne K. Murray, Director

Phone: (330) 458-2050 | joannem@cantonchamber.org

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:  www.ProFootballHOFEF.com.

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 www.CantonChamber.org.  

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 www.CantonChamber.org 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 http://www.LeadershipStarkCounty.org


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 VintageCanton.org 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.