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February / March 2017

www.hamiltoncountybusiness.com Published six times per year by the Hamilton County Media Group PO Box 502, Noblesville, IN 46061 317-774-7747

Aerial view of Indiana Academy, Cicero

EDITOR/PUBLISHER

Mike Corbett

mcorbett@hamiltoncountybusiness.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Bridget Gurtowsky

bridget@gurtowskygraphics.com

Features

12

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Dave Bechtel dave@hamiltoncountybusiness.com

Indiana Academy

14 Brackets for Good 18 Parker Mortgage 20 Tax Incentives 22 Retail Roundabout 24 Dining Out:

Convivio

25 Chamber Pages

Columns 6 8

Editor Marketing Dr. Charles Waldo

10

Management Robby Slaughter

30

History David Heighway

CORRESPONDENTS Christine Bavender crbavender@gmail.com Jennifer A. Beikes jenniferbeikes@gmail.com Ann Craig-Cinnamon jandacinnamon@aol.com Jane Willis Gardner janegardner33@gmail.com Karen Kennedy Karen@karenkennedywriter.com Shari Held sharih@comcast.net Susan Hoskins Miller skhmiller@gmail.com Samantha Hyde samantharhyde@gmail.com Patricia Pickett pickettwrites@gmail.com CONTRIBUTORS David Heighway heighwayd@earthlink.net Robby Slaughter rslaughter@accelawork.com Dr. Charles Waldo cnwaldo@comcast.net

Please send news items and photos to news@hamiltoncountybusiness.com Submission does not guarantee publication

Subscription $20/year To subscribe or advertise, contact Mike Corbett at

mcorbett@hamiltoncountybusiness.com

Cover photo by Stan Gurka 4

Copyright 2017 Hamilton County Media Group. All rights reserved.

February • March 2017 • Hamilton County Business Magazine


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Letter from the Editor February • March 2017

I’ve spent my entire career in the media. My background is TV news and newspapers. I came of age when news organizations respected the church/state separation of advertising and editorial. That is, the news side of a publication is separate from the advertising side. The two don’t mix. Editorial decisions are made using editorial values: newsworthiness, compelling story, good visuals. Advertising decisions are made based on our business needs but stories aren’t for sale.

Mike Corbett Editor and Publisher

There has always been a little wiggle room in those values, especially in local media where advertisers and newsmakers are often the same people. And, of course, it’s easy to see how they might conflict when you are talking about a business magazine, where businesses are both content and advertising. Still, whenever anybody asks, we always say that news decisions are based on news values and advertising decisions on business values. The world has changed in the course of my career and the media’s church/state line gets blurrier every day (come to think of it, it’s not as clear as it once was for the real church and state either). Our Business Development Manager, Dave Bechtel, who hasn’t spent his career in the media, challenged me the other day. He thinks we should use editorial coverage as a sales tool. Every business has a story, he figures, so why not tell the stories of those businesses who support us financially? After all, lots of other magazines do it and even some newspapers do. I objected that the implicit agreement between the editor and the reader is that editorial content is not for sale unless the reader is alerted that they are reading an ad. He asserts that distinction is a media industry myth, that 95% or more of our readers don’t distinguish between the two and don’t care if they are alerted. If he’s right, that comes as a surprise to me, but I’d like to know what you think. So that prompted our first ever reader survey. I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to learn a bit more about you, our readers: your preferences, your values, your ideas. If you’ve read this far you likely have an opinion on this and a few other questions, so please take a few minutes to take our survey (it shouldn’t take long... only ten questions). The link is on our website: www.hamiltoncountybusiness.com. Click Take our Survey on the right hand side of the Home Page. You can remain anonymous if you wish but to make it interesting we’ll draw randomly from the entries who provide an email address for a dinner and date night: a pair of tickets to Motown the Musical on March 28 at Old National Centre and a $50 gift card. We’ll leave the poll open through the month of February. If we get a significant response I’ll be sure to share the results with you. See you around the county,

Editor and Publisher mcorbett@hamiltoncountybusiness.com 317-774-7747

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February • March 2017 • Hamilton County Business Magazine


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Marketing

Charles Waldo

The Rule of 100

It’s all in how you frame the deal any HCBM readers run “sales promotions” of various kinds for their businesses, often involving pricing issues. Maybe it’s “Buy one, get a second at 50% off.” Perhaps it’s “$5 off the regular price,” or, “10% off the regular price.” Whatever the “formula,” the seller wants to move product. But what pricing strategy will best do that? Dr. Jonah Berger, Marketing Professor at the Wharton Business School (University of Pennsylvania) offers some useful insights on this question in his book Contagious: Why Things Catch On (Simon & Schuster Publishing, 2013). The book is chockfull of findings from the behavioral sciences explaining why consumers act as they do—sometimes in ways that appear on the surface as irrational. One strategy Berger describes is the…

Researchers have found that it depends on the original price. For low-priced products like groceries or books, price reductions seem more significant when percentage terms are used. Thus, “20%

“20% off” or “$5 off” ….which seems like the better deal?

Rule of 100 How promotional offers are expressed plays a role in maximizing volume and profits. Some offers are expressed as cents or dollars off, or absolute discounts (10 cents, $5, or $50 off). Other offers are expressed as percentage, or relative discounts (5%, 50%, and so on) off list price. Does the way a promotion is framed (as a money amount or as a percentage off) affect how big the discount seems, and thus make it more attractive? Example: Take twenty percent off a $25 shirt. The same reduction can be represented as either “20% off” or “$5 off.” Which seems like the better deal to a potential buyer? Or think about a $200 price reduction on a $2,000 laptop computer. The same re8

duction can be expressed as “10 percent off” or “$200 off.” Does one method of discounting make the deal seem better than the other?

off” that $25 shirt ($5) seems like a better deal than “$5 off.” (Do you agree?) However, for higher-priced products, such as that $2,000 laptop computer, the opposite is true. For big-ticket items putting the price reduction in dollar terms ($200) rather than in percentage terms (10% off) makes it seem like a better offer. The laptop seems like a better deal when advertised as “$200 off” rather than “10% off.” (Do you agree?) A simple way to figure out which discount method will seem larger to potential customers is by using something called the “Rule of 100.” If the product’s price before discounting is less than $100, the Rule of 100 says that percentage discounts will seem larger. For a 20 percent discount on a $30 polo-shirt, $6 seems like a relatively small number. But, stated as a percentage reduction of 20 percent, the same discount mentally seems much larger. (Do you agree?)

If the product’s original price is more than $100, the opposite is true. Here numerical discounts will seem larger to the potential buyer. Take the $2,000 laptop. While a 10% discount may seem like a relatively small number in and of itself, it immediately seems much bigger (and more favorable) when translated into dollars. ($200) So, when deciding how “good” to make a promotional offer seem, consider using the Rule of 100. Think about where the original price falls relative to $100 and how that affects whether absolute ($) or relative (%) discounts will seem more attractive to potential buyers. Under $100 use percentage. Over $100 use dollars.”

