Board of Directors

Grace Wakulchik, Chairman
Akron Children’s Hospital

Grace joined Akron Children’s in 1992 and held various nursing and hospital leadership roles, focused on skill development, team-building, operational excellence and encouraging clinical staff to pursue management roles. As Chief Nursing Officer, she was instrumental in Akron Children’s receiving its first American Nurses Credentialing Center designation as a Magnet hospital for nursing excellence.

Grace began her career as a registered nurse after earning bachelor’s degrees in nursing and sociology from Case Western Reserve University in 1979 and 1978, respectively. In 1982, she earned her master’s degree in nursing from Case Western Reserve University. In 1996, Grace earned a master’s degree in business administration from Kent State University. In 2002, she completed the Johnson & Johnson Wharton Fellows Program in Management for Nurse Executives at The Wharton School and Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Grace’s collaborative leadership philosophy helps all of Akron Children’s stakeholders stay focused on keeping patients and families as a top priority, but she is also passionate about regional economic development as a means for promoting the health and wellness of children, families and communities.

Julie Wesel, Vice Chairman
Chief Executive Officer
Chemstress Consultant Company

Chemstress is a full-service engineering and design service provider for industrial capital projects, locally and throughout North America.

Julie graduated from The Ohio State University with an accounting degree and later earned her CPA.  Julie worked for a large public accounting firm after college on the audit staff.  Julie specialized in real estate and banking.  Julie worked for 24 years at Forest City Enterprises(a real estate developer and operator)  in a variety of accounting, finance, business process and leadership roles.  Julie has return to her home town of Akron, to lead Chemstress.

Joseph Dancy – Secretary
Chief Tire Analysis Engineer
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

In April 1994 Joe was hired by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company headquartered in Akron, Ohio. Joe has held several different positions while employed at Goodyear with a concentration in consumer tire manufacturing, tire process improvement, tire development, and currently tire forensic examination. Goodyear has afforded Joe the ability to serve the Akron community and Summit County as a community volunteer.

Currently Joe serves as a board member of the Development Finance Authority (DFA) of Summit County. Joe has served in various positions on the DFA Board since fall 1999. Joe also serves on the board of Minority Behavioral Health Group of Akron, OH. Additionally, Joe serves on the board of the Akron Development Corporation (ADC) and the board of the Akron Bio-Investment Fund II.

Dan Rice
President and CEO
Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition

Suzie Graham
President & CEO
Downtown Akron Partnership

Mr. Mark Douglas
Tri-County Building & Construction

Ms.Ebony Yeboah- Amankwah
VP, Corporate Secretary & Chief Ethics Officer
FirstEnergy Corporation

Since 1999, the DFA has issued over $1 billion in economic development bonds, leveraging over $1 billion in investment to support community and economic development activity in our region.  Through the New Markets Tax Credit program the Development Fund of the Western Reserve (DFWR) has allocated $65 million federal NMTC plus $11.5 million Ohio NMTC, leveraging $55 million additional federal and state NMTC allocations and $13.2 million in investment. These finance projects enabled the DFA to directly or indirectly be associated with the retention and creation of 16,406 jobs, including thousands of construction jobs.