City Hosts Forum for Chemicaland Energy Industries
(MIDDLETOWN, OHIO, May 7, 2014) -Middletown's Economic Development Department recently hosted a forum connectingcompanies within the chemical and energy industries with local and stateresources providing financing, workforce development, and regional economicdevelopment support. This event, which was the first of its kind, was heldFriday, May 2 at the Atrium Medical Center in Middletown.
Theforum was an opportunity for companies in the chemical, polymer and energysector to engage with leaders from state, regional and local organizations todiscuss transportation, workforce development and economic developmentresources. Speakers highlighted recent growth projects and trends, and talkedabout resources available to chemical manufacturers.
Chemicalmanufacturers and related industries are an important "cluster" forboth the city and region. The companies have a diversity of products,maintaining an ongoing emphasis on research and development, serving customersaround the world.
"Werealize this cluster is crucial not just to us, but also to the region andstate," said Denise Hamet, Middletown's director of Economic Development."We know that we need partners to support this cluster's requirements forworkforce, transportation and other resources."
Thechemical manufacturing cluster in Middletown provided some of the earliestactivity in the state and the regional economic recovery, noted Hamet. Duringthe last five years, Middletown has experienced nearly $740 million ininvestment, and that number is based only on real estate purchases andmachinery. That number does not include new long-term leases.
Thosefive years included the nation's deep recession that started in 2008. Whilethat time was difficult "across the board," local chemical companieswere able to start expansions beginning in 2009. "Now we have NTEproposing to invest in a $500 million power plant," added Hamet.
Theforum brought the regional partners together to talk about what's been done andwhat is next. We have an "impressive corridor," noted David Mustine,senior managing director for polymers, chemicals and energy at JobsOhio. He spokeabout the latest information on strategies for growth within Ohio andhighlighted the area's other strengths, including a strong industrial base,world-class companies and depth of workforce resources.
It'salso a corridor that demands strong logistics to facilitate growth."Transportation drives economic development," said Melissa Taylor,Southwest Ohio regional manager of ODOT's Office of Jobs and Commerce.
It'sa strategy embraced by the Governor's Office and reflected in ODOT's new focus.Previously, ODOT focused on making road repairs and maintaining transportationinfrastructure. "Our new role is to focus on transportation improvementsthat best serve major employers and clusters," added Taylor.
Forumspeakers included representatives from ODOT, Ohio's Office of WorkforceTransformation, Ohio Chemistry Technology Council, Chamber of Commerce,Cincinnati State Middletown, Miami University Middletown, Butler Tech, OhioMeans Jobs, REDI Cincinnati, Dayton Development Coalition, Butler CountyEconomic Development and the Warren County Port Authority."We hope they find lasting connections thatwill help their companies and organizations prosper," added Hamet.