WALNUT CREEK - Gov. John R. Kasich urged government leaders throughout Eastern Ohio to build economic diversity even as they grow their economies.
Kasich was the keynote speaker Friday at the Eastern Ohio Development Alliance's 22nd annual meeting, which this year honored Mingo Junction's Cryogenics Construction Co. and three other companies in EODA's 16-county region as 2012 EODA Manufacturing Excellence Award winners. Cryogenics President Mark Bordash and Vice President, Matt Bordash, were on hand for the awards presentation, along with a delegation of business and government leaders representing Jefferson County.
Kasich told community leaders from the EODA member counties that even as the oil and gas industry ramps up, they need to keep in mind the importance of building economic balance.
MINGO FIRM HONORED — Mingo Junction’s Cryogenic Construction Co. received one of four Excellence Awards at Friday’s Eastern Ohio Development Alliance annual meeting, held at the Carlisle Inn at Walnut Creek, Holmes County. On hand for the presentation were, from left, State Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce President Sue Hershey, Steubenville City Manager Cathy Davison, Cryogenic Vice President Matt Bordash, Progress Alliance Executive Director Ed Looman, Cryogenic President Mark Bordash and Steubenville Mayor Domenick Mucci Jr. - Linda Harris
"In this part of the state, everybody's excited and pumped up about energy," he said. "We've got energy but we don't know the extent of it, we don't know how it flows but we know we have some and it's good. But I warn you, this state has relied for too many years on manufacturing and autos to drive Ohio's economic success. That means when a torpedo is launched at the auto and manufacturing industry, it sinks our state economically.
"We're taking a different approach today - we believe there are a variety of areas where we can have economic development that will allow us to avoid being dependent on just one area."
Kasich said medicine, IT services, financial services, logistics and even agriculture can be economic drivers for the Buckeye State.
"What I'm saying to all of you, the 16 counties located here we're going to develop our resources of oil and gas, but let's not just focus (on that)," he said. "We need to develop an economic development program that creates diversity within the region so we're not held captive by something that could go wrong, go awry, go amiss. We want to be diversified. We need to start thinking, creatively, about what we can be and leave no stone unturned (and) we need to work cooperatively in these 16 counties to figure out regionally how we can drive economic development."
Kasich told the community leaders that in going forward, workforce development has to be a priority as well.
The governor, meanwhile, told EODA members when he took office there were 50,000 prison inmates, but since then the state has greatly reduced that number by shifting non-violent offenders into community settings, rather than incarcerating them with violent, hardened criminals.
And he said plugging the $8 billion hole in the state budget was a victory for all Ohio.
"It was a crisis, and Ohioans recognized it as a crisis," Kasich said. "When I ran, I said I was not going to raise taxes to fix it because when you raise taxes, we become less competitive with other states. That was our problem. We ranked 48th in America in job creation. (Back then) we'd lost 600,000 jobs in 10 years, 400,000-plus in just the last four years.
Going forward, he told the EODA members workforce training has to be a priority.
Kasich recalled for EODA leaders his visit to Steubenville earlier this year to deliver his State of the State address.
"Folks, you have to understand - there were signs up for the Legislature and the governor, you go into Wells School and the kids, the third, fourth- and fifth-graders, write these little notes to you, the newspaper put out a special edition.I have to admit I got up that morning and I cried, because I come from McKees Rocks (PA), which is just up the road. Steubenville has been ignored for so long, it was fantastic to allow that town to get a day in the sun. I understand it's still pretty exciting over there and people are happy about it."
Progress Alliance Executive Director Ed Looman, meanwhile, told the group Cryogenics was begun in 1978 "by three guys in a pickup truck."
"Today, it's a Jefferson County business that continues to grow every year," he said.
"It's involved in the construction, installation and repair of cryogenic chemical and natural gas piping systems, so it's one of our local business that has been able to take advantage of the shale industry."
Cryogenics also has a hand in diverse products ranging from Samsung flat screen TVs and Motorola cell phones to the liquid nitrogen system used to freeze McDonald's hamburgers.
The company, based just outside Mingo Junction, employs 37 people, and Looman said Bodash is quick to point out "his Jefferson County workforce consists of some of the best craftsmen he's ever been around."
Mark Bodash said he's "not big on speeches, but I really appreciate this."
"It's a big honor, my son and I appreciate the opportunity to come here today and get this (award)," he said. " It's much appreciated, and we thank everybody for all the help they've given us to get to where we are today."
Also recognized were Centria in Cambridge, Guernsey County; Producers Service Corporation, Muskingum County; and Breitenbach Wine Cellars, Tuscarawas County.