Adrene Wike | Director of Business Intelligence

I just wrapped up a few days in Indianapolis at the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) annual conference. If you have not had the opportunity to check out downtown Indianapolis, I would suggest you don’t miss out. It felt like visiting a large city that in many ways still felt like a small town.

Indianapolis Flyover

IEDC’s Annual Conference is the largest yearly gathering of economic development professionals from across the country and around the world. The conference features distinguished keynote speakers, dozens of interactive sessions led by industry experts, networking events, and educational tours.

It wasn’t a shock that the hot topic this year was workforce development. However, the delivery was refreshing. We didn’t just discuss the issue of lack of workforce. Various groups and organizations talked about what they had been working on and how they were applying it.

Indiana was lucky enough to be awarded a $600,000 grant that is helping them to create logistics career paths within Hendricks County.

I heard from Lara Fritts, President/CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership, Barry Matherly, CEO of the new business attraction and regional marketing entity in Detroit, and Dennis Donovan, principal at Wadley Donovan Gutshaw Consulting, LLC, about creating your own clusters.

This wasn’t just about identifying targeting industries; it was about creating clusters within those targets. The emphasis here was on obtaining the data to support the attraction of specific industry clusters.

One of my favorite conversations was regarding attracting transitioning military into the workforce. Many communities are starting to see the benefit of attracting our servicemen and women. This was an open forum where many great ideas were shared.

IEDC holds quarterly conferences, the next one is the Leadership Summit in Tampa. Aside from conferences, they offer webinars and many other professional development programs. I love being a part of an organization that has connected me to economic development professionals around the world.

//Adrene Wike is the Director of Business Intelligence, veteran and military spouse with the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce.