Eight Hoosier Organizations Earn Prestigious Governor’s Safety Awards

Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann and Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner Sean M. Keefer presented Governor's Workplace Safety Awards today to eight Hoosier companies for advancing occupational safety and health in their industries.

"Dedication to a safe work environment should be an absolute goal of every Indiana employer," said Lt. Gov. Ellspermann. "I commend our award winners for successfully implementing significant health and safety practices."

The companies were honored at the 2013 Indiana Safety and Health Conference and Expo luncheon ceremony in Indianapolis. The event was presented by the Central Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

"The Indiana Department of Labor is proud to recognize these organizations where the safety and health of their workforce is a top priority," said Keefer. "These organizations represent the best of the best, and Indiana is proud to honor these leading companies and their employees."

Indiana organizations were recognized in the following categories: external education and outreach, innovations, internal education and outreach, and partnerships.

The 2013 Governor's Workplace Safety Award recipients are:

  • Aisin Drivetrain, Inc., in Crothersville — internal education and outreach for a medium-sized company
  • Marmon Retail Home Improvement Products, Inc., (formally known as Cerro Wire, LLC) in Crothersville — external education and outreach
  • Cummins Seymour Engine Plant — innovations for a large-sized company
  • DePuy Synthes Joint Reconstruction in Warsaw — internal education and outreach for a large-sized company
  • Gribbins Insulation Co., Inc., in Evansville — innovations in construction
  • Lebanon Community School Corporation — partnerships for construction safety
  • Lord Corporation in Indianapolis — internal education and outreach for a small-sized company
  • PAOLI Furniture — innovations for a medium-sized company

"Safety in the workplace cannot be overrated," said Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar. "When a company ensures that safety is a top priority and implements an occupational safety plan, employees, customers and the community win.

"A major benefit of a safe workplace is an efficient, profitable organization with employees who feel they are valued," added Brinegar.

The 2013 Governor's Workplace Safety Awards are a result of a partnership among government, business and safety leaders: the Indiana Department of Labor, on behalf of the governor, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Central Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

Governor Mike Pence plans to further honor award recipients at their worksites in the near future.

To learn more about the Governor's Safety Awards program, visit www.in.gov/dol/2381.htm. For more information about the 2013 Indiana Safety and Health Conference and Expo, visit www.insafetyconf.com.

New Cornerstone Partners Program Recognizes Chamber Members

Who doesn't like a little extra recognition? Indiana Chamber of Commerce members now have the opportunity for a LOT more of it through the new Cornerstone Partners program.

Cornerstone Partners will enable member companies – those investing at the $10,000 level and up – to take their visibility to new heights. The Chamber works directly with nearly 5,000 member companies, which represent more than 800,000 Hoosier workers. As the fourth largest state Chamber in the country, its impact is broad and significant.

"The Cornerstone Partners program is a way to recognize these member companies and their commitment to the work of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce," shares Tim Brewer, vice president of membership. "Through the Chamber's brand strength and awareness, we have strong relationships with thousands of companies and numerous other stakeholders. This will help generate good exposure for their organization. It's all about exposure and recognition."

Membership levels include Leadership, Chairman's Circle, Champion and Pinnacle. Some of the benefits (depending on the level) include visibility on the Chamber's web site, as well as on new Cornerstone office and mobile displays; special seating at the annual Legislative Dinner; and recognition in a BizVoice® magazine tribute.

"Before this program launched, we had member representatives who were interested in growing the statewide visibility of their companies. We think this is a great way to do that," Brewer adds.

While the Cornerstone Partners program highlights leading investors, it does not change the Chamber's commitment to small businesses or its advocacy role on their behalf. It simply offers new resources for exposure and brand recognition.

"For our small businesses, our focus continues to be on businesses of all shapes and sizes and industries. We have a number of tools already designed for small businesses, including our free HR helpline, the Business Research Center, exposure on our web site through member press releases and member spotlights," Brewer affirms.

Learn more online or contact Brewer via email or at (317) 264-7539.

