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.

Playing the Long Game

Every once in a while you will hear a country, a politician or a company described as “playing the long game.”  Urban Dictionary defines the phrase as “active participation in achieving goals which may take some time.”  Other sources add that those playing the long-game may pass over short- or medium-term gains in order to reach larger and more beneficial long-term goals.

Economic development is a field where winners learn playing the long game produces more benefits.  Economies rise and fall over decades so strategies work best when they address long-term opportunities and challenges and answer questions like:

• What are our unique competitive advantages and how can we capitalize on them?

• What new industries are emerging that are right for our region? How do we attract them?

• How do we preserve viable segments of declining industries?

• What infrastructure, sites and buildings need to be in place 5, 10, 20 years from…

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JobsOhio and APEG at worldwide trade show

image1What do President Obama, APEG, JobsOhio and 210,000 industrial leaders from around the globe all have in common?  We all traveled to Hannover, Germany in April to attend the largest industrial trade show in the world, the Hannover Messe.

Why did the President attend?  There is no better place in the world to identify and meet with industrial leaders who can bring additional jobs, investment and prosperity to America.  In addition, for the first time in the Messe’s 69-year history,  America was the show’s official partner country.  President Obama and various federal agencies used the Messe to showcase America as a place to invest, do business and create jobs.

Strategically placed next to the main stage, foot traffic at the Ohio booth was intense for the entire week.

Our JobsOhio contingent had the largest presence of any state at the Messe; more than 100 Ohioans…

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21st Century Buffalo Hunting

Many economic developers describe the art of attracting large domestic and foreign companies as “buffalo hunting.”  Some praise the practice saying that bagging the big, migratory beast fills a lot of stewpots and benefits the whole tribe.  Others criticize economic development as being too focused on buffalo, rather than on local firms – the rabbits, squirrels and deer that fill most of our stewpots every day.

Since starting in 2012, APEG has focused mostly on local game.  We know that 80-90 percent of new jobs come from growing companies already present in our economy.  We have made thousands of calls on local companies, looking for ways to help them grow and succeed here in Appalachian Ohio.  Our retention and expansion efforts have resulted in most of the 5500 plus new jobs we have helped grow in the region.

Mike Jacoby describes (below) how APEG is launching new efforts to attract companies to…

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Why Wood?

It may seem odd that APEG is putting so much effort into our wood products industry.  In a world where technologies are introduced daily and whole new industries gear up to produce them, why focus so much attention on wood? After all, people have been making things with wood since we lived in caves!

So, why wood?

First off, wood is here to stay.  The demand for fine hardwood products remains very strong.  Some of the finest hardwoods in the world grow here.  We can substantially increase their harvest and still be sustainable.  Most of our forests are owned by small local landowners, so every tree we sustainably harvest puts more money into our region’s economy.

Second, our forest economy is huge.  The industry contributed $22 billion to Ohio’s GDP, providing $5.7 billion in wages and 118,000 jobs in 2010 – before the economic recovery really got rolling.  More than 70 percent of…

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