By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Typically, Wood County’s Corporate Citizens of the Year make stuff. They create solar panels, rolls of steel and building designs.
This year’s recipient makes connections for regional economic development, and turns students into entrepreneurs who start businesses of their own.
Bowling Green State University – the county’s largest employer – was recognized Thursday evening as Wood County’s Corporate Citizen of the Year for 2022 during the annual dinner meeting of the Wood County Economic Development Commission.
“They have been a great partner for economic development, not just to Wood County, but throughout the region,” Wood County Commissioner Craig LaHote said while introducing BGSU.
The BGSU Center for Regional Development provides coordination of workforce issues, is a conduit for funds, and is a resource for data that would be cost prohibitive for each county to fund, LaHote said.
In front of a crowd of nearly 500, BGSU President Rodney Rogers accepted the award. In fact, he accepted a plaque for 2022, another for 2021 and yet another for 2020 – since BGSU was intended to get the award when COVID canceled the annual meetings.
“You can tell people you won three years in a row,” LaHote said, handing Rogers the three plaques. “We missed dinner, but we still had some plaques made up.”
Rogers said he accepted the award on behalf of the 20,000 students at BGSU this year, and the thousands more to attend in the future. And he accepted the award for the university staff.
“It’s the people of BGSU who do the work every day,” he said.
“Like all of you, we’ve worked very hard to find our way forward” during COVID, Rogers said.
“We believe in Wood County,” he said. “We are so appreciative of being in a region of the country that is supportive of higher education.”
Rogers pointed out that BGSU was founded more than 110 years ago as a teachers college to serve Northwest Ohio. Now, the students and alumni “reach across the globe.”
“We create public good each and every day,” he said.
Past Corporate Citizens of the Year named by the Wood County Economic Development Commission include: Charter Steel, NSG Group, National Tractor Pulling Championships, Phoenix Technology, Northwood Industries, Poggemeyer Design Group, Rudolph/Libbe Companies, CSX Transportation, Wood County Hospital, Keystone Foods Equity Group, First Solar Inc., Principal Business Enterprises, and Jones Hamilton Co.