News and Tribune

December 8, 2013

Officials, business leaders meet to discuss Vision 2025 plan

By MATT KOESTERS
matt.koesters@newsandtribune.com

JEFFERSONVILLE — The Indiana Chamber Foundation believes its Indiana Vision 2025 plan will make the Hoosier state a global leader. But constant discussion is the key to staying on target.

The Indiana Vision 2025 plan is about positioning the state as a global leader in innovation and economic opportunity. Officials and business leaders met recently at Ivy Tech Community College in Sellersburg to keep the discussion going on how to do that.

The forum was the first of six meetings scheduled to take place in each of Indiana’s six districts, said Indiana Chamber Vice president Tom Schuman.

Not surprisingly, transportation and infrastructure were at the top of the list of items to be addressed. Participants were surveyed on what they thought the region’s biggest challenges and opportunities are, and infrastructure topped both lists.

“It goes to highway infrastructure, everything that’s needed to not only serve the residents, but move the products, move the goods that allow businesses to succeed,” Schuman said. “So people see it as a challenge from the fact that we have to continue to invest, but they see it as a great opportunity.”

The forum was an opportunity for members of the business community and other interested parties to discuss Indiana’s future, said Wendy Dant Chesser, president and CEO of One Southern Indiana.

“It’s very important that we as a community sit down once in a while and look 15 years out to try to figure out where we’re going,” Dant Chesser said. “We all get so wrapped up in the day-to-day that when we can sit down and start thinking about the future that we want to create for ourselves, this is a great opportunity and a good use of time to do that.

“It was energizing, empowering, a little scary at times because the view isn’t always so good when you look out. But when you’re sitting with a bunch of business and community leaders and trying to decide best how Southern Indiana fits into the state of Indiana’s vision — it was a great day.”

The Indiana Vision 2025 plan is comprised of several key goals that fall under four different key drivers: outstanding talent, attractive business climate, superior infrastructure and dynamic, creative culture. Some of those goals, like eliminating the state inheritance tax and adopting a right-to-work statute, have already been achieved. Most of the goals haven’t been addressed yet.

“We know that the world is competitive for jobs,” Dant Chesser said. “It’s uncompromisingly competitive and it’s only going to get more so, and the more we do now to position our community to be the type of place that those new companies would want to locate or those new workers would want to live, the better off we’re going to be.”