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MAHONING VALLEY MVEDC honors Warren insurance agent

By Don Shilling

Friday, October 12, 2001

Gene Rossi was honored as the Mahoning Valley Person of the Year.
HOWLAND -- Mahoning Valley leaders need to be more like Gene Rossi, said state Sen. Tim Ryan at an event honoring the Warren insurance agent.
"He never saw himself, he never saw his family, he never saw his business as an island to itself," said Ryan, of Warren, D-32nd.
Rossi always has been concerned about his family and his community when making his decisions, Ryan said.
"The Gene Rossis of our community don't just appear," he said. "It comes down to choices. When you make these choices, you can make the easy-way choice or the right choice. Gene Rossi, throughout his life, made the right choices."
Rossi was honored Thursday at Leo's Ristorante by the Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corp. as the Mahoning Valley Person of the Year.
His business: Rossi is chief executive of Rossi Insurance Agency, where he has worked for 50 years. The agency was founded by his father and uncle in 1924.
He has been president of MVEDC, which administers government loan programs to area businesses, and been involved in many other community organizations.
Rossi credited his family and company staff for his accomplishments.
"I'm proud to be a product and part of the Mahoning Valley community," he said.
Ryan, as the event's keynote speaker, told the crowd that no company like Microsoft is going to pull up roots and locate in the Valley. Microsoft is in Seattle because that's where Bill Gates is from, he said.
Right environment: The Valley needs to create the right environment and educational system so its young people can create high-technology businesses, he said.
"We're going to have to grow our own companies," he said.
Ryan said he thinks the Valley is headed in the right direction by breaking down the barriers between government, business, labor and nonprofit organizations.
Fifty years ago, those groups worked independently, because changes in the world and in the economy came slowly, he said. Today, change is constant and these groups need to be partners, he said.
Valley leaders understand that, as shown by the groups that are working together, he said. Politicians, labor leaders and chamber of commerce officials are joining forces on various projects, and businesses and hospitals are going into schools to work on finance and health lessons, he said.