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About Us

About the Port

The Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Authority was created in February 2007 to promote projects that will provide for the creation of jobs and employment opportunities and improve the economic welfare of the people residing in Lake County. The Port Authority is also authorized by state law to enhance, foster, aid, provide or promote transportation, economic development, housing, recreation, education, governmental operations, culture, research, and education.

In pursuit of this mission, the Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Authority is unique in the services it provides for the economic welfare of our community. Our services can assist would-be entrepreneurs to large corporations, small non-profits to large institutions and communities.

Advantages of Working with Port Authority

Ohio law makes port authorities very effective economic development tools. Port authorities have important development powers such as the ability to exercise eminent domain to acquire, lease, and improve property, and to issue tax exempt bonds. Because port authorities themselves are tax exempt, they can provide development services at a lower cost than private institutions.


Mark Rantala
Executive Director
[email protected]
440.357.2290 x 232

Mark Rantala is a native of Ashtabula and a graduate of Ashtabula High School and Columbia University.  Prior to joining the Lake County Port Authority in May of 2013 Mark served as Executive Director of the Nederland, Texas Economic Development Corporation.

Mark brings to this position the insights of 23 years of commercial real estate experience in north east Ohio.  Considered a retail expert, Mark looks forward to selling Lake County.

Early efforts as Executive Director included rebranding the Lake County Port Authority as the Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Authority to distinguish Lake County, Ohio from the other 10 Lake Counties in the U.S. and to emphasize our role as the lead economic development organization for Lake County.


Timothy A. Cahill
Director of Public Finance and Controller
[email protected]
440-357-2290 x234

Tim is a native of Lake County and a graduate of Marquette University, with an MBA from Lake Erie College.

In his role as Director of Public Finance and Controller, Tim provides outreach to the community in the promotion of the Port Authority’s finance programs including bond financing, the Lake County Economic Development Loan Program, the CROP Loan Program, and the Port Authority’s energy efficiency financing programs.  He serves as controller and also is involved in the Port Authority’s business retention and expansion activities.

Tim brings to his position over 25 years of commercial lending and community development experience, and a network of relationships in Lake County.


Peter Zahirsky
Director of Coastal Development
[email protected]
440.357.2290 x 227

Peter is the Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Authority’s Director of Coastal Development. In that role he is responsible for the implementation of the Lake County Coastal Development Plan, a comprehensive plan to increase public access to Lake Erie and encourage private sector investment based around that access. His previous economic development experience includes working as Executive Fellow for Economic Development for Cuyahoga County and as a member of the Business Development Team at the Greater Cleveland Partnership. Peter is a licensed attorney and a graduate of Cleveland State University’s Juris Doctor/Master of Public Administration dual-degree program, from which he also holds a certificate in Real Estate Development Finance.

Patty Fulop
Airport Manager
[email protected]

Patty is the Airport Manager for the Port Authority and oversees Lost Nation Airport. Patty has over 10 years’ experience as an airport manager and also currently serves as the secretary/treasurer of the Geauga County Airport Authority Board.  She has extensive experience as the fiscal officer and is responsible for all local, state and federal audits.  She is also experienced in matters of federal mandates and compliance issues.   One of her duties as airport manager is to write and manage grants on the federal, state and local level. Patty is a graduate of Cardinal High School in Middlefield, Ohio and a lifetime member of the Institute of Certified Travel Agents where in 1989 through education and years of service she earned her designation as a Certified Travel Consultant.


Debbie Connor
[email protected]
440.357.2290 x 223

Debbie is the Port Authority’s Bookkeeper. She manages the Port’s financial records, prepares invoices and pays bills. She is also in charge of payroll and other human resource functions. She handles banking needs and reconciles bank statements. She is also responsible for assisting the CFO with preparing budgets and board reports.