Articles

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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BEHIND THE NEWS: Duke at a crossroads after impressive run

Duke Realty Corp. has quietly made bundles for investors the past five years. But you wouldn’t know it from the tone of recent analyst reports on the Indianapolis-based company, one of the nation’s largest industrial and office developers. “We [compare] Duke’s investment case to that of a large ship, since we believe that it would take the company time to gradually turn its performance around on a course to improved results,” wrote Prudential Equity Group’s James Sullivan. “There is virtually…

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Seed funding falling short: BioCrossroads to offer $6 million less than originally hoped

It’s the Catch-22 of entrepreneurship. Attracting investment money is most difficult during the earliest days, exactly when startups need it most. BioCrossroads hopes to break that tricky cycle with its new $4 million seed-stage venture capital fund, Indiana Seed Fund I. But when fund raising was launched last year, the life sciences initiative aimed for $10 million. At about $250,000 per deal, BioCrossroads can do up to 15 deals-or two dozen fewer than it had intended. “We would certainly have…

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Company helps keep students on course: College Network offers college-study assistance

There may be no shortcuts to a college education, but Indianapolis-based The College Network says it can offer some passing lanes for working people who want to add to their professional credentials. The College Network, 3815 River Crossing Parkway, Suite 260, is a nationwide business that publishes educational materials for adult students who want to earn an undergraduate degree, graduate degree or professional certification in their current field. TCN is not a school and does not provide degrees itself, but…

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Long commute for former Lt. Gov.: Kathy Davis to lead South Bend tech firm

Her days as lieutenant governor are finished, but it didn’t take Kathy Davis long to find a new management role. She’s accepted a job leading South Bend-based telecommunications connectivity provider Global Access Point. “After we lost [the election] and I knew I’d be looking for a job, I thought it would be ideal if I could find some entrepreneur who was very technical and needed some help on the management side,” Davis said. “Then I was fortunate that opportunity came…

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NOTIONS: Lessons on life, love and work from a sister CEO

The crowd gathered early for the IPL 500 Festival Parade. Moms and dads, grandparents and kids, neighbors and friends came by the thousands to hear the oompah-pah of the bands, see Hollywood stars and cheer the 33 drivers competing in the next day’s Indianapolis 500. Walking through the throng, I spied the street preachers. Each had staked out a strategic spot, capitalizing on the closed avenues to stand mid-intersection and deliver The Word. One preacher waved a sign warning happy…

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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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Not-for-profit looks for way to continue its operations: Broad support must replace CILC’s sole funding source

It was supposed to be short-lived, an agency created solely to help Indiana schools tap emerging videoconferencing technology for distance learning. But a funny thing happened on the way to the virtual field trip. “We found it really wasn’t about the technology. It was about what you do with the technology,” said Ruth Blankenbaker, executive director of the Indianapolis-based Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration. “If you don’t have a reason to use it, what’s the point?” Teachers had to…

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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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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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Laptop batteries: Here’s how to maximize stamina RETURN ON TECHNOLOGY Tim Altom: Laptop batteries: Here’s how to maximize stamina

RETURN ON TECHNOLOGY Laptop batteries: Here’s how to maximize stamina The laptop computer has made battery groupies of us all. For something so humble and unobtrusive, the laptop battery commands outsized attention. We calculate whether we need to bring AC power adapters to meetings, based on how long a battery will last. We figure how much work we can get done on planes, based on how long the battery will last. Then, when we can’t charge them up anymore, the…

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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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Foyt’s tough transition: Legendary driver struggles as racing owner

Foyt with a wrench. It’s an iconic image dating back to the 1960s, when the brash, hott e m p e r e d racer started forging his image as one of the world’s best drivers. A wrench gripped by Foyt’s rugged hands is still the image that best characterizes the legendary Texan. But in an era of high-tech diagnostics and sponsor-driven economics, it’s no longer a winning image. “There are certain athletes, racing drivers and personalities that have unusual…

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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Expect more rate hikes by the Federal Reserve

If the Federal Reserve’s steady diet of interest rate increases is giving you or your business indigestion, I’ve got a suggestion for you-get used to it. The inflation winds in the U.S. economy are whipping up like they haven’t in almost a decade, and it’s up to our central bank to do something about it. We learned a few years ago that rapid advances in technology and globalization didn’t make the national economy recession-proof, as some foolishly boasted. It looks…

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Finances another obstacle for Rose: University’s money problems predate controversial leader

In Terre Haute, his management style has come across like a bull in a china shop. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology’s faculty and students voted “no confidence” in his abilities. The university’s staff will soon take a vote of its own, and an upcoming trustee meeting will likely address the matter. But as the tide of opinion turned against Rose-Hulman President Jack Midgley, detractors stopped asking a fundamentally important question: Could Midgley be right about the need for change? Last September,…

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HIGHER (cost of) EDUCATION: Students’ college burden continues to rise in Indiana

With state funding flat and operating expenses rising, Indiana’s public universities are turning to a familiar source to make up the difference-students. Tuition and mandatory fees at state institutions are set to climb an average of 5 percent next school year and higher in 2006-2007, if proposed rates stand. That’s a far cry from the double-digit increases most universities imposed just a few years ago, but observers say it’s worrisome nonetheless. “Tuition has been rising at twice the rate of…

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Mansion tenant’s HQ networks with history: Levey building’s interior design mixes new with the old

At the Louis Levey Mansion on North Meridian Street, the blending of past, present and future greets visitors as they walk through the heavy arched doors of Networks Financial Institute’s headquarters. In the entry hallway, a receptionist with all the latest technology on her desk sits under a Victorian-era stained-glass skylight. Around her, contemporary art hangs next to elaborately carved wood molding on the walls. Futuristic glass-and-chrome lighting fixtures hang from the ceilings, one of which has an original painted…

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State remains vigilant on military base closures: Protecting jobs could still be tricky; Base Realignment and Closure process to conclude by year’s end

Historically, the vast majority of the military’s initial Base Realignment and Closure recommendations are included in the final cut. Even so, Indiana can’t afford to let down its defenses yet. “We’re still very much on this case, and are going to stay that way through the end of this process,” said John Clark, Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels’ senior adviser for economic growth. “We’re going to remain vigilant. These were recommendations, not conclusions.” For years, Indiana’s political leaders and economic developers…

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Shepard for the U.S. Supreme Court GERALD BEPKO Commentary:

Acrimony and the politics of personal destruction in our nation’s capital seem to be at a seasonally adjusted high point, owing in significant part to the divisive issue of federal judicial appointments. Much of this is based on the belief that courts have arrogantly ventured beyond the interpretation of law, envisioned by the founders of our government as the role for the judicial branch. These perceptions make the Senate’s advise-and-consent role in judicial appointments much more fractious. The prospect that…

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