Team NEO Names 2020 Regional Economic Development Champions

Leaders recognized for their work to advance the region

This morning Team NEO recognized four individuals as 2020 Regional Economic Development Champions for their work in leveraging the full strength of Northeast Ohio’s economic development network to advance our region.

At the organization’s annual meeting, NEO Rising: Celebrating Today. Building Tomorrow., Team NEO acknowledged:

Business Leader: Ward J. (Tim) Timken, Jr., CEO, McKinley Strategies

A longtime advocate for regional collaboration, Tim was recognized for his efforts to engage peer business leaders to become more active in collaboratively transforming Northeast Ohio’s economic competitiveness through efforts such as the Regional Economic Competitiveness Strategy and Strengthening Stark Initiative. Tim has served on many boards, including Team NEO’s board of directors since 2005, serving as chairman from 2011-2013 and again as co-chairman in 2015.

Economic Development Leader: Brian E. Hall, Senior Vice President & Executive Director, GCP Equity and Inclusion

Brian was honored for his leadership with the GCP Commission on Economic Inclusion, which focuses on two parallel and equally important areas: growing businesses owned by people of color and increasing workforce diversity, equity and inclusion. Brian’s approach is to build high-quality and effective initiatives, conduct workshops and conferences, and offer consulting services, all designed to stimulate minority business growth and increase workforce inclusion. 

Community Leaders: Mayor Dan Horrigan, City of Akron and County Executive Ilene Shapiro, Summit County

County Executive Shapiro and Mayor Horrigan were credited for their collaborative leadership, working with leaders at the city of Akron, Summit County, the GAR Foundation and the Greater Akron Chamber to launch Elevate Greater Akron. This strategic plan has mobilized public, private and philanthropic organizations around common strategic initiatives focused on driving Greater Akron’s economy forward. The initiatives address: Small- and middle-market business growth; economic inclusion and opportunity; talent and skill development; downtown and job hub development; innovation and high potential start-ups; and ways the community connects and leverages resources that support business growth and success.

“Our Regional Economic Development Champions have contributed significant leadership influence over extended periods of time in search of collaborative strategies pointed toward economic growth and prosperity in our region,” stated Team NEO’s CEO Bill Koehler. “As strong advocates for their respective communities and Northeast Ohio overall, they provide inspiration to all of us as we strive to promote economic vibrancy – even while we face some of the greatest challenges of our careers.”

About Team NEO

Team NEO is a private, nonprofit economic development organization accelerating business growth and job creation throughout the 18 counties of Northeast Ohio. As the designated JobsOhio Network Partner, we align and amplify local economic development efforts in Northeast Ohio’s 18-county region; we conduct research and data analysis to inform local conversations and influence solutions; we market Northeast Ohio as a region; and we work to increase access to jobs, education and training for the region’s 4.3 million people. For more information, visit