Former U.S. Chamber Official to Lead Purdue Global Business Effort

Purdue is here to help Indiana communities that are interested in economic development with China. On Friday, more than 60 Indiana government and economic officials, including 13 mayors, as well as business and education representatives, attended the Indiana Mayoral Roundtable on China to learn more about Purdue resources.

We also announced Purdue’s new Global Business Engagement Initiative that charts a course for Purdue to be the state’s one-stop shop for learning about and conducting business with China, and other countries that we are identifying. Purdue expertise can help prepare interested Indiana firms and communities with big picture guidance, such as on market assessments, to the smaller details, like how to distribute and receive business cards. Mark Van Fleet, a former senior official from the United States Chamber of Commerce, will lead the initiative.

We had a waiting list for Friday’s roundtable, and unfortunately an early morning winter storm kept some people from attending, but the enthusiasm for this event is a great sign that officials throughout Indiana are interested in what Purdue can offer. The roundtable also prompted some thoughtful dialogue, and participants had the chance to direct their questions to Chinese investors from Wanxiang America and Nanshan America, as well as Guoqiang Yang, consul general of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago.

If you have specific questions about working with Purdue, please contact me,
Michael Brzezinski, interim dean of International Programs, at  [email protected].

More information is available: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/general/2011/110225BrzezinskiChina.html

Purdue is here for you, and we look forward to helping your business and our state become a more active player in today’s global economy.

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Michael Brzezinski is interim dean of international programs at Purdue University.

PHOTO CAPTION: Muncie Mayor Sharon McShurley speaks Friday (Feb. 25) during the Indiana Mayoral Roundtable on China at Purdue. Participating in the panel discussion, from left, were Monticello Mayor Jason A. Thompson, Larry Ingraham of the Sagamore Institute and Logansport Mayor Michael Fincher. During the event, Purdue announced it is launching the Global Business Engagement Initiative, which will leverage the university’s various Chinese and business resources to promote Indiana’s economic development on a global scale by generating trade and investment opportunities for Indiana firms and communities while simultaneously advancing Purdue’s learning and discovery missions. (Purdue University photo/Andrew Hancock) 
 

K-12 Funding Crucial in Budget Debate

Money money money money MONEY. Some people got to have it.
 
For Democrats working on the state budget, that last lyric has been amended to: Some districts got to have it.   
 
The D’s are pushing hard to protect K-12 school funding for districts rather than students. In other words, enrollment numbers be damned; urban districts, which have historically received higher funding levels than others, should stay that way regardless!
 
Thanks to items called the “minimum guarantee” and the “deghoster,” declining districts like Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) have continued year after year to receive annual funding increases – even as enrollment levels have declined dramatically. Today, most of these urban districts get far more funding per student than rural or suburban schools. 
 
The Indiana Chamber’s education expert, Derek Redelman, notes that the state currently provides IPS with over $8,500 per student – far more than the $6,500 state average. When federal funds are included, the total for IPS rises to more than $9,400 per student, while the state average is just over $6,700. The numbers are even higher – over $15,000 for IPS – when local property taxes are included.
 
Yet, IPS Superintendent Eugene White today (one of a seemingly endless stream of testifiers, most of whom can now venture to the Statehouse committee rooms in their sleep) came before the budget conference committee with his hands out for more. Despite fewer and fewer students and additional increases in per pupil funding, White contends the money IPS gets from the state is still not enough. 
 
White had no answer for Rep. Brandt Hershman (R-Monticello) when asked what districts should be cut to give IPS more money or whether he would support a tax increase to give his district more money. 

According to Redelman, “This is the epicenter of our current budget debate. Democrats firmly back districts while Republicans want to fund students.”
 
Just how wide is the gap?
 
After it was noted that IPS funding would take a cut under the Senate budget bill (though it would get one of the largest increases per pupil) while the growing Hamilton Southeastern district would see an increase (but a cut on a per pupil basis), Rep. Bill Crawford (D-Indianapolis) imparted this bit of logic:

“We (the Democrats) are looking for a way to make K-12 education (funding) more equitable. If we have to bring the top (funded schools in the Senate plan) down to bring the bottom up, I’m for it.”

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.