Aerotropolis Presentations


At the request of Dr. Kasarda we have taken his presentation off the public domain.   If you would like to review the presentation please contact Jeff Pipkin at to make arrangements.  Thank you for you interest in this important initiative.

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Local leaders in on aerotropolis


Brian Culp
September 3, 2011


When Dan Moore came to Morgan County 35 years ago, he was impressed with the potential of the area.

Moore, who is president and CEO of Home Bank as well as the president of the Morgan County Economic Development Corporation Board, said the great competitive advantage includes two four-lane highways on either side of the county as well as Indiana University to the south and Indianapolis to the north.

“And frankly we haven’t done a thing about it,” Moore said Friday during a gathering at the Indianapolis International Airport of Morgan County leaders for a presentation on the aerotropolis concept. “This is a second chance.”

An aerotropolis is a network of economic development and transportation logistics centered around the airport and nearby highway and rail systems. Morgan County, as well as Mooresville, has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding to take part in developing strategies for the aerotropolis.

Friday, John Kasarda, who pioneered the concept, expanded on the needs of creating such an economic entity as well as the participation that is needed by surrounding governments.

“In Asia, the Middle East and Europe, they are looking at airports as being the main asset to compete,” Kasarda said. “We have been looking at them as being a nuisance.

“This is not about convenience, not even safety. It’s about regional and international advantage. Airports have become the 21st century business magnets and regional economic accelerators.”

The change in our global economy makes airports the center of development, Kasarda said.

“The Indianapolis aerotropolis will connect its region’s businesses to markets near and far,” he said. “The entire area becomes better connected and therefore more competitive.”

Moore and others at the presentation said they are excited about the concept. The real question comes down to how Morgan County can prevent the opportunity from slipping by, Moore said, during a question-and-answer session at the end.

Kasarda said it will be an ongoing process that involves a lot of communication.

When airport officials go out to promote the aerotropolis idea, “you should go with them,” Kasarda said. “Cities don’t compete. Regions compete.

“To help people understand what we are talking about, you all have to be a part of it and you need to communicate and cooperate and understand that when a business comes in next door it is just as important to you. We are all in this together.”

Corey Wilson, project manager for the IND Aerotropolis, said Friday’s meeting is a great first step in making it happen.

“We believe here at the airport that the first step is getting all the right people to the table,” Wilson said. “It can’t be done in a vacuum; it has to be done collaboratively.”

With five organizations signing on to the memorandum of understanding and three entertaining it, the collaboration is close to coming about, Wilson said. Morgan County, Mooresville, Plainfield and Decatur and Wayne townships in Indianapolis all have signed on. Hendricks County, Avon and Indianapolis have not yet signed the memorandum. Once all are on board, the next step will be creating an inter-local cooperation agreement.

Such an agreement will allow the IND Aerotropolis to begin marketing to potential developers and businesses.

Wilson said they hope to have a draft for the interlocal agreement by the end of the year. This will allow them to begin looking out 5, 10 and 20 years into the future to set up benchmarks, said John Clark, executive director of Indianapolis International Airport.

“We’ve got to be working together so that infrastructure to and from the airport work together so it becomes seamless,” Clark said. “If we are aware of the interests you are pursuing, we can help in that process.”

He thinks Morgan County is headed in the right direction.

“We can’t do it from the airport’s perspective without Morgan County, Hendricks County and Marion County,” Clark said. “The reception we’ve gotten from Morgan County in being a part of this has been extremely beneficial. In many ways you guys are leading this effort by being here today.”

Clark said those groups in an interlocal agreement will be the ones that really set the agenda for the areas that are five and 20 miles out from the airport, forming the aerotropolis.

“We don’t have the answers,” Clark said. “We just recognize what the airport means to this region. Looking at logistics, I think we have every opportunity to be the next logistic and transportation center of North America.

“We are unencumbered. We can take our development and not just let it happen haphazardly. We are saying the airport is here and asking, ‘How do we best leverage that for the region?’

“At the end of the day, the success is that we have a truly integrated effort so that one area isn’t growing and retarding the growth of another.”

Moore said he was excited after Friday’s meeting because he heard the airport officials committing to keeping Morgan County in the loop.

“I think what we heard from John (Clark) is that this is very early in the process,” Moore said. “We are in the first inning of a nine-inning game. But what we walked away with was a commitment that we will be included in this process.

“I think what we have is a seat at the table over how this evolves.”

In addition, it will bring the county together in a vision, Moore said.

“It gives us a theme countywide on how we can look at economic development – logistics and leveraging the airport.

“I think we are finally defining who we are. We have never understood who we are and what our position is. Where that will lead us is to begin building a consensus in the county as to how we will brand ourselves.”

