News & Updates

Blog Entries - tag: 'Event updates'

2021 Think Regional Virtual Summit Video

Posted on: May 14, 2021
Tags: Event updates, Conference updates, Summit, Summit outcomes

Here is the link to the video of the full 2021 Virtual Summit held on April 23, 2021.

Please click on the above link to watch all the Summit presentations from our amazing speakers. They each presented inspiring stories of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs that are adding great value to their organizations and their communities.

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2021 Think Regional Summit is on April 23, 2021!

The Think Regional 2021 Summit will happen VIRTUALLY on April 23, 2021.  The event will be totally on line.  It will begin at 8:30am and conclude at 12:30pm.  The focus will be on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Programs successfully operating in our region, and the value they are providing to companies and communities.

The event cost is $20 per registration.  The link to access the event will be sent prior to the day of the event to all who have registered and paid the event fee in advance.

Our MC will be Joe Hinson, President & CEO, West Chester Liberty Chamber Alliance. Joe has been the Think Regional MC since 2015.

The keynote speaker will be Wendy Waters-Connell, Executive Director, YWCA, in Hamilton.  Other speakers include:

-- Emiko Moore, Community Conversations-Bridging Stories and MLK Community Coalition of Lebanon.

-- Noha Eyada, Mason CommUnity and Mason City Schools Diversity Council.

-- Doug Bolton, CEO, Cincinnati Cares

-- David Lapp, Co-Founder; Kouhyar Mostashfi, Board of Directors, Braver Angels, Southwest Ohio

REGISTRATION is now OPEN!  Please click on the Events link above to Register and Pay TODAY!

We look forward to seeing you on April 23, 2021!

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Air Force Research Lab and Think Regional -- Dayton Daily News

Posted on: April 29, 2019
Tags: Conference updates, Event updates, In the news, News

Read Dayton Daily News article on Air Force Research Lab interview with William Harrison III, Director, Small Business at the Think Regional Summit.

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The Entrepreneurs Center Wins $2.6 Million for Innovation Funding

Posted on: April 10, 2019
Tags: Event updates, Speaker updates, Innovation, Job growth
The Entrepreneurs Center in Dayton has been awarded a $2.63 Million grant from Ohio's Third Frontier program.  The Center's President, Scott Koorndyk, estimates that they will be able to add 70 companies to their portfolio of supported companies, read more …

Wright Patt Economic Impact

Posted on: April 6, 2019
Tags: Event updates, Summit, Economic impact

The economic impact of Wright Patterson Air Force Research Lab and Base are huge and well-documented.  Read the details at the link below:

If your business might benefit from the innovations and small business opportunities there, come to the Think Regional Summit on Friday, April 26 at the Hilton Garden Inn at Austin Landing.  Our keynote speaker will be Mr. Bill Harrison, Director of Small Business for the Air Force Research Laboratory. 

Tickets are available at



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Wright Patt Economic Impact

Posted on: April 6, 2019
Tags: Event updates, Summit, Economic impact

The economic impact of Wright Patterson Air Force Research Lab and Base are huge and well-documented.  Read the details at the link below:

If your business might benefit from the innovations and small business opportunities there, come to the Think Regional Summit on Friday, April 26 at the Hilton Garden Inn at Austin Landing.  Our keynote speaker will be Mr. Bill Harrison, Director of Small Business for the Air Force Research Laboratory. 

Tickets are available at



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Wright Patt Magnet for High Tech

Wright Patterson and the Air Force Research Lab have a $15.5 Billion impact on high tech innovation, entrepreneurship, economic development and skilled job growth in the Dayton-Cincinnati region.  Our keynote speakers at the 2019 Think Regional Summit, William Harrison III, Director Small Business Development, Air Force Research Laboratory, and Kim Frazier, Director, Growth Initiatives, The Entrepreneurs Center, provided an overview of how the two organizations are collaborating to help develop private business opportunities from the research that AFRL is working on or has developed for commercialization.  Read the details at  Dayton Daily News website link.

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2017 Summit Outcomes

Posted on: June 10, 2017
Tags: Event updates, Skilled jobs, Job growth, Education

Improving Skilled Workforce Development Outcomes

The 2017 Summit focused on the subject of Skilled Workforce Development, looking at the issues involved in closing the gap that exists between unfilled skilled technical jobs existing in Ohio today, and the number of unemployed and underemployed workers, many of whom have been displaced from traditional manufacturing jobs.

In the afternoon session, 120 participants in 12 small deliberative discussion groups discussed options for closing this gap and overcoming the barriers.  The groups were led by experienced moderators following the format of the National Issues Forum Institute for conducting effective small group community discussions.

The options considered and the outcomes from all groups are summarized in the document which can be accessed by clicking on the link here.

