Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ohio Wins Site Selection Governor's Cup

"Ohio Wins Site Selection Magazine's Governor's Cup"

This could be the headline in Ohio again some day.  Hopefully soon.

Walk into Ohio Senator George Voinovich's office in Washington and you'll see, in the lobby, the framed magazine cover from one of his wins as Governor.  As the graphic I've linked to at right shows, Governor Strickland won this award last year.

Ohio, rightly, values this victory every time it happens.  To the victor goes the spoils.

When it comes true in Ohio again, a celebration, rightly, should ensue.

But here's my take on what it means:
  • Ohio wins because much of Ohio has been, and remains, attractive for development.  It's true.
  • Ohio wins with manufacturing expansions and locations.  Conventional wisdom that claims "manufacturing is dead" is dead wrong.
  • Ohio wins this on the back of the investments made by its suburbs and non-urban areas.
That last bullet point won't sit well with a certain statewide fanction who want to retract the tools that have helped Ohio win these Site Selection magazine awards for each of our last three Governors.  But the facts say it's true.

In preparation for testimony to the Ohio Senate I gave two years ago, I reviewed the 2007 list of projects reported by Site Selection magazine.  My researched revealed that 74% of the projects that year were in the 85 Ohio counties that did not include Cleveland, Columbus, or Cincinnati.

I would contend that stat is very likely true of Site Selection Governor's Cup victories in previous years.  I'd be willing to bet that the stats remain very likely true today.

I mention this for one reason and one reason alone:  It's time that the value of suburban and rural areas' contribution to sustaining any sort of growth in Ohio be recognized instead of eroded. 

I say, invest in success.

It's time the suburban and non-urban areas of our great state be recognized for their contribution to Ohio's economic development achievements.

Let's do what any smart business would do and let's devote our resources where 80% of our success is being realized.

Let's invest for development in places where development is best able to occur.  Let's re-invest in our technologically-savvy manufacturing base.  Let's put a greater marketing spotlight on the places that can repeat Ohio's successes.  Let success breed success.

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