The Generation Gap

mcdorman2008Mike McDorman, President & CEO
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce


There is a lot of talk about Millennials and baby boomers these days. Each group consists of some 80 million Americans who will play an ever increasing role in whether our communities moves forward or backwards. So it is not surprising that cities are interested in finding out what they want in the places they choose to live.

The Millennials were born between 1982 and 2001 and are characterized as competitive, driven, thoroughly technology-savvy, and more practical than ideological. They are often seen as slightly more optimistic about the future of America than other generations. Having grown up being bombarded by advertising, Millennials tend to be skeptical about promotional material of any kind. Whether buying products and services or considering employment, Millennials are more likely to listen to their friends than to be affected by marketing or public relations material. This characteristic makes both conventional marketing and employee recruitment practices often ineffective for Millennials.

The Baby Boomers were born between 1945 and 1964 and are now empty-nesters, have sold their home in the suburbs and moved into a condominium. Most of their parents retired and stayed in the community where they spent most of their lives. That will not be the case for many of these Baby Boomers. They will take bolder steps and choose to retire differently than their parents and most likely will end up in a tailored retirement community or a downtown where they can walk to restaurants and participate in the local arts and recreational activities available there.

In a recent survey released by the American Planning Association consisting of roughly half Millennials, the other half Baby Boomers, the two groups appear to want many of the same things: better transportation options, walkable communities, technology-enabled cities, and housing that would allow “aging in place.” They believe that the path to prosperity lies in building up local communities – not through recruiting companies but by concentrating on these same basic elements of desirable places to live.

This past Sunday my Pastor spoke about this in his sermon, “The Generation Gap: Myth or Reality?” He explained five significant myths regarding the generation gap:

  • The generations do not have anything in common.
  • The generations cannot communicate with each other.
  • The younger generations are less committed to God and the church.
  • The older generations are more resistant to change.
  • The generations cannot come together in pursuit of a common mission and vision.

He closed with the reality that these generations need each other and must come together in pursuit of a common mission and vision if they are going to meet the challenges and solve the problems that we all face today.

In order for us to be successful as a community, we will need to attract the Millennials and retain the Baby Boomers. That will not only take a great jobs strategy, but the implementation of a community wide master plan that includes key investments in public infrastructure which will make Springfield a more desirable place for both groups to live.

horton-4x5By: Horton H. Hobbs IV, Vice President of Economic Development, The Chamber of Greater Springfield

Spring has finally arrived and with it comes America’s Pastime: Baseball. In many ways, baseball is a great example of the importance of teamwork. Nine players with individual responsibilities must work collectively to remain competitive and to be victors. Not every play is made perfectly and sometimes there are errors made by individuals. But, if all are working together as a team, success is often achieved.

The same can be said about economic development and workforce development. In Clark County, we have a workforce “team” that has been openly working together for many years to make certain that we have all of the bases covered for those looking for jobs and careers. Here is our starting lineup: Our pitching staff is comprised of our local employers. They are consistently delivering the demand for employment and they are helping the team understand what is needed in the workforce and how it can be strengthened. Our Catchers are our Economic Development Partners at the local and regional level that are gathering the workforce needs identified by our employers. First Base is represented by Pre-Kindergarten through twelfth grade Education system. This includes our public, private and alternative schools, the Global Impact STEM Academy, the CareerConnectED Center as well as internship and apprenticeship programs, summer employment and career exploration activities for our youth. Second Base is fielded by our College and Career Readiness partners. Our Region’s 25 nationally recognized Colleges and Universities are preparing future workers, while our partners providing work readiness assessments and industry-specific certificate programs are placing job seekers with employers on a daily basis. Shortstop and Third base are represented by our workforce recruitment and placement entities. From staffing agencies and government organizations to regional job centers and corporate recruiters, job seekers are being connected to employment opportunities in in-demand industries. Our outfielders are the many Community Stakeholder and Resource Providers. From Foundations and public agencies to private donors and regional economic and workforce development partners, they are providing support to the rest of the team.

