By LOU WILIN
Findlay Young Professionals, a group which offers social events, leadership development and community involvement for 21- to 45-year-olds, will hold its annual kickoff gathering at 6 p.m. Thursday at Alexandria’s, 132 E. Crawford St.
The event will feature opportunities to network, a cash bar, hors d’oeuvres, a preview of events for the upcoming year, and chances to sign up and become a member.
There is no charge to attend Thursday’s event. Membership in Findlay Young Professionals is $50 per year. Non-members can attend events, usually for a $15 fee.
The idea of the organization is to benefit young professionals and keep them here, boosting Findlay’s future. Findlay is competing with the likes of Columbus, Toledo and Chicago to get and keep young talent, said Tim Mayle, assistant director of Findlay-Hancock County Economic Development.
It already has benefited young professionals Lucas Strick, 23, a Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. financial analyst, and Casey Klein, 32, in Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s marine transportation department.
“There is a desperate need for newcomers coming to Findlay. I myself was one of them. I came here in October, and there was a desperate need to find an organization that I could be part of and grow as an individual and develop,” Strick said.
He grew up in Van Wert, graduated from Bowling Green State University, but knew little about Findlay.
“I knew that I wanted to be meeting some people, and creating those connections and networks,” Strick said. “I didn’t really know anyone. The only one I knew was my fiance’s family.”
Strick has made friends through Findlay Young Professionals, and now is helping market it.
Klein grew up in Defiance, graduated from the University of Dayton and started his career at Speedway headquarters near Dayton. He did not know anything about Findlay when he transferred to Marathon’s Findlay operations a few years ago.
“It’s pretty easy, especially on the Marathon side, to get stuck in our Marathon bubble. You meet people that work at Marathon. Maybe you’re just around the Marathon people,” Klein said. “But by coming to (Findlay Young Professionals) events, it helps you see the picture of what’s going on in Findlay, who’s in Findlay.”
Klein has gotten active in Hancock Leadership and the American Cancer Society, thanks to Findlay Young Professionals.
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