NWI becoming an economic powerhouseFriday, March 6th, 2015
Good morning, Northwest Indiana!
2020 will be another exciting year in Northwest Indiana’s journey to once again become an economic powerhouse, only this time the powerhouse won’t be built at the expense of clean air, clean water, and clean earth. It will be built on the creativity, energy, insights and education of its citizens. People will have renewed respect for not only the environment, but also our diverse people and the value each and every one of us bring to our Region every day.
In five short years, we will have over 600 members in the Society of Innovators and we will marvel at the ingenuity of their creations. Our culture of creativity and innovation will infuse our communities with a sense of hope and pride. We will attract young and old who will have the confidence that they can “make it here” — and “make it here” even better than the hundreds of thousands who “made it here” before them.
We will continue to celebrate the historic innovations of Octave Chanute, Judge Elbert H. Gary, the Urschels, the Kesslings, the Barkers, the Reeds, the Powers, Orville Redenbacher, Bud Ruby, and the many other great leaders and families who made their mark on the region. ArcelorMittal’s R& D Center in East Chicago will grow in national significance, and Purdue Calumet’s Center for Innovation, Visualization and Simulation will help catapult our industry to new heights.
We will continue to produce the finest steels, refine the cleanest fuels, and deliver the best products to the Midwest, the nation, and the world. We will profit from the miles and miles of pipes, wires, cables, roads, rail, and the tremendous infrastructure working its way around the tip of Lake Michigan. We will capitalize on our proximity to Chicago and we will diversify our economy.
We will cheer the billions of dollars in new investments by world class companies like BP, Pratt Industries, Alcoa Howmet, Urschel Labs, and Monosol. We will relish in the sweet, gummy bear success of Albanese Candies and other firms yet to come.
The Port of Indiana will have another record year and it will have developed all its available property to the point another port facility will be needed in the Region. The Kingsbury Inland Logistics Port in LaPorte will have its third logistics tenant, and it will begin to build a reputation of reliable, low-cost rail connecting Northwest Indiana to the Gulf and east coasts.
Our existing Class A industrial parks; Northwind Crossings, Ameriplex at the Port and Crossroads, Thomas Rose, EastPorte and others will be at capacity. New first class parks will be designed and built near interstates and rail to attract high quality, high paying manufacturers and jobs.
Community leaders will recognize that we are falling behind Chicago and other parts of Indiana because of our failure to plan and invest in high quality business parks. Leaders will drive their redevelopment commissions and economic development professionals to help developers assemble land and reduce their risk of investing in shell and specbuildings.
As part of our industrial development we will have made greater efforts to connect industry with academia. Ready NWI will have a stronger presence and base of support. All of Northwest Indiana will annually celebrate Manufacturer’s Day in the fall and industry will have done a better job of defining their talent needs. More young people at an early age in our schools will begin dreaming about their career and their future on the southern shores of Lake Michigan.
The region will benefit as young people have a clearer vision and path to success. Our successful youth will draw other youth to our cities and communities. They will brag about our beautiful parks, beaches, schools and universities. They will build their homes, raise their families, and live out their dreams.
Beyond industrial development we will focus on other high paying careers. By 2020, our outstanding medical institutions will have worked together with the NWI Forum and others to help stem the $2 billion tide of medical care going to Chicago. Through branding and collaboration the region will be known for providing high quality medical services at competitive prices. We will attract many new high paying jobs in the process.
Finally, as I reflect upon the tremendous assets at our feet and the phenomenal opportunities that lie before us, I recognize that anything can be accomplished by finding and helping good, honest, selfless leaders and people. Over the years I have had the honor to work with many.
That said, much more positive energy is needed if we are going to create the tsunami of change required to rebuild our economy. Northwest Indiana’s time is NOW, and the future can be more brilliant than the past — but it is up to us to make it so.