Code-A-Thon teaches teens tech skills

We connect the dots

The Sandusky County Engineers Office is partnering with Microsoft locally to host a free STEAM outreach event January 25-27, 2019 at Terra State Community College in Fremont, Ohio.

The Back to School Code-A-Thon is a FREE 48 hour program that gives students an opportunity to use technology, research, and collaborate to address issues and problems confronting the human race on a global scale. Students will work together to learn to code HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, while learning to use tools like GitHub to build a website that reflects their ideas and commitment to problem solving. Prizes are available for the teams that create the top three projects in their location! This is an international event, and students will be able to speak, work, and learn with other students around
the world via live video, web, and telecommunication technology! Returning students will have the opportunity to learn more advanced JavaScript, and advanced Web Development using React.

• Learn web development in a collaborative environment
• Meet students from around the nation
• Find solutions to real global problems using technology

This event will occur simultaneously with other locations internationally and a maximum of 50 kids locally will be taught basic coding skills using web-based software that they can continue to access post-event.

Locations Include:
New York: Westbury, WCTD
Pennsylvania: Darby, Penn Wood Middle School,
Ohio: Fremont, Terra State Community College
North Carolina: Charlotte, Queens University

This program is open to any student 13-18 years-old with a willingness to learn, work collaboratively, and who has a desire to address real global issues for the betterment of all mankind. If you are such a student, please join us for this event. Students will stay on
site throughout the 48 hour program. You may select your location when you register.

For information about the event visit http://we-connect-the-dots.org or contact the team via email events@we-connect-the-dots.org or by calling (631) 468-7475. Slots are still available for students, volunteers, and sponsors.

Oliver named state director of the year

Press release provided by the office of the Seneca County Commissioners

KathyOliver.jpgSeneca County Department of Job and Family Services Director Kathy Oliver was named Ohio’s DJFS Director of the Year Friday by the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors’ Association.

Oliver, who has been the county’s director since June 2003, was given the award Friday at the OJFSDA Annual Recognition Banquet in Columbus.

“It is an absolute honor and blessing,” Oliver said. “There are so many talented, skilled and innovative directors in Ohio. I consider myself fortunate to get to work with them on various committees, task forces and work groups.”

The award recognizes a director who, through dedicated efforts throughout their career, exemplify the professional qualities and achievements of an outstanding director. OJFSDA received nominations for director of the year through the end of October.

As part of Oliver’s nomination, other directors and staff members recognized Oliver for her hard work. The letter she received informing her that she was selected as director of the year states, “your commitment to the residents of your county, as well as your involvement in the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors’ Association, is greatly appreciated. Your peers described you as open, kind, hard-working and a steadfast advocate for the well-being of your customers. It is fitting and with great honor that we recognize you for all your dedication to your agency, community and the entire job and family service system.”

Oliver credited DJFS staff for allowing the department to succeed.

“We are successful because of our staff’s commitment to helping individuals and families with the services we provide,” she said. “We have skilled, talented and trained staff. We are fortunate that we have an excellent workforce who constantly adapts to new rules and regulations to provide the best service possible. We also work with amazing community partners that are interested in finding solutions and implementing best practices.”

Ginger Mack, of Seneca County DJFS, said she was happy Oliver received the recognition.
“Kathy is a respected leader in our agency, community and the state,” she said. “I don’t know anyone who is more deserving of this award.”

Seneca County Commissioner Shayne Thomas said Oliver deserves the award.

“Seneca County is proud to have Kathy Oliver leading our JFS agency,” he said. “Her guidance has led to best practices being implemented across our system, this is reflected in recent outstanding audits from the state of Ohio. We are thankful that she continues to serve some of our most in need populations.

Oliver said many changes and improvements have been made during her time as director.

“We started electronic imaging shortly after I became the director,” she said. “That project freed up space for offices for our staff instead of having file rooms. We also created an agency database that holds all types of documents, guidance and rules for ease of our workers to quickly find what they need to do their job.”

Oliver also said two call centers have been implemented to provide better customer service.

