JobsOhio Pays Tribute to Late Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder
With his trademark thick glasses and oversized tweed suits, former Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives William “Bill” Batchelder sat in his conference room surrounded by stacks of paper on his desk and all over the floor with his red editing pen.
It was 2011, and he was drafting House Bill 1 that would pave the way for a unique private economic development model to help grow existing Ohio business and attract new companies to the state, called JobsOhio.
“When I think about this man, surrounded by these pieces of paper 11 years ago resulting in all the projects that we have been able to win, it’s so surreal,” said Tyler Yaple, government affairs and external engagement director for JobsOhio. “The concept, his thought leadership, to make it happen procedurally, and how it has manifested itself is incredible.”
Speaker Batchelder, known by friends as “Batch,” passed away recently, at the age of 79. His mark will forever be engrained in the hearts and minds as a leader in creating JobsOhio.
“We would not be in existence if it weren’t for the vision and foresight of Speaker Batchelder," said J.P. Nauseef, President and CEO of JobsOhio. "He was Ohio’s champion in creating JobsOhio and leading it through the legislature. We owe him a tremendous amount of gratitude, and he stands with us in spirit as we celebrate our successes.”
Beyond his leadership, he also was a mentor to many.
“He meant so much to me,” said Tim Derickson, JobsOhio director of food and agribusiness and former State Representative (OH). “I am a product of Bill Batchelder. His early interest in me led to me serving in the Ohio House of Representatives.”
“I am one of many legislators who admired and respected him. I modeled my legislative career after his example, and I knew he was there for me. What he taught me, more than anything, was to treat all people with respect, no matter their political interests.
Speaker Batchelder, who became a JobsOhio board member after leaving public office, wasn’t shy in publicly promoting the company for getting results in an Op-Ed celebrating JobsOhio’s 10th anniversary.
“JobsOhio is built to produce and deliver a measurable return for the people of Ohio,” Batchelder wrote. “JobsOhio’s team comprises professionals with extensive private sector experience reflecting Ohio’s growing sectors, and combined with its private structure and funding model, allow it to pivot quickly – at the speed of business – to meet demand and when facing unexpected challenges.”
Speaker Batchelder’s legacy is cemented in the roots of JobsOhio and his larger-than-life personality.
“You wanted him to be part of your family,” Derickson said. “He’s the kind of guy you wanted to hug, especially after a challenging legislative debate.”
Friends said when he learned of the Intel investment, Speaker Batchelder smiled, as creating JobsOhio was one of his greatest accomplishments.
“When you think of the Intel deal, this is what we were made to do,” Yaple said. “This was the vision, that we could help the state win one of these once in a lifetime opportunities.”