Leadership Institute

The Program:

Beginning in 2004, the Union County Leadership Institute has offered countless professionals an experience of hands on education and networking.

The program has five main objectives:

•  Exposure to key issues affecting residents and businesses in Union County
•  Exposure to influential leaders in business and government in Union County
•  Networking and building relationships with 25 professionals throughout the ten month class
•  Hands on education and experiences through planning a class session and completing a quality of life research project
•  Increase knowledge of leadership traits and identifying personal leadership styles

Leadership Students should have high standards of personal quality and integrity, respect, responsibility, reliability and a sincere interest in community issues.

Throughout the ten month program, Leadership Students are empowered to be an integral part of the class day planning process and, therefore, enabled to be visionary and active leaders in the community as they explore critical issues with knowledgeable speakers, effective facilitators and a variety of experimental activities.  Leadership Students are also required to complete a community-directed research project aimed at affecting the quality of life in Union County.

Selection :

The Union County Leadership Institute solicits applications from all Chamber members and their associates.  Nominations are received and Leadership Students are selected on their own merits through the application process conducted by the Leadership Institute Selection Committee.  The class meets on the first Thursday of each month, beginning in September, to discuss critical issues and topics as well as leadership skill-building through the program’s completion in May.


The Leadership Institute Selection Committee looks for several qualities in potential students.  In order to be selected, applicants must: Be in positions of responsibility, such as managers, supervisors, directors, business owners, etc. – Demonstrate a sincere interest in community issues and a willingness to serve the community – Show a record of achievement or interest in community activities which indicate his/her leadership ability – Live or work in Union County and intend to remain so in the foreseeable future.

A diligent effort will be made to select class members who represent a cross section of Chamber businesses; it is this business, geographic and demographic diversity among class members that generates much of the meaningful personal interaction and personal learning in the leadership program.


Robert (Bob) L. Whitman is the Director of the Leadership Institute.

Bob was born, reared and educated in LaRue, Ohio.  Bob is the past Director of Chamber Programs and Membership of the Union County Chamber of Commerce in Marysville, Ohio.

A retired school superintendent of 24 years, Bob received his B.S. and M.A. degrees from the Ohio State University and his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University.

Throughout his career, he has been actively involved in research and writing.  Books he has written include Planning, Promoting and Passing School Tax Issues, A Resource Manual for School Levy Campaign Leaders and Jim Thorpe and the Oorang Indians: The NFL’s Most Colorful Franchise, and Jim Thorpe: Athlete of The Century.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need to live in Union County to participate?

A: One of the goals of the Leadership Institute is to raise leaders who will invest back into our community; therefore, all Leadership Students must live OR work in Union County and intend to remain so in the foreseeable future.

Q: Who should participate in the Leadership Institute?

A: Our desire is to build capacities of 21st-century leaders.  Leadership Students will greatly expand their knowledge and understanding of Union County and will learn how to utilize their leadership skills by getting involved in the community. Students will participate, and organize, classes where you will learn more about your own leadership skills, as well as meet influential community leaders, learn about the government and school systems and greatly expand your personal and professional network.

Q: What if I have scheduling conflicts during some of the sessions?  Should I still apply?

A: Absolutely!  While attendance and participation are critically important, we also understand Leadership Students have commitments that may take priority throughout the 10-month program.  Scheduling conflicts should be addressed with the Leadership Institute Selection Committee during the application process.

Q: What does the program cost?

A: The total cost of the Leadership Institute is $750.  Checks are to be made payable to the Union County Chamber of Commerce, attn.: Leadership Institute and should be mailed to 227 E. 5th St., Marysville OH 43040.  Full payment must be received by orientation in August.

Leadership Institute Alumni Remarks

  • “Excellent team-building experience builds social interaction (friends) with other like-minded individuals, it helps build a networking platform and provides an introduction to community leaders.  You will be asked to take on leadership roles in the community and most importantly, it builds confidence, confidence, and confidence!”  – Andy Smarra, Union County Treasurer
  • “I would definitely recommend participation in Union County’s Leadership Institute!  The highlight of the Institute is the networking and meeting other leaders in Union County.  I’ve made contacts that I regularly call upon and having that support is invaluable.” – Alex Jones, Director of Nursing, Union County Health Department
  • “I would highly recommend individuals participate in the Union County Leadership Institute if they are truly interested in engaging in the county.  Participants learn about the inner workings of government as well as discover what Union County is all about.” – Christy Clark
  • “My experience with the Leadership Institute was a positive one and I would recommend attending.  You get to learn more about our community and get acquainted with others in leadership roles from other businesses/organizations in Union County.” – Mary Sampsel, Retired Union Assistant Engineer
  • “I would encourage anyone to participate in the Leadership Institute Class, it is a great experience.  It’s an opportunity to network with others in the community, a chance to hear various presenters talk about their business they work for, what they do, and how their business benefits our community both locally and beyond.  As with anything, there areQA going to be both positives and negatives, we just hope that the positive outweighs the negative.” – Dan Bosch, Union Rural Electric
  • “I would definitely recommend the Leadership Institute.  I got to know a lot of great people and learned about the inner workings of the city and county on a variety of topics.  I would definitely recommend it.  I also was the first class to go through the fire training and that was a blast!” – Deb Stubbs, Memorial Hospital 

