Ronald Clark, who ran Akron-based Ohio Polymer Enterprise Development Inc. and earlier worked in plastics economic development in Iowa, died Feb. 9 of an apparent heart attack.
Clark, 55, of Fort Wayne, Ind., collapsed in the hallway outside his room at a hotel in Wadsworth, Ohio, where he often stayed on business trips to the Akron area. The Medina County Coroner's Office said Feb. 12 that the official cause of death will not be available until the final report is completed.
Clark, a Ph.D. polymer scientist, was named president and executive director of OPED, an organization started in 2001 to help scientists, academicians and entrepreneurs to start companies, linking them up with venture capitalists. OPED closed last year after the state of Ohio eliminated funding.
When OPED folded, Clark - who had started several companies himself - helped start a venture capital fund called Lewis and Clark Ventures LLC, which aims to raise $100 million for start-up companies in several Midwest states.
That fund will continue, said Clark's partner, Robert Acri, a principal of Kenilworth Asset Management LLC in Chicago.
``He clearly was somebody who did a great job of rallying people together. He was a no-nonsense guy. He networked well,'' said Acri, who had known Clark for 20 years.
Before coming to OPED, Clark worked at the Iowa Plastics Technology Center in Waverly, Iowa. He also worked at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and General Tire & Rubber Co.
His daughter, Alexis Clark, said the family plans to hold a memorial luncheon at Tangier Restaurant in Akron at noon March 13. He also is survived by his wife, Rebecca Martin, and three other children.