The Toledo Region is fortunate to have diversity in its military units. While the Ohio Air National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing is often the most recognized unit in the region, there are also components of the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Army National Guard, Air National Guard, Coast Guard and other federal assets that provide service to our region and nation. These units are comprised of several thousand members and contribute tens of millions of dollars to our local economy. The Chamber supports these efforts by coordinating the Northwest Ohio Military Affairs Committee. The committee meets regularly to discuss the needs and opportunities to support these units in the region. It is comprised of the units, service organizations, key employers and elected officials.
The Civic Leader Program is comprised of community leaders selected by the Air Force major commands, National Guard Bureau and Headquarters Air Force from across the country. Gramza serves as the representative for Air National Guard. The program offers community leaders a chance to better understand the mission of the Air Force and to provide feedback to senior Air Force leaders about the impact of programs and support they provide to their respective bases and communities in an effort to share best practices.
The 2018 Ohio Defense Forum was an opportunity for regional defense industry leaders from across Ohio to discuss current events and identify future needs. Other members on the panel included U.S. Representative Brad Wenstrup (R-Cincinnati), James Dignan, president & CEO of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, Alesha Washington, vice president of government advocacy at the Greater Cleveland Partnership; Hank Kennedy, director of plant operations at the Joint Manufacturing Systems Center (also known as the Lima Tank Plant) in Lima; and Breck Woodward, vice president for aerospace programs at the Dayton Development Coalition.
The panel focused on the impact that the military units have on our region – particularly economically and workforce, how local communities can support the units and their service members, and the need for a coordinated effort at the state level to assist local efforts. Panel members noted that members of the state’s congressional delegation have been highly supportive in a bi-partisan manner to support the units and the missions they perform.
As the Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy for the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, Brian oversees the Chamber’s advocacy and public policy efforts with local, state and Federal governments. With nearly 20 years of experience, he has held positions in state government in the offices of the Ohio Lt. Governor, Ohio Auditor of State and Ohio Treasurer of State. He also worked for the late U.S. Representative Paul Gillmor and in the Office of the Vice President of the United States.