The South Central Indiana Economic Development Group (SCIEDG) 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. Members collaborate regularly with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and other regional organizations.
Within each issue of our newsletter, we enjoy highlighting one of our member communities or partners. This month, we highlight Sabrina Burdine, the executive director of the Washington County Economic Growth Partnership (WCEGP) in Salem, Ind. Sabrina has served as executive director since 2015.
Sabrina Burdine is a Washington County native who has worked with the Washington County Economic Growth Partnership since 2006. She served as the business development director until 2015, at which time she was appointed executive director.
Under Sabrina’s leadership, the WCEGP has celebrated steady commercial growth and strong connections between community businesses and the adult and emerging workforce. She has assisted numerous existing Washington County companies with new investments, and she leads local industry programming about business retention, expansion, attraction and marketing initiatives.
“We have worked hard to build a strong business foundation in Washington County,” said Sabrina. “We have seen major investments in water availability, fiber to the home and road infrastructure, opening our marketing efforts up to new industries we would have not been able to support previously.”
In addition, WCEGP led a community effort to develop a Quality of Place and Workforce Attraction Plan that identified “big ideas” under Quality of Place, Health and Wellness, and Economic and Workforce Development. “This Quality of Place and Workforce Attraction Plan has helped to prioritize projects that our community supports to retain our existing workforce and attract the employees we need to sustain our current industry base,” added Sabrina.
Availability of housing also is a focus of the WCEGP. In 2016, the WCEGP conducted a county housing study that confirmed the need for a variety of housing options. The 2016 Washington County Housing Study spurred local developers to look at housing needs, and Washington County started seeing new developments in family housing and senior independent living duplexes. In 2019, Washington County participated in an 11-county regional housing study and began developing a plan to transform 100+ acres into new housing.
Washington County, which lies approximately 17 miles west 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 GKN Sinter Metals and Metal Powder Products, to Kimball International, an upscale office furniture company. Metal fabrication has made the Town of New Pekin it’s home, welcoming Globe Industries, a pipe fabrication company, and RC Laser, a metal fabrication company specializing in aluminum, stainless or steel products.
Further, economic development is a group effort. In 2018, Washington County became part of an Our Southern Indiana – Regional Development Authority that has worked to create a vision for regional economic development. Washington County is included in plans to explore secondary water resources through the region and a public transit system that could link many cities, towns and urban areas.
Sabrina currently participates in the South Central Indiana Economic Development Group (SCIEDG), and she has been an active member of the group for a number of years.
“The South Central Indiana Economic Development Group provides a marketing base specific to industry attraction. I have been very fortunate to partner with other members of our group to create a marketing strategy and target industry that diversifies Washington County,” said Sabrina. “Without SCIEDG’s efforts, it would be quite challenging to share our story.”
Sabrina is also a member of the Heart of Salem – Salem Mainstreet Committee, a Greater Louisville Inc. Economic Development Partner, an Executive Board Member of Radius Indiana and the chair of the Radius Advisory LEDO Council.
Sabrina and her two children, Brayden and Emma, reside in Salem.