Jobs pipeline for Dayton region expected to be strong in 2018

6:00 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017 Business
Brad Pepper, vice president of Topre America Corp., speaks during the grand opening of the company’s new plant in Springfield in November. Bill Lackey/Staff

The year coming to an end was a strong one for capital investment and salaries in business projects, according to Dayton Development Coalition President and Chief Executive Jeff Hoagland. 

As of mid-December, the coalition was involved in 34 new projects in 2017 that created more than 2,050 jobs, according to the coalition’s year-to-date numbers. Nearly 10,000 jobs were also retained, the coalition says.

The total payroll from the region’s newly created jobs was $649.1 million, according to the coalition, while capital investment totaled nearly $1 billion.

“The trends that we’ve seen in our pipeline look to be strong for ‘18, as well,” Hoagland said.

We spoke with Hoagland recently about development in 2017 and what he sees ahead for 2018.

Q: What kind of year was it?

Hoagland: “It was a very strong and a solid second half. I think the first half (of the year), because of the presidential election that happened in November, I just don’t think a lot of people were sure what was going to happen. So there was a pause that happened in first quarter, quarter-and-a-half.

“But then the second half was extremely busy. Our pipeline (of incoming prospective development projects) is probably busier, fuller than it has ever been. Our capital investment — with a week to 10 days left (in 2017) — has seen over $950 million of capital investment invested in the Dayton region, which is by far our largest year.

“Our payroll is extremely strong. … Our average pay for those projects (in 2017) will be a little over $57,000 per year. That’s the highest we have ever had. I think the next highest was $43,600 in one year.

“So, what we’re seeing is the average pay going up significantly in 2017.”

Q: What were some of the highlights of the year?

Hoagland: “We’ve seen Emerson invest over $90 million (into its Sidney location). No new jobs. But to me, that sends the message that they’re staying in the Dayton region for a very long time.

“You look at Silvex. They were in Eaton, but then they opened up a second site in Springfield with a big capital investment. Pratt Paper, another huge capital investment, good job growth.

“We’re seeing 200 jobs here, 300 jobs here. They’re all adding up. But the capital investment and average salaries are all extremely strong.”

Q: It seems much of what you focus on are current employers.

Hoagland: “We’re focusing on both. Business attraction is very important. We do market visits. We go to Chicago, Atlanta, Indianapolis, places where the bigger site selectors are. We go to a lot of industry shows and trips with our partners who are around the state.

“We’re looking at companies who have a reason to be in Dayton, in an attempt to track them.

“But the facts show that … 80 percent of a local community’s growth comes from existing companies. And since we’ve been JobsOhio’s partner since 2012, about 79 percent of the growth in our region has come from existing companies.

“So business retention visits are something we take very seriously. You have to take care of companies that are in your backyard.”

Q: What’s ahead next year?

Hoagland: “The number of projects we have in our pipeline is very high. The number of jobs in the pipeline is very strong. The number of just companies that we’re working with — in the second half of 2017 has been unbelievably busy, and I don’t see much of a slow down.

“As the holidays pass, I think we’ll be sprinting again …I do see a few sectors that are continuing to be strong. The bio-medical world continues to be strong. … Advanced manufacturing in automotive continues to be strong. And logistics and distribution. I think you guys just reported what’s happening out at the airport. We see more of that coming.”