New/Native: October 2016


Name: Christine Amer Mayer

Occupation: President of GAR Foundation

Hometown: Akron, OH

Current Neighborhood: Works downtown but sleeps in Solon, OH


What do you wish was more on Akronites’ radar?

Local art! I wish local art was on more people’s radar. Some of us realize how rich the offerings are, but there are so many others out there who need to tune in to the local art scene.


What is your favorite thing about autumn in Akron?

The trees. I’m that crazy person who pulls over and gets out of her car to look at the extraordinary trees. Ask my kids!


When did you fall for Akron?

I would say about 10 years ago. I’ve had work and personal commitments all over Northeast Ohio, so I’ve had many allegiances for years. At some point, I realized that my heart is unequivocally here in Akron, mainly because of its incredible network of warm, quirky people.


What’s the creepiest place in Akron?

The canal downtown by the steam plant. I almost flipped my kayak when that steam monster hissed at me. Very Industrial Age creepy!


Where in Akron do you like to escape?

For sure the Metroparks trails. I am a bird-watching nerd to the core, so I am always happiest walking around listening for feathered friends, and trying to spot them in the trees.



Name: Kevin Smith

Occupation: Director, Institute for Leadership Advancement, College of Business Administration, The University of Akron

Hometown: Norwalk, OH

Current Neighborhood: Cuyahoga Falls, OH


What do you wish was on more Akronites’ radar?

I think North Hill is a gem. There’s a lot of great people there, and so many interesting places. I travel internationally quite a bit, and I truly believe you can find the same charm and experiences in parts of North Hill that you’d pay to find somewhere else. In face, whenever I have friends or family in town, I take them to North Hill. I try to frame the experience for them so they understand what it used to be, is, and why it is a special place. Although I know it’s on Akronites’ radar, I think we need an attitude adjustment. I’ve lived there, the mayor lives there. It could be a thriving international district should we choose to invest our time, energies, and belief in it. And, Rancheros Taqueria makes the best enchiladas this side of the border.


What is our favorite thing about autumn in Akron?

Autumn in Akron is fantastic. Who could pass up things like Szalays, Hale Farm, the Towpath, Scenic Railway, Peninsula, festivals, weekend football, cider, doughnuts, etc.? Its truly the American experience here, and I think Akron embodies the best of the mid-west.


When did you fall for Akron?

This past year we had a chance to leave for another job in a different city, a great opportunity with great perks. We had a great decision to make, but for the first time in my life, I knew if I left here, I’d regret it, no matter the offer. So, we committed to Akron, and it felt great. I think this city is special because there’s such a spirit of cooperation among the people. There’s a scrappy pride and a hidden secret about living here that I appreciate. When I want to solve a problem or help a student, I could pick up the phone and know that four to five people in the community, no matter their title or position, would answer the call. I know that when a young person has a dream or starts a business, there are people here who answer the call. It’s what Akron does. Who could leave a place like that?


What’s the creepiest place in Akron?

I had a face-to-face meeting with Chris Horne once. No, it’s more of an event: when it’s 10 degrees outside and there’s a line out the door for Luigi’s. The place is great, but that’s crazy!


Where in Akron do you like to escape?

Kelli and I go to Rubber Ducks games as much as possible. We love the atmosphere and the fact that it’s truly Akron’s biggest bar with a great baseball team. We get general admission tickets sit near right field, and have a blast. All winter long, we can’t wait for this. In fact, for our wedding, on of our friends got us “Duck Bucks.”