IIB WEEK IN REVIEW: State has big plans for small communities

2014-05-09T13:46:00Z IIB WEEK IN REVIEW: State has big plans for small communitiesGerry Dick Inside Indiana Business nwitimes.com
May 09, 2014 1:46 pm  • 

The state of Indiana is launching an effort designed to spark entrepreneurship in small and rural communities. Organizers say the Community Entrepreneurship Initiative will help connect participants to services including accounting and legal assistance as well as benefits such as discounted leases and broadband access. It will also involve providing smaller communities with strategic consulting aimed at improving their entrepreneurial environments. In an interview to air this weekend on Inside INdiana Business Television, Office of Community and Rural Affairs Project Development Manager Geoff Schomacker and Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Executive Director Jacob Schpok discuss the initiative.

Delaware County Manufacturer Adding Jobs

Yorktown-based Mursix Corp. has announced plans to expand its headquarters and create more than 100 jobs by 2017. The company says the $7 million investment will allow it to build components for alternative energy applications for use in the automotive, electronics and security markets. Chief Executive Officer Todd Murray says increased demand for hybrid vehicles has led in large part to the expansion. Mursix employs nearly 300 at its Yorktown and Indianapolis facilities. Murray says the company has been working "behind the scenes" to help train the area's work force.

Manufacturer Planning Marshall County Jobs

An automotive supplier is expanding in Marshall County. Universal Bearings LLC plans to invest nearly $40 million to build a new facility in Bremen. The company says it will create nearly 80 jobs at the operation by 2017.

Interactive Intelligence Wins Again

An Indianapolis software provider has been named the state's technology company of the year for the second consecutive year. Interactive Intelligence Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ) claimed the honor last Saturday at the 15th annual TechPoint Mira Awards. It follows last week's $28 million expansion announcement involving plans to add 430 jobs. Other winners include Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing Dean Bobby Schnabel, who is this year's Trailblazer in Technology. All wiinners will be featured this weekend on a special edition of Inside INdiana Business Television. Interactive Intelligence Chief Executive Officer Don Brown says the company is a technology risk-taker.

Instrument Maker Adding Jobs

A South Whitley-based instrument manufacturer is expanding to the tune of 30 new jobs by 2017. Fox Products says the $2 million investment is the result of a growing domestic and international customer base.

First Farmers Acquires BMO Branches

Converse-based First Farmers Financial Corp. has signed a deal with BMO Harris Bank N.A. involving multiple Indiana BMO locations. The agreement is expected to be complete by the end of the year and includes First Farmers' acquisition of deposit relationships and branches. The deal impacts nine branches throughout the state. Farmers says all employees involved will be retained.

Officials Break Ground on Bluffton Shell Building

Construction is underway on a shell building in Wells County. Wells County Economic Development Director Tim Ehlerding says the facility at the Bluffton Decker Industrial Park has already drawn interest from companies as far away as Texas.

Deal Connects Purdue to Navy Priority

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels hopes an agreement being signed this afternoon will lead to a broad research arrangement with the U.S. Navy. He tells Inside INdiana Business the university stands to "occupy a large space" in the Navy's efforts to transition to more renewable and secure energy technology. Daniels says the Navy is very interested in Purdue's work to develop new biofuels that are more economical, less corrosive and aren't part of the food supply. Daniels says the benefits could reach beyond Purdue.

Indy Sends Super Proposal

Indianapolis' bid to host the 2018 Super Bowl is in the mail. The 900-page package will be distributed to National Football League owners, who will make a decision during meetings next month in Atlanta. Finalists Indianapolis, Minneapolis and New Orleans will each be given 15 minutes for live presentations to owners. Indiana Sports Corp. President Allison Melangton says this bid is "very similar" to previous efforts, but this time around Indianapolis doesn't have to prove it can host the big event. Colts Chief Operating Officer Pete Ward says personal lobbying from Owner Jim Irsay will be important to the process.

Fort Wayne, Evansville Land More Flights

American Airlines Group Inc. has announced additional nonstop air service from two Indiana airports. New flights from Fort Wayne International Airport to Philadelphia and Charlotte and from Evansville Regional Airport to Charlotte are set to take off in October. Evansville Regional Airport Director of Marketing and Air Service Development Dianna Page says air service to the North Carolina city is particularly attractive because it often serves as a gateway to major East Coast or international destinations. She says every new route brings a major economic benefit.

Hill-Rom Reports Quarterly Loss

Batesville-based Hill-Rom Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HRC) is reporting a fiscal second quarter loss of $3.3 million, compared to a profit of $22.3 million for the same period the previous year. In addition to major restructuring plans announced in January, the company says it will discontinue what's left of its North America home care bed rental business.

Downtown Fort Wayne Project Grows

The city of Fort Wayne is committing more money to a project Mayor Tom Henry says will be a downtown "game changer." The estimated cost for the Emerald Skyline development has grown from $71 million to $98 million, with Fort Wayne's portion increasing from about $19 million to $39 million. Henry says the increased investment is worth it since the tower, which includes an Ash Brokerage Corp. headquarters, will spur development by bringing hundreds of workers downtown. Ash says it will move 200 employees to the new building and plans to create approximately 115 jobs over the next few years. Henry says the Ash Brokerage project builds on the downtown area's continuing momentum.

Cummins Unveils Major Environmental Plan

Columbus-based Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) has detailed what it calls the most extensive plan to date to reduce the company's environmental footprint. Cummins Chief Executive Officer Tom Linebarger says the goals include reducing energy use by one-quarter and water use by about one-third.

Toyota Confirms Camry Production Shift

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) is moving production of the Camry from Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. in Lafayette to a plant in Kentucky. The shift is expected to take place during the second half of 2016.

Northeast Indiana Manufacturer Hiring

Fort Wayne-based Poseidon Barge Corp. says it is looking to hire more than one dozen workers at its Adams County operations. The company says the growth stems from a recent move into a new facility and a product launch.

Daniels Joins Hulman & Co. Board

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels has been elected to the Hulman & Co. Board of Directors. Daniels says the connection between the university and parent company of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is already strong and this relationship will take it even further.

hhgregg Announces Brand 'Transformation'

One of the state's most well-known brands is launching a rebranding initiative. Indianapolis-based hhgregg (NYSE: HGG) says the effort encompasses all of its nearly 230 locations, as well as online and delivery functions. Chief Executive Officer Dennis May says the rebrand serves as the "foundation for our differentiation from other retailers."

Marsh to Open Downtown Location

Indianapolis-based Marsh Supermarkets Inc. is set to open a downtown location next week. The store is part of the $85 million "Block 400" development, which is between the OneAmerica Financial Partners Inc. headquarters and the IUPUI campus.

Zip Line Set to Open in Anderson

A $1 million zip line course is set to open this weekend in Anderson. White River Zip Lines says the attraction is one of the largest courses in the Midwest.

Old Radio Tower Comes Down

An aging southern Indiana radio tower has been taken down. WITZ and two sister stations in Jasper are using a temporary antenna and wireless technology to stay on the air while a new tower is being erected.

Ford to Establish Plainfield Distribution Center

Ford Motor Co. is planning to set up a distribution center for automotive parts in Plainfield. The facility will be located in the Plainfield Business Center.

Primary Winners Include Likely Fishers Mayor

November ballots in several key races are set throughout the state. Fishers Town Manager Scott Fadness won the soon-to-be-city's first Republican mayoral primary. There were no Democratic candidates. Fadness beat out five challengers and will likely be the city's inaugural mayor. All nine of Indiana's incumbent U.S. Representatives won decisively in their respective primaries.

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

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