Economy

Interactive Intelligence posts profit, again: Communications software-maker nets modest earningsRestricted Content

August 1, 2005
Peter Schnitzler
Its profit may be modest. But after years of struggle, Interactive Intelligence Inc. knows the value of small gains. They sure beat massive losses. Last week, the Indianapolis-based software company reported a second-quarter profit of $290,000 on sales of $15.6 million. That compares with a profit of $304,000 on sales of $13.6 million posted during the same quarter last year. It was the company's sixth consecutive profitable quarter, for a total of $1.4 million. That's a big turnaround for the...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Your call is important to someoneRestricted Content

August 1, 2005
Morton Marcus
I'm on hold after calling Wishard Hospital's Adult Medicine Clinic at 7 a.m., as instructed, to get an appointment with my doctor. My call is very important, the recorded message says, but no one is responding. First, I am told that if this call concerns a "life-threatening situation," I should hang up and call 9-1-1. That's really helpful. Maybe other, more sophisticated patients can identify a "life-threatening situation." I am always reluctant to make such a determination. Then I go...
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Manufacturers struggle with China's risk, opportunity: Currency valuation one of many competitive issuesRestricted Content

August 1, 2005
Peter Schnitzler
Eighteen months ago, 110 people worked for Swiss Plywood Co., a Tell City-based cabinet-maker in business since 1945. The average tenure was 17 years. Today, only 65 employees are left at the controls of Swiss Plywood's machines. Chairman Bill Borders blames China. "We've weathered storms over the years," Borders said. "But nothing approaching this." Manufacturers in Indiana and across the nation have long complained about what they call Chinese currency manipulation. It's one of a litany of grumbles about Chinese...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Manufacturing sector keeps Indiana economy chuggingRestricted Content

July 25, 2005
Patrick Barkey
There is mostly good news on the economy. Both in Indiana and in the nation as a whole, we appear to be heading into the year's second half with reasonably strong momentum. Buoyed by surprisingly low interest rates, a weak dollar and a strong rebound in business spending nationwide, the state economy has turned in a solid performance in the last six quarters. Through the first six months of the year, the Indiana economy is on a pace to create...
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CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: China Syndrome hits 21st centuryRestricted Content

July 25, 2005
The Chinese have taken a keen interest in U.S. corporations of late. Just this year, a Chinese firm acquired the personal computer business of IBM Corp., and a consortium led by a large Chinese conglomerate investigated-but dropped-the idea of buying appliance maker Maytag. Though they involved long-standing and cherished American brands, neither deal raised too much reaction from American business executives or politicians in Washington. By contrast, when China's CNOOC Ltd. offered in June to acquire California-based Unocal, all hell...
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TOM HARTON Commentary: Keep your eye on the designRestricted Content

July 18, 2005
Design matters, and architects aren't the only ones who should care. On the eve of two significant ground breakings, even those of us who know nothing about facades and fenestration should consider what's about to take place here. Later this month, the first dirt will be turned on the site of the city's new airport terminal, and we can assume that dignitaries will brandish shiny shovels next month just south of the existing RCA Dome. In both cases, there will...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Nation forgets how it achieved prosperityRestricted Content

July 18, 2005
Morton Marcus
"How do you do it?" The question came from Mumbles Marcus, my talk-showhost cousin. "Every week, another fresh, insightful column addressing one of our nation's leading issues." Since we were onair, I kept my reply polite: "Actually, Mumbles, I write the same column almost every week. I change the clothing, but the body remains the same. I am obsessed with the many choices we must make to satisfy private interests today and meet the needs of ourselves and others in...
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Incentives take aim at rising fuel costs: State pumps out grants for company vehicles using alternative fuelsRestricted Content

July 18, 2005
Chris O\'malley
A combination of soaring gasoline prices, state grants and environmental idealism have whet appetites among businesses for "alternative fuel vehicles" such as this batterypowered Global Electric Motorcars model. A $3,996 grant from the Lieutenant Governor's Office paid for about one-third the cost of the Pizza Express vehicle, manufactured by a DaimlerChrysler subsidiary. "Industries such as ours should be pioneers in the electric vehicle frontier," said Gabe Connell, franchisee of the Pizza Express restaurants near IUPUI and in Broad Ripple. As...
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VIEWPOINT: Hoosiers gave tech transfer a big boostRestricted Content

