This Boilermaker Prefers Copperheads to Rattlesnakes

BrewerThis past year was quite the adventure for me. Last March, I left the Indiana Chamber after 14 years to tackle a new chapter in my life. I could blame the move on the brutal winter that year, but I think the time had arrived for me to explore and to feel like I tried something new. With the exception of a semester abroad in college, I had lived all 37 years in the good ol’ Hoosier state. I didn’t want to look back some day and say, “I should have tried” or “what if?” So, my wife and I packed up our two Subarus, then headed west to Tucson, Arizona with great enthusiasm and a terribly confused dog.

I’ve told many friends that this past year was arguably the year I learned the most about myself. I learned how to avoid multiple rattlesnakes on trails. I learned how to carry 100 ounces of water on a mountain bike ride. I learned how important it was to continue to see new places and grow my need for wanderlust. Most importantly, I had plenty of time to think after climbing to the top of four of the five mountain ranges surrounding Tucson, and it made me realize what was most valuable to me… my mom’s pecan pie. Well, her pecan pie made the most missed list, but being in the same area code with my Montgomery County family and all of my friends in Indianapolis was most important to me.

The direct flight from Indy to Phoenix was fairly easy, but life just wasn’t as fulfilling. I missed seeing my nephew’s first start at defensive end for Rose-Hulman’s football team. I missed seeing Purdue thump IU both times during the basketball season. I missed the community feel of my old, funky Broad Ripple neighborhood. I missed my favorite beer at Thr3e Wise Men. I certainly enjoyed the active outdoors lifestyle in mountainous southern Arizona, and I continued Chamber work with four state chambers, but it just didn’t feel right. After one year, we came running back, and the dog was even more perplexed.

My new role with the Chamber starts this week as the advertisement sales director for BizVoice magazine. I really enjoyed my time at the Chamber in membership and helping members, and I’m blessed to have the opportunity to work with the Indiana business community again.

That’s enough reflection for one day. Time to head to Crawfordsville for a piece of my mom’s pecan pie.

Join Us at the Speedway!

Question: What beats a free day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May during the middle of the work week?

Answer: A free day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May during the middle of the work week with a free lunch.

The Indiana Chamber’s Lunch with Brinegar roadshow program makes its first stop of the year at the IMS on Wednesday, May 16. Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar will provide an overview of this year’s Indiana General Assembly, an update on membership benefits and insight into this year’s elections. The event will also provide you with a great opportunity to network with other members. The lunch takes place from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.  After the program, you will have access to Gasoline Alley and the IMS grounds to enjoy the day.

The event takes place in the muddy snake pit, so dress accordingly. And, sorry, Jim Nabors will not be singing at this event because he refused Kevin’s offer to sing "Back Home Again" in Indiana as a duet. (Yes, you will be forced to drink milk at the lunch program.)

Also, the only “new track record” we’ll experience is my numerous failing attempts to make as many bad business/Indy 500 jokes as possible during my five minute presentation. But we hope you will join us to learn more about your membership and to enjoy one of the greatest sporting venues in the world!

Members may attend the event at no cost; please RSVP to Lauren Creamer at [email protected]. The fee for non-members is $50.

Membership Offers Statewide Visibility

With nearly 5,000 members and 26,000 customers, the Chamber’s web page generates a significant amount of traffic. Not the backed-up Interstate-405, watching O.J. Simpson roll by in a white Ford Bronco, pull your hair out, Los Angeles kind of traffic, but about 600 unique visitor hits a day to our home page traffic. Members are encouraged to post their press releases and to submit a Member Spotlight to our site. Both may be done at no charge by being our beloved member.
Press release announcements regarding company milestones, new products or services, prominent new hires or community involvement, may be submitted here.
Additionally, the Member Spotlight gives you two weeks on our site to tell your company’s story and to promote your products and services.
Not a member? Contact Tom James at [email protected] or (317) 264-7539 to learn more about membership benefits.

No “Boom Baby!” or Dunking Dutchman, but Brinegar Will Offer Many Assists

Indiana Chamber members and others are invited to Lunch with Brinegar at Conseco Fieldhouse at 11:30 a.m., June 9, 2010.  Chamber President Kevin Brinegar will provide an update on membership benefits and current legislative issues facing Hoosier businesses. The Chamber played some killer defense for business in the 2010 Indiana General Assembly, and Kevin will update you on the session’s outcome.

The event is a great opportunity to network with other Chamber members from central Indiana. Kevin might even show off his mad dunking skills.

The lunch is free for members and $19 for non-members. To RSVP, contact Tom James at tj[email protected] or (317) 264-3793.

