For the past five years, Fred Zoeller has wanted to get involved with local politics to give back to the community.
"I feel that it is time in life that I want to put something back to society," he said.
Having run Laminate Technologies for the past 28 years, Zoeller said he would come to the position with a business mentality. He plans to work closely with Rich Focht, president and CEO of the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp., to help recruit economic development and increase the county's tax base.
"I have three different manufacturing plants throughout the county. I deal with people, I know what manufacturers are looking for," Zoeller said. "What Tiffin, what Seneca County, has
is the quality, is the people, the ethics and the workforce."
In his first few months, Zoeller wants to shadow department heads and employees in each office. Also, he would like to bring in an independent consultant to create a comparison of Seneca County and counties with similar demographics.
Zoeller also intends to look at ways to extend purchasing power through greater use of economies of scale.
"These are all practices that we use everyday in business," he said.
Although he said the information he gains in the process may mean difficult decisions, Zoeller said he is not interested in being a micromanager, instead working with and relying on department heads to best run operations.
Zoeller also knows he has some learning to do, in discovering more information on rural areas, unions and matters involving politics. He said he is not a career politician, and will not seek re-election if he cannot bring a positive difference to the county during his first term.
Zoeller said he plans to be a full-time commissioner, as his role with Laminate Technologies now is reduced mostly to high-end finances and long-term direction. He is to keep an office at the firm, but operations are to be run by managers.
"The day-to-day business is run by the people," he said. "I've been extremely fortunate to surround myself with good people. They have done a tremendous job with the company, and it's time to let them fly on their own."