Gillenwater to depart Grow Wabash County

Gillenwater to depart Grow Wabash County Main Photo

20 Nov 2023

Alerts, News

Wabash County, IN  – Grow Wabash County (GWC) today announces the impending departure of its current president and CEO, Keith Gillenwater.  

During his nine-year tenure as president and CEO, Gillenwater played a key role in many of the large-scale initiatives and projects in Wabash County. In 2017, he led the merger of both the Wabash County Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Group of Wabash County which resulted in the creation of the new Grow Wabash County.

"Keith has been a great asset to our organization and to the entire county. Grow Wabash County has thrived and grown under his leadership,” Marilyn Custer-Mitchell, GWC board chair, said. “Several of the accomplishments under Keith's leadership include his work to secure large-scale projects such as the Ford Meter Box expansion and the BioNutrients headquarters as well as the development and adoption of the Imagine One 85 initiative.”

Under Gillenwater’s leadership, Grow Wabash County has been the catalyst and driving force behind several big picture initiatives regarding entrepreneurship, foreign direct investment and workforce development, areas that had been previously underserved. 

As such, Gillenwater and Grow Wabash County spearheaded the Imagine One 85 initiative in partnership with the Community Foundation of Wabash County and local elected officials representing all of Wabash County. The Imagine One85 plan is the first of its kind in the community, being a countywide strategic plan focused on arresting and reversing decades of population decline in Wabash County, and has led to several exciting new initiatives that are moving the needle in our community.  

Gillenwater’s primary goal has always been to help Wabash County not only grow, but reach its full potential. Since starting in late 2014, Gillenwater has helped facilitate over $500M in new investment into Wabash County, resulting in over 800 new job commitments, almost $40,000,000 in new payroll, and generating over $1M per year in local income tax back to the community. 

“It’s truly been the biggest honor of my career to have been the president and CEO of both the  Economic Development Group and Grow Wabash County here for the last nine years,” Gillenwater said.  “Wabash is the place my family and I have called home for a long time and I’ll forever appreciate that I was entrusted with leading the community’s economic and community development efforts for the last decade.  I’m proud of our accomplishments and where I am leaving the organization for the next president and CEO.  I will always think of Wabash County as my home.” 

In the coming weeks, Grow Wabash County will be entering into a search process to select the organization’s next president and CEO. 

“We will miss Keith's leadership, his expertise and experience with economic development,” Custer-Mitchell said. “We wish him and his family the best as they move forward with their new venture.  The Grow Wabash County Board is actively engaged in finding Keith's replacement at this time and Keith has committed to helping us during the interim while we transition to our next leader.“

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