IIB WEEK IN REVIEW: IU economists reveal 2014 outlook

2013-11-09T11:51:00Z IIB WEEK IN REVIEW: IU economists reveal 2014 outlookGerry Dick Inside Indiana Business nwitimes.com
November 09, 2013 11:51 am  • 

Indiana University Kelley School Business Outlook Panel is expecting "disappointing" national growth in 2014. The annual forecast is being revealed today in Indianapolis and Bloomington. Associate professor emeritus of economics Bill Witte says increased uncertainty and regulations on business are weighing down the economy. He says the outlook for Indiana is slightly better. The panel will make several stops in Hoosier communities throughout the month. Wittie says there are some positives in the forecast.

Expect Qualifying Changes Next May

Look for more big changes during the 2014 Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hulman & Co. Chief Executive Officer Mark Miles tells Inside INdiana Business the qualifying format for the Indianapolis 500 will undergo major revisions. He says plans call for 33 provisional qualifiers on the first day of competition, then two sessions on Sunday to set the field. Milles will detail the planned changes this weekend on Inside INdiana Business Television.

West Lafayette Council Approves Annexation

The West Lafayette City Council has passed an annexation plan that Mayor John Dennis has described as essential to the community's economic growth. One member of the council voted against the proposal, which included the annexation of Purdue University. There have also been concerns about city services connected to the proposal.

Startup Makes Hoosier Produce Year-Round Option

A Greenfield-based agricultural startup is growing at a rapid pace. Husk LLC processes, freezes and distributes thousands of pounds of Indiana-grown produce year-round. The company is only about four-months old, but is planning to significantly increase production in the next year after signing a big deal with Marsh Supermarkets. Husk also has plans to ship Hoosier produce to international markets and to do almost 10 times more production next year.

Bakery Plan Receives Key Approval

A plan that could create 240 jobs by 2018 is moving forward. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission has granted preliminary tax abatement approval for Specialty Bakery LLC's $80 million proposal to locate in the city. The project moves on for final approval, which could come November 20.

More Employers Establish Clinics

The employee health care clinic trend continues to gain momentum with organizations throughout the state. Comlux USA cut the ribbon Wednesday on its new medical facility for employees and their families. The center, which could serve other employers around Indianapolis International Airport, is initially expected to handle about 500 patients. The opening follows a decision this week from the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. to establish two new clinics in the city, plus similar moves by Winamac-based Braun Corp. in August and Indianapolis-based hhgregg Inc. in March.

Anderson University Planning 'Significant' Reductions

The Anderson University Board of Trustees has approved a strategy that includes cutting positions and streamlining academic programs. The moves will affect 16 faculty and staff jobs during the 2014-2015 academic year. President James Edwards says pressures such as fundraising, expenses and enrollments are "more extraordinary" than any time in the school's history.

School Referendum Voters Turn in Mixed Results

The votes are in for several multi-million dollar school referendums in the state. A $17 million Goshen Community Schools measure passed. Others, including a $3 million bus service proposal for the Muncie Community School Corp., a $28 million technology upgrade referendum for the School City of Mishawaka and money to fill a $4 million funding gap in Michigan City Area Schools were all defeated.

Ag Company Details Major Indiana Investment

More details are emerging about a major investment by an Albion-based swine genetics company. Whiteshire Hamroc LLC plans to begin construction this spring on a $10 million technology center. Chief Executive Officer Mike Lemmon says the project, originally announced last year, is a joint venture with its primary Chinese partner, and will result in about 25 new jobs. He says several Indiana companies and schools including Purdue University will take part in genetic and production research at the facility. Lemmon says the company is growing in other international markets as well.

Rolls-Royce Opens Another Indiana Plant

Rolls-Royce has taken the wraps off its 12th location in the state. Ceremonies took place this week to mark the opening of a $42 million engine compressor parts plant in Indianapolis. The facility will have more than 100 high-tech workers when fully operational.

Coliseum Project Ahead of Schedule

A $63 million renovation at the Indiana State Fairgrounds is on budget and likely to be complete earlier than expected. Publicity-Media Relations Manager Andy Klotz says the project is expected to be complete in April, months ahead of schedule. He is hopeful there will be an announcement "in the near future" about a hockey team that could call the venue home. Improvements to the 74-year-old facility include a hanging overhead scoreboard and upgraded concourses. Klotz says the coliseum is "the most vital piece of our economic puzzle."

Business Vet to Lead Indiana's Asian Efforts

The state has selected a point-person for its economic strategy in Asia. Rick Pease says relationships he built over a 30-year career at Enkei America in Columbus will help him "make the case" to Asian companies to locate or grow in Indiana. He says communities throughout the state must continue to embrace cultural diversity in order attract international companies and their employees. Pease says his initial focus will be to re-connect with Asian businesses already in Indiana.

INDOT Awards Final U.S. 31 Major Moves Contract

A Fort Wayne-based company has landed the last construction contract for U.S. 31 improvements through the state's Major Moves initiative. The Indiana Department of Transportation says Primco Inc. will develop an interchange just north of U.S. 30 in Plymouth.

Commission Highlights College 'Return on Investment'

The Indiana Commission For Higher Education says college graduates working in Indiana earn more than two dollars for every dollar spent on their four-year degrees. A new report from the agency highlights average costs, debt and employment opportunities for graduates of public institutions in the state.

Elkhart Company Secures Largest-Ever Contract

Elkhart-based Transhield says it has landed the largest contract in company history. The more than $8 million deal calls on the company to supply protective covers for more than 4,500 military vehicles.

For more Inside Indiana Business, visit www.insideindianabusiness.com.

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