On-demand labor, military talent are resources for employers

On-demand workers and military talent are two labor resources available to employers in Hancock County and across the state.

Both topics headlined a Human Resources Group Lunch & Learn organized by the Hancock Economic Development Council at Hancock Regional Hospital on May 25, 2023. Representatives of Veryable and INvets addressed an audience of about 20 local HR and business leaders.

Veryable is an on-demand marketplace for manufacturing, logistics and warehousing labor. The service connects businesses with workers and connects workers with immediate access to work, the ability to control their own schedule, opportunities to build new skills, and next-day pay.

Josh Mote, Director of Partnerships – Midwest for Veryable, explained that employers use a computer platform to seek and recruit operators for work they need done and lack the labor for. Operators pursue work via a mobile app. Businesses can rate operators and build a list of favorites for future projects.

Josh Mote, Director of Partnerships – Midwest for Veryable, speaks at a Hancock County Human Resources Group Lunch & Learn.

Mote emphasized that the service does not set out to replace full-time employees, but rather connect employers with flexible, on-demand workers they can pay for as needed.

One advantage Veryable has over temp agencies, Mote continued, is that workers represented by them are often looking for full-time work, whereas Veryable operators are not.

INvets is a nonprofit public/private partnership with the state of Indiana that sets out to attract, retain and cultivate the state’s veteran workforce. Brian Evans, Outreach & Partnerships Manager for INvets and a Hancock County native, said military members bring countless transferrable skills as they prepare to leave the service and enter civilian life.

Brian Evans, Outreach & Partnerships Manager for INvets, speaks at a Hancock County Human Resources Group Lunch & Learn.

Evans added that when he speaks with employers, they are often surprised to learn about the military talent available to them and that most service members are engaged in roles not directly related to combat activities.

Jenny Weidner, Director of Human Resources for Hancock Health, also spoke at the luncheon about the healthcare provider’s new Well-Being at Work employer-based clinic and the benefits it offers to employers in the area.

HEDC receives $2,500 grant for website update

HANCOCK COUNTY – The Hancock Economic Development Council will receive a $2,500 grant from the MIBOR REALTOR® Association Economic and Community Development Council that will go toward updating its website.

HEDC was pleased to learn that its plans to refurbish its website align with the MIBOR ECDC’s mission of supporting organizations and initiatives that build and maintain inclusive and vibrant communities while attracting, developing, and retaining a skilled regional workforce and working towards the attraction and retention of quality jobs for central Indiana.

The Hancock Economic Development Council’s website caters mainly to site selectors and companies considering moving to Hancock County. It includes information about sites, buildings, utilities and incentives, as well as data on the county’s economy and communities. The site also provides information on industries, workforce and schools.

HEDC plans to enlist the help of a website design firm soon. The organization is grateful for the MIBOR ECDC’s investment and looks forward to strengthening its web presence to accommodate companies contemplating the area.

HEDC representatives complete Economic Development Course

MUNCIE – Three Hancock Economic Development Council representatives completed a weeklong Economic Development Course provided by the Indiana Communities Institute at Ball State University.

Brian Blackford, Director of Program Development and Training for the Indiana Communities Institute at Ball State University, speaks at an Economic Development Course hosted by ICI at BSU on May 8, 2023 at the Horizon Convention Center in Muncie.

HEDC Communications Director Mitchell Kirk and HEDC Board Members Joe Murphy and Brian Sheehan attended the course May 8-12 in Muncie. They were among over 80 attendees from across the country. It was the 41st course in 38 years and the three are among more than 2,250 graduates.

David Terrell, Executive Director of the Indiana Communities Institute at Ball State University, left, leads a panel featuring Elkhart Mayor Rod Roberson, Delphi Mayor Anita Werling, Madison Mayor Bob Courtney, and Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen at an Economic Development Course provided by the ICI at BSU on May 10, 2023 at the Horizon Convention Center in Muncie.

The course is rooted in core sessions that are accredited by the International Economic Development Council. Sessions featured a variety of expert speakers in the areas of:

  • The Indiana Economic Development Corporation
  • Managing economic development organizations
  • Professional ethics
  • Strategic planning
  • Data
  • Economics
  • Small business and entrepreneurship development
  • Energy
  • Finance
  • Leadership
  • Indiana Office of Community & Rural Affairs
  • Workforce development
  • Community and neighborhood development
  • Business retention and expansion
  • Marketing and attraction
  • Comprehensive Community Wealth Approach
  • Real estate development and reuse
  • Housing

Michael J. Hicks, PhD, George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Economics and the Director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University, speaks on the Indiana economy at an Economic Development Course provided by the Indiana Communities Institute at BSU on May 7, 2023 at the Horizon Convention Center in Muncie.


