Keeping up with growth: Position proposed to help recruit business to area

A new city employee will be tasked with going out and recruiting businesses to come to Greenwood and marketing the city to potential companies.

An economic development coordinator is one of nine new positions the Greenwood City Council is considering as part of the 2018 budget. If approved, the person who fills the up to $88,000-per-year job will be tasked with reaching out to businesses that might have an interest in coming to Greenwood and working with current businesses to make sure the city is taking care of their needs as well.

The proposed salary would place the new position among the top 10 highest paid in the city, and will be paid slightly less than the mayor and city judge.

City leaders have been considering creating the new position for the past several years, because of the need to actively reach out to businesses, Greenwood Redevelopment Commission president Brent Tilson said.

“If someone is reaching out and companies are looking to grow and expand, I think it is a win-win for both sides,” he said.

Greenwood already pays about $100,000 a year toward groups that help bring new businesses to the city.

The city pays $50,000 a year to the Johnson County Development Corp., an organization that helps direct potential businesses and developers to suitable sites in the county. The city redevelopment commission also recently agreed to a $50,000 one-year trial run of funding Accelerate Indy, a project run by the Indy Chamber to promote Indianapolis and all of its surrounding counties to businesses interested in moving to the region.

But the city also needs to have someone solely devoted to Greenwood’s interests, Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said.

“We need someone specifically for the city of Greenwood, not just the Indy region,” Myers said. “We need to take this one step further.”

Greenwood has to be aggressive in its efforts to attract businesses, city council and redevelopment commission member Chuck Landon said.

“I want to go out and get business,” Landon said. “I don’t want to pick and choose what comes in, that should give us the aggressiveness we’re missing now.”

The difference between an economic development coordinator and groups such as the Johnson County Development Corp. is that a recruiter is reaching out to businesses. The development organization is fielding inquiries from developers searching for a location to grow their business in the county, Myers said.

“Businesses are open to being approached, to see if a different municipality has better options,” he said.

The economic development director will be tasked with researching business that are looking to expand or grow and contacting them and pitching Greenwood as a potential location, Myers said.

Myers envisions the new employee as someone who will work to convince businesses that they should relocate to or expand in Greenwood. That’s work Myers is already doing himself, but said he doesn’t haven’t the time to do everything that is needed.

The economic development coordinator will also be responsible for managing the city’s website and social media accounts and creating marketing materials. The employee will mostly replace Hirons, a marketing firm hired at the beginning of 2016 on a two-year, $127,000 contract. The city may still work with Hirons on certain projects, Myers said.

Adding an employee dedicated to economic development will quickly pay for itself, Myers said. The property taxes brought in by just one new business would more than cover a recruiter’s salary, Myers said.

The new position would report to the mayor, and would be full-time with benefits, which is not included in the $88,000 salary. By comparison, the mayor’s salary is proposed to be $93,000 in 2018 and the city judge is set to make $99,000.

City council members would need to approve the new position as part of the city’s 2018 budget, which is set for an initial vote today.

At a glance

Greenwood is considering adding a new employee who would be responsible for recruiting businesses and marketing the city.

Position: Economic development coordinator

Salary: $88,000

Responsibilities: recruiting business to Greenwood, assisting with other economic development efforts, managing the city’s website and social media accounts, and creating marketing materials.

Author photo
Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.