Officials from Daviess and another dozen counties took part in a meeting to try and entice business developers to locate in southern Indiana. An eight-county Radius Indiana group joined with South Central Indiana Economic Developmentto share insights about their respective regions for 10 site selectors out of the Louisville area. It was the first joint effort by the two regional economic development groups.
"This was a great endeavor on behalf of both of our regions," said President of SCIED Darrell Voelker. "We know that a new development in either of our areas can have a significant effect on our neighboring counties. We share resources, workforce and infrastructure with many of the Radius counties and any opportunity we have to work together only strengthens our ability to attract and grow business."
In the past much of the economic development recruiting was done by individual counties. The formation of organizations like SCIED and Radius and now their cooperative efforts to sell the region as a place to build and develop is part of a growing regional approach.
"We are embracing more regionalism," said President of the Daviess County Economic Development Corp. Ron Arnold. "When you look at attracting a large project, all of the counties have the same issues. We have to be aware of what is going on in the surrounding counties. With so many counties having low unemployment when development comes to an area, it is going to impact more than just the county where it lands."
Indiana also is seeing the impact that single, large manufacturers can have with the development of supply plants in the same region. Toyota has produced thousands of jobs in Princeton, but that impact grows even larger when figuring in the impact of factories in Vincennes, Lawrenceville, Illinois and Terre Haute that produce parts for those cars. The Subaru plant in Lafayette has had the same impact, as had the Honda plant in eastern Indiana.
"Look at the map," said Arnold. "Japanese businesses are scattered all over the state. With I-69 we will have an opportunity to attract even more of those companies. The Japanese like to do business in Indiana."
The Louisville event was sponsored by Duke Energy, Hoosier Energy and Indiana Municipal Power Agency. Vincennes native Rollie Helmling, senior vice president of Business Development for the Indiana Economic Development Corp. served as the guest speaker for the session and shared the factors that give Indiana the ranking as the number one state in the midwest for business.
Despite the physical proximity to Louisville, officials found that many of the site selectors were unfamiliar with opportunities available in Daviess, Lawrence, Crawford, Orange, Martin, Dubois and Greene Counties.
"The site selectors in Louisville didn't seem to know a lot about the Radius counties," said Arnold. "Bringing together multiple site selectors and counties in one room allows us to make multiple contacts in a very short amount of time. It is an efficient use of our time and resources and puts Daviess County top of the mind of site selectors."
The event in Louisville is the latest attempt by Radius to take the area's economic development opportunities to decision makers. The organization has already met with consultants in Cleveland, Greenville, S.C. and Chicago with six more trips planned this year.
"We are continually looking for opportunities to share our region with business leaders who help national and global companies make decisions about where to locate or expand their businesses," said Radius CEO Jeff Quyle. "It is in the true spirit of regionalism that Radius and SCIED Group came together for this effort. We have diverse assets, but a common mission--to grow the economy in southern Indiana."
"These events are getting us introductions with people making decisions," said Arnold. "They give us a chance to start a dialogue."