Posted Thursday, May 27, 2004
Ohio lost more than 150,000 manufacturing jobs since the year 2000. In 2004 many were wondering if Northeast Ohio would ever regain its stature as a manufacturing powerhouse. Would the manufacturing jobs that disappeared ever return? There was a time when manufacturing jobs were plentiful and industrial activity was a major force driving our regional economy. What led to the changes in this once dominant industry? Seven leaders from Northeast Ohio’s manufacturing sector evaluated what happened, what these changes meant to our region and what could be done to regain Northeast Ohio’s prominence as a giant in manufacturing.
Steven Williams, President and CEO, Elsons International
Susan Helper, Professor of Economics, Case Weatherhead School of Management Scott Rickert, President & CEO, Nanofilm
Jack H. Schron Jr., President, Jergens, Inc. and Tooling University
Jeffrey Korach, President and CEO, Tremco Inc.
Fatima Weathers, Executive Vice-President of Operations, CAMP Inc.
Bill Brake, Vice-President & General Manager, ISG Cleveland
There were many signs of trouble in late spring of 2001. LTV Steel had just gone through bankruptcy—again. Cleveland’s last downtown department store was closing. The region’s largest multi-national corporation, TRW, was leaving town. No major downtown construction project was on the boards. Regional growth was lagging behind the national average. The so-called “brain drain” was sapping the region of its best and brightest young minds. And nobody wanted to talk about it.
This was the backdrop for A Quiet Crisis, a series initiated by The Plain Dealer, Ohio’s largest daily newspaper and ideastream, the multimedia content organization just formed by the merger of Cleveland’s public radio and television stations. For three years this innovative multiple-media series focused the attention of Northeast Ohio on the region’s most serious challenge—an economic decline that was unraveling the “comeback” renaissance of the 90’s and threatening the vitality of the region.
Through 14 round table discussions of community leaders that were broadcast on WVIZ/PBS and 90.3 WCPN, radio call-ins, in-depth reports on radio and television, newspaper articles, columns and editorials, the ambitious multimedia campaign highlighted the region’s problems and also offered solutions in ways that energized and empowered individuals and organizations to action and change.