Manufacturing & Technology

Once-hot cooler company's new owners trying to rejuvenate businessRestricted Content

March 26, 2007
Anthony Schoettle
After almost 60 profitable years that saw Elliott-Williams Co. install walk-in refrigerators and freezers in almost every Indiana school, hospital and hotel, the venerable firm was brought to its knees last year. But an unlikely savior, a new locally based venture capital firm, bought EW out of bankruptcy for $507,000, about the cost of 10 EW walk-ins.
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Auto-job slide acceleratingRestricted Content

March 19, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
Indiana's automotive manufacturing employment for the last decade peaked at 142,000 in 1999. Since then, the sector has shed 20,300 jobs-a staggering one-seventh of its total. Another 5,220 are slated to be cut soon. And there's no end in sight.
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MICKEY MAURER Commentary: Hoosiers, wake up to the worldRestricted Content

March 12, 2007
Don't rest the chopsticks on your food. Don't blow your nose during the meal and never pour the soy sauce on your rice. These and other tidbits of Japanese dining etiquette had to be digested before our first trade mission to Japan in 2005. That 74-person mission, led by Gov. Mitch Daniels, was the largest delegation of Indiana business leaders and state and local officials ever on foreign shores. Indiana is the No. 1 manufacturing state in the union. More...
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BULLS & BEARS: Amid all the complaining, U.S. continues to prosperRestricted Content

March 5, 2007
Dave Gilreath
A few weeks ago, I heard Ben Stein speak about politics and the economy. The noted lawyer, writer, actor and economist spouted off various positive statistics about the U.S. economy and then lamented that the public seemed morose about the financial sunshine. Even though our standard of living is at an all-time high, it seems as if Americans like to grovel and complain. Stein said, in his best Ferris Bueller drone, the American public was the most "unhappy happy society"...
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Brightpoint's buy turns the tablesRestricted Content

February 26, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
On Feb. 20, Plainfield-based cell phone distributor Brightpoint Inc. announced a blockbuster deal to buy Dangaard, its largest European rival, for $308 million, a reversal of fortunes from five years ago between the competitors.
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Goodwill plotting a $10 million reuse strategy: Not-for-profit renovates HQ for expanded charter schoolRestricted Content

February 19, 2007
Cory Schouten
Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana supports its job and educational programs by reselling used clothes, household items and even cars. But the virtues of reuse and recycle aren't confined to the not-for-profit's 34 local thrift stores. Goodwill has adapted its headquarters several times since it was built in 1960, to fill a variety of needs. Some of the same space within the 195,000-square-foot building has served as a retail store, an office full of cubicles, an industrial packing facility and...
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Allison Transmission might be ripe for management buyoutRestricted Content

February 19, 2007
Anthony Schoettle
As struggling General Motors Corp. tries to raise cash by unloading Allison Transmission, the fate of the city's third-largest manufacturer hangs in the balance. But analysts say its market dominance, strong management team and abundance of private equity could spare it the fate of other auto plants here.
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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Tax reform is tricky, but legislators aren't giving upRestricted Content

February 19, 2007
Ed Feigenbaum
The coming week will bring intense action in both the House of Representatives and the Senate as the chambers complete committee deliberations on bills in their respective chambers of origin. As of this writing, final floor action that would allow bills to cross the Statehouse Rotunda would take place by early in the last week of February. Missing from this session seems to be any real sense of urgency in moving measures through committee and on to the floor of...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Fate of U.S. auto industry is controlled by investorsRestricted Content

February 19, 2007
Patrick Barkey
On the same black Thursday that Borg Warner announced it would close its 780-worker Muncie manufacturing facility in 2009, the price of its stock surged 6 percent. Are the traders on Wall Street heartless, or prejudiced against Muncie, or do they simply like bad news? In truth, none of these answers is probably correct, although we really have no way of knowing. But the divergent reactions of stockholders and workers and their families to the news that nearly a century...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Are we spending too much on pets?Restricted Content

February 19, 2007
Morton Marcus
"It's such a hassle, day after day after day," she said. "What's a hassle?" I asked. "Oh, you know," she answered, mixing her yogurt deep into the cereal. "Why," she continued without continuity, "don't you write about global warming? It's a very serious problem that they need to do something about." "Who are 'they'?" I inquired. "All the big guys," she said "the power brokers, the decision-makers and the office-holders, all of them." "Pandy," I said politely, "global warming and...
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Cross-border investment in real estate on the rise: Local brokerages playing a role in growing trendRestricted Content

February 19, 2007
Jennifer Whitson
In 2006, $645 billion was sunk into real estate investments across the globe, according to a recent Cushman & Wakefield report. Of that, $187 billion was sent across borders to invest. And companies everywhere are chasing the most cost-effective spots to locate factories and needed hubs for office space. With all that cash changing hands, several locally based companies have made sure they're positioned to help play a part. Take Indianapolis-based HDG Mansur, for example. In the field for 25...
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Ex-Norwood execs say company cheated them out of millionsRestricted Content

February 19, 2007
Jennifer Whitson
Indianapolis-based Norwood Promotional Products is facing legal challenges from a half-dozen former executives who say board members and investors conspired to fire them, withhold severance pay and cheat them out of as much as $3.6 million in company stock.
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Local software maker teams with MicrosoftRestricted Content

February 19, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
Autobase Inc. has inked a partnership with tech heavyweight Microsoft Corp. that might fuel growth for the Indianapolis-based marketing-software maker. The deal will allow Autobase to piggyback its software on Microsoft's as the Seattle company launches products aimed at auto dealers.
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Calendar publisher wants to power his factory with windRestricted Content

