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South Side Business News & Notes

8/21/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Summa President Strauss to retire at end of year

Tom Strauss
Photo courtesy of Summa Health System
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summa Health System President and CEO Tom Strauss is retiring at the end of the year.

Strauss served as president and CEO of Summa for 15 years, guiding the health system through some of the most challenging and tumultuous times in health care, according Summa officials.

“Tom has been a true visionary who has shaped Summa Health System into the area’s clear health care leader. I don’t know of anyone who cares about Summa more than Tom,” said Summa Health System Board Chair Norm Wells. “He exemplifies all you want in a CEO: a brilliant mind combined with a deep, genuine passion to provide the absolute best care for our patients. He will be truly missed.”

Summa Health System has $1.7 billion in annual revenue and is Summit County’s largest employer, with approximately 10,000 employees, according to Summa officials.

“Tom is leaving Summa well positioned to continue its leadership role in the health care industry and, for that, we are thankful,” said Wells. “Over the past two years, Tom has helped Summa select a partner, HealthSpan, which positions Summa to play a key role in the future of health care delivery in Akron, Summit County and throughout the State of Ohio. He has assembled a strong, talented leadership team, including the addition of two key physician executives.”

Strauss joined Summa in 1999 after serving as president of the four-hospital Meridia Health Services in Cleveland. A pharmacist by trade, Straus worked for a number of years in private industry, having held several management positions at Baxter Health Corp. prior to working for Meridia, according to Summa officials.

Wells said the Summa Health System Board of Directors is appointing a CEO search committee and will conduct a comprehensive review for Strauss’ replacement with a strong focus on internal candidates. Wells added he expected a great deal of interest in the position, but would conduct a national search only if necessary.

Strauss expects to continue his association with Summa through community engagement with the Summa Foundation following his Dec. 31 retirement, according to Summa officials.


Red Cross names interim chapter executive

Rachel D’Attoma
Photo courtesy of American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio
AKRON — The American Red Cross of Summit, Portage and Medina Counties announced this week Rachel D’Attoma, who currently serves as a major gift officer for the organization, will step into the role of interim chapter executive.

“I am excited to be able to serve the American Red Cross, and the communities of Summit, Portage and Medina counties, in this capacity,” said D’Attoma, of West Akron.

According to Red Cross officials, D’Attoma has worked for 14 years at local and regional nonprofits and has experience in executive planning, management, direct fundraising, board development, strategy and nonprofit development including major gifts, direct marketing, capital campaigns and annual giving. Prior to working at the American Red Cross, she was director of development at the Community Health Center in Akron, served as development manager of Goodwill Industries, was annual campaign director of the Akron Area YMCA and director of special events and community director for the March of Dimes.

D’Attoma graduated from The University of Akron.

The Summit County Chapter was founded in 1916. The branches of Summit County and Portage County Red Cross combined into a single chapter in 2009, and the Medina County chapter, founded in 1917, joined that organization in July, when Medina County Chapter Executive Beth Kilchenman retired with 27 years of service to the Red Cross, according to Red Cross officials. The union of the chapters not only ensures consistent services and maximizes donated dollars in support of the Red Cross mission to alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies, but it also allows equipment, as well as staff and volunteers’ skill sets, to be shared seamlessly, according to Red Cross officials.

Representatives from both chapter boards are forming a new board of directors committed to providing the same high-quality service delivery to all three counties as in the past, according to Red Cross officials. Volunteers will continue to be embedded.

Red Cross officials also noted that the Red Cross will continue to honor donor intent for specific programs, events and communities.


Pam Lifke and Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.

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