In Jim Collins’ book Good to Great, he talks about the flywheel effect: a concept that over time, small victories create and accelerate momentum. “Picture a huge, heavy flywheel—a massive metal disk mounted horizontally on an axle, about 30 feet in diameter, 2 feet thick, and weighing about 5,000 pounds.” Strenuous effort is needed at the beginning to get the wheel moving, but over time, with constant and consistent effort, the flywheel turns faster and faster while the same strength, effort and energy are being used.
In 2021, we went on 35 trips and issued 24 projects, which is the most in Regional Partnership history. The momentum continued to build at the end of the year, and as the calendar turned over to 2022, our Business Development team added new team members—bolstering our opportunity to outperform previous years.
It started with the introduction of our new CEO, Stéphane Frijia. For over 10 years, Stéphane honed his craft in the fast-paced, competitive and politically complex environment at one of the top economic development organizations in the country. In his previous role as the Senior Vice President of Strategy for the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, he attracted billions in new investment and thousands of new jobs to the region. One of his objectives to our organization was to increase bandwidth on the Business Development team in the first quarter of 2022. This led to the hiring of three key people to our future successes.
Austin Shoemaker - Business Development Manager, who has extensive background in sales and relationship development. Prior to joining the Regional Partnership, Austin worked in the medical device industry as a sales representative and surgical instrument consultant for orthopedic surgery around the Northeast Indiana area. Furthermore, Austin was born and raised in Northeast Indiana, bringing an intimate knowledge and passion for our region.
Mark Cullnane - Research & Data Analyst, who has a Masters of Public Management degree from Indiana University Fort Wayne. Prior to the Partnership, Mark was a community development planner with region 3-A Development and Regional Planning Commission, a planner with the Columbia City/Whitley County Joint Planning and Building Department and a researcher with Community Research Institute at Purdue University Fort Wayne. Mark is a wealth of knowledge as it pertains to data and research. He will provide our team metro comparisons, labor statistics, cost analysis, and much more—telling our region’s story with data.
Kim Siercks - Business Development Intern, who is a high achiever and full of competition from Indiana Tech (originally from Germany.) Her knowledge in German culture and business paired with an American education brings a unique perspective to our Business Attraction efforts
Jim Collins also notes in Good to Great, ”Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” We have hired great people and I am excited to see what 2022 and beyond look like for our Business Attraction team, this organization and the Northeast Indiana region.