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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

Megan Kilgore
Auditor, City of Columbus
Shammas Malik
Councilmember, City of Akron
Kirk Schuring
Senator, Ohio Senate
Bill Seitz
Representative, Ohio House of Representatives
Jill Tangeman
Partner, Vorys

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

10:00 A.M. – 10:40 A.M.

Economic Development Leaders Roundtable

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Tom Brinkley
Shareholder, Maynard Cooper & Gale
Christopher Chung
CEO, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina
Quinten Harris
Deputy Director, Jobs and Economic Development, City of Columbus
Christopher Knezevic
Associate, Vorys

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.

10:50 A.M. – 11:30 A.M.

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

Hilary Houston
Associate, Vorys
Jon Stock
Of Counsel, Vorys

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

10:50 A.M. – 11:30 A.M.

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

Dave Williams
Senior Development Director, Cross Street Partners
John Gower
Urban Design Director, CityWide
Ted Smith
Partner, Vorys

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.

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)

Mike Hampton
Administrator, Springfield Township
Mike Pniewski
Engineer, Lucas County
Gary Sommer
Attorney, Heban,  Murphee & Lewandowski
Aaron Berke
Partner, Vorys 

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.

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)

Joseph Mann
Partner, Vorys
Matt Peters
Assistant Director, Ohio Development Services Agency
Sean Byrne
Of Counsel, Vorys 

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.

11:40 A.M. - 12:30 P.M.

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

Rob Albert
Senior Director, Real Estate & Business Development, White Castle
Russ Meyer
CFO, White Castle
Diana Rife
Senior Project Manager, JobsOhio
Aaron Berke
Partner, Vorys

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.

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

Jon Husted
Ohio Lieutenant Governor
Lydia Mihalik
Director, Ohio Development Services Agency
Terrence Slaybaugh
Managing Director, Infrastructure, JobsOhio
Scott Ziance
Partner, Vorys

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.

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 3.50 CPE and CE credits.


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

Registration is now closed.