Erie County Economic Development Corporation
Memorable Moments
On the final day of our holiday celebration and commemoration, the 2nd annual email series highlighting 12 Days of Development in Erie County, we thought we’d share some of our favorite moments from our own days in development this year. 
Each day looks a little different at the ECEDC office. Whether a garage-based new venture, or a multi-million-dollar expansion, people with ideas look to ECEDC for connections to the people, strategies, and resources needed to solve problems and move things forward. With the collection of bright, creative leaders we’re fortunate to work with, it was quite hard to choose just 12 moments… 
ONE | Hearing from the overwhelming amount of people who wanted to speak in our Lifetime Leadership award video, honoring board member Jim Miller. Not to mention the record attendance at our annual meeting to recognize Jim, our other award winners, and our organization. 
TWO | Feeling the almost tangible momentum in entrepreneurship, especially women in entrepreneurship. Now in its seventh year, the RISE program is known across the region for assisting entrepreneurs in getting to the next level. This year, RISE held 82 one-on-one advising appointments, with 63% of those being women-led businesses.  
THREE | Witnessing world-class chefs light up like kids at a carnival at “Roots Cultivate 2018” hosted by the Culinary Vegetable Institute. 230 chefs, food industry leaders, and foodies not only knew Milan, OH by name, but also held The Chef's Garden and farmer Lee Jones in the highest regard - looking to him for high quality food products, service, and food philosophy. (Meeting Maneet Chauhan from The Food Network and eating edible packing peanuts was pretty cool too 😊) Food and agribusiness is the largest industry in Ohio and The Chef’s Garden is a key player. 
FOUR | Being a part of unprecedented collaboration to solve the most pressing challenge in economic development - workforce development. In 2018, we began work with the Firelands Regional Partnership, a regional business advocacy organization, and many others to develop a multi-year comprehensive strategic plan to address how our region can continue to develop, retain, and attract the best and brightest talent for decades to come.
FIVE | Meeting Jim Tressel at Youngstown State University. Yes, meeting the vest was pretty cool, but the true impact of the day came from seeing the school’s Center for Innovation in Additive Manufacturing. That, coupled with the Youngstown Business Incubator, America Makes, and the Technology House gave us pretty good insight into the 3D printing supply chain in NE Ohio. Additive Manufacturing is just one of the innovation clusters TeamNEO, our partners in Economic Development, is spearheading. 
SIX | Hitting “send” on the press release announcing CertainTeed Corporation’s $37 MM expansion. Every project in Erie County is rewarding and exciting for us, but this one felt a little special - reenergizing a 132-year-old manufacturing site in the county with the help of many of our economic development friends.  

SEVEN | Hanging out with 800 of our closest friends, i.e. community advocates and supporters, at April’s Sandusky Bicentennial Ball. 

EIGHT | Hearing a huge number of “Woahhhh”s from 9th grade students entering our FutureMaker Industry Showcase at EHOVE Career Center. Employers brought their best equipment and displays to impress and educate the 1,400 participating students and 200 parents and community members in an evening session.  
NINE | Groundbreaking at Phase 2 of the Cedar Points Sports Center – We saw community leaders collaborating to tackle some of the area's greatest challenges and opportunities this year - from a year-round tourism boost to the opioid epidemic or workforce development. The lineup at this event of multi-jurisdictional government leaders and corporate advocates like Firelands Regional Medical Center and Cedar Fair was a crystal-clear example.  

TEN | Watching the steering committee for the county-wide “Business Advisory Council”, comprised of eight school districts and many private industry partners, nominate a chair and co-chair for their steering committee. As the facilitators of this group, it’s been one of the most exciting challenges we’ve faced to bring together this diverse group with a shared purpose, setting up a strong path for our future leaders.
ELEVEN | Entering the greenhouse at Ohio Patients’ Choice just days before their first ever harvest. The greenhouse alone fills 25,000sf of the brand new 60,000sf headquarters, and there’s room to triple it in size. Seeing the closed-loop hydroponic water system with zero runoff in action was an impactful visual of the high-tech agriculture industry in our county. 
TWELVE | Finally, enjoying the busy every day moments with our ECEDC staff. It was an exciting year of new full-time, part-time, and student additions to our team, and an exciting personal year for each of them as well - from new family members to new jobs to new educational pursuits.
Whew, it was a busy year. We hope you enjoyed the ECEDC stroll down memory lane over the last month. 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 2019!