Indy Chamber hires eco-devo exec to oversee new strategy

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The Indy Chamber is rolling out a new regional economic development strategy and has added a new executive to oversee its implementation.

Maureen Donohue Krauss, 54, will be the chamber’s first-ever chief economic development officer. She starts Oct. 17.

maureen kraussMaureen Donohue Krauss

Krauss currently serves as the Detroit Regional Chamber’s vice president of economic development. During her nearly five years in that position, she has brokered agreements among the 11 counties in the metro area and led regional branding and business-attraction efforts. She also has worked to increase international business opportunities.

She doesn’t officially leave her job in Detroit until Oct. 5. But this week she’s accompanying the Indy Chamber on its annual leadership exchange trip. This year's excursion, which began Sunday and runs through Wednesday, is to Minneapolis/St. Paul.

“We’re fortunate that someone like Maureen Krauss has a lot of experience in international business and regional marketing,” Indy Chamber CEO Michael Huber told IBJ in a phone interview from that trip. “She’s got a great track record of leadership.”

As part of her job, Krauss will oversee Accelerate Indy, a regional economic development plan the chamber introduced this month. The plan’s focus areas include attracting and retaining a talented workforce; helping mid-sized companies connect with new customers at home and abroad; improving mass transit; and creating vibrant and inviting places where people want to live and work.

Krauss, a Michigan native, said she’s excited to get started.

“As a professional, this is just kind of like winning the lottery,” she told IBJ Tuesday morning.

Huber hailed Krauss' combination of strengths as a manager and communicator.

“Maureen has led large teams and overseen a wide portfolio of programs," Huber said in a prepared release. "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.”
Accelerate Indy includes an 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.
“I’m learning about Indy’s global strength beyond the impressive rankings in exports and foreign-based employment,” she said in a prepared release.  “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.”

Prior to her current job, Krauss spent 13 years in a similar position in Oakland County, Michigan, in the northwest suburbs of Detroit.

The position Krauss is stepping into here is a retooled version of a previous position at the Indy Chamber. That executive was in charge of the Indy Partnership, which is the Chamber’s regional economic development organization.

The position had been vacant since last summer, when Marty Vanags left for an economic development job in Saratoga County, New York.

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