The Central Indiana Corporate Partnership on Thursday announced Melina Kennedy as its next chief executive officer. Kennedy, who currently serves as vice president of product compliance and regulatory affairs for Columbus-based Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI), succeeds the retiring David Johnson. “I’ve always been drawn to community and trying to be a part of making it better, and I can’t think of a better opportunity,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy spoke Thursday with Inside INdiana Business Host Gerry Dick about her appointment.
“If I could pick the dream job that really leverages what I love and what I think I have a good skill in with business, community, government and even some law, this would be it,” said Kennedy. “I think this is the organization that brings all of those things together to make it a better place to live and more prosperous for everyone. I couldn’t think of a better fit for me also something that I would be excited about.”
Kennedy previously served as partner with the former Baker and Daniels LLP, now Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. She is also a former deputy mayor and director of economic development for the city of Indianapolis and was the Democratic candidate for mayor in 2011.
She also currently serves as president of the Capital Improvement Board of Managers in Indianapolis.
Bryan Mills, vice chair of the CICP and member of the organization’s CEO search committee, said in a news release that Kennedy brings a diverse, relevant and impressive background to her new role.
“CICP is a unique organization that is advancing Indiana’s economy by working with a variety of different entities and on a range of initiatives,” said Mills, who is also CEO of Community Health Network in Indy. “Her energy and enthusiasm about CICP’s future, as well as that of the state, will ensure that CICP’s important role to drive critical programs and projects forward continues.”
The Central Indiana Corporate Partnership is comprised of several initiatives covering various business sectors in Indiana, including AgriNovus Indiana (agriculture), Ascend Indiana (workforce development), BioCrossroads (life sciences), Conexus Indiana (advanced manufacturing and logistics), and TechPoint (technology.
Kennedy is no stranger to the CICP. As a representative of then-Mayor Bart Peterson’s administration, she was part of the team that established BioCrossroads in 2002.
Kennedy said a continued focus on talent through Ascend Indiana will be a priority for her in her new position.
“The issue of making sure that we have talent, that we’re actually marrying the skills and providing the opportunities for skills into jobs is an important mutual benefit for companies that are looking for skilled people, but also for the people of Indiana to make sure that they have good paying jobs and have the ability to find those jobs.”
Kennedy was also responsible for commissioning the initial planning study that led to the beginning of work on the 16 Tech innovation district in downtown Indy, where the CICP is currently headquartered.
She will begin her new role in February.
In July, Johnson announced his plans to retire at the end of the year after 10 years in the role. Johnson, who was also a founder and former CEO of BioCrossroads, discussed his efforts in an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.
After Johnson’s announcement, the CICP named Chief Financial Officer Latoya Botteron president in addition to her CFO duties.