Business

Debate over plastic bag ban or fee has many layers

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green City Council Chambers was packed Tuesday evening with people who have disdain for single-use plastic bags, and people who rely on them to do their jobs. The hearing was held by City Council’s Community Improvement Committee, made up of Mark Hollenbaugh, Bill Herald and John Zanfardino. Hollenbaugh explained the city is exploring a myriad of options for single-use plastic bags. Nine citizens voiced their support or opposition to possible plastic bag regulation in the city. Seven were in support, and two were against. Another hearing will be held March 4, at 6 p.m., in city council chambers, to give more citizens a chance to share their feelings. James Egan suggested that any fees raised be used to track the effect of a ban, since little data is available. Madi Stump said the plastic bag debate is a sustainability issue, and communities can learn to adapt to changes in their consumer cultures. Joe DeMare estimated that 150 municipalities across the nation have banned or charge fees for single-use plastic. The problem may seem overwhelming, but that doesn’t mean that communities should give up. “Plastic bags can be at the top of the list,” DeMare said. He mentioned the problem with blowing plastic bags at the Wood County Landfill, west of Bowling Green. An ordinance on bags can be an attempt to deal with a highly visible part of the overall problem. “Eventually, we’re going to have to deal with the entire iceberg,” DeMare said. Zanfardino said he was glad to see places like Cuyahoga County tackling the plastic bag problem. “I’m heartened to see other cities looking at this in Ohio,” he said. Tom Klein’s only reservation on the possible plastic bag ordinance is that it doesn’t go far enough. “We’re drowning in waste,” Klein said. And banning plastic bags makes people feel as if they are solving a problem. “They’re deceptive. They make us feel like we’re dealing with the problem.” But Robin Belleville, owner of BG Frosty Fare, said her business relies on the bags to send food orders home…

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Tourism in Lake Erie region suffering from bad PR

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Michigan continues to kick Ohio’s ass-ortment of tourism efforts. Part of that may be due to the larger amount the state to the north invests in attracting tourists. Part may be due to the algal blooms which make Lake Erie less attractive to visitors. And part may just be because the media keeps talking about that algae, according to Ohio’s top tourism official. Melinda Huntley, executive director of the Ohio Travel Association, spoke earlier this week at the annual TMACOG meeting in Perrysburg. Ohio, she said, has a lot to offer tourists – but isn’t doing a very good job of letting people know. Huntley said she was at a meeting unrelated to tourism recently, when she decided to quiz those present about their first impressions about Lake Erie. These were their one-word answers: Cold – that’s bad, she said.Michigan – that’s very bad.Fishing – that’s good.Boating – “that’s really good,” she said. “True story,” Huntley said, describing another incident where a friend went to a convention along the Mississippi River. People along the shore were marveling at a big boat in the river. Then someone piped up. “Have you ever been to Toledo to see the freighters come off the lakes?” “We all take the granted what we see every day,” Huntley said. Tourists want a variety of activities in places of beauty, heritage, arts and culture. The Lake Erie region can give them hiking, shopping, birding, boating. “They like food and wines,” she said. And they like to take selfies to show others about their adventures. “That’s a challenge.” Ohio has all those. But where the state falls short is in self-promotion. “Perception is reality,” Huntley said. “We may have those things,” but if Ohio doesn’t tell people, they won’t come. Many potential tourists are under the impression that the Lake Erie area is still primarily industrial. “We realize people are geographically challenged,” she said. And many people have the impression that the entire lake is green with algae – except Cedar Point. “It was in the commercials,” she said of…


BGSU business & accounting programs have accreditation extended

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) has extended the accreditation of the business and accounting programs at the College of Business at Bowling Green State University. Founded in 1916, AACSB is the longest-serving global accrediting body for business schools and the largest business education network advancing students, educators and business worldwide. AACSB accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education and has been earned by less than 5 percent of the world’s business schools, according to AACSB, placing the college among a very exclusive group. Further, only 187 institutions in the world hold additional AACSB accreditation for their accounting programs, a distinction held by the top 1 percent of business programs in the world. “AACSB accreditation is a significant achievement recognizing academic excellence and a commitment of continuous improvement,” said Dean Ray Braun. “A business degree from the BGSU College of Business is a sound investment and this accreditation reaffirms the value for our students and alumni.” To earn and sustain business accreditation, an institution’s business program is required to undergo a rigorous review and evaluation process. During the accreditation process, business school deans with substantial knowledge of business education and accreditation standards visit and evaluate the program. The BGSU college was reviewed based on 15 business accreditation standards including mission and strategic management; support for students, faculty and staff; learning and teaching; and academic and professional engagement of students and faculty.   Additionally, the college submits annual reports to AACSB on enrollments, retention, graduation, faculty and staff levels and hires, salaries and other benchmark data. “The College of Business has a vibrant student-oriented culture where faculty and students thrive in an inspiring and interactive learning environment,” said Dr. Mohammed Khayum AACSB peer review team chair and provost at the University of Southern Indiana. “With 720 internships completed in the last academic year prior to the report, student engagement is impressive. Similarly, advisory board members raved about the student interns they hosted.” The BGSU College of Business undergraduate program has been accredited since 1954. The BGSU MBA program has been accredited…


