The Ottawa County Improvement Corporation (OCIC) held its annual Experience Ottawa County (EOC) program on August 19th. The event brought local business and community leaders, elected officials, and regional partners together to network and share ideas with one another for the first time in two years. Nearly 200 people were in attendance throughout the day, making it the largest annual business-related gathering in the county. This year marked the 26th anniversary of the event.
To kick-off the event, the OCIC hosted a luncheon at the recently remodeled Harbour Room at the Catawba Island Club where attendees were updated on the OCIC’s strategic plan followed by a panel discussion with key staff from the Regional Growth Partnership/JobsOhio (RGP/JO) network. Glenn Grisdale, Reveille, gave an update on OCIC’s Strategic Planning process. This included an interactive component from the audience asking for their input on what the OCIC needs to be more involved with and ways to enhance current OCIC activities and programs. The questions that attendees were asked to respond to were developed from survey responses that came from OCIC stakeholders earlier this summer.
“As you can see most of the variables were rated above average,” revealed Glenn. “The goal from this is that we know everyone wants everything, right? Now we need to dial down even further to figure out if you (Ottawa County) have the resources to do everything. And if you do have the resources to do everything, how do we prioritize?”
OCIC’s Strategic Plan is being framed on a “comprehensive community development approach” and the input that was provided from stakeholders earlier this summer is a valuable part to the process and direction the OCIC takes to maximize its resources and community and economic development opportunities. The strategic planning process is in its final stages and will be the roadmap the OCIC will use to enhance and grow both economic and workforce development efforts across the county for both the short and long term.
The JobsOhio/RGP team shared many of the recent successes that have taken place in northwest Ohio over the past couple of years along with the numerous resources and incentives they provide to assist Ottawa County with our business expansion/attraction and workforce endeavors. Chris Singerling, OCIC Director, introduced Dean Monske, President of JobsOhio/Regional Growth Partnership (RGP), who spoke about what the RGP does and how they are an asset to the OCIC and Ottawa County. Chase Eikenbary, Senior Project Manager, spoke about her role in project management and attraction. “My job is to tell a really, really compelling story to the leadership in Columbus at JobsOhio and establish the case for why a project should garner our support,” stated Chase. Chase turned it over to Matt Davis, Senior Manager for Site Selection.
“My role includes having a handle on the inventory across our 17-county region when it comes to building and/or site development assets,” stated Matt. “So when we have opportunities that arise, including a potential lead that comes from the state or brought back from our sales team, we already know what to look for.” The JobsOhio/RGP panel was very helpful and gave attendees a better idea of how the RGP team can serve the needs in Ottawa County.
After the luncheon, a small group of stakeholders involved in the strategic planning process, moved to the patio of the Harbour Room for an OCIC/RGP Planning Session to continue a more indepth conversation about each of our communities and their ability to assist with those efforts. This included an overview of key findings from the strategic planning luncheon discussion, community assets, residential housing, and commercial, industrial and workforce development.
Attendees then embarked on the Jet Express to The Keys on Put-in-Bay for dinner and networking. The evening included food, beverages, musical entertainment, a Put-in-Bay information booth and cigar bar. The OCIC extends a special thank you to all our 2021 EOC Sponsors. We appreciate your support and engagement with our organization as we work to strengthen our economy and build a bright future for Ottawa County.