In a place well-known for its successful teams, Wednesday’s New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corporation annual meeting and dinner focused on the victories being won by an often unheralded unit – those behind-the-scenes players who market this community, assist existing businesses and bring new employers to town.
Guest speaker for the event was Mark Williams, president of Strategic Development Group, a Columbia, South Carolina firm specializing in site selection for companies wanting to relocate or expand. He had praise for local efforts, particularly for the way officials here teamed to bring agribusiness Micronutrients USA.
Williams’ firm was hired by Micronutrients to help in the site selection process.
“We started our search in five states – Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Indiana and Georgia,” Williams said. “And we went through this process where we solicit sites and we got about 100 sites submitted. We ended up with one site east of Nashville and this site here in New Castle.
“There are a variety of things that unfolded here, principally how the local group worked,” Williams continued, “getting us the site we needed and answering our many, many questions. And there’s sort of an art to that. I’ve worked a good bit here in Indiana and I have to say you really had a good team here. I don’t send that out lightly. I really mean it.”
Micronutrients, which produces animal feed additives, plans to build a new facility on County Road 400 South. It is expected to create up to 50 new jobs by 2020.
Williams also had praise for the local EDC leader Corey Murphy, who recently received his certified economic developer designation.
“The failure rate for that test is phenomenal,” Williams said. “I think probably 70 to 80 percent who take that test fail it.”
The team Murphy has around him was praised as well.
“You have a tremendous economic development team here,” said Mike Row, president and CEO of the Eastern Indiana Workforce Development Board. “We love working with them. They work hard. They ask the right questions.”
Penny York, a special projects leader, was congratulated for recently completing her masters degree in public administration. York’s mother, Bonnie Myers, widow of late longtime businessman Dick Myers, was also thanked for helping sponsor Wednesday’s event.
“It’s a team effort,” Murphy said. “I appreciate Penny and our office manager, Kelli Wasson.”
Murphy said he was blessed to have an abundance of leaders in his midst.
“One item under our control is how a community is led,” Murphy said, “particularly when it comes to economic development. You know, we really can’t control what China does, what Washington does so much, sometimes not even our friends over in Indianapolis. But here locally, leadership is certainly an asset and a competitive advantage.”
As for the future, Murphy emphasized the local EDC was not just about attracting new out-of-state businesses. He said the EDC would offer loans to local businesses needing help with growth.
“We’re not just about attracting new, attracting big,” Murphy said. “We’re here to serve the small business and what’s already here. If they’ve been turned down by the bank, but the business is still viable, that’s the type of project we’re interested in.”
Murphy said current goals are to continue promoting the ACT Work Ready Partnership, helping workers achieve necessary skills for a specific position; and promoting internships.
“If you’re a business owner or business manager, please consider hosting an internship,” Murphy said. “If you want to know how to do that, give us a call. It’s better to retain our young people, open their eyes to all the possibilities and job opportunities here than to try and recruit brand new people.”
Murphy said that recruitment effort is focused on bringing people who once lived here back home again. A television ad on WHMB during the New Castle semistate game broadcast urged former residents to “Come Home To Henry County.”
“That was heard by over 20,000 households in Indiana,” Murphy said, “and some of them used to live in New Castle.”
Source: The Courier Times, April 19, 2018
– Story and photo by Darrel Radford of The Courier-Times (April 19, 2018). Read more local stories at www.thecouriertimes.com