Ilene Shapiro is the first woman to serve as County Executive in Summit County’s 35 years as a charter county — and she is the first woman in Ohio to assume the position of County Executive.
Before becoming Summit County Executive, Ilene served as president of Summit County Council for 3 years and served a total of 10 years on County Council. Twice, Ilene received more votes than any other candidate for Summit County Council.
In addition to her experience in Summit County government, Ilene has also been a leader in the private sector, serving as Senior Executive at FirstMerit Bank and Director of Strategic Alliances at the Summa Foundation. She has also been a small-business owner as the founder and operator of two businesses: A-1 Beauty Supply and Shapiro Consulting.
Ilene has long supported women’s issues, and is a co-founder of the Women’s Endowment Fund of the Akron Community Foundation, has served as past president of the Women’s Network and is a current member of the League of Women Voters. She is also an Alumni of Leadership Akron and Leadership America. Ilene further gives back to our community by serving as the Chair of the Grants Committee of the Akron Community Foundation.
As the Chair of County Council’s Planning and Economic Development Committee, Ilene was an integral member of the team that kept Goodyear and Bridgestone in Summit County, along with the 4,000+ local jobs tied to those companies. She was also instrumental in the County’s involvement in the expansion of the CAK Industrial Park in Green, the Arhaus and Costco development in Boston Heights and the consolidation of redundant building departments into a single, developer-friendly, County building department.
Ilene has been a champion of the County’s strong financial management practices and fiscal conservative nature. During her time on County Council, the County improved its bond rating, cut spending by over $20 million to weather the Great Recession and re-tooled many of its operations to become more efficient and collaborative. As a result, the County has kept its rainy-day fund 100% intact and operates on the lowest County sales tax of all counties in Ohio – and on 33% less general fund spending than the next lowest urban county.
Ilene stood with late County Executive Russ Pry in seeing that our County’s veterans were properly honored and served through a new Veterans Service Commission Building. She also was a staunch supporter of the County’s construction of a new state-of-the-art Animal Control Facility, and the increased use of adoptions to find new homes for the dogs and cats at the facility.
Ilene is also Vice-Chair of the Summit County Land Bank, which in just four years has torn down nearly 1,100 vacant, abandoned and blighted houses in the County and has begun to stabilize property values in some of our neighborhoods hardest hit by the Great Recession. She has also served as Chair of the Summit County Transportation Improvement District, which has made infrastructure investments in both the northern and southern parts of Summit County, and as Chair and formerly Vice-Chair of the Information Technology Board, which has overseen the consolidation of multiple county IT operations into a single, streamlined, IT office.
Ilene has been recognized for her community leadership and her many accomplishments, including the U.S. Small Business Administration “Women In Business Advocate” for Ohio, the “ATHENA” Award by ATHENA International and the Judith A. Resnick "Woman of the Year" Award for Inspiration by the Women’s History Project.