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Mid-Ohio Development Exchange - MODE
Episode 112nd June 2021 • Whitehall Works • City of Whitehall (OH)
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Economic development is definitely a team sport and a lot of economic development factors are not limited to jurisdictional boundaries.

Infrastructure, workforce and site selection are just a few of those areas that need cross-jurisdictional collaboration.

Something that the Columbus Ohio Region is known for is doing things the "Columbus Way." Which simply means working together to pool all our regional resources to help the growth and sustainability of our metro area.

We are lucky in the Columbus Region to have the Mid-Ohio Development Exchange (MODE), which is a membership based organization that includes municipalities, counties, public sector organizations, private-sector businesses and utility providers throughout the region.

One of the most important things that MODE does is providing a space for economic development professionals to continuously learn. Whether that is by providing educational funds for courses through the Ohio Economic Development Association (OEDA), International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and others, or the regular programming on latest trends in economic development.

We welcome Nate Strum as our guest. He is Board President of MODE, and soon to be the Director of Economic Development for the City of Gahanna.

Plus, we welcome Niel Jurist for our regular segment, More With MORPC!

Join Jenna and Zach monthly as they have representatives from Franklin County (OH), as well as special guests from government and other organizations, to talk about different topics that are important throughout the Central Ohio region. 

That's part of the reason we named this podcast Whitehall Works. The City of Whitehall (OH) is working with a lot of different partners on transportation, affordable housing and workforce development. These are just some of the important topics that not only the City of Whitehall (OH) is working on, but everyone needs to work on.

www.whitehall-oh.us

www.whitehallmeansbusiness.com

Transcripts

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Welcome to Whitehall Works, I'm Jenna and

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I'm Zack, and today we're going to talk about partnerships with one of our partner

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organizations, the Mid-Ohio Development Exchange, or MOAD Today's Mode.

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Best day for I know people are listening

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and you can't see us, but Jenna are wearing our honourary MOAD vests.

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It's always a good day when it's Modesta day.

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Most days the best is economic.

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Development is definitely a team sport and

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a lot of economic development factors are not limited by jurisdictional boundaries.

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So infrastructure, workforce site

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selection are just a few of those that need cross jurisdictional collaboration.

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And one of the things that, you know, the Columbus region in Ohio is known for is

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kind of the Columbus Way, which is simply put, working together to pool our

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resources to help the growth and sustainability of our metro area.

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Yeah, so this is the economic development theory of regional regionalism.

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Right.

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So where communities and regions work together to bring more companies to the

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region and therefore more job growth, this theory really supports the notion that

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more successful the metro area, the region, too, will be successful.

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Right?

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I mean, it's the rising tide lifts all ships.

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And one of the things that I think has

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made Columbus and our region successful in over the last number of years is that idea

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that, you know, we can pull resources, we can work collectively as a team?

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Sure.

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There's competition, you know, for jobs and for investment.

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But by working together on some of these larger, you know, issues, infrastructure

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you mentioned, you know, we can really make sure and ensure that in the future

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it's not just one project, it's ten projects.

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That's fifteen projects, because we've worked on on those larger issues.

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Absolutely. And we're lucky in the Columbus region to

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have a group, the Mid-Ohio Development Exchange, which is a membership based

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organization that includes municipalities, counties, public sector organizations,

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private sector businesses, utility providers throughout the Columbus region.

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And MOAD helps facilitate this regionalism

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with the Columbus region and encourages the interaction of member communities and

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businesses for the betterment of the region.

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I know both of us have benefited from one

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of the most important things that Moad does, which is providing a space for us as

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economic development professionals to have continuous learning.

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Right. And so whether that is providing

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educational funds for courses through the Ohio Economic Development Association, the

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International Economic Development Council or others for or of the regular programing

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that, you know, is talking about the latest trends in economic development,

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really, that continuous learning is one of the most important things that Moad does.

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Exactly.

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And there's so much more that Moad does as an organization for its members, which is

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precisely why we have our guest speaker here with us today.

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So today we're really excited to have our guest, Nate Strum, who is the economic

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development director for the city of Gahanna.

