South Bend Regional Chamber on Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 10:00:00 am Comments (0)
Local voters made some important decisions this week in municipal elections in South Bend and Mishawaka. South Bend is ready to welcome a new mayor and both cities will welcome some new council members. And, several dedicated public servants won re-election. Both cities will have a little bit of a different look come January 1, 2020.
On behalf of the Chamber and the 1,000 member businesses we serve, we want to congratulate South Bend Mayor-Elect James Mueller and Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood, and applaud both for their visions of improving our communities, driving economic growth, improving our infrastructure and neighborhoods, and enhancing public safety. We look forward to continuing to work closely with both mayors.
We also want to congratulate Mishawaka councilpersons Emmons, Bellovich, Voelker, Compton, Banicki, Mammolenti, and Hixenbaugh on their re-elections, as well as Maggie DeMaegd and Tony Hazen on their elections. In South Bend, congratulations to councilpersons Scott, McBride, Teshka and White on their re-elections, and Henry Davis Jr., Troy Warner, Sheila Niezgodski, Rachel Tomas Morgan and Lori Hamann on their elections.
Each of these positions has a chance to influence the business climate and either help catalyze growth or potentially stifle it. We plan to keep a close eye on what’s happening for the benefit of our member businesses, and we’ll be vocal champions or critics on the issues we believe enhance or hinder community growth plans. We’ll agree with all of these candidates at sometimes, disagree at others. But whether we agree or disagree, we’re committed to ensuring the voice of the business community and the needs of our businesses are understood by our elected officials.
The commitment to run for office is no small endeavor; we are grateful for this year’s candidates for making this important sacrifice. Campaigns are an important time to share vision and bounce new ideas around; we appreciate all the candidates bringing forward ideas on how to build upon past successes and improve our communities and region. Now it’s time to get to work! We look forward to working with each of this week’s winners across the two communities to connect, convene and take action to move our region forward.
Last week, I was in Washington, D.C. with Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, United States Representative, for an update on the USMCA Trade agreement. The agreement is one of the Chamber’s top federal priorities and should be considered by Congress some time later this year.
Lighthizer commented, “Without question, the USMCA is the strongest and most advanced trade agreement ever negotiated. The agreement rebalances our trading relationship with Mexico and Canada in a way that benefits American workers and it modernizes the rules of trade among our countries to reflect the needs of our 21st century economy.”
In 2018, United States trade with Mexico and Canada totaled more than $1.4 trillion and supported 12 million jobs. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement offers certainty for future investment in North America, builds on market access that was created by NAFTA and enhances protections for new market opportunities. Mexico has already ratified USMCA – the time is now for Congress to act!
In Indiana, one out of four manufacturing firms do business in Canada or Mexico. 75% of those firms are small-medium sized businesses. Currently, 233,600 Indiana jobs are supported by trade with Mexico and Canada. More than 61,900 of those are manufacturing jobs. Those jobs have an average wage of $75,000. Indiana companies exported more than $19.2 billion in goods to Canada and Mexico in 2017.
I was honored to join many of my chamber colleagues from around the country for this important conversation with Ambassador Lighthizer. We’re grateful for his work advancing this important agreement, it is critical to the Indiana economy and our region. We’re hopeful Congress will act soon to move this agreement forward and give companies in our region and across the state some comfort as they plan for future growth.
Director, Marketing Communications
South Bend Regional Chamber> on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Change can be hard. But after 16 years of presenting a Business Expo, it was time to give our businesses in the South Bend Region a new experience. Say goodbye to Business Expo and hello to Momentum. Consider Momentum more of a gathering where you can make catalytic connections and businesses and organizations collide to showcase their forward-thinking ideas by exhibiting and thought leaders deliver helpful 20 to 30-minute Rally Sessions on a variety of topics helpful to business professionals.
What we think is pretty awesome is the use of the word Momentum to describe this gathering. We think our region has Momentum. Let's face it, South Bend has made national headlines for its presidential candidate, Garth Brooks concert at Notre Dame Stadium, U.S. Senior Open golf tournament, and every home Notre Dame football game. Our community is getting national, even global attention. Let's capture that--led by our business community--and celebrate! C'mon, let's toot our own horn!
To help you understand Momentum even more, we've developed FAQs to answer your questions. With partners like Centier Bank, South Bend - Elkhart Regional Partnership, IDEA Center at Notre Dame, IT Sector Partnership, HR Collaboration Group and more, we're well on our way to making the October 29 Momentum gathering one of those FMO events!
It’s the Chamber’s Business Expo but bigger and better! Think of it as Expo 2.0. We’ve tweaked and tucked our former Business Expo to create a different kind of gathering and new experience for you.
It’s a hybrid of a B2B B2C trade show combined with the energy and feel of a street fair. You’ll experience exhibitors, speakers, catalytic connections and fun!
Because we want to tap into the energy and movement happening in the region. Don’t you feel it? We do. Let’s capture it, celebrate it and tie it into businesses who are leading the momentum.
Heck yes! Are you a forward-thinking company? What makes you unique? How are you doing things differently to stay relevant and offer solutions? Are you innovative? If you answered “yes” to any of these, you have Momentum, and you need to exhibit.
No. To be innovative and forward-thinking doesn’t necessarily mean you are a tech company, but you might use technology to move your company forward. If you are part of the fabric of this business community, and you are growing and evolving, collaborating with others to make a difference, showcase your efforts at Momentum.
We are using both the Convention Hall and Discovery Ballroom at the Century Center. While the Convention Hall will be filled with exhibitors, we will have a few block areas of industry concentration, such as The LIFT Network Innovation District, IDEA Park by IDEA Center and IT Sector Partnership. The Block Party in the middle will provide a fun, social experience for exhibitors and attendees to continue to connect. Across the way, Discovery Ballroom will welcome speakers offering their expertise in 20 to 30 minute Rally Sessions. Also, new is a YPN event within Momentum! That’s right, YPs will be participating in the ever-popular Big Talk YPN event.
These are sponsored areas of industry or sector concentrations. You’ll see the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnerships LIFT Network Innovation District, IDEA Park by IDEA Center and the IT Sector Partnership, with more blocks to come. These areas help to tell a story. Only exhibitors selected by the block host will be included in a specified block area. Other exhibitors will be placed appropriately throughout the Convention Hall.
This year we are thrilled to partner with the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership and IDEA Center at Notre Dame to widen our message and influence. They are sharing Momentum with their customers via email and social media marketing. Plus, we’re hitting it hard with our social media, in addition to communication to our member contacts and coverage on radio, TV and print.
If you are exhibiting, we encourage you to also display and talk about your Momentum Moment.
Every business has a story. And every story has a Momentum Moment—the tipping point that launched a business into a new endeavor. Someone quit their job to start their own business. That’s a Momentum Moment. A business added a new service that took sales across the $1M. That’s a Momentum Moment. A foundation came together to spark new ideas in a stale environment. That’s a Momentum Moment. A new innovative app was developed to streamline your customers' experience. That's a Momentum Moment. You get the idea. We can’t wait to watch people connect over these stories during Momentum.
We’ll use this content to not only market Momentum but also market you through our website and social media platforms.
To give our attendees and you the best possible experience, we need to view the show in its entirety. Keeping in mind not to have competitive companies beside one another. We look at traffic flow, engagement opportunities, aesthetics and other factors to present the right look and feel for the Momentum gathering.
- Where businesses connect with like-minded collaborators
- An inspirational event with speakers from forward-thinking companies
- Your place to network, learn about regional businesses and explore how to build your own momentum
In July, Tri-Pac, Inc., a contract filling and packaging firm, officially cut the ribbon to signify its relocation from Vandalia, Michigan to South Bend to better align with its growth plans. Their state-of-the-art facility is located on the corner of Nimtz Parkway and Kenmore Street. The company bought the building previously occupied by Plastic Molding Manufacturing Inc.
Phase 1 of their growth plan is an $8 million investment to expand their strategic focus into manufacturing of consumer health care products, including OTC (over-thecounter), medical devices and personal care products.
The company currently employs approximately 40 people with the addition of 20 new jobs over the next few years expected, with the jobs paying anywhere from $18 to $33
Founded in 2009 by Vikram Shah, the company contracts with multinational manufacturers of liquid cosmetics and chemicals—i.e. aerosols—to fill and package custom orders. Their mission is to provide the highest quality contract development and manufacturing and chemical management services to marketers of aerosol, liquid and specialty packaged products while achieving results that protect and increase the value of the customer’s brand equity and theirs. Tri-Pac believes that integrity is one of the most important characteristics a company can possess. The Tri-Pac team, management and associates work very hard to focus on quality, integrity, sustainability and continuous improvement.
At the end of 2018, the company successfully upgraded its Quality Systems to encompass the current good manufacturing practices as dictated by the 21 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), continuing their "customerfocused, quality-driven" policy.
3333 N. Kemnore St.
South Bend, IN 46628
“We assist clients and communities in seeking and defining their next horizon. We refer to this process as transforming horizons,” says Chuck Lehman, president and CEO of Lehman & Lehman. Landscape architecture, planning and placemaking are at the heart of this Mishawaka business, which was awarded with the Small Business of the Year honor by the South Bend Regional Chamber earlier this year.
Now entering its 31st year, the company practices with an emphasis on social economic and purposeful design strategies. It crafts sustainable landscapes, sites and places that create positive change through cross-disciplinary collaborations.
Lehman & Lehman is more than a landscape architecture firm; rather, the company is a visionary of the land, present and future. Their approach is holistic, shaping human perspectives to encourage richer thinking that is deeper and more meaningful in both scope and magnitude.
