From Ohio Business Growth Guide 2024

How Ohio Built a Better Business Climate

Intel's $28 billion chip campus investment in New Albany is confirmation that Ohio's business climate is firing on all cylinders.

Intel campus under construction in New Albany, Ohio. Upon buildout, this Licking County semiconductor manufacturing complex will total more than $20 billion in capital investment, span nearly 1,000 acres and employ more than 3,000 full-time workers.
Photos courtesy of Intel Ohio


ithin the span of just a few weeks this spring, three things happened to confirm that Ohio’s business climate is firing on all cylinders:

  • First, Cintas announced that it would invest $10 million to expand its headquarters in Cincinnati, where it will add 125 jobs.
  • Second, Ohio was recognized by Site Selection magazine as the No. 3 state in the nation for total corporate facility investment projects for calendar year 2023.
  • Third, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced it would award $8.5 billion in CHIPS Act funds to Intel to support the semiconductor company’s $100 billion fab building spree across the country. The award includes $50 million in worker training in Central Ohio, where Intel will build a $28 billion chip factory in New Albany near Columbus.

For Gov. Mike DeWine and his economic development organization known as JobsOhio, events like these are what they designed state government to do. JobsOhio President and CEO J.P. Nauseef talked about this on March 20 when he commented on the historic CHIPS Act award to Ohio for the Intel fab complex in Licking County:

“In 2021, Intel started working with JobsOhio to find a site for its first greenfield investment in new semiconductor manufacturing on American soil in 40 years,” Nauseef said. “Since then, Team Ohio has walked alongside Intel to build this opportunity for America, providing everything Intel could expect in a partnership and more. Megaprojects legislation in 2021, the DeWine-Husted administration’s leadership, alignment with Ohio’s Legislature, and support from Ohio’s bipartisan delegation to pass the CHIPS Act to ensure federal funding for construction are all examples of collaboration to move the project forward.”

He added that, “With today’s announcement of CHIPS funding for Intel and Ohio One, the U.S. has come on board to show the world that Ohio is leading the way to bolster the semiconductor industry’s return to being made in the USA for the betterment of our nation’s economic prosperity and defense.”

For Gov. DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and Nauseef, landing game-changing projects like Intel and Cintas are the latest evidence that the Buckeye State’s approach to economic development works.

Intel Ohio onePhoto courtesy of Intel Ohio


Rankings Tell the Story

For example, just last fall, Site Selection magazine ranked Ohio No. 1 in the nation in the publication’s annual Global Groundwork Index, a ranking that reflects how well each state performs in total infrastructure investment. Columbus and Cincinnati each earned top 5 metro rankings in this national index too.


Ohio finished No. 3 in the nation in total economic development projects in 2023.
Source: Site Selection Magazine


Meanwhile, Area Development magazine named Ohio a top 5 state in its annual Top States for Doing Business ranking; and Site Selection named Ohio No. 3 in its annual Governor’s Cup ranking of states based on corporate project performance.

Ohio is no stranger to strong finishes in the Governor’s Cup race. In the mid-1990s, the Buckeye State claimed the No. 1 spot five years in a row. Over the last decade, Ohio has consistently placed second or third.

Even more remarkable is how Ohio accomplishes this. Unlike other states, which may have one or two major markets that draw corporate investment, Ohio garners capital expenditures from firms to cities large and small in every corner of the state.

Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton and Toledo consistently rank among the top-performing metro areas in the country in total project performance. But did you know that Ohio’s hidden strength lies in its many small towns, or what the U.S. Census Bureau calls micropolitan areas?

These are towns of less than 50,000 people located outside of the urban metropolitan areas. In many ways, these smaller communities are Ohio’s biggest assets. Ohio had 16 small towns make Site Selection’s list of the top 100 performing micros in the U.S. — the most of any state in the nation.

Ohio also boasts the No. 1 micropolitan area in the country, Findlay in Hancock County, about 45 minutes south of Toledo. For Findlay, the win bookends a decade of dominance, as it was the community’s 10th consecutive first-place finish.


The investments the DeWine-Husted administration has made in the success of businesses are creating neighborhoods where dreams flourish and new Ohioans, and longtime Buckeyes alike, can find the perfect place to call home.
— Lydia Mihalik, Director, Ohio Department of Development


The streak began under Lydia Mihalik while she served as Findlay’s mayor. Today, she is the Director of the Ohio Department of Development. “The Site Selection magazine rankings are a tremendous accomplishment for our state and local communities that earned these accolades,” she said. “The investments the DeWine-Husted administration has made in the success of businesses are creating neighborhoods where dreams flourish and new Ohioans, and longtime Buckeyes alike, can find the perfect place to call home. I am proud that Ohio can boast being home to five of the top 10 micros in the nation, including my hometown Findlay celebrating its 10th straight year as the No. 1 micro.”

Companies Find Many Assets in Ohio

Ohio recorded a robust 2023 because it was able to convince companies large and small to invest in it. From Amazon and Wells Fargo to Google and Joby Aviation, these firms wagered big bets on Ohio as the place to grow and flourish.

They did so because the state works hard to build a better business climate. This includes offering a simplified tax structure; diversified industrial base; robust supply chain; central U.S. location; multimodal transportation and logistics infrastructure; innovative technology; and R&D hubs that are tailor-made for growing products and services.

That is how Ohio built the seventh-largest economy in America and 21st-largest in the world. And it is also how Ohio plans to dominate the next decade just like it did the last.

Ron Starner
Executive Vice President of Conway, Inc.

Ron Starner

Ron Starner is Executive Vice President of Conway Data, Inc. He has been with Conway Data for 22 years and serves as a writer and editor for both Site Selection and the company's Custom Content publishing division. His Twitter handle is @RonStarner.


Ohio's competitive business climate, location, workforce and quality of life make the Buckeye State the right place for business.

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