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SSU to host intermodal conference



PORTSMOUTH — On Aug. 30 Shawnee State University will host a one-day conference to explore opportunities for regional economic development through intermodal transportation from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Sodexo Ballroom on the SSU campus.

Intermodal transport involves the transportation of freight in an intermodal container or vehicle, using multiple modes of transportation including rail, river and highway, without any handling of the freight itself when changing modes.

The method reduces cargo handling, and improves security, reduces damages and losses, and allows freight to be transported faster. Reduced costs are the key benefit for intermodal transportation.

Local, state, and regional government leaders, as well as transportation officials, will explore opportunities for regional economic and community development. Participants in the one-day free conference will examine the advantages of the region’s transportation system including the Ohio River, railroads, airports and highways.

The topics to be discussed include:

• The Ohio River as it relates to the Panama Canal expansion and Heartland Corridor which begins in Richmond, Va. and ends in Columbus, Ohio;

• Possible partnerships among the ports of Portsmouth, Huntington and Cincinnati;

• Regional partnerships with Rickenbacker Airport, possibilities for job creation;

• Necessary training and education and the role of higher education as a partner in regional development.

The conference begins with a welcome from Dr. Rita Rice Morris, president of Shawnee State University, conference host as well as remarks from Mayor David Malone and Scioto County Commission President Skip Riffe.

The opening session will be: “Strategies for Utilizing Rail & River for Economic Development,” led by Jim Bruce, of Bruce Consultants, Chris Ingraham from Norfolk Southern Industrial Relations and Patrick Donovan, of the Rahall Appalachian Institute at Marshall University.

A panel discussion on the Ohio River will be moderated by State Representative Terry Johnson.

Panelists will include Steve Wells representing the Scioto County Department of Economic Development; Donovan from the Rahall Appalachian Institute; Ohio State Representative Denise Driehaus, from Cincinnati, and a member of Economic Development Committee; Mark Locker from the Ohio Department of Transportation, Maritime Division; Jim Zehringer, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources; Don Hadsall, local port operator; David Todt, Ph.D., SSU provost; and Buzz Canup of Canup Associates, a full service management consulting firm located in South Carolina specializing in site location studies, incentive negotiations and new legislation development, project planning and implementation and economic development.

During lunch, John Molinaro, CEO of APEG region for Jobs Ohio will be the Keynote Speaker followed by a presentation by John Milton, director, Regional Sales from CSX Headquarters in Virginia, who will discuss, CSX and Economic Development.

The afternoon session will include a rail panel moderated by Ohio State Representative, Joe Uecker from Clermont County.

Panelists will include Ingraham of Norfolk Southern; Milton of CSX; Bruce of Bruce Consultants; Steve Schoeny-Icemiller of Whiteboard; Jack Pounds from the Ohio Chemistry Council; Kevin Johnson, First Ward Councilperson, Portsmouth City Council; Bill Dingus from the Greater Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce; Tom Reiser; Scioto County Commissioner and Matt Dietrich of the Ohio Rail Development Commission.

Morris will moderate the final panel discussion of the day focused on next steps for intermodal transportation.

“Part of the University’s mission is to be a catalyst for community and economic development,” Morris said. “I will be pleased to welcome such a distinguished group of experts in the field of intermodal transportation to our campus, and look forward to the sharing of information and the discussion that will follow. With the Ohio River, and our extensive regional rail system, the Scioto County area is in the perfect location to discuss intermodal transportation as a key to economic development.”

Panelists for the final session will outline an action plan to move forward capitalizing on the assets of Ohio Rail and the Ohio River.

John Carey, who coordinated the conference as the director of Legislative Affairs at SSU said, “As a past state legislator I know the importance of community conversations that include public and private leadership to execute economic development. This one day conference will be an excellent opportunity for us to learn, access our assets with regard to intermodal transportation and discuss the next steps we might take as leaders and interested citizens to see how intermodal transportation can be implemented regionally.”

The public is invited, and the registration fee is $25 which covers the cost of the lunch. To register online go to www.ssuintermodal.eventbrite.com available after Wednesday, Aug. 1, or registration may be made in person at University Outreach Services in the Massie Hall basement, by calling (740) 351-3274 or call toll free at (866) 672-8778.