In a major blow to the Miami Valley, NCR, Dayton’s sole Fortune 500 company, announced it was leaving Dayton and heading south to Duluth, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta. Georgia state officials made a rich tax-incentive offer to NCR, who noted that the Ohio government made a last-minute proposal that didn’t compare. Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher responded with anger, saying he had made several unanswered calls to NCR CEO Bill Nuti, and hadn’t made contact until within the last 24 hours.
I don’t really care much about the back-and-forth politics figuring out who made what offer when. This is a devastating blow to a region that has already seen the loss of its largest manufacturing plant, Delphi, as a casualty of the auto slump. Losing NCR hurts, as the company’s roots to this city go all the way back to 1884, when John Patterson, a major figure in Dayton, founded the cash-register making company that later branched out into ATMs and airline check-in kiosks.
Some readers nationwide may not appreciate why this is a particularly big deal, but it hits home with me and makes me a little sad. NCR, innovator of business and holder of several thousand patents, is something of a point of pride for our city, and losing it will take a large chunk of whatever luster remains of the Gem City. Ohio is hurting, and this latest departure will leave a large hole in the heart of the Miami Valley.
So long, NCR. Wish it could have worked out better.