Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE) is a nonprofit regional economic development organization covering 25 counties in southern and eastern Ohio. OhioSE is a part of a family of organizations working to improve the regional economy under the umbrella of the Appalachian Partnership Inc. (API), our parent organization.
Under the leadership of the new API CEO Dr. Glenda Bumgarner, API is building out a board of regional executives to be the business voice of the region. OhioSE’s role is to operate as the regional network partner of JobsOhio, serving as the field staff of for JobsOhio in the region. JobsOhio is a private nonprofit corporation designed to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio through business attraction, retention and expansion efforts. OhioSE helps companies and development organizations access JobsOhio programs to spark new investment and job creation.
Our efforts are directed, in part, by the region’s economic development strategic plan to grow our business economy. The Prosperity Plan was developed through a widely participatory process in 2019, receiving input from over 450 businesses, development professionals and community leaders. The plan focuses on four broad categories: (1) Business Voice, (2) Talent Development, (3) Competitive Assets, and (4) Economic Development Programs. Thirteen strategic initiatives were developed within those categories. Visit www.ohiose.com to learn more about the plan and progress being made.
We are a team of 11 professionals directed and governed by a board of regional business leaders, development professionals, and relevant subject matter experts who are willing to devote their time and expertise to making our regional economy stronger.
We are grateful to receive the generous financial support of JobsOhio through our service contract and our sponsors: AEP Ohio, Columbia Gas, and Ohio’s Rural Electric Cooperatives. Thank you for your support!
Meet Our Team
“Despite the challenges of 2020, last year was a tremendous year of growth for so many businesses in our region. We’re proud to have partnered with JobsOhio to bring in more than $30.6 million of investment into Southeast Ohio in a year when it was needed most.”
PRESIDENT OF OhioSE
This Year in Project Success
"Walnut Creek Foods is a growing, Ohio-based company, so helping them invest and add jobs in the local community rather than out-of-state was the goal,” said Mike Jacoby, OhioSE presdient. “The Holmes County Economic Development Council brought this opportunity forward to OhioSE, and by working in partnership with the local development professional JobsOhio, the company chose to grow in Ohio.
Jobs Created: 40
Jobs Retained: 303
Total Investment: $43M
According to Randy Dobbs, CEO of Sperry & Rice, “We plan to make a significant investment to implement this strategic expansion,” Dobbs indicated. “The investment includes the purchase of new manufacturing equipment, upgrades to existing equipment and costs associated with finding and retaining good employees.” JobsOhio and its regional partner OhioSE provided a $200,000 grant to use in the purchase of new equipment and the upgrade of existing equipment to support the expected growth.
Jobs Created: 30
Jobs Retained: 53
Total Investment: $250k
General Mills, a leading global food company and one of southeastern Ohio’s largest employers, announced a new project in partnership with JobsOhio and Ohio Southeast (OhioSE) that will expand their operations and bring more job opportunities to the Wellston area. Believing in the success of the project, JobsOhio and OhioSE worked together and offered a $1 million development grant toward building, machinery, equipment and infrastructure costs.
Jobs Created: 12
Jobs Retained: 873
Total Investment: $21.2M
"The Colgate-Palmolive Cambridge Team is very excited for the investment in our site and our team,” said Plant Manager Rick Davis. “Our site has a long tradition of high performance and has had a strong community partnership since the plant was built in 1988. We look forward to this continued partnership.”
Jobs Created: 24
Jobs Retained: 318
Total Investment: $1.2
Silver Bridge Coffee Company, LLC., headquartered in Gallia County, Ohio announced plans to expand its manufacturing and distribution space to accommodate increasing product demand. The company, a woman-owned and family supported business, imports fine Fair Trade and organic coffee from around the world and sells to major grocery chains, independent grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants and bakeries throughout Ohio and the United States. They also ship coffee all over the US via their website.
Jobs Created: 3
Jobs Retained: 5
Total Investment: $164k
According to Bully Tools President and Founder Mark Gracy, the company has experienced a sales increase of 20% this year for its lawn and garden, farm, snow removal, home and other specialty long handle tools. “The company has experienced consistent double digit sales growth averaging 14.5 percent over the past nine years as a result of our commitment to manufacture quality American Made products sold online and through a network of national retailers including The Home Depot, True Value, and Amazon, to name a few,” said Gracy.
