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Jan 14

Attracting Business is Cook's Business

Posted on January 14, 2021 at 1:30 PM by Shelby Abner

Brownsburg’s population has exploded over the past 20 years. In 2000, just over 14,500 residents called Brownsburg home. Today that number is more than 27,000.

The growth isn’t just among residents. New businesses ranging from home décor to healthcare have sprung up throughout Town. Deb Cook, the Town’s Economic Development Director, is charged with “selling” the Town to potential businesses and encouraging current business owners to stay and grow here.

“Brownsburg has some terrific selling points,” said Deb. “Our location provides easy access to Indiana’s interstate highway system, a nearby rail yard, and the Indianapolis International Airport, which is enticing to industrial and distribution clients. Having an excellent school system, vibrant parks and trails, and a great quality of life is important when employers are considering moving their employees here.”Deb Cook Blog

Deb joined the Town of Brownsburg in March after an impressive career in Kokomo, where she served 19 years in the City of Kokomo’s Department of Development. Her roles included serving as a Planner/Community Specialist, Development Manager and ultimately Development Director. In 2012, Deb became the CEO of Kokomo’s Housing Authority.

Deb holds a Bachelor of Science in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University and a Master’s in Public Management from Indiana University.

“I have a varied background in community and economic development and served on the Indiana Commission for Higher Education,” said Deb. “I have written successful grant proposals, overseen budgets, managed large staffs, and also served as adjunct faculty for IU Kokomo. One of my greatest achievements was helping to secure commitments for over $2 billion in business investment during turbulent economic times.”

But even with all of Deb’s experience and the enticements offered by the Town (ranging from tax deductions/abatements to a training/education grant program), luring new businesses isn’t a simple matter.

“It is a long courting process and once I get a commitment for a company to expand or invest in our community, it then takes a team and community support to bring the project across the finish line,” said Deb.

Deb is focused on meeting a goal of the Town Council: to diversify the tax base.

“A homeowner pays up to 1 percent of the assessed value of her home in taxes. But a business pays up to 3 percent. Right now, the Town is heavily funded by homeowners. We’re working hard to help our local companies grow and to attract new business to our community, thereby growing the 3 percent tax base.”