Chamber Headlines

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. to Stay in Findlay
Funding Finalized at City Council Meeting
7th Annual Information Assurance Forum Held Oct. 29

Reduced City Funding to Continue Economic Development
Community Task Force Formed to Keep Cooper in Findlay
GreaterFindlayInc. Names President

Area Businesses Recognized at Small Business Awards
GreaterFindlayInc. Contract with City Heading to Legislation
Ohio Employers Receive More Than $16.2 Million in Safety Discounts
Economic Development Achievements
Board Member States GFI's Position in Radio Interview
Findlay Ranked as Dreamtown by Bizjournals
Findlay•Hancock County Chamber of Commerce Launches Women's Leadership Forum
Findlay•Hancock County Business Growth in Top 10 for 2007
Findlay•Hancock County Street Map Now Available Online

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. to Stay in Findlay

On behalf of the Findlay•Hancock County community, we would like to thank all of individuals participating in the collaborative effort to secure the existence of Cooper Tire & Rubber Company in Findlay, Ohio for another 90+ years.

Findlay•Hancock County Chamber of Commerce would also like to extend a sincere thank you to the Cooper Economic Development Task Force and the United Steelworkers Local 207L for proactively pursuing the Chamber mission and maintaining our community’s quality of life.

As a partnership for growth, Findlay•Hancock County Chamber of Commerce will continue to fulfill its mission by helping all of the businesses in the Findlay•Hancock County community grow and prosper.

Click here to view advertisements in the Thursday, December 18 and Saturday, December 20 editions of The Courier, publicly thanking the workers and Cooper Task Force for their efforts.

Audio clip from Ray De Winkle

Funding Finalized at City Council Meeting

On Tuesday, December 16, the Findlay City Council approved the resolution authorizing Mayor Sehnert to enter into a contract with GFI.

In 2009, the City of Findlay will provide GreaterFindlayInc. with $50,000 in funding to provide economic development services for Findlay•Hancock County.

This figure will be negotiated for 2010, using the historical base funding level of 50% of the transient guest tax as a baseline. The agreement includes an option to extend the agreement for a third year.

GreaterFindlayInc. voluntarily accepts this reduction in funds, taking a nearly 75% reduction compared to City department’s reductions of 9%. The public-private partnership of GreaterFindlayInc. eliminates duplicative management and allows leverage of marketing resources. This leverage also allows Findlay•Hancock County to enjoy services of a well staffed economic development organization, seasoned executives and use of a sophisticated retention analysis tool.

Click here to listen to De Winkle's interview on WFIN 1330 this morning titled "GreaterFindlay, Inc's new CEO Ray DeWinkle looks ahead to 2009 and beyond".

GFI Agrees to Reduced City Funding to Continue Economic Development Efforts

(November 19, 2008)-Ray De Winkle, President and CEO of GreaterFindlayInc. was formally introduced to Findlay City Council Tuesday night.

De Winkle addressed council prior to a discussion regarding the city's role in helping fund GFI’s economic development efforts. De Winkle noted that the public-private partnership of GreaterFindlayInc. eliminates duplicative management and allows leverage of marketing resources. This leverage allows Findlay and Hancock County to enjoy services of a well staffed economic development organization, seasoned executives and use of a sophisticated retention analysis tool.

GreaterFindlayInc. will voluntarily accept a reduction of funds from the City, taking a nearly 75% reduction compared to City department’s reductions of 9%. The final figure will be used to continue GFI’s relationship and provide economic development services to Findlay-Hancock County.

Although considerably less than current contributions, De Winkle said Findlay and Hancock County are not alone in belt-tightening.

With a mission to help the Greater Findlay region to grow and prosper, GFI’s De Winkle officially began his duties on Monday, and already is doing a selling job: (click to listen to the following podcasts)

De Winkle Hits the Ground Running
Council Opts for $50K GFI Contract

Community Task Force Formed to Keep Cooper in Findlay

(November 2008)-The threat of our local Cooper Plant closing is something GreaterFindlayInc. and our community are taking very seriously. A Community Task Force led by GreaterFindlayInc. is working to do everything possible to retain the Cooper Plant here in Findlay.

