And another one packs her bags

For all of the efforts of the “Creative Class” movement in Dayton, I was sitting with a friend on Friday who is packing her bags for Austin Texas. Marianne is a talented licensed massage therapist who has been practicing for at least 10 years in the area. She has about 500 clients. None of them are moving with her to Austin. If you ask the person who cuts your hair what kind of following is needed to survive- the number is around 250- for an LMT, 500 is a great number.

Her faith in Dayton is broken. She’s leaving. She’s walking away from a pretty good business to start from scratch. That’s a big leap, and a statement on her lack of confidence in the area.

Somehow, we’re failing massively. It’s not just NCR leaving, it’s our future.

It’s not about convening any more group-think sessions, blue ribbon panels, or hiring more consultants. It’s time to put some people in charge, set real goals and objectives and then start a clock ticking. Either progress toward the goal, or be gone.

No more namby-pamby either. If you have to pay your customer to do business with you, you should be fired as a salesman. All this “economic development” nonsense has to go. It’s not about selling the sizzle- it’s about having the steak in the first place.

It’s sad when I have to go back to a post from, oh, 2006 to remind people what to sell. It’s also funny that it brings up Austin Texas too. I think it’s worth a re-read: When our “leaders” and “economists” don’t understand what drives jobs

Yes, I know I listed as one of our strengths the DHL hub- alas.

It was the post that Dan Foley referred to when he was sworn in: Grattitude

Talking about our strengths isn’t going to bring Marianne back. Only recently did the Dayton Development Coalition start talking about our abundant water instead of “Get Midwest”– but, at least it’s a start.

I’d probably also add this amazing fact to the list: The dollar value of the research being done at WPAFB exceeds that of the entire amount done at every Ohio state university. We’re sitting on a ton of very bright people here- although it’s easy to forget since the people in media don’t spend time covering anything with an IQ over their own.

How do we move from down-and-out former tooling and manufacturing powerhouse to a dynamic community of learners and doers? For one- stop electing people who are cogs in the old broken down machine that has run our community into the ground.

The second step is to stop doing things the way we’ve always done them before. UniGov is only an idea that’s been proven to work elsewhere- why aren’t we looking beyond that to things that haven’t been tried before?

I believe that we’re going to have to do some serious social re-engineering to undo the damage that court ordered busing caused. We’re also going to have to look at grading our entire region on how well we move the needle together toward goals of full employment, low crime, healthy people, healthy communities.

Looking back at how badly we’ve slipped is one thing. Looking forward to how we want to be is another. I’m working on ideas to transform the region- like the Bcycle bike share plan (minor) to universal day care/head start programs run at the neighborhood level (major- and not published yet) to work toward making Dayton a leading lifestyle community- sort of like Austin, without having to be in Texas.

Because, they may have SX/SW in Austin- but we have water, and with water- all things are possible. Take that Texas. You may have Marianne for now, but we’re going to get her back- with some of her new friends in a few years.

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Teri LBruce KettelleIce BandiatJ.R.Erwin.CEODavid Lauri Recent comment authors
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David Harewood
David Harewood

Being that I’ve been back for eight months and without gainful employment for that entire time– including failed negotiations with half of these machinists and speculators through the Dayton Create initiative– I’m really of the mind that, until the entire power structure is re-aligned, the patterns that push the exodus will continue.  If the residents of Dayton are really serious about revitalization, they will lsiten to the creatives who have skills to offer and PAY THEM ACCORDINGLY.  Otherwise, yes:  this so-called revitilization effort (led by bureucrats and city machine underlings, not artists) will fail.


Well, Austin is very trendy these days.  What you find there is not at all what you find here, which is why I live here and why there isn’t enough money in any coffer to pay me to move to Texas. Even Austin. She’s welcome to it.

Good piece as always, David. Watch the typos, lol. 


In the front of my mind on this issue:

Our leaders seem to suffer from the Greek hindrance.

One of the reasons that Greece lags behind much of Europe–the hypothesis goes–is that their achievements from classical antiquity were so glorious that they’ve forgotten to do anything since.

