NEW BREMEN — On Tuesday, a local village council officially accepted the resignation of one of its employees, effective Friday, as she will soon be leaving for South Carolina.
Karen Mauch became the first New Bremen economic development director in April 2006. She recently sat down with The Evening Leader to discuss what she has seen in her work with the village since she began as the village planner, now known as the economic development director position.
“Early on, it would’ve been Safeway Packaging and their decision to move to New Bremen,” Mauch said, adding the business was the first to incorporate an enterprise zone. “That was very exciting to be a part of — it resulted in a wonderful project for the industrial park and the jobs out there.”
Another milestone, Mauch said, was when the village received a designation for a Community Reinvestment Area in June 2008, which led to her third milestone as economic development director.
“We applied for it, we were approved in July,” she said. “Through that designation, we were able to put together the paperwork to allow the Elmwood Communities Assisted Living project. Those are probably the big three things I would consider major highlights.”
Also during her time with the village, Mauch introduced the village’s first quarterly electronic newsletter, New Bremen Now!
“January 2010 was our first issue,” she said. “It gets the word out to local businesses, local elected folks and site selectors throughout the country. We’re able to highlight a particular business, and it enables outside programs to let them know what’s going on within our village.”
Mauch was also behind another technology update.
“We updated the website two years ago — it was a major upgrade,” she said. “On the economic development side, we added links for site selectors.”
She also noted two projects Mauch, along with the Community Improvement Corp., with which she held an office, ran this year.
“The whole Dinner and a Movie promotion and the two 15-second commercials that aired on Dayton 22 and Fox 45, that was a really out-of-the-box opportunity for me to work on, we had never done anything like that,” she said. “That put New Bremen in front of a whole group of people during their newscasts.”
She added the Dinner and a Movie promotion netted 1,300 entries.
“It was nice to see we had people who came — we had some out of state, from Versailles, Russia, Wapak, Botkins,” she said.
“I found it very interesting to see who traveled to New Bremen and who patronized with local businesses.”
In her time with the village, Mauch said she was most pleased with “building the relationships that are so essential to this type of work.”
“That means keeping in touch with local businesses, visiting with them on a regular basis and learning what their needs are or what their needs may be and constantly reaching out,” Mauch said.
She noted she did the first-ever business visit in 2008.
“It was the first time, on a formal basis, someone from the village went out and talked to 20 or so key businesses in conjunction with AMP,” Mauch said. “We just talked with them.”
She also noted the networking she has done as economic development director.
“Working with my colleagues in Auglaize County, at the West Central Ohio region and at the state level,” she said. “That interaction and building those networks is very essential to being in this type of work.”
Mauch also reflected on her time in the position.
“Because I’m the first person who was given this responsibility solely for economic development, it was a wonderful opportunity to be on the ground floor,” she said.
“You get to set a bar, and I was able to take the experience I had in other places and use it for New Bremen in a way I think was effective in New Bremen and laying the foundation for a wonderful environment.”
Mauch also gave some advice for her successor — Angela Hamberg.
“Angela has a very diverse background,” Mauch said.
“The skills that she has, she will be very successful here — she has a lot of support from the village council and the CIC as I had. She will realize everybody is focused on doing what’s best for New Bremen and by keeping that in the forefront, she’ll do fine.”
Mauch noted she will take what she has learned with her to South Carolina.
“I helped bring New Bremen’s economic development into focus — that is an experience I will definitely take forward with me,” she said.
While in South Carolina — where Mauch will be meeting her husband, Jeff, who took a job there and being with him and their two sons, Jared, 19, and Evan, 14 — Mauch said she will be spending a lot of her time unpacking and hasn’t actively started looking for employment yet.
“I will take the time to learn what the economic development opportunities out there are,” she said.
“I hope to find a position in economic development because I truly enjoy the work.”