LaPorte chamber, GLEDC form alliance to share talent and ideas

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In an effort to build a high-functioning, multi-faceted economic development and business support center, the Greater LaPorte Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Greater LaPorte Economic Development Corporation (GLEDC) Board of Directors agreed recently to combine expertise under one umbrella and form a new alliance.

The new alliance will continue to operate chamber of commerce and economic development functions independently with oversight from the two boards of directors, but will share staff, workspace, and overall vision so the organizations can be more closely aligned as they represent the business interests of the greater LaPorte community.

“Over the last several years, we have listened closely to our business community, local government and citizens. Time and again we have heard the desire to have our services and professionals located in one convenient place, under one roof,” said Matthew Hagenow, GLEDC board chair. “By aligning the two organizations, we will be able to develop programs and services under a unified vision, which we believe will accelerate LaPorte’s widespread competitive advantage in attracting and retaining business.”

Jackie Dermody, board chair for the Chamber of Commerce, said: “The LaPorte community is on the verge of exciting developments. Our new alliance will help to ensure that these two organizations continue to be leaders in this area.”

Bert Cook, newly named director of the alliance, said the next step is to hold a series of strategic visioning workshops to determine their shared vision, new name and brand identity.

The alliance likely will create capacity for additional staff in key areas to boost programs such as the chamber’s Workforce Development Task Force and GLEDC’s prospect development initiatives.

“Essentially, we want to invigorate and improve what is working well and shed what isn’t. The best way to do that is to rebuild our organizations in conjunction with each other,” Cook said. “It is a tremendous opportunity. Our boards have entrusted us with the challenge of building an innovative center for economic prosperity. We are up for it, and cannot wait to get started.”

The “better together” concept regarding economic development and chamber organizations has gained popularity in recent years and dozens of such hybrid organizations have emerged across the nation.

More information will be announced in the coming weeks, including a major staffing announcement at the upcoming State of the City Address on March 8, 2019.

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