LIMA — A meeting was held Tuesday evening by members of the Port Authority Board of Allen County to elect the chairman of the board of directors.
Phil Buell, president and CEO of Superior Federal Credit Union, has been elected the new chairman by a unanimous decision by the newly reconstituted Board of the Port Authority. Herbert A. Schumm, vice president of medical affairs at St. Rita’s Medical Center, was elected vice chairman and Barry Hardy, of Hardy Financial Group, was elected secretary and fiscal officer.
With Buell being elected as chairman, coupled with the addition of several new board members, he recognizes the work that needs to be done to secure economic prosperity and longevity in Allen County.
“The board represents a cross section of interests in Allen County,” Buell said. “We are expected to play an active role in helping the Port Authority retain and create jobs in our region.”
With port authorities now having broad legal definitions, these bodies of government will now be primarily used as a window to broad, open economic development functions as opposed to only being managers of water ports and airports. Jerry Arkebauer, executive director of the Port Authority of Allen County, recognizes the importance of the port authority’s flexibilities heading into the future.
“We are in the process of establishing new bylaws that will allow the port authority to be flexible in the types of business and revenue streams we can bring to the county,” Arkebauer said. “There are many tools and resources that we could be tapping into as a community and it is our job to recognize these opportunities and to take advantage of them.”
The Port Authority can now lease and finance land, building and equipment for credit-worthy companies, nonprofits and other governmental units. While maritime commerce was the initial purpose for port authorities, the state law governing port authorities has been broadened significantly to include transportation, economic development, housing, recreation, education, governmental operations, culture or research.
With port authorities tapped into exploring new methods of economic development, Buell recognizes the importance of having an executive director such as Arkebauer to lead the charge in attracting new businesses to the area.
“Although we have had a Port Authority for more than 30 years, the board believes Arkebauer can help us use the agency in many more ways then we have in the past,” Buell said. “He has the experience we need to lead us the direction we think we should be taking at the time.”