Editor’s note: Earlier this year, The Gazette conducted an informal survey of community and government leaders and asked them who they thought were the most influential people in Medina County. We narrowed the list down to 10 based on the number of votes each received, with No. 1 garnering the most. In the following days, we will feature each influential person as we count down to No. 1.
By MARIA KACIK
The Wadsworth office of Jim Renacci, CEO of LTC Management Service, is littered with sports memorabilia.
In a glass case, he proudly displays a football with his image monogrammed on it and pictures of him with sports greats like Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel, Ravens quarterback Troy Smith and former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar. Above his desk he exhibits books about sports, trophies and pictures of area sports teams.
He never played any sports professionally.
Still, the sports memorabilia are not so out of place in the office where Renacci, 49, does much of his financial consulting. He explained the sports world often spills over into his professional life and the way he works to accomplish things.
Jim Renacci, CEO of LTC Management Service, said he uses his business sense to take companies out of debt and into the positive. A Wadsworth resident for more than 25 years, Renacci said his goal was to give back to the community and he has done so by serving on boards and as mayor. (Shirley Ware | Photo Editor)
â€œIâ€™m a big advocate of team play. Thatâ€™s why I enjoy sports,â€ he said, leaning back in his office chair and placing his linked hands behind his head. In addition to doing financial consulting, Renacci is majority owner of the arena football team the Columbus Destroyers, which won the 2007 arena football national championship.
â€œNobody can get things done by themselves. You have to have people around you, and I think Iâ€™m good at formulating a team, setting goals and getting things accomplished,â€ he said.
Renacci grew up in Monongahela, Pa., and attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1980. He then worked for a Pennsylvania CPA firm and moved to Wadsworth in 1983 when he was offered a job with a regional health care provider.
Renacci created LTC Management as a nursing home construction firm in 1985. Between 1985 and 2000, LTC Management Services constructed or renovated more than 20 nursing homes.
In 2000, however, LTC Management Services left the nursing home industry and began focusing primarily on financial consulting services. That is how Renacci became involved in many of his ventures, he explained.
Currently, he has ownership in three Harley-Davidson dealerships in the Columbus area, Lifestyle Concert Pavilion in Columbus, the Lancaster JetHawks minor league baseball team, and one nursing home in Louisville, Ohio.
â€œMost of the time, (I become involved) with organizations who are in a little bit of financial trouble,â€ he said in a direct, but soft tone. â€œThey come to me or someone will call me, whether it be an attorney or accountant.â€
Renacci explained he uses his business sense to take companies out of debt and into the positive.
Thatâ€™s what happened with one of his most recent ventures. At the beginning of last year, Renacci and Medina car dealer Bill Doraty took over the Wadsworth Chevrolet Dealership on Broad Street, which is now called Renacci-Doraty Chevrolet.
â€œI was really trying to save jobs for the city of Wadsworth,â€ said Renacci, who was Wadsworthâ€™s mayor when he took over the dealership in January 2007. â€œThe dealership was going to close, so I was able to keep it open. It was an asset to the city of Wadsworth.â€
It was this kind of life support Renacci wanted to bring to the city when he began getting involved politically, he said.
â€œMy goal was to always give back to the community. Iâ€™ve been here for over 25 years. My children were born and raised here,â€ Renacci explained.
He volunteered with the Wadsworth Fire Department from 1984 to 1988. He then worked with the board of zoning appeals from 1994 to 1995 and was elected to city council as a representative. He was elected council president in 2000.
Then, in 2004, he saw the opportunity to run for mayor of Wadsworth.
â€œAt the time in the community, the budget was running into some deficits. I wanted to bring some business sense to government and I thought I could do that,â€ he said. â€œI thought I could get the budget turned around and balance it, which I did.â€
He added: â€œWe balanced the budget. We changed policy and procedures to be reflective of a business model.â€
In the four years Renacci was in office, he worked to bring the Wadsworth Crossings development that includes Kohlâ€™s and Loweâ€™s stores to state Route 261 and to redesign the interchange at Hartman Road and Route 261.
In 2007, he announced he would not run again for mayor.
â€œCould I have stayed there 20 years and continue to be making changes? Yes. But Iâ€™m also a firm believer that in politics you need to set some goals, get some accomplishments, and then let somebody else get involved.â€
He explained he has a little bit more time for himself and his family since leaving office. He travels to all the Destroyers games, often bringing his family â€” wife, Tina; 21-year-old son, Drew, who is a junior at the University of Michigan; and 19-year-old twins, Ryan and Rhiannon, who are freshman at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Indiana, respectively.
Although no longer mayor, Renacci is still involved with the city of Wadsworth.
He sits on the Downtown Wadsworth board, a revitalization and economic restructuring group that was formed in the city while Renacci was mayor.
Renacci-Doraty Chevrolet is sponsoring a 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament in July. In addition, it sponsored the Invitational Basketball Tournament in April, an event Renacci worked to bring to the city during his term as mayor, and the Vietnam Memorial Wall replicaâ€™s visit to Wadsworth last month.
This was the second year the nationally televised Invitational Basketball Tournament was held in the city.
â€œIt really showcases Wadsworth,â€ Renacci said.
But while he said more community commitments lay ahead, Renacci explained he doesnâ€™t know exactly what kind of contributions he will make.
â€œThe future always comes back day by day. I donâ€™t really look down the road,â€ he said. â€œPeople have asked me if Iâ€™m going to run for politics again. Iâ€™ll be honest with you, Iâ€™ve said, â€˜no.â€™
â€œBut I think if thereâ€™s an opportunity to make a change in politics, I would do it. I wouldnâ€™t run just to run. I would run to make a change.â€
Kacik may be reached at 330-721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘He really has been a part of the formation of our community in the last number of years. As mayor, he had the opportunity to provide much direction for the community. As mayor, he recognized the importance of business and the value business is to the community. One of our goals was to be a business-friendly community and thatâ€™s an important goal to have to say.’
Mayor of Wadsworth
‘I think he set a vision for the community in a variety of ways. Number one to have a balanced economic growth. And to focus on a long-term picture for the city. I think he cares about Wadsworth as a citizen, as a businessman. He didnâ€™t need to run for mayor, but he wanted to run for mayor because I think he wanted to make a difference.’
Wadsworth City Schools
‘He restructured our accounting so that it was easier to understand for the city. Those are things that maybe you donâ€™t think about so much. His style was to set up goals of things that we wanted to do. He would meet with his administration weekly. He kept their feet to the fire and said, â€˜Hey, letâ€™s do this. Letâ€™s do that. Letâ€™s get it done.â€™ Heâ€™s a very good manager. Heâ€™s a strong leader and he has good vision. I think our city has been put on the right track.’
Wadsworth City Council