Officials cite regional collaboration at RGP annual meetingWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Officials from the Regional Growth Partnership cited continued regional collaboration among the group’s accomplishments in 2011 and goals for 2011 at its annual meeting held May 16 at UT’s Dana Conference Center.
“Most important is the spirit of cooperation among all the economic partners working together on growth and development for the region,” Dave Waterman, chairman of RGP’s board of directors, said at the meeting.
RGP’s role is the facilitator for collaboration among the economic partners of the region that includes cities, counties, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, Northwest Ohio Regional Economic Development Association known as NORED, other organizations and educational institutions.
Waterman cited the hiring of Dean Monske as its new president and CEO as “the overwhelming choice from a pool of highly qualified candidates and a passionate advocate for Northwest Ohio.”
“It’s not all about RGP. It’s a true celebration of real collaboration for economic development where everyone is working together on the same page,” Monske said. “Northwest Ohio has been a leader in regionalism on local, state, federal and even global levels.”
“The biggest change is that we’re going to be laser focused on being more proactive in promoting our region on all those levels. The new direction of RGP will focus on attraction of business and jobs for Northwest Ohio,” Monske said.
The economic partners are working with COACT, a local business development organization to work on building relationships with businesses. It is also working with a media consultant in New York to gain more national and international media coverage for the region.
RGP was expecting an article about how Northwest Ohio is attracting international investments to be published in the New York Times this week. The article was based on interviews with Monske, Prephan and other local officials.
Monske and Toledo Mayor Mike Bell are leading a local delegation of 14 people scheduled to leave May 18 on a return trip to China. It’s a follow-up to the trip made in September, said Scott Prephan, a business advisor with North Pacific Connections, who is working with the City of Toledo and RGP.
Prephan said the delegation will be participating in three formal meetings with 30 to 50 CEOs of businesses in China making presentations on the advantages of investing in Northwest Ohio. Monske announced the group plans to open an office in Shenzhen, a business center located outside Hong Kong.
Shenzhen has grown from a population of 50,000 to more than 14 million (larger than State of Ohio) during the past 20 years, according to Prephan. He connected the Toledo delegation with Simon Guo, a business partner in China who was their initial contact with investors there.
“We know there is some skepticism about working with China. We are building relationships with business people there who are looking to expand and grow in U.S. markets,” Monske said.
China and America are mutually dependent economic giants but they need a design of partnership, according to Henry Kissinger in his new book, “On China” released this week by Penguin Press. Monske referred to Kissinger’s comment in his address at the annual meeting.
Monske, Prephan and Guo were invited to participate in a business forum earlier this year in Fujairah, only one of the seven United Arab Emirates located on the Gulf of Oman. Monske represented the region as deputy mayor for the City of Toledo at the conference attended by 400 CEOs from around the world.
They made presentations about how the Northwest Ohio region is attracting international investments. It was another opportunity to promote Northwest Ohio to business people looking to invest in the U.S., Monske said.
He reported that the hosts of the conference in Fujairah paid for their trip.