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JD Vance Keynote Address

Posted on: June 8, 2017
Tags: Job growth, Event updates, Education, Skilled jobs

JD Vance addressed several key issues around increasing the success of retraining programs designed to help workers displaced from traditional manufacturing jobs to find a new path back to a middle class lifestyle. The full video of his Keynote Address at the 2017 Think Regional Summit is on YouTube, and can be accessed at the following link:


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Posted on: March 29, 2017
Tags: Event updates, Summit, Skilled jobs, Speaker updates

Shelly Abrams, Chairperson of Think Regional, was interviewed on the Lebanon City Cable channel about the exciting agenda for the upcoming Summit on April 28, focusing on the Development of a Skilled Workforce for the 21st Century.

We have 2 interesting panels discussing the collaborative actions of major Chambers of Commerce and leading Educational institutions in our region, followed by Presentations by leading authors from Ohio: Phil DeVol, co-author of "Bridges Out of Poverty", and JD Vance, author of the best-selling book "Hillbilly Elegy". In the afternoon, Bill Muse, President Emeritus of the National Issues Forum Institute, part of the Kettering Foundation, will lead small group discussions on how our region could best take action to address the dual needs of businesses and displaced workers to fulfill the thousands of open middle-class salary jobs in technical fields in our area.

Click on or copy and paste the link below into your browser and fast forward to the 19th minute for Shelly's interview: 

To register for the event (we're nearly sold out!), click on the Registration page on our website. Details of the agenda are in the Events page on our website.

You won't want to miss this compelling event, if you are at all interested in or impacted by the need to better develop our skilled workforce and fill open technical jobs in SouthWest Ohio!

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2017 Summit Agenda and Panel-Speaker Overview

We are excited to announce the details of the agenda and an overview of the speakers and panelists for the 2017 Think Regional Summit.  Our focus will be on the collaborative actions we could take to help increase our skilled workforce in Southwest Ohio, reducing the level of unfilled technically skilled jobs, and helping to retrain more of our displaced workers from traditional manufacturing jobs.

Click on the Events Link and the 2017 Agenda page for the details.

YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS THIS COMPELLING EVENT!  After you check out the Agenda, click on the Registration Link and the 2017 Registration page to sign up TODAY!


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2016 Summit -- Panel Updates

Posted on: May 3, 2016
Tags: Conference updates, Event updates,

First Panel – Examples of Successful Collaborations in Economic Development      

Topic:     Examples of Greater Results Achieved through Successful Collaborations.

Moderator: Bob Viney, Think Regional Leadership Committee


Mitch Heaton, Dayton Development Coalition

Ian Smith, REDI Cincinnati                  

Pat Valente, Ohio Fuel Cell Coalition                                  

Dr. Jerry Hutton, Millennium Reign Energy

Deb Norris, Sinclair Community College

The focus of the panel is to share how successful collaborations between organizations and across regional jurisdictional boundaries are enabling the region to succeed in attracting substantial investments and grants that are/will increase economic development and create new higher-paying manufacturing related jobs across the region. The REDI Cincinnati and Dayton Development Coalition representatives will speak about collaborative projects they are supporting that are bringing increased economic development and job growth to our region.

The collaborative support of the region’s educational and technical colleges and universities to help provide the skilled and educated workforce required for increased manufacturing and technology jobs will be highlighted. Sinclair Community College meets with major manufacturing and technology companies to tailor workforce development programs to provide the employee skills these companies need to grow.

The OFCC and MRE representatives speak about the extent of the organizations involved in all aspects of Clean And Renewable Energy and Transportation systems in Ohio, the existing state of economically viable technology development in all key areas – wind, solar, battery, fuel cells, hydrolyzers to produce hydrogen from water, and fuel cell vehicle refueling stations – the operating installations in the field (OSU fuel cell bus and refueling station, for example), and the learning about the financial viability and scalability of the integrated energy systems for both personal and broadscale electricity use and fuel cell personal and mass transit. The benefits that increased investment in these industries might bring to the region in terms of increased economic development and higher-paying job growth, supported by both traditional universities and our terrific technical colleges and schools, will also be mentioned.

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Think Regional 2016 Summit on TV

Posted on: March 24, 2016
Tags: Media, Event updates, In the news,

Michele Abrams, Chairman of Think Regional, and Bob Viney, Planning Committee, appeared on The City Show on Lebanon TV Channel 6 on March 22, with Emiko Moore.  They highlighted the keynote speaker, David Abbott, and the first two panels, on Economic Development and Health Care, with a focus on how solutions to the heroin problem are being addressed in our region.  Watch here:  Think Regional on The City Show.

Click on the RESERVATION Link at the top of the page and get your tickets now!

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2016 Summit Update -- Keynote Speaker

Posted on: March 9, 2016
Tags: Event updates, Speaker updates

Think Regional is very pleased to announce that our keynote speaker at the Annual Summit on April 21, 2016, will be David Abbott, the Executive Director of the Gund Foundation.

