Greg Hildebrand, newly appointed Executive Director of the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation presented the 2022 Annual Report to the County Commissioners and County Council this month. 

The mission of the MCEDC is to expand and diversify the economy of the county and its communities by fostering investment in new and existing facilities and creating entrepreneurial capacity.  The three areas they work in are attracting news business, expanding the businesses we have, and entrepreneurial.   

Hildebrand said the 2022 statistics show 1072 county building permits issued with more than 15 commercial buildings which didn’t include Plymouth’s numbers.  He said these numbers are important indicators.  Hildebrand also said a key number is the $40 million in capital last year which produced over 300 local jobs in the county and this year he expects the investment number to be “blown away” saying so far in this first quarter the has been over $22 million in capital investment with 42 new jobs and 347 jobs retained.

Hildebrand said the manufacturing READINESS grants show regional numbers with $5.3 million being awarded to the region in 2022.  He also commented on the 8% rise in the average weekly wages which equates to a $67 increase in weekly wages.

The MCEDC Executive Director discussed the Crossroads Quality of Life initiative which has gained importance in the last 10 years.  Hildebrand said, “There was a time when economic development was known as chasing smokestacks.  You would build it and they would come.  We all remember the days when you would hang a help wanted sign out and there would be a line around the block to fill the jobs.  Those days have come and gone.  People now make decisions on where they are going to live and then what they are going to do for a living secondary.  That’s why these qualities of life initiatives are so important.”

Hildebrand also discussed requests the Indiana Economic Development Corporation is receiving from companies seeking to locate in Indiana.  The existing building size over the last 4 years has changed from 25,000 square feet being the sweet spot up to 100,000 square feet. Acreage wants have also increased from 20 acres as the sweet spot before and now it’s 100 acres plus is the most frequent request across the state.  In Marshall County, there are currently only 6 industrial sites at 20 acres or more with 2 having 70 acres or more and 1 being at 100 acres. 

Hildebrand is working with the state on a Strategic Site Inventory Program for the county.  They will look at the county and possibly locate sites we didn’t realize.  The program says there are 21 sites in Marshall County.

To attract new businesses, you need sites, incentives, and a workforce.  Work Force Development in the first quarter of this year had 1,827 unique postings for jobs in Marshall County.  Hildebrand said there are plenty of jobs out there.      

The diverse Board of Directors for the MCEDC includes: Jon VanDerWeele from the Town of Argos, Tim Harman from the Town of Bourbon, Greg Miller from the Town of Bremen, Don Fox from the Town of Culver, Chelsea Smith from the Town of LaPaz, John DeSalle from the City of Plymouth, Loretta Schmidt from the Marshall County Commissioners, Laura Vervynckt from the Marshall County Council, Bill Davis and Mark Umbaugh fill the two MCEDC at Large seats.