WILMINGTON — Beth Ellis thinks her experiences as a CEO, pilot, board member and mother can benefit the Clinton County Port Authority board, which she will join in October, along with Reneé LaPine.
The Sabina resident owns and is Chief Executive Officer of Cherrybend Pheasant Farm, an experience she says gives her a large breadth of knowledge she hopes to lend to the port.
“I understand the mechanics of being successful with that [her own small business],” Ellis said. “I think having that small business background gives you a foundation to make decisions and understand processes in larger corporations as well.”
Port chair David Hockaday said he was glad Ellis and LaPine will be on the board.
He anticipates having them join the September meeting as guests and being invited into the port’s executive session.
Ellis said she also liked communicating and using data to make decisions, personality traits that she thinks will aid her tenure on the port’s board.
Said she trusts the commissioners’ faith in her, that she has something to provide to the board.
In addition to being tasked with economic development, the port owns the Wilmington Air Park, a multi-million dollar, public asset that the port manages.
Ellis said she thinks everyone is concerned about the air park.
“They remember the good ol’ days when there were lots of planes flying in and out of here and lots of jobs out there,” she said.
Ellis said she would have to study the port’s vision for the air park and understand it to see how she can help.
She also said Clinton County’s economy “appears (to be) starting to make the turn.”
“It’d be nice to get a little boost now, to see if things change in a more positive direction,” Ellis said. “I think there are still people in this county struggling, looking for a place to fit in, and I think we still have many opportunities yet that we can tap to provide that.”
She said with the changes coming to the board – the search for a new executive director, an apparent reduction of members from nine to seven, and, with that reduction, the loss of board chair Hockaday and vice-chair Bill Marine – she thinks the board will need to assess its strategy, which will require data.
Hockaday and fellow board members Ed Keuhn and Bill Marine all have terms that expire in October. One of those terms has been filled already by the Clinton County Commissioners’ appointment of Walt Rowsey.
Hockaday said he anticipates the commissioners will reduce the size of the board from nine members to seven in October, leaving the board at full capacity.
LaPine and Ellis will then join fellow members Brent Probasco, Brian Smith, Larry Laake, Walt Rowsey and Richard Thompson.
Ellis lives in Sabina with her husband, 13-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son.
Initially, she worked in the radiology department at Clinton Memorial Hospital while working at Cherrybend Pheasant Farm while trying to raise a family. It became too much, and the sale of CMH by the county helped push her toward managing the farm.
She learned to fly and served on most of the aforementioned boards after leaving CMH.
“I’ve been blessed to have so many opportunities in my life,” Ellis said.
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.
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