Copyright: 2011

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Town council to join aerotropolis partnership

Mooresville-Decatur Times

Amy Hillenburg

August 20, 2011


The Mooresville Town Council took the first step Tuesday in partnering with surrounding communities in an aerotropolis plan of development. Council members Jeff Cook, John L. Clark, Mark Mathis and council president George Watkins approved the non-binding resolution with the Morgan County Economic Development Corp. and the Indianapolis Airport Authority at their regular meeting.

The aerotropolis plan was set forth by John D. Kasarda, a Kenan Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and director of the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. Dr. Kasarda also heads up the institute’s Center for Air Commerce. He has published more than 100 articles and nine books on airport cities and aviation infrastructure.

The concept joins communities surrounding an international airport that will work together on development that best serves the needs of the airport, residents and businesses. Others joining Mooresville in the nearby area include Wayne and Decatur townships, Hendricks County, Plainfield and Avon.

Dean Mayfield of Mayfield Insurance in Mooresville gave the councilmen a report on the year as far as insurance claims — it’s not been a good one, he said. From September 2010 to this summer, Mayfield said there have been 12 claims, totaling $704,000 over a nine-month period. That figure compares with $268,541 for the 2009-2010 insurance year.

Mayfield said the insurance committee has met, and administration fees will increase by 2.5 percent. There were three big claims — one is over and done with, but the other two are ongoing and may still have costs incurred.

Councilmen voted to renew their policy, raising the town’s deductible from $40,000 to $50,000 per person, effective Jan. 1, which will give Mooresville a maximum exposure of $1.9 million. This is the most expense the town would bear after its reimbursement, Mayfield said. He added that this increase would save the town $42,700 and allow for managed exposure for the insurance company and for the town.

The council approved the increase.

“It is what it is,” Watkins said. “We were due for this, and I think it merits a review.”

In other business, the council voted to approve a revised contract with the MCEDC. Director Joy Sessing said their council reviewed the contract with the town and made some changes in the language to reflect its countywide status. The MCEDC now has two offices; one in Martinsville and one in Mooresville.

Councilmen approved putting up a No Outlet sign and a Children Playing sign in the cul-de-sac of Northpoint Drive to keep traffic from turning around at the dead end. Residents had requested this because children do play in that area.

They also approved putting no-parking signs back up on one side of the road in Sunset Manor. Citizens had shared a written request with street and water supervisor Joe Beikman and councilman Clark many years ago that they needed to have parking spaces on both sides.

“We took them down at that time, but Joe found an ordinance about it. Police and the fire department had looked at it and felt that due to safety reasons, the no-parking signs should go back up,” Watkins said. “I’ve looked at it, and I think this conforms to what’s already out there (in other locations).”

Council members approved the language of the Mt. Olive Manufacturing confirmatory resolution 14-2011 for a tax abatement. Councilman Tony Langley was not at Tuesday’s meeting and did not vote on this, since his brother owns Mt. Olive, and Tony does some work for the company in Flagstaff Business Park.

Beikman said four sites have been chosen to check sewer leakages caused by the flooding earlier this year. There is one on Harrison Street, one in North Park and two on Maple Lane.

“We need some rain, though, before we can find out what we’re looking for,” Beikman said.

Copyright: 2011

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Ribbon cutting for new office

The Morgan County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) officially opened a new office in Martinsville on Wednesday, August 3. The office, located at 110 West Morgan Street, complements its Mooresville location. Participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony were (left to right) Dan Moore, president of the MCEDC and Home Bank; Joy Sessing, executive director of the MCEDC, Phil Deckard, Mayor of Martinsville; and Jamie Thompson, executive director of the Martinsville Chamber of Commerce. MCEDC’s mission is to serve Morgan County by providing education and resources to businesses to foster the growth and prosperity of their residents.

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Commissioners join ‘aerotropolis’ initiative

Commissioners join ‘aerotropolis’ initiative

Aleasha Sandley
August 3, 2011


Morgan County will cooperate with other areas in central Indiana on an initiative designed to extend the economic development impact of the Indianapolis International Airport.

At its Monday meeting, the Morgan County Board of Commissioners voted to sign a memorandum of understanding involving the county, the towns of Mooresville and Plainfield, Hendricks and Marion counties and Wayne and Decatur townships in Indianapolis, all areas likely to be part of the airport’s efforts to become an “aerotropolis.” An aerotropolis is a network of economic development and transportation logistics centered around the airport and nearby highway and rail systems, said Morgan County Council member Jeff Quyle, who will represent Morgan County in the initiative.

Quyle said during long-term planning meetings last year at the airport, officials determined the aerotropolis concept could serve the region best in terms of economic development. Airports in cities such as Dallas, Detroit and Memphis, Tenn., have completed similar networks, he said.

The memo signed Monday by commissioners commits the county’s participation in a study committee in which county officials will have input into the development of the aerotropolis.

Mooresville Town Council President George Watkins said the town likely would approve its own version of the memo. He said he was trying to encourage airport officials to include the city of Martinsville in its planning as well.

Quyle said the airport’s new director, John Clark, wanted to make a statement with the aerotropolis concept.

