SOD chief resigns to take post in NCarolina

SOD chief resigns to take post in NCarolina


SALEM — The Sustainable Opportunity Development Center Inc. said Executive Director Michael Mancuso has resigned to accept the position of president and CEO for the Smithfield-Selma Chamber of Commerce in Smithfield, N.C., southeast of Raleigh.

Mancuso’s resignation is effective Feb. 2 and he expects to begin his new position on Feb. 5 after more than three years as head of the SOD Center.

But he said he will stay on as long as needed until a replacement is hired and can help get the person acquainted with the center.

“I’m making myself available here for my replacement,” said Mancuso who oversaw economic development for the city and led a successful collaborative effort with the city, county, and state officials in mapping out a much needed truck route around Salem.

He also played a role in attracting interest for senior living developments and he is currently working on a project that could see a vacant industrial building put to substantial use.

Mayor John Berlin said he was upset that Mancuso, whom he worked with closely, is leaving.

“We met twice a month on the off-Tuesdays when council did not meet,” Berlin said.

“He was very instrumental in economic development, in working with the city, with the Ohio Mid-Eastern Government Association and working very hard for the community,” Berlin said, noting the position was partially subsidized by the city’s general fund.

The SODC board of directors is undertaking an executive search to fill the opening, “as we speak,” Mancuso said, and will have an announcement “hopefully in a few days to a week.”

The goal is to hire a new executive director to successfully leadthe SOD Center into the future with continued growth, said Shawna L’Italien, president.

“The board of directors would like to extend their thanks to Mike for his outstanding efforts in transforming SOD into a true business retention and development extension of the city of Salem and the region.

“We wish Mike the best in his future,” L’Italien said.

In August of 2014, Mancuso replaced Larry Kosiba, the first SOD Center executive director when it was incorporated in October of 2010, and he came on full-time in January of 2015.

A Sharon, Pa., native, Mancuso came to the SOD Center with an undergraduate degree in retail bank management from Furman University in Greenville, S.C.

He worked as a mechanical designer in maritime nuclear piping and power, and plant design in the nuclear division at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.

He has worked on the USS Enterprise and nuclear submarines.

Mancuso moved here with his wife, Chris, and also brought his community experience as a past member of the Lawrence County Housing Authority, the Downtown Business Association, both in New Castle, Pa., the Pulaski Township Planning Commission, along with the Pulaski Lions Club and the Shenango Valley Jaycees, with him to Salem.

His wife was appointed to city council last year.

Smithfield is home to Smithfield Ham and has a population of about 12,000 people, but with Selma and the surrounding area, the population is about 100,000 in total.

The city is located along Interstate 95, the main interstate highway on the east coast of the United States.