Nearly 2,000 jobs could come to region, despite pandemic

Businesses committed to creating nearly 2,000 new jobs in the Dayton region and retaining more than 8,200 in 2020, the Dayton Development Coalition said at its virtual annual meeting Wednesday.

Companies that worked with the coalition and JobsOhio also committed to making more than $604.9 million in capital improvements, Jeff Hoagland, president and chief executive, said at the meeting held on Zoom.

Companies typically have three years to meet job creation obligations while the job retention commitments begin immediately, said Shannon Joyce Neal, vice president of strategic communications. Investment commitment deadlines vary by project.

JobsOhio is a private, nonprofit corporation that serves as the state’s economic development arm. The coalition is its regional partner.

Hoagland said the coronavirus pandemic brought huge challenges, with the state quickly going from its first confirmed cases to being shut down, causing companies to slow or halt operations and some development projects to be paused.

“I know 2020 brought our community so many challenges,” Hoagland said. “Many of you have experienced profound losses, and people in our community continue to suffer. When I look back on the last year, the DDC’s work served as a bright spot in a dark year, and I hope we can grow that light in 2021 as our recovery continues.”

The Dayton region knows how to rebound, Hoagland said. That involves supporting growing industries, meeting workforce needs and helping companies through the slowdown.

“Our community is resilient,” coalition board Chairman John Landess said in a news release. “While it’s tempting to think the new year has swept away our difficulties, we still have a long recovery ahead of us. I know we can count on you to move us forward. We are stronger together.”

During the pandemic the coalition and local partners reached out to more than 700 businesses to determine their needs. They contacted business officials involved in all open projects in the development pipeline, as well as completed projects to determine how they were progressing on job creation commitments.

The coalition and JobsOhio, along with U.S. Air Force, state and federal officials, developed information sessions for local businesses.

Local businesses also benefitted from two new JobsOhio programs, the Ohio Site Inventory Program and the JobsOhio Innovation Fund.

Assistance from the site inventory program will be used to help U.S. 40 at the Dayton Airport and Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport remain commercially competitive.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

The innovation fund, which provides convertible loans and is designed to protect private investments in start-ups, helped Xerion Advanced Battery Corp. and SpinTech Holding Inc.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, which employs nearly 33,000 people, has always been a major focus of local development efforts, as well as advocacy at the federal level for new missions at the base. In 2020 JobsOhio added military and federal installations to its list of targeted industries.

Elaine Bryant, the coalition’s executive vice president for aerospace and defense, is leading the statewide effort to support this sector.

“That allows the entire state to benefit from the strategy and tactics we’ve used in Dayton, for decades,” Hoagland said. “The move builds on one of the biggest lessons we learned in the Great Recession: Wright-Patt can bring stability to our local economy during difficult times,” the release says.

In late 2020 Dayton was chosen as a hub city to help businesses work with the Air Force. Known as Dayton DigitalWERX, the effort is designed to boost cooperation between private sector innovators and the Air Force.

The Air Force also launched two new projects in 2020. Agility Prime is developing electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, or “flying cars.” In December the Air Force Research Lab announced BETA Technologies and Joby Aviation would bring simulators and charging capabilities to the Springfield-Beckley Airport.

BETA and Joby are “leaders in advanced air mobility vehicles, commonly known as air taxis,” AFRL said. “The technology is anticipated to revolutionize transportation and spur the growth of a new industry. The simulators allow pilots to gain experience in a controlled environment.”

The coalition announced its Accelerant Venture Capital Fund invested in one new company and four “follow-on investments” for a total of $851,000 in 2020.

Also on Wednesday the coalition presented several awards.

  • Landess, executive director of the Turner Foundation in Springfield, received the Maureen Patterson Regional Leader Award.
  • Pella Corp. was named the Dayton Region’s Leading Job Creator for its new Troy manufacturing facility.
  • The 2020 Entrepreneurial Startup award went to to Infinity Labs of Dayton.
  • AES Smart Operations Center in Dayton was named the region’s 2020 Project of the Year.

Dayton Development Coalition 2020 economic development projects by the numbers:

8,203 jobs retained

1,994 jobs committed

$604.9 million total capital investment

$348.8 million jobs retain payroll

$117.2 million jobs committed payroll

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