Van Wert County Economic Development Director Sarah K. Smith and Program Manager Leesa Brown go over a list of projects Monday. (Submitted photo)
Van Wert County Economic Development Director Sarah K. Smith and Program Manager Leesa Brown go over a list of projects Monday. (Submitted photo)
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VAN WERT — Van Wert County Economic Development Director Sarah K. Smith has a long list of projects for newly-hired program manager Leesa Brown to tackle, and they lost no time getting started Monday.

Brown, a native of Wren, will assist Smith and the County Commissioners with applying for economic and community development funding and attracting new jobs to the area.

“Leesa’s experience with all levels of government, particularly her work in the Ohio Department of Development and with Franklin County’s Commissioners in Columbus means we can move quickly and from a position of strength on the kinds of projects so important to attracting good jobs for families in our county,” Smith said.

Brown worked for the state’s Community Development Departmen Executive Director. “The competition between states for large job creation projects was just beginning,” she said. “I worked with the team that helped land the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and I learned so much. Telling your story in a convincing and compelling way is a big part of being competitive. I am excited to be part of the county’s ambitious strategy to get the word out far and wide that this is a good place to do business. The work ethic here is probably unsurpassed, and we have a strong education system and training as well as solid community support.”

Brown is the daughter of Dorothy Brown and the late Paul G. “Pete” Brown. “My dad was a farmer and also worked for 30 years at International Harvester,” she said. “My mom spent her career in banking. Both of my parents worked very, very hard to build a good life for their family. Keeping family here is important to this community, and providing good jobs is instrumental to making it happen. I am grateful to have an opportunity to contribute to that.”