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More than a Top 10 Micropolitan

Discovering the Heart and Soul of Defiance, Ohio – We’re More Than Just a Top 10 Micropolitan

By Erika Willitzer – Executive Director of Defiance County Economic Development. This column is sponsored by OhioMeansJobs of Defiance County

 In a world where businesses are perpetually in uncharted territories, leaders constantly encounter their own Goliaths. The movie "Facing the Giants" is not merely a high school football narrative—it's a convergence of life lessons on overcoming adversity, and the tenacity of faith, with implications far exceeding the end zones of sports dramas.

The death crawl scene remains a compelling metaphor for business leaders. If you need a pick me up or motivation, I’d advise watching this five-minute clip. Just search “Facing the Giants” – death crawl on YouTube. It’s worth watching!  Despite the reference to death, it gives you inspiration to LIVE, and the DESIRE to persevere.

In the scene a football player carries a team member on his back across the length of a football field while blindfolded. His coach keeps screaming at him to keep going - to never give up. When the football player goes to a point his body gives out. He cries, thinking he failed, but his coach has him look up, and it is in that moment, the player realizes he is in the endzone. It's a test of physical endurance, yes, but more so, it's a testament to willpower, mental fortitude, and an unyielding sense of purpose.

The City of Defiance was recently listed in the Top Ten Micropolitan List. Keep in mind there are over 500 micropolitans in the U.S. and Defiance placed 10th.  This type of recognition doesn’t just happen. It’s determined solely on new business investment, and it requires determination from our business leaders who work tirelessly to expand their operations. When our office talks about expansions, we typically report the investment amount in a building, but what our team sees behind the scenes is the absolute dedication of all the business leaders and their goal to improve the lives of their employees. It’s as if they are in the movie carrying all of their employees on their backs.

To all the business leaders fighting each day to do what’s right for their employees, you are creating a ripple effect that is transforming not only your industries, but also the City of Defiance and the region. Your rally cry is daring enough to face the giants and resilient enough to endure the death crawl.  

So, when you hear Defiance is a Top Ten Micropolitan, it’s more than a number, it’s a true testimony of strength that has always resided in our Defiance County Business Leaders, but it’s now finally being seen.

For business expansion and/or workforce resources, email

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