IEDC Selects International Executive, Veteran For Economic Development Post

Posted by Heidi Schwartz

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson, a military officer and former Swiss company executive, will serve as the vice president of business development at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC).

Anderson joined the agency in January 2012 as the director of international business development, spearheading the state’s efforts to attract and retain companies from around the world. Under his leadership, the IEDC secured deals with more than 110 international companies, which are expected to bring more than 8,700 new jobs and more than $3.25 billion in investment to Indiana over the next several years. In addition, Anderson oversaw the restructuring and streamlining of the IEDC’s international footprint.

“Today, Indiana is enjoying renewed interest from businesses around the world. Kent Anderson’s leadership of our international business development efforts has been a catalyst in sparking that interest,” said Victor Smith, Indiana Secretary of Commerce. “Our team is now positioned within the fastest growing markets around the world, selling Indiana as a state that works. With his on-the-ground experience running global companies, military service to our country and commitment to chase every Hoosier job opportunity, I’m excited for the future of the IEDC and for Indiana with Kent at the helm of our job hunting initiatives.”

Anderson replaces Charlie Sparks who served with the agency since its creation in February 2005 in roles ranging from director of the north central region to vice president of business development.

“Charlie Sparks scouted businesses from day one of the IEDC and was wholeheartedly committed to the mission of helping companies grow in Indiana, acting as a true catalyst for more Hoosier opportunity and more jobs,” said Eric Doden, president of the IEDC. “He is certainly a great personality to work with and a caring person, always motivated for the right reasons. We thank Charlie for his service to Indiana and wish him well as he pursues new endeavors.”

Anderson, whose new duties are effective immediately, has an extensive career in business development and military service. Anderson served tours with the Indiana National Guard in Iraq and the U.S. Navy during the Gulf War. In addition, he planned and implemented logistics processes for German luxury carmaker AUDI AG at its Ingolstadt, Germany headquarters and served with Switzerland-based George Utz, Inc. as its first general manager of North American operations. Most recently, Anderson lead the Columbus Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

“This new opportunity is an honor. Indiana is at the tip of an exciting opportunity, with a growing economy and competitive advantages companies can’t find in other states,” said Anderson. “It’s our charge to tell the world why Indiana is a state that works—why our affordable cost of doing business, favorable regulatory environment, central location and best-in-the-nation workforce are just what companies need to reach their next level. I accept this position with gratitude to those who have helped me along the way and a passion for what’s next in Indiana’s future.”

Anderson’s new appointment comes on the heels of a record-breaking economic development year for Indiana. In 2013, the IEDC secured job commitments from 261 companies that project to create more than 21,000 new jobs and invest more than $2.6 billion in their Indiana operations.

“Our current model for economic development is one of the best in the country, and Indiana has a renowned reputation for creating and refining an environment that works for business,” said Doden. “We plan to pass that legacy onto our successors even better than we found it and are confident that the best improvements to Indiana’s economic landscape are yet to come.”