Manufacturing & Technology

EYE ON THE PIE: Hoosiers are not getting full truthRestricted Content

July 2, 2007
Morton Marcus
Goodnews serves up economic and business reports about Indiana. Recently, I read his draft press release: "Indiana's personal income rose to $211.1 billion in the first quarter of 2007. That is an increase of $8.2 billion, more than 4 percent in the past year." "Is that it?" I asked. "Those are the latest facts from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis," he said. "Anything else would be putting a spin on the basic truth." "Goodie," I said, using his nickname,...
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HUMAN RESOURCES: If you hire in a hurry, you may feel bad for a long timeRestricted Content

June 25, 2007
Tom Phillips
Of all the components of finding and hiring the right employees, employers consider interviewing job candidates the most difficult. If not done well, interviews can lead an employer to make the wrong decision. Why? Because job candidates rehearse their answers to the traditional interview questions, telling the employers what they want to hear. However, if employers ask behavioral based questions, job candidates can't manipulate their answers as easily. Perhaps a scenario-a composite taken from typical real-life episodes-will illustrate the difference...
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Bank exec forms electric-vehicle bizRestricted Content

June 18, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
Banker Steve Tolen is attempting to resuscitate the electric car. Tolen believes conditions are ripe for an upstart automaker to launch a safe battery-powered vehicle capable of rapid acceleration, highway speeds and over 100 miles of distance between charges.
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EYE ON THE PIE: Indiana's future not looking so goodRestricted Content

June 18, 2007
Morton Marcus
"Aye," Fergus affirmed. "They'll have tornado alerts and heavy-rain warnings," I said. "They'll flood us with high-water forecasts, beat upon us with hail reports, and show us maps that make us abandon all outdoor activity while we glue ourselves to the TV." "'Tis so," nodded Fergus. "Those weather people are worse than economists when it comes to urging data on us," I insisted. "Could be," Fergus said. "No doubt about it," I replied. "It wasn't in the papers or on...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Will state's job growth always trail nation's?Restricted Content

June 18, 2007
Patrick Barkey
You usually have to swallow your pride when it comes time to forecast the growth of the Indiana economy. That's because no matter what your heart says, your head tells you what the best forecast will be. That is the one that pulls up well short of growth in the rest of the country. There are a lot of talented people working hard around the state trying to change that. And if the full truth be told, most of our...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Focusing on factory jobs misses the big pictureRestricted Content

June 11, 2007
Patrick Barkey
There's been something peculiar going on in the business media in Indiana over the last few weeks. We've been beating ourselves up because the state is losing manufacturing jobs. Headlines about the decline are popping up, and state and local development officials are facing the bright light of media scrutiny. The chatter on Internet "talk-back" forums serves up plenty of people to blame-the governor, the unions, the Chinese and even our neighbors who buy imported goods. But if I could...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Despite the doomsayers, manufacturing still mattersRestricted Content

June 11, 2007
John Layden
From a manufacturing perspective, the United States in the 21st century is a curious place. In 1950s, science promised us the day when high-technology advances would perfrom a whole range of mundane work, thus releasing humanity to the pursuit of more noble intellectual and fulfilling activities. A half-century later, much of that promise-at least from the technology side-has been fulfilled. Yet, curiously, when the natural evolution of the free market affects U.S. manufacturing, all manner of handwringing and doom-saying emerge....
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Yurt biz owners think it's hip to be round: McCordsville firm counts on growing popularity for circular buildings with odd nameRestricted Content

June 11, 2007
Anthony Schoettle
It was a terrible storm. Emerging from his tattered tent at a Renaissance re-enactment camp more than 20 years ago, Ken Lawrence surveyed the decimated landscape, with only three oddlooking round structures surviving the 60-plus-mile-per-hour winds. Intrigued by what kind of structure withstood such a violent blow through this tent town, Lawrence poked his head inside the Mongolian-style yurt, a round tent-like structure with a uniquely engineered roof. "I was amazed they were still standing," Lawrence said. "Utterly amazed." Immediately,...
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Autism's rise challenges local agencies: Those with disorder face difficulties in locating meaningful employmentRestricted Content

