#BizVoice Extra: ‘Indy Kronite Proud’

When I prepare for an interview for BizVoice®, I try not to formulate my interview questions with specific expectations in mind.

That doesn’t always work, of course. I’m human and sometimes my research leads me to expect people to react a certain way to a story topic or interview question.

When I started researching Kronos, Inc. for a story about the company’s Indianapolis Technology Center being a newcomer to the Best Places to Work in Indiana list, I saw the company has garnered a lot of accolades over the years (including making it on the Forbes Best 100 Companies to Work For a few years running).

My expectations were that my story might be sort of low-hanging fruit for the worldwide company with 5,000 employees and headquartered in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Well, I’m woman enough to admit that I was very wrong in my assumptions. In fact, I don’t remember another interview I’ve conducted for the Best Places to Work in Indiana program where the people have been more excited than they were at Kronos.

The four people I interviewed included two practice directors that manage the Indianapolis office, the senior manager of human resources and another manager. And ohmygosh, they could not have been happier about the recognition, a first for the Indianapolis location.

Christopher Hicks, practice manager of enterprise professional services, and Margaret Mitchell, senior vice president of human resources, relate the feeling of the Indianapolis office’s first award to being validated on social media.

“The validation; it’s receiving the little blue check (mark). We are verified here in Indianapolis as a company that provides opportunity for growth, we work on professional development, we have a great leadership team. We’re just excited,” Hicks told me at the time.

It’s the first year the company applied for Indiana’s Best Places to Work program and was championed by Mitchell, who found out about the recognition when she was on vacation. She recalls jumping up and down in excitement next to a swimming pool with her son nearby as she received the news on the phone.

“We’re really excited. It validates for us, the things we work on. It’s again nice to celebrate the success and remember that we do have something special here,” she said.

The Kronites, as they refer to themselves throughout the company, also invited me to attend a celebratory dessert bar. Company CEO Aron Ain was flying in for the occasion and addressed the crowd.

As I listened to Ain congratulate his Indianapolis employees and urge them to continue working on behalf of the clients to provide the best service possible, it was something else Ain said that stuck with me: take care of your family first.

For a CEO of a 5,000-person company to fly in and recognize employees for their efforts is impressive enough, but for his underlying message to be “you are important, and your family and your health are the most important things to me” – wow.

No wonder this company is garnering external awards and internal recognition left and right.

One other tidbit from my interviews with the Kronites (aside from the fact that we operate in the same building in downtown Indianapolis and I bump into them every so often, usually receiving a smile or a hug) is the one part I couldn’t fit into my story: how do they handle the Colts versus the Patriots rivalry, since the company is headquartered near Boston?

Matt Baker, one of the Indianapolis Technology Center practice directors, acknowledges the rivalry.

“The culture in Lowell is very passionate about the Patriots,” he admits. “The last couple of years have been challenging. We had a good run.”

The Indianapolis Technology Center’s focus is more on college sports, offers practice director Doug Ding. (He and Baker attended Purdue University together.) Conference rooms in the center are named after college team mascots, for example.

Hicks, originally from Chicago, doesn’t have much stake in the long-standing NFL rivalry between the Colts and Patriots.

“I’m a Bears guy,” he says. “But I see it all the time. Most of our executives are based out of the Lowell office and they’re huge Patriots fans and there’s a little bit of ribbing back and forth.”

Mitchell doesn’t hesitate: “Always Colts. Always.”

VIDEO: May-June BizVoice is Live

Capping off the excitement of smashing several records in one night at the Best Places to Work in Indiana celebration last week, the new edition of BizVoice magazine is live with in-depth coverage of many of the honored companies.

Oh, and those records I mentioned? Here they are:

  • A record 125 companies made the list in 2018
  • It was the largest crowd in the 13 years of the program, with nearly 1,400 attendees at the Indiana Convention Center
  • According to Peter Burke, president of the Best Companies Group (which runs the Best Places to Work program in Indiana and 29 other states), Indiana’s Best Places to Work event is the largest in the country

Tom Schuman, senior vice president of communications and operations, takes a two-minute peek into the May-June 2018 edition, which includes another in our yearlong Road Trip Treasures series, this time focusing on Fort Wayne.

Also included is a look at some legislative disappointments from the Indiana General Assembly session, particularly on three policies important to the state’s business and economic future. And find an update on the Attractive Business Climate driver of our long-range economic development plan, Indiana Vision 2025, including a progress report on the commercial court pilot project.

Check it out:

In addition to the new BizVoice web site that debuted last week, we’ve got a special offer for small organizations with fewer than 50 employees as part of our Small Business Showcase. BizVoice is offering a buy one, get one free quarter-page advertising special for its two summer issues. The quarter-page investment (just $1,020) includes the print and digital versions of both issues.

“While the number of businesses advertising in BizVoice continues to grow each year, we want to make sure companies of all sizes have the ability to reach our influential audiences,” states Tim Brewer, BizVoice Advertising Director. “Helping businesses grow has been at the core of the Indiana Chamber’s mission throughout its history.”

To take advantage of this offer, please contact Brewer – tbrewer@indianachamber.com, (317) 496-0704 – by Friday, May 25. The July/August issue ad will be invoiced in July for $1,020, and the September/October issue is free.

Connect your small business with the Indiana Chamber audience!

U.S. Ranks 7th on Quality of Life Index, France Takes the Crepe

The publication International Living just released its 30th annual Quality of Life Index, which attempts to answer the question, "Where is the best place to live?" Huffington Post writes:

Using what seems to be a semi-statistical reasoning (data is used, but so is personal experience), the countries have been ranked in 10 categories – Cost of Living, Culture and Leisure, Economy, Environment, Freedom, Health, Infrastructure, Safety and Risk, and Climate.

As usual, the rankings have provoked equal shock and happiness from different quarters – Brits seem exceptionally upset, although not surprised, that their ranking has dropped below that of the Czech Republic.

I’ll grant you, it does seem somewhat subjective based on the criteria. But the top 10 is as follows:

  1. France
  2. Australia
  3. Switzerland
  4. Germany
  5. New Zealand
  6. Luxembourg
  7. United States
  8. Belgium
  9. Canada
  10. Italy

So there you go. Opine away…

Brownsburg, St. John, Others Honored by CNNMoney

In CNNMoney.com’s 2009 list of Best Places to Live for small(ish) towns, the top 50 featured two Hoosier burgs — Brownsburg (33rd) and St. John (48th).

Also noteworthy, in a ranking of the Most Affordable Cities (using the criteria, "Residents who buy real estate in these towns from the Best Places database see their incomes go the furthest"), Indiana placed five cities/towns in the top 25. They are:

2. New Haven – $89,152 (median home price in 2008)
7. Brownsburg – $131,000
10. Noblesville – $150,000
24. Plainfield – $126,000
25. Merrillville – $122,309

Check out the list here.

Hat tip to Inside INdiana Business.