Local Option Transportation Bill Moves Forward

SB 128 was amended on the Senate floor last week and passed third reading yesterday. It was previously determined that HB 1141, with similar language, would not move out of committee and efforts would be focused on the Senate legislation.

These were two bills with similar goals – to allow for communities all around Indiana to supplement road funding to enhance the possibility for a priority regional project – and were introduced in their respective legislative bodies. Both bills would apply to all areas of the state and create a mechanism for local communities to create a regional development authority, which can be used to apply for federal grants, create separate funding for a particular road project, give them the authority to issue bonds and have a referendum to raise property taxes to pay for transportation infrastructure.

The authors of both bills are from Jasper, and they see great economic value in connecting their community and surrounding communities with Interstate 69. They want to create options for communities to step up to provide additional local funds to enhance the possibility of getting a road built sooner.

The Chamber supports the effort as it creates a viable local funding option and it doesn’t require INDOT to elevate the priority. However, if the funding is there, it is more likely to happen. The authors and other supporters will continue to work on moving the Senate bill through the process.

Jasper’s Matrix Integration Earns National Recognition

Matrix-Integration-logoMatrix Integration, an Indiana Chamber member based in Jasper, illustrates just some of the tech innovation found throughout the state. Today, the company celebrates five national awards. (And if you’re interested in enhancing the tech climate and are affiliated with an Indiana tech company, consider participating in the Indiana Technology & Innovation Council. The first open discussion is August 9.)

A press release has more on Matrix Integration:

Matrix Integration LLC, expert technology advisors based in Jasper, Indiana with locations in Fishers, Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky, wins multiple national awards including making the Diversity Business Top Business for 2016, the Top 30 Women of the Channel List from CRN- a leading magazine in the business-to-business computer industry – and Matrix was also named to CRN’s Tech Elite 250, the Elite 150 of CRN’s 2016 Managed Service Provider 500 (MSP500) list, and Solution Provider 500 (SP500) list.

“It is always a huge honor that we’ve won several of these awards year over year,” said Brenda Stallings, co-founder and CEO of Matrix Integration. “We pride ourselves on our highly trained, innovative workforce that builds lasting relationships, while we design and implement technology solutions that give our customers an edge, and the industry has recognized that.”

The awards recognize various aspects of Matrix Integration’s business.

  • As one of Diversity Business “Top Business for 2016” Matrix Integration represents a growing class of innovators and visionaries that continue to go beyond expectations in producing products and services that transform the way we live. Contributions also have created an important cycle of reinvigorating the nation’s and global economic vitality. www.diversitybusiness.com.
  • CRN’s 2016 Women of the Channel list honors 340 female executives who are making their mark in the technology industry with Matrix Integration’s co-founder and CEO, Brenda Stallings, ranking in the Top 30 List.
  • Companies on the CRN 2016 Tech Elite 250 list represent an elite group of North American IT solution providers that have invested in the training and education needed to earn the most advanced technical certifications in the IT Channel for data center or cloud.
  • The Elite 150 of CRN’s 2016 Managed Service Provider 500 (MSP500) list. The MSP500 is an annual list which recognizes the top technology providers and consultants in North America whose cutting-edge approach to managed services puts end-user customers in the best position to improve efficiencies, cut costs and speed time to market for their own products and services.
  • Awarded by The Channel Company and CRN for placing #294 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500 (SP500) list. CRN’s staple SP500 list recognizes the top channel partners in North America each year since 1995. This acclaimed annual ranking is an industry-recognized guide to the most accomplished partners in the channel.

Safety Worth Celebrating

Safety is something that can easily be taken for granted – that is until something happens.

When an employee died on the job at Strick Corporation in 2002, the Monroe-based company knew change was needed. “The incident rate was almost a recordable one (to OSHA) each day” prior to that fatality, notes Cheryl Pike, plant nurse and safety coordinator.

Impacted by the death of a co-worker, employees started volunteering for the company’s safety programs. The company’s culture changed for the better. The transformation at Strick Corporation earned the company INSHARP (Indiana Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program) status in 2008.

