Indiana INTERNnet IMPACT Awards Celebrate the Best in Internships

iin 2

Indiana INTERNnet, the statewide resource for internship opportunities managed by the Indiana Chamber, has helped connect students and employers across the state since 2001. Today, the organization honored excellence among interns, employers and career development professionals at the 10th annual IMPACT Awards Luncheon, sponsored by Ivy Tech Community College.

The theme for the luncheon was “Homegrown: Cultivating Local Talent,” and Angie Hicks, namesake and face of Angie’s List, delivered the keynote address focusing on the abundance of opportunities for young professionals to succeed in Indiana. Hicks, a Fort Wayne native, credits an internship with Bill Oesterle as the stepping stone that led to her success at Angie’s List. She so impressed Oesterle as an intern that he asked her to join him in co-founding Angie’s List in 1995. Today, the company serves more than 3 million paid households, delivering an e-commerce marketplace as well as reliable consumer reviews covering everything from home improvement to health care.

“Experiential learning is a key piece of Indiana’s workforce development plans, and Angie Hicks is a shining example of why that is,” said Indiana INTERNnet Executive Director Janet Boston.

“The IMPACT Awards showcases some of Indiana’s best and brightest and fuels our optimism for the state’s future. Internships are making a difference in our young professionals’ skill levels, and often, these opportunities are leading to full-time jobs either with the intern employer or another Indiana employer. Everyone, including the state as a whole, benefits from meaningful internships.”

The IMPACT Award winners:
Paige Carroll (Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.; Ball State University) – College Intern of the Year
Salvador Espinoza (Group Dekko, Inc.; East Noble High School) – High School Intern of the Year
Scott Bachman (Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.) – Non-traditional Intern of the Year
Brandi Gilbert (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) – Career Development Professional of the Year
netlogx, LLC – Employer of the Year (For-Profit)
IU Health (North and Saxony hospitals) and St. Vincent (Carmel and Fishers hospitals) – Employers of the Year (Nonprofit)
Gerry Dick of Inside INdiana Business was the emcee for the event, and Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann provided closing remarks. The celebration took place at the Ivy Tech Corporate College and Culinary Center in Indianapolis.

For more information about the Indiana INTERNnet program, visit www.IndianaINTERN.net or call the hotline at 317-264-6852.

College/University Intern of the Year
When Paige Carroll began her insurance operations internship with Baldwin & Lyons, Inc. (B&L), she had no prior insurance knowledge. She was responsible, however, for a task of great strategic importance to the company that specializes in marketing and underwriting insurance for the transportation industry.

In a short amount of time, Carroll learned the process from the ground up. Details of the project shifted several times as the departments that requested it made changes, and Carroll easily adapted to the new needs. She even trained and supervised an intern from another department to ensure project completion.

“Paige exemplified Baldwin & Lyons’ values of excellence, innovation and teamwork,” boasts Valerie Wilson, corporate communications manager and chief of staff of B&L. “She truly immersed herself in this experience and, as a result, indicated she is now interested in obtaining her Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation and producer’s license so she can continue to thrive in the insurance industry.”

High School Intern of the Year
You could say Salvador Espinoza is a “serial intern” with Group Dekko, Inc.

He began his tenure with the company in 2013 as one of the students from East Noble High School to participate in the pilot of the Explore program. Explore is a paid summer internship experience in which high school students rotate through a set of manufacturing careers during a six-week period to see where their skills and interests align. Since then, he has completed five internships with Group Dekko and served as a mentor to other students in the program.

“Group Dekko is privileged to be a part of this young man’s life,” remarks Cynthia Nesbitt, training and development specialist at Group Dekko. “To see how he has grown over the years has been exciting and we look forward to the day he becomes a leader of our company.”

Non-traditional Intern of the Year
On his first day at Baldwin & Lyons, Inc. (B&L), Scott Bachman noted in his work plan – “I am ready to jump into new and ongoing projects in order to learn as much as possible.”

