Indianapolis Business Journal – February 8-14, 2019


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In This Issue

Front Page

Despite low-key style, McRobbie has transformed Indiana University

Michael McRobbie has weathered the Great Recession, a higher education affordability crisis, and a nationwide reckoning about the very purpose of college in his 12 years as president.

White River plan envisions ideas for more accessibility in Hamilton, Marion counties

A firm charged with drafting a plan to revitalize and activate the river in the two counties has unveiled a series of concepts that include both passive and active nature experiences.

Top Stories

Eli Lilly negotiated its largest deal ever at breakneck speed

When the Indianapolis-based drug giant made its initial offer Dec. 20, it said it wanted to seal the deal before the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, which ran Jan. 7-10 in San Francisco.

Q&A with spine surgeon Rick Sasso, who won $112M court judgment

Dr. Sasso, president of Carmel-based Indiana Spine Group, had charged that the giant medical device maker Medtronic had shortchanged him on royalties.

City seeks walkability, better flow in Castleton

Castleton remains central Indiana’s most expansive retail corridor, but does its retail focus—and its car-centric layout—suggest trouble lies ahead?

Colts players trade cleats, pads for textbooks, course work

Dozens of players in the NFL—including three from the Indianapolis Colts—are hitting the books this offseason—and are being motivated by the league to do so.

Hoosier State train route could derail without state cash

Supporters are fighting for continued public funding of the Indianapolis-to-Chicago rail service—even as they acknowledge the route’s travel times and ridership levels need improvement.

Craft-beer guru planning taproom in Greenwood with ax-throwing hook

The investor group behind Tap & Axe, which includes the founder of craft-focused Hoosier Brewing Co., expects to spend more than $500,000 in the end to buy and renovate its 109-year-old downtown location.

Deal with Ozdemir paves way for Purdue Polytechnic High School to open in Broad Ripple

For at least one year, the school would operate out of a building just east of Broad Ripple High School that Ozdemir's Keystone Group is buying.


Small firms put out for-sale signs

In central Indiana and nationwide, a number of small companies are changing hands right now—and for a variety of reasons. Among them: a strong economy, plentiful buyers and an aging population of owners who are eyeing retirement.

Guidon moves to new offices in renovated 1960s building

Indiana reports record small-business growth

Indianapolis-based mAccounting acquired by Oregon firm

Portland-based InDinero’s purchase adds 36 employees, including 17 CPAs, to its 200-person workforce.


Editorial: Support for cigarette-tax hike should be too strong to ignore

Too many legislators are afraid of being attacked in the next election for raising taxes. Fear of being “primaried” over a tax hike—even one most people support—is one of the sad byproducts of a system where gerrymandered “safe” districts in too many instances make general-election results a foregone conclusion.

Nate Feltman: Rudderless Congress is failing America

Paul Ashley: Hospital pricing rule is step in right direction

The best solutions will come from collaborations between health care providers and payers. With the technology at their disposal, they could create systems that allow consumers to check prices based on a wide range of factors and variables.

Morton Marcus: Indiana’s forests are well worth protecting

Woodlands still account for 22 percent of Indiana’s land area, an asset of unmeasured value.

Sam Julka: Five mistakes that can stifle creativity in the workplace

For people to innovate, they have to first be comfortable believing they can be and are creative. It’s a frame of mind.

Ed Feigenbaum: New lawmakers find roles diminished as session plods on

The big issues will be worked out in conference committees without the help of less experienced lawmakers, and their input won’t be critical in caucus.

BOHANON & CUROTT: All ideologies should heed Venezuela’s lesson

The country has melted down because of a price system made dysfunctional by policies socialist regimes are prone to adopt, but also detrimental if adopted by non-socialist governments.

KIM: Shutdown highlights urgent need for ‘uncertainty fund’

We all need to realize nobody is immune to a sudden job loss or other income interruption.

Letter: Ferebee will be missed

Superintendent Lewis Ferebee will be remembered for his commitment to innovation, improvement, and taking the necessary steps to ensure IPS is viable and effective for all young people.

Letter: Renewable energy has public support

There are huge other benefits that come with the cleaner air and reduced greenhouse gas emissions from renewable energy.

In Brief

Nexstar wants to sell WISH-TV, hold onto WXIN and WTTV

The stage is being set for the sale of WISH-TV Channel 8 as its owner prepares to buy two other Indianapolis stations.

With all-time high enrollment, Marian extends president’s contract through 2025

Dan Elsener has served in the role since 2001, and has presided over a period of intense growth for the private Catholic university.

Hamilton County councilor to challenge Brainard in primary battle for Carmel mayor’s office

Republican Fred Glynn, who recently was re-elected to the Hamilton County Council, will run against six-term Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard in May's primary.

UPDATE: IndyGo to accelerate schedule for Red Line construction

Speeding up construction is expected to shave four months off the 13-mile bus line project.

Former Carmel stock broker sentenced to 18 months in prison

Brian Gimelson, 48, pleaded guilty to evading taxes on more than $1.2 million in income related to the multimillion sale of a rare painting.


