COLUMBUS, Ohio --
The fourth annual Ohio Defense Forum was held at the historic Westin Great Southern Hotel Grand Ballroom here, Oct. 7-8, 2019.
“The (event) is a culmination of a vision to create a more united defense front in the state of Ohio,” said Amber Begley, Director of Defense Programs for the Dayton Development Coalition and the event emcee.
Begley said ODF is an opportunity to learn more about each defense region in Ohio, to network and to find new ways to partner and work together.
Nearly 250 individuals representing the federal and state governments, the Pentagon, Ohio’s military installation and defense facilities, higher learning institutions as well as the state’s aerospace and defense industries attended the event.
“Ohio has a proud aerospace and defense history and a continuing aerospace and defense industry,” said U.S. Senator for Ohio Rob Portman.
The theme for the event built on the state’s long heritage and continuing role in the country’s national defense by discussing assets, opportunities, networking capabilities and continuing to develop a statewide strategy to support Ohio’s defense installations.
“Ohio is critical to the nation’s march forward in aerospace and defense,” said Lt. Col. (ret) Joe Zeis, Senior Aerospace and Defense Advisor, Office of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.
Many of the featured panelists at the event indicated that a multi-level public and private partnership was vital to the pave the way ahead to build on the successes made possible by the efforts of the forum so far.
Col. Joe Janik, 910th Airlift Wing commander, talked about one of the examples of how this was working at his installation, Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio.
“The $8.8 million military construction project to relocate our main gate complex would not be possible without a federal, state and local cooperative effort,” Janik said.
“Our legislators at all levels as well as the community advocates such as the Eastern Ohio Military affairs Commission and the Western Reserve Port Authority all working together make projects like this happen,” added Janik.