New KEDCo director on a mission to connect with community

Peggy Friday (center) KEDCo's new exeuctive director, is pictured wth Terry Sweeny (Left), director of downtown development for the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce, and Scott Wiley, member relations manager for the chamber, during an open house for Friday held on Wednesday. Photo provided by the chamber.
By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WARSAW — Peggy Friday, KEDCo’s new executive director, has stepped into her new role and said she’s working to reassess the organization’s long-term approach.

Friday said she was impressed with the amenities and industry that are part of Kosciusko County but what stood out, she said, were the people.

“I think I’m most impressed with the people – that’s really what drew me here,” she said.

Peggy Friday met with the media Wednesday before hosting a meet-and-greet with community leaders. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.

She started her new job two weeks ago, with much of her time spent connecting with leaders from across the county. That kind of outreach is expected to continue and will eventually coincide with a “community conversation” hosted by KEDCo.

“I think the top priority is obviously, building relationships,” she said.  “Building trust, listening is an important part of what I am doing now.”

Friday replaces Alan Tio who stepped down six months ago.

Peggy Friday talks with the media before hosting a meet and greet at KEDCo’s offices in Warsaw. Newd Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.

Tio saw numerous economic development victories during his tenure and in the final months, opened a three-story office, giving KEDCo its most prominent presence ever which includes shared space for businesses.

In the past six months, though, the KEDCo board of directors trimmed staff and eliminated a coffee bar that opened just weeks before Tio’s resignation.

At least one community decided to step away from working with KEDCo after Tio’s departure.

Friday said she’s working to reassess and redefine KEDCo’s mission — a move she said often happens when a new director steps into a role in a new community.

“I’m not here to make all kinds of grand changes, but I want our services to be meaningful,” Friday said. “If we make a promise to a community, I want them to know we’re going to fulfill that promise.”

Friday brings some 20 years of economic development experience in roles she held in Rochelle, Illinois before taking the job in Warsaw.

“I don’t know if “reset” is the right word, but I have a definition of economic development and my goal is to really start to provide those services to communities,” she said.

In addition to traditional business attraction, she said she wants to focus on business retention.

Friday talked with the media shortly before KEDCo hosted a meeting and greet with the community on Wednesday.

Friday said they plan to eventually host a “county-wide conversation” to see what is needed.