Articles

INVESTING: Embracing China thorny issue for government, markets

International trade issues abound. There are both long- and short-term stock market implications to these deals, along with political and social effects. China is the overwhelming player in most of the stories, but some closer neighbors are also in the game. A major Chinese oil firm called CNOOC made an offer for Unocal, which was in the process of being bought out by Chevron. The CNOOC offer is higher by a few billion dollars, and it is cash, but there…

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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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VIEWPOINT: We have a lot to learn from Henry Ford

When Henry Ford installed the world’s first moving assembly line in 1913, he changed the auto industry. Little did he know that nearly a century later, the same tools used to create the production line would pave the way for innovations in health care delivery. First implemented at the Highland Park Ford Plant in Detroit, the assembly line allowed individual workers to remain stationary while performing the same task repeatedly on multiple vehicles. The line proved tremendously efficient, helping Ford…

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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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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Until Indiana diversifies, economy will struggle

Sure, General Motors Corp. is in trouble, and quite a few Indiana communities are directly in harm’s way. The headlines say it all. Plant closings-above and beyond those already planned-are on the way. GM bonds are rated as junk. Its market share is at an historic low. And it’s discounting just about everything on the lot. For a company that has been the No. 1 automaker in the world for four generations, its recent stumbles have to be humbling. Pressed…

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Shrinkage a growing problem: Manufacturers seek ways to stem product losses

The U.S. manufacturing industry has begun rebounding from its economic swoon, but some industry experts think more manufacturers must become more efficient and eliminate waste if they are to compete in the current global climate. While the Manufacturers Alliance, an Arlington, Va.-based business and public policy research group, projected manufacturing growth of 3.4 percent this year and 3 percent in 2006, big challenges remain. One growing problem is the so-called shrinkage factor, defined in manufacturing as the percentage by which…

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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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Purdue student plays key role in “RFID for Dummies”: Book helps businesses implement logistics technology

Patrick Sweeney was the book’s author. Most other books on RFID consider only the highly technical aspects of the technology, Sweeney said. “RFID for Dummies” is aimed at businesspeople charged with actually implementing the technology, or for those who determine its ROI. “This is really the first book of its kind that walks people through the logical process to deploy an RIFD system,” Sweeney said. The cost of implementing RFID is based For an up-and-coming new technology like radio frequency…

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Network Engineering Inc.: Computer firm remains flexible Owner says diversifying keeps company nimble

He started the original version of his business back in 1984, fresh out of college. One Internet, one dot-com boom, one Y2K and one dot-com crash later, he’s still in business. Spilker is president of Network Engineering Inc., which is essentially a spin-off of his original company, Information Engineering Inc. A lifelong Indianapolis resident, he graduated from Purdue University with a degree in computer technology. As soon as he graduated, he started Information Engineering because he wanted to run things…

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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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A ‘little’ oil boom: More drilling expected in state as prices stay near record

“There is increased drilling. There’s a lot of broke-ass oil producers down here that are experiencing a little boom,” said Andrews, president of Vincennes-based Andrews Oil Properties. Oil producers like Andrews, “still driving the same Cadillac I had 15 years ago,” know bet- ter than to entertain fantasies of striking it rich, however. Indiana oil production has been on the wane since a 12.6-million-barrel peak in 1956. Last year, only 1.75 million barrels were extracted from Indiana’s sedimentary rock, according…

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Not-for-profits affect state’s bottom line: Health organizations account for more than half of state’s not-for-profit workers

From 2000 to 2003, a period during which the state experienced an overall decline in jobs, employment in the notfor-profit sector grew. That finding, among others, is part of a study of not-for-profit employment in the state, and an update of a report issued two years ago, by Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy, IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and Johns Hopkins University. The 5-percent increase in not-for-profit employment, compared with a 6-percent decline in the for-profit sector, suggests…

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Anderson incubator represents ‘beginning’: Officials hope new center will help revive economy

Xtreme Alternative Defense Systems LTD is the type of high-tech company Anderson officials are coveting for their new small-business incubator, the Flagship Enterprise Center. Founded in 2002 by Pete Bitar, XADS has a contract with the U.S. Marine Corps to develop a long-range, wireless stun gun, known as the StunStrike system. The patent-pending technology delivers a non-lethal electrical current to disable a human target. The prototypes include a rifle that can fire up to 15 feet and a vehiclemounted unit…

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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: With growth at both ends, job spectrum requires skill

When you study economic statistics for a living, it’s easy to lose perspective on a lot of things. Take the labor market, for instance. In any given month, millions of American workers are hired and fired, promoted, demoted and transferred. Some drop out of the labor force to raise children or to go to school, while others retire altogether or begin new careers. When the smoke clears after all those changes, the statisticians in Indiana and in Washington tally it…

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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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Digital TV for the masses: Thomson venture to roll out alternative to HDTV sets at prices ‘Middle America’ should love

People with cars-up-on-blocks in their front yards could afford to buy this digital television. TCL-Thomson Electronics Corp., the Thomson joint venture known as TTE, plans to launch ultra-inexpensive “SDTV” digital sets this fall to aggressively court what some say is an ignored segment of the consumer electronics market. If Bharath Rajagopalan and his colleagues are correct, TTE could get an edge on competitors who’ve been too drunk on profit margins from big, $5,000 plasma screen sets to worry about digital…

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Heartland Golf Cars and Equipment Co.: Golf cars have become hot commodity Local firm has ridden the trend to profitability ram said. He credits solid financing at startup as key to the success of Heartland. To anyone interested in starting a business, he

ram said. He credits solid financing at startup as key to the success of Heartland. To anyone interested in starting a business, he advises, “Don’t go into it on a shoestring. You have to have a business plan and be committed to working long hours. It’s not only working harder, it’s the workmanship, too. It may sound like an old cliché, but it’s very true.” * Golf cars are no longer just for sport. These electric- or gasoline-powered cars may…

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Stutz’s future includes condos: Developer envisions high-rise, nightclub as part of biz center

Stutz Business Center owner and visionary Turner Woodard last month rolled out a 10-year master plan for the Stutz that could bring condominiums, retail and a high-rise tower to the former auto-manufacturing plant at 10th Street and Capitol Avenue. Right now, Woodard concedes many of his plans are dreams. But with a blossoming life sciences corridor just to the west along the Central Canal, Woodard said he wants the 80-year-old Stutz to continue to be a hub of activity as…

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Demand stokes Coke: After slump, Citizens Gas unit adds workers, expects profit

The bituminous-belching behemoth is as close as this city gets to 19th century industry. It is an anathema to economic strategists who would leave smokestacks behind and recast Indianapolis as a haven for the clean rooms of high- and biotechnology. And neighbors fear it’s the source of elevated levels of benzene and other chemicals blamed for cancer. Yet the politically and environmentally incorrect Indianapolis Coke appears to be on a comeback-at least financially. The subsidiary of Citizens Gas & Coke…

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