Lake County Positioned for Prosperity
LCEA Awarded Legacy Foundation Grant
The Lake County IN Economic Alliance (LCEA) is positioning Lake County, Indiana and its 18 municipalities and unincorporated areas as a great place to locate, relocate, or expand business operations. Ideally situated to the third largest metro economic in the country, Lake County is positioned to capitalize on its location on the right side of Chicago and the south shore of Lake Michigan as well its bounty of transportation assets, convenient to one third of the US population within one day’s drive.
LCEA soft launched the Positioned for Prosperity theme in June and will be rolling out the effort more fully this fall in additional marketing and promotional materials, presentations and interactions with companies and site selectors to attract jobs and investment to Lake County.
LCEA, the countywide economic development organization supported by both the public and private sector, is a non-partisan independent organization tasked with assisting communities with economic development teams and filling the much-needed role in those without. As the one-stop shop for companies and site consultants, LCEA is helping with greater government efficiencies and in many cases cost savings for communities related to economic development efforts.
Similar to the double meaning of LCEA’s full name utilizing IN for Indiana and IN as Lake County as a collective consolidated approach to economic development, Positioned for Prosperity takes on several mantles outside of location.
“Position as it relates to geography is the simplest concept to relate. How we position our communities and county within the context of available sites and buildings, workforce, infrastructure, business environment, lower cost of business, quality of place and other decision factors that set Lake County apart from competitors in the global marketplace is more critical to attracting and retaining quality jobs and investment. It’s also about positioning LCEA for long term sustainability to continue the effort, taking advantage of our collective success stories and the momentum to move Lake County forward,” said Karen Lauerman, LCEA President and CEO.
The consolidated county effort is reaping what it sows. LCEA currently has 79 active projects in the pipeline, over half in the manufacturing sector. Distribution and logistics, which includes e-commerce facilities is a close second followed by the technology, office/medical and agri-business (food related) industry clusters.
“Lake County is attracting more interest than ever before because LCEA responds. We provide the information necessary for companies to make an educated, strategic decision to benefit their operation and bottom line. LCEA has been successful in facilitating large and small projects and identifying developable land space, helping to create more than 3,000 full-time jobs with over half a billion dollars of investment. With last week’s announcements, Lake County is further positioned to capitalize on the positive attention,” said Don Koliboski, Vice President of Economic Development for LCEA.
The organization itself is receiving recognition for its positive influence on the county and its communities. Legacy Foundation awarded LCEA a $15,000 grant for “Properties, Projects & Possibilities” a project designed to address challenges in the available property inventory through increasing the quantity and improving quality of the available site and building database and further populating the project management system for all the communities and county. This project leverages LCEA’s investment and current customized systems, taking the resource to the next level enhancing the possibilities for business attraction and relocation in the industrial, commercial and retail markets.
By working with property owners, developers, real estate professionals, communities and the county to identify sites and buildings, the anticipated result is a more robust feed into the state system, more comprehensive response packages, community profiles, improved data sets and tracking leading to Lake County specific analytics.
“We are pleased to be partnering with Legacy Foundation on this project,” said Lauerman. “Receiving a Legacy Foundation grant supports both organizational missions to work collaboratively in a unified effort improve opportunities for all of Lake County residents. We appreciate Legacy’s Board and executive leadership recognizing LCEA’s impact and our role in driving jobs and investment for the whole of our county.”
Working with firms across the globe, LCEA responds to more than 1,500 general inquires annually, attends numerous industry trade shows and site selector conferences, and most recently toured five international site selectors through Lake County showing properties for potential projects. When it comes to knowing their business as economic development professionals, Lauerman and Koliboski understand the important of building new and fostering long-term relationships.
“In 2015, Vita Nuova engaged with a major brownfield remediation and redevelopment project. With LCEA’s professional expertise, past experience on the site and with its previous consultants, local community knowledge, along with relationships with the elected and appointed officials and advisors, we successfully navigated the project on local and state levels. I can say that without LCEA’s guidance, this project would not have met the demanding timeframe to bring this project to where it is today,” stated Michael Taylor, President of Vita Nova. “As an international project and development consulting firm, Vita Nuova works with economic development organizations around the world. We have been fortunate that LCEA serves as a clearinghouse and one stop shop for economic development opportunities.”