Viewpoint: Collaboration yields results • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine

Viewpoint: Collaboration yields results

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Leaders find breaking down silos effective means to get more done for community

Tony Oss
Tony Oss

People work best when they work together. Diversity of viewpoints, ideas and beliefs will bring about the best solutions. Through all the recent challenges to how we work and play, we have continued to find new ways to work together in teams and collaborate to find solutions to problems.

We have been fortunate to live in a state where teamwork and collaboration over many years have created exceptional financial stability for our state government. The efforts to maintain fiscal responsibility in the Indiana statehouse now has afforded us with a tremendous opportunity.

Earlier this year, Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC) launched the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI), a bold, transformational program that will dedicate $500 million in state appropriations to promote strategic investments to make Indiana a magnet for talent and economic growth. The state has committed to awarding grants up to $50 million to up to 10 regions throughout the state.

Through this initiative, the state is encouraging neighboring counties, cities and towns to partner to create a shared vision for their future, mapping out the programs, initiatives and projects that are critical for them to retain talent today and attract the workforce of tomorrow. Fortune often shines brightly on those most prepared!

Never has our Region been more prepared to capture the type of opportunity put forth by the State’s READI initiative. Almost three years ago, the Northwest Indiana Forum embarked on a game changing initiative for Northwest Indiana. With the input of more than 500 business leaders, legislators, entrepreneurs, concerned citizens and more, the strategy, Ignite the Region, Northwest Indiana’s strategy for economic transformation was developed.

The overall goals of Ignite is to focus on growing per capita income and investment in Northwest Indiana, creating a paradigm shift in the area of entrepreneurship and innovation, increasing our infrastructure while making sure we continue to connect to the impressive assets already here. In addition, attracting and developing a talented workforce and connecting them to meaningful work, Ignite aims to create not only livable places but places where people want to live, where they belong and feel part of something bigger than themselves.

The collaboration and teamwork developed among businesses, nonprofits and local governments through the Ignite the Region plan during the past two years have set the table for our Region to not just apply for transformational programs like READI but to win!

The mission of the READI grant aligns perfectly to the goals and strategies set forth for Northwest Indiana in the Ignite plan. The Northwest Indiana Forum, the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) and other partner organizations have been working with local nonprofits and governments to develop our Region’s application for the READI program. The response and effort put forth by everyone has generated ideas and insights not only for READI but also to prepare our Region for more opportunities and growth in the future.

For decades Northwest Indiana struggled to tell the story of our Region to the rest of the world. The collaboration and teamwork put into the Ignite the Region plan has not only told the story of our spectacular corner of Indiana, but it has helped set the course for our Region to achieve more than we ever thought possible. Our time is now. Northwest Indiana is ready to Ignite!

The spark that is the Ignite the Region plan has created a fire that we must continue to work together to fuel.

Andrew Carnegie once said, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

Teamwork and collaboration must continue to be our fuel to take the Region to the next level. Together our Region is one of the most capable, productive and diverse in the nation. Together we can accomplish all the things that we envision for our home. Together we must work to continue to see the value in forward movement for every community in the Region.

Click here to read more from the October-November 2021 issue of Northwest Indiana Business Magazine.


  • Tony Oss

    Tony Oss is director of preconstruction services with Larson-Danielson Construction in La Porte and serves as chair of the managing board of the Northwest Indiana Forum.

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