Best Places to Work Deadline is Friday

What does it take to be a Best Place to Work in Indiana?

Check out these links for just a few reasons why three of our past winners have been selected: Indianapolis-based E-gineering; Fort Wayne-based Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company; and Merrillville-based Centier Bank.

The deadline to enter the annual Indiana Chamber-led program, which honors the top companies in Indiana according to confidential employee surveys and employer information, is this Friday — November 30. BPTW is open to Hoosier-based companies and organizations with a facility and at least 15 full-time workers in the state. All entrants receive an employee feedback report – a valuable tool that identifies a company’s strengths and weaknesses, according to its employees.

Winning company rankings will be announced at an awards dinner on May 2, 2013 in downtown Indianapolis at the JW Marriott.

Register by going online or by calling the Best Companies Group at (877) 455-2159.

Honoring the Best of the Best

OK, the list is out. Seventy organizations are being recognized as the 2011 Best Places to Work in Indiana. But what you want to know is which ones top the small/medium and large categories.

Well, I am one of the fortunate few to know. After all, we have to plan and execute our usual in-depth BizVoice magazine coverage over the next seven weeks or so. It’s a great opportunity for our team to learn what makes some of these companies tick — and why their employees truly appreciate the workplace environments that have been created.

Software Engineering Professionals and Centier Bank led the way in 2010. Here’s the BizVoice coverage, and you can check out prior years (back to the program’s debut in 2006) in each May-June edition of our archives.

Now, for 2011, the top winners (we say "top" because all that make the cut are winners) … will be unveiled May 5 at the awards dinner at the Indiana Roof Ballroom. It will be another great, great night. Don’t believe me? Here’s the 2010 video.

Regionally Speaking … to a Point

In the Northwest Indiana roundtable discussion in our current BizVoice, it is mentioned by an economic development official that we don’t care which county (or community) is home to the next major project. Will others in the Region have the same opinion? 

Bill Nangle, executive editor of The Times, says, "The end result will be that getting that company to develop here will outweigh any other consideration. Doesn’t mean there won’t be one community versus another. The one that I always think of is Krispy Kreme Dougnuts (battle between Highland and Schererville, with the latter the winner but the facility no longer in operation).

Mike Schrage, leader of Centier Bank, offers, "I think the public is very accepting of a business … as long as it comes to the area, that’s great. On the political side, we haven’t quite gotten the changeover; they’re still into a little fiefdom-type thing that unless it comes to our community, we’re not going to get the best benefit out of it."

Read this story and other Northwest Indiana and education features in BizVoice.

Centier Centre a True Centerpiece

Company president and CEO Mike Schrage says it’s a circlet. Some call it a crown. All can agree that the 27-foot-high, 54,000-pound "beacon to the world" above the new, five-story Centier Bank corporate headquarters in Merrillville tops off an amazing structure.

For those traveling north on Interstate 65, you won’t miss it — during the day or at night. But the circlet definitely lights up the sky in the evening hours. The new Centier home was officially dedicated with a reception Thursday evening, topped off by a fireworks display.

As impressive as the building is on the outside, it’s what’s taking place inside the nearly 1,400 glass panels that is the true story. The 113-year-old, family-owned bank features more than 40 locations in four counties. It is a community and business partner throughout northern and Northwest Indiana.

Employees got a first look on Wednesday at the expansive learning/training facilities, fitness center, cafe and more that was constructed with their needs in mind. Centier has been a top 10 finisher the last two years in the Best Places to Work in Indiana program (I was happy to talk briefly about the company’s honors; see a BizVoice story from 2007). It’s easy to see why.

Congratulations to everyone at Centier — a shining example of a continuing Indiana business success story.