Sen. Donnelly: “Roads Aren’t Republican or Democrat”

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In a visit with the Indiana Chamber’s Congressional Affairs Policy Committee today, Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) said he believes a new long-term highway infrastructure bill should be enacted yet this year.

Citing “desperate, crying” infrastructure needs, the senator said two imperatives are to “make sure we (Indiana) get our share” and “make sure we get it funded. We’re talking about  a six-year deal. I’ll take a five-year deal (if need be).”

Indiana is currently receiving 95 cents back on each tax dollar that it sends to Washington. In recent discussions, Donnelly voted no on a proposal that would have included Indiana’s share dropping to between 90 cents and 92 cents on the dollar. The goal, he says, is for no state to be funded at a lower percentage level than in the last long-term deal.

Transportation funding has been dependent on a series of short-term extensions that have not provided the resources needed for states to act with any certainty. Donnelly cited several instances of the damaging impact in Indiana, including the current closure of Interstate 65 near Lafayette due to bridge instability.

“Roads aren’t Republican or Democrat; they’re roads,” he explains. “There’s no way to do this without investment. I’m for seven different ways to fund this thing. Just pick one (or more). I just want to build roads.”

Donnelly also discussed potential changes to the Affordable Care Act (including his support for elimination of the medical device tax), the consequences of Washington legislating through Executive Orders, the debt limit, immigration, Iran, global environmental concerns and more.

Congress is scheduled to resume its work in Washington after Labor Day. Indiana Chamber members will be traveling to Washington on September 16-17 for the annual D.C. Fly-in. You can still register to participate.

Indiana Logistics Summit to Kick Off Sept. 22

2015 LOGISTICS SUMMIT LOGO JPEGThe Indiana Logistics Summit is fast approaching, and will convene in the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis on Sept. 22 (and a VIP Colts tailgate reception will be held at Crane Bay on Sept. 21). Visit www.indianalogistics.com or call (866) 515-0023 to register or receive more information. (Registration is $175 per person, or call Liz Folkerts at (317) 232-9205 for information on group rates.)

There is something for everyone at the 2015 Indiana Logistics Summit as top executives from Google, GE Aviation, Indianapolis Colts, Fair Oaks Farms, NCAA, Harvard Business School, IndyCar and others will be featured speakers at the 13th annual event on Tuesday, Sept. 22, in the Indiana Convention Center. The Summit will bring 300 leaders to Indianapolis to hear educational presentations about logistics from a variety of industries and to celebrate the Indianapolis Colts’ home opener on Monday Night Football.

In conjunction with a “Logistics in Sports” segment, the evening reception for Summit attendees will be held on Monday, Sept. 21, at The Crane Bay as part of the Colts VIP Tailgate leading up to the Colts game versus the New York Jets. Tickets to the reception are complimentary with Summit registration, and include a Morton Steakhouse buffet, cocktail bars hosted by Jim Beam, visits from Colts cheerleaders and former players, the live broadcast site for the Colts’ pregame show, an NFL memorabilia auction and much more.

The Indiana Logistics Summit is co-hosted by Purdue University, the Ports of Indiana and Conexus Indiana to promote the logistics industry and showcase the critical role this sector plays in the national economy. Some topics to be featured at this year’s program include:

– The Role of Logistics in Attracting Indiana’s Mega Projects
– A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Logistics in Sports
– Closing the Skills Gap to Improve U.S. Competitiveness
– New Solutions for the National Transportation Infrastructure Crisis
– Emerging Technologies: Unmanned Systems, Smart Drones and What’s Next?

There will also be a special “Logistics U” program for high school students to learn about career and educational opportunities in logistics.

“This is a can’t-miss event for anyone interested in logistics, sports, drones or the future of our economy,” said Rich Cooper, CEO for the Ports of Indiana. “Logistics is something that Indiana knows very well. Our robust transportation infrastructure and central location create tremendous logistical advantages for businesses that move products by air, rail, truck and water. The Summit celebrates the importance of this industry and provides an important platform for informative discussions among businesses, leaders and transportation professionals. This year’s program will offer a diverse group of topics that will appeal to a broad audience.”

The Summit program opens with the Keynote Breakfast featuring a presentation titled “Grass to Glass Logistics” by Mike McCloskey, the CEO of Select Milk Producers and owner of Fair Oaks Farms, one of the nation’s largest dairies. The Northwest Indiana dairy recently announced a new partnership venture with Coca-Cola that is aimed at revolutionizing milk consumption across the country.

There will also be an inside look at the Indianapolis Colts’ ‘Midnight Move’ from Baltimore, the NCAA’s coordination of 90 national championships per year, and a preview of the ‘100th Running of the Indianapolis 500.’ Emerging technologies will be explored in a futuristic session focused on the development of drone delivery systems, the launch of the state’s first college major in unmanned vehicles and companies with real-world applications for drones in logistics. Top national experts will also share recommendations for how businesses, government and academia can help address two of the biggest challenges facing the logistics industry – aging transportation infrastructure and workforce development in closing the skills gap.

Plastic Paving in Our Future?

