Page 1

A publication of

april 2012

Creative spark

If customers can draw it, Central Sheet Metal can make it

2 The Business Connection April 2012

Business Indicators for Bartholomew County


Bartholomew County REMC . . . . . . . . . 6 Saving Kokomo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Mark McNulty column . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Morton Marcus column . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Around the watercooler . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Retailers downsize . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 On the move . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Gas prices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Learning from Grateful Dead . . . . . . . . 17 Business leads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

On the cover: Senior fabricator Tim Harney

welds a section of stainless steel guttering at Central Sheet Metal. Photo by Andrew Laker. Story page 4. Comments should be sent to The Business Connection editor, 333 Second St., Columbus, IN 47201 or call 379-5625. Advertising information: 379-5652. ©2012. All Rights Reserved. Editor, Doug Showalter; copy editor, Katharine Smith; writer, Barney Quick; graphic designer, Phillip Spalding.

Percent changes Jan 12/ Jan 12/ Description Jan 12 Dec 11 Jan 11 Dec 11 Jan 11

Labor Force

41,264 41,448 37,120 -0.4


Household Employment

38,400 38,672 34,054 -0.7


Unemployment Rate (pct)

6.9 6.7 8.3 — —

Housing Units Permitted

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4 The Business Connection April 2012

It’s true: Central Sheet Metal fabricates what its customers think up

Up on the roof

By Barney Quick

“It’s always a little tricky to tell people what we do,” says Central Sheet Metal President Keith Johnson. He explains that there are basically “three legs to the stool: heating and air conditioning, industrial ventilation and custom fabrications.” Still, within each category, each project is unique. If there is a common thread, it’s close consultation with customers from outset to completion. The company’s work can be found in such high-visibility structures as the Columbus Learning Center, Columbus Regional Hospital and The Commons. Johnson says the area the firm serves has approximately a 60-mile radius. “The margins are very thin on projects like those,” he notes, explaining that CSM occupies the third tier of contracting, after the general contractor and the mechanical contractor. It is often bidding against several other ventilation specialists. “At one time we were probably overreliant on large jobs,” he says. “I’d rather strive to be the best provider of what we do than always be the lowest bidder. We’ve amassed customers for whom we’ve provided overall value, including support and service.” Vice President Jason Ely adds that “we do whatever it takes to make their lives easier.” “At this point, the three areas of our activity are fairly balanced,” says Johnson. Industrial ventilation consists of dust collection, mist control and fume containment. “All the things you see on the roof of a building are what we do,” Johnson says. CSM installs fans, builds booths for operations, such as painting, that need to be isolated, and provides duct work and structured steel. “We’ve been in the areas of public buildings where most people never go, such as the attics and mechanical rooms.” Just as the company has focused on long-term relationships with customers in recent years, it also works with a sup-

Dwain Fields, from left, Keith Johnson, Kathy Fields, Patty Fancher, Jason Ely and Bob Wyman of Central Sheet Metal.

photos by Andrew Laker

plier base that knows its needs. “There are a select few manufacturers of air pollution control equipment that assist us in designing our projects,” says Johnson.

Fondue pots to trains

Custom fabrication is the area of CSM’s activity that requires the most inventiveness. The main type of customers for this are manufacturers needing platforms, enclosures, guarding and material handling solutions. “We’ll spend time with the engineer on-site to find out exactly what he wants. We make it here and install it in the field,” Johnson says. Sometimes individual tinkerers approach the company with ideas for unorthodox devices. “It sounds a little hackneyed, but if you can draw it, we can build it,”

Gutters and valleys for a roof system made to order at Central Sheet Metal.

April 2012 The Business Connection 5

Sparks fly as an automated plasma cutter creates a pattern in a piece of sheet metal.

Johnson asserts. “A gentleman came to see us with a sketch for an outdoor fondue pot he wanted to put on his patio. Another man wanted a small-scale train to haul his grandkids around the yard in. Those were fun projects.” The business was founded in 1963. Johnson’s father, Tom, joined CSM as an estimator in 1969, moving to Columbus from Illinois. In 1988, Tom and Keith purchased it from the founders. Tom retired in 2000. Ely has been a partner for one year. He had been with an industrial-design firm and began his association with CSM when he provided some CAD (computer-assisted design) drawings for a Dow Chemical project. The company currently has 30 employees. Eighteen-year veteran Dwain Fields is a project manager. Kathy Fields (no relation) is the purchasing agent, safety manager and materials manager. “Obviously, in a business this size, we

all wear lots of hats,” says Ely. “Keith, Dwain and I each have our own customer base, due to the fact that we have dealt personally with people who feel comfortable with us.” The shop is unionized. Employees are members of Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 20. Management and the union have an excellent relationship, according to Johnson and Ely. “They are able to provide us with workers who are experienced in the areas we need,” says Johnson. “We avoid the training time often involved in hiring new employees.” Ely observes that “as a whole, the family atmosphere here is remarkable. People aren’t just here punching cards. Sometimes we don’t see some of our staff for upwards of three weeks. We rely on them to make great decisions. You can go home at night knowing you haven’t taken advantage of anyone.” Johnson also stresses that “we strive see CSM on page 11

Assistant shop foreman Bob Leahy programs an automated plasma cutter..

6 The Business Connection April 2012

Bartholomew County REMC puts energy into daily lives of members

Staying current

By Barney Quick

Bartholomew County REMC is doing what it has always done best — deliver consistent energy at a compelling value ever-more effectively. The utility has the same goal it’s pursued since 1938, but its systems for achieving it continue to advance. One major change has been its move to a new location. In February 2010, after years of being situated on Second Street, BCREMC occupied a new office building on Deaver Road, just east of the industrial park on the city’s south perimeter. It was created by Force Design and Force Construction. The organization had been considering a move for some time, but “what sped the project up was the 2008 flood,” says Marty Lasure, manager of public relations and member services. “Our offices were devastated.” The new facility brings offices and operations under one roof. Lasure says that “face to face communication for matters like service orders has been improved.” She asserts that the most significant change in the way BCREMC does business is the advent of automated meter-reading systems. These make an array of new monitoring tools possible. Members’ power usage information is available in real time, enhancing cost control. The cooperative can respond to delivery irregularities in a more timely fashion than was previously possible. “We just purchased a meter data management system,” says Lasure. “It can be downloaded as a smartphone application, or a member can create an account at our website. The MDM system allows members to examine the particulars of their consumption. It will eventually lead to time-of-use rates. It’s more costly to provide electricity during peak hours than other times of the day.” Hoosier Energy, a Bloomingtonbased cooperative, is BCREMC’s wholesale supplier of electricity. It is leading an effort called Team Up to

photo by Doug Showalter

A crew from BCREMC repairs a utility pole in southern Bartholomew County. The top of the pole was damaged by a late February storm.

submitted photo

A view of REMC’s new office building on Deaver Road. The utility built the new complex after the June 2008 flood destroyed its old offices on Second Street.

Power Down. Several Indiana REMCs participate, including BCREMC. The program works to increase consumers’ awareness of the factors likely to drive up costs in the coming years. These include governmental regula-

tions, the high cost of building new power plants and new additions to the grid. The program guides consumers to their home cooperative’s cost-saving programs and provides tips on energy efficiency. The program maintains a

Facebook page, teamuptopowerdown, and a website,, where this information is available. For four years, BCREMC has held quarterly exchange days for CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) bulbs. (This particular program ends this year.) It also offers incentive programs, such as one for water heaters. A member installing a new water heater or replacing an old one can get reimbursed for choosing a high-efficiency heater. There are similar programs for air conditioners and heat pumps. A subsidiary of the cooperative,, provides satellite Internet access to customers. “It’s a good service, because some people don’t have access to DSL or cable,” says Lasure.

