In January, Mark Miles returned to Indianapolis after more than a decade at the helm of the Association of Tennis Professionals to become CEO of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership.
Twelve months later, the CICP looks much different than it did under his predecessor David Goodrich. And it could soon change even more.
A former Eli Lilly and Co. executive and aide to Dan Quayle, Miles, 53, has been one of the key players in the potential consolidation of the city's largest economic development organizations.
CICP represents the perspective of CEOs from Indiana's largest corporations. It's also the parent of life science initiative BioCrossroads. In April, CICP entered merger talks with the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, a networking forum for more than 3,500 local businesses; Indianapolis Downtown Inc., which attempts to shepherd development of downtown Indianapolis; and the Indy Partnership, which markets central Indiana and brokers business incentives.
By consolidating, the groups might eliminate overlap and achieve greater results. One unified economic development organization serving the area could eliminate confusion for businesses that consider moving or expanding here.
The potential to cut costs also is a driver, especially for the businesses that underwrite all four groups.
"The Lillys of the world don't have infinitely deep pockets," said Mark Long, CEO of Indiana University's Research and Technology Corp. "They're starting to say, 'Why do we belong to this and this, when they do almost the same thing?'"
But in December, IBJ obtained a copy of a confidential financial analysis by CPA firm Katz Sapper & Miller LLP that showed consolidation's savings would be meager at best, or a merger even could end up costing more than the status quo.
As the talks-originally expected to conclude by year's end-slip into January, the smaller economic development groups that serve surrounding counties are getting impatient. Until the merger shakes out, their own fund-raising efforts are hamstrung.
In the meantime, Miles has moved ahead with efforts to increase CICP's impact. On the BioCrossroads model, CICP formed an initiative to promote the advanced manufacturing, distribution, transportation and logistics industry. It also pushed to acquire high-tech trade group Techpoint in a deal expected to close soon. Under CICP, Techpoint will become an initiative to serve Indiana's information technology sector.