Hamilton County EDC Resets as 'Marketing Organization'

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Tom Dickey has served as HCEDC board chairman since 2016. Tom Dickey has served as HCEDC board chairman since 2016.

The Hamilton County Economic Development Corp. has launched a full-scale reorganization. The 26-year-old group's new mission is to attract and retain talent without duplicating the traditional economic development tasks Board Chairman Tom Dickey says have been handled effectively for years by the cities of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville and Westfield. Dickey, who is director of real estate at Carmel-based Hageman Group, says the HCEDC's work will complement the needs of the business community.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Dickey discussed a basic outline for the organization. He says the complete vision has not yet been finalized and the board is searching for its next leader, a director of marketing, economic development, which will be posted in the coming weeks.

"We are right now a marketing organization," Dickey, who first became HCEDC chair in 2016, said. "We're not doing direct sales, we're not trying to close any deals, we're not trying to assist or support closing deals. What we're going to exist to do is to tell the story."

From a structural standpoint, the HCEDC is partnering with Hamilton County Tourism to manage the new director position. The HCEDC board will continue to guide the organization's direction, but "as of today, we have no employees," Dickey says. He adds the HCEDC will have a budget, but will contract with Hamilton County Tourism for marketing services. Communities outside of the county's four cities -- Arcadia and Cicero, for example -- that do not have the same level of traditional economic development resources, Dickey says, will be covered by the HCEDC in the form of board member expertise or potential consultants the board would bring in as needed.

Dickey says "as competition for new businesses increased, the [HCEDC] board recognized that the county's low unemployment rate would be a challenge, especially in high-demand industries including innovation-based manufacturing, technology and hospitality. Rather than duplicating efforts, HCEDC's new focus on attracting and retaining a talented and skilled workforce will complement city economic development efforts and help position Hamilton County for continued economic success."

Hamilton County tourism will also provide office space for the new HCEDC hire and work together on content, marketing and communications initiatives. "We are excited to join forces with an organization dedicated to promoting Hamilton County’s ongoing investment in education, business investments and talent attraction,” said Hamilton County Tourism Chief Executive Officer Brenda Myers. "We already support our communities by focusing on visitor attraction in key markets. Combining our team’s skills with a dedicated resource to help promote investment, learning opportunities and talent attraction will go one step further in realizing a successful future for the county."

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Hamilton County Economic Development Corp. Board Chairman Tom Dickey discussed a basic outline for the organization.
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