Manufacturing & Technology

Despite subsidiaries' sales, Ontario struggles with debt: Lawsuit sheds light on tech holding companyRestricted Content

October 27, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Over the last five years, Daleville's Ontario Corp. has successfully divested two of central Indiana's larger high-tech firms. It's had less luck resolving its debts. This month, a federal court in Indianapolis reopened a lawsuit filed three years ago by Charles Craig-one of Ontario's former executives-and his wife, Barbara. Their complaint alleges Ontario defaulted on $1.3 million in promissory notes. According to court documents, the company east of Anderson provided the couple a series of 10-year notes in 2001 on...
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No perfect fit for Main Street: Small-business owners fall on both sides of political lineRestricted Content

October 27, 2008
Whitney Lee
Joe the Plumber has been getting plenty of attention in recent weeks, but what about Kimberly the Merchant or John the Manufacturer? For all the talk about whether this year's presidential candidates favor Wall Street or Main Street, there's little discussion of the fact that neither Democrat Barack Obama nor Republican John McCain may be perfect for all small-business owners. Indianapolis manufacturing firm owner John Raine is backing McCain because of his stance on taxes and labor unions. Local shop...
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A renewed call for renewable energy mandate: State bucks trend by not forcing utilities to diversifyRestricted Content

October 20, 2008
Chris O\'malley
Indiana has become the lone state in the upper Midwest not requiring that utilities supply a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable resources, such as wind turbines and landfill gas. Last month, Michigan's legislature mandated that at least 10 percent of electricity supplied in that state be generated from renewable sources by 2015. Indiana's conspicuous lack of a standard, along with growing environmental concerns over coal, could improve prospects for passing a standard during the 2009 session of the...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: We shouldn't let market mayhem obscure progressRestricted Content

October 20, 2008
Mike Hicks
Amid all this joyless market watching, this much is clear: The financial markets and the economy are going to get worse before they get better. But market watching is never a healthy sport, especially since it tends to make us lose track of the real economy at times like these. Over the past couple of weeks, the real economy has shown a bit of resilience. And here in Indiana, really great news has been lost in the wake of the...
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Mild bump expected in benefits: Despite modest rise in premiums, employers look to pass on costsRestricted Content

October 13, 2008
Scott Olson
Several industry surveys predict health insurance expenses will rise at a slower pace in 2009 than in previous years. Many employers, however, are passing the added burden on to workers. Raising deductibles, copayments or out-of-pocket spending limits are the most common ways companies plan to reduce their increases. The trend of passing more of the responsibility to employees has escalated the past five years, giving rise to cheaper alternatives such as consumer-directed health plans. "The tie that binds is that...
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EDITORIAL: Lilly looks forward with ImClone deal: CEO Lechleiter taking bold stepsRestricted Content

October 13, 2008
Lilly looks forward with ImClone deal CEO Lechleiter taking bold steps It's premature to pass judgment on Eli Lilly and Co.'s $6.5 billion plan to acquire biotech firm ImClone Systems Inc., but the giant deal is one more sign that relatively new CEO John Lechleiter isn't afraid to make bold moves on Lilly's behalf. The local drugmaker agreed Oct. 6 to pay $70 a share for New York-based ImClone, maker of blockbuster cancer drug Erbitux, outbidding an earlier offer of...
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EYE ON THE PIE: No numbers equal bad decisionsRestricted Content

October 13, 2008
Morton Marcus
"Geez Morton, lighten up," was one of the e-mails that came in this week. I find it difficult to do that while our state and national economies are under such stress. Another correspondent wanted an answer to that persistent question, "Are we better off than we were a year ago? Four years ago?" Here is a small part of that answer: At this writing, there are 5.5 million more jobs in the country than four years ago, an increase averaging...
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Purdue professor cooks up healthier way to 'fry' food: Invention could make microwaves seem like crock potsRestricted Content

October 13, 2008
Sam Stall
A new cooking technology under development at Purdue University could please both dieters looking for lowercalorie meals and food retailers seeking lower costs. It has the potential to produce "fried" foods using vastly less oil, and to cook them at speeds that make microwave ovens seem as slow as crock pots. A Purdue professor is working with Anderson Tool and Engineering Co. in Madison County to create advanced prototypes of the device, called a "radiant fryer." The first off the...
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Economy-minded Honda bucks auto-industry slumpRestricted Content

October 13, 2008
Anthony Schoettle

Fueled by its line of gas-sipping economy cars, Honda is expanding in Indiana as car manufacturers almost everywhere else are shrinking. And the 2,000 jobs the Japanese automaker is promising in Greensburg by 2010 could be just the beginning.

