After a solid 2012, prepare for an eventful 2013 in the region.
by Mark Maassel
2012 was another great year and we are already building on those successes as we enter 2013. With a focus on boosting jobs and the quality of life, Northwest Indiana continues to make great strides toward our future. And the Northwest Indiana Forum and our partners are a significant part of these strides.
With a goal to preserve and grow the number of high-quality jobs while improving the environment, the Forum uses a collaborative approach to drive investment, job creation and an ever-improving environment. We do this by working with local economic-development organizations and elected officials, as well as environmental, community and business leaders. Together we accomplished much in 2012.
Through ongoing marketing and advertising about the advantages of Northwest Indiana, the Forum received and responded to more requests about specific sites in 2012 than in 2011 and answered nearly 2,000 general requests for information. The Forum also promoted the region with our “Opportunity Indiana Conference” highlighting the advantages of Northwest Indiana. The “Economic Development for Decision Makers” program, geared to prepare communities for success in economic development, gathered attendance from elected and appointed officials across the region.
National leaders came to Northwest Indiana to learn about the good things happening here and encourage our work. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Tom Guevera and the U.S. administrator for the St. Lawrence Seaway, Craig Middlebrook, highlighted opportunities for Northwest Indiana at separate engagements.
Environmentally, our air is cleaner than in years past thanks to the diligent efforts of both industry and citizens. Proactive measures such as the installation of pollution control equipment by industry and emissions testing by individuals have helped us achieve this. With ongoing efforts, further improvement is expected.
Work continues on the topic of Asian carp. While the potentially significant negative impact on our economy has long been a concern, issues of residential flooding and negative environmental impacts to our air and water are coming to the front. The Forum actively facilitates and participates in education and awareness programs as a partner seeking a comprehensive, balanced solution.
And, 2013 looks even better. With partnerships in place to market Northwest Indiana as a great place to do business and programs to support current employers in any additional employment or operational expansion they might propose, we see more investment and jobs in Northwest Indiana.
We will work to continue progress in infrastructure, with investments in improved roads, bridges and broadband that support business investment and job creation. Along with a focused effort on education and creating the workforce of tomorrow, the region is poised for another productive year.
We have much to be proud of. We learned a lot. We understand more. We work hard on problems that can be solved. We recognize real progress. Now, we are prepared to build on this success to make Northwest Indiana an even better place to live and work.
We have more to do. We will do it together.
Mark Maassel is president and CEO of the Northwest Indiana Forum, a private, not-for-profit economic-development group that supports efforts in seven Northwest Indiana counties.