Indianapolis Business Journal - July 17-23, 2017


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In This Issue

Front Page

Path to merger for Angie's List full of twists, turns

Securities filings show how activist investors gained influence, how organic turnaround plans lost favor, and how IAC played hardball at the negotiating table.

Noblesville simplifying home-design approvals after frequent waivers fuel aesthetic concerns

Since the Hamilton County seat created its Architectural Review Board in 2001, it has granted more than 500 waivers to deviate from its architectural standards.

USA Funds' new tack: Bet millions on education startups

USA Funds had long been preparing to adopt a new mission after decades as the nation’s largest student loan guarantor.

Top Stories

ITT trustee blasts firm’s former directors, seeks $50M

The trustee charges that Sam Odle and fellow outside directors should have ousted CEO Kevin Modany—a move that likely would have been well-received by the U.S. Department of Education and ITT's accrediting agency.

Outages, costly repairs continue to plague $3.5B Edwardsport power plant

Duke Energy Corp.’s massive, $3.5 billion power plant in Edwardsport, billed as a technological marvel, continues to deal with operating and maintenance setbacks.

Investor’s IRA helping to house down-and-out veterans

Using a self-directed Roth IRA account, John Gremling buys and sells property to rent out to tenants, including veterans seeking help from groups like Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation of Indiana.

Prison’s closure puts near-east-side block into play

The planned closing of a state prison on the near-east side will put into play an entire city block just minutes from downtown that could be ripe for residential development.

Sun King Brewery to pop tops on Chicago, Louisville markets

The Indianapolis brewery plans to expand its reach outside Indiana for the first time with distribution to “hundreds of liquor and grocery stores, bars and restaurants" in the two new markets.

Lilly Endowment giving IU medical school $25M to fund life sciences initiatives

The grant from the Indianapolis-based philanthropic giant is aimed at bolstering Indiana's stature as a life sciences research hub.

Transportation museum escalates Nickel Plate Railroad fight

The Indiana Transportation Museum said it requested a federal temporary restraining order against the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority on Monday in an attempt to regain use of the Nickel Plate rail line in time for next month’s Indiana State Fair.<

Home Health Depot acquired by Florida-based Lincare

Home Health Depot became one of the country's fastest-growing medical companies under the leadership of former equipment sales rep David Hartley and ex-Indiana Commerce Secretary Nate Feltman.

A&E, etc.

TRY THIS: Got an axe to grind? Try throwing one instead

A new company offers a chance to hurl weapons for fun.

LOU'S VIEWS: A new musical Cash-es in on the Man in Black

"Ring of Fire" features more than 30 Johnny Cash tunes in addition to a bit of biography.

LOPRESTI: Andrew Smith’s kid sister chasing her volleyball dreams

Kim Smith finds her way from the indoor sport to the beaches of California.


EDITORIAL: Kenley exit leaves legislative void

While saying “no” invariably creates enemies, it helped that his decisions were based on hard thought, not whims.

MAURER: Messer can do better than slinging mud

Senate candidate avoids issues, strikes early with Trump-like character assassination tactics.

HENEGAR: ‘Election integrity’ effort is attack on voters

It’s our elected officials’ responsibility to preserve and advance the right to vote, not to hinder and impair.

HICKS: Communities must pursue people, not fads

In communities across Indiana, efforts to shore up economic growth often have targeted whatever new bright, shiny object appears to offer hope.

KIM: Passive indexing boom might turn into bust

My colleagues and I at Kirr Marbach & Co. see parallels between now and the technology stock mania of the late 1990s.

BOHANON & STYRING: What do price controls get you? Venezuela

Venezuelans aren't eating high on the hog. Common people aren’t eating much hog—or anything else.

LETTER: State bungled I-69 from the start

Isn’t it time to tell the public that they have suffered delay in order to waste money while playing financial engineering games?

LETTER: Time for county to go totally smoke-free

The progressive cities of Hamilton County have the opportunity to make up for what the state smoke-free air law is lacking—to cover all public venues, including bars and membership clubs.

