More States Engage in For-Profit College Oversight

For-profit colleges have been under fire from Washington the last few years. Some states, including Kentucky and Illinois, are now taking a closer look at the business practices of these schools. In Indiana, the Council for Proprietary Education maintains its own board but will now be administered by the Commission for Higher Education. Stateline reports:

Rhode Island legislators are considering whether to give preliminary approval for the country’s second for-profit osteopathic medical school.

The proposed Rhode Island School of Osteopathic Medicine would become the state’s only current degree-granting for-profit college if it also wins final approval from the state’s Board of Governor’s for Higher Education. It’s the second proposal for a for-profit college in the state this session, according to Larry Berman, spokesman for the House of Representatives. The first, Utah-based Neumont University, decided to shift its focus to Massachusetts after the House didn’t fast-track the plan, Berman said.

The osteopathic medical school proposal has already drawn fire. It’s opposed by Brown University, the state’s only current medical school, Berman said, and Daniel Egan, president of Rhode Island’s Association of Independent Colleges & Universities, called the for-profit sector of education “predatory and troubled,” according to the Providence Journal.

The bill is mum on details, but one of its sponsors, Representative Joseph McNamara, says the new college would have lower tuition than most traditional medical schools and be a boon to the state and local economy, particularly because of its for-profit status.

“The fact that a medical school would come in and pay taxes for the services they are receiving in my eyes is very impressive,” McNamara said.

Rhode Island’s deliberations come as more states are taking a harder look at the fast-growing for-profit college sector.

Franklin, Shakespeare Said What?

Peek into the windows of my home (that sounds kind of creepy) on a Sunday afternoon and you can find me reading Shakespeare. Out loud. By myself. (Is that weird?) For me, that’s the best way to truly “get into” the plays and experience the prose.

It’s always fascinated me how many common expressions originated or are contained in Shakespeare’s works. The same can be said for Benjamin Franklin. Talk about a jack of all trades! He invented the odometer, the lightning rod and bifocals, just to name a few.

Here are some of my favorite sayings penned (or uttered) by these famous wordsmiths:


  • Neither a borrower nor a lender be.
  • All the world’s a stage.
  • Sweets to the sweet.
  • The world’s mine oyster.
  • To thine own self be true.
  • Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.


  • A penny saved is a penny earned.
  • A place for everything, everything in its place.
  • Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.
  • The doors of wisdom are never shut.
  • Remember that time is money.
  • He that rises late must trot all day.

Hope you enjoyed this little “history lesson.” As Shakespeare said, “Parting is such sweet sorrow!”

2012 Primary: Here’s What You Need to Know

Need a comprehensive review and analysis of what took place in the 2012 primary elections, as well as a look ahead to November. Indiana Business for Responsive Government, the Chamber’s non-partisan political action committee, has the report. A few highlights:

  • 18 IBRG endorsed candidates (out of 23) were winners in their primaries
  • All 11 endorsed incumbents facing primary challengers were successful
  • Various national and state dynamics played a role in the competitive nature of the campaigns thus far, yesterday’s vote and what is still to come leading to the general election
  • A new factor was added to the above mix with the defeat of six-term U.S. Senator Richard Lugar. The impacts of that race will continue to be felt

The report has results, vote totals and general election matchups at both the state and congressional levels. It will be updated as additional results become available. Access the full report.

Straight from the Heart(land): All Ideas Welcome Here

Bob Carr is founder (in 1997) and still leader of Heartland Payment Systems, the fifth largest credit card processor in the country. Its Jeffersonville-based Heartland Service Center was recently honored in the seventh annual Best Places to Work in Indiana program. Check out their story.

One nugget that didn’t make the story cut was Heartland’s "I have an idea" program. Think of it as a suggestion box on steroids. Not only can anyone (including customer advocates, or call center reps in training) offer their thoughts, but they all go directly to Carr in his Princeton, New Jersey office.

This is a company with more than 2,600 associates across the country. Carr either responds directly or enlists someone on the management team to find out more information about the proposal before answering the employee.

Jeff Nichols, head of operations in Jeffersonville and a 15-year member of the Heartland team, explains: "We recognize if we have to make decisions and don’t take in information from every channel, we’re limited by our own creativity. Anybody in the company can send in an idea. We’ve implemented hundreds and hundreds. Some are very big and save the company money. Some are just simple things."

Kudos to Carr and Heartland, along with rest of the Best Places to Work winners. Learn more about these organizations in the current BizVoice.

Hasler Hitting an Economic Development Home Run

An Indiana Chamber member who listened in on Friday’s Policy Conference Call termed the message from IEDC chief Dan Hasler as one filled with "infectious enthusiasm." As the one fortunate to moderate that call, I wholeheartedly agree.

Hasler did an outstanding job describing the work of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and his own approach to business attraction and retention. Among his comments:

  • While the facts are all on Indiana’s side, "selling" is still a personal, emotional event
  • "You can’t make a bad move good with incentives"
  • The IEDC goal for 2012 is 250 deals, up from 219 a year ago. The early results are ahead of pace
  • "Our best leads still come from peer-to-peer referrals. You (Indiana business leaders) are the most important lead source we have"
  • Areas of improvement needed: more shovel ready sites (currently average one per county; need three or four per county) and better advertising or selling of shovel ready sites and existing facilities

Hasler reminds that the three roles of IEDC are to attract new businesses, support existing small and medium businesses, and help fund young enterprises.

Although noting he never expected to have a .gov e-mail address during his business career, Hasler admits he’s "having a ball" in his current role. Based on the hour we were able to spend with him via the phone, I say that’s a very, very good thing for Indiana.

The next call, for Chamber members, is Friday, June 1 with Todd Young, Indiana’s ninth district congressman. Register today.