9809397We’ve got an infrastructure funding problem in our state and country. This likely isn’t one of the solutions currently being considered. But then think of all the technological advances we enjoy today that were once just a dream.

Entrepreneur.com has the story:

If you drive a car, then you’ve invariably experienced the insanity and frustration that potholes can cause. Roads made of asphalt aren’t perfect. They crack and crumble. The longer they go without repairs the more damage they inflict on our cars (and insurance policies).

One construction company in the Netherlands thinks it has the solution: roads made of recycled plastic from the ocean. Scientists at construction firm VolkerWessels are collaborating with the city of Rotterdam in Holland to build prototypes of these pre-frabricated strips of road called PlasticRoad.

The benefits of pre-fab roads made of recycled plastic, as VolkerWessels sees them:

  • Built in a fraction of the construction time (weeks, not months)
  • Virtually maintenance free
  • Can withstand greater extremes in temperature (-40 degrees F to nearly 180 degree F)
  • They have three times the expected lifespan of traditional asphalt
  • Have a lightweight design, meaning roadways could more easily be moved or adjusted

PlasticRoad would also have a hollow space that can be used for cables, pipes and rainwater, VolkerWessels says. Check it out

The next step in the prototype phase is to test it in a laboratory to make sure it’s safe in wet and slippery conditions, VolkerWessels says. If all goes well, the company hopes to lay the first fully recycled roadway sometime within three years, Rolf Mars, the director of VolkerWessels’ roads subdivision, KWS Infra, said in a recent interview.

One can only imagine how much more quiet rubber tires on plastic roads would be than on asphalt. And, sayonara potholes. Good riddance.

D.C. Fly-in with Congressional Delegation Sept. 16-17

7324001Don’t sit on the sidelines when you could be influencing laws and regulations under discussion in Washington. Make an impact by attending the Indiana Chamber’s D.C. Fly-in on September 16-17. (Note: Our hotel room block expires Sunday so book your reservations this week!)

The event offers business and community leaders an opportunity to speak with Indiana’s congressional delegation and key staff members during a roundtable discussion/dinner on September 16. The second day features a panel of national and state issue experts, followed by numerous group visits to congressional offices.

By September, the 2016 presidential campaign will be in full swing with a number of members of Congress running for re-election. Dominant issues in Washington and beyond will include transportation, tax reform, repatriation of overseas funds, Obamacare and immigration.

Cost is $149 per person and group discounts are available. Each attendee is responsible for securing travel arrangements. Discounted hotel rooms are available for Chamber Fly-in guests at The Liaison Capitol Hill. Register online.

(The D.C. Fly-in is sponsored by Zimmer. The breakfast program is sponsored by Faegre Baker Daniels. Additional sponsorship is provided by Duke Energy. Thanks to these fine businesses for their support.)

Changing the Way We Work

7768406The Dolly Parton song and film “9 to 5” are 35 years old. If recreated today, there would undoubtedly need to be a new title.

A new CareerBuilder survey indicates that, much like flip phones and fax machines, the traditional eight-hour work day may be on its way out. More than 1,000 full-time workers in information technology, financial services, sales, and professional and business services – industries that historically have more traditional work hours – participated in the nationwide study, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, to discuss their habits and attitudes toward the traditional nine-to-five work day.

According to the survey, 63 percent of workers in these industries believe “working nine to five” is an outdated concept, and a significant number have a hard time leaving the office mentally. Nearly 1 in 4 (24 percent) check work emails during activities with family and friends.

Today, many workers in these industries find themselves working outside of the traditional eight-hour time frame: 50 percent of these workers say they check or respond to work emails outside of work, and nearly 2 in 5 (38 percent) say they continue to work outside of office hours.

Though staying connected to the office outside of required office hours may seem like a burden, most of these workers (62 percent) perceive it as a choice rather than an obligation.

“Workers want more flexibility in their schedules, and with improvements in technology that enable employees to check in at any time, from anywhere, it makes sense to allow employees to work outside the traditional nine-to-five schedule,” says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder. “Moving away from a nine-to-five work week may not be possible for some companies (yet), but if done right, allowing employees more freedom and flexibility with their schedules can improve morale, boost productivity and increase retention rates.”

But just because the office – or the blackberry – is out of sight, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s out of mind: 20 percent of these workers say work is the last thing they think about before they go to bed, and more than twice as many (42 percent) say it’s the first thing they think about when they wake up. Nearly 1 in 5 of these workers (17 percent) say they have a tough time enjoying leisure activities because they are thinking about work.

Male workers in these fields are more likely than female workers to work outside of office hours (44 percent versus 32 percent); check or respond to work emails outside of work (59 percent versus 42 percent); and check on work activities while they are out with friends and family (30 percent versus 18 percent).

Female workers, however, are more likely than male workers to go to bed thinking about work (23 percent versus 16 percent).

When it comes to working outside of traditional office hours, 31 percent of 18- to 24-year-old workers in these fields will work outside of office hours, compared to 50 percent of 45- to 54-year-old workers and 38 percent of workers ages 55 and above. Meanwhile, 52 percent of workers ages 18-24 check or respond to work emails outside of work, versus 46 percent of workers ages 55 and above.

