(Daily Record, The (Wooster, OH) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) WOOSTER -- When the Wayne Economic Development Council's third Growing a Quality Future Campaign was announced Tuesday at a kick- off event at the Shisler Center, many attending supported the initiative.
The organization is seeking to raise $2.3 million for the campaign, which will run from 2015-2018. It has five strategic areas: Growth through existing businesses; attract new companies; connect business leaders with one another; promote work force development and address infrastructure needs; and continue to provide economic development services at a high level through public and private partnerships.
At the end of the presentation, WEDC President Rod Crider joked they should lock the doors and pass around pledge cards.
"This isn't a hard sell," Crider said.
The leadership team for the campaign has representatives from some of the largest employers in this area, like the J.M. Smucker Co. and LuK USA. Nearly 100 companies, individuals and public entities have supported the initiative. Before the public phase of the campaign, business and government leaders pledged nearly $1.3 million.
David Noble, president of the Donald and Alice Noble Foundation, liked what he heard.
"We're the No. 1 micropolitan (in the United States); we're doing great," Noble said. "What makes this community great is there are a lot of people who understand that the very best thing that anyone can do for themselves is to do something for someone else.
"Far more than most communities, there are people helping each other. That's what makes a great community."
Noble's father, the late Donald Noble, was a CEO of Rubbermaid, and he recognized there were six stakeholders in a business: Employees, shareholders, suppliers, customers, consumers and communities. Rubbermaid made a lot of investments that led to community development.
"I'm trying to continue the tradition," Noble said.
"Wayne Economic Development Council has proven itself, as was shown here," Commissioner Ann Obrecht said. "It's much better for the county to be involved in a public-private effort than to do it on our own, and the results show. I'm excited about this campaign."
Mayor Bob Breneman said WEDC was critical in helping attract Daisy Brand here. "They were the coordinating entity that brought all of the players together. We fully support what they do for Wooster and Wayne County. They are the glue that holds everything together and keeps everyone moving in the same direction."
"This is a testament to 25 years of what growing a project can do," state Rep. Ron Amstutz said. "The trick is to keep it going."
Amstutz said he believes work force development will be a top issue for the next decade.
"Support and service companies like Morrison Custom Welding rely on the attraction and growth of local businesses," Mark Morrison said. "WEDC plays an important role in our local business climate. Their track record has proven their ability to perform, and I look forward to the new opportunities they will bring to this community. WEDC is like having your own marketing department."
Reporter Bobby Warren can be reached at 330-287-1639 or email@example.com. He is @BobbyWarrenTDR on Twitter.
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