Learning to play like a champion

Learning to play like a champion Main Photo

29 Apr 2024


One by one, economic developers and professionals in related fields placed their hands on the iconic sign near the tunnel leading to the field at Notre Dame Stadium.


It was a fitting end to the Indiana Economic Development Association 2024 Spring Conference in South Bend, as it was filled with lessons on how to succeed.

IEDA 2024 Spring Conference attendees tour Howard Park in South Bend.

The two-day conference began on April 25, 2024 with a tour of South Bend’s exciting transformation. First up on the itinerary was the city’s Renaissance District–the site of the former Studebaker factory that is becoming a mixed-use technology campus. Attendees witnessed firsthand how post-industrial assets are being turned into vibrant parts of the community. Also on the tour was Howard Park and its lively atmosphere, as well as the IDEA Center–a powerhouse for the University of Notre Dame’s entrepreneurial endeavors.

Experts from throughout Indiana presented the conference’s topics. At Innovative Workforce Solutions: Turning Data into Action, attendees heard about using data to determine career-trajectory opportunities from various starting-point occupations. The session also included an important reminder of a matter economic developers work to resolve: Jobs that make places great often can’t be filled by people living in those places.

Exploring Regionalism: A Dialogue Between Academic, Economic Development and Community Leaders drove home the notion that before those outside of a region can believe in its potential, those inside of it need to first.

IEDA officers lead a “town hall” discussion at the 2024 Spring Conference.

“Speed is the new incentive” was one of the many lessons that emerged from the session on Catching the Big Fish.

At a session on Indiana’s Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI), attendees heard directly from officials administering the program about their experiences with the various regions throughout the state.

Anchor institutions and housing were also on the conference’s agenda. The event was packed with networking opportunities as well. And a visit to South Bend would not be complete without a stop at Notre Dame Stadium, where attendees were able to take to the field as they reflected on and looked forward to playing like a champion in their communities.

Check out this highlight reel from the conference: