case western reserve university



Public Affairs Discussion Group

"Cuyahoga County Port Authorities Role in Local Economic Development Issues"

October 20, 2006
Guilford House, Guest Lounge

12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Michael Wagner

Vice Chairman and Chair Elect of the Cuyahoga County Port Authority


Dear Colleagues:

The Friday Lunch returns on October 20 with a discussion of one of the least understood, but quite important, engines of local economic development. How do the various organizations in the area work together (or not) to develop the economy? Who is in charge down on the lakefront? Is there progress, and where might it lead? To consider these questions, we will gather in the first-floor lounge of Guilford House from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., for a discussion led by Michael Wager, currently vice-chairman and chair-elect of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.

Mr. Wager, a highly accomplished corporate and securities regulation attorney, has been a leader in numerous other civic activities. He is a member of the advisory board of the National Leadership Council of the Ireland Cancer Center, a member of the executive committee of the Cleveland Jewish Community Federation, and previously served as a member of the board of the Gateway Economic Development Corporation (owner of Jacobs Field and Quicken Loans Arena). He also earned his M.A. in Political Science from Columbia University before earning his J.D. at NYU, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of International Law. So, for all you political scientists out there, he’s an example of what you can accomplish with a poli sci degree – so long as you don’t go for the Ph.D. like your professors!

Astute students of local government, or readers of the Plain Dealer, will have noted that there are a lot of governments around here. There also are a lot of special districts, organizations that have authority over one part of public policy, across the usual geographic boundaries. The most obvious are organizations like the RTA and the Sewer District. But one that is especially important for visions of local economic development is the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.

You need only go to the Port Authority’s website ( ) to see that the Port is a major factor in issues like redevelopment of the Flats and the Lakefront more generally. If Cleveland is ever going to realize many peoples’ dream of using Lake Erie as its front yard and showpiece, the Port Authority will be at the center of the action. But its influence extends beyond where you might expect it to be active. Because it has the authority to issue bonds, the Port Authority also is a major player in finance of a wide range of community development projects. Friday’s discussion is a chance to get behind the headlines for a sense of the opportunities and obstacles this community faces in developing into a more attractive residence and place for businesses, as seen from the vantage point of one of the organizations that is going to be heavily involved.

As always, beverages will be kindly provided by the Office of University Communications, and cookies are supported by generous souls who have donated to the Center for Policy Studies for this purpose.

Best regards,
Joe White

More About Our Guest

Michael Wager is an attorney with the law firm of Squire Sanders & Dempsey L.L.P. Wager has served as counsel, advisor and director of several private and public companies, and in 1994, he earned the designation of "Dealmaker" from The American Lawyer magazine. He has served as chairman of a Cleveland-based private equity firm and frequently speaks on matters involving capital formation, securities regulation and change of control transactions.

In addition to serving as Vice Chair and Chairman-elect of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, Wager is active in several other civic and philanthropic organizations. He is a board member of the Northeast Ohio Development Fund LLC, The Montefiore Foundation and the West Ecumenical Ministry and serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland. He remains active in national leadership on the Renaissance and Renewal Pillar of the United Jewish Communities and the Jewish Council on Public Affairs.

Wager also serves on the selection committee of the American Marshall Memorial Fellowship (an affiliate of the German Marshall Fund) and as a member of the Advisory Board of the National Leadership Council of the Ireland Cancer Center of University Hospitals of Cleveland.

He previously served as a board member for the Gateway Economic Development Corporation of Greater Cleveland (owner of Jacobs Field and Quicken Loans Arena (The “Q”)), the Cleveland Foundation's Task Force on Economic Development and the Mayor's Convention Center Task Force.

Wager received a bachelor’s degree in 1973 from The American University, a master’s degree in 1976 from Columbia University and a juris doctorate from New York University School of Law in 1981.

Fall Semester Schedule

Sept 1: Ken Ledford, Associate Professor of History and Law, hosts Jon Entin, Professor of Law and Political Science, to discuss the first year of the Supreme Court with John Roberts as Chief Justice.

Sept 8: Leonard Lynn, Professor and Chair of the Department of Policy and Management at the Weatherhead School of Management, on what U.S. leadership in engineering could mean with the rise of India and China.

Sept 15: Mark Naymik, of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, on this year’s statewide elections in Ohio.

Sept 22: Greg Eastwood, Interim President of Case Western Reserve University, on “The Interim Period: Tasks for Today and Ideas for the Future.”

Sept 29: Alan Weinstein, Professor and Director, Law and Public Policy Program, Cleveland-Marshall College of the Law, "Eminent domain: State Legislative Responses to Kelo vs. New London: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”

Oct 6: Amy Hanauer, Executive Director, PolicyMatters Ohio, on raising the minimum wage

Oct 13: Marty Kress, Executive Director of the National Space Science and Technology Center, University of Alabama at Huntsville, on Organizing NASA for Space Exploration. NOTE: Tentative room change to Mather House 100.

Oct 20: Michael Wager, Vice Chair and Chair Elect of the Port Authority, on its role in local economic development issues.

Oct 27: Pete Moore, Assistant Professor of Political Science, on whatever is happening in the Middle East at the time.

Nov 3: Justin Buchler, Assistant Professor of Political Science, and Andrew Lucker, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Political Science: Midterm Election forecast.

Nov 10: Eric J. Topol MD, Professor of Genetics, on concerns about conflicts of interest in medical research.

Nov 17: Norman Robbins, Emeritus Professor of Neurosciences, on class bias in who gets to vote.


Dec 1: Jerome Liebman MD, Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics, on National Health Insurance

Dec 8: Terry Wolpaw MD, Associate Dean for Curricular Affairs, School of Medicine, on the new demands on or expectations of medical education. 

Parking: For those people who seek to make special arrangements about parking, the contact person now will be Fay Alexander.  Her phone number is 368-4440, and her e-mail is

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