In Brief

Wine market, bar slated for Fountain Square space

The new retail and gathering place is leasing a high-visibility spot on Virginia Avenue where plans for a Japanese bistro recently were abandoned.

Indiana venture capital activity softens in latest quarter

Two recently published national reports show Indiana venture capital activity cooling off in the second quarter. And per-deal investment averages remain relatively low.

Lebanon OKs incentives for massive distribution center

The Lebanon City Council on Monday night unanimously approved more than $2 million in tax incentives to lure a fast-growing logistics company that has proposed opening a major distribution center that would employ nearly 1,200 people.

Neighbors turning to courts to challenge big apartment, condo projects

Residents living near proposed sites in Indianapolis have sought help from courts on three separate occasions since December, but a judge rejected their pleas in the two cases that have been decided.


TALLIAN: Neighbors need to have protections, too

The Legislature cannot simply decide to eliminate the ability of local zoning or other regulations regarding property use in their towns.

LEHMAN: Let's balance individual rights and government oversight

I believe we must be diligent in finding ways for Hoosiers and local governments to coexist in this sharing economy.

ROBERTSON: Pro-life doesn't always mean what you think

It's about reducing the number of unintended pregnancies so that a woman never has to make that decision.

SCHNEIDER: 'Womansplaining' women's health care

Birth control is health care.

RITZ: Health care issues follow children into the classroom

We all know who pays for health care—the American people.

SHEPARD: Hoosiers recognize wisdom of gas-tax hike

It was a story of Indiana as a place where collective goodwill still plays a large role in civic life, to good result.

IRELAND: Trump's actions portend meaningful progress in North Korea

As Republican infighting continues to stall the president’s domestic agenda, Trump has shown laudable strength as commander-in-chief.

LEPPERT: It's no surprise that America's image has suffered

Too many of the complex problems facing the planet today cannot be resolved without building coalitions.

HALE: The disturbing decline in trust in our institutions

You have to wonder, when high schools students go to write term papers in five years, what will they consider to be a trustworthy news source?

WOLLEY: Police-action shootings deserve better investigations

This flawed process is generally exacerbated by local media's rush to research and report criminal backgrounds demonizing the victims.

DANIELS: Can we wake from this scary era of polarized politics?

People no longer have to hear the voices of those with whom they disagree—and they rarely force themselves to listen.

SHELLA: It's time to make it easier to vote in Indiana

I don't care what party or candidate benefits.

SHABAZZ: My take on the flap over Jennifer Messer's Fishers contract

I didn’t write this column in my downtown office, but in my back yard, where I can have a cigar and adult beverage.

PARR: What if America is destined for constant disagreement?

There has always been a tension in America between the costs and benefits of too much government and too much individual freedom.

SMITH: Exploring what it means to be conservative

Our aim is to convene the brightest minds in politics and thought to come together to cast a vision for the conservative movement in Indiana.

WAGNER: Thank goodness for government close to the people

States are sometimes called the "laboratories of Democracy."

COLLINS: Putin and Europe meet an entire fleet of Trumps

Trump had begun to resemble a dinner guest who does nothing but talk about his superior tennis skills, better car and more interesting vacations.

PARKER: The rise of the American welfare state

Blindly dropping taxpayer funds from helicopters is not compassion.

Special Sections

FAST 25: Execs managing explosive growth share insights

Avoid "shiny-object syndrome." Build the systems and processes to support "catastrophic growth." Avoid micromanagement. Those are some of the pearls of wisdom offered by executives who've helped their companies survive and prosper through torrid growth.

FAST 25: Annex Student Living

CEO Kyle Bach said the company initially had to convince schools that private student housing would help them grow and retain students.

FAST 25: Joseph David Advertising LLC

CEO Brad Benbow said Joseph David Advertising, which does business as JDA Worldwide, prefers to work with emerging brands because they tend to be more aggressive.