Incoming GFI President and CEO Ray De Winkle is involved with the efforts, despite not taking office until November 17.

“As a newcomer to the area, I am impressed with the unified focus of both the public and the private sector,” said De Winkle.

The Community Task Force has representation from City/County Government, Regional and State Offices and a number of other profit and not-for-profit offices. This group of community leaders is working collaboratively to present a proposal to Cooper’s Corporate Office by Dec. 1.

“It is evident that Cooper Tire and this community have a long and strong history. The Task Force is very serious about retaining that relationship and we are all focused on presenting a proposal to the Cooper Corporate Office to protect that partnership,” said De Winkle.

Cooper Tire along with Marathon Oil and Whirlpool Corporations are the three major business cornerstones for Findlay/Hancock County.

GFI Chairman of the Board, Randy Lohoff assures, “The Community Task Force is doing everything reasonably possible to present a proposal that will allow the Findlay Cooper plant to stay here. We recognize the challenges in these rough economic times but our Committee is focused on presenting a strong case to keep this significant employer in Findlay.”

For questions, contact GreaterFindlayInc. at 419-422-3313. We appreciate your interest in this very critical matter.


(October 16, 2008) -The Board of Directors of GreaterFindlayInc. (GFI) announced today that Ray De Winkle, CEcD, EDFP, has been named President & CEO for the organization. He plans to assume his post on November 17, 2008.

De Winkle comes to Findlay, Ohio from Grand Rapids, Michigan where he served as Vice President of Business Development for The Right Place, Inc., a private/public regional non-profit economic development organization in West Michigan, focused on building the region’s economy.

As Vice President, De Winkle has been responsible for leading the company’s development services including global attraction, as well as retention and expansion of the existing firms in the region. In the last five years, De Winkle and his business development team have assisted companies in retaining 3,040 jobs, creating 5,521 new jobs with $229 million in new payroll and adding $452 million of new capital investment. He and his team also completed 1,189 retention calls on existing employers.

De Winkle is experienced in outlining the company’s strategies and goals, financial planning and budgeting, and developing products and services to fulfill unmet market needs. He has represented business interests at local, state, and federal levels and also served as director of the company’s Small Business Development Center.

De Winkle’s major accomplishments include organizing and creating the Technology Council of West Michigan. He also was deeply involved in organizing and creating the first strategic plan for the West Michigan Science and Technology Initiative (Grand Rapids SmartZone). In addition, he developed a CEO Roundtable for manufacturers and the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce’s Tax Calendar, among other activities.

“Ray has a tremendous amount of talent that will continue to advance the Greater Findlay community,” said GFI’s Chairman of the Board, Randy Lohoff of Marathon Petroleum Co. “Members of the Board of Directors and Selection Committee have been involved in the recruitment process and have endorsed him. Additionally, through GFI’s investment in Six Disciplines Northwest Ohio, the goals and objectives already set in place for the organization will allow him to carry forward our efforts to help the Greater Findlay region to grow and prosper. ”

De Winkle holds a B.B.A. in Finance Magna Cum Laude from Grand Valley State University, and is a 1998 graduate of Leadership Grand Rapids. He is the 2001 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award for Community Involvement from Grand Valley’s Seidman College of Business. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute. In addition, De Winkle has earned professional certifications in Economic Development, Economic Development Finance, and Business Counseling.

GreaterFindlayInc. launched a national search for a new president in March 2008. A selection committee was formed and chaired by Lohoff accompanied by Mayor Pete Sehnert, City of Findlay; Mike Mallett, President and CEO, Corporate Research International; John Haywood, Division Vice President, Whirlpool Corp. – Findlay Division; and Hancock County Commissioner Ed Ingold.


Presented by GreaterFindlayInc. and Findlay Publishing Co. October 9, 2008

(October 9, 2008)-Small Business is the heart of the American economy. Business owners give individuals – real people with names and faces – a chance to provide for their families, and an environment where people can learn and grow and express their creativity and talents.

Most people will spend half their waking hours at work. To a business leader who takes the risk of owning and building a business, this is both exciting and sobering. It’s exciting because of the great opportunity to do something meaningful in the lives of other people. It’s sobering because of the responsibility it implies, derived from the understanding that oftentimes a single decision may significantly affect the lives of many others.

Those who take this stewardship seriously truly are heroes! For this reason, GreaterFindlayInc. is honored to present the 2008 Small Business Award winners announced at the 45th Annual Small Business Awards luncheon on October 9, 2008 at Winebrenner Theological Seminary.

With over 250 business professionals in attendance, keynote speaker for the event was best-selling author Gary Harpst, founder and owner of Six Disciplines. Radio personality Smokin’ Joe Bacon of WKXA served as emcee and the following awards were presented:

Presentation of Awards
Family Owned Small Business Champion of the Year
Presented to: Riverside Glass Co., Inc.
Sponsored by: Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield

Small Business Exporter of the Year
Presented to: Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc./Hancor, Inc.
Sponsored by: The Companies of Tall Timbers Industrial Park

Women in Business Champion of the Year
Presented to: Terrie L. Patterson, ESS Delivery Services Inc.
Sponsored by: WFIN-WKXA Radio

Minority Small Business Champion of the Year
Presented to: Andrea Kramer-Fetterman, City Apparel
Sponsored by: Marathon Petroleum Co. LLC

Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Presented to: Michael and Debi Bulkowski, Revolver Restaurant
Sponsored by: First Federal Bank

Small Business Person of the Year
Presented to: Joseph R. Kirk, H & O Services, LLC
Sponsored by: The University of Findlay

Small Business of the Year
Presented to: Northwest Ohio Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Inc.
Sponsored by: Six Disciplines Leadership Center of Northwest Ohio

Agriculture Enterprise Champion of the Year
Presented to: Ag Credit
Sponsored by: Citizens National Bank

Champion of Downtown Award

Presented to: Creative Hair Design
Sponsored by: Fifth Third Bank

Professional of the Year

Presented to: Ridge & Associates, Inc.
Sponsored by: Commercial Savings Bank

Special Presentations
Presented to: Beth Linhart, Rowmark
Sponsored by: Huntington Bank

Distinguished Leadership Award
Presented to: Jen Bookwalter, Whirlpool
Sponsored by: Hancock Leadership Alumni Association

“Our Spirit Shows” Award

Presented to: The Findlay Publishing Company
Sponsored by: Hancock County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Community Partner Award
Presented to: Coffee Amici
Sponsored by: United Way of Hancock County

For more information, contact GreaterFindlayInc. at 419-422-3313 or visit

GreaterFindlay Inc. Contract with City Heading to Legislation

(October 8, 2008)--The city of Findlay's contract renewal with GreaterFindlay Inc. to fund economic development will soon be before city council for approval.

At the City Council Meeting held October 7, Council requested legislation be prepared for the two-year extension to fund the salary of the still-vacant GFI President and CEO position through hotel-motel tax funds. 

Councilman Ward asked Hackenberg on Tuesday to draw up legislation that would pay GreaterFindlayInc. about $200,000 a year from the city's hotel/motel tax collection. The money, as it has been over the past several years, would be earmarked for the next GreaterFindlay CEO's salary and other economic development costs.

"I personally don't think the city needs to embark upon developing our own (economic development) department," said Ward.

Ward said a proposed contract with GreaterFindlay would include a 90-day window in which the city could pull out of the agreement if it thinks the organization is not living up to its promises.

Ward also said he is not concerned about making a distinction between the future CEO's duties as economic development head, versus his duties as GreaterFindlay leader.

