Folk Fest in Indy to Draw Many Bands, Raise Funds for a Great Cause on May 9

folkfestSome socially conscious business owners and volunteers in Indy’s Fountain Square area are working hard to promote the inaugural Virginia Avenue Folk Fest, which will raise funds for Trusted Mentors. Set for May 9, the festival will feature over 70 local bands and is already creating quite the buzz.

I’m proud to say that I was involved with Trusted Mentors as an adult mentor for three years, and now serve on its board of directors.

The program creates mentor/mentee matches to help at-risk adults establish stable lives by reducing the chaos brought about by poverty, homelessness, under-employment and the effects of incarceration. These person-to-person mentoring relationships improve lives by developing life skills and positive social networks that empower people to:

  • Remain housed
  • Make a positive contribution to the local community
  • Remain or become employed
  • Advance their education
  • Stay out of jail
  • Improve parenting skills

For more details about the event, check out this helpful FAQ. And we could still use more volunteers as well!

Hope to see you there, and please help us spread the word if you plan to attend by using the hashtag #folkinupindy. Folk yeah!

Brotherhood Mutual Lives Up to Name by Helping Staffers’ Children

????????????????????????????????????????????For the upcoming May/June edition of BizVoice, I’ve written several stories about companies making the Best Places to Work in Indiana list.

In speaking with Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company in Fort Wayne — a company that has made the list many times, I learned an important tidbit about how the organization helps the families of its staffers. By employing every college age kid whose parent works for the company for a period of time (40 hours per week for six to 12 weeks, starting at a salary of $10 per hour), Brotherhood Mutual helps these students gain quite an advantage.

“They may start doing data entry or working on the grounds, but as they continue through their college careers and pick their majors, we try to place them (in a related job),” explains Mark Robison, chairman and president. “So if they’re a graphic artist, they’ll be in our communications department — and accounting majors will be in our finance department. Or for upper classmen, if we don’t have a good fit for them, we’ll work with them and place them (and sponsor their work at an outside organization).”

He adds that his son was able to gain two internships in social work through the program, including one in Los Angeles.

“This year, we had 48 students apply – and we have 360 employees, so that many students coming in for the summer really changes the dynamic of the workplace,” Robison relays. “There’s more energy and it’s more exciting. The cool part is parents are taking care of each other’s kids, so the camaraderie is incredible.”

The company also supports employees’ adoption efforts, among many other family-focused benefits offered. This type of attitude is likely one of the reasons Brotherhood Mutual will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2017 — a remarkable milestone indeed.

Look for the article featuring Brotherhood Mutual and many others in the upcoming May/June edition of BizVoice.

Honda Manufacturing of Indiana Completes One Millionth Vehicle

Honda Celebrates 1 Millionth Group PhotoIn Greensburg on Wednesday, Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC (HMIN) and its associates celebrated the one millionth car built at the plant.

This is quite an achievement for one of the auto industry’s premier companies — though definitely not its first major milestone in America. A release from Honda has more:

The completion of HMIN’s 1 millionth vehicle comes only six years after the start of mass production at the $800 million facility on October 9, 2008.

In addition to making the Civic, HMIN started manufacturing Acura ILX vehicles in 2012 before transferring the production to the Marysville Auto Plant in Ohio earlier this year. In total, 65,172 Acura ILX cars were built at HMIN during a three year period — helping us reach this production milestone.

“We have come a long way from where Honda Manufacturing of Indiana started in 2008 to where we are today,” said Bob Nelson, HMIN president. “Our associates have shown tremendous commitment and dedication to get us to this major milestone and we will continue to work to provide our customers with products of the highest quality. These values and beliefs are at the heart of what makes Honda great.”

Last week, at the New York International Auto Show, Honda announced the North American version of the 2016 Civic Sedan will be produced at the Indiana plant. Honda is preparing to launch its completely reimagined 10th-Generation Civic models beginning this fall.

HMIN became Honda’s fourth auto plant in the U.S. and its seventh in North America when it began production of Civic sedans in October 2008. With employment over 2,000 and capital investment exceeding $800 million, HMIN primarily manufactures automobiles for the United States, with some Civics produced for export to markets outside of North America. HMIN maintains one of the lowest environmental footprints of any automobile plant in Honda’s global production network.

VIDEO: A Look at the Promise Indiana Initiative

Clint Kugler of the Wabash County YMCA discusses the Promise Indiana Initiative. The initiative is helping boost college savings accounts and cultivating a fresh approach to education in the state.

Read a feature on the program in the latest edition of BizVoice.

Ball State Communications Program Gets Even Better with Studio Upgrade

CA33pVcU0AACwpVBall State’s reputation for offering top shelf communications curricula is impressive — especially when it comes to sports programming. The school just issued a release on its new Unified Media Lab (UML), and it looks like another state of the art addition to this tremendous program:

Ball State University students are producing a wide range of programing in the newly opened Video News Studio, the final piece of the $4 million Unified Media Lab (UML).

With many of the same features found in the newest professional broadcast studios, the Video News Studio includes green screen technology, animated graphics and other special effects, as well as an audio production booth for radio programming and podcasts.

Ball State President Paul W. Ferguson said the new studio within UML makes the university a national model in the educational experience for future journalists and strategic communicators.

