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Job growth focus of Kasich’s visit
Job growth focus of Kasich’s visit
By SUE REID
SOLON – Gov. John R. Kasich visited Solon’s industrial district Monday to deliver a message to the near 50 in attendance on the need to diversify the state’s economy and create an environment conducive to job creation.
Gov. Kasich shared this message at the global headquarters of the rapidly growing MRI Software on Fountain Parkway. The company entered the ranks of Solon’s top 10 employers when it moved from Highland Hills in May.
A leading developer of property management and accounting software, MRI committed to bringing 230 jobs to Solon by the end of next year and already has surpassed that number. It received a 50 percent job creation grant for 10 years from Solon for bringing jobs and payroll to the city.
MRI, which has 318 employees, also received an Ohio job creation tax credit of 60 percent for eight years.
Software is one area that Gov. Kasich wants to promote in Ohio. “We are thought of as people working in steel mills and building cars. That’s our DNA, but we want to diversify the state with manufacturing and also specialty manufacturing.”
Other “robust areas” in Ohio, he said, are business and financial services, property and casualty insurance companies, and aviation and agriculture, to name a few. The state also leads in health care with hospitals such as the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospital and Ohio State University. In addition, Ohio is starting to invest in energy.
It’s important to diversify Ohio, Gov. Kasich said, “so we are not a one-trick pony. I believe in that.”
While the state is heading in the direction of diversity, he said it has a long way to go because the national economy is anemic. “Ohio is No. 1 in the Midwest in job creation and fourth in the country. I like that, but I’m troubled by the rest of Ohioans who are out of work. We have to have constant upgrades of skills.”
Gov. Kasich said tax incentives are fine, “but what matters more is that you have predictability.”
“It’s important for Ohio to maintain a good, positive setting, where there’s stability,” he said. “We’ve got everything it takes.”
The governor likened Cleveland to a 7½-foot-tall basketball player who can’t dribble.
“We have the raw talent,” he noted. “Cleveland is a great town and is going to continue to get better.”
MRI Software “represents the kind of company we want to build in this state,” Gov. Kasich said.
In her opening comments, Solon Mayor Susan A. Drucker also commended MRI, calling the business a “valued corporate citizen.”
“Their growth is supported by an economic development partnership with the city,” she said.
David Post, MRI Software’s chief executive officer, said job creation and tax incentives has enabled the growth of the company, founded in 1971 in Cleveland.
“I appreciate all the partnerships and hope MRI is a blueprint of going forward of what public and private partnerships can do,” Mr. Post said.
In other remarks, Gov. Kasich thanked the legislators in attendance for their work to further the state along in job creation. “We have a long way to go, but blue skies are ahead,” he said.
Among those in attendance were state Sen. Thomas F. Patton, state Sen. John J. Eklund and state Rep. Marlene Anielski.
Gov. Kasich introduced Mark D. Kvamme, JobsOhio president and interim chief investment officer. JobsOhio is a non-profit organization to lead Ohio’s job creation efforts and focus on attracting and retaining jobs by using a private-sector approach. Mr. Kvamme, a venture capitalist from the Silicon Valley, called MRI one of Ohio’s “wonderful jewels.”
The state is growing in the area of information technology and needs to continue to do so by working with its universities to ensure people have those necessary capabilities, he said. “Our goal is to create an environment in which this can be done.”
On Tuesday, Gov. Kasich, in commenting on Mr. Kvamme’s decision to step down and be replaced by John Minor, JobsOhio’s managing director, said the state was “lucky to get him and lucky to have had him as long as we did – longer than I could have ever hoped.”
In his closing comments Monday, Gov. Kasich said that instead of defining children by their sports abilities, Ohio should do so by their academic achievements and define their passions early on.
“Our kids are all born with a God-given purpose,” he said. “We want to start having children start thinking about what they want to be and have companies like MRI tell people what they are going to need. We have to get companies to start doing the forecasting. We have to convince companies that when they forecast, they can have a pipeline of qualified workers that can fit” those needs.
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