"This is something that has to do with the lifeblood of this town," Ward said, adding that if the legislation is given three readings, "by that time we'll know what the budget is."

Ohio Employers Receive More Than $16.2 Million in Safety Discounts

Hancock County Safety Council Earns $121,645.56 in Discounts

(FINDLAY, Ohio, October 3, 2008)—Hancock County area businesses are among the 6,400 Ohio employers that shared more than $16.2 million in savings through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Safety Council Discount Program. Locally over $121,645.56 was reinvested into the business community through those participating in the Hancock County Safety Council, a division of GreaterFindlayInc.

The BWC’s Division of Safety and Hygiene sponsors 80 statewide safety councils which inform participants of new safety techniques, products and services, and provide a thorough knowledge of topics, including occupational safety and health, workers’ compensation and risk management education.

Eligible employers participating in BWC’s Safety Council Discount Program can earn a two-percent premium discount. An additional two-percent performance bonus is available for employers that reduce either frequency or severity of claims by 10-percent or more below the previous year, or that maintain both frequency and severity at the previous year’s level.

For more information, please contact GreaterFindlayInc. at 419-422-3313 or click here.

GreaterFindlayInc. Economic Development Achievements 

In its second year, GreaterFindlayInc., is a blend of the best resources of The Chamber of Commerce, the former Community Development Foundation, and the Hancock County Convention & Visitors Bureau organizations. With key focuses on economic development, small and local businesses, workforce development, branding/marketing and benchmarking, GFI’s mission is to help the region to grow and prosper.

In the past ten years, GreaterFindlayInc. has established over 5 million square feet of business developments which resulted in the creation of more than 6,500 new jobs. In turn, over forty companies have located all or a portion of their operations within the area. Today, Greater Findlay has 17 Fortune 500 Companies located throughout the region.

Overall, GreaterFindlayInc.’s development efforts have resulted in a $453,430,000 net effect, or a 425% return on a seven yearly $153,000 average public investment.

With a strong economic development focus, GFI presides as the public-private partnership responsible for promoting, marketing and developing the economic interests of our community.

Through the efforts of GreaterFindlayInc., our community has become the focal point of Northwest Ohio. Findlay has also ranked 6th for economic development in the U.S. by Site Selection magazine; named a top 20 Micropolitan Community for Young People for the past 10 years; and recently ranked 36th most attractive Micropolitan city in the United States according to Business Journals.

GreaterFindlayInc. will continue to enhance entrepreneurship, retain existing business, promote industry expansion, and recruit quality developments throughout our region. In addition, GFI supports the guidance of both the City and County leadership to develop common objectives to help move this community forward.

While the search for the next President/CEO continues, GFI is committed to strengthen its communication efforts and determined to position our community among the best Micropolitan communities in the United States.

GreaterFindlayInc. Economic Development Efforts

Board Member States GFI's Position in Radio Interview 

(September 23, 2008)--In an interview conducted with Chris Oaks on September 23, GreaterFindlayInc. Board Member, Lynn Child states the current position of GreaterFindlayInc. and provides leadership, economic and community updates. An updated summary of the interview follows. Click here to listen to the complete interview.

Search Process
"At this point in time we are going through the second phase of our search process. We have the intentions of interviewing three individuals this week. Because of the public-private partnership, we have private business owners as well as Mayor Senhert and Commissioner Ed Ingold on our search committee. So, as we move forward we are going to continue to search for the very best candidate." Click for more

Structure Update
"Part of what we do as an organization, we pull in the appropriate entities to help. It’s not just GreaterFindlayInc. We do need one focused group to focus working towards economic development and community development. But, as we are moving forward, we need to pull in the city, the mayor, the commissioners, regional planning—all the different groups that love our community. So many of us care and are dedicated and what we are doing is creating a dialogue to talk about these things to make sure that we have the very best structure—I personally believe GFI is that structure." Click for more


(Aug. 19, 2008)—Set out to find America's "dreamtowns," Bizjournals ranked Findlay, Ohio as the nation’s 36th most attractive micropolitan area in the U.S.

