Friday, December 4, 2009

Mahoning Valley Diaspora Economy

GlobalErie has a motto, Putting Erie's Brain Drain to Use. What does it mean? I interpret those words as a way for a region to benefit from the talent that has left to explore opportunity elsewhere. Today's news from the Mahoning Valley provides an excellent example of the practice:

As he stood among business and civic leaders on a cold Thursday afternoon in his hometown, Warren native Mark D. Marvin discovered one essential he will need to do business here -- a coat.

“I live in New Mexico and it’s typically sunny there,” he said at an outdoor media event to announce that his company, Reinforcement Solutions Inc., would build a new manufacturing plant on West Market Street. Marvin, a 1983 graduate of Warren Harding High School, is president of The Marvin Group Inc. and owns Reinforcement Solutions.

The company, now based in Allentown, Pa., makes resistance-welded wire reinforcement, which is used to reinforce concrete structures, said William C. Gallenz, Reinforcement Solutions president. “Anything from highways, tunnels, high rises -- any concrete structure you see” could potentially use the company’s product, he said.

“We did a lot of research and kept coming back to this area and saying, ‘Why not?’” he affirmed. “We know there’s good labor here,” which was another “big factor,” he added.

New Mexico is a long way from Warren, Ohio. As our research shows, rare is the individual who moves so far from home. As other research demonstrates, she or he who moves so far from home tends to make an excellent entrepreneur. Finding and networking these talented expatriates for economic development in the Mahoning Valley is the mission of Greater Youngstown 2.0.

I have no doubt that the native connection was instrumental in making this deal happen. There are a bunch more deals like it if the region is willing to connect with its Diaspora. Put Youngtown's brain drain to use.

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