MINSTER — One phone call and five minutes — was all it took for Ohio’s governor to get jobs for a handful of engineers at Dannon in Minster.
In a visit Tuesday touting development and investment in Ohio, Gov. John Kasich helped Dannon find engineers to fit its needs at the Minster plant. The job opportunities surfaced during a tour of the plant when the plant manager noted he needed some engineers.
Kasich called The Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee who pledged his support.
“We are going to get four or five people who are going to have engineering degrees hired at Dannon, isn’t that great,” Kasich said. “We did it in five minutes.”
During his address to employees, Kasich mentioned the need to invest in Ohio and touted Dannon officials for doing so.
Dannon is in the process of an $88 million expansion project that will result in 100 jobs. The plant currently employs approximately 400 people.
“This is one of the great visits I have had in the state,” Kasich said. “I am just blown away.”
Kasich stressed the need to get more Ohioans in the dairy business given Dannon consumption of dairy products. He also opined how the firm could spur other business opportunities.
“The one thing you learn here is we’ve got to get people in the dairy business,” Kasich said. “We’ve got to get young people to understand if you are milking cows, you are making money and because of Dannon you are going to make a lot of money and a lot of money for a lot of years. We’ve got to promote the things. We’ve got to promote the ideas. We could get a packaging company down here couldn’t we because of the mass amount of product that you produce.”
Getting children excited about education is something Kasich said is critical to Ohio’s future. The governor stresses it’s also something that must be done on a national level.
“You’ve got to give them something tangible,” Kasich said, noting it is important to push possible business venture to high school students. “We are going to embark on the big process of trying to connect our education institutions with the needs of businesses. So I called Gordon because you needed four or five engineers.”
Kasich praised local government officials for helping foster an atmosphere conducive to doing business. Minster Mayor Dennis Kitzmiller and Village Administrator Don Harrod were in attendance during the forum.
“I also want to compliment the government officials down here who have understood that keeping costs low really matters,” Kasich said. “When they (Dannon) look at what they are going to do, and you all know this, they look at the bottom line. If they can’t make money at a location they are going to go where they can, no matter where it is. They have made a huge investment here and I think they are very solid here and I think they are going to be here for a long time.”
When he took office in January, Kasich said he has one goal he wanted to keep in mind during his administration — to help businesses prosper.
“Here’s kind of the agenda, we came in and we wanted to make sure we didn’t have a lot of dumb rules and regulations that keep businesses like this from being successful,” Kasich said. “We created an operation to systematically get rid of things that you look at and go, ‘This is the dumbest thing I have ever seen.’ We are dealing with that.”
Kasich also touted the impending budget deal. The governor noted the measure included a comprehensive set of reforms that he believed will help brighten the future.
“This is the single-most, reform-oriented budget, I would maintain, maybe in Ohio history,” Kasich said. “And we are achieving our goals, which is to stabilize the state, shine it up, don’t duck our problems, stare it in the Ohio, politics to a minimum and then we are going to sell Ohio to Ohioans and sell Ohio to the rest of the world.”