Deciding where to move a business is a complicated process with tons of legal, demographical, financial, and bureaucratic factors to consider. To make the process simpler, corporations turn to some of the rarest and most highly valued individuals in business – Site Selectors. These professionals convened at Blue Chip Casino this week for the SiteLink Forum, hosted by Economic Development Corporation Michigan City (EDCMC).
Region residents are familiar with the area’s diverse economy, featuring a variety of manufacturing, shipping, agricultural, and retail opportunities right on the shore of Lake Michigan and next to the Midwestern hub of Chicago. EDCMC Executive Director Clarence Hulse connected with Paige Webster, Owner of Webster Global Site Selectors and veteran conference organizer, to brink his SiteLink Forum series to Michigan City to help business developers best learn how to court corporations looking for new homes.
“We’re very excited because this will be a turning point in how the rest of the country sees us, meaning both Michigan City and Northwest Indiana,” Hulse said. “We just want people to know that Northwest Indiana’s business ecosystems are a real asset to companies around the country.”
Veteran Site Selection Consultants organized presentations about a variety of topics, ranging everywhere from how to work with foreign businesses to the details behind the exodus of companies in California to the Midwest. The average Michigan City resident might never interact with a Site Selector, or even hear about their work – but the benefits they bring to a community impact everyone in it.
“Site Selectors bring opportunities to create jobs and diversify the economy,” Webster said. “Bringing seven Site Selectors that have never been to this community opens their eyes to opportunities they may have for their portfolio of clients that might fit in here.”
What separates each SiteLink event from other conferences is that Webster rarely registers more than 70 participants, ensuring that each attendee gets ample time to network personally with the Site Selectors. On Thursday, the attendees explored Michigan City with the Selectors, enjoying spa treatments, fishing on Lake Michigan, and touring the Region’s iconic Dunes. Matt Ruszczak, Executive Director for the Rio South Texas Economic Council, travelled far for the event; Northwest Indiana quickly impressed him with its unified community.
“I’ve had a wonderful experience so far, and what really impressed me was the regional collaboration,” Ruszczak said. “I’m from a similar area in Texas where the largest community is a 100,000 or so, and I loved to see these communities coming together with key industry players and figuring out a regional strategy. It’s very impressive.”
Organizations across Northwest Indiana supported the event, including the EDCMC, Porter County, the Lake County Indiana Economic Alliance, the La Porte County Office of Economic Development, and Holladay Properties. Learn more about Economic Development Corporation Michigan City and how they work to improve the Region’s economy at www.edcmc.com.