Something to Chase: Selling Northeast Indiana in 2021

By: Brandon Noll on January 5th, 2021

Selling Northeast Indiana as Best in the Midwest for Doing Business

In 2014, Matthew McConaughey won an Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in "The Dallas Buyers Club". During his acceptance speech, he notated three things that he “needs” each day:

  1. Something to look up to
  2. Something to look forward to
  3. Something to chase

McConaughey mentioned he looks up to God, he looks forward to time with his family, but his explanation of something to chase has stuck with me since he delivered the speech.

“And to my hero. That's who I chase. When I was 15 years old I had a very important person in my life come and ask me 'Who's your hero?' I said, 'I thought about it and it's me in ten years.' So I turned 25 ten years later and that same person comes to me and goes, 'Are you a hero?' I said, 'Not even close!' She said why and I said, 'My hero is me at 35.' You see, every day, and every week, and every month, and every year of my life, my hero is always ten years away. I'm never going to be my hero. I'm not going to obtain that and that's fine with me because it keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.”

McConaughey’s philosophy may not work for some, but I view it as never being satisfied and always striving to be better and do more. This mindset is similar to what the business attraction team embodies. In fact, fighting for results is a part of our values and culture here at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

We define fighting for results like this:

Clearly identify outcomes. Relentlessly pursue them. Celebrate accomplishments, but don’t get comfortable. Empower and expect the region to do the same. Don’t confuse activity with results. The region is counting on us.

In 2020, our team issued 20 business attraction projects. We had 2 project wins for our region. These wins are attraction projects that landed in Northeast Indiana thanks to the collaboration with Northeast Indiana's Local Economic Development Organizations or LEDOs. In 2020, Northeast Indiana landed the biggest project win in Regional Partnership history after attracting Inteva Products to Wells County with a capital investment of $42 million and 419 jobs. 

We interacted and spoke with hundreds of site consultants, real estate brokers, human resource leaders, corporate executives and economic development professionals as we pivoted to a virtual selling strategy. From regular networking virtual meetings with site consultants to numerous conversations over Zoom, we continued to develop and foster key relationships with consultants and business leaders.

Even though our travel calendar was blown up by the pandemic, we were still able to safely travel to San Francisco, Tampa, Anaheim, Pasadena, New York City, Atlanta and Dallas. We also launched our Business Attraction Handbook, a 126-page comprehensive guide to market understanding, targeting, planning, operational excellence, consultative selling as well as our 2021 business attraction strategy.

In 2021, we have 51 trips on our travel calendar. We will be welcoming consultants and companies to Northeast Indiana in the summer and early fall. We will execute robust digital marketing and selling strategies. And, of course, we will continue to focus on cultivating and enhancing relationships with key decision-makers.

As we fight for results in a changing world, our team is the most uncomfortable they have ever been as we relentlessly pursue the results our region, counties and cities deserve.

Much like McConaughey's story, we will not achieve the standards by which we are measured because in economic development there's no finish line, and that’s just fine because it gives us something to chase.

2021 is going to be all right, all right, all right.