BizVoice Earns Three SPJ Awards for 2015

bizvoice coverThe Indiana Chamber’s BizVoice® magazine earned three recent Indiana Society of Professional Journalists awards for work completed during 2015.

The honors include:

BizVoice has received 78 national and state awards over the past 17 years. The bimonthly publications is Indiana’s leading statewide business magazine, reaching 15,000 decision-makers and a broader business consulting/site selection audience. Learn more at www.bizvoicemagazine.com.

Purdue’s Income Share Agreement Option Moves Forward

boiler

In the latest BizVoice, we covered Purdue University’s recent exploration into the world of Income Share Agreements (ISAs). The funding strategy allows students to pay back loans based on their future earnings. It’s a way to mitigate the mountains of debt today’s college students often find themselves in after graduation.

Since the article’s release, Purdue has moved forward to the next phase of the process. Purdue Research Foundation (PRF) is managing and making the funding available for the program. This web site provides more information.

PRF is now focused on providing educational and informational sessions to students and parents. The application process for the Back a Boiler – ISA Fund will begin in May. PRF anticipates this will give students time to review all of their options and determine which best serves their educational funding needs.

Walker Words to Remember

walkerWhen it comes to employee loyalty and its impacts, the Walker consulting firm is king. I had the opportunity recently to talk to the second-generation leader of that company, now chairman emeritus Frank Walker, who was an early pioneer in the areas of corporate social responsibility, business ethics and more.

You can read more from Walker in the March-April BizVoice magazine (on p. 56). But here’s a bonus insight on the employer-employee relationship: and never totally shutting doors with prized team members

“Several people have been credited with this line,” Walker says: ‘You need to train your people so they have the skills to leave you, but treat them so well they don’t want to.’

Walker adds: “We have lots of people who left us and come back. We have some we have to say, ‘They’re growing faster than we are right now and we can’t hold them back.’ But it’s 10 years later and Brenda has the skills, she’d love to come back, we have a spot for her now.

“They become a fantastic resource. Other people are saying, ‘I don’t know about this place.’ They (the returning employee) can say, ‘I’ve been over on the other side; let me tell you something that goes on here that doesn’t happen there.’ “

VIDEO: See What’s in the New Edition of BizVoice

Our Senior VP and editor of BizVoice Tom Schuman explains what’s in the March/April edition. If you’re interested in higher education, corporate social responsibility or Vanderburgh County, we have information you can’t miss.

This issue also focuses on the “Outstanding Talent” driver of the Indiana Chamber’s Indiana Vision 2025 plan.

Read BizVoice online today.

Promise Receives Extra Boost

promise inCreating a college-going culture is the primary theme of the Wabash County Promise Initiative and the growing Promise Indiana network. Now, Wabash County students in grades four through eight are receiving additional financial assistance as the result of a $430,000 grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

The Promise program allows parents to create a 529 college savings account for their children when they register for school. The new grant permits elementary and middle school students to earn additional funding for their accounts through academic accomplishments, family savings and postsecondary planning.

The work that started in Wabash County is earning national and international attention. The Indiana Chamber was pleased to help spread the word through its Indiana Vision 2025 regional forums in 2015 and additional outlets. Learn more:

Mitch Daniels on the Future of Undergrad Education

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels doesn’t shy away from the challenges facing higher education. He embraces the opportunities and shares his insights in this one-on-one interview. Read our full interview in the latest edition of BizVoice (and the story includes a QR code link to more video of the Daniels interview). 

Pie Time: This Wick Still Burns Bright

Slice of Sugar Cream PieMike Wickersham is the president of Wick’s Pies in Winchester, Ind., a third generation family company. Wick’s Pies dates back to 1944 when Wickersham’s father, Duane (nicknamed “Wick”), opened a restaurant and began making pies. I visited Mrs. Wick’s Pie Shop, the restaurant across the street from the production facility, for a tourism story in the January-February issue of BizVoice magazine.

Indiana Chamber: The sugar cream pie is delicious! I understand it is a patented recipe?

Mike Wickersham: Bluebird Pie Company out of Dayton, Ohio, which was one of his large competitors, knew the popularity of his sugar cream pie and was trying to steal the recipe. So my dad decided it would be a good idea to get a patent on that, so he hired a local attorney and received a patent in July of 1962. He was concerned about losing that niche market that my dad had, because Bluebird was a lot larger than he was.

IC: Sugar cream pie was declared the state pie of Indiana in 2009. How has that designation impacted your business?

MW: It’s brought a lot of familiarity to the product. That spring, we sold three times as many sugar cream pies as we had in any previous spring. We had a lot of interest from Illinois – if you’ll remember, they were trying to impeach their governor (Rod Blagojevich) at the same time. So I had radio stations call me from Illinois wanting to compare what their legislature was doing with our legislature. When you’ve got people talking about your product, it adds to the mystique and popularity and generally increases sales.

IC: What other products do you offer?

