A new strategic plan aims to help shape the long-term success of the 10-county Wabash Heartland Region. The analysis focuses on eight industry clusters with growth potential, how to leveraging existing assets and proposes promotional strategies. The plan is the first phase of a multi-phase, multi-year project supported by a $575,000 grant from the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. Steering Committee Chairman Gary Henriott will discuss the plan this weekend on Inside INdiana Business Television.
The area involved includes Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fountain, Montgomery, Pulaski, Tippecanoe, Warren and White counties.
The steering committee, called the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network, keyed in on ag-biosciences, food processing and manufacturing, biomedical sciences, automotive/heavy vehicle equipment, metals production and related manufacturing, precision metalworking, engineering, technical, and design services, as well as packaging products.
It suggests the region focus on strategies relating to catalyzing growth of existing industrial clusters, advancing systemic work force development efforts, leveraging regional research strengths and fostering what it calls a high-value quality of place. Twelve stakeholders from the ten-county region have been engaged in the process since December 2014. Research along the way has included community meetings, as well as travel and information exchanges in the "benchmark" regions of Ames, Iowa, Greenville, South Carolina and Columbus, Indiana.
The Central Indiana Corporate Partnership Foundation served as project coordinator. Research consultation came from the Battelle Memorial Institute Technology Partnership Practice, which has since transitioned to TEConomy Partners LLC. Several community foundations held listening sessions.
Energy Systems Network Chief Executive Officer and steering committee member Paul Mitchell says "I feel confident this region can put together the right combination of leadership, funding, and champions to implement some of these initiatives and push the region to compete on a global level."
The WHIN leadership team includes:
- Ivy Tech Community College Lafayette and Kokomo region Chancellor David Bathe
- Demeter LP President JoAnn Brouillette
- Former Nucor Steel Vice President Ron Dickerson
- Wabash National CEO Dick Giromini
- Henriott Group Chairman Gary Henriott
- Purdue University Trustee Gary Lehman
- North Central Health Services CEO Stephanie Long
- Hoffman, Luhman, and Masson Partner David Luhman
- Myers Spring CEO Todd Miller
- Energy Systems Network CEO Paul Mitchell
- Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette CEO Marianne Rose
- Purdue University Chief Legal Council Steve Schultz
The Wabash Heartland Innovation Network will now get to work on selecting priority initiatives and actions, then developing an action plan and timeline.
You can connect to the full Strategic Plan for Economic and Community Prosperity in the Wabash Heartland Region by clicking here.