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Former governor set as headliner at annual meeting

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Mitch Daniels, Purdue University president and former Indiana governor, will be the keynote speaker for this year’s Columbus Economic Development Board annual meeting.

The meeting will be at 11:30 a.m. May 5 at The Commons in downtown Columbus.

“Columbus is blessed with quality educational resources, and the important tie between education and economic development is a topic that we’ve often chosen to feature during our annual meeting,” said Jason Hester, the county’s economic development board executive director.

Daniels will talk about Purdue’s direction for the future and the opportunities that it could bring for Columbus, Hester said.

Purdue’s influence is felt close to home through the Purdue College of Technology and IUPUC campus on Columbus’ northside.

Those who attend the luncheon also will hear about the Economic Development Board’s activities from Hester, 2013 Chairman Al Roszczyk and 2014 Chairman Kurt Ellis.

Ellis said Daniels probably will give suggestions on how Columbus and Bartholomew County can continue to grow the economy.

“Our number-one goal is to work with existing primary employers and help them grow and expand in Columbus and Bartholomew County,” Ellis said of the economic development board.

He described that process as complicated, as the area’s unemployment — typically among the state’s lowest, and at 5.2 percent in February — means companies are working extremely hard to find employees.

The economic development board is also working to attract and recruit new companies, which have many choices when it comes to choosing a place to grow, Ellis said.

Continuing to be competitive and strong in education, health care and economic development are crucial, he said.

Ellis will introduce Daniels, the 49th governor and the 12th president of Purdue University, during the meeting.

Daniels was elected as governor in 2004 and re-elected in 2008, receiving more votes than any candidate for any public office in the state’s history.

He held numerous top management positions in the private and public sectors, including serving as CEO of the Hudson Institute and president of Eli Lilly and Co.’s North American pharmaceutical


He also served as a senior adviser to President Ronald Reagan and director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush.

At Purdue, Daniels is

making student affordability and success his priorities. He has frozen Purdue tuition this year and said there will be no increases for at least two more years.

The Purdue University College of Technology is part of a statewide network that offers the same technology degrees available in West Lafayette, home of the main campus for the university. The College of Technology is located in the Advanced Manufacturing Center for Excellence.

If you go

What: Columbus Economic Development Board annual meeting

Keynote speaker: Purdue President Mitch Daniels, former governor of Indiana

When: 11:30 a.m. May 5

Where: The Commons, downtown Columbus

Cost: $45, with reserved corporate tables of eight available for $360

To register: The luncheon is open to the public, but advance registration is required as space is limited. To register, visit or call 812-378-7300 by April 25.

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