Joe Dehner is one of the founders (and a Board Member Emeritus) of the EACC in addition to his day job as an attorney with Frost Brown Todd LLC. We asked Joe to reflect on the career of former EACC Board Member Neil Hensley, who will retire from his position as Economic Development Director for the City of Blue Ash on April 1. Be sure to join us at our April 20 Coffee & Commerce at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason as Neil recounts his career as "Greater Cincinnati's economic development ambassador."
Neil Hensley is Greater Cincinnati’s economic development ambassador. For almost thirty years Neil led the Regional USA Regional Chamber’s efforts to attract foreign business to our tristate region. He interacted with businesses globally, convincing them that the U.S. is not two coasts with fly-over between. Instead, Neil convinced global businesses that Greater Cincinnati was not only worth a look but was often the place of choice to plant their North American flag.
I traveled with Neil to France, Germany, Finland, India, China, Japan, and other countries. Neil has the instinctive ability to listen first and talk second, to understand what a business owner seeks and explain how this fits what our region offers. Neil was on our French American Chamber’s first trade mission to France – Toulouse, the home of European aviation, to further the supply network for the great joint venture of GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, CFM International. He helped create the European American Chamber of Commerce as a Transatlantic network, Cincinnati and Paris being the founding members. Neil was also a founding board member of the Japan America Society of Greater Cincinnati and the Greater Cincinnati Foreign Trade Zone.
Blue Ash hired Neil as its Economic Development Director in 2012. He began this work as the Blue Ash Airport was about to transform into Summit Park. Blue Ash credits Neil with helping to create thousands of new jobs for the city and attract dozens of new companies.
Neil retires from his Blue Ash role in April. He’ll employ his skills of seeding and growing in retirement pursuits. Instead of cultivating business growth and investment, he’ll be doing this with plants. Neil’s a Master Gardener and Horticultural Therapist. Auf Wiedersehen, which as a UC German Studies graduate, Neil knows, means “Until we see each other again.”
- Joe Dehner