Their project involvement includes the planning and design of Mishawaka’s Central Park, land use planning of the proposed Indiana Enterprise Center, planning and design of South Bend’s West Bank Trail, Mishawaka High School’s Steele Field Renovations and Alumni Plaza, master plan development for Mishawaka’s Ironworks project, and a 10-county Greenways and Trails Vision for Indiana and Michigan.
The key to the company’s sustainability lies with its ability to collaborate when needed with other firms, engineers and other specialists to implement and execute clients’ vision. For the past eight years, the company has experienced at least 15% growth per year, and it has done so with less staff than in previous years. In 2006, the firm had 14 staff members and four licensed professionals, with projects in 11 states.
But the economic downturn in 2008-09 required the company to reinvent itself, making the decision to stay small to offer enhanced focus. Currently, Lehman & Lehman has three full-time and one part-time staff, serving clients throughout Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Ohio.
While the company reinvented itself, so did Chuck, building relationships and investing time in the community. This engagement means participation on various boards and committees, including serving on two Regional Cities advisory committees and serving on the board of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership. He is also board chair of the South Bend Heritage Foundation and member of the Mishawaka Education Foundation.
Since 2004, John Affleck-Graves has served as the executive vice president of the University of Notre Dame. Prior to that, he served as its CFO and served as a professor. In August of last year, he announced that he would be retiring effective June 30, 2019. During his tenure, 36 new buildings were constructed on campus, financial aid for students grew from $58 million to $147 million and the annual operating budget grew from $650 million to $1.5 billion. In addition to his position with Notre Dame, Affleck-Graves also served as chair of the Regional Development Authority and played key roles in our region’s economic development efforts. In this interview, chamber asked Affleck-Graves about some of his accomplishments and views of the region.
1.) You have often said that the University cannot succeed unless the region succeeds. What steps have you seen the region take that is moving it in the right direction from an economic development and talent attraction standpoint? What steps has the University taken? JAG: One of the biggest steps that I have seen our region take in recent years is to form partnerships and collaborations between city leaders, businesses, nonprofits, schools and universities. This new drive to collaborate grew out of the Regional Cities Initiative that was initiated by our governor in 2015. That state funding inspired our local cities and counties to collaborate in unprecedented ways to create a vibrant, thriving economy in all of the South Bend-Elkhart region.
JAG: The University is a member of our local community, so just like everyone else, we have an obligation to contribute to our region’s economic growth. We want to see not only St. Joseph County succeed, but also Elkhart County, Marshall County, Berrien County and our entire region prosper.
When I worked with community leaders in our area through my role in the Regional Development Authority, we realized that we could achieve so much more if we pooled our resources and worked together as a region. I’m so excited about the role of the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership under the tremendous leadership of Pete McCown and Regina Emberton. The natatorium in Elkhart was the largest-funded project in the Regional Cities Initiative, and it will have a significant economic impact on the community. Undertakings like the workforce housing projects in Marshall County would not have occurred without the hard work of community leaders like John DeSalle and Gary Neidig.
Our IDEA Center at Innovation Park is one way we engage with the local community, and we would like to see even more collaboration over the coming years. We also work with the City of South Bend and encourage entrepreneurs to grow their businesses at the city’s Ignition Park. A few businesses that are there, such as Aunalytics, began at Notre Dame and are attracting talented analysts, software engineers and data engineers to our local community.
As a University, we also play a role in supporting our local nonprofit organizations. Our students, faculty and staff contribute their time and expertise to many great organizations in the community such as Center for the Homeless in South Bend and the Center for Community Justice in Elkhart. In 2001, the University opened the Robinson Community Learning Center south of campus for the residents of the local community, and every week 600 children and adults participate in programs there.
Lastly, we want to contribute to the quality of life in our region. While football games in Notre Dame Stadium have boosted the local economy by bringing business to our area hotels, restaurants and shops, we also invite visitors to enjoy the performing arts, lectures, conferences and special events. With the completion of the Campus Crossroads project, we have been able to host events for the community such as the Garth Brooks concert and the NHL Winter Classic. And, we want to do more in the future.
2.) With the impact of Notre Dame as a leading employer in the region, it is a huge responsibility. We understand that, as the University needs to attract top talent, there is often a trailing spouse. What are some thoughts you have on how to combat this?
JAG: We are continually partnering with the leaders of the cities in our region to strengthen our economy. As entrepreneurs build companies, they create jobs. When we recruit leading faculty and administrators from diverse parts of the world, oftentimes, they will accept our offer if there are attractive job opportunities for their partners. We have a Dual Career Assistance Program for our faculty and staff who are recruited through regional or national recruitment efforts, and we network with local employers who can utilize their expertise. The spouses also enrich our local workforce. Recently, the spouse of one of our recruits took her technical expertise to the City where she leads innovation efforts.
One of the goals of the Regional Development Authority is to improve the quality of life in our region, and one of the many ways we will accomplish that is by transforming the net out-migration to a positive in-migration by 2025. As we attract and grow great companies and invest in the quality of life, more of our residents will stay in this community. Recently, the Regional Cities Initiative invested in 26 quality-of-life initiatives throughout the South Bend, Mishawaka, Elkhart region, and our community will certainly reap the benefits of those investments.
3.) What are the University’s goals in terms of becoming a preeminent research university?
JAG: We want to be a great Catholic university for the 21st century and one of the preeminent research institutions in the world. We want our research to fulfill the vision of our founder, Fr. Sorin, to be a source for good in the world. There are so many exciting research initiatives on our campus, and we want to create a new paradigm. We want to work together with entrepreneurs to commercialize our research in areas such as cancer, energy, global health, environmental change and nanotechnology. We want to be a resource for companies to help them innovate and compete in the global marketplace. And, we want their companies to flourish in our region.
Much of this activity occurs in collaborative relationships. Innovation Park, which was launched in 2009 with the support of the local community, has nurtured over 100 startups, and many of those companies have created jobs for local residents. We know that our University is stronger when our community succeeds. In 2016, the University opened the Notre Dame Turbomachinery Laboratory (ND Turbo) at Ignition Park in South Bend, on the site of the former Studebaker Autoworks assembly plant. ND Turbo conducts research and development for customers like Pratt & Whitney and Honeywell, and attracts talent and capital to the region. We want to see more successes like this.
Through a recent grant, Notre Dame partnered with Johnson and Johnson, the University of Pittsburgh, and ITAMCO, a manufacturing company based in Plymouth. Researchers at Notre Dame developed a physics-based software that improves the process of 3D printing metals. The local manufacturing company, ITAMCO, licensed this new technology from Notre Dame and used it to launch a new company, Atlas 3D, to apply the technology. Through this collaborative process, ITAMCO developed into a sophisticated software and applied technology company through its partnership with researchers on campus.
Through examples like these, we see our research efforts leveraging economic growth to the benefit of all in our region.
4.) What are your proudest accomplishments while at Notre Dame? And, what’s next?
I came here from South Africa in 1986, and the region has been a wonderful home for my wife, Rita, and our family. The region and the University have given me so many opportunities to work alongside gifted and talented colleagues and students. As the executive vice president, one of my proudest memories is the way Fr. John and the University responded to the 2008-2009 recession. During that time, we did not lay off any employees. Instead, the University was prudent with its resources, so that families would not be impacted.
I have seen so much growth in this community. I am humbled to have served as the chair of the Regional Development Authority, and worked alongside many of our area’s great leaders from St. Joseph, Elkhart and Marshall counties as we secured a $42 million grant from the state in 2015 for economic development. Our counties will continue to benefit from those important projects for many years to come.
After I retire in June, I plan to continue to teach in the Executive MBA program and enjoy more time with my grandchildren. My wife, Rita, and I love this community and Notre Dame. It has made a lasting impact on us, and we treasure all of the friendships that we have made.
5.) What is your impression of the South Bend-Elkhart region now compared to when you first started?
When I came to South Bend from Cape Town, South Africa, I knew very little about this community. I had visited Notre Dame briefly to give a lecture for the Finance Department, but I did not know that much about the region. Over the past 30 years, this community has really blossomed. Collectively, we are making progress to improve our regional economy and provide more compelling career opportunities and increase the cultural vibrancy of our region. This is a great time for the South Bend-Elkhart region, and I could not be more optimistic about the future.
As my senior year at Saint Mary’s College concludes, I have been reflecting on my college experience. While I am going to miss my friends and going to class, I am also going to miss being an intern. Yes, I said it. I am a Communication Studies major with minors in Public Relations/Advertising and Business Administration and really enjoy my major, but career opportunities are so broad it can be overwhelming. This is where being an intern comes into play. Internships have allowed me to weed out careers. I have had three internships over the past four years and each company has provided an amazing learning experience.
My first internship, I worked at Gibson on their marketing team. I assisted with writing blog content, worked with their social media, and helped develop marketing strategy for a new service they provide to their clients. I was fully immersed in a marketing role and learned the practical use of marketing principals that could not be learned inside the classroom. I also learned a lot about insurance, which is important to everyday life.
My second internship, I worked with Purdue Extension-Elkhart County assisting with all things 4-H. Growing up in Goshen, I was never involved in 4-H, which is rare. I had the opportunity to interact with community members from all walks of life and of course I got to eat fair food during fair week. While this internship was not directly related to my major, it gave me the opportunity to further develop core skills such as leadership, time management, and interpersonal communication which will be an integral part of any job, regardless of the industry I enter.
