The SIEDC Awards are presented each year at the SIEDC Annual Meeting to recognize businesses and individuals in the Tiffin and Seneca County community. Not every award is given each year, only when the Membership & Events Committee and/or the president or chairperson deem a company or individual deserving of the particular recognition.
This year, the following seven awards were presented. Click the links below for additional information and a video about each award winner.
The 2018 Special Recognition Award was presented to Assistant City Engineer Matt Watson for going above and beyond his job duties to create a welcoming environment for development in Tiffin.
For the award presentation, SIEDC asked for feedback from representatives of the NRP Group, the developers behind the 52-unit Tiffin Pointe housing development. Their team members praised Watson for his diligence, and named Tiffin the most efficient and professional community they have worked with.
Tiffin City Administrator Dale Thornton also vouched for Watson’s excellence in the workplace. “Matt is an extremely valuable asset to the city and its residents,” he said.
Watson is a 2004 graduate of Tiffin Columbian High School and a 2009 graduate of The Ohio State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering along with state accreditation to become a Professional Land Surveyor. Aside from his time at OSU, he has been a lifelong resident of Seneca County and active within the community.
About the Special Recognition Award
This award is given by the President or Chairman, at his or her discretion, to any person, business, or group whose service to the community is largely unknown.
The 2018 recipient of SIEDC’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Award was Ralph’s Joy of Living. Ralph’s is a family owned and operated business that has been in the community since 1950 and is currently run by Ralph (the original owner’s son) and Julie Smothers. Though Ralph took over the family business started by his father, he and Julie have made many changes to the business, making them true entrepreneurs in their own right.
Ralph’s Joy of Living began as Ralph’s Maytag, an appliance store, in 1950. When Ralph took over the business he added cabinetry to their offerings and Julie began teaching cooking classes. Then came the Joy of Living. Ralph and Julie expanded into a 6,000 square foot addition and became the only appliance store in the nation with a liquor license, selling all kinds of wine and specialty beer. Finally, in 2016 they added mattresses to the store.
“We are thankful for the community,” Ralph said. “We love Tiffin, we love our customers.”
About the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award
This award is presented to an individual, business or organization that have exhibited the imagination, initiative, ability, and determination to mix capital and labor together to generate a business that provides employment opportunities and new investment for the community.
The 2018 Partnership in Development Award was given to Suzie Reineke and Weston Reinbolt for their downtown building restoration projects. Not only do they preserve historic buildings, but also provide opportunities for business and downtown housing.
Suzie and Weston got into historic building renovation through their connection with Bill and Dan Reineke, who were already restoring a building of their own. “These are really cool buildings,” Weston said. Suzie added, “I never knew what was inside.”
Their first project was the “Beanstalk building,” which houses the Beanstalk on the first floor and three fully renovated apartments above. Those apartments are now full
The second project was The Renaissance. In early 2017, Suzie and Weston purchased the former DP’s building and brought in Dave and Angie Spridgeon of the Bourbon Affair in Findlay. The Renaissance of Tiffin opened later in 2017.
Their latest project is the building that house the Tiffin Glass Museum. They are completing the first of two phases in renovating seven upper level apartments.
The couple cited the collaboration in the community as a motivating factor in continuing these restoration projects. “It’s a team oriented project from start to finish,” Suzie said.
Suzie and Weston were both born and raised in Tiffin, left to pursue college and careers elsewhere, and are now living in Tiffin once again. “I love being back in Tiffin,” Weston said. “We’re enjoying the momentum and hope it continues.”
About the Partnership in Development Award
This award is presented to an individual, business, organization, or political entity that has provided support and means to promote economic development throughout Seneca County and have demonstrably, through their actions, furthered the mission of SIEDC.
The 2018 Economic Development Award was presented to Arnold Machine for their recent 25,000 square foot expansion, creating 25 new jobs.
Zach Arnold started Arnold Machine in a garage as a small custom machine shop, beginning with machining and fabricating, in 1994. The business grew quickly, and branched out into designing and manufacturing manufacturing systems in a 50,000 square foot building in the Northstar Industrial Park in Tiffin. The company now has more than a hundred customers throughout the United States, including Commercial Metals Company, Sonoco, Bridgestone, Cooper Tires, Libbey, Nucor, Whirlpool, Roush Fenway Racing, National Machinery, NISIN and SSC.
Arnold is a Sentinel Career Center alum and still maintains a strong relationship with the career technology institution. Arnold serves on their business advisory council and hires on students through a work-study program, as well as a new three-phase employment program that starts students out working in their Junior year of high school and prepares them to be hired on upon graduation. More than 40% of the workforce at Arnold Machine are now Sentinel grads.
