Michigan City economic leader to lead regional efforts

2013-05-30T13:46:00Z 2013-05-30T20:36:14Z Michigan City economic leader to lead regional effortsStan Maddux Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
May 30, 2013 1:46 pm  • 

Kevin Kieft hopes to spread his success with job creation in Michigan City to throughout Northwest Indiana.

Kieft has resigned as executive director with the Economic Development Corp. Michigan City to accept a regional position with the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

He will become the regional director for the IEDC in its northwest region, which consists of Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton, Jasper, Starke and Pulaski counties.

He had been the EDC executive director since March 2012, when he replaced John Regetz, who took a similar position in Idaho.

Kieft began as business development manager with the EDC in 2006. He cited a desire for change when offered a chance to work for the IEDC.

Kieft said it's too early to discuss his goals for job creation in Northwest Indiana, preferring to wait for his superior to discuss their expectations and plans.

Chuck Compton, chairman for the EDC, said Kieft made a mark during his short tenure as head of the EDC, such as being instrumental in attracting a Kohl's to Dunes Plaza and working closely on meeting the needs of local manufacturers.

Kieft also was a major player in facilitating the ongoing revision to the city's strategic plan for future job creation, Compton said.

That plan will determine if manufacturing should remain the top priority or if more of a focus should be placed in areas like warehousing and tourism.

''While we'll miss him, we wish him well,'' said Compton.

Kieft will be headquartered out of the IEDC office in Crown Point.

''We'll be seeing plenty of Kevin in his new role,'' said Compton, who is chief administrative officer for Chicago South Shore & South Bend Freight Railroad.

Eric Doden, president of the IEDC, also credited Kieft for his role in helping large corporations locate and expand in Michigan City, including Sullair, Sullivan-Palatek, Vanair Manufacturing, Hearthside Food Solutions, KTR Corp. and Fas-Pak.

Kieft said he will officially begin with the IEDC on June 10.

He replaces Jim Staton, who is taking a position with the IEDC at its office in Indianapolis. Staton is the former president and chief operating officer of the Jasper County Industrial Foundation.

Doden said the changes come on the heels of the most successful economic development year in IEDC history.

In 2012, he said the IEDC secured job commitments from 256 companies that projected to create more than 27,600 new jobs and invest more than $6.41 billion in their Indiana operations.

Already this year, 102 companies have made plans to create more than 8,500 projected new jobs and invest more than $1.1 billion to locate or expand their business in the Hoosier State, Doden said.

Gov. Mitch Daniels created the IEDC in February 2005 to replace the former Department of Commerce

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