Economy

NOTIONS: Putting human rights bill to the testRestricted Content

November 28, 2005
Bruce Hetrick
A few weeks ago, my son Zach was named a Student Rotarian by his high school in Fort Wayne. He was invited to be honored at a downtown Rotary Club luncheon in that city, and asked me to attend. The Rotarians met on the second floor of the Summit City's downtown Holiday Inn. Zach and I went through the buffet line and sat down at a round table with the superintendent of his school system and four other Rotarians. The...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: States shed differences, except those in MidwestRestricted Content

November 28, 2005
Patrick Barkey
What can we say about the business climate in Indiana that other states aren't already saying about themselves? We think we have a great quality of life, good access to transportation, and a hardworking labor force. So do they. We have a variety of tax incentives, training grants and infrastructure improvements that we tout aggressively to those who would build or expand here. So do they. In fact, one of the most remarkable trends over the last few decades has...
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Fine-tuning a business strategy: Local violinmaker finds success by raising pricesRestricted Content

November 28, 2005
Matthew Kish
F ine-tuning a business strategy Local violinmaker finds success by raising prices John Welch made a counterintuitive business decision two years ago. The violin business was in decline. Asian manufacturers were turning out high-quality stringed instruments for a fraction of the price of their American competitors. Welch decided to swim against the current. He raised prices. "We realized the only way to compete with the Chinese was to improve our quality," said Welch, CEO of Indianapolis-based Sofia Violins. "We realized...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: If sales fall short, retailers will have explanations aplentyRestricted Content

November 21, 2005
Greg Andrews
Here's the good news for Indianabased retailers: Even if the crucial holiday shopping season doesn't go well, they'll have plenty of excuses for the lackluster performance. High gas prices kept shoppers at home. High heating prices ate up their disposable income. And any extremes on the weather front could prove handy, too. Who wants to buy sweaters when it's 60 degrees outside, or venture to the mall on ice-slickened roads? Indeed, it's not all spin. Take the Indianapolis-based electronics and...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: State economy looks good, but clouds are on horizonRestricted Content

November 21, 2005
Patrick Barkey
It's the time of year to get out our crystal balls and ask this deceptively simple question: What kind of year will 2006 be for the Indiana economy? This year, like any other, finds us making lists of what's going right, and what's going wrong, in our economic environment. Let's start with the good news. It may surprise some of you to know there is plenty to choose from. Topping the list has to be the surprisingly robust health of...
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'Backward' thinking seen as key to future: Students hope experiential history puts them on promising career pathRestricted Content

November 21, 2005
Chris O\'malley
As counterintuitive as it sounds, "experiential history" is one of seven key careers, besides usual suspects like logistics and bioinformatics, that are the focus of the University of Indianapolis' Institute for Emerging Careers. No, drug testing of college faculty isn't among the emerging careers. The institute was formed last year with a $750,000 Lilly Endowment grant. It aims to stem the so-called "brain drain" of Indiana's college graduates to other states in search of work-in part by pointing them in...
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Incentive search shot down: University Loft eyes Tennessee after Hancock County spurns request to create a TIF districtRestricted Content

November 14, 2005
Anthony Schoettle
Hancock County Commissioners' unwillingness to consider creating a Tax Increment Financing district has sent a growing Indianapolis-based manufacturer looking for a new expansion site, possibly out of state. University Loft Co. CEO James N. Jannetides said he was continually rebuffed over a months-long process to get the tax incentives his company needed to bring 200-plus jobs to the county directly east of Marion County. Now Jannetides said he might look to consolidate manufacturing in Tennessee where he opened a plant...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: We need to push harder to foster a tech economyRestricted Content

November 14, 2005
Patrick Barkey
You have to give the folks at Techpoint, the advocacy group for technology-oriented business in Indiana, plenty of credit for stamina. For eight years, these f o r wa r d - l o o k i n g folks have been carefully measuring the state's progress in what was once called the high-tech economy. And for each of those eight years, the message has been depressingly consistent: We remain at the back of the pack. That's not for lack...
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State revamps I-Light expansion project: Funding restored, but network limited to universitiesRestricted Content

