Growth in Morrow County is focus for Chamber of Commerce meeting

By Alberta Stojokovic

December 3, 2013

Morrow County Economic Development Director Pat Davies put together a picture of recent progress in the county for Chamber of Commerce members at last Tuesday’s noon luncheon meeting. “Progressive Minds” was her topic and she showed how collaboration and cooperation between businesses and with government are keys for recent success and growth in Morrow County’s business environment.

Davies gave a certificate of special recognition for entrepreneurial success in Morrow County to Chris Gabrelcik and his business, Lubrication Specialties Inc. (LSI). Davies gave a little of the history of how LSI had its beginnings on Pulaskiville Road with the development of “Hot Shot’s Secret” a lubricant the company developed for the Ford Power Stroke 6.0 liter engine.

Gabrelcik talked about how his business had grown and expressed appreciation for the cooperation he had received in working with Consolidated Electric Coop to get Internet service that allowed his business to grow and expand. He now markets his lubricants for farm vehicles and trucks at Rural King, Auto Zone, TSC and other supply companies, as well as such large corporations as Honda and GM. The business continues to create and add jobs as it grows.

Davies pride in Morrow County shone through as she put the Morrow County map together using five prime development sites like pieces of a puzzle. The West Point graduate calls Morrow County her home with pride, having graduated from Northmor High School with children attending Highland schools.

She began in the southern part of the county with Shelly & Sands and Kenmore Asphalt Plants in Bennington Industrial Park. Davies showed how tax incentives for private business, known as Tax Increment Financing (TIF) are used to benefit the public with roads and other infrastructure development. Cardinal Business Center also worked in collaboration with the townships, county and Ohio Health for the new medical center.

Davies highlighted Marengo Fabricated Steel and the County Road 26 Expansion. The Marengo business will add 25 jobs and that was an incentive for Ohio Dept. of Transportation to give $120,000 from discretionary funds to the Co. Rd. 26 project. County Engineer, Randy Bush also worked in collaboration with the project.

Another business that Davies mentioned for its innovation and collaboration was Cardington Yutaka, which now employs 900 workers. 700 of those workers are employed full time. Ringler Energy’s Anaerobic digester is also a model of the kind of collaborative development Davies appreciates.

Wringler’s business has grown from a “mega hog farm” to making alternative fuels with the cooperation of Quasar, the U.S.D.A. and Consolidated Electric Coop. An article about the Anaerobic digester was in the magazine My own rural life recently. With its capacity to make usable fuel from animal waste as well as using waste from restaurants, it is a solution for many pollution and environment problems.

Davies put in a plug for Plungees in the northern end of the county by Iberia. The Plungees business makes decorative and luxury bathroom products and Davies predicted that the company is poised to do very well with their unique product.

In the northeast corner of the county, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course had tremendous success in their first summer with NASCAR. They are now pushing for an attendance of 100,000 in the next season. That means even more collaboration and cooperation of the sheriff’s office, health dept., emergency services and hospital for all the summer Mid-Ohio Race Course events.

Davies wrapped up her half hour talk with some lessons learned as well as the successes. She noted that one lesson is that the loss of the cranes in the properties at Stahl and HPM has been a detractor as potential buyers look at the closed factories. They fought to keep the cranes at Core Systems and the Development Office continues to show all those factory properties to potential buyers through realtors, state and international connections.

Throughout her presentation Davies noted that Morrow County news has been in publications such as Farm and Dairy, My own Rural Life and Consolidated Electric’s Country Living. She welcomes the opportunity to speak to civic groups around the area about the growth and progress of Morrow County businesses.

“We are a player in the region,” said Davies. “We’re in the ballgame.”