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By Robb Watson

Originally written by Tracy Warner for I&M News

Working in our communities is integral to being the energy provider of the future.  Part of that process involves working directly with economic development organizations in our communities that lead efforts to grow businesses and attract people.

Recently, economic development officials from across I&M’s service footprint met with a number of I&M representatives at an annual meeting to discuss the area’s economic development opportunities and challenges and brainstorm ways to be more competitive in the global marketplace.

The Annual Economic Development Ally Meeting helps emphasize the role I&M plays in supporting industrial, commercial and quality of place development of communities within our service area.

Dave Lucas, Vice President of Finance, summed up I&M’s involvement in economic development with the words of the legendary I&M President (and one-time Hoosier) George Tidd:  “We prosper only as the community prospers; so we help it thrive in every way we can.”

Dave discussed the many ways I&M is positioning itself to be the energy provider of the future, “a utility that’s out front and doing everything for our customers.”

I&M’s On the Go Mobile Alerts is just the beginning of mobile device related two-way communications with customers, he said, pointing out the many different ways customers now want to interact with their electric utility. The one-size-fits-all model for the customer experience that worked for decades is now an environment where customers have specific preferences. Some still want to get a paper bill every month and call if there’s a problem; others want all their interaction by mobile device; and there are myriad of preferences in between.

Dave discussed I&M’s commitment to serve customers in the way they want to be served.

Also at the conference:

  • Mark James, AEP Vice President Economic Development, explained AEP’s economic development services and how the company can help communities attract business.
  • Bernard Swiecki, Director of the Center for Automotive Research, discussed prospects and trends for the automotive industry, which includes major area employers and I&M customers.
  • Tucker Wieland, of Brand Innovation Group in Fort Wayne, who discussed digital marketing strategies economic development organizations can employ.

For more information on I&M’s economic development programs and emphasis please contact I&M’s Economic Development and Business Managers – Ashley Savieo, based in Fort Wayne, and Shelley Klug, based in Benton Harbor.

  • Community Development
  • State News