Jobs Created: 25
Jobs Retained: 35
Total Investment: $6.3M
Petland president Joe Watson noted that keeping Petland in Chillicothe has always been a priority. “We are excited about the opportunity to develop our footprint in Southern Ohio. This expansion will allow us to remain competitive in a rapidly growing international pet industry and to support our community and provide jobs,” said Petland President and CEO Joe Watson.
Jobs Created: 21
Jobs Retained: 53
Total Investment: $266k
For this expansion, Rural King has obtained and will occupy an additional 800K square feet of the former Mill’s Pride building adjacent to their current operation. This project will put three vacant buildings back into productive reuse. Rural King will invest nearly $17 million at the site, which includes significant improvements to the building.
Jobs Created: 51
Jobs Retained: 22
Total Investment: $213M
Candle-lite Company LLC, a subsidy of Luminex HD&F has been in Leesburg for nearly two hundred years. They recently announced an expansion at their southern Ohio manufacturing facility. Earlier this year, a strong increase in demand prompted the company to take growth action. Ohio’s logistical network and strong workforce has made the Leesburg location an efficient and productive facility for Candle-lite.
Jobs Created: 65
Jobs Retained: 535
Total Investment: $2M
“Sales for our custom-made hardwoods cabinets for home and office have tripled over the past eight years through our national network of dealers as demand for quality hardwoods cabinets has increased,” said Schlabach. He added, “As the company has grown, we have been blessed to add co-workers into the business who share our passion for hard work and attention to detail that is inherent in the craftsmanship of our products.”
Jobs Created: 55
Jobs Retained: 83
Total Investment: $3.4M
“We are excited to announce plans to make an additional investment in Holmes County that will support our transition to a modern computerized warehouse management system,” said Jim Smucker, President of Keim. “The renovated space will be used to train 400 of our workers on the new system as well as to train new employees,” he added. Company executives expect the increased efficiency and associated revenue growth will result in the creation of 35 new jobs within three years of the project’s completion.
Jobs Created: 35
Jobs Retained: 493
Total Investment: $1.2M
Phoenix Quality Manufacturing, LLC has announced plans to add a personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturing operation to Jackson, Ohio. The facility will convert 23,000 square feet of the former Elemetal (Ohio Precious Metals) facility into an N95 mask manufacturing operation. A group of investors, including Alan Stockmeister, plans to add 40 new jobs and invest $4.3M into the operation.
Jobs Created: 40
Total Investment: $4.2M
The Zanesville-Muskingum County Port Authority and its local partners truly appreciate the ongoing partnership with OhioSE and JobsOhio. In 2020, the OhioSE Sites Initiative provided just over $ 3million to the Port to assist with final development of the National Road Business Park. This investment assisted our community in completing a major piece of our long term strategy for ready sites, and puts us in a competitive position for new capital investment and job creating projects.”
Zanesville-Muskingum County Port Authority
HELPING COMPANIES MANAGE COVID-19
JobsOhio and OhioSE launched several initiatives to help companies in the region survive the market disruptions caused by COVID-19.
- OhioSE launched an aggressive and consistent information gathering and information sharing campaign – collecting information on the impacts to companies and sharing it with JobsOhio and the DeWine- Husted Administration – as well as sharing weekly and sometimes twice a week updates on programs and resources with companies.
- Seventeen companies in the region, all previous clients of JobsOhio programs, were awarded a total of $9.6 million in JobsOhio Workforce Retention Loans to help maintain their employees on the payroll for six months. If employees were retained, the loans were forgiven and became grants. The OhioSE region received more from this program than any other part of the state.
- JobsOhio invested $2 million in Appalachian Growth Capital (AGC – a non-profit sister company to OhioSE) so that it could relend funds to small businesses.
- JobsOhio matched a venture capital fund to inject a $1 million JobsOhio Innovation Loan into a fast growing technology company in the region.
- JobsOhio invested $25 million with Peoples Bank, the largest regional bank headquartered in southeastern Ohio, to create a loan guarantee program to help struggling small businesses.
- Finally, OhioSE partnered with JobsOhio and local chambers of commerce and development partners to distribute 1,300 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits to businesses across the region.
