By Kristin Rover
University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono spoke during the Clermont Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Small Business Awards Feb. 7.
UC Clermont College President Greg Sojka introduced Ono, who spoke about customer service, innovation and business practices they use at University of Cincinnati.
“He really doesn’t need any introduction,” Sojka said. “We are fortunate to have him as our leader.”
Ono, who is in his second year as president of UC, highlighted what he is focused on at the university and said he uses many of the same principals as what small business award winners are implementing at their companies.
“You are recognizing best practices,” Ono said. “These same practices are important to our university.”
Ono said the university has to be customer focused, innovative and show entrepreneurial spirit.
He said being customer focused means being responsive to what students need including a variety of programs and even different ways to learn.
“Some students need an entry point to a four-year degree,” Ono said. “Some students need an associates degree.”
Ono said they have realized it is more important than ever to offer all different types of colleges to meet the different needs of students.
Ono said Clermont College is an example of one of these colleges.
He said Clermont College is also an example of how they have been innovative at UC.
“The partnership through Clermont College and Milacron trains workers advanced manufacturing skills,” Ono said.
Ono said students learn the skills and are paid for their time.
He said they are continuing to develop different programs, including programs in other countries, that give students real world learning experiences and prepare them for the workforce.
“Our university continues to be innovative,” Ono said.
Ono said entrepreneurial spirit is also important for leaders at a university.
“We are partnering with large businesses and small businesses,” Ono said.
Ono said they are reaching out to these companies in areas surrounding the college to develop relationships.
“We want to be part of Clermont County,” Ono said.
Ono said they are working to increase revenue and build a better research base for venture capital.
“We are going to do better every year,” Ono said.
Ono encouraged business owners in the room to hire students from UC and also encouraged students graduating from Clermont College to consider working in Clermont County.
He said from what he has seen, Clermont County shares a passion for students.
“We need to work together,” Ono said.
Ono thanked chamber officials for the opportunity to speak and said it is always great to come to Clermont County.