Skip to content

Your Morning Matters: The Valley’s tech future

Four tech leaders with Valley roots offer their perspectives on what’s happening now and where the future is headed.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It's Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, and this is a day to celebrate birthdays and football.

Not only was I born on this day — along with Ric Flair, George Harrison and Bob Schieffer — but so were Al Campana and Ralph Goldston.

Campana was born on this day in 1926 and had the good fortune after his Hubbard High School and Youngstown College career to play for America's team, the Chicago Bears. He took part in dismantling the Green Bay Packers, like on Oct. 15, 1950, as this Green Bay headline attests: "Bears whip Packers, 28-14."

According to the book "Bears by the Numbers," he's also involved in this trivia question: "What do Al Campana, Frank Dempsey, Stan Wallace, Don Mullins, Gale Sayers and Steve Trimble all have in common?" They all wore good, ol' No. 40. Campana was eventually inducted into the YSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986 and then the Trumbull County Hall of Fame in 2003. 

Goldston was born on this date in 1929 in Campbell and made his name as running back and defensive back in the Canadian Football League, primarily for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Before the CFL, he was a member of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles in the 1950s, an era replete with overt racism. An article on noted, "Ralph Goldston was one of the first Black players to integrate the Eagles. Not everyone welcomed him with open arms."

On top of being snubbed by the team and racist taunts from fans, the team didn't help make life easier for Goldston: "Things were only worse for road games, as Ralph and the team's other Black player, Don Stevens, a 30th-round pick in 1952, were not allowed to stay in the same hotel with the team in certain cities. Instead, the team made arrangements for Ralph and Don to stay elsewhere. According to [his wife] Sarah, the first time that occurred, Ralph and Don were not told of the arrangements until the team landed in the opposing city."

Eventually, Goldston came back to the NFL to become a backfield coach for America's team, the Chicago Bears. He was also inducted into YSU's Hall of Fame in 1986, which was also the same year the Bears won the Super Bowl.

Happy birthday to all the other Pisces celebrating, too, especially Jess Hardin, who’s filling in for me tomorrow.

Now, here's what you need to know about the Mahoning Valley today:

Once a center of the industrial world, the Mahoning Valley's prominence ebbed as industry waned and the tech sector sprang up around San Francisco, drawing much of the region’s talent with it. Now, COVID-19 is causing many to rethink the need to locate around Silicon Valley, questioning decades-old assumptions about how tech ought to work — and where.

Jillian Smith is a freelance writer who started her career as a columnist for Youngstown State University's student newspaper, The Jambar. She spoke with four tech leaders with Valley roots to find out their perspectives on what’s happening now and where the future is headed.

Pandemic facts

  • In the U.S.: 28,334,797 confirmed cases; 505,803 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine at 11 p.m. Feb. 24.
  • In Ohio: 959,995 confirmed or suspected cases; 17,045 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 920,634 confirmed cases; 23,787 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 19,282 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 14,171 in Trumbull; and 8,052 in Columbiana.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 31,961.86, up 424.51 points, or 1.35 percent.

Other matters

We've compiled a list of the nursing homes in Trumbull County and the types of visitation each facility allows, per the state's new dashboard. Mahoning Matters

Those overseeing the estate of a deceased ArcelorMittal Warren worker are suing the company for the unsafe conditions they say caused him to contract cancer and die in 2016. Mahoning Matters

ONE Health Ohio hosted a coronavirus vaccine clinic Wednesday and will host clinics today and Friday at the Youngstown Community Center, 726 Wick Ave., and the Lloyd McCoy Health Center, 1977 Niles Road SE. It is expecting another shipment of about 200 vaccines next week. Mahoning Matters

As more people receive COVID-19 vaccines, doctors are noticing an uptick in abnormal breast mammograms in otherwise healthy individuals. Although alarming at first glance, the pattern is mostly harmless and is actually a common side effect of most vaccines. Mahoning Matters

The new home of the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley is expected to be completed this spring or summer. The project will be located at 1300 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The Business Journal [May require registration.]

As temperatures begin rising again, first responders are warning about the dangers of ice fishing on area lakes and waterways. WKBN

An investigation is underway into the death of an Ohio Department of Natural Resources officer who responded to a report of two teens who had fallen through the ice at Rocky Fork State Park in Highland County. WFMJ

In case you missed it

An ESPN production crew was in Youngstown on Tuesday filming a story about the historic Robinson-Shuba handshake and the downtown statue that will commemorate it. Mahoning Matters

Your comments matter

“Good for them. I figure I may get mine around July. What a stupid system!”

Kay L. Thornton, on Gov. Mike DeWine and first lady Fran DeWine receiving their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday.

Registered readers can comment on a selection of our stories, and all readers can comment on stories on our Facebook page. Opinions published here do not reflect the views of Mahoning Matters.

Event of the day

The League of Women Voters of Greater Youngstown is celebrating the women who are impacting lives and making a difference in the Valley. The virtual event from 6 to 7 p.m. is free, but advance registration is required. Click here to register and receive a Zoom link.

To see what else is going on around the Mahoning Valley, check out Mahoning Matters’ event calendar here, or click the Events tab on the top menu at

Story tips

Is there a story you think we should know about? Please tell us at

Let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful for you. Send your ideas and thoughts to If you want to get this in your email inbox, sign up here.