R. Andrew Chambers: More study needed for THC to be treatment option

There is more evidence that THC, especially when used in addictive patterns, may actually make it harder for some patients to stop using opioids and other addictive drugs.

Dr. Richard Feldman: Marijuana could be part of answer to opioid abuse

There is more evidence that THC, especially when used in addictive patterns, may actually make it harder for some patients to stop using opioids and other addictive drugs.

Pierre Atlas: It’s about how you play the game

Congressional members of the party Trump now leads have largely abdicated their duty to protect our constitutional system.

Christina Hale: Coats demonstrates integrity with report to Congress

Clearly, he should be commended for his willingness to step out in contradiction to the U.S. president that appointed him.

Michael Leppert: When in doubt on social policy, start with economics

Passing a hate crimes law is a no-risk economic proposition for the state.

Curt Smith: 10 ways to keep DCS from draining the state budget

Our problems are real, but our children are worth everything, including humble, fervent prayer.

Deborah Daniels: Striking the balance on campus sexual misconduct

Schools can—and should—vigorously protect the rights of victimized students while preserving due process for both accuser and accused.

Riley Parr: Small-government advocates need better sales pitch

The paradox of the left is that, in reality, its adherents are the proponents of trickle-down ideology.

Marshawn Wolley: Township schools must receive reform, too

Improving township districts doesn’t mean importing IPS solutions, but lessons can be learned from the reform work that has happened in that district.

Glenda Ritz: Get serious about funding public schools

The small-schools grant should be reinstated in the budget to provide student equity in programming for our children who live in rural communities.

Abdul-Hakim Shabazz: Let’s talk about teacher pay

Before we have any discussion about more state funding for teacher pay, we should discuss what schools are doing with the cash they’re currently getting.

Andrew Ireland: Big Tech needs a public editor

To save these companies from themselves and earn back consumers’ trust, executives must look outside of Silicon Valley.

Randall Shepard: Where will Indiana find news?

Our most promising institutions are locally based entities that are print-and-digital or broadcast-and-digital operations.

Shariq Siddiqui: Let’s embrace real solutions for immigration woes

Most studies suggest that increased legal immigration will result in a positive impact on our economy.

Jennifer Wagner: Government shutdown produced no winners

We moved on to the next hot topic while those folks were still wondering how to make last month’s mortgage payment.

Special Sections

2019 Forty Under 40: Joshua D. Anderson

Joshua D. Anderson and his urban design firm find inspiration helping neighborhoods blossom.

2019 Forty Under 40: Amrou Awaysheh

Amrou Awaysheh's work focuses on leveraging big data, machine learning and the internet of things to increase energy-efficiency, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and improve the work-life balance of employees.

2019 Forty Under 40: Isaac Bamgbose

Isaac Bamgbose has been a key player in the creation of the much-anticipated Bottleworks District—a former bottling plant now being transformed into a $300 million food, retail, office, residential and entertainment complex.

2019 Forty Under 40: Whitney Bembenick

Whitney Bembenick's job responsibilities in product improvement, customer service and quality control help advance the company's goal of generating $1 million in annual donations to conservation causes.

2019 Forty Under 40: Neelay Bhatt

Neelay Bhatt is a principal consultant on the Indy Parks and the Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation master plans and, nationwide, has helped secure more than $1 billion for parks and recreation.

2019 Forty Under 40: Lauren Briggeman

Lauren Briggeman is a leading actress in central Indiana in addition to leading Summit, which is devoted to plays by and about women.

2019 Forty Under 40: Brandon Brown

Brandon Brown's quest to provide greater educational opportunities for low-income and minority children led him to his latest role, CEO of The Mind Trust.

2019 Forty Under 40: Elyssa Campodonico-Barr

Elyssa Campodonico-Barr's quest to make an impact on women and girls led her to her latest role leading Girls Inc.

2019 Forty Under 40: Anton Chase

Beyond his role at  Anthem, Anton Chase is an entrepreneur who launched the clothing and accessory line Aristocratic Men.

2019 Forty Under 40: Stanley Chen

Stanley Chen helped provide one of the state’s largest privately held firms with a 100-year family business plan.

2019 Forty Under 40: Maggie Daniels

Maggie Daniels is evangelical about her company, which connects tiny-house enthusiasts with property owners across the country.

2019 Forty Under 40: Phil Daniels

The software created by Phil Daniels' company aggregates medical and pharmacy data to help employers identify future costs and high-risk areas. It's now used by more than 2,000 employers. 

2019 Forty Under 40: Kate Ems

Kate Ems has been involved in transactions totaling more than 12 million square feet of real estate, with a value of nearly $205 million.

2019 Forty Under 40: Jessica D. Fraser

Jessica Fraser leads the only statewide program in Indiana that combines research and policy analysis on federal and state legislation, public policies and programs affecting low-income working families.

2019 Forty Under 40: Jasmine D. Gonzalvo

Making a name for herself in the classroom, the exam room and the boardroom, Jasmine D. Gonzalvo is a nationally recognized diabetes expert.