Mitchell Kirk

“I was very excited to have this opportunity to learn more about economic development,” Mitchell Kirk said. “The more I know about the practice, the better equipped I’ll be to help tell HEDC’s story. I’m also extremely grateful for the scholarship I received to attend the course provided by the Indiana Municipal Power Agency.”

Joe Murphy

Joe Murphy, an Economic Development Specialist with Garmong Construction Services, said he is thankful to the Indiana Communities Institute and Ball State for putting on such a strong economic development course.

“The experience and knowledge provided by the speakers was unparalleled,” he said. “That coupled with the collaboration amongst all the attendees made this course stand out in my eyes. I’d highly recommend it as a continuing education class for those in the field, as well as those just getting started in their career as an economic developer. I am thankful to Garmong for allowing me to attend and represent our company at such a great event.”

Brian Sheehan

Brian Sheehan, Business Development Manager for HWC Engineering, enjoyed the course as well.

“The folks at the Indiana Communities Institute do a great job,” he said. “I learned a variety of best practices that I am sure will come in handy for years to come. I am thankful that HWC Engineering sees the value in helping its employees grow both personally and professionally. It was fun to see three of HEDC’s newest representatives all attending this training.”

HEDC welcomes new faces

HANCOCK COUNTY – The Hancock Economic Development Council welcomes a new company and faces into its membership.

Derek Rogers and Bill Bolander from Shepherd Insurance in Greenfield recently joined the HEDC. Shepherd Insurance has 36 offices, over 450 employees and has locations in six states. The Greenfield location is unique in that it operates as a local office but has the resources and support from its home office in Carmel. Shepherd Insurance is in the Top 50 largest independent agencies in the nation.

Derek Rogers

After graduating from Ball State University with degrees in Risk Management & Insurance and Business Administration, Derek Rogers joined Shepherd Insurance in 2012. Derek has since earned his Certified Risk Manager (CRM) designation.

Bill Bolander

Bill Bolander is a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and has been with Shepherd Greenfield for over eight years. Bill previously owned his own agency for 32 years and served on the Hancock County Council for eight terms.

Both Derek and Bill are involved in the community and work with many local businesses. Derek and Bill wanted to get involved with the HEDC because of the exciting growth that Hancock County is experiencing. Derek is a lifelong Greenfield resident and Bill has lived in New Palestine for 36 years. Both feel they can contribute to the HEDC with their knowledge of the area and desire to see it grow.

The HEDC also welcomes new faces of member organizations who have recently started representing their companies on the Council. They include Bryan Miller, Senior Vice President and Chief Lending Officer of Greenfield Banking Company (GBC Bank); Joe Murphy, Economic Development Specialist for Garmong Construction Services; and Brian Sheehan, Business Development Manager for HWC Engineering.

Bryan Miller has been with GBC Bank for nine years and oversees the Retail and Commercial Lending for the Bank.

Bryan Miller

GBC Bank has eight locations in Greenfield, Fortville, Cumberland, McCordsville and New Palestine to serve residents and businesses. For over 150 years, it has delivered high-quality financial solutions and personalized, friendly service fostered by a company culture of community involvement, support and volunteerism.

Bryan has been involved in the financing of many projects in Hancock County. He is excited to join the HEDC and to be a part of the county’s continuing growth.

In addition to Garmong’s construction work, the company also offers a robust collection of Economic Development Services, including proposal development, industrial park concepts, budgeting and pro-forma calculations, master planning, and site selection assistance. As an Economic Development Specialist for the company, Joe Murphy actively engages with companies and communities to create a business environment conducive to growth and expansion.

Joe Murphy

Before joining Garmong in August of 2022, Joe spent three and a half years working as Lawrence Mayor Steve Collier’s Deputy Chief of Staff. In that role, he oversaw a number of projects related to economic development and quality of life.

Joe is excited to be an active member of the HEDC.

“I know there is a lot that happens in the communities of Hancock County, and these meetings are a great opportunity for me to stay informed on the news of the months for Hancock County, especially news relating to development,” he said. “I am also interested in getting to know my fellow members better. The business and community leaders in Hancock County have a vested interest in seeing their community improve, so I want to open my ears and hear what they want their community to look like in the future.”

