CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: Giving credit where credit’s due

Keywords Government / Health Care
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Commentary Giving credit where credit’s due

Over the last 25 years, one of the ways we’ve tried to give back to the business community that supports us is to recognize the people and companies who’ve made a difference.

These programs have given us the opportunity to celebrate honorees and their accomplishments both in our pages and at public events. Each in their own way, the programs have been not only gratifying but, well, fun. I’d like to take a moment to reflect briefly on each of them.

In 1982, we established the “IBJ Enterprise Award” as an effort to celebrate success in business, specifically by recognizing entrepreneurs and companies that capitalized on opportunities and experienced a high level of success.

For the first 13 years, we handed out both individual and corporate awards but combined them into a single award thereafter.

Some of our individual winners-Ron Palamara, Phil Duke and Dick DeMars-are no longer with us. Others-like Bob Laikin, Tony George and Don Brown-are still making headlines. Some of the companies-Mayflower, Wholesale Club and Heartland Capital Management-also are no longer with us. Others-like Kite and Republic Airways-still fly high.

No matter what their current state, all of our winners made names for themselves at some point by taking a chance and building an organization of significant note.

In an effort to recognize the other side of business life-the giving-back side-we established the “Michael A. Carroll Award” in 1993.

The Carroll award was created to honor the ideals and civic contributions of Mike Carroll, a former deputy mayor and Lilly Endowment executive who loved his city. He worked tirelessly on many levels to make life better here until he was killed in a plane crash in 1992.

To memorialize his efforts and to recognize others with similar ideals, we’ve honored 11 individuals who made similar contributions outside their own line of work, starting with Jim Morris the first year and most recently with Gene Glick in 2004.

I remember handing out the first Mike Carroll award a dozen years ago at the 500 Festival Mayor’s Breakfast in front of more than a thousand guests in the convention center. For the last few years, we’ve presented this award at the Indiana Achievement Awards luncheon, an event that recognizes best practices in the not-for-profit community.

We probably have the most fun with our “40 Under Forty” program, which we launched in 1993 to recognize men and women in our community who have made names for themselves before the age of 40.

It has been rewarding to identify and meet many of these young folks at the annual 40 Under Forty reception each year at the Skyline Club, where we have so much fun that many stay beyond the allotted time and must be subtly encouraged to leave. It’s great!

From an emotional/spiritual standpoint, our youngest recognition program-“Health Care Heroes”-has the biggest impact on the people at IBJ. These awards, established in 2001 and well-received, recognize people and organizations doing great things in health care. Each year, we are deeply touched by their stories because our health-and the health of those we love-is so personal for all of us.

And finally, a popular program with a finite life from 1996 through 2000 recognized “Influential Women” in our community. In the five-year span of those awards, 121 women from business, government and the not-for-profit community were recognized and honored at wellattended luncheons.

Lists of all these individuals and companies can be found on the IBJ Web site, In the end, these programs not only give credit where credit is due, but they introduce our readers to people and companies they may not know, perhaps facilitating new relationships or at least recognition for jobs well done. We feel strongly that this is part of our mission. Once again, we congratulate all of those we’ve honored over the years, and thank them for being part of our newspaper’s history.

Katterjohn is publisher of IBJ. To comment on this column, go to IBJ Forum at www.ibj.comor send e-mail to

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