The George Gund Foundation was created in 1952 because Mr. Gund believed the private foundation concept provided the most positive, farsighted vehicle for intelligent underwriting of creative solutions to social ills in a manner which would not be limited to his own lifetime. The Foundation's grant-making history reflects a deep commitment to the Greater Cleveland community that was the home of its founder and that remains the Foundation’s home.   To date, the Foundation has made grants totaling more than $586 million since its inception.

The Foundation’s philanthropic stewardship of this region derives not just from our history, but also from our belief that Cleveland can continue to develop original responses to urban issues and from our hope that collaborations across boundaries can create a crucible of innovation in all fields of endeavor.  Moreover, the urban emphasis of our work stems from a belief that thriving cities are one of the nation’s best hopes for addressing our essential problems. This focus is especially vital in an era of diminished government involvement in urban issues, intensifying globalization and heightened awareness of the central role of regions.

The Foundation’s guidelines reflect our long-standing interests in the arts, economic development and community revitalization, education, environment and human services because these areas embrace most of the major issues that any community must address. While we continue to organize much of our work within these program areas, there is increasing awareness that many issues and, therefore, many grant proposals do not fit neatly into one program category. Indeed, the work of a growing number of nonprofit organizations brings together aspects of several of our core interests, and, as a result, we are becoming ever more interdisciplinary in our approach.

David Abbott became executive director of The George Gund Foundation in 2003. Prior to joining the Foundation, he served as president of University Circle Incorporated, executive director of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and executive director of the Cleveland Bicentennial Commission. Abbott was also the Cuyahoga County administrator and, early in his career, a reporter for The Plain Dealer.

He holds a B.A. in political science from Denison University, a M.S. in journalism from Columbia University, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

We hope to learn from and be inspired by the successful collaborations in the areas of economic development, education and quality of life that the Gund Foundation has helped happen in Cleveland, so that we can achieve more successes in our region in these areas through our own collaborations.

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Issue Action Group Planning Session

Posted on: September 14, 2015
Tags: Event updates, Issue action group updates

Issue Action Group Updates – Aileron Meeting June 26, 2015

Overview --- We had 22 members of the Think Regional Issue Action Group teams come together at the fantastic Aileron conference facility in Tipp City outside of Dayton to work together on refining the definition of our Ideal End States for each issue, and the Initial Action Steps we could begin taking in the next 12 months to begin moving these issues from the current state to the Ideal End State that we believe better supports commercial investments to increase economic development, job growth and quality of life improvements across the region.

The outcomes from each Issue Action Group work session are summarized below:

1. Skilled and Educated Workforce

     (a) Use Think Regional to provide a web-based resource for all educational program opportunities for obtaining skills for the jobs that are available but not fulfilled in the region;  

     (b)Include Soft Skill programs (finance, writing, dressing, work ethics and behavior, etc.). Provide certificate of        completion for educational programs to help in finding jobs.

2. Infrastructure

     (a) Transportation: Expose options for funding options for transportation that are not gas tax – such as high speed electronic toll programs such as used in many other cities;

     (b) Energy: Work with Ohio Fuel Cell Corridor and Millennium Reign Energy to apply for an IMCP grant to designate Ohio as a Renewable/Fuel Cell Energy Innovation and Manufacturing Region.

3. Government Reform

     (a) Develop “Nudge” factors for local Government – emotional vs. economic motivators to drive local government efficiency over maintaining local power;

     (b) Shared permitting and review process across governments for development permits application and approval      process, environmental impact reviews, etc.;

     (c) Develop model forms for shared/standardized permitting;

     (d) Record and report the time required for permitting approval processes by area;

     (e) Establish a local Government “Czar” in the Governor’s office to attend Think Regional Issue Action Group              quarterly sessions and annual conference.

4. Integration of Racial/Ethnic Minorities

     (a) Every ethnic chamber should have a representative on our TR Issue Action Group;

     (b) These groups should help identify key actions for local business and government leaders. Design educational   programs that are measurable for progress on these issues.

5. Quality of Life

     Need actions to advance specific elements, such as education for children, home safety (neighborhoods?), access      to fresh food, access to health care (and use of health care), public transportation for job access.

6. Entrepreneurial Support

     (a) Provide a “one stop shop” clearing house for information on resources for starting and growing a business;  

     (b) File a form with state taxes to request support;

     (c) Earn certification for completing elements of entrepreneurial training/education, to make it easier to obtain loan or investment support, etc.

Next Steps

1. These steps will be shared with Business and Community leaders within the region and the public via the Think Regional website ( to invite comment and input.

2. Issue Action Group members will continue to work on encouraging these actions via their professional roles and personal connections with Business and Community leaders.

3. The Issue Action Group team members will next come together on September 22, 2015, 9:00am-1:00pm at ATRIUM MEDICAL CENTER Professional Office Building, Room 5A. The address is One Medical Center Drive, Middletown, OH  45005. New members who are interested in participating in the Issue Action Group work session or merely hearing the discussions are welcome to attend. To help manage space for all attendees, please RSVP to Michele Abrams at to reserve a spot by September 15, 2015.



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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!

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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!

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