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Dragish arrives in Canfield mayor’s seat via marketing, advertising route

Sitting at the Canfield city mayor’s desk is Don Dragish, who took the oath of office for his first term on Jan. 5. He said he is eager to get started to move the city in the right direction in 2022. He previously served on Canfield City Council.

CANFIELD — The city has a new mayor.

Don Dragish was given the oath of office Jan. 5 by Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge R. Scott Krichbaum. Dragish replaced Mayor Richard Duffett, who chose not to run for re-election.

For Dragish, politics were far from his plans when he finished school. He grew up on the West Side of Youngstown and attended Ursuline High School, graduating in 1991. He went on to attend Youngstown State University where he earned his degree in design, marketing and advertising.

“My first job was at Ski Limited in Boardman,” Dragish said. “I was designing catalogs for the business.”

He said each year the company would send out a couple of million catalogs. That all changed in 2000 with the internet explosion and people starting to buy online. Dragish said he had to convert the catalog he helped design and make it electronic.

“In the first month, we made $30,000 from the online sales,” he said. “Plus we had less printing costs.”

After five years with Ski Limited, Dragish moved on to the Cafaro Company. He said he was tasked with marketing and building websites for 16 Cafaro malls. He also worked with the Cafaro real estate division as well, and helped with the concerts at Eastwood Field. He stayed with Cafaro for five years before moving on.

He put in three years at the Prodigal Media Agency, then decided to open his own business he called Adtronico, which was right in line with his skills in advertising and sales. He said he kept the business going while he worked for B.J. Alan for a couple of seasons.

Around 2011, Dragish moved to Canfield and along with his new bride, Tasha Dragish, began a family when his son George was born.

When he moved to Canfield, he had stepped up his business and renamed it Dragish Marketing. As a resident of Canfield, Dragish wanted to be more involved in the community, so he joined Canfield Rotary. He learned a lot about the city, and he said it was at a Rotary meeting that he was urged to get involved in local politics.

He said in 2012, voters approved charter amendments that reduced the terms for council members from four years to two years. That meant in 2014, the late Councilman Andy Skrobola had to step down early, and there was a need to fill the seat.

“A lot of people in Rotary said I should run for office,” Dragish said. “I did run and was unopposed.”

From 2014 through 2018, Dragish served as a councilman, with the latter three years as council president. He was able to be a part of Mahoning County’s first Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) when the Windsor JEDD was finalized with a partnership between the city and township.

“The four years I served as councilman was a good experience,” he said. “I learned a lot about our city, the ins and outs, and what makes it work.”

He also served during a time when cities were stuck in a tough financial position. State cuts to entities like Canfield had council members scrambling to meet the needs of the city.

“We had nothing (from the state) and it was difficult to work without money,” Dragish said. “That is when we really pushed the issue of expanding the city and annexing the Red Gate property the city owns.”

During his council term, he added to his family when his daughter Genevieve was born.

Near the end of his term, Dragish dropped his council seat and decided to make a run for mayor. Then Mayor Bernie Kosar announced he was stepping down, and Richard Duffett also threw his hat in the ring and won the election.

Four years later when Duffett decided to step down and Dragish decided again to run, he was elected. He took office officially Jan. 5 prior to the first council meeting of 2022. Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court issued the oath of office.

Dragish will have to take a special class on running a mayor’s court before he can put on the robe and deal with cases.

As for the future, he said he loves Canfield and believes it is a great and a safe place to raise a family.

“Canfield is evolving from where it was 10 years ago,” he said. “We have a great community, and people want to move here. I think as council we can do so much more. We will be able to do some really cool things in the coming months.”

Dragish is a devoted, hard-working individual, but he does have two passions that let him unwind and be creative. One is a passion for golf, and the other is cooking.

“I love to cook,” he said. “Anything from backyard barbecues to Sunday dinners. Throughout the years, my friends and I would get together for football games or other gatherings, and we just started cooking. Now I just enjoy doing it.”

His father, Don Dragish Sr., served as a Youngstown police officer for 30 years and as a federal deputy marshal for 25 years. Don Sr. attended the swearing-in ceremony and said he was proud of his son.

To suggest a Saturday profile, contact features editor Burton Cole at bcole@tribtoday.com or metro editor Marly Reichert at mreichert@tribtoday.com.

jtwhitehouse@vindy.com

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