FORT WAYNE, Ind. (ADAMS) – Eric Doden announced his plans to transition out of his role as CEO of Greater Fort Wayne Inc. The change will take effect Dec. 31, 2018.
“The reasons for this change in my life are multiple: I have a passion for operating, coaching, and mentoring in my private-sector ventures, and I have been on a leave of absence from Domo Development for six years. In fairness to my partners, it is time for me to be more fully engaged in our business,” Doden said. “The demands of being the CEO of GFW Inc. are relentless, and I look forward to spending more time with my wife and best friend, Maci, and our five children.”
During Doden’s tenure, GFW Inc. has achieved remarkable results. From 2015-17, the organization assisted with 79 business expansions and relocations in Allen County, including expansions by General Motors ($1.2 billion investment) and Fort Wayne Metals ($51 million investment), and locations by Walmart (a $181 million dairy processing facility) and Multimatic ($39 million investment). These 79 deals resulted in a total of more than 4,200 new jobs and $184 million in new annual payroll. He has also championed community projects such as Riverfront development, The Landing, Electric Works, and more. These high-quality community amenities complement Allen County’s affordable cost of living, creating a more attractive location for jobs and talent.
“Three years ago today, we announced Eric would be joining us as CEO to help in our mission of growing jobs, growing wages, and growing the economy. Since then, he has challenged us to cast a bold vision and to be persistent in implementing that vision. His passion and drive have empowered us to pursue economic development in ways we never had before,” said Andrew Thomas, GFW Inc. board chair. “As a board, we sincerely appreciate Eric’s service to the community. He initially agreed to a two-year contract, and we’re fortunate that he’ll be with us for more than three and a half years. He has done an incredible job of building Allen County’s economic momentum, while also assembling a leadership team that can continue building a nationally recognized economy.”
For the remainder of his tenure, Doden will spend a significant amount of time recruiting companies from across the country to locate in Allen County, and working with Indiana’s major economic development organizations to develop additional state-level tools for a 21st-century economy. He will also work with the GFW Inc. board to help ensure a smooth succession.
Meanwhile, Doden has decided that John Urbahns, executive VP of economic development, will step in as GFW Inc.’s point person for the Electric Works project, effective immediately. Urbahns has a 20-year track record as a leader in Fort Wayne community development, including serving with GFW Inc. for more than four years. With a projected annual economic impact of $387 million and an estimated 1,500+ permanent jobs hosted on the completed campus, Doden calls Electric Works “the most transformational economic development project in the modern history of Fort Wayne.”
“Our potential as a community has never been greater,” Doden said. “I look forward to remaining active in the community and doing my part to build a nationally recognized economy here in Allen County.”