In Good Company 2020

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A GATEWAY TO MONROE COUNTY Tech in Bloomington Pg 6 | Talent Pg 24 | Entrepreneurship Pg 33

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Table of Contents

Letter from the President..................3 Tech in Bloomington...........................6 Life Sciences in Bloomington........ 10 Collaboration and Networking Opportunities/Events................. 14 Quality of Life......................................16 Demographic Profile........................22 Talent.....................................................24 Bicentennial........................................30 Entrepreneurship............................... 33 Profiles of Local Entrepreneurs VET Environmental Engineering Sara Hamidovic............................ 37 First Appraisal Group Ashley Johnson.............................38 39 Degrees North Chris Walls.....................................38 Resources Page.................................39 General Manager. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Larry Hensley Advertising Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chad Giddens Editors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sarah Daligga . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Zach Mikus Assistant Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ellyn Sallee Product Coordinator. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Andrew Lehman Layout/Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kathryn Biek The Herald-Times 1900 S. Walnut Street Bloomington, IN 47402 Phone: (812) 331-4401 Bloomington Economic Development Corporation 1720 N. Kinser Pike • Suite 001 Bloomington, IN 47404 Phone: (812) 335-7346 Email: Photos courtesy of BEDC Additional photos courtesy of The Herald-Times, Visit Bloomington and Spectrum Creative Group



Cassady Electrical Contractors is a family owned business based in the Bloomington area since 1965. Cassady is certified by the State of Indiana and the City of Indianapolis as a Womens Business Enterprise (WBE).



5600 W. State Road 46, Bloomington, IN 47404

Letter from the President WELCOME! ON BEHALF OF THE BLOOMINGTON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, we invite you to explore Monroe County – a dynamic, creative, and entrepreneurial place. A community for everyone: Monroe County features the college town City of Bloomington, complete with larger-city amentities; the tight knit community of the Town of Ellettsville; and the rolling hills, forests and lakes of south central Indiana. This is all within an hour’s drive of Indianapolis and a few hour’s drive of Chicago, Louisville, Cincinnati, and St. Louis. A talented workforce drives our community, which serves as a regional hub. Around 90,000 individuals work in Monroe County. Over 43,000 Indiana University students come to our community each year from around the world. The Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington campus trains 10,000 students each year, in addition to providing custom training programs for local employers. Across Monroe County, over 45% of the population has attained a bachelor’s degree or greater, and over 91% have at least a high school diploma.

Employment options are diverse across Monroe County. We have a robust life sciences ecosystem, with major companies operating in biopharmaceuticals, medical device manufacturing, and more. Our growing technology community offers specialties ranging from data analytics to software, defense technologies, and quantum computing. Quality of life is strong in this community. Things to do here in Monroe County include over 1100 musical performances per year with Broadway, opera, and a major world music festival; hundreds of Big Ten sporting events; 140+ local restaurants, bars, and coffee shops; 200 miles of hiking and biking trails; Indiana’s largest inland lake; and the state’s only national forest. We welcome you in Monroe County. The BEDC supports employers in locating or growing here, while advancing economic development for the entire community. If you are looking for a place to start or relocate a business, work, or live, we invite you to join us!

Jennifer Pearl BEDC President


THE BLOOMINGTON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (BEDC) was founded in 1985 by a group of local leaders whose goal was continued growth and development in Monroe County. The BEDC is a not-forprofit corporation dedicated to the retention, development, and attraction of quality jobs in Monroe County. The BEDC is funded through memberships and grants from private industry, the City of Bloomington, Town of Ellettsville, Monroe County, Indiana University, and Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington. Since 1985, BEDC has been dedicated to enhancing the vitality of our community. As the leading economic development organization for

Bloomington/Monroe County, we are focused on increasing opportunities whether it is through supporting our existing businesses, tackling workforce issues, or fostering entrepreneurial activity. We support employers ranging from our largest medical device manufacturers on workforce issues, to expanding technology companies, to young entrepreneurs growing their businesses in Bloomington. From providing leadership on economic development strategies for our community to facilitating retention and expansion of key industries for the long-term competitiveness of our economy, the BEDC works to lead our region on a path to economic prosperity.


W E ’ R E I N TH E M I D D LE O F TH E M I D D LE . B UT, W E ’ R E N OT W H AT A N YO N E WO U LD E X PEC T. Our hills, lakes, trees, and limestone are solid ground. From this base, we find the strength to stretch and fly. We believe in experimentation. We believe in equality. We believe in the next generation. They are educated on our doorstep, and set free to change the world.



Local Company, Broad Reach, Creative Culture SINCE 2016, ENVISAGE has grown from 68 to more than 120 employees, and that growth is expected to continue. The company attributes its success to its focus on employees: KHOSLQJ WR Č´QG WKH ULJKW UROH VWD\ healthy, and be comfortable in their workspace. This involves PDNLQJ URRP IRU GLÎ?HUHQW ZRUN styles, providing healthy snacks and beverages, and encouraging work/ life balance. “Healthy people who are happy stay longer and perform better,â€? says COO Michelle Cole. Even with the recent surge of growth, the company culture still has the energy of a startup. Envisage Technologies also takes a unique approach to hiring. $V WKH Č´UVW VWHS LQ WKH SURFHVV candidates are asked to complete a job-relevant task—like writing marketing copy or quality-testing a

webpage—so their skillset can be reviewed without any possibility of implicit bias. If the applicant seems OLNH D JRRG Č´W EDVHG RQ WKH LQLWLDO audition, a round-table interview and a background check will follow. “We are looking to hire great people who are hard workers. We are willing to invest in those people,â€? says Heather DeMoss, Executive VP of Customer Care & Outreach. “Our goal is to help SHRSOH Č´QG WKH SODFH ZKHUH WKH\ are passionate about what they do. That’s good for them and good for Envisage.â€? The company has demonstrated passion for supporting community institutions. Envisage products DUH GHVLJQHG WR VXSSRUW Č´UVW responders—making their work safer and easier. Since its inception in 2001, Envisage has grown to serve 1.9 million public safety

professionals across 30 statewide software deployments. More than 9,000 local departments also EHQHČ´W IURP LWV VHUYLFHV

“When I came here, I didn’t have much tech knowledge, but as I got more involved, I found I had a passion for the technical side of things,â€? says Chris Michaels, who started on the help desk and then developed the skills to become a FRQČ´JXUDWLRQ PDQDJHU ČŠ<RX DUH given the opportunity to really grow.â€?

Stay Local — Work in Bloomington

Tech from the Heart(land) As a business located in historic downtown Bloomington, we are seeking intelligent, compassionate, and diverse individuals like you to join our growing team. If you enjoy supporting public safety through software, visit us at: Software Development • HR • Sales & Marketing • Quality Assurance • Customer Care • Always Hiring



Tech in Bloomington Individuals working in tech can find their niche in Bloomington and Monroe County, whether they work in software development, defense technology, quantum computing, or a myriad of subfields within the technology industry. The tech industry is especially important here as the economy becomes increasingly focused on STEM-related fields1. Highly successful technology companies have started or landed in Monroe County. A couple are highlighted below:

39 Degrees North The name of 39 Degrees North (39°N) originates from this company’s location in Bloomington, situated a few miles from the 39th degree parallel. Founders Chris Walls and Prem Radhakrishnan have built this successful company over a 15-year period. 39°N applies GIS (“Geographical Information Systems”2) to provide data-driven insights and identify trends and relationships. The firm’s services include cloud and software engineering with a specialization in location intelligence. 3 Much of the 39°N customer base includes local government. In fact, Monroe County government was the company’s first customer, which 39°N credits as being instrumental in the startup, survival, and success of the company. Today, they have a 95% customer retention rate.4 Their client base has expanded to include the federal government, Fortune 500 companies, and even individuals as the public has become more familiar with applications of GIS technology. This speaks to how technological changes have affected the evolution of 39°N. Walls described 39°N as beginning during the “frontier of GIS web-based systems” and now operates in a world where GIS is readily available and integrated into a wide variety of purposes, from an individual locating a nearby amenity to the federal government supporting the warfighter. The widespread availability of technology affects how 39°N is run and the services offered to its customers, and it affects how businesses are run. 39°N has historically been quick to adopt cloud-based business systems that allow them to operate virtually anywhere in the world. The clients of 39°N benefit from these technological advances because they provide a more stable service that can automatically scale with surges in traffic. The 39°N Elevate platform is a mapping technology heavily used by local government in visualization of data. The Elevate platform serves more than 100,000 registered users and creates more than 700,000 map requests per day5. 1. Monroe County Quality of Place and Workforce Attraction Plan 2. 3. 4. 5. Interview with Chris Walls 6 • IN GOOD COMPANY


