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Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman has been named president and chief executive officer of Radius Indiana, an eight-county economic development partnership in south-central Indiana.

Verbatim: Skillman named president, CEO of 8-county partnership

Radius Indiana issued this news release today:

BEDFORD, Indiana – Lt. Governor Becky Skillman will become the new president and CEO of the eight-county Radius Indiana economic development regional partnership after she leaves office in January, according to Ken Sendelweck, Radius board chair.

“With Lt. Governor Skillman’s in-depth experience in energy, commercial defense, tourism, advanced manufacturing, agriculture and other key issues affecting the eight-county region of Radius Indiana — coupled with her experience in leading international trade missions — this appointment represents nothing short of a superb match between opportunity and experience,” said Sendelweck. “With the Lt. Governor in this position, we expect to achieve an even higher rate of acceleration toward accomplishing our regional goals, based on the solid foundation that has already been laid for growth and development.”

Skillman replaces former Radius CEO R.J. Reynolds, who died unexpectedly in November. She will formally assume her duties on February 1, 2013.

“There has never been a more exciting time to build a globally competitive economy in the region,” said Lt. Governor Skillman. “The I-69 expansion brings great potential for growth, as do the diverse assets in the eight counties. The advancement and development of the $14 million Battery Innovation Center, the French Lick-West Baden Resort, the flourishing WestGate technology park at Crane, Vincennes University’s new advanced manufacturing center in Dubois County, and the East Gate Business and Technology Center in Bedford represent but a few of the many assets on which to build cooperative growth.

“I also very much look forward to working in tandem with the local elected officials, economic development professionals, and business leaders to develop a truly team-based cooperative effort and continue to move the region forward,” she added.

The position will involve working collaboratively to continue generating high-quality employment opportunities, improving the workforce through expanded educational resources, diversifying the region’s economic base, and working to raise the standard of living for the residents of the eight-county region, according to Sendelweck.

“As a long-time public servant from the Bedford area, Becky Skillman brings a perspective that is both trusted and insightful as to the needs of the region,” said Steve Ferguson, chairman of Cook Medical, who also serves on the Radius board. “The eight-county Radius Indiana region has so many assets that match her experience – ranging from her global depth as Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture to her commitment to world-class higher education and workforce development to NSWC Crane, where she has played a very critical role for the state’s commercial defense and military progress.”

Established by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation in 2009, Radius Indiana serves eight counties in south central Indiana, representing Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Orange and Washington. Skillman will be returning to her native Lawrence County, which she represented for 12 years in the Indiana Senate prior to being elected Indiana’s first female Lt. Governor in 2004. Her lifelong home is in the Bedford region, where Radius Indiana maintains its main office.

Following the untimely and unexpected death of the former CEO, the Radius Indiana board of directors created an executive search team to identify a successor.

“We had a robust team in place with up-and-running programs at Radius, so with this strong foundation we had the advantage of being able to take adequate time to review several options and opportunities,” explained Sendelweck. “We of course were very excited about the possibility of the high energy coming from such an appointment, so we entered into an in-depth discussion, which thankfully all came together.”

The appointment was applauded throughout the region, including Ron Arnold, executive director of the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation, who serves on the Radius Indiana executive committee. “When we learned of the possibility that the Lt. Governor might be interested, I considered that to be amazingly good fortune,” Arnold said. “Becky is coming out as one of the key leaders in one of the most successful gubernatorial administrations in Indiana’s history and there are so many positive things she brings to the table that it’s hard to list them.”

The Lt. Governor’s deep experience in technology and rural affairs is also expected to serve the region well, said Cullen McCarty, executive vice president of Smithville, Indiana’s largest private telco. McCarty also serves as a founding board member of Radius.

“The Lt. Governor has been a long-time supporter of providing key strategic services to rural Indiana, which includes the eight counties served by Radius,” McCarty said. “She has been a real champion of high-speed fiber to the home and business for rural areas, and as a result Indiana holds a leadership position in this critical infrastructure. That is but one of many reasons she will be excellent for the role.”

“It would be hard to find anyone more excited about this than the people of Lawrence County,” said Gene McCracken, director of the Lawrence County Growth Council and secretary for the Radius organization. “She served in county government here for 16 years as County Recorder and the County Clerk before moving up to the State Senate, so this is a strategic homecoming to the people and region who will most appreciate her continued service.”

According to the National Lieutenant Governors Association, Becky Skillman had more legal duties than any other Lt. Governor in the country. Since first taking office in 2005, she soundly managed five state agencies that have administered more than $1 billion in programs: the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, the Office of Energy Development, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, and the Office of Tourism Development. Additionally, she chaired the state’s Counter Terrorism and Security Council, and served as President of the Indiana Senate.

She is currently co-chairing the Indiana Bicentennial Commission with former Congressman Lee Hamilton, which she will continue after leaving office.

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