On Thursday, the Lake County Indiana Economic Alliance (LCEA) celebrated their 3rd Anniversary at Innsbrook Country Club in Merrillville with friends, partners and Northwest Indiana stakeholders who have seen first-hand the organization's growth and significant impact on The Region’s economy.
Gathered were business, community, and civic leaders, including representatives from nearly all of Lake County’s 21 municipalities, who were afforded the opportunity learn about all of the great things that the LCEA has been a part of over the last three years, as well as some exciting insights into what the future might hold for the organization and regional economic development.
“The LCEA has made a tremendous impact on Lake County, its communities, the overall economic well-being of Northwest Indiana, and indeed the State of Indiana,” said LCEA President and CEO, Karen Lauerman. “It’s not just about a piece of land or buildings. It’s about relationships, trust, and furthering a coordinated county-wide effort.”
“Building upon that foundation, the LCEA’s focus is on long-term sustainability,” Lauerman added. “We want this effort to continue far into the future so that our current and past successes can carry us well into the next generation of our workforce, our industry, and our children. This is a very special organization to Don (Koliboski) and I. Lake County is more than just a half-million people; we’re more than 21 independent municipalities; more than just a place on a map next to Chicago. We’re more attractive to businesses, more open to projects, and we’re more interactive to our state and regional partners. Through the LCEA’s approach, Lake County is more!”
A major sponsor of the LCEA’s 3rd Anniversary celebration and investor reception was Hasse Construction, an award-winning general contractor involved in the construction of commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities throughout Northwest Indiana. Bill Hasse, a 3rd generation leader of Hasse Construction, spoke about the pivotal work that the LCEA undertakes as well as what makes this region special.
“(LCEA) helps as a central clearinghouse involved both geographically and politically to work to find the best ways to fit businesses into Northwest Indiana,” Hasse said. “What they bring is that experience and a point-of-contact in Lake County so instead of working community by community, we can do it by looking at the county as a whole. They have good relationships in Porter and La Porte Counties, and in Illinois as well.”
When describing The Region, Hasse summed his feelings up by saying, “It’s hardworking and has a real can-do attitude. I don’t care if you look at the steel mills or any of the issues we might face with crime or educational challenges, it’s home.”
Guests to the evening’s event included business leaders and elected officials from Lake County and all over Northwest Indiana; almost all 21 municipalities in Lake County were represented by officials. Lake County Councilwoman Christine Cid was enthusiastic about being at Innsbrook Country Club for the LCEA’s engaging event.
“It’s great working with the LCEA,” said Councilwoman Cid. “You have so many different factions all in one room; from development to investment and elected officials who can make decisions
When it came to what LCEA has done for Lake County and the Region, Councilwoman Cid had no doubts about the positive changes they’ve brought under Karen Lauerman’s leadership.
“LCEA has made a significant impact and brought many companies to the County. For instance, they brought a company here and Lake County gave an abatement to a company that might not otherwise have come here. Looking forward, the South Shore extension is something that I’m sure the LCEA is going to play a significant part in. That, and also attracting more millennials to The Region and creating more jobs,” said Councilwoman Cid.
Don Koliboski, Vice President of Economic Development at LCEA, was enthusiastic about speaking with the region leaders assembled about how far the organization has come over the past three years, their many accomplishments, and future plans for development and growth Lake County.
“We’ve been very busy! We have seen a trend in the last 3 years of our existence and it’s consistently increasing. This year alone, we’ve been touched by over 200 company clients,” said Koliboski.
Busy is an understatement for how hard the LCEA has been working with businesses from far and wide to make Northwest Indiana, and Lake County in particular, more attractive for development and investment. Koliboski was passionate about the role of the LCEA in the economic future of Northwest Indiana.
“We’re identifying parcels for development and we’re working with every client that calls us. One of the things we pride ourselves on is that we are a one-stop shop. If you’re looking to do business in Indiana, you can talk to us; if you’re looking to do business in Northwest Indiana you can talk to us, if you’re looking to do business in Lake County you’re GONNA talk to us,” said an emphatic Koliboski.
When it comes to their priorities in The Region, Koliboski was clear about the pride he and Lauerman take in their work on behalf of Lake County and Northwest Indiana.
“We’ve been successful, and we’re happy every day about what we’re doing. We know we’re providing a service to the communities. Every community that we work with, we treat them all the same, and they’ve been terrific partners as well.”
To find out more about the great work that the Lake County Indiana Economic Alliance has undertaken in their first three years, visit: http://lcea.us/
9101 Taft Street Merrillville, Indiana 46410
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