Press Release

May 18, 2000

Tony Iallonardo or Jennifer Johnson

Rochester and Akron Mayors Head Small Business Task Force

WASHINGTON, DC -- Rochester Mayor William A. Johnson and Akron Mayor Donald L. Plusquellic will co-chair the Conference's newest task force on small business. The U.S. Conference of Mayors Small Business Task Force will oversee Partner America™ - the nation's first partnership of mayors, government agencies and private enterprise - to promote business growth and development for small business owners across the U.S.

Partner America™ links mayors with small business resources and programs offered by local and Federal government agencies with management expertise provided by private enterprise to implement profit-improvement programs for U.S. businesses. The program receives support from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Export-Import Bank of the U.S.

In announcing the appointments, Conference executive director J. Thomas Cochran said, "I'm so pleased that we have found two mayors of this caliber to lead the task force. Mayors Johnson and Plusquellic have repositioned their cities as vital economic engines, and have helped recast the role of mayors nationwide as CEO's of their respective cities. Their leadership bodes well for Partner America's™ success." The task force is scheduled to hold its first meeting at the Annual Conference of Mayors next month in Seattle.

Upon accepting the appointment, Mayor Johnson said in a prepared statement, "Partner America™ will position cities and metropolitan areas across the U.S. as the center of and for business commerce; revitalize cities and metropolitan areas to create more jobs and a more robust tax base. I am pleased to accept a leadership role in this ambitious project."

Mayor Plusquellic remarked, "Small businesses are responsible for today's strong national economy. Partner America™ reflects our strong commitment to work with respected small business supporters from the SBA, Commerce, Export-Import Bank, and private enterprise, to help American businesses realize maximum profitability and take advantage of the billions of federal resource dollars earmarked each year for small businesses." Rochester and Akron Mayors Head Small Business Task Force

Through Partner America™, the Conference, and its private sector partner American Management Services, Inc., the program will aggressively advocate for small business development and growth. American Management will provide its implementation-based, profit improvement programs to interested firms, and will facilitate participation in federal resource and private capital access programs determined appropriate for the business.

"Businesses cannot simply finance their way to profitability. It can only be achieved through effective and committed management," remarked George A. Cloutier, Chairman/CEO for American Management. "Our role will be to help business owners improve profits, sales, and cash, and to facilitate their participation in important and appropriate government resource programs."

For more information on Partner America™, visit the website:, or contact Jennifer Johnson, managing director of the initiative at 1-877-778-6726.

The United States Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are about 1,100 such cities in the United States. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.