2017 Annual Report

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John Sampson

Message from President and CEO John Sampson

The time has come to set the vision for how Northeast Indiana and Fort Wayne will continue to build our region over the next decade and beyond.

When we started the process of building the region in 2010, we had more people than we had jobs; today, we have more jobs than we have people.

Skilled talent and population growth are the burning platform that demands urgency in response. Northeast Indiana must attract and retain talent to meet the needs of regional employers, while continuing to pursue new businesses to bring to the region.

By the year 2030, Northeast Indiana must:

  • Increase PCPI annually against the national average
  • Increase the population of Northeast Indiana to 1 million residents
  • Increase postsecondary educational attainment to more than 60 percent

We cannot overlook how much it has meant to the region to bring together numerous business and community leaders from all sectors to the regional visioning process. Their energy and commitment to moving our communities and growing the region’s economy inspires us all. This is the raw power of influence of the tribal leaders and local solutions that Jim Clifton writes about in the “Coming Jobs War”.

Similarly, we cannot overlook the inspiration to other communities to see a Midwest region rejecting the legacy identity of the “rustbelt.” While we struggle day-to-day for progress, other communities see our progress and believe that they too can create hope and a future for their residents. We must never forget that while we persevere to create our future, our neighbors believe that they too can shed an outdated reputation.

We have not arrived by any stretch of the imagination. However, for the region to pivot to a new model for speed and focus is impressive and unique. There is much work yet to do, and our progress to this point should be celebrated. 

When Jim Clifton visited Fort Wayne in 2013, I asked him to sign my personal copy of his compelling “Coming Jobs War”. I did not read it right away, thinking it would be nice to have a “Best Wishes” signed by Jim inside the cover to my book. When I finally got around to reading his note, I realized he left no trivial message for me and you, leaders of communities all across Northeast Indiana. 

“If you don’t fix FW and America…no one else is going to.”

A Snapshot of Data from 2017


Northeast Indiana's PCPI grew at the same pace as the national average at 1.6%.

Population Growth

Northeast Indiana's population grew to more than 780,000 residents.

Attainment Rate

In Northeast Indiana, 37% of the population has a degree or credential.

Building a Globally Competitive Region

$147.8 million

leveraged by the Northeast Indiana RDA in total project investment in 2017

300 internships

posted on IndianaINTERN.net as part of the Regional Internship Program for Employers

Marketing Indiana as a Top Contender

  • The region received significant national public relations momentum generated during a successful Chicago media tour with top tier media like the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.
  • Northeast Indiana’s Jobs and Internships Portal launched in April 2017 and was the top hitting page on the Regional Partnership’s website with more than 36,000 pageviews, nearly 10,000 clicks on job postings and more than 1,600 searches in the jobs portal. Regional employers posted nearly 300 jobs on the regional website, and, thanks to a data-sharing partnership with IndianaCareerConnect.com, Northeast Indiana featured an daily average of 6,000 jobs on the website in 2017. One of every five visitors to neindiana.com comes through the jobs portal.
  • Northeast Indiana's cornerstone marketing materials, the Regional Profile and Target Industry fliers, were updated to enchance the business development sales process and tell the region's story through data-driven content and narrative imagery. 

2.5 million

impressions from 11 national media articles as a result of public relations efforts

5.1 million

impressions and over 9,800 clicks to the jobs portal during a national ad campaign

Selling Our Region to Increase Business Investment

  • Northeast Indiana met with 296 corporate business leaders and site selectors to develop a network of relationships. 
  • The business development lead generation strategy produced 99 prospect leads.
  • Northeast Indiana hosted four inbound site visits to connect corporate business executives, site selectors and economic development leaders. 

6 projects

with new business investment in the region secured by the business development team in 2017

2017 Annual Report Financials

Transforming Our Regional Economy

Now is not the time for rest or to take comfort in previous accomplishments. Now is not the time, of all times, as we enter a decade of an aging and declining workforce population, to claim ‘good is good enough.’ Our goals for Vision 2030 are clear. We must continue to invest strongly, boldly and consistently in collaborative efforts to increase per capita personal income, population growth and educational attainment.  Now is the time to build on the foundation of the past, to go further and faster. 

The 2017 Annual Report showcases the transformative regional economic development work happening in Northeast Indiana. Want a copy of the 2017 Annual Report? Dowload your digital copy today. 

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