Manufacturing & Technology

ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: The new economic reality: It's all about the work forceRestricted Content

January 16, 2006
Patrick Barkey
Since these words usually find their way out onto the Internet, I thought I'd work in the following phrase to get the hit counters for the new year off to a good start: Evolution vs. intelligent design. Ah, that should do it. I can hear the sounds of computer mouse clicks already. And, believe it or not, there's an economic angle to that debate. Not literally, of course. Economics is pretty important, but I will concede that the creation of...
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From FFA to DNA: Businesses view convention as more than a gathering of corn growersRestricted Content

January 16, 2006
Matthew Kish
Don't call it the Future Farmers of America. That went out of style with pastel suits and parachute pants. The organization is now known as the FFA. And it's no longer just a gathering of crop jockeys. The change in moniker partly illustrates why business leaders are so excited for the first of at least seven annual conventions the organization will stage in the Circle City starting in late October. "FFA is a premier, if not the premier, youth organization...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: We want to spur economy, but what's the best way?Restricted Content

January 9, 2006
Patrick Barkey
If you want to get an idea just how hot the topic of economic development is in Indiana these days, take a stroll over to the Department of Insurance's Web page. Instead of finding notices of regulatory proceedings or a lineby-line listing of the insurance code, you'll get a spirited, enthusiastic rundown of all of the reasons Indiana is a great state in which to locate your insurance company. If you happen to own one, that is. That's a little...
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Education, work force key hurdles to new economy:Restricted Content

January 2, 2006
Mark Miles
Having recently returned to Indiana after a 15-year absence, I see a region filled with both challenges and opportunities. The Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, the organization I've returned to serve as president and CEO, is focused on long-term economic prosperity for our region. To this end, our people are our most valuable resource. Unfortunately, central Indiana faces a significant challenge in making our human capital match our goal of a knowledgebased, 21st-century economy. Indiana ranks 46th in the educational attainment...
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Drug costs on chopping block: M-Plan introduces pill-splitting programRestricted Content

January 2, 2006
Tom Murphy
Indiana's second-largest insurer, M-Plan Inc., welcomed some of its customers to the new year with a pill-splitting program that can chop prescription drug costs in half. The Indianapolis-based health maintenance organization became part of a growing crowd of insurers endorsing a money-saving concept long practiced by doctors and patients. However, pill splitting still stirs a healthy dose of concern over safety in some corners of the pharmaceutical world. "I've had arguments with insurance companies about this for years," said Skip...
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In the new year, building on the successes of 2005:Restricted Content

January 2, 2006
Bart Peterson
This past year was one of the most active and successful in our city's history. We pushed through legislation to fund an expansion of the Indiana Convention Center and build a new multi-purpose stadium, both of which will be tremendous boons to our region's economy, pumping in more than $2.25 billion in investment and creating more than 4,200 permanent jobs over the next 10 years. In addition, through the leadership of the governor and legislature, a one-of-a-kind regional funding solution...
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2006: Making Indianapolis a family affair:Restricted Content

January 2, 2006
Isaac Randolph
What's the most pressing issue facing Indianapolis now and in the future? Depending on a pundit's passion, answers can range from maintaining a professional sports team to supporting the cultural and arts community, from improving the quality of public schools and parks to making affordable housing available, from low taxes to a state-of-the art public mass transit system. Yet each of these areas, while they may reflect an interest group's unwavering and at times irrational fixation, taken at face value...
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VIEWPOINT: Indiana: The Cyber Crossroads of America?Restricted Content

December 26, 2005
Cameron Carter
Can a state whose identity as the "Crossroads of America" in the 20th century maintain that distinction in the 21st century? Can Indiana, with numerous railroads and highways passing through it, find a competitive advantage in a world that increasingly bypasses rails and roads in favor of the virtual marketplace? Absolutely-if it is willing once again to serve as a central hub for the thoroughfares so important to the virtual marketplace and purposefully sets out to build them. Not so...
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A game competitor: Sales surge for maker of Gnip Gnop, What's in Ned's Head?

