Growth requires planning, collaboration, inspiration and teamwork
Growth in its many forms, including business growth, economic growth, and personal growth, is a recurring theme in this issue. I hope you enjoy and find inspiration from our stories in this issue, which shares various ways folks are working together to grow themselves, their companies, and their communities in Northwest Indiana.
Growing Sportscations or tournacations are a boost to our local tourism economy. During these trips visiting families spend upwards of $250 per night in our local economy while attending travel sports events. Jerry Davich talks with local leaders about our region’s current successes and plans for growing our capacities and reputation as a sports destination.
Lesley Baily interviews several growing businesses and shares with us some of their keys to growth. Each business’ focus is different, but share many common traits that any business can implement. Some of these include creating a unique brand and marketing strategy, serving your customer’s needs, positioning your business to grow with the local economy, offering an innovative product or service, and building a healthy relationship with your financial institution, so they are on board when you need capital to fund your growth.
Power outage, equipment failure, disgruntled employee, and natural disaster top the list of possible business disruptions, and the list goes on and on. However, your business might not, unless you have a plan to deal with an unlikely, but not unpredictable disruption to your business. Bob Moulesong shares tips, from local business owners and IT professionals, about creating or updating your disaster recovery and business continuity plan.
Much has already been said about the shortage of qualified workers in our region and around the country. Somewhere along the line, the admirable goal of education for all morphed into the well-meaning but misguided goal of college for all, decimating trades education in high school. Carrie Steinweg talks with local industry professionals who are helping to reverse this trend by leaving their higher paying industry jobs to teach in our region’s high school career and technical education programs.
Also in this issue, Jerry Davich introduces us to the Tylka family, who through hard work and family dedication, grew a one-location auto body shop into a six-location, regional chain. In this issue’s Making a Difference, Lauren Caggiano profiles the Hire a slicer program, whose mission is to strengthen the connections between recent high school grads and the local business community. In sports, Lourdes Castellanos tells us the story of Whiting’s innovative Lake Michigan floating sports water park WhoaZone at Whilala Beach, which exceeded last year’s expectations and is growing even bigger this year. Finally, in Viewpoint, George Douglas, senior vice president of Indiana Beverage, shares with us how many local groups are working together to create a regional economic development plan to guide our region as we adapt and grow in an ever-changing economic environment.—Troy Linker