This platform saves government employees, private business, and individuals time and money, by finding county information online rather than through a visit to the Courthouse. Such mapping software like this truly has unlimited potential. Moving forward, 39°N is advancing software that combines machine learning and GIS. Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence that utilizes Big Data and statistical methods to find previously unrecognized patterns. Problems will be solved with initial training algorithms and controlled by data “teaching” the system as it goes. Ultimately, software will end up writing software without being physically programmed.6

MetroStar Systems® MetroStar Systems, Inc.® (MetroStar®) is based out of Virginia, with several offices around the country including Bloomington. Their expertise is creating technology solutions that connect citizens with government agencies. They serve both private and public-sector clients and recently appointed a new Senior Vice President for their Civilian and Homeland Operations Division7. Their typical clients are based in the Federal Government and include agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force. With over 250 employees, MetroStar is regarded as one of the leading integrators of innovative technology within the Federal Government. Within their office in Monroe County, they are continuing to expand technology and digital offerings, specifically developing the portal for the USDA and supporting the U.S. Department of Justice. Monroe County’s tech community has allowed for MetroStar to grow in ways that are unimaginable to some. “Culture fit is the primary driver for what we look for when we expand into cities. We wanted a home that reflected our core values: open, passionate, fearless, and our love of building innovative technology”8, said Debbie Peterson, Chief of Staff for MetroStar. Monroe County has provided MetroStar with the welcoming business community that they were looking for, which is why they have thrived since establishing themselves in this region. Monroe County has also allowed MetroStar to grow by fostering a diverse workforce. Having access to Indiana University’s exceptional leaders and The Mill’s entrepreneurs has promoted growth of technology and innovation at MetroStar. Calling Monroe County home for MetroStar has paid off in dividends for them as they have utilized the abundance of resources that the business community offers. “MetroStar’s brand is a reflection of our people and culture which are unified in purpose and passion. Our story and culture are always evolving, and like all organisms, it requires care, cultivation, and protection,”9 said Debbie Peterson. With an evolving story and culture, MetroStar’s ideal home fits perfectly in a community that is always innovating its culture. Monroe County has provided such a great home for MetroStar because of the innovation it provides. Thus, MetroStar is excited for what the future brings because they understand that growth and success will follow in the exciting tech community of Monroe County.10 6. Article based on interview and correspondence with Chris Walls 7. Peterson, “MetroStar Systems Announces New Senior Vice President” 8. MetroStar Systems Chief of Staff Debbie Peterson 9. MetroStar Systems Cheif of Staff Debbie Peterson 10. Article based on correspondence and information from MetroStar Systems, Debbie Peterson, Allison Turi, Stephanie Wilson 11. 12. 13. Interview with Danise Alano-Martin 14. Article based on Interview with Danise Alano-Martin 8 • IN GOOD COMPANY

Hoosier Women in Tech

Not only is there a push in Bloomington and Monroe County to grow the tech industry, there is an effort to make it more inclusive. Hoosier Women in Tech, or HooWiT, is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to connecting women (and men, and however one may identify) to encourage them to pursue careers in tech. HooWiT was launched by the Humanetrix Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit founded by Rick Dietz and led by President Danise Alano-Martin and Vice President Mike Trotzke and board members11, which serves to connect technological experts and the community for the benefit of both.12 HooWiT’s growth is against the backdrop of Bloomington’s growing reputation as a “visible place for tech”,13 with the organization hosting monthly events featuring speakers and networking opportunities. HooWiT works hard to support women studying STEM. The group makes connections among STEM students at Indiana University and Ivy Tech Community College - Bloomington, while connecting them with employers and mentors in the field. This has the added benefit of raising awareness about tech in the broader community, to encourage students to stay in the community after graduation. Of course, this important mission takes hard work to accomplish. The women of HooWiT are busy planning and promoting events, while advancing the organization. One of HooWiT’s founders, Alano-Martin, emphasizes that it takes work to entice students to leave campus for events. But HooWiT remains dedicated to increasing the number of women working in tech, building connections between them, and celebrating their successes. Overall, why is having more women in tech a good thing? Alano-Martin explained that greater diversity creates a stronger workforce. Convening different perspectives and experiences enables everyone to learn something new, while inspiring creativity and innovation in problem solving. HooWiT hopes to grow its audience and is always seeking volunteers. Alano-Martin said she has enjoyed meeting all these women and seeing them meet and support each other. She is looking forward to what is to come14. Bloomington and Monroe County are home to a successful tech sector. Companies which can provide technological guidance, support, and services as technology quickly advances are important for economic health and success. As a result, our community has set itself apart as a place where tech companies can thrive and grow. The local community and places beyond are all the better for it.

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Life Sciences The state of Indiana boasts a distinguished life sciences community with over $153 million in capital expenditures1 . Indiana also ranks as the second highest state in life sciences exports, which was over $10 billion in 20182. To say that life sciences in Indiana is booming is an understatement, as communities around the state continue to see the life sciences industry blossom. Monroe County has proven to be an innovative community where life sciences companies have thrived. The educated workforce, highly developed technology, and growing market all have contributed to make Monroe County an attractive place for life sciences companies to develop their work. Initiatives such as the Bloomington Life Sciences Partnership, which is managed through the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation, have allowed this fascinating industry to grow even more.

Resources for Life Sciences The Bloomington Life Sciences Partnership (BLSP) is a collaborative effort to develop and expand life sciences across the greater Monroe County region, as part of the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation’s efforts to advance economic development for the community. The BLSP is also dedicated to the retention, development and attraction of quality jobs in Monroe County. Another resource available to the local life sciences community is the Indiana Center for Life Sciences through Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington. As a partnership between the Monroe County government and Ivy Tech, this state-of-the-art facility allows for companies to train their employees free of charge. This steppingstone has allowed for the growth of companies while saving them money on training. Amenities such as this depict why Monroe County is one of the leading communities of the life sciences industry in Indiana. Indiana University’s Center for the Business of Life Sciences is yet another resource for companies. Through the distinguished Kelley School of Business, the Center for the Business of Life Sciences (CBLS) brings together students, faculty, and life sciences companies to strengthen this field in Monroe County. The CBLS also supports research on relevant topics in the life sciences community, develops students into top leaders for the future of this industry, and allows for networking opportunities to connect companies with talented students. George Telthorst is the director of the CBLS and is a seasoned professional in the life sciences industry as he has worked at Baxter Healthcare, Johnson & Johnson and Boston Scientific after completing his MBA. “The two major catalysts for this industry in Monroe County have been Cook Medical and Indiana University,”3 said Telthorst. “Helping attract and develop talent for the (life sciences) industry and supporting its growth in the state were the reasons that led to the establishment of the CBLS”4. The Center for the Business of Life Sciences has been crucial to the expansion of the industry within Monroe County. With programs such as this, the Indiana Center for Life Sciences and the BLSP, Monroe County continues to boast as one of the leading life sciences communities in the state of Indiana. 1. 2. 3. Interview with George Telthorst 4. Interview with George Telthorst BLOOMINGTONEDC.COM • 11

Singota® Solutions One of the companies which calls Bloomington and Monroe County home is Singota® Solutions, a Life Science Contract, Development, and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO). They serve clients who need their expertise and capacity throughout the decade-long drug development process. Founder and CEO Alisa Kilgas analogizes what they do with baking cookies. Companies bring their drug substance or “chocolate chips” to Singota Solutions, then Singota determines the process required or “recipe” to complete it. This includes their order of addition and manufacturing process parameters. When the recipe is followed, the result is a reliable and consistent drug product or batch of “chocolate chip cookies”. The typical clients that come to Singota are pharmaceutical, biotechnology, animal health and medical device companies. Products that these companies bring to Singota include products that help treat diseases such as cancer and Parkinson’s disease. These CDMO services make Singota vital to the greater Monroe County region because they fulfill a niche in the larger CDMO market. Singota also provides drug product development services to companies in the Monroe County area and to companies around the world who need their products tested through clinical trials. Life sciences companies choose Monroe County because they feel wanted in this community. Organizations such as the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) and the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce have provided a welcoming environment for companies to establish roots and flourish in. Other life sciences companies such as Cook Medical have led the way by laying the foundation of the Monroe County life sciences community. This framework has contributed to the life sciences community’s success in Monroe County by creating a community-wide familiarity to build, then attracting and retaining the unique expertise needed by life sciences companies. This has also allowed for smaller companies such as Singota Solutions to grow and develop because the market has blossomed over the past decade. With the future in mind, when Singota needs to expand their capacity to meet growing client demand, they plan to do so in Monroe County. They also understand that with a constantly changing and complex global market such as life sciences, it is critical to develop both within Singota and within the local market to meet the new demands. Singota feels that Monroe County is a sensational place to call home because the people of the community help foster change in this industry. Yesterday’s solutions aren’t good enough to address tomorrow’s challenges. So, when they are not sufficient, life sciences companies know they can partner with and depend on the people of Monroe County to rise to meet these new challenges. This ultimately results in the kind of healthy sustainable growth through innovation for both the community and employers like Singota. 5


Catalent® Biologics

Looking to the Future

Catalent® Biologics, a company with a worldwide presence, provides a fully integrated and unique model in Monroe County. Catalent specializes in drug development and manufacturing solutions, which are vital to Monroe County’s life sciences industry as the company aims “to develop, manufacture and supply products that help people live better and healthier lives.”6 Companies such as Catalent contribute to the growing and innovative life sciences industry of Monroe County in many crucial ways. Recently, Catalent expanded their manufacturing capacity, operational footprint and employment at their Bloomington, Indiana facility. Catalent invested7 $14 Million into the project8 to expand their world-class biology packaging capabilities. This project is strategically aimed to produce more innovative results for the biotech industry. This project enables Catalent to adapt to their market, which is constantly changing due to rapid advancements in technology and medical innovation. This strategic investment will continue to expand the diversity of the life sciences community within Monroe County by contributing to new innovations and allowing Calalent to develop and expand their products and services offered to their worldwide customer base.

