Volcanos & Values – TSEP Annual Address 2020

Here is the annual address I delivered last night (Feb. 27, 2020) at the Annual Meeting for the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership:

Introduction – The Trip to Nicaragua

So, last September my older brother Steve invited me to join him for a 25-kilometer trail run in Nicaragua called the Fuego Y Agua Endurance Race. He lives in Portland, Oregon and works throughout Central America, and because I wanted to strengthen our relationship, I said yes.

Understand, I am a relatively new runner. I recently got some orthodics, which have allowed me to run for the first time in more than 35 years. When he asked me to do the run, I had completed my first 10k and was training for my first 20k in November. 25k in February sounded very doable.

The November race went well as did another 30k race in early January, and I was feeling really good about things. Unfortunately, it was right at that time when I injured my right foot. I tried to recover, but when I went for a long training run two weeks later, I had a pain in my ankle. Something was definitely not right. I was supposed to be heading to Nicaragua in three weeks. And I had come to understand that the 25k trail run was really one of the most extreme races out there, an 18-mile run up and down the third highest volcano in Central America.

I went and got some x-rays. Fortunately, I didn’t have a fracture, and fortunately I then went to a sports doctor, and we came up with a treatment and training plant that fixed me I two weeks. Last Monday I got the green light to do the event, and I didn’t have any pain. I was thrilled.

Then, for some pretty legitimate reasons, my brother tells me that he can’t do the race. My partner Andria, who was going to come with me, and I had some strong concerns. We were relying on him to get a rental car. We don’t speak Spanish, and Nicaragua is a country the US Dept. of State advises not going to because of its civil unrest, crime, limited healthcare availability, and arbitrary enforcement of laws. We were more than a little concerned.

Since we had already paid for the plane tickets, though, we decided to go. I figured out the transportation logistics, and we made it to the island fine. Although Nicaragua was definitely a Third World country, Ometepe Island was beautiful, and the we people met were honest, hard-working, and hospitable. We felt safe.

On Saturday, race day arrived, and it started with two miles down the beautiful beach and five more along some hilly picturesque dirt and gravel roads. I made it to the aid station with a personal best time, feeling great.

After the aid station, I started up the volcano, and it kept getting steeper and steeper. Tons of rocks, boulders, roots and trees. After about two more hours, I was 2200’ feet up the side of the volcano (about halfway), and I got extremely fatigued and lightheaded. Andria, who decided not to run the race but to hike the volcano with a local guide, was on the same trail and caught up with me by dumb luck. I tried a number of strategies to recover, but it wasn’t long before I blacked out not once but twice.

As I lay down on the jungle trail trying to clear my head, Andria, her guide, a doctor from Vermont who was running the race and passed us on the trail, and one of the race directors told me I had heat exhaustion and I should stop. Reluctantly, I agreed. It was not going to be my day.

I was pretty disappointed, we headed down the volcano and walked another five miles back to the hotel. Despite not finishing the race – which was a first for me – Andria and I had an amazing adventure, and it provides a great backdrop for two key ideas I want to share tonight.

Big Idea 1 – Impacting Quality of Life

The first idea the trip highlighted for me was how private business, economic development, and organizations like TSEP make an impact on the quality of life of a place.

First, you understand that quality of life is driven by private investment and private jobs. All public facilities and services basically get paid for by taxes, which themselves directly or indirectly come from business taxes, private jobs, or public jobs paid for by those private tax dollars. 

Second, economic development increases quality of life, and economic development organizations help cause that economic development.

It is no coincidence that in Nicaragua, where there’s not much going on in the way of economic development, you have the poorest country in Central America. It’s also no coincidence that in Tiffin and rural Seneca County, where economic development is at an all-time high with more than 2,000 new jobs and half a billion dollars in new investment over the last six years, our quality of life continues to make significant improvements. To give you a sense of scale, we had more investment in our community in the last twelve months than the sum total of all the foreign direct investment into the entire country of Nicaragua for 2019. 

I also don’t believe it is a coincidence that in Nicaragua, there are no local economic development organizations, and I don’t believe that is a coincidence that in Tiffin and Seneca County there is both a strong, growing economy and a strong local economic, community, and downtown development organization like TSEP.

