Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp.

David Zak takes position as SIEDC President & CEO

Zak resumes leadership of Seneca County development office

TIFFIN, OHIO – January 20, 2016 – After a four-month engagement at Tiffin University, David Zak will return to the helm of the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corporation tomorrow. Interviews for finalists were conducted in early January, and Zak’s appointment was approved by a majority vote of the SIEDC Board of Trustees on Tuesday.

SIEDC Chair and Heidelberg President Rob Huntington made the official announcement. “On behalf of the SIEDC Executive Committee and Board of Trustees, I am very pleased that David Zak is returning SIEDC to serve as our President and CEO. He did an excellent job previously and I am sure that he will contribute significantly to our community’s economic growth and well-being going forward again. I am especially excited knowing that David is rejoining our strong SIEDC staff team of Karen Bowers, Amy Reinhart, Katie Lang and Bryce Riggs who have been doing a great job over the past five months. We have tremendous momentum!”

Incoming Chair and President and CEO of Webster Industries Andrew Felter shared Huntington’s enthusiasm. “The leadership of David Zak along with an exceptional staff is absolutely the right team to continue the trajectory of success at SIEDC and develop bold improvement for our community. I am now even more optimistic about the positive transformational impact SIEDC can have for our future.”

Seneca County Commissioner Fred Zoeller, a SIEDC Executive Committee member and owner of Laminate Technologies, also expressed his approval. “I am extremely pleased that the Executive Board of SIEDC unanimously approved bringing the vote for David’s reemployment to the full board. This is a great day for the residents of Tiffin and Seneca County, to have David doing what he does best to move the county forward.”

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz, also a member of the Executive Committee, praised the success of the SIEDC team’s recent work and voiced his expectations moving forward. “Just in the past year downtown Tiffin has achieved Main Street status through Heritage Ohio, 11 new businesses have opened downtown, more than 15 buildings have been approved for façade enhancement, Buffalo Wild Wings broke ground, Taiho announced a large expansion and AFS and Webster Industries completed theirs. The list goes on and on, and there’s even more in the pipeline,” Montz said. “I am very confident that David is the right leader to continue this pattern of success.”

Zak was excited about the vote and the opportunity to get back to his old position. “A unanimous vote means the world to me, and I couldn’t be happier with the result. Tiffin and Seneca County are the place my family and I call home, and I can’t wait to rejoin the SIEDC team and help this great community develop for years to come. I also feel that my time at Tiffin University gives me a better understanding of how a university works, and I look forward to using that experience to help TU, Heidelberg and the community grow together. I can’t wait to get started.”

About SIEDC

Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) 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 at the company’s blog at www.senecasuccess.com.

Downtown Summit speakers, additional topic announced

With the Downtown Summit  a little over a week away, we’d like to give an update on what to expect and some background on our expert speakers.

Lisa Patt-McDanielWe are excited to announce that a fourth topic, housing, has been added to the agenda. Lisa Patt-McDaniel will apply her experience in housing and development to downtown Tiffin. Lisa joined Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH) in 2011 as Director of Community Development. She is responsible for developing relationships and services related to community development, including working with cities and in rural areas around housing issues such as vacant housing, leveraging local community development resources, and convening community development officials around common issues.

Terry FoeglerThe town and gown presenter will be Terry Foegler, President of Terry Foegler & Associates LLC. Terry is a public and private sector planning and development professional experienced in strategic planning, university and municipal planning and real estate, development policy formulation, public administration, complex mixed-use project implementation, public-private development partnerships, economic development, innovative development financing and neighborhood/urban revitalization. His former positions include Director of Strategic Initiatives/Special Projects for the City of Dublin, Associate Vice President, Physical Planning and Real Estate at the Ohio State University, City Manager of Dublin, Ohio, and President of Campus Partners for Community Urban Redevelopment at OSU.

Tedd HardestyTedd Hardesty, ASLA, will be speaking about placemaking strategies. Tedd is a Founding Partner of EDGE and brings over 24 years of experience as an urban designer and landscape architect to his project work. He specializes in the visioning and planning of a wide-range of environments including neighborhoods, campuses, open space systems, and downtowns.  He believes that the physical environment is the foundation for healthy living and that all places should be economically, socially, and environmentally successful.  His recent work includes planning and design projects for Downtown Columbus, Downtown Davenport (Iowa), and the Cleveland Metropark System.

