Erie County Economic Development group plans to expand

SANDUSKY The "Help Wanted" signs are going up at the Erie County Economic Development Corp
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

The "Help Wanted" signs are going up at the Erie County Economic Development Corp.

The county's main economic development group has begun advertising to fill a new position, retention specialist.

The new staffer will be responsible for keeping local companies happy and growing, supplement-ing the efforts of executive director Mark Litten, who will concentrate on bringing in new business.

ECEDC also is seeking help from the public, recruiting people to volunteer their time or contribute cash. Next month the group will roll out its new plan for economic development in Erie County. The plan is based on a series of reports issued by AngelouEconomics, particularly a final "Strategic Action Plan" posted on the group's Web site.

The rollout will be a public event, scheduled for January at a date to be announced soon, said John Hoty, the new president of ECEDC. New officers, elected Tuesday, also include James Smith as vice president, Andy White as treasurer and Doug Phares as secretary.

Smith is vice president for economic development at Bowling Green State University. White is Huron's city manager. Phares is publisher of the Sandusky Register.

Hoty said ECEDC hopes to hire a retention specialist soon.

"I've personally looked at over a dozen resumes," he said.

Hoty noted while Norwalk and Huron County have been losing economic development officials, "we're trying to expand our team."

ECEDC also has begun a new fundraising drive, Hoty said. The organization's financial goals are part of what will be announced next month.

The rollout is supposed to help "induce excitement" in what's currently a challenging economic environment, White said.

The Strategic Action Plan called for local officials to support creating a wind energy industry in northern Ohio. White notedECEDC has obtained $65,000 from local foundations for its Wind Turbine Action Team, founded inSeptember, which is promoting the construction of wind turbines by local governments.

Hoty said he's pleased every local government has endorsed ECEDC's action plan.

In addition to next month's rollout event, ECEDC is sending out a PowerPoint presentation and speakers to tout the group's efforts to local governments and civic clubs.

Ron Parthemore, owner ofStrategic Planning Solutions,gave a sneak peek of thepresentation at Tuesday's meeting.

The theme of the presentation is "linking our communities for growth," as ECEDC is emphasizing that collaboration will be necessary to make its growth plans work, Parthemore said.