As Executive Director of the Wapakoneta Area Economic Development Council, Greg Myers has spent much of his professional career involved in projects that build the community. The county seat for Auglaize, Wapakoneta is ideally situated at the intersection of I-75 and US 33, in the heart of West Central Ohio.
From its prime location to the Midwest’s lowest state taxes, a strong supply chain, plentiful skilled labor, public-private partnerships for development, and more, Auglaize County is welcoming to businesses seeking to increase profits and productivity while operating at lower costs. Along with affordable shovel-ready sites ranging from 20 acres to 450 acres with highway and rail access, Auglaize County is able to meet telecommunication requirements including fiber optics and broadband from a number of national and local providers.
Home to the West Central Ohio Industrial Center (WCOIC) – one of America’s largest greenfield industrial parks served by rail – the county likes to refer to itself is as ‘beyond shovel ready.’ The result of over a decade of diligent planning, it is located between prime markets including Cincinnati, Chicago, and Cleveland.
Ideal for expansion
It is no surprise that Ohio remains one of the top states in the U.S. for business attraction and expansion. Since 2006, Ohio has received the prized Governor’s Cup, an award presented by Site Selection magazine to the U.S. state “achieving the greatest number of business expansions for the year.” For 10 of the past 12 years, Wapakoneta/Auglaize County has ranked among the Top 25 micropolitians (population under 50,000) in America for business expansions.
Home to a diverse range of employers such as Crown Equipment, AAP-St. Marys, Nidec Minster, Setex, Dannon, Precision Strip, General Aluminum and many others, Auglaize County continues to draw companies. Recent additions include Continental AG, Mastronardi Produce Ltd., and Pratt Industries. Along with a ready and able pool of employees in the immediate area, over nine million people live within a 300-mile radius of the county’s West Central Ohio Industrial Center.
As an Ohio Job Ready Site and CSX Select Site, the WCOIC has completed environmental studies, geotechnical reports, industrial zoning, annexation, and other necessities so businesses assume less risk, lower their costs, and enjoy faster project completion. Representing an investment of over $7 million, the site is equipped with reliable 69kV power from the publicly-owned utility, and has industrial-capacity municipal water, fed from the Teays River Valley aquifer, one of the largest fresh water resources in North America. A plentiful supply of natural gas provided by Dominion Energy makes the site ideal for a range of manufacturers as well as other types of business and industry.
Along with the Hometown Opportunity website, Auglaize is involved with other initiatives such as Edge Factor – an interactive program that uses multimedia tools to motivate students about careers in manufacturing. The local school district has also implemented a pre-engineering and manufacturing curriculum for all 7th and 8th graders. The County also partners with the regional community colleges in establishing internship programs with local companies.
With great confidence in Hometown Opportunity, Myers believes in the ongoing success of the region and the state of Ohio, and says Hometown Opportunity will continue to improve and adapt to the needs of employers and job seekers alike.
“We are starting to build more quality of life [elements] into the site. As more people look at us via social media posts around the Midwest about our region, we want them to see our job opportunities and learn more about our local quality of life experience,” says Myers. “If somebody sees a good job fit, they can also understand the schools, the communities, and the things that make living here so rewarding and yet affordable.”