FINDLAY, OH, March 9, 2017 — On a night when Findlay and Hancock County community leaders celebrated Findlay’s third consecutive first-place award for business growth, besting hundreds of other cities nationwide, the community added some unofficial honors.
Findlay-Hancock County is the envy and object of imitation of other communities, said Adam Bruns, managing editor of Site Selection Magazine. The magazine last week ranked Findlay first for business growth among 575 “micropolitans,” cities with a population between 10,000 and 50,000. It was the third straight year Findlay achieved the honor.
Now it’s not just a matter of other communities noticing. They have taken it to the next level.
Bruns quoted an economic development official from another northwestern Ohio town:
“I am envious,” the economic development official said of Findlay, according to Bruns. “They do a great job and we try to copy them … I’m not ashamed to say it.”
Findlay won the top distinction for 2016 with 22 projects that met Site Selection’s qualifying criteria. The top projects were Whirlpool’s $40.6 million, 86,400-square-foot plant expansion, which will add 50 jobs by 2019; and over $13 million in additions to Mennel Milling in Fostoria.
Findlay won the competition based on objective, measurable progress, Bruns said.
“We didn’t select Findlay for this honor. We just kept track of what was happening in Findlay and tallied the results,” he said.
Site Selection has attributed Findlay’s perennial success to what it calls the “Findlay formula” — strong cooperation among local government, business and nonprofit organizations.
“It’s not really rocket science,” Mayor Lydia Mihalik said. “What we have harnessed in this community by working together, both private, public, nonprofit, from small businesses to large corporations, is that when one person or business finds success, we all find success.”
“It takes our entire community for the Findlay formula to succeed,” she said.
County Commissioner Mark Gazarek said credit should also go to Findlay-Hancock County leaders of 10 to 15 years ago, who laid the groundwork for the recent successes.
“The industrial parks, the roads, the sewers, regional planning, that sort of thing, I just want to give credit,” Gazarek said. “People in Washington talk about shovel-ready projects. We are past shovel-ready. We are site selection-ready. Utilities, infrastructure and zoning are in place in most cases in Hancock County.”
An official with Regional Growth Partnership, Toledo, the regional arm of the state’s JobsOhio program, praised Findlay-Hancock County’s friendly business climate.
“Nobody gets the job done as well as the city of Findlay and Hancock County,” said John Recker, project manager for Regional Growth Partnership.
“All of the stakeholders have a can-do attitude, have a progressive attitude. The city and county are willing to invest in infrastructure and that doesn’t happen across the region in all cases,” he said. “It’s very refreshing.”
“Nobody gets the job done as well as this community,” Recker said. “That’s why this is a three-peat night.”