On the Federal Front: Around the Horn

The U.S. House of Representatives was on a week-long recess, which means our delegation was back home and visiting with their constituents around the state. The Senate, however, remained in D.C. working. Both will continue on the job in Washington starting next week until their recess around Memorial Day. A few news and notes:

* Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08) held a job fair in Terre Haute on Wednesday in coordination with WorkOne Western Indiana, Indiana State University and the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce. The event, held at Indiana State University’s Hulman Center, afforded potential employees the opportunity to meet with employers hiring in the Wabash Valley. A special emphasis was given to hiring veterans.

* Bucshon recently attended the Indiana Chamber’s I-69 Regional Summit in downtown Indianapolis. He was fresh from the floor vote in Congress on health care reform and also took time to meet with Chamber executives to discuss the topic.

* Congressman Jim Banks (IN-03), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement on Thursday regarding reports that the Trump Administration is considering sending more American troops to Afghanistan:

“I am glad that President Trump is willing to seriously consider the request of his commanders on the ground, who are asking for additional forces. We’ve been at war in Afghanistan since 2001, but in recent years, decisions about troop levels have been based on politics instead of military strategy. We’ve invested too much blood and treasure in Afghanistan to tolerate a stalemate or defeat. I look forward to learning more about the administration’s plans in the coming days.”

* U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly has released his Foundation for Families Agenda – a series of policy proposals aimed at improving the quality of life for Hoosier families. Included in the policy agenda:

  • Paid family and medical leave
  • Expanding access to pre-K and quality childcare options
  • Affordable higher education
  • Equal pay for women

Donnelly released a video explaining his agenda. He stated, “I am unveiling the Foundation for Families Agenda because we need to ensure our policies and priorities support hardworking Hoosier and American families. When our families succeed, so
does our economy. The foundation for our families should include family leave, options for affordable childcare and pre-K, access to an affordable college education, and the assurance that Hoosier women are paid equally when they do the same job as their male counterparts. These are common sense ideas that I am hopeful we can advance in a bipartisan manner in the Senate.”

* Many news organizations are speculating that a potential candidate to be the new FBI director might be the current president of Anderson University, John Pistole. Pistole is former deputy director of the FBI (and led significant counter-terrorism efforts) and past head of the Transportation Security Administration. He has declined all requests for interviews since the speculation began, but a few friends and family spoke to the Indy Star.

* Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson has been tapped to serve on President Trump’s national commission investigating the integrity of American elections; see The Northwest Indiana Times story. Vice President Mike Pence is chairing the commission.

BizVoice Tech, Innovation Series Moves Forward; Reid Health Joins as Lead Series Advertiser

The Innovation Connector is a full-service business resource incubator focused on emerging tech and innovative companies in East Central Indiana. In January 2017, the group launched the Coding Connector for area students to promote discovery of coding and programming.

Part 2 of the yearlong BizVoice magazine series on technology, innovation and entrepreneurship is in the books. We encourage you to check out the March-April entries, with the focus on Outstanding Talent, the lead driver in the Indiana Chamber’s Indiana Vision 2025 plan.

For the remainder of 2017, we’re proud to have Reid Health on board as the lead series advertiser. Among the upcoming features: meeting the space needs of scale-up organizations, communities investing in their quality of place, financing options for entrepreneurs and more.

The March-April highlights include:

  • Powerful ‘Force’: The second of a six-part series on Recovery Force examines how both team members and advisors were added to the mix to fill critical roles. Also, learn how the co-founders blend their strengths in moving the organization forward.
  • X-Factor: Internship Program Showcases Jobs, City: The Xtern program takes recruitment beyond the job, showcasing Indianapolis and central Indiana to talented young people. The initiative continues to grow and succeed.
  • Vital Connections: Mentoring Snapshot Comes Into Focus: Entrepreneurial leaders in Muncie and Terre Haute discuss mentoring efforts and keys to helping others achieve their business dreams.
  • Quick Hits: A commercialization academy at the University of Southern Indiana, Trine University Hall of Fame and I-Light upgrades.

Access the full interactive version of BizVoice®. If you wish to receive the magazine in print, subscribe online.

Glas-Col (Terre Haute) Celebrates 75 Years of Innovation

glshisTerre Haute-based Glas-Col, LLC will celebrate 75 years of manufacturing laboratory products and industrial heating and mixing technology with an open house on October 21 (4:30 – 7 p.m.). A release from the company elaborates:

Glas-Col’s commitment to offering excellence in design and manufacturing for the laboratory product field allows us to provide a high level of service to our customers. We are not satisfied with second class, second rate or second best.

