WILLIAM NANGLE: Building NWI begins with building consensus

2013-10-13T00:00:00Z WILLIAM NANGLE: Building NWI begins with building consensusBy William Nangle nwitimes.com
October 13, 2013 12:00 am  • 

It was like multiple ingredients blending in a mixing bowl.

I sat between Purdue University Calumet Chancellor Tom Keon and Porter County Sheriff Dave Lain.

You can imagine how we three represent varied views of what’s best for Northwest Indiana.

Well, on Oct. 3 about 100 community leaders from Porter, Lake and LaPorte counties met in Chesterton to shape an issues agenda for the region.

Led by Calumet College President Dan Lowery, the group spent a day listing the many issues of concern and opportunity facing us.

Mayors, legislators, hospital CEOs, environmentalists, social activists and many others took an active part.

Their passion came through as they advocated for the issue they believe most important.

Preschool education, preventive health care, lakeshore development, added commuter rail lines, Gary airport expansion and on and on. It was a long, long list.

But Lowery, an experienced hand at helping shape consensus, slowly but masterfully led the group to a conclusion of the top 10 issues for Northwest Indiana.

Making use of keypad polling provided a quick tally of votes and shaping of an agenda.

While I am sure not everyone left the session in agreement, those I have spoken with since believe it was among the best consensus-building exercises in recent years.

What came from the mixing bowl was an understanding we must all pull together in a unified manner to address issues we face. And arriving at a consensus of which issues are a priority allows us to more effectively address the issues or seize the opportunities.

In today’s Forum section, Marc Chase outlines the results of the One Region exercise. Take a look. Do you agree? Do you believe something is missing or not ranked properly?

Share your views with me, and I will pass along some of them in a future column.

What is important to me is everyone interested having an opportunity to add their ingredient to the mixing bowl.

William Nangle is executive editor of The Times. He can be reached at The Times, 601 45th St., Munster, IN 46321 or at bill.nangle@nwi.com.

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