EPIC Toledo Summit offers opportunities for young professionalsWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
About 180 local young professionals attended the EPIC Toledo Summit Nov. 1 to learn about the opportunities and challenges facing Toledo and the Northwest Ohio region.
The Summit offered concurrent sessions on three main tracks that included economic development, leadership and career development and career path of mentoring. The forum was presented by The Andersons with HCR ManorCare as the Summit Sponsor.
EPIC, which stands for Engaging People, Inspiring Change, was established by the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce in 2007, to provide emerging leaders in the community with a voice in the future of the region.
One of the presentations was about the Future of Toledo Initiative by Toledo Mayor Mike Bell and team of Aaron Baker, Steve Cady and Rose Gallardo. They presented a draft of a strategic action plan for 2013 based on priorities for the community developed by focus groups three years ago.
“I need your help because you are people who can turn this around” said Bell whose team wants to get more people involved in the process. “We want this thing to keep going regardless of who the mayor is. It will help us to make this city move forward.”
The Future of Toledo Initiative will hold a public meeting Nov. 29 at the Valentine Theater to discuss the strategic plan. For more information, go to www.futureoftoledo.com.
The forum opened with a keynote address from Toledo Police Sergeant Kevin Braun, winner of ABC’s “The Glass House” reality show.
“It was a valuable experience for me even if I wouldn’t have won. However, the reason to be there was to win the show,” said Braun, who bought all kinds of “Toledo” apparel to wear on the show.
“I believe Toledo is the greatest city in the world. It’s great because its people are great. We have a lot of positives in Toledo,” he said.
Braun had to take a 3-month leave from his job as a patrol sergeant for the Toledo Police to participate on the reality show. He said he used a lot of skills on the show that he developed as a police officer and undercover detective.
“Most important was to always stay calm,” Braun said.
In the economic development track, Dean Monske, president and CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership (RGP), told about his recent experience participating in a White House Summit on Economic Development.
He was one of only 40 economic development people from around the country invited to attend the one-day summit Aug. 28 put together by the White House Business Council, International Economic Development Council, and Select USA.
“It was good to see folks at that level who are really interested in local economic development,” Monske said.
He reported discussing the privatization of economic development efforts and organizations such as Jobs Ohio and RGP at the summit. Privatizing them made both operations more efficient and effective, he said.
“Our interest is in investment and workforce development in Northwest Ohio. The collaboration of economic development organizations with academia, business and government has eliminated duplication of effort and utilizes all the resources of the region.”
His colleague, Paul Zito, vice president of international development for RGP, reported a recent manufacturing resurgence in the region.
“It’s an exciting time for Toledo and Northwest Ohio since we now have a collaborative effort for international development in the region. There’s a spirit of cooperation in Toledo you don’t find anywhere else in the U.S. or the world,” Zito said.
He reported the recent Five Lakes Global Forum held in Toledo last month was a resounding success with 150 global companies and investors participating in it. Mention of the event in The Economist magazine was valuable world recognition for Toledo, he said.
Zito reported that 2,000 jobs have resulted from foreign direct investment (FDI) in Northwest Ohio. The U.S. is still perceived as an attractive market and safe investment, especially by European investors who comprise 66 percent of the FDI compared to six percent from China.
Another presentation explored “what hydraulic fracturing means to Ohio,” regarding the process along with horizontal drilling that extracts natural gas and oil from shale deposits in eastern Ohio.
“It will be a game changer for Ohio and will affect every single industry in the state,” said Linda Woggon, executive director of the Ohio Shale Coalition and executive vice president of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
Ohio has issued 431 permits and 178 wells that are already producing natural gas and drilling to access the oil. It costs approximately $1 million for each drilling location and they expect to add 1,000 wells per year in Ohio.
The process will require $900 million in infrastructure improvements but generate $6.3 billion in new investment and $500 million in new tax revenue in Ohio by 2014, according to the Ohio Shale Coalition.
The local impact from shale oil and gas could result in a potential investment of $350 million in emerging opportunities in Northwest Ohio, according to Paul Toth, president and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.
Toth said they are already working with four refineries in the region, including BP-Husky and Toledo Refining in Oregon and Toledo, Marathon in Detroit and Husky in Lima as potential users of the shale oil produced by it.
He reported that Northwest Ohio is well-positioned to benefit from the shale gas and oil production in Ohio with railroad being the most important transportation mode. The Port of Toledo is expanding its rail capacity with connections to both CSX and Norfolk Southern railroads.
Many local business people participated in the forum making presentations on a variety of topics.
A joint presentation on corporate giving, “How corporations determine where to give and how it can parley to individual giving,” was made by Julie Payeff, community commitment manager of The Andersons, and Don Rettig, director of community relations at Owens Corning. Both emphasized company goals to get more employees involved in volunteering their time and talent in their communities.
The Career Path and Mentoring section included presentations on operations, entrepreneurship, financing, human resources, logistics, and information technology, marketing and executive by local business people.
The Leadership and Career Development section covered topics that included leading peers, branding yourself, making the most of your time, and how to remember just about anything.
Additional support of the form came from Gold Sponsors Fifth Third Bank, ProMedica, Rudolph/Libbe, and GEM Inc. and Silver Sponsors Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Owens Corning, and Westfield Franklin Park Mall.