Hoosier Author John Green on the “Joys” of Adulthood

John Green, the well-known Indianapolis-based author of “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Paper Towns” and other modern literary hits, recently spoke to the graduating class of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

He’s articulate as always and waxes philosophical on the monotony of adulthood, but explains why that monotony does have a purpose in advancing society.

National Conference on Career Pathways Coming to Indy

pathway confPostsecondary Pathways has been a multi-year series of regional events connecting educators and businesses throughout the state. BizVoice magazine featured a 2015 stop in Batesville and a March-April 2016 update on recent programs.

The topic is also prominent at the national level, with the National Career Pathways Network (NCPN) bringing its annual conference to Indianapolis and the JW Marriott in October. NCPN assists educators and employers involved in the advancement of career pathways, career and technical education, and related education reform initiatives.

The conference takes place October 5-7. Pre-conference workshops, nationally-known keynote speakers and more than 130 breakout sessions are featured. More than 1,200 participants are expected.

 

 

Exploring a ‘Best’-Kept Secret

mobi

This is going to be good!

Like a kid in a candy store, my eyes widened as I gazed around the spacious surroundings at MOBI, an Indianapolis-based provider of software and services that helps businesses manage mobility.

Maybe it was the infectious energy enveloping employees as they chuckled, collaborated and consumed – in moderation – an adult beverage, courtesy of Frank the Tank (MOBI’s kegerator). Perhaps it was the colorful décor that so aptly captured the vibrant personality of its people. Something was special about MOBI.

Make yourself at home at MOBI with this BizVoice® magazine story about its honor as one of the 2016 Best Places to Work in Indiana.

Regional Coordinator Helps Build Intern Relationships in Central Indiana

Chelsea-DuKate-graphicIn 2015, Indiana INTERNnet launched regional initiatives to increase the number of experiential learning opportunities available to Indiana students. Chelsea DuKate, founder and president of Red Envelope Consulting, is working with employers in Central Indiana at every stage of internship management from development to recruiting to evaluation.

Indiana INTERNnet: Why are internships more important than ever for employers?

Chelsea DuKate: Besides the general benefits of enhanced productivity and gaining a potential new diverse perspective, employers also have an opportunity to better engage with the early career community. Internship programs can serve as a ‘selection method’ of sorts for full-time positions within their organization.

Studies have shown that interns hired full-time tend to be more loyal to that organization, which directly impacts labor and turnover costs. Other benefits include the company marketing that goes along with having interns and the increased name recognition and employment branding opportunities.

IIN: How are you helping Indianapolis area employers connect with the best and brightest talent for their internship programs?

DuKate: Red Envelope Consulting has partnered with the Indy Chamber and Indiana INTERNnet to connect with local employers in Marion and surrounding counties and help with identifying student opportunities within their organizations. I am working with employers on how to attract early career talent and, most importantly, how to manage both the program and the student employees.

IIN: What can Indiana INTERNnet do for employers?

DuKate: Indiana INTERNnet hosts a web-based platform to connect employers with internship-seeking individuals. Employers can post unlimited internship opportunities at www.IndianaINTERN.net, review the extensive database of student resumes in numerous fields, and apply for EARN Indiana reimbursement.

Indiana INTERNnet also provides several resources for employers to develop or improve their internship programs, including Intern Today Employee Tomorrow: The Indiana Employer’s Guide to Internships.

IIN: How should employers get started?

DuKate: Employers interested in discussing options related to building or enhancing their internship programs can contact Red Envelope Consulting by visiting www.redenvelope.consulting/contact or emailing directly at chelsea@redenvelope.consulting.

NOTE: This post originally appeared on the Indiana INTERNnet blog

Brinegar: We Commend INDOT on I-69 Route

i69The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announced today that the preferred route for Interstate 69 section 6 between Martinsville and Indianapolis is the State Road 37 corridor. Indiana Chamber of Commerce President and Hoosier Voices for I-69 Chairman Kevin Brinegar offers his comments:

“We support INDOT’s decision that the State Road 37 corridor is the best alternative for completing the I-69 extension and it will be the best investment for Hoosiers. The corridor requires far less new construction than the alternatives, impacts the fewest homeowners and has the most consensus among all interested parties.

