Wayne Co. EDC recognizes 10 growing businesses

Ten businesses that expanded in 2008 were honored for their investment in Wayne County during the annual meeting of the Economic Development Corp. of Wayne County Monday at Forest Hills Country Club. Berry Plastics, J.M. Hutton, Johns Manville, Oberle & Associates, Pinehurst Village, Primex Plastics, Reid Hospital, TBK America, Stride Rite and Tiedemann-Bevs Industries all made investments during 2008.

In 2008, Really Cool Foods opened a new facility in the Indiana Gateway Industrial Park north of Cambridge City and Tiendmann-Bevs Industries opened in the Midwest Industrial Park on Richmond’s northwest side, said 2008 EDC Board Chairman Joe Chamness. In addition to the opening of Really Cool Foods, the company announced it was moving its headquarters from New York to the new plant, he added.

During 2008, the search for a new president and CEO was begun and nearly completed, which ultimately led to the hiring of Tim Rogers from Illinois in early 2009.

“We’re going to have some challenges coming to us in the next few months and years we’ve never seen before,” Chamness said. “We’re going to have to work together as a community to make this successful. I think we have the right people, the tools we need to do it and we’ve got the location but if we don’t work together, we will get lost.”

Incoming Chairman Jeff Jackson announced the EDC would no longer give land in county-owned industrial parks as an incentive to new industry.

“Instead, we’re going to include financial incentives based on the investment to be made and the number of jobs created and we will allow the prospect to use that incentive to purchase land from us, another private developer or an existing vacant facility,” he said. “This shift in policy may encourage private development by removing that unfair, free-land incentive. It also reflects our focus on existing businesses, for what good is free land to an existing business that is going to expand?”

He said existing businesses would receive the same incentives based on investment and job creation.

He also said the EBD would work regionally to help lure companies to the region because some of the workers may live in Wayne County and shop in the county.

“We have better odds of success if we find ways to cooperate with and support neighboring communities in their efforts to attract business,” Jackson explained. “If a prospect is looking at Preble County [Ohio}, we need to be in position to help Preble County sell the region. We need to move away from turfism and find ways to support regionalism in our economic development efforts.”

Keynote speaker Paul Lingle, owner of Lingle Real Estate Inc., offered several challenges to the community, EDC and elected officials:

“As I look in the future, I like what I see – lots of very good professionals, good city and county officials, excellent staffs and boards, outstanding educational leaders at all levels, wonderful caring clergy, the best social service and health care professionals in the region, great youth and lots of hard-working parents,” he said. “When I watch television about all the communities with problems, pollution, traffic congestion and crime, I look at my wife and say, “Move to Richmond Wayne County.”