By Marc Kovac
The head of the state’s new nonprofit economic development effort and a longtime friend of Gov. John Kasich’s will step down from his post next month.
Mark Kvamme, short-time director of the Ohio Department of Development (recently renamed the Ohio Development Services Agency) and jobs adviser to Kasich, announced his resignation as president and interim chief investment officer of JobsOhio. The resignation will take effect Nov. 1, and John Minor, one of JobsOhio’s managing directors, will take Kvamme’s place.
Kvamme said in a released statement that he would remain in Ohio, though he and a spokeswoman offered no specifics.
“The world is waking up again to Ohio’s potential, but more must be done, and more will be done,” he said. “I look forward to continuing to be part of that and to furthering the mission of JobsOhio in a different but equally meaningful way.”
Kvamme, a venture capitalist from California, faced a number of legal and other challenges since coming to the state two years ago.
Initially, he served as head of the development department and then as a jobs adviser to the governor after questions arose about whether his state of residency precluded him from the former.
He was injured in a motocross accident a few months into Kasich’s term and had surgery on his face.
And he was named in a number of lawsuits questioning the constitutionality of JobsOhio, a nonprofit that operates mostly outside of the state’s public meetings and records laws as it negotiates with companies considering expansions. Legal questions about the setup have not been resolved fully.
Still, JobsOhio reported working with 391 companies that invested or expanded in Ohio from January 2011 through June of this year, creating more than 31,000 jobs and retaining close to 116,000 others, according to statistics released earlier by the nonprofit. Combined, the projects will generate nearly $4.8 billion in annual payroll and $3.3 billion in capital investment.
In a released statement, Kasich credited Kvamme as “an essential part of Ohio’s efforts to create a jobs-friendly climate and begin to get back on track” and said he’s “glad that [Kvamme] plans to stay in Ohio and keep contributing to our state’s revival.”
Republican House Speaker Bill Batchelder echoed those comments: “Mark Kvamme has been essential to the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs in Ohio, and I am very appreciative of his service to the people of Ohio and the expertise he has brought to JobsOhio. His keen business sense and dedication to improving our economy helped to make Ohio competitive in the global economy and put us at the forefront of the national recovery.”