Along the Way: Portage County area well represented on Crain’s List – Record-Courier

By David E. Dix  |  Record-Courier

Portage County is well represented in the latest Crain’s Cleveland Business Book of Lists, its guide to companies and organizations shaping Northeast Ohio, published December 27, 2021.

Great Lakes Cheese, packager and manufacturer of natural and processed cheese, whose corporate address is Hiram, tops Crain’s Cleveland Business lists of largest privately held companies ranked by revenue.

The company, whose offices are actually in Geauga County off Route 422, reports revenues of $4 billion and employees exceeding 1,000 in the Crain’s Book of Lists.

Closer to home in Portage County, Carter-Jones of Brimfield is on the list with reported sales of $1.7 billion and The Davey Tree Expert Co. with $1.287 billion in revenues.

Kent State ranks 24th in Northeast Ohio in terms of size using number of employees. It shows 4,257 full-time equivalent employees. The biggest, the Cleveland Clinic, reports 44,665 employees in Northeast Ohio and 63,322 worldwide making it the largest employer in Northeast Ohio. Portage County, showing 987 employees, is 85th on this list.

In terms of ranking family-owned businesses by numbers of employees, Sirna & Sons of Ravenna makes the list ranking 27th with 320 employees. Ron Marhofer in Stow is also on the list coming in at 23rd with 361 employees. Delta Systems of Streetsboro came in at 39th on the list with 189 employees.

The list for Software Development Companies ranked by the number of employees included Fenetech of Aurora, ranked 12th with 70 employees. Talis Clinical in Streetsboro is 15th on the list with 48 employees.

The Crain’s listing of non-profit organizations in terms of expenses has Coleman Professional Services of Kent ranked 12th with expenses of $60 million, Hattie Tracy, CEO; Larlham of Mantua ranked 17th with expenses of $49.5 million, Steve Colecchi, CEO; Community and Family Services of Ravenna ranked 27th with expenses of $31.9 million, Mark Frisone, CEO. The listing of hospitals ranks UH Portage Medical Center with William Benoit, CEO, revenues of $135.8 million and 138 staffed beds as the 28th largest hospital in Northeast Ohio. Partssource of Aurora ranks 15h in terms of Health Care Companies with 260 full-time equivalent employees. For retirement communities, Anna Maria of Aurora is on the list coming in 19th in size with 165 residents.

The ranking of banks in Northeast Ohio has Portage Community Bank 25th in size with deposits of $409.8 million and Hometown Bank 33rd with deposits of $215.9 million.

In terms of student enrollment, Kent State’s estimated 27,112 students makes it by far the largest university in Northeast Ohio. Its endowment is listed at $188 million. The University of Akron with 13,998 students is second largest, but its endowment is $299 million. Hiram is 21st with 987 students. Davey Tree easily tops the list of largest employee-owned companies with 4,980 employees owning stock in the company, according to Crain’s.

Hiram’s new president, David Haney, was featured in the “New Faces in New Places” list. Hiram endowment is pegged at $88 million. Lillian Kuri, who grew up in Ravenna and Portage County and holds a degree in architecture from Kent State with a master’s from Harvard, is featured as the Cleveland Foundation’s new chief operating officer. The Cleveland Foundation’s assets exceed $2.8 billion. Lamar Hilton, Kent State’s senior vice president for Student Affairs, is featured in the 40 Under 40 list. Steve Sokany, who headed Institutional Advancement at Kent State and retired, is listed as a co-president of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland. Aurora and Sugar Bush Knolls were on the list of wealthy suburbs.

Apologies to anyone, anything, or any business in Portage County that appeared in Crain’s Book of Lists that I inadvertently overlooked.

COVID frustration

Kent Rotarians, most of them wearing masks, gave their president, Kathy Myers, a nice round of applause after she opened the club’s Jan. 4 meeting expressing frustration with the surge of the COVID-19 variants.

With area hospitals stating that approximately 90 percent of the beds occupied by COVID patients unvaccinated, the club president said she was perplexed that so many continue to refute the science of vaccination and thereby contribute to the spread of the virus.

I completely agree with her assessment and had this more bluntly stated during a conversation with a friend I had not seen in months at a recent Kent State basketball game. With all of us at the basketball game wearing masks, she mentioned that she had recently lost a cousin in the Massillon area to one of the variants of the Covid-19 virus.

“Was he vaccinated?” I asked to which my friend replied in the negative.

When I stared in disbelief, she shrugged and said something that sums it up: You can fix stupid.

David E. Dix is a former publisher of the Record-Courier.