Northeast regional partnership emphasizes importance of quality of place’’

May 31st, 2016

News Coverage:

May 28, 2016

Northeast regional partnership emphasizes importance of quality of place'

Kathryn Bassett | The Star


Creating a “quality of place” is key in attracting employers, a workforce and business investment to the area, the DeKalb County Economic Development Partnership heard Thursday afternoon.

The partnership met with Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership Director John Sampson and Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority board chairman Jeff Turner to discuss whether the mission and goals of the county and regional partnerships are aligned.

During a meeting of the DeKalb County Council and Commissioners earlier this month, commissioners’ attorney Jim McCanna said initially, the regional partnership’s mission focused on industrial recruitment, but it now appears to have shifted to quality of life.

Thursday Sampson said the regional partnership’s mission is to build, market and sell northeast Indiana to increase business investment.

Sampson and Turner emphasized the importance of “quality of place” to achieve population growth in the region and to increase business investment.

Turner, who is senior vice president and general counsel at Metal Technologies Inc. in Auburn, said MTI recruits the top talent in the country and pays as well as anyone in its industry.

“The biggest problem is we don’t have the folks to hire here,” Turner said. “We can’t do it unless we attract people with quality of place.”

The Regional Cities Initiative Road to One Million Plan’s objectives include population and economic growth by focusing on quality of life, the gathering heard,

“We want growth as well as to retain people. We’ve got to do this work. There’s no organization doing it better, more completely, than the Northeast (Indiana Regional) Partnership and Regional Cities Initiative,” Turner added.

“Quality of place matters,” Sampson said. “We understand the importance of talent to employers … Companies are chasing talent.”

Addressing the marketing component of the partnership’s mission, Sampson said selling the region is a first priority.

In 2015, the partnership conducted a two-month digital advertising campaign that resulted in 69,100 “clicks” to its website, Sampson said. Things planned for this year include the development of a new website, executing two to three national digital ad campaigns, increasing social media and blog reach and hosting an in-bound press trip to the region for national writers.

“The word is getting out about things going on in our region,” Sampson said.