The goal of our company is now and has always been to be a world leader in the laboratory products market and to recognize and develop technology to continually evolve into new and expanding areas.

Our progress through the years can be attributed to our leadership, our dedication to our customer’s and one of our most important and valuable assets, our people. Without their dedication and work ethic our success would have been immeasurably less.

The term “brilliant mistake” might apply to Glas-Col’s earliest beginnings. The company’s web site regales us with the tale of how its founder discovered its earliest offering:

Fires ordinarily destroy businesses. But in the case of Glas-Col, fire sparked an idea that built one new company and brought great benefits to countless others. In 1939 Glas-Col’s future founder, Dr. Glen H. Morey, was a research chemist at Commercial Solvents Corporation in Terre Haute, IN. There as in most chemical laboratories, open flame gas burners and electric glow coils were commonly used to heat oil, sand, molten metal, and water baths. A sudden fire burst out in the Commercial Solvents lab when a gas burner heating an oil bath ignited vapors from a shattered flask of acetone dropped several feet away. Dr. Morey was injured in that fire, and it convinced him lab workers needed a new method for heating flasks–one that would eliminate the hazard of open flame burners and electric heaters with exposed coils.

Working in their spare time, Dr. Morey and his wife Ruth developed a heating device with electric resistance wires woven into a fiberglass cloth sheath. The Moreys called their new invention a “heating mantle” because it could completely envelope a laboratory flask, just as the earth’s mantle completely encloses the planet’s core.

Dr. Morey tested the heating mantle rigorously. He poured highly flammable solvents directly on hot mantles while they were being used to distill liquids from glass flasks. After he was unable to start a fire under any of his own test conditions, he submitted the heating mantle to other research chemists for their evaluation. Test after test proved the heating mantle dependable and non-flammable.

On October 24, 1939, the first purchase order for the heating mantle was sent from the Columbia Chemical Division, Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company of Barberton, Ohio. Two months later, on December 13, the Morey’s formed Glas-Col Apparatus Company to manufacture their new product. At the time Dr. Morey believed demand for the heating mantle would be rather limited and estimated total market saturation at about 25 thousand units. Being a good glass blower, he decided to market glass fractionating columns to supplement the company product line. The name Glas-Col is short for glass columns.

But Glas-Col never manufactured a single glass column. Orders for heating mantles poured in. Not only did companies request mantles for spherical distillation flasks, but they also wanted mantles to accommodate glass beakers, steel beakers, funnels, evaporating dishes and many other common laboratory vessels. Some companies banished open flames entirely from their labs and bought heating mantles even for test tubes. Dr. Morey’s original heating mantle design was issued patent #2231506 on February 11, 1941.

The significance of the Moreys’ invention was nationally recognized in 1951 during the American Chemical Society’s Diamond Jubilee. On that occasion the United States government issued a commemorative stamp which pictured the distinctive Glas-Col heating mantle covering the bottom of a flask attached to a laboratory distilling apparatus. The smoke billowing from the towers of a chemical process plant pictured on the stamp was in that era considered a sign of prosperity and economic vitality.

‘Stay Classy, Terre Haute’: Will Ferrell Brings Beer Ads to Indiana

Back in September, there were reports of Will Ferrell running around Terre Haute.

The actor, famous for his starring roles in “Elf,” “Talladega Nights” and “Anchorman” (his signoff phrase as a news anchor: “You stay classy, San Diego”), was seen by residents and local media wearing a cheesy polo shirt, khaki shorts, tube socks and sandals (yikes) and standing in the middle of a busy city intersection with a small camera crew.

It was rumored at the time that he seemed to be carrying around a can and was potentially shooting a commercial of some kind – though details were vague at best.

Finally, if you live in the Terre Haute viewing area, you’re likely to see the result of Ferrell’s antics at the intersection of Wabash and Seventh streets and along the railroad tracks near 10th and Ohio streets (there are two commercials).

In one commercial posted here on YouTube, Ferrell waxes philosophical for a few seconds on being in the Crossroads of America and then proceeds to crack open a frosty cold Old Milwaukee brew. In the other,  you can see him walking along a railroad track going on about rusty trampolines before popping open the beverage.

The Terre Haute Tribune-Star reported that the ads were Ferrell’s idea and were produced by his web site, FunnyorDie.com (beware: probably salty language), Ferrell reportedly shot three commercials in Davenport, Iowa and at least two in Terre Haute. For now, the newspaper reports, the commercials will only be aired in the markets where they were shot – but you can watch them online no matter where you live.

