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Laura J. Gardner | The Journal Gazette
Joseph Decuis owners Pete and Alice Eshelman talk during a news conference launching a website,, to help attract and retain talent by promoting the area’s offerings and quality of life.

New website aims to boost city

Initiative hopes to draw, retain talent

Fort Wayne boosters say if they want the story right, they better tell it themselves.

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership launched a marketing website,, to help attract and retain talent by promoting the area’s offerings and quality of life.

The online guide provides video testimonials, attractions, a cost-of-living calculator and related features. A 26-page hardcover book, TV commercials and Facebook advertisements also are part of the campaign. About 30 business and media members attended a Monday event at Joseph Decuis restaurant in Roanoke where the marketing tool was unveiled.

Partnership President and CEO John Sampson said initially the campaign will cost $500,000, which will come from the $20 million Lilly Endowment Inc. grant received three years ago.

“This is a story worth telling,” he said. “What we’re hoping is that businesses will use the website in their recruiting and make it a link on their websites as well.”

Joseph Decuis owner Pete Eshelman is a poster child of the type of business investment proponents want to foster. Despite ties to New York, Eshelman co-founded a sports-and-entertainment-industry insurance firm and upscale steakhouse and winery in the region.“We knew the people had a good work ethic and that there was a good quality of life here,” he said. “We just needed to let others know what we already knew.”

Regional Partnership officials are confident about the website.

“The goal of this strategy is two-pronged,” Courtney Tritch, director of marketing at the partnership, said in a statement. “We wanted to create a central, regional hub that showcases the impressive and diverse assets in the region that can be used to attract talented people to live in northeast Indiana. We also wanted to create awareness within the region of the amazing assets we have in an effort to retain young professionals in particular.”

Fort Wayne attorney Angie Garcia and her husband fit that category. Three years ago, the recent Indiana University law school graduate looked for work near her husband, a fisheries biologist with the Department of Natural Resources in Columbia City.

Though she accepted a position with the Carson Boxberger law firm, “I was skeptical” about living in the region, she said.

“We didn’t know anybody,” Garcia said. “I’m from Akron (Ohio) and he was from Minnesota. It was difficult at first. I definitely could have used a website like this one. In fact, I will be using it when I recruit law students.”