Development effort has gone from talk to actionWritten by Mark A. V'Soske | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meta-Planning process began more than one year ago as a tool to bring the university and area economic development groups together in an effort to understand how economic development is accomplished in our area. It also began as a way to develop a regional economic development strategy that would move the economy of the area forward.
The initial meetings spent a great deal of time explaining and demonstrating how the various economic development organizations do, in fact, work closely together, as well as talking about perceived or real problems and issues, and how to take all of this knowledge and move forward.
Each agency and organization involved brings specific expertise, talent and tools to the issue of economic development. The initial objective was to devise an approach that utilized all of those talents into a single focus. And I believe we have moved from talk to action.
Through the work of participating partners: UT, Regional Growth Partnership, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Toledo Metropolitan Council of Governments, Lucas County Community Improvement Corporation, City of Toledo and the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, and, in cooperation with the state of Ohio’s Department of Development, we have moved forward to action.
The Meta-Planning Process is now known as the Toledo-Regional Economic Plan. The development efforts are focused on five industry clusters that make the most sense for our area. The clusters include transportation and logistics; alternative energy; biosciences; automotive, advanced materials and manufacturing; and architecture, engineering and construction. Affinity groups have been formed in each of these clusters allowing area professionals more ways to share ideas, best practices and collaborate on economic development initiatives.
Successes have already been realized; we’re all on the same page; we’re in concert with the state of Ohio; we’re working in the areas that have the best opportunity for success and growth for our region; we’ve focused our talent and resources; and, we’ve gone from talk to action. The new Toledo-Regional Economic Plan is an example of how the cooperative and collaborative nature of the economic development organizations is taking the region forward.
Mark A. V’Soske is president of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce.