Need Some Money to Grow Your Business? Comcast Can Help

comcast inInnovative Indiana start-ups and entrepreneurs are encouraged to check out the third annual Innovations 4 Entrepreneurs competition sponsored by Comcast Business.

Current and aspiring business owners can enter the competition for a chance to win up to $30,000 and participate in a day of mentoring with teams of business experts that will provide advice on how to implement their plan.

Based on a 250-word essay submission, applicants will answer the question: How could your business use technology to help enhance your business?

Rusty Dewitt, Indiana’s director of business services, says, “I get to work with our small business customers, and see the impact they have on the Hoosier economy. Hoosiers are innovators, hard workers, and incredibly industrious. That’s exactly what is taken into account when we decide which entrepreneurs get this award.”

Entries will be judged and two winners will be selected in each of the 15 Comcast Business regions: one winner for start-up companies (in business two years or less) and one winner for entrepreneurs (in business for more than two years). The 30 regional winners will each earn $10,000 in cash.

From the regional winners, six grand prize winners will be selected – three start-ups and three entrepreneurs – who will earn an additional $20,000 in cash, plus a trip to Philadelphia to spend a day attending group sessions with industry experts.

Visit Comcast Business Community for full program details. Entries are due by March 12.

IMS Offers New Club Seating Option

CALL TO ACTION EVENT TAG/NAME OF EVENT

The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 is bringing many changes to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). That includes the first new seating option at IMS in more than a decade – the Hulman Terrace Club.

A special informational meeting regarding this new premium seating opportunity will take place 5-7 p.m. on February 25. Those interested in learning more should RSVP by February 22 to Jake Brown at jbrown(at)brickyard(dot)com) or (317) 492-8739.

The new club is part of a three-year IMS upgrade known as Project 100. Among the amenities of the Hulman Terrace Club, located on the outside of the front straightaway past the exit of Turn 4:

  • Access for 14 days throughout five 2016 racing events
  • Pit and garage credentials
  • Event car ride
  • Business networking event
  • Premium concession options

Indiana INTERNnet IMPACT Awards Celebrate the Best in Internships

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Indiana INTERNnet, the statewide resource for internship opportunities managed by the Indiana Chamber, has helped connect students and employers across the state since 2001. Today, the organization honored excellence among interns, employers and career development professionals at the 10th annual IMPACT Awards Luncheon, sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College.

The theme for the luncheon was “Homegrown: Cultivating Local Talent,” and Angie Hicks, namesake and face of Angie’s List, delivered the keynote address focusing on the abundance of opportunities for young professionals to succeed in Indiana. Hicks, a Fort Wayne native, credits an internship with Bill Oesterle as the stepping stone that led to her success at Angie’s List. She so impressed Oesterle as an intern that he asked her to join him in co-founding Angie’s List in 1995. Today, the company serves more than 3 million paid households, delivering an e-commerce marketplace as well as reliable consumer reviews covering everything from home improvement to health care.

“Experiential learning is a key piece of Indiana’s workforce development plans, and Angie Hicks is a shining example of why that is,” said Indiana INTERNnet Executive Director Janet Boston.

“The IMPACT Awards showcases some of Indiana’s best and brightest and fuels our optimism for the state’s future. Internships are making a difference in our young professionals’ skill levels, and often, these opportunities are leading to full-time jobs either with the intern employer or another Indiana employer. Everyone, including the state as a whole, benefits from meaningful internships.”

The IMPACT Award winners:
Paige Carroll (Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.; Ball State University) – College Intern of the Year
Salvador Espinoza (Group Dekko, Inc.; East Noble High School) – High School Intern of the Year
Scott Bachman (Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.) – Non-traditional Intern of the Year
Brandi Gilbert (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) – Career Development Professional of the Year
netlogx, LLC – Employer of the Year (For-Profit)
IU Health (North and Saxony hospitals) and St. Vincent (Carmel and Fishers hospitals) – Employers of the Year (Nonprofit)
Gerry Dick of Inside INdiana Business was the emcee for the event, and Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann provided closing remarks. The celebration took place at the Ivy Tech Corporate College and Culinary Center in Indianapolis.

