Former Hamilton business leader dies

The former manager of a Hamilton business incubator and vice president of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce has died.

Marilyn Collmer, who managed BizTech from 2003 to 2013, died Saturday at Hospice of Dayton.

Collmer’s career began in social service work and transitioned into division director of the Lima Area Chamber of Commerce, then director/certified business analyst for the Hamilton Chamber Small Business Development Center, and owner/manager of Franer Apartments and president of Marilyn Collmer and Associates.

She stepped down as manager of BizTech after 10 years because it was “time to go for more challenges in my career,” she said in a 2014 interview with the Journal-News. During her tenure, more than 31 businesses “graduated” from the program by growing strong enough to operate independently and move out of the center into the local area.

BizTech is now called Hamilton Mill.

Collmer, who owned a property management company in the Dayton area with her family, said she wanted to pursue more opportunities in the Miami Valley region.

“I’m very honored to have improved the Hamilton community and its economy and small business development and job creation,” she said in a 2014 interview.

Shawn Stidham, general manager of the Courtyard by Marriott Hamilton, remembered Collmer for her positive, outgoing personality.

Collmer was “very welcoming” when Stidham met her in 2008, a time, he said, when Hamilton wasn’t “moving forward” like it is today as a city.

“I never saw her being negative,” Stidham said.

One of the largest tenants in the business center was ODW Logistics, which now has 56 employees and is located in the City Building. Brian Woods, director of human resources for ODW Logistics, said Collmer was the “go-to person” whenever the company had any requests.

“She was very kind and she did anything that you needed,” Woods said.

Collmer was preceded in death by her husband, David Franer.

Her funeral was held today in Dayton and she will be buried in her hometown of Pittsburgh.

About the Author