Jim McCormick: Class Personified

There are rightfully many tributes being offered about longtime Vincennes business and community leader C. James McCormick, who passed away earlier this week at age 92. We’ll share two related to the Indiana Chamber – where Jim, as he was known to all, may just have the longest tenure of any board member in the organization’s 95-year history – and our BizVoice® magazine.

In 2006 Jim’s son, C.J. “Mac” McCormick III was going to be honored as the Chamber’s Business Leader of the Year when he tragically passed away in a plane crash 13 days before the Annual Awards Dinner. In an obviously difficult time for all, Jim agreed and wanted to accept the award on behalf of his son.

His words of wisdom that night (see photo) served as both a tribute to his son and a lesson to all to live life to its fullest as Mac did. In a Chamber career that spans more than 19 years, the class of the McCormick family – led by its patriarch Jim – stands out as one of the most memorable moments.

Jim was always eager to talk about his lifelong home of Knox County and Vincennes. Among his most recent acts of public service was as a member of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission. In an interview for the January-February 2016 BizVoice® bicentennial issue, Jim said:

“Vincennes has so many firsts. It would take a whole page to list them all. Vincennes needs to put its best foot forward and champion those firsts (during 2016).” Speaking of his beloved Vincennes University, where he was still active on the board of trustees, he added, “We’ve made giant strides in technology and teaching young people how to be ready for the marketplace in the computer and robot age. A few years ago, that wasn’t an issue or something we talked about. I guess I’m a little biased, but I think VU stands tall in offering those opportunities.”

Jim, thank you for everything you did for your community, our state and everyone you came into contact with during your 92-plus years. Yours indeed was a long life well-lived.

‘History on Wheels’ Hitting the Road to Showcase Hoosier Auto History

I was granted a sneak peek Thursday of the Indiana Historical Society’s new traveling exhibit, History on Wheels. Housed inside a 53-foot double expandable semi-trailer, the one-of-a-kind exhibit celebrates Indiana’s incredible contributions to the automobile industry within 1,000 square feet of indoor museum space.

Ever since Elwood Haynes famously took his first “horseless carriage” out for a stroll on Pumpkinvine Pike in Kokomo in 1894, Indiana has been putting its stamp on automotive lore, climbing back to No. 2 in the nation (behind only Michigan) in automotive production.

The exhibit touches on the history of more than 100 Indiana automakers and manufacturers, such as Duesenberg, Gibson and Studebaker. It also delves into the lives of Hoosier innovators and inventors, such as Carl Fisher, Haynes and Ralph Teetor.

“For decades, the Indiana Historical Society has dedicated resources to giving people a way to experience and enjoy Indiana history in their own communities,” says John A. Herbst, IHS president and CEO. “History on Wheels allows us to expand on this critical part of our mission. As the only traveling exhibit of its kind in the state, it is a new way to experience history.”

IHS History on Wheels program manager Curt Barsic guided me around the colorful display. He relays that IHS hopes the exhibit will draw at least 100,000 annual visitors as it makes its way across the state and strives to be featured in 20 festivals per year. (The exhibit will be on the road for at least five years).

“We conducted focus groups and the overwhelming majority of people wanted to see an exhibit on the automotive history in the state,” he explains. “We had a list of 13 topics and in every focus group it was at or near the top.”

He points out one display that contrasts scenes from the 1934 Indianapolis 500 with its 100th running in 2016.

“It’s so cool,” Barsic notes. “You can see how close the crowd is (in 1934), and how close to pit row they are.”

The public will get its first chance to see History on Wheels Saturday, May 6, when IHS launches the traveling exhibit with free admission and extended hours in honor of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. History on Wheels will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, located in downtown Indianapolis, across the street from the Mini post-race party. The exhibit will remain at the History Center and be included with admission to the Indiana Experience May 7-13.

History on Wheels is supported by Lilly Endowment Inc. and fueled by CountryMark. For reservation fees and booking information, contact Mark McNees, IHS History on Wheels coordinator, at (317) 234-2029 or mmcnees@indianahistory.org. More event locations and details are available on IHS’s website at www.indianahistory.org/HistoryonWheels.

2017 History on Wheels schedule (new dates are still being added):

  • May 6 – 13 – Indiana Historical Society, Downtown Indianapolis
  • June 2 – 3 – CruZionsville, Downtown Zionsville
  • June 28 – July 1 – Covington 4th of July Festival, Covington City Park, Covington
  • July 7 – 9 – Three Rivers Festival, Headwaters Park, Fort Wayne
  • July 10 – 15 – Howard County 4-H Fair, Greentown Fairgrounds, Greentown
  • July 28 – 29 – Frankfort Hot Dog Festival, Downtown Courthouse Square, Frankfort
  • Aug. 19 – 20 – Yellowstone Trail Fest, Starke County Fairgrounds, Hamlet
  • Sept. 15 – 16 – Back to the Fifties Festival, Boone County Fairgrounds, Lebanon
  • Sept. 20 – City of Whiting Cruise Night, Downtown Whiting
  • Sept. 29 – Oct. 1 – Newport Antique Auto Hill Climb, Newport

Compton Offers Presidential Perspective at Legislative Dinner

Flanked by Gov. Eric Holcomb and Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar, Ann Compton regaled Legislative Dinner attendees with her stories about past presidents, and her opinions of President Trump and the media today.

