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Annual Meeting recap: REDI Cincinnati turns five, and the future never looked brighter

Thursday evening, at our milestone fifth Annual Meeting, leaders from the Regional Economic Development Initiative (REDI) Cincinnati celebrated key achievements, while offering a glimpse of good things to come in Greater Cincinnati. 

REDI Cincinnati President and CEO Kimm Lauterbach opened the ceremony by presenting 2018 year-end metrics for companies bringing jobs and capital investment to the three-state, 16-county region. 

2018 Year-End Metrics (Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky, Southeast Indiana)

6,640 New Jobs Created
$333.6MM New Payroll Created
$1.38B New Capital Investment 

Lauterbach also highlighted the economic impact of those projects REDI Cincinnati worked with directly in Southwest Ohio from 2014-2018. 

5-Year Impact (Southwest Ohio)

139,345 New and Retained Jobs
$8.2B New Payroll
$17.8B Gross Domestic Product
$31.5B Economic Output

In 2014, REDI Cincinnati was formed as a collaboration among top business leaders to drive job growth in Greater Cincinnati. Those efforts have resulted in numerous accolades for both REDI Cincinnati and the region. Most recently, Greater Cincinnati received the prestigious Site Selection Magazine Governor’s Cup Award as a Top 10 U.S. Metro Area (pop. 1 million plus), advancing in the rankings this year from #6 to #5 nationwide. 

As Lauterbach shared, the organization will focus more than ever on investing in people, partnerships, and technology to pinpoint and attract viable companies considering location or expansion. “By no means are we resting on our laurels,” said Lauterbach, previewing the economic landscape ahead. “We’re going to continue finding new ways to embrace our unique three-state identity, forging connections in our business community, and serving as a diligent partner to those groups that are growing our regional talent base and developing our sites.” 

The meeting was emceed by WLWT newscaster Colin Mayfield, who recognized outgoing REDI Cincinnati executive committee members Kay Geiger, Steve Hightower, Sue McPartlin, Julie Hopkins, and Aaron Pitts.

REDI Cincinnati also extended recognition to the companies that made significant economic impact in Greater Cincinnati last year. The recipients of this year’s James A. Wuenker Growth Awards were:

  • 80 Acres Farms | 46 new jobs | $37.5MM capital investment
  • Ensemble Health Partners | 1,000 new jobs | $47MM new payroll | $20MM building renovation
  • Festo Corporation | 250 new jobs | $60MM new real estate investment | 240,000-sf expansion
  • Magna Machine Company | 20 new jobs | 125 retained jobs | $3.7MM capital investment
  • L3 Space & Sensors

Native Cincinnatian and prolific economic developer David O. Smith was this year’s recipient of the William T. (Bill) Robinson III Upward and Onward! Award, named in honor of one of the region’s most respected business leaders, an attorney whose contributions to economic development over the last four decades continue to drive the Greater Cincinnati business community today. 

As this year’s award recipient, Smith is recognized for his work in a number of state-appointed roles and as Director of Economic Development for Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky. Smith developed economic programs that helped Mitsubishi Electric, Advics, Festo, and other companies grow their local presence. He also co-founded the Ohio Business Development Coalition. 

“To even be mentioned in the same sentence as Bill Robinson is truly humbling,” said Smith. “I’d like to thank the REDI board and staff. I’m very honored and certainly appreciate this meaningful award.” 

The evening ended with a word from REDI Cincinnati executive committee vice-chair David Spaulding (Turner Construction) and a toast from Kimm Lauterbach and committee chair Brian Hodgett (Procter & Gamble). 

“The level of engagement and collaboration in our business community is what sets us apart, and it’s the backbone of REDI Cincinnati’s mission-based work,” said Hodgett.