HCUED recognizes nine industrial projects at appreciation lunch

Larry Ingraham tells a story before getting into his keynote speech during the second annual Business Appreciation Luncheon on Monday, Dec. 14 at the Habecker Dining Commons. His speech was “Keys to Economic Development Success.”
Larry Ingraham tells a story before getting into his keynote speech during the second annual Business Appreciation Luncheon on Monday, Dec. 14 at the Habecker Dining Commons. His speech was “Keys to Economic Development Success.” Photo by Jessica Williams.

Nine 2009 Huntington County United Economic Development (HCUED) industrial projects were recognized at the second annual Business Appreciation Luncheon at Habecker Dining Commons on Monday, Dec. 14.

Those recognized were Advanced Engineering (medical device industry), Cinergy MetroNet (digital communications), Fogwell Manufacturing (machining, steel fabrication), Good Humor-Breyers (ice cream), Heartland Aluminum (automotive wheels and rims), M&S Industrial Metal Fabricators, Onward Manufacturing (metal fabrication, barbecue grill manufacturer), Saturn Wheel (automotive wheels and rims) and Transwheel (automotive rims).

Some of these projects include expansions and upgrades of existing locations in Huntington while some include relocation to Huntington.

Darlene Stanley, the 2009 president of the HCUED board, says that these projects will create 454 job opportunities for Huntington, as well as accumulate $33,925,000 in investments.

Mark Wickersham, executive director of HCUED, said at the beginning of the luncheon that people have either lived through or heard of hard times this year, and HCUED wanted to recognize those businesses that are growing in Huntington despite the economy.

The keynote speaker for the day was Larry Ingraham, who is the president of Ingraham & Associates out of Carmel, IN. Ingraham was hired in Tokyo, Japan in 1983 to become the second director of Indiana's East Asia office. He worked beside former Indiana Gov. Robert Orr to bring Japanese investments in Indiana in the early to late 1980s.

He discussed the top 10 "Keys to Economic Development Success," which he says he learned through personal experience.

The number 10 key, he says, is that a state must be competitive in trying to get industries in the communities.

"As we said in the 1980s, and still say today, when a new company comes to Indiana, they are investing in the future, and not in the past," Ingraham said.

The number nine key is having a community team that works for success.

"Corporate citizens in the community and county must ideally cooperate and be supportive of community efforts," he said.

Keys eight and seven are having attractive existing buildings for new industries to look at and also having the locations for transportation logistics, such as Interstate 69.

Key six is having good infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals and roads. Another type of infrastructure advantage that might grow in the future, Ingraham believed, is having an airport that can provide transportation for businessmen.

"I really think that a key in the future, for smaller communities in particular, is to have an airport that can accommodate the small corporate jets ..." he said.
Key five is having an "excellent" economic development organization, while the fourth key, Ingraham said, is having a long-term commitment to keep economic development going in a community.

Key three deals with cooperation between community leaders with economic development projects.

The most important keys to successful economic development, Ingraham says, are having an economic development leader who knows what is going on, who can be trusted and works well with people. He said
Wickersham "embodies" those characteristics.

The number one key is the mayor's role, he believes. Ingraham said that how the mayor responds to interested industries can be a deciding factor.

It's a common misperception that only foreign businesses get incentives, he said, urging businesses to see Wickersham with any economic development inquiries.

"I think we have a lot to celebrate," Stanley said in conclusion to the luncheon.