Clearly, local, regional, and state economic development organizations are not the only reason for the rise or decline of communities, but I do firmly believe they are a deciding factor, and I am proud of the work we do and the difference I believe we make. So, that was the first big takeaway from the trip for me – a renewed appreciation that businesses drive quality of life; economic development drives increases in that quality of life; and local economic development organizations drive economic development.

Big Idea 2 – Living Our Values

The second big idea I took away from this trip is that the way you do things matters, not just what you do or why you do it. One mantra I often say is that we want to do the right things, for the right reasons, in the right way.

But what does it mean to do what we do in the right way? At the last board strategic retreat in October, we articulated our five core values. These values are nothing new, but this is the first time we have it written down on paper and for the first time the board came to a unanimous consensus on what they are. The neat thing is that those values are not just our values, but values I believe this community exemplifies, and this trip brought those values into focus in ways I did not expect.

Value 1 – Collaboration

The first one is Collaboration, or the fundamental belief that more gets accomplished by working with others. It always takes longer and can sometimes be a pain, but it almost always produces a better and more long-lasting result. The only way I was successful in being able to run the race safely at all was my collaboration with doctors, my brother, and my partner. I wouldn’t have signed up for the race in the first place, been able to recover from injury leading up to it, have the courage to attempt it and the courage to stop without their counsel, advice, and feedback.

Collaboration has long been the hallmark of this community. Some immediate examples which come to my mind are the Seneca County Justice Center, All Patriots Memorial, Frost-Kalnow Stadium, Clouse-Kirian Leadership Park, East Green, the Joint Comprehensive Plan, and our Community Branding initiative. I think of the annexation agreements between Tiffin and the surrounding townships; the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center, Pathways to Prosperity; the 4CG initiative, OPWICS, DragonNext, the National Center for Water Quality Research, and even the large manufacturing projects we work on like MBDS and Church & Dwight. And there are many, many other examples. 

Indeed, the very change of our name from SIEDC to the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership expresses the core value of Collaboration for our organization and our community. In 2020, we will continue to broaden and deepen our collaboration with our city, village, township, regional, state and national partners.

And we will be putting collaboration to work in our various committees. TSEP now has 17 such committees, 14 of which have been launched or are ongoing, three more of which are to launch in the first half of this year, including 5 downtown committees, 5 operational committees, and 7 development committees. To find out more and become more involved, please contact any of the TSEP Team.

Value 2 – Innovation

Our second core value is Innovation, or the fundamental belief that you have to challenge the status quo and try new things, and you have to adopt new ideas and technologies in order to improve, progress and stay competitive. A lot of what I brought into the race was innovative for me – like my lightweight, carbon fiber trail running poles, my Salomon hydration pack, my Hoka trail running shoes and my Jeff Galloway run/walk approach. I wouldn’t have made it far without any of them.

Our community, too, has been innovating over the course of its history, and what first comes to mind are the Pan Yan tavern, National Machinery’s invention of cold forging, Tiffin Scenic Studios’ patents, the Pulaski tool invented in Green Springs, Taiho’s tribology, AFS’s sintering, Arnold Machine’s custom equipment, and Sutton Bank’s pre-paid card technology. I think of the Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group, Ironwood Steakhouse, ESOPs at Old Fort Bank and Webster Industries, Bailiwick’s coffee roasting, Ralph’s Joy of Living’s olive oils. I think of Heidelberg’s PlusOne program and TU’s PhD in Global Leadership, the PIVOT program, the Around the Town event, and Linda Rose and the County Parks outdoor education programs. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.

TSEP has also promoted innovation in our organizational structure and partnerships, in our design and implementation of the City-funded façade program; in our communications strategies; and in the various technologies we use internally.

To live out innovation his year, we will attend state and national conferences to learn about what new ideas we can potentially adapt and adopt. We will help create the first-ever Tiffin-Seneca entrepreneurship strategic plan. We will help facilitate the first Midland CEO entrepreneurship program in Ohio. We will continue to strengthen and expand our retention and expansion efforts. And we will revamp our website, improve our stakeholder management, and continue to develop our internal salesforce.com system.

