Port Authority adopts 2014 plan

WINTERSVILLE – The Jefferson County Port Authority board of directors adopted a 2014 action plan Tuesday that will see their new executive director share a county-wide collaboration effort, publish an industrial marketing brochure and focus on an industrial marketing plan.

The port authority also was told the city of Steubenville may be ready to offer financial support to the economic development agency.

“No promises, but the city is looking at resources in regards to the port authority. I will be having more discussions with the council and the finance committee and we will see what we can do this year,” Mayor Domenick Mucci said.

Evan Scurti, executive director of economic development, started his new job by outlining a quarterly strategy he said will allow him to pursue several goals this year.

“During the first quarter, I will meet with 10 to 15 of the largest industrial employers in Jefferson County to review the development and expansion tools offered by the port authority. I also hope to present our 2014 plan to all Jefferson County communities to develop marketable assets and create jobs together. That will include updating our port authority Website and developing a print brochure that will highlight the county’s major industrial sites as well as infrastructure and education assets. The brochure will be a key tool as I implement marketing strategies with site consultants and business leaders. We will continue the brownfield development by working with the Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission,” Scurti told the directors Tuesday morning.

Scurti said the second quarter of 2014 will see the port authority host its first quarterly investor meeting and publish its first monthly newsletter highlighting initiatives and progress.

“We will also start a series of meetings with education leaders to gain perspectives on local skills gaps. We want to complete our Website updates and explore a comprehensive county-wide branding and marketing program with the community investment plan team and other community leaders to address local image issues,” continued Scurti.

“By the third quarter, we want to present an overview of Jefferson County industrial development opportunities to two nationally recognized site consultants and develop a list of companies to receive direct mail marketing literature. We also plan to begin to draft a targeted oil and gas marketing plan and to prepare for a series of oil and gas conferences. The third quarter goal will be an ongoing and focused industrial development marketing plan,” said Scurti.

“I hope to refine the port authority’s business retention and expansion program in the fourth quarter of 2014. We will be discussing the creation of new local incentives including micro-loans and grants for small businesses and will hold the first port authority annual meeting. Our goal by the end of 2014 is for all local stakeholders and targeted external partners to understand the port authority’s role in Jefferson County,” declared Scurti.

“This plan meets the bill. It gets us visibility and has covered the issues very nicely,” observed board member Jay Zatta.

Scurti also reported on future fundraising projects that will include a one-on-one meeting with each current investor.

“We are planning a meet-and-greet for sometime in February. That will include a pledge form, the 2014 action plan and an overview of the various port authorities in Ohio. We are setting a mass mailing in March that will include a letter from the chairman of the board of directors, a list of major accomplishments to date, a marketing brochure and a letter that will emphasize the port authority staff is ready to meet upon request to discuss our initiatives,” explained Scurti.

In other business, authority Manager Donna Hrezo reviewed the proposed plan for the sale of property at the Jefferson County Industrial Park.

Scurti was invited to represent the port authority on the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

During the two-hour meeting Tuesday, Rob D’Anniballe was elected chairman for 2014 and Derek Ferguson was named vice chairman.

Ed Florak was elected to serve as port authority treasurer and Gary Cain will be the board secretary.