Hoosiers taking Northwest Indiana to the next level • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine

Hoosiers taking Northwest Indiana to the next level

‘Ignite the Region’ initiative spurring next wave of growth

Jim Schellinger, secretary of commerce for the state of Indiana
Jim Schellinger

Serving as Indiana’s secretary of commerce and helping lead the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC), I have the opportunity to see firsthand the incredible work being done to drive Indiana forward and take our economy to the next level. Indiana is ranked first in the Midwest and fifth in the nation for doing business, and we are recognized among the best in the U.S. for our regulatory environment, affordability, infrastructure and quality of life. These accolades show why Indiana is an easy choice for locating and growing a business. While these accolades demonstrate the many benefits of doing business here, they’re a greater reflection of our timeless commitment to making Indiana the very best place to live, work and play.

Nowhere is that commitment more evident than in Northwest Indiana. The Region is not just competing for projects, it’s winning them. And that’s a testament to not only the unique advantages that Northwest Indiana boasts— like proximity to the third largest metro area in the U.S., an international port and international airport—but also to the tremendous collaboration taking place at the local and regional levels.

In the last few years, the IEDC and Northwest Indiana have secured 106 commitments from companies to locate or grow in the Region with plans to create up to 7,838 new Hoosier jobs. Eleven of those projects have occurred so far in 2018 alone! Companies like Hoist Liftruck, Daifuku Wynright Corp. and HMD Trucking are expanding from the west across state lines, lured by the opportunity of monumental savings and space available for future growth. International firms like MCP in Israel have chosen to locate new operations in the Region when faced with a world of other options. And, supported by the confidence that comes with operating in a pro-growth business climate and an available skilled workforce, Northwest Indiana staples like U. S. Steel Corp., Arconic and Pratt Paper are forging ahead here, making significant investments in their facilities that support global operations.

Despite the steady drumbeat of good news in Northwest Indiana, I’m confident we have only scratched the surface on what’s to come. The work being done now across the Region, and in partnership with the state, has the potential to transform the makeup of Northwest Indiana and enhance the lives of Hoosiers for generations to come. This fall, I was honored to join regional leaders as they rolled out a bold vision to come together like never before and “Ignite the Region,” with a focus on five key pillars for growth: increasing business development and marketing of the Region, fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, enhancing infrastructure, growing the talent pool and launching place-making efforts.

In today’s world, economic development is about so much more than tax credits or the latest unemployment figure. It’s about communities. It’s about people. It’s about coming together to support each other and working together to build healthy, vibrant communities where people want to live, work and play. People are at the heart of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Next Level Agenda, and I’m encouraged to see people at the forefront of Northwest Indiana’s vision for the future.

Between this Region’s 45 miles of Lake Michigan coastline, a homegrown brewery that’s won over the world, national attractions like Fair Oaks Farms and Northwest Indiana natives who are reinventing their home with transformative projects like the new Digital Crossroads of America Data Center, this Region is no stranger to world-class quality-of-life amenities. And with a bold plan underway to double track the South Shore Line, we’ll significantly increase connectivity from Chicago to Northwest Indiana all the way to my heart (well, hometown) in South Bend and be better positioned to attract new businesses and new talent.

Northwest Indiana’s future is full of promise because of the work being done today.

Working together, I am confident that we will “Ignite the Region” and continue taking Indiana to the next level in a state that works.

Click here to read more from the Dec-Jan-2019 issue of Northwest Indiana Business Magazine.


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