Fully engaged

BCREMC’s membership in the Indiana Statewide Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association allows it to be fully engaged in governmental affairs, primarily legislative and

April 2012 The Business Connection 7

submitted photo

Damage from the 2008 flood forced REMC to speed up its plans for a new facility.

regulatory issues. “Cap and trade (an initiative pursued for a while by Congress that would limit greenhouse-gas emissions through a system of fines and credits) seems to be dormant for the time being, but it could come back,” says Lasure,

“and if it does, it will raise energy costs. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency is pushing for power plant upgrades. We strive to makes sure our members are treated fairly as these considerations get discussed in government.”

BCREMC operates a wind turbine and a collection of solar panels at its Deaver Road facility. “It’s mainly for educational purposes,” explains Lasure. “People can go to our website and monitor the energy produced, which we use for electricity for the building.” She stresses that “a lot hasn’t changed in the way we do things. We still have linemen who climb poles and fix issues.” She notes that “trees are the biggest problem when it comes to power distributing. Branch growth, weather and tree-dwelling animals all impact power lines. We have one employee who manages privately contracted tree-trimming crews, and they stay busy.” The organization was incorporated in 1937, during the nationwide push to bring electricity to rural areas. The first pole was set in July 1938. While REMC stands for Rural Electric Membership Cooperative, today BCREMC serves customers in all townships of Bartholomew County and some of the areas in the adjoining counties. Ironically, approximately 50 percent of BCREMC’s business is now largescale industrial concerns. This is mainly due to the development of Woodside

Industrial Park nearby.

Members have a say Cooperatives are structured differently from profit-making corporations. Investors and customers are not distinct groups; rather, members elect officers and get directly involved in matters of policy. “The territories for memberowned utilities were set years ago,” explains Lasure. “The only way to become a member is to reside on one of our lines.” The organization holds an annual meeting open to all members. “This year, we will be sending out voting packets, which will allow members who can’t attend to participate,” says Lasure. Seven board members, representing the districts within the utility’s territory, hire the CEO and the cooperative’s managers. The current board voted to begin a capital credit policy. Capital credits return a portion of a member’s investment that had been used as equity to keep the cooperative from having to borrow as much money as it would otherwise need to. see REMC on page 12

8 The Business Connection April 2012

Peeling Chrysler logos remain on the side of an empty car dealership in Kokomo. The city hopes to build a new YMCA facility on the site.

Auto town on mend, but government bailout still divisive

Saving Kokomo edge of town called Pumpkinvine Pike. He drove off, puttering along at 7 mph — and becoming one of the early auto pioneers. That road test, though, was just one of many auto distinctions for this “City of Firsts.” Among them: first carburetor, first push-button car radio, first pneumatic tire. More than a century later, Kokomo had cemented its reputation as a car city. Though Chrysler and GM have reduced their workforce in Kokomo over the years, the two companies and suppliers account for more than 20 percent of all jobs, and the ripple effect is many times that.

By Sharon Cohen AP National Writer

KOKOMO — Back in this town’s darkest days, Jeff Shrock, a third-generation autoworker, would cruise down the streets where he grew up, past the foreclosed homes and four giant Chrysler factories, knowing their future — and his job — were in jeopardy. He sometimes imagined the worst. “I wondered what would happen five, six years down the road when the weeds were growing in parking lots and the plants had their windows broken out,” he says. “What would the community look like then?” These were not far-fetched fears. Kokomo had made an ignominious Forbes list of fastest-dying communities in America. The recession and collapse of the U.S. auto industry had battered the town. Three major employers — Chrysler, General Motors and Delphi, an auto parts supplier — had filed for bankruptcy. Hundreds of workers were laid off. Unemployment briefly topped 20 percent. Shrock, who’d risen from Chrysler machine operator to a United Auto Workers international representative, was worried. It wasn’t just 4,000 Chrysler workers. He was also thinking about some 10,000 auto retirees in the county and their pensions. During that tense first half of 2009, Shrock wondered if the automakers — and his town — would endure. The Obama administration had pumped in more than $60 billion to fund GM and

Family business associated press photos

Kokomo’s largest employer, Chrysler has pledged to spend close to $1.3 billion on its plants in the city and has added about 1,000 workers.

Chrysler’s bankruptcies, but there were no guarantees. “I had a lot of personal doubts, but whenever I walked out the door, I never showed that,” Shrock says. “People had enough burden on them already, not knowing if they were going to have a job. They had mortgages. They had kids in school. They had car payments. They had credit cards. The last thing I wanted in their mind was this was not going to work.”

On the way back

Flash forward. The U.S. auto industry has staged an amazing comeback, and the town’s largest employer, Chrysler, has pledged to invest nearly $1.3 billion into its plants here, added about 1,000 workers and helped boost Kokomo’s fortunes — it was honored in 2011 by the state chamber of commerce as Community of the Year.

But the resurrection of U.S. automakers has done little to resolve a deep political divide over the bailout. Democrats, led by President Barack Obama, call it an undeniable success. The Republican presidential candidates, most notably Mitt Romney, condemn it as government meddling, both unfair and unnecessary, and even some Indiana politicians agree. To many folks in Kokomo, though, the political debate seems disconnected from this reality: Kokomo survives.  Detroit is America’s car capital, but Kokomo has its own proud role in auto history. It started in 1894 when Elwood Haynes, an enterprising inventor with a thick mustache and Chaplinesque bowler, towed his gas-powered carriage to a winding road on the southeast

It’s the kind of town where family reunions can be measured in how many generations of fathers, brothers and sons toiled on a Chrysler or GM line (or both). It’s also a community where workers live with uncertainty. Shrock still remembers his father wondering if he’d have a check to cash in ’79 when Chrysler was drowning and then-CEO Leo Iacocca begged the federal government for help. More than 30 years later, he was a silver-haired father himself, he and the Chrysler workers were facing a similar situation — and Kokomo still was at the mercy of the auto economy. The threat of shuttered plants, a mass exodus and blight — a familiar sight among aging steel and auto communities across the Midwest — loomed large. A Brookings Institution report said the demise of all auto-related jobs could result in the staggering loss of more than half of all area employment. Laura Sheets, chairwoman of

April 2012 The Business Connection 9

“Everything looked bad in every direction. There didn’t seem to be much opportunity to go anywhere or do anything else because the whole country was in bad shape.” Visiting reporters would ask Mayor Greg Goodnight: What are you going to do if the bailout and bankruptcy fall through? “It’s kind of like someone asking me what would you do right now if we had an earthquake, a tsunami and seven bank robberies at the same time? You do what you have to do,” he says. “But I can’t think of a worse-case scenario, economically.”

the board of the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, sensed that worry when she headed United Way’s community campaign in 2009. Knocking on the doors of businesses for charitable contributions from workers, “There was such a dread, so much uncertainty,” she says, “no one wanted to say what they were thinking. No one wanted to verbalize how bad things could be.” It wasn’t as if Kokomo could instantly transform itself. “How do you replace that big of a footprint?” she says. “People would say, ‘How could you be so dependent on one industry?’ But that’s what we do.”

Benefits of taxes

Across the board

The trouble, though, extended beyond autos. A pottery plant had already moved to China, eliminating 150 jobs. The housing crisis had taken hold, too. In 2009, 40 percent of home sales in Kokomo were foreclosures, says Paul Wyman, owner of a real estate company and a Howard County commissioner. At its worst, in the first quarter of that year, average home sales plummeted to about $30,000, compared with $110,000 in the previous two years.

Laura Sheets, chairwoman of the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, said, “There’s a saying that when Detroit sneezes, Kokomo gets a cold. Well, this was bed rest.”

