ANGOLA — Steuben County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Isaac Lee gave the Angola Common Council an update Feb. 3 on how 2019 came out from an economic development standpoint.

“Twenty-nineteen was another strong year and that will carry into 2020,” Lee said.

Under Lee, the EDC works on four main objectives — business retention and expansion, new business attraction, workforce development and public and private partnership.

In 2018, 23 projects were completed in Steuben County. There were 15 in 2019 and there have been more than 65 completed projects since 2016.

In a PowerPoint presentation, Lee showed statistics involved with those projects since 2016 and said total investment has been more than $287 million.

More than 7,900 jobs have been retained and more than 714 created which generated more than $24.5 million in new payroll dollars.

The SCEDC also hired a workforce development director in 2019.

Mike Landram started in September.

“He came to the county about a year, year and a half sooner than he wanted to,” Lee said.

Landram, who lives in Fort Wayne and has a summer home at Crooked Lake, has experience in both the public and private sector. Since his start, he’s been out with industries and in the schools, Lee said.

A few comments industry has shared with Lee over the last 18 months is finding bodies and then convincing the people to relocate here.

“We started to hear they need housing options,” he said.

Industries were saying they needed help to fix the housing piece. To help, the SCEDC began a housing strategy throughout the county.

“We’re talking about workforce affordable housing,” Lee said.

The study should be finished the middle of this month, he said, and then he will communicate additional information to the media to get the information to people.

The SCEDC’s 2020 objectives, he said, are continuing to build a robust business expansion and retention process, develop marketing collateral to support target industries, continue to build awareness around opportunities locally for all levels of workforce and continuing to grow private sector investment into the EDC at an aggressive rate of 300% over the previous year’s budgeted amount.
©Copyright 2020 KPC Media Group, Inc.