Purdue Charter School to Help Inner-City Students

purdue-black-and-goldPurdue University President Mitch Daniels has called the low number of Indianapolis Public School students who are prepared for success at Purdue “unacceptable.”

In an effort to combat this, Purdue is launching a polytechnic charter school in Indy to create a direct path for these students to ultimately graduate from the university. It’s a bold move, and if it succeeds, there would be an effort to take it statewide.

Inside INdiana Business has more information, and reveals the charter school is expected to be located in downtown Indianapolis and will be a collaboration among Purdue, the city of Indianapolis, its EmployIndy program and Indianapolis-based USA Funds.

“We applaud President Daniels and Purdue University for this opportunity for low-income and minority students to have the opportunity to have a strong foundation in the STEM areas,” explains Caryl Auslander, vice president of education and workforce development for the Indiana Chamber. “This will provide students with incredible opportunities to learn using curriculum produced by Purdue faculty and provides direct admittance to the university after graduation. We are pleased to see community and business partnerships in this endeavor and know that it will provide not only unique experiences for students but also create an even stronger workforce in the future.”

BizVoice Adds New Awards to Trophy Case

droneThe BizVoice® magazine team doesn’t spend a great deal of time or resources entering competitions each year. Validation comes via feedback from regular readers and others interested in the publication. But it is good every once in a while to see how some of your best work matches up against other professionals.

For work completed in 2014, two contests were entered and six awards were earned – two in the national APEX program and four from the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists. That brings the total to 75 awards in 16 years.

APEX
• Rebecca Patrick: Feature Writing, Award of Excellence, Poised to Benefit: Drones Expected to Produce Major Indiana Impact, July-August 2014
• Tony Spataro: Design & Illustrations – Best Redesigns, Award of Excellence, BizVoice® (new look debuted in January-February 2014)

Patrick, Charlee Beasor and Tom Schuman earned writing honors from Indiana SPJ for topics ranging from education and sports to business and politics. Full details are on the BizVoice web site

As BizVoice editor, I have the privilege of working with a talented team. I congratulate them on their continued outstanding efforts and encourage readers to check out the past work online and in future issues of the magazine.

Experience the Entrepreneurial Energy at Innovation Showcase

innovIndiana has a growing number of events that connect entrepreneurs with resources. One of the biggest is the Innovation Showcase, returning for year seven this summer.

The lead of the conference web site says it all: “A conference where fundable companies connect with capital sources and attendees connect with the entrepreneurial energy in Indiana.”

More than 1,000 innovators, entrepreneurs and investors are expected to attend the event (July 8-9 at the Dallara IndyCar Factory in Speedway), where more than 70 high-potential enterprises will exhibit and pitch to investors. Companies interested in exhibiting at the Innovation Showcase must submit their applications by midnight on May 18.

During the two days, participating entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to pitch their start-up, competing for prizes of cash and services that last year totaled over $120,000. Educational sessions will provide programming for investors as well as entrepreneurs. Investor and entrepreneur panels will discuss key milestones, barriers and techniques for survival and prosperity.

This year’s scope will include not only the early stage entrepreneur and investor, but also a component on growth ventures and funding.

Launch Fishers, the Venture Club, Verge and VisionTech Partners are the coordinating organizations.

“Economic growth, wealth, and jobs are created by second stage growth ventures — those that are scaling rapidly and gaining national traction,” says Todd Saxton, president of the Venture Club of Indiana and associate professor at IU Kelley School of Business. “The Showcase is not just about startups, which are a strong and growing component of our ecosystem, but also the next Exact Targets and Interactive Intelligences — companies that really put Indiana on the map with investors and customers nationally and internationally.”

Past participants who have experienced remarkable growth after exhibiting include: Scale Computing, myCOI, Indigo Biosystems, BlueLock, Bluebridge Digital, Precise Path Robotics, Book A Coach, Curvo Labs and many others.

Full details and registration are available online.

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.

Legislative Testimony: Expanding Broadband Capabilities

The Indiana Chamber’s Cam Carter testified today in support of House Bill 1101 – Broadband Ready Communities, authored by Rep. Eric Koch (R-Bedford).

This legislation seeks to coordinate and streamline administrative procedures for the deployment of next generation broadband technologies.

The Indiana Chamber supports this effort. It should result in more competition and vital, more robust telecommunications services for Hoosier businesses and consumers.

Making the ‘Magic’ Happen in Vegas

cDear technology,
I love you. I love you not.

Technology often strikes me as more foe than friend, like when the Internet is down or an automated operator makes me jump through hoops as I try to pay a bill. Still, I can’t help but appreciate – and marvel at – the cutting-edge inventions that are changing life as we know it.

My jaw dropped more than once, for instance, while reading this Time story written during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a four-day technology extravaganza that wrapped up last week in Las Vegas.

Among the mind-boggling technology zooming our way: self-driving cars!

Audi pulled a stunt in which it got what it calls a “piloted car” (it shies away from “driverless”) from San Francisco to Vegas in time for the show. Mercedes CEO Dietrich Zetsche showed off a bullet-shaped autonomous concept car with a cabin that’s more like a living room than a car. Audi presented a smartwatch app that can signal your car to drive itself out of your garage and come pick you up.

And feast your eyes (or gums) on this gadget:

Some of the most fun stuff at CES is also the downright strangest. Oral-B’s Bluetooth-enabled toothbrush syncs up with a smartwatch app in an effort to help consumers brush better.

Sometimes, fact really is stranger than fiction.

