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Ohio Pioneers the Creation of a New 21st Century Industry

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 General News J E 4
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COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 12 The Ohio legislaturehas approved the creation of a task force aimed at accelerating the statebusiness 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 toChemicals, Polymers, and Advanced Materials Task Force as early as Feb. 14,the effective date of the legislation approving the initiative. The approvalof House Bill 233 is the latest example of the state's support of itsburgeoning polymer and advanced materials industry, which boasts more than2,800 businesses statewide.

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Simply put, H.B. 233 will help bring together a diverse group ofindustries 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, thevisionary leaders of polymer-related businesses are not only reaping thebenefits of the state's business-friendly environment, but also experiencingthe high quality of life accessible statewide.

"Business leaders are realizing how, in Ohio, they're able to find aperfect balance between successfully growing a business and still enjoyinglife," said Ed Burghard, executive director of the Ohio Business DevelopmentCoalition (OBDC). "Business owners profit from the bottom-line benefits ofbetter work:life balance for their employees. Ohio offers low-cost, low stresscommunities in a combination of micropolitan and metropolitan cities. Thisdiversity provides executives and employees the resources and time to make anyambition achievable. Ohio truly is the state of perfect balance."

The polymer industry in Ohio includes more than 2,800 facilities and140,000 workers. It generates $49 billion in annual sales reve
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