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Whitley County is moving forward

If you didn’t get a chance to check out the recent article from Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly featuring the Whitley Forward initiative, here’s a brief recap.

The article, “All Eyes Forward” features segments from interviews with Whitley County Community Foundation Executive Director, September McConnell and Whitley EDC President, Alan Tio. The article focuses on Whitley Forward, an initiative aligning Whitley County efforts with regional initiative Vision 2020. Whitley Forward grew out of a mandate from the community foundation’s board of directors, who were seeking change throughout the county, and wanted to see more emphasis on education specifically.  After several strategic planning meetings, the community foundation wanted something big for Whitley County; something to help the county grow and thrive, but they needed more support to tackle such a big project.

“Something we figured out early is neither of us, nor our organizations, is really well-positioned to take on a project like that,” said Tio. “It doesn’t fit within our scope here at the EDC, and it’s not a community foundation project or (a project for) any other group that can take that on.”

That’s when the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership’s Vision 2020 initiative became a base for growing the Whitley Forward initiative. With several individual efforts and business involvement with the initiative, Whitley Forward is using the Vision 2020’s “Five Pillars” as a base for direction and guidance for the initiative. The Five Pillars include development of: 21st century talent, business climate, entrepreneurship, infrastructure and quality of life.

In collaboration with Scott Gabriel, COO of Parkview Whitley Hospital, a public meeting with over 100 attendees was held in December at Parkview to brainstorm ideas for the initiative. At the second meeting held last month, individuals had the opportunity to sign up for one of the five committees (committees divided by the Five Pillars). Thirty-seven people have already signed up to serve on the committees, and hopefully more will join the effort. McConnell said, “…I just feel like more people are getting it. More people are wanting to get involved.”

Whitley Forward Committee Leaders:

21st century talent: September McConnell, Executive Director, Whitley County Community Foundation
Competitive business climate: Doug Brown, Executive Director, Whitley County Chamber of Commerce
Entrepreneurship: George Schrumpf, President, Whitley County Commissioners
Infrastructure: Alan Tio, President, Whitley County EDC
Quality of life: Scott Gabriel, President & COO, Parkview Whitley Hospital


Read the full article from Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly.

Want to get involved with Whitley Forward? Contact the EDC at 260-255-5506 or email edc@whitleyedc.com