By April Abernathy
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Anderson University bridges the gap between university and community by encouraging involvement and creating jobs through the Flagship Enterprise Center and Colts training camp.
“The Flagship Enterprise Center is engagement. It’s active, intentional involvement of a public private partnership,” Chuck Staley, President and CEO of the Flagship Enterprise Center, said. “It’s really the strongest engagement effort.”
The Flagship was a collaboration with the city free of any political swing, he said. The Center has created 75 companies since 2005 and 1,800 jobs at Flagship Park.
“The companies are very diversified with technology and skill,” Staley said.
Among the companies created were those that helped in the growth of the declining automotive industry in Madison County. The companies included those responsible for the first ever plug in vehicle for service and fleet, makers of lithium-titanate batteries, vehicle electrification and software company development.
“We’re always into growth. We build on the legacy of the community,” he said.
Staley said the success over the creation of the Flagship Enterprise Center created buzz with other universities wanting to fill the gap between university and community.
“We have hosted thirteen universities and communities,” he said. “They ask, ‘How do you do this? Could we do this in our community?’”
Besides creating companies and jobs, Staley said the center continued an individual’s growth in education by offering a residential master’s in business administration.
“They live, eat and go to school here,” Staley said. “Then they go and apply it.”
The building also housed a professional development center and sponsored the Anderson Business Incubator.
“We continue to build and network relationships and collaborate with centers globally,” Staley said.
Perhaps the more obvious community interaction between Madison COunty residents and Anderson University came into play with the return of the Colt’s training camp in 2010.
“We began talking to the Colts about returning by talking about why they have camp, Sena Landey said. “It was a great way for fans to see the Colts. For many people, it would be a struggle to get money to see the Colts play and even meet and get autographs.”
Landey, vice president for finance and treasure at Anderson University, was satisfied that the goal of getting the community to be around the team and interact with them was met.
The influx of fans coming to see the Colts brought a significant increase in traffic for businesses on the east side. Some jobs, even if temporary, were also created to help with maintaining the camp.
“We projected a positive image. We benefit from their (the Colts) solid reputation and our own,” Landey said. “It wasn’t about dollar signs but service. So many people would graciously say thank-you for what you are doing.”
Contact April Abernathy, 640-4861, firstname.lastname@example.org.