IBJOpinion

EDITORIAL: Dodson, Durham take different approach to doing business

 IBJ Staff
December 5, 2009
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IBJ Editorial

This week’s issue features stories about two local businessmen. Both are native Hoosiers in their late 40s who showed entrepreneurial instincts at a young age. But the similarities end there.

Jim Dodson is an unassuming man of 49. He runs a company that helps businesses get discounts on bulk purchases. He got the idea for it in college, where he organized a buying cooperative of fraternities and sororities. The profits went toward student scholarships.

Dodson has used the fruits of his success to help others. When he launched his business, he immediately started setting aside 10 percent of profits for charity.

“There aren’t many companies in the United States that set aside 10 percent of … profits,” said Eugene R. Tempel, president of the Indiana University Foundation. “I think the average is less than 1 percent.”

Dodson also launched the Indiana Achievement Awards, which for 10 years have honored the state’s most effective not-for-profits. The awards have raised the bar for management at not-for-profits and allowed organizations that quietly do excellent work to shine.

Dodson’s idea of a good time: hanging out on the wraparound porch of his home.

Then there’s Tim Durham, 47, a highflier who has made his living buying and selling companies.

Durham has given to charity, but primarily has used the fruits of his success to live lavishly. He owns a 30,000-square-foot home at Geist Reservoir, as well as private jets, dozens of classic cars, and several Picassos. He attends Hugh Hefner’s Playboy parties in Los Angeles and invited 1,000 people to a birthday party for himself.

Durham’s idea of a good time: hanging out on his 100-foot yacht.

In a 2008 Indianapolis Monthly article, Durham said, “They asked me if I consider myself a materialist. I said, ‘Without a doubt! Look around.’ Does anyone not consider himself a materialist? Who doesn’t want stuff? This country is founded on the idea of people wanting stuff.”

Last year, he estimated his net worth at $75 million. In 2004, he told IBJ, “On the day I die, I want to be the richest man in the world.”

Dodson, reflecting on various hardships he has endured, said, “When I look back on my life, I realize I’ve dealt with some very major problems. It’s how you handle them that determines whether you grow as an individual or shrink. I think I’ve managed to grow through problems.”

This month, as reported on page 3A, Dodson is receiving IBJ’s Michael A. Carroll Award for community service.

This month, as reported on page 4A, FBI agents raided the Durham-owned Fair Finance Co. in Ohio, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Indianapolis alleges the business was operating as a Ponzi scheme. Durham, his partners and related firms now owe the company more than $168 million. Investors worry they won’t get their money back.

Both Dodson and Durham are entrepreneurs who were motivated by profit. The difference lies in whether the profit was a means, or an end.•

__________

To comment on this editorial, write to ibjedit@ibj.com.



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  1. Now if he'd just stay there...

  2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

  3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

  4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

  5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

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