Craig GossmanCraig Gossman, AIA, NCARB, will also weigh in on placemaking. Craig is the owner and principal of Gossman Group Planning & Design and a partner with Source3 Development. Craig has over 35 years of experience in urban design, planning, historic preservation and architecture. He has worked with a variety of clients nationally including city and county municipalities, retail and commercial center developers, and historic property owners. Craig employs a holistic approach to strategic planning by considering the balance between social and economic goals and their impact on physical design for long-term sustainability and timeless placemaking. He has developed strategic vision plans, urban revitalization plans and master plans for numerous communities and mixed-use projects.

Brad StraderTransportation will be covered by Brad Strader, PTP, AICP. Brad is an Institute of Transportation Engineers certified transportation planner.  He has over 25 years of experience in comprehensive planning, downtowns, parking, corridor planning, redevelopment projects, campus planning, and linking land use with transportation.   He has been project manager on over 50 projects in ten states, and the transportation advisor on a number of downtown circulations studies and 1-way v 2-way street evaluations.

The Downtown Summit will be held April 6, 2015 from 4:30-8:15 p.m. at Heidelberg University’s Great Hall. This event is free and open to the public. If you would like to attend, please click here to register, or contact Bryce Riggs at 419.889.3932 or riggs@senecacounty.org.

You can also give your opinion on downtown Tiffin and future development by clicking here to take the SIEDC Downtown Survey.

Tiffin Elks building to receive façade enhancement

Elks LodgeElks Lodge is the fifth Façade Enhancement project of 2015

TIFFIN, OHIO – April 21, 2015 – During a meeting this afternoon, the Architectural Board of Review approved the Tiffin Elks Lodge #94 at 106 East Perry Street for a Façade Enhancement Grant. This will be the fifth façade enhancement project of 2015.

Updates to the building’s exterior will include the installation of windows on the Jefferson Street side of the building, where the original windows have been boarded up, and the painting of the balcony and front façade. The cost of the upgrades is estimated at $6,300, with half of that reimbursed by a Façade Enhancement Grant.

Joe Steinmetz, Exalted Ruler of the Tiffin Elks, is excited about the project. “The lodge is important to our organization, and this grant is going to help us restore the structure and keep the building looking great.”

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is happy to see another positive change downtown due to the Façade Enhancement Program. “The Elks Lodge is a historic part of Tiffin and I am glad that they are able to use the grant program to revitalize the building’s look.”

According to local historian John Huss, the contract for the Elks Lodge construction was given to Emil Converse of Massillon for $30,000 in June 1914. The building was designed by local architect George Netcher, who also designed the Tiffin Knights of Columbus building, and was described by a local newspaper as the “acme of architectural perfection.” Several thousand people toured the facility at an open house held after construction was completed in June 1915.

 About SIEDC

Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) 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 at the company’s blog at www.senecasuccess.com.

Oriana House is the newest healthcare expansion

Company expands to 12 jobs, will occupy vacant facilityBetty Jane 2 (3)

TIFFIN, OHIO – April 8, 2015 – Tiffin-based 3EC Development and Oriana House, Inc., are pleased to announce a new partnership which would allow Oriana House to relocate and establish a new expanded, multi-service treatment facility in Tiffin at the currently vacant Betty Jane Memorial Center, located at 65 Saint Francis Avenue. A five-year lease has been signed, and the new facility will employ 12, representing a 20 percent increase in employment. The total investment by 3EC to prepare it for development will be near or exceed $700,000.

This latest project extends the trend in Tiffin and Seneca County for positive growth and development across all sectors including healthcare, which now employs more than 2,200 workers in Seneca County and is a $200+ million business. This small project follows the $9M Sojourn at Seneca facility being constructed on the Mercy Tiffin Hospital campus and the $1M ProMedica dialysis center expansion in Fostoria.

3EC Development co-founder Chris Huffman welcomed the deal. “This is the kind of project we envisioned when we purchased the facility, and we are glad to see more jobs coming as a result.” Oriana House Vice President Jason Varney was also pleased with the arrangement. “We appreciate 3EC, the city of Tiffin, and the positive reception we have received. We are committed to making the communities we operate in stronger and healthier, and we have done that successfully for 35 years. Oriana House has been a part of Tiffin and the greater Seneca County region for many years now and this partnership allows for an expansion of much needed services.”

