Ohio Economic Forum 2024

Ohio Economic Forum
Registration is now closed. Thank you for your interest in the 2024 Ohio Economic Forum!

Thursday, April 11, 2024

303 Carroll St, Akron, OH 44325
The University of Akron

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Networking, light refreshments
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Introductory remarks, keynote, panel discussion, Q&A

Improving quality of life is more than making a place “nice to live.” New research suggests it may also be a crucial economic development strategy for the Midwest. The University of Akron’s 2024 Ohio Economic Forum will bring together policymakers, business leaders, community advocates, and scholars to explore innovative community-centered approaches to economic development. This includes not only fostering a healthier and happier populace but also boosting economic productivity by keeping and attracting a highly skilled workforce, encouraging entrepreneurship, and stimulating local spending. Our keynote speaker and panelists will address questions such as:

  • How do we invest and build on the culture of a city to improve quality of life?
  • Do Midwest towns with natural amenities have a natural advantage for a better quality of life?
  • Have economic development strategies adjusted to the changing economic dynamics in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What is the role of the business community in increasing quality of life?

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Leah Brooks

Professor, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration
George Washington University and Director of the Center for Washington Area Studies

Leah Brooks is Professor in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at the George Washington University and Director of the Center for Washington Area Studies. After receiving her PhD from UCLA in 2005, she taught at the University of Toronto and McGill University, and worked at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

Her work includes examining Business Improvement Districts and land assembly to understand the resolution of collective action problems, and analyzing the Community Development Block Grant program to understand the political economy of grant giving at the municipal and sub-municipal levels. Her research work also investigates the long-run impacts of streetcar investments in Los Angeles on urban form and an analysis of whether and why US infrastructure costs have increased.

She is currently working on understanding the long-run impacts of Washington, DC’s 1968 civil disturbance and the impact of ecommerce on physical retail establishments.

To view Dr. Leah Brooks' complete bio, click here.

Dr. Leah Brooks


Mayor Shammas Malik

Mayor, City of Akron, Ohio

Born and raised in Akron, Mayor Shammas Malik knows that people are what makes our city special. Since being elected to Council, Mayor Malik has worked hard every day on real solutions to the challenges Akron faces. He has successfully advocated for measures to build trust between police and the community, tackle our eviction crisis, and more. He has worked to include residents’ voices in city decisions, like in the planning process for redeveloping the Merriman Valley and advocating for a strategic plan for environmental issues and sustainability for the city.

He also has pushed for the implementation of recommendations from the city’s Racial Equity and Social Justice Task Force, including hiring a full-time cabinet position focused on making equity and inclusion a priority in city government. Mayor Malik believes deeply that for our city to have a successful future, we must change how our city government works – creating a city hall that is more open, more responsive, and more collaborative.

Mayor Malik was sworn in as Akron's 63rd Mayor on Jan. 1, 2024.

To view Mayor Shammas's complete bio, click here.

Mayor Shammas Malik
Angela G. Mago

Chief Human Resources Officer, KeyCorp

Angela Mago is the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) for KeyCorp and is a member of the Executive Leadership team. Angela also serves as management’s liaison for the Compensation and Organization Committee of the Board of Directors for KeyCorp.

Angela has a passion for people and has built some of the company’s most productive businesses. In her 35 years at Key, Angela has served in other leadership roles including Co-Head of Key Corporate Bank and Group Head of KeyBank Real Estate Capital. Angela also led KeyBank Real Estate Capital’s Healthcare and Commercial Mortgage groups. In leading these teams, Angela substantially increased loan originations, non-interest fee income and PPNR by leveraging Key’s differentiated capabilities. She also improved overall business processes by implementing technology, strong performance management, and continuous improvement initiatives.

Angela received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in finance from Case Western Reserve University. Angela serves on the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Commercial and Multifamily Finance Board of Governors. She also serves on the Board of the YWCA of Cleveland, Ohio.

To view Angela Mago's complete bio, click here.