In 2016, Arnold Machine announced a new, 25,000 square foot addition to their facility, adding 25 jobs. The expansion was built and completed, the space is full, and 11 of the 25 positions have been created and filled.
Arnold has had a long relationship with SIEDC. In 1996, they purchased their first brand-new machine using the Revolving Loan Fund with SIEDC’s assistance. Today, Zach Arnold serves on the SIEDC Board of Trustees.
Economic Development Award criteria:
A community based project that will significantly impact other development in the community. A project that underscores the commitment of the business or owners to the community. A project that eliminates a potential blight in the community. A project that brings recognition to the community and is imaginative.
The 2018 Outstanding Business Award was presented to Zeis Companies for their business growth and exemplary community service.
Zeis Companies started in 1984, in the cabinet resurfacing business. The business grew into fire restoration services, and then sub-divisions and homes. Just this pass year, Zeis Companies was able to bring all of their operations under one roof in a new building N. SR 53. The building includes a showroom, a full shop for custom trim work and other pieces, as well as storage.
Zeis Companies is not just an asset to the community for the remodeling and restoration services they provide, but also for their community involvement and charitable works. Zeis was asked to assist in two Extreme Makeover: Home Edition builds, which inspired them to create the Extreme Build for Habitat for Humanity in 2011. Over the course of a day, volunteers are able to frame up and enclose an entire house. They have done four such builds since launching the program. They are also working with Habitat for Humanity to establish a ReStore, a nonprofit home improvement store and donation center that sells new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public at a fraction of the retail price.
Rich Zeis accepted the award on behalf of the company and all of its employees.
Outstanding Business Award criteria:
The business must be able to demonstrate leadership in their particular field. The business must be able to show the involvement of its owners, managers, or employees in community affairs. The business must be able to demonstrate generosity of time, talent, and money to local charities or non profit programs. The business must be able to show initiatives taken to improve the quality of life in the community. The business must be able to show activities that improve the community.
The New Riegel Cafe was the recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The cafe has been a Seneca County staple for more than 60 years.
The New Riegel Cafe is a family owned and operated restaurant started by W.J. “Pete” Boes in 1953. The cafe started out selling barbecued ribs and chicken before branching out to other fare, like ham and shrimp, and in 1971 began selling homemade bologna and sausage, as well as homemade salad dressing. The business expanded in the late 80’s with the addition of the gift shop, connected to the restaurant but located in the building next door.
The award was accepted by Tom Boes, who currently owns the restaurant with his brother, Dick Boes.
Lifetime Achievement Award criteria:
The business must be established with a history of continuous operation in the community. The business must be able to demonstrate community involvement and/or made some civic contributions that have made a significant impact on the quality of life in the community. The business must be an example of leadership in their business field, and an example of entrepreneurial spirit.
The 2018 President’s Award was presented to Andrew and Cindy Kalnow. SIEDC President & CEO David Zak chose to give this award to the Kalnows to recognize their contributions to the community.
“It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to publicly thank them, for what they mean to this community and everything they’ve done,” Zak said. “Their passion for preservation, drive for excellence and quality, and caring for the community.”
The Kalnows have been involved in the Tiffin community for many years, and in a myriad of different ways, contributing to economic, downtown, and community development. Recent large projects include:
The purchase of National Machinery LLC in 2002, reopening the facility and bringing jobs back to Seneca County. National is now the largest private employer in Seneca County.
The purchase and restoration of the East Tower. The purchase of the building saved this historic landmark from demolition and further investment has readied it for development.
The opening of Hawkes Crystal in downtown Tiffin. By purchasing the former Crytal Traditions business, the Kalnows were able to keep the Tiffin glass tradition alive and continue to offer custom glass in a beautiful downtown show space.
The restoration of 136-138 S. Washington St. and the opening of the Empire at 138, downtown Tiffin’s premier fine-dining establishment. The restaurant has consistently ranked at the top of restaurants in northern Ohio.
Creation of the East Green park and pavilion. The Kalnows used their own private capital to fund this large-scale community project. The amphitheater will be completed in summer of 2018 and inaugurated with a summer concert series. A second phase is also planned for the site, to include a splash pad and community garden.
These are just a few of the projects in which the Kalnows have been involved in recent years.
Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz joined in recognizing Andrew and Cindy. “When I think of model citizens or individuals who have contributed in virtually every way possible to a community, Andrew and Cindy, you’re the first two that come to mind,” Montz said.
About the President’s Award
The President’s Award is given by the SIEDC President & CEO to an individual or business deserving of special recognition. It is not given out every year.
SIEDC announces new community branding and downtown programs
TIFFIN, OHIO – March 23, 2017 – The Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corporation held its Annual Meeting Thursday night, recapping the successes of 2016 and expanding on its direction for 2017.
