Video: BizVoice Focuses on Education, Workforce in New Edition

Our Tom Schuman gives a two-minute look into the new March/April edition of BizVoice® magazine, detailing stories on education and workforce initiatives, as well as a peak into Indiana’s political history with a new entry in our yearlong Road Trip Treasures series. Additionally, a guest columnist tackles the needed ingredients for Indiana to ignite the entrepreneurial fire.

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Indiana’s ‘Growing’ Industry: Wine (Plus, A Little History)

Of the many things Indiana is known for, being a hub for the wine industry might be a surprise.

Yet, Indiana is one of the top 20 wine-producing states in the nation and the Purdue Wine Grape Team (an extension service for the wine grape industry) points to impressive economic impact stats:

  • The wine industry’s annual impact on the economy in Indiana: $100 million
  • There are eight million bottles of Indiana-made wine sold annually; more than one million gallons of wine are produced annually
  • By 2019, there should be 100 wineries in the state (there were 37 in 2007)

And if the topic of wine pops up at your next social event or networking soiree and you need a new “Did you know?” (or just want to know more about the wine industry) here are a few interesting factoids:

  • Enology is the study of wine and winemaking
  • Viticulture is the science, production and study of grapes
  • Purdue offers four courses related to wine and food science and is home to the Richard P. Vine Enology Library, which contains about 2,000 bottles of wine; the school is home to three vineyards, including one near Vincennes

If you’re interested in the history of Indiana wine (including which town was the birthplace for the pre-Prohibition top 10 industry in the state), read this history from Indiana Wines.

And speaking of history, you might be interested in learning about some of the oldest wineries in the world, which pre-date Indiana’s now-booming industry by hundreds of years. A recent blog post from Wine Turtle (a group of wine enthusiasts out to make it easier for beginners to learn about wine) looks at the oldest wineries in the world (edited for length, but find the full post here):

  1. Staffelter Hof – Germany

The Staffelter Hof is one of the oldest wine companies in Germany. Its name is linked to a monastery in Belgium and its winemaking history goes back to the 862 AD.

  1. Château de Goulaine – France

The Loire Valley is a region famous for its spectacular landscapes, medieval castles, and exquisite wines. And one of the oldest wine companies in France and in the world is located here. The Château de Goulaine’s history goes back to the year 1000 when Marquis Goulaine founded the first winery in France.

The winery still belongs to the same family and produces some excellent Muscat and Vouvray wines. For this reason, the company is considered the oldest European family owned winery.

  1. Schloss Johanisberg – Germany

Although Germany is not one of the leader winemaking countries, it boasts some of the oldest wine companies. In fact, Schloss Johannisberg winery is the third on our list and its history begins in the year 1100.

  1. Barone Ricasoli – Italy

In 1141 Baron Ricasoli establishes the oldest wine company in Italy that still bears his name. The winery is located between Siena and Florence, an area particularly famous all over the world for the great quality of the wines.

  1. Antinori – Italy

39 years later, in 1180, in Italy emerges the second oldest wine company of the country, the fifth in the world. The Antinori family started producing wine in the Florentine countryside before moving to Florence in 1202.

  1. Schloss Vollrads – Germany

Back to Germany, we have to mention a wine company founded in 1211 that became famous mainly for its Rieslings, the Schloss Vollrads winery.

Throwback Thursday: What Decides a Legislator’s Vote?

In the today’s look back, we feature an Indiana Chamber-produced cartoon from 1954 titled, “What Factors Decide a Legislator’s Vote?”

It’s a good question, even today. Here are the influencing factors it lists as possibilities:

  • Conscience: What are the facts? What’s right? What’s wrong?
  • Affected by : (A) Personal background and experiences; (B) Knowledge (or lack of knowledge) of the facts
  • The Party “Line”: Party caucus decisions and party discipline
  • “Lobbies”
  • Opinions of the folks “back home”: (A) Whose judgment the legislator respects and/or (B) Who he believes can help him be re-elected

While these are all pretty much the same conditions as today, we’d likely change the reference to legislators from “he” to “he/she” considering state government is no longer just a “boys club.” In fact, you can see that topic addressed in this old Throwback Thursday post.

