New members bring unique perspectives to help Team NEO advance regional economic vibrancy
The board of directors of Team NEO has elected six new members — all prominent executives in the Northeast Ohio business community:
- Chris Bast, Vice President & Treasurer and Corporate Officer, The Davey Tree Expert Company
- Dr. Michael Baston, President, Cuyahoga Community College
- Robert Davis, President, Aqua Ohio’s Water and Wastewater Utility at Essential Utilities Inc.
- Jeroen Diderich, Senior Vice President, General Manager, Label and Graphic Materials, North America Avery Dennison
- James Gasior, Senior Executive Vice President and Corporate Development Officer, Farmers National Bank
- Charles T. George, Chief Executive Officer, Hapco Inc., Strangepresse and Triptech
“Team NEO is laser-focused on driving better outcomes and building an equitable and vibrant economy. Our newest board members add to our strength and will offer fresh perspectives and new connections within the community to help us achieve our goals,” said Team NEO Chief Executive Officer Bill Koehler. “We, and the Northeast Ohio Region, are fortunate to have them on our team.”
Each of the six new board members will support Team NEO’s efforts to build a vibrant regional economy in Northeast Ohio – one that is talented, equitable, innovative, resilient, competitive, and prosperous.
And, each of the board members bring specific expertise and experience that will help Team NEO advance its four core strategies: addressing the talent supply gap, growing a diverse base of industries, growing the pipeline of competitive sites, and engaging and promoting the region.
Team NEO Board Chairman Peter W. Broer, president and CEO of Lumitex Inc, added, “These leaders represent a strong and diverse mix of industries from throughout the region. We look forward to working with them to help build opportunity throughout the region.”
About Chris Bast
Chris Bast joined Davey in 2013 and has expanded his responsibilities over the past nine and a half years with the company. Currently, he has oversight for all treasury functions, risk management & insurance, the Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP), fleet and procurement and facilities. In addition, Chris is a member of the Strategic Leadership Team which sets Davey’s strategic plan and initiatives. Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business management from Kent State University. He is a certified public accountant, a certified treasury professional and is affiliated with the Risk Management Society (“RIMS”)
About Michael A. Baston, J.D., Ed.D.
Michael Baston is the fifth president of Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a national thought leader on the role of community colleges in shaping educational success, supporting regional workforce needs and economic growth, championing diversity, equity, and inclusion reforms; and developing executive leadership teams. As Tri-C president, Baston focuses on strengthening the College’s nearly 60-year mission of providing high-quality, affordable, and accessible education and services. Baston holds a B.A. from Iona College, a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, and an Ed.D. from St. John Fisher College.
About Robert Davis
Robert L. Davis leads strategic, operational, and administrative activities for Aqua Ohio’s 33 water and five wastewater treatment facilities, which serve approximately 500,000 residents. Davis came to Aqua after serving as the City of Cleveland’s director of public utilities for six years. While at the City of Cleveland, he was responsible for more than 1,700 employees and a $660M operating budget, and leading operations for Cleveland Water, Cleveland Water Pollution Control and Cleveland Public Power. Prior to the City of Cleveland, Davis also served as director of public utilities for fifteen years with the City of Warren. Davis earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from West Virginia University, and he holds an EPA Class IV water supply certification and an EPA Class II certification in water distribution. He is past president of the Ohio American Water Works Association (OAWWA).
About Jeroen Diderich
Jeroen Diderich joined Avery Dennison in 2003 and currently serves as the Senior Vice President and General Manager for Label & Graphic Materials in North America as well as the global Reflectives business. Avery Dennison is a Fortune 500 global materials science company that manufactures a wide variety of labeling and functional materials. The company employs over 2,500 people in Ohio (36,000 globally) and recently redesignated their headquarters to Mentor, Ohio. Avery Dennison also has a strong focus on innovative and sustainable products and solutions, and is expanding its engagement in the Ohio ecosystem in promoting DE&I, collaborating with partners on innovation, and supporting our local communities. Prior to becoming the leader for North America, Diderich, a native of The Netherlands, was leading Avery Dennison’s European Label & Graphic Materials business. He and his family moved to NEO at the beginning of 2020. He studied business economics and marketing at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, and business management at IMD in Lausanne (CH) and the Wharton Business School (USA). Diderich joined the board of the Greater Cleveland Partnership in 2021.
About James Gasior
James Gasior, Senior Executive Vice President and Corporate Development Officer, Farmers National Bank, previously served as President of Cortland Savings and Banking Company prior to its merger with Farmers National Bank in 2021. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management from Youngstown State University. Diderich serves on the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber board.
About Charles T. George
In 2007, Charles T. George became chief executive and majority shareholder of Hapco Inc., the largest independently owned provider of industrial heat tools and extrusion supplier in the world. He also is chief executive of Strangepresse, which manufactures extrusion heads for the additive manufacturing industry, and chief executive of Triptech, which produces thermoplastic filament and welding rod used in the oil and gas, textile, 3D printing and additive manufacturing industries. He currently serves as a trustee for Youngstown State University (YSU), board president of the Youngstown Community School, treasurer of the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley, and a member of the OH WOW Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology. George earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from YSU.
About Team NEO
Team NEO is a private, nonprofit economic development organization accelerating business growth and job creation throughout the 18 counties of the Northeast Ohio Region. As the designated JobsOhio Network Partner, we align and amplify local economic development efforts in the region’s 18-counties; we conduct research and data analysis to inform local conversations and influence solutions; we market the Northeast Ohio Region; and we work to increase access to jobs, education, and training for the region’s 4.3 million people. We do this to build a more vibrant regional economy; one that is more talented, equitable, competitive, innovative, resilient, and prosperous. For more information, visit teamneo.org.