“We commend INDOT on the thorough selection process and the analysis used to come to this decision.

“While we’ve made much progress on the I-69 extension – most recently with the opening of Section 4 in Greene and Monroe counties in December – there is still much to be done from the Bloomington area up to Indianapolis. The state must remain committed to funding this important project and seeing it through to completion.

“In the not-too-distant future, I-69 will run continuously from Evansville to Fort Wayne and beyond. That will provide many more Hoosiers with better road access, leading to reduced travel time. And that also is very attractive for businesses, making Indiana an even more viable hub for companies and new jobs.”

Rep. Susan Brooks to speak on U.S. Global Leadership

87741351Learn why America’s engagement overseas matters and what’s at stake for Indiana from Rep. Susan Brooks (R-5th District).

The program (8 a.m. Thursday, March 24 at the Conrad Indianapolis) will be hosted by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, with the Indiana Chamber an event partner. Breakfast is provided and an RSVP is required.

Learn more and register online or contact Ashley Bradford at abradford@usglc.org.

Calling All Hackers

19114293Hacking is coming to the Indiana Statehouse – and that’s a good thing.

Developers, coders and designers are invited to participate in #INCapitolHack, the first installment in the 2016 Indiana Hack Series, on February 26-27. State government agencies are welcoming experts to “hack for the greater good.”

A full timeline, additional information and registration are available online.

Kurt Vonnegut: A Fan Reflects on His Hoosier Legacy

Chris-LaFave-e1442422256223-300x226I had the good fortune of writing an article on a few of Indiana’s notable literary stops for our Jan./Feb. edition of BizVoice (this particular edition will be a legacy project endorsed by the Bicentennial Commission). One such stop was the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in downtown Indianapolis.

While touring the facility, I was told the resident expert on all things Vonnegut was the curator, Chris Lafave. At the time, he was representing the library at a book fair down in Miami (not the worst assignment in mid-November), so I emailed him some questions that were on my mind. I was unable to fit most of his thoughtful answers into my story, so I’ll happily share them here.

About how many visitors does the library get annually?
Chris Lafave: The library draws thousands every year to the actual space, along with public speaking appearances by several staff members. And the organization’s traveling exhibit has been received far and wide, and has even visited the city of Dresden (Germany), where Kurt survived the 1945 bombing (as a prisoner of war). The trauma inspired him to write Slaughterhouse-Five.

It sounds like people visit from all over. What’s the farthest distance away you can recall?
CL: I’d have to say two guys coming in from Australia to do their great American road trip. They flew into Chicago, visited, rented a car and drove to Indianapolis to see the Vonnegut Library. I asked them what else was on their to-do list and they said Memphis and New Orleans, and then home. I was floored.

Do you find it’s not just Vonnegut’s generation, but younger people also becoming fans of his?
CL: The age demographic is all over the place and very hard to even pin down for research’s sake. (Founder and CEO Julia Whitehead) and I speak to an astonishing amount of students about Vonnegut. That’s not shocking in and of itself, but very recently I spoke at a school in Anderson, where a specific high school student requested permission to skip her own class so she could attend my lecture on Slaughterhouse-Five. Students are often engaged by his work, but we also have people well past retirement age spending a lot of time in the library and at our events as well. If you wanted to ask how he ever reached this many people across this large of a spectrum, I’d say he had a way of making people laugh at some of the hard things in life, to see beauty in despair, to see optimism in cynicism. That takes a certain degree of talent, and can sometimes bond people to your art.

It sounds like you’ve read all of his books. What influence do you think his Indianapolis upbringing had on his writing? In what ways is it evident?
CL: I think he saw Indy more through his family, friends and schooling… His family had such influence, his great grandfather founded a popular chain of hardware stores here, his grandfather and father were prominent architects. Can you imagine the pride of looking around your city’s skyline and saying “I’m related to the people who did that?”

