Nine graduate Leadership Preble County

By Eddie Mowen Jr. -

EATON — They learned about Preble County’s social service agencies, the arts, the judicial system, infrastructure and the county’s available parks and recreation.

They spent time developing relationships with current and future county leaders, learned about the educational and health care systems serving Preble County, and were trained on being good, productive board members.

They even ate lunch at the jail.

Nine individuals completed the inaugural session of the Leadership Preble County program last week, and were recognized with a special graduation celebration on Thursday, June 8. The event wrapped up the year-long program which aims to develop leaders who will work to improve the quality of life in Preble County.

Graduates of the first session included Economic Development Director Brenda Latanza, Commissioner Rodney Creech, Eaton City Manager Brad Collins, Lewisburg Municipal Manager Jeff Sewert, Timken Plant Manager Jeremy Linder, Opti-Vise IT Marketing and Communications Manager Kelly McQueen, YWCA Preble County Manager Courtney Griffith, Kettering Health Network Preble County Manager Sarah Schul, and Preble Memory Gardens Cemetery Office Administrator Stefanie Price.

Leadership Preble County kicked off in fall 2016, with an orientation and an overnight retreat, and continued through June with ten half-day or full-day sessions, culminating with the graduation on June 8. The sessions were conducted by leaders in their fields who covered topics related to the specific day’s theme. Sessions included Preble County history and heritage; agriculture; business, workforce and the economy; health and human services; local government; board training and tour of the Ohio Statehouse; public safety and the justice system; infrastructure; educational system; quality of life in Preble County and health and wellness.

Why leadership?

“For the employers and sponsors, we feel the program develops increased leadership skills which can be applied for greater workplace effectiveness,” Preble County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Leslie Collins said. “It provides increased networking opportunities which can help businesses find solutions, and increase collaboration among public, private and non-profit sectors.”

According to Collins, the individuals who participate in Leadership Preble County improve their personal development and leadership skills, identify their own personal vision for community involvement, and become a part of an informed, diverse network for personal, business and community development.

“It also enhances their knowledge of Preble County, its resources and leaders,” Collins added.

“Leadership Preble County is helping develop a pool of community leaders with the skills and vision to creatively address community issues, and prepares its graduates to serve on boards and task forces,” Collins said. “It is creating a network of individuals who will in turn use their awareness of the community’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities to improve the quality of life in Preble County.”

Current investors/sponsors of Leadership Preble County include Kettering Health Network/Grandview , Preble County Development Partnership and Timken Steel.

The mission of Leadership Preble County is to “encourage, educate and stimulate individuals of all ages to become more familiar with, more interested in and engaged in all facets of civic endeavor that affect Preble County citizens.”

Planning for the 2017-‘18 session is under way.

For information on sponsoring or participating, contact Collins at 937-456-4949 or via email,

By Eddie Mowen Jr.

Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.

Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.