Statement as issued Monday by Greater Fort Wayne Inc.:
Greater Fort Wayne Inc. (GFW Inc.) launched its “Be Part of Something Greater” campaign at a press conference today in the lobby of the 1st Source Center on Main Street. At the same time, GFW Inc. also introduced a new Fort Wayne Competitive Index that will allow the organization and the community to measure progress toward its goals.
“Be Part of Something Greater” is GFW Inc.’s foundational leadership campaign to secure funding for the first five years of operations and to build a diverse, unified core of business leaders who are committed to achieving a more competitive and vital economic base for the future of Fort Wayne and Allen County.
“Greater Fort Wayne Inc. represents a new approach for how Fort Wayne and Allen County will pursue business growth, job creation, and competitiveness,” declared Mark Becker, CEO of Greater Fort Wayne Inc. “As the largest metro center in northeast Indiana, we have a responsibility – all of us – to make greater Fort Wayne as strong as it can be for future generations and for our neighbors in the ten‐county region. GFW Inc. will be a leader, supporting the broader regional efforts established by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, while we work locally to put greater Fort Wayne in the Top 25 amongst mid‐sized metro areas in the Midwest.”
With today’s launch, GFW Inc. announced that its first eight corporate investors have already committed $1.2 million, representing 24% of the $5 million goal for new, private‐sector support. In addition, each of the following has pledged to be a campaign chair: Mike Packnett, Chuck Surack, Ron Turpin, Nancy Jordan, Scott Glaze, and Ian Boyce.
“To make big things happen, we all have to invest in Greater Fort Wayne Inc. as business leaders,” said Mike Packnett, CEO of Parkview Health. “Whether it’s a small‐business owner at $700 a year or a major corporate executive at $100,000, we are all investors and it will take all of us working together to put Fort Wayne into the top 25.”
Progress towards the goal of seeing Fort Wayne recognized as a Top 25 metro area in the Midwest will be measured using a new Fort Wayne Competitiveness Index, commissioned by GFW Inc. and created by the IPFW Community Research Institute. The Institute analyzed all 100 Midwest markets for seven key prosperity and job creation indicators. The numbers place Fort Wayne at 52nd out of 100 mid‐sized MSAs (metropolitan statistical areas) across the Midwest. To climb to the top 25 means more than a 50% improvement for greater Fort Wayne.
In order to advance Fort Wayne’s rank on the index, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. will focus on multiple strategies, including community and product development, business retention and expansion, business attraction, support for entrepreneurs, small‐business innovation services and business advocacy. While we’ve determined key strategies, we also need to leverage resources such as funds available through Legacy Fort Wayne and the Capital Improvement Board in order to gain forward momentum.
Vice Chairman of the Greater Fort Wayne Inc. transition Board, Ron Turpin urged all business people in Fort Wayne to get engaged, to be part of the solution. “Lincoln Financial has chosen to be one of the initial supporters for Greater Fort Wayne Inc. because we believe in being a good community steward,” said Ron Turpin, Vice President of Finance at Lincoln Financial Group. “A strong community must have strong leaders, from all backgrounds and of all age groups. We need to reformulate our strategies and raise the bar on collective ambition. It’s time for this community to stand together and support an organization that is designed to create positive change in greater Fort Wayne. Today is the day for us all to be part of something greater.”