German Village Gazette

Village Notebook

Successful, evolving mobile site gift from Bill and Jessica Lager

Saturday December 15, 2012 7:03 PM

I just wrote a thank-you note in this space a few weeks ago, but there was one special thank you I purposefully left out.

I wanted to share it with German Village Society members first, at a member appreciation event we held last Thursday at Grange Insurance Audubon Center.

This very special thank you is directed at Bill Lager and Jessica Lager.

They are the no-longer anonymous donors behind the German Village mobile site (that's our website made friendly to smartphones and mobile devices), which we introduced to you one year ago this week.

Bill Lager is the founder of ECOT -- the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow -- an online Ohio public school.

Bill owns a home on Mohawk Street and since purchasing it, has been a regular participant with and donor to the German Village Society -- once even hosting Jody Graichen's book-signing party during the 50th Anniversary year!

Jessica Lager is his daughter and a key director at ECOT. Father and daughter have together hosted PreTour parties in support of the Society.

But during the spring and summer of 2011, they started thinking about a REALLY big gift to the German Village Society.

Bill Lager reached out to some of his friends on the Board of Trustees to ask: What could I bring to the table that would really change the face of your technology presence?

Soon, a subcommittee was formed made up of Board and community members -- nine in all -- who had an interest in the technology aspect of the GVS and whose past experiences lent themselves to seeing the big-picture idea of what the Lager offer made possible.

Bill and Jessica thought they might like to try their technical chops at building an application ("app"), but once Jessica began interacting with the committee, it became clear that a mobile site friendly to nearly EVERY smart device (iPhone, Droid, iPad, etc) would allow us to help many more people navigate the Village than a single-device app (iPhone only or Droid only) could do.

So Jessica and her team of designers and engineers got in the weeds with the committee to hammer out all of the details for the mobile site.

This is no small task, and the total value of the gift is somewhere around $35,000!

Let me pause here to convey a HEARTFELT thank you to Bill Lager and Jessica Lager who made possible this tremendous leap forward.

But now let me go on to remind you about this very powerful, one-year-old-this-month tool that sprang from the effort.

It represents a big 21st century initiative for our 19th century neighborhood, showing once again how we blend the contemporary with the historic.

The site is GPS-enabled, which means even if YOU don't know where you're standing in the Village, the site does!

Try it out: go to www.germanvillage.com on your mobile device right now!

And it can help you get where you want to go. The site helps residents and visitors alike navigate our businesses and our history on their own.

Visitors can find maps to local businesses, follow their own historic walking tours, and find the nearest dentist, investment advisor, dry cleaner, church or other service provider.

The site is currently completing an update, which has added our new brand guidelines (and therefore makes it look REALLY slick), and creates a platform for us to run a sponsorship or advertisement on.

Our donors are the key to living out our mission. Gifts on the level that Bill Lager and Jessica Lager were able to give allow the Society to dream big and carry out a vision that takes us into 53 more years of service to the Columbus community.

And once again, I say thank you.

German Village Society Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column.

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