Greater Fort Wayne Inc. hosted its annual meeting in a hangar at Fort Wayne Aero Center, a fitting location to talk about the community’s future, especially since Fort Wayne International Airport is undergoing a terminal expansion and renovation.
The organization used its annual meeting to talk about accomplishments and growth, to announce the Leadership Fort Wayne and L2.0 graduates, and announce the Champions of Change winners.
They also used the event to break some news about a new program: Onboard Fort Wayne.
The concept is to “help newcomers live their best lives in Allen County while helping companies retain top talent,” according to a GFW announcement.
The program was designed by a team of transplants to Fort Wayne who referred back to their own experiences acclimating to the community.
One of those participants, Jessica Morales, said she moved to Fort Wayne from Connecticut 2 1/2 years ago and hasn’t looked back.
She explained the three pillars of Onboard Fort Wayne:
- Organizing safe social networking events
- Establishing “Community Connectors” — ambassadors who will be paired with newcomers. They will engage one to one “and hopefully become their first friend in Fort Wayne.”
- Providing a digital hub for online resources that also serves as a portal for family members. For example, if the spouse of a newcomer will be looking for a job in this area, they can submit their resume, which can be accessed by GFW Inc. member companies who are looking to hire.
Go to onboardfw.com to learn more.
Scott Hinderman, executive director of airports at Fort Wayne — Allen County Airport Authority, talked about Project Gateway, the expansion and renovation of Fort Wayne International Airport. The east side project is on hold due to the pandemic, but the airport is moving forward with the west side expansion. The project is necessary due to the changes in aircraft since the last major airport renovation in 1993-94. The airport has “eight gates but we can’t put eight aircraft on (the tarmac) at a time,” he said. There’s not enough room for all the wingtips.
Most notable among the changes will be an expansion westward with the addition of two gates, bringing the total number of passenger gates to 10.
Other changes will include more jet bridges, an expanded ticketing area, new children’s play area and new restrooms.
Ellen Cutter, director of economic development, gave encouraging news when she spoke to the audience. “We have one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the Midwest,” she said. “We set a vision and we execute.”