During his recent State of the University address, Ferguson unveiled the Centennial Commitment strategic plan, which includes the three major themes of being student centered, community engaged and a model 21st century public research university. Entrepreneurial learning is a hallmark, built upon such experiences as those available in the Unified Media Lab and nearby facilities.

“This facility will enhance the education of not only journalists but the next generation of communication professionals,” Ferguson said. “Collaboration, problem-solving and critical thinking skills are essential for today’s job market, and this Unified Media Lab provides our students with more opportunities that will make them even more prepared for the ever-changing workplace.”

More than an innovative facility, the UML provides a centralized and immersive newsroom to educate future journalists in solid writing, reporting and storytelling through collaborative, cross-platform media organizations. It offers nearly 50 writing and editing stations for student-run media outlets. There is also a digital news desk to coordinate collaboration and classroom seating for an immersive learning experience.

“This newly completed lab is just part of a combination of integrated course work, sophisticated facilities, engaged faculty and immersive experiences to prepare today’s journalists for competitive and rapidly changing industries,” said Roger Lavery, dean of Ball State’s College of Communication, Information, and Media (CCIM).

Student media operate independently and as cross-platform production teams. There are a printed newspaper, a printed magazine, daily television news programming, a radio station as well as online properties for each of these. The students also provide content for a central news website, Ball State Daily, and an app that offers breaking news, feature stories, commentary and a variety of multimedia content about campus life and surrounding communities.

Adjacent to UML, the Unified Media Advertising Sales and Creative Suite houses a team learning about advertising, sales and how to harness data to grow audiences and drive results. Student sales executives work with real clients, close deals and produce results.

Along the same corridor on the second floor of the Art and Journalism Building, the recently opened Holden Strategic Communications Center fosters a similar collaborative environment for public relations and advertising students. It is the home of two student-run agencies, Cardinal Communications and Adapt, as well as the student chapters of the Public Relations Student Society of America and the American Advertising Federation.

March Madness: Is It Really Fouling Up Productivity?

9819223Thankfully, our beloved Hoosier state is rejoicing as we’ve placed five colleges into the Big Dance!

But with much attention this week now devoted toward brackets and sneaking in an online stream of a game, are Indiana employers paying the price?

Fortune cites stats from Challenger, Gray & Christmas indicating that a staggering 60 million Americans will be solely focused on tourney games later this week. And it could be costing employers up to $1.9 billion in wages.

That does sound like a big ol’ negative. But the executives quoted in the article report they’re not too concerned about it. So is it possible we should all just relax on the “it hurts productivity” argument and simply enjoy the experience?

Sports broadcaster and Talk Sporty to Me founder Jen Mueller says claims of lost productivity are overblown because the brackets increase camaraderie and conversation within the office. She contends that actually boosts your bottom line in the long run. (Frankly, this Indiana University alum likes the way she thinks.) See her reasoning below:

Engaging Employees is Critical to a Thriving Business

45379113Some companies have a very difficult time getting engagement and “buy in” from their employees. Ragan lists some of the reasons your employees may be feeling disillusioned. (Read the full article for elaboration.)

  1. Employees don’t know what game they’re in, how it’s played, and what the stakes are.
  2. Employees don’t know exactly how to make the biggest contribution.
  3. You don’t give employees a reason to care about contributing.
  4. Managers don’t know how to create an environment that fosters passion, courage and a desire for excellence.
  5. Employees are set up for the “Agony of Defeat” rather than the “Thrill of Victory.”
  6. Bad behavior and poor performance go unchallenged.
  7. Employees feel unappreciated.

Fortunately, many Indiana companies are making those valuable connections with their team members — and 100 were recently recognized by earning a spot on the Best Places to Work in Indiana list. The rankings will be announced at the 10th Annual BPTW in Indiana Awards Dinner on May 7. Get your tickets now.

 

HR Pros: Check Out the Chamber’s February 2015 HR Monthly Messenger

We recently created a monthly newsletter, the HR Monthly Messenger. It’s designed to help human resources professionals by offering some relevant news from the month, and showing what resources we can offer you as well. Just click on the image below to see the full newsletter. (And no, that’s not comedian John Oliver in the header — but possibly a cousin or relative of some sort.)

feb newsletter image

Regional Power: New Initiative to Help Leverage Core Cities for Regional Growth

IGov. Mike Pence recently allocated a total of $84 million in the 2016-17 budgets to help fund the Regional Cities Initiative. Led by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the plan will take what the organization learned by consulting 11 economically successful cities of varying sizes in the U.S. to help Indiana’s regions develop their own approaches to increasing economic growth.

While the state is helping, each region will be allowed to autonomously craft its own approach — and define what areas each region encompasses, for that matter.

I had the privilege of writing about this innovative concept in our latest BizVoice magazine. State officials hope this will help Indiana’s cities and nearby rural areas thrive by enhancing many factors, most notably “quality of place.”

100th Edition of BizVoice is Now Available!

Our 100th, and most comprehensive edition of BizVoice is now available. You can view the entire magazine online, as we investigate Indiana’s economy — as well as the rural/urban divide and workforce challenges. We appreciate all the positive feedback we’ve already received from readers about this issue.