Joe added that Garmong hopes its ongoing support of the HEDC and active membership will help continue to spotlight the continuing growth in Hancock County.

“We want to support the ongoing success of this organization and the whole County,” he said.

HWC Engineering, one of the largest engineering firms in the state, is a full-service planning and infrastructure design firm with offices in Indianapolis, Terre Haute, New Albany, Lafayette and Muncie.

Brian Sheehan

Before joining HWC, Brian Sheehan served on Rushville City Council for over 12 years. He also served as the City’s Special Projects and Community Development Director for almost seven years, during which he provided project management, direction, and oversight for key community projects, including five new housing developments, a new City Center & Theater, new Farmer’s Market, new Brew Pub, new Animal Shelter, new businesses and industry, and new Arts Council and art projects.

Brian was also chairman of the Rushville’s Stellar Committee that was designated by the State in 2016, bringing $14 million dollars in public and private investment to the city’s downtown revitalization efforts.

“I am excited to learn more about what’s going on in Hancock County and am hopeful that my past experiences and new position with HWC will be valuable resources for this group,” Brian said.

Town approves continuing business incentives

FORTVILLE – Officials with the Town of Fortville approved continuing important incentives for three businesses.

DEBO Properties, Thursday Pools and Taxman Brewing Co. received the approvals for continuing tax abatements for improvements the businesses have made in recent years.

All of the abatements deduct the assessed value of improvements by a percentage that declines over the course of 10 years until taxes are fully phased in. Abatements are an important incentive for businesses looking to make improvements that result in new buildings, equipment and jobs. The Hancock Economic Development Council regularly assists businesses seeking such incentives.

After abatements are approved, Fortville Town Council reviews them every year to determine whether the businesses are in compliance.

Town Council members on May 1 unanimously approved continuing abatements for 26,600-square-foot and 32,000-square-foot speculative buildings DEBO Properties is planning at 3253 W. 1000N.

The abatements the Council unanimously approved continuing for Thursday Pools regard building additions at its facility at 840 Commerce Parkway as well as new molds and equipment to manufacture one-piece fiberglass pools. Paperwork filed for the abatements report that the company is up to 145 employees.

Council members also unanimously approved continuing a tax abatement for the development of Taxman Brewing Co.’s location at 29 S. Main St. in Fortville. The bar and restaurant has 16 employees, according to paperwork filed for the abatement.

The Hancock Economic Development Council welcomes the decisions, and thanks Fortville Town Council members for all they do to help businesses grow and thrive.

HEDC receives $5K grant for website update

HANCOCK COUNTY – The Hancock Economic Development Council received a $5,000 grant from Duke Energy that will go toward updating the Council’s website.

This award was among more than $125,000 in grants to 26 local and regional economic development organizations to spur new jobs and investment in Indiana communities, according to a news release from Duke Energy. The grants are through Duke Energy’s Partnership Program, which funds marketing and strategic efforts to grow cities and towns.

“We believe that when our communities thrive, we thrive,” said Erin Schneider, Managing Director of Midwest Economic Development for Duke Energy. “That’s why we work hand in hand with local and regional economic development organizations to bring new jobs and capital investment to the communities we serve, and our Partnership Program is one example of that.”

Grant dollars are used to support marketing campaigns and promotional materials, website development and updates, conference and tradeshow registrations and continuing education.

The Hancock Economic Development Council’s website includes information about sites, buildings, utilities and incentives, as well as data on the county’s economy and communities. It also provides information on industries, workforce and schools.

“Our website is the welcome mat of our community for site selectors and companies considering moving to Hancock County,” HEDC Communications Director Mitchell Kirk said. “We are very grateful for Duke Energy’s assistance in bolstering our online presence.”

Since the Partnership Program was established in 2017, Duke Energy has contributed more than $700,000 in grant funding to organizations that are helping create vibrant economies in Indiana.

To qualify for program consideration, each applicant submitted a plan that would have a direct impact on their community’s economic growth. These awards help local and regional economic development organizations fund marketing and strategic efforts in the communities they serve. Amounts varied depending on the size and scope of the project.

Duke Energy Indiana

Duke Energy Indiana, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides about 6,300 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 890,000 customers in a 23,000-square-mile service area, making it Indiana’s largest electric supplier.

HEDC leader touts county, visits biophilic community on Atlanta trip

Hancock Economic Development Council Executive Director Randy Sorrell recently returned from a sales trip with the Indiana Municipal Power Agency to Atlanta, Georgia.

Sorrell and Indiana Municipal Power Agency representatives met with several companies and shared information about Hancock County and IMPA.

