July 24, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Business beat: Skills match post


Staff Writer

The Wadsworth Area Chamber of Commerce’s new CEO, Michelle Masica, threw a party recently and visited nine stores throughout Wadsworth to buy supplies.

In running those errands, she said she found herself in large chains; small, locally owned businesses; brand new box stores; historic buildings and everything in between.

It’s experiences like this, she said, that will guide her in her new position.

“I guess I’d just like to see all areas — the downtown, the Great Oaks area, Wadsworth Crossings — all those areas thriving, with different types of stores, small and large, independent and chains,” she said. “I think everyone’s trying to find their niche and how we can thrive together.”

Masica, 41, replaces former CEO Beth Workman, who left the chamber in early May for a human resource position with Soprema USA of Wadsworth.

Michelle Masica is the new CEO for the Wadsworth Area Chamber of Commerce. The four-year city resident applied for the position because she thought she’d have an advantage with her background in public relations and in running a small business.(Shirley Ware | Photo Editor)

A Wadsworth resident for four years, Masica said she applied for the position because she thought she’d have an advantage with her background in public relations and in running a small business. With a bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Masica has assisted her husband, Steve, with the small businesses he owns with Kevin SirLouis.

Her husband and SirLouis own the Strand building on Broad Street, for which Masica handled event planning. In addition, she was a realtor with MSL Realty, which Steve and SirLouis owned and sold last year.

“I guess (the job as CEO) appeals to me because it utilizes a lot of my strengths: I have event planning, I have a lot of experience with small business,” she said.

At the chamber’s monthly meeting last week, chamber board President Dale Fortner, superintendent of Wadsworth City Schools, announced Masica would replace Workman.

“We loved her familiarity with our business community, her personal skills and I think her organizational skills,” Fortner said Tuesday. He noted the interview process involved two rounds of interviews and reference checks.

“I think she’ll do very well. I think she has the energy and the enthusiasm to learn about the chamber more and to be involved in the community,” he said.

Masica began work at the chamber Monday, and sitting in her new office that afternoon she said she was beginning to realize the challenge that lay ahead. Along with the chamber’s regular events, its annual golf outing to be held on June 25 is approaching.

“We’re just kind of figuring out as we go,” Masica said. “It’s not overwhelming because I can’t handle it. It’s overwhelming because Beth (Workman) did so much. You want there to be some continuity for the members, but at the same time we’re trying to learn it.”

But Masica said she has plenty of help in figuring out her job. She said the chamber’s administrative assistant, Denise Douglas, who has been with the chamber for nearly two years, has been showing her some of the ropes. In addition, the chamber’s board has offered her any help she needs.

“They’ve been so, so supportive and they’ve made it clear that whatever I feel I need they want me to know that it’s there,” she said.

And she will have some help from someone who has been in her position. Masica explained Workman has offered to meet with her to guide her into the job.

“It’s big shoes to fill,” she said. “I know there’s going to be a learning curve to get through all of this. But I’m excited. I think it’s challenging.”

Chamber week

Seven chambers of commerce in the county will band together during Medina County Chambers of Commerce Week.

The week of June 9-15 has been designated as Chambers of Commerce Week in Medina County by the Ohio legislature, Medina County commissioners and the mayors of several cities and villages in the county.

To celebrate, the chambers in Brunswick, Hinckley, Lodi, Medina, Seville, Valley City and Wadsworth will host the first countywide Business After Business from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Medina County University Center. The event is sponsored by Western Reserve Bank. Admission is free and open to all businesses throughout the county, but attendees must register in advance at www.MedinaOHChamber.com or by calling 330-723-8773.

Catering will be provided by Eileen’s Café and Catering of Valley City, Madd Chef’s of Brunswick, Hoover’s Place of Lodi, Mary Steidl Catering of Seville and the Oaks Lakeside Restaurant of Chippewa Lake.

“We have a long history of working together for the benefit of our members,” Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Debra Lynn Schmitz said in a statement. “This week-long celebration provides us with an opportunity to thank our members and to extend our working relationship even further.”

Keller Williams

Keller Williams, named the fastest-growing residential real estate firm in North America by Realtor Magazine, has expanded to Medina County. The newly formed Keller Williams Tri-County Properties now has an office at 2425 Medina Road in Granger Township.

The new office will serve the real estate markets in Medina and Summit counties.

“It’s exciting because we are now looking at national exposure for our sellers and our clientele. We bring people into the area from out of state” to look at properties, team leader Elaine Orlandi said.

She explained Keller Williams entered the Cleveland market within the last four years, but the opening of Keller Williams Tri-County Properties introduces Keller Williams to Medina County.

“Keller Williams is excited about opening a new market center in Medina,” Mark Willis, CEO of Keller Williams Realty International, said in a statement. “Our company has a policy of limiting its market presence by selecting only the premier partners in any given areas. … By maintaining our standards of excellence, we can provide Keller Williams Realty customers with the best real estate experience possible.”

Kacik may be reached at 330-721-4049 or business@ohio.net.