Oriana House is a nationally renowned private, nonprofit healthcare and social service provider with 800 employees and 28 facilities in Summit, Cuyahoga, Seneca, Sandusky and Erie counties focusing on addiction treatment. 3EC Development is a local investor and developer group which purchased the Betty Jane Center in 2006, a year after it closed. It has been vacant since 2012, when the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center relocated to their current West Market St. location.

Built in 1962 and named after Betty Jane Friedman, the Betty Jane Center sought to become a Mayo Clinic of sorts for northwest Ohio and sought to help people attain their fullest physical, mental, social and vocational independence. In 1968, the vocational/industrial division was developed to help individuals 14 years of age and older develop the skills required for employment. The Center was closed in 2005.

About SIEDC

Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) 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 at the company’s blog at www.senecasuccess.com.

SIEDC’s Annual Meeting to be held April 3, 2014

ODSA Director David Goodman

ODSA Director David Goodman

I’m pleased to announce today that the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) entitled “Transformation + Job Creation” will take place next month on Thursday, April 3 and will feature State Development Director David Goodman as the keynote speaker.

Director Goodman leads the Ohio Development Services Agency  (ODSA), a $1.2 billion state agency with 360 employees that administers more than 70 programs helping thousands of entrepreneurs, businesses, communities, and individuals throughout Ohio. More information ODSA’s impact can be found by looking at their website, reading their annual report, or reviewing their budget.

Register now by clicking here.

Started in 1983, SIEDC is a nonprofit with the mission to create and retain jobs in Tiffin and Seneca County. New SIEDC President & CEO David Zak will also recap the year’s economic development accomplishments, lay out a vision for the future, and list some specific objectives for the coming year.  Area businesses and individuals making significant  economic development impact will also be honored.

Event Details:

  • Camden Falls, 2460 S SR 231, Tiffin, OH
  • $30 per person, reserved tables of 8 available ($240)
  • Pecan Chicken, Rosemary & Garlic Pork Loin Buffet Dinner, Cash Bar
  • RSVP online by Friday, March 28
  • You can also RSVP or get additional information by contacting Karen Bowers (419.447.3831, kbowers@bpsom.com)

Program:

  • 5:30 pm – Social Hour
  • 6:15 pm – Welcome | Chair Rob Huntington, President Heidelberg University
  • Food is served
  • 6:50 pm – Keynote Speaker | David Goodman, Director, Ohio Development Services Agency
  • 7:20 pm – Annual Meeting Business
  • 7:30 pm –  Speaker | David Zak, President & CEO
  • 7:45 pm – Awards
  • 8:20 pm – Concluding Remarks, Adjourn

Register online by clicking here. Or you can RSVP by calling Karen Bowers at SIEDC at 419.447.3831 or by emailing her at kbowers@bpsom.com.

Tiffin has 5 major airports within 100 mi.

Businesses here love this fact. It means huge choice for them, their customers, flexibility, and low costs. Larger cities can brag about having an airport directly in their city, but it still usually takes people an hour or more to get to the airports (in Chicago, DC, NY), and you don’t have much choice.

Here’s another interesting fact: if you combined all of the passenger traffic through these Tiffin-accessible airports, you get 24 million, which would place it 7th on the largest US airports list, just behind JFK in New York and ahead of San Francisco International. The bottom line is that air travel in Seneca County is easily accessible, flexible, and very often at a great price.

I’ll cover Tiffin’s great local 4000′ runway airport (16G) in a future post. So, without further ado, here is your list, along with basic information about each of Tiffin’s accessible commercial airports:

Toledo Express Airport

From yelp.com

1. Toledo Express Airport (TOL)

  • Distance from Tiffin – 59.5 miles (about an hour)
  • Passengers – 80,000 per year
  • Airlines – 2 (American, Allegiant)
  • Non-stops – Chicago (via American), various Florida (via Allegiant)
  • News – 11% increase in passengers in 2013 (link)
Cleveland Hopkins Airport

From cleveland.com

2. Cleveland-Hopkins International (CLE)

  • Distance from Tiffin – 81 miles (about 1.5 hours)
  • Passengers – 4.3 million per year (40th largest in US)
  • Airlines – 8 (incl. American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United, US Airways, Air Canada)
  • Non-stops – 240 daily, 70 destinations
  • News – Delta adding non-stop to Hartford starting June 15, 2014 (link)
Port Columbus International

