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Chamber History

In 1993, the Youngstown, Warren and Niles chambers of commerce merged to become one entity that would serve all of Mahoning and Trumbull counties. Because of all that was going on in the economy at that time, the staff and boards of all three chambers knew that joining forces would mean a better outcome for the Valley as a whole than any one entity could accomplish on its own for even a portion of the community.

In the 1980s and 1990s, our economy was rapidly shrinking, as was our population, and as we had entered a new era of a knowledge-based economy, we knew that the manufacturing industry that had so long been the heart of this region would no longer sustain us on its own. Additionally, with the three chambers located within minutes of one another and serving many of the same customers (banks, hospitals and other businesses with multiple locations), limited funds supported three operations and two economic development groups. Therefore, many business leaders in the community advocated for a merger so that resources could be combined and the leadership of the new regional entity could make a larger impact in affecting change in the region collectively known as the Valley.

With reservation and caution—but seeing the great opportunities that lay ahead—the boards of all three chambers voted in favor of the merger, and the newly formed Regional Chamber opened for business. There was much to work through, though, as the individual chambers had different dues structures, benefits and policies for members. However, all employees were retained, and the team moved forward.

The expectations for the Regional Chamber included its becoming a powerful economic development force, influencing elected officials at the local, state and federal levels, offering more services to members and impacting the whole economy, rather than pockets of the region. Can we say, nearly 25 years later, that these expectations were met? Absolutely, and then some!

We have competed for and won major projects for the Valley and received national recognition for our efforts in these projects. We’ve also received several national awards for the creation of Grow Mahoning Valley, a unique partnership among the public, private and labor sectors that promotes economic development in the region through the completion of key infrastructure—road, highway, water and sewer—projects. In the membership arena, we pioneered the tiered dues structure, which was a game changer for the entire chamber industry nationwide. We applied some of the business principles of the private sector to the non-profit sector, which was very unusual at that time. Also unusual for chambers was the concept of management by objectives, setting goals, tracking outcomes and having more accountability for those outcomes, but that was the philosophy that guided the Regional Chamber, and very successfully so.

Change is certainly not always easy, and undoubtedly there was a bit of fear and uncertainty in merging three major chambers of commerce. But looking back at where the region was then, versus where we’re at today, the progress and successes have been utterly remarkable, and we are poised for so much more in the next 25 years.

Executive Staff Biographies

Please visit the Newsroom for more information on our Executive Team.



James Dignan
James Dignan
President & CEO

Ext. 1215

Sarah Boyarko
Sarah Boyarko


RCYW_195_Gierlach_Kathy Color Web Effect
Kathy Gierlach


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Kim Calvert

Vice President, Marketing & Member Services

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Kielly Rapp

Administrative Coordinator

Guy Coviello
Guy Coviello

President, Chamber Foundation

Vito Abruzzino
Vito Abruzzino

Executive Director, EOMAC


Nick Santucci
Nick Santucci

Director, Government & Public Affairs
Ext. 1103

Michellle Phillips
Michelle Phillips

Director of Research

Lauren Johnson
Lauren Johnson

Manager, 422 Corridor and Business Development

Shea MacMillan
Shea MacMillan
Manager, Business Development

Marcy Angelo
Marcy Angelo

Manager, Business Development

Marketing & Member Services

Karen Stacey
Karen Stacey

Executive Director, Leadership & Safety Programs

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Katie Toth

Events Manager

Becky Litowitz
Rebecca (Becky) Litowitz

Customer Service Manager

Mark Kholos
Mark Kholos

Account Executive

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Sue Greaves

Retention Specialist

Chelsea Pascarella
Chelsea Pascarella
Events Coordinator
Ext. 1225

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Jacci Horvath
Marketing & Graphics Specialist
Ext. 1218

Chamber Board of Directors

Mercy Health - Don Kline

Mr. Don Kline
President, Great Lakes Group Mercy Health

Ted Schmidt

Mr. Theodore Schmidt
Regional President, The PNC Financial Services Group

Matt Blair

Atty. Matthew Blair
Blair & Latell Co., LPA

Martha Bushey

Atty. Martha Bushey
Manchester, Newman & Bennett

Regina 2 (2)

Ms. Regina Mitchell
CEO & Co-Owner, Recovery Solutions, LLC

Ed Muransky

Mr. Ed Muransky
CEO, The Muransky Companies

Doug Sweeney

Mr. Doug Sweeney
President, Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC

Rob Berk
Mr. Robert Berk
President, Berk Enterprises, Inc.

