Oscar Bedolla Looking to ‘Rally the Troops’ and Streamline Department in New Role

Nearly four months into his new job, Cincinnati Department of Trade & Development Director Oscar Bedolla says that his department is already working to streamline its services to continue to grow confidence that Cincinnati is “open for business.”

His remarks came yesterday afternoon at Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati during a luncheon held by CREW Greater Cincinnati, a professional organization dedicated to providing growth and networking opportunities for people in the commercial real estate industry.

Bedolla came to Cincinnati from New York City, where he served as a vice president in KPMG’s Advisory Practice. In that role, he specialized in project finance and public-private partnerships. He now leads a department with an annual budget of $50 million and approximately 100 employees, who are charged with managing everything from large-scale development projects and housing to human services and the City’s parking assets.

So far his biggest challenge has been rallying the troops and getting everybody on the same page, saying, “People get stuck in a rut and don’t realize that we have to continue to build confidence in the [Cincinnati] market.”

To build that confidence and share it with potential investors, Bedolla said he is building a highly professional staff that understands both the public and private sectors, with a foundation built upon collaboration and innovation sharing.

“The cities I have worked with that have done well are the ones who have implemented things like CitiStat,” Bedolla said, referring to the real-time, data-driven city department performance program developed 15 years ago in Baltimore and soon to be brought here through the City’s new Office of Performance & Data Analytics.

Once that has been accomplished, he says that the real work can begin on the two major areas where he sees opportunity for Cincinnati: capturing and leveraging foreign direct investment, and increasing manufacturing productivity by taking advantage of the City’s legacy infrastructure.

“Cincinnati, with its location, is uniquely placed to be a much larger economy than it is right now,” Bedolla told the group of approximately 75 people who attended the luncheon. “We could see an influx of capital into mature markets [like Cincinnati] if Cincinnati brands itself.”

The next CREW Greater Cincinnati luncheon will once again be held at Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati, and will take place on Tuesday, April 14. Registration is not yet open.

  • Neil Clingerman

    Kevin: Happy to see you writing here, your journalism is always top notch.

    • Kevin LeMaster

      Thank you, Neil! I hope to be writing a LOT more soon, after my upcoming jury duty. That starts on Monday!

  • BillCollins45227

    The focus here on manufacturing and foreign investment is spot-on. We have a powerful legacy here in manufacturing, and we know that many Japanese and German companies (and other foreign firms) have invested heavily in the Tri-State, with much more follow-on potential.

    Manufacturing is where the high-value-add resides, and it is the sector where productivity gains track investments in skill development, which leads to higher wages. If we’re serious about fighting poverty in this town, we will enable more manufacturing growth. This current focus on service-sector job growth, and carving out more contracts for minority-owned businesses is all well and good. But, if you REALLY want to create opportunity and allow more black, white and other folks to rise into the middle-class, job growth in manufacturing and logistics is where it’s really at.