2019 Annual Excellence Awards

Jul 18, 2019 | News

2019 Award Nominations are Now Closed
and all finalists have been notified!

The deadline to submit was August 7th


The Ohio Economic Development Association’s annual Excellence Awards program recognizes the achievements of individuals and organizations in Ohio in the areas of economic and workforce development.  Submit your nominations today and have excellence in your community recognized statewide!

A panel of judges will evaluate the nominations, determine finalists, and select a winner for each of the categories noted below.  Award winners will be announced at a lunch ceremony on the last day of the OEDA Annual Summit (October 7-9) at The Embassy Suites Columbus-Dublin.  Award winners and finalists will be notified prior to the Annual Summit so as to make appropriate arrangements to attend.

Winners and finalists will be promoted on OEDA’s website and in the OEDA e-newsletter. This information may also be published by winners and finalists in the media and used for promotional purposes.

Please note that if you are selected as a winner in the categories of Best Project, Excellence in Innovation, Excellence in Marketing & Communications, or Excellence in Workforce Development you will be asked to make yourself and/or other individuals involved with the project/campaign available in August and/or September for the purpose of capturing footage for the videos which are part of the awards ceremony. This video will be yours to keep and can be an excellent marketing and/or fundraising tool.  Be sure to check out examples of last year’s award winners.  Further details will be sent to the winning nomination contacts in August.

Please note the winners of the Rookie of the Year, ED Professional of the Year, and Volunteer of the Year awards will not be announced prior to the awards ceremony. The winners of these awards will be announced live at the Excellence Awards luncheon on Oct. 9, 2019. Judges will select up to three finalists for each of these award categories and will also select a winner from among the finalists in each category. All finalists will be invited to attend the awards luncheon and will be recognized at the event.  Following the introduction of each category’s finalists, the winner will be announced from the stage.  Again, winners for the Rookie of the Year, ED Professional of the Year, and Volunteer of the Year will not be notified in advance.

Award Categories & Online Submission Links (submit your nomination online by August 6th)

  1. Best Project


  1. Excellence in Marketing & Communications


  1. Excellence in Innovation


  1. Excellence in Workforce Development


  1. Economic Development Professional of the Year


  1. ED Rookie of the Year


  1. Volunteer of the Year




Eligibility Criteria

Nominees in all categories must be individuals or organizations that operate within Ohio and may be a community-based or non-government organization, government agency or political subdivision, or a private for-profit organization.  Please note that an entry may be deemed inapplicable if the judging committee feels that the entry does not fit the category selected by the nominator.


Nomination procedure

To nominate an individual or an organization for an award, please complete the appropriate nomination form(s) and submit with the requested information for each no later than Aug 6, 2019.  Self-nominations are encouraged.

Nominations are free for current OEDA members.  The nomination fee for non-members is $75 per entry (nominator and/or nominee must be an OEDA member to qualify for no entry fee).  Non-members will be invoiced for the $75 fee per entry.



A panel of no less than seven judges, comprised of past award winners and OEDA area directors, will evaluate each submission. To ensure fairness and objectivity, judges must recuse themselves from judging a category if they OR the organization by which they are employed are a participant in any of the submissions in that category.

At the discretion of the judges, one or more finalist, honorable mentions or similar recognitions could be awarded in any of the award categories, but no such award must be given in any category.

OEDA reserves the right to not make an award in any category for which there are less than three submissions.


Visit the online links to submit your nominations by the August 6, 2019 deadline.


Award Category Descriptions

Best Project

The Best Project Award recognizes outstanding and innovative projects (retention, attraction, redevelopment (brownfield or historic), greenfield infrastructure, Main Street) in economic and business development that retain or generate jobs and capital investment.  The award determination is not dependent on the number of jobs created or retained, size of site, or the amount of total investment.  Rather, this award will showcase a unique approach to the project, which can include a public-private partnership, local collaboration, innovative financing and/or incentives, overcoming historic barriers or obstacles, or been a catalyst for economic development in the community.  The project must have been completed in the last 18 months, however there are no time limits or constraints on the total timeline of the project.


Excellence in Marketing & Communications

This award recognizes successful economic development marketing projects or marketing campaigns.  Examples include target market studies, branding, websites, direct mail, consultant events, public relations campaigns, social media campaigns and advertising.

There are no longer separate sub-categories based on the size of a community.  Rather, the community’s or organization’s resources relative to the project or campaign will be considered when evaluating the project. Criteria such as total organization staff, organization’s budget, project budget, internal staff allocated for the submitted project and use of consultants will be considered.


Excellence in Innovation

This award recognizes unique approaches to any aspect of economic development and recognizes a person or organization that has developed innovative practices and programs.  Examples include but are not limited to podcasts, blogs, guerilla marketing techniques, legislative initiatives, creative development of match funds, combining work force development with economic development, and non-traditional partnerships.


Excellence in Workforce Development

This award recognizes unique approaches to any aspect of workforce development and recognizes a person or organization that has developed innovative practices and programs. The strategy(ies) should provide direction, guidance, and motivation to Ohio’s workforce and business community and demonstrate an impact in meeting the workforce needs or overcoming the challenges in a specific community/region, industry, population or the state as a whole.


Economic Development Professional of the Year

The Economic Development Professional of the Year award is to recognize an individual who has been an economic development professional in Ohio for at least the past year.  The purpose of the award is to identify someone who has assisted in making a significant impact in their organization/community through their efforts as an economic developer. The Economic Development Professional of the Year award encourages, recognizes, and celebrates the individual who has met the challenges of providing economic development, who demonstrates the ability and commitment to positively impact their community’s and/or the state’s economic growth, and contributed to the advancement of the economic development profession in Ohio


Economic Development Rookie of the Year

This award recognizes an individual who has been an economic development professional in Ohio for less than two years (joined after May 1, 2017). The purpose of the award is to identify someone who has “hit the ground running” and made extraordinary contributions to local or state workforce and economic development in his/her career. The Rookie of the Year award encourages, recognizes, and celebrates one who has met the challenges of providing economic development early in their career and who demonstrates the ability and commitment to positively impact the state’s economic growth.


Volunteer of the Year
Community leadership and support for economic development strategies and initiatives is an important part of successful economic development efforts. Volunteers leverage their expertise, insight and relationships to support economic development and are an important link to the citizens, schools, businesses, and industries in the community. This award recognizes exceptional individuals who volunteer to advance and support successful economic development efforts in Ohio.

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