Toledo’s Regional Growth Partnership held its annual meeting Monday, and the privately funded economic development organization highlighted several 2013 successes that its leaders say indicates it is fulfilling its mission.
“I think we had a very solid year in terms of actual projects that we produced,” said Harlan Reichle, RGP chairman. “More importantly, we've got all the right activities occurring that need to occur to get us in front of the right prospective audience to present Toledo in its best light and attract those industries that might not have otherwise given us consideration,” he said.
“We are getting good results outside the area with very little resources to do it,” Mr. Reichle said.
The annual meeting, held at the Radisson hotel at the University of Toledo’s Health Science Campus, formerly the Medical College of Ohio, was attended by about 250 people.
Dean Monske, president and CEO of the RGP, said the organization in 2013 was involved in 67 projects in its 17-county northwest Ohio territory, and those projects produced more than 2,000 jobs and nearly $2 billion in capital investment.
Mr. Reichle said the level of the RGP’s involvement in those projects varies. “We run the JobsOhio program in this part of the state, and we have our own internal scoring for these projects,” he said.
JobsOhio and others have involvement, “but I think you can say that but for the RGP’s role in these transactions or opportunities they wouldn’t have happened. We act in combination with JobsOhio in these job retention and expansion projects.”
During the meeting, Kevin Sauder, president of Sauder Woodworking, credited the RGP with helping to assemble a funding, job training, and tax credits incentives package so the Archbold-based furniture company could expand its operation to produce more products for furniture retailer Ikea. The deal is expected to create 150 new jobs and will result in an investment of $13 million in equipment.
The meeting also featured a presentation by David Mustine, managing director of JobsOhio, who discussed the growth of the shale energy industry in eastern Ohio.
Fred Deichert of Midwest Terminals, which manages several docks at the Port of Toledo, discussed a recent agreement to build and operate a condensate stabilization facility in Cadiz, Ohio, which could result in further growth for the Toledo operations to move gas from shale through the port facilities.
“It was all about a way to focus on activities that could help capture some Utica shale economic activity, which most of us heretofore thought was happening somewhere else in the state and not here,” Mr. Reichle said.
— Jon Chavez