Dayton Development Coalition preaches to the choir: Dayton Region Rally

The Dayton Development Coalition held a “Dayton Region Rally” today- and everybody who is somebody and still wears a suit to a job paying six figures or more was there. Not exactly the people who make up the “Dayton Region” where unemployment is still around 12% (unless you are a minority where it’s way higher).

I’m not going to report the guest list, but, I was barely through the door when I had seen more of the “powers that be” than I saw during my election campaign. Yep, they were all ready to hear what the messiahs of good fortune (at least for their friendly congressman’s wife with her no-bid contract) had to say. The “political leadership” wasn’t on stage- this was the business community beating the drum, with a good dose of the base and higher ed thrown in. Noticeably absent were the hospitals from the standard of Feds, Meds and Eds routine that has become the rally cry.

The 1,000 or so people in attendance were treated to one scripted speech after another. Delivered like lectures to schoolchildren. Not sure where DDC head Jim Leftwich got the idea he should be MC- but, I kept looking at his deadpan delivery and thinking Jack Parr had risen from the grave (and that was from before my time).

It was an expensive production. Just the AV alone had to run $15 to $20K with three big screens and at least three cameras- plus the channel 7 interviews from the concourse (why?) thrown in. Figure the t-shirts and all the staging and coordination- handled by Real Art (of Get Midwest fame) and you have another $15 to $20K thrown in. All this for an event that was done during regular business hours so only those who can make their own schedules could attend.

There were exactly three people who made presentations that moved the cause forward: Bruce Langos, COO of Teradata, who got the biggest rise out of the audience when he talked about their successful divorce from NCR and their enviable cash position and market strength. We need to hear more from both Bruce and Teradata to put this city back on track. And, in my mind, the real icing on the split from NCR would be for Terradata to move back to Dayton- into NCR HQ and show Bill Nuti how it’s done.

Charlie Shoemaker, executive director of Five Rivers Metroparks, brought a whole parade of people in “outdoor attire” to reinforce his position as the outdoor recreation chief of the region. The only thing I wonder about is giving away $5 coupons to use at the 2nd Street Market to people who don’t need $5 coupons- is that really why you just asked the taxpayers for a levy? To give away some of that money to people who can afford to take a few hours off to listen to the cheerleaders?

The final speaker, was Kellen Winslow Sr. – the Athletic Director for Central State- who did a great job of representing Central State and was using the new “Change is Central” slogan. He didn’t need a script to know that people were stiff (and bored) and got everybody who was still in attendance up- and out of their seats, at least to make sure no one was asleep. If I were looking for someone to coordinate a regional sports program, I’d be sitting in his office asap.

The finale of celebrity painter Michael Israel, was too little too late. People were even trying to head guests off at the top of the concourse, trying to keep people in. I’m not going to guess how much it was to bring him in, but the real question was what was he adding to our message of Dayton? That we have to import talent?

The real question was what was the point? What was the call to action? Could you do something with $7oK+(low ball estimate of how much this cost) that would actually have an impact? The back of the program wants you to go take a two question survey.

The questions:

  1. What declaration of possibility can you make that has the power to transform the community and inspire you?
  2. What are you prepared to do to make this possibility a reality?

I don’t make declarations of possibilities- whatever that means. You want to inspire people to transform the community- there is an answer- and it doesn’t involve committees, group think, rallies or surveys- it involves leadership.

Give a leader a mission, hold them accountable, measure progress and evaluate their progress- and guess what?- we may actually have some.

If the people in the room would only learn to march together, instead of to the beat of a hundred drummers, we may actually get the choir to sing together. The first step is to get serious about regionalism- and start referring to us as Dayton- without the word “region.”

Yep, I said it. Time to own your heart Dayton, and it may start beating again.

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65 Responses

  1. Gary Staiger November 19, 2009 / 4:30 pm

    DAYTONDEVELOPMENTCOALITION.COM

    DAYTONDEVELOPMENTCOALITION.ORG

     
    hMMM…Wonder what the DDC would pay for these domain names that I own???

