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NEOTEC's Ron DeBarr Elected to NAFTZ Board of Directors

KENT, OHIO, November 16, 2009 – Ron DeBarr, president and CEO of the Northeast Ohio Trade & Economic Consortium (NEOTEC), was recently elected to a two-year term on the board of directors of the National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones (NAFTZ). The election took place at the NAFTZ’s annual business meeting held during its annual conference in Dallas this fall. DeBarr has also served as chair of the NAFTZ’s Grantee Committee since January 2008. NEOTEC, an economic development partnership of 10 Northeast Ohio counties, is the grantee of Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 181 in Northeast Ohio, which covers multiple locations throughout the region. The NAFTZ is a nonprofit trade association based in Washington, D.C., that works to promote and improve foreign-trade zones and their use, respond to the competitive needs of zone users, and connect global businesses with local communities through the FTZ program.

“After showing excellent leadership as chair of the Grantee Committee, Ron was the perfect candidate to serve in this capacity on the NAFTZ board,” said Will Berry, president of the NAFTZ. “We expect him to be a great asset in continuing to build on the success of the FTZ program and helping to increase the global competitiveness of U.S. companies,” Berry said.

DeBarr has been instrumental in developing FTZ 181 in Northeast Ohio, which has experienced significant growth under his leadership and is one of the largest FTZ programs in the U.S. in total volume of merchandise received and shipped. At the state level, DeBarr demonstrated the same level of leadership, having initiated the creation of the Ohio Foreign-Trade Zones Council (OFTZC) in 2005. The OFTZC unites the state’s 10 FTZ grantees in a forum of discussion and action to address issues and promote the success of Ohio’s FTZ program.  

“I am challenged by this opportunity to be of continued service to the NAFTZ as we work to address the needs of companies in the FTZ program and increase America’s strength in the global economy,” DeBarr said.

The Foreign-Trade Zone program was created in 1934 by Congress to facilitate international trade and increase the global competitiveness of U.S.-based companies. The program, designed as an incentive to encourage companies to keep investment and jobs in the U.S. and not move production offshore, removes certain costs and barriers that do not exist in foreign locations.

NEOTEC is a regional economic development partnership of 10 Northeast Ohio counties including Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Richland, Stark, Summit, Trumbull and Wayne counties. FTZ 181 covers more than 6,000 acres at 35 sites throughout the 10-county NEOTEC region. In addition to FTZ 181, NEOTEC is administrator of the International Trade Assistance Center of Northeast Ohio, a program that provides export counseling to area manufacturers looking to grow their business through exports, and the Northeast Ohio Logistics Network, an organization of logistics and management professionals working to help improve regional market access. NEOTEC also works to attract foreign direct investment in Northeast Ohio through its Global Business Development Initiative (GBDI).