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EYE ON THE PIE: Crisis pits fairness against urgencyRestricted Content

October 6, 2008
Morton Marcus
As these words are written, we do not know what Congress will decide to do about the mortgage mess. But it is clear folks are angry about the inequity of rescuing borrowers, lenders or traders with funding from the pockets of the innocent. Among the "villains" are home buyers who took on mortgages they could not afford. Also marked for sanctions are over-eager lenders, highly paid executives, and those who dealt in "innovative" financial products linked to mortgages. Those who...
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VIEWPOINT: Think you can move fast? Look at ChinaRestricted Content

September 29, 2008
Jacqueline A.
This month, I am making my 50th trip to China. My first trip was in 1995 to identify a possible Chinese partner for a manufacturing joint venture in Nantong. When the potential partner honored me by serving a coiled snake as one of the main dishes, I thought, "What am I doing here?" But that's what change is all about-delving into the unfamiliar. Four years later, we had found a trusted partner, signed a joint venture agreement, located the proper...
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Filing in legal battle over telecom company hints at criminal probe of officersRestricted Content

September 29, 2008
Chris O\'malley

Former insiders of One Call Communications appear to be targets of a Justice Department criminal inquiry, according to a filing by the defunct company's court-appointed receiver. Pittsburgh-based Meridian Group said it was served a subpoena Sept. 19 from the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania to testify before a grand jury on Oct. 21 on matters involving One Call.

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AT&T's U-verse generates complaints as cable rival is rolled outRestricted Content

September 29, 2008
Chris O\'malley

A baby born of Indiana telecom reform is having some teething pains. AT&T's U-verse, Ma Bell's high-tech answer to cable television's troika of video/voice/Internet service, has generated several consumer complaints to state regulators since it was rolled out here in earnest last year. The complaints range from long installation times to frozen television pictures that require rebooting the system or calling a technician.


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EYE ON THE PIE: What really drives Hoosier economy?Restricted Content

September 15, 2008
Morton Marcus
I enjoy the propaganda of government agencies pleading the causes of special interests. This is the opening sentence of our state profile prepared by the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy: "Small businesses are the heart of Indiana's economy." Frequently, we hear that farming is the beating heart of our economy. Others claim the thumping sound we hear is that of manufacturing. Teachers tell us the economy is only as steady as its educational footing. Steel has a claim...
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IT firm rakes in VC cash: Interactions Corp. has raised $35M since 2002 inception

September 15, 2008
Peter Schnitzler

A fast-growing Carmel startup is using a blend of innovative software and human guides to answer questions over the phone. The company could have located on either coast, but instead chose Carmel's Clay Terrace. And the company, Interactions Corp., has raised more than twice as much money as ChaCha Search Inc., a higher-profile startup in a similar business that's also housed in Clay Terrace.


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Three-year-old Carmel firm tries to distinguish itself in difficult candy industryRestricted Content

September 15, 2008
Anthony Schoettle

A local candy maker has found the sweet spot in an industry where startup efforts often go sour. Founded in 2006, Carmel-based Candy Dynamics is making a name for itself with its unusual "double-action" sour recipe, eye-catching packaging and unforgettable names like Toxic Waste Hazardously Sour Candy, Nuclear Sludge and Hi-Voltage Bubble Gum.