On his trip, Sorrell also learned about ideas for rural and community development during a visit to Serenbe, an urban village in the middle of a forest outside of Atlanta.

Serenbe is made up of hamlets with complementary commercial centers focused on arts, agriculture, health, play and awareness. The village also has a 25-acre organic farm, seasonal farmer’s market, and year-round cultural events.

“Serenbe is all about common-sense ways to develop places for us to live and how we can interrelate with nature and each other in a meaningful way,” Serenbe Founder Steve Nygren says in a video on the community’s website.

The idea for Serenbe stemmed from concern over urban sprawl disturbing the countryside on the edge of Atlanta.

“We discovered the only way to really save it was to develop portions of it to show that you can actually develop without destroying the natural landscape,” Nygren says.

Serenbe buildings feature rustic architecture and stand close to sidewalks that allow pedestrians to reach every urban area in a matter of minutes. Seventy percent of the community’s landscaping is edible, with blueberries at every crosswalk.

Economic development council appoints Communications Director

HANCOCK COUNTY – The Hancock Economic Development Council welcomes Mitchell Kirk as its Communications Director.


Kirk starts in the position after over 10 years as a newspaper journalist – the last four of which he spent at the Greenfield Daily Reporter, where he covered economic development, business and government.

During his time at the Daily Reporter, Kirk wrote about the development surge in Mt. Comfort and surrounding western Hancock County; the towns of Fortville, McCordsville and Cumberland; as well as Greenfield and Hancock County planning and government.

At HEDC, Kirk will be responsible for communications including news releases; content for the web, social media and publications; and serving in a community engagement role.

“I have been fond of Hancock County ever since I moved to Greenfield and was warmly welcomed into the community,” Kirk said. “My work as a reporter has led me to become fascinated by the way government and business intersect. I am very much looking forward to telling HEDC’s story.”

Before arriving in Greenfield, Kirk was a reporter at the Pharos-Tribune in Logansport, Indiana for six years. He grew up in Michigan and North Dakota, and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from St. John’s University in Queens, New York. He has won several awards from the Hoosier State Press Association throughout his career.

As Hancock County continues to grow, so too do the needs of its economic development organization. Kirk’s appointment marks the continuation of HEDC’s growing staff, following the addition of Project Assistant Cailee Brewer in 2021 and Business Development Director Andrew Carty last year.

“We at HEDC are so busy doing the work or our organization, we have no time to tell our story,” said Randy Sorrell, HEDC Executive Director. “We need someone to get our story out to the public and we couldn’t think of anyone better than Mitchell. He’s a known quantity in our community and everyone comments on what a great writer he is. We’re really pleased to have him become a part of our team here.”

Visit hancockedc.com for more information on the Hancock Economic Development Council.

Walmart’s largest e-commerce fulfillment center plans finalized for Hancock County facility

Friday, September 25, 2020 11:15 AM

HANCOCK COUNTY — Walmart announced Thursday that it has finalized plans to establish its largest e-commerce fulfillment center in the United States near Mt. Comfort.

The company, which has been reported to be behind considerations for the project for months, plans to build a 2.2-million square foot facility near the southwest corner of County Roads 500N and 500W. The site is north of Indianapolis Regional Airport and abuts McCordsville’s southern border. Walmart said in a news release from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC) Thursday that the facility will create up to 1,000 jobs by the end of 2025.

According to real estate transfers recently recorded in the Hancock County Recorder’s Office, Walmart Fulfillment Services LLC bought more than 200 acres for the site for more than $9.8 million from Century Soil LP and Brock Farms Inc.

Walmart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, will invest about $600 million to construct and equip the facility.

The facility will allow the company to expand e-commerce operations for its own online inventory and third-party fulfillment for vendors who hire Walmart to store, pack and ship items. Construction is slated to begin this month and the company expects to start operations in fall 2022 before reaching full operational capacity by spring 2024.

“We’re pleased to work with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation on this project and appreciate their support to help bring new development and jobs to central Indiana, which is a key market for Walmart,” said Steve Miller, Walmart senior vice president, fulfillment operations, in the news release. “We look forward to utilizing this fulfillment center to help meet increasing online shopping demands and ultimately serve our customers.”

The IEDC offered Walmart Fulfillment Services LLC up to $1.25 million in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans and up to $4.75 million in conditional tax credits from the Hoosier Business Investment tax credit program based on the company’s planned capital investment in Indiana, according to the news release. The tax credits are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim incentives once workers are hired and investments are made.

