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Suzie Graham
president & CEO

Suzie developed a passion for community building through her experience across many disciplines. Her love of civic service was embedded during her 18 years of work with the city of Akron. Over time, she has blended the collaborative principles and practices of theatre learned at Kent State University into her approach to community development.

Suzie serves as President and CEO of Downtown Akron Partnership. She mobilizes positive partnerships and oversees the planning and implementation of programs and services to anticipate and address the needs of the neighborhood. Her work centers on the necessity of a thriving urban core and the importance of downtown as a key indicator of the health and success of the city and region. She works closely with government, corporate, education, non-profit, human services, and small business stakeholders to assist their efforts and benefit the holistic downtown experience. Suzie facilitates efforts to enhance and promote downtown as an economic driver, hub for arts and culture, partner in driving equity, champion of the city's identity, and place for all people.

Born and raised in Akron, Suzie is a graduate of Leadership Akron Class 29, a 2015 Presidio Institute Cross Sector Leadership Fellow, and has participated in the national Reimagining the Civic Commons cohort as an Akron core team member since 2016. She is a recipient of the 2012 GAR Glass Half Full Award and the 2017 Margaret Clark Morgan Impact Award for Community Leadership.

Kimberly Beckett
director of business relations and development

Kimberly oversees business relations and development work for Downtown Akron Partnership. She works closely with downtown stakeholders through retention visits with commercial and retail businesses and communications with businesses, property owners, residents and other stakeholders. Additionally, she leads business development activities, by connecting businesses to resources and available real estate in downtown. She also contributes to downtown planning initiatives, public space planning and activation. Kimberly received her bachelor's degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison and masters in public administration at the University of Akron. She is a Torchbearers Alum and currently Vice President of the Friends of Metro Parks board of directors.

Dominic Caruso
communications director

Dominic joined Downtown Akron Partnership in January 2020. He oversees DAP's internal and external communications, including marketing, advertising, design, and public relations. He works closely with DAP colleagues to promote DAP resources, initiatives, programs and events, while also promoting the initiatives of downtown partners and stakeholders, and making the case for downtown as a valuable, welcoming, vibrant neighborhood and regional asset for all people. Dominic received a bachelor's degree in English from Youngstown State University and a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design from the University of Akron Myers School of Art.

Sonia Jurkowski
communications specialist

Sonia joined Downtown Akron Partnership’s staff in February 2022 and works closely with the communications director—not only to promote DAP initiatives and lend an editor’s eye to pre-published materials, but to help tell the stories of the vibrant people, programs, and spaces that make up downtown’s unique ecosystem. She’s driven and inspired by the warmth of her community and is dedicated to working toward making it a welcoming, connective, loving place. Sonia received her bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing from The University of Akron in 2019.

Lauren Lienhart
programming and engagement specialist

Lauren helps develop and plan Downtown Akron Partnership programming of engagement and events. She believes fostering relationships with local businesses, artists, and other talented individuals is the key to creating unique and collaborative events that community members value and enjoy. Prior to joining DAP, Lauren lived and worked in Cincinnati, managing events in civic spaces for the downtown and Over-the-Rhine communities. She is excited by the vibrancy of downtown Akron and hopes to continue growing events for all Akronites to enjoy. Lauren received her bachelor’s degrees from Miami University in Psychology and Theatre.

Caleb Thurman
operations and business specialist

Caleb works closely with Kimberly Beckett, director of business relations and development, to help meet the needs of businesses and stakeholders downtown. He started with Downtown Akron Partnership in December of 2022, after finishing up at the University of Mount Union where he studied Political Science and Legal Studies. He is an active and lifelong Akronite, bringing community engagement experiences from coaching wrestling to umpiring baseball and softball across Summit and Stark counties. Caleb is driven by his desire and vision for a diverse and inclusive downtown and his love for all citizens in Akron.

Brian Cummins
operational accounting and finance

Brian has over 35 years of experience as an accounting professional serving private industry and the nonprofit sector. He spent the majority of that time in controller and CFO roles for various private companies in Northeast Ohio. After consulting with a nonprofit organization in the early 2000's he became interested in assisting nonprofits with the challenges presented in financial accounting and operational management. For the past few years he has consulted with numerous nonprofit organizations primarily in the Akron area. He has worked closely with executive directors to provide internal and external financial reporting, budgeting, cash flow forecasting, managing support staff, board reporting, audit preparation, and human resource management. Brian is a graduate of Leadership Akron and has served on various nonprofit boards throughout the Akron area..

Kyle Robison
operations manager, DAP ambassadors

Kyle began working with DAP as an Operations Manager for Block by Block in June of 2022. He brings more than a decade of management experience in both the military and civilian sectors. While serving in the US Army, he developed a passion for service and giving back to his community. As a native of the Greater Akron Area, he looks forward to his part in serving downtown Akron by providing and overseeing both Cleaning and Safety Ambassadors.

Kyle received his bachelor's degree in International Business from Maryville College where he graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Downtown Akron Ambassador Program

Darrell Stamps, Senior Team Leader/Special Projects

Mike Smith, Team Leader/Special Projects

Val Kramer, Clean Ambassador

Greg Smith, Clean Ambassador

Will Foster, Clean Ambassador

Mashona Cannon, Clean Ambassador

Nicholas Raymond, Safety Ambassador

Kaleb Dlugoleski, Safety Ambassador