Dozens of education, defense and community leaders are gathering at the the WestGate Academy in Crane Friday to discuss opportunities to spur economic growth. The daylong event will include a presentation on work force development by Cook Group Inc. Chairman Steve Ferguson.

August 2, 2013

News Release

Odon, Indiana — Senior representatives and executives from major Indiana universities, national commercial defense companies and community foundation leaders assembled at the WestGate Academy August 2 to identify and discuss workforce development and economic growth opportunities. “The Crane Regional Technology Council was organized to help the region get better aligned with senior academic resources and commercial companies in order to create and seize new growth opportunities,” said Ron Arnold, executive director of the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation. “The Council takes as its focus the advancement of the region through collaboration and transformation, and is complementary and supportive of other initiatives to help grow both the Indiana defense-related sector and the surrounding area.”

More than 50 executives gathered in the WestGate @ Crane Technology Park for the day-long meeting, which included a luncheon presentation on workforce development by Steve Ferguson, chairman of the Cook Group. Also on the agenda was a briefing from Duane Embree, executive director of the Indiana Office of Defense Development, and Donald Schulte, executive director of the WestGate tech park.

In addition to a summary of workforce opportunities through technology internships and program directors input into workforce needs led by The MEK Group, Craig Lindvahl of the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship discussed how to engage high school juniors and seniors to develop future leaders through the Institute’s Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO). Dr. Jonathon Day from Purdue delivered a presentation on how the region could potentially deepen economic and community development by maximizing tourism opportunities in the region. Arnold noted how the twin initiatives could result in the establishing of a personal growth and development institute in the WestGate tech park, which could help regional residents hone existing skills to advance themselves.

A presentation on the impact of disruptive technology and Big Data implications was presented by John Layden, an expert in manufacturing and supply chain management and CEO of Indianapolis-based Time Compression Strategies.

Council members were joined at the event by area defense program managers from SAIC, URS, Stimulus Engineering, Merrill Aviation, Tri-Star Engineering, Chalklabs, Design to Deliver, Inc., Penn State’s Electro-Optics Center, the Black Bird Group, and other defense-related companies.

John Schneider, assistant vice president of research at Purdue and long-time supporter of WestGate and of the $2 billion Naval Surface Warfare Center military technical laboratory and facility, served as interim chair of the Council assembly. The Council, meeting for the second time since its organizational meeting in Indianapolis last January, includes senior administrators, deans and provosts from Purdue, Indiana University, the University of Notre Dame, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, the University of Indianapolis, the University of Southern Indiana, Indiana State University, Ball State University, Ivy Tech, and Vincennes University. The Council also includes executive industry representation from Rolls Royce, Raytheon, TSC, Berry Plastics, TechShot, Concurrent Technologies Corporation, the Indiana Rural Health Association, and other companies and organizations.

“We are pleased and honored that these experienced and seasoned executives would take time to help the region identify and develop new opportunities to improve our regional workforce and attract new opportunities within the state,” said Alex Knepp, chairman of the Daviess County Community Foundation. The Daviess County Foundation served as a principal organizer of the Council to create a positive platform for participation and discussion. Hope Flores, executive director of the Lawrence Community Foundation, Cam Trampke, executive director of the Greene County Foundation; and Greg Jones, executive director of the Southern Indiana Development Commission, all took part in the August 2 meeting.

Information and identified opportunities from the August 2 meeting will be made available to interested groups and economic development organizations as requested, said Arnold. “The intent here is to promote top level engagement among executives and professionals who can rapidly advance the region,” Arnold continued. “This Council is about cooperation and collaboration to accelerate growth and a higher quality of life for all.”

Presentations and summaries will be posted online at the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation’s new Web site at shortly following the meeting, Arnold noted.

The Daviess County Economic Development Foundation sponsored the Council meetings in January and August.

About the Crane Regional Technology Council Taking as its focus the capacity to create new opportunities through collaboration and transformation, the Crane Regional Technology Council (CRTC) represents a group of professionals and leaders with experience and depth in technology administration and development, business, and academia who have agreed to help area community foundation and economic development officials identify and advance opportunities for growth in southwest Indiana. Serving two-year terms, these individuals will lend their expertise, experience and relationships in helping area community foundations to identify opportunities associated with NAVSEA’s Naval Surface Warfare Center, the WestGate @ Crane Technology Park, the Battery Innovation Center and other institutions and companies in the region. Meeting formally twice a year, the goals of the CRTC include focused efforts to help community foundation and other regional organizations support and advance educational and workforce development initiatives, including STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), New Tech Schools and other programs to advance, accelerate and sustain the quality of education for the region and the state. As needed, the Council may expand its volunteer advisory function to embrace and advise on other areas of potential growth. For media inquiries, please contact Michael Snyder at the MEK Group at 317-805-4870 or, or visit the online MEK newsroom at

About the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation As a private/public partnership for county-wide economic development, the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) is working to build a foundation for a better tomorrow in the communities within Daviess County, Indiana. A founding organization of the WestGate @ Crane Technology Park, DCEDC’s mission is to develop a process which improves the standard of living for all citizens by creating, retaining and reinvesting wealth while protecting the environment. For more information, please visit

Source: Crane Regional Technology Council

Story Continues Below