Monroe County has intentionally and intelligently invested in the founding and growth of life sciences companies. When such companies thrive, so does the local community. The benefits don’t stop at Monroe County’s borders, as people around the world have experienced the life-saving and live-improving therapies developed and manufactured in the Monroe County area. That is why people such as Alisa Kilgas feel blessed to be in a region where the investment in life sciences is part of a much larger way of life in the community. Monroe County doesn’t just talk a good game – it lives out its core values of its quality of life. This makes Monroe County and life sciences companies like Singota and Catalent co-invest in each other because they benefit from each other’s success which then spill over into the lives of others in Indiana, and the world.

5. Article based on interview with Alisa Kilgas 6. 7. packaging-capabilities-following-twentieth-commercial-drug-approval-at-bloomington-indiana-site/ 8. packaging-capabilities-following-twentieth-commercial-drug-approval-at-bloomington-indiana-site/

Photo: Dimension Mill, 2018,


Alex Crowley, Director Economic & Sustainable Development




In Bloomington we know great ideas and inspiration are everywhere. Dream it anywhere, and when it’s time to turn that dream into reality, let us help you make it happen here in our historic Trades District. Use our business Quickstart tool at or visit to contact the Department of Economic & Sustainable Development at 812-349-3418. We’re ready when you are.



Collaboration & Networking Opportunities for Startups in Bloomington Check out our calendar for up-to-date event times and locations!

Monthly BLOOMINGLABS: Bloomington’s own hacker and makerspace is open to the public every Wednesday from 7-10, as well as other dates and times throughout the month. Visit the space, make something, and bring anyone! COLLIDE: Every Third Thursday, The Mill hosts a monthly networking event at noon. Its purpose is for entrepreneurs, artists, techies, etc. to literally, and figuratively, run into each other for meaningful conversations. COMMUNITY DAY AT THE MILL: Visit The Mill every third Thursday of the month for a day of community-focused coworking. Take a tour of the coworking space, try it out for a day for free, and connect with our entrepreneurial community.

FIRESIDE CHATS: The Mill’s quarterly fireside chats invite a venture capitalist to participate in an hour of rapid-fire Q&A about company building and what they’re looking for in an investment. LEVEL UP: Held at The Mill, “Level Up” is a monthly event dedicated to training our technology and innovation community for operational excellence on various business operations. MASH-UP AT THE MILL: Every Third Friday attendees can gather for a drink and a breakfast treat while participating in break-out groups that focus on code, marketing and design. STARTUP MIC NITE: A monthly pitch and networking event at Switchyard Brewing Company for entrepreneurs of all stripes, presented by the Humanetrix Foundation, Inc.

Yearly B-START: Created by the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation, B-Start is Bloomington’s only pre-accelerator program for startups and entrepreneurs. B-Start is designed for entrepreneurs who want to take their creative business idea through a 5-month comprehensive refining process that will build a foundation for acceleration and ultimately prepare the startup to launch a for-profit innovation-driven business in Bloomington, IN.

INNOVATION AND COMMERCIALIZATION CONFERENCE: Indiana University researchers at all campuses and academic centers present information about projects that have potential commercial applications. Hosted by the Johnson Center for Innovation and Translational Research and the Innovation and Commercialization Office. JCITR assists with grant applications, identifying industry partners, negotiating industry contracts, project-management support and more.

THE COMBINE: The Combine is an annual, three-day conference in Bloomington, Indiana. The Combine is the Midwest catalyst for creators, builders, and doers to discover new business and technology ideas.

MEGAPUTER ANALYTICS CONFERENCE: A four-day analytics event featuring over 65 sessions divided between two tracks, one business and one technical, to engage attendees with different viewpoints on analytics. The Megaputer Analytics Conference attracts business executives, managers, analysts, and data scientists from a variety of domains. Each conference track will highlight success stories, case studies, lessons learned, and strategies used to build unique applications for pharmaceutical, healthcare, insurance, and others.

DIMENSION MILL ANNUAL: The Dimension Mill Annual is an annual event focused on different themes of entrepreneurship. In 2017 the topic was angel investing, showing startups how to raise capital and showing high net worth individuals how to invest in startups. 2018 was Makers & Shakers, fireside chats where cool, smart people who are doing interesting things interviewed each other. December 2019 will be another round of Makers & Shakers to continue highlighting the great entrepreneurs working in Bloomington! IGNITE BLOOMINGTON is an event for geeks from all walks of life, both those on stage and those in the audience. Presenters just need an idea to share and the guts to get up in front of the room and tell everyone about it. Attendees just need to have open eyes, ears and minds! Each presentation is exactly 5 minutes long with 20 slides, each one automatically advancing after just 15 seconds. 14 • IN GOOD COMPANY

TECHSTARS STARTUP WEEKEND BLOOMINGTON: A 54-hour event where designers, developers, and entrepreneurs unite to bring innovative ideas to life. During the weekend, participants collaborate to conceptualize, create, and present new ventures. Participants develop a business model, work toward a minimum viable product, gather market validation, and prepare to present their progress in a winner-take-all final pitch competition. TECH THE HALLS: An end-of-the-year celebration of the Bloomington tech sector’s achievements, with technology leaders, software developers and tech entrepreneurs in attendance.

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Quality of Life


Come to Monroe County to find an abundance of activities that the whole

family can enjoy! Monroe County provides a forward-thinking community that prides itself on having a plethora of activities for everyone to experience. The City of Bloomington and the Town of Ellettsville within Monroe County both offer a collection of activities that pair nicely with that wonderful midwestern charm. Relieve stress by renting kayaks or laying on a beach at one of the many lakes in the area. Catch an action-packed Big Ten sports event on the iconic IUBloomington campus. Explore the nightlife by going to see a live concert at one of over 20 venues. Visit a local brewery for award winning craft beer and IPA’s1 or go see world renowned speakers such as Trevor Noah or Anderson Cooper at the IU Auditorium. Get away for the day by taking a hike or bike ride deep into the majestic hills of southern Indiana. In Monroe County, there is a combination of everything for everyone to do. Come visit to see why everyone is raving about Monroe County and why people call it the hidden gem of the Midwest.

The Biker Zealot Monroe County has been named a Gold-Level biking community2 thanks to world famous events such as The Little 500 and the Hilly Hundred. Come to Bloomington to watch dozens of student teams from IU race against each other in the Little 500 where previous spectators have included Barack Obama and Isiah Thomas. Spend a day in Ellettsville to watch the Hilly Hundred, where bikers ride 100 miles over the beautiful rolling hills of southern Indiana. Relish the beauty of midwestern serenity with over 73 miles of biking trails and 35 miles of designated bike routes3. Monroe County offers the perfect size and atmosphere for you to ride by traffic and bike to wherever you need to be. Whether you’re taking an afternoon bike ride with the family in the fall or going for a ride in the sloping hills, Monroe County offers it all! Want to see for yourself? Check out the vibrant biking atmosphere that embodies Monroe County. 1. 2. 3. City%20of,for%20transportation%20on%20two%20wheels BLOOMINGTONEDC.COM • 17

The Social Planner Spend the day with your family and friends in Monroe County with an array of fun activities. Go to one of the top 25 science centers in the country4 at the WonderLab science museum, where you can check out a coral reef or a real bee colony. Dive into the history of Monroe County by checking out the Monroe County History Center, which adds to the 13 museums Monroe County has to offer. Reach the sky at the Urban Air Adventure Park where kids can enjoy an action-packed day of jumping around on trampolines. Feeling adventurous? Then check out rock climbing at Hoosier Heights or get in the holiday spirit by ice skating at Franklin Southern Ice arena. Looking for nostalgia? Then head down to Western Skateland with the family to skate the day away or head on over to the Starlite Drive-In Theater and watch the latest Disney or Marvel movie with your kids. Shop ‘til you drop at the Fountain Square mall, where there is a selection of shops for everyone to choose from. There is a plethora of options to choose from when looking to spend the day with your family in Monroe County. This charming, family-friendly midwestern community welcomes families from all over the country. What are you waiting for?

