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Indy Chamber Names First Economic Development Officer

Posted by jpellman on September 27, 2016

Krauss will oversee ‘Accelerate Indy’ reinvention of economic development, focusing on talent, industry innovation and high-value business growth

(INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – September 27, 2016)  The Indy Chamber has named Maureen Donohue Krauss its first Chief Economic Development Officer (CEDO), a newly-created post that will oversee business and talent attraction and other growth initiatives for the Indianapolis region.  Krauss has served as Vice President of Economic Development for the Detroit Regional Chamber, part of the team leading a resurgent effort that has seen Detroit-Warren-Dearborn rebound as one of the top ten fastest-growing economies among major U.S. metros.

Krauss comes to Indianapolis amid a fundamental rethinking of economic development.  In mid-September, the Indy Chamber previewed Accelerate Indy, a plan that expands the region’s traditional priorities – corporate recruitment and an affordable climate – to include appealing to skilled workers and innovation-intensive industries, supporting existing employers and entrepreneurs, and focusing on high-value, global business.

“Accelerate Indy makes talent attraction a top priority, and recruiting Maureen Donohue Krauss is a critical talent ‘win,’” said Eli Lilly & Company’s Enrique Conterno, Indy Chamber board chairman.  “When she was hired to help revive economic development in Detroit, the city was sliding into bankruptcy and the region was losing residents faster than nearly any other large urban area.  A few years later, Detroit’s comeback is national news.

“Metro Indy doesn’t have quite the same challenges, but we face our own ‘good to great’ moment – we’re pleased to welcome Maureen to a strong organization backed by a business community that’s ready to move faster.”

During her tenure with the Detroit Regional Chamber, Krauss brokered agreements among the 11 metro counties and led successful regional branding and business attraction strategies.  She noted that Indy’s collaborative culture will help speed Accelerate Indy’s plans into action.

“I’m excited to join my new colleagues at the Indy Chamber and get to work; we’ve set ambitious goals, so there’s lot of work to be done,” Krauss said.  “But in many places, it’s a struggle just getting the right people to communicate and cooperate.  Indianapolis has a great track record of public-private partnerships, an existing regional economic development structure through the Indy Chamber, and a vision that’s widely shared by mayors, business and civic leaders across our nine counties…that’s a tremendous advantage to start.”

Indy Chamber President & CEO Michael Huber noted that Krauss brought a rare combination of strengths as a manager and communicator to the demanding CEDO role:

“The Indy Chamber has already merged business attraction, entrepreneurship and global initiatives alongside our traditional Chamber activities, and Accelerate Indy further expands our agenda,” he said.  “Maureen has led large teams and overseen a wide portfolio of programs; what’s more impressive, she also played a central role in rebranding Detroit to inspire the wave of investment and residents coming back to the city.”

Huber also lauded Krauss’ international experience.  Accelerate Indy includes a metro export and foreign investment strategy, developed through the Brookings Institution’s Global Cities Exchange; Krauss has hosted dozens of foreign business delegations visiting Detroit and led trade missions across Europe and Asia on behalf of the region and State of Michigan.

“I’m learning about Indy’s global strength beyond the impressive rankings in exports and foreign-based employment,” she said.  “We have great opportunities to attract international investment to our advanced industry sector, and add hundreds of new companies to the ranks of local exporters – this is an area where we can hit the ground running as a region.”

Before joining the Detroit Regional Chamber in 2012, Krauss served in senior roles within Oakland County’s economic development agencies, ultimately as director of Economic Development and Community Affairs for the second most populous county in the Detroit metropolitan area. 

“We’re pleased that Maureen brings both a local and regional perspective to the CEDO position,” said Tim Monger, President & CEO of the Hamilton County Economic Development Corporation.  Monger will serve on an expanded oversight committee for Accelerate Indy, including regional business attraction efforts continued through the Indy Partnership.  “In the selection interview with Maureen, she recognized that all of our communities have unique strengths, but the people and businesses who choose our region don’t focus on county or city borders – they focus on quality of place and opportunities to grow.”

In rolling out the Accelerate Indy strategy, the Indy Chamber hosted the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program for a national outlook on regional development.  At that event, Brookings Vice-President Amy Liu explained, “It’s no coincidence that major metros are home to 70% of the nation’s advanced industry jobs, 74% of its college graduates and 75% of total GDP – there’s a strong correlation among cutting-edge industries, educated workers and economic growth and productivity.”

“In a way, these trends created the CEDO job description for us – we need someone who can rewrite our economic development playbook and expand our efforts to include talent attraction, innovation and entrepreneurship to compete with our regional peers,” Huber finished.  “Maureen Donohue Krauss is that leader, at a pivotal moment for our economy.  We’re excited to have her on the team, and to welcome her to Indianapolis.”

Indy Chamber officials announced the selection of Krauss from the annual Leadership Exchange (LEX) trip, which sends local delegations to peer cities to gain new insights and a broader perspective on the Indianapolis region’s economic and civic challenges.  Krauss joined the group in this year’s destination, Minneapolis-St. Paul, meeting with Indy corporate, community and elected leaders as their three-day agenda highlights issues like transit, talent, regionalism and early childhood education.

Krauss will officially begin working with the Indy Chamber on October 17. 

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Media Contacts:

Joe Pellman, Indy Chamber, 317.464.2251, jpellman(at)indychamber.com
Chris Watts, CVR Public Relations, 317.514.3184, cwatts(at)cvrindy.com

About The Indy Chamber:

The Indy Chamber is the voice of progress and improvement for the Indianapolis region's business community. With membership of nearly 2,000 businesses in the Indianapolis region, the Indy Chamber is leading the effort to strengthen the business climate, improve the state of education, revitalize neighborhoods and enhance the region's workforce. For more information, visit IndyChamber.com.