Economy

EYE ON THE PIE: Beware cost increases you can't seeRestricted Content

May 22, 2006
Morton Marcus
There I was at the grocery store engaged in economic research. I found a plasticwrapped pack of 24 half-liter bottles of "spring water" from a famous soft drink company was $4.99, or $1.57 per gallon. The store brand for "spring water," packaged in the same fashion, was $3.88, or $1.22 per gallon. A 24-pack of regular or diet 12-ounce soft drinks from the same famous company was selling for $6.49, or $2.97 per gallon. That's just about the price of...
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Tower erector rises from ruin: Once bankrupt, water tank firm grows into industry giant, acquires competitorRestricted Content

May 22, 2006
Anthony Schoettle
From the ashes of bankruptcy in 1986, an Avon-based firm has ascended to the top of an industry that might seem old-fashioned: building and maintaining water towers. But the owners of Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors Inc. say new demand for their product, driven by factors as diverse as aesthetics and alternative fuels, promises to boost the firm's $80 million in annual sales as Phoenix grows from within and through acquisitions. Phoenix this month acquired Sebree, Ky.-based Pittsburgh Tank and Tower...
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Area construction employment surging: Workers stay busy as industry experiences 15 consecutive months of job growthRestricted Content

May 22, 2006
Scott Olson
Building tradesmen in central Indiana don't need a mind-numbing jobs report to tell them construction workers are in high demand. They need not look any further than their apprentice programs and union halls to gauge the industry's health. The way the barometer works is simple: Full apprentice classes mean contractors are hiring and empty union halls mean they're working. "When the benches are empty, that's a good thing," said Mike Kerr, a principal at locally based contractor F.A. Wilhelm Construction...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Good transportation paves the way for strong economyRestricted Content

May 22, 2006
Patrick Barkey
"Like it or not," noted author Richard Florida opined as he looked out over a crowd that recently gathered in Indianapolis to discuss economic development issues in central Indiana, "you are all part of the greater Chicago region." That might come as news to you who pay taxes, follow sports, or subscribe to a newspaper. But the point is well made. In the larger scheme of things-the so-called Shanghai perspective one would take in looking at our economy from the...
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VIEWPOINT: Illiteracy is a hot economic issueRestricted Content

May 22, 2006
John Mutz
"Is anybody there? Does anybody care? Does anybody see what I see?" So goes the refrain from the musical "1776," when George Washington communicates his frustration with how badly the Revolutionary War is going while the Continental Congress continues to debate the pros and cons of declaring independence from the British crown. Does anybody in Indiana see what I see? I see an economy, slowly recovering, but not booming like the rest of the country. I see state tax collections...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Improving state's economy requires a team approachRestricted Content

May 15, 2006
Patrick Barkey
More than 50 years ago, the famous economist Joseph Schumpeter told a simple story that perfectly captured the essence of market capitalism. It's a turn-of-the-century tale of a railroad being built in a part of the country where none had existed. The new investment rapidly upsets the order of everything-once ideally situated towns are left high and dry, while others move up in stature as they exploit newfound advantages. It's messy and it's painful, but the result is for the...
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Daniels seeks to copy key-clusters strategy: Industry initiatives would mimic BioCrossroads planRestricted Content

May 15, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, BioCrossroads has been vindicated. Gov. Mitch Daniels hopes to see a series of similar industry initiatives sprout around key clusters in Indiana's economy. He envisions parallel initiatives for manufacturing, transportation and logistics and a series of other crucial business sectors. "We'd love some company," said BioCrossroads CEO David Johnson. As outlined in Daniels' "Accelerating Growth" economic development plan released last month, the initiatives would be based on proven Indiana strengths and identifiable...
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Smaller banks seeking relief: Legislation takes on costly regulatory costsRestricted Content

May 15, 2006
Scott Olson
German American Bancorp in Jasper has spent more than $1 million the past two years complying with the stringent accounting provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The cost alone is reason enough for the community bank's president and CEO, Mark Schroeder, to support a measure exempting smaller public companies such as his from Section 404 of the act. He even traveled to Washington, D.C., May 3 to testify in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee. "Ultimately, this...
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CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: Now we have a plan-let's use itRestricted Content

May 15, 2006
For years, Indiana politicians-at least the smart ones-have talked about the importance of economic growth and development, and behind the scenes business leaders have replied, "Duh. How about coming up with some kind of plan?" This was always a hot button for Dave Goodrich, retired real estate executive and former head of Central Indiana Corporate Partnership. In his days at CICP, Goodrich would bend the ear of anyone willing to listen about the need for a plan. Well, how does...
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Special events pay off: Growth seen in career opportunities, event numbersRestricted Content

