The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce is making a push to capitalize on defense industry assets and opportunities in the region. The organization has launched the West Central Indiana Defense Network, as task force that will focus on talent attraction and economic development. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Chamber Vice President Kristin Craig discussed what she says are military, industrial, educational and land advantages throughout the Wabash Valley.
She said the six-county region is well-positioned to gain a larger share of what defense can offer. "Our collective workforce, our collective industry, our collective utilities, and really, the other thing is our collective quality of place," she said. "So when you put all of this together and really look at us as a region, I think somebody stepping back can say 'wow, this is a great area and no matter where we locate within the region, there's going to be opportunities for us."
Key military assets in the region include: the ?181st Intelligence Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard, 81st Troop Command of the Indiana Army National Guard), 159th Military Police Battalion of the U.S. Army Reserve, the IANG Field Maintenance Shop, Maple Avenue Armory and U.S. Marine Reserves. The region is also home to four colleges: Indiana State University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Saint-Mary-of-The-Woods College and a branch of Ivy Tech Community College. A website, WCIDefense.com, has launched detailing these assets, as well as existing industry and properties open for development like the 10,000-acre Hoosier Jack Mega Site, 7,200-acre Vermillion Rise Mega Park and acreage at the Terre Haute Regional Airport.
Chamber President David Haynes says "in an effort to both support and elevate the military assets in the West Central Indiana, community leaders are working collaboratively to create a plan of action to both protect and develop the defense asset industry in Terre Haute and the entire West Central Indiana region. Recognizing defense development is a complex industry and working alongside the state of Indiana on collaborative marketing and outreach enhances our region’s ability to be successful."
ReTec Corp. President Greg Gibson and Terre Haute Economic Development Corp. President Steve Witt will co-chair the West Central Indiana Defense Network.
Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce Vice President Kristin Craig said the six-county region is well-positioned to gain a larger share of what defense can offer.
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