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Annual luncheon for One Region

One Region President and CEO Leah Konrady updates attendees of the 2017 One Region luncheon on the group's activities. This year's luncheon is scheduled for Oct. 3.

This year's One Region luncheon will highlight lessons Northwest Indiana can learn from Pittsburgh's transformation. The event, to take place Oct. 3 at Avalon Manor, will also highlight One Region's activities during the past year, including creation of the Northwest Indiana Opportunities Council.

Keynote speaker Thomas Murphy Jr., a former mayor of Pittsburgh, will speak about the public-private partnerships the city initiated for economic development, and its efforts to transform abandoned industrial properties, One Region President and CEO Leah Konrady said.

"They are a good model of how public-partnerships and collaboration can work," Konrady said.

Murphy was mayor from 1994 to 2006, and is now a senior fellow at the Urban Land Institute. According to ULI's biography of him, Murphy "initiated a public-private partnership strategy that leveraged more than $4.5 billion in economic development in the city."

That included $1 billion in funding for the development of two professional sports facilities and a new convention center. Other partnerships helped "transform more than 1,000 acres of blighted, abandoned industrial properties into new commercial, residential, retail, and public uses, and he oversaw the development of more than 25 miles of new riverfront trails and parks," according to the ULI biography.

Konrady noted that the steel industry creates a natural connection between the Region and Pittsburgh, where a decades-long population slump has been stemmed, and, in the case of the Millennial generation, reversed.

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"It's interesting to see how the city has a history and heritage of innovation, and to see how the city continues to be innovative and resilient over time," Konrady said.

A group of public officials and business people will take a One Region-organized trip to the city in October to gain insight into its recovery.

"They had to take significant risks to become a successful city," Konrady said of Pittsburgh. And "Tom Murphy is someone everyone continues to mention."

At the annual luncheon, Konrady will also review One Region's efforts over the past year to promote investment to improve "quality of place" in Northwest Indiana. The organization's efforts have included formation of the Northwest Indiana Regional Opportunities Council, a group of CEO-level executives that recently began meeting with the intention of fostering investment.

The One Region annual luncheon is scheduled for11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Oct. 3 at Avalon Manor, 3550 E. Lincoln Hwy., Merrillville. To register, visit www.oneregionnwi.com and click on the "Events" tab to fine the luncheon page.

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Assistant Deputy Editor

Andrew covers transportation, real estate, casinos and other topics for The Times business section. A Crown Point native, he joined The Times in 2014, and has more than 15 years experience as a reporter and editor at Region newspapers.