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EDC holds annual meeting, gives Invest Steuben awards

By Ashlee Hoos 

Jan 12, 2018

ANGOLA — The Steuben County Economic Development Corp. board has a new president.

Craig Ralston, Angola, handed over the reins to Brent Shull of Hamilton.

Ralston said the board and the community need to continue looking to the future and promoting quality of life because, “we have it here.”

In December, Ralston and board Vice President Dan Caruso both said it was time to step away from the executive board, although both are still on the board of directors.

Vice president of the board is now Chris Folland of Clear Lake. Hitesh Patel will continue as board treasurer and Lon Keyes continues as board secretary.

The election was held Thursday during the board’s annual meeting.

Also determined during Thursday’s meeting was the slate of at-large members for the year. At-large members are appointed annually to the board, which can be made up of up to 18 people including nine at-large members and nine members appointed by the municipalities in the county.

The at-large members for 2018 are Ed Allen, Jason Blume, Mark Cowen, Dick Dodge, Josh Durbin, Connie McCahill, Hitesh Patel, Ralston and Nicole Singer.

During his presentation, SCEDC Executive Director Isaac Lee said the focus for 2017 was on four main areas: retention and expansion, attraction, workforce development and private and public sector partnership.

Under retention and expansion, he mentioned more than 500 jobs are open in Steuben County right now, with many only requiring a high school diploma or GED.

“Our unemployment is really low,” Lee said. “We need to look at how to get bodies in the workforce.”

Part of how the EDC plans to work toward getting bodies in the workforce is the Workforce Taskforce that was created in 2017. The taskforce has three sub-committees focused on fast-track training, housing and marketing and attraction.

Industry is voicing the needs, and the taskforce is looking into them. Lee said he never thought in the field of economic development he’d have to look at housing, yet it’s a very real need.

Invest Steuben awards were presented Thursday. These awards are done in partnership with the Steuben County Industrial Guild and are for individual and collective company growth.

“It’s important to recognize every dollar or more invested in our county,” said Lee.

The companies recognized were: Allegheny Coating, Angola Wire, American Axle and Manufacturing, Baril Coatings, Cardinal IG, Beagle 1, Eva-Lution, Hudson Aquatic Systems, JAG Mobile Solutions, K-Tech Specialty Coatings, Klink Trucking, Koester Metals, RES Poly Flow, RR Donnelley, Triton Metal Products, Univertical, Ventra, Vestil Manufacturing and Western Consolidated Technologies.