Q: Where are you originally from?
A: I’m from Sharon Center, Ohio, which is in Medina County. Sharon Center is on the eastern side of Medina County, so growing up, we always did our shopping this way, in the Fairlawn, Montrose areas. Summit Mall opened up when I was a kid. I’ve always been connected more toward the Akron area than Medina.
Q: You moved away from Northeast Ohio, and then came back, correct?
A: My wife and I moved to California. [Hilton] had hotels in California, and we [were in Santa Barbara] just short of two years. From Santa Barbara, we went to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, and we were there for nine years. Great city. Great people. We came back here in 1994. We were very happy to move back to Northeast Ohio. We’ve been living in Bath since we moved back.
Q: Why Northeast Ohio? What drew you back?
A: We always felt comfortable here, and obviously, we have family here. I always liked that is was easy to get around. Pittsburgh is, again, a great city, but it’s terrible to drive around, between tunnels and bridges and roads that go straight up. Here, everything was always easy, off a highway. We’d go to Cleveland for concerts and jump on [I-71], and you were there in a half hour. It was very easy coming over to Akron with the different highways, like I-76. Here in Fairlawn, I can be in downtown Akron in 10 minutes. It’s beautiful. I always feel that’s one of our strong points here—the ease of getting around.
There are a lot of benefits, and there’s obviously the ease of living. Sure, the wintertime with some of the snow can be hard, but when you watch [hurricane coverage], when we have a snowstorm here, even the worst ones, and I’ve been through a bunch of them, in 24 hours, you’re cleaned up and moving along. And actually it’s a great time for everyone to kind of hunker down and stay in and make some soup and read a book. We always go hiking when it snows.
Q: What are some of your favorite places to hike?
A: We love going to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The nice thing with hiking just after a snowstorm is that it’s so beautiful. In the wintertime, you don’t have all the leaves, so you can see, and the views are beautiful. You get into the areas where there’s water, the quarry, or we hike Brandywine Falls, you get all the icicles, and they’re just gorgeous to look at. That’s what we do in a snowstorm.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself, as well as your role in the business
and the community.
A: I’ve enjoyed being at the Hilton for 40 years, and we have a lot of very solid, mutually beneficial business relationships with our companies. We’ve worked with Good Year, The J.M. Smucker Company, First Energy, Signet—big ones here in the Akron area. We’ve always worked together in accommodating their out-of-town guests. It’s been more of a partnership than just a hotel [where] they put their people. Especially as the companies have grown, and they bring new people into the area, we work with them to make sure people are very comfortable in their room . . . That kind of service to them is rewarded with their continued support of our hotel. We’re always their first call.
My hobby is music, and so growing up in Northeast Ohio, especially in the ‘70s, was fantastic for music. I’ve been a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since it opened in 1995. We went to the induction ceremony [in 2018] at Public Hall, which was fantastic. I love living here with the music we’re able to hear. Now, as I’ve gotten older, we go to the Cleveland Orchestra. We were at a couple of concerts this summer at Blossom—just absolutely beautiful summer nights in a gorgeous area in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. As I always say to my wife, people drive halfway across Europe to see the Cleveland Orchestra. We’re 10 minutes from it at Blossom.
Q: What are some other ways you like to spend your time here?
A: We like to go to Akron U Games—my wife and I are both alumni. I also like to try independent restaurants. I would recommend Beau’s Grille (attached to the Hilton in Fairlawn). My favorite there is the six-ounce filet or the salmon. My wife and I love to visit Little Italy on Sunday afternoons, when crowds are sparse. We like to go to Guarino’s and sit in the courtyard out back. We also love to go to nearby parks and take walks. In Bath, where I live, it’s a five-minute drive to five parks.
Q: What do you see that’s up and coming in Northeast Ohio?
A: The return of people living downtown. Nice-sized developments are coming, which will lead to more retail, restaurants and movie theaters. Downtown Cleveland and Akron will continue to grow.
Tim Winter is the vice president and regional manager of the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn Hotel and Suites. He started at Hilton 40 years ago, working at the front desk. He grew up in Sharon Center, Ohio and now resides in Bath with his family, where he enjoys time spent outdoors, in the region’s many parks, and attending Cleveland Orchestra performances.