CLAYTON — Key investors in the Hendricks County Economic Development Partnership met this week to celebrate recent success stories and honor local business owners.
HCEDP’s annual meeting began with the introduction of its public partners and representatives from those entities. Introducing the dignitaries was Dennis Dawes, the newly elected chairman of the organization’s board of directors.
Represented were Hendricks County, Town of Avon, Town of Brownsburg, Town of Danville, Town of Pittsboro, and Town of Plainfield.
The dignitaries then helped to honor the organization’s investors with commemorative plaques.
Dawes, who is also CEO of Hendricks Regional Health, also presented Donnis Mizelle of Hendricks Power Cooperative with a token of appreciation from HCEDP. Mizelle served as the board chair for three years.
Executive Director Cindy Kelley thanked all of the partners and gave an update on what the organization is doing.
“I would like you thank you not only for your treasure, but also for your time and talent,” Kelley said. “I spend my fair share of time e-mailing all of you to ask for volunteers and I thank you for your help.”
She said the partnership completed 51 projects in 2011.
“We know our strengths are in distribution and motor sports,” Kelley said. “You just need to look at Eagle Point Business Park and Plainfield to see that.”
Kelley said a large portion of the county’s employment comes from stage one (one to nine employees) and stage two (10 to 100 employees) of their development. She said helping those small businesses grow is just common sense.
“We have programming called ‘economic gardening’ for those stage two companies,” Kelley explained. “Last year, we had Purdue University come out to see how we are doing when it comes to best practice. They came back and told us we are breaking new ground.”
The HCEDP’s Project of the Year award went to Plainfield company JECO, one of those stage two companies taking advantage of economic gardening. Kelley first met with JECO CEO/General Manager Craig Carson to compete a business retention project.
“We make pallets,” Carson said. “Now, it’s not the space shuttle, but it takes sophisticated training and software that was not commercially available.”
The partnership introduced Carson to a group at Purdue University that helped the company get time on a super computer, allowing for study of a new design.
“I wish more people knew about the partnership and took advantage of what they have to offer,” Carson said.
Kelley presented the Spirit of Hendricks County award to Jon Nolan of Nolan Security & Investigations LLC.
“This is a small company that made connections in the community and took the initiative to get the word out about the partnership,” she said.
After Nolan found success in his business through connections he had made through the HCEDP, he donated funds to have a video series created on the program.
“These videos are now available on our website and many other places in the county,” Kelley said.
Following the awards ceremony, the HCEDP heard a presentation by Corey Wilson, director of government affairs for the Indianapolis International Airport. He spoke about the IND Aerotropolis project.