Downtown BG to take over hosting Classics on Main Car Show

From DOWNTOWN BOWLING GREEN As the bitter cold of winter begins to set in on our community, Downtown Bowling Green is keeping its thoughts on the warm summer months; as planning the Classic’s on Main Car Show begins. After three years of management through the Sentinel Tribune, Downtown Bowling Green is now managing and promoting the popular car show for 2019.  Special events manager, Samantha Beane, who also took over the Summer Farmers Market from the Sentinel last year, is looking forward to bringing the show back to the non-profit office and continuing its success.  “We are so thankful for the Sentinel’s willingness to take over the show years ago and after one successful event transition (with the farmers market) last summer, we are looking forward to continuing event success in our office,” said Tony Vetter, director Downtown Bowling Green. The Classics on Main show is set to continue on July 13th from noon to 4 p.m. Committee members have already begun the early plans for this local summer favorite, but are looking for willing volunteers to bring new ideas and excitement to the show, or help day of.  “If anyone out there is a car enthusiast who wants to help make this show a success, I want to talk to you”, said Beane. Email inquiries are welcome at specialevents@downtownbgohio.org or call the Downtown BG Office at 419-354-4332.  “This shows success is truly community driven, and we look forward to bringing in the veterans who have created the show back, as well as new faces to help introduce our show and town to the next generation”- said Samantha Beane. So Save the Date BG! 


Soybean farmers look beyond current strife to innovative future

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News These are trying times for soybean farmers. A trade dispute between the United States and China has cut out their largest trading partner. Government help has mitigated the loss, but the damage is real. Local farmer Nathan Eckel, though, was not obsessing on present concerns when he addressed the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club Thursday. An active member of the Ohio Soybean Council, he was eager to talk about the future.  The council, paid for by fees assessed to the farmers, is engaged in making sure farmers like Eckel can keep their operations in business.  Eckel is a fifth generation farmer — Eckel Junction Road was named for the family’s original plot. He also raises other commodity crops and has a 800-head livestock operation, on the 2,000 acres he farms. The future, he told club members, includes funding research into new ways to use soybean. The plant now is used in biodiesel, human food, and animal feed. Eckel, who as a trustee of the council chairs its research committee, said the council is active in funding corporate and academic research.  That research includes replacing petroleum-based oils with sustainable and biodegradable soy oil products. A soy-based floor coating has just come to market, he said. Another project is the development of soy fish meal for fish farms in India.  The research committee sends out calls for proposals, and then writes grants for the most promising projects. “We expect a return on the investment we make,”  Eckel said. The council plugs in money at the very early stages and keeps providing equity until the product goes to market. Then, he said, “we start getting our royalties.” One use of those royalties is funding scholarships through the Ohio Soybean Association, a policy body separately funded by members.  Last year the association awarded $45,000 in scholarships.  Those scholars may not end up growing soybeans, but may instead do research or work in some other agriculture-related occupation. The council is also active in programs to teach young people about agriculture. Through Grow Next Gen, Eckel has conducted virtual farm tours…


Collab Lab director Jerry Schnepp tunes into the forces of innovation

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Jerry Schnepp reached this stage of his career taking an unusual path. That’s fitting for someone who leads the Collab Lab, an initiative to spark creative thinking. The rocker by night and innovation initiator by day recently received the Faculty Excellence Award for 2018 from the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering. Schnepp, 42, splits his time between teaching courses in visual communications technology and directing the Collab Lab at Bowling Green State University. The lab opened just over a year ago. “We call the Collab Lab an idea accelerator, not a maker space,  not a business  incubator, an idea accelerator. It’s a place people can get together with people from other disciplines and develop prototypes. It’s a place we can try things out and not be afraid of failing, and build on that learning experience to develop innovations.” To date the lab helped launch an opioid teach-in on campus, which was both an academic and a civic endeavor. The lab also put together an electronic art summer workshop at the Toledo Museum of Art. Schnepp said the lab has been hosting creative thinking workshops for classes, student organizations and industry partners. A design team from First Solar did a creative thinking workshop with the lab. “It was really valuable to them,” Schnepp said. “This is something we’ll offer to other industry partners.” Schnepp was invited to make a presentation at Epic Toledo’s leadership summit. Epic Toledo is an organization of young professionals and young entrepreneurs who are involved in the community. That invitation, Schnepp said, was gratifying because it recognized that the Collab Lab is viewed as a regional resource, not just a university program. He expects in the future the lab will be able to tell stories about ideas hatched there that have grown into thriving businesses. “That’s what we envision it to be,” he said. “More importantly it’s helping to create a culture of innovation on campus and in the community.”   Schnepp marched to his own tune to get to this point. He grew up in Chicago, and started…


First Lunch & Learn seminar covers employee handbooks

From BOWLING GREEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Lunch and Learn business seminar Tuesday, Jan. 29, 11:30 a.m. at 1 p.m. at The Four Corners Center, 130 S. Main St., Bowling Green.  This seminar titled Review Your Employee Handbook is being presented in partnership with The Employers Association and will be facilitated by Colleen House. The workshop cover; the basics of a solid handbook, highlight new requirements, determining how to prepare an employee handbook or review your current handbook for needed updates,  and a general overview of the different sections and policies contained within a comprehensive handbook. A well planned employee handbook will minimize your potential liability with clearly defined structure. The seminar is free for Chamber Investors and $10 for Non-Investors.  Lunch can also be provided for those who attend for an additional $10. Reservations are required by Jan. 25. RSVP by calling 419-353-7945 or emailing events@bgchamber.net. Space is limited. Watch for additional information from the Chamber on their 2019 WORK OUT!  Each quarter will focus on specific topics for business: Q1—Resources and Training; Q2 — Workforce Development; Q3 — Marketing; and Q4 —Celebrating Business.