Fast-forward to Dayton.  Sure, we’ve had quite a history of inventors and more than our share of industrialists.  Public officials are right to cite that history when making epideictic speeches.  But to the rest of the world, that’s meaningless in terms of today’s decision-making.

Our officials need to quit thinking that the ghosts of Patterson, Kettering, and the Wrights will somehow haunt innovators and entrepreneurs to Montgomery County.  We may have abundant water, but it does not turn people who drink it into geniuses.  We argue endlessly (costing ourselves millions in tax dollars due to delays) about whether outmoded buildings are “historical” (clue: ask any historian from Indianapolis if s/he has heard of the place), but we don’t figure out how to develop and maintain a solid infrastructure nor how to maintain our current assets.

David, this article shows that you’re thinking similarly, I suppose.  You’re coming closer and closer to earning my vote.

Teri Lussier

>The Wright Brothers, John Patterson and Charles Kettering are dead, can we move on?

I was ranting that exact thing last week. We owe nothing to dead people, except to get off our asses and do something today. Dayton is no longer a legacy town which gives us tremendous freedom to create a bright shiny future of our own, without kissing booty.

It could be a great new exciting era for the future, but yah, let’s ditch the dead weight clinging to the past, and limited ideas of what Dayton could be.

Ice Bandit
Ice Bandit

Because, they may have SX/SW in Austin- but we have water, and with water- all things are possible. Take that Texas. (David Esrati)

Judging from Dave’s posts and the comments, you’d think the good people of Austin were walking around with dowsing sticks and wearing the water recovery suits worn by the inhabitants of Dune. Fact is, Dave, the Colorado River (where Austin sits) is a mighty impressive waterway (as is the nearby Brazos River)  and me’ doubts anyone in Travis County, Texas is suffering dehydration. When the Old Bandito thinks of the days of his misspent youth spent in that wonderful central Texas city, a tear comes to his eye and he becomes grateful for the statute of limitations. Drinking Lone Star Beer at the Armadillo (with Janis and Big Brother the house band and Willy Nelson the MC) is the stuff of which nostalgia is made. But when the Old Bandito called Austin home, it was about the same size as Dayton. What has made Austin boom, tripling its population to 700,000 and boosting it from a goat-roper backwater with an inferiority complex  to major player (trailing only Las Vegas in rate of growth) is a business-friendly attitude that starts at the Capital  (on Guadalupe Street) to the city hall to a grateful and willing workforce. No vestiges of Wagner Act unionism there.  Should anyone be surprised that young Daytonians, dispirited and dismayed by the local economy and the cluelessness of those in charge, seek greener pastures in the area known as CenTex? Not at all.  But change in leadership will only lead Dayton so far without a change in attitude; that enterprise is something to keep and cherish and not be viewed as a neverending supply of tax revenue. It is that very attitude that has a “for rent” sign on the 1400 block of South Patterson………..


Is a LMT in the creative class?

Austin rox. Dayton, well, it’s Dayton. Dieing slowly, and according to most dead. New is better. And New thinking is better.

Beat a dead horse. Once we get real leaders (not the leaders elected by white guilt (Obama) or leaders who did a lot of drugs (square and round glasses) ) then we may have a turn around. Dayton is owed nothing. It must earn its way back. We need to be the best in SW Ohio before Ohio or the Midwest. Best at what? WHATEVER. It does not matter when you stink at everything.

We do have a lot a rednecks in this town. Can we export that? Or we could make is super easy to start a business here, with less expense than other cities, and advertise it and market it to those who want to start a business. But most places you have to jump through a hundred hoops and pay top dollar for space in a dieing downtown.

We have UD and the Hospital, and the base. We need more. Casinos? yes. Export losers? yes.

She left to go to a better place. Did she really have a good business? Probably not. Rarely do people leave money on the table. She just wanted out of loser-ville.


i am super creative, and have never paid for a message. too nyc, too cool. too loser also. wimps.


My daughter is trying to build her massage therapy business so send the leads this way – seriously!