We hope to see you at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Add Chamber Membership to Your 2010 Business Plan: It Costs Less Than You’d Think

When times are tough, many members turn to the Indiana Chamber for unique membership benefits and discount programs to help their businesses. ChamberCare, our discount health insurance program with Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, is available to businesses outside of Marion County with 2-99 employees. Over 2,200 member companies currently enjoy a significant discount on their Anthem insurance as a result of our partnership. (Read about the benefits here.)
Members also have three free resources available with just one quick phone call or e-mail. The HR Helpline answers employment law and HR questions. The Business Research Center provides customized business lists, quarterly new/expanding business reports, demographics and wage information. The Communications/PR Resource Center provides the ability for members to post press releases on our web site, answers questions on press releases and social media and gives updated media list information.
As 2010 begins, we’d like to remind our members that our dues are 82% tax deductible. To join the Indiana Chamber, please click here.
Have a prosperous year!

Super Sensational Salesperson Sought

Beyond individual attributes and abilities, what’s one of the keys to being a good salesperson? The no-brainer answer is a good product to sell.

Well, the Indiana Chamber has that. The list of benefits is long and powerful. Add in the almost 90 years of history and accomplishment, the nearly 5,000 member companies with 800,000 Hoosier workers already on board, and the recognition that businesses can’t do everything on their own and must utilize available resources for ultimate success.

But you still have to be at the top of your game to get the job done. We’re in the market for a new membership development manager, with this dynamic salesperson joining a team of five other awesome membershipians (I know that’s not a real word, but give me a break).  To be successful, this position requires hitting the phone and hitting the road to convince business owners and CEOs that the Chamber can and should be part of their game plan.  Go get ‘ers should e-mail me ([email protected]) to learn more and to submit a resume.  Sleepy heads need not apply.

Olympian Bob Kennedy Offers Wellness Tips to Chamber Staff

Olympian runner, Indiana University grad and Indianapolis business owner Bob Kennedy recently visited the Indiana Chamber as part of the Chamber’s ongoing wellness program speaker series. 

Kennedy believes the best way to include exercise in one’s life and to maintain an exercise program is to be very specific with goals and to always block time in your schedule for exercise. Kennedy is still the American record holder in the 3,000 and 5,000 meter distance events. He no longer runs the trails of Eagle Creek Park on Indianapolis’ northwest side to prepare for races, but he does maintain a very busy life. 

Now, he balances his life between his family and his business, The Running Company. After some time away from the sport in recent years, when asked what drove him back to running a few miles a day, he simply replied, “my kids.”

Welcome Back, Warlocks

If you’re walking around downtown Indianapolis the next few days, you might just bump into a wizard, a warlock or an enormous gathering of average Joe’s with comic book heroes on their black t-shirts and backpacks full of gaming items. Gen Con Indy is one of the many massive conventions in Indianapolis’ growing convention market. 
Gen Con Indy claims the top spot at the sorcerer’s round table as the original, best attended and longest running gaming convention in the entire galaxy. In 2007, over 26,000 gamers attended Gen Con Indy. This is another example why Indianapolis must offer the best facilities available in Lucas Oil Stadium and the expanding Indiana Convention Center. The tax revenue generated from Gen Con and other conventions is very important to downtown’s economy, not to mention the boon to local restaurants and hotels.
Here’s a list of upcoming events at Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center. The expected attendance numbers are critical for Indiana tourism.
If you do bump into one of our visiting gamers, be nice, ok? They might have horns or claim to have powers to place a spell banishing you to the planet Zog, but they never cause any trouble and they go about their own business. 

Welcome back, Gen Con folks!

Chamber Back on the Road Again, “What a RRRRRRRush!”

Call us Road Warriors. Perhaps we are not as scary as "Animal" and "Hawk" from the professional wrestling duo known as the "Road Warriors," but we have been hitting the road quite a bit this summer to connect with our members in the various corners of the state. The next stop is August 21 at the Sheraton Riverside Hotel in Jeffersonville.
Kevin Brinegar, president of the Indiana Chamber, will discuss Chamber programs and services and you will have an opportunity to network with our southeast Indiana Chamber members.
The breakfast is free for Indiana Chamber members and $19 for non-members.The program begins at 8 a.m. and will last one hour. Please contact Abby Hamilton at (317) 264-3793 or [email protected] to RSVP.
No need to worry. We did NOT invite Animal and Hawk to this event. We knew they’d do a flying elbow drop body slam on Kevin before eating all of your breakfast.

Breakfast Tour Headed to Fort Wayne

Our next stop on the Breakfast with Brinegar circuit is in Fort Wayne. We encourage our members and interested non-members to attend our August 7 program at the Hilton Garden Inn.  Kevin Brinegar, president of the Indiana Chamber, will discuss Chamber programs and services and you will have an opportunity to network with our northeast Indiana Chamber members.
Ryan Beck, the Allen County Territory Manager of the Indiana Chamber, thinks this is a great opportunity for businesses to learn about membership resources and to use them to generate new business and to save money during a tough economy.

"In just 60 minutes you have the chance to network with local businesses and to learn about our free customized sales leads and free HR HELPLINE," Beck explains. "Most businesses need a shot in the arm right now and we have a number of resources to help them."
The breakfast is free for Indiana Chamber members and $19 for non-members. The program begins at 8 a.m. and will last one hour.  Please contact Abby Hamilton at (317) 264-3793 or [email protected] to RSVP.