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 is 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

  • “Excellent team building experience, builds social interaction (friends) with other like-minded individuals, it helps build a networking platform and provides 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 is 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

2004-2005 2005-2006 2006-2007
Banks, Sue Ahern, Bob Applegate, Dr. David
Bauman, Adam Boerger, Patty Aquillo, Mike
Behrens, Kevin Clark, Christy Baetz, Nedra
Bowers, Trent Comstock, Jason Bezusko, Dave
Camron, Marilee Conklin, Gary Chrispin, Matt
Commings, Bob Cooper, Charita Clase, Joe
Conklin, Nancy Cox, Faye Cox, Jim
Cooper, Patrick Ehlers, Jeff Dostanko, Brian
Daberkow, Suzanne Finney, Rachel Hill, Tina
Duke, Joe Fisher, Spence Irwin, Sue
Franke, Chris Gandre, Harry Kannally,  Tim
Haverkamp, Jacqueline Golden, Floyd Mangine, Ellen
Hiss, Robert Krewson, Glen Miller, Kim
Holt, Ellen McDonnell, Ryan Moore, Randy
House, Kathy Orcena, Jason Nelson, Rocky
Jacques, Marian Page, Mareva Lee Oetker, Cathy
Marsh, Shari Pond, Ellen Priday, Andy
Sattler, Charles Sampsel, Mary Ravencraft, Brian
Schulze, Dennis Severn, Patricia Sayers, Chris
Smith, Evan Smith, Stephen Sellers, Leah
Stanley, Rebecca Speicher, David Smith, Brooke
Stauch, Jeff Wirtz, Carman Wieringa, Emily
Tremmel, Martin Ziegler, Jeffrey Wirtz, Jeff
Williams, Pat Zumwalde, Suzanne Zani, Carl
Winkle, Randy Ziegler, Melanie


2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010
Ball, Brian Anderson, Michele Baldwin, Stephen
Ball, Donna Ballenger, Andy Bezusko, Carrie
Burtch, Sheryl Benson, Katie Bosch, Dan
DeLong, Greg Dietsch, Kathy Bugg, Ryan
Eley, Phil Douglas, Dick Clark, Brian
England, Christopher Goddard, Rod Connolly, John
Gehres, Brian Greenway, Tim Cramer, Deb
Given, Carrie Hanlon-Stolte, Mardy Crawford, Deborah
Golden, Doug Johnson, Beth Decot, Lisa
Kontos, Kim Keifer, Eric Fairchild, Nina
Nevil-English, Charlene Maruniak, Scott Focht, Lynnette
Page, Cortney McQuade, Brett Gleeson, David
Phillips, Dave Michalak, Laura Higinbotham, Amy
Rose, Mike Morgan, Tom Holschulte, Josh
Schaner, Debra Purcell, Jonee Kemp, Jackie
Shelton, Deb Reigle, Linda Koschalk, Kyle
Slattman, Robin Riley, Jay Kruse, Lyle
Wilson, Kim Rock, Brenda Maruskin, Scott
 Wills, Tai Smith, Anthony Mudgett, Heather
Stanford, Jason Nicol, Glen
Steele, Carla Patterson, Lorli
Perkins, Todd
Plank, Dani
Rapp, Sandy
Sech, Shawn
VanDyke, Steve
Wellman, Lisa


2010-2011 2012-2013 2013-2014
Allen, Seth Beebe, Melinda Bibart, Rob
Amett, Aric Lassiter, Doug Brown, Kara
Baird, Mike Lassiter, Betty Bush, Amy
Balch, Rick Burns, Nathan Calvert, Amber
Belville, Terri Breckenridge, Sean Chapman, Tom
Brubaker, Jeniffer Reser, Shelly Chavarria, Jenny
Buerk, Phillip Ridley, Matt Collins, Evie
Hammer, Duane Stringfellow, Drew Damask, Jim
Hoyt, Jeremy Mercer, Michele Delauter, David
Jones, Alexandria Davis, Emily Garrett-Schwyn, Ashley
Lee, Tiffany Johnson, Nate Gilbert, Brad
Mason, Corry Dawson,  Tim Hamilton, Amy
McClintock, Robert Altizer, Lindsay Hassinger, Marilyn
Narducci, Bill Branstiter, Wade Maxwell, Angela
Obenour, Kathryn Knotts, Tina Michelson, Ryan
Palivoda, Tory Dreiseidel, Marcia Patton, Jamie
Smarra, Andrew See, Andrea Puckett, Kim
Scheiderer, Carol Burns, Barb Ritter, Cindy
Scroggins, Jamie Smith, Ryan Scalf-Leber, Stephanie
Tabor, Wendy Spain,  Bo
Trianfro, Jr., Victor Spellman, Susan
Watson, Candace Vollrath, Benjamin
Weaver, Andrea Weakley, Kent
Wood, Tiffany Witt, Inge
Wolfe, Jeannie


2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017
Andrako, Mike Alexander, Janell Anderson, Bethany
Brooks, Tony Atkins, Philip Barr, Anne
Broomstra, Susan Behrens, Roberta Bemiller, Brian
Bruce, Darlene Berbee, Bob
Champman, Joe Boyer, Ashley Bishop, Andrew
Clayton, Tricia Bugg, Ashley Bosch, Alicia
Cogar, Jim Frisch, Jeffery Bott, Corrie
Colwell, Megan Hardbarger, Ashley Cohn, Chad
Cook, Aaron Krutowskis, Anna Devine, Paul
Deverse, Jessica Lambert, Jessica Flowers, Chad
Eley, Amanda LaMendola, Sue Harper, Tonia
Gruber, Abby Langhals, Jonathan Hixson, Cory
Johnston, Cody Morris, Amanda Keith, Pam
Markham, Teresa Norman, Chris Maine, Tara
Poling, Nathan North-Thompson, Tammy McHattie, Kenneth
Seeber, Sarah Nowels, Nieca McKinnon, Stephanie
Stidam, Amanda Partee, Lindsay Michael, Beau
Tarney, Erin Sattler, Barbara Porter, Arlene
Will, Anthony Scott, Leesa Sachs, Nate
Winter, Brian Utt, Matt Spires, Brian
Warner, Roberta Thompson, Ashley
Thrush, Jennifer
Walters, Jason
Ware, Sue
Zweizig, Holly


2017-2018 2019-2020
Bowsher, Nick Baker, Craig
Brake, David Beals, Nancy
Bresson, Paul Burd, Jessica
Davidson, Bryan Cain, Jessica
Dejarnette, Mel Clark, Jamie
Feucht, Kyle Clarridge, Melissa
Gindlesberger, Tasha Farmer, Justin
Goins, Kyle Fritz, Chad
Heminger, Kim Gardner, Dan
Hoyng, Kyle Haynes, Ginger
Johnson, Alexis Heard, Teri
Justice, Michael Jones, Kristen
Mickens, Laura Mayse, Mandi
Niccolini, Debra McCartney, Kate
Potridge, Kris Millhoan, Pamela
Seeberg, Chad Nelson, Ashlei
Sigrist, Stephanie Russell, Jason
Spain, Betsy Salapata, Samantha
Sperrazza, Dominic Schultz, Adam
Stephens, Amy Silva, Linda
Stevens, Joni Spain, Julie
Stoppa, Cindy Todd, Ron
Wallace, Cassandra Warnock, Cayla
Wever, Rebecca Zeek, John
Xiong, Shiping

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
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