One of Indiana’s youngest mayors is looking to make her community the "happiest Hoosier city." La Porte’s Blair Milo says, if citizens feel engaged and as though they’re making a difference, the northern Indiana city will attract and keep more talent. She says the city’s psyche is being boosted by Alcoa Inc.’s (NYSE: AA) new $100 million facility, which is expected to result in 330 new jobs by 2019. Milo says the production center lets residents "see the future of manufacturing" in La Porte.
The Alcoa project is among the latest signs of economic momentum in La Porte. Last year, B&B Manufacturing announced plans to invest nearly $7 million to expand its operations and create 40 jobs. The company produces drive products such as gears and timing belts.
The city also recently welcomed a new Ivy Tech Community College training facility, which Milo called a "critical step" in growing the local economy. At the time, she said the facility would help companies including Alcoa, B&B Manufacturing and Jaeger Unitek fill more than 500 new jobs in the coming years. She added that more than 1,000 positions could be created from expansions at the Thomas Rose Industrial Park.
Milo began her tenure as mayor in 2012, saying she saw a challenge facing her hometown and wanted to give back to the community. She is a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve, and served on active duty from January 2005-May 2007, completing two deployments to the Persian Gulf. She also served as an anti-submarine warfare officer on a Navy stealth destroyer ship.
During an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television, Milo also discussed her future in politics, saying she wants to "continue serving in the best capacity that I can." Many political insiders see a bright future for Milo, whose name even surfaced as a possible candidate for lieutenant governor. Governor Mike Pence announced Tuesday that he will nominate former Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb to succeed Sue Ellspermann in that position.