New GFW, Inc. CEO looks ahead after record year
By Chris Darby | WANE
After a record year of growth for Greater Fort Wayne, Inc., a new man is taking over.
John Urbahns is being promoted at the start of the new year.
WANE 15 News sat down with him to find out how his promotion will affect the community, how much impact the group has had as it hits a milestone year and what's in store for 2019.
"Growing jobs, growing wages and growing our economy is our vision here," John Urbahns explained. That's what we are here to do. "
As Greater Fort Wayne Inc turns five years old, a new man will be at the helm, the current vice president of economic development.
"We've got a great organization with 20 staff members that wake up every day to sell Fort Wayne and Allen County and work to make this a better community for people to work and live and play," Urbahns said.
If you can't tell by the construction, the stats show it. Things are in the upswing as far as the business community here is concerned and Greater Fort Wayne is smack dab in the middle of it.
"It really gives one voice to economic development, one voice for the business community to be involved with," he added.
Urbahns says projects like Riverfront Fort Wayne, the Landing and Electric Works show people outside of Fort Wayne and Allen County that we're investing in ourselves.
"It's hard to get people to come here and invest unless they see we are investing," Urbahns explained. "So, by investing in ourselves, we're starting to attract investment from out of state and out of region, which is exactly what we need to see happening here."
That's happening in a big way. There were 33 business expansions or new locations moving into in Allen County... the most in five years. More than 2,000 jobs were added to our area. The highest total on record. The annual payroll in our area went up by more than one hundred million dollars.
So, what's in store for 2019?
"I see some significant projects that we hope to bring forward here in the first quarter that you will see with job creation and new investment in the community and continuing to sell this community," Urbahns said. "Continuing to improve the product that we have here and trying to track investors to make investments here."
Two key projects he mentioned, the Landing and the Riverfront, are both expected to open up next year.