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60 Seconds with E. Mitchell Roob, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of Indiana Economic Development Corp.

60 Seconds with E. Mitchell Roob, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of Indiana Economic Development Corp.

Many states are considering replacing state economic development agencies with public-private partnerships. We asked IEDC’s chief executive to tell us how these partnerships work. BF: Is a public-private partnership a more effective vehicle for job creation than a state economic development agency or a Department of Commerce? MR: It certainly has worked for us in Indiana. If you look at the results, IEDC has been three- or four-fold more productive as a public-private partnership. Indiana is now leading the nation in per capita private-sector job growth. We are very responsive—we move at the speed of business. If you ask us for a site search and an offer on your project, we can get that accomplished in a week and often within three days. We are a transactional agency. BF: How does IEDC interact with the governor and other top state officials to execute Indiana’s overall economic development strategy? MR: What separates us from our predecessors is not only the structure of the public-private partnership, but the focus that Gov. Daniels has brought to economic development. The governor chairs the IEDC board of directors and he has made it clear to every member of his cabinet that job growth is the top priority in the state of Indiana. So across state government, everyone is working to expedite economic development needs, including permitting and building roads. We have a great espirit de corps across the state government. When we prepare to bring a project to Indiana, we can bring together any parts of the state government that are needed to close the deal, get them in the same room, and get a positive answer that will create new jobs in Indiana. BF: How does a public-private partnership like IEDC maintain the transparency of its development efforts? MR: We are audited routinely, these audits are made public, and all of our transactions and expenditures are public, even more so than our predecessor agency. BF: State economic development agencies and some public-private partnerships have been challenged recently about their claims of job growth. What is the best way to verify that projects actually are generating the jobs they have promised? MR: We are precluded by statute from indicating an exact number of jobs because these jobs are attached to taxpayer ID numbers, and that information cannot be released. Also, many companies prefer not to release precise job numbers or undertake the cost of capturing and providing that information. We make certain that our tax incentives are post-performance, meaning the jobs have been created first […]







Virginia Corporate Moves

Alternative Energy Park Planned in Norfolk The former Ford Norfolk Assembly Plant location will become one of the country’s next alternative energy plants, according to the Jacoby Group in Atlanta. The plant has a total land area of 109 acres of industrially-zoned waterfront and rail-served land with approximately 2.6 million square feet of manufacturing facilities and convenient access to I-464 and I-64. The plant has 1,500 feet fronting the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River and a 450-foot concrete pier has been constructed to the barge-depth channel. Norfolk is also moving forward in the development of offshore wind energy. The Virginia city is a member of VOW, Virginia’s Offshore Wind Coalition. Our shipbuilders, fabricators, distributors and integrated electronic system providers are representative of the supply chain resources that will be needed to make offshore wind energy a reality. Proponents of commercial wind power 12 miles or beyond Virginia’s coast believe the giant turbines could ultimately provide 10 percent of the state’s annual electricity demand and operate without incident in the military’s busy seas. The Department of Defense is studying 25 tracts identified for optimum winds. A recent report identifies 18 tracts as compatible with military needs and rules as long as certain guidelines are met. They were not detailed in the report. Scientists, engineers and geographers at Virginia Tech—ARI, Old Dominion University, Science Applications International Corp., Paliria Energy, Norfolk State University and James Madison University—are researching offshore wind power, mapping offshore areas and economic development impact. Download several presentations from the vcerc.org site. Norfolk Southern: Riding the Rails to Growth Norfolk Southern Corp. participated in the location of 70 new industries and the expansion of 23 existing industries along its rail lines in 2009, according to figures released by the company. Norfolk Southern assisted state and local government and economic development officials throughout 19 states in helping customers identify ideal locations for new and expanded facilities. New plants and expansions represented an investment of more than $3.1 billion by Norfolk Southern customers and are expected to create 3,000 jobs in the railroad’s territory, eventually generating more than 138,500 carloads of new rail traffic annually. The energy sector anchored our results during 2009,” said Newell Baker, assistant vice president industrial development. “Our group assisted in the location or expansion of 24 energy related facilities in 12 states across our service area. Ethanol production and distribution accounted for the lion’s share of energy projects, with 11 new and expanded facilities that began to receive NS rail service in 2009.” The balance of […]