OEDA 2021 Annual Excellence Awards – Call for Nominations

Jun 28, 2021 | Uncategorized

The Ohio Economic Development Association’s annual Excellence Awards program recognizes the achievements of individuals and organizations in Ohio in the areas of economic and workforce development.  Submit your nominations today and have excellence in your community recognized statewide!

A panel of judges will evaluate the nominations, determine finalists, and select a winner for each of the categories noted below.  Award winners will be announced in conjunction with the 2021 OEDA Annual Summit (in person – October 26-27 in central Ohio).  Winners will be notified prior to the Annual Summit.

Winners and finalists will be promoted on OEDA’s website and in the OEDA e-newsletter. This information may also be published by winners and finalists in the media and used for promotional purposes.

Please note that if you are selected as a winner in any category, excluding Excellence in Innovation, you will be asked to make yourself and/or other individuals involved with the project/campaign available for the purpose of capturing footage for the videos in late August, September and/or early October (as scheduled by the videographer).  The finalized video will be presented at the awards program at the Summit, and you will receive a copy to keep.  It can be an excellent marketing and/or fundraising tool.  Be sure to check out examples of last year’s award winners.  Further details will be sent to the winning nomination contacts after August 1st to schedule.


Award Categories & Online Submission Links (submit your nomination online by August 1, 2021).

  1. Best Project
  1. Excellence in Marketing & Communications
  1. Excellence in Workforce Development
  1. Economic Development Professional of the Year
  1. ED Rookie of the Year
  1. Excellence in Innovation (People’s Choice!) – Video Entry


Eligibility Criteria
Nominees in all categories must be individuals or organizations that operate within Ohio and may be a community-based or non-government organization, government agency or political subdivision, or a private for-profit organization.  Please note that an entry may be deemed inapplicable if the judging committee feels that the entry does not fit the category selected by the nominator.


Nomination procedure
To nominate an individual or an organization for an award, please complete the appropriate nomination form(s) and submit with the requested information for each no later than August 1, 2021.  Self-nominations are encouraged.

Nominations are free for current OEDA members.  The nomination fee for non-members is $75 per entry (nominator and/or nominee must be an OEDA member to qualify for no entry fee).  Non-members will be invoiced for the $75 fee per entry.


A panel of no less than seven judges, comprised of past award winners, OEDA area directors, and Ohio CEDs, will evaluate each submission. To ensure fairness and objectivity, judges must recuse themselves from judging a category if they OR the organization by which they are employed are a participant in any of the submissions in that category.  At the discretion of the judges, one or more finalist, honorable mentions or similar recognitions could be awarded in any of the award categories, but no such award must be given in any category.  OEDA reserves the right to not make an award in any category for which there are less than three submissions.


Visit the online links to submit your nominations by the August 1, 2021 deadline.


Award Category Descriptions


Best Project
The Best Project Award recognizes outstanding and innovative projects (retention, attraction, redevelopment (brownfield or historic), greenfield infrastructure, Main Street) in economic and business development that retain or generate jobs and capital investment.  This can be anything from a retention project to new facility construction, redevelopment (brownfield or otherwise) or an historic project.  The award determination is not dependent on the number of jobs created or retained, size of site, or the amount of total investment.  Rather, this award will showcase a unique approach to the project, which can include a public-private partnership, local collaboration, innovative financing and/or incentives, overcoming historic barriers or obstacles, or been a catalyst for economic development in the community.  The project must have been completed in the last 18 months, however there are no time limits or constraints on the total timeline of the project. (especially in the case of brownfield redevelopment, infrastructure projects, etc).


Excellence in Marketing & Communications
This award recognizes successful economic development marketing projects or marketing campaigns.  Examples include target market studies, branding, websites, direct mail, consultant events, public relations campaigns, social media campaigns and advertising.

There are no longer separate sub-categories based on the size of a community.  Rather, the community’s or organization’s resources relative to the project or campaign will be considered when evaluating the project. Criteria such as total organization staff, organization’s budget, project budget, internal staff allocated for the submitted project and use of consultants will be considered.


Excellence in Workforce Development
This award recognizes unique approaches to any aspect of workforce development and recognizes a person or organization that has developed innovative practices and programs. The strategy(ies) should provide direction, guidance, and motivation to Ohio’s workforce and business community and demonstrate an impact in meeting the workforce needs or overcoming the challenges in a specific community/region, industry, population or the state as a whole.


Economic Development Professional of the Year
The Economic Development Professional of the Year award is to recognize an individual who has been an economic development professional in Ohio for at least the past year.  The purpose of the award is to identify someone who has assisted in making a significant impact in their organization/community through their efforts as an economic developer. The Economic Development Professional of the Year award encourages, recognizes, and celebrates one the individual who has met the challenges of providing economic development and, who demonstrates the ability and commitment to positively impact their community’s and/or the state’s economic growth, and contributed to the advancement of the economic development profession in Ohio.


Economic Development Rookie of the Year
This award recognizes an individual who has been an economic development professional in Ohio for less than two years (after May 1, 2019). The purpose of the award is to identify someone who has “hit the ground running” and made extraordinary contributions to local or state workforce and economic development in his/her career. The Rookie of the Year award encourages, recognizes, and celebrates one who has met the challenges of providing economic development early in their career and who demonstrates the ability and commitment to positively impact the state’s economic growth.


Excellence in Innovation
Economic development professionals are consistently challenged to overcome barriers and find solutions. This was especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic the past 18 months.  The pandemic created unprecedented disruption and challenges in every community across Ohio.  But, it also lead to new ideas, partnerships, strategies, and tactics.  Surely 2020 was a year of innovation. The Excellence in Innovation award recognizes unique approaches to any aspect of economic development and recognizes a person or organization that has developed innovative practices and programs.  Please note that this award will require a video entry.  You may upload your (5 minute maximum) video entry.  Video entries will be narrowed to 5 finalists by the award judges, and the OEDA membership will choose the winner (People’s choice) to be announced at the Summit.  All finalist videos will be presented at the Summit, as well. 

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