The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Apr. 4, 2020

VW BDC launches development campaign

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Van Wert Business Development Corporation (BDC)’s launched its $1.2-million Accelerate Van Wert strategic economic development initiative during a breakfast meeting Friday at Willow Bend Country Club. The initiative is a five-year plan to be implemented by the BDC, in collaboration with area partners, to expand the focus of the 2014-18 Opportunity Fund program.

Van Wert BDC President Andy Czajkowski speaks during the launch of the BDC’s $1.2-million Accelerate Van Wert initiative on Friday morning. photos by Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Adam Ries, chief lending officer for First Federal of Van Wert and one of three campaign co-chairs, welcomed business and community leaders to the event. The other co-chairs are Andy Czajkowski, owner of Statewide Ford Lincoln and BDC president, and Michele Purmort-Mooney, CEO of Purmort Brothers Insurance Agency.

Czajkowski talked about the accomplishments of the Opportunity Fund program, noting construction of a 100,000-square-foot spec building on the site of the former Chrysler Amplex plant saved 80 jobs and created 20 additional jobs when Eaton Corporation, which was looking for a storage facility, leased the building for that purpose.

“They were looking for another home for that storage facility,” Czajkowski said. “If it wasn’t here, if we didn’t have that 100,000-square-foot building, it would have gone someplace else.”

Noting that a consultant advised the county to be prepared when a business comes seeking a developed site, Czajkowski said the new campaign has job creation and capital investment as one of its three main goals.

“We’re trying to address what businesses want around the country so we are prepared when that offer comes to us,” he noted.

Other goals include attracting, retaining, and aligning talent in order to address — and reverse — the county’s declining population, and strengthening the community’s “quality of place” to retain and bring more workers to the area to support existing business and attract new ones.

Dean Monske, president of Regional Growth Partners, also speaks.

Czajkowski had good news for the more than 50 business and government representatives, noting that the private-sector campaign has already generated $678,500 — more than half of what is needed for the $1.2-million Accelerate Van Wert campaign.

Major contributors include Central Insurance Companies and the Van Wert County Foundation, both of which have pledged more than $100,000 to the campaign; Citizens National Bank, Braun Custom Ambulances, Robinson Investment Ltd., and First Federal of Van Wert, which have all pledged between $50,000 and $99,999; and Statewide Ford Lincoln, which pledged between $25,000 and $49,999.

Other private-sector investors include Alexander & Bebout, Ayers Plumbing & Heating, Purmort Brothers Insurance, BRSW, Universal Lettering Company, Vancrest Health Care Centers, Van Wert Family Physicians, Greve Chrysler Jeep, National Door & Trim, Keister & Baker Law Office LLC, Pat and Diane Ryan, Deitemeyer Brothers Roofing & Construction, Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home, Chet and Lisa Straley, CNT Computers, F&S Floor Covering, Pond Seed Company, RK Thompson, State Farm agent Tisha Fast, Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce, Koch Law Office, Custom Assembly, and Holiday Inn Express.

“We are grateful for the support of our early investors and look forward to new investors joining us in the coming weeks,” Czajkowski noted.

The BDC president also warned that, while the economy is strong at present, the county will not be able to maintain the status quo without continually pushing for more business growth. That includes building more spec buildings in the future.

“Unfortunately, we are not always going to be in an environment where three percent unemployment is the norm,” Czajkowski said. “There will be a business in this community that leaves our community and we won’t know it until it happens and two-, three-, four-hundred jobs will disappear. 

“The economy will go down and we will fall into a recession,” he added. “It’s a fact of life, and, when that happens, we will be looking for more jobs. For me, it’s always about jobs and population growth.”

Czajkowski said the new initiative is aimed squarely at maintaining the community’s economic momentum.

“Accelerate Van Wert builds on our past success and moves Van Wert County forward, ensuring Van Wert will be a place where businesses prosper and readily find the talent and resources they need to grow in our community,” he noted.

Also speaking Friday morning was Dean Monske, president of Toledo-based Regional Growth Partnership, a private sector development partner for businesses and government entities in a 17-county region in northwest Ohio.

Monske lauded the BDC for its support of local development.

“I wish every one of our counties had a BDC; “I wish every one of our counties in the 17 we cover (was) doing exactly what you are doing here,” Monske said. “You are speaking my language.”

For more information on the campaign, contact Power 10 Campaign Director Matt Chambers at 770.900.3311 or

POSTED: 07/20/19 at 7:19 am. FILED UNDER: News