About Us – Overview

The LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization who serves as the central point of contact for economic development efforts in LaGrange County. 

Our Mission Statement 

The Mission of the LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation is to improve the quality of life for the citizens of LaGrange County, Indiana through the enhancement of employment opportunities resulting from the responsible growth and retention of business and industry. 

Who Supports Us 

We are supported on an annual basis by contributions from the local governments of LaGrange County communities, as well as by the private sector.  LaGrange County, the Town of LaGrange, Town of Topeka, Town of Shipshewana, and the Town of Wolcottville all provide public financial support for the LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation. 

We also recieve private support from local and regional businesses, such as banks, utilities, hospitals, industry, and small businesses.  The LaGrange County EDC has been able to leverage private financial contributions because the private sector sees the value in economic development and the positive impact that economic development has on our community.

How We Do This 

We work with regional, state and federal partners to support and encourage our clients’ business development endeavors.

Our approach centers on four main areas of concentration: business retention and expansion, business attraction, entrepreneurial development and improving overall quality of life. This process guides us on our mission to better the lives of LaGrange County citizens, both individual and corporate, through the responsible growth and enhanced opportunities that economic development brings. 

The LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation board and staff will act as advocates for potential new developments in our communities.  In addition to the pro-business climate that exists in LaGrange Countya and in Indiana, we will actively pursue incentives from our various partners to ensure that LaGrange County is where you call “home”.  Read more about why LaGrange County is “A Great Place To Be.”

Staff

Bill Bradley - President and CEO

Mr. Bradley is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana and has been an active economic developer for almost 30 years, all in the northern half of Indiana. Mr. Bradley holds a Bachelors Degree from Purdue University along with a Master of Public Administration degree from Ball State University. He has helped in the creation of three economic development initiatives (the NewAllen Alliance, the Adams County Economic Development Corporation and the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County). In addition, he has served two mature organizations (the Logansport-Cass County Economic Development Foundation and the Wabash Economic Development Corporation). He has served as a board member of the Indiana Economic Development Association, several workforce development boards, and has been an active Rotarian most of his career. He is the past President of the Hoosier Heartland Industrial Corridor, a group that sought a new four-lane highway in north central Indiana. Mr. Bradley has served on numerous local committees along with being very active in church activities.

Sherri Johnston - Vice President
Sherri is a native of LaGrange County with deep family roots in the county. She graduated from Marian University in Indianapolis with a B.S. degree in accounting. She began a series of positions in the private sector, utilizing her skills in accounting. Most recently, she was director of the Parkview LaGrange Foundation. She has been a volunteer with activities at Prairie Heights, the Mongo Lions Club, the LaGrange County 4-H Goat Club Committee and serves as a Junior Achievement volunteer. She and her husband Todd have two children, Lydia, a freshman at Purdue University, and Amelia, a sophomore at Prairie Heights High School. In her free time, she enjoys being on the water especially kayaking the Pigeon River.
Verna Witham - Office Manager

Prior to joining the LCEDC Verna worked at Farmers State Bank for 10 years primarily as an executive assistant. She is a National Salvation Army Disaster volunteer and served in the Hurricane Harvey disaster in Texas. Her and her family have resided in LaGrange for over 25 years.

In her spare time she enjoys antiquing, reading and spending time with her grandchildren.

Board of Directors

Chairman: Mark Eagleson - Representative, Town of LaGrange

Mark is a lifelong resident of LaGrange County, and is the father of three grown children. Mark is currently the Town Manager for the Town of LaGrange, and serves as the Town of LaGrange Representative on the LCEDC board. Mark has served as President of the LaGrange Town Council, on the board of the Northeast Indiana Solid Waste District, and he is currently the Chairman of the LaGrange County Democratic Party.

Vice Chair: Marvin Lehman - Owner of Heartland Mattress, LLC

Mervin started Heartland Mattress in 2009 and expanded in 2011 at their facility in Shipshewana. Heartland Mattress currently produces ten different models, which are sold in approximately 30 different furniture stores from Pennsylvania to Texas.

Mervin is also the General Manager of Riverside RV along with serving on several boards in the community: the Purdue Extension Board, and the LaGrange County Habitat for Humanity.

Mervin enjoys traveling as a hobby, and was raised in LaGrange County where he lives with his wife, their four children, and grandson.

Secretary: Jordi Disler, RN, MSN - President of Parkview Hospital LaGrange

Jordi graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Marian College in Indianapolis and later earned a master’s degree in nursing administration/executive nurse from Indiana Purdue University in Fort Wayne. After holding various nursing positions, Disler was hired as the clinical manager of medical, surgical and orthopedic patient care for Parkview North Hospital in 2001 and became the director of nursing for the new Parkview Ortho Hospital in 2007. Disler was appointed vice president of patient care services for Parkview LaGrange Hospital in 2011, a role she held until her appointment in February, 2016, as president of Parkview LaGrange Hospital.

Disler is a member of the American Organization of Nurse Executives and serves as a board member for several local agencies including the LaGrange County Chamber of Commerce, Impact Health Occupations Education regional advisory board and the LaGrange County Health Occupations Education advisory board.