Value 3 – Inclusion

The third core value is Inclusion, the idea that we need to make an intentional effort to make our work more accessible; to encourage more people with diverse backgrounds and points of view to participate; and to help create a more welcoming community with an increasing quality of life for all. The 150 or so people that ran this race were from all over the world, had different jobs or no job at all, were young and old, super athletes and amateurs. All of them welcomed Andria and me in as part of the Fuego Y Agua community. We shared stories about the toughness of the volcano, celebrated the success of those who made it, and affirmed those who didn’t but had been brave enough to make the attempt.

I think our Tiffin-Seneca community is more inclusive than most our size in Ohio and in the Midwest. Things that influence my opinion include our colleges and universities – the international students from more than 40 countries at TU and Heidelberg, the students from diverse backgrounds and ages at Terra, the PALS lecture series, Ohio’s first female lawyer, TU’s ICARE value of interdependence; and the International Cultural Center. I think of international companies like Agrati, Taiho, AFS, TMD, Carmeuse, Hanson Aggregates, and Palfinger. I think of Celebrity Basketball, Seneca Re-Ads, NOAH, the United Way, the Tiffin-Seneca Public Library, our Mental Health & Recovery Services Board, Crosswaeh, Oriana House, CRSI, and Seneca County Job & Family Services. I think of our diverse religious, service, and social organizations. And we continue to get more diverse and more inclusive.

In 2020, TSEP will be working to help launch the Tiffin-Seneca Japan Committee, to create a more welcoming environment not only for business but for the employees who come to work here and their families. Our Community Development Committee and staff will be orchestrating the development of a prioritized list of community development projects for the City of Tiffin and the orchestration of the application for $150,000 of Community Development Block Grant funding to assist the community in a number of areas, including assisting low-to-moderate income households. We will intentionally work to broaden the diversity of our membership, board, and committees. And we will launch a new community newsletter to share information with anyone and everyone about what is happening.

Value 4 – Fairness

The fourth value is Fairness. In Nicaragua, everyone had the same requirements, and everyone in each race distance started at the same time. There were no participation trophies, and I didn’t get a finisher’s medal. If you didn’t finish, you didn’t get one. Plain and simple. Everyone was treated the same.

In our work, fairness means that we provide our economic development services like project facilitation, site selection, resource assistance, and marketing to all legal businesses, entrepreneurs, and investors – regardless of size, regardless of industry, regardless of location within Tiffin or rural Seneca County, and regardless of whether or not the business contributes financially to us. Our litmus test is if that business, entrepreneur, and investor is going to invest capital or create and retain jobs we serve them. In fact, we are contractually bound to the City of Tiffin and to Seneca County to perform these services impartially, and we are to some extent legally bound by our 501c3 status as a charitable organization to help any business that will, either by its investment or its job creation, provide new and better opportunities for our residents. Although it is true that because of our contracts with the City and County, we do provide some geographically-specific services like downtown revitalization, community development, and rural economic development, within those boundaries we also impartial. 

In 2020, our new Policy Development committee will look at how the Tiffin-Seneca community, and this organization specifically, can maintain fairness, while at the same time doing what we can to ensure that the development we facilitate will have the desired effect of increasing quality of life and to continually work on clarifying what exactly increased quality of life means. And we will ensure through our metrics that we are reaching out to businesses in downtown Tiffin, Tiffin citywide, and in rural Seneca County.  

Value 5 – Excellence

Our fifth and last value is Excellence, the idea to do your best, learn from your mistakes, and improve; to never settle for average. In Nicaragua, I truly challenged myself physically and mentally, and I will become better as a result. 

Examples of excellence in Tiffin and Seneca County abound. A few examples I immediately think of are members of this community getting on state and national boards for their profession, including Tom Daniel, Bill Reineke, Aaron Montz, Julie Adkins, Mark Zimmerman, and our own Amy Reinhart. I think of awards and grants that people and companies win, like Taiho and AFS, Kathy Oliver, Vanguard-Sentinel, the Mental Health & Recovery Services Board, the Ritz Theatre, the City Engineer’s Office, the Fire and Police Departments, Regional Planning Commission, and Tiffin, Heidelberg, and Terra State. I think about high state and national rankings for the universities, our fire rating, state report cards for education, entrepreneurship, economic development, low cost of living and low cost of doing business.