As in baseball, or any team activity for that matter, challenges can arise that might prevent success. It’s not the challenge itself that can devastate the team, but rather how the team rallies together to overcome it. In Clark County, our team is nimble and has shown time and again that they can and will face workforce challenges and will adapt to a new game plan quickly and effectively. Creating, retaining and attracting a qualified and skilled workforce is our number one economic and workforce development goal. Our team is strong, our bench is deep and our future is very bright.

Chris HeadshotBy guest columnist,
Chris Schutte
Director of Marketing and Events
Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce


 During last fall’s Ohio Conference on Tourism held in Springfield, attendees were introduced to our new Greater Springfield brand and our Champion City Guide + Supply store. The new brand and “Find Your Unwind” tagline went on to win the Delegate’s Choice RUBY Award during the conference, and we received an incredible amount of positive feedback on the store.

Fast forward to this year’s Heartland Travel Showcase in Chicago. We were approached by representatives of the Greater Licking County Convention & Visitors Bureau who attended the Ohio Conference on Tourism and visited Champion City Guide + Supply. Impressed by what we had accomplished, they asked if the Greater Springfield CVB would be willing to share some information on our branding process and store development. Naturally we said, “Yes!”

Last week we welcomed a delegation of nine from Licking County including CVB Executive Director, Dan Moder, members of their Board, creative partners, CVB staff and attractions representatives. We began our day at Champion City then moved to the offices of our creative partner, Andy Hayes, at Hucklebuck Design Studio. What a great group of folks – I’ll admit upfront that we learned as much from them as they did from us!

As we rewound through our inspiration and creative process behind the store, then recapped the discovery process that led to our new brand, one theme became abundantly clear; our overriding mission is to alter the perception of Greater Springfield. Like our friends from Newark and Licking County, Springfield and Clark County have taken their share of hits over the years. As the losses pile up it’s sometimes difficult to recall the wins…the positives…the pride.

Our Chamber President & CEO, Mike McDorman, joined us for lunch and expounded on this very topic. Mike feels strongly that we need a vision and a strategy to drive our community forward. The CVB’s role in this process is to project a positive image of our community to both visitors, and residents alike. It’s critical that we position Greater Springfield as a community on the rise, not one mired in the past.

Our CVB has engaged in a number of new initiatives to change the perception of Greater Springfield. One of the most visible is the 48′ LED billboard adjacent to I-70. The LED board was constructed by the Clark County Convention Facilities Authority and is managed by the CVB. The board is a visual, game-changing promotional tool that communicates Greater Springfield’s incredible Arts & Culture amenities to more than 60,000 travelers every day.

On a slightly smaller scale a new SCAT bus wrap project embarked upon by the CVB accomplishes the same perception building goal. We have two “themed” buses on the streets right now – one promoting our Arts amenities, the other representing our great outdoor recreation options. Two more buses promoting our historical architecture and family-friendly sites are on the way this spring.

We recently released our new 2015 “Find Your Unwind” visitor guide to be closely followed by our new state-of-the-art website – VisitGreaterSpringfield.com. We would love to hear your feedback on both of these promotional tools.

As I told our friends from Licking County, our vision for promoting our community will never be limited by our budget. The job is too critical – and the window to succeed so short – that you must embrace every available opportunity. We must do more with less resources. There is simply no other option when you’re working to rewrite history.

mcdorman2008Mike McDorman, President & CEO
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

When I travel I always make a point of picking up other community’s visitor guides, community books and promotional brochures. I’ve noticed a trend towards “Best Of” guides that highlight the community’s best restaurants, best attractions and best events. These guides are particularly useful if you’re traveling, or are new to the community, as they often feature a good deal of “local knowledge” and “best kept secrets”.

It struck me recently that Greater Springfield would be a perfect fit for the “Best Of” treatment. We’re blessed with a wealth of great amenities and it’s time we let everyone in on the secret. To that end we are pleased to announce a new Chamber publication – The Best of Springfield – that will debut this fall.

What’s unique about our publication is that the general public will determine the “Best Of” winners in eighteen different categories ranging from Best Fine Dining and Best Date Spot, to Best Ice Cream and Best Pizza. Online voting is currently open at www.BestOfSpfld.com. Voting will run throughout the summer and close on August 30th. Businesses are encouraged to campaign via social media and point-of-purchase signage to be provided by the Chamber.

