MANSFIELD - Richland Community Development Group has two new directors to help spur economic development. A director of workforce development and a director of business retention and expansion both were hired as part of the Richland County Foundation’s $1.1 million five-year strategic plan. The positions are funded by the Foundation, Richland County Jobs and Family Services and private donors. RCJFS initially is investing $50,000 in the workforce development portion of the program.“The collaboration among RCDG, Foundation, area economic development organizations and elected officials will allow us to address the needs of local businesses and should result in a growing, more vibrant local economy,” said John Brown, RCDG chairman and Richland Bank president. Barrett Thomas of Mansfield has been selected the director of business retention and expansion, and Karen Seman of Canton, Michigan, is the director of workforce development. Thomas most recently was the Microfinance Manager at Braintree Business Development Center in Mansfield. He also teaches economics and accounting at The Ohio State University-Mansfield. Prior to his position at Braintree, Thomas directed finances and daily operations of a student development program, Africa Quest, in Ndola, Zambia, Africa. Thomas has a master’s degree in business administration and bachelor’s degree in business administration from Taylor University and has earned a Business Advisor Certification from the University Of Toledo Graduate School Of Business. Seman most recently was the marketing director at Industrial Technical Institute/ Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center in Plymouth, Michigan. Before that she was a recruitment manager for the Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES) and Technical Service Training at BMW of North America in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. She has a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Youngstown State University. Her training and certifications include phase one of the Economic Development Finance Professional Certification from the National Development Council and AYES apprentice-mentor trainer.“Onboarding Barrett and Karen at RCDG is just the beginning of the implementation phase of the economic development strategy,” said Brady Groves, Richland County Foundation president. “We are partnering and investing in existing economic development organizations and projects to nurture and grow our local economy.”The Foundation’s long range strategic plan, called the Greater Richland Partnership, includes centralization of business retention and expansion and workforce development efforts, a program to identify and target services to area companies, empowerment of existing organizations to promote entrepreneurship and related services and a community website to serve as an economic performance dashboard to track successes and show progress toward goals.
Source: RCDG names Barrett Thomas as an economic development director URL: http://mansfieldnewsjournal.oh.newsmemory.com/?token=75627e73ad67cd63d1e72f767242e62a&cnum=3017909&fod=1111111STD&selDate=20151223&licenseType=none&