Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 12, 2012

GKEDA president resigns

Jeb Conrad to leave Chamber and Alliance after 4 years.

by Megan Graham

— Jeb Conrad, the president and CEO of the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, has resigned after four years, the organization announced Wednesday.

Conrad came to the Alliance in 2008 from Indianapolis Economic Development Inc., where he was director. He was hired as the first CEO of the organization, which merged four economic development and business organizations in Kokomo and Howard County. Since that time, Kokomo has had more than $1 billion in new capital investment, with more than 3,000 jobs committed, according to a release from the Alliance. Kokomo also was recognized as Indiana Chamber of Commerce 2011 Community of the Year.

“It’s time for me,” Conrad said Wednesday. “I’ve got some things that I’m very interested in, and the timing just seems right. There are just some opportunities out there that I’m very interested in as my next challenge.” He said he’s enjoyed watching the organization grow in the past four years.

“The perfect storm brought me to the Alliance,” he said. “It’s been a great experience. The organization is four years old now. There are some opportunities for everybody to step back and see where it needs to go from here. Instead of going into the new year with uncertainty with me, [I decided] just to go ahead and let them think about what’s next for the organization.”

“I’m excited, and at the same time I’m going to miss a lot of things that we’ve been doing and a lot of the people.”

Laura Sheets, chairwoman of the Alliance board of directors, said Conrad’s resignation is effective Dec. 31. She said the board will meet today to begin planning a transition and putting together a search committee.

“Jeb has played an instrumental role in convening parties and integrating the organization. He created a common platform to lead efforts in fostering economic prosperity for Kokomo and Howard County. The expertise and fresh perspective he brought to this effort and our community will be missed,” Sheets said in a release.

Ivy Tech Community College Chancellor Steve Daily, past chairman and Alliance board member, said he’s sad to see Conrad go.

“I was on the search committee that selected Jeb, and I think he’s done a fantastic job over the last four years,” he said. “He came in here and did exactly what we needed. We’re all appreciative of that. We wish him the very best as he moves forward in his career.”  

Daily said he hopes the Alliance chooses a president that can pick up where Conrad leaves off.

“It’s an important job,” he said. “We have a lot of momentum going and we don’t want to lose that.”

Megan Graham is the Kokomo Tribune business reporter. She can be reached by phone at 765-454-8570 or by email at megan.graham@kokomotribune.com.