Every other year, The Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City and the Greater La Porte Economic Development Corporation put on a unique event for the La Porte County community- The Made in La Porte County manufacturers showcase. The Showcase, which caters to over 40 La Porte County businesses and organizations, held a meet-and-greet Business After Hours dinner on Wednesday at the Foster Printing Facility in Michigan City to introduce the various organizations to each other before the actual showcase on Thursday.
Clarence Hulse, the Executive Director of the Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City, or EDCMC, was ecstatic to be hosting the event, which was catered by Michigan City restaurant Patrick’s Grille.
“This is a showcase to exhibit what is actually made in La Porte County,” said Hulse, “A lot of people drive by and see these large industrial buildings, and have no clue that we have some world class businesses that ship worldwide, out of La Porte County.”
The event, which is in its tenth year, will serve the businesses that participate by showing the public and students that there are high-profile manufacturing jobs right in their back yards. It also adds a unique feeling that La Porte County is a place where growth is alive and well.
“This is another added tool for companies to attract future employees here is La Porte County,” said Hulse. “It’s a way to showcase that we have some world-class companies here.”
The companies themselves were also excited to participate. Frank Cardello, Vice President of Operations at Packaging Logic, a self-described “ideas and solutions” company that designs and manufactures packaging and storage solutions, among other services, was there representing his La Porte-based company and broke down the reasons why this event was important for them.
“The biggest factor is exposure. No one knows what Packaging Logic does unless we get out into the public.”
Packaging Logic recruits workers from events just like this one.
“I need workers to be able to sell our products,” Cardello said, “the workers come from having events like this.”
The Event also gives businesses an opportunity to network and get to know each other.
“Of course networking is important,” said Cardello, “If there’s someone that’s new to town and they say ‘hey, we’re new, can you help us with our packaging needs,’ that’s always a part of networking.”
Businesses aren’t alone in reaping the benefits from this event; La Porte County students are, too.
Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins, Superintendent for the Michigan City Area Schools system, was at the event to meet with the people behind the organizations her students will be meeting with during the Showcase.
“This event is an opportunity for me as the Superintendent of Michigan City Area Schools to engage with local businesses in an informal dialogue with regards to their workforce needs,” said Eason-Watkins, “In regards to their futures, and the ways in which we can respond to ensure that La Porte County has the workforce they need for the future.”
In regards to her students, Eason-Watkins was optimistic about the students’ opportunities to meet future employers.
“We’re bringing a number of students here from the high school, from the [AK Smith] Career Center, from our Middle Schools,” said Eason-Watkins, “We want them to be aware that there are so many career opportunities right here in La Porte County. We want them to get their degrees, their industry certifications, just to be prepared to go into a career knowing that there’s an opportunity to have a quality life right here in La Porte County.”
Other community organizations were present to showcase the services they provide to the public. La Porte County Public Library was present, preparing their event booth to showcase the many new programs and services they will be providing to the community.
Kiley Snyder, the Youth Services Librarian at La Porte County Public Library, was excited to show off their Spark Labs Open Lab program, where community members can come and learn how to do interesting and fun arts and science projects, as well as learn and become proficient in 3D Printing.
“This gives us an opportunity to showcase the different technologies, equipment, classes, and events we have here at the library,” Snyder said, “for example, we’ve been doing a lot with 3D printing and soldering, meshing the two together to teach kids as well as adults basic skills with those materials.”
The meet-and-greet dinner allowed businesses to truly invest and take pride in what each other does for the community, network, and prepare for the next day’s hard work of showcasing their businesses. The Showcase itself will run 8:00 AM- 2:00 PM Thursday, September 14th, 2017.