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But today is going to be joining us wearing his MOAD president hat.

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So, Nate, welcome to the podcast. Thank you.

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Thank you for having me this morning.

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So, Nate, we did give a brief overview,

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but tell us more about what MO does as an organization.

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Thanks, Jenna.

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So mode as a as a nonprofit itself is really focused on,

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as you mentioned earlier, really professional development opportunities, as

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well as engaging our local professions to understand what's growing in the in the

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economy, what those trends are, as well as engaging the businesses on their turf.

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One of the things I think is really not taken advantage of by a lot of the

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professionals in the marketplace has historically been the travel assistance.

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We have really focused on making sure that our local professionals not only are

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improving themselves academically, as you mentioned earlier,

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but seeing the world getting a better handle on what's happening in the trends

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in business growth, in technology opportunities.

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I know two years ago, pre pandemic, we had

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a number of of local practitioners actually take advantage of the travel

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assistance and travel to Japan as part of the Midwest USA Japan Association

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Conference to meet with Japanese companies specifically.

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Those are part of the Honda supply chain.

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But other others were also located in

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central Ohio to experience our culture, to connect with those businesses on a more

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personal level and explore the facilities in in their home countries.

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And I think that really helps build

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those relationship opportunities as much as anything else.

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So I know you talked about the travel, but

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tell us about some other benefits of Moad just here regularly.

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Well, I think there's a certain degree of building relationships, both in the

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greater community and professional side of it.

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You mentioned earlier about the IDC, the

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visa opportunities for professional development.

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We're actually currently working on

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expanding those offerings with the Council for Development.

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Finance agencies are KPFA and other

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related entities to really kind of broaden opportunities in various elements of

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public finance and economic growth so that we are developing the right tools.

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You know, one of the things I've been really focused on as president has to make

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sure that we have the right level of toolbox for the growing economy here.

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And so bring those new tools in, bringing on how other communities are doing this in

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international national best practice standpoint.

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As recently we've been trying to focus on

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and then also engaging our private sector partners.

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I understand what's driving them economically and how, but make sure that

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when we're coming out of this this pandemic era where we've seen some

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shrinkage, but not a tremendous amount actually in the region.

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We're prepared for what's coming next.

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So, I mean, I think if I've said it once,

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I've said it 100 times, prepared communities win.

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And so I think that's a really important thing.

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That is to help, you know, all of the

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economic development practitioners in the region be able to have access to that

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toolbox, understand how it how you can to apply it different to different areas.

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I think that's really important.

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One of the one of the keys to our success

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and Whitehall came out of a mode meeting where, you know, we got additional

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information about how to use a certain type of teef.

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And, you know, within three months we were

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applying that new information to a project that allowed for a new industrial

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site to be developed in Whitehall because of that information.

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So I think that's a really key thing that that mode does well.

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And I think that plays really well into

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what we were just talking about, recent program we had about, you know,

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engaging our infrastructure partners and doing activities.

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We did a essentially what I calling a

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speed dating of infrastructure, where we had three different breakout sessions.

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And we shuffle people around those sessions.

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And one of our partners was talking to one

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of the providers and said, you know, hey, we're doing this big project.

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We've got a 2009 gap in the funding.

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And they said that it's an invoice.

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Well, we'll play, but it will absolutely do.

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That's one of our local partners in the mode meeting.

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Got a two thousand dollar grant to kind of help bridge the gap in their financing and

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close on a really nice marketing piece to highlight one of their projects sites.

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I mean, that's that's what I think from

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that standpoint, we really can help bring bring parties together.

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That's great. Now, Nate, I know that Mode's been around

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for a while, but give us a little moad history.

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How long have they been kind of doing their thing and who were some of the folks

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that kind of got around a table and decided to start it?

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Sure. So most men have about 25 years.

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They were incorporated formally, though,

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in 2009, but informally they've been in the marketplace helping to facilitate

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economic growth opportunities, professional development.

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So you're you're Jim Russel's.

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You're Shimmers Phillips's. Yeah.

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Curtis Williams, I know, was involved in that.

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Absolutely.

