WARSAW, Ind., Dec. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- OrthoWorx, the newly formed industry, community and education initiative to advance and support the orthopedics device sector in Kosciusko County, is working to connect the orthopedics capital of the world to major cities like Chicago and Cleveland via high-speed rail.
In a September report, Warsaw, Indiana: The Orthopedics Capital of the World -- An overview, analysis and blueprint for future industry and community growth, BioCrossroads, the statewide initiative to grow Indiana's unique life sciences assets, noted both opportunities and "unique challenges" caused by the concentration of nearly one-third of the world's orthopedics industry in Warsaw, a community that is "isolated geographically." The report recommended transportation and logistics as an early focus for action by OrthoWorx.
Today, driven by the immediacy of current federal and state efforts to identify optimal high-speed rail corridors throughout the Midwest, the OrthoWorx Board of Directors resolved to pursue a concerted effort to connect Warsaw to major metropolitan areas like Chicago through the emerging high speed rail system. Better and faster transportation of products, customers and employees is critical to the success of the highly concentrated Warsaw-based orthopedics sector, home to dozens of orthopedics device enterprises collectively earning more than $11 billion in annual revenues.
"Connecting Warsaw to the rest of the world is vitally important to the growth of our orthopedics sector and having a high-speed rail line across the Northern Indiana corridor will be a significant boost to our companies and the community," said David Floyd, president of DePuy Orthopaedics and chair of the OrthoWorx transportation and logistics initiative. "Warsaw is the major center of economic activity in the northern half of the state and a high-speed rail network providing an efficient connection to a major urban center like Chicago would have a tremendous positive impact for our companies, customers and employees."
In a coordinated effort with Illinois and Ohio, the State of Indiana is seeking funding to expedite the creation of a high-speed rail network across the three states. If built, this enhanced transportation option would dramatically reduce travel times between the region's major urban and economic centers, reducing the drive time between Chicago and Cleveland from six hours and 30 minutes to four hours and 30 minutes. In October, the State of Indiana submitted a request for a stimulus grant authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) for the addition of a high-speed rail line between Chicago and Cleveland which is currently under review.
Because of the urgent need to formulate a strategy to address the high-speed rail proposal and funding and how it could impact Warsaw and the orthopedic industry, OrthoWorx's transportation and logistics initiative will immediately pursue an active role in the statewide discussion.
"Our region must be in close consultation with the State of Indiana and the federal government to ensure we are included in the high-speed rail discussion for Illinois, Ohio and Indiana," said Toby Buck, chairman and CEO of Paragon Medical and an OrthoWorx board member. "The timing for this federal grant application and the creation of OrthoWorx provides the area a perfect formula to ensure connectivity to regional transit hubs like Chicago and Cleveland which is critical to the success of the orthopedics sector."
A $7 million grant made by Lilly Endowment Inc. to Kosciusko County Community Foundation supports the newly established OrthoWorx. In addition to launching the first of seven focus areas, the organization plans to announce organizational leadership and additional funding in the first quarter of 2010.
"We are extremely pleased that in the first two months of existence, OrthoWorx is aggressively moving forward and setting the stage to secure and advance the community's current position as the orthopedics capital of the world," said David Johnson, president of BioCrossroads, Indiana's initiative to grow, invest and advance the life sciences and playing an integral role in supporting the vision of the OrthoWorx initiative. "Addressing the opportunities of high-speed rail, along with other transportation and logistics challenges early in the initiative, makes it clear that the OrthoWorx initiative is determined to establish a workplace environment that can compete globally for business and top talent, right in the heart of a wonderful Indiana community."
OrthoWorx is a Warsaw-based, industry, community and education initiative established to advance and support growth and innovation within the region's uniquely concentrated, globally significant orthopedics device sector. Founded in 2009, the initiative engages and enhances the broader community interests that both serve and depend upon the sector's continued growth by targeting an integrated set of educational, workforce, cultural, communication, branding, logistical and entrepreneurial efforts.
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