Jon Bond named as executive director of Switzerland County Economic Development

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The Switzerland County Economic Development Corporation was formed in 2003 by an economic development commission that had been appointed by the county council. That commission formed non-profit corporation to be active in attracting business and industry to the county while also assisting current businesses with their needs.

That corporation took the next step recently when it hired an executive director to lead the group and head the effort. After receiving and reviewing numerous applications from all around the country, members of the council found the best person for the job — and decided it was time for him to come back home.

Jon Bond has been working in Indianapolis, but is a native of Patriot and the son of Craig and Linda Bond. While working for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, he lead a group of civic leaders in the development of the comprehensive plan for economic development here — so he is already up to speed on how to put that plan into action.

“I think it’s going to be a very action-packed first year,” Jon Bond said from his office in Indianapolis. “We’ve got a really aggressive plan and it’s not going to just sit on the shelf. We’re going to put it in play and see where it takes us.”

Assuming his new duties on May 1st, Jon Bond said that he is very encouraged by the committee already in place and their willingness to go forward.

“I think that the community leaders and others are really ready to get things started down there,” Jon Bond said.

Jon Bond said that some of the things identified in the strategic plan will be tackled quickly, pointing to such issues as providing high-speed Internet access around the county. Having this service available all over Switzerland County would be attractive to potential business and industry, as commerce around the country becomes more and more automated and on-demand.

It’s development also provides better communication for county residents.

“Along with that, agribusiness is a big topic of importance with people,” Jon Bond said. “I think people are going to see us be aggressive in that area, as well. As agriculture changes here in the county, we need to be able to help farmers move into other areas that are profitable for them and also provide a service that will attract business.”

Jon Bond will be working closely with members of the Switzerland County Economic Development Corporation — Judy Firth, Darin Gullion, and Rhonda Griffin — and will also be pulling in representatives from different areas of the county in order to gauge the economic climate as different options for economic development are pursued.

“Our job is to put the county into the position where it can take advantage of those ‘lucky breaks’ that happen all the time,” Jon Bond said. “A community never knows when a business or industry might suddenly shown an interest, so it needs to be ready when that time comes. We need to be in a position of being ready when a business is ready; and we also need to be ready when a business that’s already here needs some help or is trying to grow.”

The new executive director said that in order to do this, people from all different groups need to be working together. He said that representatives from education, tourism, and utilities are particularly important; but that nearly every group, including civic organizations, can participate.

“Just about every group in the county has a stake in this,” he said. “Almost every group cares about education, business, our quality of life. We need everyone at the table to make this a success.”

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Jon Bond is currently doing legislative affairs work for the Lewis and Kappes Law Firm in Indianapolis; and formerly worked for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development in the state capital.

A 1993 graduate of Switzerland County High School and a 1997 graduate of Hanover College, Jon Bond graduated from the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis in 2001. He is also well respected around the state politically, and in 2002 he was the Democratic nominee for Indiana State Clerk of Courts.

On the economic development front, in addition to his experience at the Department of Workforce Development, Jon Bond attended the Economic Development Academy at Ball State University; and the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute.

He also previously served as the Director of Operations for the Indiana Economic Development Council; and was Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Planning at the Department of Workforce Development.

When he begins his new duties, Jon Bond will have a temporary office in the Vevay Switzerland County Foundation office while the corporation looks for a permanent office site.

“it will be very temporary until we find a permanent location for the office,” Jon Bond said. “The corporation board has been thinking about this, and we don’t want to spend a lot of time not doing things because we don’t have an office set up. We want to get started right away.”

So Jon Bond is making preparations to leave Indianapolis and return to his home county. He does so with a lot of excitement about what the future will bring for this community, and looks forward to being a part of that growth.

“I’m really excited about this,” he said. “Switzerland County was the reason that i got into economic development in the first place. I’m looking forward to coming home and putting those things to work.”