Chamber Statement on the Fiscal Cliff Deal

President Obama and a divided Congress have come to an agreement on the so-called fiscal cliff. Indiana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kevin Brinegar reacts:

"The Indiana Chamber applauds the President and Congress for their ability to compromise in the eleventh hour. However, the measures agreed to are inadequate, some potentially counter-productive, and fall far short of addressing the long-term fiscal challenges facing our federal government.

"Despite tax increases, long-term spending remains unsustainable and a threat to our economic and national security. We must rigorously reform entitlement and social welfare programs and look for real, lasting savings across all federal activities. We can no longer borrow and spend as if there were no consequences, because the day of reckoning fast approaches. We look forward to working with our congressional delegation in the weeks and months ahead to fashion workable and responsible reforms."

In early December, the Indiana Chamber released the results of a federal tax survey, done in in partnership with Congressman Todd Young (R-9th District), who is a new appointee to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee. The survey of Hoosier businesses revealed a willingness to share the tax burden, provided there is real and significant reduction in federal spending and substantive reform to simplify the tax code. The press release and charts detailing the results can be found online at www.indianachamber.com/federal.
 

Chamber and Rep. Young Release Business Tax Survey Results

As President Obama calls for a “balanced approach” and shared burden to end the current federal fiscal crisis, the Indiana business community is showing willingness to make such a sacrifice, provided there is real reduction in federal spending and substantive reform to simplify the tax code. That’s the overriding message from a recent survey conducted by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Congressman Todd Young (R-9th District), who is a new appointee to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee.

The electronic survey of Indiana Chamber members and the business community at-large focused on the fiscal cliff, federal tax code, tax reductions, corporate tax system and the U.S. tax structure in general. A total of 188 respondents took part, representing both larger companies (27%) and small businesses (73%).

“Raising tax rates isn’t the right way to go to raise revenue. It may be good politics, but it is lousy economics. Reforming and simplifying the tax code, which will stimulate job creation and economic growth, is the preferred and needed path for Indiana businesses and their employees,” explains Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar.

“We also need to reject Washington’s usual accounting gimmicks and cut actual spending, not just cut the rate of spending growth. We must reform federal entitlement programs – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – to address fiscal and demographic realities.”

Survey respondents clearly determined the fiscal crisis was more a spending problem (67%) than a revenue one (less than 1%). Additionally, 33% felt both spending and revenue were the culprits.

When asked to rate the most important principles which should guide tax reform, the top four answers respondents selected were: 1) emphasize shared sacrifice; 2) emphasize global competitiveness; 3) refrain from picking winners and losers; and 4) simplify the tax code.

Many businesses and individuals find the complexity of the tax code too much of a burden, resulting in 60% of individual taxpayers and 71% of unincorporated businesses hiring out their tax compliance. In the survey, nearly 30% said tax code simplification was even more important than rate reduction; 62% labeled simplification important, but not as important as rate reduction. To that end, some 71% of businesses surveyed indicated a willingness to give up some of their favorable tax credits and/or deductions for lower individual and corporate tax rates.

Brinegar and Young both acknowledge that, despite what needs to happen, a short-term measure – extension of credits, etc. for six months, for example – to buy more time for substantive and comprehensive reform is likely the most positive outcome that can be expected this month. 

In addition to the survey of businesses, Young’s office also electronically surveyed constituents in his district with similar questions. The results from the more than 2,700 individual respondents largely echoed the findings on the business survey.

“It’s clear to me there is a real appetite right now for comprehensive tax reform,” said Young.  “As negotiations continue on the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’, tax reform paired with spending cuts isn’t just my desired approach, it’s also the approach favored by individual Hoosiers and Indiana businesses. As a new member of the Ways and Means Committee, I look forward to representing those wishes as we move forward on this front.”

A plurality of individuals said the fiscal crisis was more of a spending problem (46%) than a revenue problem (11%), while 40% said both are to blame. 

Additionally, 54% (compared to 26% opposed) of individuals support a model of tax reform similar to the House Republican proposal of eliminating deductions in order to simplify the tax code. But regardless of what approach is taken, 85.5% of individuals said they support extending most or all of the current tax rates while Congress works through the issue.