This declaration was put to the test when, six weeks into his internship, he was tapped to fill in for a manager on a number of projects until a replacement could be hired. One project was a strategic company initiative with a budget exceeding $1 million.

Thanks to Bachman’s work, the project didn’t miss a beat, and he ensured the transition to a new project manager was seamless. As a result, he saved B&L an estimated $10,000 in potential temporary consultant fees.

Bachman accepted a full-time position as a project coordinator following the completion of his internship, and Valerie Wilson, corporate communications manager and chief of staff, says B&L is “excited to use his skill and ingenuity to better the PMO.”

Career Development Professional of the Year
Eight years ago, Brandi Gilbert set out to develop an internship program that would help undergraduate students gain professional experience while exploring career options. The result was the IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship (LHSI) Program, which has employed more than 350 interns since beginning in 2007.

The LHSI program continues to grow from the initial group of less than 20 students to the latest class of more than 70. It is one of the largest undergraduate internship programs on the IUPUI campus, offering sophomore and junior students a year-long paid internship with faculty mentors in the life and health sciences. The goal is to develop each intern’s transferable professional skills.

“Brandi always has the best interests of her students at heart,” declares Kamilah Walters, senior ambassador for the LHSI program.

Employer of the Year (For-profit)
The netlogx, LLC internship program is a balance of practical work experience, networking opportunities and professional development activities – with mentoring at the center of it all.

Interns take part in the netlogx Mentor Program designed to provide information, encouragement and support to help them succeed. Interns are immediately integrated into the work environment, working side-by-side with seasoned employees on a variety of tasks and owning at least one project.

“My time at netlogx helped me grow both in my professional career and my development as a human being,” recognizes Joe Harrison, 2015 summer intern. “I was awarded opportunities that helped further myself along the path to success and that have taught the importance of being a kind and personable individual on top of being intellectual and professional. These are skills that I will cherish moving forward in my career.”

Employers of the Year (Non-profit)
Noblesville High School (NHS) is one of the most recognized institutions in the state for forging business-education partnerships to benefit their students. The program it administers with Indiana University Health North and Saxony hospitals and St. Vincent Carmel and Fishers hospitals is a productive model thanks to the dedication of the hospital professionals.

The three-way partnership began with NHS approaching Melinda Wirstiuk, volunteer coordinator with St. Vincent, to explore internship possibilities at the Fishers location. The result was a system in which students rotated through different hospital departments, gaining exposure to various health care careers. Students have had the opportunities to observe surgeries, shadow nurse practitioners, meet with doctors and more.

Continued growth led NHS to approach St. Vincent Carmel and IU Health. The North and Saxony locations enthusiastically came on board, and now students in the program spend one semester with St. Vincent and one semester with IU Health.

Award Nominees:

Interns
• Emily Atkinson, IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship Program
• Scott Bachman, Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.
• Lillian Bailey, National Association of Commissions for Women
• Casey Bauchle, IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship Program
• Ricardo Bedon, Lake City Bank
• Emily Bell, Parkview Health
• Thomas Cantrell, Modern Woodmen of America
• Paige Carroll, Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.
• Angelique Cassell, REGIONAL Federal Credit Union
• Becca Christensen, Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.
• Karoline Coryea, Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce
• Cory DeWitt, Ontario Systems
• Salvador Espinoza, Group Dekko
• Rashell Garretson, Indiana University School of Medicine
• Ashley Griffith, IU Health
• Jenna Harden, Children’s Bureau, Inc.
• Shaun Heinzelman, Somerset CPAs and Advisors
• Rachel Jones, Appriss, Inc.
• Harsimranjot Kaur, Indiana University Public Policy Institute
• Chelsea Kulesa, Ontario Systems
• Brandon Nettrouer, Gibson
• Emma Nicoson, Kleinfeld Bridal
• Sara Omohundro, Valeo Financial Advisor
• Ryan Palmore, Indiana Commission for Higher Education
• Sarah Pelko, Crossroads of America Council, BSA
• Addie Pike, Ontario Systems
• Sarah Post, IUPUI Office of Student Employment
• Nicole Quint, IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship Program
• Cydney Ringlespaugh, Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.
• Haley Rivera, Brickyard Pediatrics
• Katy Robinson, Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce
• Ashley Shuler, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
• Rachel Slauter, Jasper Foundation, Inc.
• Thomas Smith, RL Turner Corporation
• Carianne Sobey, Ambassador Enterprises
• Benjamin Verdi, Indiana Department of Workforce Development
• Gabe Vervynckt, Marshall County Community Foundation, Inc.
• Rex Waldo, Ontario Systems
• Greg Warren, Baldwin & Lyons, Inc.
• Davieon White, Anderson Innovation Center
• Siara Wolf, ProCourse Fiduciary Advisors, LLC

