2018 Legislative Directory Now Available

2018 Legislative Directory

The new Indiana Chamber Legislative Directory is here!

The 2018 Indiana General Assembly Legislative Directory comes in handbook form, as well as a mobile app. Both versions of the directory contain contact information for all 150 state legislators, including committee assignments, photos, biographies and more.

Other features include full-color photos and district maps for each legislator; legislator biographies, photos, contact information and office locations; committee assignments and leadership lists; updated seating charts; and a cross index by county and district number.

In addition, the mobile app includes automatic updates, the ability to “favorite” legislators and committees for quick reference and interaction. You can also download legislators into your mobile phone contacts list. The app is also available for both Apple and Android devices.

Individual handbooks are $9.99 and mobile app access codes are $8.99 each. To order the app version, visit the directory web page (purchase through our site and you’ll be given an access code to purchase the app through your preferred app store). Bulk pricing is also available.

The 2018 Indiana General Assembly Legislative Directory is brought to you by: The Corydon Group; CountryMark; Duke Energy; and Indiana State University.

Nominations Open for School-Business Partnership Award

The Indiana Chamber Foundation is accepting nominations for its second annual School Counseling-Business Partnership of the Year award, highlighting the collaborative efforts between employers and educators to better prepare students for college and careers.

The award, presented in partnership with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, is open to all Indiana high schools and employers (must be located in Indiana). Nomination letters must include the name of the high school and employer and describe how the partnership has led to better preparation of students for college and career success.

In addition, a $1,000 scholarship will be given to a high school senior who has shown exceptional progress in college and career readiness because of the school counseling-business partnership.

The 2017 inaugural award was presented to Hobart High School and St. Mary’s Medical Center. Read more about that partnership here. The winning partnership will be announced at the 12th annual Indiana INTERNnet IMPACT Awards luncheon on February 7.

Nominations should be submitted to Shelley Huffman at shuffman@indianachamber.com by Friday, January 12.

partnership

America’s Changing Shopping Habits

It’s not unusual these days to hear of major retail chains filing for bankruptcy or selling off assets and closing shop. But the pace those announcements are hitting the media is staggering.

An ongoing trend, and one that directly relates to the decline of brick-and-mortar retail, is the decline of shopping malls.

Though the malls might still be crowded places during holidays and busy shopping seasons, the Wall Street Journal has an fascinating graphic that shows the various companies that have vanished from malls (or existence) over the years and how the continued loss of stores inside of malls has contributed to what are more like skeletons than malls today.

It’s not all bad news. Some mall properties have been repurposed for other uses. BizVoice® magazine in 2013 looked at new uses for empty malls.

But don’t place all the blame on online shopping. This Forbes article from September asserts that, contrary to what you might think, there will be more store openings than closings this year and more due to changing consumer habits (not just online shopping).

More people seek discount and convenience, as well as experiences (food, travel, etc.) over physical items, than before. From the Forbes article:

Consumers haven’t gone into hiding and they’re not spending less. They’re spending more and there are more new stores — but tastes have changed. One of the most important things about these changes is that they are happening faster than ever before. There’s lots of reasons for that and plenty to debate about it but there’s no way to avoid the constant adaptation that’s now required. Organizations now need to be able to process new ideas at a rate that’s faster and more efficient than ever before. If you’re a legacy retailer of any kind, it’s hard to change quickly enough and that creates an opening for more nimble competitors. It’s not enough just to have something new, it has to keep evolving. That’s a challenge both for younger companies as well as the established players and it will be for the foreseeable future.

Emojis Here, Emojis There, Emojis Everywhere … Even in Business?

I was recently working from home when my six-year-old wandered over to the computer to see what I was doing (and to see if she could worm her way into the chair to play games).

“Are you writing an email?” she asked me.

I told her I was posting to our company Facebook page. She doesn’t understand what that means yet, but I knew what her next question would be (and I was right): “Are you going to put an emoji on it?”