For more information about the Indiana INTERNnet program, visit www.IndianaINTERN.net or call the hotline at 317-264-6852.

College/University Intern of the Year
When Paige Carroll began her insurance operations internship with Baldwin & Lyons, Inc. (B&L), she had no prior insurance knowledge. She was responsible, however, for a task of great strategic importance to the company that specializes in marketing and underwriting insurance for the transportation industry.

In a short amount of time, Carroll learned the process from the ground up. Details of the project shifted several times as the departments that requested it made changes, and Carroll easily adapted to the new needs. She even trained and supervised an intern from another department to ensure project completion.

“Paige exemplified Baldwin & Lyons’ values of excellence, innovation and teamwork,” boasts Valerie Wilson, corporate communications manager and chief of staff of B&L. “She truly immersed herself in this experience and, as a result, indicated she is now interested in obtaining her Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation and producer’s license so she can continue to thrive in the insurance industry.”

High School Intern of the Year
You could say Salvador Espinoza is a “serial intern” with Group Dekko, Inc.

He began his tenure with the company in 2013 as one of the students from East Noble High School to participate in the pilot of the Explore program. Explore is a paid summer internship experience in which high school students rotate through a set of manufacturing careers during a six-week period to see where their skills and interests align. Since then, he has completed five internships with Group Dekko and served as a mentor to other students in the program.

“Group Dekko is privileged to be a part of this young man’s life,” remarks Cynthia Nesbitt, training and development specialist at Group Dekko. “To see how he has grown over the years has been exciting and we look forward to the day he becomes a leader of our company.”

Non-traditional Intern of the Year
On his first day at Baldwin & Lyons, Inc. (B&L), Scott Bachman noted in his work plan – “I am ready to jump into new and ongoing projects in order to learn as much as possible.”

This declaration was put to the test when, six weeks into his internship, he was tapped to fill in for a manager on a number of projects until a replacement could be hired. One project was a strategic company initiative with a budget exceeding $1 million.

Thanks to Bachman’s work, the project didn’t miss a beat, and he ensured the transition to a new project manager was seamless. As a result, he saved B&L an estimated $10,000 in potential temporary consultant fees.

Bachman accepted a full-time position as a project coordinator following the completion of his internship, and Valerie Wilson, corporate communications manager and chief of staff, says B&L is “excited to use his skill and ingenuity to better the PMO.”

Career Development Professional of the Year
Eight years ago, Brandi Gilbert set out to develop an internship program that would help undergraduate students gain professional experience while exploring career options. The result was the IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship (LHSI) Program, which has employed more than 350 interns since beginning in 2007.

The LHSI program continues to grow from the initial group of less than 20 students to the latest class of more than 70. It is one of the largest undergraduate internship programs on the IUPUI campus, offering sophomore and junior students a year-long paid internship with faculty mentors in the life and health sciences. The goal is to develop each intern’s transferable professional skills.

“Brandi always has the best interests of her students at heart,” declares Kamilah Walters, senior ambassador for the LHSI program.

Employer of the Year (For-profit)
The netlogx, LLC internship program is a balance of practical work experience, networking opportunities and professional development activities – with mentoring at the center of it all.

Interns take part in the netlogx Mentor Program designed to provide information, encouragement and support to help them succeed. Interns are immediately integrated into the work environment, working side-by-side with seasoned employees on a variety of tasks and owning at least one project.

“My time at netlogx helped me grow both in my professional career and my development as a human being,” recognizes Joe Harrison, 2015 summer intern. “I was awarded opportunities that helped further myself along the path to success and that have taught the importance of being a kind and personable individual on top of being intellectual and professional. These are skills that I will cherish moving forward in my career.”

Employers of the Year (Non-profit)
Noblesville High School (NHS) is one of the most recognized institutions in the state for forging business-education partnerships to benefit their students. The program it administers with Indiana University Health North and Saxony hospitals and St. Vincent Carmel and Fishers hospitals is a productive model thanks to the dedication of the hospital professionals.