The Sports Fanatic Indiana University is home to nationally ranked collegiate sports teams that compete in the Big Ten conference. With over 20 men’s and women’s athletic teams, there is always a chance to watch a live sporting event in Bloomington. Watching a football game at Memorial Stadium will make you want to toss a pigskin around in the beautiful Indiana autumn weather. Spectating a game of the IU Men’s and Women’s basketball teams play in the historic Assembly Hall will make you feel like a true Hoosier. When in Monroe County, there is always a chance to see nationally ranked competition, regardless of the sport. If volleyball is your game, go see the brand-new Wilkinson Hall to check out the captivating facilities. Spectate a game of the storied IU men’s soccer program, as they have won eight 4. 5. 18 • IN GOOD COMPANY

national championships and made over 40 NCAA tournament appearances5. Go watch IU baseball and softball teams compete in legendary rivalries against schools like Purdue or Ohio State. Check out the excitement of this spirited midwestern sports community by throwing on some Cream and Crimson and attending a game!

The Beer Enthusiast Monroe County hosts many great breweries that any beer enthusiast would adore. In the mood for a Stout IPA? No problem! Looking for a great Blonde Brew? Easy to find! In a Guinness mood? Sounds great! In Monroe County, it is easy to satisfy your cravings by walking to one of the many breweries that brew local and import great beer from afar. The iconic Upland Brewery is known for its great craft beer and ales as well as their delicious food. Sample their Upland Wheat, Dragonfly IPA, and other popular beers with a beer flight, or order some of their specialties like the bacon bratwurst. Indulge yourself at the Bloomington

Brewing Co., which has been serving Monroe County with great local beer for over 25 years. Enjoy a Kirkwood Cream Ale, modeled after the famous Kirkwood Street covered with restaurants and nightlife hotspots. Explore the quirky hole in the wall at Big Woods with Quaff On Brewing, which is located in a refurbished student house; sample a wonderful Oktoberfest brew all the way from Germany with their delicious Honey and Zaatar wings. Catch an IU football or basketball game at The Tap where the crowd is always wearing Cream and Crimson, captivate yourself here with the lively scenery with one of over 450 craft beers to choose from. Enjoy live music at Switchyard Brewing Co. while sampling one of their many famous blonde brews. Relax with an artisan cocktail with Monroe County’s very own distillery, Cardinal Spirits. Whatever you’re in the mood for, Monroe County has it all. Come check out the lively scene of Monroe County where the beer is always cold, and the locals are always friendly!

The Nature Admirer Looking to relieve some stress? Want to have an action-packed day of exploring? Enjoy some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the entire country when you visit Monroe County! Come explore the beautiful serenity of Southern Indiana, which is bountiful with nature and peacefulness. Spend a relaxing day at quiet beaches such as Fairfax or Paynetown beach. Admire the beauty of Monroe County by taking a hike through its rolling hills on one of over 70 hiking trails in the area6. Go explore the Hoosier National Forest, which covers over 200,000 acres7 of serenity and beauty throughout Southern Indiana. Rent a boat or kayak and enjoy an action-packed day at one of the many lakes in the area. Enjoy a beautiful day on the lake by going down to a beautiful like Monroe Lake, Lake Lemon or Griffy Lake. In Monroe County, nature is plentiful. Bloomington and Monroe County provide the perfect blend between small town amenities with a big city feel. Explore the nature of this midwestern community and be mesmerized by the tranquility that exists within Monroe County.

The Night Owl When the sun goes down, the crowd comes out in Monroe County. Concerts, bars, stand-up comedy shows, plays, and operas, Monroe County has it all! Come experience the excitement of a college town mixed with the quirky charm of a midwestern community. Go see a live concert at the IU Auditorium, the Buskirk-Chumley Theater or The Bluebird from esteemed music performers such as Luke Bryan and Willie Nelson. Laugh the night away with comedians such as Saturday Night Live’s Sasheer Zamata at The Comedy Attic. Embrace Broadway shows such as The Book of Mormon and Les Misérables at the IU Auditorium. Attend world famous operas through the Jacobs School of Music. Catch a local play or musical at the Cardinal Stage, Monroe County’s very own theater group. Enjoy the night with an adult beverage at the many bars and restaurants that are scattered throughout the area. The nightlife entertainment in Monroe County is filled with fun for everyone! Come see what everyone is raving about by

experiencing the diverse nightlife atmosphere that is filled with remarkable entertainment!

The Scholar From old traditions to new, Indiana University in Monroe County has become an epicenter where scholars and speakers travel from afar. Schools such as the Kelley School of Business, the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the Jacobs School of Music and the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering all boast some of the top programs in the nation. This has not only brought world class professors to Monroe County, but esteemed speakers as well. Intellectuals such as Bernie Sanders, Mark Cuban, Robert Gates and Sage Steele have all come to Monroe County to speak on different issues. Dive into different cultures by going to the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center or the Neal Marshall Black Cultural center. Listen to a speaker through Tedx IU which brings in amazing speakers from all around the world talk about a variety of issues. In Monroe County, there is always a chance to learn with the many great places and events to diversify your knowledge on a range of different subjects.

The Job Seeker Are you tech savvy? Or passionate about medical technology? Well, you’ve found your utopia! Monroe County is home to world-class technology ranging in careers such as advanced medical manufacturing, pharmaceutical processing, software advancement, aviation development, professional consulting, and IT expansion. Whatever makes you intellectually curious, Monroe County has a rewarding career just waiting for you! The business community of Monroe County maintains a welcoming district for any company or employee seeking to relocate. Organizations such as the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation foster and promote economic sustainability and growth for the entire region. Entrepreneurs and innovators of Monroe County enjoy amenities such as The Mill, which offers an advanced workspace for them and promotes acceleration of their companies. Ditch the old mainstream way of working and come join the contemporary way of Monroe County. If you’re tired of the hectic lifestyle associated with big cities, then Monroe County is the place for you!


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25.8% 37.5% LESS and LESS EXPENSIVE*


Bloomington MSA (2018)................... 167,762 Monroe County (2018)....................... 146,917 Bloomington City (2018)...................... 84,981 Town of Ellettsville (2018)...................... 6,676 Town of Stinesville (2018)......................... 217 Monroe County Median Age: 29.9 years old • City of Bloomington Median Age: 25.16 years old

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45.8% of91.9% the population

BA OR GREATER College Attainment

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STEM Certified schools at Elementary, Middle, and High School levels The Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship Hoosier Hills Career Center GEMS Annual Conference (with Foundation Monroe County Community Schools)

RICHLAND–BEAN BLOSSOM COMMUNITY SCHOOL CORPORATION: • STEAM Program – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics

HIGHER EDUCATION Indiana University – Bloomington: 43,710 2019 ENROLLMENT Ivy Tech Community College – Bloomington: 10,000 #1 "Most Beautiful College Campuses in America” for 2018 – Best Value Schools


TOTAL HOUSEHOLDS (2017) 55,014 100% Family Households 28,541 66.5% Married with Children 7,642 19.4% Married without Children 13,683 30.1% Single Parents 4,184 9.9% Other 3,032 7.1% Non-family Households 26,473 33.5% Living Alone 17,948 27.8%


& HEALTH SERVICES IU Health-Bloomington • Monroe Hospital Bloomington Meadows Hospital • Garden Villa Bloomington Nursing & Rehabilitation Richland-Bean Blossom Health Care Center Brookdale Bloomington • Meadowood Health Pavilion Hearthstone Health Campus • CarDon/Bell Trace Stonecroft Health Campus • Bloom Pediatric Therapy


INCOME & WAGES (2017) Monroe County Median Household Income....................$49,180 Monroe County Per Capita Personal Income...................$39,880 Bloomington MSA Per Capita Personal Income...............$39,658 INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAX RATES (2019) Monroe County 1.345%    State of Indiana 3.23% 22 • IN GOOD COMPANY

than the East Coast

*when comparing comparable cities



than the West Coast

restaurants, plus 8 local breweries and 1 local distillery


– The Daily Meal



Indiana University - Bloomington • Cook Group, Inc. • Indiana University Health - Bloomington Monroe County Community School Corporation • Kroger Supermarkets • Catalent Biologics Monroe County Government • City of Bloomington Government • Baxter Biopharma Solutions Ivy Tech Community College - Bloomington • Richland-Bean Blossom Community School Corporation LABOR FORCE EMPLOYMENT UNEMPLOYMENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE Monroe County 69,690 67,180 2,510 3.6% Bloomington MSA 79,040 76,123 2,917 4.0% Economic Region 8 151,947 146,442 5,505 3.7%

TRANSPORTATION Indianapolis International Airport is 47miles away and served 9.4 million RAIL passengers in 2018 on 10 major airlines



Cost of living in Monroe County is

The Indiana Rail Road Company is a United States each year. Indianapolis International Class 2 railroad operating on a 250-mile route Airport is ranked “Best Airport in North structure, with interchanges in Chicago, Indianapolis, America for its size and region” Terre Haute, Oakland City and Newton, IL. -Airports Council International World’s 2018 Airport Service Quality Awards Monroe County Airport is a countyowned, public-use airport with a 6,500 foot runway and over 33,000 annual operations for local and transient businesses.