I tried to explain what “professional setting” meant. She got bored and walked away.

She knows little of the internet and social media, but she knows email and she knows emojis. And who can blame her? Emojis are fun to use in text messages and emails to your family and friends.

Ironically, a few hours later this article from Forbes caught my eye, “How Emojis Have Made Their Way Into Business :-)”.

Read the full article for a bit of emoji history, but this section was what stuck with me:

Ad technology companies like Emogi and Snaps are at the forefront of using emoji marketing to prove measurable ROI. When IKEA wanted to be top of mind as people discussed shopping for college, they worked with Emogi to create and send custom IKEA stickers to consumers who expressed interest for the brand, talked about going back to school, or used positive emojis.

The campaign was a success: People actively engaged with IKEA’s custom stickers more than 25,000 times and included the custom stickers in college conversations more often than traditional school-related emojis.

Messaging marketing platform Snaps also helps brands manage and measure their emoji and sticker ad campaigns by tracking how emoji usage increases campaign shares and views. “We can show it drives scale and real ROI and that the media buy has been effective,” Christian Brucculeri, CEO of Snaps told Digiday, “A low six-figure investment can deliver millions in media value.”

Emoji ROI? I wouldn’t personally put a lot of stock in using emojis in your everyday business correspondence, but as a social media manager I have indeed used emojis on sporadic, appropriate occasions (mostly on Instagram). I’ll have to keep an eye out for emoji ROI in the future.

(Insert winky face here.)

Winky face emoji businessman

Keeping Small Businesses in Business Through Crowdfunding

When I find a business that provides a product or service I love, I want to share it with the world because I want my family and friends to have a great experience and (a bit self-servingly, I’ll admit) because I want the business to continue existing so that I can continue being a customer.

To that end, if a favorite local business was in need of a cash infusion to fight off a takeover or to survive a financial hardship or a health crisis, I’d be willing to support the business. Would others be willing to do that? It seems likely. Crowdfunding via the internet is a medium to which more small business owners are turning in times of trouble.

On its face, the idea of a business – which is essentially designed to make money by selling its product or service – needing money from customers without exchanging those products or services is a bit absurd. Businesses fail for various reasons and getting close to closing down doesn’t necessarily instill confidence in the business owner’s capability.

But that’s a cynical viewpoint. Sometimes stuff just happens.

Crowdfunding small business

Communities can rally around their local small businesses. While crowdfunding is more traditionally used to launch new businesses or creations, small business owners are pursuing crowdfunding to raise money for survival. Some raise enough money; others attempt and fail.

This article from Entrepreneur highlights the stories of several small business owners, including a Brooklyn-based bar that needed money to survive a hurricane and then a protracted family dispute; and this story about a Philadelphia-based book store:

One of these businesses is Philly’s Black and Nobel, one of the last remaining black-owned independent bookstores in the country. Earlier this year, founder Hakim Hopkins was on the verge of shutting down the hulking, 14-year-old shop. Book sales were down, and the bulk of Black and Nobel’s revenue – currently about three-quarters, Hopkins says – came from shipping books to prison inmates, a business that can be run without a pricey brick-and-mortar location. “That’s why we’re still here. They’re still reading in prison. They still have time,” he says.

There was only one problem with Hopkins’ plan to wind down the business: His customers wouldn’t let him. “I’ve been fighting for the past few years to keep the doors open. The younger people were like, ‘No! This place saved my life!’”

So in June, he launched an ambitious $250,000 campaign on GoFundMe to keep Black and Nobel’s doors open and maintain the bookstore’s vital role as an event space, supporter of independent black writers and artists, and community hub. The campaign has gotten plenty of local press, and support from a few high-­profile local artists and athletes. But by the three-month mark, Black and Nobel raised just shy of $10,000, a far cry from what Hopkins was seeking.

