Kent Area

Chamber of Commerce

Connections | September 2021

Michelle Hartman Named Interim Executive Director

The Kent Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Michelle Hartman has accepted the position of Interim Executive Director effective September 1st. Michelle has served as an Honorary Board Member of the chamber since 2019 and previously held roles as a member of the executive board and board of directors since 2006. She currently serves on the scholarship and sponsorship committees and served as president of the chamber in 2013.

“Michelle has great knowledge of our community and her experience with the chamber will help her jump right into the position and move the chamber forward in a positive manner,” shared chamber president, Mary Kline. “Her chamber leadership experience, longstanding relationships across Kent and Portage County, and vision align with the mission of our chamber and will provide a direct benefit to our chamber members and the business community.”

Prior to taking on this new role, Michelle was the COO/Executive Vice President of The Burbick Companies. Her vision and leadership were instrumental in the management and successful growth of Acorn Alley. She also managed the businesses and residential units located in the old Franklin Hotel and the storefronts located in the Kent Central Gateway. She is a graduate of Malone University with a B.A. in Business Administration and has lived in Kent for the past 28 years with her husband, Darrin, and their 3 children, Brendan, EmiLee and Payne.

Michelle’s ambition to promote economic growth in Kent combined with her passion to make a positive difference has led her to several community leadership roles and volunteer opportunities. She currently serves on the board for Kent Social Services, Friends Fighting Hunger, and the Destination Kent Convention & Visitors Bureau, of which she was actively involved in establishing in 2016. Some of her volunteer efforts include serving as chairwoman of the annual Thanksgiving Brunch Bunch for 15 years, which raised more than a half a million dollars under her leadership to support local food pantries. She also led the community fundraising efforts in 2015 to raise $275,000 to build the Dan Smith Community Park and has supported numerous initiatives to benefit programs of the Kent City School district and organizations such as the Ben Curtis Family Foundation, Main Street Kent, The Burbick Foundation, The Portage Foundation, the Madonio Family Animal Welfare Trust, Kent Jaycees, and several other local charitable causes for the betterment of the community. She was presented with a key to the City of Kent by Mayor Jerry Fiala in 2015, the W.W. Reed Medal for Public Service from the KACC in 2019, and the Paul Harris Fellow Recognition from the Rotary Club of Kent in 2020. Michelle is also an avid supporter of our Golden Flashes!

“I am excited to have this opportunity to lead the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber plays a pivotal role in the business community and surrounding region,” Hartman said. “I look forward to continuing our mission to be a visionary leadership organization, dedicated to serving the needs of our member businesses and local community, while fostering economic growth and improving the quality of life in Kent. I am also excited to further enhance the partnership the chamber has with the City of Kent and Kent State University as we continue to work together to strengthen, support, and grow our community.”

  • September 3rd: 1st Friday Multi-Chamber Networking on the Go*
  • September 4th: Kent Jaycees - Kent Craft Beer Fest
  • September 9th: KACC Luncheon
  • September 9th: UH Portage - Business After Hours*
  • September 15th: The River Merchant - Business After Hours
  • September 22nd: Breakfast with the City Manager
  • September 29th: Fourteen Chambers of Commerce ~ Members Only Event - Business After Hours Networking*

For more information and to register for events go to our website

Destination Kent CVB Visitor Centre

We are asking businesses to supply us with your brochures, flyers, or pamphlets, in quantities of 25 to 50 for the Destination Kent CVB Visitor Centre. Currently we are getting more traffic from travelers, KSU parents and people relocating. Material can be dropped off Monday thru Friday, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 201A East Erie Street.

2021 Luncheon Speakers

September 9th: David Poluga-KSU Airport Manager

October 14th: Brent Pfeiffer & DECA Students

November 11th: Kent Jaycees

December 9th: Roberto Sorgi-Owner, American Fireworks

2021 Luncheon Sponsors

September Sponsor: Open Arms Adoptions

October Sponsor: Hometown Bank

November Sponsor: Terry Ginn


December Sponsor: NOACC

KACC E-blasts

September 3rd: Grazers

September 6th: Sandra Reid - Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio

September 10th: Electronic Payments

September 13th: Ray's Place

September 17th: League of Women Voters

September 20th: KSU Hotel

September 24th: Bistro on Main

September 27th: UPS

David Poluga

Airport Manager

Kent State University Airport

KACC September Luncheon

Speaker: David Poluga

Sponsor: Open Arms Adoptions


Kent State University Hotel & Conference Center

215 S. Depeyster Street, Kent, Ohio 

Date/Time Information:

Thursday, September 9th

11:30 am - Networking

Noon - Lunch/Program


Cost: $20 KACC members/guests

Non-members $25 

(Note: No-shows will be billed.)

