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Jun 03, 2019

Northern Indiana

Just outside of Chicago, the northern portion of Indiana is home to the state’s first national park: Indiana Dunes National Park. The white sands of the Lake Michigan shoreline offer ample opportunities for family fun just a short drive from the city. The pristine dunes offer a refuge from city life and a glittering shoreline not usually associated with Midwestern states. Dirt bikes, dune buggies and running trails abound with the freedom of a beach sensibility. Northern Indiana tempers its fun with academic and workforce excellence; the region boasts a thriving orthopedic industry in Warsaw, the recreational vehicle capital of the world in Elkhart, and the fast-growing city of Fort Wayne with its riverfront development and legacy as an innovation hotspot and home to Lincoln Financial Group. Residents and visitors alike find the combination of opportunity and natural beauty inspiring and refreshing.

In addition to a thriving economy, the region’s central location in the Midwest of the United States also offers a logistics advantage. 






“Our location means we can get goods to market faster, more efficiently and to larger portions of the American population than other states,” notes Governor Eric J. Holcomb. “This, along with our low cost of doing business are two of the main reasons why companies from across the country – and around the world – are choosing to locate and grow in Indiana.”






This economic success is fueled by a strong and growing workforce rooted in renowned institutions of higher education, including Purdue University in West Lafayette and Notre Dame University in South Bend. Not just Midwestern stalwarts, these universities boast internationally-ranked programming and students from across the world engaging in groundbreaking research in engineering, business, aerospace and law, among others.
Northern Indiana also is a leader in advanced manufacturing and boasts a long agricultural heritage with abundant production. So, when Brazilian digital agriculture company Solinftec was looking to establish a base in the United States deciding to locate here was a no-brainer. The company, which has grown quickly in Latin America by making sugar cane and row-crop operations more efficient, is planning to take advantage of Indiana’s agbioscience and tech expertise and will open its U.S. headquarters near Purdue University. With Internet of Things platforms and an innovative approach to precision farming, Solinftec is expected to create 90 jobs this year and 334 jobs by 2022.



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Tate & Lyle is another example of a company finding global success by establishing a foothold in Indiana. The British-headquartered food processing company, which started life refining sugar in 1921, has operated two corn-refining plants in the city of Lafayette since the 1970s, with a regional economic impact expected to hit nearly $1 billion annually. “Access to corn is key to our success and growth,” says Chris Olsen, VP community and government affairs. “In addition to the corn supply, the other key factors in these plants’ longevity are the excellent workforce and the positive business climate in the state.”

 






Governor Holcomb agrees: “Not only does our state have a great business environment, but we have great people. When businesses choose to invest in Indiana, they’re choosing to invest in our citizens.”






This is certainly true for leading aircraft engine supplier, GE Aviation, which credits both the state’s talented workforce and its outstanding manufacturing facilities to the success of the LEAP engine, which is assembled at the company’s Lafayette site. “LEAP—one of the most technologically advanced engines on the market—is the world’s fastest selling airline engine,” says Perry Bradley, director of media relations at GE Aviation. “These record-setting sales are great news for Indiana; the Lafayette plant is increasing production, meaning there will be more jobs to fill and a greater economic impact for the state.”



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In fact, prior to the opening of the LEAP engine facilities, GE Aviation already had a strong relationship with the West Lafayette-based Purdue University; today GE employs hundreds of the university’s graduates, giving many students an incentive to remain in the region and contribute even more to the local economy. More specifically, the LEAP engine demonstrates the state’s concierge approach to business development, with the local community taking the initiative to modify its workforce training and pipeline program specifically to help enlarge the numbers of FAA-accredited staff necessary for LEAP manufacturing. “Like everything else in aviation, including pilots, there is a shortage of FAA-certified airframe and power plant (A&P) technicians around the country,” explains Paul Moses, director at Purdue Research Foundation, a private not-for-profit company that was set up in 1930 to support Purdue University. “Purdue and Ivy Tech teamed up to create the curriculum for this two-year program. Half of it is taught on Ivy Tech’s campus here in Lafayette and the other half on Purdue’s campus. The goal was to increase the number of A&Ps in the market who could be eligible for working in GE’s facility.”

There’s no doubt Northern Indiana’s economic momentum and proven track record with regional partnerships create opportunity. As Moses continues: “Here in West Lafayette, we like to think we have the best of both worlds; we have a smart and diverse community, which supports a high-tech workforce, education is a focal point…The entrepreneurial ecosystem is among the world’s strongest, and it’s all located in one of the most affordable and safe communities in the country.”

 

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