At a glance, the Black and Nobel campaign appears doomed. But Hopkins says he’s just getting started. He is planning a neighborhood block party to raise more funds, and he wants to launch a series of promotional videos. “I’m not just gonna brush it off after six months,” he says.

If he can make it to the $250,000 goal, Hopkins has big plans: buying his own building, renovating and expanding the bookstore space, buying a tour bus to put Black and Nobel’s programming on wheels and take it around the country. And although the campaign has a long way to go, he’s heartened by the progress he’s made. “Mainly we started it to keep up with rent,” he says. “It’s getting to the point now where I feel like we’re going to be open, because we do have people who care.”

Promoting the fund-raising campaign is a bit like having a second job, Hopkins says – a sentiment shared by many campaign founders. “It’s very draining. It’s like begging. And I’m an earner,” he says. Hopkins, who started his business as a street vendor with a table and a box of books, says he’s never had a bank loan, or even a credit card. Every dollar he spends on his business is a dollar he earned.

But Black and Nobel is too important to give up without a fight, he says. He’s watched elementary school kids who saw the bookstore as a haven grow up and graduate from college, and he feels his store made a difference in their lives.

“We helped build the community,” he says. “It’s more than a bookstore.”

Next Level Jobs: An Inside Look for Building and Construction

Building trades and construction are one of the five focuses of Gov. Holcomb’s Next Level Jobs initiative. A free one-hour webinar on December 14 – Next Level Jobs: An Inside Look for Building and Construction – will inform you how your company can benefit.

This webinar is specifically for building trades and construction. Additional webinars on other target industries will take place in early 2018. Learn how employers can be reimbursed up to $2,500 per employee (and $25,000 total) for your training programs. Leaders from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Indiana Commission for Higher Education will discuss building and construction-specific occupations eligible for the Employer Training Grant initiative. Workforce Ready Grants for individuals will also be explained.

The Indiana Chamber is pleased to partner with the Department of Workforce Development to present this opportunity. Even if you cannot directly participate in the 10:30-11:30 a.m. (EST) webinar on December 14, do sign up and you will receive a follow-up link to the recording of the program.

Register today. You will receive a confirmation email containing webinar-specific information.

As a reminder, your Indiana Chamber is helping you tackle the workforce challenge in a variety of ways. This video explains some of our efforts:

Business Podcasts to Inform Your Commute

Radio

Who said video killed the radio star?

(Okay, some band from the late ’70s sang that phrase in a popular song that many associate with the rise of MTV.)

But the point is, radio never died. It is back and bigger than ever, thanks to a growing industry movement: the podcast.

With the ability to instantly stream or download radio programs on any number of topics, podcasting has invigorated audio listeners and broadcasters alike. Your phone most likely holds enough hours of programming to keep you awake for days bingeing everything from true crime (my personal favorite), to news and politics, health and wellness, music, pop culture, literature and business (and a whole lot more).

If you’re new to the podcast landscape, understand that you can access shows from just about any device that has an internet connection. There are plenty of apps to download to manage your podcast subscriptions, which makes it easier to know where you left off and what you’d like to save for the future.

EchoChamber

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce launched the EchoChamber podcast earlier this year, featuring conversations with Indiana leaders in business, education, government and more. New episodes are featured every other Tuesday and you can listen via the web site, www.indianachamber.com/echochamber, or subscribe wherever you get podcasts.

(If you listen, do us a favor and rate and review us on iTunes! It helps more people discover our content.)

Our most recent episode features Blair Milo, former LaPorte mayor (elected at age 28), Navy veteran and the state’s first Secretary of Career Connections and Talent. She discusses the challenge of aligning current workforce efforts and introducing new ones to tackle workforce issues in Indiana. Listen here.

There are other Indiana-focused business podcasts to tune into as well: Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar has been featured on The ROI Podcast from the Kelley School of Business. And Inside INdiana Business recently launched a podcast of its own, focused on its weekly television show.

