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Published: Saturday, 3/12/2005

N.W. Ohio can be thankful for some large investments

BY GARY T. PAKULSKI
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Business closings, factory shut-downs, and high unemployment locally have attracted a lot of attention the past year. But the region has had plenty to be thankful for over the past 12 months, economic development officials were told yesterday during a gathering at the Pinnacle in Maumee.

"Northwest Ohio has been very fortunate in the past year to land many multimillion dollar projects," outgoing President Dean Monske told about 250 officials assembled for the annual meeting of the Northwest Ohio Regional Economic Development Association.

Among planned projects are DaimlerChryser AG's $2.1 billion expansion in North Toledo, Johns Manville Corp.'s $122 million factory in Defiance, and Lear Corp.'s $30 million factory addition in Wauseon.

Mr. Monske, who directs Oregon's Economic Development Foundation, reported on changes the regional organization has made to be more effective.

The key change: trying to work together to lobby for pro-development legislation in Columbus.

"Every member wants us to become stronger and better," he said.

The development officials heard from Cincinnati consultant Chuck Underwood, who maintains that the wide spectrum of age groups in society requires sales people, employers, and even government officials to understand what motivates members of each group.

He calls the situation the "generational imperative."

Understanding what makes each group tick can be useful in marketing, product development, employee recruiting, and even economic development, Mr. Underwood said.

The groups include the G.I. Generation, who were born between 1901 and 1926 and lived through the prosperity of the 1920s, the poverty of the Great Depression, and the horrors of World War II; The Silent Generation, who were born between 1927 and 1945 and who have enjoyed prosperous lives; the Baby Boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1960; Generation X, born between 1965 and 1981; and the Millennials, which includes everyone born since 1982.

The regional economic development agency elected as president Hans Rosebrock, an economic development executive with FirstEnergy Corp.

The group awarded an economic development award to Johns Manville for its decision to build an advanced factory for the production of pipe insulation in Defiance to replace a plant that burned there.

The city was picked over Nashville, Tenn., which offered numerous financial incentives to try to snag the project, presenters said.

The organization also honored Bruce Baumhower, president of UAW Local 12, for helping persuade DaimlerChrysler to invest more than $3 billion in Jeep assembly operations in Toledo over the past decade.

Contact Gary Pakulski at:

gpakulski@theblade.com

or 419-724-6082.



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