Wabash Valley Power Alliance engages in economic development differently, by focusing on providing economic power for members instead of making profits for investors.
For Brian Anderson, director of economic development at Wabash Valley Power, success starts with establishing relationships for the long haul. From site selection to identifying continued growth opportunities, Wabash Valley Power works directly with each unique company to not only find the right location in the region, but to provide continuous support that drives long-term growth.
While reliable power and competitive rates are crucial to the success of any operation, Wabash Valley Power’s alliance of 23 electric distribution co-ops know these communities, inside and out. That knowledge helps provide first-hand expert insight into the economics, infrastructure and labor markets so businesses can thrive. Across Illinois, Indiana and Missouri, Wabash Valley Power member co-ops are engaged in supporting their communities and the businesses that call these areas home.
That type of economic development is crucial for the growth and long-term survival of any community. Strong, sustainable economic development initiatives grow jobs, helping retain talent and allowing communities to thrive — and WVPA plays a critical role in this process.
“Our role is to amplify those efforts and serve as a partner in everything our co-ops and these businesses do,” Anderson said. “We seek out ways to go beyond our service territory to support the greater community, the company culture and the current business climate.”
In Indiana, Wabash Valley Power is part of an eight-member consortium of various utilities — united in supporting the region as an ideal place to do business.
“We dedicate time to meeting with site selectors and sharing details about the amazing resources available in our communities,” Anderson said. “From our highly-skilled talent pipeline, robust utilities, to our high-ranking quality of life, there is great potential to grow a business here.”
These interactions are the first step in establishing long-term relationships with site selectors and companies and display WVPA’s ability and willingness to collaborate on finding solutions that work for every unique operation.
In today’s environment, companies are looking closely at several evolving factors when evaluating a potential community in which to locate — specifically diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion, including gender diversity within the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) career fields.
There are also increasing demands for more robust infrastructure — and Wabash Valley Power is already delivering on those demands by keeping a finger on the pulse of economic development policy. Working directly with regional economic development corporations and serving on boards and committees allows WVPA to maintain a presence within each co-op’s territory — helping shape smarter, simpler, more straightforward regulations.
While attracting new business to the region is an important factor in economic development, WVPA remains deeply focused on growing existing partnerships. The goal is to ensure every company that lands in the region can thrive here, even in a constantly changing environment, both today and in the future.
“We can offer extensive incentives to help businesses succeed, including economic development rates, energy-efficiency incentives, business new construction incentives and more,” Anderson said. “We can even assist with professional training and professional development grants to help cover the cost of workshops and conferences. Our goal is to find ways to clear the brush, so everyone has a chance to succeed.”
Wabash Valley Power drives economic development — connecting companies with the resources needed to grow, succeed and thrive — in the right place.