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New Indiana commerce chief focuses on small companies

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The new head of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. says the agency is turning its focus to smaller companies and getting them to relocate to the state so they can build their roots and grow in Indiana when the economy finally turns around.

Executive Director Dan Hasler took over Sept. 16 in leading the day-to-day operations of the state's commerce efforts.

"I don't mind companies starting small and waiting for the economy to strengthen because when they start to grow, they're going to grow here," Hasler told The Times of Munster for a story Sunday. "When this national economy begins to show some life, we're probably in a pretty good place."

Through mid-October, the IEDC had commitments from 190 businesses to relocate to Indiana or expand their operations in the state. That's the most competitive projects the IEDC has won in a single year since Daniels established the agency in 2005.

Hasler spent 31 years working at Indianapolis-based drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co., ending his career there as vice president for global marketing. Hasler believes there are many similarities between selling prescription drugs and selling a state's business environment.

"Indiana is a brand. Indiana is a product," Hasler said. "Our job here is to make sure we are communicating what that product is well, finding potential customers that are in interested in a product like we have, and then helping them transact the business."

Two of the IEDC's larger deals this year are landing in northwestern Indiana. Solar inverter producer Fronius USA announced in June that it will move its U.S. headquarters from Michigan to Portage, creating up to 512 jobs by 2016. In August, vehicle parts maker Modern Drop Forge announced plans for a new manufacturing facility in Merrillville, creating up to 240 jobs by 2014.

Hasler told The Times he's eager to use the region's well-developed roads, rails, port and airport facilities to help attract more businesses.

"There are so many great assets in northwest Indiana that are worthy of leveraging," Hasler said. "I'm going to do everything I can to help northwest Indiana be what it deserves to be."

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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

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