The Lima News: DeWine tours JSMC

By Mackenzi Klemann -

Craig J. Orosz | The Lima News

LIMA — Gov. Mike DeWine made his first official visit as governor to Joint Systems Manufacturing Center on Wednesday, during which he announced the appointment of retired U.S. Air Force Col. Joseph Zeis Jr. as senior advisor for aerospace and defense, a new position.

The cabinet-level position was one of DeWine’s campaign promises to grow the state’s military and aerospace installations, including Joint System Manufacturing Center in Lima.

“What we’re seeing here today has been good news,” DeWine said. “(As) we look toward the future, it’s good news. But we have to make sure that we continue to hear that.”

Zeis will report directly to the governor while working with a congressional delegation, local elected officials, military personnel and the business community. The goal, DeWine said, is to make the state’s military and aerospace installations more competitive. Zeis will also focus on economic development initiatives and quality of life concerns for service members.

DeWine first announced Zeis’ appointment during a speech at the Dayton Development Coalition, where Zeis served as executive vice president and chief strategic officer from 2007 to 2013. Part of Zeis’s role within the coalition was to identify business expansion opportunities for aerospace and technology industries in Dayton.

“He’s not a stranger to any of this,” DeWine said. “He’s got a military background. He’s the person, frankly the most knowledgeable person that we could find. It’s a big job, not just [with] the tank plant. We’ve got facilities all over the state of Ohio.” Other key facilities cited by the governor’s office are the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and NASA Glenn Research Center.

DeWine’s visit came at a positive time for the Lima Tank Plant, which announced in December its plans to hire some 400 people as the plant works on upgrades for Abrams tanks and Stryker vehicles. The plant is also helping build new prototypes of the Mobile Protected Firepower vehicle.

“We’ve been actively engaged in the discussion about military affairs,” Lima Mayor and Task Force LIMA co-chair David Berger said. “The governor, as candidate, made a commitment during the campaign that this was going to be a priority, and obviously it is.”

Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.

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