Sorry to hear your friend is leaving.  Will suspect she’ll find out the grass on the other side isn’t greener – it’s still just grass.  Wonder how long it will take her, the new kid on the block with no proven track record, to find another 500 clients.  Typically the way you build that size clientele, you have to know a lot of people who will refer you to a lot more. 
My son says he’d rather stay here and fight for/create the town he wants rather than leave and come back after someone else has fixed it.   No clue where he learned that!? ;)

Coincidentally, I spent my day with two incredible South Park ladies in two separate meetings – both of which are doing their own thing to make this town better.  Get enough of them together and watch out world!



What where her reasons for leaving?  You told us she was leaving but you never gave her reasons.


She just doesn’t see the economy or the community bouncing back.

Thanks, this was what I was curious about.

I guess for her this means she wouldnt be able to expand her practice beyond her current client base.


Austin is the Columbus or Madison of Texas.   The state capital + the major state university. Austin added a booming IT sector to this mix.   It and Portland were the two places out west  where a second “Silicon Valley” developed.

In the 'burg
In the 'burg

Jeff: It’s probably not about expanding her client base, but maintaining it.

The first thing people cut when the money gets tight are discretionary expenditures, and even if they are getting them for medical reasons, massages are more or less a luxury.

So if your established clients are now unemployed and they have to choose between spending an hour on your massage table vs. having food on the dinner table for a couple of days, guess which one they’ll pick?


WOXY (97X in its radio broadcast days) just announced a pending move to Austin (from Cincinnati), as well.

Teri Lussier

Austin, and TX in general, is one of the very few places in the country that is still experiencing growth. Their real estate sector has yet to tank. There is an energy in Austin- positive, young, exciting- that very few places in the country carry that particular momentum right now.

Drexel Dave Sparks

My girlfriend is a licensed massage therapist. She is back in school getting her secondary science education degree. The business is dying, and not just for her.

Drexel Dave Sparks

But besides the business hurdles, I think the biggest hurdle the Miami Valley has to leap is the cultural hurdle.

THAT’S the biggest reason young people leave – they hate the culture of their parents, which is the majoritarian culture of the Miami Valley, and Ohio and the Midwest.

David Lauri

As General Sherman said, if I owned Texas and hell, I’d live in hell and rent out Texas.  Austin’s a good city in a horrible state, a state that’s no better than Ohio when it comes to gay rights.  Of course, if you’re not gay, it might not be so bad.

Still, I completely understand why people leave Dayton (and I mean Dayton in David E’s sense — the Dayton area, not the city proper).  In Dayton when city commission debates making discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal, people line up to speak about how doing so would be the downfall of our fair city, apparently oblivious to the fact that prospering cities in our nation (NYC, Chicago, Columbus, etc., etc., etc.) have banned such discrimination long ago.  In Ohio people vote overwhelmingly to prevent gay people from marrying, apparently oblivious jurisdictions that allow equal marriage rights still have heterosexuals with strong marriages and even have lower divorce rates.

Pizzabill will say I’ve done it again and made this about being gay, and so I have, but I’ll tell you, young gay people don’t want to hang around in Dayton or in Ohio.  If you don’t see why that’s a bad thing, you’re part of the problem.

(And if I don’t like it, why don’t I leave?  Because I have family responsibilities and ties and because not everything about Dayton is bad.)

Drexel Dave Sparks

Yup. That’s the crux of the problem.

Dayton is ground zero for the military industrial high school football complex – and the culture of the humans that is produces SUCKS!

Teri Lussier

>they hate the culture of their parents

Bingo. I was having that conversation last week as well. If I just graduated from college, why would I want to live next to Mom?

And that’s it. The energy, the values, the memes, the ideas are all completely different in thriving cities. We can’t fake that with a marketing campaign. But we can tap into it…


I have been a lot of places – we all have – and Dayton is not really all that different from most places in the USA.

It is not a major league city, so it will have the perception (by most) of being a cow-town, and to a certain degree it is.

