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KeyBank senior vice president appointed to Lake County’s port authority board

Andrew Cass | The News-Herald

Lake County commissioners have filled the first of two new seats of the newly expanded port authority board.

KeyBank Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel Mark T. Freeman was approved unanimously by commissioners for the position. Freeman is a Mentor resident and served as an at-large city councilman from 2006 through 2009.

The Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Authority expanded from seven members to nine following the April 4 dissolution of Mentor’s port authority.

Following the dissolution of Mentor’s port and the approved expansion of Lake County’s, the commissioners said that one of the two positions would be filled by a Mentor resident. Informally, the commissioners expect to have three Mentor residents on the board at any given time. Freeman is the fourth Mentor resident to join the current board.

Commissioner Daniel P. Troy said the agreement makes sense because “probably at least one-third of the economic development activity in the county in Lake County exists in the city of Mentor.”

Freeman has been a member of the KeyBank Law Group since 2001 and the manager of Litigation and Employee Relations section of that group since 2009.

According to the resume he submitted to the commissioners, that section is responsible for “managing all defensive litigation involving KeyCorp and its affiliates throughout the United States, as well as providing legal support to human resources, corporate investigations and judgement processing.”

He said in his resume he has experience working with various state and federal regulatory agencies in his role as manager of Litigation and Employee Relations.

On Mentor City Council, Freeman said he was an active member of the Economic Development Committee “working to encourage and assist business development in the city.” He added he worked with the administration to develop an economic development strategy. He lead efforts toward the creation of a business incubator and developed relationships with organizations that support entrepreneurs such as JumpStart.

“He’s quite an impressive individual,” Lake County Commissioner Jerry Cirino said. “I think he’s going to bring a lot of good experience to Lake County’s Port Authority. We’re excited to have him onboard.”

For the other open seat, the commissioners are looking to find a person from the eastern side of the county. Since Debonne Vineyards owner Tony Debevc stepped down from the board at the end of 2015, the board has not had a member who resides east of Painesville.

The commissioners are still looking for someone to fill that seat. Troy said they’d like to get a person involved in an eastern-side industry such as the nurseries or the wineries to fill that opening.