May 31, 2006

Regional Marketing Partnership to Kick Off NEI=ROI Campaign

The newly formed Regional Marketing Partnership (RMP) will officially launch its five-year NEI=ROI campaign on Tuesday, June 6. The campaign kick-off will open the 2006 Northeast Indiana Business & Industrial Conference, which is being held at Pokagon State Park's Potawatomi Inn in Angola.

Through its $6.5 million NEI=ROI campaign, the RMP will market Northeast Indiana as an overall economic entity to the global marketplace, an entity with distinct regional benefits, strengths and advantages. The RMP will team with local economic development organizations (LEDOs) based throughout Northeast Indiana to bring new companies, corporations and commercial investment to the region.

"This is an important milestone for the investment campaign," explained Tim Haffner, the RMP's board chair and a managing partner of Baker and Daniels, LLC. "Now it is time to reveal the overwhelming support that has propelled the campaign far beyond our initial expectations. While the campaign is ahead of our projected schedule, we still have a lot of hard work ahead of us."

The Northeast Indiana Business & Industrial Conference is an annual opportunity for area firms to gather the vital resources needed to sustain, support and extend their operations. The RMP is hosting the conference in conjunction with the Northeast Indiana Workforce Investment Board and Indiana Workforce Development. In addition to numerous breakout sessions focusing on a wide range of topics affecting the economy of Northeast Indiana, there will also be a keynote speech from Morton Marcus, a renowned author, economist and the director emeritus of the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. There are no costs involved for industries attending the conference.

Several area leaders who are playing pivotal roles in the RMP's formation and fund-raising will feature prominently at the campaign kick-off. RMP leaders who'll spearhead the NEI=ROI launch include Haffner, as well as the NEI=ROI campaign co-chairs, Keith Busse, president and CEO of Steel Dynamics Inc. and Jim Marcuccilli, president and CEO of STAR Financial Bank.

John Sampson, the RMP's interim president, praised the investment in both time and money the organization has received to date from business and political leaders throughout northeast Indiana.

"Leaders from across the region have stepped up to the challenge," Sampson said, notably encouraged by the progress to date. "While major financial investments are essential to jump-start any campaign, it has been the positive response of individual leaders, contributing their time and energy, which really inspires the campaign."

The Business & Industrial Conference has long been considered a must-attend event for all regional companies considering capital expansion, workforce improvements or operational upgrades.

About the Regional Marketing Partnership:Created in 2006, the Northeast Indiana Regional Marketing Partnership's mission is to market the nine-county region and support local economic development organizations to bring new jobs and commercial investment to the area. The RMP investment campaign is targeting more than $6.5 million in private and public funding to fuel a five-year, regional marketing program. Early, substantial commitments from the City of Fort Wayne, Parkview Health System, Olive B. Cole and Dekko foundations, as well as others, have established a platform for successful launch of the public phase of the investment campaign. The RMP's initial global marketing efforts will be on behalf of LEDOs in Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wells and Whitley counties.

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