Ag Strength – By the Numbers

agThere’s no doubting the continued strength of Indiana’s agricultural industry (see the state fact sheet). We’ve told the stories often in BizVoice magazine – and will do so in the upcoming July-August issue (with a look at the prominence of ag businesses in Kosciusko County).

But according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, Indiana did not rank in the top three exporters by state of various products. There are some interesting states and dollar figures included (selected examples):

  • Soybeans: Illinois ($3.1 billion), Iowa ($2.7 billion) and Minnesota ($1.8 billion)
  • Corn: The same three states as soybeans, with Iowa leading the way at $1.1 billion
  • Wheat: Kansas ($1.5 billion), North Dakota and Montana
  • Pork: Iowa ($2 billion), North Carolina and Minnesota
  • Beef: Nebraska ($946 million), Texas and Kansas
  • Dairy; California ($1.2 billion), Wisconsin and New York
  • Poultry: Georgia, North Carolina and Arkansas
  • Fresh fruit: California ($2.5 billion), Florida ($3.2 billion) and Washington

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.

VIDEO: A Look at the Promise Indiana Initiative

Clint Kugler of the Wabash County YMCA discusses the Promise Indiana Initiative. The initiative is helping boost college savings accounts and cultivating a fresh approach to education in the state.

Read a feature on the program in the latest edition of BizVoice.

A Day to Remember in Evansville

evilleArmed with my Starbuck’s latte, I stepped out into the cold. It was mid-January and I was headed to Evansville to conduct interviews for our education/workforce development issue of BizVoice® magazine.

I started the day around 7 a.m. and didn’t pull into my driveway until shortly after 7 p.m. that evening. You know what? It was worth it. In fact, it was unforgettable.

First up: Ivy Tech’s College Connection Coach initiative. The program places Ivy Tech employees in high schools to promote a culture of college attainment and to provide career counseling and advisement. Launched last fall, it stresses collaboration with guidance counselors, administrators and teachers.

Carrie Feltis, a College Connection Coach in the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation, spends two days a week at both Central and Harrison High Schools. While visiting Central, I watched her interact with a senior named Lindsey, with whom she’s worked closely. What a rapport! They shared laughs – lots of them – and proudly conveyed Lindsey’s many accomplishments. Among them: She’ll be the first member of her family to graduate from high school.

Next was a visit to Ivy Tech Community College-Southwest/Wabash Valley Region hosted by chancellor Jonathan Weinzapfel, a former state legislator and Evansville mayor. He passionately expressed the importance of the program and its potential impact in leading students down a path that includes postsecondary education.

Then it was time to dive into my next story. It was time to step into Signature School.

Signature, the state’s first charter school, is nationally recognized for its challenging curriculum and unique culture. Located in downtown Evansville, its close proximity to libraries, the YMCA, the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and more provides the backdrop for learning beyond the doors of Signature’s two buildings.

Executive Director Jean Hitchcock beamed as we stepped into dynamic classrooms and met the people who create Signature’s success. The teachers are passionate. The students are spirited. It’s a tight-knit team that lives by the Signature Way.

If there’s one word to sum up my impressions of Signature, it’s this: brilliant.

Brilliant minds. Brilliant opportunities. That’s Signature.

Making a College ‘Promise'; Community Applications Available

bThe March-April issue of the Indiana Chamber’s BizVoice magazine will include a feature on the Wabash County Promise and the move to expand that to Promise Indiana.

What is the Promise? It’s creating college savings accounts for young people as early as kindergarten, but it’s also so much more — changing the culture and mindset about the importance of education to young people, families and communities.

Wabash County began its work in 2013. Three more counties (LaGrange, Noble and Whitley) came on board in 2014. Now, applications are open through March 9 for additional pilot counties for the upcoming school year.

Local leadership and support are the keys to success. Data and resources are provided to assist selected counties in a program that is gaining national attention and praise.

Remembers, to see the full story in BizVoice (online and in the mail on February 27).

People are Still Reading Magazines

10915174_884707758241099_6207917221940347920_nWhile the magazine world has been a volatile one in recent years, we’re proud to celebrate the current 100th issue of BizVoice. It’s focused on the simple question: What will it take for all of Indiana to achieve economically at the highest levels?

Check out BizVoice online. Let us know if you want a print version. And stay tuned for future issues as we continue to report on Indiana Vision 2025 (Outstanding Talent is the focus in March-April) as well as telling business stories from throughout the state.

As far as that volatility, check out these numbers compiled by USA Today:

  • 2014 :99 closures; 190 launches
  • 2013: 56 and 185
  • 2012: 81 and 226
  • 2011: 239 and 152
  • 2010: 176 and 214
  • Five-year totals:  564 closures and 1,054 launches

Why so many launches? Maybe because magazines remain a prime source for business advertising.

To determine the value of various forms of business-to-business advertising, the Association of Business Information and Media Companies conducted a recent survey. A key result: 69% prefer print magazines to learn about new products, equipment, services and suppliers.

Jim Wagner (jwagner@indianachamber.com) can help you grow your business through BizVoice. Contact Jim to learn more.

Promise Initiative is Indeed Promising

I went to Wabash (the city, not the college) recently. At one point (1985-88), I was in Wabash full time as sports editor of the local newspaper. Among the highlights during that time: a still celebrated 1986 state baseball championship.

But I digress. The reason for this visit to Wabash was for an upcoming BizVoice magazine story on the Wabash County Promise. And if young, energetic leaders have their way — and there is no reason to doubt them — the program to drive postsecondary educational attainment will one day be the Indiana Promise.

The Promise begins with opening 529 college savings accounts for young students (kindergarten through third grade). It continues with touch points that engage students and parents. It includes a Walk Into My Future day that brings thousands of young people to a college campus.

The initial success is laudable. The local leaders I spoke with know they must continue the work.  One, Parker Beauchamp, told me about speaking on campus (with the words really applying to the entire program): “It was about pumping those kids up, having them be part of something positive and letting them have a say in their future.”

The full story will be the in March-April BizVoice, which will include more articles on business-education connections and the possibilities that emerge through strong partnerships.

 

Numbers Game: Fixing a Mistake

Someone told me it was a bad idea to include 644 different numbers on just two pages of the current issue of BizVoice magazine. He was probably right, but we’ll leave that judgement to the readers. The purpose here is to fix a mistake with eight of those digits.

I was just fascinated by the various population information by county that helps tell the story of metro/rural economic challenges in our state. But in combining the charts from several sources, we messed up the 2025 and 2050 population projections for four counties — St. Joseph, Scott, Shelby and Spencer.

As an astute reader pointed out, calamity must be coming to South Bend and Mishawaka if St. Joseph County was going to decrease from more than 266,000 people a few years ago to 21,000-plus in 2025. The correct number is 272,788.

The error is on Page 27 of the print edition. Again, four counties and two columns. The numbers were there, but just out of order. Here are the correct numbers.

We hope you find the data and stories in the issue interesting and thought-provoking. Thanks to those who have already provided feedback, including the catch of the mistake.

It’s far from the first error in my journalism career, and I’m certain it won’t be the last. Hopefully there is plenty of good that comes in between that helps provide information that you find interesting and entertaining.

Thank you for reading BizVoice.