Annual Meeting 2020

Supance and Howard receives TSEP Lifetime Achievement Award

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz (left) poses for a picture with the partners of Supance & Howard during the 2020 Annual Meeting Feb. 27.

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 13, 2020 – Going back to 1972, the partners of Supance and Howard have been serving Tiffin both as private attorneys and public servants for almost five decades, earning them the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 2020 Annual Meeting.

Jim Supance joined the law firm in 1972, under then partners Charles D. “Bud” Hering Jr. and Webb D. Tomb. Also working there at the time was Paul E. Gillmor. He was joined by now partner Jim Nordholt in 1974.

“Everyone in the firm has a feeling that Tiffin, Ohio, is a great place to live and we have been involved in one way or another in community service,” Nordholt said.

Brent Howard joined in 1988, coming to the community with wife, Susan Howard, Hering’s daughter.

Being located in Downtown Tiffin, at 84 S. Washington St., the firm has a record of supporting the redevelopment of the downtown. A few years ago, when Leadership Seneca County wanted to have a mural painted in Downtown, Supance and Howard offered the side of the building.

“We were pleased to offer the side of our building as part of the fabric of the downtown,” Howard said.

The firm deals primarily in probate, real estate and business law. But in addition, the partners all have been involved in public service at some point in their careers.

Supance is the chair of the Sandusky County-Seneca County-City of Tiffin Port Authority, a position he has held for more than 30 years when he was asked to join the board by then mayor Dave Martien in 1989 when the city, county and Sandusky County formed the board.

Nordholt has been on the Tiffin City Schools Board of Education, Tiffin Park Board and was on the first City of Tiffin Charter Review Commission. Nordholt also has served as a public defender and joined the prosecutor’s office.

“Part of what we do is to try to improve our community and make it the kind of place we want it to be for our families,” Nordholt said.

Howard has been the Tiffin law director since 1995, when he, like Supance, was appointed by Martien after the previous law director had stepped down and he was the only candidate who had filed for the seat. And Susan Howard, who is the office manager, also serves publicly as the Seneca County law librarian.

Howard said the desire to serve was instilled on them by their former employers, who also were community minded. Like Nordholt, Hering was on the Tiffin City School Board. And Gillmor also later went on to elected office, first in the Ohio Senate and then as a U.S. Congressman.

“Webb Tomb and Bud Hering set the example of professionalism and service to the community,” Howard said.

“We want to make sure our community is a place that thrives economically and helps everyone in our community be a success.”

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 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

Ironwood Steakhouse recognized with Entrepreneurial Spirit Award by TSEP

Seneca County Commissioner Mike Kerschner (from left) poses for a picture with Mitch Felton and Steve Shuff, two of the investors of Ironwood Steakhouse, during the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 2020 Annual Meeting Feb. 27.

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 11, 2020 – Opened in 2017 as the flagship of the investors of the Seneca Restaurant Group, Ironwood Steakhouse, 4399 S. SR 231, Tiffin, has continued to grow to be an asset to the community. For that, its investors were recognized by Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership at the 2020 Annual Meeting with the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.

“A lot of the reason the 45 investors stepped up and put their money in was just to be part of everything positive in Tiffin and Seneca County. We’re just excited we can be a small part of that,” said Mitch Felton, president of IS Insurance & Investments and an investor with the group.

“We started with the idea of a hamburger restaurant, modeled after (In and Out Burger), and we had a company called ‘Thick and Thin,’ but after a while we decided that really, steak was better than hamburgers, so we decided that Tiffin and Seneca County could use a really outstanding steakhouse. So, that is the journey that we started through many years of planning, and discussing and looking at sites,” said Steve Shuff, Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge and member of the investor group.

The group wanted to create a casual and friendly, but nicer dining experience and focus on using quality ingredients at affordable prices. Jimmy Jones, chef and general manager, said that was the idea that was pitched to him during a conversation with Felton.

“The idea seemed appealing to me at the time, being a little more creative, doing things on my own, versus some of the bigger companies I’ve been with,” Jones said.

After doing some searching for locations, Shuff said the group approached the board at Mohawk Golf Course to see if they could take over food and beverage and open the club’s restaurant to the public. After approval, the group went to work to make improvements to the kitchen and dining room, renovating the look of the existing space to give a fresh, modern look.