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Lilly Endowment crawls toward diversification goal: Bear market, low Lilly stock price slow selloffRestricted Content

September 15, 2008
J.K. Wall
Lilly Endowment Inc. is still on its journey to sell off $2 billion of its Eli Lilly and Co. shares. But after a slow start and a few stops for rest, it may take a little longer to get there than originally thought. The endowment, the single largest holder of Lilly stock, announced its plan to diversify its holdings back in July 2006. For nearly 70 years, the not-for-profit held its wealth almost exclusively in the pharmaceutical company's stock. So...
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'Instant gratification moments' key to ChaCha's biz strategy

September 1, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Carmel-based ChaCha Search Inc. has been winning accolades and enough teen fans to rival Hannah Montana. But none of that makes it apparent how the company can make money giving free answers to random cell phone queries.
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VIEWPOINT: Advancing manufacturing is key to futureRestricted Content

September 1, 2008
Joseph Hornett
We've all heard it: Our economy is creeping to a crawl. Skyhigh oil prices, a weak housing market and the struggling U.S. dollar are discouraging consumers and business owners alike. Fears about our nation's fiscal health are shaking broader confidence in the banking industry, the system of global trade, and even our public image abroad. In the face of such adversity, it's helpful to remember that Americans have faced daunting challenges in the past. In tougher times, such as the...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: China, higher education and our economic futureRestricted Content

September 1, 2008
Mark Miles
In mid-September, I'll be traveling to China's Liaoning province as part of a delegation led by Indiana State University, hosted by Liaoning University. We'll arrive in the country too late for the Olympics, but we'll be there to talk about another form of global competition-economic development. It's appropriate that the two universities are co-hosting a conference on economic development issues, given the importance of human capital in our economy. It's especially appropriate for China, where higher education has become a...
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VIEWPOINT: Recruiting: If you lie down with dogs ...Restricted Content

August 18, 2008
Jon Ford
The recent episode involving former IU basketball coach Kelvin Sampson underscores how badly broken is our system of recruiting and qualifying top leaders. Reference checks by highly paid professional recruiters failed to turn up the true nature of this leader. Yes, we all were aware of his lack of character at the University of Oklahoma, but were there signs of this lack of character in his past at Montana Tech or Washington State University? One would hope the recruiters went...
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VIEWPOINT: Recruiting: If you lie down with dogs ...Restricted Content

August 18, 2008
Jon Ford
The recent episode involving former IU basketball coach Kelvin Sampson underscores how badly broken is our system of recruiting and qualifying top leaders. Reference checks by highly paid professional recruiters failed to turn up the true nature of this leader. Yes, we all were aware of his lack of character at the University of Oklahoma, but were there signs of this lack of character in his past at Montana Tech or Washington State University? One would hope the recruiters went...
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Startup NICO reassembles Suros' management team: Medical-device maker aims to launch product soonRestricted Content

August 4, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Medical-device maker Suros Surgical Systems was one of the fastest-growing companies in Indianapolis history. Just six years after forming it in 2000, founders sold it for $248 million. Is it any wonder they want to work together again? In late July, former Suros Chairman Jim Baumgardt and former Vice President of Sales Jeff Hanthorn joined locally based NICO Corp., the startup launched early this year by former Suros CEO Jim Pearson and Joseph Mark, one of Suros' founders. The mission...
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Regulators fight to assess health risks in local plant: Sensient Flavors files lawsuit to prevent inspectionRestricted Content

July 28, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Federal regulators specializing in chronic-disease prevention are attempting to investigate a west-side food additives manufacturing plant. But Sensient Flavors is fighting in federal court in Indianapolis to prevent their inspection. On July 14, Sensient sued the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sensient Flavors is an Indianapolisbased subsidiary of Sensient Technologies Corp., a publicly traded Milwaukee firm that makes artificial colors, flavors and fragrances used in a variety of...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Uneven job growth plagues stateRestricted Content

July 14, 2008
Morton Marcus
Should the next U.S. president be concerned about uneven job growth? Or should he just let the market determine which states prosper and which struggle? There is no explicit national job policy to bring employment to slow-growing areas. Neither Sen. Barack Obama nor Sen. John McCain has ventured to discuss the issue. Job growth is left to the states, with each competing against the others in an expensive battle of subsidies. From 2002 to 2007, the number of U.S. jobs...
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