MW: In the Midwest, Wick’s brand is known for sugar cream pie and pecan pie, but throughout the country, we’re really known more for our pie shells. We ship pie shells into about 40 states around the country. We make pie shells as small as 3” and up to 10”.

IC: Is there anything new on the horizon?

MW: We’re in the process of establishing an e-commerce shopping site. We do a lot of mail order, and right now, a customer is required to buy at least six pies at a time and have them shipped overnight. That becomes rather expensive. We’re developing a website that would be an online shop for the consumer to buy as few as one and as many as six (pies), and it could be a variety of product, with an option of a second-day air.

Wick’s Pies by the numbers:

  • Oven holds 1,500 pies at one time
  • 55,000 pounds of flour used per week on average
  • 450,000 cubic feet of freezer space
  • Capacity to run 60,000 units (pies and pie shells) per day

Read the full article.

Keeping the Skies Open for Drones

droneWill drone technology “transform the way we live and work” or prove to be an intrusive, security-filled hurdle to overcome? The Competitive Enterprise Institute is betting on the former, with its new report warning of federal regulations that could get in the way of substantial progress.

Also see Rebecca Patrick’s APEX Award-winning 2014 BizVoice article on drones and their potential business impact.

Political Talk Here, There and Everywhere

American politics

This column by Indiana Chamber Director of Publications and Social Media Matt Ottinger originally appeared in the Inside INdiana Business newsletter, Inside Edge

At a recent event I attended, the conversation among my tablemates turned to politics – namely the late September Republican presidential debate on CNN. Most of my fellow attendees casually mentioned their disdain for the spectacle. When it was my turn to comment, I simply stated, “I love it. I’m not proud of that, but I do.”

Whether it’s Donald Trump’s bombast and “Mean Girls”-style insults, Chris Christie’s bluster and scolding or Rand Paul’s visible contempt for having to be part of the charade, I can’t get enough. For me, it’s like I’m swimming in a barrel of Tropical Skittles next to a keg of Mr. Pibb during a binge watching session of “House of Cards” – an overdose of disgusting, shameful goodness, and I’m simply helpless to its siren song.

It’s been intriguing watching our Midwestern neighbor and former Congressional budget hawk John Kasich strike the moderate chord, while projected frontrunner Jeb Bush struggles to meet lofty expectations. And then there’s Scott Walker. Poor, poor Scott Walker, who disappeared from the race faster than a cheese curd at a mouse convention in Milwaukee.

Granted, politics can devolve into a game at times, but it mustn’t be forgotten that the political world greatly impacts the business community. That’s why our political action committee, Indiana Business for Responsive Government, always has boots on the ground impacting statewide races. It’s also why the Indiana Chamber takes an increasing number of business leaders to Washington, D.C. annually during our D.C. Fly-in. We’re grateful to Indiana’s Congressional delegation for meeting with our members and guests to discuss the issues critical to their businesses and economic growth in our state.

Furthermore, due to my personal affinity for the craft, it was quite a pleasure speaking with famed politicos James Carville and Karl Rove for our most recent edition of BizVoice magazine. The Q&A serves as a preview to the duo’s upcoming appearance as keynote speakers at the Indiana Chamber’s 26th Annual Awards Dinner on Nov. 4.

During the conversations (which took place in mid-July), I asked their perspectives about the opposition’s outlook on the 2016 presidential race:

Rove on if Sen. Bernie Sanders actually has a chance to win the Democratic Party’s nomination: “There’s substance, but the problem is that while you have a very liberal turnout in the Iowa caucuses, and New Hampshire is a more liberal state, there aren’t a lot of Burlingtons and Benningtons and Berkeleys and San Franciscos. There are a lot more Indianapolises and Evansvilles. While he runs well with the hard left, if you’re not very liberal, he’s not your cup of tea. (Clinton) will be the nominee, but it won’t be as easy as people think.”

Carville on if the attention to Trump’s bellicosity is a danger to the Republican brand (at the time of the interview, Trump had recently made statements about Mexicans crossing the border and raping women): “Yes I do. The reason is there are a considerable number of Republicans who agree with him. It’s exposing there are people out there who believe that. That’s a part of that party that is not going to go away with time. When he goes away, somebody will pick it up again.”

Trump, however, still leads national polling, so he continues to resonate with a portion of the country, although prognosticators are predicting his impending demise.

If pressed to make a prediction this early (and it’s so early I’ll likely regret it), I’d forecast a Marco Rubio vs. Hillary Clinton showdown next fall.

In early November, Carville and Rove will offer their expert opinions on the presidential race and politics. A few tickets still remain for the event and can be purchased online.

It will be a great evening of banter, insights and celebration of the business community; we hope to see you there!

VIDEO: Ikelite Making a Splash in Indy

David Combs, general manager of Ikelite, spoke with BizVoice about the intriguing history of the Indianapolis company and why it’s so successful. Some may find it odd that a company so loved by SCUBA divers would be based in Indiana, but hey, it’s been working since the 1960s!

Read the Indiana Ingenuity feature on this exceptional business in BizVoice.