Completion of Interstate 69 sections 1 – 5 through Bloomington. Bloomington and Monroe County are within a four-hour drive of five major metropolitan areas including Indianapolis, Evansville, Chicago, Louisville and Cincinnati.


Monroe County is home to Indiana’s Largest Inland Lake: LAKE MONROE Monroe County is also home to the only National Forest in Indiana: HOOSIER NATIONAL FOREST

Bloomington and Ellettsville boast over 200 MILES in HIKING AND BIKING TRAILS

Bloomington Parks & Recreation Department named Best in U.S. for 2018 – National Rec & Park Association



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Talent In Monroe County, employers will find the highly qualified and talented workforce they seek thanks to the strong local education systems including K-12, vocational, and higher education institutions. At the same time, parents can be assured that quality education will be available to their children from preschool on. The labor force in Monroe County was 69,6901 and was 79,040 in Bloomington’s metropolitan area 2 as of 2018. 92% of Monroe County residents had a high school diploma or higher level of educational attainment and about 46% had at least a bachelor’s degree3 as of 2017. Monroe County is particularly well known for the life sciences industry and the growing technology expertise4 here.


The Monroe County Community School Corporation The Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC), located in South Central Indiana, is a dynamic community with broad diversity in cultures, religions, ethnic groups, and socioeconomic levels. With 23 schools, the MCCSC serves over 11,000 students5. As stated in its mission statement, the MCCSC empowers students to maximize their educational success to become productive, responsible global citizens. The MCCSC envisions a world-class learning community that educates tomorrow’s leaders and the school corporation focuses on three core values; engagement, empowerment, and environment. Thus, the MCCSC believes that all students can learn, be empowered, and thrive in a positive, creative, and stimulating learning and working environment. MCCSC is comprised of two early learning centers, 14 elementary schools, three middle schools, two high schools, and two additional specialty high schools: The Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship and Bloomington Graduation School. Hoosier Hills Career Center is also extremely valuable to students. The MCCSC offers comprehensive educational curricula with special activities and programs geared to provide enrichment, exploration, and instructional support for students in grades PreK through 12. The high schools offer very rigorous and challenging curricula that annually produce a significant number of students completing Advanced Placement exams and earning college credit. MCCSC students consistently score above the state and national average on the SAT/ACT and above the state average on the ILEARN/ISTEP/GQE. Consequently, each year the MCCSC high schools have students competing for National Merit Scholarships and earning the Indiana Academic Honors Diploma6.

The MCCSC also provides opportunities for students at all levels to participate in outstanding programs such as academic teams, robotics teams, athletics, fine and performing arts, and publications. The MCCSC high schools have award-winning instrumental and choral programs and have earned Indiana athletic championships as well as state and national academic competitions7. In addition, four MCCSC schools have been named Indiana STEM Certified Schools. They are The Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship, Bachelor Middle School, Grandview Elementary School, and Unionville Elementary School. Three elementary schools, University, Templeton, and Childs are International Baccalaureate (IB) schools. Summit and Clear Creek Elementary Schools host Spanish Dual Language Immersion programs for their students. Exposing our students to diversity in culture through world language instruction is a priority of our corporation. Fairview Elementary School is an Artful Learning School. Unionville Elementary School created its own integrated E.A.R.T.H. Curriculum which includes aspects of the environment, art, resources, technology, and health8. Additionally, Unionville was named a National Blue-Ribbon School in 2019. Seven MCCSC elementary schools are also Title I schools based on the population of students receiving free and reduced lunch that attend the school. The Title I schools are Fairview Elementary, Templeton Elementary, Grandview Elementary, Highland Park Elementary, Summit Elementary, Arlington Heights Elementary, and Clear Creek Elementary 9. Education reaches far beyond academics and extends beyond the classroom. MCCSC makes a point to include social and emotional well-being as part of its students’ lives. As the saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child,” and MCCSC practices this. MCCSC has many partners throughout Monroe County. Dual credit opportunities exist for high school students because of partnerships with Ivy Tech Community College and Indiana University. Programming has been developed around different industries so students can explore and discover potential future careers. There is an effort for students to complete internships and participate in job shadowing opportunities. Local residents from various fields come to speak to the students at all levels, and more than 33 different pathways are available to high school students to graduate with major local industries such as life sciences and cybersecurity being kept in mind as programming is developed. MCCSC believes in the complementary relationship between community and schools and knows students must be equipped with both technical and soft skills to succeed and when they graduate so someday, they can contribute to our community and make a difference in the lives of the next generation. The MCCSC provides students with a quality education in excellent schools that have been built by the efforts of outstanding educators, dedicated administrators, supportive school board members and involved parents.10

1. 2. id=11&menu_level=smenu1&panel_number=1 3. 4. Monroe County Quality of Place and Workforce Attraction Plan 5. 6. Correspondence with Dr. Markay Winston 7. Correspondence with Dr. Markay Winston 8. Elementary School Guide, Monroe County Community School Corporation 9. Correspondence with Dr. Markay Winston 10. Article based on interview with and information from Dr. Markay Winston BLOOMINGTONEDC.COM • 25

Hoosier Hills Career Center Hoosier Hills Career Center, part of the Monroe County Community School Corporation is another valuable place for student learning. Students who participate split their time each school day between high school and the career center.11 Director Christi McBride of Hoosier Hills Career Center provided program highlights of the training available to students which equips them to join the workforce in various fields and industries or continue to college. The center is intentional about the programming provided to make sure what students are learning aligns with the industries hiring12. Students can focus on biomedical science, culinary arts, education, agriculture, and many other subjects.13 Hoosier Hills Career Center also has a phenomenal partnership with Ivy Tech Community College - Bloomington, which allows students dual enrollment opportunities. Director McBride highlighted the automotive technology program in particular because of its flexible schedule which allows students even more access to expertise in the field. Director McBride also mentioned the advanced manufacturing industry programming. Some of the different programs are welding, industrial engineering technology, industrial maintenance and potentially in the future, a program for CNC manufacturing14. These programs blend Bloomington’s heritage in manufacturing with preparing students for industry advancements. Hoosier Hills Career Center is dedicated to providing students the opportunity to learn skills, including communication and teamwork that will lead them to be successful in a specific trade, but also in the workforce more generally15.

11. 12. 13. 14. Based on correspondence with Director Christi McBride 15. Article based on correspondence with Director Christi McBride 26 • IN GOOD COMPANY

Richland Bean-Blossom Community School Corporation

16. 17. Dr. Sanders and Jaime Miller Ellettsville Area Chamber of Commerce Power Luncheon Powerpoint, Nov. 8 2019 18. Based on correspondence with Dr. Sanders 19. Based on correspondence with Dr. Sanders 20. Rebecca Tabor. “Marching Mustangs are State Finals Bound for 13th year in a Row.” Ellettsville Journal, 8, Nov. 2019 21. Based on correspondence with Dr. Sanders 22. 23. Dr. Sanders and Jaime Miller Ellettsville Area Chamber of Commerce Power Luncheon Powerpoint, Nov. 8 2019 24. 25. 26. Dr. Sanders and Jaime Miller Ellettsville Area Chamber of Commerce Power Luncheon Powerpoint, Nov. 8 2019 27. Dr. Sanders and Jaime Miller Ellettsville Area Chamber of Commerce Power Luncheon Powerpoint, Nov. 8 2019 28. Dr. Sanders and Jaime Miller Ellettsville Area Chamber of Commerce Power Luncheon Powerpoint, Nov. 8 2019 29. Dr. Sanders and Jaime Miller Ellettsville Area Chamber of Commerce Power Luncheon Powerpoint, Nov. 8 2019