In 2020, TSEP looks to continue our tradition of every year of obtaining state and national Main Street accreditation (which we just received again in January). We look to win downtown awards, and we look to attain a high national ranking for economic development. The newest economic development rankings will be out within the next couple of weeks, and I am extremely confident that we will again be one of the best in the nation.

Additionally, for the first we will begin pursuing a national economic development accreditation for the organization, and members of the TSEP team will also continue to pursue individual professional certifications in their areas.

Summary & Conclusion

In summary, the Nicaragua trip was crazy, it was epic, it was a learning experience. I got to see first-hand a Third World country with a struggling economy, low quality of life and little to no formal local economic development. It made me appreciate this country, our community, and the opportunity TSEP has to help make a difference by helping private businesses and increasing the quality of life for all.

It helped me see our recently adopted core values of collaboration, innovation, inclusion, fairness and excellence in action during the race, and it helped me think what those values mean, how they are truly values of the Tiffin-Seneca community, and how we will live those values this year as an organization.

I am excited strengthening our existing local, regional, state, and national partnerships and expanding our committees; about developing our new entrepreneurship strategic plan, implementing Midland CEO model, and increasing our salesforce.com utilization; about diversifying our board and committees, pursuing our community development work, and launching the new Tiffin-Japan Committee; about our new policy development committee; and about pursuing a new accreditations. 

Let me close with this thought. The most important part about the volcano race for the race organizers was that all the proceeds and tourism benefitted local schools and the local economy. They hope it will continue for many years, and everyone felt great about being a part of it.

In many ways, it’s the same with TSEP. The most important part of our work is that it also benefits the schools, residents, and local economy. We hope it will continue for many years, and all of us on staff and all who are here tonight and a part of it in various ways can feel great about being a part of it.

On behalf of the tens of thousands of lives you affect by your support of economic development, let me say to you a well-deserved muchas gracias y estamos entusiasmados para dos mil veinte. Thank you, and we are excited about 2020!

USDA accepting applications for the Rural Energy For America Program

Rural Development is accepting applications for the Rural Energy For America Program.  The next application deadline is March 31, 2020. This application deadline is for projects which request $20,000 or less and for projects which request up to $500,000.

In an effort to help applicants understand the program and submit an application, Rural Development is hosting two workshops which are designed to explain the program and discuss the requirements of the application.

These meetings are:

March 3, 2020   Time:    9:30 – 12:00

                 Findlay Area Office

                7868 County Road 140 Suite D

                Findlay, OH 45840

March 5, 2020   Time:    9:30 – 12:00

                Massillon Area Office

                2650 Richville Drive SE, Suite 102

                Massillon, OH  44646

In brief, this program is designed to assist rural, small, for-profit businesses and agricultural producers install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements to their operations. These types of improvements can help eligible applicants control energy costs and improve the overall profitability of their operations. The grant program can cover up to 25% of the eligible project costs while the loan guarantee can cover up to 75% of the eligible project costs.  Federal participation cannot exceed 75% of eligible project costs.

Grants can range from $1,500 to $500,000 with loan guarantees up to $25,000,000.

Examples of the assistance provided in previous years include:

  • A grant for $49,950 to assist a North Central Ohio waste treatment and disposal business install a 124.74kW roof mounted solar array which offsets 90% of the company’s annual electrical usage. The expected annual electrical cost savings for the company will exceed $15,000.
  • A grant for $19,285 to assist a Northwestern Ohio manufacturing company replace outdated and inefficient florescent light fixtures within their manufacturing facility with state-of-the-art LED light fixtures and controls. The anticipated kWh saved will exceed 75% while the estimated financial payback will be less than 4 years based upon the energy savings alone.
  • A grant for $15,250 to assist a farmer in Western Ohio replace an outdated and inefficient grain dryer. The expected energy savings will provide a return on this investment of less than 10 years.

