January 2017: South Bend – Elkhart Region Update




Michiana Partnership is a collaboration of the economic development partners from Elkhart, St. Joseph and Marshall counties in Northern Indiana and Berrien and Cass counties in Southwest Michigan. The organization serves as a single point of contact for regional communication and seeks to create economic opportunities for all partner members through collaborative promotion, marketing and capacity building efforts. Michiana Partnership is taking the message about our area across the country to key company representatives, site selectors, and real estate professionals. Learn More.


The South Bend-Mishawaka Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and Elkhart-Goshen MSA in 2016 saw mild economic growth, good expansions in the labor force, moderate gains in employment, slightly higher unemployment rates, modest growth in wages and continuous recovery in the housing market. Learn More.



Mno-Bmadsen is the investment enterprise of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. It is driven by the Tribe’s ongoing commitment to its citizens and the region through business development, job creation and diversification of the tribal economy. The Mno-Bmadsen Family of Companies provides architecture, engineering, land-use planning, environmental mitigation and restoration services, construction, mechanical contracting and plastic molding to the commercial, government, and tribal markets.

Mno-Bmadsen has been a supporter and investor to Michiana Partnership, hosting the 2016 SIOR Outing Dinner and investing in the partnerships efforts for 2017.



Available for sale or lease, this move-in ready commercial zoned property allows many commercial, retail, professional office, laboratory uses, offering up to 6,234 Sq. Ft. of flexible space. The facility was remolded in 2002 and formerly housed a design company and bank call center. The space contains two offices, a kitchen, two bathrooms and a shower with the balance of space filled with 34 cubicles and 7 workstations.

The property is ideally located on cross streets of Pipestone Road and West Wall Street, within 3 miles of I-94 and 5 miles to Red Arrow Highway. The nearest regional airport is the Southwest Michigan Regional Airport, located within 2 miles of the space. For more information, Click Here.



In early 2016, the Northern Indiana Regional Development Authority invited 15 leaders from the three counties to work together to develop underlying principles for a Regional Development Plan. The group gathered regularly for eight months to discuss how to improve as a region and which areas need the most attention.

Regional Strategy Development Team: Chairs & RDA Liaisons

Educating a world-class WORKFORCE


  • Brian Wiebe, Horizon Education Alliance & Chancellor
  • Terry Allison, IU South Bend

RDA Liaison:

  • John Affleck-Graves, University of Notre Dame

– Recruiting and retaining great TALENT


  • Diana Lawson, Elkhart County CVB
  • Rob DeCleene, Visit South Bend/Mishawaka

RDA Liaison:

  • John DeSalle, Hoosier Racing Tire Corp.
  • Dallas Bergl, INOVA Federal Credit Union

– Attracting and growing new economy companies in complement to our remarkably strong
manufacturing INDUSTRIES


  • Regina Emberton, Michiana Partnership
  • Jan Fye, South Bend Regional Chamber

RDA Liaison:

  • Pete McCown, Community Foundation of Elkhart County

– Helping ENTREPRENEURS thrive


  • Larry Garatoni, HQ Venture Capital LLC

RDA Liaison:

  • Pete McCown, Community Foundation of Elkhart County

– Promoting INCLUSION and sparking opportunities for minorities


  • Tracy Graham, Graham Allen Partners

RDA Liaison:

  • Kristin Pruitt, Lakeland Financial Corp.

Over the coming year, the committees will gather to discuss each of the five pillars and focus on specific plans to grow together as a region. These groups could be called strike teams organized to fight the common enemy of declining wages on different fronts. They’ll review the situational analysis and propose explicit strategies for the region to succeed in these key areas. Learn More.


Calling all lawyers, accountants, recruiters, marketing consultants or other service providers who focus energy on helping entrepreneurs!

1. Is serving entrepreneurs as an area of focus in your business?

2. Do you offer a specific product or service that supports entrepreneurs?

3. Are you willing to invest your time and energy to on startups and help with the
growth of the startup community in our region?

If your answer is YES to these three questions, please register for this meeting by Clicking Here! If not, forward the information to a colleague who meets this description!



The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians announced on Dec. 8 that it had started construction on a new casino located on Trust Land in South Bend. The casino will be called Four Winds South Bend, sharing the Four Winds brand with other Pokagon casino locations including New Buffalo, Hartford and Dowagiac, Michigan. The first phase of Four Winds South Bend will have 175,000 square feet and include 1,800 Class II gaming devices, four restaurants, a player’s lounge, a coffee shop, three bars, a retail outlet, and approximately 4,500 parking spaces including an enclosed parking structure. The casino is scheduled to be complete in early of 2018 and will employ approximately 1,200 people. Approximately 700 jobs will be created during construction. The Pokagon Band is dedicated to providing community development initiatives such as housing, education, family services, medical care and cultural preservation for its approximately 5,000 citizens. The Pokagon Band’s ten-county service area includes four counties in Southwestern Michigan and six in Northern Indiana. Its main administrative offices are located in Dowagiac, Mich., with a satellite office in South Bend, Ind. In 2007, it opened Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Mich., followed by Four Winds Hartford in 2011 and Four Winds Dowagiac in 2013. To view the live construction cam, Click Here. 



Site Selection Magazine, an economic development industry publication, recently revealed its state rankings for business climate and once again Indiana is in the top. Indiana ranked 10th and Michigan tied for 15th out of all the states this year. The rankings are based on a two major things. Half of the ranking is done according to executive survey. By this measure alone, Indiana tied with Virginia for 6th place. The other half of the ranking is based on a blend of factors including performance in the publication’s annual Prosperity Cup ranking, total project locations and expansions, total projects per capita in 2015, state tax burdens on mature firms, and other measures. Indiana and Ohio are the only non-southern states in the top 10. Read more about the rankings, Click Here. 


As we embark on a new year of opportunities, it is important to consider many of the accomplishments across our region and here at Michiana Partnership. This past year our region celebrated the $42 million Regional Cities Initiative grant funding for our Smart. Connected. Communities plan and secured IEDC approval of $17 million for the first six projects, which will generate over $122 million in total investment. With the help of our partners, Michiana Partnership generated twelve qualified leads for our region through increased public relations and social media presences and the execution of a business recruitment plan. This plan included attending five industry trade shows, presenting to five Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) groups, meeting personally with over 100 site selectors and attending ten consultant-focused events where we connected with over 2,500 prospective brokers and consultants. At the same time, Michiana Partnership added two team members and was engaged as the administrator for the Regional Development Authority. Through unprecedented regional collaboration, our region developed a situational analysis which identified five key areas of focus to advance our region’s economy in the future.

Less than a month into this year, we are already looking forward to key initiatives for 2017 including the implantation of our Smart Connected Communities plan by allocating the $42 million the RDA’s funding into approved projects. We are also playing a role in the facilitation planning efforts to enhance the Smart Connected Communities plan around the five key areas of focus: Industry, Talent, Workforce, Entrepreneurship and Inclusion. We are in the process of rebuilding SouthBendElkhart.Org  as the regional economic development website to serve as a single point of reference for those seeking information about the region (inclusive of Michiana Partnership, the RDA and its committees). As committees determine their web strategy, it can be incorporated within or linked to the main regional site. Enabling the execution of an enhanced business growth and recruitment strategy focused on scale-up cluster industries. Michiana Partnership is also working on our 2017 Wages and Benefits Survey. We are looking forward to all of the incredible initiatives 2017 has in store for our region.


Regina Emberton