The Best of Springfield will include profiles of the category winners and runners-up, insider tips from local residents, feature stories on our local heritage businesses and much more. The glossy magazine will make its debut at a special event scheduled for October 22nd where the winners will be announced, and honored. All winners will receive a special Best of Springfield award and window cling designating them as the “Best of the Best”.

A total of 10,000 issues of The Best of Springfield will be printed and distributed via direct mail, visitor information centers, new resident packets and special events. We anticipate readership of the inaugural issue to exceed 30,000. Advertising opportunities are available in this new publication. You may contact Eric Sirons for more information at: 937-521-1943.

While you need not be a Chamber member business to be named a “Best Of” winner, we certainly hope that our member businesses will help spread the word and promote our new publication. If early returns are any indication the races will be tight!

We’re excited to help promote Greater Springfield to a new audience, in a new way. We see great opportunity in this innovative publication and we look forward to your input!

Contest Website: www.BestOfSpfld.com 

Have a Great Chamber Day!

mcdorman2008Mike McDorman, President & CEO
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce


This week marks the beginning of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. If you are like me, you will be watching closely to see if your favorite team wins and advances this weekend. We are building a winning team in Springfield that will compete to bring people and jobs to our community, and a big part of our future success will depend upon the quality of our parks.

In 2009 the community vision plan Greater Springfield Moving Forward was formed and five key areas were targeted to make our region better. One of the areas the community pointed to and wanted to see addressed was the county’s parks and green spaces. In 2011 the combined Clark County Parks District and National Trail Parks and Recreation District levy passed with hopes of generating approximately $1 million for NTPRD and $390,000 for the Clark County Park District. Although more money is needed to support our parks, the passage of this levy was a big step forward for our parks and for our community.

Recently, my friend and longstanding Director of the Clark County Parks District, Jim Campbell, announced that he will retire effective May 1 after serving in the position since 1994. He has been a champion for the parks for a long time and will be missed as their leader. I hope his replacement continues what he started more than 20 years ago.

One of the newest members of our community’s winning team is Springfield native Leann Castillo. The Director of NTPRD came back to Springfield in 2011 from the Centerville-Washington Park District. Castillo has already made significant contributions to her hometown of Springfield, leading the community through the construction of the NTPRD Chiller Ice Arena and being an integral part of the first successful levy campaign for the district. Deeply committed to Springfield and Clark County, Castillo is well respected around the state for that commitment and for her humble service to the area and the profession.

Leann was recently named the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association Professional of the Year, while the NTPRD Chiller project won first place for capital improvement projects over $2.5 million. The $8.5 million NTPRD Chiller opened in 2013 and has seen approximately 100,000 visitors in its first year of operation.

The downtown ice arena project also won the OPRA Governor’s Award over three finalists at the Association’s Awards of Excellence. This honor is a best-in-show of the 15 different award winners and includes a $500 contribution to the agency winner.

These state honors and awards clearly show that we are making progress in one of our key vision areas, a renewed focus on our parks. It is up to us to support people like Leann Castillo and Jim Campbell as they continue to work hard to make our region better. My vote is “YES” for our parks!

Have a Great Chamber Day!

Chris HeadshotChris Schutte, Convention and Visitors Bureau Director  

Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

Downtown Springfield will sparkle with red carpet glam this November when the Clark State Performing Arts Center plays host to the 2016 Miss Ohio USA and Miss Ohio Teen USA pageants. 

Pageant officials made the announcement February 19 prior to the Chamber’s annual meeting.

Miss Ohio USA is part of the Miss Universe Organization – a Donald J. Trump and NCBUniversal joint venture. The pageant had been held in Portsmouth in previous years but outgrew that location.

zThe Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau along with Clark State Community College and Courtyard Marriott began working with pageant officials last year to bring the event to Springfield. miss ohio and teen ohio (800x476)

“We are very excited to welcome the Miss Ohio pageants to Springfield,” said Chris Schutte of the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau. “This successful bid is a testament to the work of our partners at both Clark State and the Courtyard Marriott. I think it’s fair to say that event organizers were very impressed with their site visits to Springfield. We feel like our facilities and service are unrivaled.”