With more than 40 years of experience covering the administrations of seven presidents, former ABC News White House correspondent Ann Compton had plenty to share Tuesday night at the Indiana Chamber’s 2017 Legislative Dinner.

A few of her reflections and projections:

On the media: “In this digital age, my business, the news industry, is almost unrecognizable to me. It wounds me to hear that the free, American press is the enemy. We in the mainstream press have to work responsibly and openly to earn back your trust.”

On prior presidents and the media: George H.W. Bush originated the hat with the saying, “Annoy the Media: Re-Elect Bush” (Compton still has hers); Barack Obama “lashed out at the press” in a private, off-the-record session when he was not happy with the tone of the reporting.

On fake news sites: “They are more like criminal enterprises.”

On the ultimate test for presidents: “They are measured by the crises they face.” Compton listed several, including the younger President Bush and 9/11, sharing personal anecdotes about that day as a result of her being the only broadcast journalist on Air Force One after the attacks.

On Donald Trump: “This man is remarkably consistent (in style), but not necessarily on policy.” Noting that 30 years ago he didn’t carry a briefcase or schedule too many meetings, saying, ‘You can’t be imaginative or entrepreneurial if you’ve got too much structure.’ We’re seeing that applied today.

On looking forward: Despite her concerns, she says, “I really do believe the republic is strong, our country is strong.”

View event photos.

The Legislative Dinner, with more than 700 attendees at the Indiana Roof Ballroom, was presented by Ice Miller, with Lifeline Data Centers sponsoring the opening reception. Gold sponsors: Eli Lilly and Company, NIPSCO and St. Vincent. Silver sponsors: Alcoa; American Chemistry Council; AT&T Indiana; Delta Dental of Indiana; French Lick Resort; Hoosiers Work for Health; Indiana Career Hub; IGT Indiana; Ivy Tech Community College; The Kroger Co.; Majestic Star Casino & Hotel; Old National Bank; Roche Diagnostics Corporation; Smithville; and Vectren.

The 2018 Legislative Dinner will take place February 13.

Indiana Historical Society Tells Forgotten Tale of Italian POWS at Camp Atterbury

We highlighted the Indiana Historical Society’s Eli Lilly-themed You Are There exhibit in the January/February BizVoice. I’d just like to reiterate how intriguing and impactful these experiences are, and make you aware of IHS’s upcoming offering about Italian POWs at Atterbury in 1943, which opened March 4.

An IHS release provides the background:

In one of the Indiana Historical Society’s (IHS’s) most moving You Are There exhibits to date, visitors will be introduced to Italian prisoners of war in the chapel they built at Camp Atterbury—their home away from home.

The exhibit, You Are There 1943: Italian POWs at Atterbury, debuts March 4, 2017, and runs through August 11, 2018, at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center in downtown Indianapolis.

In 1943, approximately 3,000 Italian POWs were held at Indiana’s Camp Atterbury. Today, this largely forgotten story from the Hoosier home front during World War II lives on as part of the camp’s history and through the descendents of many POWs.

“This story surprised me,” said Angela Wolfgram, IHS exhibits researcher. “Kindness is a big part of it. Interactions were friendly, unlike what we picture for a POW camp. Also, I was struck by how much the Italians appreciated their time at Atterbury. It wasn’t summer camp, but they enjoyed the food, the interactions with central Indiana residents, recreation time, and even religious freedom. I think this is a hopeful story, and we need hopeful stories.”

Guests to You Are There 1943: Italian POWs at Atterbury will step into a recreation of the still-existing “Chapel in the Meadow” as actors portraying POWs are completing paintings on the walls. In addition, visitors may interact with actors portraying American soldiers, including Chaplain Maurice Imhoff and Lt. Col. John Gammell, commanding officer of the internment camp.

Outside the chapel portion of the exhibit, guests will discover the history and present-day use of Camp Atterbury through text and photographs. They will uncover the meaning of Italian iconography and see a slideshow presenting the various aspects of the POW camp experience.

You Are There 1943: Italian POWs at Atterbury is presented by Jane Fortune and Franciscan Health, with support from the Italian Heritage Society of Indiana.

