A new era in economic development in Michigan City officially got underway Wednesday night as Clarence Hulse was introduced as the new executive director of the Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City, Indiana during a welcome reception at the Blue Chip Casino.
Hulse, who is the former director of economic development in Jeffersonville, Indiana and more recently worked in the city of New Bern, North Carolina to develop an economic strategic plan there, says he believes in a lot of what has already been done economically in Michigan City and is "excited about building on that."
"I am excited to work in the community and help create jobs and build wealth," he told a crowd of about 40 gathered to celebrate the acquisition of a leader known for his passion and talent in implementing a community's vision.
He referred to the Michigan City Area Schools "City's on the Rise" campaign as a slogan for the city as a whole, and that MCAS Superintendent Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins still has the school system on a great path despite the recent defeat of a referendum that would have helped the school system financially.
"It is better to be prepared for change and embrace change," he said.
The EDCMC's addition of Hulse received high praise from Mayor Ron Meer, who spoke highly of the new director's track record in following through on plans.
"His resume and accomplishments speak for itself," Meer said. "He is known for his accomplishments and commitment in completing his vision."
In Jeffersonville, Hulse was a driving force in creating 3,400 new jobs and $300 million in capital investment. He won recognition by the Indiana Planning Association by winning the 2011 Outstanding Community Initiative Award by creating an institute to improve the city's neighborhoods.
"This is a man that gets things done," Meer added. "We've had a lot of vision in this community and it's time for action."
Hulse was introduced by Chuck Compton, chairman of the EDCMC board. He said receiving Hulse's resume a few months back was like "a dream come true."
"I just thought, 'we finally got our guy,'" Compton said. "It was an easy decision once we looked at it."
Dean Uminski, who served as the interim executive director of the EDCMC for a few months following the resignation of former director Kevin Kieft, said that it was "a pleasure to work with the people on the board," and that over the last few months he has found that while Michigan City's proximity to Chicago and being a waterfront town are what attracts a number of people, the city's greatest asset is its people.
Uminski provided a positive outlook for the future of economic development locally, noting that the expansion of Calumet Pallet and D Martin Enterprises will lead to 75 new jobs in Michigan City.
"There has also been a lot of interest in manufacturing in Michigan City," he added.