Co-chairing the Oct. 20-21 summit is Kirk White, assistant vice president for strategic partnerships for Indiana University’s Office for Engagement. Along with Kevin Brinegar, president and CEO of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, he is overseeing an event that will bring to Bloomington more than 300 officials who serve in various economic roles nationwide.
Through a series of speeches and breakout sessions, the summit’s objective is to foster collaboration among businesses, government, higher education, defense, economic development, tourism, agriculture, trade and logistics sectors to make the most of new opportunities that the I-69 corridor will provide, White said.
“We’re looking at the fact that I-69 is the largest, new-terrain highway construction project in the U.S. — one that spans from Canada to Mexico — and exploring how to best leverage economic development opportunities along that terrain, particularly between Bloomington and Evansville.”
One key facility along that path is the Naval Surface Warfare Center near Crane, White said. Another is Indiana University itself, a fact that will be underscored on Monday (Oct. 20) as the Stadium Club at Memorial Stadium hosts a private, pre-summit reception from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., White said.
The summit itself takes place from 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Tuesday (Oct. 21) in the Bloomington/Monroe County Convention Center at 302 S. College Ave.
“Along with Crane, IU is the largest destination in this part of the state along the new corridor,” White said. “One of the key things that I-69 will do is provide a broader, faster, and safer link between Bloomington and the rest of the state. The work from Evansville to Crane already has shaved about 30 minutes off the drive from Bloomington to Evansville. Over the next year, the final leg from Crane to Bloomington will be complete and remove another 15 to 20 minutes.”
IU’s Vice President for Engagement Bill Stephan also will be in attendance to introduce the summit’s afternoon keynote speaker, Becky Skillman. Skillman is a former lieutenant governor of Indiana and currently president and CEO of Radius Indiana, a regional economic development partnership of eight counties in south-central Indiana.
Joining White and Stephan at the summit will be Tom Morrison, IU’s vice president for capital planning and facilities. He will moderate and participate in an afternoon breakout session panel that outlines the basic ways in which public-private partnerships operate to finance projects.
IU’s Office for Engagement is the locus of Innovate Indiana, an economic development initiative launched in 2007 to help promote efforts such as maximizing commercial opportunities along Indiana’s I-69 corridor. Innovate Indiana engages strategic partners to leverage and advance Indiana University’s intellectual resources and expertise, enhance Indiana’s economic growth and contribute to the overall quality of life for Hoosiers.