In a study inspired by the heavy public interest in small-town life, Bizjournals analyzed the nation’s 140 micropolitan communities to identify areas that would be most attractive to people when considering a move.

Micropolitan areas, as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, are smaller than metropolitan. Each micro consists of a central city, town or village with 10,000 to 50,000 residents, surrounded by a county or cluster of counties that are economically dependent upon it. Bizjournals analyzed America’s 140 micros that had 2006 populations of 65,000 or more (encompassing the central community and surrounding area).

Using a 20-part formula, Bizjournals identified the small towns that offer the best quality of life without metropolitan hassles. The highest scores went to well-rounded places with light traffic, healthy economies, moderate costs of living, impressive housing stocks, strong educational systems and easy access to big-city attractions.

The top three of America’s “dreamtowns” include: Torrington, Conn.; Bozeman, Mont.; and Lexington Park, Md.

For more information, including a complete ranking of the 140 micropolitan areas visit:

GreaterFindlayInc. Launches Women's Leadership Forum

Over 150 women professionals in attendance

(FINDLAY, Ohio, June 27, 2008)--Over 150 women professionals attended the launch of GreaterFindlayInc.'s Women's Leadership Forum held June 26, 2008 at Owens Community College. Presented by Time Warner Cable Business Class, the forum was designed to empower women entering/or in leadership roles within the Greater Findlay business region by providing professional development opportunities aimed at motivating and mentoring others.

Keynote speaker, Amy J. Mifflin, manager of the corporate social responsibility department of Marathon Oil Company, discussed "Winning Strategies for Today's Workplace," sharing with attendees the following tips:

* Be well read and well informed. Understand that our world is global.
* Be respectful in every situation. Be authentic in everything you do. You will be rewarded in the future.
* Be positive. Be optimistic. Be idealistic. These are truly the foundation of a great attitude.
* Build networks. Build relationships. Cultivate the essential and weed out the non-essential.
* Do what you love and love what you do. Rewards and accomplishments will be plentiful.
* Mentoring is an essential cornerstone to growth and development. Allow yourself to be mentored; return this benefit to others.
* Be inclusive. Reach out to others and help them along. Always remember how it feels to be an outsider.
* Be cognizant of your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health. Be healthy and happy.
* Reward yourself. You do deserve it.

Participants also enjoyed displays presented by the following exhibitors: City Apparel, Workspace Concepts, Aardvark, Inc., ACI Const. Co., Inc., H & O Services, LLC, FMT, Inc., Time Warner Cable Business Class, The Growth Coach and JOBsolutions.

In a business card door prize drawing, gifts were presented to the following attendees:

* Heather Studer, Charles Inc. won the Palm from Best Buy Regional Distribution Center
* Julie Benziger, RCO, won a gift certificate from The Growth Coach
* Debbie O'Flaherty, Kohls, won the Office Chair from Workspace Concepts, and
* Virginie Massing, Marathon, and Jennifer Treece, Campfire, both won Aardvark mugs.

The June 26 Women's Leadership Forum was brought to you by GFI's Business Partners: Marathon Petroleum Company LLC, City Apparel, Best Buy Regional Distribution Center, Owens Community College. Additional Contributors include Mix 96.7 and Kohl's Distribution Center.

GreaterFindlayInc. would like to extend a sincere thank you to all who attended and participated in the event. The next Women's Leadership Forum will be held on Oct. 1. Please return for more details.

The Women's Leadership Forum is based on four guiding principles:

* Business Leadership Development for Women
* Educational Programs
* Networking with other Women
* Mentorship Opportunities

For more information or to learn how you can become involved, contact GreaterFindlayInc. at 419-422-3313,, or contact one of the following committee members.

