2008’s local economic successes celebrated
By Bob Zaltsberg 331-4364 | email@example.com
Announcements of hundreds of new jobs that could generate more than $100 million in local economic activity highlighted 2008 in the local business community.
The successes were outlined by Ron Walker, president of the Bloomington Economic Development Corp., during the organization’s annual meeting Wednesday. Fred Glass, Indiana University vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics, was the keynote speaker.
Walker listed a number of companies that made positive news in a year generally recognized for bad economic headlines.
Cook Pharmica announced its intention to create 200 new jobs. Walker said an economic impact analysis shows Pharmica’s expansions may support another 229 jobs through supplier activity and household spending, leading to about $91 million in new economic activity.
BioConvergence announced a partnership with Eli Lilly and Co. The growth of the company will have an estimated impact of $21 million.
A new biotech start-up, Predictive Physiology & Medicine (PPM), announced plans to expand and create 75 new jobs by 2010.
Author Solutions started 2008 with 199 employees and began this year with 325. The company acquired a competitor and moved it from Nebraska to Bloomington, and also announced a $4.5 million investment to expand its Liberty Drive operation and create 100 more jobs.
Walker also noted projects undertaken by Oliver Winery, Cook Medical, Mirwec Film, MSP Aviation and Morris Innovative Research.
Walker praised the support of governmental units for their work on economic issues, including the city of Bloomington’s efforts on life sciences and technology issues and its commitment to quality of life through development of the B-Line Trail; Monroe County’s efforts, particularly in providing funding for the Indiana Center for the Life Sciences; Indiana University’s work on multiple fronts, but particularly in breaking ground on a 40,000-square-foot business incubator on the city’s east side; and the work of Ivy Tech Community College, which he called a “proactive, flexible and responsive” institution. It two days ago opened the Indiana Center for Life Sciences and is the “premier trainer for so many jobs offered locally.”
Lynn Coyne, chairman of the BEDC board, linked the Indiana Center for Life Sciences and IU’s incubator as reasons for economic optimism. He noted people will be trained in the Ivy Tech-related center on the city’s west side for jobs that will be developed in IU’s incubator on the city’s east side.
“The things we have here in Bloomington, not everybody has,” he said.
Glass said it was “no accident” that he picked the BEDC for his first major public presentation. An attorney with a strong business background, he noted he is an unconventional choice to be an athletic director because he has never been a coach or a Division I athlete.
He said he wants to develop a partnership between the athletics department and the greater community in ways large and small.
He said, for instance, that facilities operated by the athletic department constitute “built-in infrastructure that might help (community organizations) put on events.”
On a larger level, the enhanced quality of life brought on by the presence of Big Ten college athletics can help attract new companies that rely on knowledgeable workers. He said he knows of a major employer that chose Indianapolis over Louisville because Indy has an NFL franchise.
He again stressed his priorities of rules compliance, strong academics and athletic excellence, and said he plans also to stress accessibility.