My third internship is with the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce. With the Chamber, I get experience with many different things, including economic development, writing articles, preparing presentations, and researching policy affecting Chamber members. Again, this internship is not directly related to Communications, but it is my favorite experience so far. I must use problem-solving and writing skills in order to understand and relay a variety of information to a variety of people. Before this internship, I never realized how many people must work well together to support economic growth in the South Bend Region.
Obviously, there many benefits to internships for the student, but the host company also wins when they have interns. Innovative and eager minds enter the culture and are ready to work. Companies are also exposed to fresh talent in their area and have the opportunity to recruit interns for full-time jobs after they finish school. Regarding finding talent, Indianaintern.net is a great source to post an internship opportunity. It is a job board for students seeking internships in all industries across the state of Indiana. It is a “one-stop shop” for students to explore internship opportunities and where employers can connect with EARN Indiana, a program that provides funding for internships. Now is the time to post openings for interns, since summer is right around the corner!
I would highly recommend an internship to any college student and company. Experiential learning is a unique and fun way to learn new skills. I am so grateful to my past employers for letting me build practical skills to be successful in the workforce. If you have questions about internships, IndianaINTERN.net, or the EARN program, contact Kate Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the South Bend Regional Chamber on using earn money To Pay for Your Intern
“The South Bend Regional Chamber has provided internship opportunities to many talented students over the years. Caroline is one of two fine interns we worked with this spring. This semester was our first to leverage the EARN Indiana program, and I want to encourage all employers to explore this option. EARN not only extends the internship budget but also allows us to employ ‘two interns for the price of one.’ It is also incredibly user-friendly, from registration to reimbursement,” said Mari Bishop, director of operations for the South Bend Regional Chamber.
Hire an Intern & Get Them Involved in Summer Connect
The South Bend Regional Chamber encourages you to hire interns at your place of employment to participate in the talent solutions needed to keep good talent here in the South Bend Region. Every summer, we offer the Summer Connect program to give summer interns in the region the chance to get to know one another more while also experiencing all of the great things to see and do in the area. In this way, the intern may be more likely to stay in the area if offered a job! Learn more!
Correct Property Tax on Wednesday, April 3, 2019 at 1:00:00 pm Comments (0)
Navigating the appeal process of reducing your property taxes is difficult,; doing it without any knowledge of the process is a nightmare. It may feel like there is a secret door to unlock and no one gave you the key. Information published by the Department of Local Government Finance is quite complex. Tax bills are coming soon; make sure they are correct. Here are some important things to know before you file an appeal.
1. Studies show that 60% of all properties in the U.S. are over-assessed, yet only 2% appeal.
A Forbes magazine article indicates this stunning statistic. While this is a broad statement of all U.S. property, Indiana is not far off. It is vital that you investigate all aspects of your assessment to see if you are in the majority of over-assessed property and meet the deadline for filing an appeal.
2. There are strict deadlines for action on appeals.
The filing deadline is 45 days from the date of the notice or May 10th, whichever is first. The deadlines are not just for filing. There are also many procedure deadlines that the assessor and taxpayer must adhere to. Information published by the Department of Local Government Finance is quite complex. There were many changes in legislation that affected appeals in 2017. I urge you to read through all of these or seek the advice of an attorney or qualified tax representative before filing your appeal.
3. Almost all rehabilitated properties in urban areas qualify for a tax break.
This type of deduction is becoming more common with all the urban renewal happening. This deduction is for any building or house that has been restored without adding to the footprint. The exemption applies to the increase of valuation to the property by the local assessor. The property must qualify, file Form 322/RE. It applies to structures within an economic revitalization area. There are specific property types within that area that do not qualify, such as golf courses or recreation complexes. Check with your assessor or a qualified tax rep to find out if you qualify.
4. Some vacant buildings qualify for a tax break.
This type of deduction applies to commercial or industrial property located in an economic revitalization area. The property must qualify for the deduction and meet the deadline to file Form 322/VBD.
5. If a property assessment goes up by more the 5%, the burden of proof shifts from owner to assessor.
What it means is that the assessor is required to show evidence and reasoning for increasing an assessment by more than 5% in any given year. It does not qualify for property that has added improvements. If the assessor does not meet the burden of proof, the assessment automatically reverts to the most recent assessment before changes.
While it is a complex procedure, it is not uncommon for taxpayers to win a reduction. With a little research and/or help from a professional, you can prevail.
Beth Szweda | Correct Property Tax
Indiana Certified Tax Representative | Level III Indiana Assessor/Appraiser
Member Indiana Assessors Association Inc. | Member International Association of Assessing Officers
Correct Property Tax | 574.286.0431
Chamber Editor Note: the above is a guest blog from one of our member businesses. If you have content that you'd like for us to consider for a future blog, contact Shari Carroll at 574.400.4024. You must be a Chamber member business for consideration.
Director of Talent Engagement
South Bend Regional Chamber on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (9)
This week I attended the board meeting of the South Bend Community School Corporation. Questions have been raised about the selection process of every superintendent hired since I’ve lived in South Bend--nearly 25 years. Based on conversations and observations, I have seen these same questions asked of corporations across our state; what changes the game is how communities move forward AFTER the superintendent is selected.
Our community doesn’t have the luxury of continuing to expend energy on drama, suspicion, and the casting of stones. Our students and educators deserve better. The people working to positively impact our community through private and public investments know that a strong public education system is necessary to ensure that each person reaches their full potential. Business leaders represented by the Chamber want graduates who are prepared to both benefit from, and contribute to, their continued growth.
We will never pick up the pace on equitable, positive change if we’re in a constant state of crisis. The best schools are not just the site of academic learning - but also places of welcome, stability, safety and the building of life foundations.
Let’s support Dr. Cummings as he works to establish a lean, collaborative and action-oriented administrative team to provide systemic stability and the support our principals and educators need to give their very best to the students they serve.
Let’s be honest about our big challenges, even when it’s uncomfortable – and work together – as a community of partners - to establish priorities and implement strategies that make it possible for ALL of our students to succeed.
Let’s establish strong relationships with the business and non-profit partners who stand ready to support our children and educators – giving the broader community meaningful ways to get engaged and truly feel they are part of Team South Bend.
Let’s hold each other accountable, with open minds, dignity and respect and not with tunnel vision and self-inflicted drama.
Let’s build the level of trust, both internally and externally.
It has taken bold action by local business and government leaders to ignite the positive change we’re seeing in South Bend. We are looking to our elected school board and Dr. Cummings to provide brave and bold leadership for South Bend Schools. We believe you see the value in celebrating successes and have the courage to acknowledge and present the very real challenges to our community.
Business leaders expect: clear goals to be set; relevant and accessible student data; strong and timely communication; and a community-wide, laser focus on the strategies selected to drive positive change. South Bend Schools can then ask for – and be prepared to accept - help to address the larger issues impacting student and school success.
As a community, we must do our part. We must not continuously restate what we think is wrong with our schools. If we want to drive positive, systemic change, we must develop a broader understanding of the challenges of public education – from rising expectations and reduced funding to overburdened educators and a high percentage of students who live in poverty.
Then, we all must act – playing whatever role we can to support our children and partner with our schools.
What if we do this so well that Dr. Cummings determines there is no better community to tackle these challenges with and no better place to spend the next decade (or more!) of his career, leading the team that transforms K-12 education in our city?
This is the time for action.
South Bend Regional Chamber on Friday, January 18, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
As the clock turned to 2019, a fair amount of nervous anticipation exists within the business community about what the New Year will hold. Many consecutive years of economic growth have leaders worried a slowdown might be imminent.
Historically, in the U.S., no economic expansion has lasted longer than a decade (March 1991-March 2001). The current expansion has now lasted more than nine years, leading to those concerns about what 2019 and beyond might hold for the economy.
The prognosticators have been busy looking into their "crystal balls" to offer insight on what the future might hold. Unfortunately, mine is no clearer than theirs, but we thought we'd weigh in as well as share some of that insight from others in this issue of my blog.
Nationally, experts predict that the economy should grow about 2.5%. Those same experts predict the Indiana economy should outpace the national economy, growing at 3.2%. Most growth is predicated early in the year, slowing as the year progresses.
The diversity of our economy in South Bend-Mishawaka-St. Joseph County area is a real plus and means we don't see as wide of swings as other areas might see when the economy surges or slows. We anticipate that this will mean slow and steady growth continuing in our area in 2019. We've been growing slower than the rest of Indiana, however, we'd like to see our area growth keep pace with that of the state prediction.
The fastest-growing sectors in terms of job growth included leisure and hospitality, and goverment, which includes school and hospitals. The biggest decline in employment was in private educational and health services. Indications are the recent growth in sectors like health care, the service industry, and warehousing and logistics should continue.
The last few years have seen more capital invested in and around the local communities than at any time in recent memory. We saw tax cuts, as well as many key public-private partnerships drive new investment, especially in our "city" centers. Many of those projects will near completion in 2019. Others announced recently will break ground in early 2019.
Moderate growth among several other key indicators like median income, population and gross domestic product have investors and our communities optimistic. At the same time, international trade uncertainty, rising interest rates and the availability of workforce allow some pessimism to creep in.
Many cite concerns about the challenges with finding workers needed to fill open spots. We don't anticipate that changing much in 2019. Unemployment should stay about the same, and as a result, the tight labor market will continue to drive hourly wages up. We see two potential fixes to the workforce shortage: increase our labor force participation rate (62.5% of all eligible workers do so) and grow our population. Efforts are underway to advance both of these fixes.
We anticipate the demand for housing will remain strong in the New Year. The experts say it's a sellers' market, with a lack of inventory driving some prices up. The number of new homes built rose again in 2018, and a significant amount of high-density residential projects were started, completed or announced. What happens with interest rates in 2019 could have a major influence on the housing market in the New Year.
