Focus on Health This Summer

What’s the state of Indiana’s health?

Unfortunately, it’s not good. In fact, Indiana ranks at the bottom in several health metrics.

One of those is opioid abuse, which has received a lot of attention recently around the state. However, Hoosiers also continue to struggle with tobacco use and obesity (and diseases related to both), as well as high infant mortality rates.

Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar recently penned an article on how health is the missing piece of Indiana’s economic puzzle. For additional background and data on the issue, read it here.

The Alliance for a Healthier Indiana – made up of health care professionals, educators, business and community leaders – is aiming to educate the public and policymakers about these issues, grow local support and generally raise awareness of the dangers of our poor health, while also sharing ways Hoosiers can work together to improve these metrics.

With its State of Our Health Road Show, the Alliance is on the road this summer and fall, hosting free town hall meetings in all corners of the state.

The road show is in Fort Wayne today and will travel to Muncie tomorrow, June 13. Other June dates include Richmond on June 19 and Connersville on June 20. The complete schedule is available here; events go through October.

To see clips and video from earlier road shows, visit the Alliance for a Healthier Indiana’s Facebook page.

Founding members of the Alliance for a Healthier Indiana include the Indiana Hospital Association, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the Indiana State Medical Association, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Indiana and the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health.

Brinegar and Community Health Network President and CEO Bryan Mills recently spoke about the Alliance and the state of Indiana’s health during a segment on Inside INdiana Business. The segment gives an overview of the issues:

To learn more about the Alliance for a Healthier Indiana visit the web site at www.healthierindiana.org.

Airbnb’s Top Indiana Cities Revealed

In late 2017, Indianapolis was identified as a top trending American city for Airbnb. The company also announced that Indiana hosts welcomed approximately 175,000 arrivals in the past year – earning more than $20.7 million.

The 175,000 guest arrivals to Indiana via Airbnb represents 108% year-over-year growth. This comes as “Hoosiers increasingly embrace the home sharing platform as an opportunity to earn supplemental income and make ends meet.” There are now just under 3,600 Indiana hosts who share their homes via Airbnb, 37% of whom simply share an extra, unused room (i.e. empty nester).

The top Airbnb markets in Indiana in 2017:

  1. Indianapolis: 73,000 guest arrivals; $8.42 million in host income
  2. South Bend: 20,000; $2.89 million
  3. Bloomington: 16,800; $1.87 million
  4. Michigan City: 5,700; $867,300
  5. Fort Wayne: 4,250; $437,900
  6. West Lafayette: 3,050; $311,350
  7. Lafayette: 3,050; $383,500
  8. Nashville: 1,950; $207,700
  9. Fishers: 1,800; $200,600
  10. Evansville: 1,670; $163,700

Fort Wayne’s Brotherhood Mutual Celebrates 100 Years!

VIDEO: President & CEO Mark Robison talks about Brotherhood Mutual’s bright future as the company celebrates 100 years of mission-driven service (click on image to play).

Brotherhood Mutual Insurance’s impressive and sustained success is no shock if you’ve spoken with executives at the company. I learned that in 2015 when I interviewed its president for a BizVoice story on recurring honorees of the Best Places to Work in Indiana list.

The company also supports employees’ adoption efforts, among many other family-focused benefits offered. This type of attitude is likely one of the reasons Brotherhood Mutual is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2017 — a remarkable milestone indeed.

Also read this 2010 BizVoice feature on the company. Here’s to 100 more years of success for this Fort Wayne business!

Chamber Statement on State Takeover of I-69 Project

Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar, who is also the board chair for Hoosier Voices for I-69, comments on the state’s announcement today that the Indiana Finance Authority is taking over management of the I-69 section from Bloomington to Martinsville:

“It’s the absolute right thing for the state to do to ensure that this segment and the entire project is completed as quickly as possible.

“We must stay on course, because the ramifications are too important. When fully finished, the new I-69 – from Evansville to Fort Wayne – will help further Indiana’s position as the Crossroads of America.

“It 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.”

BizVoice Earns SPJ Honors

Congrats to our communications team /BizVoice writers who earned three honors at the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists Awards Friday – a second place and two third place finishes:

A Welcome Move: State’s Telecom Agreement With Agile Networks Denied

The state’s controversial proposed lease of its cell phone towers, fiber and public rights of way to Ohio-based Agile Networks officially won’t happen.

