Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

BEHIND THE NEWS: Private equity players may be primping firms for IPOsRestricted Content

May 7, 2007
Greg Andrews
It's an age-old strategy: A private equity firm buys a company, bolsters its performance, then pockets a tidy profit by taking it public or selling it outright. Los Angeles-based Freeman Spogli & Co., the majority owner of Hhgregg Inc. the past two years, last month revealed plans for a $170 million initial public offering for the consumer electronics retailer. You can be sure other private equity firms that have scooped up local companies in recent years have the same exit...
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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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ATA parent sees potential in World Air, despite its woes: Impact of deal on Indianapolis headquarters unknownRestricted Content

April 23, 2007
Chris O\'malley
The biggest acquisition in the 34-year history of ATA Airlines will steer it closer to its charter roots and further from a scheduled-service binge that led to bankruptcy three years ago. Analysts say the $315 million deal to buy Atlanta-based World Air Holdings will broaden the revenue base and bring economies of scale for ATA's newly renamed parent, Global Aero Logistics. It also hands ATA a cargo business worth $100 million in 2005. The deal should give the Manhattan vulture...
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Local companies get Taiwanese perspective: Butler University program brings 23 interns to IndyRestricted Content

April 16, 2007
Scott Olson
The java stands Hubbard & Cravens Coffee Co. opened a year ago within Clarian Health Partners' three downtown hospitals are brewing a rich aroma of results. Yet executives of the locally based coffee retailer and wholesaler know sales could be sweeter. "The hospitals are so huge that we don't capture even a third of what we could," said Marcie Hubbard, director of store operations. "So the question is, how do you reach everybody in that entire hospital?" The 23 Taiwanese...
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Relax, you better get used to it-it's only globalization: VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRYRestricted Content

April 16, 2007
Roger Schmenner
Globalization, like all sweeping economic trends, provokes a widespread disquiet. Specifically, we fear that somehow, if it continues unchecked, people in the United States will lose their high-paying jobs and we will devolve into a lowwage service economy. As China gains, we lose. To borrow a phrase from Thomas Friedman, they're frightened that the flattening of the world economy will flatten us. It is true that traditional manufacturing jobs are fewer now than before. And, lots of things are made...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Jobs news is negative however you slice itRestricted Content

April 9, 2007
Patrick Barkey
What's the news on Indiana employment? Odd as it might seem, that phrase is almost a contradiction in terms. For while we do receive very timely, detailed information on how many jobs are carried on Indiana employers' payrolls each month, the practical challenges in keeping close tabs on the latest zigs and zags in the 3 million-strong Hoosier labor force make the interpretation of the fresh data difficult. Only after the data have sat on the shelf for half a...
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Waiting for a sensible transportation plan: CommentaryRestricted Content

April 9, 2007
Brian Williams
The Indiana Commerce Connector, those 75 miles of concrete through the Indiana countryside, was announced with great fanfare at the start of the 2007 legislative session and recently disappeared with equal aplomb. Thanks to the efforts of state Rep. Terri Austin, chairwoman of the House Roads and Transportation Committee, and the other members of that committee, the citizens of Indiana had ample opportunity to express their opinions on Indiana's transportation needs. While the governor's specific proposals for the Indiana Commerce...
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Longer Indiana State Fair could add corn dogs, cash: Extra days could boost sales by $1.3 million

April 9, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
But extra helpings of your favorite fattening treats may be on their way. At its April 19 meeting, the Indiana State Fair Commission will consider whether to add up to five more days to the fair, starting in 2008. "You'd have another weekend where people can come out to partake in fair activities," said Indiana State Fair Commission Chairman Kyle Hupfer. "My guess is you'd see some new folks come to the fair who wouldn't otherwise come." This year, fair...
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Management's traffic cop: Administrative assistants play numerous roles, gain more respectRestricted Content

April 9, 2007
Marc D.
As a girl, Lori Drzal dreamed of becoming a spy, a policewoman-something where she'd be helping others. Her father had different ideas. "Become a secretary," he told her. "You'll always have a job." "Today," she said, "I think, 'Why did he tell me that?' But ... I've always had a job. I've always grown in my jobs, and I've always been challenged." Drzal, 48, executive assistant to Steak n Shake President and CEO Peter Dunn for the past four years,...
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Taliera switches strategy for buying underperforming brands of boozeRestricted Content

April 9, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
Taliera Corp. plan to raise $60 million through an initial public offering was withdrawn March 27, but Taliera isn't going away. It's simply trying a different approach. CEO J. Smoke Wallin said he and his team of eight beverage industry veterans still believe their business plan is right.
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Task force to tackle big job: tallying infrastructure needs: Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce leads one-year studyRestricted Content

April 2, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
Indianapolis hasn't attempted to systematically catalog all its infrastructure needs since 1991. Back then, the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce collected a list of the most pressing local projects and presented it to Mayor Stephen Goldsmith. The price tag at that time: $1.1 billion. A lot has changed in the 16 years since the Chamber released its Getting Indianapolis Fit for Tomorrow report. Some problems it identified, such as the health risk of combined sewer overflows, have been partly addressed....
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EYE ON THE PIE: Whom will the state subsidize next?Restricted Content

April 2, 2007
Morton Marcus
Last week, I was walking on the Statehouse grounds and I saw some folks with large green pins on their lapels. "What do those stand for?" I asked. "Small businesses need Electronic Gaming Devices" one wearer told me. "That's for bars," I commented. The reply I got was not friendly. In the newspapers and on TV during the same week, there were features about horse breeders "needing" more state subsidies from slot machines at racetracks to "keep the industry alive."...
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Concrete price-fixing case might not be wrapped up: Undisclosed state investigation delaying civil lawsuitRestricted Content

