What it Takes to Bring 400 Jobs to Northeast Indiana
Collaboration, Relationships Help Secure Expansion Project
It all started with an email to John Sampson in early October 2019 from a site consultant.
The site consultant said he was conducting an extensive review of available buildings in our region for one of his clients. They knew about Northeast Indiana already and there was a desire to be near Fort Wayne. At that time, multiple states, communities and regions were being contacted about this potential expansion opportunity.
That’s when the business development team at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership jumped on the opportunity.
After a brief introductory phone call, we planned a site visit. A site visit is a critical moment to showcase the community. The purpose of the visit is to showcase properties, sites or buildings in Northeast Indiana alongside the local economic developer. During this site visit, we toured a total of three buildings, located in two different counties, that met the expansion project requirements. After a day of face-to-face meetings and building tours, one property stood out from the rest.
Only a couple weeks passed when we are informed that a building in our region has made the “final list.” The following month, those involved with the project discussed occupancy, cost, incentives and other critical details that move a project forward.
As luck would have it, the final property was no longer available and we needed to provide another option. We discussed alternative location options for this expansion project. There was a moment when we thought this project was surely going to go to another community outside of our region. Yet a brief touch base with our Local Economic Development Organizations (LEDOs) uncovered a possible solution to keep this project in our region.
Chad Kline, executive director of Wells County Economic Development, believed his county could provide the site consultant the building they needed, and it was located in Bluffton. After another round of face-to-face introductions and a tour of the building in Bluffton, we were on a new path. It was a path to bringing a new company to Northeast Indiana. It was a new path for Bluffton, Wells County and Northeast Indiana.
After months and many conference calls, we were again notified that a building in our region has made the “final list.” Finally! Following the notification, Chad Kline and the State of Indiana worked tirelessly to set Wells County and Northeast Indiana up for success, and thankfully, Inteva Products announced they will be coming to Northeast Indiana and Wells County.
I had the unique opportunity to sit in on Bluffton’s City Council meeting where Steve Galle, Vice President of Operations at Inteva, made a presentation as to why they choose Bluffton. Beyond having an affinity for small communities (he grew up in one himself), he said the proximity to key customers, the immediate access to the floor space and the relationships established during the project planning activity were essential to the decision-making process.
What did we learn from winning this project?
- Regional collaboration and respect among the 11-counties are critical to Northeast Indiana’s success and competitiveness in the global marketplace. During this process, we saw LEDOs, developers, local governments, utilities and community leaders come together to make this project happen in Northeast Indiana. When one community was out of the running, they threw their support to the communities still with a chance of winning.
- There are many moving parts and milestones to hit when taking a project from an introduction to a formal announcement. The process can take a while, and that’s OK.
- Relationships matter. It’s as simple as that.
This is what it takes to bring a project, company and jobs to Northeast Indiana. It takes a collection of talented, dedicated individuals working together to increase prosperity in Northeast Indiana’s 11 counties.
To learn more about Northeast Indiana’s business development efforts, contact us.
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