Gere Goble, with the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum
, interviewed David Zak, President & CEO, and Erin Stine, Community Development Director.
Months after welcoming a new executive and economic development director, the Crawford Partnership for Education and Economic Development is losing its community development director.
Erin Stine will start her new job as senior philanthropy adviser for the OhioHealth Foundation on Dec. 19. Her final day with the Partnership will be Dec. 9.
“I’m so excited,” she said. “It’s bittersweet, of course, since I love the partnership and I love this community, but luckily I’ll still get to serve this area, this community and others.”
Stine, who joined the partnership in February 2017, led the office for several months this year after Gary Frankhouse stepped down as executive and economic development director in January. David Zak took over as director in May.
“The partnership’s in great hands with David,” Stine said, adding she’s confident Zak will continue to build on past accomplishments. “He’s the real deal.”
Zak said losing Stine will have a big impact on the partnership.
“Erin’s been an amazing contributor, and amazing team member, and amazing leader in the community for many, many years, and has been responsible for many really important, impactful initiatives,” Zak said. “To lose her passion, her commitment, her talent, her ideas, her ability to be able to to keep them all rowing in the same direction for good, will sorely be missed.”
Stine noted she has served under all three of the partnership’s leaders to date: Dave Williamson, Frankhouse and now Zak.
“My love and passion for this organization, as well as Crawford County, has been the driving force behind my efforts for the past seven years,” she said. “How lucky was I to have worked with all three leadership eras of the partnership? Dave Williamson and Gary Frankhouse were incomparable mentors, and I learned so much about myself as a leader and community development director, as well as how to push for positive change by collaborating with others. Now, with David Zak at the helm, the partnership is in wonderful hands. David’s experience and vision for the organization and the county are spot-on, and I am confident that with his amazing leadership, the partnership will continue to thrive.”
In her new role, Stine will serve what OhioHealth considers its “north market,” which includes its hospitals in Mansfield, Shelby and Marion, along with the contiguous counties and region — “which thankfully includes Crawford County,” she added.
“I will be responsible for developing and implementing the fundraising strategy for the north market, and will be focused on raising funds from supporters of those hospitals,” Stine said. “I’ll be working closely with the leadership of each of those care sites. Leveraging my relationships within the civic and nonprofit community that I’ve already built, I’ll work to build strategies for the overall coordination, direction and implementation of fundraising programs for the market region.”
The OhioHealth Foundation raises and invests funds to help improve patient care for all through nursing scholarships, innovative medical research, well-being resources for its associates and community outreach programs, Stine said.
“The funds we raise will support research and equipment, education for medical professionals and effective care environments for everyone,” she said. “It’s truly a one-of-a-kind organization and I’m so humbled by this incredible opportunity, and that their leadership team found me to be the best candidate to continue this amazing work in our region.”
Stine is ‘a do-gooder in the best sense of the word’
After learning that Stine would be leaving, Zak said, he made a point of learning about all of the things she has accomplished.
“She’s just a do-gooder in the best sense of the word,” he said.
“I want to celebrate her impact; I’m so happy for her,” Zak said. “She’s still going to be helping to support amazing, impactful projects in Crawford County as well as the other counties in the north-central Ohio region in her philanthropy position.”
Stine and Zak recounted some of her accomplishments over the years:
• Launched the Crawford Success Center in 2015 for North Central State College and guided the center from concept to reality over two years as director.
• Launched the Community Opportunity workforce development web platform in 2017.
• In March 2019, established Crawford County as a member of the Central Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition, In response to human trafficking.• Did much of the work necessary for the implementation of Bucyrus’ Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA, which launched in July.
• Secured a $100,000 grant from American Electric Power to install Crawford County’s first public electric vehicle fast charger station. It was dedicated in July 2020.
• In 2021, working with the Crawford Park District, secured more than $100,000 in grant funding for a multi-use trail at Unger Park in Bucyrus along the bank of the Sandusky River. In May 2022, an additional $150,000 was secured from the Ohio State Capital Bill budget for continued development of the trail.
• Helped launch the Dolly Parton Imagination Library/Governor’s Imagination Library in Crawford County.• In 2019, Stine took over as CU Lead facilitator and redesigned the program. “She’s going to continue on serving on the CU Lead oversight committee and still be involved in the community, so I’m very thankful for that,” Zak said.
Stine is a committee member for the Come Home Scholarship with the Community Foundation for Crawford County, an active member of the Crawford County Prevention Coalition and serves on the Crawford County Business Advisory Council.
“She’s made a difference that is going to last for years to come,” Zak said.
The first step toward finding a replacement for Stine will be developing a description of the position and getting ready to recruit, Zak said. He hopes to post the listing at the beginning of the year.
“It will take me a bit to get ready for it, but we will be definitely searching for a replacement,” he said.
Stine offered some advice for her successor. From Williamson and Frankhouse, she learned that “if we were ever going to create positive change in Crawford County, we were going to have to do it together,” she said.
“So learning how to collaborate and have lots of different stakeholders, lots of different people with different opinions and get them around the table and get everybody rowing in the same direction,” she said. “That’s really the only way you’re going to get anything done.”
The county needs to compete as a team to succeed.
“I think that if my successor can kind of harness the spirit of collaboration, they’re going to do really, really well,” she said.
Looking back at all of her accomplishments, “I most certainly did not do it on my own,” she said. “I had a lot of people in the communities supporting that effort.”
“I hate to lose a friend who I’ve gotten to know and gotten to be able to work with,” Zak said. “It’s sad, but I couldn’t be happier. OhioHealth is a great organization and she’s just made a tremendous difference.”