This program has helped farmers replace grain dryers; fans and lights for livestock operations; and install solar PV arrays to help offset electrical consumption. Small businesses have benefited through high efficiency lighting; improvements to HVAC systems; and the installation of a renewable energy system to help offset electrical consumption.

Additional information can be found at Rural Energy for America Program.

To discuss a specific project or in receiving an application for your project, contact Jennifer Brown at Jennifer.Brown@usda.gov or call (614) 255-2423 or Randy Monhemius at Randy.Monhemius@usda.gov or call (614) 255-2424.

Third TechCred application period opens March 2

Information via Director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Lt. Governor Jon Husted, who serves as Director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, announced today that the next application period of the TechCred program will open March 2nd and run through March 31st.

“Momentum for TechCred is growing with Ohio businesses as our job creators are seeking to upskill their employees,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “We are on our way to the goal of helping 10,000 Ohioans earn an in-demand, tech credential that will create jobs and opportunity for people in every part of the state.”

Applications were approved for 234 employers in the October funding round, resulting in 1,576 credentials that will upskill Ohio workers. Awards from the January funding round will be available later this month, once the application scoring has been completed.

“These credentials will ensure Ohio has the workforce and talent to continue driving innovation and technology across the state,” said Development Services Agency (DSA) Director Lydia Mihalik. “They will help Ohio businesses grow and put workers on a path to higher-paying jobs.”

The credential list includes those in the following areas 

  • Business Technology
  • Healthcare Technology
  • IoT and Cybersecurity
  • Military and Smart Transportation
  • Construction Technology
  • Information Technology
  • Manufacturing Technology
  • Robotics/Automation

TechCred asks employers to identify the specific qualifications they need and employees they want to upskill toward a more advanced position. Then, in partnership with a training provider, the employer can apply online at TechCred.Ohio.gov and the state will reimburse up to $2,000 of training upon completion of a credential.

“Technology is constantly evolving, and the TechCred program allows Ohio’s workers and their employers to evolve and grow with it, which benefits our workforce, our businesses, and our state,” said Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner.

TechCred fulfills a commitment made by Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted to fund the completion of 10,000 microdegrees each year in order to aid in closing the skills gap for growing technology jobs.

You can learn more about the program at TechCred.Ohio.Gov.

Renaissance adds food truck to its business

The Pink Lady to be open on weekends

TIFFIN, OHIO – February 20, 2020 – The Renaissance of Tiffin has announced that it will be adding a second business venture for Historic Downtown Tiffin. Owner Dave Spridgeon recently purchased a food truck, fondly named “The Pink Lady.” The pink GMC truck will be found on the weekends at or near The Renaissance of Tiffin as a supplement to the business.

“Tiffin and Seneca County have been great to The Renaissance and I wish to continue bringing unique experiences to our community. As the Historic Downtown continues to grow, we as business owners must do the same,” Spridgeon said

The Pink Lady will allow guests the ability to purchase food and take it into the bar. As spring and summer unfold, the desire is to have the truck at local events, near the East Green Concert Series, The Downtown Farmers Markets and for other businesses that would like the truck to be in their lot. The truck is equipped with two fryers, a flat top grill, soup and chili holding, bun warmers and commercial crock pots. The truck also can be requested for private parties, bridal and groom showers or other events. The menu is to be revealed soon.

The Renaissance of Tiffin opened in 2017. It invokes the feel of the Roarin’ 20s, with its copper bar tops, high-top tables, 1920s-style furniture, couches and Persian rugs. The theme is carried through to the staff members, who dress in period clothes and play 1920s jazz while patrons sip on bourbon, whisky, beer and wine.

For more information or to inquire about parties, contact Spridgeon at tiffinrenaissancedave@gmail.com or (419) 722-3394.

