Fragmentation among a region's communities and other entities makes joining forces on economic development difficult, but unity is necessary in a global economy where North America no longer dominates, says a leading expert on large-scale regional strategies.
China has developed a national economic strategy, and U.S. regions must respond quickly to efficiently compete globally, said Michael Gallis of Michael Gallis & Associates Inc. of Charlottee, N.C.
"We will succeed in the 21st century, but we have to act smart," Mr. Gallis told nearly 200 local officials gathered in Perrysburg yesterday.
And when some of those people questioned how northwest Ohio can build a regional economic framework - especially when two Toledo corporate titans, Owens Corning Inc. and Dana Corp., are in bankruptcy protection - Mr. Gallis said the Regional Growth Partnership, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, and numerous companies could help lead the way.
"Toledo, in my estimation, has everything it needs," said Mr. Gallis, who has developed strategies for states and regions including Detroit and Cincinnati.
With its port, airport, and major interstates, Toledo could benefit by a shift away from St. Louis and New Orleans as U.S. distribution channels, he said.
Mr. Gallis was the keynote speaker at an annual conference presented by Bowling Green State University's Center for Regional Development. The session, at the Holiday Inn French Quarter, primarily attracted officials from public agencies, businesses, and universities.
Michael Carroll, director of the center, said northwest Ohio could be left behind even if Midwestern mega-regions such as Cincinnati and Detroit prosper.