Q&A with Kimm Lauterbach
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.
This series kicks off with one of the region’s most influential economic development leaders, REDI Cincinnati VP of business development & project management Kimm Lauterbach. The list of accolades Lauterbach has earned throughout her exemplary career most recently includes being ranked among the 2017 Top 50 Economic Developers in North America (Consultant Connect) and being named a Cincinnati Business Courier 2017 Women Who Mean Business. Not content to ever rest on such laurels, Kimm Lauterbach brings her competitive insights to her daily drive to lead the REDI project team to banking more wins for our region. Here’s what we found out when we sat down with her recently to talk about what motivates her:
Q: What should people know about the work that you do for REDI Cincinnati?
You’ll find the more you talk to me and other members of the REDI team that this really is a true calling for us. It’s mission-based work. I don’t ever see myself being an economic developer for another city, because it’s all about the passion we have for Greater Cincinnati and making our home a better place.
Q: Describe how your role has changed since you joined the team in 2014.
A: I joined REDI just after it was created, when Johnna Reeder was named president. I came on board as a consultant for 60 days to help assess the organization and establish a strategic direction. It’s kind of a running joke that I just never left.
Although my title changed from managing director to vice president, my work hasn’t changed. I came in to run the project team, and have since added business development. Anything involving the traditional economic development piece — from lead generation through business development to closing the project and following up — I lead the team that delivers on our purpose to unite the region to compete globally.
Q: What has been your proudest achievement?
A: By the end of 2017 REDI will have created close to 20,000 new jobs in Greater Cincinnati. That is by no means just a ‘Kimm Lauterbach’ achievement, but it is certainly a testament to our team, our investors and our business community. It’s a huge milestone to create that much opportunity in the relatively short time REDI Cincinnati has been in existence.
Q: Why is Greater Cincinnati the right place?
A: I would say it’s the best region of course, because we are blessed for a host of reasons. For example, we are geographically blessed – you can get almost anywhere that you’d want to do business within a one-day drive or a 90-minute flight. That makes it straightforward for us to sell proximity to customers and to supply chain. Once we get people here for a visit, then we impress them with everything else—the great quality of life, amenities and affordability of everything we can do here.
Q: What are some of your favorite things to do locally?
Growing up in Dayton, I have always been – and continue to be – a diehard Bengals fan. I have two very active daughters who cheer, which means my free time is pretty limited — you will most often find me at Mason High School football games and cheer competitions. When we’re not doing that, we just love to explore. My kids love being downtown and in OTR. We do a lot of tours and sample the variety of restaurants, so they have a well-rounded view of our region.
Q: What advice would you give someone pursuing a career in economic development?
A: Throughout my career I’ve been defined by consciously choosing to avoid the easy road. As a young economic developer, I learned to create my own path instead of following in the footsteps of others. The best advice I can give is not to be afraid of being the first person to blaze a path. If you are knowledgeable and prepared, you need to make your own way — no one else will do it for you. I really encourage anyone with interest in economic development to get involved and take courses with the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and to start building a network that will support your career growth.
To learn more about the REDI team, please be sure to visit our website at REDICincinnati.com