Team NEO Names 2023 Regional Economic Development Champions 

Leaders recognized for their work to advance the Northeast Ohio Region

Last night, Team NEO honored three individuals as 2023 Regional Economic Development Champions for their work in leveraging the full strength of the Northeast Ohio Region’s economic development network to advance our region. At the organization’s annual meeting, NEO Rising: Celebrating Today. Building Tomorrow, Team NEO recognized: 

  • Business Leader: Thomas A. Waltermire, Former Chairman/CEO: PolyOne and Retired CEO: Team NEO 

Tom has a long history of working and living in the Northeast Ohio Region, including the communities of Summit, Lorain, and Cuyahoga Counties. He spent more than 31 years as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at PolyOne (now Avient Corporation), a global manufacturer of specialized polymer formulations, which traces its roots to the chemical operations of The B.F. Goodrich Company. He became Team NEO’s Chief Executive Officer in 2006, building the organization into an influential regional economic development entity over his [9]-year tenure in the role. When JobsOhio was formed in 2011, Tom led Team NEO’s efforts to become the JobsOhio Network Partner in Northeast Ohio. He is an active mentor to business leaders, and he is very engaged in Northeast Ohio philanthropic organizations, including: University of Akron Board of Trustees; The Cleveland Orchestra; Ideastream Public Media; Business Volunteers Unlimited; Cleveland Zoological Society; Akron YMCA; and the Presidents’ Council Foundation. 

  • Economic Development Leader: Ray Hexamer, President & CEO: Stark Economic Development Board 

Ray has led the community-wide economic development movement, Strengthening Stark, since its inception in early 2018. During his tenure, Ray and his team have played an important role in guiding the three major strategies of Strengthening Stark to make Stark County a great place to: start and grow a business; develop one’s talent and pursue a career; and live and raise a family.  He has also built a robust business retention and expansion outreach program that has captured significant outside investment for Stark County business. He embraces regionalism by consistently collaborating with his peers in other counties. With unwavering commitment to his community, Ray also serves as a champion for the entire region and believes in the importance of building an aligned local, regional, and state ecosystem to benefit all. 

  • Community Leader: Marsha Mockabee, President & CEO: Urban League of Greater Cleveland 

Our most treasured institution on equity – The Urban League – is alive and well in Greater Cleveland because of efforts by Marsha. Under her leadership, the organization has not only survived challenges, but it has thrived. Working across the state, Marsha mentors emerging leaders in other urban leagues. She is a purveyor of economic justice and works diligently to extinguish racism and address systemic inequities in our community. She is active in the community, serving on many committees and boards, including: Member of the Board of Visitors Committee for Cuyahoga Community College; Northeast Ohio Education Leadership Learning Community; Make Racism Public; and more. 

“Our 2023 Champions are some of our most influential leaders, demonstrating that a regional approach, aligned with targeted local strategies, can create lasting economic growth and prosperity for the entire region,” said Team NEO CEO Bill Koehler. “They understand that the collective might of the Northeast Ohio Region’s four-plus major metropolitan areas is an asset that companies value when aligned with strategies that build the unique capabilities of local communities. We appreciate their leadership and consistent partnership.”    

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,