Members of the Greater Greenwood Chamber of Commerce and Johnson County Development Corporation (JCDC) have approved a merger of the two organizations. Representatives from both organizations joined area civic and business leaders today to officially launch Aspire Economic Development + Chamber Alliance. The new organization creates a stronger, more unified engine to drive economic growth in Johnson County and south of Indianapolis.
“Economic development and the process of attracting new businesses has changed,” said Pat Sherman, chairman of the board for JCDC. “Johnson County and areas just south of Indianapolis mean business, and this union better positions our region to attract companies considering growth or expansion.”
Chambers and other development agencies across the U.S. are joining forces to amplify the reach and impact of their complementary efforts. By aligning to offer a comprehensive, holistic approach to members, investors and customers, these unions expand services, strengthen reach and business advocacy and better coordinate potential economic development opportunities.
“In 2017, the Greater Greenwood Chamber began researching how we could further advance the success of our members,” said Rick Myers, current board chair. “We approached this merger in a deliberate and measured way to ensure our members and investors receive access to expanded networking opportunities, best practice sharing, trainings and business coaching – all with a stronger voice to advocate for business interests.”
The new organization is legally registered as Aspire Johnson County and will do business as Aspire Economic Development + Chamber Alliance. Greater Greenwood Chamber President & CEO Christian Maslowski will serve as president of the new organization, and JCDC Executive Director & CEO Dana Monson will be vice president of economic development. After receiving board approvals in late July, members of both organizations voted in favor of the merger earlier this week.
“This is a defining moment for economic and business development in Johnson County and the Southside,” said Maslowski. “Unified strength offers numerous benefits to current and potential business partners, organizational stakeholders and private and public funders. Current businesses are thriving, wages are steadily increasing and demand for professional office space continues to rise. The timing is ideal and allows us to better capitalize on strategic advantages and build upon current momentum.”
“Johnson County presents an extremely attractive option for any company considering growth or expansion,” said Monson. “Our area scores well in the three areas most valued by businesses looking to expand or relocate – available labor, shovel-ready land and access to transportation. Combining resources and talent will amplify the reach and impact of promotional efforts, attracting more opportunities to both Johnson County and its individual municipalities.”
Prior to the election of an official board of directors, the organization has appointed an interim committee featuring an equal number of members from both the JCDC and Greater Greenwood Chamber boards. The committee will review and approve financial and operational decisions. The new organization will begin formal operations on Jan. 1, 2020.