Our recent successes with growth and development should be celebrated. These successes have also attributed
to a shift in attitude in the region.
This is huge. We must continue to strive to keep pace with the state and national economies. Otherwise, we'll fall behind.
Population growth and income growth should be our top priorities. A great roadmap has been laid out by our partner, South Bend–Elkhart Regional Partnership, to help guide growth in the coming years. We need to commit to seeing the plan through and working closely with our regional partners on enhancing growth opportunities. Here at the Chamber, we're all about seeing you and your business succeed. Onward in 2019, and we look forward to working with you as we seek to catalyze that growth.
South Bend Regional Chamber on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Last week, the report came out on 2017 Per Capita Personal Income Data for Counties across the country. This metric is a measure of the amount of money earned per person in a certain area. It can apply to the average per-person income for a city, region or country, and is used as a means of evaluating the living conditions and quality of life in different areas.
It is a key metric we utilize to help track how our economy is doing. One of our principle goals is to drive this number up. From the beginning of our Economic Development program, we've focused on the type of industries and companies that will help improve this number. We've now seen it go up nine straight years, with the 2016-2017 difference being the greatest improvement in that nine-year period.
The current per capita personal income for St. Joseph County is $46,118. While encouraged by the growth of that number, truth is, it still is only 89.3% of the national average and 95% of the Great Lakes average. We're trending in the right direction, or, we're getting closer to those "averages." Once again, our average exceeds the Indiana average.
Though average doesn't seem like a stretch goal, in this case it is. We'd love to continue to push this number closer to the national average and we believe that will continue to send a strong signal about the health of our regional economy.
Wow, the mid-term elections are over, and attention will soon turn to municipal elections. A big thank you to all candidates and their willingness to run! Each has made tremendous sacrifices over the past several months in an effort to connect with voters. A big thank you to each of you as well for voting or for encouraging your employees to vote, and thank you to those who shared the ChamberPAC-endorsed candidates with your associates. Frankly, we were really excited about the candidates who genuinely offered great ideas and solutions, and we were disappointed by those candidates who merely offered “sound bites” and “second-guessed” their opponents. In our minds, second-guessing isn’t a strategy.
One interesting stat for me that jumped out when analyzing the results was that 51% of all ballots cast were a straight ticket ballot. This day and age, that really surprises me, and leads me to believe people don’t spend as much time getting to know candidates as they should. That’s why efforts like the Chamber’s endorsement process are so critical. We try to dig deeper than the party affiliation.
Overall, four of the seven candidates that we endorsed, or 57%, won elections.
We’re especially excited about Commissioner Andy Kostielney’s win. Commissioner Kostielney has been a strong leader for the county, and his efforts have helped put the county on a path for economic and population growth. We believe good things are ahead for St. Joseph County, and we’re excited to have the commissioner serve for four more years.
We’re also excited about what the county council will look like moving forward. We believe it will be one of the better councils in recent memory, and we look forward to seeing the council and commissioners working together as the county navigates some difficult budget challenges. Congratulations to ChamberPAC-endorsed candidates Robert “Bobby K” Kruszynski, Jr., Corey Noland and Dick Pfeil. Joining them will be former Mishawaka Councilman Joe Canarecci, who won his first term on the county council after defeating ChamberPAC-endorsed candidate Brian Pawlowski. Diana Hess won re-election; she was unopposed.
The South Bend School Board produced two closely contested races, as ChamberPAC-endorsed candidates Stan Wruble and John Pinter lost to Oletha Jones and Ruth Warren, respectively. We will look closely at the school corporation moving forward, as challenging times are ahead, and this school board will need to provide strong and effective leadership.
As our attention shifts to municipal races in 2019, we hope some of you are considering a run in one of the many races on the ballot. Like we’ve said before, the national elections get most of the attention, but the local ones make the biggest difference in our daily lives. Want to talk more about being a candidate? I’d love to sit down with you and share with you those issues on the mind of the business community.
President & CEO
South Bend Regional Chamber on Friday, September 21, 2018 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)
The Indiana Enterprise Center (IEC) development on the county’s west Side is getting a lot of attention in the news these days. This includes that area near New Carlisle where major industrial projects like IN TEK/Kote, St. Joseph Energy Center, Unifrax, and several other large industrial developments have occurred throughout the past 30 years.
The presence of large tracts of land, utilities, the two highways, potential rail connections, and its proximity to major markets made it an attractive location for those businesses and has piqued the interest of many others over the years looking at business opportunities in our region. But development has been complicated because of the lack of shovel-ready sites.
Issues like zoning, wetlands, land control and utility connections meant a great deal of uncertainty about development and has often caused developers and companies to quickly rule out this area and move on to other sites.
The county is undertaking a comprehensive planning process in the area. That process includes a closer look at all factors that influence development, as well as what types of uses are ideal. Careful consideration has been made to provide a balance between the need for growth, development and new jobs and the need to protect the town, its residents, and the people that have made major investments in and around the area.
Despite what the media would have you believe, there are no plans to develop 20,000-plus acres. The planning area is that big, but that is because it is important to plan any new development within the context of what exists in and around the area.
Projects like this are complicated and complex. Without the plans, critics would complain planning was done in a vacuum and wasn’t inclusive. With plans, come fear and misinformation about the true intentions of the county. It’s complicated, and that is a big reason development in this area has been intermittent at best. The county is seeking to make it less complicated.
We believe the county is approaching planning for this area the right way, and we commend them for the efforts they are making to ensure planned and orderly growth and development. We hope it advances, and we encourage those that have concerns take some time to be involved in the process.
Learn more about the plans.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since Baz Luhrmann set a hypothetical commencement speech written by a Chicago Tribune columnist to music. The song reached number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100, and when you read the original column, “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young,” it’s not hard to see why the song inspired nostalgia for those who had graduated and excitement for those who were looking forward to growing up. It also didn’t hurt that it came out at the same time as Vitamin C’s “Graduation (Friends Forever)” that seemed ubiquitous on the airwaves as well.
That’s the last time a commencement speech has really been in such high demand, but words of wisdom are shared with graduating classes every year. Many of us may not have attended another commencement ceremony since our own, but there’s much to be learned from individuals speaking to a graduating class. Here are some of our favorite messages delivered to the Class of 2018.
"Eat a good breakfast. It really pays off. Pay your bills on time. Recycle. Make your bed. Aim high. Say thank you to people and actually mean it. And know that what you tweet and post and Instagram today might be asked about in a job interview tomorrow or 20 years from tomorrow."
"Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history. Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you are here to fulfill. Whatever you choose for a career path, remember the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose."
"Failure is not something to be ashamed of, it's something to be powered by. Failure is the highest octane fuel your life can run on. You gotta learn to make failure your fuel."
"It's great that you are a Wharton MBA, but please, don't act like it. What they mean is don't let it be a burden on you. Don't let it get in the way of seeing people as people and all they have to offer you, regardless of their title opposition. Acknowledging the wisdom and experience of a forklift operator or a security guard with 30 years on the job doesn't diminish your own experience. Acknowledging the sacrifices of others that enabled you to be in this position does not diminish the sacrifices you made on your own.
Be the type of leader that other people want to sacrifice for. Ask other for advice, no matter their jobs. And listen, really listen to their answers."
If you are one of those lucky people who are exceptionally good at an endeavor you’re passionate about, if you possess tireless ambition and keen direction, congratulations! You will go far and do well,” she said. “Your successes will come early and rapidly. If you are not one of those lucky people: If you are bewildered and confused and clinging tenaciously to some course you love, be patient. Work hard.
Hold your dream tightly to you and do everything you can to realize it, within reason. Take a step that will lead you toward the realization of your dream, and then take another, and another, and another.”
Have you heard the news? Summer is back in The Bend! Gone are the days of freezing temperatures, bone-chilling winds and record-breaking snowfall. Now, you can enjoy the sunshine on a warm summer day, the cool splashes of water as you go white water rafting and the sounds of live music filling the air. Whether you are an adventure seeker, sports fan, concert goer, or foodie, the South Bend Region will make sure your summer is one to remember!
Live, Local Music All Summer Long
During the summer months, performances take place outside nearly every day of the week with great local musicians performing across the community. Keep a look out for some of these great summer concert series.
May 31-August 30 (Monday-Thursday) | 11:45am-1:15pm | Studebaker Plaza
Take a seat and enjoy your lunch as you listen to free acoustical performances by local artists.
June 7-July 4 (Thursdays) | 6:30-8:30pm | Central Park
It is almost Friday! Celebrate the end of the work week with family, friends and great live music.
July 12-August 2 (Thursdays) | 6:30-8:30pm | Merrifield Park
Celebrate the end of the work week with family, friends at great live music.
June 1-August 31 (Fridays) | 11:45am-1:15pm | Jon R. Hunt Plaza
This free, outdoor lunchtime concert series (in front of the Morris Performing Arts Center) features live entertainment from local Blues, Jazz, Rock, Folk and Country bands.
June 4-August 27 (Mondays) | 7:00-8:00pm | Battell Park
This family friendly concert features some of the best local musicians from around town.
June 6-August 1 (Wednesdays) | 6:30-8:00pm | Eberhart Golf Course
This free concert is a great way to start off your weekend and is fun for the whole family.
June 24-August 26 (Sundays) | 7:00-8:00pm | Potawatomi Park
End your weekends in the summer with a Sunday night concert in Potawatomi Park at the Chris Wilson Pavilion. Best of all, it's free!
Go! Cubs! Go!