Congressman Young is using the information gathered in the survey and via constituent research to help inform his approach to these fiscal issues. Likewise, the Indiana Chamber’s lobbying efforts on federal tax reform are relying heavily on the survey findings.

Charts detailing the results of the tax surveys of business owners and Congressman Young’s individual constituents can be found online at www.indianachamber.com/federal.

Chamber Presents Top Honors With Annual Business Celebration, Awards

The CEO of a marketing software giant, two state legislators who authored the right-to-work legislation and an Indianapolis community which hosted Super Bowl XLVI and is experiencing ongoing infrastructure improvements and economic growth were honored by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce this evening at the organization’s 23rd Annual Awards Dinner.

A crowd of approximately 1,400 business, civic and political leaders attended the event at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. Famed journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein delivered the keynote speech. The awards dinner was presented in partnership with Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield.

The 2012 Indiana Chamber honorees are: Business Leader of the Year Scott Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Indianapolis-based ExactTarget; Government Leaders of the Year Rep. Jerry Torr and Sen. Carlin Yoder; and Indianapolis as Community of the Year.

Business Leader of the Year: Scott Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of ExactTarget, Indianapolis — "Scott Dorsey and ExactTarget are a shining example of Indiana’s growing technology community and what this state has to offer," says Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar. "Scott’s humble leadership style and business acumen, along with the desire to foster his employees and the local community, has made the company what it is today."

Though marketing software company ExactTarget is now widely known, it began like any other technology startup – with hard work and support from family and friends – when Dorsey, his brother-in-law Chris Baggott and another partner, Peter McCormick, launched the company in 2000.

"The Internet bubble had burst; money was not flowing into Internet companies," Dorsey contends. "We were three entrepreneurs with no software experience. The capital raising process was really difficult. We went down the friends and family route. It was great, but a little unconventional."

While Dorsey recalls that the early years of the company were "bootstrapped," with the three founders working without salaries for most of the first year in business, ExactTarget has grown to over 1,300 employees in five countries, with just under 1,000 employees in Indiana alone.

"How do you build and manage a global business? That’s a big challenge, especially when you move into markets that are non-English speaking, like we have in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Managing life as a public company is very different too (the company launched an initial public offering in March), but exciting. The expectations and pressures of Wall Street are very different — and very time consuming — to communicate and build relationships with all those key constituents," Dorsey offers.

Dorsey grew up in Naperville, Illinois, and graduated from Indiana University with a degree in marketing before earning an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He also has worked in various sales positions for Divine, Inc.; Metro; and Steelcase, Inc.

Family ties brought ExactTarget’s headquarters to Indianapolis, but Dorsey admits that the Circle City has proven itself as the right place to be for a growing technology company.

"The support we received from the tech community was extraordinary. As we’ve grown, Indianapolis has become a big competitive advantage for us: the low cost of operation, amazing support from the city and state, great universities we’re able to recruit from and a very loyal employee base with good values and a great work ethic," Dorsey declares.

To give back to the local community, Dorsey and his team created a grassroots organization, ExactImpact (focused on assisting area charities), and the newly-established ExactTarget Foundation.

Dorsey also serves on the board of directors for TechPoint, Indiana Sports Corporation and the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the School of Informatics at Indiana University. He also served as chair for the marketing and communications division for the Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee.

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Indy Named 2012 Indiana Chamber Community of the Year

For the second time in the 23-year history of the statewide community award, Indianapolis has earned top honors from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

Indianapolis was announced as the 2012 Community of the Year today at a downtown press conference on Georgia Street, a location which highlights the city’s ongoing infrastructure improvements, economic growth and beautification efforts.

"I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of the City of Indianapolis and our residents, our community groups and businesses — large and small — and our employees, who all come together to make Indianapolis the wonderful place it is," says Mayor Greg Ballard.

"Indianapolis is a destination for people and for businesses. Because of our impeccable financials, AAA-debt rating, stable tax environment and balanced budgets, businesses know what to expect in Indy — which makes them more likely to act, create jobs and invest in Indianapolis because they can plan."

Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar on the selection: "Super Bowl XLVI put Indianapolis center stage internationally and marked the pinnacle in a long history of events and developments that have made it a continuing success story.

