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Ohio Pioneers the Creation of a New 21st Century Industry
Date:2/12/2008

Ohio task force aims to build business through conversion of agricultural

products into advanced materials

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Ohio legislature has approved the creation of a task force aimed at accelerating the state business climate by maximizing ties between its No. 1 industry, agriculture, and its role as the nation's No. 1 polymer industry.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20071107/CLW113LOGO )

The state will appoint the 13 members of the Ohio Agriculture to Chemicals, Polymers, and Advanced Materials Task Force as early as Feb. 14, the effective date of the legislation approving the initiative. The approval of House Bill 233 is the latest example of the state's support of its burgeoning polymer and advanced materials industry, which boasts more than 2,800 businesses statewide.

"Ohio has the supply chain to make this one-time dream tomorrow's reality," said Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, who also serves as the director of the Ohio Department of Development. "The Task Force can only strengthen existing synergies in polymer industry uses of agricultural products, and will help define a path to streamline future collaboration converting crops from Ohio fields into brand-new commodities produced in Ohio factories."

According to the Ohio Business Development Coalition (OBDC), the nonprofit organization that markets the state for capital investment, an official Ohio task force is the most effective way to build on the state's existing strengths in several key industries, identify opportunities for cross- collaboration among those industries and drive innovation.

"Biofuels, biopolymers, and other bioproducts are a growing sector, but we've just been scratching the surface with what we can do," added Robert Boggs, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. "Now is the time to seize Ohio's unique opportunity to become a world leader in the conversion of agricultural commodities into the bio-based products of the future."

Innovation in the polymer industry is driven by the state's Third Frontier program, a $1.6 billion initiative to help catalyze connections between companies and academia to support the development process. This sharing of knowledge often results in unexpected solutions with commercial application.

In addition to several state-supported programs specifically designed to encourage entrepreneurial business growth and development, Ohio companies also gain access to a highly skilled workforce and enjoy a culture of collaboration among government, industry and academia, that is a driving force in the state's leading role in polymers.

The Ohio Agriculture to Chemicals, Polymers, and Advanced Materials Task Force will by mid-June report to the Ohio legislature and governor:

-- The current status of Ohio's agriculture and specialty chemicals and

polymer industries.

-- Potential alignments between the agricultural and specialty chemicals

and polymer industries.

-- Strategies to expand the agriculture industry and specialty chemicals

and polymer industry in Ohio and to increase alignment between the two

industries.

"Simply put, H.B. 233 will help bring together a diverse group of industries that are all individually vital to Ohio's future in agriculture, manufacturing and polymer production," said state Rep. Steve Reinhard (R- Bucyrus), who sponsored H.B. 233."

As Ohio continues its focus building up 21st-century industries, the visionary leaders of polymer-related businesses are not only reaping the benefits of the state's business-friendly environment, but also experiencing the high quality of life accessible statewide.

"Business leaders are realizing how, in Ohio, they're able to find a perfect balance between successfully growing a business and still enjoying life," said Ed Burghard, executive director of the Ohio Business Development Coalition (OBDC). "Business owners profit from the bottom-line benefits of better work:life balance for their employees. Ohio offers low-cost, low stress communities in a combination of micropolitan and metropolitan cities. This diversity provides executives and employees the resources and time to make any ambition achievable. Ohio truly is the state of perfect balance."

The polymer industry in Ohio includes more than 2,800 facilities and 140,000 workers. It generates $49 billion in annual sales revenue and pays its workers $5.6 billion in wages. More than 200 Ohio companies produce equipment for the polymer industry.

About the Ohio Business Development Coalition

The Ohio Business Development Coalition (OBDC) is a nonprofit organization that markets the state for capital investment. The OBDC provides marketing strategy and implementation to support Ohio's economic development efforts. For more information on business development or business relocation, visit http://www.ohiomeansbusiness.com.

For more information about Ohio's polymer industry, visit http://www.polymerohio.org.


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SOURCE Ohio Business Development Coalition
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