2020 Annual Report


To say COVID-19 was a challenge for businesses and individuals in 2020 is the understatement of the century. The human health and economic suffering remain significant not just in our region, but around the world. Despite these challenges, many businesses and entrepreneurs in Southeast Ohio adapted quickly to new business realities, and our communities grew more resilient. The pandemic presented market opportunities for many industries, including food processing, logistics, home improvement and online shopping and Southeast Ohio businesses were ready to meet market demands.

2020 was a year unlike any other, testing us all in ways we had never foreseen. Even still, the Ohio Southeast region finished the year with record investment and impact in our region, thanks to our strong partnerships with JobsOhio, local and regional partners, business leaders, and the communities we serve.




JobsOhio Investment


New Jobs


Businesses Investments

About OhioSE

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.”

Mike Jacoby

Mike Jacoby


2020 Impact

This Year in Project Success

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.”

Matt Abbott
Executive Director
Zanesville-Muskingum County Port Authority


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

Strategic Initiatives


Steubenville, Jefferson County

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.


JSW Steel

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.


National Road Business Park, Muskingum County

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


Sternwheel Festival in Marietta, 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


OhioSE maintains active channels on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, and sends regular communications through our e-newsletter list.

Opportunity Appalachia

The Opportunity Appalachia program supported the OhioSE region’s early Opportunity Zone projects, leveraging technical assistance resources to move the projects toward investment.”

Katy Farber
Vice President, Ohio SE

Hotel Swisher in Somerset
Preservation Hall in Chillicothe
Lofts in McConnelsville
Gateway Project in Zanesville

Award Winners

Best Community Development Project 2020

Sixth Sense Brewing Co.
Jackson, Ohio

Best Site Development Project 2020

National Road Business Park
Zanesville, Ohio

Best Project 2020

PureCycle: Ohio LLC
Ironton, Ohio

Best Building Development Project 2020

Meigs County CIC Spec Building #4
Tuppers Plains, Ohio



The year 2021 promises to be a rebound year for our entire nation. Already, we are seeing signs of businesses wanting to invest now that the COVID-19 fears are dissipating. In order to maximize the region’s potential growth, OhioSE is prioritizing the following activities this year in alignment with the Prosperity Plan, the region’s strategic plan for economic development: (1) increased Business Retention & Expansion outreach, (2) winning every eligible project opportunity possible with our JobsOhio 1.0 programs, (3) continuation of aggressive speculative site and building efforts across the region with public and private developers using JobsOhio Ohio Site Inventory Fund and OhioSE-JobsOhio Site Initiative, (4) assisting additional small company expansions through the JobsOhio Inclusive Growth grants, (5) restarting business attraction events that had been canceled by the pandemic, (6) finding ways to support economic diversification and talent retention & attraction through transformative downtown projects, and (7) supporting community economic development planning through ED Now and the Prepared Communities Program.

As we celebrate our 10 year anniversary in 2021 along with JobsOhio, we honor the qualities of strength and resilience that make our region unique— and now, perhaps more than ever before, we look to the future with hope.