 

If Image is Everything, U.S. in Trouble

19218071The Reputation Institute does studies on, guess what, reputations. In this case, its all about countries.

In many ways, countries are like companies; They have “brands” to protect, budgets to adhere to, and many “competitors” vying for their export business, international diplomacy status and tourism dollars — and, as in business, a country’s global reputation can be the pivotal touch point around which those other metrics revolve.

According to new research from the Reputation Institute, Canada has moved back into the leading slot for reputation, having passed Switzerland to regain the top spot in this year’s Country RepTrak, the world’s largest annual survey of country reputations, showing regional trends for North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Canada, the United States and Mexico all improved their reputations, according to the survey.

Since the survey began in 2010, Canada has ranked first all but two of those years and never lower than second place. At the top of the list are all of Scandinavia, with Norway in second place, immediately followed by Sweden and Switzerland.

Historically, the reputation of the United States has been poor, even though the country’s image has improved 20% compared to an average reputation. Elsewhere around the world, Latin America is improving its reputation overall, but Brazil is experiencing a decline in reputation. Northern European countries are in the top 10, and Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland have improved their reputations due to improvements in certain economic indicators. Japan has the best reputation in Asia and while Asian countries are improving their reputations, theirs are still weak overall. Russia’s reputation is declining due to the crisis in Ukraine and Crimea’s annexation.

The top 10 countries in the 2015 Country RepTrak are:

Canada
Norway
Sweden
Switzerland
Australia
Finland
New Zealand
Denmark
Netherlands
Belgium

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Potrait of a young multi-racial Business Group

The operative word in the headline above this post is ALL. With that being a factor, the answer is probably a resounding No. It’s just human nature.

A recent Ragan Communications’ article (based on a survey by Viking) identified lateness, whining and eating smelly food as office workers’ most annoying habits. Ragan reports:

More than 40 percent of respondents said the annoyances made them consider leaving their jobs — with a striking 5 percent having actually quit.

The top 20 most annoying habits by rank:

1. Being regularly late
2. Whining all the time
3. Eating stinking food
4. Taking lots of cigarette breaks
5. Deliberately taking a long time to do something/constant procrastination
6. Not replacing things that run out (e.g., printer paper, coffee)
7. Talking on the phone too loudly
8. Having bad hygiene (coffee breath, BO, visibly dirty clothes)
9. Gossiping
10. Spraying deodorants, aftershaves and perfumes at desk
11. Coming to work when very ill
12. Texting/using mobile phone all day
13. Having an untidy desk
14. Talking too much about private life
15. Invading personal space
16. Not making a tea round
17. Humming/whistling/singing
18.Constantly tapping/clicking pens/typing too loud
19. Stealing other people’s food/lunch
20. Using jargon

Only a third of respondents were prepared to try and solve a given problem, with a further 30 percent saying they avoided approaching the problem in order to avoid conflict.

Women are more likely to be riled by an empty toilet paper holder, whereas men ranked office gossip as a top bad habit. When it comes to confrontation, women are more likely to keep quiet to keep the peace.

Knox County ARC: Maximizing Chamber Investment Through Helplines

ODell_AmyKnox County ARC has 36 locations across the county, including five group homes, 25 waiver homes and several plants. Amy O’Dell, director of human resources, leverages Indiana Chamber membership to make sure HR operations are running smoothly.

The organization, which has been an Indiana Chamber since 1992, works with people who have developmental and intellectual disabilities, providing jobs/skills training, housing, and even school and preschool programs to the community.

To help O’Dell stay on top of industry regulations, she calls the Chamber at least once a quarter with HR questions.

“(I call when) I need to bounce ideas off someone else who understands where I am coming from with the HR laws and regulations,” O’Dell explains.

O’Dell notes that she has used the Chamber’s HR Helpline for everything from ordering posters to handling difficult staffing situations. She says Michelle Kavanaugh, human resources director at the Chamber, is like “an extension of the HR department.”

“I would recommend it because Michelle is very knowledgeable and has a lot of experience in HR, and I trust the feedback she gives me,” O’Dell remarks. “She is very willing to get on the phone and listen to all the details. She always has time to help.”

O’Dell has also used Chamber membership to attend conferences, at a discounted rate, that helped her gain additional training, including a workshop on the Family Medical Leave Act and the annual HR conference.

The Chamber’s helpline, though, may be a “best kept secret” for HR professionals, says O’Dell.

“It is something I use instead of calling an attorney right off the bat,” she explains. “It is definitely a huge resource to companies, so I hope they know it’s there and they utilize it.”

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.

Fighting Mr. (Brain) Freeze

Ragan recently featured a useful article on how to handle a brain freeze when you’re speaking in public. Whether you’re a CEO, manager or in the cases they presented, a political candidate, handling such an instance with grace could go a long way toward disaster control.

They use the following two video examples of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as the right and wrong ways to handle this. Although, in fairness, one wonders how Sen. Rubio would have handled the last part of his speech if he was unable to eventually find the final page.