Throwback Thursday: Land of the Free, Home of a Few “Scoundrels”

Historically, America has been a remarkable nation, filled with bright, innovative and incredibly noble people.

But we’ve had our share of bad apples. No place is perfect, after all. The Huffington Post recently posted “10 of the Biggest Scoundrels in American History.” Here are a few folks from the past you wouldn’t want anywhere near you or your business.

Daniel Drew – Wall Street Pirate
From the 1840s to the 1870s, Daniel Drew was one of America’s most ruthless financiers—a man who believed that speculating on Wall Street without insider knowledge was like “buying cows by candlelight.” During the Civil War, he scalped the public in collusion with New York’s infamous Boss Tweed. Drew made a chunk of his fortune by manipulating New York & Erie Railroad stock, but his association with swindlers Jay Gould and Jim Fisk cost him dearly. Once worth $13 million ($194 million today), old “Uncle Daniel” died with an estate of $148.22.

Hetty Green – Tax-dodging Miser
In the late nineteenth century, investor Hetty Green lived like a wretched pauper, despite having become the first woman to earn a fortune on Wall Street. The multimillionaire was so miserly that she once dressed her son in rags in an attempt to obtain free medical treatment. To avoid establishing a permanent residence and having to pay state taxes, she moved from one flophouse to another in New York and New Jersey. Her brazen tax dodging helped spur the passage of a federal income tax in 1894 and a federal estate tax passed two months after her death in 1916.

Samuel Dickstein – Congressman/Spy
In the years prior to and during World War II, New York congressman Samuel Dickstein kept watch on the subversive efforts of Nazi supporters in the U.S. He also bolstered his income from 1937 to 1940 as a bumbling Soviet spy. Code-named “Crook” because of his persistent demands for money, Dickstein fed his handlers newspaper articles and public government reports—“rubbish,” the Russians called it. Dickstein’s congressional endeavors led to the creation of the House Un-American Activities Committee, an investigative body that would trample individual rights.

Don Lapre – Infomercial Huckster
Starting in the early 1990s, shrieking pitchman Don Lapre made and lost fortunes peddling questionable self-help products on late-night TV. His biggest profits came from selling add-on services to those who set up 1-900 numbers or websites through his company. His empire came tumbling down in 2011 when he was indicted for fraud over his Greatest Vitamin in the World business, charges that led to his suicide. Selling online distributorships for $35, along with endless marketing products, Lapre had raked in $52 million in three years but paid out a pittance in commissions.

Throwback Thursday: Celebrating the Hickory Huskers in Knightstown

My lovely girlfriend surprised me with an hour-long shoot around at the Hoosier Gym in Knightstown last Saturday. The gym, of course, was the home of the fictional Hickory Huskers in “Hoosiers” (1985) — loosely based on the Milan High School team that won the state title in 1954.

We actually viewed the movie together before driving over to the gym, where we would ultimately compete in a few heated games of HORSE. (And it’s not important who won or lost two out of three — so don’t ask me because it’s a sore subject.)

Because “Hoosiers” is my favorite film, this experience was a long time coming. It’s not only my most beloved movie, mind you, but it also includes my favorite film quote: “My team is on the floor.”

Ah yes, a valuable lesson about principle for young Rade. (Trying to circumvent the four-pass mandate will get you nowhere, my man.)

We were shown around by the gentleman on site, and he told us how producers came to choose the gym largely thanks to the work of Knightstown resident Peg Mayhill, who persistently lobbied the Indiana Film Commission during the selection process.

He also took us down into the locker rooms. I found this intriguing because I’d always assumed they filmed the locker room scenes in another location — one of those trademark Hollywood “tricks.” But no, they were down there basking in all their quaint glory.

