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Alliance president nominated for statewide award


Charlie Sparks, president and CEO of the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, received statewide recognition from the Indiana Economic Development Association (IEDA). Sparks was named one of eight people who have had the greatest impact on economic development in Indiana in the past 50 years.

In honor of its 50th anniversary, the statewide association for economic development hosted an anniversary gala on June 22 at the Indiana Roof Ballroom to celebrate the people and projects that have significantly improved Indiana’s economy over the past half century.

Sparks was one of 8 nominees for the "Big Impact in Economic Development Award." He shared the nomination with former Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut, former Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, former Lt. Gov. John Mutz and former Gov. Mitch Daniels, who received the award. According to IEDA, the award honors the leaders, game-changers and icons of economic development.

“It’s an honor to be nominated among such strong leaders in Indiana,” said Sparks, who has worked in economic development in Indiana for more than 30 years. “Indiana has made great progress and has a bright future.”

Sparks previously served as vice president for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, where he was responsible for leading the state’s business development and economic development efforts for over six years. Under his leadership the IEDC secured 1,378 business commitments that created more than 148,000 jobs and secured more than $24.8 billion to expand or locate operations in Indiana.

A native of Kokomo, Sparks was named a Distinguished Hoosier by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence in 2014. He has lead the Greater Kokomo Alliance since March 2014. Sparks started his career in 1980 with the Greater Kokomo Chamber of Commerce and has also served chambers in LaPorte and Warsaw.