December 19, 2005
Anthony Schoettle
The atmosphere is lighthearted at the westside headquarters of Fundex Games Inc., where ideas sketched on cocktail napkins become award-winning games like What's in Ned's Head? and Alfredo's Food Fight. And why not be happy at a company whose more tasteful games, such as Gnip Gnop and Phase 10, have helped grow revenue from $4.6 million to $20 million in the last decade? If there's any nail-biting at Fundex it's because this is the most important time of the year....
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EYE ON THE PIE: Security depends on flexibility, not stabilityRestricted Content

December 12, 2005
Morton Marcus
In one word, what do we want? I suggest that word is security, physical and financial security. We want to live without fear for our lives or our livelihoods. The atrocities of 9/11 made Americans more fearful about their physical security than they had been since the early days of World War II. Our economic condition feels insecure as jobs drift to other nations, as health care costs soar, and as both public and private pension plans are threatened. To...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Economy is doing great, but what about next year?Restricted Content

December 12, 2005
Patrick Barkey
Here's a question the visually oriented news media face all the time-what does a strong economy look like? Belching smokestacks and humming assembly lines are the clichés of yesteryear, now that we've entered an era when knowledge and services account for more output than do physical goods. But somehow the picture of an office worker tapping on a keyboard or a group of executives huddled around a conference table doesn't quite convey the vitality and power of the world's largest...
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Family follows Trusty path: Local manufacturer uses lessons from innovative founderRestricted Content

December 5, 2005
Anthony Schoettle
Trusty-Cook Inc. looks like an old-school manufacturer, even though its inventions are cutting-edge. The company's 15,000-squarefoot factory on 59th Street east of Fort Harrison State Park looks more like an inventor's workshop than a state-of-the-art operation intent on pounding out millions of widgets. Trusty-Cook owners eschew hot trends like Japanese-imported lean manufacturing, and aren't apt to use catch phrases like "just-in-time delivery." Despite the company's throwback demeanor, when it comes to working with urethane, Trusty-Cook is revolutionary. And its latest...
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Prominent technology executive steps down: Wortman resigns from Mezzia after just one yearRestricted Content

December 5, 2005
Peter Schnitzler
Details are scant. But after only a year on the job, one of the city's best-known IT leaders is moving on. Mezzia Inc. CEO David Wortman has resigned. "It was just time for a change," Wortman said. "I was with the company for a year, accomplished a lot, and was ready for a change." Best known as the longtime CEO of locally based manufacturing softwaremaker Made2Manage Systems, Wortman, 54, led his former company through an initial public offering. But he...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Farming on decline, but ag still offers opportunityRestricted Content

December 5, 2005
Patrick Barkey
Drive less than 20 minutes from almost any crossroads in Indiana and you'll come across a feature of the Midwest landscape we take for granted: farmland. The vast open space in abundance between our state's urban areas remains dominated by the industry that once employed more people than any other: agriculture. And while the sights of barns, cropland and animals grazing in pastures are familiar to us all, we should remember that looks can be deceiving. Plenty of changes are...
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CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: Setting an example for SacramentoRestricted Content

November 28, 2005
"To improve Sacramento, learn from Indianapolis" was the headline of a column in the Nov. 18 Sacramento Business Journal. It's always nice to get a compliment and some good PR. Turns out a delegation of nearly a hundred Sacramentonians-or is it Sacramentites?-were here in October on a three-day study mission to learn how to become a great city. It was the seventh year in a row for them to make a learning visit to another community. Tom Stallard, head of...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: States shed differences, except those in MidwestRestricted Content

November 28, 2005
Patrick Barkey
What can we say about the business climate in Indiana that other states aren't already saying about themselves? We think we have a great quality of life, good access to transportation, and a hardworking labor force. So do they. We have a variety of tax incentives, training grants and infrastructure improvements that we tout aggressively to those who would build or expand here. So do they. In fact, one of the most remarkable trends over the last few decades has...
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Fine-tuning a business strategy: Local violinmaker finds success by raising pricesRestricted Content

November 28, 2005
Matthew Kish
F ine-tuning a business strategy Local violinmaker finds success by raising prices John Welch made a counterintuitive business decision two years ago. The violin business was in decline. Asian manufacturers were turning out high-quality stringed instruments for a fraction of the price of their American competitors. Welch decided to swim against the current. He raised prices. "We realized the only way to compete with the Chinese was to improve our quality," said Welch, CEO of Indianapolis-based Sofia Violins. "We realized...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: State economy looks good, but clouds are on horizonRestricted Content