Treasurer: TJ Kempf - Farmers State Bank -Executive VP/CLO
Mark Leu - President & CEO; LaGrange County REMC

Mark began his career at the cooperative in 1999; for the first five years in engineering. He serves on the LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation. He also serves on the leadership at Brighton Chapel. He and his wife, Wanda, have 3 children. In his spare time he enjoys woodworking.

Charles Ashcraft - LaGrange County Council

Charlie is the County Council representative on the LCEDC Board of Directors.  Charlie spent most of his career as a commercial lender for a number of diffent banks, most recently Farmer’s State Bank, based locally in LaGrange. 

John Larimer - CEO of Lord's Seed and Partners Brand Seed Corn

John Larimer is the President of Lord’s Seed LLC, Partner’s Brand Seed, and Lord’s Grain, all headquartered here in LaGrange County, IN.  Lord’s Seed, LLC raises over 2% of the domestic seed corn in the United States.  John is a lifetime resident of LaGrange County, and has been married to his wife Sherrie for 40 years.  John and Sherrie have three children (David, Mark, and Rebekah) who are also owners of the families businesses.  John represents the agricultural industry on the LCEDC board of directors.

Anu Sahni - Owner of All That Jazz

Anu Sahni is the owner of All That Jazz and property owner of the old Jayco complex on State Road 9.

Jason Boggs
Jeff Brill - LaGrange County REMC

Jeff Brill retired from the highway department after working there for 40 years. Now, he works part time for Civilcon, a company from Jeffersonville, IN that sales culvert and bridges. He has been a director for LaGrange County REMC for 13 years, and he has been on the county council since January 2017.

Fritz Schlabach - Owner of Rockrun Industries

Fritz Schlabach is the founder and owner of Rock Run Industries LLC., a fabricated steel and aluminum parts supplier to the RV industry. They have been in business for 15 years and have 45 employees.

Terry Martin - County Commissioner

Terry moved to LaGrange County in 1984, after he graduated from the Indiana State Police academy. Prior to the police academy, Terry served in the United States Navy for five years. In 1991, Terry switched his job from the Indiana State Police to the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Department. There he moved up through the ranks, and he was elected as sheriff for two terms. He retired from the Sheriff’s department in December of 2014. 

Currently, Terry is one of the county commissioners, and he works as a police office for the Parkview Health PD as a site Lieutenant at Parkview LaGrange Hospital. He enjoys riding horses and competing in Mounted.

Mike Esselburn - Director of HR at Nishakawa Cooper
Jeremy Burgi - Owner of Schlemmer Hardware
Robbie Miller - LaGrange County Planning and Zoning

Robbie graduated from Lakeland High School and continued her education at Tri State University where she earned  a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering Degree.  

Stewart Bender - Representative of the Town of Topeka
Dana Berkes - Public Affairs Manager at NIPSCO

Dana Berkes Serves as Public Affairs Manager for Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO). In this position, Dana manages NIPSCO’s public, governmental and community relations for the 10-county East Region.

Prior to joining NIPSCO, Dana was public relations manager for Frontier Communications and served as marketing director for the Embassy Theatre.

Dana has a bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Indiana University and lives in Fort Wayne with her family.

Bob Shanahan - Shipshewana Town Manager
Dean Domer – Town of Wolcottville

Committees

LaGrange County Investment Fund Advisory Committee

The LaGrange County Investment Fund Advisory Committee consists of local business and thought leaders in LaGrange County.  

The investment fund was set up in late 2009 by the LaGrange County EDC in conjunction with the LaGrange County Commissioners and LaGrange County Council to act as a “deal-closing” and “capacity-building” fund in LaGrange County.

These members are:

 

  • Randy Fry, CPA – Vice Chair – Randy Fry, CPA
  • Mike Rowe – Chair – JO Mory
  • Freeman P. Miller – F&N Woodworking
  • Ervin Miller – E&S Woodworking
  • Bill Connelly – LaGrange Publishing Co. (LCEDC Board Rep)

 LaGrange County Revolving Loan Fund Committee

The LaGrange County Revolving Loan Fund Committee manages the newly created LaGrange County Revolving Loan Fund.  They provide a recommendation to the LaGrange County Council and Commissioners on applicants who have applied for a low interest loan from the Revolving Loan Fund.  

The committee was designed to include a set of thought leaders in the community who can make an informed decision on the financial viability of a potential applicant.

The Committee Members are:

 

  • Kerry Sprunger – Farmer’s State Bank – Banking Industry Representative
  • John Mory – JO Mory – CFO Representative
  • Anna Efthimou, CPA – Accounting Representative
  • Wes Shie, Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center – SBDC Representative
  • Ryan Riegsecker – Riegsecker Marketplace – LaGrange County Council Representative
  • Larry Miller – LaGrange County Commissioners – LaGrange County Commissioners Representative
  • Mark Leu – LaGrange County REMC – LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation Representative 

Partnerships

The LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation is proud to recognize those that have partnered to help make our organization possible. In addition to our financial sponsors, those that have given of their time to help make our organization what it is: