When I was exploring various communities, something struck me about Tiffin and Seneca County – its economic development success. It’s a very well-kept secret, but it’s pretty amazing. There are 576 Micropolitan Statistical Areas (or “Micropolitans”) in the US, which are urban areas (counties) around a city of 10,000 to 49,999 in population–which is exactly what Seneca County, Ohio is.
Also, every year, these micropolitans compete for economic development bragging rights by sending in their large private investment projects to Site Selection Magazine. Site Selection then racks and stacks each micropolitan and releases in their March issue the top 100 (20%) nationally in terms of the number of projects. In order to qualify, a project must involve (a) 50 or more new employees, (b) 20,000 or more new square feet of space, or (c) $1 million in investment.
So, here’s the amazing part. For seven of the last ten years, Seneca County has ranked in the top 100 (the top 20%) across the country. And last year, it tied for 30th, putting it among the strongest 5% nationally. This is great news and is a testament to the county’s economic growth, the great businesses here, the community’s support of business, and the great job Rich Focht and Karen Bowers did at SIEDC (my organization). The table below is from the March 2013 edition of Site Selection, in particular the article on micropolitans.
The four projects for 2012 for Seneca County were as follows (source: Ohio’s Private Investment Survey 2012):
- Auto parts supplier Taiho of America‘s 35 job, $13M expansion
- Auto parts supplier Toledo Molding & Die‘s 64 job, $8.4M expansion
- Forging machinery maker National Machinery‘s 45 jobs, $2M expansion
- Theatrical curtains manufacturer Tiffin Scenic Studios‘ $1.5M expansion