If you’re looking outside of Indiana-specific business podcasts, Fast Company recently listed 10 popular business podcasts to check out:

  1. “Startup,” Gimlet Media

No podcast better captures the thrills and struggles of launching a company. Created as a remarkably candid docuseries on the birth of podcasting business Gimlet Media, it now traces the surprising stories of other enterprises.

  1. “Planet Money,” NPR

This show – launched in 2008 to help explain the financial crisis – offers fascinating explorations of the intersection between economics and culture.

  1. “Working,” Panoply

Each installment starts with the same question: “What is your name and what do you do?” Guests then reveal details of their jobs, whether they’re a neurosurgeon, a novelist, a pollster, or a clown.

  1. “Above Avalon,” Above Avalon

A giant bite of Apple. Hosted by analyst and technology writer Neil Cybart, this show goes deep into all things Cupertino, with some of the most informed analysis you’re likely to find.

  1. “Brown Ambition,” Brown Ambition

Journalist Mandi Woodruff and personal-finance expert Tiffany Aliche chat about news, relationships, and other topics, but they’re especially incisive when discussing their successes and failures in the business world.

  1. “How I Built This,” NPR

This series explores backstories of various big businesses, from AOL to 1-800-GOT-JUNK. The storytelling is simple and linear, leaving space for gripping personal tales to emerge.

  1. “Eater Upsell,” Vox Media

Editors from culinary site Eater glean insight from chefs and other industry pros, both famous (Anthony Bourdain) and less so (cookbook photographer Evan Sung).

  1. “Exponent,” Exponent

Tech watchers Ben Thompson and James Allworth tackle topics of the moment – fake news on Facebook, Uber’s scandals – and offer broader discourse on where the digital world is headed.

  1. “I Hate My Boss,” Wondery

Former Nike and Oprah Winfrey Network marketing executive Liz Dolan and executive coach Larry Seal offer advice on your stickiest workplace conundrums.

  1. “Loose Threads,” Loose Threads

Focused on innovation and technology in the fashion industry, this podcast digs into notable developments in manufacturing, design, retail, and other areas.

What’s playing on your drive home? Share your favorite podcasts in the comments!

BizVoice: Takeaways on Building a Business

The November-December edition of BizVoice® wrapped up a yearlong series with Fishers-based Recovery Force. The promising start-up develops wearable medical technology devices intended to increase circulation among other benefits.

BizVoice has followed the company’s progress over the last year, from early inception and beginning work to grow the organization to now, as the company is seeking advanced funding rounds and products are heading to market in 2018.

The first story highlights the Recovery Force beginnings, including the unique approach to solving an everyday medical challenge. Team building is featured in the series’ second story, and the third takes a look at the federal regulatory and grant environment.

Company advisors, from business experts to a former Indianapolis Colts player, discuss their roles with Recovery Force in the fourth story. And the fifth story puts fundraising front and center.

Recently, Recovery Force co-founder, president and CEO Matt Wyatt joined BizVoice editor Tom Schuman on Inside INdiana Business to discuss what’s next for the company in 2018. Watch the video below:

Find all of the Recovery Force stories and more from the November-December edition of BizVoice at www.bizvoicemagazine.com.

Check Out Indiana’s Winter Delights

Do you have room in your holiday calendars for a few wintry Indiana activities? Maybe you’re in need of something to entertain your children over winter break, or you’re in search of fun activities to get yourself in the holiday spirit.

