Economy

Celadon Group's foray into e-commerce rolls on: Demand by truckers for discount fuel helps propel TruckersB2B despite flattened tire businessRestricted Content

October 17, 2005
Chris O\'malley
TruckersB2B Inc. ought to have been among the road kill of the technology bust of 2000, when the restless ghost of Adam Smith dope-slapped investors out of their hypnotic drool over anything high-tech. But unlike scores of dubious e-commerce ventures, the 5-year-old Web site offering small to midsize trucking fleets group discounts on everything from fuel to tires turned out to be built on a sustainable business model. The Indianapolisbased business now claims more than 19,000 participants representing 445,000 trucks....
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Smaller communities face largest economic obstaclesRestricted Content

October 17, 2005
Patrick Barkey
The population statistics tell the story-we are a nation of cities. Nationwide in 2000, almost 80 percent of us lived in what the Census Bureau considered urban areas. Yet Indiana has more small cities, and more people who live in rural areas, than do many other states. In 2000, nearly 30 percent of us lived outside urban areas, compared with the national average of 21 percent. And of our 92 counties, 38 have fewer than 30,000 people, with 19 of...
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In a race for robotics: Crash doesn't quell Jones' hope of building new industryRestricted Content

October 17, 2005
Peter Schnitzler
One day in the not-so-distant future, robot drones will drive the military's supply vehicles through dangerous war zones. They'll pilot tractors across farm fields and steer plows as they scrape snowy highways. Automatic cars will even whisk you to and from work. High-tech entrepreneur Scott Jones, 44, believes with a zealot's fervor this all will happen. More than a gee-whiz observer, the man who helped invent voice mail hopes to establish a robotic vehicle business-and ultimately the robotic vehicle industry-in...
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CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: LaSalle economist holds courtRestricted Content

October 17, 2005
Now that President Bush has named both his candidates for Supreme Court vacancies and one has been confirmed, we can expect news soon of an appointment that is more important to businesspeople and markets. That would be the replacement for Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, who retires Jan. 31. Greenspan has been in his seat 18 years and has presided over a period of strong economic growth, low inflation and interest rates, and a tremendous stock market....
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TOM HARTON Commentary: Luring people with bricks, mortarRestricted Content

October 10, 2005
A parking garage is about to rise on a vacant lot at 120 E. Washington St. It's ironic that a block or so west of the site, a group of architects, city planners, real estate developers and leaders of the city's arts movement meet on a regular basis to plot against such garages. The garage in the works isn't just any garage. In its current design, which is yet to be approved, it's only a garage. No ground-floor retail. Just...
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Backing home again: CID changes out-of-state course, invests $50M in IndianaRestricted Content

October 10, 2005
Peter Schnitzler
Indiana's flagship venture capital firm has changed direction. Often criticized for not investing frequently enough within state lines, CID Equity Partners over the last five years has quietly put nearly $50 million to work in 10 Indiana companies. In the decade before, CID invested in just a half-dozen local deals. And after struggling to weather the 2001 recession, CID's managers believe the wind is finally at their back. Three years ago, massive losses threatened to sink the firm. Since then,...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Economy likely to purr on despite hurricane mayhemRestricted Content

October 10, 2005
Patrick Barkey
Did your company miss its earnings targets last period? Or did your household spend a little too much on your last vacation? Or maybe you've just added a few extra pounds on your waistline recently. Then you should do what just about everyone else is doing-blame it on Katrina. It seems as if every disappointing result in the economy is being blamed on the big storms that have rolled in from the Gulf of Mexico in the last six weeks....
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Bubble won't burst on commercial real estate investorsRestricted Content

October 10, 2005
David Funke
Winding down his remarkable tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan seems to have chosen "real estate bubble" as one of the themes of his swan song. And with housing prices in some cities soaring, the rest of us as mere mortals can reasonably wonder how long it will be before the bubble bursts and what will be the fallout if and when that happens. Many private equity investors with holdings in commercial real estate are beginning to...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Lack of fiscal discipline casts cloud over futureRestricted Content

