LONG BEACH, Calif. – Ellen Cutter has been named to the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives’ (ACCE) “40 Under 40” list for 2019. Cutter, Greater Fort Wayne Inc.’s VP of economic development, received the award Monday night at the ACCE’s Annual Convention in Long Beach, Calif. The awards honor the best and brightest men and women under the age of 40 in the chamber industry.
“Ellen has dedicated her career to community service,” said John Urbahns, president and CEO of GFW Inc. “She has been instrumental in our community’s growth, is a joy to work with, and is one of the brightest young leaders I have encountered in more than two decades of community development. We’re on a mission to build a nationally recognized economy in Allen County, and we’re fortunate to have someone like Ellen, who is among the best in the U.S. in our industry.”
Cutter was selected from a field of more than 110 applicants. Award criteria include demonstrated success in the chamber profession and significant contributions to the community.
As vice president of economic development, Cutter manages business retention, business attraction, downtown development, airport development, and workforce development activities. she previously served for three years as director of the Community Research Institute at Purdue University Fort Wayne. During that time, she collaborated with GFW Inc. on the Northeast Indiana Target Industries report and as the project manager of the “Road to One Million Plan” for the Indiana Economic Development Corp.’s Regional Cities program, which secured $42 million for quality-of-place projects.
Prior to working in Fort Wayne, she served as principal and director of research for Market Street Services, a community and economic development consulting firm based in Atlanta. Her eight-year tenure included strategic planning and technical assistance in more than 20 states and dozens of communities ranging from Des Moines, Iowa, to Austin, Texas, and the State of West Virginia.
A Chicago-area native, Cutter is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago, and she earned her Master of City and Regional Planning from Georgia Tech, with a focus on economic development and land use. She is an AICP-certified urban planner.
“I’m honored to be included on this list,” Cutter said. “It’s a reflection of the exceptional team we have at GFW Inc. We take the responsibility of growing jobs, wages, and the economy very seriously, and the progress we make every day is a true team effort.”
Also at Monday’s ACCE awards banquet, GFW Inc. accepted three national Communications Excellence awards. GFW Inc. won Best in Show and a Grand Award for its 2018 campaign promoting Electric Works. The ACCE also honored GFW Inc.’s digital marketing strategy—which includes social media, email marketing, and a revamped website—with an Award of Excellence.
“We want to be the best in the country in everything we do,” Urbahns said. “Every day, we compete nationally against other communities to grow jobs, wages, and the economy, and our marketing materials help set us apart. We’re proud to highlight Allen County as the vibrant community it is.”
Judges named three Best in Show winners, 10 Grand Award winners, and 41 Award of Excellence recipients out of more than 160 entries in 2019. Grand Award winners went on to compete for the title of Best in Show, which recognized the best piece across each category.
A panel of communications and marketing professionals from six U.S.-based chambers of commerce evaluated entries, which were organized by category (based on the chamber’s annual budget) and entry type: advertising and marketing, campaigns, digital, and publications.
About the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
Established in 1914, ACCE is an association of 9,000 leaders from 1,300 chambers of commerce, including 93 of the top 100 U.S. metro areas. The combined membership of ACCE chambers is close to one million businesses. Chamber leaders look to ACCE for best practices, networks, and new ideas that will help them advance the interests of their communities. ACCE recommends successful programs and strategies, and identifies trends, partners, and business models that show promise. For more information, visit www.ACCE.org.
About Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc. serves Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana, as its primary point of contact for economic growth. GFW Inc. focuses on prosperity and community vibrancy through economic development, advocacy, programs and resources that support business success, leadership development, graduate retention and community engagement.