by Chas Withers

June 14, 2016

At D&E, we’ve always been proud of our hometown, even when “Cleveland” was often a punch line. It’s something that Messrs. Dix and Eaton instilled in our culture when they created their little company here more than 60 years ago, and it has been passed down through generations of colleagues.

What an opportunity.

We’ve had countless opportunities over the years to dispel misperceptions and tell far-reaching audiences about Cleveland’s many attributes. Without question, however, nothing has presented a bigger opportunity than the rapidly approaching Republican National Convention.

As a member of the Host Committee and through our work with several other organizations as well, we are playing an important role in telling Cleveland’s story to the literally thousands of reporters from across the globe who will be here to cover the convention and all that surrounds it. And we couldn’t be prouder.

Like any major urban center, Cleveland faces many challenges. But it is addressing those issues head-on while simultaneously revitalizing its economy to one of the most prosperous points in decades – one fueled by new industries and services, attracting and retaining growing populations of millennials.

Partnerships drive success.

Much of Cleveland’s recent success is the result of public-private partnerships – a concept that, if not invented here, certainly has a proven track record of success in Northeast Ohio. The newly renovated Public Square, JACK Cleveland Casino and the HealthLine – not to mention jobs and growth in health care, biomedical innovation, higher education and more – are just a few of the many byproducts of public-private partnerships, which have generated more than $22 billion in redevelopment since 2011 alone.

The resurgence of downtown and other areas of the city is also reversing a decades-long trend of outmigration. Downtown population has grown 70 percent since 2000, and the construction and conversion of apartment space is struggling to keep up with the demand created by the millennials and young professionals being attracted to the city. In fact, our region’s brisk rate of “brain gain” ranks us fifth in the nation in population growth among workers with advanced degrees.

Great in any language.

Of course, it is the people of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio who are the fabric of our community. Together we represent almost 120 ethnic groups and speak more than 60 languages, and our neighborhoods, restaurants and festivals reflect that tremendous diversity.

See why we’re so proud of our hometown? It’s simply a great place to live, work and play.

I’m sure that many of the estimated 50,000 visitors who will be here next month were less than thrilled when they learned that the 2016 RNC would be held in Cleveland. We’re extremely excited to be telling Cleveland’s story and reinforcing the decision of the Selection Committee two years ago, and I’m confident that our guests will be pleasantly surprised by what they discover here.

In the weeks ahead, we’ll tell you more about how we’re telling Cleveland’s story to the world.