May 2017: South Bend – Elkhart Region Update




For the 3rd year, the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership (SBERP) is working with economic development organizations from St. Joseph, Marshall and Elkhart counties in Indiana, as well as Berrien and Cass counties in Michigan to administer a wages and benefits survey.

This survey collects actual wage information for 150 positions in management, production, technology, health, transportation and other areas. The benefits section compiles information on health insurance plans and costs, time off, retirement plans, financial incentives, workplace practices such as training opportunities, wellness incentives and child care assistance, and other areas.

The online survey, although detailed, is easy to complete and employers are provided with a complimentary report containing the aggregate data. The survey is taken online at When you register, you will be asked to enter a survey code. The survey code is JD985he4 and is case sensitive. For information about the survey, Click Here.



Last month, the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) hosted its annual Spring World Conference in New Orleans. The international conference drew more than 758 SIOR attendees, including South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership President and CEO, Regina Emberton. With over 750 industrial and office commercial real estate professionals, from 12 countries, the 2017 SIOR Spring World Conference was another resounding success!

The industry’s top commercial real estate brokers gathered to discuss most pressing and relevant topics facing the real estate industry today. Regina’s participation in this event provides a unique opportunity to connect with top industrial and office brokers and raise awareness of the benefits to businesses who locate in the South Bend – Elkhart Region.

SIOR extends to 48 chapters worldwide, consisting of nearly 3,100 members in more than 630 cities in 36 countries. Learn More about SIOR.


Earlier this month, the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership attended and exhibited at the Indiana Commercial Real Estate (ICBR) Conference in Indianapolis. Throughout the conference, attendees had the opportunity to hear from three interesting keynote speakers: Mario Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, Duke Long, The Duke Long Agency and Dr. Mark Dotzour, Real Estate Economist, Texas A&M University.

For the exhibition portion of the conference, ICBR partnered with BOMA Indy’s Tradeshow, the year’s largest commercial real estate trade show in Indianapolis. Here, the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership participated as one of 90 exhibitors and had the opportunity to network with real estate professionals from around the state. Learn More about ICBR. 



We encourage our Indiana based businesses to sign up for Conexus Icon and maximize business opportunities within the state. Conexus Indiana provides an online Hoosier supplier database called Conexus Icon that offers buyers information regarding the capabilities and certifications of Hoosier suppliers. The database promotes Hoosier suppliers to procurement organizations, provides them with procurement opportunities, and supports growth not only in Indiana’s advanced manufacturing and logistics industries, but every business-to-business sector in Indiana.

Businesses can register and update their company profile on the website, and the comprehensive search tool allows users to find suppliers with various capabilities. Also, the easy-to-use opportunity posting tool automatically matches and broadcasts the opportunity to registered users. Conexus Icon is an easy and effective way to promote and support the advanced manufacturing and logistics industries in our region. Learn More/Register Here.



On Thursday March 16th, Michiana Partnership hosted a viewing of the International Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) webinar: Leveraging Regional Strategies & Resource in Economic Development. We found the webinar to be extremely valuable, and would like to share the webinar slide deck (View Here) and the related whitepaper (View Here).

We know that 2017 will continue to be a transformational year as the five regional strategy committees develop actionable initiatives that will be critical for the future of the region. A strong regional economic development body will be needed to implement these initiatives, and to that end, we continue to review the short and long term functions best served by Michiana Partnership.

Over 50 smart connected communities in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan make up the South Bend – Elkhart Region. By linking together, we can build critical mass through marketing and the many initiatives that will come out of the Regional ED Strategy Planning process.


Indiana ranked first in the Midwest and fifth in the nation for doing business by Chief Executive magazine, maintaining its position as a top state for business. The magazine’s “Best & Worst States for Business” ranking is based on surveys of more than 500 CEOs. The 13th annual survey show that CEOs favor states with friendly tax and regulatory climates, quality workforces and strong living environments, which includes cost of living, education and state and local attitudes toward business.

Indiana’s ranking makes it the only Midwestern state in the publication’s top five. Indiana’s tax and regulatory policy ranks in the top 15 in the nation while the state’s workforce quality ranks in the top 10.

The magazine highlighted Indiana’s focus on preserving and enhancing roads and bridges through Major Moves 2020 and recent legislation that will provide $1.2 billion in new annual funding by 2024 to support state and local infrastructure. As the Crossroads of America, this dedication to infrastructure will continue to strengthen Indiana’s competitiveness and quality of life by improving travel times for businesses, commuters and tourists. Read More. The full survey results are available online, Click Here.


One of the area’s largest employers continues to ride the success of the recreational vehicle industry, reporting $498 million in sales for the first quarter of 2017. LCI Industries, better known as Lippert Components, a supplier of components to leading original equipment manufacturers of RVs and adjacent industries, has seen a net income of $43.1 million so far this year. The company has more than 8,000 employees worldwide. Read More.



Ameriplex, north of Adams Road, South Bend:

  • 315,000 sf, pre-cast construction with 36′ clear ceilings.
  • Expandable out to 400,000 sf.
  • Scheduled for completion & move-in on Feb. 1st, 2018.

A new distribution center is coming to the far Northwestern edge of South Bend, bringing at least 125 new jobs. Located in Ameriplex at 80/90, CTDI will move to a 119-acre property near the corner of Adams and Mayflower Roads.



Earlier this week, the chairpersons from the five Regional Economic Development Strategy committees met to discuss emerging themes and strategies from their planning work. It quickly became apparent that all five groups have been talking about how we can do a better job of telling the story of the region as we work to increase per capita personal income. At the root of many potential initiatives, we see the need to understand what makes our region special and the importance of telling our story both here in the region and around the world.

Recently, Aaron Perri and Eric Kanagy from the Talent Attraction & Retention Committee hosted a PlaceHack where a diverse group gathered to discuss this topic. The hackers offered ideas ranging from doing live feeds of great events to a regional marketing plan around a unified theme and tagline. One person even suggested doing a local funeral for the name Michiana.

The story of the Michiana region can be told in a variety of historic ways, but we need to include fresh ways of telling the story and new voices. The story of the South Bend – Elkhart Region includes that history, but also new chapters on the work that people are doing together to map our future. Our region’s story is transforming and now, more than ever, we need to think about how the outside world will find us and how they feel about us.

So not-so-coincidentally, you’ll notice in this newsletter (and soon in other areas) that our regional economic development organization is being rebranded from Michiana Partnership to South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership.

The South Bend – Elkhart Region. 47 Smart Connected Communities in Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan. It’s the place we are all proud to call home. Now we need to focus on how those who live here tell our story and what the rest of the world needs to understand about us.

Best regards,

Regina Emberton