“The City of Toledo did some things with Forbes magazine and here at the Regional Growth Partnership one of the things we’re continuing is a series in Site Selection magazine, and we’re getting a lot of good press and good exposure from that,” Thompson continued.
The article in Forbes, titled “China’s Rust Belt Laboratory,” appeared in the July 15 issue. It featured Mayor Michael Bell’s relationship with Chinese businessmen, the area’s history in the glass industry, and the resurgence of the automobile industry. The segment reflected more on Toledo’s connection to Detroit than it did Ohio.
Wood County has gotten its share of national press, too. When Pittsburgh-based Fourth Economy released the nation’s top 10 small communities positioned to attract modern investment, Wood County was included.
“The ‘fourth economy’ defines our nation’s current economy, reflecting a combination of the previous three: agrarian, industrial, and technological,” said Rich Overmoyer, Fourth Economy President and CEO. “This new index is intended to serve as a dashboard for community stakeholders to gauge their capacity to attract and retain modern investment.”
“In the midst of many economic challenges, interest is growing rapidly in communities and economic development organizations across the country are effectively responding to the new economic reality,” continued Overmoyer. “We continue to build upon these experiences and we’re eager to launch this next listing of Fourth Economy Community Index.”
Wood County Economic Development Commission director Wade Gottschalk said, “Location is obviously a big part of it, because when you are selling to someone effectively, they’ve already picked their location. That’s how it works — they pick you more than you pick them.
“We sell the ease of doing business in Wood County, the business-friendly atmosphere that the county commissioners have really pushed forward and the jurisdictions in the county are very business-friendly. We sell the skilled workforce that we have and the high level of work ethic that we have in this part of the country. Those are big selling.
“And, we sell transportation assets and how easily, and in a lot of cases, cheaply, they can move those goods to market or get their goods if they are moving them in from elsewhere, like raw materials for instance.”
Stephen McKnight, Fourth Economy Consulting Vice President of Community and Market Assessments, said, “It is not surprising once again to see the leading fourth economy counties blend both rural and urban character, offering their residents diverse living and working options.
“Like we witnessed with the inaugural mid-sized listings announced at the end of 2011, a common attribute among the smaller communities is a geographic association with institutions of higher education, which are the modern engines in the fourth economy. As a result, these communities can provide the talent and place-based strategies that address housing, recreation and amenities for smaller, high-value businesses to thrive,” McKnight added.
Regional Growth Partnership director Dean Monske, Toledo Mayor Michael Bell, and Chinese developers from Dashing Pacific at the Marina District groundbreaking. The man in profile is Wu Kin Hung and the man with his back to the camera is Jimmy Wu, Mr. Wu’s son. (Press file photo by Scott Grau)