It is a matter of how we feel about ourselves, and we are that “friend” we all have who is negative all the time and lives off emotional roller coasters and being losers. We all have a friend or two like this – you know, the friend that enjoys being sick, enjoys being unemployed blaming everyone else, loves negative gossip of all sorts of people.  That is Dayton. Dayton can’t get beyond the victim mentality.

Dayton need to grow TF up and get beyond this loser mentality. I have a nice life in Dayton. A lot of people do. And I would never move unless it were for bigger and better things, of which they would have to be REALLY bigger and better, not just a little. A little pride would go a looooooooooong way.

Drexel Dave Sparks

I wouldn’t mind living next to mom as long as the majoritarian culture wasn’t rooted in the culture of Mom, but in Dayton, we’re still firmly rooted in 1974.


David…I clicked on your past “GRATTITUDE  article on King Foley & the Powers.  What would you write…today..???


What I’ve found is there is a real abundance of people in the area who love it here, have lived elsewhere, and prefer it here.   There are many people who are trying to make things better, but we need to find a way to drown out the naysayers. 

We have it so much better than other places – but we’re so beaten down.  I worked in two industries that brought a lot of transplants to Dayton and most came here kicking & screaming.   I just chuckled and said “and you’ll leave here the same way”.  It’s true.  We hang on every criticism and blow off any compliment.  We make the Top Ten Dying Cities list and no one will let it go.  Get a top ranking from Site Selection magazine and everyone blows it off as BS. 

Not all kids reject their parents, mine are pretty cool kids and one is involved with upDayton through DaytonCREATE.  The other has started her own business here.   They also can afford to LIVE their lives here and have fun doing it, they know if they moved elsewhere, they’d never be able to leave their apartment because they couldn’t afford to do anything but pay rent.   It’s the best of both worlds, they can afford to live here AND  afford to go visit friends there (wherever “there” happens to be).


Just got this at the bottom of another email….

“We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same.”
– Carlos Castaneda
SparkPeople Translation:
Are you spending your time making yourself happy or miserable? This quote reminds us that both take hard work. Too often, we spend our time making ourselves miserable. We allow stress to build up and take over our actions. We allow anger to control our relationships. We allow jealousy to keep us on guard. Take some time and figure out what you do that helps make yourself miserable. Set some goals to phase this behavior out of your daily life. Take that same amount of time and energy and spend it making you happy.

Instead of focusing on one person who has chosen to leave, why don’t we celebrate the other 150,000 that have chosen to stay?!


I don’t agree. We all have that “friend” that is miserable, and more often than not it is because they are lazy, not wanting to make their  life better, not trying to make their life better.

It takes a lot of effort to be happy. First, you almost have to decide you want to be happy. And generally happy people set goals, even really small goals. Miserable people generally are lazy and make no effort to change their life or attitude.

Screw miserable people. Ship them to Michigan.

We all know who these people are. If they work, they are the work gossip. More often than not fat. If married they are unhappily so. If single they bitch and moan that no guy or girl is available. More often then not they say they go to church and believe in God but only go once a year (meaning they lie to themselves and everyone around them, including God.) They most likely eat fast food and say to themselves that it will be the last time they do so. If they smoke they smoke more often than others, taking away company time, bitching and moaning to fellow smokers. Often a person who is miserable thinks of themselves as relatively important in their community. They think they matter (they don’t btw.) Most have the “caring the cross” syndrome. A miserable person generally is messy, rarely cleaning their home and always making excuses why something is dirty and out of place. And, funny enough, generally these people live in the suburbs. Go figure.


Since David Lauri brought up the gay issue (and Drexel Dave piggybacked on it, indirectly) here’s a fact about Austin that really sets it apart from Dayton & vicinity…actually from most of urban Ohio:

Travis County was also the only county in Texas to reject Texas Constitutional Amendment Proposition 2  – effectively outlawing gay marriage and status equal or similar to it – and did so by a wide margin (40% for, 60% against).

