Four-county group collaborates on workforce challenges

Press released provided through partnership with 4CG

June 24, 2019 — Economic development and workforce development organizations in Huron, Ottawa, Sandusky and Seneca Counties are partnering together under the 4CG initiative. 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.

Initially, 4CG focused its efforts on Manufacturing Month (October) with manufacturing bus tours for educators, speaker events, and manufacturing/career showcases.  These showcase events provide the opportunity for 9th grade students and school leaders to experience today’s work environment and skill sets through interactive stations designed by local manufacturers, businesses, and skilled trade organizations. 

Recently, Huron, Sandusky and Seneca Counties came together to support Ottawa County in the development of a Rapid Response Plan to address the potential closure of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant. Out of this plan, the counties will begin a comprehensive workforce analysis, with wage and benefit information and strategic priorities developed to assist potential impacted employees and local employers within this labor shed. 

This analysis and plan project has received support from the Area 7 Workforce Development Board and the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services.  Phase I of the project (the workforce analysis and wage and benefit survey) is fully funded and was awarded to consulting firm, Poggemeyer Design Group with subcontracted services through Bowling Green State University Center for Regional Development.    4CG’s consultant, Poggemeyer, will provide assistance in obtaining funding for Phase II of the project implementation, thereby minimizing the need for financial assistance from the economic development organizations, counties, communities, and businesses.

Top 10 Reasons to Live, Work, Study in Tiffin-Seneca

Are you considering coming to Tiffin and Seneca County to work, live, or study? If so, we hope this quick overview shares ten of the great reasons we love our community and why it’s such a great place to thrive. You’ll discover why Tiffin’s population grew last year and residential development is on the rise. Let’s kick things off with our year in review video to introduce you to our home and then move to the reasons.

Reason 1 – A Life Connected

What makes the Tiffin-Seneca community unique is the connection we all feel to our friends and family, and to this place we call home. This connection ensures our businesses are supported, our growth as a community continues, and that newcomers and long-time residents alike are able to find a life fulfilled here. Read more.

Reason 2 – A Booming Economy

Over the last ten years, Tiffin-Seneca has consistently ranked in the top ten percent of the almost 600 micropolitans nationally for large economic development projects. This year, we were #14 in the country. In 2018, we were ranked #10. In 2017, we also ranked #10. Our economy is also not dependent on one type of business – manufacturing, education, healthcare, and agribusiness are all leaders, and we are ranked as one of the top midwestern cities for entrepreneurship.

Reason 3 – A Thriving Downtown

We believe that the downtown is the heartbeat of the community, and we are proud that Downtown Tiffin has an award-winning and state and nationally accredited Main Street program. Please check out our Downtown Tiffin page and the large downtown section in last year’s annual report (2018) to learn more.

Reason 4 – Quality Education

Known as the “Education Community” for decades, we are one of the few communities of our size (18,000 in Tiffin, 56,000 in Seneca County) with two private universities (Heidelberg University, Tiffin University), a regional Educational Service Center, high-quality public and private K12 districts, award-winning career and technical education (Vanguard-Sentinel), an innovative community college (Terra State), and new training center (Fostoria Learning Center.) Also check out the Education section of previous annual reports (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014).

Reason 5 – Abundant Arts

The arts and recreational opportunities in Tiffin-Seneca are numerous. From the restored historic Ritz Theatre to university activities at Heidelberg and TU, from our 14 galleries and museums to our art guild, there is a lot to experience. Add to that the constant happenings at the new outdoor Frost-Kalnow Amphitheatre at the East Green.

Reason 6 – Robust Recreation

With 900 acres of protected nature and 30 parks, Tiffin and Seneca County offers great opportunities for enjoying the great outdoors in Tiffin, Fostoria, Seneca County, and at our two state nature preserves. The Sandusky River is one of the state’s designated scenic rivers, and Lake Erie is within easy reach. We have roadways great for biking and trails within easy reach, and we’ve also recently completed an Active Transportation Plan. The Tiffin Community Y (3rd largest in Ohio), Geary Family YMCA in Fostoria, university facilities, and a number of local gyms and studios are great assets.

Reason 7 – Low Cost

Tiffin has been ranked one of the 20 most affordable college towns in Ohio, and Fostoria has been ranked one of the 10 most affordable cities in the state. Research also shows the Tiffin-Seneca community as having a cost of living 15-20% below the national average.

Reason 8 – Easy Access

Seneca County is within a 90-minute drive of larger metropolitan areas like Columbus, Cleveland, and Detroit, and an hour away from Toledo, which provides great access to airports, professional sports (Blue Jackets, Browns, Indians, Pistons, Redwings, Lions, Tigers) and shows (Playhouse Square is largest performing arts area outside NY), attractions (top-rated Toledo and Columbus Zoo, top-rated amusement park Cedar Point and waterparks), and much, much more.

Reason 9 – Dining & Drinks

For a community our size, there are a number of unique places to eat, drink, and shop. Newer eateries include one the Empire at 138 (top-rated on Open Table), the IronWood Steakhouse, and KiKu Japanese Fusion, while the Laird Arcade Brewery (local microbrewery) and Renaissance (top five distilled selection in Ohio) offer quality brew, bourbon, and cocktails. Check out the Chamber’s listing of restaurants and cafés.

Reason 10 – Global Mindset

Many people are surprised by the international flavor of the Tiffin-Seneca community, and we believe it makes our community a much more interesting place to live. More than 300 students from Heidelberg and TU representing more than 30 countries become part of the Tiffin-Seneca Tribe annually. Our International Cultural Center in the schools and TU’s new PhD program in Global Leadership and Change promote internationalism in education and research, and our many international companies with global operations mean we stay connected around the globe.

A Life Connected

In 2018, Tiffin and Seneca County finished a 18-month community branding initiative. What we found after interviewing more than 500 community members and comprehensive research done outside the community is that what makes unique is the connection we all feel to our friends and family, and to this place we call home. This connection ensures our businesses are supported, our growth as a community continues, and that newcomers and long-time residents alike are able to find a life fulfilled here.

The initiative resulted in something that has never been done to our knowledge in the US – a connected brand family connecting more than seven separate groups – the county (Seneca County), city (City of Tiffin), chamber and tourism (Seneca Regional Chamber and Visitors Services), economic development and downtown revitalization (Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership), and planning (Seneca Regional Planning). Here is the video launching the brand, which also talks about our spirit:

Below is our brand narrative, which describes in more detail who we are:

The new brand also resulted in our branding our own organization from the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. into the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership. Read more.

City of Tiffin receives OSS grant for box planters

25 recycled-material planters placed in downtown

TIFFIN, OHIO – June 20, 2019 – The City of Tiffin recently was the recipient of an Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca Joint Solid Waste Management District grant for 25 self-watering, recycled, black box planters. The planters were recently placed in the downtown, replacing the decades-old planters that previously were there.

The total order for the planters was $11,527, of which $5,388 was funded by the OSS Competitive Funding Grant program and the City of Tiffin Shade Tree Commission supplied the remainder. The grant is used to educate the public on the benefits of recycling. The planters were made of 70 percent recycle material.

Tiffin Public Works installed the new planters in the early spring and volunteers have signed up to maintain the flowers, which are supplied by the city.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz said he is pleased to have received the grant: “We are grateful that OSS has helped us replace our old, deteriorated planters with these new models that allow us to continue to invest in the beatification of downtown Tiffin.”

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.

Penn Station to Open in Tiffin

National sandwich chain franchise slated for West Market Street

TIFFIN, OHIO – June 11, 2019 – Penn Station East Coast Subs has announced the opening of a franchise of the national sandwich chain in Tiffin. The new restaurant will be located on 596 West Market Street, near Chipotle, with the opening goal of November 2019.

The franchisee owners, Steve Pryor, Hank Barnard and Brian Bullerman, are excited to be opening a location in Tiffin.  Barnard stated, “We are looking forward coming to the Tiffin area market and providing a new quality dining option for the community.  The intent is to hire approximately 30 full and part-time high character employees, with future growth potential within the company.” 

Inspired by Philadelphia cheesesteak on a visit to Philadelphia, Jeff Osterfeld opened the first Penn Station in Cincinnati in 1985. In 1988, Jeff’s vision for an upscale, fast casual dining experience revolving around “fresh ingredients and display cooking” was formulated into a franchising concept. The company has grown successfully and currently has over 350 restaurants throughout 15 states. Penn Station was also named the best sandwich chain in the Nation’s Restaurant News 2015 Consumer Picks survey.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz said, “We’re excited to see this space filled and to have yet another food choice for citizens in Tiffin. I am pleased to welcome Penn Station to Tiffin and look forward to their opening.”

As Penn Station is committed to fresh ingredients and great service, meals are prepared in front of their customers offering sandwiches, wraps, salads, fresh cut fries and more. 

About Penn Station East Coast Subs

Penn Station East Coast Subs is renowned for its legendary Philadelphia Cheesesteak Sub sandwich, served grilled and made-to-order with high-quality ingredients on freshly baked bread. Featuring an upscale fast-casual atmosphere, Penn Station serves a mouth-watering variety of grilled and cold deli sandwiches, as well as fresh, hand-cut, made-to-order fries, hand-squeezed lemonade made several times daily and chocolate chunk cookies baked fresh in the restaurant.

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.

Laminate Technologies receives two supplier of the year awards

Recognized by largest kitchen cabinet manufacturers in U.S.

TIFFIN, OHIO – Earlier this spring, Laminate Technologies Inc. was recognized by the two largest kitchen cabinet manufacturers in the United States with awards for supplier of the year. American Woodmark (NASDAQ: AMWD) and MasterBrand (NYSE: FBHS) separately presented the awards to LamTech for supplying plywood to the companies. This was the first year that MasterBrand has recognized a company for the award.

American Woodmark and MasterBrand operate multiple brands and supply cabinets to chain stores including Lowe’s and Home Depot as well as regional and independent dealers across North America and the world.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by two of the world’s premier cabinet manufacturers, and we couldn’t have done it without our hard-working employees who everyday make it their mission to make the best product to serve our customers,” said Fred Zoeller, President of Laminate Technologies.

In December 2017, LamTech acquired the business assets of Lamination Technology Industries (LTI) based in White City, Oregon with an additional manufacturing facility in Spokane, Washington. LTI is a leader in manufacturing Laminated Panels, Fabricated Components, Hardwood Veneer Panels and Specialty Products.

About Laminate Technologies

Founded 1985, Laminate Technologies Inc. (LamTech), is a major supplier of laminated panel products, fabricated components and globally sourced products to the kitchen cabinet, residential furniture, office furniture and retail display markets. With corporate headquarters in Tiffin and manufacturing facilities in Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington, LamTech is the largest privately held producer of laminated panels to the kitchen cabinet, store fixture and  furniture Industry in North America.

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.

DIY Workshop Studio Opening in Tiffin, OH

Rustic Flair & Brush; Flair 37 LLC.

Press release provided by Rustic Flair and Brush and Shuff Consulting.

TIFFIN, OHIO – May 31, 2019 – A DIY workshop studio, Rustic Flair & Brush; Flair 37 LLC opened this month at 113 Melmore Street, Tiffin, OH. The studio hours will be Tuesday-Thursday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and scheduled private events. Owner Jennifer Burns is of Tiffin, OH.

“Anything that is personally created or given is more sentimental.” This is Burns’ inspiration behind her company Flair 37, LLC. and the basis of her Rustic Flair & Brush do it yourself workshops and Snapliments® program.

In 2018, Rustic Flair & Brush (RF&B) was launched as a creative workshop where friends, groups and organizations can come together and create personalized decor with their own personal flair. From there she continued to grow with more bookings for groups and private parties. “I have always loved creating as long as I can remember. Being creative is an outlet that I thrive on and something I am passionate about. I love being able to give that experience to others,” said Burns.

Hosting a RF&B event is great for fundraisers, bachelorette and birthday parties, team building, work functions or for any group that wants to get together. Burns is planning an extensive class schedule for the upcoming spring & summer months including kids craft workshops, project based learning sessions, adult workshop classes and mommy & me classes. Most classes will be preregistration; however, there will be some drop-in kid craft sessions. Events are found on the website and Facebook page.

In 2015, Burns developed Snapliments®. The program offers educators, coaches, parents, groups and organizations an affordable way to recognize and motivate others for going above and beyond. The program is customized to individual needs and tailored to fit a classroom/group with personalized patent pending Snap-its, I Can Ribbons and Snap Cap products. Snap-its (a cross between a flair pin and snap) are given out for compliments, similar to how scouts earn badges and football players receive helmet stickers. The program can be found in local organizations in Seneca and surrounding counties. At the new studio location, you’ll be able to customize a program for your organization.

