BROOKVILLE – When Trevor Lane went to work for former Gov. Mitch Daniels at the Indiana Economic Development Corp. in 2005, “I liked the way he set things up, running the state as a business,” the Southeast Indiana regional director told the Franklin County Economic Development Commission Oct. 29.
Statewide, there is positive news to report. Elkhart’s recreational vehicle industry is “booming again.” A recent success is the 6,000-acre River Ridge industrial park just across a bridge north of Louisville. “We located Amazon down there last year,” adding 1,000 jobs to the Hoosier economy.
To win deals over Ohio and Kentucky, he works with a new state leader, Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith; Charlie Sparks, IEDC vice president of business development; and IEDC President Eric Doden, Fort Wayne. “Eric’s our day-to-day guy, Victor is out beating the bushes” to get companies to invest here.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. also has a liaison who works with state agencies, such as the Natural Resources, Environmental Management and Transportation departments. “If there’s an issue, she can help mediate that. We’re a business-friendly state for a reason. We get the deal done with the least amount of tax dollars possible.”
The director over 19 counties, based in North Vernon, reported, “We run at the speed of business, not the speed of government. If they need an offer in two hours,” it happens. “We’re very, very responsive.” Lane gets calls at night and on the weekends. “It’s like farming. You do the work when you’ve got to do the work.”
The definition of which companies IEDC helps is “a primary employer (that) creates a product or service sold outside of a region, generating new income into that region.” Lane said typically the firm is industrial, not retail or service oriented. He divulged, “We’re doing more vetting of companies,” especially startups, using public information, not private financials. Officials explore track records and criminal backgrounds.