JobsOhio Workforce Retention Loans
JobsOhio investment in Appalachian Growth Capital
PPE kits to businesses
OhioSE launched an engagement and strategic partnerships effort in 2020. Ed Looman assumed engagement efforts in the eastern part of our region, sliding over from a project management role. Destiny Bryson was hired to manage engagement in southern Ohio. Whereas most of the work of OhioSE is directed toward businesses, Ed and Destiny focus on communities. They organized a successful series of webinars (ED Now) training local elected officials on economic development. They also helped to educate eligible communities on JobsOhio’s new Vibrancy Fund program. In the fall, the Engagement team launched the Prepared Communities Program in partnership with premiere law firm Bricker & Eckler, selecting five communities or counties in the region to receive one-on-one technical training and assistance to create an economic development strategic plan.
Regional Talent Manager Kara Willis has been actively advising companies across the region on strategies for finding, retaining and training in-demand workers. To fill and increase the talent pool in the region, Kara has been:
- Working with JSW Steel to develop customized training programs.
- Implementing the Washington County Career Center (WCCC) grant from JobsOhio for program enhancement and delivery of the adult Industrial Maintenance Mechanic training program in order to meet the critical need of manufacturers in the OhioSE region.
- Facilitating a JobsOhio grant to Zane State College to defray costs for electrical “test set” equipment to support the Bachelor of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering Technology (BSET) program lab. The intent of the contribution is to increase enrollment to meet the need for an electric utility workforce, and supply manufacturers in OhioSE with entry-level engineering talent related to protection and control of power industry equipment.
- Organizing a series of free webinars in collaboration with the OhioMEP and Tooling-U to help regional companies learn and implement best practices for talent recruitment and retention.
Whether giving existing companies a place to grow or attracting new companies, having ready sites and buildings is critical to a community’s economic development effort. Our regional economic development strategic plan, the Prosperity Plan, identified the lack of ready sites and buildings as a priority, and as a region, we have advocated for new tools. Fortunately, in the two years since the prosperity planning process was launched, we have gone from zero programs to support speculative site and building development to three programs. In 2020, nearly $9.5 million was awarded in the region through the JobsOhio and OhioSE Sites Initiative. The National Road Business Park in Muskingum County received just over a $3-million grant for infrastructure, the Bill Theisen Industrial Park in Athens County received just under $3 million for site improvements, and the Franklin Furnace to Southern Ohio Industrial District sewer project in Scioto and Lawrence counties received a $3.5 million grant.
JobsOhio launched the Ohio Site Inventory Program (OSIP) over the summer. Two awards from OSIP have been offered in the region so far: for speculative buildings in Washington County and a site development in Belmont County. Total OSIP grant and loan offers in the region amounted to $3.7 million. Ohio’s Rural Industrial Park Loan (RIPL), which is managed by the Ohio Development Services Agency awarded three loans for speculative building development in Meigs & Lawrence counties totaling $4.2 million.
See our available and ready sites in Southeast Ohio
Last year, our organization went through a rebrand in an effort to more effectively connect with prospects and stakeholders and to set the region apart from competition. Where as our organization was formerly known as the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth or APEG, we rebranded as Ohio Southeast Economic Development or OhioSE, so that there was no question as to who we serve.The new logo maintained the original shield, linking our organization back to previous work, the prosperity plan, and affiliated organizations.
We also launched a new website at www.ohiose.com which prominently features our 25 county region, target industries, available sites, and recent success stories. Compared to 2019, there was a 27% increase in overall site traffic. Highlights for the year included visits from 2,252 companies spread across 252 different industries.
The mission of our marketing efforts is simple – we strive to highlight all of the reasons Southeast Ohio is a great place to live, work, invest, and enjoy life. We invite you to follow along and join in the narrative. #WeAreOhioSE
FOLLOW OhioSE FOR NEWS & UPDATES!
OhioSE maintains active channels on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, and sends regular communications through our e-newsletter list.
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The Opportunity Appalachia program supported the OhioSE region’s early Opportunity Zone projects, leveraging technical assistance resources to move the projects toward investment.”
Vice President, Ohio SE
Hotel Swisher in Somerset
Preservation Hall in Chillicothe
Lofts in McConnelsville
Gateway Project in Zanesville
Best Community Development Project 2020
Sixth Sense Brewing Co.
Best Site Development Project 2020
National Road Business Park
Best Project 2020
PureCycle: Ohio LLC
Best Building Development Project 2020
Meigs County CIC Spec Building #4
Tuppers Plains, Ohio