Connecting Innovation Policy and Practice Ohio (CIPPO) 2022

Innovation-Led Projects in Ohio: Part 1

About This Panel

This panel is the first of two discussions highlighting the achievements, challenges, and pathways to success for innovative projects in Ohio. Speakers in this panel discuss specific projects happening outside Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, focusing on managing innovation in rural areas. 


Russell Mills – Senior Director, Center for Regional Development at Bowling Green State University 
Dr. Russell Mills is the Senior Director of the Center for Regional Development at Bowling Green State University (BGSU). His work at CRD focuses on local economic development, improving air transportation access to communities, and examining the implications of automation on workforce and economic development. Dr. Mills is also the Principal Investigator for CRD’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center program that provides technical assistance, data, analytics, and applied research to local businesses and economic development professionals as well as CRD’s Rural Universities Program grant from the State of Ohio. He has expertise in economic impact analysis, demographic and economic data analysis, and policy analysis and received grants from the Economic Development Administration (EDA), Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) Airport Cooperative Research Program, the Dirksen Congressional Research Center, the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), and the IBM Center for the Business of Government. 

G. Jason Jolley – Associate Dean for Public Strategy and Innovation, Ohio University 
G. Jason Jolley is a Professor of Rural Economic Development and MPA Director at the George V. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University. At Ohio University, he also serves as a Research Fellow in the Center for Entrepreneurship and directs Ohio University’s portion of the US Economic Development Administration University Center (joint with Bowling Green State University). His applied research portfolio includes serving as principal investigator on a subcontract with the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth to support a Regional Innovation Cluster (RIC) project with the U.S. Small Business Administration. He also leads the Voinovich School’s portion of the Ohio Economic Development Institute, an Ohio Economic Development Association initiative, in partnership with JobsOhio and Ohio University’s Voinovich School, to provide state-level certification to Ohio economic development practitioners. 

Emil Liszniansky – Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Coordinator, Youngstown Eastgate 
Throughout his 17-year career, Emil has been immersed in a diverse mix of strategic planning and economic development efforts including comprehensive plans, infrastructure projects, community revitalization efforts, market analyses, funding strategies, innovative financing, public-private partnerships (P3s), and procurement services. He currently serves as Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Coordinator for Eastgate Regional Council of Governments in Youngstown, Ohio. 

Emil brings a unique perspective to the strategic planning process as his engineering background allows him to identify potential design constraints early in concept development and provide creative, yet feasible solutions, while his legal training allows him to successfully navigate complex financial, regulatory, administrative, and environmental issues. A proud CSU alum, Emil holds a Masters of Urban Planning, Design and Development from Cleveland State University and a Juris Doctor from Cleveland Marshall College of Law, in addition to a Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Akron. 

Stephen Zubyk – Transportation Engineer, Youngstown Eastgate 
Stephen is a graduate from Youngstown State University with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. He has worked at Eastgate for nine years, managing the Transportation Improvement Program and completing other engineering tasks. Stephen has managed various projects for Eastgate most notably the Youngstown SMART² project and the LIVE Zone project. 


Matt Waldo – Senior Director of Research, JobsOhio 
Matt Waldo has led Research at JobsOhio since 2014, currently as Senior Director. Prior to joining JobsOhio, Matt started and sold an economic and workforce development consultancy, with clients in six states. Prior to the consultancy, Matt led research for the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and Ivy Tech Community College. At the Indy Chamber, Matt’s teams won national recognition from the International Economic Development Council and the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) for best web site data tools, and twice for best research projects. 

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