Our Mission & Staff

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Who We Are

The Greater Columbus Economic Development Corporation, formerly the “Columbus Economic Development Board” (EDB), is a 501(c)(6) member-supported, non-profit organization originally founded in 1976 as one of the first local economic development organizations in the state.

Our mission is to build a world-class community by enhancing the quality of life, economic opportunity and personal well-being of our residents.

Our strategic goal is to grow & attract well-paying, high value-added, community-minded base/primary businesses by influencing and leveraging the area’s distinct capabilities in advanced manufacturing, Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) education resources, and design.

What We Do

The Greater Columbus EDC approach is three-fold:

Enabling Growth
We work with existing primary employers to help them grow in Columbus and Bartholomew County
Recruiting New Companies
We attract and recruit new companies to locate themselves in our area
Continuous Improvement
We work with fellow community leaders to build upon and continuously improve our area’s desirability to businesses and residents

How We're Funded

More than 70% of our support comes from local businesses who see the value of supporting the attraction and expansion of businesses in our community. The balance of funding comes from local units of government who benefit from increased tax revenue, job creation, and private investments.

The Results

Since the EDC’s founding in 1976, recruited companies today employ more than 7,500 persons. More than 400 local expansions have also been recorded, and combined, new projects and expansion have called for $3.6 billion in initial investments.

These companies contribute to the local tax base (helping to keep everyone’s taxes lower), and suppliers, service providers, & retail businesses benefit from increased spending.

Our staff

Jason Hester Headshot

Jason Hester, CEcD

Email: jhester@columbusin.org

Jason Hester draws on his 20+ year career in economic development to encourage communities to utilize collaborative and data-driven efforts to support business recruitment, local expansions, and capital investments that create jobs for residents and build communities that people enjoy.  He is an annual guest speaker at the Indiana Economic Development Academy and has been a featured panelist at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Economic Future Forum hosted by the International Economic Development Council, and at multiple state & regional events. 

Since 2010, he has served as president of the Greater Columbus (Indiana) Economic Development Corporation, where he builds on the area’s strengths in advanced manufacturing, design, and foreign direct investment to support business expansions and targeted recruitment activities.  In related work, he enjoys supporting the community’s international Sister City relationships, and he actively engages with local and regional stakeholders on shared economic and community development initiatives. His early career was spent in the cities of Elwood, Kokomo, and with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation as its Central Region Director. Over his career, collaborative efforts have to date resulted in $6.1 Billion in successful projects calling for more than 38,000 new jobs.  

A native Hoosier, Jason obtained his MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University and a B.A. degree from Oral Roberts University, majoring in International Community Development. He is also a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute, and in 2004, he earned the coveted Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation.  

Beth Bailey
Executive Assistant & Office Manager

Email: beth@columbusin.org

Beth Bailey joined Greater Columbus EDC in 2013 as the Executive Assistant and Office Manager. In her role, she provides support to EDC president Jason Hester and manages the EDC operations and accounts. She oversees the daily administrative operations and is the first point of contact for guests and phone inquiries. Beth enthusiastically interacts with EDC Board members and community partners while helping to promote Columbus as a great place to work and live.  

Prior to Beth’s role at the EDC, she served for seven years as the Executive Assistant to the Chief Credit Officer at First Financial Bank located in Columbus, IN. In that role, she regularly prepared reports for the Board of Directors, securely processed confidential information, and kept an organized work environment for the CCO.  Prior to First Financial, Beth served as the Administrative Assistant for First Christian Church in Columbus.  

Beth has called Columbus home for over 30 years. She holds an associate degree in business administration and has over 20 years of experience as an executive assistant. 

Kristen Goecker
Director, Projects & Marketing

Email: kristen@columbusin.org

Kristen Goecker is a creative marketing professional with over 10 years of graphic design, public communications, and project management experience.  In past roles, Kristen enjoyed working with small and large companies within both the private and non-profit sectors, preparing her well for her role as Director of Projects and Marketing with Greater Columbus EDC.   

Kristen joined Greater Columbus EDC in 2021, where she helps direct the EDC’s business expansion and recruitment activities.  As Director of Projects and Marketing, Kristen oversees project submissions, prospective site visits, and works closely with fellow team members to enhance outbound marketing efforts.  Moreover, Kristen plays an integral role in conducting the EDC’s annual Wage & Benefit Survey, supports local tax abatement and other incentive requests, and much more.  Within her first year in the role, Kristen’s efforts helped support $314 million in net new investments within Columbus, Edinburgh, and Bartholomew County, with more to come. 

Hailing originally from Ohio, Kristen is a proud graduate of Butler University in Indianapolis where she majored in Strategic Communications and Digital Media.  She attended the Indiana Economic Development Academy in 2022 and is currently completing courses through the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute.   

Maclyn Benedict Headshot

Maclyn Benedict
Project Coordinator

Email: maclyn@columbusin.org

 Biography under construction. Check back soon for more about Maclyn!

Our Commitment to Accessibility

Greater Columbus EDC is committed to Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI) efforts, and it is important to us that our site be accessible to everyone. We are committed to making our website content accessible and user friendly to everyone, including individuals with visual impairments that use screen readers to view the website. We have taken steps to enhance the accessibility of our site, and we have more to do.  If you have difficulty accessing features or functions on this website, please email us at info@columbusin.org and we will work with you to provide the information you seek.  You may also call our office at 812.378.7300. 

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