Dean Joins Columbus Economic Development Partnership

Posted: August 24, 2011

College of Engineering Dean David B. Williams has been named to the board of directors of Columbus2020, a regional public-private partnership leveraging the Columbus region’s research and academic institutions and diverse industries to position the state capital to become the fastest growing economy in the country and one of the nation’s leaders in economic development.

“Dr. Williams has been directly involved in regional and state economic development efforts in each of the communities he has served,” said Kenny McDonald, president of Columbus2020. “He is keenly aware of how to leverage the academic assets of the university into jobs and capital investment.”

Former president of the University of Alabama in Huntsville and previously professor and department chair of Materials Science and Engineering and vice provost for research at Lehigh University, Williams’ experience at the forefront of university-industry relations includes service on the executive boards of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners and of Life Science Greenhouse, two of the nation’s premier incubator and entrepreneurship organizations. As a member of the Alabama Business Council and the Alabama Innovation Council, he helped establish UAHuntsville as an economic leader in the Tennessee Valley Corridor.

He will assist Columbus2020 in its focus on

  • retaining and expanding the companies and industries that call Central Ohio home;

  • attracting major employers to establish operations in Central Ohio;

  • creating more commercial enterprises by leveraging the region's research assets and entrepreneurs; and

  • improving the civic infrastructure and political conditions that enhance the economic development environment.

Columbus2020’s goals for the region are to add 150,000 net new jobs by 2020; increase personal per capita income by 30 percent; add $8 billion of capital investment; and be recognized as a national leader in economic development.

In addition to Williams, three other new members were named to the board: Charles Dutch, center director, Boeing Corp.; John C. "Jack" Fisher, executive vice president, Ohio Farm Bureau; and Mark Smith, president, Ohio Christian University.

The Columbus2020 Board of Directors met for the first time in March 2011. The other members (and the positions they hold on the board) are Alex Fischer, president and CEO, The Columbus Partnership (chairman); Jack Partridge, president, Columbia Gas of Ohio (treasurer); Eric Phillips, chief executive officer, Union County Chamber of Commerce (secretary); Kenny McDonald, chief economic officer, Columbus2020 (president); Laing Akers, senior attorney, Squire Sanders & Dempsey (US) LLP; David Blom, president and CEO, OhioHealth; Marilyn Brown, Franklin County Board of Commissioners; Mayor Michael Coleman, City of Columbus; Michael Keller, executive vice president and chief information officer, Nationwide; Gregory Overmyer, CEO, Overmyer Associates; and Mike Goldbeck, vice president, finance and administration, Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

Read more about Columbus2020.