Regional Partnership’s Office Renovation a Demonstration of Collaboration

By: John Sampson on April 3rd, 2018

No Walls, No Doors—Office Renovation Showcases Why "This is Northeast Indiana"

On Thursday, March 22, stakeholders of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership gathered to celebrate and dedicate the recently completed renovation of the Partnership offices. With a bit of fanfare and much appreciation to our Governing Board, suite partners and project sponsors, we cut a ribbon to introduce a new “front door” to welcome guests and residents to Northeast Indiana.

The results of the renovation are amazing and have far exceeded our expectations. Many thanks have been expressed to the team of Design Collaborative and Hagerman Construction for their leadership of the many contractors and suppliers that contributed the best in craftsmanship and design to achieve an awesome outcome.

The very first national site consultants to experience the renovated office commented that after meeting in similar spaces all over the country, Northeast Indiana’s office is by far the best they have ever seen. That is exactly the memorable first impression we intended to achieve.

I hope all of our stakeholders and suite partners do more than just “visit” our new space. Certainly, you will witness the refreshed and updated open office design minus the doors and walls found in many other office spaces. We find these doors and walls are barriers to communications and collaboration. Elements from each of our 11 counties showcase Northeast Indiana’s strengths in design and craftsmanship.

We increased conference rooms from four to seven and significantly expanded our boardroom. My personal favorite, however, is the timeline wall. This 8x35 foot wall features narrative images and stories offering a dramatic depiction of the collaborative history of Northeast Indiana.

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Please allow yourself to reflect on the design features, creative impact and the not-so-subtle messages of this transformed location.

In an authentic way, this project is much more about “us” together as a region and where we are going, confronting with courage a future full of uncertainty and disruptive change in a global marketplace.

Without a doubt, considerable effort in time and expense was necessary to refresh our “front door.” 

You might wonder, given limited resources, why this effort was important for the future development of our region. And, why now? 

Our objectives were all about setting standards, improving functionality and capturing momentum.

Setting Standards

In our application to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation for the Regional Cities Initiative under the banner of our Road to One Million plan, we made a bold proclamation, “In Northeast Indiana, ‘good’ is not good enough.” Easy to say, much harder to do.

In reality, we must hold ourselves accountable to a higher standard and build on today’s momentum in all aspects of our efforts. National and international decision-makers must be convinced of our unwavering pursuit of excellence. 

Our standards are even more critical for how we see ourselves. Candidly, our sponsors set a high bar for insisting on functionality and creating a powerful impression. It was clear that these business and community leaders are deeply committed to winning in their highly competitive industries.

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Improving Functionality 

In our design objectives, we led with “form must follow function.” After passionate debate, this boiled down to “no doors, no walls.” In these times of modern office layouts, certainly our design was not new or radical in concept. While we toured numerous office layouts in preparation for the final design, the most compelling argument for “no doors, no walls” was a direct reflection of collaboration on the Regional Partnership team and the work throughout our 11 counties.

Our mission is to build, market and sell Northeast Indiana to increase business investment. We have three tenacious goals: to increase per capita personal income, raise educational attainment and grow our population to one million people. The only way we can do this is together.

We have achieved a remarkable level of collaboration by knocking down the barriers of geopolitical borders through the fabric of the Regional Opportunities Council (ROC), LEDO Council, the Mayors’ and Commissioners’ Caucus, the Emerging Leaders Alliance, the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority and others aimed at achieving our potential through regional collaboration. And this does not even begin to scratch the surface of multiple other organizations working collaboratively throughout the region. 

No doors, no walls; it is just the way we work.

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Capturing Momentum  

Well, there is no time like the present, but that over-simplifies our current reality. We are experiencing unprecedented momentum and growth as a region, which has earned us the right to confront a whole new set of unique challenges. 

Regional employers struggled mightily to lead the nation in recovering from the great recession. We are now victims of our own success, transitioning from a protracted period of high unemployment and declining wages to a period of extremely low unemployment with rising prosperity. We have been dealt an entirely new hand with unique challenges and uncertainty.   

With great tenacity, we fought hard for this success. What lays before us is an even greater challenge requiring even more from our best efforts. Can we attract or develop enough of the talented workers needed by tomorrow’s employers? Can we meet the market demand for housing in rural communities? Can we better connect to graduates through work-based learning experiences to retain the best of their skill and intellect in our economy? 

With functional full employment, stagnant overall population growth caused by net negative domestic migration and the boomers aging-out from the workforce, now is not the time to relax, become complacent or take a breather.

I remind myself every day, the competition across this country and around the globe is devising ways to take our talent, our jobs and our work and snatch the economic future of this region from our hands. 

We can ill afford to ever think “’good’, is good enough” in Northeast Indiana. Our office now reflects this steadfast mentality.

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Want to learn more about our office renovation?

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