2013-11-30T13:11:00Z IIB WEEK IN REVIEW:Gerry Dick Inside Indiana Business nwitimes.com
November 30, 2013 1:11 pm  • 

Long-Awaited Bypass Now Open

The $155 million U.S. 31 Kokomo bypass opened Tuesday. Governor Mike Pence took part in a ribbon-cutting to mark the completion of the 13-mile bypass. It's part of an effort to improve the corridor from Indianapolis to South Bend. The long-awaited bypass includes six new interchanges. It is an alternative to old U.S. 31, which has 15 intersections and traffic signals.

Beans Help Power Company Success

The leader of a fourth-generation Hoosier family business believes innovation, patience and attention to customers are the keys to the company's longevity. Indianapolis-based N.K. Hurst Co. is marking 75 years in business. President Rick Hurst says beans remain at the core of the business, but the company is also involved in sun tan lotion packaging and dry soup mixes. During an appearance on Inside INdiana Business Television, Hurst says educating a younger generation about the cost-effectiveness of cooking from scratch will be essential to the company's future.

Football Great to Head Training Program

St. Vincent Sports Performance in Indianapolis has named Mark Herrmann coordinator of football operations. Before a 12-year National Football League career, which included a stint with the Indianapolis Colts, the Carmel native played at Purdue University. His new duties include leading the group's training efforts at the annual NFL Combine.

Pro Hockey Returning to Indianapolis

The Indy Fuel is bringing professional hockey back to the state's largest city. The ECHL team launched an online presence through Facebook, Twitter and a web page this week. It is expected to begin playing next year at the renovated Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum. Carmel-based KAR Auction Services Inc. (NYSE: KAR) Chief Executive Officer Jim Hallett is chairman of the team.

TechPoint Targets Tech Talent

Indiana's technology initiative is launching an effort to connect skilled tech workers with thousands of openings. TechPoint Chief Executive Officer Mike Langellier says IndyX will focus on attracting out-of-town skilled tech workers to central Indiana and also offering immersive internships for Indiana college students. The organization says so far this year, area companies have posted more than 9,000 tech-related job openings. Langellier says corporate partners including ExactTarget Inc. and Angie's List Inc. (NYSE: ANGI) are playing key roles in shaping the program.

Ortho Company Plans Northeast Indiana Jobs

A new medical device manufacturer is launching in Whitley County and plans to create two dozen jobs by 2016. Blue M Medical LLC will locate operations in a Columbia City facility and supply stainless steel medical devices in the orthopedics industry.

State Auditor Announces Resignation

After a little more than three months in office, the Auditor of State plans to step down. In a letter to Governor Mike Pence, Dwayne Sawyer cites "family and personal concerns." His resignation is effective December 15.

Indy Manufacturer Looks to Add Jobs

An Indianapolis-based aerospace engineering company is seeking abatement on a nearly $2.5 million expansion plan. Applied Composites Engineering Inc. says the project would result in more than 100 new jobs by 2019. The company manufactures composite and metal products for the aerospace and military sectors.

State Reminds Consumers About Online 'Use Tax'

The Indiana Department of Revenue is reminding Hoosiers to make sure state sales tax is collected for online purchases. The department says consumers are expected to pay a "use tax" if an online or catalog company does not ask for the state sales tax.

Berry Plastics to Streamline Operations

The chief executive officer of Evansville-based Berry Plastics Group Inc. (NYSE: BERY) says the company plans to close five plants throughout the U.S. During a conference call to investors last week, Jon Rich said the moves will affect around 200 employees. The closures are part of an "aggressive" cost-reduction initiative triggered by what the company is calling continued weak economic activity.

Student Pitches Educational 'Creature'

A Hanover College entrepreneur is hoping a fuzzy gnome named Winzlow can spark success for his startup company. D.J. Kondaki has created WinzlowNation, which sells his children's books and character merchandise. He hopes to gain exposure through a series of book tours at schools, libraries, nonprofit organizations and conventions. The venture is featured on this month's INnovators With Dr. K segment.

Trust Donates Plane to Ivy Tech

A Boeing 737 airplane has been donated to Ivy Tech Community College. The gift from the Popovich Family Trust, valued at nearly $1.4 million, will be used by students at the school's Emergency Response Training Lab, which recently opened at the Gary/Chicago International Airport.

Indy Parks Looking For Private Partners

The Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation is seeking private partnerships in hopes of improving the quality of the city's parks. The department has issued a Request for Proposals with objectives including modernizing equipment and creating "significant additional revenue."

Contest to Determine Race Trophy Design

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway says a fan will design the trophy for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Organizers say trophy design contest entries will be judged on relevance to racing and creativity. The winning designer will be recognized at an unveiling ceremony in early February.

Key Index to Include Allegion

A global company with a strong presence in central Indiana will replace retailer J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) in the S&P 500. S&P Dow Jones Indices says Allegion plc (NYSE: ALLEwi) will be included in the index following the close of trading Friday. The $2 billion security company is a spinoff of Ingersoll-Rand plc (NYSE: IR) and its North American headquarters is in Carmel.

St. Elmo to Test Championship Eaters

The title of Shrimp Cocktail-Eating Champion of the World will be up for grabs next month in Indianapolis. Joey Chestnut and other Major League Eating competitors will take part in a St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail eating competition before the Big Ten Championship football game. Competitors will have eight minutes to consume as much shrimp cocktail as possible.

Big City Deals Drive Hoosier Momma Growth

Brownsburg-based Hoosier Momma LLC continues to gain traction throughout the country. The cocktail mix maker can now be found in 19 states and recently struck distribution deals in Chicago and New York City. During an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television, Co-founders KC Cranfill and Erin Edds talked about the company's rapid success.

Auction Company Highlights Farmland Prices

An Indiana auction company says there continues to be strong demand for farmland. Columbia City-based Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co. is reporting big crowds at sales in several Midwest states. That includes a recent auction in Lake County, where the land sold for more than $8,200 per acre.

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

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