The Time Was Right

LEAD Clermont was born out of Clermont 2001, an effort of more than 300 volunteers whose mission was to serve as a catalyst to bring people and organizations together to improve the quality of life in Clermont County. Through a citizens advisory committee led by Bill Over and many others working on countywide issues, a ten-year plan was developed and offered to the public in June of 1991. This report focused on transportation, rural interests, water, wastewater, sewer/waste, parks & recreation, public safety, education, health care, social services and information/resources. The executive overview targeted three key areas beyond these specifics:

  1. Developing better leaders

  2. Building a sense of community

  3. Funding the future

Clermont 2001 dedicated its future to working as a catalyst within the county to improve the quality of life for all citizens.  There was specific commitment to the three general areas above as focal points for action.


UC Clermont College, the Clermont Chamber of Commerce, and Clermont 2001 partnered together to create the accredited leadership course, LEAD Clermont. The faculty of UC Clermont College approved the seven-quarter hour, nine months long course and the dean of the college became the Instructor of Record.  Students paid tuition for the course and the State of Ohio provided a subsidy for the instruction as part of the Ohio Board of Regents Program mission of upgrading Ohio’s workforce. UC Clermont College then contracted with Clermont 2001 to provide instruction under the supervision of the faculty at the college. This arrangement provided a permanent source of funding for Clermont 2001 and made it possible to seek an executive director. 

The inaugural LEAD Clermont class of twenty kicked off the yearlong program and the first Camp Joy experience in team-building and leadership in 1992. The first coordinator was Dr. Beckie Meinberg, assisted by Bill Over. Subjects covered in that first year included economic development, government, justice & public safety, health & social services, education, housing, infrastructure, community development and the presentation of class projects.

"  There was a need for a Citizens’ Vision for Clermont County… a need for an organization to bring people to work together to improve the quality of life for all citizens. Clermont 2001, through its many volunteer leaders, was that organization. Despite all the progress, needs are still there, and we will continue to evolve and involve citizens in meeting these needs. I am as excited today about the strategic goals of Clermont 2001 as I was at that first meeting in 1988.  " - Bill Over, 2001

"There was a need for a Citizens’ Vision for Clermont County… a need for an organization to bring people to work together to improve the quality of life for all citizens. Clermont 2001, through its many volunteer leaders, was that organization. Despite all the progress, needs are still there, and we will continue to evolve and involve citizens in meeting these needs. I am as excited today about the strategic goals of Clermont 2001 as I was at that first meeting in 1988." - Bill Over, 2001





  • Cincinnati 2000 "Smale" Report was released. Bill Over and Ed Parish meet to discuss how to achieve a similar report in Clermont County. 63 county leaders accept invitation to gather and prioritize county needs.
  • A steering committee is formed, and the plan receives the support of the County Commissioners.
  • An Executive Committee is formed.
  • The project is formally titled "Clermont 2001: Citizens Advisory Committee," and volunteer recruitment begins.
  • Clermont Chamber launches a Leadership Program to complement the volunteer effort (later replaced by LEAD Clermont in 1992).


  • The Executive Committee releases "A Vision of Excellence for Clermont County," their guide to achieving the Report.
  • Sub-committees are established and filled with volunteers to tackle individual efforts.
  • A newsletter is established, and a State of The Project is held at Clermont College.


  • Clermont 2001 is incorporated on May 15, 1990, and receives 501 (c)(3) status later that summer.
  • Funding reaches its $40,000 goal.


  • The Clermont 2001 Report is provided to citizens on June 25, culminating the efforts of over 300 volunteers. Copies of the full report are distributed to the county commissioners, townships, villages, libraries, school districts, local state and federal legislators, print and electronic media, and key organizations such as United Way and Clermont Chamber of Commerce. Smaller summary reports are also made available to anyone interested.
  • Informational campaign begins to publicize report/share recommendations with civic groups, politicians and other interested parties.
  • Organizational structure is put in place for ongoing Clermont 2001 committee.
  • By July, county agencies have taken action to positively address wastewater and septic system issues delineated in the report.
  • Under leadership of Dr. Bob Whitman, local educators responded aggressively to the education sub-committee report.
  • Outreach Immunization Clinic established in Felicity in October.
  • Mental Health levy renewed by voters in November.
  • Mobile health unit studied by Clermont Mercy.


  • LEAD Clermont begins its first class.
  • Clermont County Parks places levy on May ballot.
  • CART receives permission to begin to transport to Anderson Mercy Hospital and makes plans for all vans to be handicapped accessible by summer of 1993.
  • Clermont 2001 develops its first master financing plan for organization’s long term support.
  • The Clermont Community Fund is established.
  • Efforts begin to organize a countywide clergy network.
  • UC Clermont College community arts program wins a Post-Corbett Award.
  • Trustees recommend that Clermont 2001 hire a part-time director to manage its activities.


  • One of the first recipients of a grant from the Community Fund is the Cincinnati Nature Center for $500 to defray the costs for volunteers spending the day cleaning up the East Fork of the Little Miami River.
  • The second class is selected for LEAD Clermont, guaranteeing a lifelong debate as to which was “the best class”!
  • LEAD Clermont Alumni Association is formed to carry forward projects and ongoing relationships among the graduates.
  • Bill Over is named the first Executive Director for Clermont 2001.
  • In July, Clermont 2001 has a daylong retreat for revisiting the mission and vision.
  • Greg Crowell volunteered to head a sub-committee to complete a study on housing that was left out of the original report.
  • Clermont County applied for a $240,000 grant from O.V.D.R.C. to proceed with fiber optic distance learning technology being offered by Cincinnati Bell. This grant was approved in early 1993 and was a significant step for the education community.
  • The Education Task Force was formalized as an ongoing part of Clermont 2001.