Nothing can beat seeing a South Bend Cubs game during a summer evening in downtown South Bend. Four Winds Field—the Best Single-A Ballpark in the Country according to BallparkDigest.com—has something for everyone. There is the Tiki Hut Bar and inflatable fun zone beyond the left field wall as well as batting cages, a splash pad, and playground in the right field corner. With tickets, parking, and concessions being reasonably priced, the Cubs become South Bend’s team to cheer for every summer.
See the remaining 2018 Home Schedule (June-August) here.
Outdoor Adventure in South Bend
Be sure to take full advantage of this warm summer weather by heading outside for some adventure and fun. You can go ziplining through the trees and white water rafting in downtown. Don’t forget to visit Indiana’s first zoo and say hi to all your favorite animals this summer in South Bend.
June 10-August 26 (Saturdays & Sundays) | 12:00-5:00pm (Saturday); 12:00-4:00pm (Sunday) | East Race Waterway
Battle Class 2 rapids as you go white water rafting on the first man-made white water rafting course built in North America. Rafts vary in size and can accommodate groups from 2 – 6 people. Make sure you bring a towel and a change of clothes because when we say you will cool off on a hot summer day… we are not kidding!
May 30-August 31 | Times Vary (Closed on Tuesdays) | Rum Village Park
Take to the trees of Rum Village Park as you make your way through obstacles and ziplines that range from 16 – 60 feet in the air. There are three aerial ropes courses at Rum Village Park that vary in difficulty for participants of all skill and experience level. Afraid of heights? Don’t worry—With the 100% ON BELAY system, you are securely tethered to a safety line throughout the course.
Monday-Sunday | 10:00am-5:00pm | Potawatomi Zoo
Home to over 500 animals, the Potawatomi Zoo is Indiana’s first ever zoo! The South Bend zoo has all your favorite animal friends, such as lions, tigers, and monkeys, as well as many you may have not seen before, including the okapi, the river otters, and the kookaburra.
Fun Summer Events
Along with all the fun summer attractions, there are plenty of awesome, upcoming events this summer in The Bend. Check out a few of this summer’s featured events below. To view a full calendar of events, click here.
May 28-June 3 | Times Vary | South Bend Area
June 1-2 | Times Vary | East Bank Emporium Parking Lot
June 2 | Races Begin at 6:30am | Four Winds Field
June 16-17 | 10:00am-6:00pm (June 16); 10:00am-5:00pm (June 17) | Leeper Park
July 9-22 | All Day Long | Downtown South Bend
July 28 | 8:00am-12:00pm | Wayne Street Parking Garage-South Bend
August 18 | 11:00am-7:00pm | Downtown South Bend
Geoff Colvin's Talent is Overrated
By George Cressy, III, Ladue, Curran & Kuehn
Colvin’s deep dive into what makes world-class performers provides the vocabulary and conceptual framework you need to think and talk about “talent.” With ample citations to studies, Colvin presents the path to elite-level performance in any field, achievable by any person. While instilling one of the strongest senses of “yes, I can,” Colvin wonderfully explains why both common answers to "Why aren’t people all around me awesomely, amazingly, world-class excellent?" are dead wrong; it is not because of 1) hard work or 2) God-given gifts.
It’s not because I have a deep narcissist streak that I now believe I could be a chess Grandmaster and that I will be Michiana’s premier real-estate attorney. The wonder of “talent” has vanished; Mozart’s, Jordan’s, Kasparov’s and Welch’s abilities are primarily the result of deliberate practice (a term I hope a few readers recognize as Anders Ericsson’s).
The gist of Colvin’s message is: “talent” (as an innate trait) probably doesn’t exist, and if it does, it’s probably irrelevant. A bold claim, yes.
Mozart, history’s original child prodigy, often comes to the refuting mind, and Colvin elucidates the history. Wolfgang was born to a famous composer and performer, Leopold. A domineering father who started young Wolfgang on a program of intensive training in composition and performing at age three, Leopold was also deeply interested in the study of how music was taught to children. Leopold was apparently only a so-so musician, but he was a highly accomplished pedagogue—can you even believe it? Also, Wolfgang did not produce original compositions until he was 21 years old, having 18 years of expert training. Last, it turns out he did not compose entire works in his mind. Manuscripts show he was constantly revising and rewriting entire sections, jotting small pieces down to be referenced months and years later.
What about Tiger? His father, Earl, was a young men’s teacher and had a lifelong passion for sports. Tiger was born into Earl’s second family, when Earl was retired and had lots of time to teach. And Tiger had professional coaching at age four, and never let up.
And beyond the anecdotal narrative, hundreds of studies during this age of genomic research have failed to identify talents in our genetic code.
I’ll leave it to Colvin to explain what deliberate practice is and isn’t but suffice it to say deliberate practice is not work and it is not play. Deliberate practice is designed, and it is not much fun. The point of deliberate practice, contrasted against thoughtless repetition, is to continuously seek out that realm of performance just beyond your current abilities, i.e., always be trying to do those things you’re not good at.
The upside of that downer is that most people won’t do it. Your willingness to deliberately practice your trade is what will truly distinguish you from your peers.
Many Americans are familiar with podcasts, with an estimated 64 percent recognizing the term and 44 percent having listened to at least one episode- and when it comes to professional development and elevating your career, listening to podcasts is one of the easiest ways to get a jump start. So where should you begin?
From leadership and organizational change to strategy and marketing, Harvard Business Review has been delivering solid content for decades, so it's no wonder that the HBR Ideacast is a treasure-trove of valuable corporate leadership insight.
Start Listening: Make Tools Like Slack Work For Your Company
Episodes usually clock in under 30 minutes and feature interview-style segments with one or two experts. A recent episode, "Does Your Firm See You as a High Potential" takes a look at the behind the scenes process of selecting and growing top talent internally. This isn't something you would typically think about if it weren't for this podcast, but after listening you’ll understand a valuable process that could come in handy in a big way one day.
This award-winning weekly podcast dives into the weeds on fascinating subjects you didn't know you cared about. Freakonomics describes itself as having "surprising conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature — from cheating and crime to parenting and sports."
Start Listening: What Does a CEO Actually Do?
Go back into the archives and listen to "The Secret Life of CEOs" series, which is so jam-packed with insight, it’s incredible. This series answers a range of questions like what does a CEO actually do, how do you become a CEO, and what difficulties have to be overcome to be successful as a CEO. The podcast team talked to Mark Zuckerberg, Indra Nooyi, Jack Welch and so many more for this series. They're still dropping the uncut interviews with each CEO in the podcast feed, so keep an eye out.
If you hate economics but want to know what's going on with the economy, this is the podcast for you. When you start listening to Planet Money, you might wonder why it's important for you to know seemingly mundane facts about things like art investing, vodka branding and phosphorus, but by the end of each episode you realize you learned something big and important about the transfer of wealth in our society.
Start Listening: The Blue Pallet
Planet Money episodes are short and easily digestible, making them perfect listening material for quick trips or even your lunch break.
Women at Work
This is another gem from the team at Harvard Business Review. Women at Work is a six-episode podcast that takes a deep dive into the unique challenges women face in the workplace.
Start Listening: Make Yourself Heard
In the first episode the hosts interviewed Deborah Tannen, an American academic and professor of linguistics at Georgetown University who doesn't think much has changed in the last 30 years when it comes to women being heard in the workplace. Differing speech patterns between men and women, assertiveness in meeting and how to deal with constant interruptions are all covered in the first 40-minute episode.
This American Life
This one isn't exactly going to revolutionize the way you work, besides maybe upping your water cooler chats in the morning — but This American Life is possibly the best weekly podcast out there right now. From production value to unbeatable storytelling, there's something deeply comforting about listening to this podcast.
Start Listening: In Dog We Trust
Each week This American Life delivers stories around one central theme. The host, Ira Glass, steers the audience through each story with funny and meaningful moments sprinkled throughout. This is one to look forward to every week.
Now that the weather is (FINALLY) warmer, our thoughts have turned to outdoor activities and spring and summer adventures. One of the great things about living in the South Bend Region is the easy access to the 2,650 acres of planted vineyards in Southwest Michigan. With a number of wineries just a short drive away, there’s so much to discover that you could spend the entire summer exploring them all! To help narrow down your list, the YPN Marketing Team is sharing some of our favorites – we’ve made sure to choose places that are great places to visit regardless if you’re partaking in the libations or not.
Domaine Berrien Cellars
Domaine Berrien Cellars offers the full wine experience! This small, boutique winery on East Lemon Creek Road specializes in estate-grown, carefully handcrafted wines based on European methodologies. They are best known for their dry reds and Rhone varietals - all of which are made from the grapes grown, fermented, bottled, and aged on the property – and many of which are award winning!
To see (and taste!) for yourself, the tasting room and outdoor patio is open daily from Noon to 5pm. Don’t miss the Viognier and Marsanne wines when you visit – Domaine Berrien Cellars is one of the only wineries in the area to grow these delicious Rhone varieties. From the tasting room, you can see these and other grapes fermenting in the stainless steel and oak barrels for next year’s releases. And if learning about the process excites you as much as drinking it, the winemaking team is often in the tasting room to add a personal touch and make it fun!
The tasting room at Dablon Vineyards is spectacular. When you walk through the doors a floor-to-ceiling fireplace welcomes you in, and two chesterfield leather couches invite you to swirl, sip and savor some truly good wine. This location is going for a more rustic vibe, making the atmosphere in the tasting room romantic and cozy. At the tasting bar you can sit and marvel at the views of the surrounding vineyard grounds. On a warmer spring day, you can sit outside on the terrace and get an even better view.