The three-way partnership began with NHS approaching Melinda Wirstiuk, volunteer coordinator with St. Vincent, to explore internship possibilities at the Fishers location. The result was a system in which students rotated through different hospital departments, gaining exposure to various health care careers. Students have had the opportunities to observe surgeries, shadow nurse practitioners, meet with doctors and more.

Continued growth led NHS to approach St. Vincent Carmel and IU Health. The North and Saxony locations enthusiastically came on board, and now students in the program spend one semester with St. Vincent and one semester with IU Health.

Award Nominees:

Interns
• Emily Atkinson, IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship Program
• Scott Bachman, Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.
• Lillian Bailey, National Association of Commissions for Women
• Casey Bauchle, IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship Program
• Ricardo Bedon, Lake City Bank
• Emily Bell, Parkview Health
• Thomas Cantrell, Modern Woodmen of America
• Paige Carroll, Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.
• Angelique Cassell, REGIONAL Federal Credit Union
• Becca Christensen, Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.
• Karoline Coryea, Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce
• Cory DeWitt, Ontario Systems
• Salvador Espinoza, Group Dekko
• Rashell Garretson, Indiana University School of Medicine
• Ashley Griffith, IU Health
• Jenna Harden, Children’s Bureau, Inc.
• Shaun Heinzelman, Somerset CPAs and Advisors
• Rachel Jones, Appriss, Inc.
• Harsimranjot Kaur, Indiana University Public Policy Institute
• Chelsea Kulesa, Ontario Systems
• Brandon Nettrouer, Gibson
• Emma Nicoson, Kleinfeld Bridal
• Sara Omohundro, Valeo Financial Advisor
• Ryan Palmore, Indiana Commission for Higher Education
• Sarah Pelko, Crossroads of America Council, BSA
• Addie Pike, Ontario Systems
• Sarah Post, IUPUI Office of Student Employment
• Nicole Quint, IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship Program
• Cydney Ringlespaugh, Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.
• Haley Rivera, Brickyard Pediatrics
• Katy Robinson, Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce
• Ashley Shuler, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
• Rachel Slauter, Jasper Foundation, Inc.
• Thomas Smith, RL Turner Corporation
• Carianne Sobey, Ambassador Enterprises
• Benjamin Verdi, Indiana Department of Workforce Development
• Gabe Vervynckt, Marshall County Community Foundation, Inc.
• Rex Waldo, Ontario Systems
• Greg Warren, Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.
• Davieon White, Anderson Innovation Center
• Siara Wolf, ProCourse Fiduciary Advisors, LLC

Career Development Professionals
• Liz Ferris, Indiana University East
• Brandi Gilbert, IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship Program

Employers
• Ambassador Enterprises
• International Medical Group
• IU Health (North and Saxony hospitals) & St. Vincent (Carmel and Fishers hospitals)
• IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship Program
• Lincoln Financial Group
• Margaret Mary Health
• netlogx, LLC
• Roche Diagnostics
• Salesforce
• TransWorks
• Wabash National Corporation

Survey Seeks to Assist in Veteran Hiring

sThere are still more than one million veterans looking for full-time jobs with tens of thousands of soldiers leaving the military in 2016. Many employers aren’t getting the right information and networking help they need to successfully hire veterans, Reservists and National Guard members.

Center for America (CFA), a nonprofit, is conducting a national survey among employers to identify the specific problems that employers in different industries and locations are having in recruiting military candidates. CFA is funded by foundations and Phillips 66, so it is providing its help to associations and employers at no cost.

“We realize many resources to help employers hire veterans are too general, too complicated or too costly to really help them find and hire military candidates,” said Brig. Gen. (ret) Marianne Watson, director of Outreach for Center for America. “So, CFA is developing free, industry-specific networking and web-based education resources to make it easier and faster for employers to connect with the right military candidates.

“We are asking for your help to complete a 10-minute online questionnaire – anonymously if you wish – that will identify the challenges you’re having in hiring veterans,” said General Watson. “Hundreds of employers from all over the country are participating.”

Here is the link: www.surveymonkey.com/r/36PW85F_CFA (In the first question, please input the code – G444.)

CFA has been coordinating the American Jobs for America’s Heroes national campaign for four years under a written agreement with the Army National Guard in Washington, D.C.

