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Vorys Economic Development Incentives Conference

February 21, 2020 ♦ Columbus


Vorys has hosted its annual Economic Development Incentives Conference since 2016 in Columbus, Ohio. The conference features panel discussions, breakout sessions and guest speakers. Each of these sessions is focused on trends and best practices regarding economic development incentives for developers, companies and community leaders.

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Who Should Attend

The annual Vorys Economic Development Incentives Conference is attended by developers; in-house real estate and tax professionals; and community and government leaders. The breakout sessions and panel discussions are designed to appeal to professionals from across the economic development spectrum. The conference also provides an opportunity to network and build relationships.

What Past Attendees Say

Excellent conference overall.

Panelists are experts in their field and accomplished.

Very good range of topics.
Presentations and discussions were useful and informative.

Handouts are a good reference.

Very interesting program.

Good materials.

Great crowd and opportunity to meet wide range of professionals.

8:30 A.M. – 9:00 A.M.

Check-in & Breakfast

9:00 A.M. – 9:05 A.M.


9:05 A.M. – 9:50 A.M.

Getting Beyond the Sound Bites -Elected Officials Roundtable


In a thought-provoking roundtable discussion, elected officials from throughout Ohio will discuss hot topics in the economic development incentives world.


Panelists include: 

  • Ohio State Senator Kirk Schuring
  • Ohio State Representative Bill Seitz
  • Shammas Malik, Councilmember, City of Akron
  • Megan Kilgore, Auditor, City of Columbus 
  • Jill Tangeman (Moderator), Vorys
10:00 A.M. – 10:40 A.M.

Economic Development Leaders Roundtable


The speakers will discuss trends they are seeing in the economic development industry and how those trends are impacting projects. The speakers are experienced economic development professionals that bring viewpoints from the city, state and corporate perspective.


Panelists include:

  • Christopher Chung, CEO, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina
  • Quinten Harris, Deputy Director of Jobs and Economic Development, City of Columbus
  • Rita Williams, Director of Economic Development, The Kroger Co.
  • Christopher Knezevic (Moderator), Vorys
10:50 A.M. – 11:30 A.M.

Reducing Your Tax Burden: Abatements and Exemptions (Breakout Session)


An overview and update of tax abatements and exemptions, including CRAs, EZs, use-based real property tax exemptions and pollution control tax exemptions.


Speakers include: 

  • Hillary Houston, Vorys
  • Jonathan Stock, Vorys 
10:50 A.M. – 11:30 A.M.

Waking the Sleeping Giant: The Redevelopment of Dayton’s Historic Arcade (Breakout Session)


As the commercial center of downtown Dayton starting in the early 1900’s, the giant Dayton Arcade provided area residents the opportunity to shop in style, purchasing everything from clothing to fresh seafood and produce shipped by train all the way from Florida. For decades now the giant has been asleep. This session discusses the history of the Dayton Arcade and its importance to the past and future success and survival of downtown Dayton, identifies many of the factors that ultimately doomed prior efforts to redevelopment the Arcade, and explores the many tools recently employed to wake the giant.


Speakers include:

  • Dave Williams, Cross Street Partners
  • John Gower, CityWide
  • Ted Smith (Moderator), Vorys 
10:50 A.M. – 11:30 A.M.

How Teaming Up and Creative Use of Incentives Can Make Your Matching Funds Appear **It’s financing, not magic** (Breakout Session)


With a new interchange needing to be completed in time for a high profile event, sufficient funds for the required ODOT local match were hard to come by. With an expected price tag of over $13 million just for the local match, multiple levels of government, along with the private sector, would need to work together to find a way to borrow the local match while providing a path to receive a return on this significant investment.


Panelists include:

  • Gary Sommer, Heban,  Murphee & Lewandowski
  • Mike Hampton, Administrator, Springfield Township
  • Mike Pniewski, Chief Deputy Engineer, Lucas County
  • Aaron Berke (Moderator), Vorys 
11:40 A.M. - 12:30 P.M.

Opportunity Zones: How Did We Get Here, How Are We Doing, and Where Do We Go Now? (Breakout Session)


This session will discuss new federal regulations and current trends, the nomination process, and initiatives the Ohio Development Services Agency has taken on the topic.


Panelists include:

  • Matt Peters, Assistant Director, Ohio Development Services Agency
  • Joseph Mann, Vorys 
  • Sean Byrne (Moderator), Vorys 
11:40 A.M. - 12:30 P.M.

There’s No Place Like Home (Some Strings Attached) (Breakout Session)


When White Castle was looking for a corporate headquarters, its first choice was always to stay in Columbus on its current parcel. Environmental challenges that pre-dated White Castle’s occupancy on the site meant that incentives would be necessary to keep White Castle home. Now that the headquarters is complete, and multiple other phases are well underway, hear how the incentives impacted the design, construction and operation of this downtown jewel.


Panelists include:

  • Russ Meyer, CFO, White Castle
  • Rob Albert, Vice President of Real Estate & Site Development, White Castle 
  • Diana Rife, Revitalization Project Manager, JobsOhio
  • Aaron Berke (Moderator), Vorys 
12:30 P.M. - 12:45 P.M.

Lunch Served

12:45 P.M. – 1:45 P.M.

Ohio’s Economic Development Strategy – Keynote Speakers


Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor, Development Director and the director of JobsOhio’s sites and infrastructure strategy will discuss Ohio’s current economic development strategy, including how economic development incentives can be used to help improve the state’s economy and residents’ well-being.


Panelists include:

  • Ohio Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted 
  • Lydia Mihalik, Director, Ohio Development Services Agency

  • Terrence Slaybaugh, Managing Director, Infrastructure, JobsOhio
  • Scott Ziance (Moderator), Vorys

Friday, February 21


Sheraton Columbus Capitol Square

75 E State St.

Columbus, Ohio 43215


This program is approved in Ohio for 3.75 total CLE hours instruction.

Attendees will also be eligible for CPE and CE credits.


If you have questions, please contact Emily Dilloway at ejdilloway@vorys.com.

Attendee Info