Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc. (ROI) is proud to announce and welcome Brian D. Blackwell as Director of Industry and Quality of Place Initiatives. Blackwell will expand ROI’s regional engagement strategies and advance industry partnerships within Southwest Central Indiana’s advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and national security and defense sectors.
Blackwell joins ROI in early November following his retirement from a 30-year career at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane). Most recently serving as Director of Engagement, Blackwell was responsible for leveraging opportunities to build state, regional, and national relationships with government, industry, academia, and the local communities. In this role, he focused on workforce development, technology, research & development, and quality of place efforts of mutual benefit to NSWC Crane and the surrounding region.
In his new role, Blackwell will join the ROI leadership team in strategically aligning education, workforce, industry, and community development to allow Southwest Central Indiana to achieve its significant potential.
“Brian has played an instrumental role in the development of the strategies ROI is now deploying across Southwest Central Indiana,” said ROI CEO Tina Peterson. “As an original member of the steering committee that built the strategic plan for our region, Brian brings a level of expertise, knowledge, and commitment that would be impossible to duplicate in any other candidate for this job. We are incredibly fortunate that he has chosen to continue his impressive career with the ROI team.”
The mission of ROI is to support economic and community prosperity in the 11 counties of Southwest Central Indiana (Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen and Washington counties). ROI is working with regional leaders to execute a series of initiatives focused on connecting education and industry to create a workforce that is prepared for the demands of employers. Read more about ROI’s education and workforce initiatives.
ROI is also supporting and planning for investments in quality of place development that has the potential to benefit the entire Southwest Central Indiana region. Initial strategies include I-69 interchange analyses and competitive positioning/regional branding. Granting from the regional opportunity fund will be developed in response to findings from both initiatives. Read more about ROI’s quality of place initiatives.
“ROI has the opportunity to serve as a catalyst to help take the region to a new level in terms of education, workforce development, and community prosperity,” added Blackwell. “I’m looking forward to joining this talented ROI team on this journey.”
Blackwell began his career at General Motors Corporation where he held positions in production engineering and manufacturing. He entered public service at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane in 1987 and worked in engineering and management roles supporting Navy and Marine Corps Combat Systems. Blackwell also served as Deputy Executive Director and as the Director of the Mission Support Services Department, Electronics Development Department, Global Deterrence & Defense Department and the Applied Science Department.
Blackwell represented NSWC Crane on a series of boards and advisory groups, including the ROI board of directors, the Radius Indiana board of directors, the I-69 Innovation Corridor Executive Committee, the Battery Innovation Center board of directors, and the Southwest Central Indiana Steering Committee.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University), a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University and an Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“I’ve lived in Southwest Central Indiana my entire life,” added Blackwell. “It’s a great place to live, work, and raise a family, so I’m grateful for this opportunity to serve this region that, for generations, has done so much for my family.”