About Downtown Tiffin
The revitalization of downtown Tiffin began in 2011, when a group of community members came together to for “Tiffin Tomorrow”, with the goal of promoting and encouraging economic development in downtown Tiffin, and creating plans, programs and actions to ensure long-term vitality and prosperity. In 2014, the city of Tiffin contracted with SIEDC to act as the downtown organization and “Tiffin Tomorrow” came under the SIEDC umbrella as the “Downtown Development Committee,” which serves as the governing board of the downtown organization. In 2015, Tiffin joined Heritage Ohio’s Ohio Main Street Program. For more information, click here.

Hempy Water receives façade grants

Architectural board OKs $20,000 in funds

Top, an artist’s rendering of the Hempy Water office building (left) and storage facility. Below, a picture of the current office building, 227 S. Washington St.

TIFFIN, OHIO – February 19, 2020 – Tuesday, the Architectural Board of Review (ABR) approved Façade Enhancement Grants for Hempy Water’s office building and storage facility, 227 S. Washington St. and 235 S. Washington St., respectively.

At the meeting, the ABR approved two Downtown Façade Enhancement Grants for Hempy Water — a $10,000 grant to replace the mansard roof for the office building, 227 S. Washington St. and a $10,000 grant to redesign the roof on the storage facility, 235 S. Washington St. Combined, the projects total a $44,534 investment in Downtown Tiffin.

The ABR previously approved grants for the owners of Kahler Apartments, 210 S. Washington St.; Gem Yoga and 3EC Development, 2 Sycamore St.; and Phillips Electric, 176 S. Washington St. Combined, the projects total a $47,107.94 investment in Downtown Tiffin.

The City of Tiffin set aside $100,000 for the program in 2019. The ABR approved grants for the owners of 14 buildings in Downtown Tiffin in 2019, for a total investment of $239,764.85.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz commented: “I’m happy to see two great businesses in Downtown Tiffin able to take advantage of this program to improve their buildings and better the look of our city.”

Since the program’s inception in 2014, 86 projects have been approved for a total downtown investment of more than $2.5 million.

About the Façade Enhancement Program
This City of Tiffin reimbursement grant program was started in 2014 and provides a 50 percent match of funds for eligible exterior improvements on residential and commercial structures within the downtown historic district, up to $10,000. Each building is eligible to receive up to $10,000 per calendar year. For more information, visit www.senecasuccess.com (search “Façade Enhancement”).

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 www.tiffinseneca.com.

Church & Dwight to invest $38 million in Seneca County

Adding up to 60 jobs at Old Fort plant

OLD FORT, Ohio – February 11, 2020 – Church & Dwight Co., Inc., has announced that it will invest $38 million at its facility in the village of Old Fort, Ohio, for expansion of consumer products manufacturing and construction of a new warehouse. Final approval for the project is contingent upon the receipt of state and local incentives; if approved, construction is expected to be completed in 2020, and the company would be hiring up to 60 new employees.

Plant Manager David Johnston said: “I’m very pleased that Church & Dwight chose the Old Fort facility as the site of this expansion and continues to invest in our workers and our community. Old Fort was in consideration with plants in Missouri and Pennsylvania. The state and local incentives along with an available workforce helped to push us ahead. Thank you to everyone who helped us win the investment in Seneca County.”

The $4.3 billion consumer goods and specialty products giant established their Old Fort facility in 1980. Today, Church & Dwight employs 240 people locally at its plant in Old Fort and a warehouse distribution center in Fostoria, Ohio, and ranks as one of the largest sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) manufacturing plants in the world. In 2016, Church & Dwight had a $2.5 million expansion of the Old Fort plant.

“That Church & Dwight chose Seneca County for this expansion just goes to show what a dedicated workforce we have here in our community,” said Seneca County Commission President Shayne Thomas. “Congratulations to David Johnston and everyone at the Old Fort plant for their hard work and continuing to be a great local partner.”

Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership (TSEP) and Regional Growth Partnership in Northwest Ohio (RGP) worked with consultant MarksNelson to bring this project to Ohio. Local incentives include an Enterprise Zone property tax exemption on new construction and OhioMeansJobs-Seneca County is offering up to $380,000 in potential workforce development grants. These incentives are contingent upon approval of Old Fort Local School District, Pleasant Township Trustees and Seneca County Board of Commissioners.

