Schmidt’s job focuses on helping communities prepare for future

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Dan Schmidt’s career has been centered on community development.

Schmidt’s jobs have included consulting work in public education and service as a policy director for then-Gov. Mike Pence.

Schmidt

“At the (Indiana) Statehouse, I was policy director for energy, environment, transportation and gaming for all four years of the Pence administration,” he said. “Before and after the Statehouse, I worked with public school districts across the country with strategic planning.”

The Westfield resident joined Thomas P. Miller & Associates, a business management consulting company, in January.

“I am responsible for strategic planning and community development projects in economic development, workforce development and education,” Schmidt said. “My focus will be on serving Indiana’s communities.”

Schmidt said the work is similar to all of his previous positions.

“It’s all about working within the public sector to help communities make decisions for their future,” Schmidt said. “The specific subject matter has evolved throughout the course of my career. I’ve covered education, transportation, energy, environment, gaming, all those areas have touched economic development over the years. What makes me excited about this particular opportunity is the chance to align all of that with education, workforce and economic development to better Indiana communities.”

Schmidt looks forward to working in all the areas he has worked in for 20 years.

“We work with local K-12 education and higher education to align all those resources toward economic development,” Schmidt said. “We do that as a consultant. We provide data analysis and evaluation services. We look at a community’s goal and then analyze the data to see how well the community or organization is achieving those goals. We do that from a consulting role, bringing in the data to support the recommendations that come out of the process.

“The things that are on the minds of those in communities in Indiana are infrastructure and roads, wastewater and broadband access,” he said. “The pandemic, especially, has highlighted the need for connectivity through fiber, so folks are able to work from home when they weren’t able to go into the office or when kids needed to go home when they weren’t able to be in school. When we get post-COVID, folks will want to work from home because we’ve learned to work remotely in a more effective way. Will folks have access if they want to work remotely?”

Schmidt said part of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s agenda is to find ways to promote remote work in Indiana.

“When we talk to our clients, we ask how well positioned are you to take advantage of remote work opportunity?” Schmidt said.

There also has been discussion about the role of artificial intelligence and the collaborative robots.

“It’s a robot that can interact with the human being working side by side in leveraging human capital and artificial intelligence capital to advance manufacturing,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt said then the question is, how does education develop a pipeline of future workers, both in K-12 and higher education to fulfill fourth industrial revolution need? Climate change has also been part of discussions.

“We are making sure communities are shaping their future and not just reacting to forces acted upon them,” he said.

Prior to taking his new position, Schmidt, a licensed attorney, worked for a national consulting company, which worked nationally with public school districts.

Schmidt, who has lived in Westfield for six years, and his wife, Jennifer, have six children. The family lived in Carmel for seven years prior to moving to Westfield.

A marathon runner, Schmidt is the head coach of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Middle School track and field team and is an assistant coach for cross country.


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