“There is a call center for public assistance and one for child support. Both have less than a minute wait time. We have also implemented a human resources software, which allows us to efficiently process payroll and electronically submit it to the auditor’s office,” she said.

Oliver said 2018 has been a busy year for Seneca County DJFS.

“We are implementing state-wide imaging solutions for public assistance, child care, child protection and child support,” she said. “Also, we completed the transition to the state-wide public assistance system called Ohio Benefits. We have been part of many committees locally and in the state to better serve our families in Seneca County, by creating sound policy, systems and solutions. We continue to develop leaders within our staff by participating in Seneca County Leadership with some of our staff.”
Oliver said other strides are being made in the child support program, in the workforce program and in several others.

“In the child support program, we are in the process of preparing to implement new state legislation which provided technical fixes and update to the child support guideline,” she said, adding that the changes will be implemented in March 2019. “In the Workforce program, we just completed work as part of a team with economic development, the chamber, local employers, community partners and Tiffin University for the 2018 manufacturing showcase event. Over ten schools and 750 students participated in learning about jobs in manufacturing here in Seneca County. We were also one of the first apprenticeship programs with employers in Ohio as part of Area 7. We continue to assist individuals with training and on-the-job training needs.”

Oliver also said many families have been helped with winter clothing through a partnership with local retail stores.

“We have also been able to help families with training, car repairs, gas vouchers, heating and other services to help families who are eligible,” she said.

Heidelberg Announces USDA Rural Development Loan

Press release provided by Heidelberg University.

Heidelberg University LogoTIFFIN – Heidelberg University is proud to announce the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded a $36.5 million low-interest Rural Development loan to support a variety of campus initiatives directed at improving the student experience. The loan is designed to refinance existing debt to better position Heidelberg for long-term economic expansion and improve student housing, student learning facilities and student recruitment operations. Construction will begin soon on the restoration and renovation of historic France Residence Hall to integrate a living and learning community for approximately 70 female students and faculty. Several classroom spaces will also be improved to support new and existing academic programs.

President Rob Huntington states the USDA award is critical for success, “This loan assists our effort to make Heidelberg more financially stable, address student learning needs and greatly enhance student living and engaging spaces.” He adds, “Nearly $20 million dollars will be invested to drive our Academic Strategic Plan, support a living and learning community and create a unique greeting for the Office of Admission that will set the tone for an exceptional and persuasive visit experience for prospective students and their families. We are tremendously grateful to all elected officials in the city of Tiffin and Seneca County who continue to help us process this USDA loan. The loan helps us to restructure our debt and to renovate living and learning spaces on campus to better position Heidelberg in the very competitive higher education marketplace.”

The addition and upgrades to over 300 residential units is a major element in Heidelberg’s Residential Living Plan Vision. Chris Abrams, Dean of Student Affairs, states, “New student townhouse apartments will offer housing options and lifestyle flexibility for upper-class students. The improvements to France Hall and Miller Hall will provide students with modern amenities to help integrate living and learning opportunities.”

The Student & Community Welcome Center will create a “front door” at the East Market Street entrance to the campus. This 10,000-square-foot, two-story facility will house the Office of Admission and become home for the new Town Gown Bookstore. As part of Heidelberg’s Strategic Action Plan, which focuses on transformation, improvement and growth, the University aspires to not only maintain the current undergraduate population but to grow beyond it. The new bookstore will be open and inviting to the entire Tiffin community. Simultaneously, Heidelberg will move the Owen Academic and Career Support Center to the location of the current bookstore to create a larger and more accessible space to support student success.

Kathy Geier, Heidelberg University’s Board Chair agrees, “As Heidelberg University continues to grow, this loan positions us to provide quality facilities and programs for students and faculty. Refinancing, with a better interest rate on our debt, will result in savings. President Huntington and his team did an outstanding job over the course of the last 18 months to secure this loan and Heidelberg’s future.”