Walk-ins will be charged $30

Register at:

Reservations are due no later than September 7th


New Members

Career & Community Studies - Jennifer Miller

Bedknobs & Broomsticks Estate Liquidation, LLC -Melissa Cogswell & Kirsten Kamenash

OfficeMax, Stow -Christopher Perry

R& R Home Remodeling -Richard Hood

Events at Parkside - Rhonda Wiggins &

Penny Kegg

The Wood Box -

Sam Hardesty

Arby's - Barb Friedman

The Thresholds Group - Keleigh Veraldo-Zucchero

Edward Jones -

Eric Roberts

September Spotlight

Working together in fellowship, in partnership, and in friendship!

August KACC Events

Raffle winners Carly Kruse (Everlyn Dickerson Hair Design) and Bob Mayfield (North Water Brewing Company)

KACC August Luncheon

Seated left to right: Randale Richmond and Deborah Spake (KSU) 

Standing left to right: Marilyn Sessions (Hometown Bank), Mayor Fiala (City of Kent), Dana Lawless-Andric (KSU), Mary Kline (KSU Hotel and Conference Center), Kurt Ruehr (Leadership Portage County) and Maggie McKendry (KSU)

26th Annual KACC/KSU Golf Outing

Flash, KSU Director of Athletics, Coaches and KACC Members

1st Place Winners in the 26th Annual KACC/KSU Athletics Golf Outing

Payne Hartman Team

Last Place Winners in the 26th Annual KACC/KSU Athletics Golf Outing


KSU Flashes Open Practice evening scrimmage . . .

Go Flashes!

“Kent Connection” . . . the students loved our KACC buttons

KACC’s “Kent Connection” Raffle Prize

KACC’s “Kent Connection” Raffle Winner, Alena Mata with KACC President Mary Kline

KACC participated in the downtown “Scavenger Hunt”

for KSU International Students

and we had to have a "fun fact" to tell each group.

Our “fun fact” was . . .


111 years ago, in 1910, city leaders created the Kent Board of Trade,

a forerunner to the Chamber of Commerce

The new Board was successful later that year in having Kent selected out of twenty northeastern Ohio cities as the site of a new teacher training college, which became known as the Kent State Normal School.

(today known as Kent State University)

Bowman Breakfast

City of Kent, Kent State University, Kent Area Chamber of Commerce

City Manager Dave Ruller, Mayor Jerry Fiala, Director of Athletics Randale Richmond, Flash, KSU President Todd Diacon, KACC Interim Executive Director Michelle Hartman

and KACC President Mary Kline

Calendar of Events for 2021

Please try to join us at any of the events listed below.

Also, be sure to check our website for any add on events or date changes

*Multi Chamber Events


  • Friday, October 1st 8:00 am Great Lakes Honda 1st Friday Multi-Chamber Networking on the Go*
  • Thursday, October 7th 4:30 pm UH Portage - Business After Hours*
  • Wednesday, October 13th 4:00 pm Bistro on Main - Business After Hours
  • Thursday, October 14th 11:30 am KACC Luncheon
  • Wednesday, October 27th 7:45 am Breakfast with the City Manager
  • Thursday, October 28th 8:00 am Breakfast Blender - Little City Grill*


  • Friday, November 5th 8:00 am Great Lakes Honda 1st Friday Multi-Chamber Networking on the Go*
  • Thursday, November 11th 11:30 am KACC Luncheon
  • Thursday, November 18th Tree City Awards


  • Friday, December 3rd 8:00 am Great Lakes Honda 1st Friday Multi-Chamber Networking on the Go*
  • Saturday, December 4th Festival of Lights
  • Thursday, December 9th 11:30 am KACC Luncheon

NOACC Benefits

Northern Ohio Area Chambers of Commerce (NOACC), of which the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce is a member, is a regional partnership of over 120 community-based chambers of commerce in northern Ohio dedicated to helping chambers deliver competitive and cost-saving benefits and services for almost 30,000 member businesses. Our mission is to harness the power of the NOACC chamber partnership to provide benefits and resources that the individual business or chamber would be unable to obtain on their own.

The NOACC Chambers have a menu of discounted benefits – including health insurance benefits, workers compensation packages, shipping, supplies, etc., to choose from to offer the businesses they serve in their local communities. Members of NOACC Chambers can use any of the NOACC benefits by contacting the providers directly.

For an updated/complete list of benefits:

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