Richland Bean-Blossom Community School Corporation (RBB) is the school corporation for Ellettsville, Indiana. Total enrollment for the 2018-2019 school year was 2,70216 with four schools17, two of which are STEM-certified18. RBB has an awardwinning marching band19, 20 and athletic teams, phenomenal show choirs, and an Honor Roll distinction 21. RBB’s primary focus is the well-being of their students, beginning from preschool. Care for their students manifests in the curriculum itself, as they have implemented “STEAM”, which stands for “science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics”, allowing students to become well-rounded learners. 22 RBB has also focused on developing digital learning tools, which is important because of how integral technology is today23. Digital learning refers to the integration of technology into the curriculum. This occurs by both providing students with technological devices to use when learning but affects the content itself such as including “instruction on digital citizenship skills 24”. RBB is also potentially going to start “e-learning days” as part of their regular academic school year. 25 Beyond the curriculum, RBB is taking measures to ensure the health of their students by creating a coalition team of local mental health experts and resources to provide mental health services to their students and investing in school safety. This includes the addition of school safety personnel and security technology. Additionally, free breakfast is available for all students and a food truck is being introduced. Academic and athletic facilities are being upgraded, and HVAC systems are being upgraded to modernize the facilities. All of this contributes to the well-being of RBB students while in school. 26 There is also an effort to make sure students are successful after graduation. This is related to “STEAM”, as projectbased learning is emphasized in RBB so that students learn about different careers in experiential ways, discover local opportunities, and learn the skills necessary to succeed in the workforce. Robotics teams and clubs have been formed in the elementary and middle school. ‘Project Lead the Way’ is a curriculum tailored towards the biomedical science, engineering, and computer science fields, all of which are major industries in the Monroe County area. The ‘ROI: Ready Schools Grant’ is a program which will consist of “aligning curriculum and programming with workforce needs”27 so that both students and employers benefit from the education taking place. A major survey was conducted by RBB to assess the needs of various interests in the community. 28 RBB is also working to make sure students realize college isn’t the only acceptable choice after high school and raise awareness of other valuable experiences such as vocational training29. RBB and Ellettsville have formed a productive partnership for the benefit of both. Overall, RBB is committed to the students, families, and the community it serves. Students learn a wide variety of content in different ways so they will be successful as they grow and of course once they graduate and pursue whichever path they choose, higher education or becoming a member of the workforce. As students grow, the wonderful educational opportunities grow with them.


Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus officially serves eight counties in south central Indiana, though the campus draws students from nearly all Indiana counties. Ivy Tech is the state’s largest public post-secondary institution and is uniquely positioned as the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system. 30 Ivy Tech Bloomington offers academic programs leading to certifications, technical certifications, and associate degrees that are aligned with high-demand fields in Indiana, as well as customized skills training for business and industry partners. Ivy Tech’s culinary arts/hospitality administration program prepares students for careers in the town’s key economic sector31. Ivy Tech also offers a multitude of programs in healthcare, such as radiation therapy, nursing, medical assisting, and even therapeutic massage. Healthcare and nursing graduates enjoy some of the highest licensure and placement rates in the local job market 32. Other top programs at Ivy Tech Bloomington are business administration, information technology, and industrial technology, which includes automotive, HVAC, and welding. Credentials earned at Ivy Tech are stackable and transferrable. Certifications count toward associate degrees at Ivy Tech, while various associate degrees and credits transfer to all Indiana public colleges and universities upon student admission, potentially saving Indiana residents thousands of dollars in costs toward earning their bachelor’s degrees. Most notably, Ivy Tech offers the most affordable tuition rates in the state. 33 Students on Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus enjoy newer, upgraded facilities, including a 10,000 square foot culinary and baking kitchen, an event and lecture hall, an expanded library, and an IT data center. Among the upgrades on campus is a new Student Success Center where students receive free collaborative tutoring services in a state-of-theart commons space 34,35. Ivy Tech works closely with the state and with industry by offering programs like Next Level Jobs Indiana. With this program, eligible Hoosiers can earn a tuition-free certification that can land them a job right away or serve as a starting point to earning an associate degree. Employers can also apply for training grants through Next Level Jobs Indiana. For Next Level Jobs programs at Ivy Tech Bloomington, visit ivytech. edu/bloomington/nextleveljobs.

30. 31. 32. Based on correspondence with Adam Gross 33. Based on correspondence with Adam Gross 34. Based on correspondence with Adam Gross 35. 36. Article based on correspondence with Adam Gross and Amanda Billings 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. Interview with Valerie Peña of IU 28 • IN GOOD COMPANY

Employers can also benefit from Ivy Tech’s Achieve Your Degree (AYD) program. AYD is a tuition-deferral program enabling employees of companies who offer educational assistance, to skill up at no cost to the student. Costs are deferred to the employer until the end of the semester after financial aid has been applied, so they only pay the difference. Learn more at Finally, Ivy Tech Bloomington’s Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship focuses on supporting entrepreneurship in the region by teaching practical skills and providing resources for starting and growing businesses. Learn more at ivytech. edu/entrepreneurship/36

Indiana University Indiana University has nine campuses located throughout the state. The flagship, located in Bloomington, enrolls about 43,000 students 37 and offers more than 550 academic programs and 200+ undergraduate programs. IU Bloomington is known for its beautiful campus and impressive academics including the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, ranked number one for graduate public affairs programs 38 , the Kelley School of Business ranked number one for its online MBA program, 39 and the Luddy School of Informatics and Computing, and Engineering ranked highly for its Library and Information Science program.40 Each school provides both impressive academics and engages with the larger community through a variety of student and community programs. IU strives to contribute to the quality of life in our community and does so by offering support for community events, local services such as fire and police and even providing an opportunity for residents to bring their papers to shred and technology to recycle. IU is dedicated to fostering a mutually beneficial relationship with the community which surrounds it.41 Monroe County is a hub for talent and the academic excellence responsible for that talent. Employers and workers alike will be pleasantly surprised by this community and parents will be thrilled with the local schools, all of which contribute to the overall appeal of Monroe County.

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IU Bicentennial Indiana University (IU) is an educational institution founded in Monroe County that has grown to have campuses around the entire state of Indiana. As of Jan. 20, 2020, IU will be celebrating 200 years of excellence. IU’s impact is felt not only in Indiana with its more than 94,000 students and 21,000 employees1, but also around the globe. There are established study abroad programs in over 65 countries2 and hundreds of millions of dollars in spending around the state3; IU’s influence is everywhere you go. Recognizing this effect is the focal point of the Bicentennial, as IU has come a long way since its first year (which featured only about 10 students4). Most of IU’s impact has come from the 820,000 alumni 5 who have graduated and gone on to do extraordinary things in the world6. Statewide or “Beyond Bloomington” 7, the impact of IU can be seen through contributing to initiatives, supporting businesses, and having an active community role around the state8. A Steering Report was developed to lay 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Interview with Director Kelly Kish 6. 30 • IN GOOD COMPANY

out the best way to mark the occasion9. Kelly Kish, Director of the Office of the Bicentennial, shared the themes, events, and reflections related to the celebration of this big birthday. Officially, the Bicentennial celebration started in 2016 with the South Bend Campus anniversary. In Monroe County, events started to pick up mid-Sept. 2019, with a two week ‘200 Festival’ that concluded with a ceremony on Sept. 28 and a speech from Indiana University President Michael McRobbie.10 There are 27 signature projects related to the Bicentennial, each with a different focus. One which directly impacts all of Indiana is a new mobile app, developed by the IU Center on Representative Government. ‘CitizIN’ is used in Indiana high schools to provide students a civic education specific to Indiana. The app was developed collectively between several Indiana organizations and schools11. Other projects involve documenting different aspects of IU’s history and communities around it. Recognition of “significant people, places,

