BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY


Regional economic conference to address rural development, auto industry

Rural economic development and the automotive industry will be among the topics discussed Jan. 28 during the seventh annual State of the Region conference in Perrysburg.

The University’s Center for Regional Development (CRD) hosts the event, which is set for 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, 6165 Levis Commons Blvd. About 300 civic and business leaders from the 27-county northwest sector of Ohio are expected to attend.

Speakers will include Jack Schultz, author of Boomtown USA: The 7½ Keys to Big Success in Small Towns, and Dr. Thomas Klier, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and co-author of Who Really Made Your Car?: Restructuring and Geographic Change in the Auto Industry.

Registration and continental breakfast are scheduled from 8-9 a.m., followed by an address by BGSU economist Dr. Michael Carroll, director of the CRD.

Speaking at 9:30 a.m. will be Schultz, the founder and CEO of Agracel Inc., an industrial development firm focusing on rural America. Since its first project in 1993, the firm has facilitated upwards of 4,500 jobs in 5 million square feet of industrial space in more than a dozen states.

Schultz’s book, Boomtown USA, was published in 2004 after more than three years of research that narrowed a list of 15,800 small U.S. towns to a group of 397 communities he calls “agurbs”®. A speaking tour began shortly thereafter and, in 2006, Schultz founded Boomtown Institute as a mentor for American towns. His research has been featured in numerous publications, including USA Today, Forbes and Business Week.

Making presentations from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. will be Klier, who will assess recent challenges in the auto industry, and Larry Dillin, who will address regional retail issues.

Klier, who holds a Ph.D. in economics from Michigan State University, is a senior economist in the economic research department at the Chicago Fed. Since joining the bank in 1992, he has written widely on the evolving geography of the auto industry, and his current research interests include its changing structure.

Dillin, the founder and president of Dillin Corp., is a leader in master-planned and mixed-use development projects. He is responsible for a number of local projects, including Levis Commons, the conference site.

There is no charge to attend the conference, but space is limited and advance registration is requested. To register, contact Pat Sherman at the CRD, at 2-8710. Online registration is also available at www.bgsu.edu/crd.

January 19, 2009