The gym’s web site also has more on how the gym was initially built:

In 1920, the Knightstown Community School had no gymnasium. Basketball games were held in Bell’s Hall above Jolly’s Drugstore and in the basement gym of the Presbyterian Church. It was clear: the school needed a gymnasium of its own.

In February of 1921, a half dozen Knightstown businessmen met to discuss the situation. They were aware of the fact that Knightstown was lagging behind other towns in the development of a children’s athletic education and believed that area young people were entitled to physical education.

After much debate, a plan was developed and approved. A new gym would be built. Within weeks, their campaign raised more than $14,400 with donations from more than 250 private citizens and several local businesses. Construction started in the summer of 1921 and the gym was ready for use by December 1921. The first high school basketball game in the gym is believed to have been on November 25, 1921. Final score Knightstown 10, Sulphur Springs 11. The first victory for the Knightstown Falcons came on December 2, 1921 against The Indiana School for the Deaf, winning 20-18 in overtime.

Oh, and as far as you know, I made this free throw (pictured).

PS – For more about the gym, see this interesting post on Hidden Gyms. Additionally, the gym offers group tours and can host events, like family reunions, for a very reasonable price. Just call its office at (800) 668-1895.


Throwback Thursday: Remembering South Bend’s Studebaker Story 50 Years Later

December 20 marked 50 years since the Studebaker Corporation left South Bend. Our friends at Inside INdiana Business marked the occasion last week.

The South Bend Tribune also delved deep into the story, remembering the company’s contributions and the impact from its absence — an impact still felt today.

From its humble start in a blacksmith shop at Jefferson Boulevard and Michigan Street, the company grew into the largest wagon manufacturer in the world and the only one to succeed in making automobiles.

Some may feel — 50 years after news of Studebaker’s closing broke Dec. 9, 1963 — that locals still talk too much about the company.

But Carlton said people in South Bend should talk about Studebaker, not as a source of sadness but as a source of inspiration.

Studebaker is a great American success story, and it’s a South Bend story.

“It grew to be the largest vehicle manufacturer in the world,” Carlton said, “and it was completely homegrown in South Bend.”

The fundamentals that made it great are still in our town today, he said.

Honoring and learning from Studebaker’s legacy, without being weighed down by nostalgia, has been South Bend’s challenge during the past five decades.

Kevin Smith, who owns Union Station Technology Center, said too many people stopped believing in the city in the years after the automaker closed.

“We moved forward in the darkness, so to speak,” he said.

Now Smith’s hoping to rekindle the type of innovative energy that drove Studebaker for decades.

“You have to have visionary people. Vision spurs innovation, innovation becomes entrepreneurial. Then you have businesses, and that is the crux of why a community exists,” he said. “That’s what formed South Bend.”

Smith owns the last large Studebaker production building still standing in the city.

The six-story Ivy Tower was built in 1923 along Lafayette Boulevard in an area Smith is calling The Renaissance District.

He plans to connect Ivy Tower with Union Station via a tunnel under the railroad tracks and fill the 800,000-square-foot building with a mix of data centers, technology offices and residential space.

Smith sees his project as building — literally and figuratively — on top of Studebaker’s innovation.

“That whole innovative culture that built South Bend needs to be rejuvenated, and we’re going to rejuvenate it,” he said. “If we want to be a vibrant city again, we have to go back to our roots.”

‘Death in the family’

Patricia Ann Graham remembers Dec. 9, 1963.

Studebaker workers shuffled into the company’s benefits department, where she was a clerk, to fill out pension applications.

“I actually saw some of them cry,” she told The Tribune recently, “and it was all I could do to keep from crying with them.”

Sue Ann Ciesiolka, whose father was a Studebaker test driver in the 1940s and ’50s, used an analogy many have relied upon to describe their grief at the automaker ending its operations here. Production ended Dec. 20.

“When Studebaker’s closed,” she said, “it felt like a death in the family to me.”

The roughly 7,000 people Studebaker employed in South Bend accounted for 8 percent of St. Joseph County’s total employment. The average Studebaker worker was 54; 60 percent had relatives who worked for the company. It was difficult for older employees to say goodbye to the company where many had worked their entire adult lives and built their best friendships.

It also was difficult for many residents to imagine South Bend without the company, which was not just important to the local economy but a big part of the city’s identity. Studebaker started making wagons here in 1852 — 13 years before South Bend was incorporated — and the city grew up as the company became a mighty manufacturer.

Throwback Thursday: What’s a “Hoosier” Anyway?

I’d like to start this post by relaying that I am a proud member of the Indiana Historical Society (IHS). If you live in Indianapolis and haven’t been there, you’ve made a grave mistake. But you can still fix this. If you live in another part of the state, I highly recommend you make it a point to visit next time you’re in the capital city. It’s a tremendous facility, and there is much to be experienced there.

That said, every Indiana native has undoubtedly contemplated the meaning of the word “Hoosier,” and myriad theories have been offered. I once lived in Wyoming for a few years, and had a coworker from Missouri. She explained to me how the term was used in her home state as an insult to describe someone as being somewhat of a backwoods hillbilly. So naturally, I sabotaged her desk chair and had a good laugh when she fell over… no no, of course I didn’t, that wouldn’t be a very “Hoosiery” thing to do. (I simply and calmy explained to her that in actuality, Hoosiers are the best damn people on earth.)

At any rate, this post on the IHS web site is one of the more comprehensive looks I’ve seen. Which theory do you believe?

How did Indiana get its nickname as “The Hoosier State?” And how did people from Indiana come to be called “Hoosiers?” There are many different theories about how the word Hoosier came to be and how it came to have such a connection with the state of Indiana.

One of the earliest known uses of the term is found in an 1827 letter that states, “There is a yankee trick for you – done up by a Hoosier.” Other early uses provide some clues about the meaning of the word. In 1831, Gen. John Tipton received a proposal from a businessman offering to name his boat the “Indiana Hoosier” if Tipton would give him business in the area. Sarah Harvey, a Quaker from Richmond, explained in an 1835 letter to her relatives, “old settlers in Indiana are called ‘Hooshers’ and the cabins they first live in ‘Hoosher nests’ . . .”

The word “Hoosier” was widely used by the 1830s. Around this time, John Finley of Richmond wrote a poem called The Hoosier’s Nest, which was widely read. He wrote the word as “hoosher” and did not explain its meaning, which leads historians to believe that Finley felt his readers would already know and understand the word. Finley wrote, “With men of every hue and fashion, Flock to this rising ‘Hoosher’ nation.”

So, what does the word mean? In 1848, Bartlett’s Dictionary of Americanisms defined “Hoosier” as “A nickname given at the west, to natives of Indiana.” In John Finley’s poem, the word “Hoosher” seems to refer less to the pioneers of Indiana and more to the qualities he thought they possessed, like self-reliance and bravery.

No one seems to know how the word “Hoosier” came to be. Some people think it was meant to mock Indiana as a rough, backwoods and backwards place. Others think that early settlers used the term with pride to describe themselves as a hearty, courageous group. One historian, Jacob Piatt Dunn, even suggested that the word “Hoosier” originally referred to boatmen who lived on the Indiana shore. We may never know for sure, but research and debate are likely to continue about this mysterious word.

The following theories and stories about the origin of the word “Hoosier” are known to be false:

  • It comes from the word Hoosa, which means American Indian maize or corn.
  • Hoosier’s Men was a term used for Indiana employees of a canal contractor named Hoosier.
  • “Who’s ear?” – Writer James Whitcomb Riley joked that this question, supposedly posed by early Indiana settlers following tavern fights which had resulted in someone’s ear being cut off and left on the floor, eventually became the word “Hoosier.”
  • “Who’s yer/here?” – This was supposedly the way early Indiana settlers would respond to a knock on their cabin doors. The story goes that it was eventually shortened to “Hoosier?”
  • “Who’s your [relative]?” – Again, legend has it that this question was eventually shortened to “Hoosier?”

