Editor’s Note: This is the third part of a series on young professionals who have gone through the Clinton Community Fellows program. The program’s goals are to provide a real professional experience for young professionals, give local businesses/organizations project support and capacity from the fellows, and attract/retain the young professionals in Clinton County, according to its website.
Kyle Weddington, CCF Class of 2015
Kyle Weddington, 26, a 2014 East Clinton graduate, marks his Clinton Community Fellows experience as “THE” experience.
“(The Fellows) set me on the path toward my aspirations to work in economic/community development, ” said Weddington. “Working in and around the community was so incredibly fulfilling that it became my passion and goal. After the experience, I changed my major in college to Economics with the intent of working in economic development, specifically.”
During his time with Fellows, Weddington worked on three separate projects at:
• Thirey Cabinetmakers — updating their website to a more modern design that properly shows the art they create;
• HealthFirst for Clinton County’s — modernizing its online presence by creating a website and Facebook page to help keep the public up-to-date on grants and programs;
• Clinton County Courthouse and its You-Turn Recovery Docket — creating logos, branding materials, and social media accounts.
One Fellows’ particular passion is a story he won’t soon forgot.
“I’ll never forget Tevin Amburgy’s passion for getting a Chipotle restaurant in Wilmington proper,” Weddington recalled. “He created an online petition that got thousands of signatures in favor of the restaurant chain coming to Wilmington. It felt like quite the victory back then to push a movement like that.”
And now Chipotle is planning to actually come to Wilmington. Weddington feels like he, Amburgy, and the other Fellows that year helped make that happen.
Since leaving the Fellows program, Weddington achieved his biggest professional milestone when he was offered a position with JobsOhio.
“As a fellow, we visited the JobsOhio office to talk to some people about economic development in the state, and now I work in that office with those people,” he said. “Funny how things work out.”
He also currently sits on the board for another organization that was prolific in the development of his aspirations, Heritage Ohio.
“I couldn’t be more proud to sit on the board of my favorite preservation organization,” he said.
Also since leaving the Fellows, he met his current partner Belen de Leon. A few months ago they found out that Belen was accepted to the University of California Berkeley’s law program, and she will be attending in August — meaning he will be relocating to California with her in the coming months.
The Fellows provided Weddington with experience in working with the community in which he grew up. He met many people while providing support to businesses and organizations.
“It helped turn my hometown into a place I enjoy bragging about to other people who will never truly understand what it’s like to grow up and work in Wilmington, Ohio,” he said.
His advice for future Fellows participants? Keep the connections you make. To him, participants will find as they build up their community, they’d also be building a coalition of people to support them through their professional growth and career.
“Go out of your way to connect more with Wilmington and its community than you ever have previously,” he said. “You’ll discover it’s been much more than meets the eye and the people that help make the community what it is are incredibly dedicated and passionate.”
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574