“We created a place where business people and families could have a little bit more formal dining experience,” said Felton, who was the winner of the 2018 TSEP Lifetime Achievement Award.

Last year, constructed a tent that can hold up to 300 people for events, such as golf outings and weddings.

“We’ve just had a lot of events that are open to the community, open to the public, and the plans are to do a lot more of those things this year,” Felton said.

Felton and Shuff thanked the other investors, their families and the staff, many of whom have been involved from the beginning. Jones echoed their comments.

“I’d just like to thank the investors and the community of Tiffin, Ohio, for supporting Ironwood Steakhouse and making us a slow — but a good — success,” Jones said.

For more information about Ironwood Steakhouse, visit

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 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

Fort Ball Pizza Palace recognized as Outstanding Business at TSEP award ceremony

Larry Elchert (from left) and Eric Elchert, co-owners of Fort Ball Pizza Palace, pose for a picture with Weston Reinbolt, member of the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership Executive Committee, during the 2020 Annual Meeting Feb. 27.

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 12, 2020 – Founded in 1978 by Larry Elchert and Bob Gahris, Fort Ball Pizza Palace has been a local favorite in Tiffin for many years, and that is just part of the reason it has been recognized by Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership with the Outstanding Business Award at its 2020 Annual Meeting.

Today, Fort Ball Pizza Palace is co-owned and operated by Larry Elchert and Eric Elchert, with two locations in Tiffin at 91 N. Washington St. and 111 Melmore St. The main branch is located in the Fort Ball area, which is where the name originated from.

Larry said it was a Wednesday afternoon when they first opened their doors 42 years ago, and he looks fondly back at that time.

“The reason I’ve stuck with it so long is that I enjoy people, I enjoy my health, I come down here everyday and it’s always good for a laugh or two,” Larry said. “I would like to continue going as long as I can. I’m coming up on 42 years, I’d like to do another 30. To me, it keeps me young.”

Eric later joined the business.

“When I started at Fort Ball Pizza Palace, I was just in high school, started doing dishes and pans and whatever else needed to be done around the store, eventually got promoted to cook, and then manager, and just keep working and working, and back in 2009, I became co-owner of Fort Ball,” Eric said.

Fort Ball Pizza uses hand-rolled, scratch made pizza dough, homemade sauce and feature are famous for their Italian smorgasbord at the North Washington Street location.

The business is active in the community, sponsoring many events and school functions and donates food and gift cards for Tiffin-Seneca United Way, area sports and events including Pizza Palooza in Downtown Tiffin.

For more information, visit

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 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

Volcanos & Values – TSEP Annual Address 2020

Here is the annual address I delivered last night (Feb. 27, 2020) at the Annual Meeting for the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership:

Introduction – The Trip to Nicaragua

So, last September my older brother Steve invited me to join him for a 25-kilometer trail run in Nicaragua called the Fuego Y Agua Endurance Race. He lives in Portland, Oregon and works throughout Central America, and because I wanted to strengthen our relationship, I said yes.

Understand, I am a relatively new runner. I recently got some orthodics, which have allowed me to run for the first time in more than 35 years. When he asked me to do the run, I had completed my first 10k and was training for my first 20k in November. 25k in February sounded very doable.

The November race went well as did another 30k race in early January, and I was feeling really good about things. Unfortunately, it was right at that time when I injured my right foot. I tried to recover, but when I went for a long training run two weeks later, I had a pain in my ankle. Something was definitely not right. I was supposed to be heading to Nicaragua in three weeks. And I had come to understand that the 25k trail run was really one of the most extreme races out there, an 18-mile run up and down the third highest volcano in Central America.

I went and got some x-rays. Fortunately, I didn’t have a fracture, and fortunately I then went to a sports doctor, and we came up with a treatment and training plant that fixed me I two weeks. Last Monday I got the green light to do the event, and I didn’t have any pain. I was thrilled.

Then, for some pretty legitimate reasons, my brother tells me that he can’t do the race. My partner Andria, who was going to come with me, and I had some strong concerns. We were relying on him to get a rental car. We don’t speak Spanish, and Nicaragua is a country the US Dept. of State advises not going to because of its civil unrest, crime, limited healthcare availability, and arbitrary enforcement of laws. We were more than a little concerned.

Since we had already paid for the plane tickets, though, we decided to go. I figured out the transportation logistics, and we made it to the island fine. Although Nicaragua was definitely a Third World country, Ometepe Island was beautiful, and the we people met were honest, hard-working, and hospitable. We felt safe.

On Saturday, race day arrived, and it started with two miles down the beautiful beach and five more along some hilly picturesque dirt and gravel roads. I made it to the aid station with a personal best time, feeling great.

After the aid station, I started up the volcano, and it kept getting steeper and steeper. Tons of rocks, boulders, roots and trees. After about two more hours, I was 2200’ feet up the side of the volcano (about halfway), and I got extremely fatigued and lightheaded. Andria, who decided not to run the race but to hike the volcano with a local guide, was on the same trail and caught up with me by dumb luck. I tried a number of strategies to recover, but it wasn’t long before I blacked out not once but twice.

As I lay down on the jungle trail trying to clear my head, Andria, her guide, a doctor from Vermont who was running the race and passed us on the trail, and one of the race directors told me I had heat exhaustion and I should stop. Reluctantly, I agreed. It was not going to be my day.

I was pretty disappointed, we headed down the volcano and walked another five miles back to the hotel. Despite not finishing the race – which was a first for me – Andria and I had an amazing adventure, and it provides a great backdrop for two key ideas I want to share tonight.

Big Idea 1 – Impacting Quality of Life

The first idea the trip highlighted for me was how private business, economic development, and organizations like TSEP make an impact on the quality of life of a place.

First, you understand that quality of life is driven by private investment and private jobs. All public facilities and services basically get paid for by taxes, which themselves directly or indirectly come from business taxes, private jobs, or public jobs paid for by those private tax dollars. 

Second, economic development increases quality of life, and economic development organizations help cause that economic development.

It is no coincidence that in Nicaragua, where there’s not much going on in the way of economic development, you have the poorest country in Central America. It’s also no coincidence that in Tiffin and rural Seneca County, where economic development is at an all-time high with more than 2,000 new jobs and half a billion dollars in new investment over the last six years, our quality of life continues to make significant improvements. To give you a sense of scale, we had more investment in our community in the last twelve months than the sum total of all the foreign direct investment into the entire country of Nicaragua for 2019. 

I also don’t believe it is a coincidence that in Nicaragua, there are no local economic development organizations, and I don’t believe that is a coincidence that in Tiffin and Seneca County there is both a strong, growing economy and a strong local economic, community, and downtown development organization like TSEP.

Clearly, local, regional, and state economic development organizations are not the only reason for the rise or decline of communities, but I do firmly believe they are a deciding factor, and I am proud of the work we do and the difference I believe we make. So, that was the first big takeaway from the trip for me – a renewed appreciation that businesses drive quality of life; economic development drives increases in that quality of life; and local economic development organizations drive economic development.

Big Idea 2 – Living Our Values

The second big idea I took away from this trip is that the way you do things matters, not just what you do or why you do it. One mantra I often say is that we want to do the right things, for the right reasons, in the right way.

But what does it mean to do what we do in the right way? At the last board strategic retreat in October, we articulated our five core values. These values are nothing new, but this is the first time we have it written down on paper and for the first time the board came to a unanimous consensus on what they are. The neat thing is that those values are not just our values, but values I believe this community exemplifies, and this trip brought those values into focus in ways I did not expect.

Value 1 – Collaboration

The first one is Collaboration, or the fundamental belief that more gets accomplished by working with others. It always takes longer and can sometimes be a pain, but it almost always produces a better and more long-lasting result. The only way I was successful in being able to run the race safely at all was my collaboration with doctors, my brother, and my partner. I wouldn’t have signed up for the race in the first place, been able to recover from injury leading up to it, have the courage to attempt it and the courage to stop without their counsel, advice, and feedback.

Collaboration has long been the hallmark of this community. Some immediate examples which come to my mind are the Seneca County Justice Center, All Patriots Memorial, Frost-Kalnow Stadium, Clouse-Kirian Leadership Park, East Green, the Joint Comprehensive Plan, and our Community Branding initiative. I think of the annexation agreements between Tiffin and the surrounding townships; the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center, Pathways to Prosperity; the 4CG initiative, OPWICS, DragonNext, the National Center for Water Quality Research, and even the large manufacturing projects we work on like MBDS and Church & Dwight. And there are many, many other examples. 

Indeed, the very change of our name from SIEDC to the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership expresses the core value of Collaboration for our organization and our community. In 2020, we will continue to broaden and deepen our collaboration with our city, village, township, regional, state and national partners.

And we will be putting collaboration to work in our various committees. TSEP now has 17 such committees, 14 of which have been launched or are ongoing, three more of which are to launch in the first half of this year, including 5 downtown committees, 5 operational committees, and 7 development committees. To find out more and become more involved, please contact any of the TSEP Team.

Value 2 – Innovation

Our second core value is Innovation, or the fundamental belief that you have to challenge the status quo and try new things, and you have to adopt new ideas and technologies in order to improve, progress and stay competitive. A lot of what I brought into the race was innovative for me – like my lightweight, carbon fiber trail running poles, my Salomon hydration pack, my Hoka trail running shoes and my Jeff Galloway run/walk approach. I wouldn’t have made it far without any of them.

Our community, too, has been innovating over the course of its history, and what first comes to mind are the Pan Yan tavern, National Machinery’s invention of cold forging, Tiffin Scenic Studios’ patents, the Pulaski tool invented in Green Springs, Taiho’s tribology, AFS’s sintering, Arnold Machine’s custom equipment, and Sutton Bank’s pre-paid card technology. I think of the Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group, Ironwood Steakhouse, ESOPs at Old Fort Bank and Webster Industries, Bailiwick’s coffee roasting, Ralph’s Joy of Living’s olive oils. I think of Heidelberg’s PlusOne program and TU’s PhD in Global Leadership, the PIVOT program, the Around the Town event, and Linda Rose and the County Parks outdoor education programs. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.

TSEP has also promoted innovation in our organizational structure and partnerships, in our design and implementation of the City-funded façade program; in our communications strategies; and in the various technologies we use internally.

To live out innovation his year, we will attend state and national conferences to learn about what new ideas we can potentially adapt and adopt. We will help create the first-ever Tiffin-Seneca entrepreneurship strategic plan. We will help facilitate the first Midland CEO entrepreneurship program in Ohio. We will continue to strengthen and expand our retention and expansion efforts. And we will revamp our website, improve our stakeholder management, and continue to develop our internal system.

Value 3 – Inclusion

The third core value is Inclusion, the idea that we need to make an intentional effort to make our work more accessible; to encourage more people with diverse backgrounds and points of view to participate; and to help create a more welcoming community with an increasing quality of life for all. The 150 or so people that ran this race were from all over the world, had different jobs or no job at all, were young and old, super athletes and amateurs. All of them welcomed Andria and me in as part of the Fuego Y Agua community. We shared stories about the toughness of the volcano, celebrated the success of those who made it, and affirmed those who didn’t but had been brave enough to make the attempt.

I think our Tiffin-Seneca community is more inclusive than most our size in Ohio and in the Midwest. Things that influence my opinion include our colleges and universities – the international students from more than 40 countries at TU and Heidelberg, the students from diverse backgrounds and ages at Terra, the PALS lecture series, Ohio’s first female lawyer, TU’s ICARE value of interdependence; and the International Cultural Center. I think of international companies like Agrati, Taiho, AFS, TMD, Carmeuse, Hanson Aggregates, and Palfinger. I think of Celebrity Basketball, Seneca Re-Ads, NOAH, the United Way, the Tiffin-Seneca Public Library, our Mental Health & Recovery Services Board, Crosswaeh, Oriana House, CRSI, and Seneca County Job & Family Services. I think of our diverse religious, service, and social organizations. And we continue to get more diverse and more inclusive.

In 2020, TSEP will be working to help launch the Tiffin-Seneca Japan Committee, to create a more welcoming environment not only for business but for the employees who come to work here and their families. Our Community Development Committee and staff will be orchestrating the development of a prioritized list of community development projects for the City of Tiffin and the orchestration of the application for $150,000 of Community Development Block Grant funding to assist the community in a number of areas, including assisting low-to-moderate income households. We will intentionally work to broaden the diversity of our membership, board, and committees. And we will launch a new community newsletter to share information with anyone and everyone about what is happening.

Value 4 – Fairness

The fourth value is Fairness. In Nicaragua, everyone had the same requirements, and everyone in each race distance started at the same time. There were no participation trophies, and I didn’t get a finisher’s medal. If you didn’t finish, you didn’t get one. Plain and simple. Everyone was treated the same.

In our work, fairness means that we provide our economic development services like project facilitation, site selection, resource assistance, and marketing to all legal businesses, entrepreneurs, and investors – regardless of size, regardless of industry, regardless of location within Tiffin or rural Seneca County, and regardless of whether or not the business contributes financially to us. Our litmus test is if that business, entrepreneur, and investor is going to invest capital or create and retain jobs we serve them. In fact, we are contractually bound to the City of Tiffin and to Seneca County to perform these services impartially, and we are to some extent legally bound by our 501c3 status as a charitable organization to help any business that will, either by its investment or its job creation, provide new and better opportunities for our residents. Although it is true that because of our contracts with the City and County, we do provide some geographically-specific services like downtown revitalization, community development, and rural economic development, within those boundaries we also impartial. 

In 2020, our new Policy Development committee will look at how the Tiffin-Seneca community, and this organization specifically, can maintain fairness, while at the same time doing what we can to ensure that the development we facilitate will have the desired effect of increasing quality of life and to continually work on clarifying what exactly increased quality of life means. And we will ensure through our metrics that we are reaching out to businesses in downtown Tiffin, Tiffin citywide, and in rural Seneca County.  

Value 5 – Excellence

Our fifth and last value is Excellence, the idea to do your best, learn from your mistakes, and improve; to never settle for average. In Nicaragua, I truly challenged myself physically and mentally, and I will become better as a result. 

Examples of excellence in Tiffin and Seneca County abound. A few examples I immediately think of are members of this community getting on state and national boards for their profession, including Tom Daniel, Bill Reineke, Aaron Montz, Julie Adkins, Mark Zimmerman, and our own Amy Reinhart. I think of awards and grants that people and companies win, like Taiho and AFS, Kathy Oliver, Vanguard-Sentinel, the Mental Health & Recovery Services Board, the Ritz Theatre, the City Engineer’s Office, the Fire and Police Departments, Regional Planning Commission, and Tiffin, Heidelberg, and Terra State. I think about high state and national rankings for the universities, our fire rating, state report cards for education, entrepreneurship, economic development, low cost of living and low cost of doing business.

In 2020, TSEP looks to continue our tradition of every year of obtaining state and national Main Street accreditation (which we just received again in January). We look to win downtown awards, and we look to attain a high national ranking for economic development. The newest economic development rankings will be out within the next couple of weeks, and I am extremely confident that we will again be one of the best in the nation.

Additionally, for the first we will begin pursuing a national economic development accreditation for the organization, and members of the TSEP team will also continue to pursue individual professional certifications in their areas.

Summary & Conclusion

In summary, the Nicaragua trip was crazy, it was epic, it was a learning experience. I got to see first-hand a Third World country with a struggling economy, low quality of life and little to no formal local economic development. It made me appreciate this country, our community, and the opportunity TSEP has to help make a difference by helping private businesses and increasing the quality of life for all.

It helped me see our recently adopted core values of collaboration, innovation, inclusion, fairness and excellence in action during the race, and it helped me think what those values mean, how they are truly values of the Tiffin-Seneca community, and how we will live those values this year as an organization.

I am excited strengthening our existing local, regional, state, and national partnerships and expanding our committees; about developing our new entrepreneurship strategic plan, implementing Midland CEO model, and increasing our utilization; about diversifying our board and committees, pursuing our community development work, and launching the new Tiffin-Japan Committee; about our new policy development committee; and about pursuing a new accreditations. 

Let me close with this thought. The most important part about the volcano race for the race organizers was that all the proceeds and tourism benefitted local schools and the local economy. They hope it will continue for many years, and everyone felt great about being a part of it.

In many ways, it’s the same with TSEP. The most important part of our work is that it also benefits the schools, residents, and local economy. We hope it will continue for many years, and all of us on staff and all who are here tonight and a part of it in various ways can feel great about being a part of it.

On behalf of the tens of thousands of lives you affect by your support of economic development, let me say to you a well-deserved muchas gracias y estamos entusiasmados para dos mil veinte. Thank you, and we are excited about 2020!

American Plastics receives Economic Development Award at TSEP meeting

Managers of American Plastics pose for a picture with Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership Treasurer Scott Kromer (back middle) during the 2020 Annual Meeting Feb. 27.

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 10, 2020 – American Plastics, a premier plastic injection molding company located just south of Tiffin, Ohio, was the recipient of the Economic Development Award at the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 2020 Annual Meeting. TSEP recognized American Plastics for its investment of $4.5 million into the Tiffin operation and hiring of more than 130 employees.

“We’re very honored and very excited to be the recipient of his year’s economic development award,” said Joe Roth, Plant Manager for American Plastics in Tiffin.

“American Plastics is very pleased to be growing alongside the City of Tiffin. It’s a great community, we decided to put business here, put our investments here because there are a lot of roots here in the City of Tiffin. There are good, quality people in this city and we really enjoy being part of that.”

American Plastics was founded in 2017 by High View Capital and Victor Park equity firms, and as a whole, the company has 15 facilities nationwide, including plants in Sycamore and Findlay.

In Tiffin, the company services 26 injection mold machine and one extrusion machine. The plant specializes in the production of plastic shelving, plastic totes and storage boxes, including the Commander and Blue Hawk name brands for Lowe’s; and Husky for Home Depot; and Tough Box for Sam’s Club. American Plastics has 14 other facilities throughout the United States, and Arizona. In the past 12 months, American Plastics has been primarily producing plastic shelving and totes for the Craftsman brand. The Tiffin division is the sole manufacturer of plastic shelving for the Craftsman brand, to be available at the more than 2,000 Lowe’s stores in North America.

In 2019, American Plastics invested $3.5 million in new presses at the 68,000-square-foot Hopewell Township plant, adding to the completion of $1 million investment in equipment and facility upgrades in 2018. Company employment, which was 27 at the beginning of 2018, was at more than 160 by the end of 2019. Roth said it was an extreme team achievement to have grown that amount while improving relations, quality standards and earning outstanding safety records.

“To think back to where we were two years ago, with only 27 total associates, diminishing contracts and to see where we are just two years later, it takes a total buy-in of everyone from the top to the bottom,” Roth said. “My management team I have here have bought in to it 100 percent, and they are really the key to core to the success of the Tiffin facility.”

Roth said that he believes in providing quality benefits for his employees that go beyond base pay. American Plastics offers a $2 an hour incentive for employees who show up to work on time for a week, management greet employees on the floor and many of the updates at the facility have been done to improve employee morale.

“At the end of the day, you can set your hourly pay structure as high as you want, but we believe that class of people deserve a safe, comfortable, friendly and appreciative environment,” he said.

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 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

Vanguard-Sentinel Career & Technology Centers receives Partnership in Development Award

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 9, 2020Vanguard-Sentinel Career & Technology Centers, opened in 1968, was recognized for their role in providing educational opportunities to youth and adults with the Partnership in Development Award by Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership during its 2020 Annual Meeting.

“Then-(Ohio Gov. Jimmy Rhodes) had this vision that if we could to bring in multiple partners together — our schools, our community members, our businesses partners — we could create a network of schools in one central location that would bring even more opportunities for students to get career training, workforce training and meet the demands of the workforce,” said Vanguard-Sentinel superintendent Greg Edinger.

The school has evolved over the past 50 years. Today, Vanguard-Sentinel serves more than 1,200 high school freshman to seniors, 700 more high schools through other satellite programs in the communities and 3,000 adult students in the Adult Technical Center.

The centers provide multiple opportunities to high school in short-term training or classes for one to four years, and offer opportunities for industry credentials for technical skill attainment, pre-apprenticeship opportunities, advanced placement in business of their choice.

Vanguard-Sentinel makes it a priroty to be involved with the community. In 2019, staff and stuents participated in 4,000 hours of community service.

“While there are always many new and exciting changes happening in the district, the one thing that has stayed constant and will not change is the importance of working hand-in-hand with our community and business and industry partners, and with that, being honored with this award just makes us all so proud here at Vanguard-Sentinel,” Edinger said.

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 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

$20,000 grant announced, award winners named at TSEP annual meeting

More than $56 million in investments made in 2019

TIFFIN, OHIO – February 27, 2020 – Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership held its Annual Meeting Feb. 27, 2020, at Camden Falls Reception and Conference Center. The event celebrated the successes of 2019 in the areas of Commercial and Industrial Development, Downtown Tiffin, Workforce Development, Rural Development, Entrepreneurship and Community Development.

There were many projects from 2019 highlighted at the event. In 2019, there was $56.7 million in announced investment and 445 new jobs created, 37 rural projects assisted and 17 community development and industrial projects announced or completed.

Downtown Main Street Manager Amy Reinhart announced that Downtown Tiffin received a $20,000 Heritage Ohio Main Street Program Grant. The program is designed to enhance the development and revitalization of downtown business districts in Ohio’s Main Street Communities. Funds from the grant are to be used for the downtown Tiffin Facade Enhancement Grant Program. Since it was launched in 2014, the façade program has had 85 projects for a total investment of $2.5 million in Downtown Tiffin. 

Also during the event, the TSEP Awards were presented 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 recognition.

Award winners at the 2019 annual meeting include:

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 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

Lynn Detterman recipient of President’s Award at 2020 TSEP Annual Meeting

Lynn Detterman (left) poses for a picture with David Zak, president and CEO of Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership, during the 2020 Annual Meeting Feb. 27.

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 14, 2020 – As she finished her tenure as chair of the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership Board, Lynn Detterman, president, Mercy Health – Toledo Rural Market, was recognized during the 2020 Annual Meeting with the President’s Award.

In June 2002, Detterman decided to leave her job at a major accounting firm in Cleveland and joined the Mercy Health – Willard Hospital, eventually becoming president and CEO after overseeing the construction of Willard’s new hospital.

In 2013, she became president and CEO of Mercy Health – Tiffin Hospital and then Mercy Health – Defiance Hospital in 2016.

Detterman has been involved with Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership, and previously Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp., since joining the Seneca County community. She took on the role of president of the board of SIEDC in 2018.

“She’s helped us navigate different people’s passions, different people’s opinions, different people’s ideas for what’s best for this community within the context of this organization,” said David Zak, president and CEO of Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership. “She’s able to communicate respect for other people’s opinion, and navigate the discussion in such a way that we end up with a result and end up still unified in our purpose to promote economic and community development and we’re also focused on our mission.”

Detterman’s role at TSEP and in Seneca County has been recognized by members of the TSEP board.

“We’re so fortunate in this community to have people like Lynn Detterman serving in those roles and adding value to the community for the great things she does,” said Andy Felter, president and CEO of Webster Industries and member of the TSEP executive board.

Rob Huntington, president of Heidelberg University and former SIEDC chair, said he has been lucky to be able to partner and collaborate with Detterman, who joined the Heidelberg Board of Trustees in 2016.

“What is her leadership and management grounded on? It’s grounded on a set of core values, Christian belief, her compassion for other people, her caring that she gives to so many people around her, her natural ability to collaborate — all those things come together and form the foundation for why she is a very strong and effective leader and person in the community,” said Huntington, who also received the award in 2016.

Dean Keller, president of First National Bank of Sycamore, was vice chair of the TSEP board under Detterman and thanked her for her guidance as he transitions to her seat.

“Working with Lynn on the board of TSEP, I’ve always been struck by her outstanding leadership abilities and communication skills,” he said.

Zak said he’s been fortunate to work with Detterman and appreciates the feedback and advice that she has provided in her time as president.

“This President’s Award is just a way of saying ‘thank you’ to Lynn, for helping lead this organization through a really dynamic period of growth and change,” he said.

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 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