Economic Development Director & Regional Innovation Officer

Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC)
May 26, 2023
Columbus, Ohio
Job Type


Salary: $105,000.00 - $125,000.00 Annually

Location: 111 Liberty St Suite 100 Columbus, OH

Job Type: Full-Time

Remote Employment: Flexible/Hybrid


As Central Ohio’s regional council, MORPC is an association of cities, villages, townships, counties and regional organizations and serves rural, suburban, and urban areas. We take pride in bringing communities of all sizes and interests together to collaborate on best practices and plan for the future of our growing region. We do this through a variety of programs, services, projects and initiatives – all with the goal of improving the lives of our residents and making Central Ohio stand out on the world stage.

One of Central Ohio’s greatest strengths is the diversity of our communities, and to best serve our region, MORPC assertively values diversity and inclusion and strives to reflect those values in our team, our work, and our positive impact for the region. Our work progresses when our team can draw on a wide range of personal experiences and backgrounds, and when each member is open to learning from the experiences of others, both internally and externally. As an equal opportunity employer, we fully support all applicable state and federal laws and regulations and do not discriminate against applicants for employment or employees because of race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, sex or gender, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, medical conditions,  age, disability or other handicap, genetic information, marital/familial status, veteran status, military status, or income or status with regard to public assistance in any aspects of our personnel policies, working conditions, or hiring and recruitment.

To create and nourish a workforce as diverse as the Central Ohio region, MORPC encourages members of groups traditionally underrepresented in local government and professional positions to apply for our open career opportunities.

MORPC recognizes the value of a healthy work/life balance for our team members and as such, we provide a variety of benefits to promote that balance. Eligible employees receive a free system-wide transit pass and discounted access to other alternative transportation modes to provide options for commuting to work. MORPC encourages opportunities for career advancement through generous tuition and professional development incentives, leadership programs, and participation in local and national organizations. For eligible permanent positions, MORPC also offers flexible schedules and remote work options as well as paid time off and holidays. MORPC employees may also be eligible for excellent health, vision and dental insurance, employee assistance programs, employer paid short-term & long-term disability coverage, employer paid life insurance in the amount of $50,000 coverage, participation in the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, plus two Deferred Compensation Plans that employees can opt into for additional retirement funding. More info can be found in the benefits link within the online posting.

Under administrative direction of the Chief Mobility & Infrastructure Officer and Senior Director of Programming, the Economic Development Director & Regional Innovation Officer is responsible for directing and developing agency economic development and strategic infrastructure programming, leads Central Ohio’s innovation ecosystem, and performs related duties as required.  The Economic Development Director & Regional Innovation Officer is a director-level leadership position which manages other supporting employees, with regular reporting to senior agency leadership and the Executive Director.

Examples of Duties

  • Oversee designation, formation, compliance, and implementation of the soon-to-be USEDA designated Columbus Region Economic Development District (CREDD).
  • Lead the implementation, reporting, and future updates of the Columbus Region Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).
  • Lead the Columbus region’s innovation ecosystem by creating a comprehensive innovation agenda that enhances the region’s ability to increase its scale and make it easier for public and private partners to collaborate.
  • Manage and lead a clear and effective governance for the Columbus Region’s consortium dedicated to forming a Regional Technology Hub with the United States Economic Development Administration (USEDA).
  • Oversee implementation and compliance related to the USEDA grants to MORPC for economic recovery and other activities.
  • Lead and enhance economic development partnership efforts with the Ohio University Voinovich School for Leadership & Public Service, including the focus on the USEDA University Centers.
  • Oversee implementation and compliance related to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) grant to MORPC for brownfield assessment related to redevelopment.
  • Lead bi-annual update of the Competitive Advantage Projects (CAP) program, and provide ongoing technical assistance, including project strategy development and strategic funding assistance.
  • Maintain working relationships with relevant economic development stakeholders, including Jobs Ohio, One Columbus, USEDA, USEPA, the Ohio Department of Development, the Mid-Ohio Development Exchange, economic development officers in cities and counties within MORPC region, COTA, workforce development entities, and others related to economic development.
  • Support other agency planning projects with economic development components.
  • Facilitate strategic funding for major transportation and infrastructure projects outlined in regional planning documents, including the Metropolitan Transportation Plan and CORPO Transportation Plan.
  • Provide technical assistance related to strategic infrastructure funding sources (e.g. projects pursuing funding via ODOT TRAC and U.S. DOT RAISE & INFRA programs).
  • Support other agency infrastructure and drive investment initiatives as appropriate (e.g. attributable funding, OPWC, transportation improvement districts).
  • Develop other tools and initiatives to support MORPC local government members with economic development planning and funding, identifying and pursuing funding and financial tools, and helping connect them to relevant data and tools.
  • Assist as assigned with any other agency initiatives.