Now to the important part — the wine. Dablon’s goal is to “marry European varietals with their unique terroir in Southwest Michigan to make extraordinary wine,” according to their website. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know what any of that means to enjoy a glass or two. For $12 you’ll get to sample 6 wines, and they’ll even wave the tasting fee with the purchase of a bottle. And trust me, you’ll want to buy a bottle.
Round Barn Winery, Distillery & Brewery in Baroda is probably the most familiar winery in the area to many, but that doesn’t make it any less worthy of a highlight. The prime outdoor seating, and family- and pet-friendly atmosphere makes it the perfect stop for a warm afternoon. Round Barn is home to Jammin’ in the Vineyard, an annual music festival featuring the best live regional music over 26 weekends along with wines, spirits, and cold craft beers. For only $5 admission per person, you can sip on your glass of wine, cocktail, or cold brew as you look out onto the vineyard with live music filling the air around you.
The space is spacious, bright, and inviting to anyone who is ready for big, local flavor of a wide variety of wine, beer, and cocktails. Not a wine lover yet? No fear. The staff is equipped to offer wine tastings where you can taste various wines whether they are red or white and dry or sweet – there is something for everyone.
Delicious drinks, warm weather, and phenomenal music—it doesn’t get much better than a summer afternoon at Round Barn!
If you’d rather head South than North, a quick jaunt down US-31 will land you in Rochester, Indiana, at the region’s first artisan cheesemaker and farm winery, Schnabeltier. Don’t let the hard-to-pronounce name scare you away (it’s German for platypus) because the wine and cheese pairings are delicious.
The tasting room is cozy and either the winemaker or the cheesemaker is normally on hand to answer questions and make suggestions based on your preferences. The usually white and red wines are on hand, but the sweeter paired fruit wines are worth the drive – the Keesey White Cranberry Pinot Grigio is a great choice for a chilly day, while the Bruce Lake Blueberry Pinot Noir or Barr Lake Peach Apricot Chardonnay are refreshing on warm days.
Schnabeltier also hosts many events throughout the summer with live music on their patio, DIY wine and signs parties, and even a pampering party for Mother’s Day.
President and CEO
South Bend Regional Chamber on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Five years ago, Indiana began taking an important look at its future. Slow population growth had the state concerned about its future economic viability and it knew it needed to do some things differently to spark growth. Eleven regions across the United States were studied and the Regional Cities Initiative was launched to help Indiana capitalize on those lessons learned from those dynamic, growing regions. The end goal, make Indiana communities attractive for new enterprises and for talented workers.
It may still be too early to tell of the Regional Cities program’s impact. Many of the projects are just coming out of the ground. But just two weeks ago, the Census Bureau released its 2017 Population estimates, which gives us a good indicator of the progress Indiana and our area is making. The 2020 Census will be an even more important check-up. Population growth is an important indicator for the state and the communities in it. Communities that aren’t growing are dying.
Indiana is now the 25th fastest-growing state in the country. Fifty-five of Indiana’s 92 counties saw their population grow in 2017, the largest number in more than a decade. The state is growing faster than our Midwest neighbors.
Overall, Indiana grew at .5%. Our metro area was on the plus side though a little slower than the state number, with South Bend-Mishawaka growing at .3% and Elkhart-Goshen growing at .4%. Though there are some encouraging signs in the 2017 numbers, since 2010, the United States has grown at over 5%, Indiana at 2.4% and St. Joseph County at 1.4%.
Several factors influence population growth and decline. Certainly, births and deaths are big factors, but the migration of population is a more important factor and one that communities have a little more influence over. Regional Cities projects are aimed at helping make sure people migrate “to” here instead of “from” here.
What the Regional Cities study showed was that quality of place improvements would help drive population growth. Our local communities have taken that to heart and have major investments planned in parks and recreation, housing, art, public places, and the overall look and feel of the built environment. Much of that early work is focused in the downtowns and will continue to expand out from there.
Those improvements are at times controversial. Taxpayers demand the delivery of essential public services like schools, public safety and road maintenance. Public officials must carefully weigh the demands of both, as each are essential for sustained community growth.
What about the future? The Census Bureau makes population projections going out through 2050. Those projections for St. Joseph County aren’t great. The 2050 estimate is only 207 people more than the 2017 estimate. Though that estimate will keep our area on the positive side of the growth column, that level of growth will leave us well behind our peer communities, the state and the nation.
The Indiana Business Research Center predicts that “just a handful of metropolitan areas will be responsible for most of the state’s population gains in the future.” Our region is positioned to be one of those areas and our Leaders are determined to make sure those 2050 projections don’t come true.
There is a great sense of urgency and a realization that now is the time to capitalize on Indiana’s business climate and efforts to attract new jobs and capital investment. Look for major improvements in the next few years to further position the region to win the battle for talent migration.
One common thread when people are looking for a new job or starting a new job is an intense focus on what to wear. A quick look around Google shows that what does it mean to dress for success is one of the top questions. Is the company you’re interviewing with a suit and tie kind of office? Will you look out of place wearing a dress suit? Is it ok to leave the blazer at home on a warmer day?
But what happens once you get into your job and you get a little more comfortable. In some offices, you’ll realize that it’s ok to wear jeans on Fridays… and then you might “accidentally” wear them on a day that isn’t Friday… and then you realize that no one says anything if you wear them repeatedly throughout the week as long as you don’t have meetings with big clients.
Even if you’re in an office where you can wear jeans every day and it would be weird not to, you might find yourself settling in and wearing a sweatshirt one day when you know you have some button downs just taking up space in your closet.
While dressing casual is comfortable, it’s a scientific fact that dressing for success can be a big confidence boost (a 2012 study that showed that subjects who donned doctors’ lab coats scored higher on attention-related tasks than those who didn’t), it can be so hard when the snow seems to never stop. They always say that you should dress for success, though, so we’ve come up with four tips to beat the blahs and refresh your wardrobe for warmer weather.
Match your style to your boss (or better yet, your boss' boss)
While it may be perfectly acceptable to dress down in your office (and even encouraged on some days!), it’s always a good idea to make mental notes of what your boss is wearing and what the people he or she interacts with regularly are wearing on a regular basis. If you’re looking to move up in your company mirroring their level of professional dress will only reflect well on you as they try to imagine you taking on more advanced roles in the office.
Go to the mall or your favorite store
Online shopping is easy and convenient, but it’s not always the best place to update your wardrobe. It’s hard to understand just how a certain outfit can come together when you buy separate pieces from a bunch of different web pages. Plus, going to a physical store can clue you in on sales that you didn’t know were happening or other items that you didn’t know you were looking for that can help complete an outfit.
Prioritize wardrobe staples
A well-fitting suit or suit separates can seem like an investment, but when you amortize the number of times you’ll wear it or how good you’ll feel wearing something that just fits it’ll be worth it. Spend money on staples that can stay in your closet for years and you’ll only have to update the swapable items occasionally to get new colors or patterns into your wardrobe.
Take stock of what items you need and what size you are in order to be able to take advantage of the best sales. Stores normally have sales around the change of seasons where you can get clothes for the next year at deep discounts, but they also offer deals throughout the year that can help you get some pieces for less. Sites like retailmenot.com and the Honey plug-in on Chrome can also help you find coupon codes if you do end up shopping online.
And, if perhaps, you find that you’ve either over-shopped or don’t have a use for some clothing that you already own, consider donating it to a non-profit that helps outfit those who have job interviews or are in need with professional clothing.
The filter bubble
By Liz Harter
For our second installment of the YPN Book Club, we read Eli Pariser’s The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web is Changing the Way We Read and Think. In May, we’ll be sharing a write-up on our next book: Talent is Overrated by Geoffrey Colvin.
The Internet was supposed to connect us. It was supposed to be a great equalizer in the world, and then it wasn’t. Next came social media and it was supposed to allow us to connect to everyone in the world, and then it didn’t. Eli Pariser shares this fact in his book which focuses on the major change Google announced in December 2009 – Personalized search for everyone. Now, instead of a great equalizer where everyone has access to all of the same information, we’re being served search results, advertisements and even friend suggestions based on the actions we’ve made in the past. Our search history follows us everywhere, and while Pariser focuses on what that means for us Online, it also provided us a major tip that we can use Offline, too.
Did you know that if you and I google the exact same phrase we will get different search results? I’m not just talking about getting different ads on top of our search results, I’m talking entirely different first pages of results with different focuses. I’m talking the fact that what I search for may have 180,000 search results while your results for the exact same search term may only return 120,000 items. The same is true if we visit a newspaper’s website – your top story will be different than mine. And it’s most especially true on Facebook where even if we have the exact same friends and follow the exact same pages our newsfeeds will be different based on our past activities on the social network. These are the Filter Bubbles that we live with every day even if we aren’t aware of them.
Pariser spends quite a bit of time describing just how we’ve gotten to a place where “fake news” can spread rapidly across the internet and convince a lot of people that it’s real. He also explains how “the algorithms that orchestrate our advertisements are starting to orchestrate our lives” as algorithms decide what we’ll see in our email, in our search results, on our Facebook news feeds, on our Yelp and even webpages in ways that we never thought of way back in 2008. But more importantly, he implores us to intentionally reach outside these filtered bubbles to gain more information and see a fuller picture of the world.
This can be as simple as navigating to a new website to read news or following someone with an opposing viewpoint on Twitter. You can also clear your browsing history and delete cookies to get a broader picture of the world. But what can we do offline to burst these bubbles?
How often do we attend a YPN luncheon with a few coworkers where you all walk to the same table and sit down? Or do you immediately beeline for two or three people you’ve met before to sit with them? I know that I am guilty of this. So how many people do we meet that day? Maybe one or two?
