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Conexus Indiana Sees Success in 2016 Ongoing Initiatives

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Conexus Indiana, the state’s advanced manufacturing and logistics initiative, continued on the path of progress through 2016.

Each year, ED Impact checks in with David Holt, vice president of operations and business development for Conexus Indiana, to see what the organization accomplished over the last year and what new goals are set for the year ahead.

In 2015, the state’s six regions (Northwest, North Central, Northeast, Central, Southwest and Southeast) finalized and published their respective regional strategic plans. These plans were to guide each region’s logistics industry by identifying needs in infrastructure, public policy and workforce development (these plans can be viewed at www.conexusindiana.com/logistics-strategic-plan). With these plans launched, Conexus could begin its work in earnest of spreading awareness of the issues and obstacles facing the industries, and how to overcome them.

At the start of 2016, Holt reported a variety of goals related to research and education for the Conexus Indiana Northwest Regional Logistics Council (NWRLC). Talking with ED Impact now in February 2017, Holt was happy to report progress in the goals he had previously outlined, including educational initiatives for both the public and for policy makers as well as infrastructure projects NWRLC identified getting support and implementation throughout the state.

“We focused on ensuring that all the projects identified in the statewide and six regional strategic plans assisted the General Assembly by providing them the information needed to identify future transportation capacity and maintenance needs,” Holt said. “The General Assembly uses the Conexus Indiana Logistics Council (CILC) as a transportation and logistics “think tank” or asset developer.”

Holt says the projects and maintenance needs identified helped drive the debate for new funding and was part of the work of the Funding Indiana’s Transportation for a Stronger Safer Tomorrow (FIRSST) Task Force. Projects, like the Cline Avenue project in the East Chicago area, and many others around the state, have been identified as projects needed by their regional and local communities and some decision makers used these strategic plans to push the needs in their local communities.  Some of the projects have started construction or have already been constructed that were identified in these plans thanks in large part to these efforts to identify and prioritize what is needed in each local community.

Other initiatives for NWRLC included:

  • A cargo study for all four modes of transportation (rail, road, water, air) in the six regions of the state. Having the data to show how much cargo volume is moving in each community should help build the case with policy makers to better understand the logistics environment of Indiana, and where more support can be directed.
  • Workforce education and funding. Along with investing in the infrastructure, Indiana will need workers with the skills to satisfy the demands of the industry.
  • On-location educational events. Already Conexus has set up for three programs throughout the state by partnering with state universities to encourage students to enter the logistics industries. In Northwest Indiana, for example, students from Valparaiso University will be touring the facilities of the Port of Indiana – Burns Harbor, ArcelorMittal and Marigold.

David Holt, Vice President of Operations and Business Development

Conexus Indiana

dholt@conexusindiana.com

www.conexusindiana.com