Solon’s Economic Development Director Angee Shaker, a resident of Solon, has received state accreditation through the Ohio Economic Development Association. She has been approved for certification under their Ohio Certified Economic Developer program.
Ms. Shaker, 47, who has served as the city’s economic development director the past two years, is among five Ohio CED’s certified in 2020 and joins 19 other economic developers as “best in class” Ohio CED professionals.
To be certified as an Ohio CED, candidates must be an experienced economic developer, successfully complete a course in professional development, complete a capstone project to enhance their community’s economic development efforts and meet annual continuing education requirements.
Ms. Shaker said this accreditation mirrors what she has been doing for the city the past two years.
“It just adds value to everything I do every single day,” she said.
Ms. Shaker, who came to the city after serving as executive director for new school development and engagement for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, began her CED coursework in 2018. Due to the worldwide pandemic, some of the programming had been shut down, she noted, which made the completion longer.
She completed courses first at Ohio University’s Dublin Extension Campus, covering such areas as real estate finance, site selection and site development, business retention and expansion, among others. Her capstone project involved the mixed-use development targeted for the former Liberty Ford site and surrounding areas. She worked in the area of research and data collection early on before the rezoning was approved at the ballot and have dug into it over the past two years as the city works toward the redevelopment of a vibrant mixed use district.
She completed coursework in the evenings and on weekends, Mayor Edward H. Kraus noted.
“That is just a testament to her hard work, her work ethic and her drive to be the best,” Mayor Kraus continued. “I am beaming with pride in all that Angee has accomplished. In just two short years, she has blossomed into a super star in terms of economic and business development and marketing.”
There was a steep learning curve when she started out, the mayor added, and she was determined to learn as much as possible. She worked hard to learn all of the near 900 businesses in town and the team at the city as well as its residents, he added.
“When I look at our team, we have the best in class team in Solon,” Ms. Shaker said. “I want to make sure I’m bringing the most innovative ideas, best practices and latest trends to the table too.
“That’s what the mayor expects of us, to bring the best every day,” she said.
Ms. Shaker said she loves her job and wants to be the best she can be at it. She enjoys assisting businesses in the community as well as seeing them expand and grow.
During the past two years in the position, the department has made great strides, even amidst the pandemic.
Since September of 2018, the city has managed to attract 66 new businesses, with 2019 being a banner year of new businesses with 47. This year 17 new businesses opened so far, Ms. Shaker said.
Also last year, Ms. Shaker led the community engagement efforts to give the city’s branding a refresh. This led to a new vision, mission, core values and a city logo.
She was the brainchild of the rebranding, Mayor Kraus noted, making sure the city was forward thinking and better marketing itself as well as more innovative.
Ms. Shaker believed in honoring the past, but being a community of the future, Mayor Kraus added.
A native of Mineral Ridge, Ohio, Ms. Shaker earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Akron and a master’s degree in education administration from Cleveland State University.
She serves on the board of the Solon Chamber of Commerce and is chairwoman of the Solon Workforce Development Committee as well as the Solon Mobility Task Force.