Local organizations feted at EODA meeting

| April 27, 2015
Awards: Two Coshocton County organizations received prestigious awards at the annual meeting of the Eastern Ohio Development Alliance (EODA) which was held Friday, April 24 at the Carlisle Inn in Walnut Creek. McWane Poles, a division of McWane Inc. received an award in the emerging business category and the Coshocton County Visitors & Convention Bureau received an award in the tourism category. Pictured are Mindy Brems, Coshocton County CVB, Amy Stockdale, Executive Director of the Coshocton County Chamber of Commerce, Renee Hardesty, Coshocton County Port Authority, Jan Myers, Director of the Coshocton County CVB, Dorothy Skowrunski, Director of the Coshocton County Port Authority, Warren Stewart, Director of Sales & Marketing at McWane Poles, Keith Mallett, Director of Operations for McWane Poles and Lainie Brillhart, who works with the Coshocton County CVB and designed their new website. Beacon photo by Mark Fortune

Awards: Two Coshocton County organizations received prestigious awards at the annual meeting of the Eastern Ohio Development Alliance (EODA) which was held Friday, April 24 at the Carlisle Inn in Walnut Creek. McWane Poles, a division of McWane Inc. received an award in the emerging business category and the Coshocton County Visitors & Convention Bureau received an award in the tourism category. Pictured are Mindy Brems, Coshocton County CVB, Amy Stockdale, Executive Director of the Coshocton County Chamber of Commerce, Renee Hardesty, Coshocton County Port Authority, Jan Myers, Director of the Coshocton County CVB, Dorothy Skowrunski, Director of the Coshocton County Port Authority, Warren Stewart, Director of Sales & Marketing at McWane Poles, Keith Mallett, Director of Operations for McWane Poles and Lainie Brillhart, who works with the Coshocton County CVB and designed their new website. Beacon photo by Mark Fortune

WALNUT CREEK – With 110 members in attendance, the annual meeting of the 25 year old Eastern Ohio Development Alliance (EODA) was the largest ever, which was fitting for two Coshocton County organizations that received awards. EODA promotes economic growth in 16 eastern Ohio counties including Coshocton County. The group was formed in 1990.

Keynote speakers at this year’s conference were Matthew Roberts, an associate professor at The Ohio State University and Shawn Bennett, the Executive Vice President of the Ohio Oil & Gas Association.

Excellence awards were presented in five categories with McWane Poles, a division of McWane Inc. receiving the award in the emerging business category.

Dorothy Skowrunski, Director of the Coshocton Port Authority said, “In 2012 McWane purchased an abandoned, decaying 400,000 foot warehouse in the city of Coshocton, invested three million dollars to purchase and renovate the building and made another five million dollar investment in the purchase of equipment to begin their new emerging business manufacturing utility poles. McWane made this newly renovated facility the home of their new start-up utility pole division, providing 10 new very well paying local jobs. McWane Poles has developed and continues to expand the market for ductile iron utility poles. Their poles are being used in over 190 utilities and in 32 states.”

“Last year customer orders grew by nearly 60 percent and this trend is expected to continue. Our community is very thankful for McWane for their investment and their dedication to our community. We understand community partnerships are paramount to McWane’s operations and this investment is proof to their commitment to Coshocton. With this new technology addition to their line of products in a growing utility pole industry we know that McWane will continue to be a catalyst for economic growth in Coshocton and our region.”

Warren Stewart, who received the award along with Keith Mallett of McWane Poles, said, “We’re grateful for this award and we also want to thank Dorothy. She didn’t mention that she was very instrumental in helping McWane secure the former Pretty Products building. She stole my speech so I can’t add much except that we will have the only ductile iron pole manufacturing facility maybe in the world. Certainly in the United States – and Keith Mallett – he is the inventor of the ductile iron pole assembly facility – the only one in the world – so he has a huge challenge and is putting that together. We would love for any of the members to come see this facility. As Dorothy mentioned we’re growing sales at an encouraging pace and we’ve expanded production out to our Provo, Utah facility serving the western half of the United States.”

“Utilities have been very receptive due to the inherent corrosion resistance properties of the poles. AEP has helped us quite a bit with testing and we’re now standard with AEP. We’re really encouraged by the customer adoption and we’re grateful for this award and we’re also grateful for the investment from the McWane family. It’s actually a 10 million dollar investment in Coshocton now. Thanks again and we’re glad to be here.”

