The next Fortune 500 companies

April 23, 2008
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Conseco has dropped off the Fortune 500, leaving WellPoint, Lilly, Cummins and NiSource as the only Indiana companies remaining.

Several Indiana firms are closing in on the elite list, though.

One is Steel Dynamics, the Fort Wayne company that recycles scrap metal. It was No. 517 on the magazine's 2008 list of largest domestic companies, helped by the surge in steel prices. Quite a growth story: Co-founder Keith Busse stormed through Indianapolis raising startup capital just 15 years ago.

Other Indiana companies in the offing include Plainfield cell phone distributor Brightpoint, 527 on this year's list; Warsaw prosthetics maker Zimmer Holdings, 560; and Simon Property Group, the Indianapolis-based shopping mall giant, 585.

These companies are thriving. Do you see reasons why other companies in the state can't do well, too?

  • Brain Drain is major reason why companies in Indiana cannot do as well as they could and should. Look at the number of fortune 500 companies in such places as Omaha & Richmond, Va. Puts Indy to shame.
  • Water doesn't choose to go down a drain, there is a force that propels it out. I graduated college in 2004 and have yet been able to find a career opportunity anywhere near my chosen field. Like me, I think there are a large number of college graduates that would enjoy staying in their home state. So, is the lack of fortune 500 companies caused by college graduates going elsewhere, or are college graduates leaving the state because of the lack of good fortune 500 type jobs?
  • I am graduating from college this year, and I am trying desperately to find a good job here in Indiana. I want to live in Indianapolis, and I know several other college grads that are looking to remain in Indiana, many of whom are from neighboring states like Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois. Indianapolis is becoming very attractive to college graduates of nearby universities, some of which are like mine an 50 minutes away. The problem: none of us have yet to secure any jobs. There is a growing market of college graduates who want to remain here, like myself. The biggest problem is that Fortune 500 companies do not just get up and move their headquarters. It takes time before the smaller companies can grow and expand, and it is hard for college graduates to find these smaller, fast-growing companies when they are not as aggressive in their recruiting. I really believe the tides have changed for Indiana economically, and due to the business friendly environment compared to surrounding states, Indianapolis and Indiana as a whole will be the city and state to be in the Midwest in the coming years.

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  1. PJ - Mall operators like Simon, and most developers/ land owners, establish individual legal entities for each property to avoid having a problem location sink the ship, or simply structure the note to exclude anything but the property acting as collateral. Usually both. The big banks that lend are big boys that know the risks and aren't mad at Simon for forking over the deed and walking away.

  2. Do any of the East side residence think that Macy, JC Penny's and the other national tenants would have letft the mall if they were making money?? I have read several post about how Simon neglected the property but it sounds like the Eastsiders stopped shopping at the mall even when it was full with all of the national retailers that you want to come back to the mall. I used to work at the Dick's at Washington Square and I know for a fact it's the worst performing Dick's in the Indianapolis market. You better start shopping there before it closes also.

  3. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  4. If you only knew....

  5. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.