“We saw a lot of fear and some sense of hopelessness,” says Judy Dennis, director of the county’s Family Service Association, which set up a foreclosure prevention counseling service. “There was a panic. We had so many people calling afraid they would lose their jobs. ... The feeling was, ‘Am I going to be next? What will I do? Where will I go?”

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For Brian McKinley, a 42-year-old Chrysler engineer, those questions took on new urgency. He was already dealing with a divorce, the death of his mother, a pay cut and a layoff as the plants closed their doors during the bankruptcy. “I didn’t know if I was going to ever have my job back,” McKinley says.

Goodnight, a Democrat, knew some folks disapproved of the bailout. Once, a drug store clerk told him the government should let the automakers fail. “I said, ‘Look out the window. Who do you think helps pay for these roads, these street lights ... who do you think pays for our schools, our teachers?’” Chrysler, Delphi and GM account for up to 20 percent of the city’s revenues directly from property taxes, he says, and that doesn’t take into account see kokomo on page 10

10 The Business Connection April 2012

kokomo continued from page 9 taxes paid by their workers. “Why anyone in a logical sense would ask for the largest employer in their community to be liquidated ... is not thinking rationally,” he says. “At some point, government has to be the stabilizer.” This wasn’t just a Democratic attitude. Wyman, the county commissioner, compares the auto meltdown to Hurricane Katrina — both of them catastrophes demanding extraordinary measures. “As a Republican, I can tell you I’m for smaller government every day of the week,” he says. “But there is one thing I expect from the government and that is for government to respond to a major crisis. ... It worked and now the government should get out.” Wyman points out that a Republican — former President George W. Bush — approved $17.4 billion in bridge loans to Chrysler and GM after Congress failed to approve emergency aid. Both presidents, Wyman says, deserve credit. “If it had gone the other way, our community would have been devastated,” he says. “In hindsight, it was the right thing to do.”  That’s not how Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels sees it. He says the GM and Chrysler bailout was a clear case of favoritism. “I was all over this state visiting with companies large and small that were in extremely difficult shape, and nobody in Washington came around to wipe out their debts or write them a check,”

Mayor Greg Goodnight talks about improving city finances during a Rotary Club luncheon in Kokomo.

he says. “There was just an unfairness about it.” Obama has trumpeted the auto recovery as one of his signature achievements — Vice President Joe Biden recently said his re-election message should be “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive” — but the public is less enamored. No Republican presidential candidate has been a more vocal critic than Mitt Romney, whose father, George, ran the long-defunct American Motors Corp. In a 2008 op-ed in the New York Times titled, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” he called for a managed bankruptcy, followed by some government assistance, such as guaranteeing warranties.

In that piece, he predicted if U.S. automakers received the bailout, “You can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.” At least in the near term, his fears have not been realized. GM reported a record $7.6 billion profit last year. Chrysler, now privately held and majority owned by Fiat, earned $183 million in 2011, its first net profit since 1997. Sean McAlinden, an economist at the Center for Automotive Research, which receives funding from the automakers, says the union did get “one of the better deals in the history of bankruptcy” — its members’ pensions were untouched, and the UAW retirees health care trust funds own part of the companies. But he points out that the UAW also agreed to a series of trade-offs and concessions. New workers, for instance, earn a much lower wage. And McAlinden is among those who dispute claims by Romney and others that the industry would have survived with a managed bankruptcy.

To the rescue

Ridership on the free city trolley service has exceeded all projections. Kokomo is on the mend, and many credit the auto industry bailout.

“This sounds like a wonderfully sensible approach — except it’s sheer fantasy,” Steven Rattner, chief adviser to Obama’s auto task force, wrote in a New York Times op-ed. He says there was no private financing available, and without federal dollars, the automakers wouldn’t have been able to pursue Chapter 11 bankruptcy and “would have been forced to cease production, close their doors and lay off virtually all workers once their coffers ran dry.”

Those closings, he says, would have rippled to auto suppliers, and ultimately trucking companies, restaurants and other parts of the economy. David Cole, chairman emeritus of the auto center, agrees. “It has nothing to do with favoritism,” he says. “It has to do with ‘no choice-ism.’ ... The people who say we should have stayed out have no clue to what the risk was. It would have precipitated a dramatic job loss, which would have likely pushed the rest of the economy into a full-scale depression.”  The auto bailout had winners and losers. Some towns lost plants; Kokomo’s were saved. “I feel we were given a lifeline,” says the mayor, who thanked the president when he visited Kokomo in 2010. “But do we now sit back in our easy chairs and say Chrysler’s good for the next five, 10 years? No. ... We can’t become content with just that. This is our chance to build on top of it.” There’s much building to do. Unemployment in Kokomo — home to nearly 57,000 people — tops 10 percent, and a network of local food pantries serves 1,100 families a month, mostly in the city, compared with 400 in the pre-recession days. Home foreclosure sales remain high. But the real estate market is stronger; the average housing price in recent months has topped $70,000 The United Way’s community campaign last year raised almost $1.8 million — $80,000 more than its goal. More than 20 businesses have opened or expanded since 2010. A new regional Fed Ex hub is due to open soon. Local and federal funds have been used to improve downtown, launch a public transit system, build a park pavilion, buy foreclosed homes, rehab and sell them to low-income buyers, then use the proceeds to demolish an abandoned factory and build townhouses. Chrysler and Fiat have paid back all but $1.3 billion of Chrysler’s $12.5 billion bailout. And the government has recouped more than $22 billion of its nearly $50 billion GM bailout, after agreeing to take stock in return for most of its investment. It’s that kind of record that makes McKinley, the Chrysler engineer, wonder why there’s still any debate. “At this point,” he says, “how could anybody argue that it was the wrong thing to do, because it worked.”

chamberconnection April 2012 Growing BUSINESS. Growing people. Monthly publication of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce • 500 Franklin Street • Columbus, IN 47201 • 812-379-4457

Women’s Professional Development Conference Tuesday, May 15 Clarion Hotel and Conference Center (formerly Holiday Inn) Register before April 20 for the $89 early bird rate. www. “Small Changes … Big Impact!” Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Change is inevitable, powerful and often challenging. Attend the 2012 Women’s Professional Development Conference and you will leave prepared to view change as a tool for creating a more positive world. Knowledgeable women will share tips for harnessing the power of change and maintaining a positive perspective in the midst of constant flux. They will tell stories of the impact of change on their professional and personal lives. They will offer

Calendar: Register to attend events

at Check the Web site calendar for all upcoming events. April 11 — TEN Meetup (register online), 4 to 6 p.m., LaQuinta Inn & Suites. Networking at its best. Join us for a structured networking followed by informal social networking.

April 25 — Berlin Travel Info Session (register online), 5 p.m., Chamber Training Room. An information session regarding the October trip to Berlin. Get information about the trip, have the opportunity to ask questions and, of course, sign up if you’re ready to go.

ways that each of us can contribute to positive changes for our community. Take a day to learn about change and its potential for positive impact. Bring a toiletry item of any size or value for Love Chapel; a small contribution can make a huge difference to someone in need. In exchange, receive the gifts of inspiration, education and motivation to “be the change you want to see” in your world. For speaker details, please visit: news/wpdc.