So, at the next event you attend, take a chance and reach beyond your bubble to say hello to someone new. Afterall, that’s what YPN is here for – to develop, connect and empower young people in our region.
Do you have an idea for a book we should read? Tweet or Instagram @YPNSouthBend and share your recommendations using #YPNTalk.
If you’re like most people who made a resolution in January, you likely had some goal to be a bit healthier this year. And if you’re like most people who had some goal to be healthier this year, you’ve likely slowed down on achieving that goal at this point.
After the initial excitement of your New Year’s resolution wears off and your cheat day spirals into a cheat week, it’s tempting to throw out your 2018 hopes and dreams and jump right back into your 2017 routine. But spring is just around the corner and there are so many easy ways to shake off the winter slump—even at your desk job.
Try Some Desk Exercises
One of the more obvious solutions to a lack of physical activity during the workday is to simply bring the activity into your office. The internet is full of a million different ways to incorporate your desk into your workout routine. Push-ups and tricep dips can both be done using the edge of your desk.
Try Walk and Talk Meetings
Stuffy conference room meetings don’t have to be the norm anymore. When you’re meeting with colleagues why not take a note from Aaron Sorkin’s book and make like the folks on The West Wing by walking laps with your instead. The increased activity will get your creative juices flowing and your coworkers will be more motivated to keep the meeting from dragging on.
Try Desk Stretches
If you’re not quite ready to take your desk routine into full-on exercise mode, stretching can often do the trick in giving your body a little pick-me-up in the middle of your workday. Stretching at your desk can reduce stress and increase productivity. Try a seated spinal twist or a few quick neck rolls – both can release tensions you’re holding in your spine and shoulders.
Try a Standing Desk
If you haven’t heard, sitting is killing us all — or at least it’s increasing the risk of several conditions like increased blood pressure, high blood sugar and excess body fat. Try standing for longer increments of time throughout your day. You’ll burn more calories, and you might see a spike in your energy levels throughout the day. Don’t have a standing desk? Try a tall counter or create a makeshift one using a stack of sturdy books.
Get Active on Your Lunch Break
It might be too cold to take a walk around the park on your lunch break, but there are plenty of other effortless ways to take advantage of the free time. Try parking further away when you pick up your takeout, or do a lap or two around the office while you eat.
Do you remember that first day of your current job? Your head probably bounced off the pillow as you got ready to start a new chapter of your professional career. Everything about that first month of work was exciting and new. You may have even been excited to go to those dreaded Monday morning staff meetings (Maybe not, but you get the idea).
Then, without warning, something happened. You can’t quite put your finger on when it started, but, as the years passed, you started to lose some of that energy and passion for your job. You might start to ask yourself, “Is it the weekend yet?,” on Monday mornings.
That is okay though—this happens to almost everyone. It doesn’t mean you have to quit and find a new job to fill that void. It just means you must find that love for your job again! We’ve compiled five tips to help regain passion and enthusiasm in your work.
1. RE-IMAGINE YOUR ROLE’S IMPACT
Rather than focusing on your department, try to think about the broad impact your position has from the customer and company to the community and society.
For example, a janitor at a hospital, who considers his/her roles vital to the patient’s experience at the hospital will gain greater satisfaction from their job than a janitor who sees their job just as a means to a paycheck.
2. KEEP TASKS EXCITING
In any position, you will come across the tedious tasks that you just have to get done. Tasks, such as expense reports and facilitating the monthly department meetings, can get repetitive and boring. When you come across a task like this, ask yourself what you can do to make it more exciting and fun. Can you challenge yourself to get your expense reports done in record time or can you add humor to the facilitation? The whole point of this is to take you off that autopilot mode and stimulate your brain.
3. CHANGE WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL
You can’t change everything, but you can change your own attitude. Make an effort to smile, thank people, and don’t give difficult people power over your emotions. Try to think of one awesome thing that happened during your work day. Often, we let the frustrations of the day-to-day operations cloud the bigger reason why we took the job in the first place. A simple change of attitude will do wonders for how you perceive your job.
4. COMPARE YOUR JOB TO YOUR FAVORITE HOBBY
Many of us are willing to spend hours on our favorite hobbies. We have no problem hitting the links to play a round of golf or go canoeing on a warm summer day. If you were to put the same energy into your job that you put into the time spent on your hobby, your enthusiasm in the office will see a nice increase. Try to see if you can bring some of what you love about your hobby into your job and place of work.
5. FOCUS ON LEARNING
Your professional career is a journey. Each day you go in to work is another step on that journey. Try to leverage your job as an opportunity to grow your professional or personal skills. There is no need to feel limited to your official job description, that is just a starting point. Take advantage of every opportunity presented to make going to work a more meaningful endeavor.
President and CEO
South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (1)
Indiana had a record year for new job announcements in 2017 with commitments for more than 30,000 new jobs were secured, according to Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. Unemployment hovered below 4 percent in the state and counties in our region.
There are more than 3.1 million people working in our state. That’s about 370,000 more than were working at the low point of the recession in July 2009. For 100 straight months, the number of people working has increased as our region numbers mirror the state.
Per capita personal income in our region grew at more than double the national average in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, while per capita personal income in 2016 was $42,946, up from $33,160 in 2010.
We continue to lag behind the national average in per capita personal income. Our region’s is only 87 percent of the national average, but we’ve made significant progress. In 2010, we were only 82 percent of the national average. Increasing wages, low unemployment and high employment should have us all optimistic about 2018.
Construction in 2017 also has us optimistic about 2018. The number of projects either announced, started or recently completed is significant. This is arguably the busiest we’ve seen the construction industry in some time. But will we see some slow down in the economy? We don’t think so, at least not in the short term.
Industry experts are predicting a rise in deal volume in 2018. Despite rising costs and labor concerns, those experts indicated there is no slowdown in sight and that a prosperous 2018 should be expected. Let’s hope they are right.
So, how do we keep the momentum?
Next month, a new regional economic development plan will be released. The plan is centered around industry growth, entrepreneurship, attracting talent, education and workforce, and diversity and inclusion. The plan is a follow-up to those developed as part of the Regional Cities process.
Our economic development teams will be on the road telling the story of our region, visiting 12 states for 28 different events or meetings. At the same time, others will hear about the great progress here and reach out to us as they consider whether this is the right spot for the next phase of their business. Many will visit our community to understand more.
This is where we all have an important role to play. Our businesses, cities, towns, neighborhoods, families, schools, churches, civic groups and social groups all play a key role. Each is an important voice in our effort to attract new people and businesses. When people ask, make sure they know you are excited. Maybe reach out to others in your address book and tell them they should come see what’s happening here. We’re in the middle of a big comeback, and it’s taken many people to change our direction. It will take many more to make sure we stay on the right path.
Also published in the South Bend Tribune
President and CEO
South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
The South Shore Railroad Airport Relocation Project remains a top priority of the business community and we believe it should move forward. The project is critical to our community’s efforts to attract and retain top talent. Ideally, we would like to see it completed in a time frame that aligns with the completion of the South Shore Double-Track project.
Both the station relocation and double-track projects will help our region accomplish the goal of a 90-minute South Shore trip by 2020. A 90-minute trip puts our region in a strong, competitive position with other Chicago suburbs. Indiana is well positioned to take advantage of a poor Illinois business climate, and the South Shore will become even a more important connection for people living west of our area coming to South Bend to work and those living here traveling west for work.
The Chamber is committed to seeing the South Shore’s South Bend station being at the South Bend International Airport.
That connection provides the most logical, safe, economical and convenient options for travelers coming to and from our region. The airport location of the South Shore station provides convenient options like parking, restrooms, concessions, as well as the ease of connections to buses, air travel and taxis. In addition, the safety and security of the airport has been a real asset, as people generally feel comfortable coming to a facility that is occupied by many people, is clean, well lit, and has adequate security.
For these reasons, we don’t believe it makes good economic sense to construct a new station near Bendix Drive as has been suggested. Plus, it’s hard to justify the added expense of acquiring land and designing and constructing a building when resources are tight. There are ongoing operational costs to consider as well, such as staffing, security, snow plowing, grass mowing and other maintenance and upkeep.
It is also suggested that even if a Bendix station was built, South Shore intends to continue to the airport. The Chamber has a difficult time wrapping our arms around how the community would benefit from having two stations so close together. It only creates confusion for consumers as they are deciding where to board the train.
The airport connection could open potential economic development opportunities around the airport, especially on the west side. The rail connection, added with the airport air-freight opportunities and the ease of truck access positions that area for future logistics operations seeking the benefits of a multi-modal facility.
The Chamber is sensitive to the concerns of the residents of the Ardmore neighborhood, who’ve spoken out about the airport station relocation. Though we’ve not seen a final route, we’re confident the consultants have taken great care in identifying a route that will minimize disruptions in the neighborhood. For those that will be disrupted, a very fair relocation process is in place to ensure those displaced residents are adequately compensated.
We are anxious for the city of South Bend to finalize the route selection from the consultant and move forward the process of relocating the necessary homeowners. We’re concerned that further delays will make it more difficult to align with the 2020 construction goal. We also are concerned that further delays could impact the city’s ability to tap into federal funds to assist with the project as we anticipate some significant federal dollars to be available for shovel-ready projects as the result of a new infrastructure bill from Congress in 2018.
If you have additional feedback for me, please send me an email at email@example.com.
President and CEO
South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Today (January 3), the Indiana General Assembly will kick off its 2018 legislative session. This year is a short session, scheduled to wrap up in early March. That means legislators will get right to work in anticipation of the early ending. Short sessions also mean no fiscal issues will be considered; those will have to wait for 2019.