FAST 25: ClearObject

CEO John McDonald said the internet of things is growing exponentially, which is spurring ClearObject’s growth.

FAST 25: SupplyKick LLC

CEO Josh Owens says SupplyKick can help companies that have been kicked off Amazon for shipping incorrectly or misclassifying products.

FAST 25: Mattingly Concrete Inc.

Last year, Mattingly Concrete handled 600 residential customers, which is about 90 percent of its business.

FAST 25: Thomas P. Miller and Associates LLC

Tom Miller's 28-year-old consulting firm in the last five years has branched into K-12 education systems, community colleges and higher ed.

FAST 25: SmarterHQ

CEO Michael Osborne said brands need to connect more with their customers, and personalized messaging helps them do that.

FAST 25: Pondurance

The cybersecurity firm Pondurance is capitalizing as new threats hit the headlines almost daily. "We always say the media does a lot of our selling for us," partner Ron Pelletier said.

FAST 25: Asphalt Solutions Inc.

Company President Chad McIntyre is a mechanical engineer who saw an opportunity in concrete and asphalt repairs and paving.

FAST 25: Lauth Group Inc.

Lauth Group celebrated its 40th anniversary in May, and CEO Michael Jones credits the real estate development company’s success to a decision made years ago to diversify its offerings.

FAST 25: DeveloperTown

DeveloperTown started out building software for startups. But today most of its business comes from enterprise clients.

FAST 25: Archway Technology Partners LLC

Archway Technology Partners' strong performance caught the attention of a suitor, Pennsylvania-based SEI Investments Co., which announced July 5 that it has acquired Archway for $80 million.

FAST 25: Formstack LLC

Formstack lets clients build online forms that help them collect data—survey results, event registration, business leads, patient information—that can be used to make decisions faster.

FAST 25: LTC Language Solutions

LTC Language Solutions started teaching languages in the business-to-business and business-to-government realms. Today, it’s a full-service language service provider, offering language training, cross-cultural training, translation and interpreting.

FAST 25: Morales Group Inc.

Tomas Morales’ staffing company has placed more than 40,000 workers in jobs throughout the Midwest.

FAST 25: TMG Construction Management Inc.

TMG Construction Manaement has a number of fast-growing clients, which have fueled its own growth. One of its top clients is one of the nation's largest Taco Bell franchisees.

FAST 25: Becknell Industrial

Becknell Industrial builds spec and build-to-suit warehouse and light-manufacturing space. It's enjoyed growth that co-founder Dan Harrington couldn't have imagined when the company was founded 27 years ago.

FAST 25: Activate Healthcare

Activate Healthcare helps companies reduce their medical costs by providing on-and near-site primary care clinics.

FAST 25: Spot Freight Inc.

The third-party logistics firm Spot Freight has grown rapidly through a mix of contracting with new customers and getting more work from existing customers.

FAST 25: GreenLight LLC

Excitement over the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 was one of several factors that helped propel GreenLight LLC, which makes collectible die-cast vehicles, to another successful year.

FAST 25: Merchants Bank of Indiana

Merchants Bank of Indiana aggressively funded loans for mortgage companies across the country after the Great Recession—a counterintuitive move that developed relationships that continue to benefit the bank.

FAST 25: Professional Management Enterprises Inc.

Danny Portee started his staffing business after working in Army recuriting, where he observed that the government does a surprising amount of outsourcing.

FAST 25: Creative Solutions Consulting Inc.

Creative Solutions Consulting Inc. specializes in management consulting, enterprise IT and financial management solutions for federal, state and commercial markets.

FAST 25: Round Room LLC

A cellphone retailer and franchiser, a moisture-removal technology business and a workplace culture consultant? That’s the holding company Round Room, which started in 1990 as one of the first authorized retailers for GTE Mobilnet in Indiana.

FAST 25: DoubleMap Inc.

CEO Ilya Rekhter said that when he and his partners started DoubleMap in 2009, they saw the impact the technology was having on transit. It’s only going to continue with the rise of autonomous vehicles.

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