TOLEDO, Ohio — If I say "Port Authority" you likely think of the airport, maybe Toledo's Seaport, and you would be right, certainly. Partially. The agency says its "more than a port" has, in the past year, welcomed a new leader and he's at my table ahead.
But first, the issue, the debate, that just keeps on giving. Some say, "Yeah, keeps giving public dollars to private institutions" and, too often, recently the discussions spirals downward from there.
The issue is EdChoice, one of the hottest issues in our area and our state in recent days and weeks. EdChoice, as a "thing", and a topic of debate is actually a couple of decades-old in Ohio.
It's the program that allows a student in a school regarded as "underperforming" or "failing" to enroll in a private school with the state and the public school district paying the tab.
At my table, Father Geoff Rose, president of St. Francis High School, and Tom Hosler, superintendent of the highly successful Perrysburg school district. We thought about maybe erecting the octagon, some sort of cage match but these two highly respected educators recently teamed up in authoring a letter about EdChoice, the wedge the state seems to have pounded between public and private education. A letter signed by dozens of area superintendents and educators.
Part of Toledo's identity is being a port city. Again, logistics. By expressway, rail, ship or plane. Being a logistical hub gives you great opportunities for growth and job creation.
So maybe it stands to reason that our port authority has become the leader in economic development. Certainly in Toledo and Lucas County but also regionally.
Last year, the leadership of the port authority changed hands but the transition couldn't have been smoother. Thomas Winston now serves as the president and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.
He holds a master of business administration degree out of Chicago's Loyola University, the city of which he is a native. But he's been at our port authority since 2010 and, let's face it, was the guy "on deck" when Paul Toth told me, "I know who the next president will be, or should be, I've been 'grooming him' for some time." That person was Thomas Winston.