Growth Council Dinner Sparkles, Inspires Community Leaders

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Annual dinner shines the spotlight on Grant County's achievements.

Tim Eckerle honors Cory Matchette

Growth Council Executive Director, Tim Eckerle, honors collaboration with Cory Matchette of Marion-Grant County Chamber of Commerce.

91 local businesses were honored for 2013 investments totaling over 144 million dollars, revealing that existing businesses are thriving, expanding, and looking to stay.

Nearly 100 elected officials, business owners, college students, and community leaders came together Wednesday evening, April 9th at All That Sparkles. The Ivy Tech Conference Center in Marion, Indiana, transformed for the black-tie event which featured live jazz and candlelit dining. Celebrating 2013 successes while promoting the Young Entrepreneurs Program of Grant County (YEP), the Growth Council maintained their reputation as a high-caliber host by featuring guest speaker Dr. Katherine Loflin. With outstanding community support and numerous sponsors, the annual dinner was a night that truly sparkled.

President of the Growth Council, Joe Certain, provided a recap of 2013 achievements including new business, Café Valley, building a Marion facility, and five existing business expansions: Central Indiana Ethanol, Franklin Electric, Matthews Feed and Grain, Walnut Creek Outdoors and Weaver Popcorn. Another shining moment was the launch of a cutting-edge buzzword marketing campaign to tell the story of the Growth Council. Joe expanded upon a recent Investor Appreciation Lunch by noting, “91 local businesses were honored for 2013 investments totaling over 144 million dollars, revealing that existing businesses are thriving, expanding, and looking to stay.”

Following Joe’s review, Marketing and Communications Director Allison Everett discussed YEP and shared an award-winning video that captured the high school program. “Created by the Growth Council, YEP equips young entrepreneurs with tools to draft a business plan and develop Grant County into a better place. YEP gives the opportunity to learn from some of the brightest local business leaders while competing for prizes and scholarships,” shared Everett.

Other 2013 milestones included the eighth prestigious I-69 Collegiate Innovation Challenge; new programs like Grant’s Got Talent, a training initiative in coordination with local manufacturers and Ivy Tech; and ongoing Growth Council programs like Grant for Grads, which assisted 41 graduates. Such programs keep the spotlight on Grant County as one of the best places to live, learn, work, and retire in Indiana.

What did guest speaker, Dr. Katherine Loflin, head of Loflin Consulting Solutions, have to say about Grant County’s current state? “You are in an enviable position and it’s showing up in the bottom line of these places,” Loflin imparted.

Specializing in the social science “placemaking,” Dr. Loflin identified key factors that contribute to community attachment: social offerings and openness. Research shows places with strong community attachment also see strong economic development. Dr. Loflin’s expertise brought to light the positive impact of the Grant County Economic Growth Council in the community.

The mission of the Grant County Economic Growth Council is to facilitate investment and reinvestment for job retention and creation. In short, the Growth Council is a champion of placemaking in Grant County and promotes “all that sparkles”. Already the Growth Council is tallying milestones to applaud at the next annual dinner, an event that will continue to be open to the public.

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Allison Everett

Tim Eckerle
since: 10/2009
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