Real World Practices To see if merchants in the real world use the Rule of 100 I went through the various sales promotion inserts in a recent Sunday edition of The Indianapolis Star. Dozens of sellers advertising probably thousands of “deals” reviewed. As you might imagine, a variety of pricing techniques were used with the Rule of 100 seeming to come into play some of the time but certainly not in a majority of the cases. Some stores used a variety of pricing methods (both percentage and $ off) in their inserts while others stuck to just one method. What do you think? What’s been your experience as a buyer and, perhaps, as a seller? Does the Rule of 100 work? Please feel free to share your experiences by contacting me at the email address below. HCBM Charles Waldo, Ph.D. is Professor of Marketing (ret.) of Anderson University’s Falls School of Business. He lives in Indianapolis and can be reached at cnwaldo@comcast.net.

February • March 2017 • Hamilton County Business Magazine


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Management Robby Slaughter

Is The Office Obsolete? We Need a Remote-Work Revolution f you work in an office today, there’s a strong possibility that you would get a lot more done if you didn’t have to work in that office. It turns out that, although we think of glass towers containing cubicles and filing cabinets as the places we go to accomplish something, the “office” as most of us know it, is a terrible place to get anything done.

the work environment in home offices is often far superior to that in office buildings. For many of us, the desk chair, the computer, and the workspace we have in our residences may actually be superior to the ones we have in our company office spaces. It certainly should be no surprise that the workspaces we create for ourselves at home are often far quieter and more comfortable than those speci-

an Internet connection. Hundreds of marketing, design and software development firms in this area operate successfully without requiring their employees to put in a full week in a physical office building.

In fact major US corporations like American Express, the Hartford, and IBM are sending thousands of their customer relations personnel to “remote offices,” which are most often in their homes, beThe primary reason, as You can’t look busy if no one can see you. cause they have discovered entrepreneur Jason Fried that 40-50% of their office notes in an editorial for spaces go unused on a daily All you can do is produce results. CNN.com, is that “the basis. These firms report modern office has become their employee retention an interruption factory.” has increased between 60% fied on our behalf in office buildings. Fried is painfully correct. Workplaces to 95%, and some claim productivity And it’s not as if we spend that much aren’t like school libraries, where silence improvements of 50%. Yet despite these is golden and quiet intellectual pursuit is time at the office collaborating in any benefits, many organizations aren’t even meaningful way. According to the New the foundation of progress. considering a change. York Times, we spend an average of only Instead, our offices are buzzing with The most fundamental reason many 5.6 hours per week in meetings and 71 conversation, ringing phones, shufcompanies have not shifted the brunt of percent of us report that these sessions office work away from traditional office fling papers, whirring copy machines, are “unproductive.” Most of the work buildings is because our business culsqueaky hinges and clunking footfalls. If that we do today is solitary and most you are lucky enough to have your own ture is based more on assessing the apof the value that we provide requires pearance of productivity than on actual walls, you can escape some of the chaos concentration. Office planners and proby closing your door, however most of us results. People humming about in offices ductivity consultants have known since work in cubes and must battle dozens of look busy, even though in reality they publication of the BOSTI studies in the interruptions per hour. are constantly interrupting one another 1980’s that distractions and interrupand struggling against the inconvetions significantly detract from employee Interruptions and Overhead nience and expense to the employee of productivity. So why suffer the interrupcommuting and set work hours. Traditionally, much of the reason we tions and overhead expense of an office, work in offices is inertia. The high cost Plus, if people are in the office, the bossif most of the time, most of us don’t need of equipment and the utility of centrales know they are working. Or do they? or want it anyway? ized files means that it made sense for The ultimate, unstoppable advantage of Keeping Up Appearances people to be physically located together. remote work is that there is no pretense. Yet today, this logic no longer applies. You can’t look busy if no one can see Some firms have embraced the true Computer technology can make any bit you. All you can do is produce results. nature of work and shifted away from of company data available practically And isn’t that we want? HCBM the obsession with employee co-location. anywhere on the planet, at blazingly Robby Slaughter is a workflow and proA new trend is for employees who forfast speeds on seemingly any network ductivity expert. He is the author of four merly worked in crowded and noisy call connection. books, and a principal with AccelaWork, centers full of cubicles is to transition Furthermore, the per-employee harda speaking and consulting firm. Look for into “distributed call-centers,” where emware investment is now significantly less ployees can be virtual-based customer more information at www.accelawork. than in years past, while the quality of representatives from anywhere with

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February • March 2017 • Hamilton County Business Magazine


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Indiana Academy students help with Spring planting during one of the school’s service days.

Cicero boarding school offers unique experience for diverse student body By Jennifer Beikes Photos by Stan Gurka idden in plain sight on a 500-acre campus along Ind. 19 in Cicero, the Indiana Academy has been educating high school students for 114 years, yet maintains a low profile in a county nationally recognized for its excellence in education. The boarding school, owned and managed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, teaches beyond academics, emphasizing work skills and ethics, physical health and service to others. Students are required to work on campus as well as participate in community service programs and mission trips.

Real World Experience Project 58 is one such community outreach opportunity. Principal Steven Baughman says Project 58 is based on 12

for the Birthright organization in Cicero, we work with both Gleaners food bank in Indianapolis and the Hamilton County food bank in Noblesville, a group of students helps at the Hamilton County Humane Society, while another group volunteers at the Agape Therapeutic Equestrian Center.” Bible passages Isaiah 58 and Matthew 25:40, which call Christ’s followers to serve others as a fulfillment of His commission. “Once a month we modify our school day to allow the entire student body, staff and faculty to participate in various types of community service,” said Baughman. “We bake bread and cookies to deliver to local businesses and homes, a group of students sews and prepares care packages

The academy integrates the classroom with service projects as well, giving students tangible, real-world opportunities to problem-solve for their community. “Our biology teacher, Art Miller, had his students collect and analyze macroinvertebrates from the Little Cicero Creek running behind our campus to determine water pollution levels,” Baughman explained. “What we’re striving to do is

February • March 2017 • Hamilton County Business Magazine

Photo courtesy Indiana Academy

Cover Story


incorporate elements of service with this education model. In this case, Mr. Miller had his students prepare and present their findings to members of the Cicero Stormwater Advisory board to help them as they develop methods to inform the greater community of their impact on local water contamination levels.”

“One of the unique components of our school program is that we help our students develop some work experience and hopefully a strong work ethic by having each of our students work,” Baughman said. “Most of the students work on campus doing jobs ranging from maintenance

Junior Taylor Uphus, Cicero, quickly discovered the personal benefit she reaped when serving others. “Participating in these projects has allowed me to see the needs of others,” Uphus said. “At first I didn’t really enjoy Project 58 and didn’t realize the impact I could have on my community. While we rarely get to see the people who benefit from our service, I have grown to realize that some of the greatest joy comes from helping others and not getting any recognition for it.”