The Coshocton County Visitor’s Bureau received an award in the tourism category.

Dorothy Skowrunski presented the award, saying, “The Coshocton County Visitors Bureau is receiving this award because of its strong economic impact on tourism growth in Coshocton County and the region. Although the bureau has only one full time person and one part time person they’ve been able to accomplish a great deal. Just last year they moved the CVB into historic Roscoe Village where they established the only official Annin Flag Showroom in the country where visitors can see and purchase the many items made by the company. The showroom also highlights Coshocton’s strong manufacturing base by displaying information about McWane, Wiley Organic Technologies, MFM Manufacturing, RockTenn and many more. This positive move gained them county wide recognition and won them a Coshocton Chamber of Commerce Community Improvement Award. When the city of Coshocton wanted to rebrand itself the CVB headed the campaign to market Coshocton as the ‘Made in the USA City.’

“They established regular tourism industry partner meetings to bring together tourism related businesses from Coshocton as well as surrounding counties. These meetings have resulted in partnerships and packages being formed to help promote not only Coshocton County but the entire region in Ohio.”

“Just this past fall the CVB launched a GeoTrail that has already drawn hundreds of visitors to the area and anticipates hundreds more this season.”

“Their newly designed comprehensive website has seen incredible increases in web traffic, now averaging 12,000 visitors per month which is nearly six times the number the previous site had. Their new website won the statewide first place Ruby Award from the Ohio Travel Association. The numbers show that visitors to Coshocton County generated directly and indirectly business sales of 50 million dollars. These are just a few of their many accomplishments. And the reason why the Coshocton County Visitors Bureau is receiving the EODA Excellence Award in tourism.”

Jan Myers, Director of the Coshocton County CVB, accepted the award and said, “Thank you so much. I want to thank Dorothy and the Port Authority for nominating us for this award. I’m really grateful. I’m grateful to my board – they’re very supportive of all the things that we endeavor to do in Coshocton. Several of them are here today. I’m grateful to them. I want to thank those that work with me – Mindy Brems, and Lainie Brillhart who designed the new website and did a lot of our work in the past and we continue to work with her as needed.”

“I’m also grateful to all of our Coshocton tourism partners and all of our attractions because they make our job easy. When we have great things to promote it makes our job fun and easy and we’re very grateful to them. Thank you all very much.”

Coshocton County Commissioner Dane Shryock spoke to The Beacon on behalf of the County Commissioners. Shryock said, “I think the awards from EODA recognize the significance of the contributions of the different categories and with McWane Poles and the new engineering section of this award it speaks to the commitment they’ve made in Coshocton County to expand what most people know as the Clow Corporation from years ago. As economies and people and businesses change they have to change with it. It is a significant commitment of over 10 million dollars to our community to continue to provide jobs and to market ductile steel in a different manner rather than waste water or water lines.”

“Tourism in Coshocton County is a huge business as everyone is well aware of not only from the wineries to the hunting opportunities to the sight-seeing opportunities that we have but also connecting with the surrounding counties and their tourism. Jan does an excellent job marketing Coshocton County and I think today was a great tribute to her in recognizing her office and what she tries to do.”

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Category: Business

About the Author ()

I live with my beautiful wife Nancy on a small farm just outside Coshocton. We have been married for thirty two years and have two grown children, Jessica and Jacob. Jessica is married to Aaron Mencer and they are employed with Coshocton City Schools. Jacob is a sophomore at Kent State University. I graduated from River View High School, have a Bachelor’s Degree from North Carolina Wesleyan University and am actively involved with the Roscoe United Methodist Church, serve on several local committees and am a member of the Coshocton Kiwanis Club, having served as Past-President. I love reading, especially military thrillers, the Civil War and history in general. My goal is to write a novel. My wife and I are also AdvoCare distributors and encourage anyone wanting to lose weight, gain energy and better health to explore AdvoCare at our website; www.fortunes4advocare.com. I love the media field, innovative technology and have worked in newspapers for over 30 years – in fact, my first job was delivering newspapers. The Beacon is a dream made possible by the support of this community and a great team. I hope to continue serving Coshocton County for many years.

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