Lori Shandor and Danny Catullo have been named co-chairs of the levy committee to handle campaign activities and fundraisers over the next few months leading up to the November elections.
Poland native Catullo and co-chair Shandor, from New Middletown, will join committee treasurer and former library director Carlton Sears from Boardman.
Catullo is a 2001 Poland High School graduate who is presently the owner of Catullo Prime Meats, 7127 Tiffany Blvd. in Boardman. It is a third-generation family business that Catullo began working in at a young age.
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''I worked in my father's butcher shop since I was 14, so even when I wasn't at the dinner table, I was around food,'' Catullo said. ''I loved interacting with the customers and applying their methods to help my mom cook. It was always fun coming up with recipes and new ideas.''
He went on to graduate from The Ohio State University in 2006 with a degree in communication and business, but continued his love for cooking. In his business, more and more people started asking him for advice on how to prepare different cuts of meat. Catullo was more than happy to show them how to make cooking easy and enjoyable.
As he stepped into the ownership of Catullo Prime Meats, he gained valuable information of running a business from the library.
''I still use the Poland library today as a little sanctuary to do some of my online work,'' he said. ''Whether it's inspiration from a book or to find a quote to use in my newsletter, I enjoy being in a learning environment while researching new strategies. The services such as The Business Center, in particular the classes that Stuart Gibbs teaches and the advice that you can get from SCORE at the main library, are great for any startup business or a business that wants to expand.''
Through his innovation in getting the restaurant into the online world, Catullo has also been a leader in social media marketing in the area. He has given presentations to area business owners, plus STEM classes and personal consultations to other business owners. He also teaches cooking classes to area schools, including local elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and classes for the adult culinary program at MCCTC and the recreational program at the Culinary Arts Center.
He also has become known as one of the go-tos in the local food scene, trying to connect the local farmer to the everyday consumer. He is involved in Thirty Mile Meal, Mahoning Valley Young Professionals and has been awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by the Regional Chamber, 40 Under 40 by the Mahoning Valley Young Professionals, and won second place for the FedEx Small Business Award Grant.
Realizing the important role the public library played in his success, it was easy for him to say yes to co-chairing the levy. The levy will be at 1.8 mill with an added six-tenths of a mill. It will replace the library's current 1.8-mill and 1-mill levies, resulting in roughly an 11 percent reduction in tax bills for residents. The current levies will expire at the end of the year.
''Being a part of a levy campaign that's actually asking for less money than in previously years was definitely something that intrigued me,'' Catullo said. ''For all the wonderful activities, services and resources that the library offers, I am most amazed by how efficient [library director] Heidi Daniel and her team are.''
Daniel was pleased that Shandor, Catullo and Sears agreed to be a part of the levy campaign. She felt the three are a good mix to run the levy campaign.
''All of these individuals are valuable members of our community who take an active interest in projects that benefit residents of our area,'' Daniel said. ''I was aware of their love of libraries and felt they would be naturals at promoting all of the wonderful materials and services our library system offers. We love that they love their library and were pleased that they agreed to serve.''