Blog of John Molinaro

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Appalachian Partnership Inc. CEO, and former APEG President, John Molinaro has been developing rural economies for three decades.  He also knows the policy side having come to APEG and API from the Aspen Institute in Washington D.C. and through service on national rural development boards.  He is shaping the Rare Mix of Assets offered by Ohio’s 32 Appalachian-designated counties into the region’s first-ever economic development entity.

AEP’s bid for Ohio’s largest solar farm could be ‘landmark case’ for state’s energy industry


Business, construction and development leaders across Appalachia are rallying in support of AEP’s plan to build the largest solar farm in Ohio history.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio held its first public hearing this week on AEP Ohio’s plan to build two solar farms in Highland County: the 300-megawatt Highland Solar Farm, and the 100-megawatt Willowbrook Solar Farm.

If completed, the Highland Solar Farm be the state’s largest.

At the packed meeting, economic development leaders said the project could see investment in a part of the state that just this year was hurt by the closure of two coal-fired power plants. About 50 residents and community groups spoke during the meeting Tuesday morning.

“This is bigger than AEP. This could really be a landmark case for Ohio solar energy,” Marc Reitter, AEP’s vice president of regulatory and finance, told me at the meeting. “This could…

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Firmly Rooted Event Held in Athens, Part of America’s Rural Opportunity Series

Athens Ohio– Southeast Ohio’s local food system was praised as one of the best in the country at an event at Ohio University last Thursday sponsored by The Aspen Institute and moderated by New York Times columnist David Brooks.  The event was the 8thin a series on America’s Rural Opportunity (ARO) organized by Aspen’s Rural Development Innovation Group and the first ARO event held outside of Washington DC.  More than 350 people preregistered for the event and its live webcast, including about 100 people who attended in person.

John Molinaro, President of Appalachian Partnership Inc., Nelsonville, the event’s local cosponsor, opened by noting that: “Across most of the nation, organizers of regional food systems talk with pride about sourcing their food within their state or within 100 miles.  In southeast Ohio we talk about the 30 mile meal as if there’s nothing particularly special [about it].”  He also…

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Listen: (+Jobs) (-Hunger) = #457SEO

The WOUB news team talks with John Molinaro, President, CEO of the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth in the latest episode of the #457SEO podcast.

APEG President, CEO John Molinaro (left) talks with the WOUB News team for this episode of the #457SEO Podcast

APEG is a non-profit organization that partners in several initiatives designed to create jobs and advance the region’s economy, according to its website.

Molinaro shares how they are working outside of the box to encourage job growth in the 457SEO.

Ohio Valley ReSource reporter Mary Meehan also joins the news team to talk about a recent story she filed about food insecurity in Appalachia.

“Hunger Gains: Budget Cuts Imperil Nutritious Food Aid”

What programs are working to connect those in need with nutritious, local food?

From WOUB Digital  |  May 8, 2017

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Economic Development in Uncertain Times

John Molinaro, APEG President and CEO

National and global events can have a profound effect on local and regional economic development.  The number one factor companies look for before committing to a major investment is predictability of their operating environment.  Their bankers, owners and investors want to be certain their investment will pay off.

Put another way, companies are always trying to manage their risks.  Economic uncertainties, political changes, regulatory proposals and international trade relations can make a huge difference in how risky a project may be.  Our recent national elections provide a strong example of how this works.

Every presidential election cycle is accompanied by a slowdown of company decisions regarding investments in new plants and equipment.  During the primaries, as the field narrows, companies look at candidates’ positions and track records and try to predict how each would affect their plans…

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