Is Lilly under-appreciated?

June 25, 2009
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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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  • In many respects it is. Some people like to throw out tags against corporations (started by policiticians, hacks and later followed by some lap-dog media members) like Big Oil, Big Drug, and so on. We have to remember if it weren't for companies taking risk as in exploring and drilling for oil or evaluating chemical compounds to develop drugs for the benefit of medical maladys, we wouldn't have the advancements in our lives, the economic benefits that go along with those advancements and the jobs that those companies provide.

    Lilly has been a model corporate citizen. Anyone that would deny that or decry their benefit to the city and the state needs to slapped silly until they learn the truth. Thank you Col Lilly and all of the employees of the great company you left behind! Bravo!!!
  • Lilly gets plenty of local respect.

    Perhaps other large employers and growing companies have earned just as much respect, but don't get as much credit.
  • I appreciate Lilly and hope they have many more years of success. Indianapolis and its people should be very thankful for this company. They give generously to the city and its causes and do not ask for much if anything in return. If only David Simon could learn from this good example.
  • Lilly better get its act in gear real fast. Or it and metro Indy will be in a world of s**t. It hasn't had a human drug com to market in 4 years. The moral in many of its departments is terrible and the new execs are letting middle management do what they are stereotyped to do, Nothing and very slowly!
  • Lilly is not the same company it use to be in regards to employment. I was interviewed last fall for a position offered thru Kelly Scientific and used my excellent job evaluation from Roche thinking it would be an easy interview for me. When I was informed that Lilly no longer hires directly and that one must be a contract worker meaning higher wages but only short term employment without benefits... I walked out of the interview. I refused to work for a company making millions of dollars from illnesses yet refuses to carry health insurance benefits for their workers. Big companies are cutting health care everywhere. But it's wrong for a company like Lilly to do so in my opinion. Obviously I am much happier working for a less known company that cares about their employees and making the bigger paychecks WITH great health benefits!!!

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