Within each issue of our newsletter, we enjoy highlighting one of our member communities or partners.This month, we highlight Jim Plump, the executive director of the Jackson County Industrial Development Corporation (JCIDC) in Seymour, Ind. Jim has been in his role since the organization’s inception in 1984.
Jackson County and Seymour, its largest community, lie approximately one hour south of Indianapolis, Ind., and one hour north of Louisville, Ky., via Interstate 65. A major north-south artery, the interstate slices through the county on the east side of Seymour, and U.S. Highway 50 bisects the county from east to west, a unique combination that eases travel to a range of destinations.
Jackson County has a deep, strong agricultural background, but manufacturing has played an increasingly important role over the decades. Today, a growing health-care sector, along with expanding educational opportunities, make for a diverse and durable local economy.
Under Jim’s leadership, the JCIDC is recognized as one of the top economic development organizations in the Midwest for work in attracting and retaining industries and creating innovative programs to assist the business community. He has been involved in the development of Seymour’s East Side Industrial Park, as well as the business park in Crothersville. Those two sites are home to many domestic and international businesses, including six companies from Japan.
During Jim’s career, he has made 30 trips to Japan and the Far East, and he is highly respected throughout the Hoosier State and the Midwest for his ground-breaking efforts to forge positive, long-term relationships with Japanese business leaders.
“Building lasting relationships with Japanese companies in the automotive sector was a priority of ours from the beginning, and I’m happy our work in this area has paid tremendous dividends for Seymour and Jackson County,” said Jim. “I’m incredibly fortunate we’ve been able to not only establish relationships with Japanese business leaders, but also to see those relationships develop and flourish into real friendships. It has been extremely important that our work has received consistent support from a succession of mayors, as well as other leaders in our community.”
In addition, Jim served as the founding president (2002 – 2011) of the South Central Indiana Economic Development regional marketing group.
“Participating in the South Central Indiana Economic Development Group has opened doors for my community and our region as a whole,” said Jim. “The other members of the group are true professionals who are well-versed in our region, and we benefit from coming together to discuss mutual issues of concern and market our region as a whole. We’ve succeeded at working hard to collaborate and represent our region well and, in turn, deliver a series of ‘wins’ for our part of the state.”
Jim is a native of Salem, Ind., and he graduated from the University of Evansville with a degree in journalism. He also is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute (OU/EDI).
He earned his Certified Economic Developer designation (CEcD) from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in 1992, and he was awarded Fellow Member (FM) status from the international organization in 2013 for his service to the profession. He will be awarded the HLM (Honorary Life Member) by the IEDC at the organization’s upcoming national conference in October.
Jim also served as president of both the Indiana Economic Development Association (IEDA) and the IEDA Foundation and served as a member of the Indiana Lt. Governor’s Economic Development cabinet.
A member of the Board of Directors of the Japan America Society of Indiana since 2005, he also is on the advisory board for Indiana University-Purdue University-Columbus (IUPUC).
In the past, Jim served his community as president of the Seymour Boys and Girls Club (and was awarded the club’s “Dr. Joseph Black Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2017), and as president of Leadership Jackson County. At present, he is a member of the Schneck Medical Center Foundation Board and the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts.
He was recognized for his extensive civic involvement by being named “Citizen of the Year” by the Seymour Chamber of Commerce in 2001 (the Seymour Chamber also awarded JCIDC the “Corporate Citizen of the Year” award in 2015).
Further, Jim received a “Sagamore of the Wabash,” which is the state’s highest civilian honor bestowed by the governor, in 2004, and was named a “Lion Legacy” by his high school alma mater in 2016. The Indiana Economic Development Association presented him with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2018 during the organization’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Prior to his career in the economic development profession, Jim was an award-winning sportswriter for newspapers in Seymour and Columbus, Ind., and he has continued his passion for sports by hosting “Speaking of Sports” on Seymour radio station WJAA-FM for more than 25 years.
Jim and his wife, the former Jana Sciarra, reside in Seymour, and are the parents of two sons, Eric (Bloomington, Ill.) and Cory (Kingston, N.Y.), and the grandparents of Asher and Owen (Bloomington, Ill.).
Contact Jim Directly to Learn More:
Jackson County Industrial Economic Development Corp.
301 N Chestnut Street, PO Box 783
Seymour, IN 47274