Mancuso Next Executive Director for SOD Center

SALEM, Ohio -- The Sustainable Opportunity Development Center today announced Mike Mancuso will begin as executive director Jan. 1 following the  retirement of Larry Kosiba.

Kosiba, executive director since the organization was founded four years ago, and Mancuso will share duties through the end of the year, with Kosiba working as three days a week and Mancuso the other two days.

“A lot of times during transition, one leader leaves and another comes in and it leaves loose ends. We're going to make sure there are none,” Mancuso says.

Part of the reasoning for splitting the job was to get Mancuso acquainted with the group's supporters.

“A lot of my job is to continue on the relationships. I know these folks, they're great supporters … I want to introduce Mike to those folks so we can continue that relationship after I leave,” Kosiba says.

The nonprofit economic development group has brought almost $1 million in business investments to the Salem area, along with nearly 200 jobs, according to Kosiba.

Mancuso was chosen because of his background in banking and small business, says Howard Rohleder, president of the Sustainable Opportunity Development Center’s board of trustees.

After spending nearly a decade as general manager for his family’s business in western Pennsylvania, Mancuso took a job at Huntington Bank and worked with start-ups to help get them off the ground, he says.

While stepping down is never easy, Kosiba says the change in leadership will be good for the organization in the long run.

“Bringing in fresh leadership, new ideas, new concepts, new ways of doing business are good for any organization,” he explains. “It keeps the organization young, it keeps it fresh and it moves it forward. I expect that's what you'll see out of Mike.”

While Kosiba has spent the past years establishing a foundation for the group, Mancuso has some ideas of his own as for what the group needs to accomplish.

“We need to be telling the Salem story outside our own walls to attract businesses,” Mancuso says. “There's many facets of what we need to be doing and with the board's help, we can get focused on what we're good at and improve that.”

Once he becomes executive director full-time, one of Mancuso's first tasks will be to meet with the board of trustees, according to Rohleder.

“What we anticipate is between now and the end of the year, Mike will have an opportunity to see how the organization works. Early next year, we'll have a planning session with our board to map out the future direction of our organization,” he says. “The real advantage that he has is that he's working off the foundation built by Larry Kosiba.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
CLICK HERE to subscribe to our twice-monthly print edition and to our free daily email headlines.