In 2016, SIEDC recorded 129 development projects throughout Seneca County, creating 227 new jobs and a total investment of $108 million. This earned the county a ranking of 10th in the nation among 576 communities of similar size for the second time in three years.
Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is excited about the momentum: “Tiffin is gaining attention as a community that welcomes new businesses and creates an environment where established businesses can confidently expand.” Seneca County Commissioner Mike Kerschner agrees. “Each year we are seeing more development and expansion in all sectors throughout the County,” he said.
As part of further community promotion efforts, it was announced that Upward, an Ohio-based branding firm, has been chosen to create a community brand through a partnership between SIEDC, the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services, the City of Tiffin, and Seneca County. The firm was unanimously chosen from a pool of seven applicants by a steering committee of stakeholders. Details are expected to be finalized in the next few weeks.
“We are excited to solidify a recognizable identity for our community,” Chamber President John Detwiler said. “The time is right for a new community brand, one that unifies all of its unique parts.”
It was also announced that the Downtown Tiffin Main Street program, administered by SIEDC, was nationally accredited as a Main Street Community after an intensive review process. In December 2016, Tiffin became an Ohio Main Street Community through Heritage Ohio, recognized at the state level.
Finally, plans were also made public for a new city-funded downtown Alley Improvement Plan, in partnership with SIEDC’s downtown program. The new initiative will focus on the beautification of alleys with an aim toward improving pedestrian walkability. Improvements will be decided on a project by project basis and could include decorative asphalt, planters, seating, improved lighting and, in some cases, removable bollards closing the alley to vehicle traffic. The first project will be the alley across from the Ritz Theater, connecting South Washington St. to City Lot 3. Utility and design work has already begun and the project is slated for completion in 2018.
Mayor Montz believes the program will improve pedestrian safety and downtown accessibility. “With all of the exciting revitalization happening downtown we are seeing more foot traffic and a need for pedestrian-friendly alleyways to connect our parking lots to the main streets downtown,” he said.
Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio, which consistently ranks among the top communities nationally for economic development. Learn more about the great things going on in Tiffin and Seneca County at www.senecasuccess.com.
AEP announces Eagle Rock Business Park is awarded certification for Eagle Rock site
TIFFIN, OHIO – April 15, 2016 – American Electric Power (AEP)announced last night at the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) annual meeting that the Eagle Rock Industrial Park is the fourth site in northwest Ohio to receive the Shovel Ready Certified Site designation by Austin Consulting for food processing and general manufacturing.
The Austin Consulting “Shovel Ready” Site Designation Award for the Food and Beverage Industry is designated after Austin Consulting evaluates over 200 critical variables that can significantly decrease the amount of time, expense, and risk during the site selection process. The designation is valid for three years, as long as no alterations are made to the property.
The certified site is 38 acres in size and in the Eagle Rock Industrial Park just north of Tiffin Insulators at the corner of Maule and Tyber Roads. It is zoned heavy industrial, has an electric substation close by, and has access to large water and sewer capacities, important for food processing as well as general manufacturing.
AEP Ohio’s Manager of Economic and Business Development Tim Wells was pleased to make the announcement. “AEP is pleased to help local economic development organizations develop capacity, and this program will help make Tiffin more competitive. They are now one of only four such sites in northwest Ohio.”
Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz applauded the achievement: “This brings us one step closer to filling the Eagle Rock Industrial park to capacity. Not many cities have a site with this level of certification; it gives us an advantage in attracting a new facility.”
Seneca County Commission President Holly Stacy agreed, “We’re one of only five counties in northwest Ohio to have an industrial site with this designation, and we are excited to position ourselves for continued industrial growth.”
AEP is one of the largest electric utilities in the U.S., serving nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. It owns the largest electricity transmission network in the nation (40,000+ miles) and has more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. In Ohio, AEP serves nearly 1.5 million customers and provides power to more than 920 communities. AEP’s Economic Development arm facilitates projects and supports community efforts through a variety of initiatives.
About The Austin Company
Founded and headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1878, the Austin Company provides design-build and location consulting services for commercial and industrial operations. They offer a comprehensive portfolio of in-house services, including architectural design, engineering, design-build, construction management, operations improvement and consulting. Austin also offers value-added strategic planning services, such as site location, transportation and distribution consulting, and facility and process audits. Additional offices are located in Irvine, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Portage, Michigan; and St. Louis, Missouri; in addition to a joint venture company in Mexico. Learn more at www.theaustinconsulting.com.
Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio, which consistently ranks among the top communities nationally for economic development. Learn more about the great things going on at the company’s blog at www.senecasuccess.com.