November 14, 2005
Scott Olson
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has given high-speed Internet project I-Light the green light, but with a twist from its original intent. He agreed this month to support the final stages of funding for the project, which began in 1999 and connected supercomputers at Indiana University, Purdue University and IUPUI. The aim was to expand Indiana's digital infrastructure by connecting 15 cities via a fiber-optic network. Under his directive, though, only universities and related research parks can tap into the network,...
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BULLS & BEARS: Problems look daunting? A lesson from GranddadRestricted Content

November 14, 2005
Dave Gilreath
Granddad rocked back and said, "The news is pretty tough to read these days. Makes me want to sit on the porch and just watch the leaves turn." He shook his head and mentioned all sorts of events that made him wonder if the United States could ever bounce back. First, he brought up the battles for control in the Gaza strip and the fierce fighting over Palestinian areas. Then came speculation on how the United States was going to...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Economics and intelligent designRestricted Content

November 14, 2005
Morton Marcus
It felt strange sitting before an interim committee of the Indiana General Assembly. The questions were coming quickly and with a decided passion. "Mr. Marcus," Rep. Rottweiler demanded, "did you teach economics at Indiana University between 1970 and 2003?" "Yes," I confirmed. "During that time, did you teach the socalled 'Law of Demand'?" he boomed. "If you mean did I teach that when the price falls, more will be taken, other factors being held constant, yes, I did teach that...
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BULLS & BEARS: Furniture-maker Kimball may be solid investmentRestricted Content

November 7, 2005
Ken Skarbeck
It can take a while to rein in investor expectations after a time like the high-return 1990s. As Jeremy Grantham of Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo notes in his quarterly letter, "Even today, with long bonds at 4.5 percent and the earnings yield (on stocks) at under 5.5 percent, the assumption for longterm pension returns is still showing its bullish bias at over 8 percent." So what does an investor do in an environment that requires more humble expectations for investment...
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HVAC specialists see rise in energy-saving interest: Anticipated price spikes spur demand for revampsRestricted Content

November 7, 2005
Tracy Donhardt
Many plant managers consider it a lost cause to combat thermostat wars, factoring it in as a normal cost of doing business. Or they just don't think about it all. Even before hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused natural gas prices to soar, an energy price problem was already in full swing. Engineering, construction and energy management firms were already addressing concerns from clients over how to combat rising energy bills. While soaring prices are expected to wreak havoc on residential...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: How we all pay the price for things that seem freeRestricted Content

November 7, 2005
Patrick Barkey
There's no such thing as a free lunch, goes the familiar cliché about economics. That old phrase is meant to impart the simple idea that anything that consumes resources imposes a cost, which is certainly true. But a little tweak of the wording produces a much more powerful insight. That's to say-to an economist's way of thinking, at least-nothing should be free. Those dour sentiments doubtless explain why economists don't get invited to many parties. Free goods abound in our...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Talent, education are keys in competitive field of designRestricted Content

November 7, 2005
Tony Mediate
"Individuals with little or no formal education in design, as well as those who lack creativity and perseverance, will find it very difficult to establish and maintain a career in the occupation," warns the department through its currently posted Bureau of Labor Statistics Outlook. While I do suggest that designers of the future should take their career outlook seriously given the current and expected competition, I certainly would not want to discourage them. Creativity and perseverance are among those traits,...
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Dan Wendorff PC Eye Care: Optometrist has vision for growth Not content with status quo, doctor-turned-businessman sets his sights on expansionRestricted Content

November 7, 2005
Jo Ellen
Not content with status quo, doctor-turned-businessman sets his sights on expansion When Dan Wendorff was a kid, he thought he wanted to be a pharmacist like his father. But, "I was always interested in the eyes and excelled in physics and sciences," so when a high school friend suggested optometry, it stuck, said Wendorff, owner of Dan Wendorff Eye Care. His practice leases space and provides eye care services at two area offices of LensCrafters, an Ohio-based franchise. Wendorff, a...
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PLAN OF ATTACK: Anderson's leaders are working to exorcise the ghosts of GMRestricted Content

