Development Partnership celebrates ‘decade of collaboration’

EATON – The Bribley County Economic Development Bureau – the Bribley County Development Partnership – celebrated 10 years of cooperation during a special event for investors on Wednesday, December 14th.

Justin Sommer welcomed the investors present and introduced the PCDP’s Director of Economic Development, Brenda Latanza.

Sommer with Bruns General Contracting who is the current PCDP Chair.

“This year is exciting for so many reasons,” Sommer said. “Brenda will share some of these with you, but it’s really exciting because it’s the organization’s 10th anniversary. I’ve been associated with her in one way or another for most of those 10 years, and I’m excited to be with you this evening to celebrate. So I want to pass it on to our CEO, Brenda Latanza, to share with you some of the successes” .

Latanza thanks everyone for coming. “Because we weren’t able to do that last year, we’re going to really focus on the last year. Last year saw a decade of partnership, and we really want to celebrate this decade of collaboration. Thank you to all the investors. Without it, this partnership wouldn’t have been a success.”

“Tonight I will only highlight some of the successes,” she added. “I can’t involve them all, but this is a decade of success that we want to share tonight.”

The partnership, formed in 2010, is a collaboration of business, industry, local government and education partners working together with a common goal, which will enhance and drive the commercial, industrial and civic development of Pribel County. Latanza said the PCDP’s primary focus is on business retention, new business recruitment, – marketing, community outreach and workforce development.

Latanza noted that some of the things that make Prebel County attractive to developers is that it is an ACT-certified ready-to-go community, provides quick access to Columbus, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis, is located near the crossroads of America and is within a day’s drive to 60 percent of the population of the United States and Canada.

“We also have high-quality education and workforce development programs, job portal, local and state incentives, and easy access to two of the top 100 airports,” Latanza said.

The PCDP’s Workforce Development Committee continues to grow with 40-45 people attending most in-person meetings and up to 30 in Zoom meetings when necessary. The Workforce Development Commission sponsors annual Career and Employment Fairs, Manufacturing Days for high school students, and internships, and has started a new apprenticeship program. The WDC also hosts action committees at the five Preble County high schools. There is also a Health Care and Public Safety Subcommittee to focus on the needs of the occupational category.

According to Atanza, the partnership has made significant investments in Preble County’s emerging leadership and leadership programs, paid for the creation of the job portal PrebleCountyCareers.Com, continued to help the county maintain its ACT Work Ready Community Certification, and invested in the PC Education Service. Six Sigma and Lean Training Certificate Program at the Center’s Office of Professional Relations for Students.

“Preble County is the first in Ohio to receive ACT Work Ready Community certification, which shows that we have established partnerships and credentials that support a strong workforce,” Latanza noted.

On the business development side, the commission focuses on retaining and expanding businesses in the area, administers the PCDP’s Revolving Loan Fund, and assists with Preble County RLF. The committee helps organize and participate in business tours around Eaton and area villages to meet with local business owners, discuss their needs, and provide any resources needed. The PCDP is also part of the SiteOhio program, and has helped bring future hotel projects to two potential locations in Preble County. The partnership also helps create the county’s community economic development strategy.

Recent manufacturing expansion projects highlighted at the Latanza showcase include:

• Cargill – Expansion of its existing non-pharmaceutical animal feed facilities, a $50 million investment that creates approximately 10 new jobs.

• Neaton Auto Products – The expansion of a facility that produces safety products such as airbags and steering wheels, instrument panels, cockpit components, and interior and exterior decoration products was a $16 million investment, creating 70 new jobs.

• Henny Penny – Manufacturer of premium employee-owned foodservice commercial equipment, has invested several million dollars and created as many as 70 new jobs.

• TimkenSteel – A North American high-quality steel (SBQ) manufacturer focused on creating customized products and services for its customers, has invested $12.4 million and created 25 new jobs.

• Lost Railroad Brewhaus, recently launched in Lewisburg, a $2.6 million investment that will create five full-time jobs and six part-time jobs.

• Royal Canin, a brand of Mars Petcare, is currently building a 450,000 square foot dry pet food manufacturing facility. This $390 million investment in Louisbourg is set to create 224 new jobs.

Community participation

Preble County Development’s involvement in the community is extensive and has included projects such as supporting a Preble County Fairgrounds feasibility study, updating a CEDS and land use plan, supporting half the cost of the Preble County Fairgrounds e-brand, helping to establish a $500,000 revolving loan fund for Preble County, and raising funding PCDP’s RLF to over $200,000, internship program, and feasibility studies funding for the hotel project. Most recently, the PCDP helped create the Community Reinvestment District Incentives for Harrison Township and Camden Village, and invested approximately $75,000 in creating a PCDP standardized office space, Preble County Chamber, conference and visitor desk for PC.

“I think it’s unbelievable how much investment has taken place, not just in the last year, but in the last 10 years,” Summers added. “All development is happening at the local level. And certainly, we have to take advantage of the resources that our regional partners make available to us at the state and federal levels. But the truth is, projects happen on sites, they happen in communities, and it’s more than just the number of investments you see out there. It’s really about impacting communities and creating opportunities that improve the lives of our neighbors, and that’s why we do what we do – economic development. So, thank you for the work. And thank you to all of you in the room for supporting this work in one way or another.”

US Congressman Warren Davidson and Matt Appenzeller, director of the Ohio Southern Chamber Alliance, were featured speakers for the evening. Watch for coverage of their observations in an upcoming issue of The Register-Herald.

U.S. Congressman Warren Davidson (second from left) speaks with Brenda Latanza, Jeff Sewert and Ben Thaler during the Pribel County Development Partnership investor gathering on Wednesday, December 14.

The Prebel County Economic Development Office – the Prebel County Development Partnership – celebrated 10 years of collaboration during a special event for investors Wednesday, December 14, PCDP Director of Economic Development Brenda Latanza welcomes attendees.

You can reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow him on Twitter @emowenjr.

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