By Brian Wiebe
President/CEO of HEA

This is the start of a new blog/vlog series entitled “Transformed,” where I’ll share my thoughts about Elkhart County’s journey toward becoming a “world-class place to live, learn, work and play,” which is HEA’s official vision statement for our community.

The vision to become a world-class place is big and bold. I love Elkhart County, and I consider it to be a wonderful place — it’s been my home for nearly 20 years. But to be among the best in the world, we know we must keep making progress. We are not there yet, and we know it will require nothing short of transformation. 

Smart investments will be needed, and I’m convinced that the smartest investments we can make — either as individuals or as entire communities — are into education and training. People improve their life trajectories, and communities improve their collective futures, by investing into human development and talent. This is why, back in 2010, the phrase “Elkhart County will be transformed through education” found a following. A growing number of people believed strongly that improving educational and life outcomes was critically important to our county’s future. 

Our county backed up this belief with action, and launched an organization called Horizon Education Alliance, or HEA. Eight business CEOs were joined by the superintendents of the seven school systems and several community leaders to form the first board for this new non-profit organization. At the end of 2020, HEA will have been in operation for eight years. 

What has been accomplished? Working together, many people have built a platform for COLLABORATION between education, business and community organizations. This level of collaboration is unprecedented. And what comes from this collaboration? So far — and we expect this to continue — it’s been unprecedented INNOVATION. “Transformed” will focus on our county’s collaboration and innovation, and will include both success stories and also any current challenges that are making progress difficult. Greater awareness and engagement will continue to feed this cycle of collaboration and innovation. 

I’m grateful to live in Elkhart County, and grateful for all those working to make it a world-class place!