Greater Lafayette Commerce Names CEO

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Greater Lafayette Commerce has named Scott Walker chief executive officer. He currently serves as CEO of Midland, Michigan's economic development organization. Walker succeeds Joe Seaman, who will retire at the end of the year.

December 4, 2014

News Release

Lafayette, Ind. -- Scott Walker, 44, has been chosen to become president and chief executive officer of Greater Lafayette Commerce, the local economic development group. Currently serving as CEO of Midland Tomorrow in Midland, Mich., he begins his Indiana post on January 5, 2015.

"Greater Lafayette Commerce is a very successful and well-run organization with a great team in place," Walker said. "The community has a robust economy and fabulous quality of life. My goal is to help the team build on the years of success they've already had. I will be the leader the organization needs me to be."

In his post, he will oversee a staff of 15, four of them part-time, hundreds of volunteers and several councils. They include the Chamber, Downtown Development, Economic and Community Development, Quality of Life and Workforce Development councils. Others operating under the Greater Lafayette Commerce umbrella are Lafayette Urban Enterprise Association, MatchBOX Coworking Studio, SCORE and business networks.

"Greater Lafayette has a great economic base in manufacturing and substantial research and development at Purdue University and Purdue Research Park companies," Walker said. "It's exciting to contemplate the opportunities to build on both of those assets—the manufacturing sector and knowledge-based enterprises."

"Hitting the ground running and continuing the momentum already under way locally is going to be job one for Scott Walker," said Tim Powers, chair of the Greater Lafayette Commerce board and president of School Datebooks Inc.

"I believe he shares our Midwestern values and brings visionary leadership skills to the job," Powers said. "Greater Lafayette Commerce has a wonderful corps of volunteers and business leaders who will appreciate his tapping our enthusiasm and talents as he guides us toward further securing our economic future."

A community search committee began its work in January 2014. It was chaired by Gary Lehman, Greater Lafayette Commerce board vice chair and chairman of the board of Oerlikon Fairfield and president of Oerlikon USA Holdings Inc. Jorgenson Consulting, a national executive search firm that works exclusively with community and economic development organizations, assisted. Of about 100 people considered for the job, five were chosen for interviews.

"Scott Walker brings a strong background in manufacturing," Lehman said. "He's a demonstrated team player, with skills to form strong coalitions with various entities. He's also an excellent communicator, which will be of great value in representing our community to the rest of the world."

Top government leaders, all members of the search committee, hailed the choice.

Lafayette mayor Tony Roswarski noted, "Scott has successful experience in economic development, with a proven record in creating jobs, and he knows how to work with the business community to develop strategies for creating an environment that promotes job growth and investment."

John Dennis, West Lafayette mayor, said, "He brings a fresh perspective and a high degree of enthusiasm for continuing the great success we have experienced in our community. He has worked cooperatively with many diverse organizations, and he's interested in utilizing our local assets to continue to bring high-tech investments to Greater Lafayette."

"We eagerly anticipate arrival of this new member of our government and business team," said Tippecanoe County Commissioner Tom Murtaugh. "He's well-skilled in economic development, and I feel he'll quickly master the local ropes so we can be an even brighter star on the global map."

Joseph Seaman, who has served as president and chief executive officer of Greater Lafayette Commerce since June 2007, is leaving his post December 31. He will remain involved in the community.

Walker was born in Otisville, Mich., near Flint. Before becoming chief executive officer of Midland Tomorrow in 2004, he spent six years at TRW Chassis Systems Braking Division in Livonia, Mich., and earlier worked for Industrial and Automotive Fasteners in Royal Oak, Mich., and ITW Shakeproof Industrial Products in Nashville, Tenn.

He earned a bachelor's in manufacturing systems engineering from Kettering University in Flint, Mich., in 1996, and a master's in business administration from Michigan State University in 2001. He also earned credentials as a Certified Economic Developer and Six Sigma Black Belt.

Walker and his wife, Jill, are the parents of two children, Miriam, 13, and Eli, 11.

Besides Lehman and Powers, search committee members from the local business sector included: JoAnn Brouillette, managing partner and president of Demeter LP; Lisa Decker, vice president of marketing and business development, Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health; Al Gatmaitan, chief executive officer of Indiana University Health Arnett; and Gary Henriott, chairman, Henriott Group.

Serving with Murtaugh, Dennis and Roswarski as government representatives were Dennis Carson, Lafayette economic development director, and Chandler Poole, West Lafayette economic development director. Luis Lewin, vice president for human resources at Purdue University, also served.

About Greater Lafayette Commerce. Headquartered at 337 Columbia St. in Lafayette, Greater Lafayette Commerce (www.greaterlafayettecommerce.com), whose roots go back more than 85 years, is a nonprofit membership organization supported by local businesses, industries and governments. Its mission is to advance economic and community prosperity for a superior quality of life.

Source: Greater Lafayette Commerce