State of the Region Conference to address impact of global trade on local economic development

Residents of northwest Ohio may not see the global connections that impact their daily lives, but those links are critical to the region’s economic vitality. For most people in the region, these connections are contained to northwest Ohio. But through trade and transport, the global economy can be experienced in a number of industries and products we use every day.

The Center for Regional Development (CRD) at Bowling Green State University will examine these global connections at the 17th annual State of the Region Conference on March 11. The theme this year is “Connected with the World: Global Trade, Investment, Logistics, and Supply Chains and Their Impact on Economic Development in Northwest Ohio.”

“As a public university for the public good, BGSU is committed to helping drive economic development,” said BGSU President Rodney Rogers. “Understanding and embracing our links to the global economy is critical to the success of northwest Ohio and the entire state.”

“The goal of the conference is to bring together business, economic development, government, citizens and elected officials to discuss the critical issues that will determine the economic future of northwest Ohio,” said Dr. Russell Mills, associate professor and director of the CRD.

Mills will give the State of the Region Address, highlighting the strides in economic development over the last year. The CRD has developed multiple economic impact studies, drafted contract work with local partners and helped secure thousands of dollars in grant funding in the last year alone.

In addition, keynote speakers will represent entities in the region that are staples of global economic trade. These include BGSU alumna Pam Heminger, vice president of business operations at Honda of America Manufacturing; Bernard Swiecki, director of the Automotive Communities Partnership at the Center for Automotive Research; and Joseph Comartin, the Consul General of Canada for Detroit.

The conference, held at the Hilton Garden Inn at Levis Commons in Perrysburg, will begin with networking and breakfast at 8 a.m., followed by a series of panels, keynote speakers and lunch, and will conclude at 3:30 p.m. This will be the first year the conference will be a full-day event in order to accommodate for the range of perspectives on the issue of global trade implications.  

Dr. Michael Ogawa, vice president for research and economic engagement at BGSU, will welcome the crowd and give opening remarks along with Ohio Sen. Theresa Gavarone. Attendance is free and open to the public, but registration is required.  

"The event also creates a great environment for conversation and collaboration among its attendees," said Will Burns, assistant director of the CRD. "Bringing a large group of people together who are passionate about improving the economy in the northwest Ohio region serves a great platform for the creation of ideas and initiatives to propel the region forward."

As one of the largest gatherings of business and economic development officials in the region, the State of the Region Conference provides a platform to generate “larger regional conversations and planning activities around economic and workforce development opportunities,” Mills said.