March 26, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
The U.S. Department of Justice's highprofile, three-year investigation into price fixing in Indiana's concrete industry resulted in one of the largest antitrust fines in history: $29.2 million against Greenfield-based Irving Materials Inc. The investigation might not be over yet. The DOJ seemed to conclude its Indianapolis inquiry last month, finally closing the criminal case. But a recent filing in a pending civil suit against IMI and its four former top executives hints the probe is continuing elsewhere. This time, IMI...
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University takes advantage of new design-build law: IU finishes its first building under construction processRestricted Content

March 26, 2007
Katie Maurer
What do the Pyramids, the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal have in common? Each project was both designed and built by the same people. Basically, they were among the first design-build projects in history. What seemed like a good idea hundreds and thousands of years ago has been slower to take hold in modern times. These days, most construction projects are still completed by separate entities-one that draws up the plans and another that brings those plans...
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Mass-transit movement focuses on education: Passenger projections, search for director delay effortRestricted Content

March 26, 2007
Peter Schnitzler
Efforts to secure a mass-transit system for central Indiana are moving ahead. But not rapidly. Several mass-transit bills are pending in the General Assembly-including one requiring the Indiana Department of Transportation to study building a rail system from Indianapolis to Muncie, and another encouraging development of mass-transit systems across the state. But neither is likely to result in immediate funding for a system serving Indianapolis commuters. Local mass-transit advocates still are a long way from winning over lawmakers and others...
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Mansur lands $50M midfield airport hotelRestricted Content

March 12, 2007
Jennifer Whitson
The Indianapolis Airport Authority has tapped Mansur Real Estate Services Inc. to develop a $50 million-plus Westin hotel at the new midfield terminal. But the hotel's final design may be one submitted by a former competitor, White Lodging Corp. of South Bend.
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Mixed-use project would transform Lawrence: Final piece of Fort Ben development includes residential, retail, officesRestricted Content

March 5, 2007
Cory Schouten
The final piece of a decade-long redevelopment of Fort Benjamin Harrison would give Lawrence a new downtown with shops, offices and public plazas mixed among as many as 1,000 condos, townhouses and apartments. The Fort Harrison Reuse Authority hasn't settled on a name yet for the 88-acre project, but the quasi-governmental group's board is expected to approve zoning updates this month that pave the way for the project. Public meetings will be held in March and April, and the first...
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NOTIONS Bruce Hetrick: A buck-a-pack increased tax for the health we lackRestricted Content

February 26, 2007
After our Valentine's Day wedding, my bride and I took a few days off for a brief New York City honeymoon. We walked nearly everywhere, used public transportation when we wanted to go farther and bought our food and drink in jam-packed, smoke-free restaurants and bars (the only kind there are in New York, thanks to a several-years-old, levelthe-playing-field, smoke-free workplace law). I liked being able to dine anywhere and everywhere with clean indoor air. I liked the exercise from...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Coming to the defense of 'sprawl' in the suburbsRestricted Content

February 19, 2007
Brian Mann
Since World War II, strong public policies and economic conditions have led to booming homeownership in America, and rapid expansion of a great highway transportation system has accelerated our country's suburbanization. We all know the story; we are participants. In the 1960s, it was often referred to as the American Dream. Although never specifically defined, the American Dream always included having a family, a reliable (maybe even cool) car, a nice home of one's own, and the freedom to work,...
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Guidelines target design of downtown development: New rules will protect urban character, supporters sayRestricted Content

February 19, 2007
Scott Olson
Downtown developments soon will come under extra scrutiny, once new design guidelines are approved in the spring. Known as Urban Design Indianapolis, the process of developing the criteria fell on the shoulders of several groups: the Department of Metropolitan Development, Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, Ball State University's architectural school and the Urban Design Oversight Committee. The intent is not to mandate to developers that their buildings meet certain design standards, but rather that the cosmetics coalesce with the existing...
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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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Airport considering air cargo facilityRestricted Content

February 12, 2007
Chris O'Malley
Indianapolis airport officials are considering building a smaller version of FedEx's 2-million-square-foot hub here, one that could accommodate several cargo carriers from around the globe. The "international air cargo facility" could be up to several hundred thousand square feet large and could cost tens of millions of dollars to build.
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BEHIND THE NEWS: Private equity fever fuels talk of Brightpoint buyoutRestricted Content

February 12, 2007
Greg Andrews
Brightpoint Inc. shares have shed 60 percent of their value since April 2006. But the distributor and logistics provider for the wireless phone industry continues to turn a tidy profit, and in recent months has cut a flurry of deals that bode well for the future. Don't think the nation's private equity fund managers haven't noticed. Flush with billions of dollars to invest, they're poring through spreadsheets in search of undervalued acquisition targets. So no one should be surprised that...
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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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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Earmarking taxes in vogue, but is it good state policy?Restricted Content

February 12, 2007
Patrick Barkey
I was taught economics, and in particular, the subject of public finance, by a faculty dominated by old Kennedy Democrats. A lot of that teaching has rubbed off or has simply been forgotten. Much of it also could be dismissed as idealism, a sort of ivory-tower thinking not relevant to the real world. Yet as I scan and digest the various tax proposals now in front of the Indiana General Assembly, several of those old lessons keep coming to my...
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