LEADING QUESTIONS: Influential Miles enjoys wide reach

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Leading Questions

Welcome to the latest installment of “Leading Questions: Wisdom from the Corner Office,” in which IBJ sits down with central Indiana’s top bosses to talk shop about the latest developments in their industries and the habits that lead to success.

Mark Miles, 57, occupies a small, spartan office on the 18th floor of the Chase Tower that belies the enormous influence he has on the Indianapolis landscape he can see outside his windows, and beyond. He is widely recognized as one of the top “power brokers” in the city, with connections that reach deep into the political and business communities, and a resume of civic accomplishments and corporate positions that can open nearly any door.

“I don’t think about the term [‘power broker’], and certainly it’s not an end in and of itself,” Miles said. “The thing that motivates me most is trying to see that things that need to get done in the city get done. … I do spend a lot of time with a lot of other people trying to do my part to get people on the same page and pursue initiatives in the most effective possible way.”

Recently, that has included leading the successful effort to bring Super Bowl XLVI to Indianapolis and serving as chairman of the 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee. He handles those responsibilities—amounting to about 20 hours per week at the moment—while holding down his day job as CEO of the influential Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, a not-for-profit group devoted to economic development in the area’s life sciences, information technology, advanced manufacturing and logistics industries. Its board of directors is a virtual “Who’s Who” of Indiana’s top-drawer CEOs, university presidents and other high-placed executives.

Through CICP, he’s been a key player in developing a regional mass transit plan for central Indiana, which after public feedback called for options such as light-rail lines and a regional bus system at an estimated cost of $2.4 billion. The Central Indiana Transit Task Force, which includes CICP, will ask the 2012 Legislature to authorize referenda in which local governments could ask their voters to sign off on dedicated funding sources, such as a percentage of sales or income tax revenue.

“I’d like to believe that … it should not be so difficult for state legislators to say, ‘Let’s let them put the question to themselves. Let’s see through referenda if locals think there is value for the money,’” Miles said.

Miles has collected political expertise over nearly 40 years. Beginning in 1974 as a campaign aide to Richard Lugar in his unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate, Miles caught the attention of political heavyweights like Bill Hudnut and Dan Quayle and soon was running their election campaigns.

Through the 1980s, he was a go-to guy for handling complex projects on a civic level, taking over and revitalizing the city’s men’s pro tennis event (then the GTE Championships), and heading the organizing committee for the Pan American Games in 1987. He then became executive director of public affairs for Eli Lilly and Co., and hand-picked his replacement—longtime friend Mitch Daniels—when he left in 1990 to become CEO of the Association of Tennis Professionals, the governing body for men’s pro tennis.

After 15 years at the helm, Miles returned to Indianapolis and became CEO of CICP in 2006. Again a fixture in the city, he provides informal counsel and feedback for groups working on civic initiatives. And he’s among a cadre of local power brokers who are quietly assembling a plan that would transfer control of Indianapolis Public Schools to the city’s mayor. (Such a plan would require the Legislature to approve a local referendum, and an OK from voters in the IPS district.)

“There’s not enough accountability,” said Miles, cautioning that he was not speaking as a representative of the group, which has not formally unveiled its plan. “I would like to see the day when candidates who are running for mayor have to say what they think about how kids are being educated, have to have a program that describes what they will do to ensure the best possible outcomes, and are then held accountable. I would like to see them voted out of office, if the community isn’t satisfied.”

Despite all his experience in the political arena, Miles has no interest in running for office himself.

“I enjoy having a private life, and I want to be able to go home and put on flip-flops and go to Ambrosia’s or someplace else in Broad Ripple and have dinner,” he said.

In the video at top, "Leading Questions" provides an overview of Miles’ career and peppers him with questions involving his many priorities, including the Super Bowl, mass transit plan and shifting control of IPS. In the following video, Miles responds with more depth to concerns surrounding the current labor dispute between the NFL and its players, currently resulting in a lockout and threatening to derail the season.

In the video below, Miles discusses his early career working on political campaigns for such luminaries as Lugar, Hudnut and Quayle. He also reveals why he turned his back on an opportunity to be a power player in Washington, D.C., as then-Sen. Quayle’s chief of staff.



  • Lots of Projects, No Accomplishments
    A few more questions:

    What ever happened to the Indy Partnership, Techpoint, Connexus, etc. after you force them to merge under your leadership?

    Answer; Nothing, they just withered away.

    Why has your efforts to take over central Indiana's highspeed rail efforts gone nowhere when record amounts of Federal funding are available?


    The Governor doesn't want it to go anywhere, he likes building roads and doesn't even apply for funding or push for the federally designated Chicago Indianapolis Lousiville route.
  • No Political Career
    I'm so glad Mark Miles said he's not interested in political office. He's done nothing but push corporate welfare in the positions he's held. The public has had enough of that.
  • Mr. PR
  • Good Man
    He's a wonderful guy but a terrible snowmobile rider.
  • Nice Article
    Nice article about a nice guy.
  • Article on Mark Miles
    Brad - I thought you'd be interested in this

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

  2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

  3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

  4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

  5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!