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They've been around and kind of helping to facilitate this.

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But then when when Columbus came along in,

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you know, right before 2010 and really started trying to pull together, you know,

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the greater concept that they've been working on,

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that's what Moad really got to incorporate, formally incorporated to

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serve as a conduit towards that organization.

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So with that idea of you guys have been around for 25 years, obviously there's

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been, you know, lots of people who have been involved.

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So with your, you know, position now and kind of leading the mode board, so to

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speak, we've talked a little bit about kind of what mode does what are some of

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the goals as president of mode that you have.

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So one of the things I really want to look

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at as we kind of go into this next decade of operations is kind of make sure that

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we're doing an equitable resource evaluation.

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So ensuring that the communities that are getting the highest value of opportunities

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through the one Columbus model are paying a fair share of what that looks like.

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And so there's not a disproportionate level of funding coming one way or the

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other, which I think is really a critical thing, especially in talking about

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regionalism and buy in part of that process.

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Beyond that, I really want to be a clearinghouse of economic opportunities.

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So all our programs for this year, we're

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recording everything so we can have a library of resources.

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So those members who are having a little

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log in or participate in a virtual setting have access.

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That information, I believe, are going

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into a hybrid model probably in July or August.

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So you'll continue to see some level of virtual engagement from the organization,

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which also facilitates a lot of that, recording an opportunity, but also

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promotes individual relationship building opportunities.

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I've always said this about economic development.

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It's a little different for everybody.

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So economic development as a as an umbrella

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means something different. And so making sure that we're being

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encapsulating to want economic development is in the region, which might be a little

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different for some of our inner are absolutely right.

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There's there's a difference.

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There's a difference between what economic development looks like in Ghana versus

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what it would look like in Monroe County or in Madison County or, you know,

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suburban areas where I live like in Pickerington.

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But but even at that point, Zack, I mean,

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economic development, jobs creation opportunities, there is that

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ripple effect with around affordable housing, transportation, general

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infrastructure development that we have just kind of put it on the back burner and

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over the last 10 years have seen rapid growth in the marketplace, but have never

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really addressed some of the inequities that's happening as part of that.

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So we want to make sure that mode is part

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of that broader conversation moving forward.

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And we're a leader in that conversation to make sure that we are doing things in an

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equitable, reasonable and deliberate way moving forward.

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Right. And as Jenna and I've talked, you know,

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in previous podcasts about, you know, economic development doesn't just mean how

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many jobs did you add or how many companies or how much capital.

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And I think you've seen that shift.

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If you look at the goals of one Columbus,

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you know, the new 10 year goals that they've had versus what their first set of

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goals were, that it isn't just a focus on how many jobs did we bring.

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Right. That it is ensuring that we're working on

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transit, that we're working on infrastructure and affordable housing.

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And I think Moad certainly can play a really large role in helping local.

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Deaf professionals speak to the value of affordable housing.

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Absolutely, absolutely, and that's got to be the driver.

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I've said this in many capacities moving

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forward, economic development, being a successful community at this point is

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going to be the community that gets their arms around all elements of active and not

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just the jobs creation number or the new wages coming in, but you've got to have

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the comprehensive strategy that does the whole whole gamut.

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Absolutely.

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It's going to make those communities sustainable and thriving.

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Absolutely. Absolutely.

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I appreciate your continued support of me, and I really appreciate being here this

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morning and talking through what's going on.

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And I always encourage people, if you want

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to learn more about mode, you're welcome to reach out to me at the city of Gahanna.

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You're also going to check out our website.

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We're doing a little bit of an overhaul right now, but we're going to have a

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calendar up later this year about all the programs we're doing.

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Sign up for it. Follow us on LinkedIn.

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We always try to push our information on LinkedIn.

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I'm linked in.

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I'm I'm genuinely trying to push into an

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Instagram page, but apparently I'm not hip enough for that yet.

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So we'll figure it out.

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My I not on the gram and on the gram.

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I don't do a real's of all of our

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programs, but I was told that's impossible, nothing's impossible.

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We'll have all of those information and

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all those links to the mode social media and our show notes.