Career Development Professionals
• Liz Ferris, Indiana University East
• Brandi Gilbert, IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship Program

Employers
• Ambassador Enterprises
• International Medical Group
• IU Health (North and Saxony hospitals) & St. Vincent (Carmel and Fishers hospitals)
• IUPUI Life-Health Sciences Internship Program
• Lincoln Financial Group
• Margaret Mary Health
• netlogx, LLC
• Roche Diagnostics
• Salesforce
• TransWorks
• Wabash National Corporation

Indiana Ranked Top 10 in Retirement Plan Participation

19159583The Pew Trusts recently issued a report showing Indiana has the seventh best participation among employees eligible for employer-sponsored plans of 50 states. Indiana is also in the top twenty in providing access to plans by employers.

Comparatively, Hoosiers are near the top in participation but there is still room to go. In Indiana, 63% of workers have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan and of these employees, only 57% participate.

Thirty-seven percent of employees in Indiana do not have access to a retirement plan. If you, as an employer, don’t offer a retirement plan, 100% of your employees may have to rely on social security for their sole retirement benefit.

In 2015, the average social security benefit for all retired workers in the United States was $15,936 per year. If the 43% of your employees who are not participating in the retirement plan are planning on being supported solely by social security in retirement, they would be living on less than minimum wage.

If employees cannot retire because of lack of savings and instead continue working, what are the long term costs to employers? Some things to consider might be higher wage costs, higher medical and long term disability costs, to name a few. A recent report from Mercer says, “If 4% of your population is retirement eligible and half of those people choose to delay retirement, 10% of your employee population would experience promotion blockage.” This suggests that for each workers delay in retirement can insight five or more promotion delays.

As Hoosier employers, here is what you can do to improve retirement savings:

  • If you do not have a plan, consider sponsoring a plan.
  • If you do have a plan, encourage participation and realistic savings rates. You can do this by implementing changes in the administration of your plan to automate participation and deferral increases, essentially putting these choices on autopilot for your employees.

Great job, Indiana on being one of the leaders in the country with retirement plan participation. Now is the time to get to work on helping more employees save for retirement. – Indiana a State that Works.

Douglas G. Prince is CEO and a principal at ProCourse Fiduciary Advisors, LLC.

Paving the Way for Good Roads

PollQuestion

We’ve got a new poll question (top right) asking about a strategy to pay for long-term infrastructure funding. The current House Republican plan calls for a modest gasoline tax increase and higher cigarette taxes (that would go toward Medicaid spending, with sales tax funds currently used in that area shifting to transportation).

More details on the legislation: HB 1001

The most recent poll asked for your top legislative priority. Civil rights expansion (36%) topped the list, followed by increased transportation funding (28%) and education testing reform (16%).

Bicentennial Internship Immerses Student in State’s Future Visioning

andreAndré Zhang Sonera is serving as a Bicentennial Visioning Liaison with the Office of Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann. The Visioning Project is a Bicentennial legacy project focusing on Indiana’s future. The project brought together thought leaders throughout the state to identify “big ideas” for Indiana’s future, which will be compiled into a book that’s expected to be completed this summer.

