Megan Baumgartner, Economic and Community Development Director at City of Fishers
Q: What drew you to a career in economic development?
A: I’ve always loved government and worked in a variety of state government agencies before being offered a position with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. I realized then that economic development was the perfect alignment of my interests and passions. Economic development at the end of the day is about selling a community, and I’m fortunate that I am now able to sell the city I love and live in.
Q: How do you see the role of Fishers’ growth fitting into the bigger picture of Hamilton County’s economic development?
A: Hamilton County is fortunate to have several thriving municipalities with its own identities and visions for quality of life and economic development. Collectively these create a vibrant and thriving county that provides businesses and residents with a variety of opportunities to choose a community that best suits their needs.
Q: You’ve worked with the City of Fishers since 2015. What have you learned as an active part of the city’s growth for nearly seven years?
A: Where to start?! Each day with the City is different and I learn something new and am challenged each day, and most days I feel like a jack of all trades but master of none. I have learned a ton about local government policies and financing. I spend a lot of my time working on redevelopment projects and I love the real estate part of my job. The year I learned the most about myself, this community, and our organization was in 2020 when COVID hit. Helping lead a community through such a challenging time really makes you focus on what’s important.
Q: You are also the chair of Invest Hamilton County’s board. Why did you decide to take on that role?
A: With the organization’s renewed focus on workforce development and data-driven decision-making, I am excited for the work this group is doing and the potential for more to come. I wanted to help provide any context or feedback from the City’s perspective on these issues, and find a ton of value in learning more about opportunities that I can leverage with our local business community.
Q: What do you enjoy about living in Hamilton County outside of work?
A: I love the unique features and quality of life assets that have been developed. I especially love the regional trail networks we’re all working to develop and each of the core downtown redevelopments.
Q: What advice do you have for young professionals interested in economic development?
A: Start by looking at your local community’s Redevelopment Commissions and finding ways to engage with your local government. In economic development we spend a lot of time networking, and most economic development professionals are happy to meet and share their insight and stories with others. Don’t hesitate to reach out to someone just to connect; they’ll most likely say yes!