October 3, 2005
Patrick Barkey
There's been a resurgence of interest in the founding fathers of our country, judging from the best-seller lists. As some have written, not all those men we idolize today as founders of our great democracy were equally excited about the prospect of turning government over to the masses. In fact, some were downright terrified. They feared popularly elected governments would quickly go bankrupt spending their way to popularity. Now more than 200 years into the great democratic experiment, we're hardly...
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Atlas tenderloin tradition lives on: Family pays homage to 'sticker lady' at Carmel deliRestricted Content

September 26, 2005
Scott Olson
But her connection to the grocery runs deeper. Her mother, Debbie Davis, was an Atlas institution, earning her "sticker lady" nickname from children who received the treats she kept in a toy treasure chest at her register. Debbie died in June 2004 at age 52, following a prolonged battle with breast cancer. In her memory, husband Mike Davis created the "Debbie's Make You Smile Fund" to benefit the Indiana University Cancer Center. It is supported by the sale of the...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Data thin on rural areas, and likely to get worseRestricted Content

September 26, 2005
Patrick Barkey
There was a time in this country when cities had electricity and the countryside did not. This side-by-side existence of two lifestyles-one filled with leisure and convenience, another with endless drudgery and work-ultimately shamed the federal government to subsidize rural electrification and turn lights on in the country that had been burning in cities for several decades. That same situation exists today for broadband Internet, and its implications for economic development have already motivated many communities to pursue plans to...
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VIEWPOINT: 40 years after Civil Rights, opportunity callsRestricted Content

September 26, 2005
Jesse Moore
As the Civil Rights Act turns a middleage 40 this year, it's time to celebrate accomplishments and consider the future. From a business and higher education perspective, we've witnessed a major turnaround. Many companies and institutions seek out minority businesses and students now. Those that are well-prepared can use the opportunity to succeed and make a big difference for our state and nation. Altruism and fairness may lie beneath some of the change, but it also just makes good economic...
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So far, VC deals scarce: BioCrossroads: Networking should spawn commitmentsRestricted Content

September 26, 2005
Peter Schnitzler
Almost two years ago, in October 2003, BioCrossroads debuted its $73 million Indiana Future Fund. In the time since, just three Indiana startups have received IFF-backed investments. But it's not for BioCrossroads' lack of trying. Both in public and behind the scenes, BioCrossroads is working diligently to put promising local life sciences prospects in front of venture capitalists. This year, BioCrossroads has already held two well-publicized Indiana Future Fund Entrepreneurial Forums: the first in April at Purdue University in West...
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BULLS & BEARS: Katrina crisis highlights need for self-sufficiencyRestricted Content

September 19, 2005
Dave Gilreath
No one really knows how Katrina is going to affect the economy. Some economists say it will be a whopper of a negative while some are convinced-and convincing-that she ultimately will be positive for GDP. But based on the fact the stock market, which is the great predicting machine, advanced a couple of percentage points in the week following the disaster, I'd have to go with the positive bet. The slow response and evacuation snafus were one problem, but the...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Many aren't prepared for jobs of the futureRestricted Content

September 19, 2005
Patrick Barkey
To be illiterate in our society is more than an inconvenience, or an obstacle to making a living. It is also a badge of shame. That's why we should all be concerned about the results of a January study that told us almost a million Indiana workers-one-third of the work force-failed to meet the minimum literacy standards for knowledge-based jobs. Many of us in the fields of research and policymaking have responded to this disturbing finding the same way we...
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ROUGH ROAD AHEAD?: Chrysler foundry's closing a warning sign for other plantsRestricted Content

September 12, 2005
Anthony Schoettle
Chrysler foundry's closing a warning sign for other plants The closing of DaimlerChrysler Corp.'s foundry west of downtown at the end of this month signals more than the end of nearly 900 jobs there. "There's a fundamental change occurring in the automotive industry right now," said Matthew Will, director of the University of Indianapolis' graduate business program and associate dean in the School of Business. "Unless local manufacturers in this sector don't reposition, I would certainly expect to see more job...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Façade of confidence saves us from anarchyRestricted Content

