SIEDC honors community leaders

Members of the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. spoke about the conviction, cooperation and commitment of businesses and the community during its 30th annual meeting and awards celebration Thursday night.

Heidelberg University Football Coach Mike Hallett served as the keynote speaker for the ceremony, attended by about 140 people, said SIEDC Chairman Rob Huntington.

“The things in Tiffin are uniquely Tiffin,” Hallett said. “That’s one of the things that makes this experience so unbelievable.”

He encouraged people to “think Tiffin first,” and do everything they can to help the community grow.

Hallett, who inherited a Heidelberg football team that went 4-66 in seven years prior to his hiring, spoke about how conviction, cooperation and commitment can lead to success.

“Sometimes the conviction you have is not necessarily placed there by anybody else, it’s refusal to allow those thoughts of ‘I can’t, I can’t’ leak into your brain,” he said.

Hallett said great team members have common goals, communication, support and guidance, respect for each other and the ability to adapt.

“When you go to breakfast, there’s two things that are a part of that breakfast: the chicken and the pig,” he said. “The chicken, he’s contributing to your breakfast. But the pig, he’s committed.”

Also during the meeting, Huntington said SIEDC President and CEO Rich Focht is to retire at the end of the year, after 24 years of service to the organization.

During his opening speech, Focht said he has learned four lessons about economic growth in the 24 years at SIEDC:

“The first lesson is that every organization is designed to achieve the results that it achieves,” he said. “The second lesson is that no one achieves or fails on their own. The third lesson is you can accomplish a lot if you don’t worry about who gets credit. And four, you can’t solve a problem with the same level of thinking that caused the problem.”

Focht also thanked Director of Development Karen Bowers during the meeting.

“(Bowers) has done such a wonderful job for our community and for our organization,” Focht said. “She is one of the smartest people I’ve met in my life; she’s done a great job for us.”

Kuebler Shoes was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for the company’s history of continuous operation, entrepreneurial spirit and its leadership in its community and business field.

The business is the oldest continuously running retail store in the state of Ohio, and has been in business for 181 years, said owner Joe Obringer, who took over the company in 1985 from the Kuebler family.

Steve Favor, who served on the board for nearly 20 years, received the President’s Award, and Coppus Motors was honored with the Outstanding Business Award.

Bailiwicks Coffee Company was awarded with the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, while Toledo Mold and Die took home the Economic Development Award.

Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services was honored with the Partnership in Development Award.

“We have a wonderful community,” Focht said. “We’ve got some outstanding businesses and a lot of outstanding people.”