Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, Regional Chamber Partner with Conexus Indiana to Launch Regional Logistics Council

Andy Brooks, president of Brooks Construction, named chairman

(Fort Wayne, Ind. – Aug. 22, 2013) The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana and Conexus Indiana, the state’s advanced manufacturing and logistics initiative, today announced the formation of the Northeast Regional Logistics Council (NERLC), an industry-led initiative to identify and advance local projects and policies to strengthen the region’s logistics sector.

NERLC comprises more than 30 advanced manufacturing and logistics industry representatives from Northeast Indiana. Andy Brooks, president of Brooks Construction Company, board member of the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana, Vision 2020 Infrastructure Task Force chairman and a Conexus Indiana Logistics Council Infrastructure Task Force chair, will serve as chairman of the regional logistics council.

The council will address priority projects and public policy issues that impact a 13-county region that includes Adams, Allen, Blackford, DeKalb, Grant, Huntington, Jay, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties. NERLC will develop a strategic plan to strengthen the movement of manufactured products through the region, the state and the world. In addition to serving as a guide for local projects, the plan will be integrated into the statewide logistics plan spearheaded by the Conexus Indiana Logistics Council (CILC).

Northeast Indiana serves as a strategic logistics hub for businesses distributing products to the Great Lakes/Midwest region, and is one of the lowest cost regions in the United States for serving national markets, ranking 8th in the country.

The logistics industry in Northeast Indiana employs upwards of 20,000 people. In addition, Northeast Indiana has a significant number of transportation assets including two Class 1 freight railroads, six general aviation airports and the Fort Wayne International Airport, as well as six major highways that cross Northeast Indiana.

“Northeast Indiana has major logistics infrastructure assets and our goal is to protect and grow those assets in order to continue to grow our logistics industry and our position as the ‘Crossroads of America,’” said David Holt, vice president of operations and business development for Conexus Indiana. “For the last three years, the Conexus Indiana Logistics Council has studied the key issues facing the industry and has recommended improvements including  investing in our highways, optimizing our airport network, maintaining our locks and dams, all while reducing the tax and regulatory barriers to logistics companies.”

Several projects have been identified at the state level by the Conexus Indiana Logistics Council, including:

  • The Hoosier Heartland Highway,  which involves replacing State Road 25, a two-lane rural highway constructed in the 1930s, with a new four-lane, limited-access highway that will connect Lafayette to Fort Wayne, where it will link to the US 24 Fort to Port highway;
  • A limited access highway along US 30 from Valparaiso to Fort Wayne to improve connectivity between I-69 and I-65;
  • Completion of I-69 to Evansville; and
  • Ensuring freeway-like access for Marion, Indiana.

“The Northeast Indiana region is in an enviable position when it comes to logistics, being home to national and international distribution companies that realize the benefits of our region’s assets,” said Andy Brooks. “As a business owner in this region, I know how important it is to leverage our existing position and continue to plan for future growth.”

“Interstate accessibility has been identified as one of the seven priorities of our Vision 2020 initiative. Improving our infrastructure and supporting the logistics industry cluster is vital to the growth of our economy and business investment in the region,” said John Sampson, president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. “Our partnership with the Regional Chamber and Conexus on this issue underscores the importance of the Logistics Council.”

Conexus Indiana Logistics Council, working with the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana, the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and their local partners, convened an exploratory meeting to form NERLC on June 11, 2013, and held their first official meeting on Aug. 22, 2013. Firms represented at both meetings include Accelerated International, Brothers Express, Buchanan Hauling & Rigging, CBRE/Sturges, CJ International, CWC Logistics, Do It Best Corporation, Edge Manufacturing, Ft. Wayne Allen County Airport Authority,  Heidtman Steel, JAT of Ft. Wayne, Kruse Worldwide Courier, Logistics Insight, MartinRiley, Meyer Trucking, NIPSCO, Parrish Dedicated Services, Performance Food Group, The Klink Group, TransWorks and Vera Bradley.

Additional meetings and forums will be held throughout 2013 and early 2014, resulting in the development of a logistics strategic plan.

About Conexus Indiana:

Conexus Indiana is the state’s advanced manufacturing and logistics initiative, dedicated to making Indiana a global leader. Conexus is focused on strategic priorities like workforce development, creating new industry partnerships and promoting Indiana’s advantages in manufacturing and logistics.  Learn more at www.ConexusIndiana.com.

About the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana:

The mission of the Regional Chamber is to promote an environment in Northeast Indiana in which individuals, businesses and communities thrive in a global economy. We focus on the pillars of 21st Century talent, World Class Infrastructure, and a Competitive Business Climate. Learn more at www.neinadvocates.com.

About the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership:

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was formed in 2006 to help build a globally competitive economy in Northeast Indiana. It is a public-private partnership creating business investment by generating business leads, developing product and fostering regional collaboration. In 2010, the Partnership launched Vision 2020 to bring the region together around five key areas for economic growth: 21st Century Talent, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship, Infrastructure and Quality of Life. The 10 counties of Northeast Indiana include Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley. For more information, visit www.NEIndiana.com.