Work Ethic Baughman believes the knowledge gained by service is crucial for students. “One of the jobs I’m most excited about, Project: ASSIST, again brings in components of service to our program. This program, partially funded through a grant, employs students to provide companionship with elderly individuals to help decrease elderly isolation.” Students who work in this program split their time between nursing homes in Noblesville and Tipton.

and janitorial to preparing food in the cafeteria and serving as residents’ assistants in the dorms.” Although Indiana Academy is a boarding school, with 124 students, 25 percent live off campus. Students come from across Indiana, other states and internationally. Because it’s a home-away-from-home, faculty and staff are more than just teachers to the students.

“The atmosphere is much more familylike. Students eat all meals together, have “One of our priorities as a school is to worship times together, live together provide students a quality education, but in the dormitories, and play and interto do it in a way that enables them to act together every night for an hour at embrace a missionary-like attitude and recreation, either in our gymnasium or commitment to lifelong service to others, as we believe Christ has called us to, in the on the athletic field,” said teacher Jordan Reichert. “It would be best described as a process,” Baughman said. little functioning community within the Once a working farm, Indiana Acadgreater community at large.” emy used to raise livestock to give its students an agricultural experience. The Sharing the Faith farm is no longer in operation but workReichert and Baughman are products of ing remains an important part of the a Seventh-day Adventist education, and curriculum.

February • March 2017 • Hamilton County Business Magazine

Baughman is a 1998 graduate of Indiana Academy. Both men credit their education with cultivating the desire to teach in a boarding school environment. “The relationships I was able to form with my teachers and my dean began the process of my personal, spiritual, academic, and, eventually, professional growth,” Baughman recalled. “That relationship and influential mentoring experience that they had on me is what I strive to provide for my students now.” Reichert shared a similar experience. “I always had a desire to work in a school where I could directly and openly share my faith,” he said. “I wanted to work with teenagers, not only as a teacher for in-classroom curriculum, but also in the ins and outs of daily life as a Christian—decision-making, social interactions, dealing with various emotions, cultivating a walk with Christ. A Christian boarding school environment is an environment conducive to this holistic approach to education.” Although she doesn’t live on campus, Uphus still feels the family environment at school. “IA is an excellent place to go to school if you are looking to grow in your relationship with Jesus, want to have strong relationships with your teachers, meet many new friends, experience living with a variety of cultures, and experience a variety of different ways of learning outside the typical classroom,” she said. Baughman hopes to increase community awareness of the academy. “Rather than having people tell me that they’ve seen our water tower when they find out I work at Indiana Academy, I want them to be able to tell me how they’ve been impacted by our students.” HCBM

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Philanthropy

Brackets for Good channels tournament hype toward non-profits By Susan Hoskins Miller

n April 4, 2011 while most of Indiana focused on Butler University’s heartbreaking loss in the NCAA basketball championship game for the second year in a row, two Indianapolis marketing professionals—Matt McIntyre and Matt Duncan—were inspired by the spirit that brought the whole city together to support Butler’s team.

lem they set out to solve was how to help potential donors discover not-for-profits they hadn’t been aware of. They ultimately came up with what became Brackets for Good, a fundraising championship tournament styled after the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament. Not-for-profit charities are the teams.

“Everyone in Indy was bleeding blue and white and it put a magnifying glass on this small school,” said McIntyre, who worked at the time with Fishers resident Duncan in the marketing department at MOBI, a software development company. “We knew that if we could figure out how to bottle this up, we could have a marketing phenomenon.”

Voice of Reason

14

“After Mac and I talked about what we thought might work, we did what we always do when we have new ideas. We pitch the idea to our wives,” Matt Duncan said. “They hear it all from us and oftentimes (more like always) they’re our voice of reason. They have no problem telling us if whatever idea we come up with is a horrible one. As we were pitching them, they kept looking at each other and finally said, ‘It isn’t awful.’ To me and Mac, that was all we needed to hear.” McIntyre and Duncan immediately began laying the groundwork and structure for their business. They started it in 2012 as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit while still working for MOBI. The five co-founders of MOBI—Scott Kraege, brothers Michael and Christian Browning, Josh Garrett and Tony Paris—encouraged and supported their two employees in their new venture, even donating $5,000 in prize money for the first year.

So, McIntyre and Duncan headed to the McIntyre’s basement while their wives stayed upstairs. “I had a whiteboard down there, so we started brainstorming ideas,” McIntyre said.

The men knew they wanted charities to benefit from whatever they ultimately came up with. While brainstorming, they realized they could only think of four Indianapolis not-for-profits and they knew there had to be more, so the first prob-

nation tournament, the charity receiving more donations than its opponent in each round advances to the next level of play. The entire tournament lasts five weeks.

“Donors,” said McIntyre, “are players who get in the game.”

The first year did not involve a tournament of 64 teams.

Each round of tournament play lasts one week instead of the typical span of an evening basketball game. Every donation dollar counts as a point. In the single-elimi-

“We begged and pleaded with eight charities to trust us,” McIntyre said. “They did. It was a success, and we’ve expanded every year since.”

February • March 2017 • Hamilton County Business Magazine


“We ran Brackets for Good solely by volunteers in 2012, 13 and 14,” McIntyre said. “I jumped in as the first full-time employee in March, 2015.”

Brackets has expanded so much and so quickly that it had to develop a sophisticated scoring procedure to select the 64 teams out of the more than 300 charities that want to play in the tournament. And Indianapolis isn’t the only city where Brackets has been expanding.

Indiana not-for-profits in Marion and surrounding counties have raised more than $1.94 million for their missions. Some of those dollars have benefitted Hamilton In 2016, Duncan and Reid McDowell came County charities. on board. The business still relies heavily Beth Gelhausen, executive director of Meals on Wheels of Hamilton County, said that organization participated in 2014.

Volunteer Effort In 2016, Brackets for Good tournaments were held in six cities. This year, the tournament is expanding to 11 cities along with a nationwide tournament that will allow large charities with annual budgets of more than $2.5 million to compete against each other.

“We pitched the idea to our

wives…They kept looking at each other and finally said,

All the income for Brackets for Good comes from corporate support and sponsorships. The charities pay nothing to apply and nothing to participate in the tournament. Every dollar of every donation collected goes to the charities with the sole exception of credit card fees. For every $100 donated by credit card, Brackets for Good must pay a fee of approximately $5. The charity still receives 100 points on its score, but the net donation ends up being about $95.

‘It isn’t awful.’” – Matt Duncan

on volunteers and interns, especially during the months leading up to the tournament and the five weeks of the tournament itself. Brackets for Good has raised $2.7 million overall for not-for-profits in Indianapolis; Louisville; Ann Arbor; Minneapolis; St. Louis; and Washington, D.C.

February • March 2017 • Hamilton County Business Magazine

“It was great exposure for the organization and we did raise some money. I would have liked to have gone further, but we just didn’t have the donor depth needed.” Gelhausen said Meals on Wheels made it to the second round before being eliminated.

