Providing a path for employment opportunities has been at the core of Clarence Hulse’s passion since the 1980s.
“I was involved in mission work in Central America and saw how we could spend money to get people back on their feet, but there is nothing like creating jobs and allowing them to guide their own future and destiny,” he says. “Helping create jobs is a way to help the community and provide resources to point them in the right direction. It’s like that old Chinese proverb about “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Clarence has been at the helm of the Economic Development Corporation Michigan City since 2013. The organization exists to cultivate a positive business environment and is committed to growing and attracting new industry and business to the community as well as strengthening existing businesses. The nonprofit serves as a resource for real estate, business development, financing, workforce connections and networking to ensure continued economic growth and development in the future.
“We continue to get people’s attention in a positive way and see more companies growing here,” he says. “We have helped put together a loan program for small businesses. We also work closely with the ISBDC for counseling and we make sure that business have the data and resources that they need. We are becoming the go-to agency for business assistance here in Michigan City-LaPorte County and have stepped up and found our place in the region where small businesses want to grow.”
Clarence has a background in economic development and real estate management and has garnered experience from all over the country, including Florida and North Carolina. In the economic development arena for more than 20 years, Clarence has helped create more than 30,000 jobs, and more than $3 billion in capital investment in his career. He has landed in Northwest Indiana via more southern areas.
“I have been told my compass is broken,” he says. “I saw the opportunity here as we are within an hour of Chicago, near a great lake, airports, interstates. I am very attracted to water and love being near water.
“That there were so many major assets here was a major attraction and I could see that there were good bones to work with. There was room to grow and great leadership that was willing to make things happen. I love to work with a progressive community that wants to be creative to solve its problems and I found that existed in Michigan City.
“Our area is growing by leaps and bounds,” he adds. “To have $1.5 billion in the past eight years in a city of just over 30,000 people, is major.”
Clarence has also helped bring more than 30 new independent/ethnic restaurants to downtown Michigan City. He now hopes to continue to assist second-stage businesses and entrepreneurs with growth.
“We can’t leave businesses hanging at the next step as we see more companies are growing here,” he says. “I hope the community sees that the EDCMC has value and supports our goals and objectives for the future.
“It’s exciting times for Michigan City. We have a great team here and we want to keep the momentum moving forward.”
2 Cadence Park Plaza in Michigan City