For more information about You Are There 1943: Italian POWs at Atterbury or other IHS exhibits and resources, call (317) 232-1882 or visit www.indianahistory.org.

Bane-Welker Equipment Celebrates 50 Years

The following is a release from Bane-Welker Equipment:

Bane-Welker Equipment, LLC is turning a half a century old this August. To mark the impressive occasion, the company is planning many events, sales and offers, as well as introducing a special 50th anniversary commemorative logo which customers will see beginning later this month.

“It is hard to believe we are turning 50 years old,” stated Phil Bane, CEO of Bane-Welker Equipment. “I can’t believe it was 50 years ago that my dad, Kenneth Bane, signed a contract that started this journey.”

Kenneth Bane started Bane Equipment in 1967 when he answered the local newspaper ad from a representative for the JI Case Co., which was looking for a dealer in Montgomery County. By August of 1967, Kenneth and wife Patricia Bane, had signed the Case contract and the family business was born along with a commitment to superior products and service.

“At that time, no one could have imagined that 50 years later, three generations of our family would still be going strong and growing the business like never before,” stated Bane. “Dad left us a legacy none of us could’ve imagined.”

Kenneth Bane passed away in 1999, but today, his widow Patricia, sons Phil and Jeff, and grandson Jason Bane continue the family business.

Bane Equipment became Bane-Welker Equipment in 2013 when Norm Welker brought his expertise to the table. He owned North Central Agri-power and merged with Bane to form Bane-Welker Equipment, LLC.

“I knew we would be able to offer our customers the very best if our two companies became one,” stated Welker. “It was a no-brainer and our customers have benefitted since.”

Through the years, the company has seen many changes, including great advances in technology. BWE has committed to being on the cutting edge of that new information to ensure the success of their customers. Bane-Welker Equipment also remains committed to superior products and service.

“We have been through the ups and downs of the economy with our customers; we have felt both happiness and pain with them, and have stayed true to a commitment to be here when they need us,” Bane said. “Our customers are like family to us. And if they don’t succeed, neither do we. We take great pride in the fact that we have been here so long and we look forward to another 50 years!”

Follow Bane-Welker on Facebook or Twitter to stay up to date with everything related to the 50th anniversary.

Bane-Welker Equipment is an agriculture equipment company representing Case IH and other complimentary brands. Bane-Welker offers new and used equipment, parts, sales, service, precision farming, online parts sales and customer support. The 50-year-old company operates 10 stores in Indiana including Crawfordsville, La Crosse, Lebanon, Remington, Terre Haute, Pendleton, Plymouth, Winamac, and Wingate, and three stores in Ohio, including Eaton, Wilmington and Georgetown.

Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust Opens Aerospace, STEM Exhibit in Indy

Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust Allison Branch volunteer and retiree Betsy Spencer shows visitors an AE 3007 jet engine on display at the new, reopened museum in downtown Indianapolis.

The following is a release from Rolls-Royce: 

The Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust – Allison Branch is reopening the James A. Allison Exhibition Center at a new, modern downtown Indianapolis location. The nearly 6,000 square foot facility, located at the Rolls-Royce Meridian Center office, 450 S. Meridian Street, will display an amazing collection of exhibits, and demonstrate a great deal of pride in Indiana’s past, in powering thousands of civil and military aircraft and ships. Using technology and hands-on displays, the Exhibition is designed to engage and inspire youth to pursue aerospace careers.

Visitors to the Exhibition Center will see a collection of jet engines and other equipment made in Indianapolis that power today’s and yesterday’s aircraft – including engines that power C-130J Super Hercules; V-22 Osprey; Global Hawk; Citation X+s; Embraer ERJ jets; various commercial helicopters; and historical engines such as the Allison V-1710 that powered the legendary North American P-51 Mustang, P-40s, and other aircraft. A Rolls-Royce LiftFan®, which provides unique vertical lift capability for the F-35B Lightning II, is also on display.

In addition to static displays, each exhibit zone is accompanied by an interactive video module with historic, technical and graphical information of the engines. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) content is incorporated to help guide educators and students through advances in aerospace engineering.

“Since opening our first science and technology exhibition in 1954 – then called Powerama – to citizens, customers and employees, we have believed it is important to show the legacy of more than 100 years of amazing power and progress here in Indianapolis. We also aim to provide visitors a glimpse at our future for the next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers and innovators,” said David Newill, President of the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust – Allison Branch.

“The Heritage Trust’s mission is to protect and preserve our legacy while demonstrating the innovation that has progressed throughout the decades at Rolls-Royce and our preceding company, Allison Gas Turbines in Indianapolis. This new downtown location gives us an opportunity to share our history in new and exciting ways with Rolls-Royce employees, retirees, customers and the public,” said Phil Burkholder, President of Defense Aerospace, Rolls-Royce North America. “The Heritage Trust will continue to be free and open to the general public. This is made possible by its donors and the hard work of volunteers, which mostly consist of dedicated, retired employees from Rolls-Royce and Allison.”

