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.
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.
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 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.
Business Retention & Expansion Representative
Rafael Rodriguez is the Business Retention & Expansion Representative for the 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.
Athena Pudik Ebersole
Project Manager for Site Strategy
Athena is the Project Manager for Site Strategy for the Stark Economic Development Board. Her goal is to understand and manage real estate sites and buildings within Stark County to attract businesses to the ideal location. She strives to create and maintain meaningful relationships with a network of economic development organizations, businesses, developers, and commercial real estate professionals. Athena has over 20 years of experience in real estate related fields.