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NWI Forum Serves Up Economic Development

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

“Keeping people educated is key to what we do", said NWI Forum President and CEO Heather Ennis as she opened the program. Ennis said that more than 120 people were registered to participate in the program that day alone. Many resources are available that communities and officials aren’t aware of, but active organizations providing programs such as this one continue to raise the bar across Northwest Indiana.

The program, “Strategic Investment in Economic Development,” was free and open to anyone interested in learning or refreshing their knowledge base. In something of a whirlwind one-day tour for maximum availability to the public, the program was offered at Purdue North Central in the morning, at Hammond’s Indiana Welcome Center in the afternoon and at the Knox Community Center in the evening.

The program’s agenda included fundamentals in:

  • Economic Development principles
  • TIF and Tax Abatement
  • Using Community Incentives
  • State Incentives and Process

The first speaker was Jim Staton, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s (IEDC) Northwest Region director, who covered topics including why Indiana was a great state for business in the eyes of the nation and world as well as what resources and incentives the IEDC offers that local groups can take advantage of.

Next up was Kostas Poulakidas of Krieg DeVault, LLP. Poulakidas spoke on his specialty, TIF and tax abatement issues. Not only did Poulakidas cover introductory level topics, but he spent time delving into some of the common legal issues and details that communities can get hung up on, as well as how to go about establishing and using these important economic development tools.

At the session I attended at Purdue North Central, the room was full and the audience was active throughout the session in asking questions. Programs such as this one highlight one of Indiana’s strengths: a focus on co-operation and education, from local officials to the state level, that make doing business in Indiana easier and faster than elsewhere.

Heather Ennis, President and CEO
NWI Forum

Kostas A. Poulakidas, Esq.
Krieg DeVault, LLP

Jim Staton, Northwest Region Director
Indiana Economic Development Corporation