Today, Strick was honored at the 2009 Governor’s Workplace Safety Awards for its overall safety program.

Joining Strick in earning awards at the Indiana Safety and Health Conference were:

  • Turner Construction Company of Indiana LLC in Indianapolis – education and outreach by a construction company award
  • Bayer Healthcare LLC, Product Supply/Diabetes Care facility in Mishawaka – education and outreach by a large company award
  • Futurex Industries Inc. in Bloomingdale – education and outreach by a medium company award
  • Monsanto Company, Windfall Soybean Production division in Remington – education and outreach by a small company award
  • ERMCO Inc. in Indianapolis – innovation by a specialty contractor award
  • Indianapolis Power & Light Company – innovation by a large company award
  • Emerson Industrial Automation, Emerson Power Transmission division in Monticello – innovation by a medium company award
  • DSM NeoResins+ in Frankfort – innovation by a small company award
  • Kimball Electronics and Advanced Rehabilitation, Inc. in Jasper – partnerships award
  • Cerrowire Inc. in Crothersville – small company safety award
  • Solid Platforms Inc. in Portage – specialty contractor safety award

The 2009 Governor’s Workplace Safety Awards are presented by the Indiana Department of Labor, on behalf of Gov. Mitch Daniels, the Central Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers and the Indiana Chamber.

Energy/Environment Hot Topic of Friday Conference Call

In today’s First Friday Conference Call, Indiana Chamber VP of Energy & Environmental Affairs Vince Griffin chimed in via phone all the way from Ireland. Ok, it was Ireland, Indiana near Jasper, but it still sounded quite magical. (And we don’t have to claim Colin Farrell in the Hoosier version.)

At any rate, Vince offered some key tidbits on the state of energy in Indiana. Here are just a few of the items conveyed in the hour-long call:

  • By 2013, experts from Purdue University have forecasted that Indiana will need close to 5,000 additional megawatts of power; today we produce just over 20,000.
  • The Great Lakes contain 20% of the world’s fresh water.
  • Indiana has seen droughts in the 1940s, 1960s, 1988 and is due for another. Vince says these tend to follow periods of heavy rain and snow, which Indiana has seen the last couple of years.
  • Water is critical. No water = no electricity.
  • Indiana consumes over 60 million tons of coal per year, second only to Texas. Vince also expressed hope that President-elect Obama will back off his campaign rhetoric regarding the impending downfall of coal. "We’re hopeful that Obama understands how important coal is to the United States. It provides a large number of jobs and Indiana has 95% of its electricity come from coal."
  • Indiana uses a lot of power. One reason is that we are the nation’s top producer of steel, which is very energy-intensive.

The First Friday Conference Call is just one of many benefits Indiana Chamber members receive. The monthly calls feature a different topic each month, and are totally interactive with 30 minutes of the hour dedicated to answering questions of listeners. If your company is a member, anyone at your business can call in and take part. To inquire about Chamber membership, call the territory manager for your area.

Matrix Integration Offers Employees a Boost and Balance

Matrix Integration, a voice and data solutions company in Jasper, made a repeat appearance on the Best Places to Work list this year. Here are a few examples from employees of what brightens up their work week:

  • Every Friday employees can submit a “thumbs up” about someone else, which serves a pass to wear denim for the day. These positive comments are then posted on the company intranet for everyone to read.
  • For Becky Schneider, her ability to balance her career and home life makes working at Matrix ideal. “I love the fact that they give the flexibility to have a career and a family,” she asserts. The five-year employee is expecting her second child this year. She has the freedom to make her own routine and doesn’t have to sacrifice her family or marketing career at Matrix.
  • Workout equipment is available in the employee break room and healthy snacks (such as bananas and grapes) are available for free. Some employees meet after work for a fitness walk as part of the wellness program, Schneider shares.

Read more about Matrix Integration in the May/June issue of BizVoice®.