I have to start with how excited I feel to be part of the Hamilton County Leadership Academy Class of 2024. My cohort and the speakers always make class days special. This month, we dove into Economic Development and Workforce, and let me tell you, it was eye-opening. 

Hamilton County has really been on the upswing lately, and it’s no surprise because the place has its own unique vibe and attractions, but for me, the real treasure trove is the sports scene. As a total sports junkie, hearing about the vision behind Grand Park from William Knox blew me away. Who would’ve thought it’d be ranked in the Top 20 sporting facilities in the US? Indiana is a “Sports Vacation Destination” and now, we’re eagerly awaiting two new arenas to add even more excitement to the mix with professional G-League basketball, hockey, and volleyball. Count me in for all the action! I also love the smaller cities in Indiana are designing similar concepts to provide youth activities, and tourism.  

One highlight of the day was the economic case study between Team Megan (representing Fishers) and Team Aaron (representing Noblesville). Let me tell you, things got competitive! We delved into strategies like abatements, real property, TIF, and more. It was intense, but we all worked together, and Noblesville came out on top! 

Hamilton County has a diverse range of industries, from manufacturing to healthcare to technology, and businesses big and small are thriving here. A big part of that success is thanks to the county’s commitment to education and workforce development. Mike Thibideau’s insights really hit home, especially when he talked about the challenges of retaining talent. But with top-rated schools and programs like The Pursuit Institute giving high schoolers a head start, the future’s looking bright. 

Of course, none of this would be possible without the investments in infrastructure and amenities. Oscar Gutierrez, Alaina Shonkwiler, and Connor Sullivan gave us the lowdown on how TIF is making it all happen, from better roads to cooler parks. 

But it’s not just about business—it’s about community too. Ryan McCarty, co-founder of Culture of Good, reminded us that a strong company culture goes hand in hand with a supportive community. That means giving employees opportunities to connect and make a positive impact beyond the workplace, that is the Round Room Way.  

A big shoutout to our class day hosts, Round Room & Scott and Julie Moorehead, and our class day sponsor Invest Hamilton County! This class and our community partners who support HCLA are a reminder why Hamilton County is getting some well-deserved recognition as one of Forbes’ “Best Places to Live.” With steady job growth, rising property values, and a thriving community, the future’s looking bright for Hamilton County. 

Can’t wait to see what’s next!