Melissa Fairbanks has been named the director for the Center for Business and Economic Development at IUPUC. A native of Columbus, Fairbanks began her career in broadcast television, becoming director of operations for the CBS affiliate WWL-TV’s joint venture with Cox Communication for the nation’s first local 24-hour all-news channel. She also was adjunct professor of management communication at Tulane University A.B. Freeman School of Business.

She joined Cummins in 1999, serving in various communications roles, including manager of broadcast communication. She then joined Pearson Inc., the world’s largest educational publisher and later as client services coordinator for the Independent Electrical Contractors Association.

Fairbanks opened the Columbus office of Comfort Keepers, an in-home, non-medical health care company specializing in care for the elderly to allow them to remain independent at home.

She has a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Indiana University and a Masters of Arts in communication from the University of South Florida.

She has served two terms as president of the Columbus Area Arts Council and as director of development for Foundation For Youth. She has been a volunteer for the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic and a Columbus Service League member and received the Distinguished Service Award from Turning Point Domestic Violence Services.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.