Hackers: Join the IoT Civic Hackathon April 21 in Fishers

Have an idea to disrupt and energize Indiana’s economy with IoT? Help us make, move, and grow the Indiana of Things!
Don’t miss the IoT Civic Hackathon, produced by the AT&T Developer Program. AT&T and other top technology sponsors will be challenging participants to build IoT applications using government data, APIs and any hardware of their choosing. Hack and build IoT apps and projects, get fed, compete for prizes across different categories and most importantly: meet new people and scout for teammates to work on new or current projects. We will have experts from AT&T and the local community onsite to assist with your development.

You Bring…
Your laptop, skills and ideas. Come with a collaborative, team-focused mindset and/or team-up in advance on Twitter/Facebook/Google+ via the #ATTHACK and #IoTCivicHack hashtags. Whether you are a backend person, designer, entrepreneur, student or just interested in tech, you are invited to attend this event. Every group needs a good balance of talent and your development skills are needed!

Organizers Supply…
Quick presentations and code samples that help kick start your hacking, food to keep you going, and caffeine to keep you awake. Technical mentors can assist you in building faster, smarter, and with new tools. Loaner hardware will also be on-site for you to use in your solutions.

Prizes
The hackathon prizes are experiential and geared towards accelerating you towards a successful business as well as expanding your network and industry knowledge. There will be prizes in the following categories:

  • Best Overall Hack
  • Best Smart City Hack
  • Best Agriculture Innovation
  • Best Manufacturing Innovation
  • Best Logistics/Transportation Innovation

Event Info
When:
Friday, April, 21 at 6 pm – Saturday, April 22 at 9 pm
Location: Launch Fishers, 12175 Visionary Way, Fishers, IN 46038
Cost: Free!
Register now online!

Remembering Bill Hudnut; My Interview with Him on Getting the Colts

Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut was the first mayor I have a memory of. When I read of his passing over the weekend, it took me back to all the landmark accomplishments that took place during his 16 years in office.

I also thought about the lively and interesting phone interview I had with him in the summer of 2011. The Chamber’s BizVoice® magazine was doing a section on famed business deals and I got the best one: the Circle City landing the Colts.

I found Mayor Hudnut more than willing to take a stroll down memory lane and share his opinions.

An excerpt from the interview:

“We thought we’d get a franchise because the league was expanding, not the relocation of an existing one. (Owner) Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders moved (the team) to Los Angeles and, secondly, there was a strike, so they weren’t going to expand – which certainly was sort of a blow to us. But we were pregnant with the thing; we had to keep on building it as an expansion to the convention center. That’s the way it was promoted to the public – that it would justify itself whether or not it was used 12 days a year for a football game.”

Read the full Q&A (you have to love his detail and memory of the events). Also read the full BizVoice article.

Indy Connect Now Pushes Legislators on Mass Transit

Over 120 members and supporters of Indy Connect Now are pushing Indiana legislators — via a letter — to support the mass transit bill to enhance connectivity in Central Indiana — a sentiment held by many businesses and organizations across the state. The letter reads as follows:

Dear Legislator,
As community leaders in central Indiana, we strongly encourage the Indiana General Assembly to pass substantive transit legislation before it adjourns in order to give our community the ability to make its own decisions about investing in a regional transit system.

The Indianapolis Region will not continue to grow and prosper unless we make strategic investments in our community, including in a robust regional transit system. Study after study has recognized the need for building such a system in our region. Cities all across America have realized the benefits from investing in good transit systems, and our inability to make that investment puts us at a competitive disadvantage.

The issue has been studied long enough. Following the release of the last legislative study report on this issue in December 2008, a Task Force of public and private sector partners proposed a transit system that most effectively meets the needs of our community. For the past four years, that proposal has been refined with input from thousands of residents, advice from the best planning experts in the country, and best practices from cities around the country.

The time has come to let the voters decide whether they want to invest in this proposed system. All we ask is that the General Assembly gives us the same flexibility to use local funds that it previously gave to 15 other counties and to let us present the question to voters, similar to what is now required for school capital projects. With support that is trending upward, it is time to allow voters to determine whether or not our communities will be competitive and meet transportation needs in the next decade and beyond.

