FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The new president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership says he sees a lot of potential for new opportunity and growth in the region. Stephane Frijia will begin his new role next month, succeeding John Sampson, who stepped down from the role earlier this year. Frijia says he wants to use the skills he has developed over the last 10 years at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council to help the partnership achieve its goals.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Frijia said being a new arrival to the region, he has a lot to learn over the next few months.
“But, I am relying on a very strong team that has many years in the region, so I think I’m very fortunate in that,” said Frijia. “The conversation I had with the board was really about going back to basics, going back to economic development (and) business attraction. So, we’ll be focusing on the opportunities that the region has already in play, focusing on the strengths in manufacturing, advanced technologies – whether it’s automotive, whether it’s medical devices, aerospace – and then frankly, develop a very sharp and data-supported use case…that we can then take to local partners so that they can help us connect with the supply chain.”
Frijia says he wants to also look at gaps and opportunities for potential new companies that are looking to grow nationally or foreign companies looking to establish a U.S. presence. He says the opportunity to undertake those efforts made the new job attractive to him.
During his time at GPEC, where he started on the research team focused on special projects, Frijia says he helped develop an economic blueprint as the region looked to rebound from the Great Recession. He says in northeast Indiana, he wants to bring what he learned to the table.
“In my career, (I went from) from strategy development in early stages to understanding data and how you position data to clients in a way that is actually useful,” he said. “Then, internationally, I spent many years traveling around the world and put into practice some of the strategies that were developed earlier and ultimately focused on clusters. My latest work here at GPEC was leading the region’s semiconductors and microelectronics work.”
Frijia is currently in the process of relocating to northeast Indiana and will begin his new role on Oct. 11.
Frijia will be a guest on this weekend’s edition of Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.