Northeast Ohio Trade & Economic Consortium

Upcoming Events



P.O. Box 5190
Kent, OH 44242
Phone: 330-672-4080
or 800-793-0912
International: 001-330-672-4080


The History of NEOTEC

1995: A Cooperative Agreement is Signed

In 1995, six Northeast Ohio Counties came together, recognizing that certain economic issues can only be addressed as a region where competing interests are set aside. These counties—Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Stark, Summit and Trumbull—entered into a cooperative agreement pursuant to Section 307.07 of the Ohio Revised Code. A formal agreement was signed on February 28, 1996, which created the Northeast Ohio Joint Office of Economic Development (JOED) - an unprecedented public-private partnership, one that stressed cooperation over competition. The following guiding principles were established:

  • One County - One Vote
  • Enhance existing development efforts - do not duplicate
  • Develop private sector input
  • Define County interests within regional goals
  • Share benefits

 To carry out the JOED’s economic development initiatives, the Northeast Ohio Trade & Economic Consortium (NEOTEC) was established. The organization was staffed by volunteers from public and private economic development organizations from the six counties.

1997: NEOTEC is assigned a Foreign-Trade Zone Grant of Authority

The Akron-Canton Regional Airport Authority received a Grant of Authority in 1991 from the Foreign-Trade Zones Board in Washington, D.C., to establish Foreign-Trade Zone 181 at a 157-acre site on airport property. In 1997, the airport assigned the FTZ 181 Grant of Authority to the JOED dba NEOTEC.

2000: NEOTEC is Restructured

In 2000, NEOTEC was restructured as a private, nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation, and Kent State University stepped up as a partner in NEOTEC’s regional economic development efforts. The university offered office space and support services to NEOTEC, which established its current office on the Kent campus and hired its first staff member in 2001.

The Growth of NEOTEC

Membership Growth

  • 1996: six counties form NEOTEC
  • 2005: Medina County joins
  • 2006: Richland County joins

Foreign-Trade Zone Growth

From its first location at the Akron-Canton Airport, Foreign-Trade Zone 181 expanded  to 27 sites throughout the 8-county NEOTEC region, and is
nationally recognized as a “Best Practice” in foreign-trade zone development and management.  Since 2001, FTZ 181 has been a major factor in attracting more than $300 million in capital investment and the creation/retention of more than 3,000 jobs in the region.

In January 2012, NEOTEC signed a partnership agreement with the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority for the administration of FTZ 40, for which the Port Authority serves as grantee. The agreement brings the combined acreage of both zones to more than 11,000 and increases the number of sites to 49.  In addition to streamlining zone administrative duties, the partnership enables NEOTEC to enhance domestic and international marketing efforts to promote FTZ 40 and 181 as a unified multi-site global supply chain management program.

A Focus on Logistics Initiatives

In 2002, NEOTEC created the Northeast Ohio Logistics Network, a 250-member organization of logistics professionals. The organization was created to unite the industry as one voice on issues affecting the flow of goods in and out of the region. In 2003, NEOTEC formed a partnership with the United Shippers Alliance (USA), to provide volume discounts to companies for both domestic and international freight movements.

International Trade Assistance

  In 2004, NEOTEC received approval for a continuing Small Business Administration and Ohio Department of Development grant to establish an International Trade Assistance Center (ITAC).  Until late 2013, NEOTEC served as host site for the ITAC, providing export counseling services to companies that were new to export or wanted to expand export activity - including export basics, export readiness assessment, export compliance and procedures guidance, global logistics, documentation requirements, basic market research, and international business plan assistance.  These services are now provided through NEOTEC's Global Trade Group.  

With the launch of its Global Trade Group (GTG) in 2012, NEOTEC offers area companies a complete array of basic and in-depth global trade development services including on-site "executive in residence" counseling and one-on-one international trade training, as well as seminars and webinars on important international trade topics.  According to NEOTEC President and CEO Ron DeBarr, GTG is a tremendous asset for area manufacturers, who can quickly get up and running in international markets when they lack the initial resources to hire dedicated personnel.

Global Business Development
The Global Business Development Initiative (GBDI) was implemented by NEOTEC in 2007 with the main objective of assisting Northeast Ohio with export sales development. This initiative has since evolved to include a second objective of attracting foreign direct investment to Northeast Ohio.