The Canal Winchester Times

Health care for businesses topic at economic summit

By MICHAEL HAYES
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How local businesses comply with the Affordable Care Act will be the key topic of the Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce's fourth annual Economic Development Summit Nov. 9 at the Ohio University Pickerington Center, 12933 Stonecreek Drive in Pickerington.

Entitled "Building a Better Ohio," the one-day program will address changes in federal healthcare requirements as well as economic development resources in Ohio.

Registration will start at 9 a.m. and the program is scheduled to run from 9 a.m to 2 p.m.

State Sen.Tim Shaffer (R-Lancaster) is co-sponsor of the event.

"We have another diverse group of speakers this year." Shaffer said in a press release.

"It is my hope that the summit will foster an excitement for Ohio's economic future and give entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed," he said.

Brittany Kneisel, an administrative aide in Shaffer's office, said the program has proven to be very educational for the business community.

"It is a way to bring state of Ohio resources that are offered to businesses to the businesses themselves," she said.

"It lets them know what the state is working on and we've always gotten good feedback from the businesses."

The morning speakers include Kevin Conrad and John McGough from the Ohio Association of Health Underwriters, as well as Shaffer, who will provide a legislative update about economic development.

The afternoon session will focus on Ohio's economic development initiatives with Daryl Revoldt from JobsOhio and Matthew McColliser from Columbus 2020.

Helen Mayle, president of the Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce, said the organization made sure to schedule the event after the presidential election because the status of the Affordable Care Act hinges on the election's outcome.

"Businesses are very concerned about healthcare and how it will affect them in 2013,"she said. "Nobody will have an answer until after the election.

"We'll have a better idea of the path it's going to take," said Mayle, adding that "businesses do not know how to budget for 2013."

She said the afternoon session of the program will address tactics that cities such as Pickerington can implement to attract businesses.

"How do you attract businesses to locate here?" Mayle said. "It is imperative it be done on a regional basis.

"Pickerington is more scaled to maybe having medical facilities or offices. Violet Township has potential for manufacturing.

"We can both work together to attract people," Mayle said.

She said this regional approach is being used now through organizations such as the Fairfield 33 Development Alliance, which has members in an area stretching from Pickerington to Lancaster along U.S. Route 33, including Violet, Bloom and Greenfield townships.

Mayle, who is on the executive board and marketing committee for the Fairfield 33 Development Alliance, said the goal for that organization is to pool assets such as utility infrastructure and natural resources to attract businesses to the Route 33 corridor.

She said the local business community should be excited about the caliber of talent in the room at the economic summit.

"I don't tell them what to speak about. They'll gauge the audience," she said. "We're really lucky to get these people for the summit. You just don't get these people every day."

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