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Published: Wednesday, 2/22/2006

New regional growth official gets started on investment work

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Four hours into his new job at the Regional Growth Partnership of Northwest Ohio last week, Dean Monske was still getting used to the ropes.

"I'm going to be wearing about 16 different hats," he said at his new desk in downtown Toledo. "And that's been growing over the last couple of weeks, and I've barely even started yet."

Mr. Monske, 41, former executive director of the Oregon Economic Development Foundation, was recently named vice president of the RGP. He'll work with investors and economic development officials throughout the region.

The Regional Growth Partnership is a private, nonprofit development corporation dedicated to fostering local, national, and international economic growth opportunities for 11 northwest Ohio counties.

Oregon's development foundation is a nonprofit group of about 115 members that was formed in 1993 to promote development in Oregon.

Mr. Monske, who was brought on board in 2000, said he's looking forward to continue working with the city from his new position.

"It's kind of nice to be able to help the whole region," he said.

Mr. Monske was born and raised in Toledo and left in 1983 to attend Wake Forest University in North Carolina. After two years, he returned to the area and graduated from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor's degree in psychology.

After working for Toledo Edison and Johnson & Johnson, he joined Oregon's foundation. There, he said he was most proud of being involved from the beginning in transforming an old brown field surrounded by a rusted fence on the corner of Wynn and Cedar Point roads into a community asset.

While it took three years - and many said it would never happen - he said he worked diligently to get all the involved parties cooperating, and a Spartan Logistics building is almost complete.

"That was very rewarding to see that come to fruition," he said.

Mr. Monske's departure leaves the Oregon Economic Development Foundation without a leader, but city officials are getting close to hiring a successor.

After receiving about 30 applications, the foundation's hiring committee narrowed the field to six and interviewed them all last week. The committee is made up of Mr. Monske, members of the Foundation's executive board, Oregon City Administrator Ken Filipiak, and about a dozen foundation members.

Though she's not on the interviewing committee, Oregon Mayor Marge Brown quickly listed several qualities she said she would like to see in a new director.

"They have to have integrity, they have to be honest, and have tremendous people skills to go along with it," she said. "They have to be a good communicator because they have to communicate with me. That's what I'm looking for and that's what I liked in Dean."

Mr. Monske said the committee has tentatively decided to conduct a second interview with three of the six candidates next week and hopes to have a new director on board by mid-March.



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