Tech Talk: Who Deserves ‘Dynamic’ Award for 2018?

A good sign of Indiana’s growing innovation and entrepreneurship stature is that it continues to get more difficult to select the winner of the Indiana Chamber’s annual Dynamic Leader of the Year award.

For 29 years, the Chamber has recognized business, government and community excellence. In 2015, the Dynamic Leader honor was added to the mix. The official definition:

This award honors a leader who is working toward achieving goals outlined in the Indiana Vision 2025 economic development plan, particularly the Dynamic and Creative Culture driver that focuses on entrepreneurship and new business creation/expansion.

In other words, it’s business success and helping grow the local/regional/state tech and innovation ecosystem.

Here are the first three honorees and their BizVoice magazine stories:

Nominations for the 2018 honor are due no later than June 15. It’s a straightforward process. Details and the online form are available at

The awards dinner, taking place November 13 at the Indiana Convention Center, will feature keynote speaker J.D. Vance. Look for more soon on the author, venture capitalist and Midwest evangelist for business and economic growth. It’s not too early to secure your table or tickets.

Less Than 350 Days Until the Next Big Show

We like to say here at the Indiana Chamber that we have the biggest and best annual business celebration. Sure I’m a little biased, but I think that was proven to be the case again Thursday night.

Don’t take our word for it. The 1,400-plus attendees certainly seemed to enjoy themselves. Governor Mitch Daniels helped get the ball rolling and the night closed with keynote speaker Terry Bradshaw putting on an excellent show.

There were the three major awards, of course. Congratulations to Business Leader of the Year Jean Wojtowicz, Government Leaders Brian Bosma and David Long, and Community of the Year Kokomo. Check out their video profiles and stay tuned for photos, a video recap of the event and more in the coming days and weeks.

It’s about much more than just the awards. It’s business, community and political leaders coming together and celebrating what makes Indiana great.

It’s only 11 months and 12 days until the 23rd Annual Awards Dinner, which will feature Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein on the 40th anniversary of Watergate and the lessons learned that apply to today’s political world. Join us November 1, 2012 and see for yourself what a great event this is.

Student Comes to Dinner, Goes to Paris

The Indiana Chamber gives away a couple of airline tickets each year at its annual awards dinner. It’s a longstanding partnership (thank you to American Airlines) and a great way to help ensure that many of our guests and sponsors are able to connect during the reception.

The winning ticket is drawn and announced just prior to the Business Leader, Government Leader and Community of the Year awards being announced. In the course of a hectic (but always most enjoyable) evening, I typically don’t think much more about the prize winner.

What a pleasure to receive this recent blog posting from Jade Scott, a student at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in Terre Haute. She does an excellent job of telling the story from that evening and her subsequent trip to Paris.

A belated congratulations to Jade and a big thanks once again to American Airlines. On November 17 this year, at the 22nd Annual Awards Dinner, we’ve got the three big honors, Super Bowl champion quarterback Terry Bradshaw as the featured speaker — and someone else’s dream coming true as a result of visiting sponsors and hearing their name called.

Terre Haute: Top Community Keeps Earning Recognition

I’ve been enjoying this Indiana Chamber/BizVoice thing for nearly 13 full years now. Which means I’ve seen 13 towns and cities honored as the Chamber’s Community of the Year at our annual awards dinner.

No slight intended at any of the past winners, but it’s likely that no one has done a better job of taking advantage of this honor than the 2010 recipient — Terre Haute. From a live televised press conference to announce the award to bringing nearly 200 community members to the celebration (and many other activities before and since), Terre Haute is letting everyone at home and beyond know about its transformation.

The latest is recognition from lawmakers at the Statehouse. The Terre Haute Tribune-Star has the recap. For those who missed out on our coverage, read the BizVoice article and view the award video.

Congratulations once again, Terre Haute. For 2011 contenders (nominations will be open in the spring), this just might be too good an opportunity to pass up.

PICTURED: Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett accepts the 2010 Community of the Year Award.

The Show is Over … Until Next Year

I have now been a part of 60% of the Indiana Chamber’s 20 annual award dinners. OK, even my 10-year-old son (who sometimes has math homework that just doesn’t look familiar; OK, it befuddles me on occasion) would nail that simple little math problem without blinking an eye.

What is the Annual Awards Dinner? More than 1,000 people from across the state coming together to celebrate business. After all the economic turmoil of the past year, a little celebration was definitely in order. Sure we’ve got our challenges, but this is a great state with excellent people working hard to make a difference.

No celebration is complete without awards. Check out the BizVoice magazine stories on our winners (videos now available):

  • Business Leader of the Year: John Swisher of JBS United in Sheridan, a success story 53 years in the making
  • Government Leader of the Year: Stan Jones, former Indiana higher education commissioner and a strong advocate for expanding educational opportunities
  • Community of the Year: Valparaiso for mixing public and private sector investment in improving the city’s entryways and infrastructure

The Capitol Steps, kings of political satire, made fun of all no matter their political persuasion. It was a simply hilarious show. If you missed it, mark November 9, 2010 on your calendars. It’s the 21st annual event, one week after our country’s midterm election, and we’ll have longtime journalist, author and all-around good guy Tom Brokaw offering his insights.

I’ll be there (assuming the Chamber still wants me) for lucky number 13 (60% of 20 = 12 for those who struggled with the math opening). Seriously, it’s a great event from start to finish (yeah, I know, I’m biased), but one you should take in for the experience. Trust me! You will enjoy.

BizVoice Stands Tall in Ever-Shrinking Media Pool

The master of this space, colleague Matt Ottinger, shared a post a few months ago about the future of the newspaper industry. Since then, more bankruptcies and closings have been making headlines. As someone who spent nearly 20 years (seriously, I started when I was in high school) at various newspaper publications, it’s a sad thing to see.

In a related development, Indiana Business Magazine announced its shutdown last week after 52 years in the business. That also is not a good development. It reduces the number of voices — the business stories being told and the information and analysis made available.

Our Indiana Chamber BizVoice publication is now the ONLY general business magazine in the state. Not that we didn’t already do so, but we will take that responsibility seriously. Just a few facts:

  • BizVoice has earned nearly 50 national and state awards over the past 10 years
  • Our audience of 15,000 (and more for event distribution to both Best Places to Work and Chamber Annual Awards Dinner audiences) includes top Indiana business, political and community leaders
  • We’re blessed with a staff that excels at telling those stories and creating an important and effective publication — both in print and online
  • Jim Wagner, our Chamber business development coordinator, boasts more than 25 years of experience in working with Indiana companies and organizations. He knows what works for those looking to get the word out about their products and services

We’re hard at work on the next issue, honoring 70 Best Places to Work companies, featuring a special health care section and a Community Focus on Terre Haute. Learn more online.