June 4, 2007
Tracy Donhardt
Experts haven't pinpointed the exact reason, but they do know one thing-the rate at which children are being diagnosed with autism has been rising. About one child in 150 is diagnosed by the age of 8 with autism or a related autism spectrum disorder such as Asperger's syndrome, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That rate is up about 10 times from the 1980s. Experts have a variety of theories to explain the...
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Coal vendor not digging coke plant closure: Virginia firm sues Citizens Gas for breach of contractRestricted Content

May 28, 2007
Chris O\'malley
Citizens Gas & Coke Utility faces the first big fallout from a vendor involving the planned closure of its coke manufacturing plant. A breach-of-contract lawsuit by Bristol, Va.-based Central Coal Co. could make the plant even more of a money pit as Citizens seeks to cut its losses and escape the problems caused by falling coke demand and rising environmental compliance costs. Central Coal says it's out almost $831,000 because Indianapolis Coke failed to buy all the coal required under...
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Public-company CEOs lavished in perks, disclosures revealRestricted Content

May 28, 2007
J.K. Wall
Seven Indiana public companies not only own corporate jets, but also let their executives use them for personal trips. Cummins Inc., Hillenbrand Industries Inc., Zimmer Holdings Inc., Eli Lilly and Co., NiSource Inc., WellPoint Inc. and 1st Source Corp. all allow some personal use of company jets.
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CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: 'Rip' is just right for CICPRestricted Content

May 28, 2007
It's been 15 months since Central Indiana Corporate Partnership CEO Mark Miles wrote in these pages that he felt like Rip Van Winkle when he returned to the city after being away for 15 years. Miles has done anything but sleep since he got back. Neither has the CICP board of directors. That group should be congratulated for making an outstanding choice of a new leader and for taking bold steps forward. This seems to have been a perfect match...
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Techpoint honors Indiana companies, educators: Judges narrow 80 nominees to 13 Mira winnersRestricted Content

May 21, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
This year's recipients of Techpoint's Mira awards include some of the area's best-known technology startups as well as lower-profile firms that have racked up big achievements. On May 18, the technology trade group was scheduled to acknowledge the accomplishments of Hoosier entrepreneurs in information technology, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and education with its eighth annual gala at the Indiana Roof Ballroom downtown. "It's always good to recognize companies and give them a pat on the back, put them on the...
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Full Perspective Video Services Inc.: Marketing firm is one-stop shop Company stays agile thanks to logistics unitRestricted Content

May 21, 2007
Julie Young
After a stint in public accounting, Whetzel went to work for Fleming Packaging Co., a firm that duplicated and distributed videotapes. After taking some losses on a couple of projects, the owners of Fleming didn't see the potential for video duplication and distribution, so Whetzel and business partner Charlie Seldon bought the company in 1991. Doing the deal wasn't easy. "I borrowed from family, refinanced the house, and took everything out of savings," he said. "I was dead broke and...
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Welding school's custom curriculum gains notice: Institution counts on business-to-business contactsRestricted Content

May 21, 2007
Anthony Schoettle
Seeking to take advantage of a growing statewide welder shortage, the area's first school specializing in advanced welding opened this month. Photon School of Welding Inc. Director Charles Garinger and a silent partner have invested more than $300,000 to open the school at West 84th Street and Zionsville Road. The operation is financed through the founders' savings and a loan from National City Bank. It opened this month in a 6,000-squarefoot facility with a capacity of 52 welding booths. Many...
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Contamination reconsidered: Developers show more acceptance toward environmental trouble spots When property is scarce, mitigation becomes viableRestricted Content

May 21, 2007
Chris O\'malley
When property is scarce, mitigation becomes viable The plan to close Citizens Gas & Coke Utility's coke manufacturing plant this year has already brought a few inquires about its reuse potential. But perhaps the biggest impact of the foundry fuel-maker's demise will be stoking discussions over whether other environmentally scarred properties are ripe for redevelopment. Until recent years, many developers regarded any property with even a tinge of environmental contamination as if a parcel in Chernobyl. The coke plant "illustrates...
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Ex-Brightpoint officer points to higher-upsRestricted Content

May 21, 2007
Greg Andrews
John Delaney, a second-tier Brightpoint Inc. executive convicted of securities fraud last year, charges in a newly public letter that upper management was in on the scheme. The 2004 letter implicates former Chief Financial Officer Phil Bounsall, now executive vice president of locally based Walker Information.
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Ruined Brightpoint manager heading to trialRestricted Content