Leadership Institute Graduates

2019-2020 2018-2019 2017-2018
Baker, Craig Amerine, Dave Bowsher, Nick
Beals, Nancy Blumenschein, Tracy Brake, David
Burd, Jessica Bradley, Bob Bresson, Paul
Cain, Jessica Brickner, Stephanie Davidson, Bryan
Clark, Jamie Brown, Kathy Dejarnette, Mel
Clarridge, Melissa Crosby, Allison Feucht, Kyle
Farmer, Justin Cushman, Whitney Gindlesberger, Tasha
Fritz, Chad Dishong, Shannon Goins, Kyle
Gardner, Dan Finney, Mark Heminger, Kim
Haynes, Ginger Fishman, Jake Hoyng, Kyle
Heard, Teri Fries, Elizabeth Johnson, Alexis
Jones, Kristen Griffin, Steve Justice, Michael
Mayse, Mandi Guy-Schrienk, Julie Mickens, Laura
McCartney, Kate Kelley, Katherine Niccolini, Debra
Millhoan, Pamela King, Jason Potridge, Kris
Nelson, Ashlei Kuebler, Jim Seeberg, Chad
Russell, Jason Nahvi, Justin Sigrist, Stephanie
Salapata, Samantha Parthemore, Ali Spain, Betsy
Schultz, Adam Seiter, Beth Sperrazza, Dominic
Silva, Linda Sheets, Beth Stephens, Amy
Spain, Julie Stiers, Jeffery Stevens, Joni
Todd, Ron Truitt, Carly Stoppa, Cindy
Warnock, Cayla Walkowicz, Julia Wallace, Cassandra
Zeek, John Warden, Matthew Wever, Rebecca
Xiong, Shiping
2016-2017 2015-2016 2014-2015
Anderson, Bethany Alexander, Janell Andrako, Mike
Barr, Anne Atkins, Philip Brooks, Tony
Bemiller, Brian Behrens, Roberta Broomstra, Susan
Bishop, Andrew Berbee, Bob Bruce, Darlene
Bosch, Alicia Boyer, Ashley Champman, Joe
Bott, Corrie Bugg, Ashley Clayton, Tricia
Cohn, Chad Frisch, Jeffery Cogar, Jim
Devine, Paul Hardbarger, Ashley Colwell, Megan
Flowers, Chad Krutowskis, Anna Cook, Aaron
Harper, Tonia Lambert, Jessica Deverse, Jessica
Hixson, Cory LaMendola, Sue Eley, Amanda
Keith, Pam Langhals, Jonathan Gruber, Abby
Maine, Tara Morris, Amanda Johnston, Cody
McHattie, Kenneth Norman, Chris Markham, Teresa
McKinnon, Stephanie North-Thompson, Tammy Poling, Nathan
Michael, Beau Nowels, Nieca Seeber, Sarah
Porter, Arlene Partee, Lindsay Stidam, Amanda
Sachs, Nate Sattler, Barbara Tarney, Erin
Spires, Brian Scott, Leesa Will, Anthony
Thompson, Ashley Utt, Matt Winter, Brian
Thrush, Jennifer Warner, Roberta
Walters, Jason
Ware, Sue
Zweizig, Holly
2013-2014 2012-2013 2010-2011
Bibart, Rob Beebe, Melinda Allen, Seth
Brown, Kara Lassiter, Doug Amett, Aric
Bush, Amy Lassiter, Betty Baird, Mike
Calvert, Amber Burns, Nathan Balch, Rick
Chapman, Tom Breckenridge, Sean Belville, Terri
Chavarria, Jenny Reser, Shelly Brubaker, Jeniffer
Collins, Evie Ridley, Matt Buerk, Phillip
Damask, Jim Stringfellow, Drew Hammer, Duane
Delauter, David Mercer, Michele Hoyt, Jeremy
Garrett-Schwyn, Ashley Davis, Emily Jones, Alexandria
Gilbert, Brad Johnson, Nate Lee, Tiffany
Hamilton, Amy Dawson,  Tim Mason, Corry
Hassinger, Marilyn Altizer, Lindsay McClintock, Robert
Maxwell, Angela Branstiter, Wade Narducci, Bill
Michelson, Ryan Knotts, Tina Obenour, Kathryn
Patton, Jamie Dreiseidel, Marcia Palivoda, Tory
Puckett, Kim See, Andrea Smarra, Andrew
Ritter, Cindy Burns, Barb Scheiderer, Carol
Scalf-Leber, Stephanie Smith, Ryan Scroggins, Jamie
Spain,  Bo Tabor, Wendy
Spellman, Susan Trianfro, Jr., Victor
Vollrath, Benjamin Watson, Candace
Weakley, Kent Weaver, Andrea
Witt, Inge Wood, Tiffany
Wolfe, Jeannie
2009-2010 2008-2009 2007-2008
Baldwin, Stephen Anderson, Michele Ball, Brian
Bezusko, Carrie Ballenger, Andy Ball, Donna
Bosch, Dan Benson, Katie Burtch, Sheryl
Bugg, Ryan Dietsch, Kathy DeLong, Greg
Clark, Brian Douglas, Dick Eley, Phil
Connolly, John Goddard, Rod England, Christopher
Cramer, Deb Greenway, Tim Gehres, Brian
Crawford, Deborah Hanlon-Stolte, Mardy Given, Carrie
Decot, Lisa Johnson, Beth Golden, Doug
Fairchild, Nina Keifer, Eric Kontos, Kim
Focht, Lynnette Maruniak, Scott Nevil-English, Charlene
Gleeson, David McQuade, Brett Page, Cortney
Higinbotham, Amy Michalak, Laura Phillips, Dave
Holschulte, Josh Morgan, Tom Rose, Mike
Kemp, Jackie Purcell, Jonee Schaner, Debra
Koschalk, Kyle Reigle, Linda Shelton, Deb
Kruse, Lyle Riley, Jay Slattman, Robin
Maruskin, Scott Rock, Brenda Wilson, Kim
Mudgett, Heather Smith, Anthony  Wills, Tai
Nicol, Glen Stanford, Jason
Patterson, Lorli Steele, Carla
Perkins, Todd
Plank, Dani
Rapp, Sandy
Sech, Shawn
VanDyke, Steve
Wellman, Lisa
2006-2007 2005-2006 2004-2005
Applegate, Dr. David Ahern, Bob Banks, Sue
Aquillo, Mike Boerger, Patty Bauman, Adam
Baetz, Nedra Clark, Christy Behrens, Kevin
Bezusko, Dave Comstock, Jason Bowers, Trent
Chrispin, Matt Conklin, Gary Camron, Marilee
Clase, Joe Cooper, Charita Commings, Bob
Cox, Jim Cox, Faye Conklin, Nancy
Dostanko, Brian Ehlers, Jeff Cooper, Patrick
Hill, Tina Finney, Rachel Daberkow, Suzanne
Irwin, Sue Fisher, Spence Duke, Joe
Kannally,  Tim Gandre, Harry Franke, Chris
Mangine, Ellen Golden, Floyd Haverkamp, Jacqueline
Miller, Kim Krewson, Glen Hiss, Robert
Moore, Randy McDonnell, Ryan Holt, Ellen
Nelson, Rocky Orcena, Jason House, Kathy
Oetker, Cathy Page, Mareva Lee Jacques, Marian
Priday, Andy Pond, Ellen Marsh, Shari
Ravencraft, Brian Sampsel, Mary Sattler, Charles
Sayers, Chris Severn, Patricia Schulze, Dennis
Sellers, Leah Smith, Stephen Smith, Evan
Smith, Brooke Speicher, David Stanley, Rebecca
Wieringa, Emily Wirtz, Carman Stauch, Jeff
Wirtz, Jeff Ziegler, Jeffrey Tremmel, Martin
Zani, Carl Zumwalde, Suzanne Williams, Pat
Ziegler, Melanie Winkle, Randy