May 8, 2006
Shari Held / Special to IBJ
Special events aren't just fun and games-they're big business, generating careers and economic activity that are anything but frivolous. Special event spending in Indianapolis is nearly $3 billion a year, according to Bob Shultz, public relations director for the Indiana Convention & Visitors Association. Annual spending for special events worldwide is $500 billion, according to research conducted by the Chicago-based International Special Events Society. In Money Magazine's annual "Best Jobs in America" survey, meeting and convention planners were ranked in...
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BRIAN WILLIAMS Commentary: Should we invest in ethanol or education?Restricted Content

May 8, 2006
During times of high gasoline prices, the investment made by the Daniels administration in six ethanol plants would seem prudent. The touted benefits of ethanol plants are that they create jobs in rural communities, support Indiana corn growers, improve air quality, and lower dependence on foreign oil. As an Indianapolis resident with little exposure to our farm economy, my first question was, "How do you make ethanol?" Ethanol is made by fermenting and distilling simple sugars like those found in...
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TAWN PARENT Commentary: Scattered images from abroadRestricted Content

May 8, 2006
We landed in the Marble City, nearly blinded by the light and the white and the reflection of it all. I think of Athens as the Marble City because of its many ruins, but also because of all the other marble buildings and the slippery marble sidewalks and, in our apartment, the marble walls and floors and marble countertops that make so much noise when you set your cup down. We felt compelled to bring some marble home with us....
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New funds target life sciences: MidPoint concentrates on agricultural technology; Heron aims at broader marketRestricted Content

May 1, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
Two new locally based venture capital funds believe Indiana is ripe with opportunity for biotech deals. With $20 million under management, Heron Capital LLC is broadly focused on the whole Hoosier life sciences market. Attempting to raise $30 million, the Mid-Point Food & Ag Fund LP has a narrower concentration: high-technology related to farming and nutrition. "We're very excited about our prospects," said Heron Managing Director Greg Maurer. "We have a number of deals in the hopper, some of which...
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BioCrossroads seeks help teaching math and science: Education center to bolster students' careersRestricted Content

May 1, 2006
Indiana life sciences initiative BioCrossroads wants to improve the science and math skills of Indiana's elementary and high school students. To figure out how, it's asking the public for ideas. BioCrossroads released a "request for interest in participation" in the creation of a new K-12 Indiana Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education Resource Center. Patterned after the North Carolina Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Center, BioCrossroads' STEM is meant to be a Web-based, largely virtual organization. It would coordinate math...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Mysteries abound in IndianaRestricted Content

May 1, 2006
Morton Marcus
There is so much I do not understand about Indiana. After living here for 35 years, after visiting every county and traveling almost every mile of state highway, after making friends with thousands of Hoosiers, I am in the dark on so many issues. Here are three examples: Example 1: What do Mitch Daniels, Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, and Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana have in common? They are all governors who have massive approval deficits. According to Survey USA (and...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: It's time we get started on a new state economyRestricted Content

May 1, 2006
Patrick Barkey
Have you ever plunked down a lot of money for something and worried if you made the right choice? You have plenty of company. To cope with that insecurity, some of us try to persuade our friends to follow our footsteps. We put forth convincing arguments why our brand of car, or our new electronic gizmo, is really the best thing, and feel comforted and vindicated when they make the same choice we made. For too many years, that simple...
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At age 2, Future Fund still work in progress: So far, 7 startups have received investments from BioCrossroadsRestricted Content

May 1, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
For two years now, the $73 million Indiana Future Fund has been at work in the Indiana life sciences market. BioCrossroads, Indiana's public-private life sciences economic development initiative, is pleased with the results so far. "When we put the Indiana Future Fund together and surveyed the landscape, there were only two or three [local venture capital] firms that really identified themselves as in [the life sciences] area," said BioCrossroads President David Johnson. "Now we see much more traffic than we...
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Right decision crucial for small firms:Restricted Content

April 24, 2006
Barbara Hassell
Of course, trying to be less subjective does not mean you shouldn't consider "fit" with the organization's culture. In a small company, fit can be critical. One way to attempt to reduce early turnover is to use the "realistic job preview," in which prospective employees are given both the positive and negative aspects of the job, as opposed to the traditional approach of "selling" the firm. If individuals aren't going to enjoy the job, it's better to know it before...
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NOTIONS: Seeking your input on satisfactionRestricted Content

