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Ballroom 1 Session A

Driving Growth: Unveiling Northeast Ohio's Destination Potential

Presented By: First National Bank

Join us for a special CEO Roundtable with three regional leaders who will delve into the allure and potential of Northeast Ohio as a premier destination region. Discover how their innovative strategies have transformed Cleveland into a powerhouse for major sports events, scenic parks, and the iconic Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Gain insights into the collaborative efforts driving economic growth and positioning the region as a must-visit destination for tourists, sports enthusiasts, and cultural aficionados alike.


Boyd Pethel
Executive Vice President - Metro Commercial Banking
First National Bank




David Gilbert
President & CEO
Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and Destination Cleveland

David Gilbert serves as president and CEO of Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and Destination Cleveland. Greater Cleveland Sports Commission is an organization dedicated to making Greater Cleveland the nation’s foremost destination for amateur sporting events and activities. These events have contributed more than $860 million in local economic impact. David leads the Destination Cleveland team, the region’s destination, marketing and management organization to carry out the organization’s mission of stimulating economic growth by attracting people and connecting them to experiences that illustrate Cleveland’s diversity, creativity, and contagious passion.

His honors and awards include recognition as one of Cleveland’s “30 influencers of the past 30 years,” Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and the SME Cleveland Business Executive of the Year. David also dedicates his time to several organizations.


Greg Harris
President & CEO
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Greg Harris has guided the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame through an era of unprecedented transformation with a focus on innovation to drive growth. Under his leadership, the Museum has significantly increased attendance, revenue, fan engagement and community impact.

Before joining the RRHOF, Greg spent 14 great years as a senior executive at the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum.

Brian Zimmerman
Cleveland Metroparks

Brian is responsible for the management of more than 25,000 acres of green space in Northeast Ohio including 18 park reservations, nine golf courses, and the nationally acclaimed Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

Since assuming the role of CEO in 2010, Brian has acquired land at the fastest rate in the park district’s 105-year history aside from the park founder, adding over 3,000 acres of protected park land and forests. Brian has helped revitalize Cleveland’s urban core with the acquisition and transformation of nearly 750 acres of lakefront property including the Re-Connecting Cleveland TIGER trails project that links more than 66,000 Cleveland residents to Lake Erie and the region’s vast network of parks and trails.

He has strategically expanded park access to 49 communities across six counties, adding more than 60 miles of trails, bringing the park's trail network to more than 325 miles of trails. He has also improved park relevancy through enhanced programming, connections, and opportunities, attracting more than 19 million annual recreational visitors in each of past three years.

Through broad support and investment, Brian has helped expand and connect Cleveland’s Emerald Necklace into both a tremendous community asset and tourist destination. Under his leadership, the Park District secured more than $150 million in external grants and donations to maximize investments in projects across the park district. A recent study revealed that Cleveland Metroparks contributes $873 million in economic impact to the region. Brian has also laid the groundwork for some of the park’s most transformational investments to come including a state-of-the-art Primate Forest at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and the “CHEERS” project to create a more accessible, equitable, and resilient lakefront on Cleveland’s east side.

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