Contact Steve Nowlan (snowlan@CenterForAmerica.org), president of Center for America and coordinator for the American Jobs for American Heroes campaign, with any questions or for free help with your veteran recruiting. Get a head start by downloading a free copy of CFA’s Best Practices Guide for Veteran Hiring at www.CenterForAmerica.org/bpg.html.

Applications Open for Promise Indiana

Promise Indiana (profiled in the March-April 2015 BizVoice magazine) is a community-driven framework for helping youth increase hope and build the assets they need to pursue education beyond high school. With support from the Indiana Education Savings Authority, eight Indiana communities are currently piloting Promise Indiana and the initiative will expand to include additional communities during the 2016-17 school year.

Business, education, local government and non-profit sectors each have a part to play in increasing educational attainment in your community by creating a college-going culture and helping youth establish college and career identity. Students with a dedicated college savings account in their name are seven times more likely to attend college; account ownership is a key piece of identity-building for youth at every stage of the educational pipeline. The Promise helps communities leverage support for families to begin saving for higher education and for youth to begin college and career discovery.

The Promise Indiana pilot is a unique opportunity to be one of the first communities in the state to receive operational support to launch the initiative and create meaningful outcomes for youth and families. Follow the link below to learn more about the Promise Indiana model and how your community can become one of the pilots selected for the 2016-2017 school year.

Promise Indiana pilot application: http://bit.ly/PromiseIndiana. Applications must be submitted online by February 12, 2016 (11:59 pm EST).

Questions about Promise Indiana or technical assistance with the online application can be directed to: Phil Maurizi, VP of Promise Operations, Wabash County YMCA, pmaurizi@wabashcountyymca.org, (260) 563-9622, ext. 406.

Report: ‘Made in the USA’ Movement Reigniting as Companies Return

made in usaAmerican consumers are asking for more American-made products, and businesses are listening, according to a new report from Grace College Online.

After reportedly losing 2.3 million manufacturing jobs between December 2007 and February 2010, the sector has rebounded as more companies bring operations back to the country. And nearly half of Americans have made a special effort to buy products made here.

Although marketing may not be the primary motivation for companies to manufacture products in the United States, the fact that Americans love the “Made in America” label is compelling. It offers companies selling power.

According to Consumer Reports, nearly eight in 10 Americans would rather buy an American-made product than an imported one. More than 60 percent of customers are even willing to pay a 10 percent premium for domestic products. A Gallup Poll found that 45 percent of Americans made a special effort to purchase products made in the country.

In the Gallup Poll, the leading reason for buying American products was to support the country and for patriotic motives (32 percent). Keeping and creating jobs in the country (31 percent) was second, followed by motivations of it being good for the U.S. economy (20 percent). Thirteen percent purchase American-made products for superior quality.

“Patriotism and the pursuit of positive corporate images as standing behind the U.S. economy” are a part of what’s driving companies to bring manufacturing to America, MarketWatch reports. By producing domestically, companies gain customer support.

Protecting the 401(k) Plan Sponsor

Money safety concept

According to Groom Law Group, since 2007 there have been nearly 40 lawsuits about fees and expenses paid by employees in 401(k) plans. Of the 40 fee and expense lawsuits filed since 2007, a few have actually been adjudicated through the courts, some have been dismissed and several have been settled out of court. For the lawsuits that have been settled or adjudicated, the amounts have been in the tens of millions, not to mention the legal fees that are incurred.

What should companies do?

Below are items that we believe are prudent processes that plan sponsors should follow:

  1. There should be a clear governance structure that delineates who appoints retirement plan committee members and also a process to monitor the plan’s fiduciary committee.
  2. Fiduciaries should look, at least annually, for lower cost investment options for the plan. The same investment option may have several ways it can charge fees which come with different requirements that can change over time. This makes the process of conducting a regular review so very important.
  3. A review of service providers on a regular basis helps keep costs and services in line with industry changes.
    a. Service provider fees should be benchmarked on a regular basis.
    b. Requests for Proposals should be conducted at least every five years to make sure that fees and services are in line with industry standards.
    c. Service providers should be skilled and have adequate experience in providing the needed services.
    d. Service providers would include (but are not limited to) record keepers, advisors, trustees, custodians, and plan auditors.
  4. A regular review of the investment options and categories offered to participants should be conducted.