If this legislation passes now, it will allow us to have a robust discussion for the next eighteen months about the wisdom of making this investment. Residents will then be able to make an informed decision about funding an expanded regional transit system. It is imperative that the General Assembly act now to provide this opportunity to the residents of central Indiana.

Upcoming Mass Transit Events in Central Indiana

As many of you know, the Indiana Chamber supports Indiana's mass transit bill (HB 1011). Here are some upcoming events that will help educate the public and rally support for the measure. If interested, you should attend:

Tuesday, March 26
Young Professionals Transit Forum
Location: IUPUI Library (UL 0125)
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Registration: http://youngprofessionalstransitforum.eventbrite.com
 
Wednesday, March 27
Indy Connect Now Forum
Location: Marian University
Time: 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Registration: http://indyconnectnowmarian.eventbrite.com 
 
Thursday, March 28
Hamilton County Leadership Transit Forum (HCLA & Carmel Green Initiatives)
Location: Carmel City Hall
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Registration: http://hamiltoncountyleadershiptransitforum.eventbrite.com
 
Saturday, March 30
Inagural Indiana Eco Student Summit (IUPUI)
Location: IUPUI
Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
http://www.indianalivinggreen.com/indiana-eco-student-summit-promises-thoughtful-discussion-and-connections/
 
Monday, April 1
Public Town Hall with Mike Delph (IndyCAN)
Location: Pilgrim Lutheran Church of Carmel (3650 W 106th St Carmel, IN 46032)
Time: 7 – 9 p.m.
http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/2115/c/9974/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=71131
 
Tuesday, April 2
Move the City: Stop Talking, Start Playing (School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI)
Location: Athenaeum
Time: 6 – 8 p.m.
http://iupuispea598.eventbrite.com/#
 
Tuesday, April 9
Green Drinks Indy (Transit)
Location: Tomlinson Tap Room
Time: 6 p.m.
http://www.greendrinks.org/IN/Indianapolis
 
Monday, April 15
Northeast Indy Transit Advocacy event (with BRAG, Millersville, others)
Location: St. Matthews
Time: 7 – 8:30 p.m.
*Stay tuned as more details come together
 

Ivy Tech Gets Cooking in Historic Indy Hotel

I attended a Yelp Indy event last Thursday at Ivy Tech, which showcased the school’s new student-run Courses restaurant and bakery (housed in its culinary school at 28th & Meridian in downtown Indy).

Led on a tour by chef Thom England, we stopped by several stations and sampled a variety of appetizers and wines, all before having the pleasure of eating and drinking at Courses, located in the penthouse. With Sun King brews on tap, unique cuisine options and a wonderful view of downtown, it made for a delightful evening. It’s a very impressive facility in which Indiana’s future cuisinal artists can perfect their craft.

Here’s more info on the restaurant, which I highly recommend you frequent based on my experience. Also, for those Hoosier history enthusiasts like me, here’s a bit about the building the restaurant and Ivy Tech’s culinary school now reside in:

In the 1880s Gilbert Van Camp developed a method to can fruits and vegetables for the family store, located in Indianapolis.  He made his fortune during the Civil War, as this canning method made it possible to send beans to the soldiers in the field.  In the 1880s, Gilbert and his wife, Hester, purchased the property at 2820 North Meridian Street and built their mansion.  It remained a private resident until the early 20th Century, when it became the home of the International Typographical Union.

The Stouffer Restaurants purchased the property in the 1960s.  The mansion was demolished and the Stouffer Hotel was built in 1965.  The focal point of the hotel was the penthouse restaurant, The Ramsgate, which featured woodwork, stained glass and a fireplace from the original mansion, as well as an amazing view of the downtown skyline.  The hotel quickly became one of the prominent locations for weddings, proms and other celebratory events in the city.  The hotel was also a favorite lodging site for local and national celebrities when they visited Indianapolis. Richard Lugar held his inauguration celebration at the hotel when he was elected as mayor of the City of Indianapolis.  Dolly Parton and the Osmonds stayed at the hotel, and legend has it that Elvis stayed on the 11th floor of the hotel in 1977 when he was performing in Indianapolis – a performance that would turn out to be his last live performance.  The hotel remained popular until the mid-1980s, as the popularity of downtown grew and became the focal point of the city.  The hotel closed in the late 1980s.

