By Wayne Allen
The Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce held a community update breakfast Thursday morning, featuring Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) Executive Director Jason Kester and Portsmouth City Manager Derek Allen.
“Most of you are aware in January we started a new future (with the arrival of Allen and Kester),” said Chip Horr, President of the Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
Introducing Allen was Portsmouth Mayor Steve Strugill, admitting that he was not a proponent of the city manager form of government.
“I had to be convinced it was the right thing to do,” Strugill said. “I can stand before you today and say, it was the right thing to do (move to a city manager form of government). We were very fortunate that among those 60 applications, we (city of Portsmouth) got the best applicant that we could have possibly had for our community. The right person, the right time and the right place,” Strugill said.
Throughout his presentation Allen spoke to those in attendance about some of the challenges facing the city and what measures are being taken to correct them.
“I’ve not been here two months and I’m amazed at the number of people who have been supportive. There is a strong movement in this community to see things change and to see things change for the better,” Allen said.
Kester addressed those in attendance about the goals of SOPA.
“The big question I’ve been getting is what does the port authority do. We (SOPA) do three kind of big things with a primary goal of bring wealth to the community,” Kester said.
Kester said efforts to bring wealth to the community involves bringing business to the community that create jobs.
“One of our other goals is to figure out what our local businesses need and lastly we’ve got to respond to inquiries. Sometimes people just show up and want to know what’s going on in Scioto County,” Kester said.
Kester said one of the things he’s working on is a listing of available properties and the kinds of resources they have to offer a potential business.
Kester said one of this goals as SOPA Executive Director is to get out into the community.
“The main thing I’ve been doing lately is going around trying to meet everyone and I think that’s key. I’m trying to sit down with as many people as possible and learn as much as I can,” Kester said. “I’ve learned about all kinds of interesting things that helps me not to repeat the mistakes of the past and try to improve on things moving forward.”
For more information about the city of Portsmouth and the services they offer visit www.portsmouthoh.org. For more information about the Southern Ohio Port Authority visit them on Facebook or at www.southernohioportauthority.org.
For more information about the Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce visit www.portsmouth.org.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.