October 17, 2012

OUR VIEW: Building bridges to brighter future

— Collaboration. Regionalism. Planning. Communication. Building bridges.

Those are the words people mention when talking about Connie Neininger, the new president of the Logansport-Cass County Economic Development Foundation.

Neininger, who is scheduled to start her new job Nov. 19, seems ideally suited to take over the post left vacant eight months ago when Nolan “Skip” Kuker resigned to take a similar post in Hancock County.

Neininger, the current economic development director for White County, understands the local geography.

She was the co-chair and one of the founders of the Midwest Indiana Economic Development group. She understands that when it comes to bringing jobs to Cass County, it’s not just about Logansport and Cass County. It’s about the whole region. What’s good for Kokomo or Lafayette, Rochester or Monticello, Winamac or Delphi might also be good for Logansport and Cass County.

During her time in White County, Neininger has been credited with “optimizing communication amongst White County officials, assisting local companies with expansion efforts and the development of over $1.2 billion of economic development projects,” according to a news release announcing her appointment.

She has taken two trips to China, the most recent of which came in June when she was part of a delegation that also included Logansport City Attorney Randy Head and his wife, Lisa Swaim. She also serves on the Wabash Valley advisory panel for Northern Indiana Public Service Company, or NIPSCO, with local leaders such as Joyce Mayhill, executive director of United Way of Cass County, and Mike Meagher, executive director of the Area Five Agency on Aging and Community Services.

She helped to develop a 500-megawatt wind farm project called Meadow Lake Wind Farm along with an anaerobic digester project in Reynolds to turn animal waste into electricity. And she had a role in a project that helped the Liberty Landfill near Buffalo to capture methane to produce electricity.

Her goal in Cass County, she said, is to foster collaboration.

This county has a lot going for it in terms of economic development. It has an award-winning downtown development program in the form of Logan’s Landing. It has an active chamber of commerce. It has a growing campus of Ivy Tech Community College.

And the list goes on.

Neininger’s task will be to bring all of those resources together toward the formation of a single economic development strategy. We look forward to seeing the results.