By Dean Monske, President and CEO
When marketing Northwest Ohio across the nation as an ideal location for investment, two of the Regional Growth Partnership’s primary messaging points are the considerable business assets to help drive corporate success and the incredible collaboration with economic development partners at the regional and state levels.
Recently, the RGP had the opportunity to articulate and celebrate both messages when the new administration at JobsOhio visited Northwest Ohio.
As the newly hired President and Chief Investment Officer at JobsOhio, J.P. Nauseef initiated a statewide Listening and Learning Tour, traveling to each of the six regional economic development groups and their communities. For J.P. and his team at JobsOhio, it was an opportunity to meet the community, learn about the regions and garner feedback. And for us at the RGP, it was our chance to further communicate the incredible people, businesses and assets which make Northwest Ohio a wonderful place for businesses and families.
To best accommodate the goals for JobsOhio’s visit, the Regional Growth Partnership hosted a series of discussions with various constituencies from across Northwest Ohio. The Listening Tour started with a dinner featuring RGP leadership as well as current and former board chairs. The next morning, the JO team met with the full RGP staff to discuss strategy, initiatives and goals. Shortly after, J.P sat down with the RGP executive committee, made up of 20 stakeholders representing the Northwest Ohio business community.
What caught my attention right away during these meetings was J.P.’s genuine interest and true sincerity in hearing from us … really listening and engaging back and forth with the audiences. I could tell he wasn’t just “being polite” when asking pointed questions, offering honest input and extending legitimate suggestions when appropriate.
As we learned during his visit, J.P. continually emphasizes his commitment to gaining feedback about JobsOhio and discussing ways to improve its performance, as well as its ongoing partnership and collaboration across Ohio. J.P. was appointed to his position in February, formally taking over in March. He stresses the importance of teamwork, including the heightening of direct communication with both regional network partners and local economic development officials.
Coinciding with J.P.’s visit, the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted its bi-monthly business luncheon at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Glass Pavilion. Lt. Gov. Jon Husted was the guest speaker, and J.P. was given the opportunity to make some remarks to the crowd of more than 100 people.
After that, J.P. sat down with nearly a dozen mayors and county commissioners from across Northwest Ohio. That was followed by a discussion with local economic development officials representing the 17 counties which make up our regional footprint.
During those meetings, I was struck by the level of engagement put forth by these constituencies. They demonstrated a natural willingness to learn more about JobsOhio, hear from the new leadership and offer their own perspectives, thoughts and visions. And without question, the strong turnout of our local partners left a positive impression on JobsOhio.
Before departing, J.P. joined RGP team members for a drive touring a number of Northwest Ohio’s key business assets, which included stops at recent project wins, major development sites and vital logistics resources.
Following up on J.P.’s visit, the RGP received considerable feedback from Listening Tour participants, all offering high praise to the JobsOhio team for taking the time, beyond token overtures, to meet, discuss, listen and engage. Speaking on behalf of our staff, executive committee and local partners, we even more so appreciate our relationship with JobsOhio. We truly believe they see us as equal partners desiring greater opportunities for collaboration. We know this visit was just a start to greater alignment, appreciation and teamwork.