The Tri-County Economic Development Corp. is celebrating its 25th anniversary amid an uptick in manufacturing and airport-warehouse jobs – and fierce competition from across the river.
“The competition keeps us sharp,” said Dan Tobergte, president and chief executive of Tri-ED, the nonprofit charged with marketing Northern Kentucky to prospective companies.
In the past year, A.C. Nielsen and Omnicare left Covington and took 850 jobs to downtown Cincinnati. Ohio also has been aggressive in providing entrepreneurial support to startups – an area on which Tri-ED focuses.
Cincinnati’s latest move came last summer, when start-up accelerator Cintrifuse launched with the backing of Fortune 500 companies.
“Ohio is very aggressive in economic development,” said Steve Pendery, Campbell County’s judge-executive and a Tri-ED board member.
“They have better tools and better incentive packages than we do. There are some major improvements that need to be made (at the state level to compete). We worry about that,” Pendery said.
Even so, Northern Kentucky officials say, Tri-ED has succeeded in goals set by business leaders who founded the agency in 1987 to market Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties as one economic-development region.
Tri-ED does not create incentive deals or lobby lawmakers. The organization’s marketing efforts, officials say, have helped to transform a region that was largely rural by helping to attract or expand 554 companies and create more than 44,600 jobs.
This year, Tri-ED has helped to create 2,668 new jobs, 600 more than its annual average. Conversely, 633 employees have been laid off, and 1,031 have lost jobs because of closing operations in Northern Kentucky this year.
Most of the the new jobs can be attributed to a surge in manufacturing and companies relocating or expanding as a result of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport’s efforts to build an air cargo hub.
Collaboration has been the key to Tri-ED’s success. “You go back to the days where the counties competed for a project – that wasn’t productive,” said Gary Moore, Boone County judge-executive and chairman of Tri-ED’s board. “There’s not a tug-of-war between the counties anymore. This is much healthier.”
Numbers tell story
Highlights of Tri-ED’s
25-year impact in Northern Kentucky:
• 554: New companies that have located or
expanded in Northern Kentucky, including 200 international businesses
• 44,617: New jobs created
• 109,303: Total jobs created as result of economic impact
• $6.3 billion: Investment by companies
• $24.2 billion: Economic impact generated by job creation
Sources: Cincinnati.com Tri-ED, Northern Kentucky University Center for Economic Analysis and Development