Robert McLaughlin selected for Pacesetter Award

Robert McLaughlin, the associate dean for administrative services at the University of Cincinnati Clermont College, has been named the 2005 Edward J. Parish Pacesetter by the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce.

“It is a great honor and I am very humbled,” said McLaughlin. “I have attended many of the pacesetter banquet dinners over the years and have always been in awe in many respects of the individuals who have been honored. I never dreamed that my name would be included up there with those amazing people who have given so selflessly to the community.”

McLaughlin, known as ‘Mick’ to his friends and associates, met Edward J. Parish when he first started working at Clermont College.

“Actually, one of my first assignments was to meet the great man himself,” recalls McLaughlin. “He gave me some good advice that I have tried to live up to ever since. He said to me, ‘Boy, if you are going to be in this community, you have got to know something about it and give back to it.’ It was like a father talking to a son and I was in awe because this was the president of the Chamber of Commerce. That was my first encounter with him and it was a privilege working with him for a number of years before he died.”

During his 15-year term as the president of the Clermont Chamber of Commerce, Edward J. Parish led the chamber and the county through a strong period of growth. During the 1980’s and early 1990’s, he propelled Clermont County into the strong economic force in Ohio that it has become today. When Parish retired from public service in 1996, the pacesetter award was named in his honor.

Current Chamber president Matt Van Sant said that the pacesetter award is bestowed upon an individual who exhibits genuine concern for the county and its residents and has exhibited exemplary qualities of citizenship, character, and leadership.

“The past recipients or winners of the pacesetter recognition award vote on the annual nominees,” he said. “This year we will be honoring Mick. He has been a strong supporter of the business community. By educating business leaders and the current and future work force, he is developing and nurturing economic growth in the county. His accomplishments deserve to be recognized.”

McLaughlin, who was raised in Highland County, has been the Associate Dean of Administrative Services for the University of Cincinnati (his alma mater) Clermont College for 13 years. From a business standpoint, he is the college’s chief financial officer and the chief operating officer combined. Although he has accomplished many things in his professional life, he said that he is most proud of the college’s growth.

When he started working at the campus 13 years ago, there were fewer than 1,100 students; today that number has tripled to more than 3,300.

“It is a blessing to work here,” he said in his campus office Oct. 24. “I have never done anything in the hopes that I would be recognized, singled out, or patted on the back. I did it because it was important to me or because it was the right thing to do. The friendships that I have made and the relationships that I have formed in this community is reward enough for me. The pacesetter award is indeed a great honor. Parish was a visionary in so many ways and I am still pinching myself wondering if this is really going to happen.”

McLaughlin will be recognized at the 2006 Pacesetter Dinner Nov. 2.