Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Despite some perceptions, future for IT workers brightRestricted Content

May 12, 2008
Jim Jay
In mid-March, Bill Gates traveled to Washington to carry an unpopular message to Congress: Raise the limits on visas for foreignborn tech workers, or Microsoft and other high-tech companies will be forced to move more jobs overseas in search of a skilled work force. Gates' testimony to the House Committee on Science & Technology wasn't groundbreaking-the shortage of tech workers is well-documented. But it begs an obvious question: Why have computer science enrollments at U.S. colleges and universities fallen by...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: A healthy economy makes an uninteresting campaignRestricted Content

May 5, 2008
Mike Hicks
In this curious primary season, Indiana finds itself the brief center of attention as Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama invest time and treasure in the crossroads of America. The strongest focus in both their campaigns is my favorite subject-the economy. Both candidates bemoan the poor Hoosier economy, its job losses and income inequality. This would be a superb campaign approach for both candidates, except that their claims are wholly, totally and embarrassingly devoid of facts. Indiana's economy is doing...
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Airport contractor accused of faulty work in New YorkRestricted Content

May 5, 2008
Chris O'Malley
An Indianapolis firm helping oversee construction of the city's $1.2 billion midfield terminal is facing accusations from Southwest Airlines that it failed to ensure the quality of a $12.4 million concrete apron at Long Island MacArthur Airport.
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Recession speculation is wrong way to use brainpowerRestricted Content

April 28, 2008
Mike Hicks
With all the media warnings on the state of the U.S. economy, it is hard to get a good idea what a recession is and what it might mean for Hoosiers. The formal definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. We haven't had even one quarter where real growth dipped below zero, and the weakerthan-usual employment data of the first three months this year won't be enough to pull the economy into a recession. The...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Intermodal is key to Indiana's future crossroads identityRestricted Content

April 28, 2008
Brian Zurawski
Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal ran a front-page story about rail's resurgence as a means for moving goods across the country. The story described the federal dollars being spent to fuel this railroad recovery, as well as the private sector investments being made and the economic benefits waiting for cities that get involved. The story included a map with thick, colored lines representing the key rail systems connecting the Midwest to the coasts. It took only a quick...
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Company seeing big growth in family entertainment: Firm supplies parties with oddball acts from acrobats to mimes to ventriloquistsRestricted Content

April 21, 2008
Jennifer Whitson
When Kathy Fitzgerald has a group of 85 day-camp kids to entertain, she needs someone who can hold their attention-easier said than done considering they range in age from 6 to 13, not counting the 12 young adults who work as camp counselors. If an act bombs, the result can be chaos. That's why Fitzgerald, assistant park manager for Broad Ripple Park, has locally based FamilyTime Entertainment Inc. on her speed dial. FamilyTime can deliver a fully produced magic show,...
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FUNNY BUSINESS: Wing and a prayer: Surviving today's air travel

April 21, 2008
Mike Redmond
One of the great struggles of the day-Airlines vs. Human Beings-has taken some interesting turns lately, but the score remains the same as it has been for years: The human beings are not winning. Consider these touchdowns, so to speak, just from the last couple of weeks: A piece of a wing detaches itself from a US Airways jet and smacks into several of the plane's windows before falling to the ground somewhere in Maryland. "May I have your attention,...
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VIEWPOINT: Lest we forget, 'solid and stable' is goodRestricted Content

April 21, 2008
Tim Kern
"I moved to Indiana on purpose," I've been telling people since the move from Florida last August. The Indianapolis area attracted me and my business for a number of reasons-reasons which, I'm more convinced each day, Hoosiers take for granted. Someone might want to consider the good that's right in front of our collective noses: Unlike Florida, whence I emigrated, people here know who can get things done, where businesses are, and whose reputation is good. A state full of...
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Under Grueninger, Ambassadair division chartering growthRestricted Content

April 21, 2008
Chris O'Malley
Michael Grueninger, president of Grueninger Travel Group, has learned since his company bought Ambassadair in 2005 from now-defunct ATA Airlines that many travelers once enamored with dirt-cheap fares they can book online want something more than low price. They are willing to pay for service.
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IU leader's goal: global integration: CIBER director wants center's work to influence all areas of business educationRestricted Content

