Articles

Industry making push for creation of state fraud unit: Indiana one of only 10 states without insurance fraud agency, but funding issues could be major obstacle

Members of the insurance industry have begun a campaign to bolster the state’s fight against fraud by targeting the creation of a bureau to help combat the crime. Indiana is one of only 10 states without an agency addressing insurance fraud, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. But the goal of the task force convened by Jim Atterholt, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Insurance, is to have a fraud bureau operating within his department sometime next…

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Rising star in GOP recasts job agency: New chief uses secret shoppers, dress code to shake up state’s work force development

Indiana Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Ronald Stiver says the world is flat, with the United States no longer having mountainous advantages over other nations. And Stiver knows Hoosiers must prepare for it to get even flatter. “You’re talking to the converted,” Stiver said. “I believe in the 21st century, the major lever for economic development will be work-force development.” Stiver, 31, is reorganizing DWD with the new flat world in mind. He envisions an agency that moves beyond doling…

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Tax credits aid blighted areas: Help open to firms targeting Center Township projects

Federal tax credits supporting roughly $6 million in economic development projects are still available for small-business owners considering expanding or locating in Center Township. The funds are administered through the New Markets Tax Credit Program, which was established by Congress in 2000 to help revitalize blighted areas. In Indiana, the locally based Urban Enterprise Association Inc. helped secure tax credits that can fund $50 million worth of projects, including $12.5 million in Marion County. The tax credits already are supporting…

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Tech-park program tightens guidelines: Daniels administration hopes grants spur more innovation

In Shelbyville, home of the state’s third certified technology park, economic development officials are excited. They just broke ground on a promising new park business: A Santa Fe Steakhouse. Since 2003, the state has approved $1.2 million for Shelbyville to help develop its technology park-one of 17 now scattered across Indiana, each meant to modernize the state through the attraction and development of high-tech companies. In total, the state has approved $9 million in grants since the certified technology park…

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New director brings experience to center: Woodall to mentor entrepreneurs at Purdue facility

Jerry M. Woodall, the new director of Purdue University’s ambitious entrepreneurship center, enjoyed an illustrious career spanning three decades at International Business Machines Corp. But for the 66-year-old New Englander, a job at New York-based IBM emerged only after another public corporation, The Gillette Co. in Boston, rescinded its offer. It did so, oddly enough, after learning he had only one eye. A cataract led doctors to remove his left eye after birth. “I distinctly remember them telling me I’d…

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Marian College launches motorsports curriculum: Classes to focus on business side of racing

This fall, Marian College will begin offering a unique curriculum focused on the business of motorsports. Initially, motorsports-related classes will be offered within Marian’s sports management program, but school officials said they’d like to expand the program to offer a minor and major in motorsports management. Unlike programs at Purdue University, IUPUI and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Marian’s courses will not focus on computers and engineering. Instead, the program will instruct students in marketing, communications, sales and business management in…

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‘Clean’ manufacturing center seeking cash to survive: General Assembly kills funding for Purdue program

The center created by the Legislature to help manufacturers use environmentally friendly materials and production methods is scrambling for cash to keep stamping out solutions. The Indiana Clean Manufacturing Technology & Safe Materials Institute lost its $475,000 annual state subsidy-a little over half its income-amid budget cutting in the last session of the General Assembly. Industry and environmental groups are lamenting the potential scale-back or even closure of the institute if new funding isn’t found by August. “We certainly feel…

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Taking the pulse of life sciences: Experts weigh in on whether Indiana is keeping up in the economic development race

IBJ: Is Indiana gaining ground against other states in the race to grow as a life sciences hub? What are some specific benchmarks that underscore your opinion? JOHNSON: Indiana is gaining ground, but Indiana already starts on really very substantial ground. There are a lot of outside validations of that and I think it’s important for this audience to hear a couple of them because there is nothing like having people on the outside pay attention to what we’re doing…

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VC tax credit rarely used by startups: Less than 17 percent of incentives tapped

Last year, Indiana approved tax credits worth nearly $16.3 million to encourage speculation on local high-tech startups. Investors left most of the credits-$13.5 million worth-on the table. The highly touted Indiana Venture Capital Investment tax credit program debuted in January 2004. It allows investors in approved startups to write 20 percent of their outlay off their state taxes. Indiana certified 42 young companies last year as eligible for its venture capital credit. According to the Indiana Economic Development Corp., investors…

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VIEWPOINT: Creativity is key to competitive advantage

Central Indiana is flat as a result of the Laurentide ice sheet that surged toward Indianapolis 17,000 years ago. Today, the whole world is flat as a result of the technological and social seismic shifts that effectively leveled the economic world, and “accidentally made Beijing, Bangalore and Bethesda next-door neighbors,” says Thomas L. Friedman, foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times. Richard Florida, researcher on regional economic development, challenges Friedman’s metaphor. Florida says, “The world is even more concentrated,…

