Taiho of America

Why Regional Growth Partnership is essential for our success

(Photo: HiVelocityMedia.com)

(Photo of Dean Monske – HiVelocityMedia.com)

During my first week on the job, I went up to visit the regional economic development organization for Northwest Ohio–the Regional Growth Partnership (aka RGP) based in Toledo. I met with Dean Monske, President & CEO (pictured here); Paul Zito, VP of International Development; Gary Thompson, VP and JobsOhio Director; VP Doug Born, Kyle Dodd, Colleen McCray and many others.

I thought it would make sense to explain how we (the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. or SIEDC) work with RGP to encourage and advance economic growth for Seneca County and why it’s so important to have a strong regional partner. RGP plays the following four key roles for us:

  1. JobsOhio/State Incentives – RGP is our JobsOhio Network partner and receives funds from JobsOhio to represent, negotiate, package, and help facilitate approval of all state incentives for projects throughout northwest Ohio. They have the authority from the State of Ohio (the Ohio Development Services Agency) to represent the State in interactions with companies. During 2012, RGP was directly involved with 37 projects in 2012 with capital investment exceeding $340 million. These projects resulted in the retention and creation of 6,000 jobs. One of these in Seneca County was Taiho of America, and RGP helped procure both a Job Creation Tax Credit and a Business Incentive Grant for the $13M expansion.
  2. Regional Marketing – it is difficult as one of 3,144 US counties to get the attention of key decision makers for economic development projects. Site selection consultants and corporate real estate executives most often go metro area by metro area, state by state as their first step in eliminating or including sites for consideration. RGP invests significant resources to market northwest Ohio–including Seneca County–to national and international prospects, working to get them interested in and to consider the region as a positive place for investment. A July 2013 visit by site selectors to northwest Ohio underscores the point. RGP is willing to consider supporting marketing activity done by SIEDC that are beneficial to the entire region.
  3. Retention & Expansion (R&E) – working with existing businesses to help them stay successful, grow and expand is the most important part of any community’s economic development strategy, and RGP understands this. Accordingly, RGP financially supports SIEDC to call on key existing businesses in our county.
  4. Tech-based Economic Development – RGP runs the Enterpreneurial Signature Program (ESP) for northwest Ohio under the RocketVentures brand. The ESP program, along with the Pre-Seed Fund Capitalization program, are the two flagship initiatives of the Ohio Third Frontier, a $2B initiative begun in 2004 to support entrepreneurs, attract resources, and commercialize technology in this state. In essence, RocketVentures is our companies’ consultant to access the services and resources of the many programs and funds within the Ohio Third Frontier.

Read the RGP’s last Annual Report (2012) for more information (see page 4 for info on how they helped Taiho):

RGP Annual Report 2012 - Intl

Seneca County in top 5% for economic development

1303CoverBIGWhen I was exploring various communities, something struck me about Tiffin and Seneca County – its economic development success. It’s a very well-kept secret, but it’s pretty amazing. There are 576 Micropolitan Statistical Areas (or “Micropolitans”) in the US, which are urban areas (counties) around a city of 10,000 to 49,999 in population–which is exactly what Seneca County, Ohio is.

Also, every year, these micropolitans compete for economic development bragging rights by sending in their large private investment projects to Site Selection Magazine. Site Selection then racks and stacks each micropolitan and releases in their March issue the top 100 (20%) nationally in terms of the number of projects. In order to qualify, a project must involve (a) 50 or more new employees, (b) 20,000 or more new square feet of space, or (c) $1 million in investment.

So, here’s the amazing part. For seven of the last ten years, Seneca County has ranked in the top 100 (the top 20%) across the country. And last year, it tied for 30th, putting it among the strongest 5% nationally. This is great news and is a testament to the county’s economic growth, the great businesses here, the community’s support of business, and the great job Rich Focht and Karen Bowers did at SIEDC (my organization). The table below is from the March 2013 edition of Site Selection, in particular the article on micropolitans.

The four projects for 2012 for Seneca County were as follows (source: Ohio’s Private Investment Survey 2012):