Dating : 50 First Dates: The Business of Relationships

Dan Sheaffer (left), myself (center) and Tim Mayle (right)

According to a recent study, more than 50% of American singles have not had a date in over two years.

I’m sure it’s not for lack of trying, but not everyone has the same luck.

And yet there I was, in my best and only suit, nibbling on my meal, feeling awkward as hell…

One of the lucky ones.

My date was 137 years older than me and had $142 billion in total assets, so naturally I was a bit intimidated, but I had some veterans on my side — Dan Sheaffer and Tim Mayle, the best in the business.

…At least that’s what was going through my head as I listened to 5/3 Bank’s Director of Asset Allocation explain why “widening deficit equals fiscal stimulus” during his presentation at this year’s economic update banquet. The Bank being the date in question.

You see, I had found myself in the business of courting, or rather, being the shadow of expert courtiers. A good fellow named Seth Butler and a nice lady named Leigh Esper went out of their ways to get me the best seat, front and center, at the Tim and Dan show, the main feature at Findlay-Hancock County’s office of Economic Development.

We went on dates like this every day, liaising with multinationals, schmoozing with politicians, and doing what I’ve come to discover is the single most important activity in any business: creating and maintaining relationships.

Tim and Dan taught me lots of things, but the one that stood out, and a large part of why they were so effective, was the focus that they put on the people in each business and how these businesses related to the community.

For instance, a few weeks ago we paid a visit to Hearthside Food Solutions in McComb — proud manufacturers of longtime favorites like Special K Bars and the almighty Oreo cookie.

We happened to get there only to discover that we were more than an hour too early for our meeting…


I honestly thought they would leave for a bit, but they didn’t. If patience is a virtue, we were going to be saints. Drew Brees and everything.

The time eventually came and the meeting turned out to be more or less a “Hey, how are you doing?” We had committed 3 hours to what was basically a courtesy call…and it was completely worth it. Communication elicited information and information facilitates business. Our job there was done.

That was the essence of the #findlayformula, their not-so-secret sauce for economic development, and the driving force behind their dynamic team. It’s the reason Findlay is the no.1 Micropolitan Community in the country six years running, with hundreds of thousands of acres developed and millions invested, all being bolstered by strong business relationships.

Those mornings spent chatting with contacts in coffee shops and evenings at nice restaurants supported their ultimate goal of growing the local business community and its members. They focused on the hallmarks of successful relationships: building trust and good communication, and managed to capitalize on them at every opportunity.

After nearly 3 months with them, it was hard to not buy in.

So now you might understand why I was there, legs crossed, sitting at attention through this gentleman’s soliloquy on the ‘Late Cycle Economic View’. Making my notes, listening intently, and thinking…

“This isn’t such a bad date after all.”

What do you think?

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POF : The search results, a list of women who never communicate in any way.

Dating : My boyfriend is an introvert and I’m an extrovert