Indiana INTERNnet: What have you been responsible for during your internship with the Indiana Bicentennial Visioning Project?

André Zhang Sonera: “As a Bicentennial Scholar, my role on this project is coordinating the logistics of each (visioning) session. My job requires me to look at the big picture and make sure that all the knots are in place and ready to go for the event. From coordinating the venue to making sure that everything is running smoothly and efficiently for our experts – logistics are an essential component to the success of our sessions.”

IIN: Describe how this internship is helping you grow as a young professional toward your career goals.

AZS: “This internship has provided me the unique experience to gain in-depth knowledge about our state. It is not every day that you have the opportunity to meet and learn from the brightest Hoosier minds as they share their passion and vision for a better Indiana.

“This experience has also helped me develop insight into how the government works at the state level, nurturing my passion for public service and sparking an interest for a career in government.”

IIN: What have you learned so far about Indiana? Has anything surprised you?

AZS: “Each session is focused on important topics that shape the future of our state. Thanks to the research and data presented by Dr. Breanca Merritt from the IU Public Policy Institute at the beginning of the (first) session, I now have a better understanding of the current and future state of Indiana regarding a variety of important topics.

“But my favorite part is hearing the innovative ideas of our experts as they gather together to envision the future of Indiana. At the end of each session, I have a sense of belonging and pride of being an ‘honorary’ Hoosier.

“I definitely would encourage other students (K-12 and college) to get involved with their towns and counties and partake in this unique experience. It is not every day that we get to celebrate our state’s Bicentennial, and it is an incredible opportunity to contribute a legacy for future generations.”

See the in the January/February 2016 edition of BizVoice magazine.

Cook: Governors’ Races Unique, More Difficult to Handicap than Federal Races

Cook_CharlieCharlie Cook is editor and publisher of the Cook Political Report and a political analyst for National Journal magazine. Cook is considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on American politics, and The New York Times has called him “one of the best political handicappers in the nation.”

Cook will be the keynote speaker at the Indiana Chamber’s 2016 Legislative Dinner on February 9. (Get your tickets now!) I recently spoke with Cook for an evaluation of this very turbulent time in American politics.

Below is my final question (see his other responses about political surprises, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, and America’s infatuation with presidential politics) :

Indiana is already gearing up for the 2016 gubernatorial race – a rematch from 2012. Gov. Pence has been under heat on some social issues, and lately for the state’s stance on accepting refugees. John Gregg’s supporters have seen these as benefits to their chances. What do you expect in this race, and do you think Pence could be vulnerable?

Cook: I tend to delegate governors’ races to our senior editor Jennifer Duffy, so I’m not doing deep dives into these races. But I’ll say that Indiana went through a period where Democrats were very competitive and did well – like Evan Bayh, and Obama carried it in 2008.

But in 2012, Indiana wasn’t even in the top 10 to 12 competitive races presidentially. While governors’ races tend to be more independent of national politics and less straight party than Senate and House races, I think Indiana has reverted more to type and back into the pretty Republican column. It doesn’t mean a Republican governor is unbeatable and a race can get relatively close, but for a Democrat to get over the finish line, that’s awfully hard in Indiana.

It’s one thing to cover Senate and House races from Washington, but governors’ races have their own unique sets of issues and rhythms, so it’s hard for anyone from out of state to understand it.

Work Share Gets Dog and Pony Show, but No Vote

statehouse-picThe 2016 legislative session marked the first time in the last several years that the work share policy made it to the hearing stage, despite having strong bipartisan support. Still, the Chamber knew in advance of the hearing that Rep. Doug Gutwein (R-Francesville), chair of the committee, was probably not going to take a vote on the bill. Our plan was to give it our best shot and hope that the chairman would change his mind.

