Columbus, OH: No Longer Just A Flyover

Terra’s Matt Wozniak gives us a taste of why Columbus, OH has so much more to offer than just being a city in the Midwest.

When people hear I am from Ohio, most ask, “Do you live on a farm?” In a state widely stereotyped for corn and cows, Columbus has so much more to offer.

(For example, Ohio is the #1 producer of Swiss cheese. I mean… come on!)

Originally, growth came from the natural geographic location of the city—rivers provided multiple transportation routes throughout the state and Midwest. A penitentiary, schools, churches and a growing population were soon to follow. By the mid-1800s, Columbus had connections across the state with railroads and telegraph lines.

In the past 20 years, what was once a small, but growing, metropolitan area has developed into a hub of political, educational, economic and social diversity. Columbus is one of the fastest growing metropolitan cities in the US and has become a destination for Ohio residents, travelers, and aspiring entrepreneurs.

This growth of technology and construction has been the driving force of the development of Columbus as well as around the world. Working for Terra has given me a whole new perspective to everyday life, illuminating the important work that we do.

While I was always interested in engineering, I now appreciate the design and development that goes into the telecommunication industry. Recently, I had the same feeling of appreciation while downtown in Columbus’s Nationwide Arena while attending a Columbus Blue Jackets game with John Schueler and his son, Chris. It is the home to several events, concerts, and sporting events, but most importantly it is home to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

From the time I was 17, when I went to my first Columbus Blue Jackets game with my family, I have been a big-time fan. This past season has been one of the most exciting runs the Blue Jackets have had.

Established as an expansion team in 2000, the Columbus Blue Jackets were nearly a real-life take on Disney’s The Mighty Ducks. Their 2000-2001 season left them with a record of 28-39-9-6 and their 2001-2002 season with a record of 22-47-8-5 (wins-losses-ties-overtime losses).

In 2009, the Blue Jackets made a statement by qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs but were swept. Five years later in 2014, they won their first single-game playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs were a historic time for the Columbus Blue Jackets, as it was the first playoff series win for the team—ever. The Blue Jackets were victorious in a 4-0 first round sweep over the tenacious number one seed Tampa Bay Lighting.

Above: Columbus’s Nationwide Arena.

While this season has been fun to watch as a fan, it has also been beneficial to the growth of Columbus. Ohio State has not only influenced growth through academics but also with athletics, bringing in the most revenue from their football fan base. Similarly, the Columbus Crew SC has brought in soccer fans from around the nation for different games and tournaments. This is the first season that the Columbus Blue Jackets have really put themselves on the map and made Columbus known to the NHL world.  

The economic boost in tourism of visiting teams and their fans, as well as our native fan base, continues to help Columbus prosper. I had the chance to speak with the Director of Business Development at the Greater Columbus Sports Commission (GCSC), Jeremy Leifel. In our discussion, Leifel said, “The 2019 Columbus Blue Jackets season was historic for the city. Columbus was in the national spotlight throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the city experienced significant economic impact and media exposure. The success of the Blue Jackets and the ‘Save the Crew’ movement prove that the future is bright for the Columbus sports scene.”

In the short time I have been in Columbus for school, and now living here, I have seen Columbus grow and really become a forerunner of developing metropolitan cities in the Midwest. I am excited to watch it continue developing while growing the Columbus Terra Office right along with it!