Less Than 350 Days Until the Next Big Show

We like to say here at the Indiana Chamber that we have the biggest and best annual business celebration. Sure I’m a little biased, but I think that was proven to be the case again Thursday night.

Don’t take our word for it. The 1,400-plus attendees certainly seemed to enjoy themselves. Governor Mitch Daniels helped get the ball rolling and the night closed with keynote speaker Terry Bradshaw putting on an excellent show.

There were the three major awards, of course. Congratulations to Business Leader of the Year Jean Wojtowicz, Government Leaders Brian Bosma and David Long, and Community of the Year Kokomo. Check out their video profiles and stay tuned for photos, a video recap of the event and more in the coming days and weeks.

It’s about much more than just the awards. It’s business, community and political leaders coming together and celebrating what makes Indiana great.

It’s only 11 months and 12 days until the 23rd Annual Awards Dinner, which will feature Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein on the 40th anniversary of Watergate and the lessons learned that apply to today’s political world. Join us November 1, 2012 and see for yourself what a great event this is.

It’s (Almost) Time for the Show

The video shoots are in the books; yeah, there is that little thing of compiling, editing, revising and finalizing — but that will all take place quickly and effectively.

BizVoice magazine goes off to the printer this week after a great job from the Chamber team in telling our award winner stories.

In other words, we’re getting close to "play ball" time for the Chamber’s 22nd Annual Awards Dinner. And speaking of (foot)ball, four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Terry Bradshaw will be sure to inform and entertain as the event’s keynote speaker.

There’s still time to get your tickets (more than 1,500 did so last year). It’s November 17 at the JW Marriott. We hope to see you there.

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.

Terry Bradshaw Coming to Indy; Talks New Labor Deal

Being the sports nut that I am, it was pretty cool to interview NFL legend Terry Bradshaw last Friday for the Chamber’s BizVoice® magazine. The four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and current Fox NFL broadcaster  is the featured speaker at our 2011 awards dinner this fall.

The excitement over the Super Bowl coming to Indianapolis should be building come November 17 when Bradshaw takes the stage at the JW Marriott. He said to expect some good stories, reflection and humor in his speech entitled, “Why Not Your Best.”

Thankfully, today it now seems assured we will have a football season. When I spoke with Bradshaw, he didn’t hold back on his feelings regarding the labor negotiations between the players and owners, the general public’s perception of it and how things used to be:

“To a fan, it’s greed vs. greed, but I’ve wanted to tell the fan this for years, for decades: The players were held in bondage. They were like Exodus in the Bible. The Israelites wanted out and the pharaoh wouldn’t let them go, and finally Moses came and performed his miracles and set his people free. That’s kind of what happened with the players. We didn’t have the freedom to move from team to team, we didn’t know what players were making, and we didn’t know what the teams were making and whether or not that little $40,000 check I got at the end of the year should have been making $400,000 or $500,000. The (first) CBA (collective bargaining agreement) forced them to open up the books.

Like any worker out there, if you’ve got a four- or five-year contract and it expires, and some other organization says ‘We want you to come over to our place,’ the Indiana Chamber of Commerce doesn’t have the right to say, ‘Wait a minute, we have a right of first refusal.’ You take the best offer and you part company. It’s all about money; always is. If somebody offers you twice what you make now, you’re leaving. This is the American way; it’s capitalism at its best.

The players only get roughly two negotiation periods in a football career, because the average life is only four years, I think. I’m definitely more inclined to support the players in this.

When it’s all said and done, the players are still going to be taken care of. The older people (retired players) are going to be taken care of; the pensions are going to be taken care of. There’s a lot of great things. And that’s why the CBA is taking so long. I do not blame the players for taking their time as I would insist they do, to make sure. Because it’s 10 years before they can come back and revisit. ‘Well, you didn’t talk about the helmet issue,’ … then it’s too late.”

Bradshaw to Headline ‘Super’ Event

OK, we can’t be absolutely sure there will be football this summer (training camps and preseason contests) or early fall, but does anyone really believe that players and owners can’t figure out a way to compromise when $9 billion in revenues is at stake.

And Indiana, of course, has even more on the line than normal with Super Bowl XLVI (that’s 46 for those needing a Roman numeral translation) coming to Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012.

But the Indiana Chamber can guarantee football on November 17 of this year when Terry Bradshaw highlights our 22nd Annual Awards Dinner. In addition to four Super Bowl titles as a Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback, Bradshaw shines as a commentator, actor, singer, author, motivational speaker and more.

It’s always an outstanding business celebration (ask any of the 1,500-plus who attended in 2010), but it’s great to tie in to Indiana’s latest opportunity to shine on the sports world stage.

Check out today’s press release; more on Bradshaw; and a 2010 Annual Dinner highlight video.