Community Leader asked business leaders a single question: Following the pandemic and civil unrest, what are the most important social or business initiatives that Cleveland should embrace first?
They had a unified response:
The needs of our community are great, and there certainly are many initiatives worthy of our time and attention. But, in the short term, one stands out: addressing the significant “digital divide” that impacts our region.
In today’s world, internet access is critical — it enables us to search for jobs, attend lectures, complete schoolwork, access health care and more, all remotely. Yet one out of four households in Cuyahoga County lack internet access, and a majority of those households are in Black neighborhoods.
When the COVID-19 pandemic required our schools to instruct remotely, 50 percent of the Cleveland Metropolitan School System students didn’t have internet access — a stark illustration of how the digital divide exacerbates already existing inequality.
Efforts to advance digital inclusion have been underway in Northeast Ohio for some time, and a lot of good work has already been done by many government and civic organizations. Now, the business community is coming to the table, as well. In fact, just recently, the board of the Greater Cleveland Partnership unanimously endorsed making digital inclusion a top priority. Together, we’re confident we can make meaningful, measurable progress in a relatively short period of time.
Closing the digital divide is a step toward closing the racial divide. We invite our colleagues in the business community to join us in our effort to ensure that all Cuyahoga County residents have access to affordable and robust internet services.
Frederick R. Nance
Global Managing Partner
Squire Patton Boggs LLP
As global managing partner, US, Nance is a highly regarded legal and business counselor, nationally recognized sports and entertainment law practitioner and a leader in the firm. His high-profile practice ranges from involvement in an ongoing series of critical negotiations involving community interests in Northeast Ohio to serving as business counsel to NBA star LeBron James, comedian Dave Chappelle and other notable athletes and entertainers. He also is an experienced trial litigator in federal and state courts.
President & CEO
GE Lighting, a Savant company
A 28-year GE veteran, Lacey became the president and CEO of GE Lighting, a Savant company, after Savant Systems Inc. acquired GE Lighting from General Electric Co. (GE) on July 1, 2020. As president and CEO of GE Lighting, he reshaped and focused the business, while leading the company’s growth in LED and smart home innovation. Lacey led the experienced GE Lighting team into new commercial partnerships, oversaw the launch of industry-first, award-winning products and helped build a customer-centric, transparent and fun culture.
Chairman & CEO
Arnold became chairman and CEO of Eaton on June 1, 2016, when Alexander “Sandy” Cutler retired. Arnold’s appointment was the result of the Eaton board’s succession management process. Prior to taking the reins of the company, Arnold served as president and COO of the company. Arnold served as vice chairman, president and COO of the Industrial Sector since 2009, with additional leadership responsibility for the Asia Pacific and Latin America regions. He joined Eaton in 2000 as senior vice president and group executive of the Fluid Power Group.