2012 Chamber Board of Directors Tim Millwood Cummins Inc. John Burnett Community Education Coalition ike declue Tre Bicchieri Brad Davis, Past-Chair Centra Credit Union Linda DeClue Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. Paula Hartwell, Chair Administrative Resources charlie farber, Chair-Elect MainSource Bank UMAR FAROOQ SIHO

April TEN Meetup

John Hogan Ivy Tech Community College

4 to 6 p.m. April 11 LaQuinta Inn & Suites TEN (The Entrepreneurial Network) is excited to announce the next TEN Meetups featuring a structured networking activity plus casual networking time. Join your fellow Chamber Members as we embark on creating a place where business owners and growers can meet to increase their visibility, obtain new contacts and forge new relationships. Bring your business cards, your bright smile and a couple of friends to see what the meetups are all about. The agenda for the evening is: 4-4:15 p.m. — Arrive and check in. 4:15-4:20 p.m. — Welcome and introductions of sponsors. 4:20-4:45 p.m. — Structured networking. 4:50-6 p.m. — Informal networking with free appetizers and cash bar.

Amy Kaiser First Financial Bank Michael Oakes IUPUC Tom harmon Taylor Bros. Construction Mike Rossetti The Republic Ron Sewell CEDC Marlene Weatherwax Columbus Regional Hospital Evan Werling, Treasurer Werling Management Group LuAnne Whewell Indiana Bank and Trust

Ex-Officio Members kristen Brown Mayor of Columbus chip orben Duke Energy/Economic Development Board Dave Galle Community Education Coalition Carl Lienhoop County Commissioner Lynn Lucas Visitors Center donna robertson Hope Chamber of Commerce

The April TEN Meetup is sponsored by Jimmy Johns, LaQuinta Inn & Suites, Dental Solutions of Columbus, Ceraland and Century 21 Breeden Realtors.

Affordable Ways to See the World: Benefits of Group Travel 6:30 p.m. April 16 Presented by Valerie Chowning and Amber Fischvogt of the Columbus Chamber As Columbus continues to be influenced by more global factors, it is more important now than ever before for our citizens to have the opportunity to actually experience emerging countries, their cultures and markets.

New group travel opportunities are available and give people the opportunity to see great sights, meet interesting people and enjoy places like China, Spain, Berlin and Prague in the upcoming year. Join us to learn more about these cultures, the importance of their economies on our community and how you can experience

them for yourself. Berlin/Prague Info Session – 5 p.m. April 25 — Columbus Chamber Trip details can be found at: www.columbusareachamber. com/china and Departure date for Berlin/ Prague is Oct. 31. China trip departs Nov. 4.

The ribbon-cuttings also appear in The Republic. For addresses and phone numbers of Chamber members, visit our online directory at or call 379-4457.

FARRELL’S EXTREME BODYSHAPING 3230 N. National Road 375-9920 Jim Clouse, program manager for the city, performed the ribboncutting ceremony for Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping. Owners Erik and Lindsay Piper were joined by family and friends. Members of the Chamber Action Team also were present. Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping is a body-changing, lifestyle-transforming fitness program designed to help you quickly improve your fitness level. The Farrell’s team will lead you to a healthy lifestyle, weight loss, increased lean muscle mass and complete body transformation.

O’Reilly Auto Parts 2997 N. National Road 372-1387 Jim Clouse, program manager for the city, performed the ribboncutting ceremony for O’Reilly Auto Parts. District Manager Greg Sims and Store Manager Dominic Williams were joined by employees and customers. Members of the Chamber Action Team also were present. O’Reilly Auto Parts grew from a single store in Missouri in 1957 to a business with over 3,613 stores in 39 states and more than 47,000 team members.

New members Exhale with Hope Hope Coatsworth 812-376-4148 931 25th St., Columbus IN 47201 FC Tucker/Scott Lynch Group Scott Lynch 812-418-8522 430 Washington St., Columbus IN 47201 A Better Cut 2331 N. Marr Road 378-1995 Jim Clouse, program manager for the city, performed the ribboncutting ceremony for A Better Cut. Owner Kim Olmstead was joined by employees, family, friends and clients. Members of the Chamber Action Team also were present. Our stylists are well-rounded, experienced and dedicated to giving our clients an updated style that best fits their appearance and personality. We also offer therapeutic massage.

Kelley Locksmith LLC Jeffrey Kelley 317-512-4903 6211 E. Michigan Road, Waldron, IN 46182 Malone Staffing Kendra Shuler 812-669-1069 2520 California St., Suite 1A, Columbus, IN 47201

Quarterly Event Calendar April 11 — TEN Meetup (register online), 4 to 6 p.m., LaQuinta Inn & Suites. Networking at its best. Join us for a structured networking followed by informal social networking.

April 25 — Berlin Travel Info Session (register online), 5 p.m., Chamber Training Room. An information session regarding the October trip to Berlin. Get information about the trip, have the opportunity to ask questions and, of course, sign up if you’re ready to go.

May 3 — High Tech Happy Hour (register online), 4 to 6 p.m., Chamber office. Your chance to see the newest, greatest and coolest tech gadgets. We’ll be offering many ways to see how technology can improve your productivity and efficiency.

May 11 — TEN Networking Roundtables (register online), 8 a.m., Visitors Center. Structured networking designed to expand your network and grow your business.

May 15 — Women’s Professional Development Conference (register online), 8 a.m., Clarion Hotel Conference Center. Educate, motivate and inspire. We’re happy to be bringing back this popular event for women to learn, grow and network.

May 23 — May Open Board Meeting (register online), 11:30 a.m., BCSC. Open board meeting featuring education segment and the members’ chance to see how the Chamber board conducts business.

June 8 — TEN Talks (register online), 8 a.m., Visitors Center. Education session for the small business and anyone interested in entrepreneurial thinking.

June 18 — School House Session, 7:30 a.m., City Hall. Free, open forums featuring updates from BCSC.

June 13 — Hackers’ Holiday (register online), 11 a.m., Otter Creek Golf Course. Where business and fun meet. Join us to enjoy the great outdoors.

June 26 — New Membership Reception (register online), 5 p.m., Chamber. Welcome new members. A chance to network with board and committee members and hear what the Chamber can do for your business.

Annual sponsors at the Community Leadership level

April 2012 The Business Connection 11

coach’s corner

How to reach the next level I have been reading quite a few books on leadership and breaking through to the next level over the last several months, and as I expected, most of the books contained the same basic advice, presented in different formats and from different perspectives. One theme that popped up again and Mark McNulty again is that “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There,” which is also the title of one of my favorite books, by Marshall Goldsmith, about developing leadership skills. I use this theme in all of my business development activities because it applies to every facet of your business and life, not just the leadership part. As I have told many business owners over the years, what works at $500,000 doesn’t work at $1 million, and what works at $1 million doesn’t work at $5 million, and so on. In every business, in every life, there are points at which you need to reinvent what you are doing and how you are doing it.