We’re enjoying fairly mild weather now, but there are plenty of activities in Indiana to explore whether the weather is great – or frightful. If you’ve got time in December to get out and enjoy some sights and sounds of the season, here are a few things central Indiana has to offer:

  • Festival of Trees: The Indiana Historical Society has 80 Christmas trees decked out in Hoosier-related flair through January 6. Dates, times and ticket prices are available here. You can also check out the Indiana Experience while you’re there.
  • Lights at the Brickyard: What’s more Hoosier than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway? Take a drive around the oval and cross over the yard of bricks while you take in over 2.5 million twinkling lights (set to music, if you choose). This year’s expanded route is more than two miles long. Be patient on the weekends for long lines, but weeknights experience typically lighter traffic. Get tickets and times.
  • Christmas at the Zoo: Another Indianapolis staple, Christmas at the Zoo features the animals that don’t mind the cold and lights throughout the property. Get tickets online.
  • Jingle Rails at the Eiteljorg: If model trains are your thing, this is the place to be. Nine working model trains zip past Indiana landmarks and then out west to some of America’s natural and man-made wonders. New this year is a model train trip to Hollywood. The event runs through January 15. Tickets and dates available here.
  • L.S. Ayres Tea Room: Though L.S. Ayres department store closed downtown in 1990, the Indiana State Museum has recreated the famed L.S. Ayres Tea Room as a restaurant with a heaping side of nostalgia for those that recall dining in the original. It’s impressive – the ambiance and lighted windows give the feel of being on the eighth floor of the department store. The tea room is open through January 7 and includes special events such as Santa’s Holiday Breakfasts and Tea with Raggedy Ann.
  • Polar Bear Express: Put on by the Indiana Transportation Museum, the Polar Bear Express train ride departs from Kokomo or Logansport and features an approximately 75-minute trip, complete with candy canes, hot cocoa, a holiday story read aloud and, of course, visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Tickets are $35 per person (kids too) and reservations are required.
  • Veal Family Ice Tree – For several years, my family lived near Shelbyville and when we’d drive on Interstate 74, my brother and I would always keep an eye out for the colorful ice tree that peaked out among the foliage. That’s the Veal Family Ice Tree! While this one is definitely off the beaten path, it’s a nostalgic place for many. The ice tree typically takes shape in January and is melted by March. This one is, of course, dependent on the weather. So, if you’re one of those that loves a freezing winter, take advantage of a Hoosier original! Check their Facebook page for updates.

We know there are many more things to do in Indiana during the winter months than what we have highlighted here. Did we miss one you love? Let us know in the comments! What do you enjoy doing this time of the year?

Christmastime in Indiana

Indiana Business Leader Andre Lacy Leaves Legacy at Indiana Chamber

People know the name Andre Lacy – and for good reason. Lacy’s name has adorned the business school at Butler University the last few years, but his career as an accomplished business owner and philanthropist in his hometown of Indianapolis is legendary.

Yesterday’s Indianapolis Star captured Lacy’s impact following his sudden death from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident while he was in southern Africa.

“It’s a very sad day for us. Andre was a personal mentor and a dear friend to the Indiana Chamber,” offers Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar.

Lacy’s involvement with the Chamber stretches back decades. He joined the organization’s board of directors in 1984 and his family’s wholesale distribution company, LDI Ltd., has been a member of the Chamber since 1941.

Lacy was chairman of the board of directors in 2008. During his time at the helm, he encouraged the organization to continue improving, enhanced good governance practices and pushed the organization to elevate its public policy efforts to an even higher level.

He was also chosen as a Chamber Volunteer of the Year in 2008. Lacy was quoted in BizVoice® on the importance of business in the lives of Hoosiers: “Business is not a dirty word. Business is the means for you to pay your mortgage. It is the means that you can take a vacation. It is the means that you can pay for your children’s education … and sometimes to splurge. Business is the big engine (for all that).”

Read the full story in BizVoice® from that time.

Additionally, Lacy was instrumental with the Chamber’s political action committee, Indiana Business for Responsive Government (IBRG), helping establish a matching grant program. He was also well known for his involvement with the Indiana State Fair and many other philanthropic endeavors in the Indianapolis area.

“Andre was one of a kind. His determination, spirit and will to help the business community was on another level – and he showed that same passion in giving back to his community and state,” Brinegar states.

Andre Lacy

Andre Lacy receives his Volunteer of the Year award in 2008 from Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar.