Seneca County Economic Development

David Zak takes position as SIEDC President & CEO

Zak resumes leadership of Seneca County development office

TIFFIN, OHIO – January 20, 2016 – After a four-month engagement at Tiffin University, David Zak will return to the helm of the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corporation tomorrow. Interviews for finalists were conducted in early January, and Zak’s appointment was approved by a majority vote of the SIEDC Board of Trustees on Tuesday.

SIEDC Chair and Heidelberg President Rob Huntington made the official announcement. “On behalf of the SIEDC Executive Committee and Board of Trustees, I am very pleased that David Zak is returning SIEDC to serve as our President and CEO. He did an excellent job previously and I am sure that he will contribute significantly to our community’s economic growth and well-being going forward again. I am especially excited knowing that David is rejoining our strong SIEDC staff team of Karen Bowers, Amy Reinhart, Katie Lang and Bryce Riggs who have been doing a great job over the past five months. We have tremendous momentum!”

Incoming Chair and President and CEO of Webster Industries Andrew Felter shared Huntington’s enthusiasm. “The leadership of David Zak along with an exceptional staff is absolutely the right team to continue the trajectory of success at SIEDC and develop bold improvement for our community. I am now even more optimistic about the positive transformational impact SIEDC can have for our future.”

Seneca County Commissioner Fred Zoeller, a SIEDC Executive Committee member and owner of Laminate Technologies, also expressed his approval. “I am extremely pleased that the Executive Board of SIEDC unanimously approved bringing the vote for David’s reemployment to the full board. This is a great day for the residents of Tiffin and Seneca County, to have David doing what he does best to move the county forward.”

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz, also a member of the Executive Committee, praised the success of the SIEDC team’s recent work and voiced his expectations moving forward. “Just in the past year downtown Tiffin has achieved Main Street status through Heritage Ohio, 11 new businesses have opened downtown, more than 15 buildings have been approved for façade enhancement, Buffalo Wild Wings broke ground, Taiho announced a large expansion and AFS and Webster Industries completed theirs. The list goes on and on, and there’s even more in the pipeline,” Montz said. “I am very confident that David is the right leader to continue this pattern of success.”

Zak was excited about the vote and the opportunity to get back to his old position. “A unanimous vote means the world to me, and I couldn’t be happier with the result. Tiffin and Seneca County are the place my family and I call home, and I can’t wait to rejoin the SIEDC team and help this great community develop for years to come. I also feel that my time at Tiffin University gives me a better understanding of how a university works, and I look forward to using that experience to help TU, Heidelberg and the community grow together. I can’t wait to get started.”


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

“The Very Biggest Manufacturing Plant…in the World”

Front of BuildingIn the book An Odd Couple, author Charles Eisendrath provides the headlines from the February 13, 1907 Tiffin Advertiser, which made the announcement that Towner K. Webster  was moving his company Webster Industries from Chicago to Tiffin, Ohio:

“SECURED for Tiffin is the Very Biggest Manufacturing Plant of its Kind In This Country or in the World.”

Webster expanded the plant and got more headlines soon thereafter, and not much has changed since. The October 18, 2014 headlines in the Advertiser-Tribune read, “Webster expanding, adding local jobs.” Since Webster’s announcement of their $8+ million expansion plans, we thought it would be appropriate to provide a little backstory on this great company.

Their marketing tagline is “American materials, American labor and American pride.” Since 1876, Webster Industries has offered a wide range of products and expertise throughout many different markets. Founded by Towner K. Webster, Webster Industries initially opened in Chicago, Illinois in 1876, bringing to market his Common Sense Elevator Bucket. Webster Industries moved its headquarters to Tiffin, Ohio in 1907, where it still resides today. I find it very interesting that economic development was in full swing even back then. In the book, An Odd Couple, Charles Eisendrath sheds some light on the incentives offered at the time: Webster received an “offer of a free, 30-acre building site” from the “Tiffin Commercial Club,” the precursor to the Seneca Regional Chamber, which was founded in 1914 and led economic development until the creation of the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) in 1983.

Since its beginning making and marketing the elevator bucket, Webster Industries has evolved its product offerings since opening its doors, becoming one of the world’s leading manufacturers of engineered class chains, commercial castings, and vibrating conveyors. Webster Industries’ Tiffin headquarters consists of over 300,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Webster Industries has also helped to Site Selection Magazine rank Tiffin and Seneca County in the top 10 for large, private economic development projects. Webster Industries provided support for the ranking by providing 76 new jobs to the local area and investment plans of $3,000,000. The most recent expansion is in addition to that, which demonstrates how fast the company is growing.

To give the public a chance to see how their products are actually used, the company sponsored an “Our Chain in Action” contest over the summer. The contest gave Webster customers “a chance to let loose their inner Steven Spielberg” by creating a video that highlighted the many features of Webster’s conveyor and steel chain products. The contest ran from mid-July to mid-August. The top videos can be found on the Webster Industries website and the manufacturer’s YouTube channel. One example of a use is Cedar Point’s Blue Streak roller coaster. The amusement park’s oldest coaster, uses a Webster chain to lift riders up a 78 foot hill, before descending 72 feet and reaching speeds of 40 miles per hour (see video below).

SIEDC’s Annual Meeting to be held April 3, 2014

ODSA Director David Goodman

ODSA Director David Goodman

I’m pleased to announce today that the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) entitled “Transformation + Job Creation” will take place next month on Thursday, April 3 and will feature State Development Director David Goodman as the keynote speaker.

Director Goodman leads the Ohio Development Services Agency  (ODSA), a $1.2 billion state agency with 360 employees that administers more than 70 programs helping thousands of entrepreneurs, businesses, communities, and individuals throughout Ohio. More information ODSA’s impact can be found by looking at their website, reading their annual report, or reviewing their budget.

Register now by clicking here.

Started in 1983, SIEDC is a nonprofit with the mission to create and retain jobs in Tiffin and Seneca County. New SIEDC President & CEO David Zak will also recap the year’s economic development accomplishments, lay out a vision for the future, and list some specific objectives for the coming year.  Area businesses and individuals making significant  economic development impact will also be honored.

Event Details:

  • Camden Falls, 2460 S SR 231, Tiffin, OH
  • $30 per person, reserved tables of 8 available ($240)
  • Pecan Chicken, Rosemary & Garlic Pork Loin Buffet Dinner, Cash Bar
  • RSVP online by Friday, March 28
  • You can also RSVP or get additional information by contacting Karen Bowers (419.447.3831,


  • 5:30 pm – Social Hour
  • 6:15 pm – Welcome | Chair Rob Huntington, President Heidelberg University
  • Food is served
  • 6:50 pm – Keynote Speaker | David Goodman, Director, Ohio Development Services Agency
  • 7:20 pm – Annual Meeting Business
  • 7:30 pm –  Speaker | David Zak, President & CEO
  • 7:45 pm – Awards
  • 8:20 pm – Concluding Remarks, Adjourn

Register online by clicking here. Or you can RSVP by calling Karen Bowers at SIEDC at 419.447.3831 or by emailing her at

Tiffin in top 10 nationally for economic development

I am very happy to be sending out this press release this morning:

Seneca County a top ten location in US for economic development

Tiffin’s seven projects with 210 new jobs ranks tenth out of 576 cities

2014_01 - Laminate Technologies Exterior - crop

Laminate Technologies is a US company headquartered in Tiffin that finished up a $2M expansion last year.

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 3, 2013 – The Seneca Industrial & Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) announced today that Tiffin and Seneca County have placed in the top ten nationally on Site Selection Magazine’s rankings for large, private economic development projects. The rankings, which were released today (see press release), place Tiffin 10th on the list of 576 micropolitans, or counties with a central city between 10,000 and 50,000 in population. Site Selection has been annually ranking states and cities since 1978.

Although Tiffin and Seneca County consistently makes the top 100 and ranked 30th last year, this is the first time it has placed in the top 10. Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz, who just delivered the State of the City address on Tuesday night, was excited by the news: “This is just another example of how Tiffin is on the move.  Our positive momentum in industry, retail, education, and quality of life keeps building.”