“I would like to do it again,” she said. “Our social media presence is much better than it was in 2014 and I believe that we would be much more successful with our participation.” Norma Knecht, marketing director of the Humane Society of Hamilton County, said her organization has successfully participated in the past and will be competing again in 2017. continues on next page

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learn who they are paired with for the first round of the competition. It’s a twohour event with fun, gifts and the notfor-profits receive promotional materials they will need to market themselves to potential donors.

“This fundraiser is competitive, strategic and interactive,” Knecht said. “We are in the process of finding team members now.”

Technology and Philanthropy The selection process is called the Regular Season Survey. When a not-for-profit goes through the application process, it fills out an extensive survey that includes information about its annual budget and the depth of its volunteer

That night, each not-for-profit is given access to a webpage called the Locker Room where they can manage their donations. They receive graphics, social media and a Brackets email address. Other components of the program also have sportsrelated names, such as the Playbooks, which give participating charities sample social media posts, and instructs them in marketing their organizations and how to recruit donors. The tournament always runs concurrent with the NCAA’s March Madness tournament to capitalize on the excitement of the fans that surround the college basketball games. “Our mission is to help people discover and participate in philanthropy,” McIntyre said. “We take the power of what sport did for Butler and merge it with technology and philanthropy.” HCBM

PROFESSIONAL LEDS • DIGITAL SIGNAGE and donor resources. The multifaceted scoring also divides all the charities into four different divisions so the local, small, all-volunteer charities with tiny budgets aren’t competing against the well-established, international organizations with large endowments and millions in their annual budgets.

The tournament kicks off in late February with a Pep Rally that brings all the 64 participating charities together. They 16

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o say that that Finance of America Mortgage’s Parker Mortgage Team in Noblesville is not your typical mortgage broker is putting it mildly. The location, now in its 6th year, is managed and operated by Mike and Tawni Partin, an under 40 married couple, who have managed to take an industry that is normally dry and boring and turn it into a fun place to work. In fact, just a few years ago it was voted one of the best places to work in the Indianapolis area. A lot of this is due to the Partins’ unconventional management style, which includes considering everyone a team member, not an employee; engaging in lots of team events, incentive trips and outings; and hiring by committee.

Hang Out and Have Fun Their offices, currently located at Mill Top, a 150 year old remodeled Noblesville flour mill, are indicative of their style. Upon entering, you can’t help but be reminded of a chic New Yorkstyle warehouse space complete with brick walls, loft, and spiral staircase. You also can’t help but notice that they bring their Old English Sheepdog, Millie, to work with them every day as she is often the first to greet you. They named their team after another sheepdog, Parker, who passed away. “It seemed too arrogant to name it after ourselves,” says Mike. Mike and Tawni, who have been married 14 years and have literally known each other since kindergarten, knocked around the mortgage and financial services industries for many years in different roles. A desire to get themselves out of debt led them to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University which they not only passed and incorporated in their lifestyle, but also led courses 15 times helping 200 families through the program. The great recession in 2008, however, hit the Partins hard, since it began with the subprime mortgage crisis and both lost their jobs. They took that as a challenge, though, and not a defeat. Mike, who is the branch manager and in charge of sales started the local operation, then Tawni joined him later as Operations Manager. Their goal was to turn mortgage company stereotypes on their heads, says Mike. “We wanted to be the team that was approachable, that was on the ground with you, that would be more consultative; that would hang out and have fun and have a beer with you.” At the outset, the Parker Mortgage Team was a mid-sized branch. Since joining they have almost tripled their volume, and are currently a top 15 branch out of over 130 branches in Finance of America Mortgage’s eastern division. That growth necessi-

Pictured back row, (left to right) Jill Schriver, Alyssa Techaira, Liz Simpson, Kasi LeMasters, Angie Meeks, Tawni Partin, Mike Partin. Front row: (left to right) Sarah Hayne, Hannah Marr, Ashleigh Cowser, Kacie Munden, Deb Tunny, Laree Blazer, Phil Lillge, Millie the mascot

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February • March 2017 • Hamilton County Business Magazine


tated finding a way to better communicate with clients about the mortgage process, which can be intimidating. So Mike and Tawni started producing entertaining videos to keep clients informed. “They were very campy and it was just different members of the team talking about what each step meant and what was happening,” says Tawni.

and changing but it also gives our operations team a voice,” says Mike. Another key element is hiring the right people, which Mike calls the hardest part of his job. In a team concept if you make a bad hire, everyone on the team suffers. That is why everyone on the Parker Mortgage Team is engaged in the hiring

Hiring Right Mike and Tawni are proud to point out that they have not lost one single employee in the last year, which is rare in an industry such as theirs. And that may be because they intentionally created a team that they themselves would want to work for. Tawni says their company hierarchy is not vertical and compares their team concept to a puzzle. “If you’re putting together a puzzle, first of all it’s horizontal and each piece is interlocking and no piece is more important than any other piece in that puzzle. Because as soon as one piece is missing, you have an incomplete puzzle. So that’s how I see our team, that every single role is as important as any other role, including ourselves. We are no more important than anyone else,” she says and Mike adds, “you hear me say a thousand times that we don’t have a single person that works for us. They work with us.”

Accountability is another important piece of the puzzle and Mike says they have built-in ways to make sure that everyone on the team is accountable to each other. Because there is often a natural strain between operations and sales, they set up a system in which operations gives sales a report card on everything they turn in. “They’re all on a team. Sales people want to do good but they can get sloppy. So it forces them to tighten up and forces them to learn when they put something in that wasn’t quite right or complete. It gives them an opportunity to always be growing

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process. Those applicants that make it to the last rounds find themselves answering rapid fire questions from twenty to thirty people. And the applicant’s significant other also gets interviewed because a team member’s family is considered part of the team as well. Thanks to the success of their business, the Partins are making a huge commitment to the city of Noblesville. They have purchased two buildings on the Noblesville Square at 950 and 960 Logan Street. Owning a building on the square has long been a dream of theirs. “Old town still has that small town vibe that you can connect with,” says Tawni, who adds, “we really wanted to nest but be a meaningful part of the community and we have lots of plans for other ways we can positively impact the community.” For starters, they are spending $400,000 on renovations and hope to be finished for a March or April move-in date. One of the buildings has been empty for some time and Mike and Tawni relish the idea of taking something that hasn’t been utilized well and making it useful again. They plan to continue to rent space to the Platinum Living art gallery that currently has space on the ground floor but also create more retail space for other businesses. They even talk of opening a restaurant and a distillery in the future. Watch out Noblesville because Mike has plans. “Our goal I think is to not just be someone who is in downtown, our goal is to be a fixture in downtown. I want to be someone who is driving the future of downtown Noblesville.” HCBM

February • March 2017 • Hamilton County Business Magazine

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19


Interview

Research questions the value of tax incentives for economic development By Mike Corbett he idea that a municipality must offer bait to lure new business to town is now common practice. Businesses have learned to play local governments against each other to gain favorable tax treatment. Last Summer, Ball State University economist Dr. Michael J. Hicks offered a contrarian view at a Westfield Chamber luncheon. Dr. Hicks consented to an email interview in this exchange conducted in December. It has been edited slightly for clarity and brevity.

