Ray Hexamer
President, Stark Economic Development Board

Ray is the President/CEO of the Stark Economic Development Board, a non-profit economic development organization that has a mission of expanding and attracting business in Stark County.

Prior to leading SEDB, Ray was the CEO of First Communications in Akron. Ray and his team grew First Communications from $32 million to over $200 million in sales and from 80 to 380 employees with customers in all 50 states. During that time, Ray was responsible for leading his team in the integration of 9 acquisitions and involved in fund raising over $300 million of capital. In 2014 Hexamer helped finalize the sale of First Communications to Zayo and Canal Pointe Capital for $159 million.

Prior to First Communications, Ray spent 23 years at WHBC Radio starting as a “part time temporary announcer” and ending his time there as the President of the Company. He helped lead a $43.5 million sale of WHBC for its shareholders in 2002.

John McLaughlin
Vice President, Business Development

John is Vice President of Business Development for the Stark Economic Development Board. He will be the primary interface with companies seeking to grow in Stark County.  John is an accomplished leader.  His main goal is to plan and develop initiatives needed to promote positive organizational change.  He will work directly with businesses to help them access local, regional, state and federal resources that will help them achieve their growth goals.  

Michael Naso
Economic Development Services Coordinator

Mike is the Economic Development Services Coordinator for the Stark Economic Development Board. His primary responsibility is to build relationships with the business community and municipal leaders to help foster economic development activity in the county. He assists companies by identifying their growth opportunities and partnering them with the appropriate local, state, and federal agencies to facilitate retention and expansion projects. Mike has nearly 15 years’ experience in project management and account management, and is also pursuing a Master’s degree in Economic Development from Cleveland State University. Michael will also lead the Port Authority and provide assistance to companies to take advantage of operating in our Foreign Trade Zone as well as helping navigate zoning and incentive opportunities

Michelle Ward
Office Manager

Michelle handles all of the financial and accounting transactions for SEDB.  In addition, to managing all aspects of the office she also is responsible for the SEDB fundraising campaigns. Her knowledge and ability to multi-task makes her valuable to our organization and members.

Rafael Rodriguez
Business Retention & Expansion Representative

Rafael Rodriguez is the Business Retention & Expansion Representative for Stark Economic Development Board. His goal is to help local businesses succeed and to offer assistance in resolving any issues as well as new opportunities for your business to expand.  He can help through providing resources at the city and state level to help with your specific needs. 

Nathan Leppo, AICP
Economic Development Services Coordinator

Nathan functions as an Economic Development Services Coordinator, augmenting the economic development potential of Stark County by marketing its strengths and facilitating the matching of local resources to businesses.  His primary focus is site selection and real estate development across all industry sectors within Stark County.  Nathan brings a range of regional economic development experience, having served as an urban design & planning professional at MKSK, Business Development Manager at Front Street Analytics, both in Columbus, Ohio and most recently, as an Economic Development Service Line Director for Environmental Design Group located in Akron, Ohio. Nathan holds a Bachelor's of Science in Landscape and a Master's of City and Regional Planning from The Ohio State University. He previously served as the President of the Western Reserve Ohio Chapter of Landscape Architects. Currently, he serves as a board member on the Bath Township Appearance Review Commission in Bath, Ohio.



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