Student Comes to Dinner, Goes to Paris

The Indiana Chamber gives away a couple of airline tickets each year at its annual awards dinner. It’s a longstanding partnership (thank you to American Airlines) and a great way to help ensure that many of our guests and sponsors are able to connect during the reception.

The winning ticket is drawn and announced just prior to the Business Leader, Government Leader and Community of the Year awards being announced. In the course of a hectic (but always most enjoyable) evening, I typically don’t think much more about the prize winner.

What a pleasure to receive this recent blog posting from Jade Scott, a student at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in Terre Haute. She does an excellent job of telling the story from that evening and her subsequent trip to Paris.

A belated congratulations to Jade and a big thanks once again to American Airlines. On November 17 this year, at the 22nd Annual Awards Dinner, we’ve got the three big honors, Super Bowl champion quarterback Terry Bradshaw as the featured speaker — and someone else’s dream coming true as a result of visiting sponsors and hearing their name called.

Downtown Terre Haute’s New Look Getting Even Better

We named Terre Haute as our 2010 Community of the Year. Why? Because the community has made remarkable strides in becoming a better place to live — and attract visitors. Now, even more good news comes out of the Wabash Valley, and the city’s focus on downtown development gets a boost from Thompson Thrift Development. Thompson Thrift is a company we’re proud to call an active Indiana Chamber member, and we can’t wait to see how its new project will enhance Terre Haute’s progress even further.

Thompson Thrift Development, Inc., announced plans (March 15) to construct a new three-story professional office building at 925 Wabash Avenue that would serve as yet another building block in redeveloping the eastern edge of downtown Terre Haute. Construction is scheduled to begin in July of this year and be completed by May 2012.

The building will increase the opportunity for businesses to lease Class A office space in downtown. Its anchor tenants will be Old National Insurance and Emmis Communications (HI 99 and 105.5 The River) of Terre Haute. Space is still available in the building, and additional tenants will be announced as leases are signed. Anyone interested in leasing space in the building should call Thompson Thrift at (812) 235-5959.

"This new building is an ideal location for Old National Insurance as we continue to grow and expand," said Steve Danielson, region president for Old National Insurance. "Our 43 associates are delighted we will continue to be in downtown Terre Haute in such an attractive work space. We look forward to welcoming our clients to our new home."

"The decision by these two important local entities to relocate their operations to the new building and serve as anchor tenants reinforces our belief in the project’s value," said Paul Thrift, president of Thompson Thrift Development. "Old National Insurance and Emmis have been fixtures in the community for many years, and their continued commitment to downtown as demonstrated by their decisions to maintain their presence downtown is a positive development for the city. We are pleased to welcome them both."

The announcement represents another major milestone in the redevelopment of Terre Haute’s downtown area.

"We’re excited that Thompson Thrift has chosen to take another significant step forward in helping revitalize the city’s downtown," said Cliff Lambert, executive director of Terre Haute’s Department of Redevelopment. "This new building represents the sort of vision and investment in the future necessary for the community’s continued growth. Projects such as this reinforce the city’s status as Indiana’s ‘Community of the Year.’ "

The structure will be located on the southeast corner of Wabash and 9 1/2 Street. Plans call for the building to have a footprint of 11,000 square feet with a total of 33,000 square feet of leasable space.

"Adding this office building, with its extensively landscaped site, to the new Federal Building and the renovated Clabber Girl, St. Benedict’s Church and 901 Wabash will effectively create a campus-like anchor for the east end of downtown," said Paul Thrift, president of Thompson Thrift Development.

"Not only will the new building have a positive economic impact for the city, it represents another attractive new structure in the downtown area," he added. "The structure has been specifically designed to be complementary in look and feel to other buildings in that part of downtown."

The building will feature a masonry facade and will incorporate urban architectural features. Walkways and streets linked to the new structure’s site will feature plantings and brick pavers to tie the area together and enhance its aesthetics. To further boost the site’s attractiveness, existing utility poles will be removed and lines will be moved underground. In addition, the long-vacant lot on the northeast corner of 9th and Ohio streets will be improved as part of the project.

The site is within Terre Haute’s C-8 Downtown Business District, which is the city’s major center for finance, retail, professional offices and other services.

"We have made a great deal of progress over the past several years in terms of bringing downtown back. This has been accomplished through renovating and restoring older structures and building new ones," said Lambert.

