Kester hired as SOPA director

By Wayne Allen

December 1, 2013

Wayne Allen

Common Staff Writer

In an exclusive interview with the Community Common, Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) Chairman Todd Book, confirmed that Jason Kester a Columbus Attorney and Scioto County native has been hired as the organizations first executive director.

“We’ve never had a person that was really dedicated to economic development in the history of the (Scioto) county. This (economic development) is going to be his job and this is something the commissioners wanted to see happen and were here now,” Book said. “He’s got a lot of energy and I think your going to see some real things starting to move, relativity quickly.”

Book called the hiring of Kester a positive move for both the county and SOPA.

“Now the port authority is going to be in a position to do what it was designed to do. We (SOPA) really have not had the assets or the focus to make it happen and now we do,” Book said.

Book said it’s a good thing for Scioto County to have a port authority that has an executive director whose sole function is to work on economic development.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Times, Kester said he is excited about the possibilities of the position.

“I accepted this position because I’ve from the area and this was something I needed to do. I feel like I could really help the community out and that was the underlying reason I accepted,” Kester said.

Kester said he will officially assume the responsibilities of Executive Director of the Southern Ohio Port Authority after the first of the year.

Scioto County Commissioner Doug Coleman praised the SOPA Board for the hire of Kester.

“I wanted Scioto County to have a functioning Economic Development team. With the addition of Jason Kester, the Southern Ohio Port Authority and Scioto County are ready to move forward,” Coleman said in a released statement.

Kester is a graduate of Minford High School, Shawnee State University and has a Masters Degree in Political Science with a focus in Public Administration from Miami University. Kester also received his law degree from Capital University Law School, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate Officer Basic Course.

SOPA’s Rules and Regulations outlines the responsibilities of the executive director shall, “submit plan and programs for the board economic development activities. Develop a program for promotion and public relations of the Southern Ohio Port Authority. Develop and carry out a program to promote and publicize the advantages of the Southern Ohio Port Authority to the rail, barge shippers, trucking companies, importers and exporters and other agencies using the shipping capabilities of southern Ohio. Seek, obtain and supervise the administration of grants, loans and other financial assistance from Federal, State and local sources to enhance Southern Ohio Port Authority programs, facilities and services.”

Based on the job description, the candidate must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, economics, finance, public administration or a related field. Experience with state, regional or local economic development is desired.

When asked what the hiring of Kester means for Book as interim Economic Development Director for Scioto County, Book said, “I think once he (Kester) comes on board I think, I start to fade off into the sunset.”

Book recently accepted the position of legislative counsel with the Ohio Bar Association.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-1151, or For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.