Governor Eric Holcomb put an end to it in an announcement Thursday. The Indiana Chamber applauds his decision and had been advocating for such a resolution.

Funds from the proposed $50 million lease were earmarked for bicentennial construction projects, with the Agile agreement promoted as a way to bring greater connectivity to rural areas.

Beginning last September, after learning in more detail about the agreement, the Chamber voiced significant concerns and objections on behalf of the state’s telecommunications industry.

Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar had numerous discussions with the Indiana Finance Authority and State Budget Committee members – the groups needing to approve the deal. The Chamber made a clear request that the agreement not proceed.

Therefore, we are very pleased that Gov. Eric Holcomb shared our belief that this deal was bad for Indiana.

In his statement, the Governor said: “I have asked the Office of Management and Budget to assess how best to move forward and to develop alternatives we might pursue. Enhancing broadband availability in rural parts of our state will be an important part of my consideration.”

The Chamber believes that’s the correct approach.

Our board-approved position supports free market competition in the delivery of advanced telecommunications services. Yet this deal went too far and essentially suppressed this important principle. Not to mention, good Hoosier companies inexplicably were not even given equal opportunity to bid for the project.

Additionally, all industry players and competing technologies should be on a level playing field. However, this proposed deal would have only served to pit the state against private providers.

Getting better broadband access to rural areas of the state should be a priority. That was unlikely to happen with the now-defunct deal, which would have done nothing to drive Agile Networks to serve our rural areas. The company’s publicized plans were to build in the state’s largest cities – Evansville, Fort Wayne and Indianapolis – where cable and broadband services and competitive choices already exist.

Looking ahead, the Chamber pledges to work with state government in any way it can to advance the effort to truly bring connectivity to rural parts of the state. These areas must be brought up to date technologically to help reverse their downward population and economic trends.

Real Journey Begins for Transportation Funding Bill

During a six-hour hearing before the House Roads and Transportation Committee, there were some technical changes made in the bill and the annual increase for the fuel tax was capped to no more than one cent per year. Chamber President Kevin Brinegar provided testimony that this bill was about “revenue recovery” on the lost buying power of the gas tax since it was last raised. (Read the Chamber’s full testimony.) That lost revenue, plus better fuel economy means less money for roads. The Chamber is grateful to board members Drew Coolidge with SIRVA (moving company) in Fort Wayne and John Thompson (owner of several Indiana-based businesses) who testified how better roads impact their business, their communities and Indiana. House Bill 1002 will be considered in the coming weeks by the Ways and Means Committee before the desired House floor vote.

Call to Action: Connect with your state representative via our grassroots page. Let them know today that long-term funding is important to you and your company!

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.”

Chamber Welcomes New Membership Manager for Northern Indiana

chamberlainMonica Chamberlain has joined the Indiana Chamber of Commerce as its new membership manager for the north central and northeastern regions of the state.

Chamberlain had spent the last seven years increasing revenue and enrollment at Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne, serving as the associate vice president of enrollment management. She was the institution’s director of admissions for three years prior.

Chamberlain resides in Fort Wayne and will continue to work out of that location.

She will be charged with business development in 29 Hoosier counties: Adams, Allen, Blackford, Cass, DeKalb, Delaware, Elkhart, Fulton, Grant, Howard, Huntington, Jasper, Jay, Kosciusko, LaGrange, LaPorte, Madison, Marshall, Miami, Noble, Pulaski, Randolph, St. Joseph, Starke, Steuben, Tipton, Wabash, Wells and Whitley.

Chamberlain holds a master’s degree in English and a bachelor’s in French, both from Indiana University.

“Monica has a strong connection to the Fort Wayne area community and beyond. She will be reaching out and visiting businesses to let them know how Indiana Chamber membership can help grow their organizations,” says Jennifer Elkin, Indiana Chamber senior vice president of marketing.

“We are excited that Monica is on our team and look forward to her being a strong voice for the Indiana Chamber.”

Prospective Indiana Chamber members can contact Chamberlain at (317) 264-6875 or mchamberlain@indianachamber.com.