President, University Circle Inc.
More than anything, Chris Ronayne is an effective cheerleader who makes people believe Cleveland can be better than it has been. He is executing an eight-point plan to bring more people to University Circle, and as part of that he’s helped raise more than $7 million in private donations for Euclid Avenue improvements between East 105th and East 120th streets. He also swooped in to save the University Circle Police Department, which not long ago was facing its demise. He’s a must-invite to woo potential developers to Cleveland because his passion is contagious, and he knows the strings to pull when making a pitch. He doesn’t just talk about ideas; he sells them. Planning director and later chief of staff for former mayor Jane Campbell, Ronayne was the architect of the administration’s lakefront proposal. Now, he’s considering a bid that would return him to City Hall: running for mayor in 2009.