“He sees this as something that can take the airport in a new direction,” Quyle said.

Morgan County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Joy Sessing said the aerotropolis development is an active and exciting time for the airport and surrounding communities.

“While they talk about a five-mile radius (of economic development impact), I’m positive it will go further than that,” Sessing said.

Copyright: 2011


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Program Aims to Boost Student Internet Access Report

August 1, 2011

News Release

More than 700 Mooresville students will be getting a new tech device to help with homework once the school year starts—a laptop computer connected to high-speed Internet that can tap into the Verizon Wireless network.

New laptops, equipped with Verizon Wireless modems, will be distributed to 8th and 9th grade students at evening pick-ups in August.

The large-scale wireless initiative, which is funded partly by technology grants, is one of only a few in the state accommodating at-home use by students, according to Bob Sendelbach, chief technology officer for the Mooresville Consolidated School Corporation.

The need was determined when school officials found via a survey that only 25 percent of its high school students had high-speed home Internet access. The Verizon Wireless modems are embedded in HP laptops and will allow students to access school district materials in areas covered by Verizon Wireless’ network. All content will be filtered through the school district server.

Verizon Wireless has been working with Indiana school districts since November, when the company loaned smartphones with service to members of the Hoosier Educational Computer Coordinators, a statewide association of IT experts. The event was the origin of a broad-scale user trial conducted in the Midwest, giving IT specialists hands-on experience with devices and Verizon Wireless’ network.

“Indiana school districts are leading the charge in finding many innovative solutions and keeping students connected,” said John Granby, president–Indiana/Kentucky/Michigan Region, Verizon Wireless. “Our outreach into schools is cemented with partnerships like these where technology connects teachers, students, administrators and parents.”

School officials believe their students will have access to unlimited virtual learning opportunities – as well as timely alerts in the event of up-to-date safety information, such as weather delays or school closings.

But homework and class preparation are paramount in the project. “This initiative aligns nicely with our textbook adoption program and available online courses, and will provide our students the tools they need for a 21st century education,” said Mooresville High School Principal Chuck Muston.


About Verizon Wireless in Indiana
In Indiana, Verizon Wireless has more than 550 employees and 37 company-owned retail locations in 24 cities, including Anderson, Avon, Bloomington, Carmel, Columbus, Elkhart, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Greenwood, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Lafayette, Lawrence, Merrillville, Mishawaka, Muncie, Noblesville, Plainfield, Portage, Schererville, South Bend, Terre Haute, Valparaiso and Warsaw.

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s fastest, most advanced 4G network and largest, most reliable 3G network. The company serves 106.3 million total wireless connections, including 89.7 million retail customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 83,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at

Source: Verizon Wireless

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Logistics – the future for Morgan County

HoosierTimes Sunday, July 17, 2011
By Joy Sessing


Indiana is called “the crossroads of America” for good reasons. Consider the following:

  • 75 percent of the nation’s population and businesses are located within one day’s truck drive of Indiana;
  • Indiana ranks first in interstate highway access with 14 interstates;
  • The state ranks ninth in rail miles;
  • The Hoosier state is among the top 10 in airborne cargo and 14th in maritime shipping;
  • The sixth largest air cargo airport in the nation is Indianapolis International Airport;
  • 724 million tons of freight travel through Indiana, making it the 5th busiest state for commercial freight traffic;
  • Perhaps more important, Indiana is among the top 10 states in per capita logistics employment.

So, what is this industry called logistics? In its simplest form, it is getting goods from one location to another. However, it is really more than that. It is also the storing of inventory, managing the supply chain, as well as directing distribution and processing of manufactured goods. Logistics companies require some similar characteristics in their locations as manufacturing firms; however, the availability of transportation networks is key.

Why is Morgan County targeting the logistics industry? Some influential developments are major factors in why logistics is a significant industry for Morgan County. The extension of I-69 is a work in progress now. Construction on it has started in Evansville and is going north. The I-69 corridor, as identified by Indiana Department of Transportation, goes through Morgan County.

Another critical development is the expansion of the Indianapolis International Airport. The airport plans to construct a new runway south of the existing ones that will expand its capabilities for increased air traffic.

The airport has plans for an “aerotropolis.” The aerotropolis concept was created by Dr. John D. Kasarda, director of North Carolina’s Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. His strategy includes an overall plan that makes the airport a key player in global production. This is done by developing airport-related businesses near the airport and surrounding areas.

The jobs in the logistics industry are important for Morgan County. Logistics careers pay about 14.5 percent higher than average private industry jobs. It has been forecast that there will be approximately 18,000 new logistics job openings in Indiana by 2016.

Stay tuned for more information about the exciting logistics industry and its importance to the economic vitality of Morgan County and central Indiana.


Thanks to Conexus Indiana (conexusindiana. com) for statistical information contained in this article.

Joy McCarthy Sessing is the economic development director in Morgan County. Next week’s column will be from our executive panel with ties to the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center.

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