Travis County is Austin + it’s suburbs.  Now this is an impressive pro-gay  % for that region/   And it signals one thing Austin is that the Dayton region  isn’t, and that is being progressive, open minded on a cutting-edge social issue.  This election result is hard numbers that prove the case, not opinion.


Get a top ranking from Site Selection magazine and everyone blows it off as BS.

The reason why is that this and DMM are focused on Dayton city.  Pay attention to what is happening in suburban office and industrial parks and you’ll see why that Site Selection rating makes sense, as there is noticeable expansion and new construction out here.

David Lauri

Instead of focusing on one person who has chosen to leave, why don’t we celebrate the other 150,000 that have chosen to stay?!

Perhaps because it’s just not 1 person who’s chosen to leave. shows that the population in the Dayton Metropolitan Statistical Area hasn’t increased since the early 90s.  Overall (greater) Dayton isn’t hemorrhaging exactly — the annual decrease is on the order of -2,000 — but, despite the ongoing sprawl and construction (all of which costs money to maintain), it’s not growing, at least not in population.

The Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area’s population has increased by no less than 6,600 people each and every year since 1970, by an average of 32,991 per year, and by over 60,000 people in 2006, 2007 and 2008. (

Closer to home, the Columbus, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area’s population hasn’t decreased since 1980, showing increases averaging 17,000 people per year every subsequent year. (

We could ignore the fact that outside people don’t seem to find our area attractive.  Somehow, though, I think that figuring out why our area doesn’t attract a lot of new people would coincide with figuring out how to make the remaining 836,000 people happier.


Austin is the capital of Texas, right? And is a HUGE state, much bigger in population than Ohio, right(over twice the population, fyi)? And in a different part of the country, right? With different ideas of what the world is, who they are, etc, right?

So why are we comparing ourselves to Austin? We are not a capital, so no extra bennies there. We are not into Oil like Texas. We are not in the bible belt.

Dayton needs to compare and contrast itself with cities that are similar in population and are  in the Midwest. Yes, looking outside for other things is dandy, but the economic and political situations are so different from Dayton. Yes, I know the TECH revolution can go anywhere, but they have a base of being a capital of a large oil producing state. Something Ohio is not.

Sure, looking elsewhere is helpful. But closer to home first. We need to be better in OHIO before being better in the USA. We need to be better in the Midwest before being better in the USA. Baby steps. Or make a big leap and fall right on your face.


Dayton needs to compare and contrast itself with cities that are similar in population and are  in the Midwest.

And the Midwest city to benchmark against is Grand Rapids, as it has experienced  population and economic growth, yet is around the size of Dayton and not the largest city in its state.


I never thought I’d write this, but I actually agree with Gene!  :)   And another difference between Ohio & Texas, at least we are NOT talking about seceding from the Union.

We have lots going on in Dayton, we just don’t brag about it! 

Ice Bandiat
Ice Bandiat

  I knew a massage therapist who had to leave town. Seems she rubbed somebody the wrong way……


Funny you mention Grand Rapids. I was up there for a wedding 4-5 years ago, first and only time. I spent a lot of time walking around the downtown ( I normally do this when visiting a new city) and felt it was the exact model for what Dayton could start to become. It was clean and active. I really thought it was great.

Omaha (it’s metro is Dayton’s size 800k+, the city is more populated though at 400k -ish.) is another city that I would turn to. They take a lot of pride in being who they are (a good thing in this case.) Omaha is on a state border with a big/active river and is the only significant city in the state, and is only 40 minutes from the capital, often acting like the capital. But it still is a good city for Dayton to look at. I am sure there are others.

In the 'Burg
In the 'Burg


Bruce Kettelle

Austin is also a larger college town which helps give its youthful vibrancy.  Compared to UD’s 8,000 the UT boasts 49,000 students,  Here are some of the other schools in Austin and nearby.

