Our Home: A Discerning View
On September 20th, 2013 a dinner in honor of Munich City Council member Dr. Evelyne Menges and her partner Reiner Roesch were hosted at the home of Werner and Sabine Geissler. Mr. Geissler's eloquent remarks to our visitors from Munich and the other guests impressed them in a couple ways. First, it reminded them of the many benefits and advantages we enjoy as residents of this wonderful region. Second, it brought to mind our historical and cultural affinity to Germany and it's people. Strengthening that relationship is our primary mission at MSCA. Often it takes an outsider's view to remind us of the many great things we take for granted in our home city. Mr.Geissler has kindly agreed to allow us to share his remarks with you below.
Our family moved to Cincinnati a little over 6 years ago. And after we had lived in many different places such as Geneva, Kobe, Istanbul, Los Angeles or Rotterdam, we found Cincinnati a surprisingly vibrant and very livable city. Cincinnati may not be in the limelight of the media and not as well known as more flamboyant or “in” cities in the US, or other parts of the world, but the town and the Greater Cincinnati region offer enormous attractions that make it a great place to live and work, and also a prime destination for investments. Cincinnati is rich in cultural and entertainment institutions. It is home of one of the best symphonic orchestras in the world, has an excellent ballet and opera, top museums, a big zoo, and nationally competing sports franchises. The Cincinnati Reds, which have a another good season this year, is the oldest professional baseball club in the world and the Bengals play (at times) successful football in the national league. And, The World Choir games, which took place here last year, were an absolute high point for the City and the region.
Cincinnati has always attracted businesses and settlers because of its location. It lies at the intersection of 3 national highways, can be reached by ship and railways, and has access to 3 major airports within a radius of 50 miles. So, Cincinnati is easy to reach and easy to leave (for vacation)!
For us at Procter & Gamble, which has been headquartered in Cincinnati ever since the Company was founded in 1837, these assets related to cultural life and transportation infrastructure, are very important factors to attract and retain top talents from around the US and, actually, the world. Quite a many of our employees come from the Cincinnati region. Within a 200 mile radius companies can tap into 300 colleges and universities which collectively enroll almost 1 million students and add over 100,000 well educated young professionals each year. Many of those institutions are located in Cincinnati. Importantly, more than 1.5 million workers who live within 50 miles of downtown Cincinnati, represent an enormous “reservoir” of tremendous skills and know-how. 9 US Fortune 500 companies and that about 400 of the US Fortune 500 companies maintain operations in the Cincinnati region. Cincinnati also has an unusually high concentration of companies in key industries such as aerospace, automotive, biotechnology, brand design & creative services, chemistry, financial services, retailing, and consumer goods , and since recently also in “gambling”.
And, it is also no surprise that Cincinnati has won many awards and accolades. Just to name a few from the last 20 years, in 1993, it was recognized as the most livable city in the US! In 2004, it was the # 5 city for US Arts destinations; in 2008, it was chosen as a top 10 city for commuters and as the # 10 “most walkable” city in the US – not sure what that means but for German “Spaziergaenger” that may be very relevant….. It has also been consistently ranked in the top cities for young people! And last year it was found to be the 9th ahead of us….
It seems to me that it is particularly relevant for a German delegation to visit Cincinnati. Not only because it is home to over 80 companies from Germany which range from ABM Drives to ZF Steering Systems,and from Dachser to Thyssen Krupp Bilstein, not to forget Siemens; or because Munich is one of the sister cities of Cincinnati; it is also very appropriate because of the strong German heritage of the town. In fact, the first mayor of Cincinnati, 2 years after it was founded in 1788, was a fellow from Heidelberg called David Ziegler. Around 1900, 2/3 of Cincinnatians had German roots! Interestingly, around that time King Ludwig I. from Bavaria provided strong support to the ailing Catholic Community of Cincinnati! “Over the Rhine” whose German heritage is obvious, is becoming the new heart of the center of Cincinnati.
And not to forget, we have the Oktoberfest, the largest Oktoberfest outside Munich in the world. No wonder that in 2008, Forbes Magazine ranked Cincinnati as one of the hardest drinking cities in the US. One can order Schnitzel or Bratwurst with great German beer and in many restaurants one does not suffer from a hearing problem when addressed with the word “bitte”. And when you walk around in this most walkable city you find many examples of German-inspired smartest city in the USA. I could not figure out, who the eight cities were ranking architecture.
So, if you wish, Cincinnati seems to be a very successful synthesis of German and American traits and skills! The city is solid, but also entrepreneurially vibrant. So, Mark Twain who once said of Cincinnati that he loved the city a lot. In fact, he said, and I quote: “I like it so much that I would like to die here because in Cincinnati everything happens 10 years later” may have gotten it right: The citizens of Cincinnati are conscious and proud of their tradition and heritage but they also embrace change provided it is of substance and not just the latest fad. It does indeed sometimes take some time to properly diagnose this.
Net, a very attractive place to live, work, invest and prosper and to have fun.
Thank you again for visiting us here in Cincinnati.
The author Werner Geissler is the Past Vice Chairman-Global Operations for P & G.
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