A 401(k) plan is a great vehicle to help employees prepare for retirement and, for most employees, it is one of the only vehicles available to them (other than social security). In my opinion, the 401(k) is one of the most successful wealth accumulation vehicles created in history. Americans have accumulated trillions of dollars toward retirement simply by taking money from their paychecks on a regular basis and putting it away for their retirement years.

Douglas G. Prince is CEO and a principal at ProCourse Fiduciary Advisors, LLC.

Five Cyber Risks That Can Sink Your Business

19114293What’s as commonplace as your mobile habit and bankrupts businesses every day of the week?

Cyber threats.

Once confined to sci-fi movie plots, cyber crime is now an everyday occurrence, crippling businesses of every size and industry.

How big is the problem? Huge.

Cyber crime now ranks as the number one security threat in the U.S., ahead of terrorism and stockpiled nuclear arms, according to a report by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence. From a financial standpoint, a recent study by the Ponemon Institute revealed data breaches cost businesses an average of $154 per lost or stolen record containing confidential info. Leak 650 of those records, and you could be looking at a six-figure price tag.

And while 83% of IT leaders view cyber attacks as one of the top three threats looming over their organization today, only 38% are prepared to deal with one, as reported by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA).

Recently, the U.S. Senate approved a bill that would lead to the adoption of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), designed to encourage businesses and government agencies to share information about cyber attacks. As expected, CISA has its share of both supporters and opponents. Yet, the general consensus among security experts is that organizations aren’t moving at a pace that will keep them ahead of attackers.

Meanwhile, multiple studies confirm what we already know: most IT leaders are uneasy about cybersecurity risks and the potential destruction that follows, but feel unequipped to deal with a major data breach scenario.

To that end, experts and government officials urge businesses to address five common oversights that open the door to data breaches:

  1. Allowing contractors and third parties to bypass security processes.
  2. Moving too slowly to develop a mobile security plan.
  3. Failing to regularly assess cyber threats.
  4. Neglecting to develop strong security measures to minimize risks internally (stemming from employees, whether intentional or accidental).
  5. Inadequate employee training on good cybersecurity processes.

With hackers aggressively targeting businesses and employees unwittingly putting data at risk, it’s important to be aggressive in countering those threats, says FBI Director James Comey. “The bad guys are moving at [incredible] speed,” he cautioned in an interview with CBS News. “We have to get better.”

For more information about the current state of cybersecurity and predictions for the coming months and years, we invite you to access “The State of Cybersecurity in 2015” infographic online .

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Rich Banta is managing member at Lifeline Data Centers in Indianapolis.

Spectrum Technology: Maximizing Its Chamber Investment

Penno_ThomasCall it a stroke of luck.

When Tom Penno, chief operating officer at Spectrum Technology, attended the Chamber’s Annual Human Resources Conference & Expo for the first time, he happened to sit next to Indiana Chamber director of human resources Michelle Kavanaugh.

“We don’t have a full-time HR person, so you get into some areas that you think, ‘I’m not sure how I should proceed with this,’ ” Penno reflects. “I got to talking with her and have touched base several times over the past six to eight months (via the Chamber’s free, confidential HR helpline) regarding how to proceed in delicate situations and for clarification on various issues.

“She’s clear and very good at coaching. She’s assisted us in helping employees through difficult situations.”

Indianapolis-based Spectrum provides IT-managed services. Clients represent industries ranging from manufacturing, law and accounting to marketing, public relations and architecture.

“We focus on companies from 20 people up to several hundred,” Penno explains. “We help them with strategic planning around their infrastructure to keep their core business up and running.”

He emphasizes that the HR Helpline “saves me time because she’s (Kavanaugh) incredibly responsive, and it saves me money because I’m not calling an attorney. It’s wonderful.

“I would say that without question, I don’t bat an eye now when I think of the annual Chamber membership dues. I do find myself wondering, ‘What else am I not tapping into?’”