Columbus Chamber Annual Meeting Highlights Economic Collaboration

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Columbus2020! efforts, logistics achievements among the focuses

Columbus2020! logo
The Chamber looks forward to collaborating both at the national and regional level to build upon the successes achieved in 2010. Continuing our commitment to existing business growth and expansion, we expect 2011 to be another prosperous year.

Nearly 1,300 Central Ohio business and community leaders attended the Columbus Chamber’s Annual Meeting at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The event focused on the region’s economic development efforts, including the introduction of the Columbus2020! team, a review of the Chamber’s aggressive goals for retaining and expanding existing businesses over the next decade, and a spotlight on the achievements of the Columbus Region Logistics Council. The Chamber also introduced its new president and CEO, Michael Dalby.

Delivering the keynote address, Gary Locke, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, discussed how the economic agenda laid out in President Obama's State of the Union Address will help the Columbus Region reach its economic development goals. Locke acknowledged the Columbus2020! initiative, emphasizing that strategies including pro-growth tax policies and investments in infrastructure will help in the efforts to both attract businesses and grow existing operations in the region.

“It was promising to hear Sec. Locke align the nation’s economic agenda with the ambitious goals we have outlined for the Columbus Region, both in terms of attracting new businesses and expanding those that already call Columbus home,” said Jack Partridge, chairman, Columbus Chamber Board of Directors and president, Columbia Gas. “The Chamber looks forward to collaborating both at the national and regional level to build upon the successes achieved in 2010. Continuing our commitment to existing business growth and expansion, we expect 2011 to be another prosperous year.”

Presentation overview
In addition to Locke’s keynote address, Alex Fischer, president and CEO, The Columbus Partnership, gave an update on the Columbus2020! economic development initiative and fund-raising campaign. Since announcing the effort at last year’s Annual Meeting, $26 million of the $30 million goal has been raised.

The Columbus Region Logistics Council provided an update on the logistics industry and council’s initiatives. Workforce was a leading focus, including the $4.6 million federal grant to provide training to new and displaced logistics workers through Columbus State Community College’s Center for Workforce Development, as well as the job fairs that have attracted nearly 30 employers and more than 650 job seekers in the past year. Also noted was the significance of the Rickenbacker Intermodal Terminal as part of the multi-state Heartland Corridor project, which opened in September 2010 and will help to boost logistics employment in the region.

Columbus Award
The Columbus Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Chamber, was presented to Mike Curtin, associate publisher emeritus, The Dispatch Printing Company.

“Our honoree has touched us throughout his more than 30 years at the Columbus Dispatch and has led causes that have improved our community,” said Partridge. “Most recently, his work influenced the location of the casino and the passage of the Columbus Metropolitan Library levy.”
Curtin received a piece of art designed and crafted by Dawson Kellogg, assistant professor of the Dimensional Studies Program at Columbus College of Art and Design.

Board of Directors elections
As part of the annual meeting, the following members were re-elected to serve another term on the Columbus Chamber Board of Directors:

  • Lisa M. Bachmann, executive vice president, supply chain management and CIO, Big Lots Stores, Inc.
  • Robert P. Bauer, group vice president, Emerson, and president, Liebert Corporation
  • Don M. Casto, III, partner, CASTO
  • Melissa P. Ingwersen, president, Central Ohio District, KeyBank
  • Robert D. Irwin, president and CEO, Sterling Commerce, an IBM Company
  • James E. Kunk, president, central region, The Huntington National Bank
  • R. Parker MacDonell, principal, Invergarry Partners, LLC
  • Douglas S. Morgan, Esq., partner, Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP
  • Kathleen P. Murphy, president, MurphyEpson, Inc.
  • John R. Ness, president, ODW Logistics, Inc.
  • Robert W. Trafford, Esq., managing partner, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, LLP

New to the board are:

  • Michael DeAscentis, II, CEO, Lifestyle Communities
  • Jeffrey D. Logan, managing partner, McCloy Financial Services
  • William G. Porter, II, Esq., partner, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP

The Columbus Chamber 2011 Annual Meeting was presented in partnership with State Auto Insurance Companies. Presenting Partners included the City of Columbus and Columbus State Community College Center for Workforce Development. Leaders included Columbia Gas of Ohio, Integrys Energy Services, Schneider Downs, and Wells Fargo Insurance Services. Patrons included Alterra Real Estate Advisors, Xerox, and Sophisticated Systems. Additional support was provided by Columbus Chamber Partners Anthem, CareWorks and CareWorks Consultants, Inc., with media promotion provided by Bartha Audio Visual, Columbus C.E.O. Magazine, 99.7 the Rock, Classic Hits 103.9, and WMNI AM.

The Columbus Chamber, with nearly 2,500 area businesses and organizations, supports businesses in the Columbus Region by serving as their business partner.

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Michelle Bretscher
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