3rd Annual Economic Development Forum held by Four County Economic Development Organizations in Northeast Indiana

Northeast, IN. (September 20, 2010) — The four economic development corporations of Northeast Indiana recently held their third annual Economic Development Forum at the Shipshewana Town Center in Shipshewana, IN. This year’s forum was on the topic of "Community/Industry Relationships", and was hosted by the Dekalb County Economic Development Partnership, the LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation, the Noble County Economic Development Corporation, and the Steuben County Economic Development Corporation.
The crowd, well over 100, was mostly comprised of local elected officials, economic development corporation board members, and others with an interest in learning more about the importance and impact of businesses to a community and the role each of them plays in supporting those companies.
The keynote speaker, David Dodd of Dadco Consulting, delivered a well-received presentation on the topic of business retention and expansion. "Business retention and expansion is one of the most important and most under-appreciated aspects of economic development" said Mark Becker, Executive Director of the Northeast Indiana Fund and a sponsor of the event. "Local economic developers get the biggest return on their investment by working with the local customers that are already here to help them grow and re-invest into their communities." Tom Leedy, Executive Director of the Dekko Foundation was impressed with Dodd’s presentation. "Once again, I found the ED Forum to be informative and timely for our area. Although business attraction is an important part of our economic development strategy, I appreciated the emphasis the forum placed on business retention and expansion. The existing businesses in our region play an extremely important role in community development and we need to make sure we acknowledge their valuable contributions." Meegan Lally-Spicer, an Incentives Management Specialist with Duff & Phelps, also educated those in attendance on the importance of incentives in dealing with new prospect attraction projects, as well as for retention efforts. Dick Heupel, Director of Ball State University’s Office of Building Better Communities, spoke to the audience about tools available to measure the value and economic impact that a business and/or a potential expansion has on the prosperity of a community.
Sen. Marlin Stutzman (IN-13) was in attendance at the Economic Development Forum. "Economic development is a key priority in getting Northeast Indiana back on track. The forum held today in Shipshewana brings together all of the major players in an effort to hear from those who have experienced success in economic development from around the country. This is the kind of proactive approach that each county and community must continue to take. It was good to be a part of it and to see other concerned community leaders in the region being encouraged, inspired and re-energized to work together to improve our area’s economic situation." Sen. Dennis Kruse (IN-14) also valued the presentations that the local organizations were able to bring to the area. "The information shared at the ED Forum was good for elected officials to hear…it challenges our thought process, while also refreshing our memories on what we are called to do and why." Dodd was encouraged by the attendance at the Shipshewana Forum, as well as at a second forum held later in the day in Huntington, in cooperation with the southern counties in the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. "Their commitment to educating local officials and economic development stakeholders on the many facets of economic development, particularly expansion, retention, and industry clusters, is unmatched by any other organization I have worked with. They have truly realized the fact that, as a region, they must collaborate to compete in the new global economic reality. My prediction is that, over the next few years, Northeast Indiana will achieve spectacular success. As I speak to corporate leaders worldwide, I plan to cite Northeast Indiana as an example of an effectively led, dynamic, and successful region."
Planning for next year’s Economic Development Forum is already underway. "The value of hosting these informative workshops to continue to educate our stakeholders on matters important to economic development efforts is priceless" said John Sampson, President and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. "These efforts will continue to pay dividends and raise the bar for the level of support for businesses and economic development efforts in the Northeast Indiana region. The counties that initiate and host these types of events will enjoy the fruits of their labor."
For more information, contact Executive Director Keith Gillenwater at the LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation at 260.499.4994.

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