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Northwest Indiana Forum Taking Part in Developing a Regional Economic Development Strategic Playbook

Tony Martin, Times Media
Provided by Heather Ennis, President and CEO of the Northwest Indiana Forum

NORTHWEST INDIANA - The Northwest Indiana Forum, the seven-county economic development organization is taking part in creating a regional economic development strategic playbook.

The organization serves Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper, Newton, Pulaski and Starke Counties.  Heather Ennis, President and CEO of the Northwest Indiana Forum, says the development of a regional economic development plan will work to serve all the partners in a more combined fashion.

"It's been a while in the process," Ennis says.  "We've been working on this initially we were kind of reorganizing the strategic plan of the forum but then we realized we work, economic development works with a broad base of partners and a broad base of opportunities to move all these assets together and move the partnerships together more cohesively."

Ennis says the NIF has not previously had an economic development regional plan. The organization has had other plans, but nothing that cohesively worked economic development all together.  To help the strategic playbook come to fruition, "the forum" chose an outside organization based in Austin and Seattle to help.

"And having an outside company come in and look helps us to really evaluate the opportunities that are right here in front of us so, we went through a pretty stringent vetting process to bring on TIP Strategies and we're extremely excited about them," Ennis says.

TIP Strategies will recommend a set of best practices, based upon its observations in the field.  They have over 20 years of experience in economic development strategic planning.

The plan will outline a set of strategic initiatives to recruit new businesses to the region, attract and retain talent, develop the local workforce, and expand existing industry and business sectors. The plan will outline approaches to promote investment in targeted areas and enhance Northwest Indiana's quality of place.


Below is the full interview with Heather Ennis, President and CEO of the Northwest Indiana Forum...

Several Northwest Indiana organizations are working toward improving our local economy and enhancing the Region's quality of place through the creation of a Region-wide plan. Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson talked with Heather Ennis, the President and CEO of the Northwest Indiana Forum about the development of the plan and its goals.

Sharon Jackson is the local host of "All Things Considered" and a reporter for Lakeshore Public Radio. She has been with 89.1 FM since its launch in 2009. Sharon is also a radio DJ in Chicago, and has been since 2004. In her previous job at Metro Networks/Westwood One, she was heard on am 890 WLS, WGN radio 720 am and am 560 WIND. She has also delivered news and traffic reports on radio stations all over Chicago and the suburbs including 95.9 The River, 98.3 WCCQ and Star 96.7.