Skip to content

BUSINESS UPDATES | BRITE portfolio companies make use of Opportunity Zone funding

Among the business updates this week: Farmers National Bank; Sodexo | Roth; Domino's; Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber; Youngstown State University; Akron Children’s Hospital; and Community Legal Aid.
BRITE Energy 03022020
BRITE Energy Innovators, 125 W. Market St., Warren. (Photo by William D. Lewis)

WARREN — BRITE Energy Innovators, 125 W. Market St., announced this week that two of its portfolio companies are among the first startups in the nation to make use of federally mandated Opportunity Zone funding. 

Warren-based Intwine Connect, an Internet of Things hardware and software solutions provider, and Akron’s GeneratorWorks, a developer of health care support applications, are using the funding to support wider deployment of their advanced technology solutions.

Created through the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the community investment program connects private capital with distressed communities and allows the U.S. Treasury to designate certain census tracts as opportunity zones. Investments in these zones are eligible to receive a 10-year federal tax break. In the Mahoning Valley there are 15 such designated areas, according to a news release.

Farmers National Bank wins third consecutive
Raymond James Community Bankers Cup

CANFIELD — Raymond James, one of America’s top financial services institutions, selected Farmers National Banc Corp. — the parent company of Farmers National Bank — as one of just 26 banks across the country to receive the 2019 Raymond James Community Bankers Cup.

This is the third consecutive year that Farmers National Bank has received the award.

Raymond James evaluates the profitability, operational efficiency and balance sheet metrics of every exchange-traded bank in America with assets between $500 million and $10 billion. Nationwide, 255 banks qualified, and 26 demonstrated the financial performance and stability to be named Bankers Cup winners, according to a news release.

“After a record 149 consecutive quarters of profitability, myself and the entire team at Farmers remain committed to continuing that track record of success,” Kevin J. Helmick, Farmers president and CEO, said in the release. “To be recognized for a third year in a row with the Community Bankers Cup from Raymond James is an incredible honor.”

For information about Farmers, visit its website or call Amber Wallace at 330-702-8427.

Sodexo | Roth donates $4,040
to Second Harvest Food Bank

YOUNGSTOWN — Through a Facebook fundraising campaign, employees at Sodexo | Roth, 3847 Crum Road, donated $2,040 to help support Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley. The Roth organization contributed an additional $2,000.

According to the food bank, $1 equates to six meals for those in need. The Sodexo | Roth donation will provide 24,240 meals.

Sodexo | Roth is a national facility services provider that provides integrated facilities management services and project-based and construction services.

Domino’s looks to hire about
100 workers in Youngstown area

YOUNGSTOWN — Domino’s franchise-owned locations are looking to hire about 100 new employees across 10 stores throughout the Greater Youngstown Area. 

The positions include delivery drivers, customer service representatives, assistant managers and managers.

“Domino’s works hard to serve local communities across the country, and this area is no different,” Ammar Jali, a Youngstown-area Domino’s franchise owner, said in a news release. “Stores across Warren, Hubbard, Salem, Austintown, Newton Falls, Sharon, Greenville, Boardman, Calcutta and Niles are continuing to provide pizza to those who are looking for a delicious, hot meal, and at times like this, staffing is critical.”

To apply for a position, go to

Webinar hosted by ELITE consultants
to offer assistance to area businesses

YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber is the designated program partner for an interactive webinar from 1 to 3:30 p.m. May 18, hosted by strategy consultants from the London Stock Exchange Group ELITE team.

The webinar will explore resilience planning and help implement key strategies for building a sustainable business as the area moves from crisis into recovery.

The schedule:

  • 12:50 p.m.: Connect to the webinar;
  • 1 p.m.: Introduction and welcome from ELITE;
  • 1:10 p.m.: Anti-fragility and black swan events;
  • 1:30 p.m.: The five dimensions for creating resilience and growth (protecting people; defending and growing sales; stabilizing operations and supply chains; optimizing costs; and improving liquidity);
  • 3:15 p.m.: Wrap-up;
  • 3:30 p.m.: Event ends.

For information, contact Sarah Boyarko, chief operating officer at the regional chamber, at 330-506-6220 or

16 YSU students receive
WCBA Senior Leadership Award

YOUNGSTOWN — Sixteen students in the Williamson College of Business Administration at Youngstown State University who graduated Saturday are recipients of the WCBA Senior Leadership Award, which recognizes outstanding academic performance, leadership activities and commitment to professional development.

