Mike Dovilla is a U.S. Navy veteran, nonprofit executive, and small business owner.
The great-grandson of Italian and German immigrants and a fourth generation Ohioan, Mike Dovilla was born in Cleveland and grew up in Berea, where his parents taught him the importance of hard work and service. His Grandpa Dovilla was a skilled watchmaker who grew up in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood, while his Grandpa Metzger served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and worked for 31 years at General Motors in Parma as a member of UAW Local 1005. He credits his grandmothers with his entrepreneurial spirit and patriotism. Mike’s professional career – a rare combination of business, government, military, and nonprofit leadership – has been marked by service to our community, state, and nation. Although naval duty has taken him around the world, he still resides in his hometown of Berea.
Mike is a lifelong conservative and vocal advocate for limited government and engaged citizenship. Unlike career politicians, Mike has answered the call to service on several occasions, returning each time to private life after completing a season of service. Mike has twice had the privilege of serving as a presidential appointee at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, most recently as the agency’s chief of staff for President Donald J. Trump and previously as an executive director for President George W. Bush. Previously, he worked as a government oversight and reform advisor to U.S. Sen. George Voinovich.
In 2010, Mike successfully flipped the 18th Ohio House District, which had been represented by a Democrat. During his six years in the Legislature, Mike was a leader in the new Republican majority’s effort to cut the state income tax, reduce burdensome regulations, reform education, and improve government transparency. He authored innovative measures to create an online checkbook of state government expenditures, address Ohio’s cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and increase penalties for corrupt public officials. Recognizing his policymaking and leadership abilities, Mike’s colleagues elected him Majority Whip during his third and final term in the House.
Mike has founded and led two successful small businesses, The Dovilla Group, a strategic consulting firm, and The Grindstone Institute, a leadership development company. Today, he is the inaugural chief executive officer of the USS Cleveland Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit established to support the future USS Cleveland (LCS 31), the fourth ship in U.S. history to be named for Cleveland, Ohio.
Mike is a commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. In the wake of the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks, he volunteered for service and was competitively selected for a direct commission in 2002 as an intelligence officer. He has twice been mobilized to active duty, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in Baghdad (2007-2008) and the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy (2020-2021). As a reservist, Mike has served as a unit commanding officer and executive officer, among other leadership roles.
Mike wrote his doctoral dissertation on the vital role of civic education in a representative republic, earning an EdD from the University of Illinois. He also holds an MA in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College, MPA from American University, and BA from Baldwin Wallace University, where he later taught as adjunct faculty.
As an active volunteer, Mike is a scripture reader at his church and mentor to college students for more than 25 years. He is a member of the Berea Civil Service Commission, a founding board member of Northeast Ohio Classical Academy (a Hillsdale K-12 curriculum affiliate), and a member of the National Civics Council at the Jack Miller Center, a nonprofit dedicated to reinvigorating education in America’s founding principles.
- A1S4 Protection PAC
- Americans for Prosperity – Ohio
- Buckeye Firearms Association
- Cuyahoga Valley Republicans
- Ohio Advocates for Medical Freedom
- Ohio Right to Life
- Ohio Value Voters
- Republican Party of Cuyahoga County
- Strongsville GOP
- Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague
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