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Smith hired as business outreach coordinator PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, May 02, 2013 11:39 PM



DHI Correspondent


VAN WERT -The Van Wert County Commissioners have announced an addition to the county’s economic development team. Sarah Smith has already begun her new role as Van Wert County Business Outreach Coordinator. Smith will be working alongside the commissioners as well as with Economic Development Director Cindy Leis to further development of the local economy and businesses.

“I am excited to get out in the county and hear ideas and working alongside others in the community,” said Smith. “I am also excited to work with Leis and learn from her recent experiences. I am already loving this job and want what is best for this county, its businesses and people.”

Smith’s position does provide a desk within the County Commissioners’ office but Van Wert County Commissioner Thad Lichtensteiger is hopeful to see her on the road inside and outside of the county to market the community and bring in additional resources.

Economic development has been at the forefront of discussion for the commisioners in 2013. The commissioners believe that this new post will enhance the current economic development resources by building upon the current efforts already in place with OSU Extension, the Community Improvement Corporation and the Chamber of Commerce. Smith, who previously worked as economic development director in 2012, is happy to be working back within Van Wert and as a part of this growing team in her new position.

“Leis is doing a great job in her relatively new position and we are hoping that this new addition with Smith will continue to enhance economic development and bring in more resources needed by the county,” said Lichtensteiger. “Van Wert is lagging behind in job growth and needs the additional marketing.”

Smith, in this newly-created post, will be responsible for targeting businesses in the surrounding areas that may be interested in the expansion opportunities available in the county. Additionally, Smith will be heading local efforts to assist in developing opportunities in the county’s villages and exploring other potential developments through targeted visits and cold-calling.

This local initiative is aimed to help Van Wert County assert itself in the immensely competitive market for jobs and economic growth while still retaining the hometown atmosphere and quality of life that is currently enjoyed by its residents. Commissioners admit that the added expense of an outreach coordinator is not perfect timing for the county and its current financial state, but it is consistent with the commissioner’s commitment to the growth of this county.

“Smith has a real passion for the economic development of Van Wert,” remarked Lichtensteiger. “She is on this wave length a lot, and we are constantly pulling ideas from her for the expansion of businesses. She is always clicking and developing new ideas and will increase the county’s chance of success.”

The Commissioners fully anticipate the successful coordination between the OSU Economic Development Director’s position and the newly created position. The Economic Development Executive Committee and the commissioners are expected to meet next week to complete the final details of this collaboration.

The County Commissioners have hired Smith as an independent contractor, thus eliminating the need to pay expensive benefits. The position is part time and is wholly funded by the Commissioners.



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