Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Is Lilly under-appreciated?

June 25, 2009
Indianapolis has always had Eli Lilly and Co., it seems, and Lilly always seems to care for Indianapolis like a rich uncle.

People employed directly by Lilly and by companies doing business with Lilly account for about one of every 30 jobs in the metro area, a new IU study shows. (The figures, from 2007, donâ??t count later layoffs.)

Lilly also accounts for about one of every 30 dollars generated by the stateâ??s economy.

Those figures understate the companyâ??s significance. Lilly people donate countless hours to not-for-profit groups and are responsible for untold influence on economic development, particularly life sciences, one of the stateâ??s few bright spots.

Consider Gus Watanabe, the former Lilly research director who died recently after cutting a wide swath through the budding life sciences sector. Another is Chuck Schalliol, who left Lilly and quietly pushed several life sciences seed funds into existence, and then helped straighten out the stateâ??s tangled finances as the stateâ??s first budget director under Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Asked once what would happen to Indianapolis if Lilly were ever to be acquired, former Mayor Steve Goldsmith quipped, â??God would not let that happen.â??

How do you feel about Lilly? Is the company taken for granted?
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