Larger groups of more than 6 people wanting to visit the Exhibit must register on-line at www.rolls-royce.com/HeritageIndy. The Exhibit is free and open to the public Tuesday-Friday from 10 am to 3 pm. Donations are accepted and help the organization build new exhibits.

Razor Sharp: Roanoke Barber Rex Ottinger Reflects on a Lifetime of Memories

Roanoke barber Rex Otttinger has seen it all – a steady stream of loyal customers, an unruly flood and leaner times during the long-hair trend of the 1970s.

And feel free to sleep in his chair, but interruptions like phones and TV are no-nos at this barber shop. In fact, Ottinger has never had a phone in the store – and never will.

Read about this Huntington County success story in the new BizVoice.

Throwback Thursday: 1946 Indiana Chamber News

in news pic

Before there was our award-winning BizVoice magazine, we published the Indiana Chamber of Commerce News. We recently found the October 1946 issue in our archives. The edition features an article promoting the Chamber’s Annual Meeting, noting its speaker, Charles E. Wilson, president and CEO of General Motors Corporation in Detroit. It lists the previous four years’ speakers as:

  • 1945 – Supreme Court of the U.S. Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson (then Secretary of the Treasury)
  • 1944 – Henry J. Kaiser, famous industrialist
  • 1943 – Eric A. Johnston, president, Motion Picture Association of America (then president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
  • 1942 – B.C. Forbes, editor of Forbes Weekly

Note the circulation of the publication as reaching 8,500, so it’s encouraging to see we had a broad reach back then, just as we do today.

Bicentennial Internship Immerses Student in State’s Future Visioning

andreAndré Zhang Sonera is serving as a Bicentennial Visioning Liaison with the Office of Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann. The Visioning Project is a Bicentennial legacy project focusing on Indiana’s future. The project brought together thought leaders throughout the state to identify “big ideas” for Indiana’s future, which will be compiled into a book that’s expected to be completed this summer.

Indiana INTERNnet: What have you been responsible for during your internship with the Indiana Bicentennial Visioning Project?

André Zhang Sonera: “As a Bicentennial Scholar, my role on this project is coordinating the logistics of each (visioning) session. My job requires me to look at the big picture and make sure that all the knots are in place and ready to go for the event. From coordinating the venue to making sure that everything is running smoothly and efficiently for our experts – logistics are an essential component to the success of our sessions.”

IIN: Describe how this internship is helping you grow as a young professional toward your career goals.

AZS: “This internship has provided me the unique experience to gain in-depth knowledge about our state. It is not every day that you have the opportunity to meet and learn from the brightest Hoosier minds as they share their passion and vision for a better Indiana.

“This experience has also helped me develop insight into how the government works at the state level, nurturing my passion for public service and sparking an interest for a career in government.”

IIN: What have you learned so far about Indiana? Has anything surprised you?

AZS: “Each session is focused on important topics that shape the future of our state. Thanks to the research and data presented by Dr. Breanca Merritt from the IU Public Policy Institute at the beginning of the (first) session, I now have a better understanding of the current and future state of Indiana regarding a variety of important topics.

“But my favorite part is hearing the innovative ideas of our experts as they gather together to envision the future of Indiana. At the end of each session, I have a sense of belonging and pride of being an ‘honorary’ Hoosier.

“I definitely would encourage other students (K-12 and college) to get involved with their towns and counties and partake in this unique experience. It is not every day that we get to celebrate our state’s Bicentennial, and it is an incredible opportunity to contribute a legacy for future generations.”

See the in the January/February 2016 edition of BizVoice magazine.

Sneaker Fans: Step Right Up!

What in the world is a Sneakerhead?

I hadn’t heard of the term until I stumbled upon this NPR story about a new exhibit that traces the history of sneakers. What a cool way to get your kicks!

Shoes of all shapes and sizes are on display at the Brooklyn Museum (future stops include Toledo, Ohio and Louisville):

The show begins with some of the first rubber shoes ever made. They were manufactured in Brazil and exported to America in the 1830s.

In the same case, there’s a crusty, brown, old canvas kick with a familiar shape. It’s a Converse All Star from 1917, the year that shoe was first produced. …

Every step here is shoe history. There’s a bizarre high-heeled sneaker from around 1925 and a TV ad for Keds from 1958.

One of the industry’s most famous designers, Chuck Taylor, hails from Columbus, Indiana. Special-edition Converse All Star Chuck Taylor sneakers featured an exclusive Columbus design last fall.

Share your memories on the fads that paved the way for today’s fashion. What were your favorites?