February 12, 2007
Chris O'Malley
The Time Factory founder and CEO Jim Purcell wants to erect a 150-foot-tall wind turbine above his calendar factory near 62nd Street and Georgetown Road. Purcell figures the $200,000 contraption could power 60 percent--if he's lucky, maybe 80 percent--of his 22,000-square-foot facility.
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Technology-friendly legislation quietly advances: Bills could spur patent commercialization and moreRestricted Content

February 12, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
A handful of bills pending in the General Assembly could have a major impact on Indiana's high-tech sector. Legislation under consideration could stimulate increased commercialization of patented Indiana technology, channel more money toward development of alternative fuels, require regular review of Indiana's certified technology parks, and more. Tech leaders are optimistic about the chances their agenda will be approved. "It's the reason we married up with CICP," said Ron Brumbarger, chairman of TechPoint, a trade association for Indiana high-tech companies....
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Forensic engineering firm seeks defense work: New initiative hopes to help other local firms follow in Wolf Technical's footstepsRestricted Content

February 12, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
After 30 years in the forensic-engineering business, Wolf Technical Services Inc. has analyzed everything from deadly car crashes to patent infringement. Now, Indianapolis-based Wolf is hoping to diversify into a new area: federal defense contracting. It's a field local corporate leaders hope Indiana will tap much more frequently in the years to come. "We don't quite know at the moment where this could lead," said Wolf Director of Client Relations Joseph Ward. "And that's the fun part." The 30-employee Wolf's...
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Expanded recycling catches on in manufacturing sectorRestricted Content

February 12, 2007
Tammy Lieber
In manufacturing and industrial-heavy central Indiana, companies are beginning to realize that "going green" can translate into another kind of green--money. Reaching beyond the standard glass, paper and metal, markets are developing for a variety of materials, from tiny bits of processed rubber to leftover cornstarch.
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University Loft finds growing niche in hospitality industry: Indianapolis-based furniture manufacturer known for college products sees big potential in hotel segmentRestricted Content

February 12, 2007
Scott Olson
The University Loft Co.'s graduation from dormitory to hotel-furniture maker is beginning to show promise. While the Indianapolis-based manufacturer's bread and butter remains campus furnishings, its decision to enter the hospitality market in 2003 has CEO James Jannetides thinking big-as in presidentialsuite big. In four years, the ULC Hospitality division has grown to account for nearly 10 percent of the company's $100 million annual revenue. Jannetides, though, envisions the branch's eventually contributing half in his quest to someday make ULC...
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Lawrence turns down rezoning for vacant drive-in: Developer and city working on a compromiseRestricted Content

February 5, 2007
Jennifer Whitson
A developer wanting to breathe new life into a long-vacant drive-in theater along Pendleton Pike is working to change the minds of Lawrence leaders who already have said no thanks. New York-based Norry Management Corp. is leading an effort to redevelop the 93-acre property for retail, office and industrial uses. But its plans faced a setback last month when a rezoning petition got a negative response from officials concerned about what might end up there. Lawrence City Council members voted...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Where are the best-paying jobs?Restricted Content

February 5, 2007
Morton Marcus
Where is the best place to work if all you consider is money? Where are the wages and salaries plus benefits paid by employers the highest? We have data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis that help us answer the question. The data refer to 2005, the latest year available, and do not include self-employment; thus, only jobs working for someone else are counted. And remember, these data are by place of work, not place of residence. Where are...
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Tech firm Powerway seeking reboundRestricted Content

February 5, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
Powerway Inc., the Indianapolis-based maker of manufacturing quality-control software that grew like gangbusters in the 1990s and aimed for an initial public offering, has endured a dog of a half-decade. But that soon could change. Powerway just hired an IT industry turnaround expert as CEO.
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Generator-maker finding new ways to get energyRestricted Content

January 29, 2007
Chris O'Malley
I Power Energy Systems, which makes natural-gas-powered electric generators that are the primary power source of corporate and college campuses, is a novelty in Indiana. After all, coal is still a cheaper source of electricity than is natural gas. But I Power is developing applications for electric generators that burn biogas from sources ranging from garbage to ground-up corn.
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Giant Ford plant could join warehouse conversion trend: Observers say size, age may be obstaclesRestricted Content

January 29, 2007
Jennifer Whitson
City officials haven't given up hope on keeping 1,400 lucrative manufacturing jobs at an Indianapolis steering parts plant, but Ford Motor Co. has. The company this month said it will close the facility by the end of 2008. A closure will leave the 1.8-millionsquare-foot building empty, but real estate observers say it could be redeveloped as leaseable industrial space-as shuttered Chrysler, Maytag and Western Electric factories nearby have been. Some of the premier projects in the area are leasing well,...
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Corporate shopping spree: Massive Guidant deal helps make 2006 a record-setting year for local M&A activityRestricted Content

January 29, 2007
Scott Olson
Last year was a record-shattering period for the Indianapolis-area merger and acquisition market, thanks in large part to the loss of one public corporation. Guidant Corp.'s acquisition by Boston Scientific Corp. for $28.4 billion last year and the related sale of its vascular business to Abbott Laboratories for $4.1 billion made the 2006 Big Deals list bigger than ever. That's because the two deals made up about 85 percent of the $38.5 billion of M&A activity tracked down by the...
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Chocolatier maintains steady routine between busy seasonsRestricted Content

January 29, 2007
Lisa Gerstner
Each week at David Alan Chocolatier in Lebanon, three employees make a different variety of chocolate truffles, nut clusters and other chocolate-laden delights. Alan uses 7,000 pounds of chocolate a year to make his products out of the renovated gas station he has operated at since 1984.
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  1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  2. If you only knew....

  3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

  4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

  5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.

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