"The capital city has a varied and growing list of cultural amenities, business diversity and vibrant neighborhoods, as well as strong leadership and a powerful spirit among its residents. This honor is deserved on so many levels," he emphasizes.

Among the specifics cited by the Indiana Chamber:

  • CityWay, a business and residential combination near the Eli Lilly campus that will serve as a connecting point to the rest of downtown
  • 16 Tech, a partnership that will build on existing strengths in medicine, life sciences and high-tech organizations
  • Unprecedented road and sidewalk construction as part of Rebuild Indy, which was largely funded by partnering with Citizens Energy to run the city’s water and wastewater operations
  •  Bike lanes and trails that have helped enhance residents’ quality of life
  • Indianapolis was previously named Community of the Year by the Indiana Chamber in 1995.

Adds Indiana Chamber Chairman Mike Wells of REI Real Estate Services: "The Indianapolis business climate has proven welcoming to a broad audience. The new entities are exciting additions to a business lineup that features outstanding companies that have called Indianapolis home for many, many years."

The 2012 Community of the Year award will be presented to Mayor Ballard during the Indiana Chamber’s 23rd Annual Awards Dinner on November 1 at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis.The 2012 Business Leader of the Year and Government Leader of the Year recipients will be announced at that time.

More than 1,200 business, political and community leaders are expected to attend. Legendary journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward will take the stage as the feature presentation, discussing the Nixon presidency, politics and journalism with "Inside the White House: From Nixon to Obama." Tables of 10 and individual tickets are available for the reception (5 p.m. EST) and dinner (6:30 p.m. EST). Reservations can be made at (800) 824-6885 or at www.indianachamber.com/specialevents.

Media interested in covering the event should contact Rebecca Patrick at (317) 264-6897.

Past Community of the Year recipients:

2011: Kokomo
2010: Terre Haute
2009: Valparaiso
2008: Noblesville
2007: Anderson
2006: Evansville
2005: LaPorte
2004: Muncie
2003: Warsaw
2002: Marion
2001: Greater Lafayette
2000: Jeffersonville
1999: Fort Wayne
1998: Rochester
1997: Batesville
1996: Elkhart
1995: Indianapolis
1994: Kendallville
1993: St. Joseph County
1992: Columbus
1991: Muncie
1990: Bluffton

Watergate Reporters Coming to Indianapolis

Hoosiers have the opportunity to hear in person about Watergate from the legendary journalists who first broke the story – on how it unfolded and the lasting lessons for the Oval Office.

On November 1, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward will take the stage at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s 23rd Annual Awards Dinner, discussing the Nixon presidency, politics and journalism with “Inside the White House: From Nixon to Obama.”

“With the passage of time, Watergate needs to be understood both by the generation that experienced it and future generations,” states Bernstein.

Speaking in general about Watergate’s legacy on the White House, Woodward offers, “I think each administration (since) has learned how to manage the information in the way they want.”

See the full Q&A article with the duo in the most recent edition of BizVoice.

The event, presented in partnership with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, takes place at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis.

Tickets can be purchased online or by calling (800) 824-6885.
 

Stalled Youth Vote

Four years ago, young voters age 18-30 helped propel Barack Obama to his party’s nomination and the presidency. But due to a variety of factors he is not expected to receive as enthusiastic a backing this time around.

That’s the conclusion reached in an article this week from the San Francisco Chronicle. Read an excerpt below and check out the full article.

For many in the youth voter registration business, those conversations have a much different tone from four years ago, when a record 23 million young people cast ballots. It was the first time that voters under 30 made up a higher percentage of the electorate than those who were more than 65 years old.

But this year, major organizations who register young voters, from HeadCount to Rock the Vote, project no increase in youth voter registration over four years ago.

Part of the reason is that enthusiasm among under-30 voters has faded like the colors in Shepard Fairey’s iconic 2008 "Hope" poster of Obama — and that will hurt the president, who received two-thirds of the support among 18- to 30-year-olds in 2008.
 
As often is the case, voters and analysts said, it is easier to get excited about a thrilling campaign than it is about an incumbent who has spent four years governing — and making decisions that are bound to disappoint at least some.
 

