Thank you, Melanie [Walker].
I am very pleased to be here this morning not only to express Indiana University’s strong support for the development of the Trades District Certified Technology Park, but to also help celebrate today’s announcement that the TASUS Corporation, a company led by IU Trustee Melanie Walker, will locate its North American corporate headquarters here in the Trades District and make a major investment in the development of a design and technical center.
Indiana University is proud to serve as the City of Bloomington’s academic partner in the development of the Trades District and has been actively involved over many years in the city’s efforts to develop a technology park.
IU’s Vice President for Engagement Bill Stephan served as a member of the advisory committee that guided the development of the Certified Tech Park Master Plan. IU has also helped support the city’s efforts through student service-learning projects in which students in IU’s School of Art and Design have developed branding materials that can be used to help promote the Trades District—as well as architectural layouts and renderings for tech offices and co-working space here in the Dimension Mill.
The successful development of the Trades District will aid the growth of startup firms and help make it possible for greater numbers of IU graduates and students to find jobs and internships here in Bloomington. Internships are particularly important in growing Indiana’s workforce, as they often lead to full time jobs that keep some of our best talent in the state. This has proven true with TASUS, as you just heard from Melanie.
Our hope is that the Trades District will also encourage IU alumni to bring their companies back to Bloomington and facilitate their immediate connection with the local tech community.
The Trades District will also anchor one end of the “10th Street Innovation Corridor,” with the IU Tech Park at 10th and the Bypass on the east end. Of course, 10th and the Bypass will also be the site of the new IU Health Bloomington Hospital, as well as a new comprehensive academic health center that will allow IU to expand its health sciences education programs. Situated in between, along the 10th Street corridor, are a number of hubs of innovation and entrepreneurship, including IU’s renowned and highly-ranked Kelley School of Business and IU’s School of Informatics and Computing—where a new, state-of-the-art building, Luddy Hall, is currently under construction. The School of Informatics and Computing is home to IU’s new program in intelligent systems engineering. The program welcomed its first students this fall, and is expected to make a major contribution to creating and sustaining a culture of “building and making” on the Bloomington campus, and will thus be an important part of the Innovation Corridor and an important potential partner with the Trades District. Raj Acharya, the new dean of the School of Informatics and Computing, is with us today.
The central location of the Trades District makes it walkable from the IU campus and easy for students, faculty, and staff to utilize the space. It will centralize all of Bloomington’s entrepreneurship support and service activities in one place—a model that has proven successful in other parts of the state, including in Evansville’s high-tech incubator, Innovation Pointe.
I want to commend Melanie Walker and TASUS for their foresight and vision in choosing to locate their headquarters and design and technical center here in the Trades District. The presence here of such a well-established and successful company will undoubtedly help to attract many new and growing tech companies.
And I want to commend Mayor Hamilton and the City, and Lynn Coyne and the BEDC for their efforts, in partnership with the Redevelopment Commission, to redevelop the Dimension Mill and to bring new, affordable housing to this neighborhood.
Indiana University takes its responsibility as a community partner very seriously. We greatly look forward to our continued partnership with the City of Bloomington, the BEDC, the Indiana Economic Development Council, and with local businesses, as we work together to foster innovation and entrepreneurship and to promote economic growth.
Thank you very much.