From bizjournals.com

3.  Port Columbus International (CMH)

  • Distance from Tiffin – 91 miles (under 2 hours)
  • Passengers – 3.1 million per year (51st largest)
  • Airlines – 7 (AirTran, American, Delta, Southwest, United, US Airways, Air Canada)
  • Non-stops – 141 daily, 31 destinations
  • News – Port Columbus completes 1st phase of $80 makeover (link)
Detroit Metro Airport

From airport’s website

4.  Detroit Metro (DTW)

  • Distance from Tiffin – 96 miles (under 2 hours)
  • Passengers – 15.6 million per year (17th largest)
  • Airlines – 13 (CMH’s 7 airlines plus Air France, Air Canada, Frontier, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Royal Jordanian)
  • Non-stops – 150 destinations
  • News – Airport adds Minneapolis, Boston, Wilmington, Seattle and Heathrow nonstops for 2014 (link)
  • Non-stops – 141 daily, 31 destinations
  • News – Port Columbus completes 1st phase of $80 makeover (link)
Akron Canton Airport

From airport’s website

5. Akron-Canton Regional (CAK)

  • Distance from Tiffin – 101 miles (about 2 hours)
  • Passengers – 1.8 million per year (89th largest)
  • Airlines – 5 (Delta, Southwest, Allegiant Air, United, US Airways)
  • Non-stops – 12 destinations (incl. Boston, NY, Philadelphia, DC, Detroit, Chicago, Denver)
  • News – 2013 is second busiest year in airport’s history (link)

Sources – all airport information taken from their own websites except for the passenger data, which was taken from the FAA’s Calendar Year 2012 report (most recent data.)

Tiffin’s 9/11 memorial is a “must see”

All Patriots Memorial ParkThis week, I had the chance to spend some time at the All Patriots Memorial park in downtown Tiffin. Even though I previously had the chance to hear stories and read about it (and found it an amazing story), being there was a deeply moving experience.

The story is a good one. In August 2011, Tiffin was honored to be one of the select communities to receive a 17.5′ long, 6,268 pound piece of American history–a steel beam from the World Trade Center destroyed in terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. A group of police and fire fighters as well as community members got together, raised more than $375,000 locally in goods, services, and donations to make the 16,000 square foot Tiffin Police and Fire All Patriots Memorial a reality. It was dedicated on September 9, 2012.

The site is full of symbolism:

  • The date – The beam is set in granite at a 9.11 degree angle.
  • The message – the words “Never Forget” are carved in huge letters on the setting and the phrase is used for national tragedies like 9/11.
  • New York – the World Trade Center beam in the center still has the investigator’s ID written on it (“M-18”)
  • New York – a Callery Pear tree, the same type as the Survivor Tree, has been planted at the site.
  • Pentagon – The granite setting’s pentagon shape evokes the Pentagon attack.
  • Pennsylvania (Flight 93) – a granite posts displays “In memory of Flight 93.”
  • Pennsylvania (Flight 93) – the post is 40″ high, representing the 40 passengers and crew members who lost their lives.
  • Pennsylvania (Flight 93) – there a dirt mound that represents the pile at the actual crash sight.
  • Police & Fire – the names of Tiffin police and fire forces who fell in the line of duty is carved on the granite as well.
  • Police & Fire – on one side of the US flag is the National Fallen Police flag; on the other the National Fallen Firefighters flag.

What I find even more significant is that this site has become a place for the community to not only remember 9/11 but also to come together to grieve and mourn other local and national tragedies, such as the Newtown, Connecticut shootings in December 2012.

Here are some additional pictures I snapped during my visit:

 

Seneca Co. companies using $80M state training program

National Machinery in Tiffin

National Machinery was awarded a $40K+ grant under the IWTVP.

The State of Ohio is investing millions of tax dollars into improving the skills of Ohioans working right now.  Those currently employed workers–called “incumbent” workers in workforce development lingo–have often been overlooked by state and federal training programs, which have traditionally helped the unemployed, dislocated workers, and/or new hires get skills to get a job.

The Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program (IWTVP) turns the “new hires”-only model on its head and takes casino fees and delivers it directly to companies in certain targeted industries  to cover up to half of the costs of training those employees, up to $4,000 per employee and $250,000 per company. The first round in 2012 totaled $20 million, and another $30 million was released last year. Another $30 million has been budgeted for the next state fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2014. In the last round, 620 companies were given grants, with more than 51,000 workers planned to receive training.