At the state level, JobsOhio offered an estimated $530,000 in state incentives through RGP, including a JobsOhio Economic Development Grant, JobsOhio Workforce Grant and additional value in an Ohio Job Creation Tax Credit received during a previous project. Additionally, the Ohio Rail Development Commission has committed $75,000 in grant funds to revamp rail infrastructure currently in Church and Dwight’s yard to allow access to additional unloading areas.

Dean Monske, President and CEO of RGP, commented: “We are proud to see this project take place in Northwest Ohio and are happy to have been on the team helping to make this happen.”

About Church & Dwight Co., Inc.

Founded in 1846, Church & Dwight is a $4.3 billion company headquartered in Ewing, New Jersey, that is one of the fastest growing Consumer Packaged Goods companies in the world. Church & Dwight was added to the S&P 500 in 2016. The Company manufactures and markets a wide range of personal care, household and specialty products, with such brands as Arm & Hammer, Trojan, First Response, Nair, Spinbrush, Oxi-Clean, Orajel, Xtra, WaterPik, Batiste, Vitafusion, Flawless and more.  Find out more at www.churchdwight.com.

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 www.tiffinseneca.org.

Northwest Ohio manufacturer to open Tiffin campus

MBDS to hire 29 people in first year

TIFFIN, OHIO – Feb. 3, 2020 – A manufacturer based in Northwest Ohio announced today that it plans to open a new facility in Tiffin, with operations to begin in early Spring. MBDS is to locate at the former Tiffin Insulators, 981 Tyber Road, Tiffin, and expects in its first year to hire 29 employees and invest over $100,000 in the operation.

MBDS, LLC (Manufacturing Business Development Solutions) is a multi-million dollar company that was established in 2003 and has had success in supplying products that reach both the major appliance industries and leading automotive companies, such as Honda, Nissan and Toyota. The company is headquartered in Findlay with a second campus in Upper Sandusky and employs 55 people in the region.

Local incentives for this project include City of Tiffin’s New Jobs Program, which was approved by Tiffin City Council Feb. 3; the potential for workforce development grants through OhioMeansJobs – Seneca County; and a pre-exiting Community Reinvestment Area tax exemption on the Tiffin Insulators property.

“We are excited to be making Tiffin the location of our third campus and completing our Trinity Project,” said Brian Robertson, President of MBDS. “The workforce and local support helped us make the decision to open in Seneca County.”

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz commented, “I’m proud that Brian Robertson has chosen Tiffin as the new campus for MBDS and that our manufacturing community continues to grow in Tiffin. This is a further result of all the great things in our community.”

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 www.tiffinseneca.org.

About MBDS

MBDS is a multi-million dollar company with over a decade of success in supplying products that reach both the White Goods Industries and leading automotive companies, such as Honda, Nissian, and Toyota. MBDS, LLC (Manufacturing Business Development Solutions) was established in 2003. Headquartered in Findlay, Ohio, MBDS strives to be a Total Solutions Provider by exceeding the demands of their customers while delivering low cost solutions for both manufacturing and facility services. For more information, visit www.mbdsna.com.

Downtown Tiffin earns national accreditation with Heritage Ohio for fourth year

Tiffin recognized as a National Main Street Community

TIFFIN, OHIO – January 28, 2020 – For the fourth year, Downtown Tiffin has been re -recognized by Heritage Ohio as a National Main Street Community. The Ohio Main Street Program, administered by Heritage Ohio, works with communities across the state to revitalize historic commercial areas. Based in historic preservation, it focuses on four points: organization, design, promotions, and economic vitality. Each point is an integral part in the successful revitalization of a downtown area.

The Ohio Main Street program is a partner of Main Street America. Accreditation is an honor that must be earned every year by meeting the program’s high standards as determined by an annual quality audit by state officials. With this distinction, Downtown Tiffin has received accreditation for its Main Street program at both the state and national level for 2016-2019.

Downtown Tiffin’s revitalization efforts continue to be validated and recognized throughout the state. Since becoming a Main Street Community in 2015, 43 new businesses have located in Downtown Tiffin and more than $29 million in investment has occurred in the downtown.

