EDC MARKS 20 YEARS: Tio looks toward future

COLUMBIA CITY — Twenty years in the making has put Whitley County’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) in a position to focus on the future, rather than simply celebrate the past.While reveling in its 20th anniversary, Alan Tio, president of the EDC, applauded the organization’s capabilities to help launch new businesses in Whitley County as well as sustain existing ones.“We have had a lot of success throughout 20 years in attracting businesses, and we have tried to keep existing businesses here as well. We are the only community in the region to offer a small business program as part of our EDC,” Tio said.“We try to help everybody — and we can. Whether they are an entrepreneur with an idea written on a napkin, or they are a stable business looking to expand the market,” Tio said. Tio has been with the EDC for five years, and said the source of recent success has come from a surprising area.“Much of that has been the great recession and recovery,” he said. “It required us to work with companies and find growth opportunities. It does take a lot of creativity and innovation.”This has moved the EDC to a new place. Some of these business resources did not exist 10 years ago. Back then, the economy was stronger on a national level. Tio said the change in economy has made a difference.“Necessity has been a great motivator in order to be responsive to every company and every community,” Tio said. “We make sure we pursue opportunities in every corner of the county.”