Evansville Region and Ports of Indiana announce strategic partnership to expand trade and economic development

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (Aug. 21, 2023) – Ports of Indiana and the Evansville Regional Economic Development Partnership (E-REP) have formed a new strategic alliance to further expand trade and economic development for the Evansville Region and the State of Indiana. The Evansville Region is home to the state’s largest port, Ports of Indiana-Mount Vernon, which contributes over $1 billion in annual economic impacts to the state economy. 

The partnership establishes multiple collaborative initiatives including the creation of a shared leadership position and the potential for Ports of Indiana to join E-REP’s Board of Directors. As part of a transition, Jenna Richardt will serve in a shared leadership role to coordinate collaborative efforts between the organizations. Richardt has been serving as the Chief Regional Economic Development Officer for E-REP and spent the last five years attracting business to the Evansville region, including Ports of Indiana-Mount Vernon. Going forward, Richardt will become Senior Vice President of Business Development & Engagement for Ports of Indiana, based in Mount Vernon, but will have a statewide focus on growing all of Indiana’s ports. Throughout the transition, Richardt will maintain offices at E-REP headquarters in Evansville and also at Ports of Indiana in Mount Vernon. 

“We are thrilled to partner with Ports of Indiana and to have a top economic developer like Jenna expanding her focus to drive economic growth in our region and throughout the state,“ said Tara Barney, CEO of E-REP. “The Mount Vernon port is a hidden gem for this region that has untapped potential to power additional growth in this region’s logistics, manufacturing, agriculture and energy sectors, and Ports of Indiana will be a powerful partner to help us explore new trade and development opportunities.”

As part of the collaboration, Ports of Indiana will formally join E-REP as a “Torchbearer Partner,” engage in with E-REP Board of Directors on key events and serve as a key advisor to E-REP on regional freight, international trade and Ohio River issues.

“We view the Evansville Region and our Mount Vernon port as critical priorities for future economic growth in this state,” said Ports of Indiana CEO Jody Peacock. “This region has tremendous logistics advantages, including the country’s busiest inland port district, access to five Class I railroads, the median center of the U.S. population and the soon-to-be-completed I-69 super corridor that will connect Canada to Mexico. We are thrilled to partner with E-REP and have someone of Jenna’s caliber stationed here to lead our business development efforts in this region and across the state.”  

Ports of Indiana operates two ports on the Ohio River in Jeffersonville and Mount Vernon, and one on Lake Michigan in Portage/Burns Harbor, as well as offering unique economic development tools involving freight transportation, foreign-trade zones, lease financing, and intermodal development.



About the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership: The Evansville Regional Economic Partnership (E-REP) was formed on April 1, 2021 as a result of a strategic alignment of three existing business organizations serving the Southwestern Indiana area – Southwest Indiana Chamber of Commerce (Chamber), Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana (EDC) and the Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville (GAGE) as well as two separate Foundations—Southwest Indiana Chamber Foundation, Inc. and Quad County Development Commission, Inc. This unique and innovative partnership, which includes a 1,500-member Chamber of Commerce and Southwest Indiana’s two leading economic development organizations, represents a comprehensive approach to support the business community. The primary mission of E-REP is to encourage business attraction and expansion, job creation, and business investment to foster and promote a thriving economy throughout Southwest Indiana. By aligning the three organizations and the two foundations, E-REP provides a more comprehensive set of services and is the single point of contact for companies looking to locate or expand in Southwest Indiana. In addition, through effective and ongoing advocacy efforts, E-REP represents a powerful voice in promoting policies that foster a more business friendly environment throughout the region. The regional partnership with the Indiana Small Business Development Center continues with E-REP. Information: 

About the Ports of Indiana: The Ports of Indiana is a statewide port authority operating three ports on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan. Established in 1961, the Ports of Indiana is a self-funded enterprise dedicated to growing Indiana’s economy by developing and maintaining a world-class port system, and by serving as a statewide resource for maritime issues, international trade, and multimodal logistics.

Media Contact: Alicia Thomas,


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