Impact Ohio Conference coming to Akron for talks on policy and politics


Flag over Capitol banner

Impact Ohio will hold a regional conference in Akron on Thursday, Oct. 26, at Quaker Station from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The luncheon address will feature a moderated discussion with David Pepper, chair, Ohio Democratic Party, and Bryan Williams, chair, Summit County Republican Party.

The conference, a partnership effort among The Success Group, the Greater Akron Chamber, the Akron Beacon Journal, and The University of Akron Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, will offer a special opportunity to explore policy and politics important to the Akron region.

Goal to gain new insights

“We expect to have an engaging dialogue on a variety of topics, and we look forward to having Akron-area business and community leaders gather at the conference to network and gain new insight into policy issues facing the community,” said Jennifer Flatter, CEO of Impact Ohio.

The conference agenda includes political and policy discussions featuring government leaders, political analysts, pundits and policy experts as panelists.

Dr. John Green

Dr. John Green

Dr. John Green, director of the Bliss Institute, sees the Impact Ohio Akron Regional Conference as a great opportunity for the region to hear from important policy makers and leaders.

Thought leaders

“This is a unique opportunity to hear directly from state and local policy makers and politicos,” Green says. “We’re looking forward to a thoughtful and informative conversation between some of the state’s most influential leaders and policy makers.”

In addition to the luncheon session with Pepper and Williams, the conference will feature three roundtable discussions with thought leaders in their respective fields.

Local media personalities will consider the current political climate in “Observations from the Fourth Estate.” “Emerging Smart Cities & Opportunities for the Region” will explore the opportunities and challenges for Akron to emerge as a smart region. The conference will also examine the opioid crisis with the session, “Opiates: New Solutions for Attacking the Epidemic.”

Many perspectives represented

Panelists include: Senate President Larry Obhof; Rep. Ryan Smith, chair, Ohio House Finance Committee; Rep. Emilia Sykes, ranking member, Ohio House Finance Subcommittee on Health and Human Services; Sen. Frank LaRose, chair, Ohio Senate Transportation Committee; Ilene Shapiro, Summit County executive; Judge Joy Malek Oldfield, Summit County Court of Common Pleas; Jerry Craig, executive director, County of Summit Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services Board; Dan Horrigan, mayor, city of Akron; and Shannon Hardin, council member, city of Columbus.

Megann Eberhart, director of government affairs for the Greater Akron Chamber, believes the conference will be a way for the business community to engage in policy conversations important to the region.

“Advocating for a thriving business climate is at the core of the Greater Akron Chamber’s mission,” notes Eberhart. “That is why the chamber is pleased to be a partner with Impact Ohio to present the Impact Ohio Regional Conference in Akron by bringing Columbus to us.”

The Success Group, an Ohio-based government relations firm, launched Impact Ohio in 1984 with the first Post Election Conference in Columbus, which is held every two years immediately following the general election. Interest has grown over the last 30 years, which led Impact Ohio to expand with regional events in 2017.

“After each conference we hear how much value our attendees gain from our expert-led panels and the opportunity to network with other attendees,” Flatter says. “Because of this enthusiasm, we had the desire to share Impact Ohio with other communities and are excited to hold a regional conference in Akron.”

► Tickets are $35 each. Registration and details on conference panelists are available online at Impact Ohio.

► Learn more about The Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics.


Media contact: Lisa Craig, 330-972-7429 or