But what exactly will they work on? That’s anybody’s guess and will likely come into better focus in the coming weeks. In recent years, the legislative sessions have been marked by big, defining issues like last year’s road funding discussion, or previous sessions’ action on items such as property tax caps, or even years ago on Daylight Saving Time.
Generally, the work of the General Assembly has netted some positive results. Action in recent years has helped vault Indiana to the top of those business climate lists, ranking tops in the Midwest and one of the tops in the nation. What’s next to make Indiana an attractive place for businesses and people?
Workforce issues may garner the most attention this year. You can’t go anywhere without hearing employers lament about their challenges with finding and retaining top talent to meet their workforce needs. This is more of a national phenomenon, rather than a regional or state-specific problem. But is there a legislative fix? Likely not, but the General Assembly will certainly look closely at potential solutions that attempt to ease employer concerns.
Alcohol sales have grabbed many early headlines as the legislature once again takes up the debate about whether consumers should be allowed to buy alcohol on Sundays. The consumers seem to be demanding it, but are the members of the General Assembly hearing them? Probably not. Every year about this time it comes up, and every year about this time it goes away, to be considered again at an unnamed time and date well into the future.
For the business community, the issue with alcohol sales is more about the message it sends to people about Indiana than it is about alcohol. Forty-nine other states have allowed this, while Indiana seems stuck with Prohibition-era laws. At a time when businesses are trying to sell people on the merits of Indiana — the positive business climate, the great quality of life — something as simple as this sends a loud message that Indiana is not progressive and is behind the times.
The opioid epidemic is also likely to grab legislators’ attention. It has far-reaching impacts on communities. Like the workforce issue, there is not an easy or magic fix. But the General Assembly is certain to take a closer look at where Indiana law might be able to help combat the epidemic.
The major metro areas of Indiana have a Regional Development Tax Credit on their legislative agenda. This is the follow-up to the Regional Cities Program and could help provide a needed incentive to fill a gap on development projects that enhance the quality of place within communities. We believe this tool can be critical to efforts to develop and redevelop our urban areas.
The business community has a strong interest in local government modernization and will keep a close eye on that issue this session. Locally, the full implementation of property tax caps in 2019 will put additional pressure on the budgets of our school corporations and local government units. We support initiatives to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs in preparation for the budget crunch that will soon follow.
The session will move fast. Follow it closely at www.iga.in.gov and be sure to let your representatives know what you think about the issues being considered.
When you’re getting your “om” on and taking some time for mindful breathing, have you ever wished that you were completely supported in a suspended cocoon? Or to fly through the air like Superman?
You’re in luck – Beyond Zen offers Aerial Yoga at their Granger studio. Aerial Yoga combines traditional pilates and yoga poses with the help of a hammock suspended from the ceiling. The use of the hammock allows you to breathe deeper into stretches as you’re fully supported when doing downward facing dog, flying yogi and warrior poses throughout the hour-long class. The practice at Beyond Zen is also highly personalized as there are only five hammocks in the classroom leaving you with one-on-one opportunities with the instructor as she helps you feel comfortable with the hammock and makes sure you’re performing the moves correctly. Read More.
So grab some friends and make an evening of it. The schedule and pricing information is available on the Beyond Zen website.
Have you been to Aerial Yoga? We want to see your photos! Tweet or Instagram @YPNSouthBend and share your photos using #YPNtalk!
Why walk through a winter wonderland when you can drive? That’s right. You can enjoy bright lights, unique displays, and a beautiful winter night without leaving the warmth of your car. Where is this magical place? Winding Brook Park, located off East Day Road in Mishawaka.
Since 1962, every December Winding Brook Park residents have been encouraged to decorate their houses with beautiful light displays that brightens hearts of all ages. After driving through the entryway, you will immediately be filled with holiday spirit. Due to its popularity (more than 20,000 people pass through every season!), the traffic is slow but that just gives you extra time to take in the magic. You’ll see everything from classic white lights illuminating a warm glow to a giant display of Santa and his reindeer on a roof. The lights will officially be up on Saturday, December 9 until Christmas evening.
Are you planning on driving through the Christmas lights at Winding Brook? We want to see your photos! Tweet or Instagram @YPNSouthBend and share your photos using #YPNtalk!
Every year it’s the same. At some point between stuffing yourself with Thanksgiving dinner and opening holiday gifts, you plan your annual New Year’s resolutions. If you’re one of the 41 percent of Americans who usually make them, then you probably know there are few things in life as frustratingly elusive as following through on a New Year’s resolution.
For the young professional, we’ve devised five resolutions to help you become a better professional and a better citizen in 2018 – and even included some tips to make following through a little easier.
Are you looking to boost your mental and physical well being in 2018? Those who volunteer have lower rates of depression and lower mortality rates according the Corporation for National and Community Service. Beyond your own personal health, sharing your time and talents helps to strengthen your community and potentially transform lives. For a list of some local volunteer opportunities visit the YPN Volunteer page.
TIP: Put it on your calendar. Don't wait for a free hour or two to magically appear in your schedule, plan it out. When you treat your resolution as an appointment, you're more likely to follow through.
It’s never too soon to start taking your finances seriously. You should be saving 10 to 15 percent of your income for retirement according to many financial experts. If that sounds out of reach, try taking smaller steps like committing to taking full advantage of your employer’s 401(k) match or paying off specific debts that have been hanging over your head. Canceling subscriptions and setting aside that money for savings is another less painful way to save more in 2018.
TIP: A little goes a long way. Don’t stress if you can’t set aside as much time or resources as you’d originally hoped. Something is better than nothing.
For a resolution that’s sure to make you and the planet happier for years to come, try recycling. When you reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, you’re not only conserving valuable natural resources, but you’re also helping to prevent pollution and sustaining the environment for future generations. For St. Joseph County residents, a mandated curbside recycling program has made it easier than ever to pick up the habit. Visit the St. Joseph County Solid Waste Management website for more details.
TIP: Make SMART goals. When you’re creating your resolutions it’s crucial to make specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goals.
LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE
Whether you’re looking to get an advantage on your resume or simply want to know a few catchphrases for your next trip abroad, learning a new language is an enriching experience. Acquiring another language builds up brain power, improving your memory and increasing your attention span. Some research even indicated that bilingualism can delay the effects of Alzheimer’s for years. These days there are many digital tools to make learning a new language not only simple, but fun too. Duolingo, a free, fun and science-based language-learning tool is a great place to start.
TIP: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. When working to achieve your resolution, remember that making lasting changes takes time. Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t immediately reach the finish line.
LAND YOUR DREAM JOB
Struggling in what appears to be a dead-end position? There’s nothing like a new year to spark a job search. Commit to finding a company with a culture that aligns with your lifestyle and don’t settle for less. Take small steps like updating your resume, beefing up your presence on LinkedIn and reconnecting with friends in the industry for a start. When your career gives you energy instead of draining you, you’ll know you’ve found the right fit.
TIP: Use the buddy system. The best way to hold yourself accountable to meeting your resolutions is to share your goals. The support of family and friends when you’re trying something new is crucial.
President and CEO
South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at 12:00:00 am Comments (1)
The Indiana General Assembly reacted to protests from voters over rising property tax bills and in 2008 placed property tax caps into law. The caps limit tax bills to 1 percent of the assessed value of homes, 2 percent for farms and rental properties and 3 percent for businesses.
In 2010, voters affirmed that action of the General Assembly by statewide referendum as 72 percent voted in favor of placing the caps into the Indiana Constitution.
The predicted result was homeowners, landlords and businesses would save significant money. Several years later, that has held true and Indiana has vaulted to the front of most business rankings, boasting the best business climate in the Midwest and one of the tops in the country. This is in large part because of the “certainty” that exists in the Indiana tax system.
At the same time, the action has left many state and local government units scrambling. Initial predictions were that there would be more than $500 million in annual savings to the taxpayers statewide, meaning fewer dollars available to governments for the delivery of essential services.
Many lawmakers felt local governments would consider consolidation options, including reducing the number of school or library districts and consolidating emergency dispatch services. Across Indiana, communities have been slow to follow that thinking with just few consolidations occurring.
In St. Joseph and Lake counties, an additional 10 years were granted for full property tax cap implementation to help the counties better deal with outstanding debt obligations. Still, 2017 estimates by the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) had $78 million in total savings to the taxpayers.
The City of South Bend, St. Joseph County, the City of Mishawaka, and the South Bend Community School Corporation were hit hardest. Other school corporations, libraries and public transportation agencies also saw major cuts in revenue. Those units are also bracing for more losses when full implementation comes in 2020.
I’m one who has benefited. My property taxes are now lower. But am I better off? The jury is still out on that one.
In St. Joseph County, no consolidations have occurred, and there doesn’t seem to be much appetite for that. Instead the level of services has or will be affected.
It seems daily in the news that taxpayers are wondering about police protection, leaf collection, street paving, soon snow plowing, park services, public transportation, 911 services, the number of students in a classroom, the number of schools in a system or school transportation. I could go on.
The cap of property taxes has a direct correlation to the delivery of each of those services. The same public, of which an overwhelming majority voted for tax caps, has been slow to embrace changes in service levels. It will only get more difficult in the coming years.
While our elected leaders are reducing service levels to meet current budget demands, they must also carefully balance the need to make our communities attractive for new people and businesses. Something must give.
We can’t tax or cut our way to prosperity. We have to find the right balance and must be quicker to embrace change. After all we demanded it in 2008 and affirmed it in 2010.
Also published in the South Bend Tribune