Growing Strong at Noblesville’s SMC

10295185_649652505143607_8886419329462044533_oSMC Corporation of America is the U.S. subsidiary – based in Noblesville – of a Japanese-based company specializing in the manufacturing of pneumatic devices. Think actuators, valves, connectors, temperature control equipment and more.

Business is good. So good that the organization is looking to expand its sales force – in a serious way. During a recent conversation with the Indiana Chamber member, I was told the company is planning a dormitory on campus to educate and train those new salespersons over a six-month period.

SMC looks to expand on its 800 employees already in Indiana. In addition, the company is heavily involved in a promising internship program that places Noblesville High School students into the workplace to gain hands-on experience.

Congratulations on all the good work at SMC and continued success.

Dialing Change Coming Early in 2015

119905820We, and many others, have told you about the new area code coming to the southern third of our state. The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, and its IN 812 industry group, prepared the following update (including effective dates and equipment upgrade procedures, if necessary) for Indiana Chamber members and the broader community.

To ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers, the new 930 area code will be added to the area served by 812. The new 930 area code will serve the same geographic area currently served by the existing 812 area code, which generally covers the southern third of the state of Indiana serving communities such as Bloomington, Columbus, Evansville, New Albany and Terre Haute. This is known as an area code overlay.

What is an area code overlay?
An overlay is the addition of another area code (930) to the same geographic region as an existing area code (812). An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code.

How does this affect Chamber members?
As a result of the overlay, a new local dialing procedure requires callers to dial area code + telephone number. This means that all local calls in the 812 area code that are currently dialed with seven digits will need to be dialed using area code + telephone number.

Chamber members that have services and equipment currently located in the 812 area code and programmed to dial only seven digits must be updated or reprogrammed to dial area code + telephone number for all calls in the 812/930 area code.

What will be the new dialing procedure?
To complete local calls, the new dialing procedure requires callers to dial area code + telephone number. This means that all calls in the 812 area code that are currently dialed with seven digits will need to be dialed using area code + telephone number. The same dialing procedure will apply to telephone numbers assigned to the new 930 area code.

When will the change begin?
Beginning February 7, 2015, you must use the new dialing procedures, as described above for all calls. After this date, if you do not use the new dialing procedures, your calls will not be completed and a recording will instruct you to hang up and dial again.

Reprogramming of alarm equipment should take place between March 1, 2014 and February 7, 2015. This period allows either the old or new dialing procedure to be used to complete calls. All chamber members must make their programming changes during this period.

To enable you to verify that equipment can complete calls to the new 930 area code, a special test number, 930-930-1930, will be in service beginning July 7, 2014 and it will remain active through April 7, 2015.

Beginning March 7, 2015, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers using the new 930 area code.

What will remain the same?
• Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
• The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the overlay.
• What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed.
• You can still dial just three digits to reach 911.
• If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 are currently available in your community, you will still dial these codes with just three digits.

Who may you contact with questions?
Customers with questions about the dialing procedure change should be directed to their local service provider, or they can visit the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) web site.

Job ‘Casualties’ Mount Due to Device Tax

16446238In our most recent Indiana Chamber Policy Call with Congressman Todd Rokita, the subject of the medical device tax came up. No surprise. It’s been a topic in countless conversations ever since the terrible idea was first broached in 2010.

Rokita expressed confidence that repeal will make its way to the President’s desk in 2015. What happens then, of course, can’t be predicted.

A recent Site Selection article notes that concerns have only multiplied. It contains quotes and analysis from Cook Group chairman and long-time Indiana Chamber board member Steve Ferguson, who says five plants (each would have employed up to 300 people) have been “put on hold” because of the tax.

Check out the full article.

Harmonizing Music History with Worker Productivity

19188345Technology improvements are generally associated with getting the same amount of productivity with fewer workers. But something called the “quartet effect” – with links back to the lyrics of the Grateful Dead – instead emphasizes enhancing what people do with their time. Governing reports:

In the foreword to David Dodd’s The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics, Robert Hunter, the band’s “lyricist in residence,” wrote that the song “Uncle John’s Band” represented “the first lyric I wrote with the aid of that newfangled gadget, the cassette tape recorder. I taped the band playing the arrangement and was able to score lyrics at leisure rather than scratch away hurriedly at rehearsals, waiting for particular sections to come around again.”

What Hunter was describing, of course, was an improvement in productivity resulting from the application of new technology. Productivity is usually measured in terms of the labor cost per unit of production, and in most cases improvement is achieved by using new technology to reduce head count. For instance, a steel mill that once employed 10,000 workers produces the same tonnage with only a thousand employees, bank tellers are replaced by ATMs and elevator operators become a thing of the past. But in Hunter’s application of new technology, no one’s position was eliminated. It’s an example of what has been called “the quartet effect” at work.

When you reduce the head count of a musical quartet, you have not improved its productivity. If what you wanted was the music of a quartet, you have destroyed the product. The technology Hunter employed is the kind that, rather than eliminating jobs, allows existing staff to make better use of their time and gives them the opportunity to create higher-quality products.

How is this relevant to government? For most local governments, public safety constitutes the largest single category of expenditures, typically accounting for about 60 percent of total costs. For states and for some local governments, education is the dominant cost category. But it’s important to remember that within these areas, personnel costs — the salaries and benefits of police officers, firefighters and school teachers — are the real cost drivers. Personnel costs typically represent 80 percent or more of the total cost of a police department, for example. Few would argue that taking cops off the streets or teachers out of classrooms improves productivity.