Toledo hires new director of developmentWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Carty Finkbeiner introduced Ricci Gardner Sr. as the new director of development for the City of Toledo at an Aug. 27 news conference.
“Gardner brings immense experience and knowledge in transportation. He is a quick learner in economic development and is already familiar with many of our projects,” Finkbeiner said.
Gardner spent the past several years working in Toledo for Dana Corporation as global vice president of logistics since 2007, vice president of human resources (2005-2007) and vice president of product development and strategic planning (2002-2005) for the Tier 1 auto supplier.
He previously served as vice president of the automotive business unit of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. Gardner earned a bachelor’s degree, majoring in transportation and economics at the University of Tennessee.
“We realize the importance of economic development, transportation and logistics in this region, where we have some of the best assets. We want to finish as many projects as we can this year to maintain and obtain jobs here,” Gardner said.
Garnder’s annual salary of $90,000 will come from the City of Toledo’s block grant funds and not from the general fund, Finkbeiner said.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to get him for the modest amount of $90,000. He is a strong leader with a reputation for proactive, creative solutions leading to bottom line results,” the mayor said.
Finkbeiner said that Gardner will work closely with the Joint Task Force on Intermodal Logistics in partnership with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Lucas County Improvement Corp., Regional Growth Partnership and UT.
“Gardner is already involved in the project,” said Jim Tuschman, a local attorney who serves as chairman of the intermodal task force.
“The intermodal project is just a small step in a long walk to economic recovery,” said Jim Tuschman, referring to the Airline Junction Intermodal project with Norfolk Southern in Toledo.
The Airline Junction Intermodal project has the potential to create 893 permanent new jobs, including 438 in transportation and logistics and 455 new indirect positions in an eight-county region during the next seven years, according to Finkbeiner.
“We have to maximize the use of all our assets for Toledo to become a center of transportation logistics,” said Richard Martinko, director of the Intermodal Transportation Institute at UT and a member of the task force. “The University has been involved in this intermodal project from the beginning.”
“The intermodal is an extremely important project for the City of Toledo and Ricci’s 15 years of proven success in the intermodal industry will significantly assist this project,” Finkbeiner said.
The mayor said there are another “15 hot projects” in economic development, including an auto-related deal that involves an existing employer adding 125 to 200 jobs. He said the city expects to make an announcement about it in the near future.
“There’s a lot of work to be done in economic development by the end of 2009. We’ll be busting our tails until the last day of my term because that’s what the taxpayers want,” Finkbeiner said.
When asked why he would accept a job that may only last for four months, he said,
“The time frame works for me as it’s critical for me to stay in this area. If I’m out the door in four months, that’s OK.”
The mayor also said that he would not be surprised if whoever is elected mayor in November would decide to keep Gardner in this position.
“Ricci has the skills, knowledge and leadership that will inspire the Development Department to close this year with a strong job creation record,” Finkbeiner said.