Numbers Game: Fixing a Mistake

Someone told me it was a bad idea to include 644 different numbers on just two pages of the current issue of BizVoice magazine. He was probably right, but we’ll leave that judgement to the readers. The purpose here is to fix a mistake with eight of those digits.

I was just fascinated by the various population information by county that helps tell the story of metro/rural economic challenges in our state. But in combining the charts from several sources, we messed up the 2025 and 2050 population projections for four counties — St. Joseph, Scott, Shelby and Spencer.

As an astute reader pointed out, calamity must be coming to South Bend and Mishawaka if St. Joseph County was going to decrease from more than 266,000 people a few years ago to 21,000-plus in 2025. The correct number is 272,788.

The error is on Page 27 of the print edition. Again, four counties and two columns. The numbers were there, but just out of order. Here are the correct numbers.

We hope you find the data and stories in the issue interesting and thought-provoking. Thanks to those who have already provided feedback, including the catch of the mistake.

It’s far from the first error in my journalism career, and I’m certain it won’t be the last. Hopefully there is plenty of good that comes in between that helps provide information that you find interesting and entertaining.

Thank you for reading BizVoice.

Opportunity Ahead: A Summer at the Indiana Chamber

About three years ago, I made the decision to attend Hanover College—which is a little under five hours’ driving distance from my hometown of Mishawaka on a good day—where I will be a senior next year. I have again temporarily relocated from home to be in Indianapolis this summer for a communications internship with the Indiana Chamber.

Upon arriving home after completing the first day of my internship at the Chamber, my immediate task was to call my dad and relay to him the details of my initial experiences. As anticipated, he was overjoyed to learn that I considered the day to be a success and was looking forward to the days to come. He then predictably delivered a well-intentioned lecture, advising me to make the most out of this opportunity.

My dad (manager of a family-owned company based in Elkhart, Indiana) was the one who encouraged me to join my college’s business program to supplement my English major. To my surprise, I’ve largely enjoyed my business courses as much as or even more than many of my literature-based English classes. I have quickly realized that my two interests—writing and business—can create a happy union.

My summer internship here at the Chamber is a perfect example of the potential marriage of my interests. I’m excited to learn more about business while utilizing and improving my writing skills. As a college student planning on remaining and working in Indiana post-graduation next year, I look forward to learning about business in Indiana in particular. Who knows, maybe I’ll even be able to inform my business-savvy dad about a thing or two that he isn’t already aware of.

Crunch Time: Action from House Floor

Mercifully, we’re nearing the end (hopefully).

Members of the House are currently taking turns on the floor voicing their opinions on the budget bill, which is expected to be voted on (relatively) soon.

Regarding the contents of this budget, Rep. Craig Fry (D-Mishawaka) says he’s embarrassed by it.  Rep. Vernon Smith (D-Gary) stated that Democrats were getting only “a teaspoon while Republicans walk away with a truckload.”  Still, not all Republicans were pleased.  Representative Mike Murphy (R-Indianapolis) voiced his concern that the budget didn’t do enough to help homegrown Hoosier companies, many of which he feared would be forced out of business.

Leading up to and including today, much of the wrangling centered on K-12 education – be it funding (districts vs. students), charter schools, the scholarship tax credit program or virtual schools. 

Indeed, Rep. Smith spent most of his floor time on this subject and denounced the education policies contained in the budget.  Like the vast majority of Democrats, Smith had wanted the K-12 dollars to continue to be awarded on a school district basis, while Republicans were adamant the money follow the students.  The problem with Smith’s argument: Large urban districts like Indianapolis and Gary continue to see declining enrollment.  To Rep. Smith, however, Gary is being “treated like a stepchild.”

Smith and many other D’s also still haven’t warmed to the idea of charter schools and see them – as well as the tax credits to allow for school choice – as a threat to traditional public schools. 

Meanwhile, Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) pointed out that both the Gary and Indianapolis Public School (IPS) districts receive more funding per student than any other district in the state.  In fact, IPS gets nearly $2,300 more per student than the state average.

Later on, fiscal stalwart Rep. Jeff Espich (R-Uniondale) implored legislators to do the right thing and vote "yes" on the budget.  “We’ve all had our say; we’ve all had to compromise.  I think we’ve done the best we can do.  Anyone can find a reason to vote ‘no,’ but you can also find a reason to vote ‘yes’ … one reason being not having to raise taxes.”

Stay tuned for more …

Mishawaka Company Adapts to Tough Economy, Recognized by Local Chamber for Economic Impact

For nearly 50 years, Laidig (of Mishawaka) has been providing customers with custom-engineered bulk storage and reclaim system technology. Senior VP Tom J. Lindenman explains the company’s diversified customer base has changed with the times, catering to the different storage needs of the day (ranging from soybeans for farmers to paper sludge for recycling companies to cement).

Lindenman notes that the company has had to make cuts like most other businesses during the current recession, but is also willing to evolve to remain profitable.

"We felt well-positioned to withstand an economic downturn," he says. "But none of us anticipated something of this magnitude. It’s like a 100-year rain.

"If you’re going to grow as a manufacturer today, you have to be willing to do what others won’t," Lindenman adds. "We’re now looking at jobs we wouldn’t have before that include a great deal of paperwork. We’re also looking at handling materials we wouldn’t have 10 years ago … And we’d never been much of a fabrication contractor before, but now with our new expanded capabilities we’re aggressively selling fabrication, blast cleaning and powder coating services particularly for very large (80’ long, 30,000 lbs.) parts."

Due to the company’s collective attitude and market diversity, Lindenman believes the future remains bright at Laidig.

"The reason we’ve been here 50 years is that we stand behind everything we do," Lindenman concludes. "We always stick with the customer until they’re satisfied, and many have indicated to us that not all companies will do that. We’ll continue to have a positive attitude, and will continue to survive and grow."

Furthermore, when asked what Indiana’s legislature could do to help businesses like Laidig, Lindenman stresses that "less intervention" would be the greatest help. Continue reading

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.