LIMA — Leadership changes are forthcoming at the Greater Lima Region Inc., a privately funded economic development agency founded to foster regional collaboration and growth in Lima and the eight-county region.
Jeff Sprague, who has headed the GLR since its inception in 2018, will depart the organization in mid-August as he assumes a new role with the Regional Growth Partnership, a regional network partner with JobsOhio.
Sprague has guided much of Allen County’s economic development since 2013, when he became president of the Allen Economic Development Group. He served as president of both the AEDG and GLR for six months before focusing solely on the GLR in June 2018.
GLR’s current vice president of communication and business development, Doug Olsson, will take over as president and CEO when Sprague leaves next month.
“(I) appreciate the time I got to spend in the creation of the GLR,” Sprague said during a press conference on Thursday. “The Visionaries have always been an integral part of our economic development effort and when that transition over to the GLR (occurred), it really took us up to the next level. I’m glad Doug has accepted the position.”
Olsson was publisher of The Lima News and vice president of its parent company, AIM Media Midwest, until May, when he joined the GLR as vice president of communication and business development. He served on the GLR’s board of directors prior to becoming an employee.
“The foundational work that Jeff (Sprague) has done is going to make this transition very easy,” Olsson said Thursday. “I’m excited to work with the board going forward. We’ve had a lot of deep conversations about our strategy and how we can drive economic development and investment through the region. I think we’ve got a solid plan to do that.”
Olsson said a regional approach to economic development is needed as Lima competes with cities like Toledo, Fort Wayne and Dayton for jobs and business investment.
But he said it will take time to facilitate collaboration within the eight-county region GLR claims, which includes Allen, Auglaize, Mercer, Van Wert, Paulding, Putnam, Hancock and Hardin counties.
“The majority of the work has occurred inside Allen County, but we have a solid plan to expand that effort,” Olsson said. “We’re just starting to engage others outside of Allen County.”
GLR board chairman Mike Swick, president and CEO of Lima Memorial Health System, said he expects a seamless transition and looks forward to collaborating with Sprague in his new role to bring jobs to the Lima region.
“Having an individual at the state level that has so much familiarity with our region is a plus,” Swick said in a press release announcing Sprague’s departure. “We’re pleased that Doug (Olsson) recently joined the GLR and will now assume the leadership role, which provides for a seamless transition in continuing our mission.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.