Greater Fort Wayne Inc. President/CEO John Urbahns Receives Prestigious Sagamore of the Wabash Award


FORT WAYNE, Ind. — John Urbahns, President/CEO of Greater Fort Wayne Inc., was honored with the Sagamore of the Wabash Award Thursday, June 6, at the GFW Inc. Annual Meeting. The award, presented by Senator Travis Holdman and also sponsored by Representative Phil Giaquinta, is Indiana’s highest civilian honor, recognizing individuals who have rendered distinguished service to the state.

John Urbahns joined GFW Inc. in 2014. Prior to his appointment as CEO in 2019, he served as executive VP of economic development. Under John’s leadership, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. has assisted with more than 200 business expansions and relocations in Allen County, resulting in more than 13,500 new jobs and more than $6 billion in private investment.

Before joining GFW Inc., John was the director of community development for the City of Fort Wayne, where he managed strategic planning, redevelopment, housing, economic development, and neighborhood services. Over his career, his work has included key roles in community investments such as Parkview Field, The Landing, Electric Works, and the Google Data Center Campus, as well as facilitating comprehensive downtown and neighborhood planning processes.

“John is a highly respected community leader whose decades of dedicated service have profoundly impacted both our local community and Indiana’s economy,” said Senator Travis Holdman. “For the past 28 years, he has been an integral figure behind nearly every major economic development project in Fort Wayne and Allen County. His unwavering commitment and collaborative leadership have propelled Fort Wayne-Allen County to become one of the fastest-growing economies in the Great Lakes Region.”

John is an alumnus of Ball State University, holding degrees in urban planning and environmental design. He is an AICP-certified urban planner and received an Outstanding Alumni award in 2020 from Ball State’s College of Architecture and Planning. John is also a proud father of three and a lifelong Hoosier.

The Sagamore of the Wabash Award was created during the term of Governor Ralph Gates, who served from 1945 to 1949. The term “sagamore” was used by the American Indian Tribes of the northeastern United States to describe a lesser chief or a great man among the tribe to whom the true

chief would look for wisdom and advice. The award is a prestigious honor typically awarded to individuals who have provided exceptional service to the state.

The Sagamore of the Wabash Award is a testament to John’s dedication to the community and his impactful contributions to the growth and development of Allen County. This prestigious honor reflects his commitment to excellence and visionary leadership.

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