Don Babcock, who retired as NIPSCO’s economic development director, has joined Purdue University Northwest.
Babcock — who's been described as Northwest Indiana's biggest cheerleader — will serve as director of economic development and community relations at PNW. He is joining Chancellor Thomas Keon's staff in the part-time role to help further economic and community development in Northwest Indiana, with a focus on LaPorte and Porter counties.
“We are thrilled to bring Don’s extensive expertise and skill in economic development to PNW,” Keon said. “He has made incredible impacts on the Region throughout his career at NIPSCO and has been a wonderful collaborator and friend of the university for many years. He is also a PNW alumnus and deeply understands the crucial role the university plays in regional community and economic development.”
Babcock, who recently received the Sagamore of the Wabash, Indiana's highest honor, worked for 43 years to bring new businesses, jobs and investment to Northwest Indiana with the aim of growing NIPSCO's customer base. He retired from the Merrillville-based utility last year amid a round of buyouts.
"It is an honor and a privilege to come to work for Chancellor Keon at my alma mater, Purdue Northwest," Babcock stated. "His leadership has made a positive impact on Northwest Indiana, and I am proud to join his team."
Purdue Northwest's new strategic plan stresses that the university aims to encourage growth and improve the quality of life in the Calumet Region. Babcock will help the public university, which has campuses in Hammond and Westville, develop programs and initiatives to boost the Northwest Indiana economy.
“Don has been a great friend and partner for years while at NIPSCO. He is a legend in economic development, and we are extremely fortunate to bring him to PNW as we continue to expand our economic and community development efforts,” said Matt Wells, director of external engagement and partnerships at PNW.