Happy 25th Anniversary, Kevin!

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has had just seven executive leaders throughout its nearly 100-year-existence (the Chamber was officially formed in 1922) in our drive to fulfill our mission to “cultivate a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity for the people of Indiana and their enterprises.”

President and CEO Kevin Brinegar, in the role for 15 years and celebrating his 25th anniversary with the Chamber yesterday, has been part of major policy and legislative accomplishments during his time at the helm of the organization. A few to mention include: observance of Daylight Saving Time, Right to Work, a preschool pilot program, numerous tax reforms, and most recently, needed investment that will ensure adequate transportation infrastructure funding for the next two decades.

Brinegar’s anniversary comes just two days after our 28th Annual Awards Dinner, where he was presented with a Sagamore of the Wabash by Gov. Eric Holcomb. The award for distinguished service is his second; the first was presented in 1992 by then-Gov. Evan Bayh.

During an Indiana Chamber staff meeting, Brinegar received a commemorative photo collage signed by the Chamber’s staff. We also celebrated with cake!

Kevin Brinegar

Brinegar discussed being presented with the Sagamore of the Wabash and said all current and past staff members of the Indiana Chamber made the award possible and have worked tirelessly to move public policy forward in Indiana and make it a top tier state and a leader across the nation.

Thank you for your hard work on behalf of our staff and the state of Indiana, Kevin. Congratulations on 25 years!

Alcoa Celebrates 125 Years of Innovation

If you've ever had a drink in an aluminum can, there's a solid chance Alcoa has impacted your life in some way. Now, the aluminum producer celebrates a remarkable milestone of 125 years in business. Their web site explains: "Leading the way for future generations, Alcoa celebrates its first 125 years by setting new standards for breakthrough technology, strengthening communities and growing sustainably. From the world’s lightest planes to the most fuel efficient cars to the sleekest mobile phones, Alcoa innovations accelerate advancements in our key markets."

If you want to learn more about this impressive company, you can read a fairly recent BizVoice article about its Indiana-based Warrick and Howmet operations, or read about its history and see how the world has been changed by its brainpower.

Oldest Indiana Harley Dealer Approaches Milestone

Southside Harley-Davidson in Indianapolis will celebrate its 65th year next October. Through the decades, the company has seen many customers, two locations and four generations of employees from the same family.

The history:

Though George Schulteti first took ownership in 1947, he became part of the Harley-Davidson family in 1922 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At the time, he owned a Harley-Davidson bicycle, and when he couldn’t find a replacement part at a local bike shop, he went straight to the nearby factory. The plant’s guard explained to him that he would have to go to a dealership, and Schulteti explained to him that was unacceptable. Founder William A. Davidson heard the lively discussion from a nearby office and not only provided Schulteti with the part, but also a promise that if he wanted a job there, he could have it. Two days later, the 16-year-old Schulteti took him up on the offer.

In 1947, Schulteti joined forces with Max Colville, an Illinois dealer, and the two bought John Morgan Harley-Davidson in Indianapolis. For more on the company’s fascinating history, read it here.

Today:

Sherry Long, advertising and marketing director (and fourth generation family employee), explains the company will hold a special event next October to commemorate the anniversary, although they have no specifics yet.

She says the company was located downtown on Meridian Street for 50 years, but moved to the current location (4930 Southport Crossing Place) in 1998 to gain more space.

When asked how the business has changed over the years, Long explains that in the early years, riders rode year-round.

"They used the bike as transportation, not as much for recreation like most riders do today," she says. "However, now there are many more riders. For a lot of years people who rode motorcycles got a bad rap… but over the last 20-plus years the image of motorcyclists has changed a lot and has become much more socially acceptable. Riders are a much more diverse group of people from all walks of life."

She contends some people might be surprised by the environment of the motorcycle shop.

"Some think of a shop as a dirty, greasy place," Long explains. "But we’re a full-service retail shop with general merchandise, collectibles, clothing, apparel, parts and accessories as well as service. We have a wide variety of items for men, women, kids, pets and the bikes."

Long adds that there are more women Harley-Davidson riders now, and about 13% of Southside’s buyers are women (a number she believes is comparable to the national average). She says it seems women riders are jumping onboard and feeling the thrill of riding their own bikes at a faster rate more than ever before.

"We’re also getting more 20 to 30 somethings interested now — more than just the 40-50-year-olds," Long adds. "That’s something Harley-Davidson has been focusing on. Getting younger people to understand there are many options available to add their own individual style to the bikes."

If you’re a Hoosier motorcycle enthusiast or looking for a fun new adventure, visit Southside Harley-Davidson online to see what it has to offer. You can also follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.

Popular Credit Union Turns 70; Branch Celebrations on Dec. 7

FORUM Credit Union will celebrate its 70th anniversary on December 7.  In honor of this milestone, FORUM invites members and the local community to take part in a variety of activities including branch events, a special drawing, and numerous prizes.  

FORUM was founded in 1941 as Hoosier Federal Credit Union and served as a financial institution for the workers of Indiana Bell Telephone Company.  The credit union’s name was officially changed on May 1, 2000 to FORUM Credit Union to be more reflective of the credit union as a whole. FORUM is available to people who live or work in central Indiana or who work for a company that offers FORUM as a benefit to their employees.  FORUM has grown from a volunteer-operated organization to one that serves more than 100,000 members.  Twelve branch locations are available as well as online and mobile banking. 
 
Each branch location will have a special celebration on December 7 from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm that will include a $70 prize drawing, refreshments, and snacks.  FORUM will also commemorate the anniversary with 70 Days of Giveaways at www.ForumCU.com.  This online promotion will start on December 7, 2011 and last through February 14, 2012 and will feature a prize giveaway every day.  Participants will have the chance to enter for gift cards, Apple iPods, Kindle Readers, a TV, digital camera, and an iPad. 

For a branch location near you, visit www.forumcu.com

Brightpoint CEO Rings NASDAQ Bell

Brightpoint received some national exposure this morning in light of the Indianapolis/Plainfield company’s 20th anniversary. The Indy Star explains:

Brightpoint’s Chief Executive Robert J. Laikin will ring the NASDAQ opening bell today in New York to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Indianapolis-based wireless device distributor.

Laikin will ring at 9:30 a.m. at its MarketSite in Times Square.

"It’s a privilege to celebrate Brightpoint’s 20th anniversary and the continued success of the company by ringing the NASDAQ opening bell," said Laikin in a statement last month. "Since the birth of the company in 1989 and our debut as a NASDAQ-listed company in 1994, we’ve grown both in size and capabilities and made the Fortune 500 list in 2009."