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Team NEO Honors Local Leaders As Economic Development Champions

a photo of Dan Horrigan, Margo Sommerville, and Ilene Shapiro
Jennifer Conn
Dan Horrigan and Ilene Shapiro appear at an event with Akron City Council president Margo Sommerville. Horrigan and Shapiro have been recognized for their economic development work by Team NEO.

Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro and City of Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan have been named 2020 Regional Economic Development Champions by Team NEO. The awards were announced at the economic development organization's annual meeting, NEO Rising: Celebrating Today. Building Tomorrow.

The two received the Community Leader's Award for their work to launch Elevate Greater Akron. The plan has mobilized public, private and philanthropic organizations as well as created strategic initiatives that focus on pushing forward Greater Akron's economy.

It espouses five strategies to help the growth of small and medium-sized businesses. They include:

  • increase economic inclusion and opportunity
  • develop talent and skills
  • support downtown development and job hubs
  • focus on innovation and start-ups with high potential
  • better connect and leverage resources

The pair worked closely with local organizations, including the Greater Akron Chamber and the GAR Foundation to develop the plan.

In a statement Team NEO CEO Bill Koehler noted, “Our Regional Economic Development Champions have contributed significant leadership influence over extended periods of time in search of collaborative strategies pointed toward economic growth and prosperity in our region.”

Melissa Meyers is a senior at Kent pursuing a major in broadcast journalism. Along with interning at WKSU, she is also involved with Kent State's student-run news station, TV2 News. She currently anchors and produces the 6 pm newscast. After college she hopes to get a job working as a news reporter/anchor.