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Dingus to replace Clonch at Chamber, LEDC

SOUTH POINT - Dr. Bill Dingus, director emeritus of Ohio University Southern has been selected to succeed Patricia L. Clonch as executive director of the Greater Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce and the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation.

Dingus will officially take the position Sept. 2. Clonch will leave Aug. 27.

"I'm really excited for the opportunities for Lawrence County," Dingus said. "Pat Clonch has positively, aggressively moved in a forward motion that has made Lawrence County an economic development icon in the state and nationally."

Because of the positive direction Clonch has moved the agency and her excellent staff, Dingus said he will not have to spend months fixing problems when he goes to work. Dingus' initial plans include uniting the community with the agency staff and continuing to move forward, he said.

Dingus is the former dean of Ohio University Southern. During his tenure, the campus enrollment exceeded that of any regional campus in Ohio.

As executive director of the Chamber and the LEDC, he will be responsible for an agency that currently provides federal procurement services and industrial loan services to 10 southern Ohio counties and only provides Lawrence County with economic development and other services. The LEDC also owns and operates the Tri-State area's largest industrial park, The Point, which is expected to generate 3,000 new jobs when completed.

"He's a highly qualified individual for the job," LEDC president James Barrett said.

Chamber president Jodi Rowe said a plan was developed in the event that Clonch would leave the agency. Dingus, she said, was the succession committee's first choice because of his expertise in education and economic development.

Clonch has faith in her successor, who has been an LEDC trustee and charter member of the Chamber. This gives him inherent knowledge about how the agency works, she said. She said she will be working with Dingus to prepare him for the job.

"He will move forward, faster," she said. "None of us feel any doubt about that."