Angela G. Mago
Emily G. Pacetti

Vice President and Community Affairs Officer, Community Development Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Emily Garr Pacetti joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland as Vice President and community Affairs Officer in 2017. Under her leadership, the department has launched the Bank’s first Community Advisory Council, grown the reach of the Bank’s biennial Policy Summit, deepened the breadth and depth of its data collection, and since 2020, has led the administration of the nation’s Small Business Credit Survey, a unique data source focused on credit needs and experiences of small firms by type, size, race/ethnicity, and gender of ownership.

Pacetti serves on the Board of Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and Equal Measure, a national non- profit devoted to helping clients shift systems, policies, and practices to make communities stronger, healthier, more equitable and inclusive.

Pacetti has a master’s in public administration at the Harvard Kennedy School, master’s in urban studies from El Colegio de México, and a Bachelor of Arts in political communications from Emerson College.

To view Emily Pacetti's complete bio, click here.

Emily G. Pacetti
Steve Potash

President and Chief Executive Officer, OverDrive

Steve Potash is President and Chief Executive Officer of OverDrive, a company he founded in 1986. He also serves on its Board of Directors. Under his leadership, OverDrive has become the leading digital reading platform for eBooks, audiobooks, and other digital media for over 91,000 libraries, schools, government agencies, corporate learning centers, colleges, and universities worldwide. He has pioneered many innovations for digital content use and applications.

OverDrive has long-standing partnerships with thousands of publishers, authors, and media companies across the industry. As a mission-based company, OverDrive became a Certified B Corp in 2017 dedicated to “A World Enlightened by Reading.” Prior to starting OverDrive, and while practicing law, Steve served as Special Counsel to the Ohio Attorney General, served as an acting Municipal Judge, and authored technology columns for the American Bar Association Journal. He was admitted to practice law before the United States Supreme Court in 2019. Steve has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and earned his J.D. at Cleveland State University College of Law.

To view Steve Potash's complete bio, click here.

Steve Potash


Dr. Amanda Weinstein

Director of Research, Knowledge, & Evaluation, Center On Rural Innovation (CORI)

Amanda leads the Research, Knowledge, and Evaluation team in providing a better understanding of the economic dynamics of rural America and evaluating our programs guiding communities toward tech-driven prosperity using rigorous analysis and real-world insight.

Formerly an associate professor of economics at The University of Akron, Amanda advised various groups including the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel. Her work has been featured in various media outlets including MarketWatch, Forbes, Reuters, Business Insider, The Hill, TIME, NBC News, and Fox News. Before starting her Ph.D., she was a senior business analyst at BearingPoint and a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force.

Amanda holds a bachelor’s in mathematics from the United States Air Force Academy, a master’s in Operations Research from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and a doctorate in Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics from The Ohio State University, where she worked as the graduate research assistant for the C. William Swank Program in Rural-Urban Policy. She lives in Hudson, Ohio, with her husband and kids.

Steve Potash

Ohio Economic Forum

This annual event allows UA students and faculty, business professionals, civic leaders, and other community members to hear from a keynote speaker and panel of experts as they discuss economic issues facing Northeast Ohio and beyond.

Proceeds raised by the event fund scholarships and experiential learning activities for students pursuing degrees in the Economics department. Expected attendance is 200-250, including approximately 40 students..


GOLD Sponsors

SILVER Sponsors

Sponsorship Opportunities

GOLD Sponsorship $5,000

Includes two reserved tables for 16 attendees; recognition during event welcome comments; 8 VIP tickets to private event with keynote speaker; signage on table; and logo and company link on College of Business website, and event materials

SILVER Sponsorship $2,500

Includes one reserved table for 8 attendees; signage on table; and logo and company link on College of Business website, and event materials

BRONZE Sponsorship $500

Includes one reserved table for 8 attendees and signage at table

For questions regarding sponsorship, please contact Alan Bedingfield at abedingfield@uakron.edu.

Registration is now closed. Thank you for your interest in the 2024 Ohio Economic Forum!

Email Brenda Reichert: br@uakron.edu
Phone: 330-972-4744