Burns has lived in Tiffin for 17 years after graduating from Otterbein College of Westerville, OH with a degree in Public Relations, Art and a Certified Journalism Educator accreditation from the Journalism Education Association. While teaching students graphic design, assisting with school publications and directing summer workshops, Burns saw additional needs in her schools and community: motivation and FUN fundraisers. Her occasional FreeLance opportunities And Independent Rep experiences was the birth of Flair 37, LLC. Today, Burns is looking to make an strong impact in our community and youth of today. In 2018, Flair 37, LLC donated over $3,500 to local organizations through her workshops.

Ballreich Snack Food Company rejoins leading trade industry association

Board of directors also expands

Press release provided by Ballreich Snack Food Company

TIFFIN, OHIO – May 22, 2019 – Ballreich Snack Food Company, recently acquired by a Northwest Ohio-based investor group, today announced it has rejoined SNAC International – the leading international trade Industry association of the snack food industry.

Founded in 1937, SNAC International is the leading international trade association of the global snack industry, representing snack producers and suppliers, with more than 400 member companies worldwide. “SNAC” stands for snacking, nutrition, and convenience–three key elements research shows reflect the habits of today’s consumer.

In addition, Don Mount, former vice president of Contract Manufacturing at Marion, Ohio-based Wyandot Snacks, joins the company’s Board of Directors as its first independent director.

Mount is an accomplished snack industry executive. He has worked in or managed in nearly every key function at Wyandot including quality assurance, product development, tech services, production, plant management and operations. He currently serves as senior advisor to Wyandot’s President & CEO Rob Sarlls, and has contributed significantly to the Company’s rise as a leading contract manufacturer in the better-for-you segment of the snacks food industry.

Ballreich CEO & President Steve Dandurand praised Mount’s leadership and hands-on experience. “Don is a widely respected industry expert. His knowledgeable and independent voice will help strengthen our understanding of changing industry dynamics as well as contribute to enhanced manufacturing and financial performance.”

Dandurand reaffirmed the company’s intent to maintain its status as Northwest Ohio’s leading potato chip brand. “In addition to upgrading manufacturing capabilities and expertise, the Company intends to pursue additional business opportunities in the private label snack food space,” he said. “Don Mount’s guidance, a reenergized workforce team, and access to SNAC International’s global resources will help drive the brand’s resurgence and future success.”

Ballreich Snack Food Company expects to make additional board and leadership announcements in the weeks ahead.

About Ballreich Snack Food Company
Ballreich Snacks manufactures the most popular local brand of potato chips and related snacks in Northwest Ohio and parts of Indiana and Michigan. Based in Tiffin, Ohio, the Company employs 55 people. In April 2019 a group of local investors purchased the nearly 100 year-old company. They intend to keep the business in Tiffin, investing in operational and marketing improvements as well as developing new products. The potato chip brand has gained local and national fame. In 2006, Ballreich’s became official chip of the Toledo Mud Hens and in 2009 was named the official chip of the Toledo Walleye. The company has been featured on the big screen in the movie “Street Kings” as well as on the “Rachael Ray Show” and ABC’s “The View.” www.ballreich.com

About SNAC International
SNAC International is the leading international trade association of the global snack industry, representing snack producers and suppliers. “SNAC” stands for snacking, nutrition, and convenience–three key elements research shows reflect the habits of today’s consumer. Founded in 1937, SNAC has over 400 member companies worldwide. www.snacinternational.com

About Wyandot Snacks
Wyandot Snacks is the nation’s foremost contract manufacturer of healthier, plant-based snacks – one of the fastest growing segments of the food industry. We make innovative, premier-quality products ranging from baby snacks to the leading chickpea snack in the world. Wyandot supports the continued growth and commercial success of our partners, providing turnkey support to brands from conception and development all the way to the shelf or doorstep. Our success derives from strong manufacturing support and the expert guidance of six food scientists. Based in Marion, Ohio, privately owned Wyandot is within one day’s drive of 60% of America’s snack consumers. www.wyandotsnacks.com

SkillsUSA Names 24 Schools as National Models of Excellence

The Vanguard Tech Center Honored as America’s Top SkillsUSA Program for 2019

Press release provided by Vanguard Sentinel Career & Technology Centers

Fremont, Ohio: — SkillsUSA recently named 24 SkillsUSA chapters as Models of Excellence for 2019. At the top level of SkillsUSA’s Chapter Excellence Program, these schools are recognized for the exceptional integration and application of personal, workplace and technical skills in their SkillsUSA chapter activities. This is the highest award bestowed on chapters by SkillsUSA, which is one of the largest student organizations for career and technical education. Vanguard Sentinel Career & Technology Centers (VSCTC) is excited to announce their Fremont campus (The Vanguard Tech Center) earned Model of Excellence for workplace skills.