Chamber Poll: Senate Race Tied, Pence Has Advantage in Gov. Race

Richard Mourdock (R) and Joe Donnelly (D) are in a statistical dead heat for the open U.S. Senate seat, with 17% of voters in that race still undecided, according to a new statewide poll released today by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

By a 41% to 39% margin (within the survey’s margin of error), Mourdock enjoys a slight lead over Donnelly.  In addition to the 17% of respondents who are undecided, 3% support Libertarian candidate Andrew Horning.

In the election for Indiana Governor, Mike Pence (R) holds a commanding 50% to 32% lead over John Gregg (D), with Libertarian Rupert Boneham supported by 3%.  In that race, 15% of respondents are still undecided.

The scientific public opinion poll of 600 registered voters statewide was conducted by Market Research Insight from August 6-9, 2012.  The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4% and utilized live interviewer telephone surveys to maximize accuracy. Dr. Verne Kennedy, senior analyst for Market Research Insight, served as project director for the poll. Kennedy has conducted more than 200 public opinion surveys in Indiana over the past two decades.

When poll respondents were asked to identify their political affiliations, results were 46% Republican and 38% Democrat, with 16% identifying as independents. Mourdock and Donnelly achieve similar support levels among their respective party voters, but 41% of self-identified independent voters are still undecided.

“As typical, both Democrats and Republicans are relatively polarized, favoring the candidate for their party,” Kennedy says. The 16% of Indiana voters who say they are completely independent will likely determine the outcome of the Senate race.

“Mourdock has the advantage in the election because more of the 17% of undecided voters on this race identify themselves as Republicans than Democrats,” Kennedy explains. “For instance, among those voters undecided on the U.S. Senate race, 33% indicated their support for Pence for governor compared to 6% who support Gregg in that race.”

The public opinion poll was commissioned by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and its non-partisan political action program, Indiana Business for Responsive Government (IBRG). Learn more by viewing the polling report and crosstabs.

Chamber Seeks ‘Best Places to Work’ Apps by November 30

Applications are now being accepted for the state’s annual competition naming the “Best Places to Work in Indiana.” In its eighth year, this Indiana Chamber of Commerce program honors the top companies in the state as determined through employer reports and comprehensive employee surveys.
 
Companies need to have at least 15 Hoosier employees to be eligible. Out-of-state parent companies are also eligible to participate if at least 15 full-time employees are in Indiana.
 
The application deadline is Friday, November 30.
 
The Best Companies Group, which has overseen similar programs in other states and large cities, is responsible for the selection process. The basis for this initiative is Fortune magazine’s noted “100 Best Companies to Work for in America.”
 
This year, 70 companies were honored as a Best Place to Work. The Indiana Chamber hopes to build on that total for the 2013 program.
 
“As the state’s largest business advocacy organization, we know Indiana has many first-rate employers. The Best Places to Work program is one way we can recognize them for their important efforts,” states Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar. “We hope to see a record number of companies participate and be acknowledged for their positive policies.”
 
All participating companies will receive an in-depth evaluation identifying strengths and weaknesses according to their employees. In turn, this report can be used in developing or enhancing employee retention and recruitment programs. 
 
The top Hoosier companies will be honored on Thursday, May 2, 2013, at the Best Places to Work awards dinner in downtown Indianapolis. Winners will also be recognized via a special supplement to the Indiana Chamber’s bimonthly BizVoice® magazine and through Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick – both of which reach statewide audiences.
 
Program partners with the Chamber and BizVoice® are Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, the Indiana SHRM Council and Best Companies Group.
 
Best Places to Work in Indiana sponsorships are available. Please contact Jim Wagner at (317) 264-6876 or at jwagner@indianachamber.com for more details.
 
For more information on the Indiana Chamber’s Best Places to Work program or to register to participate, go to www.bestplacestoworkIN.com or call the Best Companies Group at (877) 455-2159.

Taking top “Best Places to Work in Indiana” honors for 2011 were Indianapolis-based Microsoft Corporation (large category) and law firm Hollingsworth & Zivitz, P.C. of Carmel.