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But again, Nate, we really do want to

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appreciate you being here Jenna as the current vice president of Mode.

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We appreciate her putting her Moedas to to good work today.

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Now we'll go to one of our favorite segments.

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It's the more with more easy to do do with Neil JURIST.

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So Neil, tell us.

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I know that Morsi is a member as well, but tell us a bit how that

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relationship with Mohamed Morsi has been beneficial.

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Sure, the relationship are the partnership

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between Mohammed Morsi has been beneficial in a number of ways similar to Morsi.

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Mode encourages the collaboration of

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several communities and businesses for the advancement and improvement of the region.

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And as the Regional Council for Local Governments Morsi, we take pride in

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bringing communities of all sizes and interests together to collaborate on best

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practices and plans for the future of our growing region.

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So we value economic development focus, especially provided by Moat, which

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complements the work that we're doing to advance critical public infrastructure.

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One of the things that I'm really

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impressed about with Morsi is that Morsi has this ability to kind of convene

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partners to come together and leverage investments, you know, that

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kind of advance a project. Can you give us an example of some of that

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work that you guys are doing to convene those partners together?

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An example has been one of the ways we've been able to convene our partners together

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to leverage investments from each other to advance a project has been through our

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head, our transportation improvement districts for those unfamiliar.

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These are made up of multiple governments that will contribute funds to help pay for

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a project that benefits all parties and alleviates issues like traffic.

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So these have been very beneficial for cities like Whitehall.

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Absolutely, yeah. So the Franklin County Transportation

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Improvement District Board, I'm actually on that board.

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And so I think Morsi, again, is really a key partner in the region

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to help our governments and different jurisdictions understand how partnering on

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things like infrastructure can help drive economic development.

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Absolutely.

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And, you know, as you know, the success of private projects are dependent on the

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simultaneous investments by the public entity.

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And I'm speaking your language now. Absolutely.

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I mean, that's one of the things that I've really appreciated in the last number of

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years is is Morsi getting more involved in the economic development?

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Right. So Morsi historically known for, you know,

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sustainability and air quality and housing and transportation.

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And now with this increased focus on

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economic development and like MOAD polling partners together, to really have that as

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an emphasis I think has been one of the real just benefits to our region.

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I know that Morsi hired Ted Greer recently and he's been really helpful.

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I know with us on on some great work that we were doing at the federal level.

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Ted has been a tremendous asset to our organization.

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And of course, we can't not say anything unless we say anything about the.

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Ah, William. Absolutely.

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Absolutely. They are champions of our region.

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So we're very fortunate to have really good people who

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are compassionate and care about the growth of our region at Mausi.

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And so, you know, you are asking about the partnership or the benefits.

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And so we value the relationship that we

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have with Mode and we've partnered with them on a number of joint events.

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We work with them closely to keep each other informed of new strategies, to

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continue to bring vitality to our local economy.

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So it's a great it's kind of a win win strategy for us.

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Well, that's what I one of the things I

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appreciate about Mode, and I don't know if we mentioned it enough earlier, the fact

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that it's not just, OK, you work for a city, you work for a.

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And you can be part of mode, but mode

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really is this big tent, and whether it's people from the utility companies or from

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the private sector or from, you know, different, you know, ective folks that are

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at law firms, you know, and then, you know, with Morsi, it really is this large

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tent that, you know, people can really engage in that space.

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I agree. That's why I think this segment more with

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Morsi is so appropriate, because it's important to know that we do a lot of

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things to help impact communities across the region.

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No, absolutely.

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As we mentioned earlier, it's not just transit for the sake of transit.

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It's, you know, great transit.

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It's green transit, but it's also transit that helps drive economic development.

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It's not just sustainability for the sake of sustainability, but a sustainability

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that also then helps grow the local economy.

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And so I think that's, you know, a really key component.

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So with that, I want to thank both of our guests today.

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It was really a great conversation about the benefits of mode and and how Morsi and

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Mode are working together to help drive economic development in the region.

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And we look forward to having everyone come back and listen to our next episode.

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Absolutely. Thank you.

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