In 2017, I announced my intent to create a business advisory council that would focus on the economic growth of Elkhart. This group would consist of local stakeholders and business leaders –- and would initiate a mutually beneficial relationship between the business community and city government.
The goal of this Elkhart Growth Alliance is to oversee the execution of our forward-thinking economic development plan for the city of Elkhart –- one that works for existing and new business development.
Over time, our economic base has shifted several times and has included industries such as pharmaceuticals, band instruments, manufactured housing, marine and now, recreational vehicles. Despite these changes, our strong reliance on a singular industry has remained consistent. As a result, Elkhart experiences the highs and lows of the economy in a much more extreme fashion than other communities. A study is currently underway and will provide valuable information to the Growth Alliance that will help guide the overall economic development plan. This study will not only help to guide the diversification of our local economic base, it will help ensure the continued vitality of the city’s existing businesses through workforce attraction, training, and technological advancements.
Amish Shah has kindly agreed to chair this effort, and my office has been working with Shelley Moore of Insight Strategic Concepts to facilitate the process, including reaching out to desired members of the Growth Alliance. Participation in this group would involve regular meetings with a defined agenda, exploring one or more economic development strategies, such as workforce development, advanced manufacturing and innovation/entrepreneurship.
I truly value your input and hope that you will consider being a part of this first-of-its-kind endeavor in our city. Our goal is to have a kick-off meeting spring 2019, so your prompt reply is appreciated.
Thank you for your continued commitment to the city of Elkhart, and I look forward to working together in the new year!