Johnson Recognized for Economic Development Efforts at OEDA Summit

Oct 19, 2018
Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber Manager of Business Development Lauren Johnson was recognized as one of three statewide finalists, and named Runner Up, for the Rookie of the Year award presented by the Ohio Economic Development Association (OEDA) at its Annual Summit in Columbus on Wednesday.

Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber Manager of Business Development Lauren Johnson was recognized as one of three statewide finalists, and named Runner Up, for the Rookie of the Year award presented by the Ohio Economic Development Association (OEDA) at its Annual Summit in Columbus on Wednesday.

The award recognizes and celebrates industry professionals that have made extraordinary contributions to local or state workforce and economic development early in their careers.

Johnson joined the Regional Chamber in 2015 as the 422 Corridor Initiative project manager and worked to implement the five-year goals of the comprehensive redevelopment strategy. Since then, much progress has been made towards the five areas/goals the initiative plan identified: improve the corridor as the region’s gateway to jobs, job growth, business support, neighborhood stabilization and leveraging natural resources. Johnson has partnered with state, county and municipal entities, company owners and executives, neighborhood groups, non-profit organizations and others to move plans forward.

In 2017, while still managing the 422 Corridor Initiative, Johnson was promoted into the Economic Development division of the Regional Chamber to provide one-on-one assistance to companies located in Mahoning and Trumbull counties. In her current role, Lauren has completed more than 100 individual business retention and expansion visits and managed industrial projects throughout the Valley that have resulted in nearly $120 million of investment, the creation of 194 new jobs and the retention of 952 jobs. She is currently managing nine pending projects, with an estimated value of $89 million, that could result in the creation of 310 new jobs.

Regional Chamber COO Sarah Boyarko said, "Lauren is an important part of our Economic Development team and has continued to excel in her work while employed at the Chamber. Her vast economic development knowledge is highly sought, and she always goes above and beyond for companies in the Valley. She is quickly becoming a leader in our industry."

OEDA is a professional association of economic developers and industry professionals committed to helping its members expand their knowledge, network and influence by offering foundational programs and services designed to support current organizational efforts, as well as preparing individuals for future career growth.

During the Annual Summit, Johnson was added to the slate of the 2019 OEDA Board of Directors, replacing long-time board member Boyarko as the area director for northeast Ohio.

Johnson has been recognized by a number of groups, including the Mahoning Valley Young Professionals 25 Under 35, Raymond John Wean Foundation Emerging Leaders and Mahoning Valley Local Government Leadership Academy, for her organizational leadership, ability to produce quality results and drive to improve the economic health of the Valley. She is the real estate and business representative on the Ohio Public Works Commission District 6 Natural Resource Assistance Council and represents the Chamber on the Mahoning River Corridor Initiative Committee.

The Youngstown resident attended Patrick Henry College in Virginia, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Government.