The bill’s author, Rep. Ober, testified that work share is a win-win for employers and employees, and he laid the groundwork for why the bill is important for both. Employers in an economic downturn retain skilled workers who receive partial unemployment compensation instead of being laid off. That means employers then do not have to rehire employees (and retrain) when the economy picks back up. Employees also retain their jobs and their employer sponsored benefits while drawing a prorated unemployment compensation benefit. Additionally, Rep. Karlee Macer (D-Indianapolis), a co-author on the bill, testified of her long-time support for the issue.

The Chamber presented study findings, released just this month; the research was conducted as a joint request by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and the Indiana Chamber. Noted economist Michael Hicks from Ball State University, the author of the study, was unable to be present for the hearing. The most important point made by the study was the impact on the economy. During the peak of national unemployment in 2010, Indiana having a work share program would have translated into $500,000 less in month to month income volatility and approximately 10,500 employees would have kept their jobs.

The Chamber would like to thank members Tom Easterday of Subaru Indiana Automotive and Mark Gramelspacher of Evergreen Global Advisors for taking the time out of their busy schedules to come testify before the committee in favor of work share. Their points to the committee were right on the mark. Easterday noted that Indiana is the most manufacturing intensive state in the U.S. Additionally, he talked about the state’s shortage of skilled workers and why retaining skilled workers during an economic downturn is so vital to manufacturing in Indiana – and a work share program can help accomplish that.

Gramelspacher testified, “There is a better way to run the unemployment program and that is work share. It creates a win-win from a lose-lose. This is a rare opportunity for the legislative body. Work share allows employers to maintain the employment relationship with known individuals and people that employers have already recruited, interviewed, tested, trained and invested in.”

The Indiana Institute for Working Families and AFL-CIO testified in favor of the bill as well.

The Indiana Manufacturers Association (IMA) testified that previously it was not supportive of work share, but because of the Chamber’s recent study it recognized the benefits and now supported the concept. However, the IMA then proceeded to express various concerns for implementing the actual program.

Prior to the hearing, the DWD representative acquiesced that the Chamber had been able to remove most of the agency’s arguments in opposition to the bill. In testimony, however, DWD opposed even moving the bill out of committee for further debate. That was a curious strategy, given the discussion before the hearing and the fact that the agency partnered with the Chamber on the study.

The Indiana Chamber brought forth two viable options to pay for the minimal cost to set up a state work share program and maintain it annually.

Nonetheless, the committee chairman followed DWD’s lead and announced at the close of the hearing that no vote was being taken then or essentially anytime this session.

Once again, here is why work share would be extremely beneficial for the state:

Four Areas Where Gov. Pence’s State of the State Address Missed the Mark

?????????????????????????????????????????The 2016 session of the Indiana General Assembly may be short in time but, as usual, there is a long list of important issues. In outlining his priorities in the State of the State speech, however, Gov. Mike Pence fell short in four key areas.

First is civil rights expansion. After appropriately listening to Hoosiers since last spring’s public relations crisis, the Governor failed to articulate a clear vision. His words, depending on interpretation, bordered on telling legislators to do nothing at a time when action is needed.

The Indiana Chamber went through a similar lengthy listening process as public policy committees, the executive committee and the full board of directors (all comprised of representatives of member companies) debated the issue. Once a final determination was made, the Chamber communicated the decision that the members had voted to support the expansion of civil rights to protect sexual orientation and gender identity. Although not popular in all circles, similar clarity was needed from the Governor.

In the critical area of infrastructure funding, the Governor advocated against the only long-term solution presented thus far because it included several responsible revenue increases. As an organization that works each day to create and maintain the best possible business climate, the Indiana Chamber does not go looking for tax hikes. But in this case, they are necessary.

Third, on education, the “let’s take a step back on ISTEP” remark goes too far. Indiana already has a new test that measures our new, stronger standards. The test needs rebranded, not revised, and administered correctly to achieve the desired results.

Finally, there was no mention of work share, a common sense program to support employers and employees in an economic downturn. It will be needed at some point and the best time to implement it is now.