Seneca Wind Introduces Office in Tiffin

sPower-Logo_onWhite.jpgsPower Opens Seneca County Headquarters at 23 Court Street

Press release provided by sPower

Joined by Seneca County residents, business leaders and elected officials, sPower cut the ribbon on an office for the Seneca Wind project in downtown Tiffin that will be open to the public during designated hours, five days a week. sPower encourages people to visit the office at 23 Court Street for information about Seneca Wind or to leave comments or questions about the project.

“Today we make it official that Seneca Wind is a long-term member of this outstanding community,”  said Gordon Gray, director of wind for sPower. “We thank the residents and community leaders who have welcomed us, and we invite everyone to visit our office and engage with us.”

The Seneca Wind office will be staffed by Cynthia Beat, a resident of Attica, and will be open during the following hours:

  • Monday, 9 a.m. – noon
  • Tuesday, 9 a.m. – noon
  • Wednesday, 2 – 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, 9 a.m. – noon
  • Friday, 9 a.m. – noon

“I welcome sPower to our downtown community – another success in the efforts to revitalize the courthouse square area,” Seneca County Commissioner Shayne Thomas said. “Representatives from sPower made several commitments to the commissioners. One of them was to have a staffed local office in downtown Tiffin. I thank them for keeping that pledge. This move demonstrates their long-term commitment to the county and their promise to be accessible to concerned citizens. sPower’s small local office will grow into hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment across the county.”

The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) is reviewing sPower’s application for a 212 megawatt wind farm. sPower is seeking a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need as part of a comprehensive public review process.

In September, the State of Ohio certified Seneca Wind as a Qualified Energy Project, establishing a fixed payment in lieu of taxes throughout the operational life of the project. Based on the proposed 212 megawatts of nameplate capacity and the 30-year expected lifetime of the project, this will result in $56 million of revenue from sPower to be divided among schools, townships and other taxing jurisdictions in Seneca County. The Qualified Energy Project program also creates requirements for in-state employment, renewable energy education, road improvement and repair, and emergency response training.

Seneca Wind will consist of up to 85 wind turbines on approximately 25,000 acres of privately leased land in Scipio, Reed, Venice, Eden and Bloom townships, providing enough clean energy to power almost 60,000 homes each year.

About sPower: sPower, an AES and AIMCo company, is the largest private owner of operating solar assets in the United States. sPower owns and operates a portfolio of solar and wind assets greater than 1.3 gigawatts and has a development pipeline of more than 13 gigawatts. sPower is owned by a joint venture partnership between The AES Corporation (NYSE: AES), a worldwide energy company headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, and the Alberta Investment Management Corporation, one of Canada’s largest and most diversified institutional investment fund managers. For more information, visit www.sPower.com. To learn more about the Seneca Wind project, visit www.SenecaWind.com.

 

Tiffin University to launch its first Ph.D. Program

DSCF6126.jpgPress release provided by Tiffin University

TIFFIN UNIVERSITY, Tiffin, OH—Tiffin University will launch its first Ph.D. Program beginning fall semester 2019.

The degree, Global Leadership and Change, was approved by the Institutional Actions Council of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) at its meeting on Dec. 4, 2018.

“This exciting step forward is in line with our commitment to Celebrating Cultural Uniqueness (CCU),” said TU President Dr. Lillian Schumacher. “CCU builds global and cultural appreciation into our institutional DNA and the word global is not limited to international, ethnicity or race. It also includes differences in gender, religion, region, financial situation, sexual orientation, or physical ability—all elements that shape a person’s worldview,” she said.

“Global leaders are critical,” Schumacher continued, “especially in today’s complex and volatile political environment. Students who enroll in our Ph.D. program can expect to earn an education focused on leadership theory and practice that is inclusive of understanding, working with, and respecting others who are different from us. Providing this level of knowledge and ability sets TU apart from many other institutions of higher learning.”

Global Leadership and Change was developed with the adult professional in mind,” said Dr. Kenneth Rauch, Director of the Ph.D. Program. “It was designed with a curriculum to recognize the challenges and tremendous opportunities within today’s cross-cultural work environment. Practitioners in leadership roles in today’s business and educational environments have often been excluded by the traditional delivery of Ph.D. programs and extensive residency requirements within these programs. TU’s degree is offered within the online format and features limited residency requirements. Flexibility and the relational approach of faculty engagement allow students to work independently, but never alone.”

“It is imperative to gain as much exposure to other cultures and different perspectives as possible,” said Dr. Peter Holbrook, Provost. “Learning about how people in different cultures think, communicate, and achieve results will advance any career. It is TU’s intention to provide that learning environment for all of its students; especially those who enroll in this exciting new program.”

For more information about TU’s Global Leadership and Change Ph.D. program, contact Dr. Kenneth Rauch at rauchk@tiffin.edu .

About TIFFIN UNIVERSITY
Founded in 1888, TU has become a premier university for challenging students to enhance their global competencies for success in a diverse world. The University enrolls students in undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Tiffin, Ohio, at several locations in Ohio, online, and in several foreign countries. The campus at Tiffin is a blend of traditional historic and modern buildings, creating a vibrant and warm home for a culturally diverse educational community. Throughout its history, TU has maintained its dedication to providing a professionally focused, learning-centered education to prepare students for successful careers and for productive and satisfying lives of excellence, leadership, and service. Tiffin University’s faculty offers a unique combination of practical application with scholarly knowledge. The TU approach to learning and skill set development insists on connecting students to the workplace as soon, and as often, as possible during their college experience through internships.

Nick Dutro named development manager of TSEP

Dutro brings 10 years of community experience

IMG_2639TIFFIN, OHIO – December 9, 2018 – The Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership is pleased to announce that after a three-month, national search, Nick Dutro has been hired for the position of development manager. Dutro is a Tiffin resident and brings 10 years of experience at The Advertiser-Tribune, working with community members, leaders and companies. Dutro will begin January 2, 2019.

The selection was the result of an extensive three-month recruitment process. “We spent several months doing our due diligence, narrowing a field of 38 applicants to find the right candidate for the role,” TSEP President & CEO David Zak said. “We are very excited to have Nick on board and look forward to working with him on the many active development projects and initiatives in Tiffin and Seneca County.”

Dutro is eager to get started. “Seneca County has been home for most of my life. I look forward to working with the team at TSEP on the frontlines to continue to grow this wonderful community,” he said.

Nick Dutro has been employed as an award-winning journalist and editor with The Advertiser-Tribune (Tiffin, Ohio) and The Northern Review (Ada, Ohio) since 2005, with additional experience in online and in-person sales. In his role at The Advertiser-Tribune, Dutro developed strong working relationships with government officials and business leaders, and the economic momentum of the past few years, along with projects like the “Road to Resurgence”–a 30-page look back at our community’s growth since the turn of the century (2000-2015)–fueled his interest in and passion for economic development. A graduate of Ohio Northern University, Dutro also successfully participated in Leadership Seneca County in 2011.

TSEP Board Chair Lynn Detterman is confident in the outcome of the search. “We are excited about TSEP’s selection of Nick Dutro as our next development manager, and we know he will help us make a positive difference in the Tiffin-Seneca County community,” she said.

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership
Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio, which consistently ranks among the top communities nationally for economic development. Learn more about the great things going on in Tiffin and Seneca County at http://www.tiffinseneca.com.

ODSA offers global trade missions to grow businesses through export

ohio export assistance

The Ohio Development Services Agency has released a list of three global trade missions scheduled for early 2019 as part of their Export Assistance programming, in partnership with Small Business Development Centers.

From the ODSA:

Ohio companies exported more than $50 billion in products and services in 2017. The Ohio Development Services Agency wants to help you open foreign markets for your business.  The agency is partnering with regional Small Business Development Centers to offer three trade missions in March and April 2019. Register now to make sure you don’t miss out on these unique opportunities.

Upcoming Trade Missions:
Thailand-Vietnam Trade Mission
March 22-30
Registration Deadline: January 11, 2019
Mission Participation Fee: $1,000

Target markets include, but are not limited to, industrial or electrical machinery and equipment, automotive parts and accessories, iron and steel products, optic and medical equipment, plastics products, chemicals and hardwood lumber.