Throwback Thursday: Remembering the Election of a Hoosier President

If you haven’t been to the Benjamin Harrison Home in downtown Indianapolis, you should check it out. This is where Harrison lived when he won the 1888 election in a year that proved to be quite monumental for the city and state. And here are some interesting facts from the Harrison Home’s November 2013 newsletter, “The Car-O-Line.”

Statistics of 1888 Election

  • Five parties were on the ballot – Republican, Democrat, Prohibition, Union Labor and American
  • Harrison actually lost the popular vote to Grover Cleveland (5,538,163 to 5,443,633)
  • Here is a fun web site to learn more about this and other elections
  • The 1888 election was not the first or only time a candidate won the popular vote but lost the election. It has happened three other times in our nation’s history:
  1. In 1824, Andrew Jackson won the popular vote but got less than 50% of the electoral votes. John Quincy Adams became the next president when he was picked by the House of Representatives
  2. In 1876, Samuel Tilden won the popular vote but lost the election when Rutherford B. Hayes got 185 electoral votes to Tilden’s 184.In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the election to George W. Bush.
  3. In the most highly contested election in modern history, the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the Florida recount of ballots, giving Bush the state’s 25 electoral votes for a total of 271 to Gore’s 255

Throwback Thursday: Old School Governance

Our annual Legislative Directory remains the most in-demand product from our legislative services department. (And stay tuned, because this year it will be offered as a fancy new app for your mobile device!)

The directory features pictures and bios of the members of Indiana's House and Senate, and is a handy tool for lobbyists and politicos to know their reps. So imagine our delight when we found a Legislative Directory from 1945!

Here are some fun facts:

Governor Ralph Gates: Gates, a Republican, hailed from Columbia City. He was Indiana's sixth wartime governor, and attended the University of Michigan. He was also an ensign in the U.S. Navy in World War I, and made his living as an attorney. (I later read that Gates died in 1978 of natural causes, and is best known for helping to rebuild the GOP after it came close to collapsing following the KKK scandal of the late 1920s.)

Lt. Governor Richard James: Also an attorney, James was from Portland. He attended Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Party breakdown: The Senate consisted of 37 Republicans and 13 Democrats. The House held 69 Republicans and 31 Democrats. Oddly enough, the exact same splits exist today in both houses in 2013!

Women: There were eight women in the legislature at the time (one senator; seven reps). Contrast that with 2013, as 31 women (eight senators; 23 reps) help shape legislation in the Indiana Statehouse. Our Lt. Governor, of course, is also a woman now (Sue Ellspermann) — as was the last person to hold that position (Becky Skillman).

‘In Olden Times It Was Different’

This headline quotes from The Medical Record, circa 1884, lamenting how the “chief characteristics of modern business (is) to be always in a hurry.”

While we might re-word that to “back in the day, things were different,” it turns out that we’ve been singing the same song for over 100 years: “life is too busy,” “we can’t keep up with business,” “we have to remember to stop and smell the roses.”

There was a recent post that caught my eye on this geeky blog that my husband reads called xkcd (described as a “webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language” – also a note: some salty language can be found throughout the blog, but none on this particular posting).

The blog post has collected quotes from a number of editorials from journals and magazines spanning 1871 to 1915. In it, the authors sorrowfully explained how the pace of life was too frenetic, that no one just enjoyed a good conversation anymore, and that the art of letter writing was dying out.

Can it be that people over a century ago were as annoyed with technological advances – such as printing presses and long-distance travel (gasp!) – as we are with our technology today?

Apparently, the answer is "yes." Well, at least we can take heart in realizing that our ancestors were no better than we are and people have been having this exact same conversation for over a century.

My favorite part is this entry from The Journal of Education, Volume 29 from 1907:

“Our modern family gathering, silent around the fire, each individual with his head buried in his favourite magazine, is the somewhat natural outcome of the banishment of colloquy from the school …”

You could probably replace “favourite magazine” with smartphone, and “silent around the fire” with “silent in front of the television” for a fast-forward to family gatherings today.

If only our ancestors could see us now.