Columbus, OH - May 21, 2015 - A new economic development initiative has been launched in Central Ohio. The initiative, called Power Connect, is focused on supporting the efforts of key economic development organizations throughout the region. The project will focus resources on four primary regional objectives: work force development, electrical infrastructure improvements, growth of start-up companies and support for existing high growth industries.

“This initiative is being launched to support the region’s various economic development entities and to be a resource to them in attracting and retaining companies,” stated Power Connect Co-Chair, Ron Becker. “We want to be a positive influence on growing area industry and attracting new investment.”

Power Connect is a consortium of the electrical contracting industry serving the Central Ohio region. The initiative includes nearly fifty local electrical contracting firms and more than 1400 electricians and technicians.  The non-profit group is governed by a volunteer board of directors and two co-chairs. They have engaged a paid director who will help them launch the initiative and become active in economic development activities. "The members of Power Connect are dedicated to strengthening and growing the economy in Central Ohio.  We approach this goal with the same skill and professionalism that we bring to the toughest electrical construction projects.," added Becker. 

Power Connect Co-Chair Carl Neutzling sees the opportunities in greater collaboration between the contracting industry and economic development organizations. "This is important to us because we want to put skilled electricians to work. When the economy is strong and growing we can do that. The greater benefit is that when our electricians are working, odds are lots of other folks are too. Economic success benefits all of us and we want to help build that success for our entire region," stated Neutzling. 

The Chapter Manager of the National Electrical Contractors Association, Brian Damant, agrees. "Our contractors own and operate local companies which are frequently founded and run by generations of the same family.  Along with the electricians they are already doing so much for our communities: hours of volunteer work for area charities, dedication to the on-going education and training of our young apprentices, and a genuine desire to see all of the families in our region have opportunities for well paying jobs. We now want to expand that energy to directly support economic development efforts." 

According to Power Connect Director, Kelly Waters, the group has already become investors and active participants in Columbus 2020. "As we looked at who was setting the regional economic agenda Columbus 2020 definitely emerged as a go to organization. They really are a leading national model on how to move a region forward and set an aggressive but achievable growth agenda. We are very excited to work with them. We also plan to identify other like-minded organizations that we can support. We believe that strategic partnerships provide a competitive advantage for the entire region and we want to help secure that advantage for all of our communities." 

Power Connect plans to work closely with economic development organizations, academic institutions, business advocacy groups, utility companies, and elected leaders. According to Kenny McDonald, chief economic officer at Columbus 2020, "These are the contractors and electricians who are building some of our region's most important infrastructure and construction projects. They bring a great deal of expertise to the table. We all benefit when the Columbus Region grows and prospers.” 

Other activities the new initiative will undertake include advocating at the local level for appropriate development projects, serving as an electrical technical resource for products under development at early stage companies, and advising expanding companies on adoption of new energy technologies. 

Power Connect contractors and electricians serve the 30 county central region of Ohio – North to Richland and Crawford counties, South to Adams and Scioto counties, East to Guernsey and Tuscarawas counties and West to Clark and Champaign counties.



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Primary contact:

Kelly A. Waters
Director, Power Connect
Office/Cell: (614) 736-9007


Contact quoted individuals:

Ron Becker 
Chairman & CEO 
Hilscher-Clarke Electric Company
519 Fourth St. N.W. 
Canton, OH 44703 
Office: 330-232-9086    Cell: 330-353-2397 

Carl Neutzling
Business Manager
IBEW 688
67 S. Walnut St.
Mansfield, OH 44902
Office: (419) 526-4688   Cell: (419) 564-7596

Brian Damant
NECA Chapter Manager
National Electrical Contractors Association
Office: (614) 224-4408   Cell:  (614) 323-8587
947 Goodale Avenue
Columbus, OH 43212

Kenny McDonald
Chief Economic Officer
Columbus 2020

Irene Alvarez
Marketing Director
Columbus 2020
Tel: 614-225-6941
150 S. Front St., Suite 200
Columbus, OH 43215

Download the press release (PDF)