Ottawa County Recognizes Business Leaders

Posted on: March 10, 2016

Each year, the Ottawa County Improvement Corporation recognizes outstanding companies and individuals that have demonstrated success in business and have contributed to the growth and vitality of Ottawa County.  Awards are given in categories for small business (1 to 25 employees), medium business (26 to 100 employees) and large business (101 plus employees), business of the year, Bill Mack business leader, economic development partner, personal achievement, entrepreneur of the year, and volunteer of the year.  A committee of OCIC Trustees reviews and determines the award winners.

This year’s small business nominees were Advanced Product Design (Genoa), Griffing Flying Service (Port Clinton), and Reef Runner Fishing Lures (Marblehead).  The award was presented to Advanced Product Design in the small business category.  Advanced Product Design specializes in motor sport carburetor and fuel management systems. 18 of the Top 40 NHRA racers use APD products in their vehicles and Advance Product Design systems can be found in racing vehicles around the world. Owner, John Kyle, is himself a successful competitor, winning the 1997 World Super Pro Challenge $50,000 event at Mid-Michigan Motorplex.

Medium business nominees were Civilian Marksmanship Program (Port Clinton) and Port Clinton Manufacturing (Port Clinton).  The medium business category award went to Port Clinton Manufacturing.  Port Clinton Manufacturing Co. was originally founded by the Zetzer brothers of Port Clinton in 1929 as a marine fabrication and repair shop. Today the company is a tier I OEM parts supplier for engine builders engaged in rail
transportation and gas and oil mining businesses.

Nominees in the large business category were ACPO, Ltd. (Oak Harbor) and Custom Glass Solutions by Guardian (Millbury). The large business category award was presented to Custom Glass Solutions by Guardian.  CGS by Guardian specializes in glass manufacturing and fabrication for the public/commercial transportation, construction/agriculture, lifestyle vehicles and safety/protection segments. The company manages volumes ranging from 10 parts to 100,000 parts per year.

The OCIC Entrepreneur Award was presented this year to Jon & Carolyn Rodenhauser, owners and operators of The Clinton House in downtown Port Clinton.  In 2012, Jon and Carolyn bought the building and renovated the building to bring it back to its original life. Jon & Carolyn invested in the building and business to promote downtown revitalization work. The Clinton House opened on July 4, 2014. Wedding receptions, reunions, birthday parties, Christmas and holiday parties, visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, and numerous fundraising events have been held at the Clinton House.

The Bill Mack Business Leader Award recognizes an individual county business leader for their work and support of the community.  This year, the OCIC recognized Jim Stouffer, Jr., President & CEO of the Catawba Island Club.  The growth of the Catawba Island Club over the last 10 years has included expansion of residential communities,
expansion of the golf course, and several capital improvement projects on-site to enhance the experience of being at CiC. Additionally, Mr. Stouffer has been integrally involved in advocating for the health of Lake Erie and currently serves as President of the Lake Erie Improvement Association (LEIA).

The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Paul Ackerman for his longstanding service to the OCIC.  Mr. Ackerman was a key decision-maker when OCIC decided to bring workforce development services into the organization, making OCIC one of the only comprehensive economic AND workforce development agencies in the State of Ohio.

OCIC’s Economic Development Partner award was presented to Mel and Barb Ayers, owners and operators of Nagoya Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi and Ciao Bella Ristorante Italiano.  Through their businesses, Mel and Barb have donated to the Island Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary, collected toys for the Salvation Army Toy Drive, and hosted “Take a Bite out of Cancer.”

OCIC’s Personal Achievement Award was presented to Ann Yamrick, Vice President of ARES, Inc.  Ms. Yamrick has worked for ARES since 1971 and has mastered writing applications for federal contract work with national defense applications, most recently receiving a contract to develop next generation cannon technology for the military’s Stryker vehicle.  Ms. Yamrick has also been critical to the strategy and day-to-day operations of the business.

The Business of the Year Award was presented to Griffing Flying Service.  Griffing Flying Services is located at the Erie-Ottawa International Airport and provides air charter services within the United States and Canada.  Griffing Flying Service has been a major lifeline to the Lake Erie Islands and has been a key component to the explosion of development and investment being made at the airport.

The OCIC Business & Industry Awards were held on Wednesday, March 9th at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton.  For more information on the OCIC, visit or find us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Back to News & Updates