Past Leadership Institute Research Projects

10 Lesson Plan for Teaching Leadership to Elementary Students
A Canoe Livery Proposal for Big Darby in Union County
A Proposal for a Youth Center in Union County
Advantages and disadvantages of a dog park
An Orientation Program for New Students in the Marysville Exempted Village School District
Chamber of Commerce’s Comparative Analysis
Children Cell Phone Use
Exploration of Workforce Development Activities Among Service Providers
Financial preparedness for post-secondary education in Union County
Guide for Healthy Eating in Union County
Heart of the City Walk
How & Where do Residents Receive News and Information in Union County
How Marysville Relates to Commuters and Vice Versa
It Takes A Village
Jerome Township Brochures
Leadership Survey Presentation Resident vs. Non Resident
Logistics of Opening a Gun Range in Union County
Marysville Schools Quick Guide for Parents & Guardians Program
Memories of the Past Plain City
The Im-Balance of Nature in Union County
Need for Pediatric Respite Service in Union County
Ohio Historical Marker Program
Operation Feed Union County
Pamphlet for Richwood Visitors
Partnership between Union County Leadership & Union County Business Education
Preserve America Designation
Proposal for exploring different sites to relocate the Union County Airport
Scholarship Essay Contest
Summer Activities Guide for Youth in Union County
Survey of Employee Training Program
Test Pilot Volunteer Program for East Elementary
Two Grant Approvals for Historical Markers in Union County
Union County Covered Bridge Tour DVD
Union County Heritage Brochure
Video of the History of Magnetic Springs
Volunteer Leadership Opportunities Brochure
Volunteer Resources in Union County
Wellness Program for Businesses
Translate »