Guest Column: Newark Advocate's 20 Under 40 Spotlight

Posted on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 by James Golden

My introduction to Licking County came all the way back in 1993 as a Freshman in High School, at the age of 14. My family had just moved us from Reynoldsburg City to Hebron, OH. Needless to say, a new school, with new people, new environments, new sites and new sounds was a little overwhelming at that time and age. I moved just in time for baseball season, stepped out of my comfort zone, tried out and was surprised when I made the team. Looking back at it, this was probably the single event that helped me to embrace my new home, surroundings and all that Licking County has to offer…Opportunity.

As the weeks, months and years passed, being at this new school and recognized as a part of a team brought many new friends and opportunities. I was now in a smaller classroom environment, knew my teachers, and competition for friendship, groups, and athletics wasn’t nearly as big. What I really remember was how not just the school and my peers accepted me into their hometown, but it was the entire community. Droves of people, (strangers to me) all came together to support us as student-athletes as we competed for the league, division and state titles. I had never seen anything like that!

After graduation, I decided to give Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) a shot. Looking back on it, what a great experience! The opportunity to develop a skilled trade in the engineering space, while working in an internship program sponsored at Licking County’s own ODOT, District 5. Having the ability to work on both my education and skilled trade in a real-world job environment really set the tone for my current success and accomplishments as an entrepreneur and small business owner.

Graduating from COTC and with a job at ODOT, the next logical step was to move out of my parent’s home and set out on my own, but where? At this time, I was young, married and had a son. Suddenly, I was really seeing everything Licking County had to offer. Affordable housing, entertainment, parks, local events, small business services, restaurants…with an emphasis on local! Again, the small town, embracing the culture of Licking County came calling and I ultimately settled in Heath, OH.

As a Licking County resident for now 25 years, I am very thankful for the opportunities that living, working and raising a family here as afforded me. My hope is that through my business ventures and community outreach I can help others recognize all of the value and charm that Licking County has to offer, here in the land of opportunity J

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