EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Northwest Indiana Forum provides a united voice

2013-12-08T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Northwest Indiana Forum provides a united voiceBy Jill Ritchie nwitimes.com
December 08, 2013 12:00 am  • 

There’s been a lot of discussion about regionalism lately. As the current chair of the Northwest Indiana Forum Board of Directors, I am pleased that our efforts reflect regionalism at its best.

The Forum, a private nongovernmental non-profit organization, is the regional economic development organization and the voice of business leadership for seven Northwest Indiana counties. It is a needed voice because of Northwest Indiana’s unique qualities: the confluence of infrastructure (road, rail, air and port transportation), industry and agriculture, skilled workers with a strong work ethic, outstanding financial institutions, legal minds and universities, not to mention our access to Chicago.

The Forum focuses on economic development opportunities, public policy to enhance the business climate and business-related environmental affairs. These efforts move our region forward by attracting and retaining jobs and investment, fostering a positive business climate and addressing key environmental issues.

Fulfilling this regional role requires effort and partnerships with other organizations in Northwest Indiana. We frequently work with many organizations such as the Indiana Economic Development Corp., Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Regional Development Authority and the Center of Workforce Innovations, to name a few.

Daily, the Forum markets and promotes Northwest Indiana as the best place for business, and the Forum partners with communities and other regional/state organizations to deliver that message across the country and around the globe. Through these partnerships, we are able to advance our regional economy. We answer leads that turn into projects which ultimately result in jobs and investment.

Through our work on policy and environmental issues, we proactively address business challenges and communicate the implications of policy decisions to elected officials and administrators. Through networking and special programming, the Forum provides opportunities for regional business leadership to discuss important developments in the seven-county area.

There are many ways to engage, including participation in committees, membership activities, educational sessions, professional development and special events. 

My company, U.S. Steel Corp., has been a member of the Forum for more than 30 years. U.S. Steel values the opportunity the Forum provides to gather with business leadership and to work on policy issues and economic development initiatives.

In a way, membership is similar to purchasing insurance for your business — a way to protect your assets. The Forum is Northwest Indiana’s opportunity to connect across the region and well beyond our county or city borders.

If you are not a member, please consider joining the more than 125 members working together to create a better future for our region.

Contact our director of marketing, communications and membership at klauerman@nwiforum.org or visit www.nwiforum.org.

Jill Ritchie is chair of the Northwest Indiana Forum Board of Directors. The opinions are the writer's.

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