IPA concerned with results not praise

Published 10:03 am Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This just in from the “In Case You Never Thought About It,” archive.

The Ironton Port Authority, a five member organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of everyone reading this article, is working behind the scenes for you.

Established in 2004 with the assistance of the Friends of Ironton, the IPA has been instrumental in the ushering of quality businesses into Ironton. Buffalo Wild Wings, Melini’s Cucina Italian Restaurant and Austyn’s were guided to our area with help from the IPA.

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More than 300 jobs have been added to the area with the addition of other businesses, such as Aluminastic Corp., MiDeCon Construction, Prestige Deliveries, Patriot Ambulance and Advanced Machine & Fabrication. The IPA’s fingerprints are all over these businesses.

Grants totaling $1.4 million have been awarded to the IPA to assist in its goal of refurbishing run-down but valuable business property. Also, the IPA has been instrumental in clearing the area formerly owned by River Valley Health Systems. The development and sale of lots on this site for future homes is currently in progress.

The individuals who make the IPA wheels spin receive absolutely nothing in return for their investment of time, energy and expertise into molding the socioeconomic landscape of our town. They have a vision. In that vision, they see a city that thrives.

Attend an Ironton Port Authority meeting on the second and fourth Monday of every month in the Ironton City Building and you will immediately notice the enthusiasm that drives this organization.

Bill Dickens accepts a fee well below his value to provide economic guidance to the city of Ironton. In his spare time, he works behind the scenes to build the business base in town. He seeks no recognition at all, only results.

If you are in the majority, you are probably unaware of the exhaustive work Dickens puts into improving your life. He cares, tremendously, about the advancement of his home town.

Rob Slagel and Chairman Mike Haas, along with Dickens, are charter members of the IPA.

Both men have a documented history that demonstrates the pride they have for their city. Slagel, who co-owns four Ironton businesses under one roof, and Haas, who carries on the family business his father built on work ethic and fairness, both understand the concept of customer satisfaction.

They also understand that quality sometimes overrules quantity. As a result, they are picky when it comes to recruiting businesses to set up camp in Ironton. They desire, and will only accept, the best.

Joe Isaac is the youngest member of the IPA, but definitely not the least vocal. As a young business owner, Isaac completely understands the hurdles all IPA members must jump to attract viable businesses to town.

He recognizes that the IPA members are all business people with access to many people in the community. Those “behind-the-scenes” modes of communication, he notes, are the key to igniting the fresh ideas that foster positive change.

Jodi Rowe Collins, a bank president, has a plate full of community obligations. Aside from serving on the IPA, she is also on the board of the Friends of Ironton who, incidentally, donated $1,000 in 2004 to give birth to the IPA.

Her work in both of these groups is much more instrumental to our collective well-being than most of us realize.

Without people like her, the chances for our city to flourish would be greatly diminished.

How many of us have within us the ability to add to the prosperity these dedicated members of society seek? People like Bill Dickens, Rob Slagel, Mike Haas, Joe Isaac and Jodi Rowe Collins want to make Ironton a better place to live.

I am one of many who are excited at the possibilities created when a group of like-minded people put their efforts into an endeavor that will positively affect us all.

Billy Bruce is a freelance writer and Pedro resident.