Collaboration is the Key to Success: Remarks From Trevor Friedeberg 

ECIRP receives $35 million for READI 2.0. Photo providedECIRP receives $35 million for READI 2.0. Photo provided

Editor’s note: Trevor Friedeberg, CEO & President at the East Central Indiana Regional Partnership (ECIRP), has been instrumental in guiding the region’s journey through READI 1.0 and now into the promising era of READI 2.0. As we reflect on the culmination of efforts, this is his perspective on the greatest takeaway– In East Central Indiana, our greatest strength has always been each other. 

By Trevor Friedeberg—

MUNCIE, IN East Central Indiana (ECI) hasn’t been immune to challenges mirroring broader statewide trends. From job losses to population decline, the headwinds facing our region have been strenuous. Over the last decade and post COVID, several counties within ECI have experienced a decline in population, talent, and highly skilled workers, with concerns surrounding economic stagnation and outmigration. These realities cast a shadow of uncertainty over the future, leading many to question whether revitalization was within reach. Reshaping this narrative was the first hurdle we had to overcome. 

Central to our mission was the recognition that strength lies in unity—that by coming together, we could overcome even the most daunting of obstacles. Through open dialogue opportunities such as workshops, surveys, and stakeholder sessions, we worked together to capture the pulse of our region listening intently to concerns about access to education, housing, childcare, and talent attraction.  

The goal from here was clear: to cultivate a shared vision that transcended county lines and individual interests. It wasn’t always easy; changing mindsets and fostering trust required persistent effort. Yet, with every conversation, we witnessed the seeds of collaboration taking root. 

Listen to Steve Lindell’s interview with Trevor as broadcast live on WMUN radio on April 15th.


Forging the Path Forward

In 2023 the fruits of our labor were unmistakable. Over 3,000 voices joined in crafting a strategic roadmap that addressed regional concerns and aspirations alike. With the announcement of a $35 million READI 2.0 grant from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), a $20 million increase from the first round of READI, our collective determination has been affirmed. 

The Partnership’s comprehensive preparation for READI 2.0 was no small feat. Building on the lessons gleaned from READI 1.0, we meticulously refined our regional development plan and essentially rebuilt it from the ground up. The process was inclusive, transparent, and driven by a shared commitment to propel East Central Indiana toward a thriving future. 

 Looking Ahead 

As we eagerly anticipate the next chapter, it’s clear that our work is not over. With the support of READI 2.0 funding, we’re poised to turn vision into action. From bolstering infrastructure to enhancing quality of life initiatives, our goals are ambitious yet attainable. The road ahead may present challenges, but with our newfound spirit of collaboration, there’s no limit to what we can achieve. We’re forging a path that isn’t measured solely in dollars and cents; it’s measured in the lives changed and communities revitalized. 

We are so grateful of every individual, organization, and community member who contributed to this journey, your dedication has been the cornerstone of our success. Together, we’ve proven that collaboration isn’t just a buzzword—it’s the lifeline for progress.  


About the East Central Indiana Regional Partnership

The East Central Indiana Regional Partnership is dedicated to fostering economic growth in the East Central Indiana nine-county region as the lead economic development marketing and business attraction organization. Through collaboration with local economic development organizations and the state’s lead agency – the Indiana Economic Development Corporation – ECIRP will work to attract new investment, support existing industries, and enhance the quality of life, place, and opportunity for all residents.