Economic development, local stars shine at chamber dinner

With more than $200 million in economic development projects already announced this year, Logan County has a bright future, but business leaders must be willing to address challenges to stay competitive, the outgoing and incoming chairmen of the Logan County Chamber of Commerce said Thursday evening.

stars in biz chairs

In lieu of a gavel, outgoing Logan County Chamber of Commerce board chair Darrin Haubert, left, passes the mic to incoming chair John Bodin. (EXAMINER PHOTO | REUBEN MEES)

“A lot of good things have happened over my tenure as chairman of the board,” Darrin Haubert said at the conclusion of the annual Stars in Business Night of Recognition. 

“We’ve had north of $200 million come into Logan County since Jan. 1,” the outgoing chairman said, noting projects at NEX Transport, Midwest Express Inc., Honda facilities, Mary Rutan Hospital, Daido and ISS. 

He also said the U.S. 33 Smart Mobility Corridor and Columbus’ Smart City grant award continue to draw interest in the area from autonomous vehicle developers.

“They are building a SMART Center at TRC. That is a one-of-a-kind thing in the world, happening right here in Logan County,” Haubert said prior to passing the microphone — which sufficed for a ceremony gavel — to incoming chairman John Bodin.

“A rising tide lifts all boats,” Bodin began. “The future really is with smart mobility, but the challenge is to make sure Logan County is well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity.

“We are not the only county vying for these companies; it takes a lot of work to make it happen.”

He listed among the local challenges workforce issues, including drug abuse in as high as 25 to 30 percent of the adult workforce.

“Logan County  and Ohio are not alone in this, but it is a real challenge we must face,” the new chairman said.

“There is also a housing issue. We have a demand, but we don’t have the supply. And we need to continue to help students transition between the world of high school and world of industry.

“We have a lot of challenges, but we also have a lot of opportunities. I am optimistic about the future of the chamber and Logan County in general,” Bodin said.

The Stars

The bulk of the evening, however, revolved around eight individuals or business that were recognized for their contribution to the local community this year.

The chamber’s most prestigious individual honor, the Richard J. Rupp Leadership Award, went to Tammy Nicholl, director of service systems for Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Services Board of Logan and Champaign Counties.

Stars in biz nicholl

Richard J. Rupp Leadership Award winner Tammy Nicholl, service director at the Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Services Board of Logan and Champaign Counties, addresses the crowd during the annual Stars in Business Night of Recognition on Thursday. (EXAMINER PHOTO | REUBEN MEES)

While Nicholl said she never met the late Richard Rupp, she said she was inspired by his quote that “great communities don’t just happen.”

“It really is not just me, but a team of wonderful people who all work together to make a difference in our community.”

Read complete story in Thursday's Examiner
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