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    Cleveland 2015 – A Year in Review

    2015 was a banner year for how “the outside world views the City of Cleveland and the media attention it’s garnered,” WKYC recently noted. Cleveland appeared on multiple “best-places-to-visit” or “trendy” lists in prestige outlets like Travel and Leisure, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Buzzfeed.
    Moreover, Cleveland has become renowned as a Start-Up City.

    •  DataFox, a business intelligence firm, released its list of the best cities to found a company outside Silicon Valley and New York and re-emphasized Cleveland’s Start-Up status.

    However, our recognition did not come easy. Hard work was performed by multiple groups and as a result of their hard work and collaboration the city and its leaders have been recognized with multiple awards. Below is a resume of the city’s and its leaders’ recent laurels for which we all can be proud:


    City of Cleveland Rebranding and Website Design Initiative: The Department of Economic Development which promotes business growth within the City of Cleveland has a new website, International Economic Development Council   recently awarded the City of Cleveland Department of Economic Development with a bronze award for its website design and rebranding efforts. This award recognizes exceptional and inventive use of the internet and new media for economic development. We were recognized for this award in October 2015 at IEDC’s annual conference.  The focus of the website and our branding effort is to help businesses and site selectors “Rethink” Cleveland. The Website, provides up-to-date information including available land and buildings, incentives, key industries and supply chains as well as quality of life and news updates all in over 80 languages. Our brand “Built by Industry, Inspired by Innovation” pays homage to Cleveland’s industrial roots and focuses on the high-level of innovation happening in today’s Cleveland economy. Entrepreneurs, makes and small. Businesses need only to check our website to understand the full ecosystem of area resources available. The entire staff of the Department of Economic Development worked to create the new website, which was funded by the Cleveland Citywide Development Corporation. It’s an honor to receive recognition for our work from an international organization like IEDC and help our community to understand the positive impact the work we do in our department has on our city.

    City of Cleveland’s Uptown District near University Circle wins Rudy Brunner Award (Silver Medal) for Urban Excellence: The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA) seeks to promote innovative thinking about the built environment and advance conversation about making cities better. The national award discovers and celebrates urban places that are distinguished by quality design along with their social and economic contributions to our nation's cities. The Silver Medal was given to the Uptown District of Cleveland which was a redevelopment of a corridor linking art, educational and healthcare institutions with surrounding neighborhoods, creating outdoor gathering spaces, retail shops and restaurants, student and market-rate housing, and public transit connections. Read More.

    International Economic Development Council Elects Nichols as New Board Member for Two-Year Term: The Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) elected Tracey Nichols, Director of Economic Development for the City of Cleveland to its Board of Directors for a two-year term. The appointment was announced at the IEDC's 2015 Annual Conference in Anchorage, Alaska in October. IEDC is the world's leading membership organization for professionals in the field of economic development and who’s collaborative work is vital to the global economy.

    “It is a great honor to be selected to serve on the International Economic Development Council Board of Directors,” said Tracey Nichols. “I look forward to voicing issues and concerns that are important to cities like Cleveland to an international audience and I am excited that Cleveland will be hosting the annual conference next year, which will give us an opportunity to showcase our many accomplishments.”

    This year Director Nichols has received multiple honors: July 2015 Director Nichols was awarded the Crains Cleveland Business Women of Note Award; Novogradac Tax Credit Industry awarded Nichols with the Public Executive of the Year Award; and September 2015 she was also awarded the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) Excellence Award for Leadership.

    Port of Cleveland Receives Pacesetter Award for “Exceptional Growth” in International Trade: The Port of Cleveland was presented with a Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter award by the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) at its October 2015 monthly board meeting. The Pacesetter award recognizes the dramatic growth in international cargo, generated by the Port’s Cleveland Europe Express (CEE) liner service and its traditional line of non-containerized steel cargo. Operated by Dutch ship owner Spliethoff Group, the CEE provides the Great Lakes only scheduled maritime access to European markets. The growth produced by the CEE is “quite exceptional” said SLSDC Administrator Betty Sutton, who was on hand to present the award. Sutton noted a 35% increase in international cargo and 30 additional international ships traveling through the Seaway to or from Cleveland in 2014. An update on maritime delivered to the Board affirmed that the 2014 growth recognized by the Pacesetter Award has continued into 2015. Dave Gutheil, Port VP of Maritime & Logistics, stated that the CEE continues to increase volume significantly. The rise in shipping container traffic has been particularly dramatic. Gross revenue generated by the CEE also has more than tripled as compared with this time in 2014.

    “We are up nearly 475% just in the volume of shipping containers compared with last year,” said Gutheil. “The direct international connection the CEE provides is critical for our region to compete in the global economy.”

     “The Port of Cleveland is honored to receive the Pacesetter Award,” said Will Friedman, Port President and CEO. “It’s more proof that our strategic investment in the liner service and our docks are paying off, and helping Northeast Ohio businesses connect to and compete in the global economy.” Read More.

    New World Bank Report, Competitive Cities for Jobs and Growth : What, Who, and How:  The New World Bank Report sites Cleveland as a Competitive City and sheds light on the factors that help to attract, retain, and expand the private sector in the cities making them more competitive. Director Tracey Nichols presented on a panel at the World Bank Group HQ in December 2015, to describe a practitioner’s viewpoint of achieving both growth and inclusiveness in economic development.  The New World Bank Report is directed at developing countries around the world.  Nichols was selected as a result of work that has been done in Cleveland that utilizes public, private and non-profit partnerships to achieve these goals.  Cleveland has been recognized as a leader on economic inclusion and Nichols has talked on the topic at a variety of conferences around the United States.  The report cites successful cities as not just attracting outside investment, but also working to grow existing firms as well as supporting the creation of new companies.  In addition, successful cities feature growth coalitions of public and private stakeholders. Read More.

    The Cleveland Model—How the Evergreen Cooperatives are Building Community Wealth: Cleveland’s collaborative approach to economic development has become well noted by the Democracy Collaborative and our city has become a role model for other cities nationwide who have begun the process of replicating and adapting this innovative approach to economic development, green job creation, and neighborhood stabilization. Cleveland, Ohio has faced significant challenges over the last 20 years.The scale of the challenge meant that something drastic had to be done to respond and to stop a city with a heritage of industry, manufacturing, health organizations, and universities from floundering. The response has been one of collaboration—The Cleveland Model, with key organizations coming together to reinvigorate and rejuvenate the local economy. Organizations such as the Cleveland FoundationCity of Cleveland Economic Development, Cleveland State University, the Evergreen Cooperative, Neighborhood Connections, and the University Hospitals have come together to commence a remarkable upturn in fortunes. Read More.

    In a separate report produced in November 2015 by the Democracy Collaborative, Cities Building Community Wealth, the City of Cleveland was noted again for embracing policies and programs to build community wealth. Read More.

    About the International Economic Development Council
    The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 4,600 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base.  From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions.