Meet Mike

Mike Dovilla is a Navy veteran, public servant, and executive with extensive public, private, and nonprofit leadership experience.  He was born in Cleveland as the great-grandson of Italian and German immigrants and a fourth generation Ohioan.  Mike grew up and still resides in his hometown of Berea, where he learned the principles of integrity, hard work, and service above self from his parents and grandparents.

From 2011 to 2016, Mike served the people of southwestern Cuyahoga County in the Ohio House of Representatives.  Applying a work ethic that led him to more than 55,000 doors during three hard-fought campaigns in one of Ohio’s most competitive legislative districts, Mike quickly earned the trust of his constituents and colleagues as a principled yet pragmatic legislator.  His peers elected him Majority Whip during his third term, capping a rapid rise through the ranks of legislative leadership that included appointments as chairman of two standing committees and four years on the influential House Finance Committee.

During six years in the House, Mike authored 15 state laws designed to spur economic development, strengthen education, protect senior citizens, support veterans, and improve government accountability.  He also maintained an active presence throughout our district, exchanging 17,000 communications with constituents, hosting 48 sets of district office hours, and engaging residents of all ages with initiatives including his “Legislator for a Day” reading program for elementary school children, guest lectures and internship opportunities for college students, roundtables for small business owners, and town halls for senior citizens.  Now, Mike is seeking to serve our community and state once again by bringing his experience and reputation as a serious policymaker and conscientious representative back to the Legislature.

During his career, Mike has served twice as a senior-level presidential appointee at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, a principal advisor to former U.S. Senator George V. Voinovich, and a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of State.  He has founded and led two successful small businesses, The Dovilla Group, a strategic consulting firm, and The Grindstone Institute, a leadership development company.  Most recently, he helped establish and then served as the first president and chief executive officer of the USS Cleveland Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit supporting the sailors of the future USS Cleveland, 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.  Qualified as an information warfare officer, he has completed intermediate and senior joint professional military education and is currently assigned as a department head with an Akron-based reserve unit supporting U.S. Forces, Japan.

The first member of his family to graduate from college, Mike believes strongly in the value of education and lifelong learning.  He holds an EdD in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership from the University of Illinois, 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.

Mike is deeply committed to our community, state, and nation, volunteering in numerous civic, veterans, and educational organizations.  He is a scripture reader at his church and devoted mentor to college students, serving in advisory roles for more than 25 years.  A lifelong baseball fan and voracious reader, Mike also enjoys cooking for family and friends, traveling to historical sites around the country, and spending time outdoors with his yellow Labrador retriever, Perry.

Selected Accomplishments, Awards & Recognition

  • National Hall of Fame, Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity, 2023
  • Presidential Leadership Scholar, Presidential Leadership Scholars Program, 2020
  • Senior Managers in Government, Executive Education, Harvard Kennedy School, 2018
  • National President, Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity, 2016-2018
  • Benjamin Rose Institute Katz Advocacy Award, Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging, 2015
  • Small Business Advocate Award, Council of Smaller Enterprises, 2014
  • Robert E. Hughes Memorial Award, Ohio Association of Election Officials, 2014
  • Distinguished Governmental Service Award, Ohio Association of Career Colleges & Schools, 2014
  • Susan E. Hand Friend of the Industry Award, Ohio Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus, 2013
  • Emerging Leaders Symposium, National Council of State Legislatures, 2013
  • Outstanding Leadership Award, Consortium Against Adult Abuse (C3A), 2012
  • Watchdog of the Treasury Award, United Conservatives of Ohio, 2012
  • Bridge Builder Award, Phi Kappa Tau Foundation, 2012
  • American Marshall Memorial Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States, 2009
  • Meritorious Honor Award, U.S. Department of State, 2001

Endorsements

  • 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
  • Berea Mayor Cyril Kleem
  • Strongsville Mayor Tom Perciak
  • Broadview Heights Councilman at Large Joe Price

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