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OAQDA 2020: A Year of Change and Resiliency

While 2020 certainly brought its challenges, it was a year of transformation and transition for OAQDA. The team implemented several changes to strengthen its programs and customer service with the goal of making air quality compliance more accessible for businesses of all sizes, ranging from neighborhood dry-cleaners to larger, multi-faceted energy efficiency projects.

A key part of OAQDA’s mission is serving small businesses, especially those working to comply with federal environmental regulations. Listening to the needs of customers is essential, and OAQDA acted to improve its program, the Clean Air Resource Center (CARC), with input from small businesses across the state. Based on this feedback, the administrative rules for the program were modified to streamline the application process, simplify requirements and extend resources to serve more businesses. As a result, the Authority saw enhanced activity from many small companies with fewer than 100 employees and a stronger foundation for the program in the future.

At the core of its work is the role of OAQDA to serve as a conduit bond issuer for air quality projects, which may originate from any business and industry in Ohio. In 2020, the Authority focused on strengthening and elevating this program to increase awareness and use of the bond financing tool. After several months of research and development, OAQDA rebooted it into the new Clean Air Improvement Program (CAIP), formally known as Project Development and Financing (PDAF). Guidelines were published that details the process and criteria in evaluating potential projects. As a result, CAIP allows for more transparency and accountability
to better determine the merits of projects and gauge their impact on Ohio’s air quality.

In addition to improving program delivery and customer service, OAQDA was able to provide financial assistance for 16 Ohio businesses in 2020, helping them expand their operations, create jobs and reduce their environmental footprint. The impact of these projects add to the cumulative, ongoing results from the Authority’s active portfolio of projects.

The Authority has committed itself to reaching even more Ohio companies and has made significant investments to raise awareness of its valuable financing tools to encourage applicants to pursue assistance. 

In 2020, OAQDA worked with its communications team to conduct a comprehensive messaging audit to refine and better establish its voice and refresh its mission in a succinct and unified way. 

In addition, OAQDA executed a targeted local media campaign to share stories of success from project recipients and increased its social media presence to better reach primary audiences. OAQDA received nearly 30 media placements in 2020, reaching a potential audience of more than 22 million.