Before there was our award-winning BizVoice magazine, we published the Indiana Chamber of Commerce News. We recently found the October 1946 issue in our archives. The edition features an article promoting the Chamber’s Annual Meeting, noting its speaker, Charles E. Wilson, president and CEO of General Motors Corporation in Detroit. It lists the previous four years’ speakers as:
1945 – Supreme Court of the U.S. Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson (then Secretary of the Treasury)
1944 – Henry J. Kaiser, famous industrialist
1943 – Eric A. Johnston, president, Motion Picture Association of America (then president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
1942 – B.C. Forbes, editor of Forbes Weekly
Note the circulation of the publication as reaching 8,500, so it’s encouraging to see we had a broad reach back then, just as we do today.
Freda Lockhart, who died last week at age 83, achieved a number of firsts during her business career. In addition to the first female-led Cadillac and Saturn automobile dealerships, she was the first woman to serve on the board of directors of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Today, 21 women are on the Chamber board. From her obituary:
Freda received numerous honors as an automobile dealer, including Time Magazine Quality dealer Awards twice, in 1978 and in 1990 when she was one of the top 10 dealers out of 22,000. She also led Lockhart Cadillac to 14 consecutive Cadillac Master Dealer Awards and became a member of the Cadillac Master Dealer Hall of Fame in 1991, the only woman to receive that recognition. The accomplishment she was most proud of came in 1992, Lockhart Cadillac was named by General Motors as the #1 CSI Cadillac Dealer in the country. Until her retirement in 1999, she led Lockhart Automotive Group including the brands of Cadillac, Hummer and Saturn to great success.
Active in community affairs, she was the first woman elected to the board of directors of the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce, American United Life, Hooks Drugs, as well as the first female President of the Indianapolis Auto Trade Association and the Automobile Dealer Association of Indiana. She served on the advisory board of St. Vincent’s Hospital, was a member of Executive Women International, Family Support Center, Junior Achievement , Salvation Army, Better Business Bureau, 500 Festival Board and supported numerous organizations her entire lifetime.
Freda truly lived the American Dream, starting at the bottom and with foresight, long hours and hard work achieved her dreams. She loved her customers, friends, employees, and family and did her best to make everyone’s life happier.
From tornadoes and typhoons to the sub-prime meltdown and food recalls, 2008 was chock full of front page worthy disasters.
But according to the Louisville-based Institute for Crisis Management (ICM), it could have been worse. The organization recently released its annual report that tracks media coverage of business crises. While 2008 may be a year many businesses are hoping to forget (think Madoff Investments, General Motors and Bear Stearns), ICM finds crises were up only a little compared to previous years. And 2008 was not as bad as 2005, when the number of crises reached a peak for the last 10 years.
Hoosiers made their mark in the report though. Of the 10,386 newsworthy disasters in 2008, five Indiana crises were cited in the ICM’s six-page report. The study mentioned when a flash flood wreaked havoc on Columbus Regional Hospital (read about the hospital’s recovery in the current BizVoice magazine) and a lawsuit filed against a Lafayette YMCA.
Still, ICM data shows the number of business crises has remained fairly steady for the last four years. While bad news will continue to lead the newscasts, at least the good news is things really aren’t any worse.
Michigan is a beautiful state, but right now its economic situation isn’t. The Detroit News offered this article yesterday articulating just how true the phrase "no rest for the weary" is becoming for the Great Lakes State, noting a projected unemployment rate of 11% coupled with declining tax revenues:
Michigan’s jobless rate will top 11 percent in each of the next two years and state tax receipts this year will come in $870 million below estimates made in May due to the languishing economy, according to a revenue forecast released Wednesday.
The House Fiscal Agency report says unemployment in Michigan, which was 8.4 percent in 2008, will rise to 11.3 percent this year and 11.4 percent in 2010. The jobless mark will peak at 11.7 percent in the first quarter of 2010, the report predicts.
"Michigan’s economy and state revenue will be significantly affected by the national recession, the weakened level of motor vehicle sales, the tight credit conditions, and the financial condition of General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and their suppliers," the report says.
The auto bailout for the Big 3 (Chrysler, Ford, GM), worth $14 billion of assistance, passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 237-170. Here’s how Indiana’s Congressmen voted:
Andre Carson (D)
Joe Donnelly (D)
Brad Ellsworth (D)
Baron Hill (D)
Pete Visclosky (D)
Steve Buyer (R)
Mark Souder (R)
Dan Burton (R)
Mike Pence (R)
The bill now heads to the Senate. Indiana’s junior Senator Evan Bayh (D) has this to say:
“We’re faced with trying to choose the best among unpalatable alternatives. Nobody wanted to give money to the banks or to the insurance companies, and nobody wants to give money to the auto industry. I don’t. But if the alternative is losing hundreds of thousands of jobs and having automakers, dealerships, part suppliers, and other retailers in local communities go down, we have to make a hard choice here.
“People think the economy is bad now, but if we let all these companies go belly up, and all those folks get laid off, I’m afraid it would be much worse.
“Indiana has a huge stake in this debate. If the big auto companies go down and thousands of jobs are lost, it’s going to hit us a lot harder than almost any place else in the country."