Press-Seal Gasket Corp: Fort Wayne Company Seals Future with Dynamic Approach

Founded in 1954, Press-Seal Gasket Corporation has grown from a small Fort Wayne operation to a company with international reach, selling to customers in Israel, Sweden, Norway, Mexico, Canada, Japan and some Caribbean countries.

“When I first started as a salesman in 1978, I was just the 13th employee,” relays Chairman and CEO James Skinner, adding the company now has 138 on staff.

Skinner explains the company was initially founded by a concrete pipe producer who wasn’t satisfied with the quality of rubber gaskets available at the time. Ten years later following some deaths in his family, two attorneys serving as the company’s counsel ended up owning the company. They struggled to produce a reliable accounting report, so they called IBM to send a computer salesman out in 1964 to straighten it out.

“My father (Hank Skinner) was working for IBM and was sent out to Press-Seal and explained IBM could not sell them a computer because the company was too small, and the cost of the computer would have been half of its annual revenues.”

He did provide them with a bookkeeping system and a list of accountants who could keep it straight.

“Basically, they were so impressed with him that they offered him part of the business – to come in as general manager,” Skinner says. “Then over the next eight years, my father purchased the interest of the other two stockholders. Since 1964, our family has been involved in the management of the company, and I purchased it from my parents in 1984.”

Over time, the company has expanded from mainly pipe gaskets and pipe-to-manhole connectors, and in 1990 expanded into extrusion and molding. Press-Seal has also added a tool and die operation.

“That’s a similar story to how the company started,” Skinner notes. “I was unable to get good delivery from local tool and die shops because we were a small company and all the larger companies in the Fort Wayne market were their priority. So I bought a small tool and die shop in Columbia City and turned it from a small shop that was servicing the foundry and automotive industries to a shop that focuses on medical, aerospace, automotive and higher tech things. It’s now a fully integrated shop…

“It allows us to take a different tack on how things are made,” he adds, noting that stainless parts are a specialty of the operation. “While a lot of tool and die shops are going out of business these days, we are thriving. We find a lot of customers are in a lot of pain in terms of non-delivery and (a shop) not understanding the customers’ needs.”

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Register Now for the D.C. Fly-in; Get Your Voice Heard

With next Tuesday’s primary just around the corner, political talk is dominating water cooler — and Twitter — chatter around the country. But regardless of who’s in office, legislators need to hear the voices of Indiana’s business community.

Please join us on our D.C. Fly-in on September 19-20. See just a few testimonials of past participants:

“The Indiana Chamber’s Washington D.C. Fly-In is a great way to gather information about pending legislation and regulations that are relevant to businesses in Indiana. It also provides an excellent opportunity to meet with Indiana’s Congressional Delegation and discuss a variety of current issues. I consider the Fly-In to be one of the most important ways that we make our voices heard in Washington.” – Tom Easterday, Executive Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc.

“Employers large and small who participate in the Fly-In put a face on the challenges impacting Indiana businesses and make a very real difference. No other organization brings such a diverse group of highly respected business leaders together, from across our state, to engage elected officials on the key issues impacting our ability to create jobs.” – Tom Hirons, President & CEO, Hirons & Company Communications Inc. 

“The Indiana Chamber of Commerce DC Fly-in offers a once a year opportunity for Indiana Business Leaders to hear from and speak one on one to all the members of Indiana’s Congressional Delegation… Lugar, Coats, Pence, Visclosky, Pence, Donnelly…All the Democrats and Republicans representing our State’s interest on Capitol Hill. This Congressional access is not available anywhere else to Hoosier business leaders. Plus, the event offers the opportunity to network with other like-minded Chamber members to collaborate to make certain our message is heard AND acted upon. Members of Congress are often more responsive to ‘live’ business leaders that make the effort to come see them than the career lobbyists that they more often hear from.”, David Wulf – VP, Administration, Templeton Coal Company

Getting the Message Across and Doing it the Best

On what list would you find Oprah, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Jack Welch and Benjamin Netanyahu?

That group comprises half of the top 10 living communicators who influence change, according to Ronn Torossian, a New York public relations agency owner. The author says he goes beyond the usual suspects to identify those who "reach people emotionally, shift attitudes and spark trends." He notes there are lessons to be learned from each.

For example:

Jack Welch: He has been called the greatest CEO in America. In practical terms, he earned the name because of General Electric’s unparalleled record of earnings growth and over more than two decades while he was chairman and CEO (1981-2001). He has attributed his success to an ability to focus on solutions and execute them using the right people. In order to do that well, you have to know how to communicate a message and at that Welch is a genius. His secret? “In leadership you have to exaggerate every statement you make. You’ve got to repeat it a thousand times… Overstatements are needed to move a large organization,” he told Thomas Neff and James Citrin in their book Lessons from the Top. Of course, you have to back up works with action – otherwise what you say will never be taken seriously. Today, when Welch gives a speech he embodies true American optimism and risk-taking.

Take-away: Words are most valuable when backed up by deeds.

Check out the full story.


Poll Time: Health Care Vote; Lugar-Mourdock Race

We’re not sure whether participants in our recent poll voted with their heads or their hearts. But it is not ours to judge, only to report the results.

We asked your opinion on how the Supreme Court would rule on the federal health care reform. (Arguments were heard in late March; a decision is expected by June).

The results:

  • 59% say the law will be struck down entirely
  • 27% believe the individual mandate provision will be ruled unconstitutional
  • Less than 5% chose the other two options — law will be upheld or Medicaid expansion negated

Thanks for those who took part. At right, for the next few days at least, is the opportunity to cast your vote on the U.S. Senate primary between Richard Lugar and Richard Mourdock. Who will win and by what margin? Let us know what you think.