Typical Qualifications


  • Knowledge of the principles and best practices of?public administration, economic development and planning.?
  • A strong knowledge of Microsoft Office software
  • Ability to communicate effectively?with MORPC members, state agencies, federal agencies.?


  • A Bachelor’s Degree in City and Regional Planning, Economics, Public Administration, Political Science, Business, or related and five (5) years’ experience.
  • Economic development certification from the International Economic Development Council (CEcD); Ohio Economic Development Association (OhioCED); or National Development Council (EDFP) is recommended.
  • Management and/or leadership experience is recommended.
  • Experience as a past applicant or recipient of federal funds is recommended.


Must have valid driver’s license, safe driving record and maintain liability insurance coverage as required by MORPC.

Supplemental Information

MORPC is an EOE/AAP employer. Please apply online at or you may mail a resume to:
MORPC Attn: PG-6-23
111 Liberty St., Suite 100
Columbus, OH 43215
No phone calls please.

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2023 Impact Awards

The primary applicant must be a NADO member. Project partners, both NADO and non-members, can be recognized under "Project Partners" below.

Primary Project Contact:
This person will be the designated point of contact for all future awards-related correspondence and will receive the printed award certificates and other hardcopy materials should the project win an award.

Organization Address

Project Location (if different from Organization Address)

Executive Director

Additional Organizational Information
Please upload your organization's logo which will be included on the winning project award certificate.

Project Information
This title will be printed on the award certificate for winning projects and in all 2022 NADO Impact Award materials and cannot be changed.

Project Summary & Questions
Please craft clear, thoughtful, and engaging responses to the following questions. Use the following sections to tell us how your project has made an impact, such as its use of creative funding mechanisms, efforts to create efficiencies or reduce costs, unique partnership models, and emphasis on building resilience and/or enhancing your region's quality of life.

For award-winning projects, the information provided below may be used verbatim to inform project descriptions that will be published in the 2023 NADO Impact Awards materials and included on the NADO website.

Please submit at least one photo showing your project in action. Please keep file size to a minimum (<2Mb) and use JPEG format. If uploading multiple files, ZIP files prior to submitting. If you have trouble uploading images they can be directly emailed to Brett Schwartz at [email protected] Include the project title they correspond to in the subject line of your email.

Note: Submitted photos may be used in NADO Impact Awards materials and in other NADO published materials with credit to your organization. Please also consider submitting photos for NADO's 2023 Photo Contest, which will be held this summer.

Your application is not submitted until you are directed to a confirmation page. If you have any questions or are unsure if your application has been submitted, please contact Brett Schwartz at [email protected]

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Joe McKinney serves as Executive Director of the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO). Headquartered in Washington DC, NADO provides advocacy, education, research, and training for the nation’s 500+ regional planning and development organizations.

Joe has thirty-one years of experience having served in city, county, regional, national association, and government management since 1991. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a candidate for a master’s degree in Public Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.

McKinney has provided congressional testimony on numerous occasions regarding the importance of regional development organizations in helping shape the nation’s economic growth. He is nationally recognized for promoting innovative solutions in areas such as planning and economic development, workforce development, transportation and transit, and aging services.

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