July 18, 2005
Cam Carter
Today, we take for granted that our state universities play a role far beyond their traditional educational mission-especially in the economic arena. University-sponsored research is being licensed to the private sector, or used to form new companies. Universities are managing business incubators. Consulting partnerships between academia and industry are commonplace. It wasn't always this way. Not long ago, university officials were skeptical of becoming too involved with the private sector. Business leaders and investors didn't recognize the value of innovation...
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Music events seeking rhythm: Midwest Music Summit picks up the beat for industry convention expected to draw 23,000Restricted Content

July 18, 2005
Andrea Muirragui
The Midwest Music Summit is approaching its fifth year bigger than ever as organizers fine-tune an event they hope will find harmony with a massive convention planned for the same weekend. More than 400 artists are slated to perform at 35 venues throughout the city during the July 21-23 summit-scheduled this year to coincide with International Music Products Association's NAMM Summer Session, an annual gathering expected to draw 23,000 music aficionados for its first stop in Indianapolis. The timing is...
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Narrow Gate Media LLC: Brothers help others sell via the Web They've developed a template that can be tweaked to create unique sitesRestricted Content

July 18, 2005
Jo Ellen
"People would always tell me I had the personality and social skills that made me a good salesman," said Vaught, who, with his older brother Tim Vaught, founded Narrow Gate Media LLC in January 2000 in Indianapolis. For example, when Tom Vaught bought a motor scooter for his paper route, all his friends wanted to ride it, and he let them-in exchange for delivering the newspapers. "They got to ride the scooter and I still collected the money" from the...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Have surging gas prices lost their stinging power?Restricted Content

July 18, 2005
Patrick Barkey
Have you checked out the satellite radios that are showing up everywhere nowadays? They've got a button and a station for just about everything. If you want to hear music from the 1960s, or the 1940s, it's yours at the press of a button. If the radio gave you economic news, and you hit the button marked 1980s, you might get something like this: Oil prices skyrocket, inflation roars, car sales plummet and the economy plunges into recession. But hit...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: My city is bigger than your city, or is it?Restricted Content

July 11, 2005
Patrick Barkey
Does anyone remember the World Almanac? Perhaps not. But in the Barkey household of many years back, it was a well-worn little book. Especially those pages where populations were listed for every city in the country. That's where we could proudly look up our own hometown and see where we stood against everyone else. We're still doing that, of course. The paper books are gone, naturally, replaced by Web pages from the Census Bureau that pop up at the click...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: New data gives economists a new way to gauge stateRestricted Content

July 4, 2005
Patrick Barkey
Ask any economic developer what he or she is expected to produce, and the answer is a single syllable: jobs. Sure, there are a few qualifiers. We want good jobs, which generally means highpaying, secure, or even non-polluting jobs. But high-profile announcements of business expansion or recruitment always lead with the projected effects on employment-often spelled out to the last digit. It's hard to see anything wrong with that. Job growth is easy to grasp and even if we're not...
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ABDUL-HAKIM SHABAZZ Commentary: There are benefits to an open U.S. borderRestricted Content

July 4, 2005
I was frequenting one of my favorite watering holes downtown and ordered a chocolate martini with a strawberry when my bartender informed me the price was likely to go up this summer. I asked him why and he told me there was some kind of shortage out West. So, after doing some investigation, I discovered there is a problem with the strawberry crop. There aren't enough workers to pick them, therefore they stay on the vines and don't make it...
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Taking the pulse of life sciences: Experts weigh in on whether Indiana is keeping up in the economic development raceRestricted Content

June 27, 2005
IBJ: Is Indiana gaining ground against other states in the race to grow as a life sciences hub? What are some specific benchmarks that underscore your opinion? JOHNSON: Indiana is gaining ground, but Indiana already starts on really very substantial ground. There are a lot of outside validations of that and I think it's important for this audience to hear a couple of them because there is nothing like having people on the outside pay attention to what we're doing...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS Patrick Barkey: Intelligence isn't only factor that sets earnings potentialRestricted Content

June 27, 2005
Do we have a passion for economics? Judging from the numbers of economics majors at colleges and universities across the country, the answer is probably no. The world of graphs and statistics we inhabit is not everyone's cup of tea. But if few of us like to study the economy, we all have to live and work within its borders. And the most important interaction most of us will ever have with the economy occurs when we venture into the...
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Holding serve: Racquet Club rallies through tennis slumpRestricted Content

