Public-Centered Servant Leadership
Brad's calling to to public service came, as it does for many, from the examples set by members of his family during his childhood. His grandfather, a Korean War veteran and Teamster, instilled in him a passion for the political process, and some of his earliest memories are of discussing current events with him around the family dinner table. Brad's mother, Valerie, spent her career serving others as a caseworker at the Department of Job & Family Services, and his father, Martin, devoted his time to his church and his children's activities, despite long hours working as a farmer, mechanic, and carpenter.
Their examples of hard work and service guided Brad's early years, and their belief and investment in him led him to become the first in his family to attend college. Brad chose Hiram College in northern Portage County because of the deep sense of community he felt there, and during his college years he did his part to contribute to and nurture that community by serving two terms as President of the Student Senate and as the college’s first student observer to the Board of Trustees. At the close of his senior year, Brad's fellow students recognized his dedication by naming him the recipient of the Michael Dively Distinguished Student Leadership Award for outstanding contributions to campus life, an honor Brad finds particularly meaningful because it came from his peers.
Seeking to apply the lessons he learned at home and Hiram to the larger community, Brad took a position after college with the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education, working on that entity's efforts to bring students to northeast Ohio and keep them in the region by exposing them to its many cultural and community amenities. Brad often comments that the time he spent on this effort is what made him really fall in love with the region, and led him to start his family here.
While Brad enjoyed his time in the non-profit sector, he soon recognized that he would need additional training to make the sort of impact in the community he wanted to have. He enrolled in graduate school at The Ohio State University, where he earned a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management from the John Glenn School of Public Affairs and a Juris Doctorate from the Moritz College of Law. While at Ohio State, Brad served as Vice President of the Public Interest Law Foundation, a group dedicated to providing access to legal services for underprivileged communities, and as a fellow at The Legal Aid Society of Columbus. Brad also interned in the office of Governor Ted Strickland, and staffed the Governor’s School Funding Advisory Council at the Ohio Department of Education.
Brad's experiences at Hiram and Ohio State allowed the passion for public service and political engagement planted in his youth to blossom and mature. He helped the Law School Democrats at Ohio State host a national convention in Columbus during his first year of law school, and was elected President of the National Democratic Law Students' Council, a nationwide organization of more than 100 law school Democrats chapters. As campaign field director, he helped elect a Democratic candidate in a heavily Republican district in southeast Ohio by focusing on the issues that matter to all of us - fair taxes, quality education, and access to the ballot box. The last issue, in particular, struck Brad as critically important to fostering a healthy democracy, and he worked with the Ohio Democratic Party to develop a student voting bill of rights to educate students about Ohio's election laws and encourage them to vote.
After school, Brad become a licensed attorney and moved back to Portage County with his wife, Lindsey (a veterinarian and graduate of Crestwood High School and Hiram College). Brad worked successfully with other members of the Portage County community to repeal Senate Bill 5 in 2011, and was appointed by the Board of Elections as Deputy Director in 2012. While at the Board, he developed and monitored the budget, recruited and trained precinct election officials, and managed a staff over 100 full- and part-time employees. His work also included launching the agency’s first social media presence, creating an internship program for pursuing special projects, and developing a user-friendly guide to make the Board's policies easily accessible and understandable. He was appointed Portage County Treasurer in February 2015, and elected to serve in that role by Portage County voters in 2016 and 2020.
In addition to serving as Treasurer, Brad is the Treasurer of the Community Action Council Board, Past Chair of the Board of Trustees of the United Way of Portage County, Past President of the Ravenna Kiwanis Club, and is a member of the Leadership Portage County Class of 2020 and many other community organizations. He is active in the Portage County, Ohio, and American Bar Associations, and a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
When time allows, Brad enjoys taking advantage of Portage County’s terrific parks, and is a lifelong fan of the Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Guardians, and Ohio State Buckeyes. He lives in Ravenna with his wife Lindsey and their two sons.
MEET BRAD - TL;DR
Grandson of farmers/laborers, a Korean War veteran/Teamster, a UAW member and a police officer. Son of a farmer/carpenter/laborer and a caseworker.
Married to Dr. Lindsey Cromes, Stow/Kent Animal Hospital Group, and proud Dad of two young boys.
Resident of Ravenna and member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Graduate of Hiram College (B.A.), The Ohio State University John Glenn College of Public Affairs (M.A. Public Policy & Management), and The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law (J.D.).
Certified Government Financial Manager, The Association of Government Accountants.
Vice President, Northeast Ohio Treasurers Association; Treasurer, County Treasurers Association of Ohio.
Treasurer, Community Action Council of Portage County, Inc.
Treasurer and Den Leader, Cub Scout Pack 3551 Ravenna; Community Friends of Scouting Chair, Crooked River District, Great Trail Council BSA.
Board Member, United Way of Portage County, Celebrate Portage Steering Committee, Ravenna Kiwanis Club, Ravenna Joint Economic Development District.