Seneca County reached the top ten by registering seven major projects in 2013, involving the creation of 210 new jobs and $27 million in new investment. Eligible economic development projects must involve at least one of the following: the creation of 50 or more jobs, the construction of 20,000 square feet, and/or the investment of at least $1 million. The new or expanded facilities must also be in manufacturing, distribution, office, R&D, headquarters, or call centers.

One of the projects finished last year was a $2 million expansion by Laminate Technologies, a leading manufacturer of laminates to the kitchen cabinet, store fixture and furniture industries. Seneca County Commissioner Fred Zoeller, who is also President & CEO of Laminate Technologies, said, “While I am pleased with the performance of all four of our plants around the country, with our Ohio facility and Tiffin workforce, we are able to do things that exceed the other plants.”

Joining Tiffin in the top 10 this year are Findlay and Fremont, making northwest Ohio the strongest region in the country for micropolitans. “We believe that northwest Ohio is getting some much deserved attention,” said Dean Monske, President & CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership in Toledo. “It’s great to see Tiffin and Seneca County rise to the top nationally.”

Projects for announced, under construction or completed last year included the following:



American Fine Sinter


Ameriwood Industries



Arnold Machine



Jacobson Manufacturing



Laminate Technologies



Tiffin Metal Products



Webster Industries



Totals for 2013



About the Seneca County Industrial & Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC)

Established in 1983, SIEDC is a private, not-for-profit corporation organized for the purpose of attracting, retaining, and expanding business in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio. It is also a partner of the northwest JobsOhio network, led by the Regional Growth Partnership in Toledo.

Seneca Co. companies using $80M state training program

National Machinery in Tiffin

National Machinery was awarded a $40K+ grant under the IWTVP.

The State of Ohio is investing millions of tax dollars into improving the skills of Ohioans working right now.  Those currently employed workers–called “incumbent” workers in workforce development lingo–have often been overlooked by state and federal training programs, which have traditionally helped the unemployed, dislocated workers, and/or new hires get skills to get a job.

The Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program (IWTVP) turns the “new hires”-only model on its head and takes casino fees and delivers it directly to companies in certain targeted industries  to cover up to half of the costs of training those employees, up to $4,000 per employee and $250,000 per company. The first round in 2012 totaled $20 million, and another $30 million was released last year. Another $30 million has been budgeted for the next state fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2014. In the last round, 620 companies were given grants, with more than 51,000 workers planned to receive training.

In Seneca County, National Machinery, a world leader in metal cold forming equipment based in Tiffin, received a grant of more than $43,000 and has used about half of it so far. Church & Dwight, manufacturer of the famous Arm & Hammer baking soda, received a grant of about $7,000 and has spent about 2/3 of it. We would love to see more businesses take advantage of this great program, and Carol Owen Kern, the county Workforce Administrator, will help businesses determine if they’re qualified and help them through the application process. Businesses I’ve talked to love working with Carol, who can be reached by phone at 419-447-5011 (322) or by email at Given that we’re only four months away from the new state fiscal year, we want companies to begin to become aware of the program now.

Here are some key links for the program:

Launch of new economic development newsletter

Seneca Success Mobile Monthly

Yesterday marked the official launch of the Seneca Success Mobile Monthly, a new electronic newsletter devoted to economic development and business resources for Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio. This newsletter is available to anyone and everyone interested.

The Mobile Monthly will have four main features:

  • Commentary – I will provides some brief thoughts on a current topic or theme relevant to economic development.
  • Top Posts – this section will list the previous month’s five most popular blog posts from Seneca Success, a WordPress blog that highlights the great things going on in Tiffin and Seneca County.
  • In the News – this section will list five other stories from traditional and other media relevant, including the Advertiser-Tribune, the Fostoria Review Times,, the Seneca News Daily, WTSC Seneca County Radio, 1430 WFOB, and others.
  • Featured Resources – every issue of the Mobile Monthly will feature five programs, people, or other resources that can help businesses grow and/or locate in our community. They will usually revolve around a particular theme.

If you missed our first issue (February 2014), you can catch it by clicking here.  You can sign up by clicking here, texting “SenecaSuccess” to 22828, or just let us know (commenting here, calling me at 419.912.1150, or emailing me at