If we ignore the last two years of Tiger Woods’ career, when his personal life overtook his golf life, and look back over the previous 15 years, one of the best golfers of all time has reinvented his swing three times. Each time it was based on the premise that to stay on top and get to the next level of success, what he had been doing wasn’t good enough to sustain his success. As your business grows, you need to be reviewing your systems and processes to be sure that you aren’t outgrowing them. You don’t want to be surprised to discover that quality takes a hit when you start processing that big new order because something in the plant doesn’t work as well with the higher volume. Here are some of the key systems to monitor to ensure that they support your growth, as failures in any of them can be catastrophic. FINANCIAL — Does your financial system support the timely and accurate reporting of information to you when you have higher volumes, from more customers, from farther away? Do your billing and collections processes scale with your new sales volume, or do they rely on a faithful employee who doesn’t

want to burden you with the fact that he can’t keep up? Is it time to upgrade your reporting systems, outsource the bookkeeping, add a part-time professional CFO? DELIVERY SYSTEMS — One of the biggest mistakes I see businesses make is outgrowing their ability to consistently deliver high quality product and services. Before you start ramping up your sales, you need to be ensuring that you have the capacity to deliver what you sell without a loss of quality, timeliness or consistency. From order entry to manufacture and assembly to delivery and installation, be sure that your processes can handle 50 percent more volume before it is too late. Nothing is worse than trying to change/fix your delivery processes in the middle of your biggest month ever. SALES AND MARKETING — As sales begin to pick up and you add inventory and staff to accommodate the new volume, you need to be sure that your sales and marketing processes scale up to support these higher levels. If you increase your overhead to support the additional sales, then your

marketing efforts need to grow to provide adequate additional leads to your sales team. Your ability to monitor the number and source of leads becomes more important, as well as tracking your other key sales measures — conversion rates and average dollar sale. PEOPLE — Once again, as you grow and add staff, your systems for managing your team need to grow. As the owner, you will need to be developing your management team and teaching them how to develop and nurture their teams. Hiring and training systems become more important, and that neglected employee manual may need to be dusted off to ensure it is still appropriate. All in all, as we grow our businesses, the challenges don’t go away, and in reality they get bigger. As long as we are growing the systems and processes we use at the same time we are growing our sales, we can keep up with these new challenges and lead our teams to bigger and better wins.

CSM continued from page 5

of our chairs and go meet people,” says Johnson. Its membership on the Economic Development Board and in the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce have helped it cultivate relationships with contractors, customers and the community. Likewise, strategic planning takes a bit of a different form at CSM than it does in many types of businesses because it is providing its customers with unique solutions to unique needs. “The best thing we can do is prepare ourselves to move with the market,” says Johnson. While CSM’s signature is not as visible as that of some other companies involved in building the city’s impressive array of structures, Johnson takes pride in knowing that his company’s contribution was characterized by quality. “It’s rewarding because we’re reaping a good reputation based on what we’ve sown. That’s led to really great relationships.”

to hire people right out of high school who have been in the C4 program. We’d much rather hire local talent looking for a career as a tradesperson.” C4, or Columbus Area Career Connection, is a program offering technical and career education to high school students. It runs facilities at Columbus East, Columbus North and McDowell Adult Education Center. Ely serves on the C4 advisory board.

Core values

Ductwork is one of the many products made at Central Sheet Metal.

Safety is a priority at CSM. The company won zero-injury awards from the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association in 2009 and 2010. Community involvement is also one of CSM’s core values. It contributes to Su Casa, United Way and Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Bowl for Kids’ Sake event. Sales calls and references comprise the bulk of the company’s marketing effort. “It’s up to us to get out

Mark McNulty is a business coach with ActionCoach Business Coaching. He can be reached at 372-7377 or mark@

12 The Business Connection April 2012

Putting perspective to unemployment Amid the noise of the Republican primaries and the deafening silence of the Democrats, here are a few words of simple reality. In the recession of 2007 to 2009, 8.4 million people in the United States lost employment. However, by December of 2011 we had 2.7 million more Morton Marcus people working in the U.S. than we had two years earlier. That means we had recovered one-third of the employment lost in the recession. There remained, unfortunately, 5.7 million jobs needed to bring us back to our previous level of employment. That’s the national picture. At the state level, the story is quite different. Texas hardly knew anything about the recession. The total number of employed people in Texas at the end of 2011 was 4 percent higher than at the

close of 2007. In total, eight states from Vermont to Alaska closed 2011 with higher numbers of people employed than in 2007. The recession had come and gone for those states. For the remaining 42 states, the story was quite different. In Indiana, the recession reduced our numbers employed by 287,000 people. The recovery brought employment back by 109,000, which left 178,000 fewer employed Hoosiers. At the end of December Indiana stood with the ninth steepest employment hill to climb. Our 2011 employment was 5.8 percent below our 2007 figures. The nation was only 3.9 percent below 2007. Michigan was the worst at 9 percent below. This, however, cannot be true if we are to believe the proud sounds being made at the Indiana Economic Development Corp. There we hear about 2011 being the best year ever for this and the most superior year for that. This and that always do well at IEDC,

REMC continued from page 7

al fish fry, generally held in August, to raise funds for United Way, as well as sponsoring United Way booth space at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fair. It also provides a scholarship for promising local students through the Heritage Fund. The new building features a community room. Members can use it for parties, and local nonprofit groups can hold meetings there. In keeping with its commitment to raise awareness of government’s place in society, each June BCREMC sends two local high school juniors to

BCREMC adheres to the NRECA’s seven principles of cooperative organization. They are:  Voluntary and open membership.  Democratic member control.  Members’ economic participation.  Autonomy and independence.  Education, training and information.  Cooperation among cooperatives.  Concern for community. The last principle is particularly important to BCREMC. It demonstrates this by such activities as an annu-

but now they are doing even better. Within our state, 88 of 92 counties still have year-end employment below 2007 levels. In 12 counties, the data are worse than in Michigan — the worst in the nation at 9 percent. Monroe, Owen, Greene and Henry did not gain jobs between 2009 and 2011. They still await the blessings of Indiana’s boom. In absolute numbers, rather than percentages, the task before Lake and Elkhart counties is about the same: 15,500 jobs to recover to 2007 levels. Both counties have recovered about 25 percent of the employment lost in the recession, putting them on a par with Shelby County, which has only 1,600 jobs to regain its pre-recession level. The interesting question in this election year is: “Who is expected to provide these jobs?” Many candidates say government does not create jobs. That is out-and-out nonsense; teachers and public safety workers are government workers.

Other candidates say only the unemployed can create jobs through the imaginative use of their own resources. This has limitations since the resources of all sorts held by the unemployed diminish rapidly in the first weeks of a spell of unemployment. Strangely, some candidates say that government regulation destroys jobs. These are usually the same candidates who see only bloated bureaucracies where people hold jobs that are destroying other jobs. Now, if we could reduce the bloat that would reduce the destruction, the unemployed government workers then could become entrepreneurs in the deregulated sectors of the economy. Miracles can still happen. It is far more fun to have ideas about employment rather than the simple facts. Morton Marcus is an economist, speaker and writer formerly with IU’s Kelley School of Business.

photo by Doug Showalter

The display above greets visitors to the new REMC offices. It contains interesting information on the history of rural electrification, including the old logo pictured at left.

Washington, D.C., as part of the Youth Tour program of the Indiana Statewide Association of RECs. Along with sightseeing, the trip involves meetings with legislators from Indiana. The cooperative makes it uniquely easy for customers/owners to take a

hands-on role in managing the enterprise. “I see some members at Member Appreciation Day, the annual meeting, the light bulb exchanges and our civic events,” says Lasure. “Others, I never see. You can choose your level of involvement.”

April 2012 The Business Connection 13

Mutual fund honored

Big Four bridge contract

The Wall Street Journal has listed a locally managed mutual fund as fifthbest in its category. The Journal on March 5 listed Kirr, Marbach Partners Value Fund, with a year-to-date return of 15.99 percent, as fifth-best in the Multi Cap Core category, which includes 754 funds. The fund is managed by Kirr, Marbach & Co., based at 621 Washington St.

JEFFERSONVILLE — A southern Indiana company has been awarded a $6.5 million contract for construction of the Indiana approach to the Big Four bicycle and pedestrian bridge across the Ohio River. The Indiana Department of Transportation and the city of Jeffersonville awarded the deal to Gohmann Asphalt and Construction of Clarksville. Transportation Department officials said Gohmann’s bid was the lowest among 10 Indiana and Kentucky companies and 22 percent below the engineer’s estimate. The new ramp will open to bicycles and pedestrians by March 2013. The Big Four is a former railroad bridge that is currently being renovated to allow bicycles and pedestrians to cross between Louisville’s Waterfront Park and the Jeffersonville riverfront.

NTN adding jobs NTN Driveshaft plans to install new production equipment by the end of next year and hire at least 25 workers to operate it. The new machine operators will earn an average of about $37,000. The company produces drive-train components at 8251 S. International Drive.

Around the watercooler

Perr Award winners Cummins Inc. has recognized three Columbus-based engineers for a fuel systems-related patent that for more than a decade has given the company a significant competitive advantage in meeting more stringent emissions standards. C. Edward Morris, John Crofts and Donald Benson are recipients of the Dr. Julius P. Perr Innovation Award, the company’s highest technical honor, for their improved fuel injector. The award, created in 1995, recognizes patented technology that produces a significant positive impact for the company, the industry and/or the environment.

Wind turbines approved BLUFFTON — The Wells County Area Plan Commission has approved a wind energy company’s plans to erect about 80 power-generating wind turbines in the northeastern Indiana county. Apex Wind Energy plans to erect the wind turbines in southern Wells County. Eight people who oppose the project addressed the commission, airing concerns that included the impact that setbacks for the turbines will have on future use of the land. The wind farm’s supporters extolled the economic benefits the project would bring to the county and its residents.

Solar Plant clears hurdle HOBART — Hobart’s zoning board

Music warehouse to close has approved a Minnesota company’s plans to build the city’s first solar power plant. Hobart Solar LLC proposes to install 4,576 electricity-generating solar panels. The project could be built as early as this summer, but city planner A.J. Bytnar says the project must first go before Hobart’s planning commission for a site plan review. Environmentalist Sandy O’Brien urged board members to locate the project away from a state-managed nature preserve. If it’s approved, the project would become the second one in northwestern Indiana developed by the company, which recently won approval to install 6,800 solar panels in nearby Merrillville.

Hybrid startup stopping ANDERSON — An Indiana-based startup company that had planned to manufacturer hybrid delivery vehicles is ceasing operations, citing its failure to secure a federal loan. Officials with Anderson-based Bright Automotive announced that the company would cease operations. The startup also has facilities in Mishawaka and Rochester Hills, Mich. The company was seeking a $450 million low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to finance production of the IDEA, its plug-in hybrid service van.

Michael Brylawski, company vice president of corporate strategy, says Bright Automotive spent three years and $15 million negotiating with the federal agency for the loan. He says that each time the company submitted a proposal the government responded with more onerous loan requirements.

Racino bankruptcy ANDERSON — The company that owns Hoosier Park Casino & Racing in Anderson may bid on the state’s other racino, the bankrupt Indiana Downs and Indiana Live casino in Shelbyville. Centaur Chief Executive Rod Ratcliff said his company would be among the top suitors going after the larger Shelbyville racino. He estimated the purchase price would be about $400 million. Ratcliff said Indiana regulators would waive a $50 million license transfer fee because of Indiana Live’s bankruptcy status. Indiana Live/Indiana Downs filed for bankruptcy last April and recently filed a Section 363 motion in bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Del., that would, if approved, effectively place the facility up for sale. Ratcliff said the court could rule on the motion within two months. Hoosier Park itself emerged from bankruptcy Oct. 1. Chief Operating Officer Jim Brown said that would not affect Centaur’s ability to proceed with an acquisition.

FISHERS — Sony DADC Americas says it will start shutting down its Fishers compact disc warehouse in May and will lay off all 248 workers by September. The distribution center handles compact discs for EMI Music, Universal Music and Sony Music. A company spokeswoman says CD sales have fallen dramatically in recent years while more consumers switched to digital downloads to listen to music. Anderson Merchandisers LP will pick up Sony DADC’s distribution agreements and service them from a distribution center in Franklin.

Toyota to add 400 jobs Toyota says it will expand its factory in Princeton and add 400 jobs so it can build more Highlander SUVs. The hiring and expansion will come next year. It will invest $400 million in the factory to build 50,000 more Highlanders per year. The plant built more than 101,000 Highlanders last year. The company plans to stop making Highlanders in Japan and move that production to Indiana After the changes, Toyota will be able to build about 255,000 Highlanders a year in Princeton and in China. The plant now employs nearly 4,000 people who make Sienna minivans and the Highlander and Sequoia SUVs. Toyota sold more than 101,000 Highlanders in the U.S. last year, up nearly 10 percent from 2010. — Staff and Wire Reports

14 The Business Connection April 2012

Retailers downsizing to lower costs By Joyce Smith McClatchy Newspapers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — To Neng Yang, the Best Buy store in Independence, Mo., is just too overwhelming — so much so that she only shops there once a year, at the holidays. So when she needed a new cellphone, she bypassed the 55,000-square-foot store with its many departments — appliances, big-screen TVs, computers, cameras, car audio, video and music. Instead, she stopped across the street at the Best Buy Mobile store. The slimmed-down 850-square-foot sister store concentrates only on mobile devices. “I ask about a thousand questions, and this is more personalized, more one-on-one attention,” said Yang. She bought a white Droid Razr, and her brother, John Yang, picked up a black one. Bigger is not always better. Just ask the biggest retailers in the country — and their customers. The recession and the growth of online shopping have conspired to cut chains down to size. One strategy they’ve employed has been to close underperforming stores. But Best Buy and an increasing number of companies are trying another strategy too — going smaller. Among the retailers testing smaller concepts are Blockbuster, Ann Taylor, the Gap, Kohl’s, Lowe’s and Sports Authority. RadioShack is even trying a “store-within-a-store” format in several OfficeMax stores in California. Restaurants are also thinking small, including Houlihan’s Restaurants Inc., which has restaurants in 17 states. Lower square footage makes for lower construction and remodeling costs, and that also tends to make them easier to finance. The smaller locations have fewer overhead costs and can be manned by fewer employees.

A customer purchases a phone at the Best Buy Mobile store in Independence, Mo. It only carries phones, tablets and accessories.

Less to lose

The small size also gives the chains more flexibility in locations, allowing them to squeeze into heavily developed urban centers and compact spaces in airports, college campuses and strip centers. If the location isn’t successful, the chains can close the sites down with less financial fallout. “For a decade it was ‘build it and they will come,’” said Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail in

The traditional, full-sized Best Buy in Independence, Mo.

New York. “It’s definitely a correction for retailers as well as restaurants, a direct result of consumers not having as much to spend on the extras. The strategy has to be to reduce your costs to offset less traffic. Usually that means

less rent, shrinking retail and restaurants.” Jeff Green, president of Jeff Green Partners, Phoenix-based real estate consultants, has long criticized the “bigger is better” movement.

MCT photos

“They think the bigger they are the more exciting they are and that’s not necessarily the case, as Apple has proven,” Green said. “Consumers like the smaller stores, like to be part of a ‘happening,’ and smaller stores have that feel.” When retailers like Ann Taylor, Chico’s and the Gap opened larger stores, they didn’t necessarily see an equivalent rise in sales, if any rise at all, that would justify the added expense, Green said. “Any retailer that is opening larger and larger stores, I question their longterm viability,” Green said. “Costco and Sam’s Club defy that theory. That’s because consumers really perceive them as great values and value trumps the inconvenience of size.” One of the latest retailers to embrace small stores is Cabela’s. The outdoor equipment and sporting goods retailer said it would open its first Cabela’s Outpost Store this fall in Union Gap, Wash.; up to three more are planned for next year.

