Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Per Capita Income Trending Upward

Posted by: Jeff Rea, President & CEO
South Bend Regional Chamber on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 at 12:00:00 am
 Comments (0)
Jeff Rea

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.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

JEFF'S TAKE: Mid-Term Recap

Posted by: Jeff Rea, President & CEO, South Bend Regional Chamber on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Jeff Rea

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.

Email me

Friday, September 21, 2018

Indiana Enterprise Center Development

Posted by: Jeff Rea
President & CEO
South Bend Regional Chamber on Friday, September 21, 2018 at 8:00:00 am
 Comments (1)
Indiana Enterprise Center


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.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Eat a Good Breakfast: Words of Wisdom from Commencement Speakers

Posted by: YPN South Bend on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

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.

Oprah Winfrey: USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

"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."

Chadwick Boseman, actor: Howard University

"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."

Abby Wambach, soccer star: Barnard College

"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."

Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO of Chobani: University of Pennsylvania

"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."

Jesmyn Ward, author: Tulane University

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.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Summertime Is Back in The Bend

Posted by: YPN South Bend on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

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.

red table plaza lunchtime 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.

central park

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.

Merrifield Park

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.

Fridays by the fountain

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.

Battell Park Bandshell

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.

Eberhart-Petro clubhouse deck

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.

Chris Wilson Pavilion

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—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.

Rafting in Downtown 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!

Thrills and Fun at Edge Adventures

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.

Visit the Animals at Indiana's First-Ever Zoo

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.

Best. Week. Ever. 2018

May 28-June 3 | Times Vary | South Bend Area

Riverlights Music Festival

June 1-2 | Times Vary | East Bank Emporium Parking Lot

35th Annual Sunburst Races

June 2 | Races Begin at 6:30am | Four Winds Field

51st Annual Leeper Park Art Fair

June 16-17 | 10:00am-6:00pm (June 16); 10:00am-5:00pm (June 17) | Leeper Park

DTSB Summer Restaurant Week

July 9-22 | All Day Long | Downtown South Bend

Urban Adventure Games

July 28 | 8:00am-12:00pm | Wayne Street Parking Garage-South Bend

Art Beat

August 18 | 11:00am-7:00pm | Downtown South Bend

Book Club

Posted by: YPN South Bend on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

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.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Professional Development: What are you listening to?

Posted by: YPN South Bend on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

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?

HBR Ideacast

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. 

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.


Freakonomics Radio

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."

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.


Planet Money

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.

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.

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.

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.

Our Take: Wineries to Visit This Summer

Posted by: YPN South Bend on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

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!

Dablon Vineyards

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

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.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Population Growing, But Slowly

Posted by: Jeff Rea
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.  

Monday, March 26, 2018

YPN Book Club

Posted by: YPN South Bend on Monday, March 26, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

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.

Dressing for Success

Posted by: YPN South Bend on Monday, March 26, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (1)

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.

Shop sales

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 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.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Five Ways to Stay Active at Your Desk Job

Posted by: YPN South Bend on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

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.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

How to Fall in Love With Your Job All Over Again

Posted by: YPN South Bend on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Let's Keep the Positive Momentum Going

Posted by: Jeff Rea
President and CEO
South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 12:00:00 am
 Comments (0)

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

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Chamber Continues Push for South Shore Improvements at Airport

Posted by: Jeff Rea
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

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Much to Do in a Short Amount of Time

Posted by: Jeff Rea
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 and be sure to let your representatives know what you think about the issues being considered.