In its mission to recruit companies and grow jobs, the REDI Cincinnati team amplifies our region’s unique story to national and international audiences. This series flips the microphone for a look at what makes these passionate economic development professionals tick — and what they love most about living and working in Greater Cincinnati.
When Andrea Enders graduated from Michigan State University’s James Madison College of Public Affairs, the Milford native at first wasn’t in a hurry to decide her next big move. But as her student loans came due, Greater Cincinnati’s vibrant, low-cost lifestyle beckoned her home. She accepted an advertising position with Enquirer Media and later delved into the local business community as a membership development representative with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.
Fast forward 10 years: Andrea now serves REDI Cincinnati as Manager of Business Development and Project Management, where she focuses specifically on growing companies in the biohealth and food/flavoring industry sectors, while also leading JobsOhio’s innovative SiteOhio site certification process in our region.
Andrea now looks back on those early opportunities as the cornerstones of a satisfying career, one that wouldn’t have been possible had she not trusted her instinct to return home to the region that excites her more and more every day.
How did you first become involved with REDI Cincinnati?
REDI shares a building with the Chamber, so while I was working there, I got to know Kimm Lauterbach through various joint initiatives involving the business community. REDI was a new and very exciting organization at that time, and I had a nice vantage point to watch it evolve under Kimm and Johnna’s leadership.
When my current position became available, it felt like a much better fit for my long-term career goals — even though I told Kimm I wasn’t really sure what economic development was. She said, “I can teach you ED; what I can’t teach, you have. And that’s your deep relationships in the business community.”
What satisfies you most about your job? The biggest challenge?
Both of those questions have the same answer: It’s the variety. Working in economic development, especially for a fast-paced organization like REDI, things change daily. There are always new and different projects to work on, so if you’re a high-energy person like me that can be very exciting. But it’s also a real challenge to balance it all and make sure nothing slips through the cracks from the beginning to the end of a project. That’s the most important part of what we do, striving to achieve that balance.
Describe a project that you’ve enjoyed working on.
About two years ago, Magnode — a third-generation, family-owned business based in Trenton, Ohio — expressed interest in expanding in Greater Cincinnati. I got to know them over a number of months, assisting with the various details of their expansion. This February, I got to attend their ribbon cutting, and it was such a special experience. It meant so much to their family and to the surrounding community. There were a lot of obstacles to moving that project forward that we helped remove, so I felt really proud to have helped get everything accomplished within their timeline. That’s really just one example of many that make this job so satisfying.
What’s your favorite thing about living and working in Greater Cincinnati?
It would be impossible to pick one thing! But I’m absolutely grateful for the Covington, Kentucky, community where I’ve lived for nine years. It’s home to my favorite local icon, the Roebling Suspension Bridge, and the entire city has been going through an amazing transformation. My favorite way to spend time out of work is going to little trivia and karaoke spots where everyone knows your name. I love getting more rooted in this region. I get to work for an amazing company, travel the world and sell the region I love. I couldn’t ask for more than that.