Economic Development

Collaboration Positions Columbiana Port Authority

By Penny Traina, CEO
EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio — Serving as executive director and CEO of the Columbiana County Port Authority the last two years has been challenging and exciting as we have focused on marketing the port authority and how we can better assist businesses in Columbiana County and the region.

Collaboration has been the key, working collectively with the county commissioners and municipal and township governments, educational institutions, private industries and business small and large.

The port authority has joined all of chambers of commerce within Columbiana County and hosted roundtables, finance seminars and attended training sessions and conferences on economic development.

In doing so, we have developed or strengthened partnerships by having a team-minded attitude that focuses on profitability and the economic and social wellbeing of our residents along with encouraging the creation and retention of jobs.

As we focus on 2018, one goal is implementing a business retention expansion program. My staff and I will personally visit and assist businesses as well as focus on entrepreneurs in the county.

We plan to host more roundtables and conferences for councilmen, real estate agents and bankers as well as conduct workshops for entrepreneurs. We will add a grants coordinator to our team to research all state and federal grants and loans that can assist the private and government sectors in promoting economic development.

On the finance side, we are replacing antiquated software with up-to-date programs, including (through the auditor of state’s office) the funding for an accounting system. This will allow us to streamline how we develop budgets and simplify the monthly reports submitted to our board.

We will continue to market the Ohio River corridor and the Wellsville Intermodal Facility. We applied for a $1,937,500 INFRA grant in conjunction with the Port of Pittsburgh to expand the intermodal industrial park by adding a jumbo barge for large equipment for loading and unloading cargo shipped on the river.

With the importance of the Shell cracker plant under construction in Monaca, Pa., and the proposed Belmont County cracker plant, we are positioned to be in the middle of the up- and downstream economic development. We are the last deep water port this far north on the Ohio River. This should be a huge economic boom not only for Columbiana County but the region.

Over the years we have always competed with the three C’s – Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati – in our efforts to enhance our outreach in promoting economic development. The ambition of the port authority is to make Columbiana County the fourth C.

I continue to abide by my own 3 C’s: communication, collaboration and cooperation and we are excited about great things happening in 2018.

Editor’s Note: This story was submitted for publication in The Business Journal’s Growth Report 2018. The 144-page edition features growth reports from more than 200 local businesses and organizations. It was published this week. If you are not a subscriber, CLICK HERE to purchase a copy or call Eileen Lovell at 330 744 5023 Ext. 1008.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.