Smaller cities

The Outpost stores will be signifisee small on page 16

April 2012 The Business Connection 15

Jeff Bohman, sales agent for Johnson-Witkemper Insurance, recently tested successfully to obtain recertification to be able to offer Anthem Medicare Supplement, Prescription (Part D) and Medicare Advantage plans for 2012. Mark McNulty of Columbus was named NetworkCOACH at ActionCOACH’s 2012 Americas Conference in Memphis, Tenn. ActionCOACH is a business coaching and executive coaching firm with more than 1,000 offices in 39 countries. McNulty was recognized by his peers for the impact he makes using his networking skills. Century 21 Breeden Realtors has been recognized by the worldwide Century 21 organization with the Double Centurion Award, President’s Office Award, Quality Service Pinnacle Jan Brinkman Award, Per Person Productivity Award and the Ambassador Award. Jan Brinkman received the Double Centurion Award and was recognized for being No. 1 in closed Scott Taskey residential production. She also was recognized as the No. 1 agent in Indiana Ohio Region for Century 21 in 2011. Agents earning the Centurion Award were Scott Taskey, Karen Dugan, Tracie Karen Dugan Hawes and Karen Abel. Individual agents honored for Quality Service Pinnacle Awards were Jane Kennedy, Jane Mellinger and Karen Abel. Dan and Laura Davis and Team Gardner also received the Quality Service Pinnacle Award.

Karen Abel received the President’s Award, and the Masters Ruby Producer Award was received by Jane Kennedy, Jane Mellinger and Kassie Reynolds, and the Masters Team Award was awarded to Bob and Sandy Arterburn. Kassie Reynolds was also honored as the Rookie of the Year by the Crossroads Association of Realtors. Several agents were recognized for receiving the Quality Service Producer Award: Becky Loyd, Beverly Bishop, Candi Hester, Carroll Snider, Debbie Barrett, Jan Brinkman, Nancy Ardizone, Nora Noblitt, Michelle Walls, Linda Mackey, Tracie Hawes and Kassie Reynolds. Marilyn Achterberg, owner of Sew Crazy, recently received an award at the annual meeting of the Husqvarna Viking Sewing Machine Co. in Orlando, Fla., for outstanding sales performance in 2011. Kim Povinelli, former activity director at Miller’s Merry Manor at Hope, has been named admissions director of the long-term care and rehabilitation facility. Kim Povinelli

Tom Biggs has been hired as assistant vice president of commercial lending at Jackson County Bank, and Leslie Unrue has joined the bank as deposit and electronic banking officer. Biggs is a graduate Tom Biggs of Hanover College and has worked in finance for more than 22 years, most recently as vice president of agribusiness at Farm Credit Services. In his new role, he will make and service Leslie Unrue a wide variety of business and individual loans in Jackson, Jennings and Decatur counties. Unrue holds a degree in paralegal studies from Vincennes University and most recently worked as assistant vice president and operations manager at a financial institution. She will oversee day-to-day operations of JCB’s deposit operations and electronic banking functions.

Scott Taskey of Century 21 Breeden Realtors has earned membership in the Century 21 Preferred Agent Club, an honor awarded to only the top 1 percent of Century 21 agents in recognition of sales achievements and consistently receiving the Century 21 Quality Service Award. Sally Acton, director of cancer and pain services at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, has completed requirements to renew her oncology nursing certification. She has been Sally Acton with Schneck since 1977, has worked in the hospital’s cancer center since 1986 and has been certified since 1989. Vicky Gelfius of RE/MAX Real Estate Professionals has completed a specialized course in the skills involved in obtaining and servicing real estate listings, conducted by the Vicky Gelfius Council of Residential Specialists of the National Association of Realtors. The class completed Gelfius’ requirements to receive the Certified Residential Specialist designation. The course included techniques in seller counseling, pricing, various client servicing activities, marketing techniques and other programs designed to close sales on residential properties. Dana Carson of RE/MAX Real Estate Professionals has earned the Certified Residential Specialist designation. She was recognized by her office for having the second-highest Dana Carson number of new listings and the third-highest number of transactions sold from January to November last year. She also recently received the RE/ MAX 100% Club Award for 2011, which honors top producers. This is her seventh consecutive year to receive this honor. Exegistics in North Vernon has hired Doug Jones as vice president

of operations and John Moore as vice president of business and solutions development. Jones, a 15-year supply chain veteran, will have global responsibility for operations and human resources as well as business unit leader responsibility over the company’s newly acquired value add resources division, MOJO Innovations. Moore has worked in packaging and market facing for 20 years. Hired in 2011, he has global responsibility for all market facing and customer solution activities and is instrumental in supporting the company’s packaging innovation division. Susan Doerflinger Burkhart has been elected to serve on the board of directors of Decatur County Hospital Foundation. A native of Decatur County, she is a graduate of Greensburg Susan Doerflinger Burkhart Community High School and Ball State University and is co-owner and an agent at Doerflinger Insurance. Other board members are PresidentElect Cleo Duncan, Vice President Guy Folkman, Secretary Nancy Sheffer, Treasurer Daryl Smith and members Patrick Hayden, George Reiger, Jim Rosenberry, Linda Simmons and Susan Wilson. Pam Schmelz, chairwoman of the information security program at Ivy Tech Community College-Columbus/ Franklin, recently attended The Course Technology Conference in San Antonio, Texas. She gave a presentation on “Creating a TwoPam Schmelz Year Information Security Program.” Her presentation focused on the importance of an information security program and the need for classes on personal and professional security, cyber attacks and cyber defense to be taught throughout an information technology curriculum. She discussed the implementation of the two-year information security degree program at Ivy Tech-Columbus/Franklin. — Staff Reports

16 The Business Connection April 2012

Small businesses adjust to gas prices By Joyce M. Rosenberg AP Business Writer

As any driver knows, rising gas prices can put a dent in a household budget. For small business owners, it can hurt — or even wipe out — profits. The recent rise in the price of gas is pressuring business owners to find ways to protect their earnings. Some of their strategies are simple, such as using GPS devices to track fuel usage. Others are drastic — like moving manufacturing operations to the U.S. from Asia. Small business owners have navigated this road before — most recently in 2008 when the price of gas rose to a national average of $4.11 a gallon. But gas is expected to surpass that record. And even if the price follows its usual pattern of gradually falling back from a high reached in the spring, it will still be expensive for the rest of the year. Here’s a look at how some companies are coping:

A direct hit

Chris Hundley runs Limousine Connection, a 31-car limousine service in Los Angeles. He likens the surge in gas prices to “being run into by someone without insurance” — there’s no way to avoid having to pay. In 2007 Limousine Connection began adding a 3 percent fuel surcharge to its bills to offset the cost of gas. Since then, the rate has crept up to 10 percent. Hundley says customers have come to understand the necessity for a fuel surcharge and prefer it to a rate increase. But the company doesn’t start chargsmall continued from page 14

cantly smaller than traditional Cabela’s: about 40,000 square feet compared to, say, the 185,000-square-foot Cabela’s in Kansas City, Kan. It will target smaller markets — 250,000 people or less with a high concentration of them already Cabela’s customers. Best Buy introduced its mobile locations in 2007, and there are currently about 260 nationwide. Best Buy has about 1,100 full-size stores. “The customer wants a different shopping experience. We don’t work on commission, and we carry everybody,” said Kyle Cochran, manager of the Independence store. When Houlihan’s converted a small-

ing extra on its base hourly rate the minute gas prices rise. For customers that have contracts with Limousine Connection, he’ll wait 30 days, and until prices have gone up 10 percent, before raising the surcharge. If prices rise, say, only 7 percent, he won’t raise it. “We are eating it — it’s the cost of doing business,” he says. Hundley also tracks fuel usage. Speeding or idling for extended periods wastes gas, so Hundley monitors driver behavior using the GPS systems installed in his fleet. When the company detects wasteful patterns a manager sits down with the employee to explain how he can help the company keep down fuel expenses. Limousine Connection is so serious about saving gas that, in some cases, it has issued verbal warnings to some drivers. Hundley also has added more fuelefficient vehicles to its fleet. The company has some hybrids, and all except a few Mercedes use regular, rather than premium, gas.

