The Hancock Economic Development Council welcomes Erica Boswell as its Community Development Manager.
Erica brings an extensive skill set and background to a critical part of economic development. In her new role at HEDC, she will focus on supporting all of the quality of place initiatives going on throughout Hancock County and leading HEDC’s community engagement initiatives.
The Vincennes native initially attended Butler University on an ROTC scholarship with the U.S. Air Force. She majored in political science before transferring to Indiana University, where she switched to folklore and ethnomusicology.
“I took one class and I fell in love,” she said of her unconventional academic concentration. “My dad about had a heart attack. But actually it’s been really great. It really taught me about qualitative and quantitative research methods, and how to work with communities that I’m not a part of, which is very important in this role. In doing that major, I really fell in love with community development work.”
She added, “I love learning about how other people live, and why. That’s really why I love doing community development work, so that I can help people do that better, and longer.”
Erica met her future husband in the ROTC program at IU, who was commissioned into the Air Force and stationed in Colorado. The couple lived in the state for four years and had their first child before returning to Indiana, where Erica finished her degree.
The family then moved to Indianapolis, where Erica volunteered for community development corporations in different neighborhoods. From there, her professional journey included working with nonprofit consultants and for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis, as well as a brief stint in politics and research. She also ran a business specializing in small residential renovation projects.
Before joining the Hancock Economic Development Council’s staff, Erica was Program Evaluation Manager for the Indiana Association for Community Economic Development, operating as Prosperity Indiana.
Randy Sorrell, Executive Director of the Hancock Economic Development Council, said Erica brings a broad range of experiences and talents to the organization.
“She will round out our economic development endeavors by keeping our community’s quality of life at the forefront of everything we do,” Randy said. “It is often said that economic development and community development are two sides of the same coin. When done correctly, that’s a true statement and it is my goal to make it true in our community.”
Erica is excited to be in her new role.
“For a while there’s been a disconnect between economic development and community development,” she said. “Community development is often seen as the soft skills and the social services, but really they have to work together for communities to really thrive and be vibrant. And I love that Randy has that vision, and that we need to tie the workforce and the financial growth of the community to its residents and its quality of place.”
She is enjoying getting to know Hancock County as well.
“Driving around Greenfield in particular feels a lot like Vincennes,” she said. “It’s nice, and it kind of feels like home, and I’m excited to help a community that feels like home.”