YSU, Chamber lead 10-county international trade effort

Apr 21, 2015
The Web site for the 10-county, two-state global trade initiative created by the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber and Youngstown State University will go live today, the Chamber vice president for business expansion announced this morning.

YOUNGSTOWN – The Web site for the 10-county, two-state global trade initiative created by the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber and Youngstown State University will go live today, the Chamber vice president for business expansion announced this morning.

Chamber Vice President for Business Expansion North America Sarah Boyarko said the partnership positions the Valley’s economy to reach new levels, and cites the partnership’s recent recognition by the prestigious Brookings Institute as evidence.

“We’re thrilled about the ongoing support from Brookings,” Boyarko said. “As a leader in export policy and planning, their encouragement and guidance is necessary for the success of this initiative. With the release of our website ( www.ohpaexports.com ) and survey, we’re ready to move on any opportunity to assist local firms with export growth and new firms with foreign direct investment.”

The OH-PA Stateline Export Initiative is the culmination of six months of planning spearheaded by YSU’s International Trade Assistance Center and the Regional Chamber. The two organizations decided to meld their international trade efforts to create a worldwide trade strategy that would turn the Valley into a more formidable economic engine.

YSU’s International Trade Assistance Center and the Regional Chamber brought economic development leaders from Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties in Ohio, and Erie, Crawford, Mercer, Lawrence, Beaver and Butler counties in Pennsylvania into the fold. They’re kicking off the OH-PA Stateline Export Initiative with a survey of all manufacturers within the 10-county area to be followed by retention and expansion visits.

“The OH-PA Stateline Export Initiative shows a strong commitment to expanding global economic reach through the identification of regionally competitive strengths and an increase in exports,” said Marek Gootman, director of strategic partnerships and global initiatives for Brookings.

“Drawing on data and best practices from the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase , this is the kind of innovative action that is needed to ensure long-term economic success for businesses located in the 10-County area that are interested in expanding to global markets.”

The Washington D.C.-based Brookings is consistently ranked as the most influential, most quoted and most trusted think tank. The nonprofit public policy organization conducts high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, provides innovative, practical recommendations that advance economic and social welfare, security and opportunity of all Americans.

The Chamber, as the Valley’s lead economic development agency, helped the Youngstown-Warren area garner international acclaim when the Valley made Global Trade magazine’s “Best Cities for Global Trade” report and when the TechBelt Initiative received the International Economic Development Council’s Bronze Award for 2013.

The Valley previously reached the following international trade milestones:

-It leads the nation in exports growth, Business Facilities Magazine announced in September. The Valley exported more than $4.7 billion in goods, which was a 22 percent increase from 2009 to 2012.        

-It is ranked No. 5 in the U.S. in exports recovery, according to Business Facilities. It is estimated that the Youngstown-Warren metro area exports approximately one-quarter of its goods worldwide.

-It leads the country in export growth percentage from 2009-2012, the Brookings Institute announced in December of 2013. From 2009 through 2012 there was a 22-percent increase in exports in the region, with approximately $1.2 billion of additional goods being exported worldwide.

YSU, likewise, achieved global stature last year when the Youngstown Business Incubator was named the best university-based incubator in the world and the U.S. News and World Report placed the school’s undergraduate engineering program among the top 25 percent in the world.

“The new global trends of economic growth have shifted the focus from national economy to a regional one, where 65 percent of global GDP will be produced only by 600 cities around the world by 2030. Therefore, it is a logical and practical initiative to build a regional export plan that focuses on economic growth, higher wages and human capital, and shifts from incidental exporting to proactive planning,” said Mousa H. Kassis, adviser for the International Trade Assistance Center and Instructor of Economic at YSU.

"In addition, the plan is a needed collaboration between all partners to provide sustainable economic growth and to better manage future downturn slumps when they occur,” Kassis added.  

The OH-PA Stateline Export Initiative will build on this momentum, Boyarko said.

“With an existing cross-border relationship with several Pennsylvania counties, it makes sense,” Boyarko said.


Sarah Boyarko, Vice President, Economic Development
Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber
330-744-2131 ext. 17 / sarah@regionalchamber.com

Mousa H. Kassis, International Trade Advisor
Youngstown State University
330-941-2145 / mhkassis@ysu.edu

OH-PA Stateline Export Initiative Steering Committee



-Don Iannone, CEO, Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County                          

-Sarah Boyarko, VP Economic Development , Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber           

-Tad Herold, Director of Economic Development, Columbiana County

-Mike Mancuso, Executive Director, Sustainable Development Opportunity Center                

-Tracy Drake, CEO, Columbiana County Port Authority                        

-Mousa Kassis, Director, Youngstown State University International Trade Assistance Center      

-Sandy Winans, International Sales, U.S. Dept. of Commerce/ Northern Ohio District Council/Altronic, Hoerbiger, Inc.               

-Catey Breck, Economic Development Coordinator for U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan                

-Sarah Lowry, Regional Representative  for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown               

-Sarah Poulton, District Director for U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson                          

-Mike Conway, Executive Director, Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corp.    

-Dr. Tomi Ovaska, Associate Professor, Youngstown State Economics Dept.          

-Paul Kaboth, VP Community Development , Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland                        


-Gary Dovey, VP Business Development, Penn-Northwest Development Corp.      

-Linda Nitch, Executive Director, Lawrence County Economic Development Corp.                

-Jim Palmer, President, Beaver County Corp. for Economic Development                              

-Dennis Nichols, Commissioner, Beaver County Commissioners’ office                  

-Ken Raybuck, Executive Director, Community Development Corp. of Butler County          

-Dorte Heffernan, Manager, Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission

-Doug Massey, Northwest Regional Director, Governor’s Action Team                      

-David Briel, Executive Director, Office of International Business Development, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development

-Rena Lui-Belshe, Export Development Assistance Manager, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission                           

-Suzi Pegg, Vice President of Global Marketing, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance     

-Mike O’Rourke, Marketing Executive, Office of International Business Development, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development

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