The Indiana Chamber has and will continue to communicate with the Governor and his staff our positions on these issues, which we believe are in the best interest of the state’s economy, employers and workers.

Report: Work Share Program Would Have Positive Impact on Indiana

CYNJvbRUoAA_kOmA new report released today by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce encourages the state to implement a voluntary work share program, labeling it “a clear stabilizer during a business cycle.” Work share would enable employees to stay on their job at reduced hours during tough economic times and collect partial unemployment compensation.

The policy – currently in place in more than half the states – has enjoyed support on both sides of the aisle the last few years, but has yet to make much progress in the state Legislature. The Indiana Chamber hopes this research, led by Michael Hicks of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University, will help get the ball rolling to pass work share legislation. The research was conducted at the request of the Indiana Chamber Foundation and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

The overriding conclusion reached by Hicks is that a “work share program would reduce business costs for participating firms by reducing search and hiring costs, and would stabilize families and communities.”

He continues, “We anticipate that unemployment and earnings will suffer less volatility associated with an economic downturn. This may have longer term impacts by reducing long-term unemployment and increasing consumer spending and growth in sales tax revenues over the short run.”

The report notes that the manufacturing sector, particularly the medium-sized manufacturing firms, would be the ones using the program the most. Indiana remains the most manufacturing intensive state in the country.

These findings confirm what advocates have been saying for several years, remarks Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar.

“The benefits are real and significant. Work share allows employers to maintain a skilled, trained and stable workforce, while at the same time, employees keep their jobs and benefits instead of facing unemployment and further financial uncertainty.

“There is no negative impact on the state’s unemployment insurance fund,” he offers. “Instead of paying full benefits to a smaller group of recipients, a larger group of employees will receive reduced benefits.”

Here’s an example of how a work share program unfolds. Instead of laying off 10 workers due to decreased demand, a company could keep the full workforce in place but reduce the hours of 40 workers by 25%. The impacted employees would receive three-quarters of their normal salary, as well as be eligible for partial unemployment insurance benefits to supplement their reduced paycheck and keep full benefits.

Brinegar explains that “work share is generally a temporary solution used by employers for no more than six months during an economic slowdown.”

Tom Easterday, executive vice president for Subaru of Indiana Automotive in Lafayette, believes now – while the state’s economic picture is still bright – is the perfect time to enact a work share program.

“If we wait until there’s another economic downturn to take action, then it will be too late. Businesses across Indiana may already be impacted and jobs will be in jeopardy. Now is the time to prepare by implementing an efficient and effective workshare program, so it’s in place when needed.”

In the report, Hicks replays the unfortunate domino effect that took place in Kokomo in 2009 when two large automakers (GM and Fiat-Chrysler) suspended manufacturing for two months. While they could afford to continue employment due to their cash reserves, their large supply chain of smaller companies could not and were forced to lay off employees.

“Work share would have likely enabled some of these operations to continue at a slower pace. … The commercial benefits would have accrued primarily to these smaller manufacturing firms and would likely have stabilized the Kokomo economy significantly during this time.”

Brinegar reveals that early estimates place the annual costs to establish and operate a work share program in Indiana to be between $1 million and $1.5 million. He believes a nominal yearly surcharge of $10-$15 for those Hoosier businesses currently paying into the unemployment insurance fund would reach that amount and make the most sense.

“The amount is so small, especially for the possible benefits to an employer down the road,” he begins. “This group also received a per employee break recently when the state executed the early payoff of the federal unemployment insurance loan. This saved each business more than $126 per employee.”

Establishing a work share program in the state is one of the Indiana Chamber’s 2016 top legislative priorities.

The work share research document is available at www.indianachamber.com/labor.