7. Interview with Director Kelly Kish 8. 9. 10. 11. citizin-interactiv e-tool-teaching-indiana-studies.html

events, and organizations that have had an extraordinary impact on the university, state, nation, and world”12 is being undertaken by the signature project of the IU Historical Marker Program. Another is the Big Red Bus, a “traveling exhibit” which will make stops around Indiana, making it possible to experience IU even if one doesn’t live near any of the campus locations13. Time capsules are being made, books and publications are being released, lectures are being sponsored, and social media is being utilized. All of this allows those who live within IU and those in the wider community to see the effects and contributions Indiana University has made locally and beyond over the past two centuries. Just as IU has worked to improve its community and state, it must also pursue improvements on itself. Director Kish emphasized a similar message to that of President McRobbie in his “A New Social Contract for Indiana University’s Third Century”14 that although this milestone is cause for celebration, it is also important for the university to consider its past and future. The Bicentennial is an opportunity to include voices and perspectives which have been underrepresented and to highlight the vital contributions these individuals have made to IU. Coincidentally, Jan. 20, 2020 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day; all the more reason to focus on social justice and IU’s service roles. “Bridging the Visibility Gap” is one signature project that aims to amplify these stories15. As Director Kish said, there is a need to tell IU stories “from the ground up instead of top down.” The Bicentennial is asking and researching big questions relevant to the university and our community. One is “What does it mean to be a college town now?”16 compared to when IU first started in Monroe County, having a population of only 500 at that time17. Another is “How will the relationship between Indiana University and our local communities continue to change?”18 There may be some insight found in Bicentennial intern, Rachna Chaudhari’s project about how IU and Monroe County have changed in 200 years. She completed this by using historical newspaper articles to map out the town. While there are obvious differences such as the past existence of saddle stores, similarities remain. These include sites like the Downtown Square, hardware and grocery stores19. 200 years out, Director Kish, says IU and the community still need each other. So while one is among the archival footage of IU’s history, the cheerfulness of the alumni reunions, the plentiful learning opportunities, and the many fabulous events for students, faculty, alumni, and community members, one must remember there is much to celebrate, criticize, appreciate, recognize20, and work to improve. For all that has happened in 200 years, Indiana University remains an important institution to our community.21 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. Interview with Director Kelly Kish 17. https://www.visitMonroe 18. Interview with Director Kelly Kish 19. 0c967375 20. Interview with Director Kelly Kish 21. Article based on interview and correspondence with Director Kelly Kish


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First-time visitors to Bloomington and Monroe County may learn about the accomplished university, enjoy the copious quality restaurants, hike local trails, go to a state park, or experience the friendliness of Midwestern charm. What one might not discover at first is the buzz of entrepreneurship and economic development, humming along with everything the community has to offer.


The Mill: A Center of Coworking and Entrepreneurship Take The Mill: a gorgeous building that one hundred years ago was one of the most successful furniture mills in the country. It is now home to Dimension Mill, Inc., an organization dedicated to establishing Bloomington as the “center of coworking and entrepreneurship in Indiana.”1 Executive Director, Pat East, enthusiastically believes in this mission and offers that The Mill is just what Bloomington needed to ultimately “[launch] high-potential companies” by attracting higher wage jobs, coworking opportunities, and startups looking for this launchpad. The Mill already has over 250 members, houses 25 companies, and continues to grow. Members can access various workspaces and amenities at The Mill, providing them opportunities to connect with collaborators ranging from small startups to large corporations. Beyond the workspace, community outreach and interaction are a major part of The Mill’s operation. The Mill’s frequent events range from discussions of programming code, to weddings, to community meetings. January 2020 brought Freeze Fest, an event featuring ice sculptures made on site. An art gallery is located at The Mill with rotating exhibits. The Mill also partners with The Herald-Times to publish articles and host events. The Mill’s biggest event of the year is Mill Week, featuring approximately 15 events in one week focused on startups and entrepreneurship. The 2019 Mill Week concluded with the Flyover Podcast Festival, the first of its kind in Indiana and still only one of a few in the Midwest, which attracted major participants. Executive Director Pat East described podcasting as a “different and new kind of entrepreneurship.” The Mill has its own podcasting studio, provided by Shine Insurance, which also provided equipment and training. Numerous podcasts are recorded there, such as Cook Medical’s Lunch at The Mill and an alternative history podcast. The Mill hopes to see continued success with the popular medium. What plans does The Mill have for the future? Executive Director Pat East says they will work to keep growing membership, while seeking to provide more support to “second stage startups” in terms of training, capital, and talent so that the startups can continue to flourish. The Mill remains a place of phenomenal entrepreneurial activity and high energy.2

Trades District: Spurring Innovation and Development The Mill is located within the Trades District, part of the Bloomington Certified Technology Park, which was created to spur development and innovation in the downtown core. Director of the City of Bloomington Economic and Sustainable Development Department, Alex Crowley, provided an overview of this area. Trade District goals include spurring wage growth and employment opportunities, as well as some affordable housing options. In 2016, the City began development of the Trades District, starting with the creation of The Mill and followed by infrastructure buildout. The Mill, of course, has become the successful organization it is today and infrastructure was completed in May 2019. Utilities and streets were put in as a preliminary step to bringing in private investment. Historic buildings such as The Kiln and The Administration Building have been listed for sale among other various lots and the Trades District as a whole was marketed to attract the interest of private investors. There is no intent to make the Trades District a “master development” because there is desire for it to still feel like Bloomington. It will be pedestrian-friendly and interact with the community through events and public art. There is a parking garage under construction to stimulate private investment. The redevelopment of the Trades District is expected to take five to ten years with a mix of commercial and residential spaces coming in. Certainly, as one private investment is launched, others are sure to follow. 3 Photos courtesy of The Mill 34 • IN GOOD COMPANY

Photo by Getty Images

IU not only recognizes its responsibility to care for the local communities surrounding it and the greater global community, but lives up to its commitment.

Photos courtesy of

Indiana University (IU) believes it has a responsibility to contribute to the success of the surrounding community and the state of Indiana, if not also have positive impacts on the country and the world. The IU office with the responsibilities of community relations is Government Relations and Economic Engagement. Assistant Vice President and Chief of Staff, Valerie Peña, shared the different ways IU fulfills this mission. IU’s government relations efforts include tracking and advocating for or against legislation which has potential to impact the university or higher education. There are governmental relations offices located in Indianapolis, IN and Washington, D.C. to assist these operations. In addition, IU participates in community relations and contributes to community economic development in a variety of ways. One is the commitment to the Town and Gown group, a forum which supports dialogue regarding community and university issues. Others include several initiatives such as B-Start, a pre-accelerator program for entrepreneurs4, the Regional Economic Development Fund (RED), which concentrates on providing grants and other support for IU-affiliated initiatives and programs5. Two of IU’s most active initiatives are Innovate Indiana, a network that works to bring together the right stakeholders and resources to an undertaking of interest6 and The Center for Rural Engagement, whose outreach is comprehensive and ranges in topic from health to education to arts7. Both

programs give IU alumni an opportunity to remain involved with IU in passionate ways that add value to the economic development of the state. IU’s strongest asset continues to be its people: students, faculty, staff, and alumni. To encourage them to pursue their entrepreneurial interests and begin projects, IU has established programs under the umbrella of IU Ventures, an affiliated program to the Office of Government Relations and Economic Engagement. These include: • IU Angel Network • IU Philanthropic Venture Fund • The Quarry If one is looking to invest in a large scale project or the development of a big idea, the IU Angel Fund facilitates connections between startup companies and prospective investors.8 The IU Philanthropic Venture Fund differs from the IU Angel Network in that it’s a fund to which people, including alumni, can donate to support IU associated start-ups by making equity investments in high-potential, early stage companies9. A differing option is The Quarry, a program created to assist faculty with commercializing their research and providing them the necessary resources and networking opportunities.10 Through these several programs, IU not only recognizes its responsibility to care for the local communities surrounding it and the greater global community, but lives up to its commitment.11

1. Interview with Executive Director, Pat East 2. Article based on interviews with Executive Director Pat East and Melissa Ward 3. Article based on interview with Director of City of Bloomington Economic and Sustainable Development Alex Crowley 4. 5.

6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. Article based on interview with Valerie Peña

IU Invests in Entrepreneurship


B-Start: Monroe County’s Pre-Accelerator Program for Startups Created by the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC), B-Start is a pre-accelerator program to help launch for-profit, innovation-driven businesses in Bloomington, Indiana. B-Start is designed for entrepreneurs who want to take their creative business idea through a five month comprehensive refining process to build a foundation for acceleration. Startups that are accepted into the program are matched with a mentor who will help guide the entrepreneur through the program as they take a deeper dive into developing their business plan, preparing financial documents, understanding fundraising and bootstrapping and more. Throughout the program, startups will have opportunities to network with other participating startups, key business leaders in Monroe County, BEDC members, and potential investors. At the end of the cohort, startups will have the chance to pitch their business to a panel of judges and receive a stipend to launch their business in Monroe County. Monroe County encourages entrepreneurship through these organizations, programs, and initiatives, allowing new ideas to gain ground. These new entrepreneurial ventures in turn benefit our economic development through attraction and retention of talent and leads to overall success of our community.

