Development Company Sets Sights on Small Towns

Posted: Updated:
Eric Doden is the co-founder and president of Pago USA. Eric Doden is the co-founder and president of Pago USA.

A development company has launched in Indianapolis with the goal of aiding small town America in restoring its vibrancy. Pago USA seeks to help communities with populations between 8,000 and 20,000 leverage their unique history to improve pride and enhance opportunities through redevelopment. Co-founder and President Eric Doden says the company sees itself as a national company, however it will begin with a focus on communities in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, Doden said Pago USA's approach is different that most developers that pick a project and then pitch it to the community.

"The first thing that we like to do with the community is ask them to define what is transformational," said Doden. "We're getting some big bold answers and it's very exciting because I think it will have cowork space. It will have commercial space. It will have retail. It will have residential and it will truly restore vibrancy to those communities."

Pago USA says many small communities have less than 25 percent of their historic assets revitalized to class A standards with the remainder often being in decline or in serious disrepair. The company is seeking to help partner communities restore all historic assets within three years by helping them implement their plans before they become stale.

Doden says they're looking for core leadership that wants to transform their communities.

"That really starts (with) investors, people who grew up there, maybe they've been successful in business. They're now often in their 60s or 70s. They're looking for something that's transformational and they're willing to bring leadership from the private sector because we really can't do this without significant private investment. We're looking for people with very strong foundations. We're looking for communities with a very strong business community and ultimately a desire to transform their community."

Pago USA has already begun working communities to begin their transformation and has established an application process for communities to submit for consideration.

Doden is the former Chief Executive Officer of Greater Fort Wayne Inc. He co-founded Pago USA along with Eric Shields, a principal at Cardinal Strategies LLC in Indianapolis and former vice president at the Indiana Economic Development Corp., as well as Steve Smith and Bobby Maly from Cincinnati-based The Model Group.

"Our goal really is to inspire people and to give them an opportunity to live a life that they feel inspired by that they can live in a small community rather than always feeling like they have to leave their small community to go to a larger city to experience amenities or to experience culture or experience life. What we believe is that when people see their town become redeveloped and they have community pride, that often leads to startups. It leads to new businesses forming. It leads to people trying different things and really beginning to believe in themselves in a different way."

  • Perspectives

    • Mitigating Your Company’s Cybersecurity Risk

      Frequently, I encounter people who think that a software developer understands all languages and can “fix” anything tech related. While that may be true for a few, areas of expertise within tech evolve as rapidly as the technology itself. For instance, there was a time (not long ago) when operating in the cloud was revolutionary. Today, it is considered best practices for some or all of an organization to function within a cloud. Managed information technology began with...



Company Name:
Confirm Email:
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections


  • Most Popular Stories

    • (photo courtesy of the town of Plainfield)

      Plainfield Breaks Ground on Parking Structure

      The first piece of a redevelopment plan for downtown Plainfield is underway. City and community leaders have broken ground on the new Downtown Plainfield Parking Structure, which is expected to be complete in the late summer or early fall of 2020.

    • Tony Bates previously worked for companies including Skype, Microsoft and Cisco.

      Genesys Names New CEO

      California-based Genesys has selected former Skype CEO Tony Bates as its new chief executive officer. The company, which employs more than 800 in Indianapolis, says Bates' predecessor, Paul Segre, will continue as chairman.

    • The Waterside project aims to transform 100-acres of the former GM Stamping Plant site. (photo courtesy of Ambrose Property Group)

      Ambrose, Glick Partner on Waterside

      Indianapolis-based Ambrose Property Group has announced a key partnership for the redevelopment of the former GM Stamping Plant in downtown Indianapolis. The commercial real estate firm is teaming up with the Gene B. Glick Co. to build and manage apartments as part of the $1.4 billion mixed-use redevelopment project. Ambrose says the partnership is also part of plans to catalyze "philanthropic and community-centric strategies to strengthen Indianapolis." The firm also...

    • (photo courtesy Dax Norton)

      Whitestown Tops Indiana's Fastest-Growing Communities

      The Indiana Business Research Center at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business says Whitestown in Boone County is Indiana's fastest-growing community for the eighth consecutive year. The center says the town's population nearly tripled, from 3,132 in 2010 to 8,627 last year. Westfield in Hamilton County is not far behind. Its population grew 5.2 percent in 2018, according to information reported by the U.S. Census Bureau. Other communities on the list include...

    • I-65 INDOT construction map

      I-65 Construction Update

      Construction work is scheduled to start next week on I-65 near downtown Indianapolis. Indiana Department of Transportation crews will begin to clean up the interstates after two years of freeze/thaw cycles. Crews will be working in segments, including patching and repaving work. INDOT crews will begin work in earnest on northbound and southbound in segments, beginning on weekend nights from April 26 through August.