April 21, 2008
Scott Olson
Barbara Flynn, a veteran of academia who arrived at Indiana University in 2006, is director of the IU Center for International Business Education and Research. CIBER, founded in 1981, creates business research and study opportunities for IU faculty and students, with the ultimate goal of preparing graduates to compete in today's global economy. The center mostly is funded federally and operates on a $500,000 annual budget. The 55-year-old Flynn has a degree in psychology from Ripon College in Wisconsin and...
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ATA plan ticks off terminated pilots, attendantsRestricted Content

April 14, 2008
Chris O'Malley
Former ATA Airlines employees are trying to comb the wreckage of the bankrupt carrier, looking to grab their financial belongings before managers and lenders cart off what little is left. Pilots and flight attendants are opposing retention bonuses for managers who will spend the next several months turning out the lights of the 35-year-old carrier.
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Charter schools face long wait for county funding: State, local money based on outdated mechanismRestricted Content

April 7, 2008
Tracy Donhardt
The property tax reform plan recently signed into law by Gov. Mitch Daniels is expected to provide relief-eventually-for most homeowners. Unfortunately, the tax crisis wasn't fixed fast enough for charter schools. Because property taxes haven't been calculated yet this year, schools didn't get funding advances from Marion County, something 15 of the county's 21 charter schools needed last year. At least one school-Irvington Community Academy-has received help from the Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation in getting an emergency bridge loan of...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Sales tax increase helps cut government spendingRestricted Content

April 7, 2008
Mike Hicks
Indiana's sales taxes rose a penny this week, to 7 percent. The increase was a necessary remedy to our property tax mess. But it's worth laying out its impact on our economy. Sales tax is paid by Hoosier residents, visitors and businesses alike. By my estimates, Indiana households will pay $640 million in additional sales taxes, businesses $500 million more, and out-of-state visitors an extra $160 million. The two effects economists might worry about with a tax hike are changes...
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VIEWPOINT: Get on board with transit, or miss the busRestricted Content

March 31, 2008
Dennis Dye
The Crossroads of America is at a crossroads-a transportation crossroads. And the direction we choose will affect our area's competitiveness and economy for decades. It's imperative that we embrace mass transit. Mass transit matters because it correlates to a key concern for companies planning to move or expand: access to a qualified work force. In choosing a community, companies assess obvious factors such as site acquisition costs and taxation, but even those typically take a back seat to work-force access....
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Charities are feeling pain of gas price spike: Groups scrambling for volunteers, dollars to beef up transportationRestricted Content

March 31, 2008
Jennifer Whitson
With gas prices on the rise-and expected to reach $4 a gallon this summer-local not-for-profits are losing volunteers and throwing money at skyrocketing transportation budgets. Indianapolis Meals on Wheels Inc. Executive Director Barb Morris is used to fielding calls from reporters whenever gas prices fluctuate. In the past, she quashed their theory that high prices at the pump drove away volunteers. Not now, though. "If you'd asked me four or five months ago, I would have said, 'Absolutely not,'" Morris...
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RETURN ON TECHNOLOGY: Business isn't losing any sleep over new technologyRestricted Content

March 31, 2008
Tim Altom
I've been looking over some business polls from 2007 and 2008, and I have to tell you I'm disappointed. As a technology columnist, I'd hoped that companies would be perpetually lathered over all sorts of thorny technical issues that only new purchases could solve and that I could critique. Silly me. But still, I went into the exercise with high hopes. After all, isn't every aspect of a business permeated by breakable, worrisome technology of all kinds? And doesn't every...
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Construction in the Fast Lane: Flush with Major Moves funding, INDOT streamlines its approachRestricted Content

March 31, 2008
Chris O\'malley
Northern Indiana motorists and Democratic opponents of Gov. Mitch Daniels were screaming bloody murder. Daniels in 2006 convinced the Legislature to lease the vital highway and plum of political patronage-the Indiana Toll Road-to an Australian-Spanish consortium for nearly $4 billion. Some managers at the Indiana Department of Transportation also were screaming-with panic. Despite winning the departmental lottery of all time-an annual budget for new roads would now quadruple from $213 million a year to $874 million by 2015-Daniels wanted 200...
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Monarch eyes vacant Lawrence drive-in for HQRestricted Content