The reasons for this aren’t too difficult to follow. First, abatements and TIF generally move tax revenues away from local government, or shift the cost to other local taxpayers. So, the special benefits that accrue to the recipient, actually come at the expense of other taxpayers. This alone dampens the net effect to the point that regional economies show no positive gains to tax incentives or TIF.

ment dollars than does the welfare of citizens and communities in Indiana.

HCBM: But economic development officials insist that this is what the world has come to: it’s a hyper-competitive environment and unless a city is competing with this suite of incentives, it will lose businesses to other communities. Are you saying a city would be better off if it did nothing?

There’s another reason as well, that should be obvious to everyone in the economic development business. The attraction of firms plays a vanishingly small part in net employment. Something less than two percent of net employment in Indiana since 1990 comes from relocation of firms. More troublingly, all the growth in employment in the past 40 years has been in non-footloose or nonattractable firms.

HICKS: So, there’s three parts to this answer. Firstly, of course communities should do things. They should make themselves places where other residents would like to move, by crafting top flight Hamilton County Business Magazine: schools, making their communities safe, The gist of your presentation was that offering public spaces where they can these incentives don’t work, at least not enjoy themselves, and if possible make long-term. Can you elaborate? their city squares the type of venues that a varied type of recreation and retail Dr. Michael Hicks: There’s business would want to locate. But, as no doubt that many factors far as luring new businesses to a region, An inherent part of the problem is that play into business location the benefit of a local community doing the many consultancies, like Barnes & decisions and effective tax so will almost never rates are among outweigh the costs. those issues. Fewer than two perEconomic theory “…the suite of capital based tax incentives cent of net new jobs is very clear on this, but it is also true that few matters lend in Indiana have been does nothing to induce net employment themselves so well to actually caused by business examining the numbers. And, relocation, and these growth or net business investment.” as it turns out, businesses, like jobs, in footloose households, really care more industries, typically about the value proposition pay worse, are more Thornburgh, who make their practice on between local services and taxation. Emsensitive to a business cycle, and are less selling bonds and negotiating abatements likely to endure than the other 98 new pirical research very clearly reports that place great pressure on economic develjobs created by other firms. the suite of capital based tax incentives opers to continue the practice. It is an does nothing to induce net employment There is a viable argument for business unpleasant reality that the fortunes made growth or net business investment. The attraction to occur at a broad regional by bond attorneys plays a bigger role in worst of these are abatements, followed level (like say, greater Indianapolis), but the deployment of economic developby tax increment financing. 20

February • March 2017 • Hamilton County Business Magazine


for communities within Hamilton County published studies that report the benefits in their studies, when just two years ago for example it is a waste of money. In fact, of TIF are much smaller than their costs. they adamantly claimed there were none. spending money on attracting firms to So, ultimately, the overuse of incentives is These studies do a lot to help legislators the really fine communities in Hamilton what is destined to cause the legislature and other policymakers understand the County borders on the absurd. This is one and governments to slow their use. overuse of TIF, and they give leverage to of the fastest growing counties in the US, policymakers who wish to limit their use. Now, there are many good examples of and should do nothing to lure new busiBut, in the end, the actual results speak TIF’s, and if well informed taxpayers are nesses that raises the happy to continue their use cost on current resiI would never complain. But, dents and firms that make no mistake about it: the have already invested “…spending money on attracting firms to need for Hamilton County to in the community. have to supplement school the really fine communities in Hamilton Hamilton county is funding through property successful because of tax referenda is due to the County borders on the absurd.” investments in quality excessive use of TIF and tax of place, not business abatements. attraction. for themselves. Together, TIF and tax I think the people of Hamilton County abatements pull close to a billion dollars HCBM: This sounds fine in theory but if largely get a good value for their tax a firm is considering relocating and it has a year out of local government coffers. dollars, and in most cases would support competitive offers from several communi- That is like one out of every seven dollars additional taxes. But, development incenties, wouldn’t you expect it to take the one and for most communities it is more than tives are not a free lunch, they cost real that is offering the best financial incentive property tax caps. The breathtakingly irmoney and lost opportunities to do other instead of the one that has the best quality responsible use of development incentives things for their communities. All voters has clobbered schools, libraries, and any of place? should understand this and hold consultlocal government except redevelopment ing firms to task for making false claims HICKS: No. Oddly enough, in theory it commissions. otherwise. HCBM would seem that the financial incentives make the most difference, especially if you Under real pressure, some of the consulting firms are now reporting these losses are a commodity employer (low skilled low pay workers). But, for firms looking for better skilled workers to fill higher paying jobs, the availability of workers is the overwhelming location determinant, and has been so for several decades. Empirical research from decades of plant location studies give human capital the strongest edge in attracting and retaining business. So, it’s quite a juxtaposition; the economic developers who argue that it is all about incentives (or even a little bit about incentives) are really enthralled by economic theory that was discredited before many of them were born. HCBM: I attended a Noblesville City Council retreat a few weeks ago that included an attorney extolling the virtues of single payer TIF’s, where cities award a TIF to a single developer for one project instead of within a geographic area. These are the economic development tools of choice these days. How can cities be weaned off of them?

HICKS: No doubt the retreat you attended featured a consulting firm extolling the virtues of a single payer TIF. They have really had to step up their game since Ball State, LSA, USI and Purdue have all February • March 2017 • Hamilton County Business Magazine

21


Roundabout

A Summary of Recent Retail Activity By Samantha Hyde

NORTHERN HAMILTON COUNTY Wilkin’s Lawn Care in Arcadia is growing, adding additional equipment storage space to its facility at 2420 Dunbar Road.

CARMEL Asian Kitchen & Sushi Bar recently opened at 4000 W. 106th Street just east of Michigan Road. OrangeTheory Fitness is opening a new location in the same strip center in the former Hallmark space. The Target at 10401 N. Michigan Road is undergoing a remodel. In late February, a new Planet Fitness is opening at 2200 W. 116th Street in Merchants’ Square. A 19,600 SF mixed-use project dubbed Penn Circle is slated for construction at 12411 Pennsylvania Street. Encore Sotheby’s International Realty is building the structure, which will include local offices for itself and room for additional tenants like Nebraska-based Jet Linx. A new Starbucks is coming to 1420 W. Main Street.

Street. Plainfield clothing store Younique Culture is coming to Carmel with a new retail location at 216 W. Main Street.

call center at 11988 Exit 5 Parkway this spring in a switch to a work-from-home model for its employees.

Leena’s Bridal has opened at 731 Hanover Place. Lash & Brow Design Co. held its grand opening in December at the new salon at 301 E. Carmel Drive. Sun King Brewery’s new 15,000 SF craft beer distillery and tap room is slated to open this fall in Carmel’s Midtown.

In February, Indy-based Ping’s Tree Service is opening a satellite location at 13053 Parkside Drive. Big Apple Bagel is opening a new location at 11675 Olio Road where Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt had previously been. A 31,000 SF pet grooming, boarding, and training facility called 4 Paws Lodge is under construction at 11787 E. 131st Street. Brad Brees has opened a new Edward Jones office at 13578 E. 131st Street in Saxony.

