Working as a region

When it comes to attracting businesses to Western Ohio, local economic development leaders understand it is up to the  combined force of a like-minded region, not only individual cities and counties.

“Major capital investors rarely say ‘I want to be in that city’ ... They typically say they want to be in a region,” Greg Myers, director of the Wapakoneta Area Economic Development Council, said. “I started thinking, if we want to start marketing ourselves, we should be starting to identify as a region, instead of just as Wapakoneta or just as Auglaize County, because our chances of catching someone’s attention as just that are probably slim.”

Myers said prospective companies first decide which country they want their businesses located in. After analysis, they they then choose the appropriate region of the country depending on resources needed, and then they choose the state. 

“And then it’s what region, what part of Ohio, is the best match for me?’’ Myers said.

To attract the companies which decide to locate in Ohio, Myers said Auglaize County has teamed up with other counties to pull resources and work as a collective unit. 

Due to many local companies’ focus toward Dayton, Myers said Auglaize County is part of the Dayton Development Coalition as the “big picture” economic development agency. However, a smaller agency was created to focus on the unique characteristics Auglaize County shares with Miami, Shelby, Mercer, Darke and Champaign counties. 

“We’re smaller, rural communities. Our work demographic, our work ethic is a little bit different,” Myers said, noting how the counties share similar industry sectors. “So it made sense for us to partner together as kind of a subregion of the greater Dayton region.”

For the full story, see the Saturday, April 12 edition of the Wapakoneta Daily News.