Lunch, Listen and Learn: Big Names on Economic Club Lineup

One venue, nine top-notch speakers. Congratulations to the Economic Club of Indiana program committee for putting together a very intriguing lineup for the 2009-2010 season.

A strong mix of Indiana leaders (Angela Braly, WellPoint, and Thomas Snyder, Ivy Tech Community College); former Hoosiers coming home (C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb and school reformer Kevin Chavous); more media giants (Steve Forbes, John Stossel and Gwen Ifill); and leaders in business (Patrick Michael Byrne of Overstock.com) and education/politics (Harvard economics professor Martin Feldstein).

All will be at the Indiana Convention Center for the monthly luncheon programs, starting with Braly on September 1. Not familiar with the Economic Club, an Indiana fixture for 35 years? Check out this excerpt from the organization’s 25th anniversary for some history on how it all got started and some of the big events over the years.

Fort Wayne area leaders, we’re not forgetting about you. John Norquist, former Milwaukee mayor and urban design/school reform authority, comes your way on August 28 to wrap up the inagaural summer series. Merrillville and Evansville enjoyed earlier visits from Scott Hodge (Tax Foundation) and Jim Morris (Pacers Sports and Entertainment and longtime civic leader), respectively.

Check out some or all of the upcoming events. Thought-provoking presentations are assured.

Pacers Sports & Entertainment President Speaks at Economic Club in Evansville

Jim Morris, president of Indiana Pacers Sports & Entertainment, spoke to an audience of nearly 170 at the Economic Club of Indiana luncheon held in Evansville yesterday.  

Morris began with humor – issuing the same promise he claims Elizabeth Taylor made to each of her seven husbands: “Don’t worry honey, I won’t keep you long.”

It was clear from the outset of his presentation that few in the audience would have minded if Morris, one of the most accomplished humanitarian and business leaders of our time, had indeed run long, though he did not.

Morris spoke with eloquence and expertise on the contributions of Evansville to Indiana and the world, noting the ideas for Riley Children’s Hospital and the Smithsonian Institute came from the city. He also spoke of work with the United Nations’ World Food Program – which he led from 2002-2007, and, of course, leading the Pacers – which he says is “just as difficult” as his UN gig but “not as important.”

Morris addressed the problem of world hunger and its impact on children by analogizing that the number of children dying from hunger equates to 45 fully-loaded 747 aircrafts crashing — every single day. He thanked Sen. Lugar and other Hoosiers for some powerful contributions in the fight against hunger but reminded the audience that much work remains and spoke of his own “haunting feelings of insufficiency at not getting enough done.”

Morris spoke of the upcoming basketball season. He told of a conversation in which Pacers Team President Larry Bird (known as a player for his legendary work ethic) credited 2009 Pacers draft pick Tyler Hansbrough with being the hardest working player Bird had ever seen. When Morris pressed with “as hard as you worked?,” Bird replied, “even harder.” 

Overall, Morris’ presentation was both insightful and reflective – describing life as being about the search for community and insisting that, “We all need to work harder at being advocates and working for each other.”

Be sure to follow the Economic Club of Indiana on Facebook.

Economic Club Hits the Road, Bringing Speakers to More Indiana Cities

The Economic Club is pleased to announce a series of presentations throughout Indiana during the summer months of 2009. These events, dubbed the "Economic Club Summer Series," will feature the same high-quality speakers that the regular season events have become known for.

"We are very excited to be bringing the (Economic) Club, in a physical sense, to other parts of the state," comments Steve Walker, president of the Economic Club.

An arrangement allowing WFYI to produce statewide broadcasts of current presentations has helped generate a great deal of interest outside of Indianapolis over the past two seasons. Hosting events in other cities is part of the continuing effort to bring the Economic Club to all Hoosiers.  

The first stop on the 2009 Summer Series tour is set for June 9 in Merrillville — featuring tax policy expert and nationally published opinion leader Scott Hodge. Indiana Pacers president Jim Morris will be the keynote speaker for a July 14 event in Evansville, and Fort Wayne will play host in August. Details for the August event and other specifics are still being finalized but will be announced soon.   

Current sponsors for the 2009 Summer Series include Ivy Tech, ProLiance Energy, Franklin College, Schmidt Associates and ESW Inc. Speaker’s Reception sponsors include NIPSCO – June; Old National, Regency Commercial Associates – July.

A variety of sponsorship opportunities remain. Contact Jim Wagner for details at [email protected].