NORED: 12 Counties, One Voice
By Kay E. Reiter
President of NORED
Sandusky County Economic Development Corp.
Sayings like “Get your act together” and “Strength in numbers” led to the creation of the Northwest Ohio Regional Economic Development Association (NORED) late in 1998.
While Governor of Ohio, George Voinovich implored Northwest Ohio to get its act together so that it could provide a unified front to legislators and state administrators in Columbus. He felt Northwest Ohio often acted independently and lacked a way to determine its own priorities.
Recognizing that to truly represent Northwest Ohio, an organization drawing together persons from all over the area was necessary, economic development professionals organized NORED.
Today, NORED is an association of economic development practitioners and partners spanning 12 counties throughout Northwest Ohio – Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Hancock, Henry, Lucas, Ottawa, Paulding, Sandusky, Seneca, Williams, and Wood. (www.NORED.org)
It is a forum for the exchange of information among its members and others aimed at increasing job opportunities and improving the quality of life throughout the region. NORED provides professional development programs for its members, advocates for legislative changes to enhance economic development, and implements programs to market the benefits of locating in Northwest Ohio.
NORED is recognized as a 501 ( c ) 4 organization which means it is a non-profit, tax-exempt entity required to operate “primarily to further the common good and public welfare of the people of the community.”
Seeking legislation germane to the organization’s programs is a permissible means of attaining social welfare purposes. NORED is represented in Columbus by a registered lobbyist who monitors the Legislature and
Administration for matters of interest to NORED and its members, and provides guidance on how best to make sure NORED’s position is known there. NORED also provided modest financial support to the Third Frontier issue which appeared on the May, 2010 ballot. The Third Frontier program is an example of how Ohio voters endorse ways to help develop Ohio’s economy.
To further its mission, NORED prepares a Legislative White Paper for State and Federal Legislators and appropriate administrators defining the Ohio and National economic development priorities of NORED for the next two years. This provides elected and appointed representatives with a blueprint of the types of programs and initiatives NORED would like to see supported in Columbus and Washington.
NORED is working on a comprehensive marketing program to extol the virtues of locating in Northwest Ohio. As a member of Ohio Sales Partnership, NORED helps to promote Ohio for new capital investment projects throughout the U.S., and at selected trade shows in Europe.
A major effort for the members of NORED is professional development. Through monthly meetings, NORED provides a forum for members to network, to learn “what’s new,” and to hear others discuss topics essential to professional economic development efforts.
NORED is comprised of 51 different organizations. These include counties and cities, educational facilities, utilities, construction companies, consulting firms, financial institutions, and service providers. TMACOG is a reciprocal member of NORED. Through NORED, Northwest Ohio has gotten its economic development act together, and by representing professional development efforts in 12 Northwest Ohio counties, NORED has strength in numbers.