In Seneca County, National Machinery, a world leader in metal cold forming equipment based in Tiffin, received a grant of more than $43,000 and has used about half of it so far. Church & Dwight, manufacturer of the famous Arm & Hammer baking soda, received a grant of about $7,000 and has spent about 2/3 of it. We would love to see more businesses take advantage of this great program, and Carol Owen Kern, the county Workforce Administrator, will help businesses determine if they’re qualified and help them through the application process. Businesses I’ve talked to love working with Carol, who can be reached by phone at 419-447-5011 (322) or by email at owenc@odjfs.state.oh.us. Given that we’re only four months away from the new state fiscal year, we want companies to begin to become aware of the program now.

Here are some key links for the program:

Want a 20% life discount? Live in Tiffin.

Tiffin Cost of Living Index

From Areavibes.com

Today’s post is about another great aspect of living in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio. It’s relatively inexpensive. The cost of living is also an indicator of the cost of doing business.

To look at how expensive it is to live in one community over another, we’ll be using a tool called the Cost of Living Index. Without getting down too deep in the theoretical weeds, the Cost of Living Index (COLI) compares the local cost of a variety of goods and services in categories like housing, healthcare, groceries, transportation, and utilities. It then crunches the numbers and compares the overall cost (weighted sum of all goods and services) across the country. The national average is set equal to 100. Accordingly, if your index is less than 100, you are cheaper than the national average and if your COLI is higher, then you are more expensive.

There are a lot of free tools online, but only three (I’ve found) will cover smaller cities and not just metros. So, without further ado, here are the Cost of Living Index results for Tiffin from City-Data.com, Areavibes.com, and BestPlaces.net.

Here are the Tiffin results (100 = national average):

1. City-Data.com 80.1 (20% discount)

“Mar. 2012 cost of living index in Tiffin: 80.1 (low, U.S. average is 100).” This means that as of March 2012, Tiffin was 20% less expensive a community to live in than the average community in the US. New York, NY (for reference) has an COLI of 163, meaning it is more than twice the cost of living in Tiffin, or more than 60% more expensive than the national average. Seneca County has an 80.2 index for the same time period.

2. Areavibes.com  85 (15% discount)

Just as City-Data does, Areavibes.com gives Tiffin an 85, representing a 15% discount off of the national average cost of living. See picture above. You will notice there that we get an “A+” grade from Areavibes.com.

3. BestPlaces.net 87 (13% discount)

Tiffin’s overall index is 87% of national average or a 13% discount.

Visit to Ag Credit’s new Tiffin facility

2014_01_17 - Ag Credit BldgI had the opportunity to visit the new Ag Credit facility recently, which is right across the street from the new Superior Auto store. I had read the article in the Advertiser-Tribune from 11/30/2013 about the opening of the office, and I wanted to see it for myself. Jon Orians, Assistant Vice President for Ag Credit, gave me the grand tour and talked to me about Ag Credit and the 8 employees stationed at the Tiffin location.

Per the website, Ag Credit is a “a member-owned agricultural lending cooperative serving the needs of farmers, agribusinesses, and homeowners and buyers. We’re part of the nationwide Farm Credit System, created by Congress in 1916 to provide rural America with a dependable source of funding for agriculturally-related enterprises.” They cover 18 counties in northwest Ohio and have 15 locations. What I was impressed with was that they are doing about $1.4 billion per year in loans. 

Although they’ve been in the community for more than 30 years, they needed a bigger space, and this 5,000 square foot former church and original Cactus Steakhouse fit the bill, allowing them to create conference and training rooms that can accommodate up to 75 people. They purchased the building at 2500 W. Market for a quarter of $1M and then worked with local builder Clouse Construction to invest more into it than the purchase price. The result – a beautiful facility that continues the retail development momentum on the west side.2014_01_17 - Ag Credit Sign

Particularly noteworthy to me on this project was the City’s flexibility and business-friendly approach to signage, which made a big difference to Ag Credit. The Street, Sidewalk, and Sewer Committee approved the creation of a law which allowed Ag Credit to place a sign in the right of way. It is a clear demonstration that the City wants to roll out the red carpet for retailers and do whatever it takes to make it easier for them to establish new and better operations in the City. This, in addition to the sizable investment and renovation of Ag Credit, makes this a Seneca Success story.