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  2. Wesley Wellbilly November 19, 2009 / 4:58 pm
    Probably nothing since they’re both too long to be worth anything.

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  3. Gary Staiger November 19, 2009 / 5:12 pm
    I was being cynical…

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  4. Gary Staiger November 19, 2009 / 6:52 pm
    @BrucE
    Excellent article, recommended reading

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  5. D. Greene November 19, 2009 / 8:54 pm
    @Gary S: I’m sure while you would probably give the DDC a fair price for the domains, first they would have to hire a consultant from out of state at around 30 to 40 grand to tell them what domain name should be buying that would best synergize their core competencies or some such rot, so don’t count on making a sale anytime soon!

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  6. Bridget November 20, 2009 / 6:41 am
    David,

    I did feel bad about the negativity surrounding the event but not so much now.  I’m actually becoming angry at how out of touch they are.  Our “leaders” continue to pat each other on the back saying how great they are.  Our “leaders” continue to do the same thing the same way with the same results. Our “leaders” are not listening to and evaluating information from ALL of their constituency.

    If it was a rally, it should have been more uplifting and less lecture.

    If it was a rally for the community, then ALL of the community should have been invited and it should have been held at a time the “average” citizen could be there.

    If it was a showcase to retain young professionals and creatives, then they shouldn’t have had so many “old guard” talking AT the audience.

    If it was a showcase of local talent, then ALL talent should have had local ties.

    If they wanted to change the negative attitude, they should have not been spouting the same things we’ve already heard.  It hasn’t been working. It’s not going to work this time.

    Finally, why wasn’t there some call to action?  Why wasn’t/isn’t there a list of ways to get involved?  Ways to help?  I know where they are because I am involved.  But, there was no guidance on how to get there if someone wants to participate in the rebuild.

    The optimist in me had high hopes but I left frustrated.

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  7. David Lauri November 20, 2009 / 10:49 am
    Wonder what the DDC would pay for these domain names that I own?
     
    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybersquatting :
    “Cybersquatting (also known as domain squatting), according to the United States federal law known as the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. The cybersquatter then offers to sell the domain to the person or company who owns a trademark contained within the name at an inflated price.”

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  8. Gary Staiger November 20, 2009 / 12:13 pm
    Oh well, I don’t know that DDC is Inc., and,   is it bad faith if I do nothing with them and make no profit?
    In any case D Greene has it correct, the out of state consultant will come first…

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  9. Anna February 16, 2010 / 12:41 pm
    I’m new to this thing but I read a couple of comments and thought, ‘Heck, I’ll leave one too.”  Since Dayton has obviously been kicked off of the national and global manufacturing train, why don’t we focus on what the state needs and manufacture things the state can use?  Like using the old Delphi and GM plants to build rail cars for an interstate rail system between Ohio’s largest cities.  Manufacturing eco-(green and economical)windmills to power Ohio and most of the Northeast and possibly parts of Canada.  The Southwest is having significant water shortage issues.  One of them is being addressed by the Navajo themselves in Arizona.  They helped to shut down a coal plant which was using pure, fresh water to slurry coal to the large cities of the Western part of the United States.  If that coal plant was able to sell carbon credits to companies after is shut down, why can’t the GM and Delphi plants do the same thing?  And if they are doing that, why isn’t Dayton reaping some of those profits?  I think it’s time to take off the blinders.  Dayton can do this.  We can do this.  If you don’t think you can, simply step down from the pedestal you put yourself up on and slowly back away.  With the many unemployed… someone will surely fill your spot.

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  10. Jeff of Louisville March 3, 2010 / 7:42 pm
    New facilities and expansions included in the analyses must meet at least one of three criteria — involve a capital investment of at least $1 million, create at least 50 new jobs, or add at least 20,000 square feet of new floor area. The database does not track retail and government projects, or schools and hospitals.
     
     
    …sounds like something is going on out there?  It sure would be nice to see a bit more analyses of this activity to see where the growth is happening (what sector).

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