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

    • Ahh…Yes! Turning a Hot Mess into a Cool Breeze

      "Problems cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them," is attributed to Einstein over 75 years ago. This still holds true, particularly in challenging communications. Many people address conflict at the level it was created by rehashing and building more evidence for their ‘side’ of an argument. Repeating a position tends to intensify the separation of people.



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


  • Most Popular Stories

    • Bob Stutz

      New Role For Salesforce Exec

      After three years on the job, Salesforce Marketing Cloud Chief Executive Officer Bob Stutz is moving into a new role. Stutz, who will remain in Indianapolis, is now executive vice president of strategic partners at Salesforce (NYSE: CRM).  Since arriving in Indianapolis, Stutz has overseen the establishment of the company’s regional headquarters in downtown Indianapolis, which included the Salesforce name being placed atop the state’s tallest building.

    • Purdue Global Now Offers Analytics Degree

      The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that jobs in the field of data analysis are projected to grow 26 percent over the next ten years. Acting upon that data, Indianapolis-based Purdue University Global has launched a new Bachelor of Science degree program in analytics. 

    • Aasif Bade (pictured left) is president and Patrick Chittenden (pictured right) is executive vice president of Ambrose Property Group.

      Waterside Developer: City Has 'Violated Our Rights'

      The chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based Ambrose Property Group says the firm is preparing for litigation regarding the future of the former GM Stamping Plant site. In a response to a letter from the city of Indianapolis this week, Aasif Bade says the city's continued threat of acquiring the site of the $1.4 billion Waterside redevelopment project through eminent domain "has violated our rights and is harming the community by putting Waterside in a state...

    • (photo courtesy of the Center for the Performing Arts)

      Center for the Performing Arts Launches Naming Campaign

      The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel is looking for its first-ever corporate naming partner. The nonprofit, which is approaching its 10th anniversary, says it hopes to find a partner with a “shared vision of advancing the arts and educational programming, unifying the community and extending the center’s impact.” The campaign to find a partner follows a strategic planning process, which involved an independent analysis from Chicago-based sponsorship...

    • Red Star announced plans to expand and add 18 jobs.

      Larwill Medical Device Maker to Expand, Add Jobs

      A Whitley County-based medical device maker has announced plans to expand its facility in Larwill which should mean new jobs. Red Star Contract Manufacturing Inc. says it will invest $1.6 million in real estate improvements and additional equipment and will create 18 new jobs by 2022.