Shining the Spotlight on Kathy Ertel and Jennings County, Indiana

Shining the Spotlight on Kathy Ertel and Jennings County, Indiana

Kathy Ertel headshotThe South Central Indiana Economic Development (SCIED) Group is comprised of 10 county-wide economic development organizations and the River Ridge Commerce Center, with strong support and assistance from partners such as Duke Energy and Hoosier Energy.  

Within each issue of our newsletter, we enjoy highlighting one of our member communities or partners. This month, we highlight Kathy Ertel, the executive director of the Jennings County Economic Development Commission in North Vernon, IN. Kathy has served as Executive Director since 2005. 

Kathy Ertel is a North Vernon, Jennings County native who has worked with the Jennings County Economic Development Commission since 1999. She served as the Workforce Development Director until 2005, at which time she was appointed as Executive Director.

Under Kathy’s leadership, the Jennings County Economic Development Commission (JCEDC) has celebrated steady industrial growth and strong connections between community businesses and the adult and emerging workforce. She has assisted numerous existing Jennings County companies with new investments, and she leads local industry programming about business retention, expansion, attraction and marketing initiatives.

“I’m very proud that Jennings County and the City of North Vernon has had a strong focus toward enhancing our current infrastructure,” said Kathy. “The vision of our community’s leaders will help ensure that future development will not cease due to inadequate resources.”

In addition, JCEDC supports company workforce skills-training programs and is managing several downtown redevelopment projects. As a result of her dedicated efforts, North Vernon was recently named a 21st Century Talent Region by the State of Indiana. JCEDC also partnered with neighboring counties to form a regional focus group on defense/aerospace/cybersecurity which aids the Southern Indiana Industry Defense Network in recruitment efforts.

Jennings County, which lies a short distance east of Interstate 65, is just a 60-minute drive to Indianapolis, Louisville and Cincinnati, and it also is within an eight-hour drive of 60 percent of the nation’s population.

The community also is home to a wide variety of industries, from leaders in the automotive industry such as American Axle, Martinrea and GT Industries, to plastics such as Novolex’s Hilex Poly and the Hilex Poly Recycling Facility, to tooling and machining companies that include Decatur Mold Tool and Engineering.

Further, the Lowes Regional Distribution Center (RDC) in North Vernon was the first RDC located in the Midwest in 1994. Jennings County also is proud of its Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, the only training site in the U.S. providing realistic venues for live, virtual and constructive training and testing events in order to increase training readiness and attract the commercial defense industry.

Kathy currently serves as Secretary of the South Central Indiana Regional Economic Development Group, and she has been an active member of the group for a number of years.

“I have been very fortunate to partner with our group to expand our opportunity to market the region both domestically and globally,” said Kathy.  “Without SCIED’s efforts, it would be quite challenging to share our story.”

Kathy is also is an Executive Board Member of the Southeastern Indiana Rural Planning Commission, a member of St. Vincent Jennings Hospital Board of Directors, a member of the Southeast Indiana Small Business Development Advisory Board, and a founding member of the Southern Indiana Industry Defense Network.

Kathy and her husband Joe have two adult children, Kerigan and John.

Contact Kathy Ertel at or (812) 346-2388. 

Jennings County Economic Development Commission website 

/ Attraction, Indiana