Appalachian Partnership, Inc., (API), Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE), and Appalachian Growth Capital (AGC) held their Annual Meeting on Wednesday, March 9th, at the Ohio University Inn and Conference Center, sharing the impact made across Southeast Ohio in 2021 and celebrating the accomplishments of local economic development partners and regional businesses. API serves as the parent company to the AGC and OhioSE.
“The past year has been among the most exciting for our organization,” began Board Chair MarJean Kennedy. “We have truly made unprecedented progress in an unprecedented time. As Chair Person of both the Appalachian Partnership and Ohio Southeast, it has been my honor to watch these two organizations, along with Appalachian Growth Capital, make significant strides forward this past year.”
The hybrid event welcomed 100 in-person guests at the OU Inn, as well as nearly 100 virtual attendees from across southern and eastern Ohio. Honored guest speakers included Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Ohio Department of Development Director Lydia Mihalik, and JobsOhio President and CEO JP Nauseef, among others.
Introduced by Steve Evans, API Board Member and President of Steve Evans Country Sausage, Governor Mike DeWine addressed the aftermath of the pandemic, the promising impact of Intel’s investment on all of Ohio, the competitive advantage of JobsOhio, infrastructure needs in Appalachian Ohio, and recent investments across the region.
“Thank you for what you do. You are all leaders. You do a great job,” Governor DeWine said to the attendees. “Our future is in Southeast Ohio is very, very bright because of you.”
Dr. Glenda Bumgarner, CEO of both Appalachian Partnership and Appalachian Growth Capital, shared the progress made during the first year of the organization’s five-year strategic plan, concluding with an invitation to regional leaders and businesses to join API in their efforts to increase prosperity in Appalachian Ohio.
Bumgarner then introduced Bryan Stepp, AGC Board Chair and Executive Vice President of Ohio Valley Bank, to speak to Appalachian Growth Capital’s impact over the past year. “We’ve executed 64 loans and deployed $9.3 million in capital to small and middle-sized businesses,” said Stepp. “We provided loans for working capital, real estate, and equipment. And thanks to the numerous partners who trusted us with their resources, we’ve exceeded our goals.”
Appalachian Growth Capital recognized S & J Lumber and M & D, LLC with Appreciation Awards, celebrating both businesses’ contributions to the regional economy through job creation and retention and long-term sustainability.
Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) Director Lydia Mihalik then took the stage. “AGC has been a great partner to work with,” said Mihalik, noting ODOD’s contribution of $10 million to the organization during the pandemic. “We’re always looking for those kinds of partnerships and organizations who can take an investment from us, add development, and leverage it into additional private dollars to help support our communities.”
Following Director Mihalik, Lt. Governor Jon Husted addressed the crowd virtually, touching on business growth across the state. Mike Jacoby, President of OhioSE, then provided an overview of the organization’s impact over the past year.
OhioSE experienced growth again in 2021, adding new team members, programs, and initiatives to better serve the Southeast Ohio region, Jacoby shared. Last year, OhioSE in partnership with JobsOhio and local economic development partners, assisted 46 company expansions and new locations. “Those companies will create 1,340 jobs and invest $352 million in fixed assets,” said Jacoby.
Looking ahead, Jacoby said the organization will focus on further site and building development, large and small company expansion and attraction projects, workforce development through the Good Jobs Challenge grant, and transformational downtown projects. “This hardworking, dedicated team of professionals is delivering tangible results for the region,” he said.
Jacoby introduced JobsOhio President and CEO JP Nauseef, who discussed the unique economic development platform of JobsOhio, investments made in Southeast Ohio, and the project pipeline growth over the past few years. “Ohio Southeast is on an incredible track where the momentum is building, getting traction, and creating measurable results,” said Nauseef.
The Annual Meeting concluded with OhioSE Vice President Katy Farber announcing the recipients of four awards recognizing outstanding economic development efforts within the region.
For Best Community Development Project, the Noble County Infrastructure Expansions were honored. The Noble County Community Development strategic plan features goals and strategies related to the enhancement of public water and broadband infrastructure. In 2021, the county saw positive results in both areas.
For Best Building Development, the Logan-Hocking Industrial Park in Hocking County was recognized. This partnership in Hocking County is poised to capture investment from both retail companies as well as attraction for new industries.
For Best Site Development, Lawrence and Scioto Counties were recognized for the NS Haverhill/SOID Sewer Extension project. The scope of the project included upgrading and adding 5.5 miles of an eight” force main sanitary sewer service for three industrial sites.
For Best Project, RK Administrative Services, LLC (operating as Rural King) in Pike County was honored. Announcing the third expansion of their Ohio operations in 2021, Rural King has now acquired 2.8 million square feet and 120 acres for future development, invested over $65 million, and created more than 715 jobs.
“This investment and job creation provides strong evidence that this region is a great place to do business and supports our efforts to attract additional investment and job creation to southern and southeastern Ohio,” said Farber.