The building remained vacant until the early 1990s, when it was purchased by Bill Gothard Ministries, who established the Indianapolis Training Center.  The Christian-based ministry provided vocational, as well as Christian-based education to at-risk youth and families.

With a $23 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, Ivy Tech Community College acquired the property in 2010 and renovated the facility for classroom and conference space.  The Corporate College and Culinary Center opened in August 2012, and houses the region’s Corporate College, Hospitality Administration Program and a conference center.  With state-of-the art technology, the center provides Ivy Tech’s Corporate College the opportunity to provide training and development solutions for Indiana businesses through specialized courses and certifications.  The center also features a student operated fine-dining restaurant, Courses Restaurant, and bakery/café, Courses Bakery, as well as a conference cente, with over 12,000 square feet of flexible meeting space available to the public.

On this topic, I’ve also penned an article about Harrison College for the upcoming January/February issue of BizVoice magazine, which will include information on that school’s renowned culinary program as well.

Indy Named 2012 Indiana Chamber Community of the Year

For the second time in the 23-year history of the statewide community award, Indianapolis has earned top honors from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

Indianapolis was announced as the 2012 Community of the Year today at a downtown press conference on Georgia Street, a location which highlights the city’s ongoing infrastructure improvements, economic growth and beautification efforts.

"I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of the City of Indianapolis and our residents, our community groups and businesses — large and small — and our employees, who all come together to make Indianapolis the wonderful place it is," says Mayor Greg Ballard.

"Indianapolis is a destination for people and for businesses. Because of our impeccable financials, AAA-debt rating, stable tax environment and balanced budgets, businesses know what to expect in Indy — which makes them more likely to act, create jobs and invest in Indianapolis because they can plan."

Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar on the selection: "Super Bowl XLVI put Indianapolis center stage internationally and marked the pinnacle in a long history of events and developments that have made it a continuing success story.

"The capital city has a varied and growing list of cultural amenities, business diversity and vibrant neighborhoods, as well as strong leadership and a powerful spirit among its residents. This honor is deserved on so many levels," he emphasizes.

Among the specifics cited by the Indiana Chamber:

  • CityWay, a business and residential combination near the Eli Lilly campus that will serve as a connecting point to the rest of downtown
  • 16 Tech, a partnership that will build on existing strengths in medicine, life sciences and high-tech organizations
  • Unprecedented road and sidewalk construction as part of Rebuild Indy, which was largely funded by partnering with Citizens Energy to run the city’s water and wastewater operations
  •  Bike lanes and trails that have helped enhance residents’ quality of life
  • Indianapolis was previously named Community of the Year by the Indiana Chamber in 1995.

Adds Indiana Chamber Chairman Mike Wells of REI Real Estate Services: "The Indianapolis business climate has proven welcoming to a broad audience. The new entities are exciting additions to a business lineup that features outstanding companies that have called Indianapolis home for many, many years."

The 2012 Community of the Year award will be presented to Mayor Ballard during the Indiana Chamber’s 23rd Annual Awards Dinner on November 1 at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis.The 2012 Business Leader of the Year and Government Leader of the Year recipients will be announced at that time.

More than 1,200 business, political and community leaders are expected to attend. Legendary journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward will take the stage as the feature presentation, discussing the Nixon presidency, politics and journalism with "Inside the White House: From Nixon to Obama." Tables of 10 and individual tickets are available for the reception (5 p.m. EST) and dinner (6:30 p.m. EST). Reservations can be made at (800) 824-6885 or at www.indianachamber.com/specialevents.

Media interested in covering the event should contact Rebecca Patrick at (317) 264-6897.

