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The close of 2018 saw tens of millions of dollars invested in Williams County and the creation of hundreds of jobs, reported Matt Davis, executive director of the Williams County Economic Development Corporation (WEDCO).

Davis summed up the economic activity in the county during WEDCO’s annual meeting on Tuesday.

In total, $119.4 million was invested on seven development projects that promise the creation of 400 new jobs in Williams County. Highlights of those projects include:

• 20/20 Custom Molded Plastics — $42 million invested, 196 jobs retained and 137 jobs created;

• Reifel Industries — $7.7 million invested, 170 jobs retained and 20 jobs created;

• Menards Distribution Center — $15 million invested, 1,063 jobs retained and 20 jobs created;

• Busche Performance Group — $17.6 million invested and 125 jobs created;

• Bard Manufacturing — $4 million invested and 11 jobs created — with an average salary of $60,000;

• Cooper Farms — $21 million invested and 23 jobs created; and,

• Love’s Travel Stop — $12.1 million invested and 60 jobs created.

“It takes a true team effort and in Williams County we have a great team,” Davis told WEDCO members and guests.

He hearkened the local effort to a quote by James Cash Penney (the founder of JCPenney). “Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”

“2018 was a year where we saw these forces working together at the highest levels as a number of plans became realities and dreams took shape,” said Davis.

JobsOhio grants for economic development and training helped move these projects, as did funding from Ohio Department of Transportation grants. Davis also praised the efforts of local and county governments, utility providers, school districts and “our partners in Toledo and Columbus,” and Williams County businesses and citizens.

For 2019, Davis notes the potential for another successful year.

“We see plans submitted for a number of small businesses and existing businesses with their eyes on expansion looking to make their mark in this red-hot economy,” Davis said.

“We see communities investing in themselves and committing to quality of life improvements — whether it be creating new recreation trails, improving roads, replacing water and sewer lines, upgrading park facilities or investing in due diligence studies and preparing land for development.”

Davis also highlighted partnerships that are forming between schools and industry as an avenue to providing opportunity to youth and industry.

“Our schools are actively engaging the employment community with a renewed vigor and have put curriculum and policies in place that will expose our future workforce to varied and fruitful opportunities in their own backyard,” he said.

“If the first quarter of 2019 is an indicator,” Davis said, “Williams County is in for another solid year. This collaborative effort will continue as we already see dirt flying near a few familiar names like Daavlin and Spangler Candy Company — who are taking on projects and securing their future success.”

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