June 27, 2005
Anthony Schoettle
Born during boom times and volleyed through the bad, the Indianapolis Racquet Club, though a little leaner than in the 1980s, has survived four decades while many of its competitors have double-faulted. IRC officials said they've survived tennis industry tumult by adding instructors and programs, expanding the pro shop to become one of the biggest in the Midwest, and staying focused on the club's core business. "It's simple, really," said Ed Brune, who has been general manager and tennis director...
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BULLS & BEARS: Fed policies encourage post-bubble hangoversRestricted Content

June 20, 2005
Ken Skarbeck
Economists teach us that too much money chasing too few goods causes inflation. As consumers, this supply-demand imbalance leads to rising prices on the everyday items we purchase. A similar phenomenon can occur in financial assets. Too much money chasing stocks, bonds and real estate can create financial asset inflation. Pension funds, institutions and wellheeled individuals are throwing money into "alternative investments" in the hopes of earning high returns. There are now an estimated 8,000 hedge funds that manage more...
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Charitable sector rides on road to recovery: Giving makes big jump for the first time since 2000Restricted Content

June 20, 2005
Andrea Muirragui
Americans gave more money to charity last year than ever before, signaling a return to the pre-9/11 philanthropic heyday. Contributions were up 5 percent, to $248.5 billion-the first significant increase after adjusting for inflation since 2000. "Things have been kind of flat," said Eugene Tempel, executive director at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. "This ... tells us things are getting a little stronger. This is a good sign." Researchers at the center compile data each year and write...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Until Indiana diversifies, economy will struggleRestricted Content

June 20, 2005
Patrick Barkey
Sure, General Motors Corp. is in trouble, and quite a few Indiana communities are directly in harm's way. The headlines say it all. Plant closings-above and beyond those already planned-are on the way. GM bonds are rated as junk. Its market share is at an historic low. And it's discounting just about everything on the lot. For a company that has been the No. 1 automaker in the world for four generations, its recent stumbles have to be humbling. Pressed...
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Precedent plans spec office: Building signals improvement in north-suburban marketRestricted Content

June 20, 2005
Tammy Lieber
The Precedent Cos. is preparing to build a 100,000-square-foot office building in its namesake office park near 96th Street and Keystone Avenue, several local real estate experts said, further evidence of the north-suburban market's recovery. The building would mark the first new speculative office construction in the park since the mid-1990s, just before Indianapolis-based Precedent sold the park's 19 buildings with 1.1 million square feet of office space to Philadelphia-based Berwind Property Group Inc. in 1998. That sale didn't include...
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Community banks struggle with regulatory demands: Sarbanes-Oxley, Banking Security Act prove costlyRestricted Content

June 13, 2005
Peter Schnitzler
Who can blame small community banks for feeling boxed in? "The world has changed," said Jerry Engle, president and CEO of Greenwoodbased First Bank. "I guess we'll have to get used to it." Far and away, it's the increasing cost of regulatory compliance that keeps community bankers tossing and turning at night. In recent months, the Independent Community Bankers of America, a small-bank advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., has stepped up its ongoing campaign against additional regulation by asking...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS Patrick Barkey: Though state revenue rises, property tax hikes lurkingRestricted Content

June 13, 2005
Is there such a thing as good news about taxes? Perhaps not. Muscles tense and faces frown at the mere sound of that three-letter word. But you should know there is a quiet tax increase occurring in the state that few, if any, of its residents are complaining about. We're all paying more in taxes to the state-quite a bit more, actually-and the governor and the General Assembly have little to do with it. What's happening, of course, is that...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Indiana must not let TDL opportunities elude its graspRestricted Content

June 13, 2005
Michael Snyder
Unlike some other Hoosier economic initiatives, much of the required infrastructure to rapidly advance TDL into significant growth is already in place. More Interstate highways cross the state An economic development analyst determining the physical advantages of Indiana might initially be challenged. Indiana has no oceans. No mountains. No temperate climate. But the Hoosier state does possess one singular unmatched physical plus: It is the state geographically closest to the bulk of most U.S. major markets. For more than a...
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