June 11--CINCINNATI -- At REDI Cincinnati's annual meeting Tuesday, Procter & Gamble Co. executive Brian Hodgett had an "off-script" moment. Hodgett told area economic developer leaders gathered downtown that the consumer goods giant would be investing $1 million over the next three years in REDI to support business attraction and retention efforts across the region.
Hodgett, director of Ohio government and community relations for Cincinnati-based P&G, said the company was increasing its contribution to the region's head development agency and made a plea for other area organizations to support the group's fundraising efforts.
Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) Cincinnati, formerly known as the Cincinnati USA Partnership for Economic Development, is a private nonprofit responsible for leading the 15-county greater Cincinnati area's job creation activities.
REDI relies on public and private donations to fund operations. A $10.5 million, three-year fundraising campaign is underway.
This newspaper asked REDI Chief Executive Officer Johnna Reeder what local communities should expect from the re-organized agency.
"Our hands are extended out to be in partnership. We need those local economic developers," such as counties, cities and townships, Reeder said.
"We feel that our role is to market the region nationally and internationally. Their role is to close the deal and sell locally and it takes both of us," she said.
"We need them at the table. We need great communication and I promise to them we will be communicating early and often."
Despite inner disagreements and a leadership change, the Cincinnati region's lead development agency saw the number of business projects it was involved with grow in 2013 from the year before.
Also helped by a slowly improving economy, 44 business expansion, retention and attraction projects were announced in 2013 by companies committing to create more than 3,000 new jobs. Commitments were made to retain nearly 8,000 more jobs. The projects announced represent plans to invest approximately $345 million in building, land and equipment throughout Brown, Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties.
Results reported by REDI Cincinnati include those that were announced in the given year, and which received some kind of financial assistance from a local government, the state government, and/or JobsOhio.
The capital investment and job creation promises have not necessarily been fulfilled to date, and companies have a multi-year ramp-up period to meet commitments in their tax break agreements.
By comparison in 2012, 35 business projects were announced committing 2,800 new jobs and about $193 million in new capital investment, according to REDI Cincinnati.
To date in 2014, 20 projects have been announced. They have more than 2,500 new jobs tied to these plans, and more than $109 million in capital investment.
REDI Cincinnati has additional responsibilities as part of the JobsOhio Network. Ohio Gov. John Kasich's administration established the nonprofit JobsOhio in 2011 to lead the state's job creation efforts. The Partnership (now REDI) was named later that year one of six regional JobsOhio Network partners statewide. As such, it is the go-between for local jurisdictions and JobsOhio officials in Columbus for crafting business deals.
Changes were announced in March this year to revamp the Partnership including the name change to REDI. Other changes include re-structuring REDI Cincinnati as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, with a separate governing board of directors. A new CEO was named in April to be Johnna Reeder, formerly of Duke Energy.
(c)2014 the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio)
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Original headline: P&G commits $1M to Cincinnati-area job creation efforts
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