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Profiles of

Local Entreprenuers


1. 2. Profile based on interview with Sara Hamidovic

Sara Hamidovic, founder of VET Environmental Engineering (VET), never planned to become an entrepreneur and start her own business. She is a Bloomington native, a West Point grad, and a veteran. She served in Iraq between 2005 and 2006. Her dad, Rudy Fields, owned Fields Environmental Inc. from 1998 until VET acquired his company when he retired in 2018. Growing up, she learned everything she needed to know about running a company from him, the good and the bad. In fact, she worked for her dad for a period of time, before deciding she needed to “strike out on [her] own.” At the beginning, it was just Hamidovic in her house working on her laptop. Fast forward to today and VET has had up to 14 employees, operates out of a historical building they are in the process of restoring, and has worked for a variety of clients and tackled a myriad of environmental problems. She is grateful for the support of the local community as it has “embraced VET” and through their work they have been able to “understand how Bloomington fits together.” When asked what the most challenging part of starting a company was, Hamidovic explained it was not so much starting as growing. Fortunately, VET has been successful, but that meant Hamidovic had to build a team and learn how to delegate and manage rather than just doing everything herself, because it was simply no longer feasible. She has also learned that not every problem can be solved at once and that solutions are not always permanent, that management is an “iterative process.” Although this was tough, when asked what makes her most proud about her company, she identified watching her team succeed and work well together. She is especially proud anytime a new member of the team learns a new skill and she sees them come into their own. Her team is so important to her and she has tried her best to “build a culture” that makes VET a place where people like to work. When asked about her experience running VET in terms of being a woman in a male-dominated field, Hamidovic says it is nothing new to her. Her life has always been like this from weight training

with the football team in high school to attending West Point to serving in the Army. Her parents taught her to never be discouraged by it and she never really has been. She does not feel compelled to overcompensate in these situations, she just does her work well and thinks a woman’s perspective is quite valuable. Hamidovic was injured when she was serving in Iraq and was medically discharged from the army. VET is “certified as woman-owned business, service disabled veteran-owned, and HUBZone small business.”1 Something else Hamidovic has learned from running her company is that a private business doesn’t operate the same way as the military. VET Environmental Engineering provides environmental services and consulting, which Hamidovic says makes for a “fast-paced and unpredictable work environment.” This is further true in terms of technology changes, from paper to electronic file storage to tools such as a gun which can detect lead in paint. Scientifically, they must keep up with new contaminants being identified at even more precise measurements and what new medical conditions might be associated with them. Hamidovic called environmental engineering a “baby industry” considering that the EPA didn’t even exist until the 1970s, so there is always something new to learn and take into consideration with their work. If someone is thinking about starting their own company, Hamidovic advises to “give it a whirl.” She encourages anyone thinking about entrepreneurship to consider if what they would like to do is “meaningful and can be monetized.” She believes in doing work that is enjoyable and is impactful. She started VET Environmental Engineering because she saw that a need could be met with the services it would provide. She highly values communication and is happy to serve as the go between for regulators and facilities. Hamidovic loves that she and her team are able to solve problems for clients in creative ways. Sara Hamidovic never planned to start her own company, but she is clearly happy with how it all turned out.2 BLOOMINGTONEDC.COM • 37


1. Ashley Johnson 2. 3. 4. Correspondence with Ashley Johnson 5. Profile based on interview and correspondence with Ashley Johnson


1. 2. Profile based on interview with Chris Walls


Ashley Johnson began working at First Appraisal Group, Inc. before she had even graduated from high school. Her father, Wayne Johnson, started the company in 1987 and she spent her high school summers bookkeeping, answering phones, and proofreading documents. The proofreading was her first taste into what First Appraisal Group, Inc. did and captured it her interest. First Appraisal Group, Inc. provides real estate appraisals, or simply put, an opinion of value1 as well as reviews, consulting, and studies, all related to property value.2 They serve clients both private and public sector organizations to private individuals and the properties are just as unique as their clients so it is rare for them to run into an exact scenario they have seen before. However, they have the expertise and experience to carry out comprehensive evaluations. Her father has been in the appraisal industry for decades and Johnson worked toward her licensing while still attending Indiana University as an undergraduate student. She received her MAI designation through the Appraisal Institute, the highest level status one can attain as an appraiser. It requires extensive training and provides ample opportunity for networking.3 In 2009, she became President of First Appraisal Group, Inc. and her father stayed on as Vice President. All of this means Johnson and her team are able to provide clients with services far beyond the basics and can tackle more complicated assignments. Ms. Johnson appreciates the opportunity to collaborate with her father on assignments. They are able to provide feedback to each other on reports including alternative ways of approaching a property valuation or application of the appraisal process. This benefits their clients as each property is unique and requires careful consideration when

providing an opinion of value to a client or advice to a client4. Johnson explained the keys to her success have included building confidence in herself through her education, training, and networking; and being open to learning new things. She is grateful to the Bloomington community for its support, including organizations like the BEDC, and not only enjoys being a member of the community, but has made sure to be involved, such as serving on the board of directors for WonderLab. She appreciates all that IU provides to the community, especially resources dedicated to community enrichment and the data sources made available by institutions like the Indiana Business Research Center. Johnson is also active in the Appraisal Institute and is the 2019 Hoosier State Chapter President. She relishes all learning opportunities, especially conversations with those in the community and in her industry because she believes everyone benefits from new ideas and new perspectives. She encourages those who are thinking about starting a company to go for it, as long as they are passionate, have the time, and are not afraid to fail and have to try again. Finding the right balance between work and life outside of work and the balance of day to day operations versus long term goals is something Johnson continues to face. Regarding her company, Ms. Johnson is most proud of “respecting the past and taking it in a new direction,” the continued collaboration with her father, and the company’s reputation. She looks towards the future knowing there will inevitably be more changes in the industry, but is confident First Appraisal Group, Inc. will be able to adapt and its longevity will only increase5.

When he was younger, Chris Walls would sit in class and daydream about one day starting a company. Serendipity would also play a role in the creation of what would become 39°N. Walls is a Bloomington native. He attended Indiana University initially as a business major, but after a bit decided to take some time off. When he returned to IU, he ended up in a class called Transportation Planning, a geography course. The professor mentioned GIS (“Geographical Information Systems”1) which was reinforced in a conversation Walls would have with his neighbor that same day. His neighbor described the power GIS holds to do something such as mapping trees and quickly filtering and searching these records. Mr. Walls was hooked and went on to receive his Bachelor’s degree in Geography. Geography and GIS would prove vital in the determination of what company he would end up co-founding. Mr. Walls credits trying to find a job, his would-be business partner, Prem Radhakrishnan’s enthusiasm, and a combination he realized could be beneficial with what inspired him to start a company. When Walls suggested a partnership to Radhakrishnan, he was immediately on board. Walls, having grown up in a family of homebuilders, liked the idea of applying the knowledge he learned from his parents in operating

a small business. Walls likes change and finds the constant change of technology to be intriguing. Working with technology, he finds there is always something new, making it much easier to avoid burnout. Related to the challenges of launching a business, he explained it was missing out on “time with family and friends,” not so much the monetary risk involved, as the time was something that could never be recovered. One of the challenges of running 39°N is the regulations they must follow. Some of the important lessons he has learned include not working in isolation, the necessity of finding a solid group of mentors, and making sure to “work on the business” not just to “work in the business.” This means focusing on a larger picture, long term business operations rather than just the day to day tasks, and services the company provides for clients. A business requires both to succeed. Walls’ advice for someone contemplating starting a business includes considering one’s passions and willingness to commit the time required to run a business. Entrepreneurs should also seek out mentors and local organizations which can provide expertise and resources to help the company get started and grow.2

Resources Bloomington Economic Development Corporation Phone (812) 335-7346 Email: Bloomington Life Sciences Partnership Phone (812) 335-7346 Email: Bloomington Technology Partnership Phone (812) 335-7346 Email: City of Bloomington-Dept. of Economic & Sustainable Development Phone (812) 349-3418 City of Bloomington-Utilities Department Phone: (812) 339-1444 Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce Phone (812) 336-6381 Email: Greater Ellettsville Area Chamber of Commerce Phone (812) 876-6611

for Economic Development in Bloomington, Ellettsville and Monroe County Downtown Bloomington, Inc. Phone (812) 336-3681 Duke Energy Phone (812) 337-3015 economic-development/indiana Gayle and Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington Phone: (812) 330-6261 entrepreneurship Hoosiers by the Numbers Email: Hoosier Energy Phone: (812) 876-0294 Indiana Business Research Center Phone: (812) 855-5507 Indiana Center for the Life Sciences Phone: (812) 330-6261 5944.html


Indiana Economic Development Corporation Phone: 800-463-8081 Email:

Vectren Corporation Phone (812) 948-4969 Email:

Indiana University Office of Government Relations Economic Engagement Phone (812) 855-0850 Email: Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington Phone: (812) 332-1559 or (866) 447-0700 South Central Indiana Small Business Development Center Phone: (812) 345-1141 Monroe County Commissioners Phone (812) 349-2550 Email:

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