LIMA — Greg Stolly thinks Allen County government needs an experienced businessman at the helm, so when Commissioner Jay Begg confirmed his retirement last fall, Stolly decided it was time for him to throw his name in as a potential replacement.
“I wouldn’t be running for this position if it were not for this vacancy,” Stolly said. “I’ve thought about doing it, but I thought they were doing a great job. I’m stepping in because I feel there’s a need right now.”
Stolly is leaning on his decades of business experience to help him through the GOP primary.
Stolly is a graduate of Lima Central Catholic and the University of Northwestern Ohio. He jokes that he earned his master’s degree when he opened a sporting goods store around age 20.
Stolly has held many titles: vice president of public relations and marketing for the University of Northwestern Ohio; owner of The Ohio State Beauty Academy; volunteer with the Knights of Columbus.
He even founded his own marketing agency and is now a commercial realtor with Real Living CCR Realtors, selling everything from strip malls and empty lots to apartment complexes and office buildings.
There’s a saying in real estate, Stolly said, that persistence knows no failure. He wants to bring that philosophy to county government.
“You just have to keep knocking on doors until you land people,” he said.
Stolly would bring a business mindset to the position. While he’s conservative, he’s not opposed to spending money when there is a return on investment.
“My philosophy is you run government much like you run your house,” Stolly said. “Even though it looks like there’s a ton of money coming in right now, you have to plan for when times do get tough.”
Stolly has made those tough decisions before. But he sees a lot of potential in Allen County.
A tough decision hanging over the Allen County commissioners is maintenance of the county’s properties. Stolly said he’s open to new ideas, acknowledging that becoming commissioner would be a discovery process for someone who spent 40-plus years in the private sector.
There are some properties the county needs to maintain, Stolly said, but there might be possibilities to divest. He said Memorial Hall is one example, should the county ever find a buyer with the capital and business plan to preserve the property rather than let it fall idle.
“One of the challenges for me is that I’m used to moving at the pace of business,” Stolly said. “But I’ll learn that. I’m pretty confident that I’ll do well with that.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.