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City to land more aircraft mechanics: Lease calls for Republic to add 186 jobs

Republic Airways Holdings plans to add nearly 200 aircraft maintenance jobs at Indianapolis International Airport, based on employment projections in a lease the carrier recently signed for a new hangar. The Indianapolis-based regional carrier that employs 114 mechanics here “agrees to use commercially reasonable efforts to achieve average employment of 300 full-time Indiana resident employees at the facility … at an average salary of $18 per hour during the first year,” states a lease signed April 15 with the Indianapolis…

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SPORTS: ‘Our’ future extends beyond Marion County line

NOBLESVILLE-That Gov. Mitch Daniels, aboard his RV-1, was caught in the daily late-afternoon I-69, State Road 37 traffic snarl and was a half-hour late for his Hamilton County town meeting here last week represented a theme of his presentation. We are no longer a city, but a region. With that in mind, Our Man Mitch has been venturing to the counties contiguous to Marion, pitching the pending 1-percent food and beverage tax that will supply a small-emphasis on small, an…

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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Indiana must not let TDL opportunities elude its grasp

Unlike some other Hoosier economic initiatives, much of the required infrastructure to rapidly advance TDL into significant growth is already in place. More Interstate highways cross the state An economic development analyst determining the physical advantages of Indiana might initially be challenged. Indiana has no oceans. No mountains. No temperate climate. But the Hoosier state does possess one singular unmatched physical plus: It is the state geographically closest to the bulk of most U.S. major markets. For more than a…

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State eyes inland ports to bolster TDL: ‘Dry’ hubs under consideration in 3 parts of the state could be boon to transportation, distribution, logistics

The construction of intermodal hubs in Indiana could add thousands of jobs to the state’s transportation/distribution/logistics industry, an area targeted by officials as an economic pillar to pursue. The General Assembly gave the Indiana Ports Commission the authority two years ago to build the hubs-“dry ports” where cargo is transferred between train and truck. While the projects remain in the planning stages, supporters cite Indiana’s central location as a primary factor to build the facilities. At least three locations are…

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Trade zone gets bigger: Expansion should help Duke, Anderson lure tenants who export, import goods

An expansion of Indianapolis’ foreign trade zone to include Duke Realty Corp.’s west-side industrial parks might not result in a flood of new tenants for the local developer, but it’s expected to help economic development officials lure firms that ship goods by truck and rail. Officials of Duke and central Indiana economic development agencies were to announce on June 3 that the local foreign trade zone has been expanded from 5,500 acres around the Indianapolis International Airport to 7,100 acres….

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Tech fund set for overhaul: State shifts focus to commercial results; founders fear changes to peer-review process

Indiana’s showcase program for new technology development is about to be redesigned. Version 2.0 of the 21st Century Research and Technology Fund will direct more money to entrepreneurs. It will concentrate on projects whose commercial prospects are clear. And as it distributes $75 million of taxpayers’ money over the next two years, it will expect a return on its investments. “The goal is, if a company does well, to get a return for the state,” said Michael S. Maurer, president…

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Rule changes to get scrutiny: State agencies now must consider economic impact

Indiana’s small-business owners will encounter a friendlier regulatory environment in July, when sweeping legislation takes effect requiring state agencies to consider the impact of their policies on small businesses before adopting them. House Enrolled Act 1822 should help ease the burden of what advocates consider unnecessary regulations on small businesses by requiring agencies that intend to change or adopt a rule to provide an economic-impact statement first. The statement must include a regulatory-flexibility analysis that evaluates alternative methods that could…

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A quiet force: King helped revitalize city behind scenes

Coming of age in the 1950s, Tom King thought he’d make a pretty good engineer. “I grew up during what I call the ‘Sputnik Era’. Anybody who was a halfway decent student was going to be an engineer,” says the newly retired president of the Lilly Foundation. “When I saw what engineers did, I discovered I wouldn’t make a very good one.” Instead, King found himself a niche constructing some of the most complex local economic development projects of the…

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A business-friendly approach: New insurance boss hopes to speed approval process, attract firms to state

Jim Atterholt may not have been the governor’s top choice to lead the Indiana Department of Insurance. But the former state representative who has dedicated his career to public service is no consolation pick, either. Those who know the 43-year-old Atterholt say his calm demeanor and his sharp people skills should serve him well in his new role as an administrator. He took the helm as commissioner Feb. 22, about a month after Harold Calloway declined the appointment. Atterholt since…

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June conference to highlight historic local landscapes: Oldfields, Garfield Park, Riverdale among sites on tour

Marian College will act as host for Hidden Treasures of Indianapolis, a conference scheduled for June 9-11 at the northside college and sites around the city. The first-ever conference of its kind locally will offer lectures and tours of some of the city’s historic landscapes, which were designed by some of the pre eminent landscape architects of the early 20th century. Tours available to attendees include a driving tour of George Kessler’s Parks and Boulevard System, which is at 3,474…

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