  • Dan Earley is elected as Chairman.
  • First Salute to Leaders event is held as part of Clermont 2001 annual meeting.
  • Education Task Force undertakes a survey of citizens’ opinion on county schools.
  • Jackson Township establishes its first land use plan.
  • Milford/Miami Township Community Ministry is formed.
  • Heritage FallFest is offered as a community event and fund raiser for Clermont Community Fund.
  • Roadside Rainbow Project brings together State and volunteers for beautification.



  • First Public Issues Forum is held.
  • Under Tom Dix’s leadership, efforts began to form a History Task Force.
  • Clermont 2001 offers the first historical Clermont afghan for sale.
  • Second Heritage FallFest.
  • Organization participates in forming a countywide Arts Council.
  • The number of trustees on the Clermont 2001 board is expanded to twenty-five.
  • Financing for the organization is formalized with a dues structure for members and a corporate support drive.
  • Youth Look to Clermont Class is added to compliment LEAD Clermont.



  • Dr. Roger Barry becomes the third Chairman for Clermont 2001.
  • The Clermont Leadership Institute forms as a wholly owned subsidiary of Clermont 2001.
  • Clermont 2001 moves to 119 West Main Street, Amelia.
  • Dr. Bob Whitman writes and edits a look back at the first five years after the Clermont 2001 Report.
  • Leadership training adds Senior Leadership Program and Educational Leadership.
  • The Safe Communities concept is presented to the board.
  • First annual Christmas party is held at new office for leadership alumni, 2001 members and guests.
  • Tom Dix and Bill Over introduce the idea of reinventing community.
  • The County Arts & Culture Committee becomes part of Clermont 2001.



  • Safe Communities moves from a test project in Miami Township to countywide.
  • Education Task Force produces county education brochure.
  • Clermont 2001 History Task Force becomes catalyst for Bicentennial Commission.
  • Four leadership programs graduate 80.
  • Over and Over Volunteer Leadership Award.
  • “New Board” concepts lead to reorganization of Clermont 2001 fiscal year and member responsibilities.
  • Ron Gramke becomes the fourth Chairman in July.



  • Clermont County Convention.
  • First annual golf outing.
  • Cindy Jenkins hired as first full time director for Leadership Institute.
  • Community Development Center established.
  • Clermont Philharmonic Orchestra is created.
  • Clean and Green anti-litter campaign organized.



  • Clermont 2001 name evaluated in view of impending new century.  Result is new logo with tagline, “A Century of New Leadership."
  • Clermont Family of Funds (formerly Clermont Community Fund) assets exceed $300,000.
  • Community Development Center hosts community meetings in Bethel, Owensville and New Richmond.
  • “New Board Concept” adopted for Clermont 2001.
  • Clermont Public Issues Forum (CPIF) held series of meetings in Loveland on the White Pillars development project.
  • Concentrated effort to greatly improve the financial strength of Clermont 2001 results in doubling of corporate members.
  • Fiscal year realigned back to calendar year.
  • Clermont Leadership Institute adopts “Strategic Directions."



  • Strategic planning process involved three sessions facilitated by Patti Holmes and focused on a new ten year vision for the county and a revised mission for Clermont 2001.
  • Development Council formed.
  • Treasurer Noreen Dawson dies in June after a long battle with cancer.
  • Community Development Center hosts three breakfast meetings around the theme of developing better communities.
  • Clermont 2001 participates in county’s Bicentennial Celebration; sells full color afghans that commemorate the event.
  • Clean & Green hosts two more litter clean-up days, starts an educational campaign, and signs on new companies for Adopt-A-Highway.
  • Education Task Force begins a program to improve college access for Clermont students.
  • The Leadership Institute celebrates its 300th graduate, having incubated nearly 60 new projects including the Clermont Women in Leadership and The First Impressions Orientation Program.
  • A mentoring program is developed for Look to Clermont.
  • www.clermont2001.org  (another LEAD Clermont project) is launched.
  • Family of Funds exceed $400,000.
  • LEAD Clermont graduates Jean Schmidt and Tom Niehaus are each elected to state representative.



  • LEAD facilitated a Community Conversation (hosted by UC Clermont), that led to the creation of this inspiring vision: "Together we will have established an outstanding educational network that is nationally recognized for the community support that assures lifelong learning." Its goal was to create an inclusive, lifelong learning network that: 1.) educates and inspires us as citizens to understand our role in the world and to be responsible for meeting the changing needs of the community and the individual; 2.) Continuously develops and improves a workforce to meet the employment demands of the community; and 3.) Makes Clermont County a great place to live, learn and work.



  • Andy McCreanor becomes Executive Director of Clermont 20/20.




  • The last Clermont 20/20 LEAD Clermont class graduated.
  • LEAD Clermont program transfers to the Clermont Chamber Foundation.



  • 1st LEAD Clermont class as part of Clermont Chamber Foundation.



  • 1st LEAD Ready program is rolled out at Milford High School.
  • 1st LEAD Emerge class for first time supervisors and young professionals
  • LEAD Clermont Academy is formed.