David Stratton column: A framework for continued success


David Stratton - Guest Column



Lima is in the headlines and it is a reason to celebrate the achievements of the business community.

Site Selection magazine recently named Lima as one of the Top 10 Metropolitans in the nation for 2019. To be exact, Lima was ranked sixth in the Tier 3 category, which includes cities with a population of less than 200,000.

It is the first time the Lima/Allen County region has made the list in the nation’s premier magazine for site selection and economic development. We are grouped with cities such as Sioux City, Iowa; Bowling Green, Kentucky.; and Midland, Texas.

Projects meeting one of three metrics qualified a city for the ranking: at least $1 million in investment; the expansion of an existing facility of at least 20,000 square feet; or the creation of at least 20 new jobs. Lima registered 10 such projects.

Our team at Allen Economic Development Group (AEDG) works collaboratively with our partners from the county and city, Regional Growth Partnership, and the team of JobsOhio to bring capital investment and job creation to this area. Most important are our private businesses, which continue to take risks and make investments in this region. We applaud these businesses.

Lima/Allen County is home to companies from a variety of sectors, sizes, and structures. We have satellite locations in manufacturing, business, and health care for top tier companies such as Proctor & Gamble, Husky, Nutrien, Mercy Health, and Ford Motor Company. These companies have offered quality employment for decades and their capital investments indicate they are dedicated to prospering in our area.

We also host corporate headquarters for companies doing business in multiple counties and states, such as Rudolph Foods, Lima Memorial, K&M Tire, and Wannemacher Logistics. And just as impressive, we have a tremendous stock of homegrown companies led by our friends and neighbors who are driven by their entrepreneurial spirit. Some of those that have invested more recently in Lima/Allen County are Quality Welding & Fabrication, Vetter Lumber, and Krendl Machine.

In addition, we also are fortunate to have niche industries that have had a presence in our region for decades. This includes the unique private/public partnership of Joint Systems, a cooperative between General Dynamics and the U.S. Department of Defense.

The companies mentioned above have been cornerstone businesses for years, but let’s not forget our small independent business owners who are the heartbeat of the economy. These companies add value to our community.

AEDG members meet with leaders from business of all sizes to hear about production expansion, workforce challenges, and outside threats. It is through these regular visits that we build relationships and learn more about what is or isn’t working. These visits enable us to assist companies to find grant dollars or loan programs for new infrastructure, training assistance, equipment, or a site for a new location.

Our goal for 2020 is to conduct 100 business visits, facilitate 20 business development projects and assist in 20 economic development projects. We also have an additional goal of attracting 10 new businesses to Lima/Allen County. We call it our 100 20/20 plus 10 campaign and it is the motivating force of the AEDG team.

The diversity of our economic base allows for prosperity when conditions are ideal and provides us with security when the business climate is faltering. Without a doubt the business community has challenges that they face every day. The impact of the coronavirus and the indeterminate political climate fosters uncertainty. However, we believe our region has a framework for continued success.

In the end, we are Lima/Allen County. A people with resolve. When we unite, we can be successful in the years ahead. We are determined to be a valuable asset to our community and we look forward to a vibrant future. We will press on together.

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David Stratton

Guest Column

David Stratton is President/CEO of the Allen County Economic Development Group. Reach him at strattond@aedg.org

David Stratton is President/CEO of the Allen County Economic Development Group. Reach him at strattond@aedg.org

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