Gao leaving Clermont County

Gary Gao, the Clermont County Ohio State University Extension Director, is moving to the Delaware County OSU Extension offices outside of Columbus.

“Clermont County has been a wonderful place to work,” he said while relaxing in his office Aug. 2. “When I first started working here, we (Clermont County) did not have a horticulture agent or even any horticulture programs. I sort of had to start everything from scratch.”

In his 12 years working for the county, Gao started the master volunteer gardening program and the Southwestern Ohio perennial school. He has helped coordinate and implement fall landscaping seminars and home outreach gardening classes.

Gao has been the administrative representative in the OSU county extension offices and writes a gardening column for many local and city newspapers,

Gao is quick to thank all of the many people who have contributed to his success in Clermont, especially the county commissioners.

“They (commissioners) have provided very substantial amounts of funding to the OSU Extension offices and they have been extremely supportive of our efforts, from 4-H, agriculture, horticulture, family consumer sciences, and community development. They will always have my deepest gratitude.”

Doreen Kelly, a volunteer who graduated from the master gardening program and has worked for Gao the past three years, said that Gary will truly be missed.

“We will all miss his dedication to the community and his leadership skills that have inspired all of us,” she said. “He was never afraid to put himself out there. The impact that he has made on Clermont County cannot even be measured. That is how special he is.”

Gao says he felt that the time was right to move on.

“Delaware County is very similar to Clermont County,” he said. “It is a suburban county that offers many attractive benefits, primarily its location. It is only 12 miles from the main OSU campus where my new offices are located.”

Gao, who will be moving to Delaware County with his wife Wendy and their sons Alvin and Tom on August 14, said that he will miss his colleagues and friends that he has made in the County over the years.

“The hardest part about leaving will be saying farewell to all of the friends I have made. I have made a ton of very nice friends in this county and I will miss them very much. But I am very excited about this new job and chapter in my life. I will miss Clermont but I am looking forward to going to a different location and tackling different challenges.”