Past Community of the Year recipients:

2011: Kokomo
2010: Terre Haute
2009: Valparaiso
2008: Noblesville
2007: Anderson
2006: Evansville
2005: LaPorte
2004: Muncie
2003: Warsaw
2002: Marion
2001: Greater Lafayette
2000: Jeffersonville
1999: Fort Wayne
1998: Rochester
1997: Batesville
1996: Elkhart
1995: Indianapolis
1994: Kendallville
1993: St. Joseph County
1992: Columbus
1991: Muncie
1990: Bluffton

A Stroll Through DeveloperTown…

Meet Michael Coffey. He’s a new partner at DeveloperTown — a tech-focused incubator/accelerator hybrid in Indianapolis’ Broad Ripple district. He was hired recently to help organize the company’s operations, and is working to bring to life some of America’s next big ideas. (I met with him today in preparation for a BizVoice magazine article I’m writing on DeveloperTown for the September/October edition.)

But Coffey isn’t a native of Indiana. In fact, he hadn’t spent much time here at all before leaving his Napa Valley, California home — and business he started — behind and relocating his family to help ignite the fire of innovation here — a fire that gets bolder and brighter each year. He pointed to Indianapolis’ cost of living, state and local support for small businesses and family-friendly atmosphere as the reasons for his move.

But I’ll spare you the long version of this encouraging story, and just use this as a tease for the article.

However, I wanted to highlight one of his quotes that resonated with me — largely because I’m so proud of our work with the Best Places to Work in Indiana rankings. My myriad discussions and interviews with these companies over the years have all contained one overarching theme: employees matter. And according to Coffey, they matter more than just about anything.

One of the concepts we push on companies is getting organizations to understand that their number one customer is their employees. The secondary customer is the one who’s paying you money. But if you take care of your primary customer, your secondary customer will always be taken care of… If every organization actually understood that, there would be more emphasis on the actual values and mission of the company.

As Indiana becomes a hotbed of innovation with each passing year, it becomes more apparent that innovation is about a lot more than just technology. It’s about approach. It’s about philosophy. It’s about thinking differently. 

Coffey also mentioned on several different occasions how he hopes to help communicate to local residents and developers that they don’t need to live in California or Boston to be happy or feel successful.

"You actually live in a cool place," he asserts. "And the people here are genuinely kind and want to help you."

Knowing someone like Coffey can happily relocate from scenic wine country because of the possibilities in our state is inspiring — and I’m especially eager to see how DeveloperTown helps our many brilliant-minded thinkers succeed. To see if it can help your start-up or existing company, just reach out.

Oh Indy, Let’s Loosen Up a Bit

If you paid attention to the news at all in Indianapolis last week, most likely you’ve heard about the “Indy Super Bowl Shuffle” video and surrounding hullabaloo.

I vaguely remembered a co-worker saying something about a “Super Bowl Shuffle,” but in all honesty didn’t pay attention – I’ve never actually seen the original. I was born the year the thing came out, am not a Chicago Bears fan and have never apparently been bored enough to look it up on YouTube.

The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) created a parody video called the “Indy Super Bowl Shuffle” to demonstrate all of the city’s hotels and amenities. An article in Thursday’s Indianapolis Star said the video was created to attract meeting planners who are headed to Chicago for some big tradeshow. And, apparently on the level of attracting these planners to take a look here, it worked – at least one is now considering Indianapolis for a big convention.

But after an apparent backlash from Internet-goers, the ICVA took down the video from YouTube (though it’s back up now and linked at the bottom of this blog). I’ve read some of the comments posted and most are just downright mean and nasty. Someone even took the time to make a Facebook page petitioning to take the video down.

Finally, I got the chance to watch the five-minute-long video, expecting to see the most ridiculous thing of my entire life. And you know what? It wasn’t great.

But it wasn’t as terrible as everyone made it out to be. I caught myself giggling and rolling my eyes and thinking about all of the great hotels we have here in Indy. It also reminded me of every Weird Al Yankovich parody I’ve ever seen and people fawn over that guy – something I’ve never understood.

All of the people in the video just looked like they were having fun, and obviously this wasn’t ever something to be taken very seriously. We get to host a Super Bowl – we should use that to our advantage at every possible turn. And, the video did exactly that: it built up interest in Indianapolis to a variety of convention planners around the country.

Have we completely lost the ability to laugh at ourselves? I’m thinking there are real issues that we should be concerned about – and a silly video promoting Indy’s hospitality district is not one of them.

In the grand scheme of things, this will all likely be forgotten. But we need to remember to relax and regain that ability to just have fun and be silly. It’s not going to kill us. Watch the video below and decide for yourself.