Ohio House Speaker learns of NCWQR’s value

Ohio Speaker of the House Ryan Smith made a stop at the National Center for Water Quality Research on Tuesday on a learning trip about the great things happening in northwestern Ohio.

Smith’s visit was led by State Rep. Bill Reineke of Tiffin and organized by David Zak, president and CEO of the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. An array of local political, educational and economic development leaders converged on campus to tour the lab and learn about its work in biological assessment of aquatic communities and watershed modeling throughout Ohio, especially the Great Lakes region.

“We have a great community here,” Reineke told Smith, “and we’re working together to try to make great things happen in northwest Ohio.” 

Zak told Smith that the 88th District, which Reineke represents, is experiencing an economic boom in large part because of the partnerships and collaboration among public, private and non-profit organizations.

One example is the Ohio Partnership for Water, Industrial & Cyber Security (OPWICS), approved last year by the Ohio State Capital Budget Office. The $1 million OPWICS will serve as a state hub for research and developing a trained workforce to meet the growing needs of state and national businesses and governments to secure natural and information resources against human and natural attack. Beginning this year, the money will be allocated to Heidelberg’s National Center for Water Quality Research, Tiffin University’s Center for Cyber Defense and Forensics and Terra State Community College’s National Center of Excellence for Cyber Defense.

But for today, Smith wanted to learn more about the contributions Heidelberg’s lab makes to the sustainable use of soil and water resources. The lab, which frequently partners with large research institutions and governmental and non-profit agencies, offers resources for the community including water testing and one of the largest data sets from tributaries, gathered over the past 50 years.

Prior to a guided tour by Lab Manager Ellen Ewing, Zak told Smith he was about to “see a glimpse of the excellence we have in our community that we can all be proud of.”

At the tour’s conclusion, Ryan called the lab “impressive” and a valuable asset for the region. The group later stopped by TU to learn about the Center for Cyber Defense and Forensics and Terra State’s cyber defense center.

Heidelberg was represented by Provost Dr. Beth Schwartz, VP for Administration & Business Affairs Hoa Nguyen, VP for University Advancement & Marketing Phil Ness, Dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Allied Health Sciences Dr. Bryan Smith and Senior Researcher Rem Confesor. Trustees Andrew Kalnow and Tony Paradiso and alumni Mayor Aaron Montz and Bryce Riggs of SIEDC also were among those on hand.


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