Ray Hexamer,
  President, Stark Economic Development Board

Ray is the President/CEO of the Stark Economic Development Board, a non-profit economic development organization that has a mission of expanding and attracting business in Stark County.

Prior to leading SEDB, Ray was the CEO of First Communications in Akron. Ray and his team grew First Communications from $32 million to over $200 million in sales and from 80 to 380 employees with customers in all 50 states. During that time, Ray was responsible for leading his team in the integration of 9 acquisitions and involved in fund raising over $300 million of capital. In 2014 Hexamer helped finalize the sale of First Communications to Zayo and Canal Pointe Capital for $159 million.

Prior to First Communications, Ray spent 23 years at WHBC Radio starting as a “part time temporary announcer” and ending his time there as the President of the Company. He helped lead a $43.5 million sale of WHBC for its shareholders in 2002.

  John McLaughlin,
  Vice President, Business Development

John is Vice President of Business Development for the Stark Economic Development Board. He will be the primary interface with companies seeking to grow in Stark County.  John is an accomplished leader.  His main goal is to plan and develop initiatives needed to promote positive organizational change.  He will work directly with businesses to help them access local, regional, state and federal resources that will help them achieve their growth goals.  

  Michael Naso,
  Economic Development Services Coordinator

Mike is the Economic Development Services Coordinator for the Stark Economic Development Board. His primary responsibility is to build relationships with the business community and municipal leaders to help foster economic development activity in the county. He assists companies by identifying their growth opportunities and partnering them with the appropriate local, state, and federal agencies to facilitate retention and expansion projects. Mike also oversees day to day operations of the Stark County Port Authority which helps create and preserve jobs through a wide variety of financing, real estate and foreign trade zone programs. Mike has a master’s degree in Public Administration from Cleveland State University and nearly 15 years experience in project management and account management.

  Michelle Ward,
  Office Manager

Michelle handles all of the financial and accounting transactions for SEDB.  In addition, to managing all aspects of the office she also is responsible for the SEDB fundraising campaigns. Her knowledge and ability to multi-task makes her valuable to our organization and members.


Helene Papczun,

Director of Business Development & Engagement

Helene is the Director of Business Development & Engagement for the Stark Economic Development Board. Her goal is to provide value added business retention and expansion resources to support small business and help them achieve their growth objectives. She will work closely with a network of local, regional, and state economic development organizations that are similarly committed to assisting companies. Helene has years of experience in community engagement, workforce, and economic development.

Stark Development Board ©2017.