May 21, 2007
Greg Andrews
Four years after the Securities and Exchange Commission accused Harcharik of committing securities fraud at Brightpoint Inc., he finally has his day in court. A civil jury trial is scheduled to start May 21 in Manhattan. It could last as long as three weeks.
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Local manufacturer tops in laundry coin machinesRestricted Content

May 14, 2007
Jennifer Whitson
Standard Change-Makers employs 118 people who make 3,500 change machines each year for self-service laundries, self-service car washes and arcades nationwide. Local workers design, build and service change machines.
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Former sales rep alleges Ohio roofing firm overcharged: Tremco denies civil charges of unfair business practices in its work for Indiana school corporationsRestricted Content

May 7, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
A longtime sales representative for one of the roofing industry's largest manufacturers alleges his former employer defrauded Indiana public schools out of more than $1.5 million. Brennen Baker charges that the company, Beachwood, Ohio-based Tremco Inc., circumvented Indiana's public bidding laws for school projects; overcharged for its services; and billed for materials, services and equipment it never delivered. Baker was a Tremco sales rep for southwest and central Indiana from 1991 until January 2004. Baker, who later founded the Fishers-based...
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MICKEY MAURER Commentary: The classy dame is still classyRestricted Content

May 7, 2007
"Pat Miller is a classy dame." Michael S. Maurer, Indianapolis Star, Dec. 13, 2005 The above response to an Indianapolis Star reporter on the occasion of Pat Miller's resignation as secretary of commerce was meant with all sincerity to be complimentary but was morphed by Indianapolis Star columnist John Ketzenberger into a slur on the order of Don Imus or Howard Stern. The Star piled on with a letter to the editor from someone who does not even live in...
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VC expert: Businesses enjoy 'seller's market': In Q&A, private-equity veteran Scolnik discusses industry trendsRestricted Content

April 30, 2007
Peter Schnitzlerreporter
With $116.5 million in capital under management, Hammond Kennedy Whitney & Co. Inc. is Indiana's largest private equity firm focused on mergers and acquisitions. It regularly creates $5 million to $15 million deals to buy small and middle-market manufacturing companies with low risk of technical obsolescence. Founded in 1903, HKW maintains its headquarters in New York, but the bulk of its operations and activities are in Indiana. Its portfolio includes the Indianapolis-based centrifuge-maker CentraSep Technologies and corrugated sheet manufacturer Flutes...
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Entrepreneur's fortune cookie biz grows by breaking traditionRestricted Content

April 30, 2007
Anthony Schoettle
Fulfilling a wish list was how Mike Fry came to found Indianapolis-based Fancy Fortune Cookies, by all accounts the only non-Asian-owned fortune cookie operation in North America. Fry started Fancy Fortune Cookies near Fort Wayne in 1989. He moved the company to Indianapolis in 1992.
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Pension changes fill state's VC coffer: Indiana Investment Fund has $155 million to pour into Hoosier companiesRestricted Content

April 30, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
The diversification of the state's two enormous public pension funds into private equity is transforming Indiana's venture capital sector. And their $155 million Indiana Investment Fund is the largest factor in the equation. If it's successful, the Indiana Public Employees' Retirement Fund and the Indiana State Teachers' Retirement Fund will save Hoosiers untold millions of dollars and help launch a host of new high-tech companies. If it's not, taxpayers will one day have to foot the bill. Indiana State Budget...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: State's growth in incomes is still lagging the nation'sRestricted Content

April 23, 2007
Patrick Barkey
It was 1980 when then-presidential candidate Ronald Reagan asked audiences whether they were better off than four years earlier. It was smart politics-1980 was a recession year. But politics aside, it's always a relevant question. For if the economy is not growing the pie that we all share, then those who manage it, not to mention those in political leadership roles, have cause for concern. But how do we answer such a question? With the due date for tax filings...
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  1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

  4. That's the mentality of most retail marketers. In this case Leo was asked to build the brand. HHG then had a bad sales quarter and rather than stay the course, now want to go back to the schlock that Zimmerman provides (at a considerable cut in price.) And while HHG salesmen are, by far, the pushiest salesmen I have ever experienced, I believe they are NOT paid on commission. But that doesn't mean they aren't trained to be aggressive.

  5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.

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