Brazil-Colombia Trade Mission
March 23-30
Registration Deadline: January 22, 2019
Mission Participation Fee: $1,500

Target markets include, but are not limited to, construction equipment for public roads and airports, transportation services and mass transit systems.

Germany Trade Mission
April 1-10
Registration Deadline: December 7, 2018
Mission Participation Fee: $1,500

Target markets include, but are not limited to, technology/med-tech, energy systems, innovative supply solutions, consulting, metalworking and instrumentation. This mission includes participation in Hannover Messe.

Mission participation fees include resources to support your business in foreign regions:

  • In-advance market research – to prepare your business for the countries’ markets and buyers.
  • One-on-one business matchmaking – for in-person networking and business opportunities.
  • Extensive in-country assistance – including logistical and translation assistance.

For details and to register, email Thien Bui at  Thien.Bui@development.ohio.gov

Tiffin manufacturer Agrati announces $1.6M expansion

Company to continue investment through 2019

agrati logoTIFFIN, OHIO – November 25, 2018 – The Agrati Group, a global manufacturer of fasteners for automotive companies, has announced completing its investment of $1.6 million in industrial machinery, equipment, and renovations at the Airport Industrial Park facility in Tiffin, creating 10 new jobs and bringing the total number of jobs at the Tiffin plant to 66. The project took place throughout calendar year 2018, and the company looks to consider possible additional investment next year.

The Tiffin plant was previously Jacobson Manufacturing which was acquired by ContMidGroup in 2014, which was in turn acquired by the Agrati Group in 2016. It is now one of 12 Agrati production facilities worldwide and two in Ohio. The facility primarily focuses on cold forming, tapping and thread rolling auto and truck wheel nuts, as well as a variety of tubular products, produced through fully automated welding and assembly. The facility was last expanded in 2013 with the addition of a 40,000 square foot building.

Agrati Plant Manager Casey Poignon commented: “This investment allowed us to expand our operations in Tiffin and we look toward future investment,” he said. “We have a great workforce, and we appreciate the support of JobsOhio, RGP Northwest Ohio, the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership, OhioMeansJobs, and other partners in facilitating this and future projects.”

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz applauded the company’s continued investment in the community. “Since their entry into the Tiffin market, with the purchase of the Jacobson/ConMidGroup plant, Agrati has been a great community partner and I look forward to the additional investment and jobs they will bring to the city.”

About The Agrati Group
The Agrati Group, which was established in 1939, is currently one of the leading global manufacturers of fastening systems in the automotive component sector. With over 2,600 employees worldwide, the Agrati Group has 12 production sites, 12 sales and application offices and five logistics centers located in Europe, the US and China. Each year, the Group acquires about 160,000 tons of steel and manufactures about eight billion pieces (bolts, special screws, nuts and advanced form parts). Headquartered in Veduggio, Italy, the Group is controlled by the family holding company whose major shareholder is Cesare Agrati.

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership
Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio, which consistently ranks among the top communities nationally for economic development. Learn more about the great things going on in Tiffin and Seneca County at http://www.tiffinseneca.com.

YMCA of Bucyrus-Tiffin announces Charles Ardner as new President & CEO

Ardner Brings Extensive Experience in Not for Profit Administration

 Press release provided by the YMCA of Bucyrus-Tiffin

Ardner, Charles headshotTIFFIN, OHIO NOVEMBER 21, 2018– The YMCA of Bucyrus-Tiffin announced today that Charles “Buster” Ardner will serve as the new Chief Executive Officer, effective January 14th. He will succeed Steve Crone who served as CEO for 10 years and left at the end of July.

Buster Ardner currently serves as Assistant Vice President for Finance and Auxiliary Services at Tiffin University, a position he has held since 2011, and has more than 20 years of experience in not for profit administration. He has also served 14 years on the Tiffin YMCA Board. His impressive track record of executing significant initiatives that seek to improve Tiffin University and his dedication to volunteerism with the YMCA make him an ideal choice to lead the YMCA of Bucyrus-Tiffin.

