“There are just some things you can’t change until you begin to see a crack in the obstinacy of people,” he said. Kasich encouraged business leaders to embrace change.
"We have to look for ways around the structure that says 'no.' We gotta figure out how to fight the man, you know what I mean?" said Kasich, who as a college student at Ohio State wrote a fan letter to Richard Nixon.
“I spent my whole career trying to figure out how to get over the wall and burn the city to the ground. Now I’m running the city. And I figured out that now I’m in a position to bring about more change,” he said.
Kasich, now 66, has been in public office almost continuously since 1979.
Related: Who is John Kasich?
The sponsors of the conference include Battelle, Huntington Bank, Ohio State University and Drive Capital, a venture fund founded by Kasich’s long-time friend and ally Mark Kvamme. The speakers included entrepreneurs, academics, logistics experts, auto industry leaders and others, including some funded by Drive Capital.
Related: Ohio State refuses to reveal returns from $50M investment
He noted that early in his tenure, he was able to push through policy changes.
“I would say for the first seven years it was incredible…In the last year it has gotten more political and it’s been more frustrating. So I’ve used executive orders to pass through the things I’ve wanted to get done,” he said. “Because I’m not ready to give up — ever.”