CANTON, OH (April 17, 2012) – ystark!, Stark County’s young professional initiative and a department of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, has announced that Eric Smer will join the staff as the new ystark! director on April 30. Smer will lead the organization in its mission of attracting, retaining and most importantly, engaging Stark County young professionals. His work for ystark! will include managing networking and social events, professional development efforts, service and volunteer opportunities, along with expanding ystark!’s role in entrepreneurial engagement and economic development. Smer joins ystark! from the Stark County Hunger Task Force, where he served as special projects coordinator, program director and ultimately executive director for the organization. Smer is an honors program graduate of Kent State University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in marketing and business management. He also obtained a Certificate in Supervisory Leadership from The University of Akron. In addition to his involvement with the Stark County Hunger Task Force and ystark!, including participation on the education and service committees, Smer is an active volunteer with organizations throughout the county. Past and current service roles include volunteering for The Canton Palace Theatre and Grace United Church of Christ, as well as Senior Employment Center (advisory board member), Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival (ribs committee member), Plain Township Rotary (new generations committee member), North Canton Jaycees (2012 Jaycee Fair committee chairman), Kent State University Alumni Association Stark Chapter (lifetime member and board member) and Friends of Plain Township Parks (founding board member). Smer has received many awards in his career to date, including recognition at ystark!’s own fifth annual ‘Twenty under 40!’ awards, to be presented June 5, 2012 at Glenmoor Country Club. “Eric brings an immense background in fundraising, grant procurement, strategic planning and marketing to the organization,” said Dennis P. Saunier, president and CEO for the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We’re looking forward to the growth of ystark! under his leadership.” Candidates for the director position were vetted by a search committee, comprised of Chamber staff, local community leaders and members of ystark!’s executive committee.