November 21, 2005
Patrick Barkey
It's the time of year to get out our crystal balls and ask this deceptively simple question: What kind of year will 2006 be for the Indiana economy? This year, like any other, finds us making lists of what's going right, and what's going wrong, in our economic environment. Let's start with the good news. It may surprise some of you to know there is plenty to choose from. Topping the list has to be the surprisingly robust health of...
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VIEWPOINT Valerie Eickmeier: Business needs to harness power of artsRestricted Content

November 21, 2005
VIEWPOINT Valerie Eickmeier Business needs to harness power of arts Indiana will more fully reach its potential in economic development for the 21st century when its common goal is to build a community where commerce and creativity can thrive. The world is entering an era some business leaders and economists are calling the "Conceptual Age." They trace the economic growth of our country from agriculture to industrial manufacturing, technology and the Information Age. Today, our country's primary economic growth and...
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Incentive search shot down: University Loft eyes Tennessee after Hancock County spurns request to create a TIF districtRestricted Content

November 14, 2005
Anthony Schoettle
Hancock County Commissioners' unwillingness to consider creating a Tax Increment Financing district has sent a growing Indianapolis-based manufacturer looking for a new expansion site, possibly out of state. University Loft Co. CEO James N. Jannetides said he was continually rebuffed over a months-long process to get the tax incentives his company needed to bring 200-plus jobs to the county directly east of Marion County. Now Jannetides said he might look to consolidate manufacturing in Tennessee where he opened a plant...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: We need to push harder to foster a tech economyRestricted Content

November 14, 2005
Patrick Barkey
You have to give the folks at Techpoint, the advocacy group for technology-oriented business in Indiana, plenty of credit for stamina. For eight years, these f o r wa r d - l o o k i n g folks have been carefully measuring the state's progress in what was once called the high-tech economy. And for each of those eight years, the message has been depressingly consistent: We remain at the back of the pack. That's not for lack...
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Hammond Kennedy Whitney buys centrifuge maker: Investment allows Midwest Engineered Products to expand sales and marketingRestricted Content

November 14, 2005
Peter Schnitzler
Sometimes, a profitable product isn't enough to sustain a company's growth. That's what financial partners are for. Consider Midwest Engineered Products Corp. Founded in 1982 with a $1,000 investment by Jim Beattey and his son Jeff, the locally based industrial centrifugemaker has grown since then on bank loans and its own profits. These days, it brings in annual revenue of $10 million, with sales as far away as Europe and New Zealand. "We were having trouble keeping up with the...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Talent, education are keys in competitive field of designRestricted Content

November 7, 2005
Tony Mediate
"Individuals with little or no formal education in design, as well as those who lack creativity and perseverance, will find it very difficult to establish and maintain a career in the occupation," warns the department through its currently posted Bureau of Labor Statistics Outlook. While I do suggest that designers of the future should take their career outlook seriously given the current and expected competition, I certainly would not want to discourage them. Creativity and perseverance are among those traits,...
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There's more to logistics than forklifts and sweat: Colleges offer degrees for white-collar jobs in the fieldRestricted Content

October 31, 2005
Chris O\'malley
It's not sexy, but it's where the jobs are. Ivy Tech Community College will offer an associate's degree in logistics management, the latest effort in Indiana aimed at cultivating a work force for the transportation-distribution-logistics sector, known as TDL. Meanwhile, the University of Indianapolis is preparing a concentration in supply chain management that will have key applications in logistics careers. Experts say the educational push is sorely needed, yet it's still a challenge to get young people interested in the...
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Startups offered a fast track: Motorsports-themed incubator gets green light in BrownsburgRestricted Content

October 31, 2005
Matthew Kish
Hendricks County officials hope a new business incubator there revs the engines of local entrepreneurs. The motorsports-themed facility, to be known as Fast-Start, got the green light after a year-long feasibility study concluded the project was a logical fit for a community that already houses Prudhomme Racing, John Force Racing and Bill Simpson's Impact Racing. "It would help achieve some of our goals in Brownsburg," said Jeanette Baker, town council president and treasurer of the Hendricks County Economic Development Partnership,...
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