Coshocton receives award at APEG/API annual meeting

| June 25, 2019

Coshocton received the best practice award business retention and expansion during the APEG/API annual meeting held June 25 in Cambridge. Pictured with the award are Tiffany Swigert, executive director of the Coshocton Port Authority, Amy Stockdale, executive director of the Coshocton County Chamber of Commerce, and Sherri Gibson, business coordinator for Ohio Means Jobs Coshocton County. Josie Sellers | Beacon

COSHOCTON – The Coshocton Port Authority was one of several organizations and individuals honored at the first APEG (Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth) / API (Appalachian Partnership, Inc.) annual meeting. The event was held June 25 in Cambridge at the Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center with J.P. Nauseef, president and chief investment officer of JobsOhio as the guest speaker.

Mike Jacoby, APEG President and CEO, presented several awards at the meeting including the best practice award business retention and expansion, which was given to Tiffany Swigert, executive director of the port authority. She brought Amy Stockdale, executive director of the Coshocton County Chamber of Commerce, and Sherri Gibson, business coordinator for Ohio Means Jobs Coshocton County, to share in the moment.

“They take a team approach,” Jacoby said. “They go on visits together and sometimes take other representatives to meetings with them to hear the challenges and needs of businesses. They are doing a great job for Coshocton.”

Coshocton City Mayor Steve Mercer agreed with Jacoby.

“I’m very proud of them for being recognized for what they do for Coshocton’s economical development,” Mercer said.

Swigert said the visits began almost two years ago when she started her new position.

“Amy really opened the door for me,” she said. “She knew these companies and doing this was a way to make connections. Early on in our meetings workforce topics came up and we realized skilled labor and labor retention were important so we brought Sherri in very quickly.”

The trio plans their visits for the first Thursday of the month and usually stops by three to four businesses.

“We want to learn what their needs and challenges are and help them fill the gap,” Swigert said.

Once businesses started learning about their visits some began reaching out to the ladies in advance.

“We never know when we are going to get a phone call,” Stockdale said. “Being able to make just one connection can help a business make something work out.”

They also don’t stop working together after that connection is made.

“We follow up,” Swigert said. “It’s important to build relationships.”

Gibson believes the teamwork has been good for their individual organizations.

“I think it gives each of our individual organizations more credibility because people see us working together to help,” she said.

The visits also allow them to educate businesses about their services.

“Ohio Means Jobs is one of the best kept secrets around,” Stockdale said. “Employers don’t always realize Sherri can put their job openings on WTNS. We do these visits together. It’s definitely a team approach.”

The regional economic development organizations also used the meeting to celebrate their successes since 2011 and share the new regional economic prosperity plan for the more than 20 counties in Ohio that they serve.

“For decades, Appalachia Ohio was just trying to survive, but we want to move from a region left behind to a region that is leading,” said John Molinaro, API president and CEO.

He and Jacoby shared the steps of the prosperity plan that was developed with the help of a company called Tadzo. Each step of the plan has a goal, team leaders and action steps. They include a variety of tasks including: Listening to employers’ wants and needs, advocating for the region, training those already employed, developing sites, increasing access to broadband, providing financial and marketing assistance to businesses already here and much more.

“Twenty-nine people have already stepped up to be team leaders for our 13 different strategies and they represent 20 different organizations across the region,” Jacoby said.

He was happy to report that progress has been made in some of these areas. Jacoby shared that APEG and API are now voting members of the Ohio Rural Development Alliance. The broadband strategies team also is connecting with a group called Connect Ohio that is already working on this topic. Jacoby also thanked all who attended the meeting and for their role in economic development for the region.

“If we work together as a team more good will happen,” he said.

Tags: ,

Category: Business

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

Comments are closed.