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OEDA identifies Voinovich School as leader in economic development

Daniel Kington
October 14, 2015

When the Ohio Economic Development Association (OEDA) sought facilitators for its July 2015 board retreat, it turned to community and economic development experts at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University.

The OEDA, a membership organization representing more than 300 economic development professionals statewide, selected two Voinovich School employees to facilitate the group’s board retreat.  Dr. Jason Jolley, MPA director and assistant professor with the Voinovich School, and Robin Stewart, Senior Project Manager with the Voinovich School devised the agenda for the retreat and guided the group’s decision-making processes.

The retreat was held July 23–24 at the Ohio University Inn and also included a tour of the Ohio University Innovation Center.

Stewart believes the Voinovich School was selected to facilitate the retreat because of the school’s high caliber work in economic development and its prior relationship with the OEDA. “We have a reputation for community economic development and the work that we do,” Stewart said.

Sean Hughes, president of the OEDA, affirmed this statement. “The Voinovich School and the Innovation Center are leading in the economic development efforts in the Athens area,” Hughes said. “It was very important for our directors to see that.”

The retreat focused on two main deliverables. The first was narrowing the field of candidates for the position of OEDA executive director. According to Hughes, Jolley and Stewart contributed invaluably to that process. “They suggested a good scoring system that got us two good candidates,” Hughes said.

The retreat’s second deliverable was an updated draft of the OEDA’s strategic plan. Stewart and Jolley crafted the three-year plan, which is currently under review by the board.