Enterprise Appalachia

CEO Selected to Lead Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth.

CEO Selected to Lead Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth

The Aspen Institute’s John Molinaro Selected to Lead Economic Development Organization

Nelsonville, OH – John Molinaro has been selected as President and Chief Executive Officer for the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth, the regional economic development organization serving 25 counties in southeast Ohio. Mr. Molinaro, currently Co-Director of the Community Strategies Group at The Aspen Institute in Washington, DC, will begin his role as President and CEO on July 1.

The Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG) was created through funding from a JobsOhio Network grant and is a subsidiary of the Ohio Appalachian Business Council focused on economic development. The Ohio Appalachian Business Council is the region’s first business roundtable and has emerged as a network of businesses focused on addressing regional challenges and supporting the pursuit of regional opportunities.

The search for a CEO to lead APEG was led by a committee of the Ohio Appalachian Business Council’s Board and began in December 2011 with listening sessions across the region to gather input from local economic development leaders on the type of leadership and skill sets needed for an APEG CEO to be effective. With assistance from DHR International, an executive search firm specializing in economic development organizations, the committee conducted a national search and is excited to announce that Mr. Molinaro will soon be joining APEG.

“The themes that evolved from a series of listening sessions held in December were essential to learning what our region’s economic development leaders wanted in a CEO,” said Dr. David Scholl, Ohio Appalachian Business Council Board member and chair of the search committee. “Using this information as our guide, the search committee was highly impressed by the quality and experiences of the candidates with whom we met to discuss the opportunity.”

A recognized leader in growing the economies of rural areas through holistic, sustainable, place- based approaches, Mr. Molinaro’s career has focused on economic and community development. In his nearly 20 years at the West Central Initiative in Minnesota, Mr. Molinaro launched the West Central Initiative as a start-up, leading highly-successful efforts in the realm of business retention and expansion, workforce development, fundraising, assistance to manufacturers, and regional planning.

In addressing the start-up nature of APEG and announcing the new hire, Scholl said “Like any start- up enterprise, APEG will surely face growing pains. Getting established while aggressively serving the customers within Appalachian Ohio that have strong potential for sustainable growth and expansion will be especially challenging. In John Molinaro, we believe we landed that skilled leader who is uniquely qualified to lead our organization and partner across the region to harvest that commercial potential sooner and cohesively.”

For the past six years, Mr. Molinaro has served as Co-Director of The Aspen Institute’s Community Strategies Group, helping communities across the nation enhance their economies by pairing innovative economic development methods with proven, traditional economic development approaches. According to Scholl, “Mr. Molinaro is skilled at building community- and region-wide collaborations for sustainable economic development growth, and that was a real differentiator that we felt would augment well those efforts of our regional and local economic development professionals in the field.” In addition to his years of experience, Mr. Molinaro has a Master’s in Community and Regional Planning and is certified as an Economic Development Finance Professional.

“The creation of the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth as an economic development resource and partner on a regional scale is an amazing opportunity for Appalachian Ohio,” said Mr. Molinaro. “I am honored to serve as APEG’s President and CEO and look forward to building a team that will work on a regional economic development strategy that supports the many communities comprising the region and values the roles they play. My first priority on July 1 will be to build APEG’s partnerships with local economic development professionals and the region’s businesses. There has already been great success in Appalachian Ohio and APEG’s role is to build a regional network that adds value to and leverages the work being done so we can all go farther together.”

About the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth

A subsidiary of the Ohio Appalachian Business Council, the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG) is committed to accelerating sustainable business growth, job creation and advancing the southeast Ohio economy through targeted economic development support and regional collaboration. The Ohio Appalachian Business Council (OABC) was developed in collaboration with the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio and is a business roundtable serving Appalachian Ohio by discovering regional solutions to regional challenges, supporting the area’s rich history of entrepreneurship, maximizing business expansion for regional job and wealth creation, and being a steward of the highest standards for educational achievement and workforce development in Ohio. 

Megan Wanczyk

May 23, 2012 Director of Communications and Strategic Initiatives Foundation for Appalachian Ohio

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