2019 Forty Under 40: Sam Julka

Sam Julka created a company that engages all stakeholders in office-design decisions.

2019 Forty Under 40: Ronni Kloth

Playing a lead role in Lilly Endowment’s $48.9 million Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Culture Innovation program is just one of the ways Ronni Kloth has helped shape Indianapolis’ future.

2019 Forty Under 40: Dr. Charles Kulwin

Dr. Charles Kulwin helped pioneer a surgical treatment for severely disabling strokes and now travels to teach the procedure.

2019 Forty Under 40: Zachary Lockett

Zachary Lockett is responsible for the daily sales efforts and overall positioning of the Conrad Indianapolis, one of downtown’s flagship hotels.

2019 Forty Under 40: Travis Meek

Travis Meek's legal counsel is helping guide Cummins Inc. through new territory, the electrified power field.

2019 Forty Under 40: Henry Mestetsky

Henry Mestetsky’s bold call to the Carmel Mayor’s Office as a law student eventually led to an appointment to the Carmel Redevelopment Authority and then the Carmel Redevelopment Commission.

2019 Forty Under 40: Megan Miller

In addition to leading a program that serves more than 4.5 million Kenyans, Megan Miller offers transformative experiences for IU students.

2019 Forty Under 40: Mark Minner

Named Butler’s men’s basketball play-by-play announcer at age 22, Mark Minner said he’s living a dream.

2019 Forty Under 40: Seth Morales

Whether through his staffing agency or via his work with Project Stepping Stone and other organizations, Seth Morales is committed to helping get people to the next level.

2019 Forty Under 40: Ian Nicolini

Leading efforts to recruit, grow and expand business in Indianapolis, Ian Nicolini helped secure projects ranging from tech giant Infosys to the airport’s first-ever international flight to Paris.

2019 Forty Under 40: Josh Owens

Josh Owens has led a rapidly growing team to such accolades as a “Best of Tech” Mira Award for Scale-up of the Year and a spot on the Inc. 500 list of Fastest Growing Companies in America.

2019 Forty Under 40: Mandy M. Parris

Mandy M. Parris manages the largest commercial bank client portfolio in the state (by revenue) for JPMorgan’s Middle Market business and is the youngest employee in Indiana to hold her title.

2019 Forty Under 40: Dr. Nicole Lee Plenty

One of Community Health’s youngest division leads, Dr. Nicole Lee Plenty has also started a health ministry at her church, as well as free community outreach and clinic sites for low-income areas.

2019 Forty Under 40: Meagan Rater

After various positions with Rolls-Royce, Meagan Rater was recently appointed senior vice president of sales, bringing together the company’s defense aerospace and naval marine sales teams.

2019 Forty Under 40: Fady Qaddoura

Balancing a $1.2 billion budget and overseeing 7,000 employees, Fady Qaddoura said every job he’s ever had—including bookstore clerk—has prepared him for his current one.

2019 Forty Under 40: Sarah E. Rubin

Sarah E. Rubin has provided leadership for key Department of Transportation projects, including the three-year environmental study for Interstate 69 Section 6—from Martinsville to Indianapolis.

2019 Forty Under 40: Brian Schutt

After building a successful service business, Brian Schutt opted to help others, creating the first co-working space in the country focused on trades and home services.

2019 Forty Under 40: Arnetta Patrice Scruggs

Arnetta Patrice Scruggs’ Bloom Project is providing service projects, college preparation, character building and career-exploration opportunities and scholarships to boys ages 12-18.

2019 Forty Under 40: Dr. Albert Gunjan Singh

As an electrical engineer and a physician by training, Dr. Albert Gunjan Singh uses cutting-edge technology to treat patients with complex spinal disease.

2019 Forty Under 40: Derrin Slack

Since Derrin Slack founded ProAct Indy—which engages at-risk youth in public service—the not-for-profit has grown from serving 11 boys and girls to more than 10,000.

2019 Forty Under 40: Justin Stuehrenberg

Justin Stuehrenberg is charged with building out the Marion County Transit Plan, overseeing the investment of $500 million that will be used to build the Red, Purple and Blue lines.

2019 Forty Under 40: Allison Matters Taylor

Allison Matters Taylor provides policy and strategic leadership to a Medicaid program serving 1.5 million Hoosiers.

2019 Forty Under 40: David Trogden

David Trogden doubled the size of Probo Medical—which focuses on buying and repairing ultrasound probes— through a 2018 acquisition.

2019 Forty Under 40: Art Vasquez

As president of the third-largest hospital in the state, Art Vasquez has been instrumental in building IU Health’s presence in the west suburban market.

2019 Forty Under 40: Barry Wormser

Barry Wormser focuses his busy law firm on work for entrepreneurs and tech startups, including Springbuk, Zylo, SupplyKick and others.


Mike Lopresti: Tales from the greatest Final Four ever played

Four teams. One loss among them. One. A combined record of 110-1. They came together on March 22, 1969, in a glorious intersection of basketball might.