Mayor Mike Ochs
Breaking through what appeared to be defying odds, Mike Ochs became the agent of change for the City of North Vernon by winning the 2015 mayoral election. Sworn into office in early 2016, the newly elected mayor hit the ground running with an open mind and a desire to see change. Transparency, strong family values, a willingness to listen and a heart of compassion to see the citizens and the City of North Vernon prosper are at the very core from which Mayor Mike Ochs operates.
In a surprising move to many, his first order of business was not to bring forth new team members in his transition to office but to find and work closely with any from previous administration who brings passion, desire and a job well done to the table. Since the start, this kind of collaboration with his team has successfully added four full-time fireman positions, a feat that had never happened before in this community.
The city has also added additional security officers to our school systems and currently defining a new city park and pool that will heavily yield involvement and participation of our youth to enhance our community's health and entertainment possibilities. To this administration, it is less about which political party your views may support and more about the work to be done to help move our city forward.
Raised in an entrepreneurial home by a dad with an undeniable eye towards seeing a good opportunity for business and moving on it, it's no surprise Mike carries this same passion and entrepreneurial spirit into office. Within his first two years, at least five different companies have made a committee to build and/or expand their companies to yield a potential increase of over 350 new jobs. This massive increase led to the development of the Mayor's Education Council which is designed to train and equip students, graduates and adults the necessary skills for the jobs of tomorrow.
In addition, without hesitation, one of the most eye catching initiatives in moving the city toward a greener and cleaner tomorrow includes the implementation of solar energy. North Vernon has now become the first city of its kind in the State of Indiana to produce its own power that will, in turn, be used to fuel the city buildings, street lights and traffic lights. This became a reality without and increase in taxes and funded through a local financial institution. Besides the projected long-term energy savings, this initiative also gives the City better control over inventory as its use as well as improve the quality of life for the people in the community. This investment will not only equip the city in the future of renewable energy but it is also starting to attract the eyes of other cities, local and international, who are interested in exploring similar options.
With such changes, it's easy to see the community development, both large and small scale, is a major component of what lies ahead. What once seamed bleak and stagnant, the atmosphere has now become a vibrant and expanding one full of hope and anticipation. When asked what Mayor Mike Ochs would want to say to the citizens of North Vernon about the future days ahead, he summarizes it in two very powerful words, "Hang on!"
It appears that North Vernon is in the beginning stages of one of the biggest economic booms any one city in the history of Indiana has ever seen. This will become an example to many as to what is possible in an individual and team whose heart centers on valuing the good in others and a focus on integrity. Together, North Vernon will be a beacon of light, hope, and truth to a generation who desires the same prosperity for their own home. To the citizens of North Vernon and beyond "hand on" indeed!