Magnet strengthens its Rubber City ties

June 10, 2018


Magnet, a Manufacturing Extension Partnership center serving small and mid-sized manufacturers, has opened an office in Akron.

Magnet, the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, may be based in Cleveland, but the organization is charged with supporting manufacturers throughout Northeast Ohio. In the past year, the group has taken steps to strengthen its services in the Summit County area, and it now has officially opened an office in Akron.

Magnet is a Manufacturing Extension Partnership center, which means it’s part of a national network focused on serving small and midsize manufacturers.

At current, Magnet serves manufacturers in 18 counties in Northeast Ohio. Darlyn McDermott came to Magnet from Oswald Cos. about a year ago to start working as the market leader for what she calls Magnet South, which focuses on manufacturers in Summit, Stark, Wayne, Medina and Portage counties. Magnet South also serves companies in Mahoning and Columbiana counties.

Ethan Karp, CEO and president of Magnet, said the organization realized it needed to be physically “present” in order to serve better manufacturers in the Akron area. Ideally, the new office will help Magnet raise awareness of its services in the Akron area, as that region is one where its services aren’t as well known as they could be.

“And we need to do more there,” Karp said.

Darlyn McDermott

McDermott had worked out of the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce, but the organization decided a physical office was needed. And, ultimately, Magnet needed to put more people and money behind its work in the Akron area, McDermott said. The organization is trying to bring “familiarity” with Magnet to the southern portion of the region it serves.

The timing is also right, as new groups such as workforce development organization ConxusNEO and entrepreneurial support center and incubator Bounce Innovation Hub are getting underway, Karp said.

The new Magnet office at 9 North Main is near partners including the chamber and ConxusNEO, McDermott said. The organization has been in the office since May and will hold an official ribbon cutting later this year, ideally at the start of August.

Right now, the Akron office of Magnet has two full-time employees, including McDermott, and other growth advisers from the organization to use when needed. Magnet is leasing approximately 1,100 square feet in Akron, McDermott said in an email, and is maintaining space at the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Karp said the Akron office will be where Magnet works with established companies in the area, but it will also have space at Bounce, where it will work with startups.

McDermott works as the market leader for the region, spending most of her time in the community, meeting with company leaders and furthering the organization’s brand. However, she also serves as a growth adviser, delivering Magnet’s services in areas like lean and innovation to companies.

Sue Lacy, president of ConxusNEO, which supports strengthening the region’s talent pipeline, said ConxusNEO and Magnet have a “shared goal” of helping manufacturers innovate and grow. Summit County needs a strong MEP, and ConxusNEO wants to support Magnet’s efforts to build a stronger presence in the region. Magnet has expertise in areas like engineering and marketing that help companies grow, Lacy said.

As Magnet increases the promotion of its services in the region, it’s important that it aligns its work with existing resources, Lacy said. She said she meets with Karp regularly to coordinate the groups’ efforts, and those conversations have been beneficial.

Read original article here.

McCafferty, Rachel Abbey. (2018, June 10). Magnet strengthens its Rubber City ties. Crain’s Cleveland Business. Retrieved from