The honorees are:

  • Accounting majors in the Lariccia School of Accounting and Finance: Patrick Beatty of Bridgeville, Pa., Milos Mijajlovic of Cleveland and Haley Tohm of Columbiana.
  • Finance majors in the Lariccia School of Accounting and Finance: Abbey Berick of Youngstown, Jacob Rauschenberg of Boardman, Autumn Kirila of Burghill and Kelli Dougherty of Boardman.
  • Management majors: Beau R. Weaver of Poland, Business Administration; Kathryn Biller of Mount Pleasant, Pa., Amanda L. Paynter of Youngstown, Tran M. Tuong of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Julianna M. Villani of Poland, Human Resource Management.
  • Marketing majors: Brooke Lissy of Windham, Michael Sabatini of East Liverpool and Chloe Goehring of Industry, Pa.
  • Economics major: Alanis Chew of Poland.

Ohio Small Business Development Center
at YSU helps businesses through pandemic

YOUNGSTOWN — The Ohio Small Business Development Center at YSU has been working on the frontlines to help businesses maneuver through the economic torment of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pat Veisz, director, said the office has received about 250 inquiries over the past several weeks from clients and other companies seeking answers and guidance on a range of challenges related to the pandemic.

The SBDC at YSU, which also includes the Export Assistance Network and the YSU Ohio Procurement and Technical Assistance Center, is part of the Williamson College of Business Administration.

Veisz said some of the more common forms of assistance the Center has been providing during the pandemic include: guidance on Small Business Administration disaster loans and other federal funds available to small businesses through the CARES Act, including a booklet and FAQs prepared by student interns; assisting companies with bridging the supply chain gap during and after the pandemic; helping companies with reopening strategies; helping companies rethink cash flow projections, budgeting, human resource management and other business operations; and helping companies prepare strategies for economic resurgence and growth; guidance on diversifying international and national supply chains; and market research on new markets and global regions.

Akron Children’s Hospital program to offer
outpatient addiction treatment for youths

AKRON — The Addiction Services Program at Akron Children’s Hospital will launch an outpatient clinic to treat youths with substance use disorders beginning May 19.

The program provides addiction treatment and counseling for youths up to age 18. It complements the hospital’s current inpatient addiction program, which has been in existence for nearly two years. Treatment will be offered for abuse of substances including alcohol, cannabis, stimulants, inhalants, nicotine, benzodiazepines, hallucinogens and cocaine. 

For information on the program, contact Talia Brown at To schedule an appointment, call 330-543-5015 and choose option 1. A physician referral is not necessary.

Community Legal Aid recognizes
local attorneys for pro bono service

YOUNGSTOWN — Community Legal Aid recognized attorneys who demonstrate a commitment to serve and strengthen the community by their involvement in the Volunteer Legal Services Program.

Legal Aid recognized the following local Volunteers of the Year:

  • MAHONING COUNTY: Cherie Howard has been a volunteer with Legal Aid since 2013. She regularly serves at the Financial Wellness Workshop helping clients understand their legal options related to debt. Howard also participates in Legal Aid’s newly formed Clarence Darrow Clinic in Trumbull County, helping clients facing financial and housing problems. She received her law degree from the University of Akron School of Law and was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1982. She worked at Northeast Ohio Legal Services (before it became Community Legal Aid) as a senior attorney and managing attorney of the Youngstown office before retiring in 2013. She is a member of the Trumbull County Bar Association.
  • TRUMBULL COUNTY: Attorney Michael Buzulencia has participated in Legal Aid’s volunteer program for more than a decade, assisting clients with a variety of legal issues, especially bankruptcy. Buzulencia also has volunteered his time to lead Legal Aid-sponsored training events. Buzulencia graduated from Cleveland Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University and was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1984. His primary focus is civil litigation with an emphasis on financial matters, such as bankruptcy. In addition to having his own private practice, Buzulencia serves as a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee and is a board member for several local nonprofits. 
  • COLUMBIANA COUNTY: Attorney Mary Simballa joined Legal Aid’s volunteer program in 2016. She has assisted clients with issues related to housing and simple estate planning documents. Simballa graduated from University of Akron School of Law and was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 2015. She is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association. In addition to her private law practice, Simballa serves as an adjunct professor of business law and ethics at Kent State University.

AAA will not issue travel forecast

For the first time in 20 years, AAA will not issue a Memorial Day travel forecast, as the accuracy of the economic data used to create the forecast has been undermined by COVID-19, according to a news release. 

The annual forecast — which estimates the number of people traveling over the holiday weekend — will return next year.

Anecdotal reports suggest fewer people will hit the road compared to years past for what is considered the unofficial start of the summer travel season, according to the release.

Gas prices rise 28 cents in Northeast Ohio

YOUNGSTOWN — The average price for gasoline across Northeast Ohio was 28 cents higher this week at $1.85 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.

The average price for unleaded self-service gasoline in the Youngstown area was $1.80 per gallon.

— Do you have a business announcement you'd like to share? Email