CBED Director - Melissa Fairbanks

IUPUC (Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus) is pleased to announce the appointment of Melissa Fairbanks as the new Director of the Center for Business and Economic Development (CBED). Fairbanks will continue IUPUC’s dedication towards enhancing the economic growth of south-central Indiana.

Upon graduation from the University of South Florida, Fairbanks joined the nation’s number-one-rated CBS affiliate New Orleans’ WWL-TV.  She ascended from Marketing Executive to Director of Operations for the CBS affiliate’s joint venture with Cox Communication - the nation’s first local 24-hour all-news channel called “NewsWatch on Channel 15.”  Concurrent with responsibilities at the CBS affiliate, Fairbanks was Adjunct Professor of Management Communication at the Tulane University A.B. Freeman School of Business.   

Fairbanks joined Cummins Inc. in 1999.  Her tenure with Cummins included roles as Internal Communication Manager, functioning as business leader for the Cummins Communication Network (CCN) intranet website; Dealer Communication Manager, responsible for Cummins communication effort aimed at original equipment manufacturers; Manager of Broadcast Communication, with additional responsibility added for sales force skills training. 

Responsibilities included automotive, industrial, marine, and oil and gas training broadcasts on Cummins Television Network (coordinating pre-production broadcast details, broadcast content, presenters, rehearsals, pre-taping, conducting on-air interviews, and serving as program host), producing corporate marketing videos, as well as hosting semi-annual sales & marketing orientation training events for North American corporate and distributor employees. 

Fairbanks achieved certification as a sales training facilitator and served as the global relationship manager between Cummins and Acclivus, a selling skills training corporation.  To deepen her knowledge of customer support excellence, Melissa served as Parts and Service Regional Manager assigned to two of the largest Cummins distributor territories, Cummins Crosspoint and Cummins Mid-South.

She joined Pearson, Inc., the world’s largest educational publisher, as a Solutions Consultant for Pearson Learning Solutions. Customer focused, she produced custom learning solutions for government, association, and corporate customers. At Pearson ITT Technical Institute account team, Fairbanks responsibilities included eBook development and instructor resource center content management. She served as Client Services Coordinator for the Independent Electrical Contractors Association (IEC) with day-to-day responsibility for more than sixty IEC chapters and associate members.

Fairbanks opened the Columbus, IN office of Comfort Keepers, an in-home, non-medical healthcare company specializing in 24/7 care of the elderly and other clients requiring assistance to remain independent at home.  While she served as Owner/General Manager, the franchise received the North American “Rookie of the Year” award. Committed to lifelong learning, Melissa has also completed the Cracker Barrel management-training program. Cracker Barrel is an innovative, award-winning restaurant and retail concept highly regarded for stability and growth. 

Fairbanks past affiliations included

  • Two terms as president of the Columbus Area Arts Council
  • President of Monday Literary Club
  • Commissioner for the City of Columbus Animal Care Services
  • United Cerebral Palsy of New Orleans board member
  • Director of Development for Foundation for Youth
  • Columbus Indiana Philharmonic volunteer
  • Boy Scouts of America volunteer (her sons are Eagle Scouts)
  • Columbus Service League member
  • Girl Scouts
  • 4-H and radio/television voice for numerous local public service announcements. 
  • Recipient of the Most Promising Salesperson Award by the Advertising Club of New Orleans
  • Distinguished Service Award from Turning Point Domestic Violence Services
  • My Cummins Worldwide Contributor Award

A native of Columbus, Indiana, Fairbanks received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Indiana University (1987) and Masters of Arts in Communication from The University of South Florida (1990). Fairbanks is recognized for the high priority she places on teamwork and her unwavering service to others.