Monday, December 21, 2009

Global Green Youngstown

The greening of the Rust Belt is a big part of the vision for this megaregion's future. The primary reorientation is turning to face all the lakes, rivers and streams that used to serve as a dump for all the industrial waste. Green manufacturing is supposed to help along this transition:

Thursday in Copenhagen, U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan announced what he's calling a ''transformational partnership'' between Youngstown and a national environmental group to foster green job creation and development in the rust belt city.

California-based Global Green USA will help speed along planning efforts in the city by building on the Youngstown 2010 plan and putting into place citywide and neighborhood specific greening plans.

The move, Ryan said, could position Youngstown to be a model green city for other Midwestern communities by, simultaneously, reducing its carbon footprint and by doing so, becoming an economic engine in the growing green industry.

''We are leading the green revolution,'' Ryan, D-Niles, said. ''This innovative collaboration will help to elevate Youngstown, northeastern Ohio and the Cleveland-Youngstown-Pittsburgh tech belt - opening us up for global investment in cutting edge green energy technology and sustainable development in our district.''

Not to diminish the gratuitous TechBelt reference, the Global Green USA partnership imagines a green city that serves as a redevelopment model. Youngstown is to be a test tube for sustainable urban design. Helping to fund this initiative is a member of the Youngstown Diaspora:

Jack Scott, a former Youngstown resident who runs a technology company in the Salt Lake City area, and the Raymond John Wean Foundation each contributed $25,000 to this program.

Abraham credited YSU alumnus Jack Scott with being the driving force behind the conference.

Scott earned a degree in mechanical engineering and worked his way up to become president and chief operating officer of Parsons Corp., a California-based engineering and construction company that has $3.4 billion in annual revenues.

Scott said he has a passion for sustainable energy, but he wanted to hold the conference in Youngstown because of his love for the Mahoning Valley and its people.

“One of the greatest assets of this area is the work ethic,” he said. “We hire people from all over the world. You can always tell people who were hired from this area.”

Scott said the forum has to produce action to be a success. The goal is to link researchers with innovative ideas to people who can bring those ideas to market, he said.

Discussions are to be held today on how to continue the collaborations, he said. Also, he and other organizers will meet Wednesday to review the effort and talk about the future.

The issue of sustainable energy is critical for the nation, Scott said. The nation needs to rebuild its manufacturing base to remain an economic power, and a new opportunity is to produce parts for wind turbines, solar panels and other new forms of energy, he said.

The nation should not rely on other countries for these forms of power as it has done with oil, he said. The U.S. sends nearly $1 trillion a year to Saudi Arabia and other oil-exporting countries.

“It’s the single biggest transfer of wealth in the history of the world,” he said.

Scott is an archetype for the region's diaspora economy. One needn't reside in the area to benefit the Mahoning Valley. Scott's success and expansive network are assets for his hometown.

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