In early 2012, the Indiana Chamber officially unveiled its new long-range economic development plan called Indiana Vision 2025. The goal of the plan is an important one: to make our state an even better place to live, work and raise a family.
The plan's mission: "Indiana will be a global leader in innovation and economic opportunity where enterprises and citizens prosper."
Nationally, we spend a lot of time and attention talking about economic recovery, but in Indiana it's not just talk, we are developing a clear plan with measurable results that will help drive that recovery.
Earlier this month, I had an opportunity to join more than 300 business and community leaders in Indianapolis from every corner of the state for a statewide summit to talk more about that plan. An impressive list of presenters and attendees, including former Gov. Joe Kernan, current Gov. Mitch Daniels and soon-to-be Gov.-elect Mike Pence participated in the daylong summit.
A little background on the plan. It was developed by a 24-person task force of business and association leaders from throughout the state in a 15-month series of meetings. In June 2012, five regional forums gathered input from nearly 180 statewide leaders.
From that task force and the series of regional forums from across the state, four key economic drivers were identified. Those include outstanding talent, attractive business climate, superior infrastructure and a dynamic and creative culture.
Within each of those key drivers, a series of goals have been developed to measure progress. Those goals cover a variety of areas, everything from legislative priorities to school performance expectations.
Some 33 goals are included to help deliver on those economic drivers.
Measurable goals can be uncomfortable. Critics will questions how we can ever get there. Opponents may claim there are too many factors outside of our control that influence these matters, making reaching those goals complicated. My hope is we can spend our time figuring out how to reach those goals instead of whether they are the right goals or not.
I think Charles de Gaulle said it best: "The leader must aim high, see big, judge widely, thus setting himself apart from the ordinary people who debate in narrow confines." In this case, I believe Indiana is aiming high and has an opportunity to set our state apart from those other states that are mired in debt, slowed by political disagreements, and stuck in the past, without a clear plan for their future.
We've all decided to live in Indiana for some reason or another. And most of us have found it to be a good place to live, work and raise a family. But if we don't plan for adapting our state for the changing world, if we don't have a strategy for building upon our current advantages, if we don't have an approach that honestly assesses our current situation and builds upon it, we'll lag behind.
I encourage you to take a little time to review the overall plan. I think you will find it informative, and that it lays out some clear steps that could position Indiana for continued long-term success. The plan is available at
Jeff Rea is president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of St. Joseph County.