Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Pickaway County Manufacturer Story: From Impress Me to Impressive

Our neighbors in Circleville celebrated Manufacturing Week in an impressive way.  See the news at The Dispatch.

Private-label toilet tissue, napkins, and paper towels are now coming out of a new manufacturing plant in Circleville, Ohio, just an hour away.  The plant was a $400 million investment in building and equipment by Sofidel, an Italiian-headquartered company.  This is their first new plant built in the U.S. and their most modern plant on the planet.

It officially opened Wednesday with a day-long, international gala.

I'm celebrating with the Circlevillians and Italians.

I was part of the three-person team that visited Sofidel on April 22, 2015 outside of Porcari in the Tuscany region of Italy.  The visit was part of a Columbus 2020-led trade mission to Europe.  A sit down with the CEO of the family-owned business began with a bold challenge.  He said in very clear English, "Impress me."

We in Licking County didn't have a site for this plant that had some pretty precise needs for size with rail and stream access.  Obviously, Circleville did.

There's so much more to it than that.

Economic development is a little-defined profession.  This deal has lessons for all.

True economic development involves having ready-to-go sites and having capable people.  Communities need people capable of targeted sales/marketing and people capable of seeing projects from A-to-Z to ensure the smoothest landing for projects in a local community.  You gotta close the deal.  Without these, Ohio never impresses and the deal doesn't happen in Circleville.

I'm impressed.  Congratulations, Pickaway County.

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