Erie County Economic Development Corporation
Memorable Moments
In its third year, the  12 Days of Development  in Erie County has grown to be a sort of tradition. Our business partners, community leaders, and fellow economic development professionals look forward to remembering Erie County's local highlights of the year. We've really enjoyed building this tradition, but not as much as we enjoy working all year to play our unique role in ensuring these tales of economic development are here to be told. Now we hope to add another little tradition which is to cap the series off with a peak into what that work looks like. These are the Day IN Development - a closer look at what the day-to-day, foundation building work in economic development looks like. It is work we do to ensure our county is poised to take on major projects for area businesses - investments, expansions, core business changes, and solutions to challenges. Here they are, 12 quick tales behind the stories - 12 Days in Development:
ONE | Redeeming ourselves at ECEDC's best annual meeting to date. With over 300 guests filling the ballroom at Kalahari, we were thrilled to award Deal of the Year (K&K Interiors) , Entrepreneur of the Year (Air Filter Factory) , Visionary Leadership (Mayor Jim Forthofer) , and Young Professional of the Year (NCYP) . We featured developments from 73 local businesses . In the process, we even came across annual reports from the organization dating back to 1993 and enjoyed looking back on the development of ECEDC itself!
TWO | Organizing area young professionals to celebrate "In-Demand Jobs Week". In our first foray into a "Twitter takeover", we thoroughly enjoyed handing over the reigns to locals working in the medical field, construction, manufacturing, engineering, and professional services. We learned a lot about what today's jobs actually look like, and our Twitter analytics told us that you did too!
THREE | Giving the public a glimpse of what we get to interact with on a regular basis in our "From the Floor" series. In promoting the 2019 FutureMakers Community and Industry Showcase (you know that career exploration event where 1,500 students test out options in advanced manufacturing), our business partners allowed us to bring you behind-the-scenes with us to see what their work and processes look like and the impact they have.
FOUR | Hiring one of our RISE entrepreneurs - Mary Sanders from Scoop of Love - as the local caterer to serve U.S. Congressman Jim Jordan lunch. We were fortunate to host Representative Jordan at Gundlach Sheet Metal Works where their fellow business leaders in manufacturing joined for a roundtable discussion on industry issues including workforce. Of course we couldn't let him leave town without visiting Noble Axes to try his hand at the hottest lumberjack trend around.
FIVE | Assisting with the grand opening of The Marketplace at Cooke. Featured in our 2018 Days of Development , this $7.5 million investment lead to a breathtaking downtown indoor market space. We enjoyed coaching many of the business owners who reside in the marketplace leading up to opening, and still enjoy checking in with milestone mentoring. We were happy to support them further by playing a role in planning for their grand opening event which drew several hundred visitors.
SIX | Founding "Young Professionals Week". In a grassroots effort to retain existing and visiting talent, we partnered with North Coast Young Professionals, Lake Erie Shores and Islands, and City of Sandusky to host the first "Young Professionals Week" in Erie County. 300 attendees participated in professional development, community service, networking, socializing, and more. Save the Date for young professionals in your organization: June 23-27, 2020.

SEVEN | Attending ICBI33 (the International Conference on Business Incubation). As members of the International Business Incubators Association, we were invited to this annual conference with top Entrepreneur Support Organizations from around the world. We took away tools and resources for innovation education, second stage programming, and diversity and inclusion, became certified in the Innovator Mindset, and visited some of the best incubators and accelerators in the country.

EIGHT |  Expanding RISE to youth. In its eighth year, RISE continues to focus on strategic growth and long-term viability of the program and area entrepreneurship. One of the priorities in 2019 and 2020 is developing the pipeline of future entrepreneurs - reaching out to youth to encourage and teach entrepreneurship. This year, in addition to counseling area DECA students and judging local shark tank competitions, RISE is piloting curriculum with Edison Middle School students and hosting an entrepreneurship club at Edison HIgh School.
NINE | Welcoming new board members. As our economy shifts and evolves, the businesses we are serving shift and evolve, so too must our organization and our leadership. This year we welcomed Darlene Crooks of Label Aid in Huron and Sarah Ann Mackinlay and Swasita Saigal of Exsurco Medical in Wakeman to our Board of Directors. Greg Sherrill took over responsibilities for Brain Shanle of Kalahari Resorts, and Paul Koch of Civista Bank joined as Jim Miller transitioned to an ex-officio position.

TEN | Gaining Momentum in the Erie County Business Advisory Council. With 48 partners from three totally different worlds (Academics, Business, Community) around the table, progress can be slow. One of our signature efforts in workforce development, this county-wide council aims to enhance connections between business and education so their futures can thrive together. Thanks to the dedication of our co-chairs, Joanne Mueller of Cedar Point and Dennis Muratori of Huron City Schools, and participation of ALL Erie County school districts that effort is well under way. The council's top priorities include: OhioMeansJobs Readiness Seal, Teacher Professional Development, and Communications. Examples of our progress include an on-location marketing workshop where area students designed the BAC logo and a teacher business bootcamp for graduate credit.
ELEVEN | Diving into regional workforce data through Firelands Forward. In April, the Firelands Partnership launched a strategic planning process to yield a roadmap for workforce development strategies in the Firelands Region. ECEDC has facilitated this process in partnership with Norwalk EDC. Though not surprising, the data was powerful in identifying specific gaps related to position types, industries, ages, and education, and it has allowed us to prioritize some very specific strategies to proactively address workforce challenges. We're looking forward to the implementation of this project in 2020.
TWELVE | Growing with our staff. Though a small team, we believe the quality of our staff is one of our greatest assets. This year we were pleased to welcome Lindsey Hoke to ECEDC as our Office Manager. Sarah, Program Manager attended various trainings including the previously mentioned ICBI, Real Estate Development, and Business Retention and Expansion. Meanwhile, our Executive Director Abbey was busy completing her International MBA through Duke's Fuqua School of Business and tying the knot to her longtime partner, Drew.
Whew, it was a busy year. We hope you enjoyed the ECEDC stroll down memory lane in the annual "Days of Development". There is much cause to celebrate past successes and new beginnings in Erie County. Congratulations to all the businesses featured in our series. We look forward to working with you in 2020!