Lee Fisher loves to tell stories – none of them short. As he begins to work the room of economic development professionals at the Cleveland Foundation, he is just getting started, describing his hunt for new Ohio jobs.
“I was in this steelmaking town – I’m not really sure exactly where it was, somewhere near where Borat is from,” Fisher says with a laugh.
Actually, he was in Magnitogorsk, Russia, about a three-hour drive south of Moscow, to convince the owners of a steelmaking plant to come to Ohio. Built in the 1930’s and modeled after Pittsburgh and Gary, Ind., Magnitogorsk is one of the largest industrial cities in Russia. With towering smokestacks and a declining population of around 400,000, it sounds a lot like Cleveland.
“They offered me some vodka, so I drank it,” Fisher says, “for the taxpayers of Ohio, of course.”
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Published in Inside Business, June 2008.