By LOU WILIN
Findlay’s known as a great place to raise a family, but many young professionals leave the city or commute from elsewhere before they can experience it for themselves.
“A lot of people will live up in Perrysburg (like) plant managers or younger professionals because that’s the hip area,” said Tim Mayle, assistant director of the Findlay-Hancock County Alliance. “There’s a perception that there’s more things to do” there.
Marathon Petroleum, Cooper Tire & Rubber and other companies have no trouble luring young talent out of college, but keeping it here can be tough, said Tony Iriti, economic development director for the Findlay-Hancock County Alliance.
It’s a big concern for Findlay’s employers and for Findlay’s future.
“When you attract that good talent, you’ve got to have all of the amenities necessary to keep them,” Iriti said. “And if you don’t, then you’ll see companies picking up their headquarters and moving it to Atlanta or Chicago or some sexy place. So that’s really the transformation as a community that we’re in, because the Marathons and the Coopers and all those folks are doing a great job of bringing them in. Now it’s going to be a matter of how do we retain them?”
“History has shown that the healthiest cities support a young and growing workforce,” said Don Templin, chief financial officer for Marathon Petroleum Corp.
Help is on the way through a downtown Findlay revival in recent years, with new restaurants like Logan’s, Alexandria’s and a renovation of The Gathering, Mayle said. Developers are working on a new downtown living trend, promoting upstairs apartments in downtown buildings.
And Findlay Young Professionals helps those 21 to 45 years old connect with each other, develop as leaders, and serve the community.
The group had 160 members in 2013 and is planning to grow. It will hold its annual kickoff event at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Alexandria’s, 132 E. Crawford St.
Templin, of Marathon Petroleum, will speak at the event.
“We want to provide opportunities that when people come there, they feel invested. They get connected and they don’t want to leave,” said Andrew Rahrig, president of Findlay Young Professionals.
Rahrig, 27, himself is a young professional. He is senior real estate representative for Marathon.
“No employer wants to train their people for two years, then (the new workers) realize, ‘You know what? I don’t like Findlay. I’m going to go to Columbus. I’m going to go to Toledo,'” Rahrig said.
“We want people to live here, like it here and stay.”
Wilin: 419-427-8413 Send an E-mail to Lou Wilin
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