Gary Locke, Kent’s Community Development Director, let me know that Cambria Manufacturing has been talking with the staff in more detail about their site plan for their new Kent facility. You may recall that last summer Cambria announced their plans to spend $4 million in Kent to build a new manufacturing plant. They could have chosen to locate anywhere but they choose Kent because of it’s ideal location for access to the mid-west, mid-atlantic and northeast markets. Sometimes location is everything and it seems that Ohio is increasingly becoming the selection of choice for new company locations — and the new business activity in northeast Ohio in particular is a big reason why Ohio came out on top of Site Selection’s magazine as the national leader in new business growth.
The following article was posted on the Advance Northeast Ohio website.
Region Leads as Ohio Takes the Top Spot
Thu, 03/06/2008 – 10:50 — cthompson
For the second year in a row, Site Selection magazine awarded its Governor’s Cup award to Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland.
Here’s the opening to the magazine’s cover story:
Ohio’s second consecutive Governor’s Cup is proof positive that manufacturing-intensive states can diversify their economies and retool their labor supplies enough to win Site Selection’s annual corporate-facilities race. … The Governor’s Cup goes to the state with the most new or expanded capital projects the previous year as tracked by Site Selection publisher Conway Data Inc.’s New Plant database.
Last year, Team NEO’s business attraction efforts, in partnership with the region’s chambers, generated more than $45 million in new payroll for the region. Northeast Ohio accounted for 61% of Ohio’s total new jobs – more than 12,000 total, while also comprising 36% of Ohio’s economy. Northeast Ohio wins in 2007 include: TeleTech, PCC Airfoils, ValueCare Pharmacy, Quadex and many others.
And according to Dan Colantone of the Great Akron Chamber, The Akron metro area, never previously ranked, came in second in metros of 200,000 to 1 million in population in the number of economic development projects last year, having finished 29 projects in 2007. The top performers, in order, were Greensboro-High Point, N.C.; Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb./Iowa, and Akron, Ohio (tied for second); Wichita, Kan., and Dayton, Ohio (tied for fourth). Wooster was ranked third among smaller communities.
While Lt Governor Lee Fisher and the many local and regional economic development officials around the state are the foot soldiers in the trenches, Governor Strickland says his role is to set the record straight with respect to Ohio’s strengths, especially in challenging economic times.
“Ohio has been described by some as a ‘flyover state,’ but people who understand all that we have to offer see it as a desirable place to be,” he notes, pointing to the state’s diverse work force, reasonable cost of living, physical and transportation infrastructure, health care and higher-education resources and location ideally suited for distribution and logistics operations.
“The fact that tax reform was passed by a Republican governor and legislature and is now embraced by a Democratic governor says there is predictability and stability in terms of our business climate,” says Strickland. “We are emphasizing education and work-force training and development in Ohio in a huge way. I have frozen college tuition in the state for the next two years, and we are putting $100 million into a grant program to enable capable students to pursue careers in science and technology,” he adds. “And we are in the midst of a major push to make Ohio a leader among the states in terms of quality of education and to make college more accessible.”
From his vantage point, says Strickland, “Economic development is likely to occur where there is a positive business climate in terms of taxation, an emphasis on education at every level, including work-force development, and where the corporate and political interests are working together to make Ohio attractive. I hope 2008 is a year in which we continue to compete strongly and that we are having this discussion a year from now with yet another Governor’s Cup.”
Everybody, especially businesses looking for places to expand, want to be a part of a winner — so it’s great to see that Ohio’s hard work in economic development is paying off. Despite the news stories of business closures, there’s a lot of new business growth going on in Ohio and we’re working hard to position Kent to be able to take advantage of it.