The event is expected to bring about 2,000 visitors who will fill local hotel rooms, eat at local restaurants and shop in local stores. The economic impact of the event could approach $500,000. Then there is the aesthetic impact. “There will be red carpets and glamour and celebrities,” said Melissa Pitchford, executive state director of the Miss Universe Organization. “It’s just a lot of fun.”

Reigning Miss Ohio USA Sarah Newkirk and Miss Ohio Teen USA Shelby Stapleton joined Pitchford, Schutte and Clark State Community College President Jo Blondin in making the announcement.

“The venue is very important for contestants,” Newkirk said. “Seeing this venue for the first time, I’m very excited. It’s going to be a great year.” The pageant’s goal is to select representatives to be role models, said officials. “… their experience in competing in Greater Springfield alone is a big step to the future that is so open to opportunity.”

The Miss Ohio USA competition consists of three proportional segments: evening gown, fitness/swimsuit and interview. The search for Miss Ohio USA 2016 is currently underway. Qualifications and application information is on the pageant’s website: http://www.MissOhioUSA.com. The winner, Miss Ohio USA 2016, will claim the title and prize list which includes jewelry, travel, wardrobe, over 40,000 dollars in scholarships and will represent the State of Ohio in the MISS USA competition, scheduled to telecast on NBC in 2016. MISS USA ultimately goes on to represent the United States in the MISS Universe® competition in front of a worldwide audience of approximately 1 billion viewers.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Springfield to demonstrate that we can successfully host a large scale, cache event,” said Schutte. “The event can help bring more recognition to Springfield, and could become an annual event here. We have an expectation we will be their home for the foreseeable future.”

Have a great Chamber day!

Powering Progress

mcdorman2008Mike McDorman, President & CEO
     Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce

This year’s “Dream Big” theme for the Greater Springfield Community is “Innovation-Transformation Powering Progress!”

As you know, The Chamber’s mission is to help area businesses thrive by advancing important economic and workforce development opportunities, promote ideas that will make our region more progressive, and help our companies grow by connecting them with other businesses and the broader community.

As Mark Lautman, our guest speaker at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting, alluded to this past week, we have more than an uphill battle if we continue to do community development the way we have always done it. We will need to change on a dime if we are going to be successful. We will need to believe we have a significant level of influence over our destiny and take bold steps that will help our community jump the curve to change our trajectory towards a brighter future.

It will take more than another community project for us to change our course. It will take real partnership and collaboration working on a common vision for us to be successful. We will need to dream bigger than we have ever dreamed before!

During this past year, your Chamber crossed over some significant milestones in this community that included the completion of some great new physical assets like PrimeOhio II, a double-sided LED billboard on I 70, and a video scoreboard at Carleton Davidson Field.

The Chamber also worked with key stakeholders to form strategic partnerships that will help inform our community’s jobs strategy as we continue to work hard at growing our existing companies and adding new jobs by luring new office and industrial prospects to invest and locate in Greater Springfield.

By stabilizing our legacy manufacturing jobs and diversifying our jobs base to include higher paying professional level positions in the areas of banking, insurance, Bio Medical, and STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math), we will begin to do what Mark says. We will successfully attract, grow and retain workers, then employers will be forced to follow.

This past year the corporate offices Speedway and Konecranes Region Americas, along with Dole Food Company announced major expansions, adding hundreds of new jobs. Many of these new positions will average more than $50,000 per year.

In order to build on these successes The Chamber is working with our key educational partners to develop the workforce that will be needed to accomplish our jobs goals. Through the $11.3 million Straight-A Grant, Springfield City Schools is working with Clark-Shawnee, Springfield CTC, GISA (Global Impact STEM Academy) and Clark State to develop and implement project-based learning curriculum in specific areas that will connect students to the area’s job opportunities. Most of the consortium’s work will take place at the former South High School, now called Greater Springfield CareerConnectED Center.

My pastor likes to say life is a series of climbs. So what is our next climb as a community? It is to devise, implement and execute a community wide master plan that will bring about the great change and transformation that will propel us forward!

Your Chamber looks forward to standing in the gap and helping to lead the charge up this next hill.
By doing this important work together, our vision of our future will succeed, and so will our community!

Have a great Chamber day!


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