• Austin Business College, Austin
• Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Austin
• Baylor University, Waco 14,000
• Central Texas College, Killeen
• Concordia Lutheran College, Austin 2,000
• Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, Austin
• Huston-Tillotson College, Austin 768
• Mary Hardin Baylor University, Belton 2,700
• Our Lady of the Lake College, San Antonio
• Southwestern University, Georgetown
• St. Edward’s University, Austin 5,300
• St. Mary’s University, San Antonio
• Texas A&M University, College Station
• Texas Lutheran College, Seguin
• Texas State University, San Marcos
• Trinity University, San Antonio
• University of Texas, Austin 49,000

David Lauri

UD’s 8,000 students aren’t the only college students in the Dayton MSA.

Bruce Kettelle

Sorry Dave I didn’t mean to imply that was all we had.  Here is a list of the public schools I found easily.  If anyone has a list wih the privates included please post it.  One report I noticed suggested the total in the Austin area was about 150,000 students.

Fall 2008

Wright State University headcount increased 3.2 percent to 16,672 students
Ohio State University increased 2.2 percent to 53,715 students.
Miami University increased 4.2 percent to 16,431 students.
Central State University increased 7.4 percent to 2,171 students.
Sinclair Community College increased 3.6 percent to 23,259 students.
Clark State Community College increased 5.9 percent to 3,583 students.
Edison State Community College increased 5.5 percent to 3,203 students.


Its a BIG stretch to add OSU and Miami to the Dayton numbers (or to bulk up Austins numbers by adding Texas A&M ).   UTs 49,000 is enough to give Austin that flagship state univeristy boost, the OSU does for Cols.

Teri L
Teri L

>I never thought I’d write this, but I actually agree with Gene!

I was thinking the same thing. :)

It’s not about college students, really, it’s about new ideas, positive energy, and growth. When was the last time Dayton had to create itself? We’ve relied on manufacturing for so long, we became complacent- not exactly a business-friendly environment, open to anything, embracing change.

I’m not an expert on city government, by any means, but it seems to me that we could, could be in a extraordinary position to recreate our city. We could grassroots our way to anything. The past is truly in the past, and how many cities can say that? The opportunity to make ourselves over, and make ourselves happy, and do what is best for Dayton, not GM, not NCR… I don’t know. Perhaps my rose-colored glasses are too shiny, but I see opportunity here- unprecedented opportunity and I can’t help it, I’m excited about the future. It’s not going to be easy, but adversity is where the growth is, or, it can be. I’m rambling…

Bruce Kettelle

Jeff – I was in a hurry and didn’t edit either list I copied from public sites.  I was a bit surprised that no one has an easily findable list of Dayton Colleges and enrollments.


Just wanted to follow up on this one. By the end of the week, you should start seeing “this is Dayton” posters highlight some really cool people who already do really cool things in Dayton. A few focus on groups not just individuals. The inspiration was Marianne, the focus of this thread. Carli Dixon (biz owner and wife of steel artist Hamilton) and I talked about this discussion and decided instead of mourning those who leave, we should celebrate those who chose to make Dayton their home. We pulled Carli into the This is Dayton initiative along with help from Lisa Grigsby (another original catalyst). We have 16 posters to start – featuring entrepreneurs, artists, students, rock climbers, bike polo players, locations like Garden Station, MoMBA, and even Dayton’s own Rubi Girls. Word has been getting out and Marinne called Carli to ask why she hadn’t been included. As it turns out, she’s NOT moving to Austin. As I understand it, Marianne shared that she figured out Austin in 4 days and knew she would become bored rather quickly there as a result. She took stock of her life here in Dayton and realized she took a lot for granted. You will notice GPS coordinates on the posters. Each lead to different places that mean something to the person or group on the poster. Our goal is to get them up for Urban Nights since there is a large influx of people from all over the region. Then we’ll gradually spread out from there, hoping to get them into malls and strip malls all over the area – Kettering, Trotwood, Centerville, Beavercreek, Huber, etc. On October 3rd, we’ll be hosting an Urban Excursion – part scavenger hunt, part Amazing Race, without the frenzied pace. Teams of four will be given hints to a variety of downtown centric sites – we’re hoping urban friends will link up with suburban ones to expose them to cool parts of the city they might not otherwise see. There will be more details to follow – so keep an eye on for more info… Read more »