April 24, 2006
Bruce Hetrick
Dear Reader: For six years, I've filled this weekly space with notions, gnashings, drivel and diatribes. From time to time, some readers have responded-often with nods of agreement, occasionally with headshaking disbelief, once in a while with outraged indignation. Now that we've built something of a virtual community (call it a Neanderthal blog), I want to ask you a question. Yes, I mean you. Please don't assume someone else will answer. And please, don't feel that your insights and opinions...
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Alien hirers rarely busted: Law doesn't force employers to verify that workers are legalRestricted Content

April 24, 2006
Chris O\'malley
Despite a high-profile raid against IFCO Systems on April 19, Indianapolis employers have little to fear in hiring undocumented aliens or those who present questionable identification. Rarely do immigration cops bust an Indianapolis-area workplace. Until federal agents led away about 40 allegedly undocumented Mexicans and Guatemalans at the south-side pallet plant this month, the last high-profile raid was more than a decade ago. In 1995, customs officials raided the former Simpson Race Products shoe factory in Speedway, nabbing 66 illegal...
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VIEWPOINT: Latinos and the legal system: no free lunchRestricted Content

April 24, 2006
Dave Cook
Many issues face national and local civil and criminal justice systems across our nation. Years and years of application of Band-Aid remedies to complicated and longterm problems have brought many government systems to the verge of collapse. Marion County is no exception to the rule. Courts are strained with overwhelming caseloads. Average lives of cases continue to increase, clogging jails and courts. Public defender and prosecutor caseloads continue to swell, effectively reducing the quality of representation available to both the...
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Ivy Tech to focus more on results, not just growth: Student success and broader ties with employers among goals of community college system's five-year planRestricted Content

April 24, 2006
Chris O\'malley
After growing its enrollment 75 percent the last decade, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana is shifting its focus to student retention. A top administrator also wants to expand the number of training courses offered at businesses, as a way to supplement the system's $253 million annual budget. Some who've studied the state's educational system have recommended that Ivy Tech spend more to hire additional full-time faculty to strengthen its effectiveness. The school's five-year student retention plan calls for doubling...
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Real estate experts examine the market: Indianapolis in good shape overall, panelists say, but job growth, incentive issues, among concernsRestricted Content

April 24, 2006
On April 14, as part of its Power Breakfast Series, the Indianapolis Business Journal gathered a panel of commercial real estate and construction experts to discuss industry conditions in the local market. In a discussion moderated by IBJ Editor Tom Harton, panelists took on a wide range of issues, including tax incentives and the status of downtown's residential and retail markets. Power Breakfast guests were Mike Curless, executive vice president and principal with Lauth Property Group; Mike Wells, president of...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: As construction costs rise, older buildings gain appealRestricted Content

April 24, 2006
Brian Mann
Construction costs continue to rise in the wake of hurricanes, tornadoes, the war in Iraq, the building boom in China and general inflation. The trickle-down effect often lands at the feet of small business owners. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Producer Price Index, prices for materials and construction components increased 0.3 percent in February, following a 1-percent hike in January and continuing a threeyear upswing. The average building cost index has increased about 45 percent since 1995,...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Measuring jobs: How to get handle on how we're doingRestricted Content

April 24, 2006
Patrick Barkey
Getting a good read on the Indiana economy is harder than you might think. That's partly because there really is no such thing as the Indiana economy. State borders are, after all, purely legal contrivances that flows of dollars, workers and goods don't worry much about. We're a collection of regions, in actuality, some centered within our state's borders and some not. But it is the public sector that does the scorekeeping on the economy, and it is public officials...
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  1. I am so impressed that the smoking ban FAILED in Kokomo! I might just move to your Awesome city!

  2. way to much breweries being built in indianapolis. its going to be saturated market, if not already. when is enough, enough??

  3. This house is a reminder of Hamilton County history. Its position near the interstate is significant to remember what Hamilton County was before the SUPERBROKERs, Navients, commercial parks, sprawling vinyl villages, and acres of concrete retail showed up. What's truly Wasteful is not reusing a structure that could still be useful. History isn't confined to parks and books.

  4. To compare Connor Prairie or the Zoo to a random old house is a big ridiculous. If it were any where near the level of significance there wouldn't be a major funding gap. Put a big billboard on I-69 funded by the tourism board for people to come visit this old house, and I doubt there would be any takers, since other than age there is no significance whatsoever. Clearly the tax payers of Fishers don't have a significant interest in this project, so PLEASE DON'T USE OUR VALUABLE MONEY. Government money is finite and needs to be utilized for the most efficient and productive purposes. This is far from that.

  5. I only tried it 2x and didn't think much of it both times. With the new apts plus a couple other of new developments on Guilford, I am surprised it didn't get more business. Plus you have a couple of subdivisions across the street from it. I hope Upland can keep it going. Good beer and food plus a neat environment and outdoor seating.

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