News & Updates

Blog Entries - August 2015

2015 Conference Update

Posted on: August 5, 2015
Tags: Conference updates, Event updates

Think Regional Conference Summary – April 16, 2015

150 leaders from all sectors and regions of Southwest Ohio gathered at the Marriott Cincinnati North Hotel in West Chester on April 16 for a day of working on issues related to “Growth through Collaboration”.

Think Regional is a volunteer, non-profit organization seeking to encourage and facilitate improvements in the growth of the Economy, high-paying Jobs and the Quality of Life across the 15 counties of Southwest Ohio … including the metro areas of Cincinnati and Dayton and the “connecting” counties in between along the I-75 and I-71 corridors. The annual conferences share the successes that have been achieved though collaboration across geographical, political, bureaucratic and organizational boundaries … results that deliver greater benefits for each region and constituent than could be realized by working alone in isolation.

Mayor Nan Whaley of Dayton and Vice-Mayor David Mann of Cincinnati shared the stage as the morning’s keynote speakers and shared examples of multiple collaborations in progress that were bringing new economic development and job growth programs to the region.   One example of the benefits of such regional collaboration is the joint designation of the Southwestern Ohio Aeronautical Region (SOAR) Manufacturing Region under the Federal Government’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership program.   Today more than 64 aerospace companies employ almost 12,000 workers in the region.  SOAR is in the top-third nationally across 23 of the 25 industries that make up aerospace supply chains.   Major aerospace manufacturers, like Boeing, now spend more in Ohio than they do in Washington, New York, Texas, and Florida combined. The region’s position at the vanguard of the manufacturing revival has been recognized by Forbes magazine and by the Brookings Institution, which named SOAR a top twenty North American trade metro. Details are at

Two panel discussions followed with key leaders discussing other successful collaboration examples, their value for the region in key areas, and what elements made the collaborations successful. The first panel discussed economic development and infrastructure issues, and included:

  • Councilwoman Amy Murray from Cincinnati;

  • Johnna Reeder, Director of REDI Cincinnati;

  • Martin Russell, Director, Warren County Economic Development;

  • Dr. Kevin Boys, Southern State Community College;

  • Tanya Brownrigg, Senior VP, DTZ Cassidy Turley;

  • Moderator Shashank Saxon, Director of Digital Software Solutions, Kroger

The second panel discussed quality of life, entrepreneurial support. Inclusion of racial and ethnic minorities and cross-government collaboration and reform issues, and included:

  • TJ White, Center 4 Local Government;

  • Joni Fedders, President, Aileron;

  • Chris McWhinney, CEO, Millennium Reign Energy, LLC;

  • Laureece Johnson, J3 Business Consulting, LLC;

  • Moderator Barney Wright, Jr., Chairman, Board of Trustees, Sinclair Community College.

 In the afternoon, attendees heard of additional collaborations regarding government efficiency programs and a community quality of life program targeting heroin addiction, from Gene Krebs, Local Government Innovation Fund, and Vito Peraino, Chief Legal Counsel for Great American and a member of the Crossroads Church Community Program efforts to aid the recovery of heroin addicts.

 Following the panels, attendees broke into smaller Issue Action Groups to work on refining the definitions of the desired end state outcomes for the 6 key issues judged to have the highest impact on greater economic growth, job growth and quality of life improvements across the region, and the initial action steps needed to start moving toward those outcomes, as identified by the attendees at the 2014 Think Regional Conference.   Those 6 key issues are:

  • Infrastructure (Integrated Transportation modes, Energy, and Utilities such as Fiber Optic cable);

  • Skilled and Educated Workforce Development;

  • Entrepreneurial Support;

  • Quality of Life;

  • Inclusion of Racial and Ethnic Minorities in Communities and Businesses;

  • Cross-Government Collaboration and Reform to Support Development.

In the feedback we received from the attendees, these were the comments and ratings that stood out:

  • The Issue Action Group work sessions were the highest rated portion of the conference by attendees, and the morning joint keynote session by Mayor Whaley and Vice-Mayor Mann was the second highest rated session;

  • There was strong agreement that these 6 issues are indeed the right issues for us to focus upon in order to help the region achieve greater economic and job growth and improved quality of life results; no other new issues were suggested;

  • Nearly 70% of the evaluations stated that the End State definitions for each issue had been well-defined and had no suggested changes or improvements;

  • Over 60% of the evaluations also stated that the Action Steps for each were also well-defined and had no suggested changes or improvements;

  • Over 50% of the evaluations indicated an interest in continuing to work on the Issue Action Group team throughout the year, to continue to make progress; and finally,

  • Over 90% indicated an intention to attend the 2016 Think Regional Conference.

As next steps, attendees working on these Issues and Action Steps will meet at the Aileron Center in Tipp City on June 26, to continue working on the end state outcomes and initial action steps for these issues with the support of the Aileron strategic planning process and staff.  There will be a separate summary of this session posted as well … hope you will look for it to stay fully current!

read more …

2015 Conference Photos

Posted on: August 5, 2015
Tags: Event updates, Conference updates

Photos from an active day of learning and working for our attendees!

read more …