This summer, the Hancock County Council approved tax abatements for Walmart’s planned investments of $150 million in real estate and $456 million in personal property equipment. The county is committing to road improvements in the area as well. Duke Energy has also offered additional incentives, according to the news release.

“This is a major win for Hancock County and we’re very fortunate that the world’s largest retailer looked at Hancock County and said this is where we want to build our next-generation, state-of-the-art distribution center,” Randy Sorrell, executive director of the Hancock Economic Development Council, told the Daily Reporter. “That speaks well for the community, our leadership and the fact that we are a very business-friendly community.”

Bill Bolander, Hancock County Council president, agreed.

“We are very, very pleased that Walmart has found Hancock County, and the Mt. Comfort Road Corridor in particular, to be ideal for their operations,” he said in the release. “Both Hancock County and the Hancock Economic Development Council will continue to work with Walmart to ensure a smooth and successful launch and continuing operation of their facility with regard to workforce, infrastructure and overall economic development improvements within the county.”

© 2020 Daily Reporter
Mitchell Kirk, (Greenfield) Daily Reporter

New program available to help Hoosier small businesses build online presence

INDIANAPOLIS The Indiana Small Business Development Center (Indiana SBDC) announced today a new partnership with the Indiana University Kelley School of Business to support the long-term economic recovery of Hoosier small businesses and entrepreneurs. Through a new program, eligible companies may apply for no-cost assistance to help establish or increase their online presence through website development, e-commerce support and other digital tools and services.

“As a state, we’re focused on encouraging long-term planning and investments to propel Indiana’s economy into the future,” Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger said. “With this new partnership, the Indiana SBDC will continue increasing its support for Hoosier small businesses and entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 pandemic, improving access to critical tools and resources to help companies adapt to new markets and enhance their competitiveness by growing their online presence.”

The Indiana SBDC and Kelley launched Project HOPE to support Indiana small businesses negatively affected by COVID-19. Under the program, Kelley students and recent graduates are offered paid internships to assist eligible companies in expanding their online presence, solving technology issues or providing new digital capabilities. The projects, which include creating or modifying websites, building e-commerce platforms, improving cybersecurity frameworks, migrating data, and more, are overseen by faculty members and completed within two weeks.

To be eligible, Indiana small businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • Be an Indiana SBDC client,
  • Have been in business as of February 15, 2020, and
  • Be able to demonstrate a negative impact from COVID-19.

“Since our founding 100 years ago, our school has believed we have a responsibility to support the Indiana business community,” said Idalene Kesner, dean of the Kelley School and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management. “Due to the COVID-19 situation, the need for support is greater today than ever before. Our dedicated faculty and engaged students are ready to apply their expertise and skills to help our state in its efforts to recover from the pandemic.”

To date, more than 75 student interns have participated in Project HOPE, providing more than 8,000 hours of direct technical support to 97 small businesses in 28 counties. Along with these services, student interns provide training and education to enable small businesses to operate the new technology or tool following the conclusion of the project. All work is conducted virtually to ensure the health and safety of Hoosiers. Indiana companies are encouraged to submit applications online.

Black-owned small business partners with Indiana SBDC & Kelley to launch state-of-the-art website 
Nicole Kearney is the vitner and owner of Indianapolis-based boutique winery Sip & Share Wines, which produces a diverse collection of artisanal vegan wines. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Kearney has shifted gears to meet the changing needs of her small business, developing an online strategy to reach new and existing customers. With the help of the student interns, Sip & Share Wines launched a new website equipped with improved functionality for novice and experienced wine drinkers and an e-commerce platform designed to bolster the company’s online sales.

The Indiana SBDC, which is a program of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, approved $150,000 in federal funding provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration through the CARES Act to support the statewide launch of Project HOPE. To learn more about COVID-19 resources and no-cost counseling available to Indiana entrepreneurs and small businesses, visit isbdc.org/indianacovid19smallbusiness.

About Indiana SBDC 
The Indiana Small Business Development Center (Indiana SBDC) is a program of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, which leads the state of Indiana’s economic development efforts. The Indiana SBDC helps entrepreneurs launch, grow and locate businesses in the state, providing entrepreneurs with expert guidance and resources on how to start and grow a business. With a network of 10 regional offices through the state, the Indiana SBDC creates a positive and measurable impact on the formation, growth and sustainability of Indiana’s small businesses.

The Indiana SBDC is funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. For more information about the Indiana SBDC, visit www.isbdc.org.