September 12, 2005
Patrick Barkey
You may not know this, but every banker and policymaker does. If every one of us got out of bed tomorrow morning, drove to our banks or financial institutions, and tried to withdraw our money, the system that seems so solid today would suffer a complete collapse. The same thing would happen to the electrical grid if every device that could draw power were switched on at once. In fact, if every one of us decided today to fill up...
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State unrolls insurer-friendly plan: New strategy aims to recruit, nurture insurance businesses; watchdogs wary of approachRestricted Content

September 5, 2005
Tom Murphy
The state of Indiana is aggressively courting the insurance industry to add high-paying jobs to the economy, a strategy that comes with a touch of controversy. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. announced late last month the appointment of Mike Chrysler as Indiana's first-ever director of insurance initiatives. Chrysler then hit the ground driving. He's already visited the Fort Wayne market and plans to reach several other corners of Indiana to let insurers know the state appreciates their business and wants...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Rising health care costs killing jobs and incomeRestricted Content

September 5, 2005
Patrick Barkey
Most of us have been in a doctor's office, and many of us have had conditions that require treatment. But few of us are likely to hear any information presented on the cost of different treatment options along with their benefits, especially if we are one of the 170 million people covered by employer- or governmentprovided health insurance. It is an amazing fact that nearly $3 trillion of health care goods and services are ordered off a menu that has...
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NOTIONS: The power of nature and the perils of human natureRestricted Content

September 5, 2005
Bruce Hetrick
Some colleagues and I drove south into Evansville last week just as the remnants of Hurricane Katrina blew in from the north. As we pulled into the parking lot of our destination, we watched workers battling wind and rain on the walk from their cars to the office. Twice, we saw sturdy umbrellas, held nearly horizontal against the oncoming gale, collapse upon their users. The drenched souls fumbled with the resulting maze of metal and fabric as they struggled across...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: Here's a Blues performance that won't get you downRestricted Content

September 5, 2005
Greg Andrews
Anthem Inc.'s $1.9 billion initial public offering in late 2001 set all kinds of records. It was the biggest IPO for a U.S. health care company ever, and the biggest IPO for a Hoosier company of any kind. But that company, now known as WellPoint Inc., was puny compared with its size today. Then, it had a market value of $3.9 billion; now, thanks to acquisitions and a surging stock price, it's worth $45 billion. WellPoint shares were trading last...
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City's mall gamble paid off: After 10 years, Circle Centre at core of rejuvenated downtownRestricted Content

September 5, 2005
Greg Andrews
In February, Goldsmith suspended construction while he and advisers analyzed options. Within months, he gave Circle Centre the green light, and construction resumed-but not because he was convinced the project would succeed. "In the end, we decided job creation in the urban core and the psychological survival of the city were dependent on some development occurring downtown," recalled Goldsmith, now a professor at Harvard University. "We went forward with the mall with great anxiety." Today, 10 years after the September...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: The world might be flat, but construction costs aren'tRestricted Content

September 5, 2005
Don Altemeyer
For the most part, construction has been a local story, a story about local workers building buildings in our community. But the story isn't so local anymore. Global economic forces have begun to intersect with local issues at the construction site. The result: a significant and ongoing increase in construction costs across central Indiana and the rest of the United States-an increase that shows no signs of slowing. Through the first quarter of 2004, construction costs increased at a calm...
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EYE ON THE PIE: We need better number-crunchersRestricted Content

September 5, 2005
Morton Marcus
Quietly, the Daniels administration is doing something that may be a historic first: It is trying to improve the information available for administrators, legislators, analysts, scholars and ordinary citizens. It's a big task, with many barriers to success. Typically, units of state and local governments don't share data with one another. They think narrowly about what they have to do today and don't consider the needs of anyone else. The Indiana Data Initiative-which involves Indiana University, other state universities and...
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Insurers thinking younger: Healthy, uninsured and 20? WellPoint, Golden Rule, others would like to sell you a policyRestricted Content

August 29, 2005
Tracy Donhardtreporter
WellPoint Inc. and other insurers think they've found a hot new market-offering high-deductible individual health insurance policies to uninsured people who are young and healthy. It's a market insurers historically may have overlooked, based on the misconception that uninsured people are poor and in bad health, said Dana McMurtry, vice president of health policy and analysis at WellPoint. Nationally, more than half the 45 million uninsured earn more than $25,000 a year and more than one-quarter top $50,000 annually, according...
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