Summit County Port Authority Develops Strategic Plan

Plan developed with experts from CDFA and included more than 40 interviews.

Akron, OH, February 09, 2012 --( The Summit County Port Authority outlined key recommendations from its recently developed Strategic Plan at a press conference today. The plan was developed in conjunction with economic development experts from the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA), which is comprised of the nation’s leading and most knowledgeable members of the development finance community.

“We are looking forward to the future and are in the process of implementing some of the key recommendations,” said Pat McKay, Chairman of the Board of the Summit County Port Authority. “We have already applied and received certification for New Markets Tax Credits, are performing a review of our current staffing with respect to the new programs, and will be working with the County of Summit and others on several new initiatives.”

“There is a compelling reason for a strong strategic plan. Without investment in the region, you don’t have the jobs,” said Christopher Burnham, President of the Summit County Port Authority. “Our purpose is to attract private capital.”

The strategic planning team was comprised of select individuals from the CDFA which has extensive experience in economic development and an understanding of communities with similar circumstances as Akron and Northeast Ohio. The CDFA team included senior level individuals from economic development organizations in Allegheny County Pennsylvania, the state of Iowa, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. In addition, the CDFA is familiar with many different types of successful programs from successful development finance programs, including port authorities, across the country.

The team worked with Summit County Executive Russ Pry, County Council members, mayors, economic development professionals, legal and financial advisors, bankers, chamber of commerce representatives, private developers, port authority clients, the board of directors and staff of the Summit County Port Authority.

“The intensive process for developing the strategic plan involved a comprehensive review of the Port's objectives and goals and its perception in the community,” said Toby Rittner, president of the Council of Development Finance Agencies. “Throughout the 11 month process, our six member team was impressed with the quality and quantity of the projects accomplished by the SCPA. We were also stunned at the commitment from the seven volunteer board members, given the intensive time involved in the interviewing process.”

“The development of this Strategic Plan is a positive step forward for the Summit County Port Authority and job creation and retention efforts in Summit County,” said County Executive Russ Pry. “The Port Authority has played a leading role in many critical economic development projects in Summit County, and I look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Port Authority as it moves forward under the Strategic Plan.”

A two-page executive summary of the strategic plan was distributed during the press conference. The full report is available on the organization’s website The strategic plan was funded by local business and nonprofit foundations.

Summit County Port Authority
Chris Brown