“The Models of Excellence program represents the very best in chapter achievement and community involvement,” said Timothy W. Lawrence, executive director of SkillsUSA. “These students represent our future workforce and reflect the future of their communities. This is a tremendous honor for each school and validates these outstanding SkillsUSA programs as some of the best in the nation.”

As an honoree, VSCTC will participate in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky., June 24-28. Activities include finalist interviews, an awards dinner at the Kentucky Derby Museum, and recognition at the SkillsUSA awards ceremony in front of more than 12,000 students, instructors and business leaders. The Chapter Excellence Program is provided in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor and Crescent Tools, a premier hand-tool brand from Apex Tool Group.

“We are honored to be part of this program,” said Curt Weber, senior director of brand management for Apex Tool Group. “These students possess the skills that every employer seeks, including leadership, initiative, communication, teamwork and problem solving. Their SkillsUSA instructors take the education of these students to the next level by elevating it from classroom instruction to successful application.” 

Other Ohio schools receiving the 2019 Models of Excellence award recognition include Buckeye Hills Career Center and Upper Valley Career Center.

The Chapter Excellence Program promotes the intentional learning of personal skills, workplace skills and technical skills grounded in academics, as outlined in the SkillsUSA Framework for student development. Specific characteristics defined within each skill area help ensure tangible benchmarks for student achievement and chapter programming. Achievement is measured by the effectiveness of students’ efforts in implementing essential workplace skills including personal responsibility, integrity, work ethic and organization in chapter activities. The hands-on approach of this program actualizes the SkillsUSA mission of empowering members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens.

About Vanguard Sentinel Career & Technology Centers

Vanguard-Sentinel Career & Technology Centers have been providing quality career technical education since 1968.  The district provides students with specific, marketable skills to begin a career, pursue further training or attend college.  For more information, visit www.vsctc.org.  

About SkillsUSA

SkillsUSA is a nonprofit partnership of education and industry to strengthen our nation’s skilled workforce. Driven by employer demand, SkillsUSA helps students develop necessary personal and workplace skills along with technical skills grounded in academics. This SkillsUSA Framework empowers every student to succeed at work and in life, while helping to close the “skills gap” in which millions of positions go unfilled. Through SkillsUSA’s championships program and curricula, employers have long ensured schools are teaching relevant technical skills, and with SkillsUSA’s new credentialing process, they can now assess how ready potential employees are for the job. SkillsUSA has more than 360,000 annual members nationwide in high schools, colleges and middle schools, covering over 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, and is recognized by the U.S. departments of Education and Labor as integral to career and technical education. For more information: www.skillsusa.org

Board approves façade grant for Simply Susan’s

Funds all used for 2019

TIFFIN, OHIO – May 21, 2019 – Today, the Architectural Board of Review (ABR) approved a Façade Enhancement Grant for work to 70 S. Washington St., Simply Susan’s. This work closes out the available façade program funds for the year.

At the meeting, the ABR approved a $6,376.05 Downtown Façade Enhancement Grant to replace the door and window on the storefront of the building and restore the balcony on the second floor, for a total investment of $17,218.96.

Susan Wilkinson, owner of Simply Susan’s, said: “I’m very appreciative that this program exists for business owners in the downtown.”

The City of Tiffin set aside $100,000 for the program, which has now been completely spent for 2019, resulting in a total investment of $239,764.85. The ABR previously approved grants for the owners of 13 buildings in Downtown Tiffin.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz commented: “I again am pleased to see our downtown business owners take advantage of this program, and thank them and Tiffin City Council for making this program a success.”

Since the program’s inception in 2014, 70 projects have been approved for a total downtown investment of more than $2.4 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.