Wow! The OWR Network has five years behind us an earnest network guided by an Operations Team made up of backbone organizations (Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area, ACENet, Rural Action, Ohio University*) and a Contractor Team made up of part-time contractors (John Winnenberg, Amy Grove, Brian Harnetty, Delia Palmisano and most recently Mary Lou Wycinski, and Madison Donahue) who are moving the network forward based on an interactive planning process (experiment, learn, adapt, do, repeat….) Add to that an investment in thoughtful network principles and collaborative decision making facilitated by Circle Forward Consultants/Tracy Kunkler, who has worked with both our Operations and Contractor Teams since 2016. The result is the current structure of Ohio’s Winding Road Network with Ohio’s Hill Country Heritage Area serving as the prime network manager over these years.
As we move forward, a more distributed leadership model is increasingly bringing paid contractors to the table from a variety of backbone organizations and other stakeholder groups. We’d like to meet other people, businesses and organizations who are interested in getting involved at the planning/leadership/structural level, or at learning more about how we work.
Stay tuned for an upcoming conversation where we review our Common Agenda and funding sources (currently ARC POWER, USDA Rural Business Development, Sugar Bush), as well, our OWR Seed Grant program and OWR Marketplace, and our OWR Trail Towns, our media & marketing strategy and new pilot Guides and Interpreters effort.
Remember, the most critical ingredient to the Network’s success are the regional producers and stakeholders like you/we all, who receive this newsletter as we are making southeastern Ohio a much more interesting place to live, work, play and visit. Together, OWR Network has been trying to do this with stewardship of our landscape and story as we build and promote local value chains, trail towns/destination communities, and brands around our four pillars (Operations, Guides & Interpreters, Producers & Entrepreneurs, Media & Marketing). We’d love to have more diverse participation and input at the leadership/planning level from those so inclined.
*Center for Campus & Community Engagement, Voinovich Center Social Enterprise Ecosystem Program, Sugar Bush Foundation)