Leverage change to create a thriving environment for yourself and those around you

If change is the only constant in life, how important is the ability to adapt to that change? I think we all knoeew the answer. But what does it take to be adaptable? And how can we adapt in ways that create positive outcomes for those around us?

As president of Lorain County Community College, an institution that has served not only one in every four Lorain County residents in some educational capacity but also serves as a one-stop location for comprehensive business support, I know those questions have a multitude of answers. There is, however, a common thread of strategic awareness and thoughtful openness often found among people and businesses that have successfully adapted to ever-present change, and done so in ways that move us all forward.

Consider this example. Ethan Moore is an LCCC-trained clinical nurse in the intensive care unit at Mercy Health – Lorain Hospital. Three days every week, Ethan can be found working 12-hour shifts in the ICU.

When he’s not there, Ethan is running his startup, Lake Erie Drone LLC. In 2022, he combined his awareness of several external factors — including opportunities arising through advanced air mobility and a niche market opening within local agriculture — and invested in a DJI Agras T40 drone.

This drone was designed specifically for agricultural applications, and Ethan is using it to offer local farmers, who often operate farms near residential homes, a new type of pesticide and fungicide application that results in less drift.

Awareness of market opportunities, plus a willingness to take strategic risk, resulted in a new business venture that’s benefiting regional farmers. And with anticipated growth, Lake Erie Drone might one day contribute to Northeast Ohio’s growing capital investment and net new job growth. Those two economic metrics — net new job creation and capital investment — are often attributed to entrepreneurs.

Take for example, Maria Bennett, president, CEO and founder of SPR Therapeutics. You might have seen this Northeast Ohio medical device company in business news recently, as Maria and her team closed on an additional $85 million to advance commercialization of their SPRINT peripheral nerve stimulation system for pain relief.

Not long ago, Maria was vice president of Clinical Affairs at NDI Medical, where she led clinical studies of neurostimulation technologies. Once the technology behind SPR Therapeutics had progressed to the point of being spin-off ready, NDI Medical’s founder gave Maria the opportunity to run with it. Maria was aware of the technology’s potential, as she had also researched it during her biomedical engineering graduate studies, and was open to both the challenge and change of launching a company.

She found support within the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including the Northeast Ohio Innovation Fund. This pre-seed fund, created by the LCCC Foundation and partners, awarded Maria her first external dollars, which she leveraged to raise the company’s first $1 million.

Adaptability doesn’t just mean keeping pace with change. It means finding ways to leverage change to create a thriving environment for yourself and those around you. Over the decades, our region has always found ways to adapt to the mega trends that drive our future, be it disruptive new technologies, advances in manufacturing, or shifts in workforce needs. And our region will continue to support and celebrate those who lean into change and leverage it for the benefit of us all.

Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D. is President of Lorain County Community College

Marcia J. Ballinger



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