Local dining favorite Sichuan Restaurant has relocated to 1329 S. Range Line Road, which is the former site of Carmel tech company Cha-Cha, which closed its doors after a decade of online services.

NOBLESVILLE

FISHERS Which Wich has opened a new restaurant in the former Golden Wok space at 8350 E. 96th Street. Fishers-based Win Home Inspection is now doing business throughout Hamilton County. The Sears store on Allisonville Road closed in January. Indy-based law firm Cremer & Cremer is opening a new office at 9987 AlExhibit Road. B - Illustrative Architectural Exhibit (P.1) lisonville Indiana Blood Center is planning a Fishers Donor Center at 11069 Allisonville Road. Jason’s Deli has moved from 12405 N. Meridian Street in Carmel, a property slated for redevelopment, to the former Stacked Pickle location at 11621 Fishers Station Drive. Majestic Foot Spa is moving into 7331 E. 116th Street. CONCEPT RENDERING

CONCEPT RENDERING

Business consulting firm ADVISA has moved into its new offices at 210 N. Range Line Road. Carmel-Clay Public Library has opened its state-of-the-art Digital Media Lab at 23 E. Main Street in Carmel’s Arts and Design District. The Indiana Design Center recently welcomed Surroundings by Natureworks+ as a new tenant. Software Engineering Professionals is opening the new SEP Product Design Studio at 836 S. Range Line Road. In January, Huntington Bank closed its Sophia Square branch at 110 W. Main 22

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SITE DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL: THE YARD

The Yard rendering

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Pet Palace is coming to Fishers with a new 15,000 SF facility just east of Target at 11696 Fishers Corner Boulevard. A 17acre culinary and restaurant accelerator dubbed The Yard is slated for construction next to the new IKEA store at I-69 and 116th Street. Comcast is closing its SITE DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL: THE YARD

7

Animal Eye Clinic is opening its doors at 14637 N. Gray Road. Blue Butterfly Furnishings & Finds has moved from Carmel to a new location in downtown Noblesville at 164 N. 10th Street. The Wild Bookstore on the courthouse square is remaining open under new ownership. A former home at 185 S. 8th Street is being converted to a new community education and gathering place called Kaleidoscope Krossing. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is renovating its thrift store at 1391 Greenfield Avenue. JKL Dental has leased space at 9779 E. 146th Street. Dance studio EnPointe is now open at 15309 Stony Creek Way. Restaurant chain Fresh To Order is opening a location in February at 13230 Harrell Parkway in Hamilton Town Center. American Mattress is opening a shop at 12919 Campus Parkway. A new T-Mobile store and Panera Bread Bakery Café are coming to 12873 Campus Parkway. Noire Nail Bar Salon is slated to open at 12831 Campus Parkway. A new Holiday Inn Express and Suites opened near Exit 210 at 13625 Tegler Drive. Another 13,700 SF multi-tenant retail building is under construction at 13398 Tegler Drive. Metal tool part manufacturer Lapmaster Wolters is moving into 14560 Bergen Boulevard.

February • March 2017 • Hamilton County Business Magazine


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Noblesville’s new 203-acre Finch Creek Park on Boden Road breaks ground this convention center, corporate offices, and spring and will include a 130,000 SF youth hotels. Law office White & Champagne sports complex dubbed The Fieldhouse has opened a new office at 121 S. Walnut at Finch Creek. Street. My Father’s Garden of Health has relocated within downtown Westfield WESTFIELD to 201 Mill Street. An existing barn on the new Chatham The Beauty Mark has opened just east Hills golf course is being renovated and of downtown at 3032 E. SR 32. Bridgewaexpanded to create a banquet hall dubbed ter Marketplace at 146th Street & Gray the Chatham Hills Banquet Barn. A Road is adding another 10,000 SF profesGiving Tree of Hamilton County has sional building to the campus. Carmel relocated to 17338 Westfield Park Road. Eyecare has opened its doors at 2792 E. EdgeRock Development has proposed 146th Street. A CVS pharmacy is slated a new development east of US 31 and for construction at 146th Street and Ditch north of 169th Street. The proposed Road. The Aldi at 14620 Greyhound Plaza “Grand Millennial Center” would is undergoing a complete remodel. HCBM include features like a civic center, YMCA,

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Dining Out

Italian eatery features pasta shop in a restaurant By Chris Bavender Photos by Stan Gurka alk into Convivio and there’s no doubt the pasta served here is fresh. The pasta kitchen is located by the front door with a full view of all the pasta made from scratch daily. “We have 10 to 12 different types right now—some are flavored—and we use vegetables such as spinach or beets,” said Andrea Melani, co-owner of the Italian restaurant that opened Nov. 14 at The Bridges shopping center in Carmel. “The idea is that you can express creativity in the shapes of the pasta and it is really what Italian cuisine is known for.” Some of the pasta is made by a machine that runs constantly, while other pasta is made by hand. Not only is the pasta served at each meal fresh, you can also buy it by the pound to take and enjoy at home. “I think this is a unique twist,” Melani said. “The idea is to also have sauces to sell as well but we are still working on that. We’ve just been so busy since we opened.”

Passion for Food and Culture Melani knows a few things about restaurants—he grew up in the family restaurant business in Italy. He moved to the States 17 years ago and had his first job in Indiana at Ciao in Zionsville, owned by his partner in Convivio—Emilio Cento. Melani went on to work for a few other places, including Bravo, the well-known Castleton destination. “The passion’s always been there but opening a restaurant can be a scary thing these days, especially coming up with a new concept,” Melani said. “It

took a while to get rid of the fear—I was in a good place at Bravo and about to be made partner—but things had just become stale.” A visit from his niece gave him the final nudge. “She was here from Italy and kept asking why I didn’t just open a restaurant and I told her it was a lot of work and she just kept asking and pressuring me,” he said. “So we started brainstorming the idea and I thought it would be cool to do a pasta shop in a restaurant. That came to me because my parents made pasta in their restaurant and we just went from there.” The name Convivio took a while to come up with, Melani admits. “Ultimately this project is about sharing the passion for common food and common culture—a place where you find a connection with Italian culture,” he said. “Convivio literally means banquet or feast as a way of sharing an experience together.” That theme is reflected in everything from the music to the décor—with an exposed ceiling with beams, wainscoting, creamy colored walls, soft lighting, magazines and books scattered about, a quartz topped bar and tabletops made out of Indiana birch. “It’s beautiful but unpretentious. We’re not striving for upscale but at the same time wanted to find that right balance with being a nice place where people feel comfortable,” Melani said. “It’s also reflected in the server’s uniform of jeans and a brown shirt with rolled up sleeves

and a bistro apron. They look sharp and give the impression this is a nice place open to everyone.”