October 31, 2005
Anthony Schoettle
Four miles and decades of history separate the Anderson exits along Interstate 69 northeast of Indianapolis. Empty General Motors Corp. plants-as much a thing of the past as single-class basketball-cast ominous shadows at Exit 26, once Anderson's front door. To the west, closer to Indianapolis, is Exit 22 and the trappings of the future: millions of dollars in new infrastructure, a new business park, and the state's largest business incubator-tools Anderson officials think they need to turn this rust-belt poster...
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Startups offered a fast track: Motorsports-themed incubator gets green light in BrownsburgRestricted Content

October 31, 2005
Matthew Kish
Hendricks County officials hope a new business incubator there revs the engines of local entrepreneurs. The motorsports-themed facility, to be known as Fast-Start, got the green light after a year-long feasibility study concluded the project was a logical fit for a community that already houses Prudhomme Racing, John Force Racing and Bill Simpson's Impact Racing. "It would help achieve some of our goals in Brownsburg," said Jeanette Baker, town council president and treasurer of the Hendricks County Economic Development Partnership,...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: State's economy humming, so why do we feel gloomy?Restricted Content

October 31, 2005
Patrick Barkey
The days are shorter, the temperatures are colder, and the leaves are falling off the trees. For most normal people, that means it's time to start carving pumpkins, planning for holidays, or even watching the World Series. But for economists, it means something else entirely. It is the beginning of forecasting season. It's a time when organizations of all kinds are thinking about what they can expect in the coming year. For most of us, the state of the economy...
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BULLS & BEARS: It's not time to lose faith; stock market will be backRestricted Content

October 31, 2005
Dave Gilreath
Two weeks ago, this column was about the bird flu. Most likely, when you look at your October brokerage statement in the next week or two, you'll feel the symptoms. You'll feel a bit puny, tired, achy and feverish. You're tired of looking at weak statements, achy from getting punched by your stocks, and nearly feverish when you look at your statement's stagnant bottom line. It's no wonder you feel queasy. As this is being written, the Dow Jones Industrial...
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Public markets are sometimes a double-edged sword: Many companies enjoy access to capital, but others complain regulatory compliance costs are just too highRestricted Content

October 31, 2005
Peter Schnitzler
For young and growing companies, initial public offerings are a bit like climbing a mountain: a long, harsh toil to reach a distant summit. But planting a flag at the peak isn't enough. To make the journey worthwhile, companies must stay there. The payoff can be enormous, in the form of ready access to capital. But operating at such a high altitude requires careful footing. And the effort costs more than some can afford. "It's a double-edged sword," said George...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Bankruptcy of Delphi Corp. isn't all bad news for stateRestricted Content

October 24, 2005
Patrick Barkey
The long-anticipated bankruptcy filing of Delphi Corp. has sparked yet another discussion of the viability of manufacturing as a pillar of the Indiana economy. Such discussions, unfortunately, have become commonplace in many communities across the state in the last 10 years, in the wake of other troubling developments. Most of us know the face of manufacturing has changed across the state, but to see the world's largest auto-parts manufacturer-once part of mighty General Motors Corp. itself-succumb to this fate is...
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Kipps Brothers still evolving after 125 years

October 24, 2005
Candace Beaty
Walk through the Kipp Brothers showroom and you’ll find the makings of one heck of a birthday celebration: gag gifts galore, endless sugary treats and headgear that puts the traditional party hat to shame.
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BULLS & BEARS: Past pandemics didn't deflate stock marketRestricted Content

October 17, 2005
Dave Gilreath
The fear du jour is the Avian Flu and the potential for the mother of all global pandemics. In November 2004, the World Health Organization said an influenza pandemic was "inevitable," and in May of this year scientists predicted it could strike as much as 20 percent of the world's population! Recently, news media have shown pictures from Asia of crates of dead birds and reported new predictions, ranging from 5 million to 150 million human deaths. Hundreds of millions...
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Bruce R. Frank & Associates LLC: Business, basketball give adviser a leg up International perspective useful for Indianapolis consulting firmRestricted Content

October 17, 2005
Della Pacheco
At 6 feet 8 inches, consultant Bruce R. Frank is an imposing figure. But it's the 30 years of business experience the former professional basketball player has accumulated that he says helps him tower over his competition. Frank, 51, is the founder of Bruce R. Frank & Associates, an Indianapolis-based consulting group that helps life-sciences companies develop business strategies. So far, he has found most of his clients outside Indianapolis: Frank spent seven months on the road last year. The...
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