Ron Bierman 2017
Mr. Ronald Bierman
President, Trumbull Regional Medical Center

Esther Buschau
Ms. Esther Buschau
Director of Corporate Marketing, The Cafaro Co.

David Coy
Mr. David Coy
President & General Manager, WKBN, WYTV, WYFX, Nexstar Media Group

Dr. Ronald Dwinnells
CEO, ONE Health Ohio.

Ms. Tricia Ferry
Human Resources Manager, VEC, Inc.

Gasior, Jim
Mr. Jim Gasior
President & CEO, Cortland Banks

Dr. Gershen NEOMED
Dr. Jay Gershen
President, Northeast Ohio Medical University

Mr. Paul Hammond
General Manager, Lordstown Distribution Center, The Anderson-Dubose Company

Sharon Hrina
Ms. Sharon Hrina
Vice President, Mahoning Valley Enterprise, Akron Children's Hospital

Carlton Ingram
Mr. Carlton Ingram
Business Representative, Local 66 International Union of Operating Engineers

Chris Jaskiewicz
Mr. Chris Jaskiewicz
President, HopeStar LLC

Neil Kaback
Mr. Neil Kaback
CPA, Cohen & Company, LTD

Edmund Kolodziej
Mr. Edmund Kolodziej Jr.
President & COO, Aqua Ohio

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Ms. Claudia Kovach
Vice President, City Machine Technologies, Inc.

Mr. Troy K. Rhoades
Regional External Affairs, FirstEnergy

Ryan, Eric
Mr. Eric Ryan
JAC Management Group

Mr. Michael Schrock
Regional President, Mahoning Valley Region, Chemical Bank

Mr. Eric Shuster
President, Vallourec Star, LP

Small, Gary
Mr. Gary Small
President & CEO, Home Savings

Bill Shivers
Mr. William Shivers
Canton/Mahoning Valley Regional President,
Huntington National Bank

Jim Tresse
Mr. Jim Tressel
President, Youngstown State University

John Walsh
Mr. John Walsh

Mark Wenick
Mr. Mark Wenick
Chief Wealth Management Officer, Farmers National Bank

Col J Janik
Col. Joseph D. Janik, Commander
910th Airlift Wing, Youngstown Air Reserve Station

Affiliated Organizations

The Regional Chamber’s umbrella encompasses a number of affiliate organizations and entities that serve the Youngstown-Warren area through economic development, leadership training and other community-building activities. From creating and retaining jobs in the Mahoning Valley to training current and future public and private sector leaders, the Chamber nurtures the area’s revitalization and growth.

Warren Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Foundation
The purpose of the foundation shall be to promote economic development in the Trumbull County, Ohio area in accordance with the purposes and powers set forth in the Articles of Incorporation of the Foundation. For more information, please contact Kathy Gierlach at (330) 744-2131, ext. 1227.

Warren Area Chamber of Commerce Education, Cultural and Civic Foundation
The Foundation promotes education, civic and cultural growth in the Trumbull County, Ohio, area in accordance with the purposes and powers set forth in the Articles of Incorporation of the Foundation.  For more information, please contact Kathy Gierlach at (330) 744-2131, ext. 1227.

Warren/Trumbull County Community Improvement Corporation (CIC)
The Warren/Trumbull County Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) was formed for the sole purpose of advancing, encouraging and promoting the industrial, economic, commercial and research development of the community or area. For more information, please contact Kathy Gierlach at (330) 744-2131, ext. 1227.