In October, Downtown Tiffin was presented with two statewide awards and an honorable mention by Heritage Ohio at its Annual Preservation and Revitalization Awards Ceremony. The Ritz Theatre won the Historic Theater of the Year Award; Tiffin Capital Investments LLC won the Best Upper Floor Residential Rehabilitation Award for Court Street Lofts, 33 Court St.; and Reclaim It 127 won honorable mention for the Main Street Business of the Year Award. Downtown Tiffin also received three awards in 2018 and one in 2017.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz was excited to see Downtown Tiffin recognized. “I’m honored that Downtown Tiffin again has been recognized by Heritage Ohio. I want to thank and congratulate Amy Reinhart and the hard work of business and building owners and members of the downtown development committees.”

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

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

About Heritage Ohio

As Ohio’s official historic preservation and Main Street Organization, Heritage Ohio’s mission is to foster economic development and sustainability through preservation of historic buildings, revitalization of downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts, and promotion of cultural tourism. Since 1998, Heritage Ohio has contracted with the National Trust for Historic Preservation as Ohio’s state coordinating agency for the Main Street Program™. Learn more at www.HeritageOhio.org.

Opportunity Zones – Information

We’ve had some requests for information on Opportunity Zones (OZs). We wanted to provide some of online resources for local investors and others interested in this program. Investors should consult their financial advisor for their specific situation.

Seneca County has an Opportunity Zone in Census Tract 39147963200 (Tiffin, Hopewell Township, Seneca Township) – a map tool is available at the excellent Novgradac Opportunity Zone Resource Center).

This first 7-minute video provides a quick summary of the program:

  • How it can benefit investors by (1) deferring and reducing capital gains taxes for gains invested in OZs, (2) allowing tax-free gains on money invested in OZs and held for 10 years, and (3) allowing investments that are not like (e.g., stock sale can be invested real estate).
  • Requirements include (1) money has to be invested into one of the 8,700 designated OZ census tracts, (2) money has to be invested through a qualified opportunity zone fund, and (3) there has to be new and/or significant (double the value) improvement into the property.

Here is another video going over the same material in a little bit more depth (18 minutes), with a focus on investor questions. More details, how you could create your own OZ fund, comparison with 1031 exchange, more investor Q&A.

Seneca County native Ashlie Depinet (Tiffin Columbian) provided this brochure from her firm (SquirePattonBoggs) overviewing the program, as well as a current update on legislation.

4CG opens third wage survey

Information provided by 4CG

TIFFIN, OHIO – Jan. 24, 2019 – Economic development and workforce development organizations in Huron, Ottawa, Sandusky and Seneca counties representing the partnership of the 4CG initiative have announced the opening of a third survey to gather information on wages and benefits for the region’s workforce. These are the first wage surveys of Seneca County employers since at least 2005.

This last survey to be released by 4CG focuses on the wages and benefits provided by employers in the region, information that Seneca County employers have been frequently requesting. In order to provide employers with the most comprehensive results, the Tiffin Seneca Economic Partnership and OhioMeansJobs Seneca County are requesting local employers take the time to complete the online survey (https://tinyurl.com/4CGHRSurvey).

In December, 4CG opened two other surveys with the goal of improving local industries’ competitiveness for skilled labor. The surveys are focused on citizens/employees (https://tinyurl.com/4CGCitizenSurvey) and industry/business owners/plant managers (https://tinyurl.com/4CGOwnerSurvey). Employers should encourage their employees to fill out the survey.

At this time, seven owners/plant managers and 92 citizens in the four county region have completed their respective survey. These surveys will remain open until the end of February.

4CG represents the 4 County Group 4 Collaborative Growth. The group began working together six years ago to collectively address the region’s workforce challenges. To date, the group has completed a SWOT analysis and industry specific focus groups on manufacturing, healthcare, tourism/service/travel, transportation/logistics, Davis Besse, agriculture and education

Following the survey, the plan calls for the identification and recommendation of partnerships with potential training partners. Final analysis and strategies based on the SWOT analysis, focus groups and surveys are to be provided to 4CG by May 2020 and will then be released to the public.