WLF Committee Members: Dionne Neubauer (GreaterFindlayInc.), Shelley Snider (Best Buy RDC), Theresa Cox (Best Buy RDC), Mr. Andy Douglas (Best Buy RDC), Pauline Milligan (ACI Const. Inc.), Lynn Child (Aardvark), Jeri Bjorling (Professional), Rachel Bauer (Six Disciplines Leadership Center), Andrea Fetterman (City Apparel), Kolleen Kirk Rill (FMT), Emily Corder (Kelly Services), Melissa Fletcher (The Point at Brookstone), Rebecca Williams (Kohls DC), Liz Pahl (Workspace Concepts), and Brooke Shultz, Firmin Sprague & Huffman Co., L.P.A.)


Ranked Sixth Best in U.S. for Micropolitan Communities
Economic Development by Site Selection Magazine

(FINDLAY, OH, March 5, 2008)--Findlay, Ohio ranked the sixth best micropolitan community for new and expanding facilities by Site Selection Magazine, the official publication of the Industrial Asset Management Council. The region has been placed in the magazine’s top 20 for the past ten years and jumped 11 spots from last year’s 17th placing.

The Greater Findlay area had an excellent year in 2007, with a total of 12 projects and total new capital investment of $114 million. These projects will result in the creation of 430 new jobs and the retention of nearly 3,000 jobs.

“New capital investment is critical to the long term future of our community’s companies,” said Douglas S. Peters, GreaterFindlayInc. President and CEO. “We are grateful for the efforts of our community’s business leaders and economic development teams that strive to make Greater Findlay a great place to live and work.”

An excess of $50 million was invested among the companies that expanded or reinvested in new equipment. In addition, the region welcomed several new companies to the community, including A. Schulman Company and its new polybatch processing system.

Greater Findlay’s manufacturing base continued to focus on technology intensive industries and is now home to top industry award winner, Advanced Cerametrics, Inc. (ACI).
Among the many manufacturing related projects, the region also added economic diversity with the addition of a mixed use development known as RiverPlace, a $90 million project.

One of the most important projects for the area was the investment of a new 40,000 sq. ft. facility for The RightThing, Inc. valued at $6 million.

Over the past year, Greater Findlay has shown a significant increase in job retention and growth, nearly doubling its 2006 statistics.

“The development of GreaterFindlayInc. has allowed us to streamline previous efforts and enhance our focus on economic development throughout the region,” said Randy Lohoff, GFI Chairman of the Board. “With an increase of investment projects from six to 12 and a twofold increase in new capital investment from $48 million to $114 million, GFI’s new structure has been deemed successful.”

GreaterFindlayInc. is grateful for the efforts of the facilities managers and board members that promote the Greater Findlay community within their companies. GreaterFindlayInc.’s Board of Directors include representatives from Marathon Petroleum Company, LLC, Cooper Tire and Rubber Company, Blanchard Valley Health Association and more. The board members not only contribute hundreds of hours to identifying and addressing issues important to the community, but also share their business expertise in helping Greater Findlay prepare to be globally competitive.

Over the past three years, GFI has assisted with 28 projects that created nearly 800 jobs with a total of $217 million in new capital investment. For more information, please contact GreaterFindlayInc. at 419-422-3313 or visit 


The new community map of Findlay, Ohio, published for GreaterFindlayInc., is now online at

The map was produced in cooperation with Village Profile. In addition to printed copies available at GreaterFindlayInc. for $1, the map and all advertisements are online.

The community map is interactive, wirelessly accessible at via Blackberrys, Treos, PDAs, smart phones, web-enabled cellphones, and most other mobile devices. It allows users to link directly to advertisers' websites, direct-dial advertisers in real time, and access the online map and advertiser directory via desktop and laptop computers at the Village Profile website.

Internet users can tour the Findlay and Hancock County area -- and 1,400 communities across the U.S., receiving over 2 million impressions monthly, on the Community Profile Network at

For more information, contact GreaterFindlayInc. President and CEO Doug Peters at, 419-422-3313.

For publishing program information contact Joe Nugara Sr. at Village Profile, 800-600-0134, ext. 220 or