"It’s gratifying to look around downtown and see improvements such as the Children’s Museum, two new hotels, a new bookstore, a renovated 901 Wabash Building and the work done at Clabber Girl," he added. "We are looking forward to completing another facet of downtown’s revitalization with this new office building and the opportunities for growth it will create."

The project is subject to the necessary approvals and support from the city of Terre Haute.

"We have been working closely with Mayor Bennett and Cliff Lambert of the city’s Department of Redevelopment to make this project a reality," said Thrift. "Without their interest and support, this undertaking would not have been possible."

Thompson Thrift Construction, Inc., will serve as the general contractor for the project.

Thompson Thrift is a full-service real estate development and construction company with offices in Terre Haute, Indianapolis and Carmel. It is currently involved in projects in eight states and in more than 30 cities across Indiana. The company employs 121 people.

Oh, and while we’re focusing on Terre Haute, congrats on a great season and NCAA tournament berth to the Missouri Valley Conference Champion Indiana State Sycamores!

Terre Haute: Top Community Keeps Earning Recognition

I’ve been enjoying this Indiana Chamber/BizVoice thing for nearly 13 full years now. Which means I’ve seen 13 towns and cities honored as the Chamber’s Community of the Year at our annual awards dinner.

No slight intended at any of the past winners, but it’s likely that no one has done a better job of taking advantage of this honor than the 2010 recipient — Terre Haute. From a live televised press conference to announce the award to bringing nearly 200 community members to the celebration (and many other activities before and since), Terre Haute is letting everyone at home and beyond know about its transformation.

The latest is recognition from lawmakers at the Statehouse. The Terre Haute Tribune-Star has the recap. For those who missed out on our coverage, read the BizVoice article and view the award video.

Congratulations once again, Terre Haute. For 2011 contenders (nominations will be open in the spring), this just might be too good an opportunity to pass up.

PICTURED: Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett accepts the 2010 Community of the Year Award.

State Newspapers to Townships: Why are You Still Here?

Fifteen Indiana newspapers are asking that question and providing the evidence that the time for reform is now. For more, visit www.mysmartgov.org :

Bloomington Herald-Times: How is your township doing: interactive databases allows you to see how your trustees are doing in filing their state-required paperwork, how much money they’re spending to provide poor relief assistance and how often they are hiring people with the same last name

Former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Ted Boehm says: “Figures on poor relief and fire protection demonstrate that we are operating a system that no one starting with a clean sheet of paper would design.”

The Indianapolis Star: “During a span of two years, the (township) government bankroll grew by $87 million, and 91,983 fewer needy Hoosiers received aid.”

These newspapers are part of the township reform campaign: Anderson Herald Bulletin, Batesville Herald Tribune, Bedford Times-Mail, Bloomington Herald-Times, Evansville Courier & Press, Greensburg Daily News, The Indianapolis Star, Kokomo Tribune, Lafayette Journal & Courier, Martinsville Reporter-Times, Muncie Star Press, Northwest Indiana Times Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana Richmond Palladium-Item, Rushville Republican

More on Illinois: Tax Until You Drop, And They Probably Will

We told you here two days ago that Illinois lawmakers were seriously considering tax increases of 75% on individual income and 49% on corporations. Well, good news for the residents of the land that might more closely resemble its nickname (Prairie State) in the coming years as those increases were lowered to 67% and 30%, respectively.

Governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign the legislation to help stem an ever-growing budget deficit. The state anticipates it will raise an additional $6.5 billion in revenue in 2011. But do those projections take into account the companies and the families that will be fleeing for points near (Indiana) and far?

We hinted earlier that Indiana would need to be ready to roll out the welcome mat for those defectors. A brief conversation with someone from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (and public comments from Mitch Roob) confirmed that an aggressive marketing plan is in the works along with additional personnel in Northwest Indiana and focused efforts in Terre Haute, Evansville, etc.

The Tax Foundation reports the moves (if part of the 2011 evaluation) would drop the Illinois tax climate from No. 23 to No. 36. Indiana, by the way, is a solid No. 10.

Here’s the Tax Foundation brief on the impacts of the spend, spend, tax and spend some more plan in Illinois.

Terre Haute: From Stagnation to Inspiration

Terre Haute, once labeled a "community of stagnation" by the media, has used that label as motivation to become a bright point in Indiana’s western corridor. Our Tom Schuman sat down with Rod Henry, president of the Terre Haute Chamber, to discuss what the community has done to earn the Indiana Chamber’s award as 2010 Community of the Year.

Also see this recent BizVoice article on Terre Haute’s achievements.