Changing Menu Of course the real star at Convivio is the food. The Rigatoni Funghi Salsiccia— rigatoni pasta with mushroom porcini cream sauce, thyme, sausage and shaved Parmesan—is a customer favorite, Melani said. Another crowd pleaser is the Tagliatelle al Convivio—red bell pepper pasta tossed in a zesty red bell pepper cream sauce with chicken and topped with fresh Parmesan. “We’re making a few changes to the menu—taking some things out and adding a few,” Melani said. “I always want to try to raise the standard of not only the service but the food. It has to be that way. It’s easy to get settled and let things get boring.” Melani also plans to work with area farmers to use locally sourced food. As for the future, Melani and Cento have already been approached with offers from local developers to open another location. “I know it’s very premature but we’ve gotten quite a bit of attention and business has been great and is exceeding our expectations,” he said. “I hope that will continue and certainly, if the opportunity to do more arises we will, but for now the focus is to keep our feet on the ground and improve on what we have.” HCBM


For more information, or to register for any Chamber event please visit us at: www.noblevillechamber.com or call 317-773-0086. Most events are open to the public with advance registration.

FEBRUARY 2017 February 2nd 5:30pm to 7:30pm YOUNG PROFESSIONALS TRIVIA NIGHT Scotty’s Brewhouse in Noblesville February 10th 7:30am to 9:00am LEGISLATIVE BREAKFAST SERIES Conner Prairie February 22nd 11:30am to 1:00pm FUTURE OF HOUSING IN NOBLESVILLE MEMBER LUNCHEON Purgatory Golf Club MARCH 2017 March 2nd 4:30pm to 7:30pm TASTE OF BUSINESS IN NOBLESVILLE Hamilton County Fairgrounds March 10th 7:30am to 9:00am LEGISLATIVE BREAKFAST SERIES Conner Prairie March 10th 11:30am to 1:00pm WIN (WOMEN IN NOBLESVILLE) LUNCH & LEARN Location TBA March 14th 11:30am to 1:00pm YOUNG PROFESSIONALS LUNCH & LEARN Location TBA March 14th STATEWIDE CHAMBER DAY INDIANA STATEHOUSE Indiana Statehouse March 22nd 11:30am to 1:00pm STATE OF THE SCHOOLS LUNCHEON Purgatory Golf Club

— SPECIAL THANKS — Special Thanks to Our Retiring Board Officers Dr. John Paris Chief Medical Officer, Riverview Health Dr. Paris has served the Chamber Board for six years including two years as its Chairman. During his tenure his steady hand oversaw significant transitions including changes in staff leadership, building locations, as well as a full review of chamber programs- and services. Jim Kingsolver Relationship Manager Indiana Members Credit Union Jim also has served the Chamber Board for six years. Four of those years were as Treasurer. His guidance and oversight of Chamber finances has put the organization on solid fiscal ground.

MARCH 2, 2017 • 4:30pm-7:30pm HAMILTON COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS EXPO HALL 80 Business Showcases • 10 Restaurants 10 Community Organizations All showing off the best Noblesville has to offer NEW in 2017 Made in Noblesville Showcases

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February • March 2017 • Hamilton County Business Magazine

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 --   

-   

      

   

  

  



    -   

   

-   

    - 

 

 

   

 








 

 



-



-











-  

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     



              -                 -          

    

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   

    

 -  



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


NORTHERN HAMILTON COUNTY 28

UPCOMING EVENTS & HAPPENINGS UPCOMING EVENTS FEBRUARY 2017

Thursday, February 2 / 7:30am-9:00am ALL COUNTY NETWORKING BREAKFAST Prairie View Golf Course $18 members/ $25 guests Thursday, February 2 / 5:30pm-7:30pm YOUNG PROFESSIONALS TRIVIA NIGHT Scotty’s Brewhouse in Noblesville 146th & Hazel Dell $10 members and guests Thursday, February 9 / 6:00pm ANNUAL RECOGNITION AWARDS DINNER / CASINO NIGHT Palomino Ballroom Register Now by calling 317-984-4079

New Membership Partnership with Noblesville Chamber Dual Membership Discounts Event and Program Access Reciprocity Member Pricing Applies to: Breakfast Series, Lunch & Learns, Workshops, Webinars, Conferences, Monthly Luncheons, Young Professional Activities and After Hours Events

2016 Executive Board Jim Hogle, US Consumer Credit / PRESIDENT Parvin Gillim, Main Architects/ VICE PRESIDENT Ann M. Kuzee, Riverview Health/ SECRETARY Greg Morgan (retired, JBS United)/ TREASURER

Northern Hamilton County Chamber Luncheons

2017 Executive Board

Ann M. Kuzee, Riverview Health / PRESIDENT Parvin Gillim, Main Architects/ VICE PRESIDENT Terri Milbank, Cicero Insurance Agency/ SECRETARY Greg Morgan (retired, JBS United)/ TREASURER

Thursday, March 23 / 11:30am

Sheridan Public Library

Thursday, April 27 / 11:30am

2017 Board Members Aaron Culp, Church Church Hittle & Antrim Chris Thompson, The Times Garen Bragg, Bragg Insurance Agency Jeff Sisson, First Farmers Bank Judy Pearson, Wallace Grain Kyle Ludwick, First Merchants Bank Dr. Dave Mundy, Superintendent, Sheridan Community Schools Dr. Derek Arrowood, Superintendent, Hamilton Heights School Corporation Dan Strong Jim Garrod, JBS United Liz Nelson, Mr. Muffin’s Trains

Red Bridge Park, Cicero, IN

More information to follow soon. Dates subject to change.

Register Now by calling 317-984-4079 www.northernhamiltoncountychamber.com catharine@northernhamiltoncountychamber.com

— NEW MEMBERS — Steve & Liz Nelson, Owners Mr. Muffin’s Trains mrmuffins@att.net

Jennifer Blueher F.C. Tucker, Inc. jblueher@talktotucker.com

Greg Morgan morgan124@comcast.net

Peterson Architecture studio@petersonarchitecture.com February • March 2017 • Hamilton County Business Magazine


UPCOMING EVENTS & HAPPENINGS

February 2017

Thursday, February 16 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Topic: Share the Love Location: TBD

March 2017

Thursday, March 16 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Topic: State of Public Safety The Palomino Ballroom 481 S. Co. Rd. 1200 E., Zionsville

Breakfast Events February 2017

Friday, February 10 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. Legislative Breakfast Speaker/Topic TBD Conner Prairie 13400 Allisonville Rd., Fishers Tuesday, February 14 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Coffee with the Chamber Topic: TBD The Union 136 N. Union St., Westfield

March 2017

Tuesday, March 14 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Coffee with the Chamber Topic: Networking The Union 136 N. Union St., Westfield Friday, March 10 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. Legislative Breakfast Topic/Speaker: The Legislators Conner Prairie 13400 Allisonville Rd., Fishers For details and online registration, please visit: www.westfield-chamber.org or call 317.804.3030

February • March 2017 • Hamilton County Business Magazine

We are excited to introduce our new video series “Drive Your Business.” Join President Jack Russell as he picks up local business leaders and they discuss their business during a brief ride around town! Follow us on social media to watch our most recent video. You never know who he will pick up!

