Northwest Indiana Forum


regional economic development plan


The Northwest Indiana Forum, along with many regional partners, will be embarking on a regional economic development plan that will craft a true and pragmatic play book for economic development of the seven county region.  This will be in concert with municipal plans and other regional plans (i.e. 2040 plan, Marquette Plan and RDA Strategic Plan) already in existence.  The goal of this adventure is to have action oriented, regional initiatives that will attract investment and talent at a more rapid pace. 

This will not be a plan for the Forum, but rather will be a plan for the region as a whole. We will engage other regional groups, municipalities, higher learning institutions and the business community in the process and implementation as the success of this will require broad regional collaboration.   The concept of a regional plan has been considered for years and now is the time to implement such a plan to help the region realize its potential.  This is an exciting time for our region and this plan will help guide our future to new heights.  

The project kicked off in March 2018 and is being shepherded by TIP Strategies.  The TIP team has crafted innovative strategies for communities and regions across the US and are uniquely qualified to serve as the contractor for this work. Their team has the analytical capacity, experience, and planning expertise to assist in examining the Northwest Indiana’s position in the global economy.


They have extensive experience leading regional planning initiatives. These projects are typically guided by leadership teams from multiple jurisdictions and areas of interest. Balancing the needs of these varied interests is a pivotal aspect of developing regional strategies and is a strength of our team.

The importance of technology and innovation in creating a healthy economy. Our locations in Austin and Seattle provide our team with first-hand experience in crafting strategies that leverage technology assets.

They have extensive experience helping communities and regions diversify their industrial base by understanding their existing assets and challenges. For some, like Racine, WI, this involved transitioning away from a dependence on traditional industries.

Also viewing postsecondary education and training providers as partners in regional competitiveness. Their consulting team has experience working with communities to determine the best way to leverage their postsecondary education institutions for economic development.

We understand the factors that drive private investment. These decisions consider a range of factors, including the available workforce, the presence of well-prepared industrial sites, a climate that fosters innovation, and a quality of place that will support the retention and recruitment of talent.


the approach


TIP Strategies is committed to the idea of an innovation economy. While existing industries have defined the region, they are themselves in transition. Understanding what drives future growth is what this initiative must be about.

The Forum needs to build identification with Chicago through an understanding of how investment decisions are made. Linking with Chicago means considering the appropriate value proposition as it extends to industry site location, talent migration, and the transportation infrastructure.

The Forum should target recruitment based on up-stream technologies and process efficiencies. Additionally, we would focus on redefining relationships with existing companies (related to the supply chain, as well as logistics and distribution).

Finally, THINK BIG. What does the region want to be known for? And by extension, what does the Forum stand for? We would entertain the possibility of Centers of Excellence. Major recruitment initiatives. And start-up investments that would attract talented entrepreneurs from throughout the Midwest.


The outcome


Settling on one or two overarching issues and taking a creative approach towards them helps ensure success. In this spirit, the outcomes must themselves raise expectations rather than dampen them.

Robust job growth. New capital investment. Revitalized communities. These are measurable results driven by a vision for economic growth. Anything less than this would not be acceptable.






Racine’s proximity to Chicago and recognition of corridor development culminated in the Foxconn recruitment


Regional strategy that identified new growth opportunities for both urban and rural areas

Major restructuring of economic development around a public-private partnership



The Northwest Indiana Forum, with many regional partners, will be embarking on a regional economic development plan that will craft a pragmatic play book for economic development of the seven county region.

Thank you to the following who have committed their support to his endeavor and in reimagining the future for Northwest Indiana.



Berkshire Hathaway Executive Group

BP Americas

Carmeuse Lime & Stone

Center of Workforce Innovations

Centier Bank

Chicago South Shore & South Bend RR

City of Gary

City of Hammond Planning & Development

City of Hobart Redevelopment Commission

City of Valparaiso

City of Whiting

Commercial Advantage

Construction Advancement Foundation

Crown Point Community Foundation

Economic Development Michigan City

Edgewater Health


Fifth Third Bank

First Financial Bank

First Midwest Bank

Franciscan Alliance

Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors

Hasse Construction

Hoeppner Wagner & Evans 

Holladay Properties

Horseshoe Casino

Indiana American Water

Indiana Economic Development Corporation

Indiana University Northwest

Ivy Tech Community College

Jasper County EDC

Knight Foundation

Krieg DeVault

Lake County Economic Alliance

LaPorte County EDC

Larson Danielson Construction

Legacy Foundation

Luke Oil


Michigan City Redevelopment Commission

Mike Golando 


Newton County EDC


NWI Construction & Building Trades Council

Paine Wetzel

Port of Indiana Burns Harbor

Portage EDC

Porter County Community Foundation

Pulaski County EDC

Purdue University Northwest

Regional Development Company (RDC)


South Shore Convention & Visitors Authority

Starke County EDC

Task Force Tips

Tonn & Blank Constuction

Town of Schererville

Unity Foundation

Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce

Valparaiso Economic Development

Weiss Entities

Wintrust Commercial Bank