Chelsey Manns Begins as Executive Director of the Morgan County Economic Development Corporation

By Elaine Whitesides
Morgan County Business Leader

Bright and early on Monday, October 28, Chelsey (Soplanda) Manns opened the door to her new office and role as Executive Director of the Morgan County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC). Although she may be new to the position, she is not new to the field of economic development and she wears her passion for it on her sleeve. The selection committee recognized that.“
We were fortunate that Pete Lieber was available and stepped in as Interim Executive Director and did good work. We are lucky we have a good team on the committee who took their charge very seriously to move the community and county ahead. It was a unanimous decision to hire Chelsey,” said Jeff Quyle, Chairman of the MCEDC Board of Directors. “She has experience in regional economic development from a private and public perspective. She also has a winning personality, makes a good impression and is a good listener.” Quyle says that Manns has an understanding of who Morgan County is and what its place is in the regional community and he feels that is a distinct benefit to having her join the MCEDC.
Originally from North Judson, two hours northwest of the Indianapolis area, Manns had a backyard of 180 acres and a very rural upbringing. Stark County is known for mint farming and some of the family land is leased for farming, but her father leapt into his own small business at the height of the recession in 2008. She has seen firsthand the challenges and growth his trucking company has experienced. Manns also saw her mother complete a phlebotomy program at Ivy Tech and so she appreciates the importance and difficulty of returning to school and changing careers mid-life. From these family experiences, she brings more than her professional perspective to the office, she also brings a personal perspective seeing how the changes in the economy of an area also requires changes of the people who live and work in
those communities.
“I went to University of Indianapolis originally as a math education major,” said Manns. “When I discovered education wasn’t the career for me, I wanted to switch to business. Finance made the most sense with my math abilities, but I didn’t want to lose the aspect of helping people.”
She was told if she wanted to help people, she should pursue social work. “I feel economic development has everything,” Manns said. “There is the economic side, but if I can help a family find gainful employment or find a company that wants to expand into our county, that’s what it is all about. Economic development is bettering the community and the lives of the people who live
“I have been very fortunate,” said Manns, “in that I have fallen into economic development and then have had the opportunity to work in the field at Indy Partnership, Banning Engineering and now with the MCDEC.”


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