Japan NE-Indiana Summit explores future of Indiana automotive industry

Japan NE-Indiana Summit explores future of Indiana automotive industry Main Photo

27 Jul 2022


Wabash County, IN (July 25, 2022) – Grow Wabash County was honored to host the 2022 Japan-Northeast Indiana Summit on Tuesday, July 19, at the Eagles Theatre in downtown Wabash.

This year’s summit was organized collaboratively with the Japan-America Society of Indiana (JASI) and the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership (NEIRP) to bring together local leadership, economic development professionals and Japanese-owned businesses operating in northeast Indiana.

The theme of this year’s summit focused on automotive electrification and the exciting opportunities, as well as some of the challenges, that this growing trend may offer to the region. 

The day began with remarks from City of Wabash Mayor Scott Long and JASI executive director, Theresa Kulczak, both of whom reflected upon the importance of hosting a summit to further strengthen regional bonds with Japanese businesses.

Mayor Long even connected the ideas of electrification back to the City of Wabash’ claim to fame as the world’s first electrically lighted city. 

“The Arc Light, was just the start of the story of electrification in Northeast Indiana,” Long said in his remarks. “That bright light long ago served as the spark that has resulted in the region’s growing authority in the automotive industry regarding the development and manufacturing of electric vehicles.”

Consul-General Hiroshi Tajima also attended the Summit and presented remarks on the importance, especially in this day and age, of fostering these international ties between Japan and northeast Indiana. 

The rest of the day’s agenda featured professionals from multiple companies and organizations presenting on what’s on the horizon in terms of automotive innovation and electrification. 

After convening to the Parkview Ballroom for lunch, Grow Wabash County president and CEO, Keith Gillenwater, moderated a panel focused on workforce development and how communities in northeast Indiana can best serve not only Japanese-owned companies in the area, but all companies that are facing challenges connected to the ongoing labor shortage. 

The summit concluded with a networking mixer that featured Japanese-influenced classical music performed by Elaina Robbins and Dr. Daniel Quinn.
Grow Wabash County, JASI and NEIRP would like to extend a thank you to all of the companies and organizations that sponsored the 2022 Japan-Northeast Indiana Summit and helped make it a success!

Title Sponsor: Indiana Michigan Power
Keynote Sponsor: NIPSCO
Meal Sponsors: Duke Energy; Huntington County EDC
Networking Sponsor: Wabash Valley Power Alliance
Entertainment Sponsor: City of Wabash
Table Sponsors: Heartland REMC; Midwest Language Services, LLC; State Senator Andy Zay

Grow Wabash County, JASI and NEIRP are already in talks to prepare for the 2023 Japan-Northeast Indiana Summit. Stay up to date on details for this event by visiting www.growwabashcounty.com. 

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