Ohio’s Economy: Investments Driving Growth

Across the Buckeye State, a new era unfolds as innovations are supported by a solid foundation for business.

By Anne Cosgrove
From the July/August 2023 Issue


In September 2022, President Biden stood at the groundbreaking of Intel’s Ohio factory in Licking County outside the city of Columbus and proclaimed it was “time to bury the label ‘Rust Belt’” and suggested the region’s new moniker be “Silicon Heartland.” With the $20 billion investment in motion from Intel for two microchip factories (fabs), it appeared a new era was in motion for Ohio’s economy. A month later when LG and Honda announced their joint venture for a $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery facility in Jeffersonville, it was another indication that high-growth industries are taking notice of what the state can offer.

When it comes to automotive, Toledo/Northwest Ohio is known as a premier automotive supply region, and players in this sector have recognized and implemented the advancements of the flourishing electric vehicle segment. This is one instance of the innovations that Ohio economic development groups and other stakeholders are focused upon to grow the state to the next level.

Ohio Investments
Columbus, the capital of Ohio, was the winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s first Smart City Challenge in 2015. (Photo: JobsOhio)


What’s Cooking In Other Sectors?

While high-growth sectors are looking at Ohio as a location, traditional industries are choosing the state for relocation and expansion. In May, New Horizons Baking Company announced it will invest more than $13 million to increase production at its Toledo facility. The company, which attributed enhanced customer demand for the decision to expand, expects to add at least 45 new jobs at this location in northwest Ohio.

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a Job Creation Tax Credit as part of the Toledo expansion, which includes bringing in machinery and equipment for a second muffin line as well as the addition of 20,000 square feet for cold storage

Headquartered in Norwalk, OH east of Toledo, New Horizons employs more than 550 people while operating four facilities between Ohio and Indiana. Company officials said it was a competitive project, one the Toledo plant ultimately secured because of its quality workforce. Production on the new line is expected to begin in February 2024.

In the southeast region, another food and agribusiness investment has been announced by Speyside Bourbon Cooperage, a French-owned distiller that opened its first U.S barrel-making operation in Jackson, OH in 2015. The company recently announced it will invest $7.5 million to expand that facility to increase annual barrel capacity by 25%, and plans to hire 42 more employees.

“Deciding to invest in Southeast, Ohio has been perfect for Speyside and has proven to be an outstanding decision” said Darren Whitmer, President and GM of Speyside Bourbon Cooperage. “Since 2015 we have experienced everything we had hoped for, from talented people in the areas we operate, excellent help and resources from local and state government representatives, excellent services and infrastructure and the perfect geographic location for our business to thrive and grow. We could not be happier and thank Jobs Ohio and all of the economic entities that have helped make us a success.”

Ohio Investments
In Jackson, OH, Speyside Bourbon Cooperage, Inc. will expand its production facility to increase annual barrel capacity by 25% with a $7.5 million investment. (Photo: JobsOhio)

Keeping It Moving With Expansion Projects

In other news for Ohio investment, EASE Logistics, a multi-operational supply chain and transportation solutions provider, announced plans to expand its operations by restoring a local landmark building in Dublin for its new global headquarters. The company will invest more than $25 million for real estate, repairs and sustainability measures, in addition to $7 million in payroll to create 140 full-time jobs. Founded in Dublin in 2014, the company currently employs 170.

“The support of the State of Ohio, JobsOhio, REDI Cincinnati, and the City of Harrison demonstrates the commitment of these organizations to create an environment where businesses, like CTS, can thrive.”

— Mike Tanniru, General Manager, CTS

To engage the Dublin community, the building will feature an indoor-outdoor community gathering space. There will also be a dedicated space for a startup incubator that will foster new businesses and promote entrepreneurship in logistics-adjacent industries.

“We are excited to continue to grow in Dublin, and our new global headquarters will allow EASE to create additional jobs for the great workforce that’s already in the Columbus Region,” said Peter Coratola, EASE President & CEO. “Community impact is one of the most important initiatives for EASE, so we look forward to bringing the community inside our building to decorate the halls, install artwork by local artists and creatively highlight our homegrown roots.”

“The need to move goods quickly, safely and at the right temperature has never been more apparent, and EASE Logistics investment demonstrates Ohio’s leading role in establishing a stronger, more efficient global supply chain,” said J.P. Nauseef, President and CEO of JobsOhio.

Also in the Columbus region, STAR Turbine, a leader in high-precision manufacturing and field installation for high-capacity steam and gas turbines, announced plans in 2022 to expand and invest more than $1 million in machinery and equipment and add 19 jobs. Located in Marion, the company planned to hire additional machine shop staff, installation crew engineers and back office support.

Opened in February, the company has expanded its capacity by consolidating two facilities into a combined office and manufacturing space totaling 68,000 square feet. STAR Turbine is the recipient of a fixed asset grant from JobsOhio to assist with this growth initiative.

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Colleen Cordova, President and CEO of STAR, said at the time, “Our new location will lead to increased productivity, which will lead to even more anticipated growth. Our STAR team has enthusiastically transformed the new Fairground Street building into a workplace they can be proud of.”

She added, “This expansion will greatly benefit our STAR Team, the local Marion community and our stakeholders. I am delighted to be spearheading this new vision for STAR Turbine here in Marion”

In March, Cincinnati Test Systems (CTS), Inc. announced plans to expand its manufacturing space in Harrison Township. Established in 1981, the Ohio-based company provides leak testing solutions for manufacturers around the world, serving a multitude of industries, including medical devices, electric vehicles, military and defense, energy, and consumer electronics.

“After several years of growth, this expansion of our headquarters will help us better meet the demands of our global customers,” said Mike Tanniru, General Manager at CTS. “The support of the State of Ohio, JobsOhio, REDI Cincinnati, and the City of Harrison demonstrates the commitment of these organizations to create an environment where businesses, like CTS, can thrive.”


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