2016 was a great year for the Westfield Chamber of Commerce with many changes made to accommodate our growing membership. We listened to what members preferred and suggested and implemented some quality events that proved to have favorable attendance at all. Westfield is exploding and on the verge of many great things and we want to be right there with it for the ride!

WESTFIELD

Membership Luncheons

www.westfield-chamber.org

NEWS

At our December 2016 monthly luncheon, we unveiled our new logo. We hope that you were there and got to share in our excitement. The old logo served us well for many years but it was time for something fresh, bright, and modern to go along with our new direction. We hope you like it as much as we do!

NEW MEMBERS Dave Heck Vine Trails LLC 16201 Chancellors Ridge Way Westfield, IN 46062 713.470.8573 William Applebee Purdue University Athletics Mackey Arena 900 John R. Wooden Drive, Room 2215 West Lafayette, IN 47907 765.494.3342 www.purduesports.com

Chuck Goodrich Gaylor Electric, Inc. 17225 Kraft Court Noblesville, IN 46060 317.214.6300 www.gaylor.com Louis Scavuzzo BMO Harris Bank 111 E. Main Street Westfield, IN 46074 317.719.5177 www.bmoharrisbank.com

Tess White & Joan Champagne White and Champagne LLC 121 S. Walnut Street Westfield, IN 46074 317.259.9480 www.whiteandchampagne.com

Jess Lawhead & Jeff Lauer SVN Commercial Real Estate 8606 Allisonville Road, Suite 110 Indianapolis, IN 46250 317.454.2241 www.svnmartin.com

Lisa Hudson The Growth Coach of Carmel 17244 Crescent Moon Drive Noblesville, IN 46060 317.696.2286 www.thegrowthcoachcarmelin.com

Darren Peterson Peterson Architecture 298 S. 10th Street, Suite 500 Noblesville, IN 46060 317.770.9714 www.petersonarchitecture.com

Follow Us:

Westfield Chamber of Commerce 130 Penn St. Westfield, IN 46074 317.804.3030

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Hamilton County History David Heighway

Strawtown’s brief encounter with the natural gas boom or a short time, Strawtown was the site of a sprawling industrial complex. However, this exercise in trying to get the most out of a finite resource ultimately proved to be futile. When the Natural Gas boom started in 1887, there were stories of the first wells having so much gas pressure that they would throw stones 100 feet into the air. As more and more wells were drilled and the gas was used up, the pressure began dropping. By 1895, there were problems with getting any pressure at all. For some reason, the gas companies decided the best solution was to pump the remaining gas out with giant compressors. The Indianapolis Natural Gas Company announced in August of 1895 that they were putting huge pumps in the middle of their gas field to make sure that their customers got a good supply for the winter. The site selected was Shepherd’s Ford near Strawtown, where water from the White River could be used for the steam engines to run the compressors. The company stated that it was building a brick compressor room that would be 84’ X 52’, it would have a 2,000 horsepower system which could pump 3.5 million cubic feet an hour, and the whole complex would cost $75,000. It got off to a shaky start—literally. A sizable earthquake struck the area on Octo-

30

ber 31 and damaged the structure being an hour. They added that the boilers were built. Ironically, the earthquake actually being run using unfiltered river water. caused the gas pressure to be increased Predictably, the pumps broke down again for a short time. There were other prob- in November. The gas company was then lems. Local farmers opposed having pipe- sued in January of 1898 by the Goubert lines laid through their fields. The problem was that the lines were often shallowly buried. Transients would deliberately damage the pipes to get free fuel for cooking. Obviously, this was quite dangerous —particularly when the gas was under high pressure. The company had to settle several lawsuits before the lines Compressor at Redkey could go through. Finally, there was a Manufacturing Company of New York massive storm on November 26 which did for payment for a boiler that Goubert $3000 in damage to the structure. had made and delivered. In February, the Worthington case was decided against the Lawsuits and Litigation gas company. The buildings were repaired and the comBuy Coal pressor pumps, which had been manufactured by the Henry R. Worthington Plagued by shortages and low pressure, Company of Norwalk, Massachusetts, the gas company installed a fifth pump were tested on December 4. They began at Strawtown in February of 1898. In an pumping gas on December 9, broke down attempt to explain the lack of fuel, the on December 12, and restarted the next company said that customers were usday. Plants like this could be dangerous. A ing it faster than it could be pumped, ofsimilar plant in Redkey blew up on Januten wasting it. They said “…if patrons use ary 22 when a gas leak ignited, leaving I only as much gas as they honestly need, dead and I injured. the supply will be sufficient for private In May 1896, it was reported that the consumers in the coldest weather.” It’s not plant had four 550-horsepower steam enclear what actions the gas company congines which pumped 1.5 million cubic feet sidered to be “wasting” gas. per hour (somewhat less than their origiMore and more wells were filling up with nal prediction). They took in gas at 125 salt water as gas disappeared so, in July psi and sent it out at 300 psi, which was of 1899, an inspection trip was organized then reduced to 40-50 psi for consumby a committee of the Indianapolis Comers, of which there were 60,000. mercial Club and the Indiana Board of Despite finally having the gas flowing, Trade to see if gas was diminishing. One the gas company had other issues to of the places they stopped was the plant deal with. The Worthington Compaat Strawtown. At that time, the equipment ny sued them in July of 1897 for paywas four Heine boilers and twelve tubular ment that they had not yet received. boilers with capacity of 2,600 horsepower. Worthington also stated that the pumps They powered six Norwalk pumps capawere designed for 1.5 million cubic feet ble of pumping 44 million cubic feet in an hour, but that an untrained engi24 hours—about 1.8 million an hour. The neer was running them at 2.5 million four Worthington pumps had been disFebruary • March 2017 • Hamilton County Business Magazine


The End

One year later, the Strawtown pumping station was abandoned. There were several articles about selling off the machinery for junk and probably not realizing as much as $5000 for something that had been worth $100,000 at one point in time. (The Elwood Call-Leader article had the headline “Passing of the Gas”—I don’t know if the double entendre was intended or not.) The buildings were leveled and there may be no sign of them left today. HCBM

Signs of trouble became obvious when it was reported that a company was awarded a contract in September of 1900 to “move a pumping station from Strawtown,” although this may have simply been just the rejected Worthington pumps.

David Heighway is the Hamilton County Historian.

mantled and stored in another building. The company claimed the old pumps had been unable to do the work. The decision of the Committee was that the gas was diminishing. The gas company continued to insist that it was the consumer’s fault for demanding too much at once. However, by October, the gas companies knew they would be facing shortages and recommended that consumers buy coal.

The gas had not been metered before this time and by 1902, companies started to demand the use of meters to keep track of individual consumer use. When this was delayed, they threatened to close their business and cut off the gas. Although the city got an injunction against this in February of 1903, the Indianapolis Gas company shut off its mains in June.

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Hamilton County Business Magazine Feb/Mar 2017  

A bi-monthly review of business news and features in Hamilton County, Indiana, USA

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