Indiana Chamber Outlines Priorities for School Testing Reform

19173605In testimony this week, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce began outlining its priorities for school testing reform. Caryl Auslander, the Indiana Chamber’s vice president of education and workforce development policy, expands on some of her remarks:

Pause school accountability for one year only:

“The Indiana Chamber fully supports a one-year pause in school accountability due to the many missteps in the latest ISTEP testing cycle. Teachers should still be subject to the important classroom and other evaluations that take place, but not have test scores used for that purpose for this one year.

“With a new test administrator in place going forward, our hope is that the Indiana Department of Education (DOE) will work very closely with them to ensure that the test is administered accurately and that scores are finalized and reported in an appropriate timeframe (i.e., by the end of August). Many of the ISTEP issues can be traced to past vendor-DOE relations; those need to improve and DOE needs to take a more aggressive role in ensuring deadlines and expectations are met.

“We urge legislators to resist any efforts to lessen our overall accountability process. Accountability measures for schools, teachers and students are critical. They allow us to accurately predict student progress, rate teacher effectiveness and compare and contrast school performance relative to state and national peers. We have to be able to grade ourselves.”

Rescore of current data necessary:

“If we are pausing accountability for the schools, it is important to keep the unadjusted scores/data as a baseline for growth measurement next year. That means it’s essential for the scores to be correct and trusted. And the only way that can be accomplished is through a rescore of the exams by an independent third party.”

Rebrand test; no need to start process over:

“We have new, more rigorous academic standards and the new assessment exam to go along with them. There is no need to spend more of the state’s money to change the assessment. The length of this test or any test is something DOE can and should address with the new test vendor.

“The new test was labeled ISTEP out of a sense of continuity. Let’s rebrand the test to reflect that it is indeed new and simply work to ensure future tests are executed properly and timely. That’s all that needs to happen.”

Pie Time: This Wick Still Burns Bright

Slice of Sugar Cream PieMike Wickersham is the president of Wick’s Pies in Winchester, Ind., a third generation family company. Wick’s Pies dates back to 1944 when Wickersham’s father, Duane (nicknamed “Wick”), opened a restaurant and began making pies. I visited Mrs. Wick’s Pie Shop, the restaurant across the street from the production facility, for a tourism story in the January-February issue of BizVoice magazine.

Indiana Chamber: The sugar cream pie is delicious! I understand it is a patented recipe?

Mike Wickersham: Bluebird Pie Company out of Dayton, Ohio, which was one of his large competitors, knew the popularity of his sugar cream pie and was trying to steal the recipe. So my dad decided it would be a good idea to get a patent on that, so he hired a local attorney and received a patent in July of 1962. He was concerned about losing that niche market that my dad had, because Bluebird was a lot larger than he was.

IC: Sugar cream pie was declared the state pie of Indiana in 2009. How has that designation impacted your business?

MW: It’s brought a lot of familiarity to the product. That spring, we sold three times as many sugar cream pies as we had in any previous spring. We had a lot of interest from Illinois – if you’ll remember, they were trying to impeach their governor (Rod Blagojevich) at the same time. So I had radio stations call me from Illinois wanting to compare what their legislature was doing with our legislature. When you’ve got people talking about your product, it adds to the mystique and popularity and generally increases sales.

IC: What other products do you offer?

MW: In the Midwest, Wick’s brand is known for sugar cream pie and pecan pie, but throughout the country, we’re really known more for our pie shells. We ship pie shells into about 40 states around the country. We make pie shells as small as 3” and up to 10”.

IC: Is there anything new on the horizon?

MW: We’re in the process of establishing an e-commerce shopping site. We do a lot of mail order, and right now, a customer is required to buy at least six pies at a time and have them shipped overnight. That becomes rather expensive. We’re developing a website that would be an online shop for the consumer to buy as few as one and as many as six (pies), and it could be a variety of product, with an option of a second-day air.

Wick’s Pies by the numbers:

  • Oven holds 1,500 pies at one time
  • 55,000 pounds of flour used per week on average
  • 450,000 cubic feet of freezer space
  • Capacity to run 60,000 units (pies and pie shells) per day

Read the full article.