Cheaper in the U.S.

The rising cost of jet fuel has convinced Seesmart Inc. to make the commercial and household lights that it sells in U.S. factories instead of Asia. Ray Sjolseth, president of the Simi Valley, Calif.-based company, says that the savings he used to get from manufacturing overseas are being wiped out by higher air freight rates. Sjolseth says his customers tend to have last-minute deadlines. “We don’t have a choice but to air freight the

er Houston’s restaurant in Fairway, Kan., to a Houlihan’s nearly a decade ago, it found it was nearly as profitable as its full-size restaurants, even those with an outdoor patio. The company plans to open five restaurants under the smaller prototype this year. The stores are about 20 percent smaller in size, or about 5,500-squarefeet, and seat about 180 customers compared to about 225 in the previous prototype. “The key is how efficient these small units are to build — smaller upfront investment cost, better operating efficiency,” said Jen Gulvik, spokeswoman for Houlihan’s. “And I think people are hungry for a more intimate dining

products,” he says. He estimates that 80 percent of his goods are shipped by air and that rising rates are raising his manufacturing costs between 5 percent and 8 percent. So Sjolseth’s solution is to move his manufacturing to the U.S. He currently has one factory in California and expects to have one in Chicago operating by the end of the year. He estimates that a year from now, he’ll save between 5 percent and 10 percent because he won’t be getting shipments by air.

Shifting resources

Higher gas prices are cutting into travel budgets and that’s hurting Towne Park Systems’ revenue. The Annapolis, Md., company runs valet parking services for hotels across the country. These days, fewer guests are parking cars in hotel lots so the hotels don’t need as many attendants. Town Park responded by shifting some staffers to different jobs, says Kirk Pozadzides, the company’s general manager. The company also provides concierge and other services for hotel guests. Now, the employee who parks cars may shift to working as a concierge. The company also added “park and fly” services. Towne Park finds unused spaces in garages near airports and shuttles passengers to airline terminals. It costs a traveler less to use the service than it does to park in an airport lot, Pozadzides says. “You have to find creative ways to artificially drive revenue,” he says.

experience, more neighborly.”

Sweet deal

In the past 18 months, San Diegobased Sweet Tomatoes has been rolling out smaller restaurants, about 4,000 to 5,000 square feet, compared to its traditional locations of 7,000 square feet or more. They’ve downsized their celebrated 55-foot salad bar to 45-feet but haven’t downsized the offerings — more than 45. The dining rooms are smaller, seating 160 to 230 people, compared to 250 to 300 people in the larger locations. Customer counts have decreased in all restaurant categories industry wide, said Tracy Marks, spokeswoman for Sweet Tomatoes. But with the smaller

Working with vendors

The surge in gas prices in 2008 was a shock for Capriotti’s, a chain of sandwich shops based in Las Vegas. CEO Ashley Morris says the company didn’t pay much attention to a clause in his company’s contracts with distributors that said Capriotti’s would pay more for deliveries if the price of gas went up. So when gas soared that spring and summer, the company was paying far more than it expected for food, paper products and other supplies. “It hit our business fairly hard,” Morris says. Now, the surcharge rises and falls based on the price of diesel gas. This time around, he says, Capriotti’s won’t suffer. “We heavily negotiated a sliding scale.”

Delivery dilemma Companies that make deliveries are also hurting. Ricky Eisen’s catering business in New York has two trucks and a van. She used to pay $40 to $60 a day for gas for each truck. Now it costs her $72 to $76. And she pays more to vendors for deliveries. “I’m getting squeezed at both ends,” says Eisen, owner of Between the Bread. “It’s enough to cut a dent in the profit.” Eisen held out for a long time — until March 2011 — before she began tacking on fuel surcharges for her deliveries. She has charged 5 percent extra. Now, she says, “I’m thinking as fuel prices rise, I’m going to have to increase the percentage. Right now, I want to keep it where it is.”

units, Sweet Tomatoes can open them closer together, even as close as 10 minutes apart as a customer convenience. Currently 10 of its 122 locations are smaller formats, and new expansion plans call for both sizes. In 2011, Sweet Tomatoes also began testing Sweet Tomato Express, opening two locations in strip malls in California and Nevada. Express customers still get to select salad ingredients as they walk down a line, but employees put the salad together, much like at a Chipotle Mexican Grill. The Sweet Tomato Express operations, which run about 1,600 square feet, are designed for strip malls, universities, airports and other high-traffic areas.

April 2012 The Business Connection 17

Grateful Dead teach business lessons By Donna Gehrke-White Sun Sentinel

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Nova Southeastern University professor Barry Barnes tells his management classes the Grateful Dead can teach us a lot about business and personal finance. Barnes, 68, a former IBM and John Deere IT executive, followed the band for decades to learn the secrets behind the Grateful Dead’s marketing genius. He recently published his findings in “Everything I Know About Business I Learned from the Grateful Dead: The Ten Most Innovative Lessons From a Long, Strange Trip.” Band members managed to thumb their collective noses at the established music world and “become one of the longest-lived, most-beloved, and topgrossing acts of the late 20th century,” Barnes writes in his book, adding, “Even now, 16 years after breaking up, the Grateful Dead remains a formidable business empire.” Barnes was working at IBM in 1969 when he heard his first Grateful Dead album. But it wasn’t until attending a

MCT photos

Barry Barnes uses the Grateful Dead as a teaching tool.

Dead show (he’s been to about 200 concerts) in Berkeley, Calif., in 1985 that he realized the band had “some important lessons to teach the business world.” Barnes quit his IT corporate job at John Deere to get a doctorate, focusing on the Grateful Dead’s business acumen.

“I have a passion for music, and something about the Grateful Dead really got to me. I had to understand their ability to change and their improvisation,” he said. Both are crucial in today’s tough economic times in a rapidly changing high-tech world, he said.


Three examples of Deadhead principles that can help others:  Disrupt old habits. The band members didn’t trust the music industry so they started what turned out to be a lucrative record company, merchandising company and mail-order ticketing business. In your personal life, get rid of bad habits, such as spending your paycheck before you save.  Embrace caution. You can be a free spirit while being careful with your money. Remember the classic Dead lyrics: “When life looks like Easy Street, there is danger at your door.” Check out new investments before you actually put down money.  Accept your errors — but make adjustments. Don’t beat yourself up if you lose money, but learn from your mistakes before going on. Early on, for example, the Grateful Dead trusted someone close to handle the band’s money, but the employee ended up stealing $150,000, Barnes said. Band members learned to watch over financial details and monitor their money more carefully.

65 Years


EPDM roof at Volunteers in Medicine, Columbus

Residential Copper Bay Window Sheet Metal Cornice at old Madison City Hall

TPO roof at Mill Race Center, Columbus

(812) 372-7829

Slate roof and lead coated copper steeple at North Christian Church, Columbus


Quality. Craftsmanship. Trust. Jeff Bohman

SINCE 1947

Terry Green


2845 Roadway Drive Columbus, IN • 812-372-8409

18 The Business Connection April 2012












Earth Day


Saturday, April 21st 8am-3pm

Recycling Center

ACTIVITIES INCLUDE: Amnesty Day • Plant Swap Annual Hot Dog Roast Children’s Activities and more!

720 S. Mapleton St., Columbus, IN 47201 • 812.376.2614 • M,W,F & Sat 8-3:30 Tue & Thur 7:30-6





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Business Connection April 2012  
Business Connection April 2012  

Business Connection April 2012