Ardner was chosen in a national search, conducted in part with Y-USA. A six-member search committee, composed of YMCA board members and Y members representing both Bucyrus and Tiffin, chose Ardner after an in-depth, six-month search process.

“We are privileged to welcome Buster Ardner to the YMCA in the role of CEO,” said Kim Radison, chair of the CEO search committee. “Buster has dedicated more than 10 years to the YMCA in a volunteer capacity, led us through a major capital campaign and the merger with the Bucyrus Area YMCA as Board Chair, and brings a wealth of experience in non-profit management from his 20-year career with Tiffin University. He is more than capable to fill this role and we are excited to bring him on as our new CEO.”

“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead an organization that has such a meaningful impact on the lives of those in our communities,” said Buster. “I look forward to continuing that vital work and adding to the success that Steve Crone and his staff have built at our YMCA’s.”

Ardner earned his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration at Tiffin University.

About the YMCA
The mission of the YMCA of Bucyrus-Tiffin is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that help healthy spirit, mind and body for all. With a focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y nurtures the potential of every youth and teen, improves Bucyrus and Tiffin’s health and well-being and provides opportunities to give back and support neighbors.

Terra State Community College to continue Workforce Demand Scholarship

2019 High School Graduates Given Tuition Free Option

Terra Legacy of Learning.jpgPress release provided by Terra State Community College

Fremont, Ohio, November 16, 2018 – Terra State Community College has announced that it will once again offer the Workforce Demand Scholarship that will provide 2019 high school graduates the opportunity to attend class tuition free if they are pursuing a career in a high-demand job field. In addition to an education, students will also gain a guaranteed work-based experience.

The Workforce Demand Scholarship is available to students pursuing the following degrees:

  • Accounting
  • Agribusiness Management
  • Business Management
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Health Information Technology
  • Hospitality Management
  • Interactive Media
  • Manufacturing Technology
  • Music Technology and Recording Arts
  • Power and Controls (Electricity)
  • Power Technologies (includes Automotive)
  • Robotics/Integrated Manufacturing Technology
  • Systems and Network Support
  • Welding Technology

“Students have many options upon graduation,” says Kristen Lindsay, Interim Assistant Vice President of Student and Enrollment Services. “At Terra State, we offer an affordable scholarship opportunity to complete a degree and directly enter a high-demand career. Ohio has a goal to increase the post-secondary level attainment of adults in the state. We are contributing to that goal by offering an academic path that promotes both degree completion along with reducing college costs for graduating seniors.”

The Workforce Demand Scholarship will pay the gap between the cost of tuition and general fees and state and federal grants received by the student. “For example,” Lindsay says, “At Terra State, the current cost of tuition and general fees for the fall and spring semesters is $4926. If a student receives a Pell grant in the amount of $2000, along with other scholarships totaling $1000, your scholarship is the difference in the amount and would be $1296. Books and other fees are not covered by the scholarship.”

To qualify, a student must be enrolled full time (twelve or more credit hours) for the fall and spring semesters and part time (six or more credit hours) for the summer semester. Students who are awarded the Workforce Demand Scholarship will be provided the opportunity to participate in a work-based experience with an employer in Terra State’s service area.

To apply for the scholarship, applicants must:

“Recipients of the Workforce Demand Scholarship need to enroll full-time at Terra State and they must attend consecutive fall and spring terms with summer enrollment remaining an option,” Lindsay points out. “Students are also required to maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average and achieve a course completion rate of 68%.” Recipients forfeit all benefits if they stop taking classes or drop below full-time status.

For more information on the Workforce Demand Scholarship, interested persons can call 419.559.2349 or email admissions@terra.edu.

Terra State Community College is a two-year accredited, state-supported, residential college located in Fremont, Ohio. Terra State has a long history of service to the community and providing students with an education that is both accessible and affordable. Terra State offers twenty-two Applied Degrees and Certificates to students.