March 31, 2008
Cory Schouten
The state's largest beer and wine distributor is considering a long-abandoned drive-in theater in Lawrence for a new headquarters. Monarch Beverage Co. has outgrown its home along Interstate 465 just east of the airport and has been looking for a place to move for a year.
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Legislators tackle range of business-related measures:Restricted Content

March 24, 2008
Property tax reform took center stage during the just-completed session of the Indiana General Assembly. But lawmakers also grappled with a host of other measures with business implications. A roundup appears below. ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT One of the session's most divisive issues-whether to penalize companies that hire illegal immigrants-died during the waning hours. Under the legislation, introduced by Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, companies could have had their business licenses suspended, or revoked after three instances. The Senate and House passed...
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VIEWPOINT: Indianapolis' utility acne syndromeRestricted Content

March 24, 2008
Tom Henderson
It took decades of turning a blind eye to get here: Indianapolis has draped itself in utility poles. Walk, ride, jog or drive to any major street in Indianapolis, with the exceptions of a few designated boulevards, streets and avenues. Take a mental picture of where you are. Now, with Photoshop in your mind, remove the web of utility poles and wires from that picture and quickly open your eyes. We're visually strangled by them. Few streets are exempt from...
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Hoosier Heartland Highway pumps up hope on prairie: Expressway construction starting two years earlyRestricted Content

March 17, 2008
Chris O\'malley
LAFAYETTE-For years, they've driven on little more than paved-over wagon trails pioneers carved into the hills nestling the Wabash River. Motorists on State Road 25 between Logansport and Lafayette have grown desperate for a replacement: the final, 33-mile western leg of the "Hoosier Heartland Highway." Today, the Hoosier Heartland expressway ends in Logansport-the western terminus of a newly improved, four-lane U.S. 24 that runs east, to Fort Wayne. But last month Gov. Mitch Daniels surprised highway proponents with word that...
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RETURN ON TECHNOLOGY: Just when you thought airport lines couldn't get any longerRestricted Content

March 17, 2008
Tim Altom
This isn't a column about business technology per se, but I couldn't resist the temptation to write about a half-dozen states thumbing their noses at the federal government and potentially backing up travel this spring at airports all over the country, including some of the world's busiest, all over a piece of plastic. After the tragedy of 9/11, one of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations was to create a hard-to-fake identity card for Americans. In 2005, Congress passed a huge defense...
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Telamon on the rebound: Diversification puts Carmel technology firm back on fast track, prevents layoffsRestricted Content

March 10, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
In 2003, Carmel-based Telamon Corp. hit rock bottom. So, founder Albert Chen returned to his roots. Taiwanese native Chen, 63, had spent two decades building his firm to serve telecommunications giants. But when the dot-com bubble burst, the telecom industry tanked along with it. Telamon-then Indiana's largest minority-owned business-saw its annual revenue plummet $300 million, down from $456 million in 2001. Most managers would have chosen to shrink Telamon to reflect its new reality. But Chen doesn't do mass layoffs....
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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Nitty-gritty details yet to be resolved in tax-reform planRestricted Content

February 25, 2008
Ed Feigenbaum
We've come a long way since the beginning of this legislative session, and lawmakers are edging closer to assembling a property tax reform acceptable to both chambers, both major parties and the governor. Lawmakers faced competing pressures from constituents, the governor, business interests, schools and local governments, and citizen groups as they tackled the issue, but they resolved to labor with a minimum of partisanship. Of course, they frequently make the same pledge when dealing with major issues, but an...
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Indy to host Urban Forum: Group that helps revitalize properties to showcase city's projectsRestricted Content

February 25, 2008
Scott Olson
Visitors in Indianapolis for the Urban Forum in April might patronize Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza in Irvington not only to sample the food but also the success of a neighborhood business district revitalization program. The pizzeria benefited from an effort called Fostering Commercial Urban Strategies, or FOCUS, through a $16,000 facade grant from the Indianapolis chapter of the Local Initiatives Support Corp. Indianapolis is one of 30 cities boasting LISC chapters. Nationally, they invested more than $1 billion in low-income...
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