DCI’s Immersion Tour an Opportunity to Showcase the Region

By: Jaclyn Goldsborough on July 7th, 2017

Top 5 Stops on Immersion Tour

Where would you go and what would you do to show off the economy and lifestyle of Northeast Indiana in just 48 hours?

The team at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership had the opportunity to plan a two-day immersion tour focused on our target industries, downtown development and quality of life for our agency partners at Development Counsellors International (DCI), the leader in marketing places.

Account Director Rachel Deloffre and Senior Account Executive Kendra Walker of DCI traveled from their Denver office to Fort Wayne International Airport to visit Northeast Indiana. The team met with Hoosiers throughout the region to collect authentic stories that represent the businesses and people of Northeast Indiana.

Highlights of our regional tour:

5. Fort Wayne International Airport in Allen County

The first stop for our Denver visitors was FWA; a place that fully embraces the concept “a first impression is everything”. This is a place where convenience, connectivity and hospitality are at the forefront. From the complementary cookies from Allison Bakery and the friendly greeting from the Hospitality Hosts to the convenient size and accessible ground transportation, both visitors shared that FWA was convenient and welcoming for their business travel. What a way to make an impression!


4. Fox Products in Whitley County

The next feature of the trip showcased Northeast Indiana’s Hoosier entrepreneurship and innovation at Fox Products in South Whitley. Fox Products is the world’s largest manufacturer of bassoons and sells more than 2,500 instruments a year, a fantastic example of our Design & Craftsmanship target industry. Our tour guide, Tony Starkey, is president of Fox Products and champion of South Whitley’s ongoing community development. Winding through hallways of polished musical instruments set out to dry and custom silver-plated keys, Starkey’s grand tour included behind the scenes views into patented technology, introductions to key employees and a captivating tale of how business, philanthropy and family can thrive in a Midwestern community.


3. Joseph Decuis in Huntington County

Nothing illustrates the unique blend of agriculture, entrepreneurship, fine dining and lifestyle amenities quite like Joseph Decuis in the quaint, picturesque village of Roanoke. Pete and Alice Eshelman, owners of Joseph Decuis, started their farm to fork business as an entertaining space for their previous specialty insurance business. Alice provided our team with a fascinating inside look into this one-of-a-kind farm, sharing anecdotes and explaining the details that make Joseph Decuis so special, like Wagyu Beef and beautiful outdoor event space. Alice’s heartwarming story recalling charming Midwestern hospitality with a rooted sense of community shined as she recalled why Northeast Indiana attracted their family from Boston.


2.  Angola in Steuben County     

As our team from DCI learned, there’s no better time to visit Steuben County than summertime in this county of 101 lakes. However, beyond the quality of life and lakes, the county has much to offer in regards to economy and education.

We first visited the Enterprise Center, which is the hub for training in the skilled trades in Steuben County. With funds from the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA), The Enterprise Center was redeveloped from a campus of abandoned buildings to a hi-tech, state of the art skilled trades training center with welding and CNC machines. It’s also the home to the Steuben County Economic Development Corporation, WorkOne and other partners essential to developing skilled trades in Northeast Indiana.

Next up was Trine University. After a short drive past “The Mound,” downtown Angola’s historic roundabout and tribune to fallen soldiers from the Civil War, we arrived at the pristine campus at Trine. Trine University President Dr. Earl Brooks II and Senior Vice President Michael R. Bock generously spent their time touring our group around campus and sharing stories of student innovation. A lot is happening at Trine. Trine University’s new 46,200-square-foot, 700-seat Thunder Ice Arena is almost completed. Construction on the new 3,000-seat athletic and event center is underway. Additional student housing is in the works. The campus is growing, and so is its student population. Thanks to Trine’s growth, Northeast Indiana can better supply regional employers with educated and qualified talent.


1. Downtown Fort Wayne in Allen County

Experiencing the development, excitement and momentum surrounding downtown Fort Wayne revitalization is difficult to do in such a short period of time. However, thanks to our friends at Greater Fort Wayne Inc., we are able to get the full tour starting with one of GFW’s signature projects — Electric Works. As we first walked on the campus, it was like stepping back in Fort Wayne’s history. Then quickly, the Electric Works campus vision came to life as we saw the space and the architectural renderings. A sprawling open air market. Condo living for creatives. Affordable living for families. Innovative space for entrepreneurs. Collaboration between employers and higher education. By the end of the tour, everyone wanted to fast forward two-to-four years to experience this quality-of-life-changing project. Equally impressive was our introduction into the Riverfront Development project including the Riverfront Pavilion and the entire Riverfront Promenade.

To tie up our tour, visiting downtown’s most recent development was a must so we made our way to the newly built, game-changing Ash Skyline Plaza to visit with Ash Brokerage. Our host Jeff Gery welcomed our team to their open-concept, collaborative office space featuring gorgeous views of downtown Fort Wayne from every vantage point.

Northeast Indiana’s vibrant city center in downtown Fort Wayne impressed the team at DCI. The region’s progressive leadership, commitment to collaboration and unwavering support for downtown revitalization stood out as an authentic and important story that the nation needs to hear.


So after all that fun and excitement touring the region we bet you’re wondering, “What are the results from tours like this?”

These immersion tours allow DCI to pitch new, authentic and exciting stories to national media. Just last year, our work with DCI resulted in 12 Northeast Indiana stories published by national media, garnering more than 295 million impressions nationally.

A strong national public relations strategy is a powerful business and talent attraction tool, and working with a variety of national business and trade publications allows us to tell the stories of Northeast Indiana to sell our region.

We owe a huge thank you to the regional business leaders who shared their time and stories with us. We look forward to updating you on articles generated from this tour. It’s time for everyone to experience the momentum we’re generating in Northeast Indiana.

To learn more about Northeast Indiana’s public relations, please visit the news section or contact Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Communications Kate Virag