LaGrange EDC names new leader

March 26th, 2015

News Coverage:

LaGrange EDC names new leader

Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 11:00 pm | Updated: 6:30 am, Thu Mar 26, 2015.

By Barry Rochford

LAGRANGE — Ryne Krock, a business development specialist with the city Toledo, Ohio, has been tapped to become the next president and CEO of the LaGrange County Economic Development Corp.

Krock will begin working at the LaGrange County EDC April 13. He succeeds Keith Gillenwater, who in January became the president and CEO of the Economic Development Group of Wabash County.

Lora Tormanen has been serving as interim president of the LaGrange County EDC since January. In an interview, Mark Leu, chairman of the LaGrange County EDC’s board of directors, said she will remain with the organization, adding, “She’s done a great job in that interim role.”

Krock is a LaGrange County native and graduate of Lakeland High School. Presently, he works as a business development specialist in the city of Toledo’s department of development.

Krock, 23, joined Toledo city government as an intern in 2011, and served as the mayor’s assistant to development prior to becoming a business development specialist last year.

In those roles, Krock has assisted with business retention efforts, expansion and attraction projects, and economic development incentive programs. According to the LaGrange County EDC’s announcement Wednesday, he expects to earn his bachelor’s degree in political science this year from the University of Toledo.

“As the LaGrange County Economic Development Corp. opens this new chapter, the board and I are confident that Ryne is the right person to lead our organization forward,” Leu said in the announcement.

“He has a proven ability to communicate and achieve results working with diverse constituencies, and has a passion and vision for our continued prosperity. We believe his leadership is a perfect fit for our continuing mission of improving the business climate and quality of life in LaGrange County.”

“I am honored to take this role and excited about the possibilities that lie in our future,” Krock said in the announcement. “The LaGrange County EDC has had great success in strengthening our local economy and helping business grow and thrive in our county. I look forward to continuing this course and developing new programs that will help LaGrange County flourish for years to come.”

In an interview, Krock said one of his goals is to continue to build awareness of LaGrange County.

“First and foremost, I think it’s important that LaGrange County be put on the map,” he said. “I think LaGrange is doing a lot of great things now, but I think it’s important that we become a little bit stronger in the region and the state. We have some opportunity to do so.”

He said one challenge — and opportunity — for the county is business diversification, and he wants to bolster the county’s Amish-made brand.

“There are a lot of Amish companies that make products that could be sold across the world,” Krock said. “Obviously, the craftsmanship is unmatched. I think it’s important that we find a way to get those products out there, make them accessible to the globe and help those folks grow their businesses as well.”

Gillenwater, who was hired in 2009, was the first full-time leader of the LaGrange County EDC. In the interview Wednesday, Leu said he’s been pleased with the progress the organization has made since then.

“We’ve put a lot of good programs in place, and I think we’ve really improved the business climate in the county,” said Leu, who is also president and CEO of LaGrange County REMC.

After weathering the Great Recession, the LaGrange County EDC now finds itself faced with different obstacles, such as lack of industrial space and low unemployment.

“Those are the kinds of problems that we like to have, and we’ll continue to work on those,” Leu said.

Krock said another thing he’ll do as the LaGrange County EDC’s new leader is celebrate positive business developments within the county.

“One thing I’m going to be big on, with my age, is being transparent and letting folks know exactly what we’re trying to do,” Krock said. “If we have a victory, we’re going to celebrate it. I think it’s important for the region to celebrate those victories.”

Reporter Patrick Redmond contributed to this story.

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