WATCH: Community Conversation targets making region best for military and veterans

The health and growth of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base — the largest single-site employer in Ohio, with 32,000 workers — is critical to the success of our entire region.

That’s why the Dayton Daily News examined what needs to be done to keep and attract both military missions and veterans to the area in a Community Conversation that originally aired at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15. You can watch the discussion below, or on the Dayton Daily News Facebook page.

The local community depends on the base’s talent pipeline that brings in — and sometimes retains — high-skilled professionals from around the country.

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The base’s growth also spurs the influx of startup tech firms, contractors and other research organizations that benefit from proximity to the base and its federal contracts.

Our panel of experts explained how base jobs and influence will help economic developers figure out how to stabilize and increase our area’s population.

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The discussion was co-hosted by Community Impact Editor Nick Hrkman and Business Reporter Thomas Gnau. Panelists included:

  • Cassie Barlow, president of the Strategic Ohio Council for Higher Education and a retired commander of the 88th Air Base Wing and Installation Commander, which acts as the “host” for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The unit secures, maintains and supports the base and its facilities.
  • Jeff Hoagland, president and chief executive of Dayton Development Coalition.
  • Col. Patrick G. Miller, current commander of the 88th Air Base Wing and Installation Commander.
  • Thomas J. Owen, retired Lt. General and former Commander of the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
  • Joseph E. Zeis Jr., retired U.S. Air Force Colonel who now serves as Governor DeWine’s Senior Advisor for Aerospace and Defense.

Community Conversations is a Dayton Daily News series of moderated panel discussions on topics important to the Dayton region.

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