He often talked about wealth inequality in his work, which relates to Indy in the sense that his family started out incredibly wealthy and lost a lot of said wealth in the Great Depression. He writes frequently about jazz music, which was incredibly popular in Indianapolis during his upbringing. He discovered the music at a barbecue joint somewhere on Meridian Street near his childhood home at 4401 N. Illinois Street. He wrote often about remembering good things in a hard world, which is a belief that seemed to have been instilled in him by his Uncle Alex, who he was quite fond of. And lastly, he was an avid defender of public schools and libraries — the best example of which would have been Shortridge High School, where he received an excellent education, played the clarinet and served on the school newspaper.

All I know is, while you’ll occasionally hear him take a shot at Indy or Indiana’s politics in an essay, most of the time in both his essays and novels, he seems to refer to Indianapolis in a fond sense, as a place of civility and decency. A city that his family built. My favorite Indianapolis moment is in Sirens of Titan, at the very end. I won’t spoil it for you with the details.

What’s your favorite book of his and why?
CL: Always a tricky question for me. I’ll say Cat’s Cradle, for the reason mentioned above; it has the ability to make you laugh at some of the tough things in life. But honestly, most of his books contain something that blows my mind. Slapstick, for example, is generally regarded by critics to be his worst novel. I disagree. I think it’s a phenomenal novel about the “disease of loneliness” as Kurt referred to it, and also about his desire for common decency. Plus it’s also very funny.

As referenced above, Vonnegut’s harrowing experience as a prisoner of war in an underground slaughterhouse in Dresden, Germany inspired his classic novel, Slaugtherhouse-Five. A letter he wrote following the ordeal was published on Letters of Note and is quite fascinating. 

Indy Reads Books’ Anthology Shows Off Hoosier Writing Prowess

indywritesbook4For our upcoming January/February edition of BizVoice, I have the pleasure of documenting my visits to several literary destinations in Indiana. (The issue will be a Bicentennial Commission-endorsed legacy project, so we’re branching out a little beyond our usual business focus.)

With internationally celebrated names like James Whitcomb Riley, Kurt Vonnegut, Dan Wakefield, Lew Wallace and Gene Stratton-Porter to its credit, the Hoosier state can be proud of its literary legacy.

But the climate in Indiana remains just as hot today. This is evidenced in the publication, Indy Writes Books, published last year by Indy Reads – an incredibly impactful non-profit program in Indianapolis that promotes adult literacy. The book, sold online and at the Indy Reads Books store in downtown Indianapolis, features short stories and other entries by Hoosier authors such as John Green, Wakefield, Cathy Day, gritty fiction writer Frank Bill and even an entry from crossword puzzle maestro for The New York Times (NYT), Will Shortz – a Crawfordsville native.

In the preface, Wakefield relays there was a time (in the late 1940s) when five of the top 10 books on the NYT best-seller list were by authors with connections to Indiana. A truly remarkable feat causing some to speculate there was “something in the water” here.

If you haven’t been to Indy Reads Books in downtown Indianapolis, I suggest you give it a visit. I’m proud to say I serve on an advisory committee for the store and it’s one of my favorite places in the entire city. It offers a relaxed vibe and an enthusiastic cadre of helpful staff and volunteers. And with the Christmas season approaching, there’s no better place to find gifts for the book lovers in your life — and copies of Indy Writes Books are still available!

Here’s a short video from 2014 that includes Indy Reads founder Travis DiNicola and others discussing the book and the store:

Also note that the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Indy has a compilation — a journal titled So It Goes — for sale. Its most recent installment features a theme of “social justice” — but next year’s edition will focus on Indiana (stories by Hoosiers or about the Hoosier state). The library will begin taking story submissions in the spring.

VIDEO: Dustin Sapp is No Stranger to Start-Ups, Accolades

Dustin Sapp is now CEO of TinderBox. But he cut his entrepreneurial teeth while at Rose-Hulman, and built executive experience while at Vontoo. He’s now a leader in Central Indiana’s start-up scene, a mentor and devoted family man. See why he earned the Indiana Chamber’s first ever Indiana Vision 2025 Dynamic Leader of the Year Award.