Release Date: January 11,2021

Mayor Horrigan Announces the Retirement of Adele Roth, Director of Development

Akron, Ohio, January 11, 2021—Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan has announced that Adele Dorfner Roth, Director of Development with the City of Akron’s Office of Integrated Development has retired from the City of Akron.  Adele has worked for the City in various planning and economic development roles, starting in 1984, and was first appointed to the City’s cabinet in 2014. As Director of Development, Adele provided critical leadership to the Mayor on development finance and economic policy issues throughout the City of Akron and its Joint Economic Development Districts.

“Adele has a unique ability to navigate complex development transactions and help diverse public and private partners build agreements that create lasting value not only for businesses, but most importantly, the citizens of Akron,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said.  “She is a bright, dedicated, community-minded public servant who fully invests both her personal and professional energy into making Akron a better place for her neighbors to live and work.   And her vast financial expertise and experience are both rare and invaluable.  I wish her the very best in her well-deserved retirement and will miss her insight in development and cabinet meetings.  I thank her for her contributions to Akron’s economy and community.” 

Adele was born in São Paulo, Brazil and immigrated to the United States as a child.  She has lived throughout the United States and settled in Akron in 1975 where she graduated from Firestone High School.  Adele then attended the Université de Nice and received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Economics from the University of Akron.

Adele's first job was as a Woolworth’s counter girl at Fairlawn Plaza in 1976, where she quickly discovered she didn’t like having a title that ended with “girl.” After working as an au pair, hotel maid/window glazer on the French Riviera, business owner, and teacher of freshman economics, Adele landed in what would become a career with the City of Akron in May of 1984 as an Economist I. After moving up the ranks from Economist I to Economist IV, Adele was promoted to  Investment Program Administration in 2007, where she oversaw the City’s capital budget, and then to Economic Development Manager in 2009. Roth joined then-Mayor Plusquellic’s cabinet in July 2014, as Deputy Planning Director for Economic Development. In 2018, Adele was promoted to her most recent position as Director of Development within Mayor Horrigan’s Office of Integrated Development.

Some of the notable projects Adele has helped facilitate include:

  • Working to and successfully keeping the Goodyear Headquarters in Akron
  • Working to and successfully keeping the Bridgestone Technical Center in Akron
  • Bringing a grocery store (Mustard Seed Market and Café) to Highland Square
  • Keeping Wally Waffle in Akron and actively managing the Chipotle Plaza in Highland Square while the property was owned by the City
  • Being instrumental in the creation of the Office of Integrated Development combining the Planning Department and the Office of Economic Development together with a focus on Akron’s public life

Remarking on her career with the City, Roth shared this reflection, “On January 20, 1961 President John F. Kennedy gave his inaugural address where he said: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country’. In March of that year my family came to the United States, and when learning of that coincidence in 4th grade, I came to believe that Kennedy was personally welcoming me to make a difference.  I have been blessed for 27 years to have a job that enabled me to help people, and I am very grateful to the City of Akron for allowing me that privilege.  In retirement, I’m looking forward to traveling, spending more time with friends and family, learning how to weave on an 8 shaft loom, and never attending another 7:30 am meeting again.”

Effective January 2021, Adele has transitioned out of full-time status, but will continue to aid the City in ensuring an effective transfer of her development duties related to ongoing projects, in a part-time capacity, through May 2021.  As part of the long-term planning for the Office of Integrated Development (OID), Mayor Horrigan will not be replacing the Director of Development appointed cabinet position.  Instead the functions of the position will be fulfilled by other staff within OID.