Author Archives: Bloomington Chamber Staff

Dialing Changes Coming to Southern Indiana in Early 2015



How you dial out on your your cellphone or land line phone will be affected by some changes coming in early 2015. Our friends at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce sent out this great summary on the upcoming dialing changes that will affect the southern third of our state. Take a moment to read through and check out the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) web site or view their FAQs at

We, and many others, have told you about the new area code coming to the southern third of our state. The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, and its IN 812 industry group, prepared the following update (including effective dates and equipment upgrade procedures, if necessary) for Indiana Chamber members and the broader community.Consumer Counselor, and its IN 812 industry group, prepared the following update (including effective dates and equipment upgrade procedures, if necessary) for Indiana Chamber members and the broader community.

To ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers, the new 930 area code will be added to the area served by 812. The new 930 area code will serve the same geographic area currently served by the existing 812 area code, which generally covers the southern third of the state of Indiana serving communities such as Bloomington, Columbus, Evansville, New Albany and Terre Haute. This is known as an area code overlay.

What is an area code overlay?

An overlay is the addition of another area code (930) to the same geographic region as an existing area code (812). An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code.

How does this affect Chamber members?

As a result of the overlay, a new local dialing procedure requires callers to dial area code + telephone number. This means that all local calls in the 812 area code that are currently dialed with seven digits will need to be dialed using area code + telephone number.

Chamber members that have services and equipment currently located in the 812 area code and programmed to dial only seven digits must be updated or reprogrammed to dial area code + telephone number for all calls in the 812/930 area code.

What will be the new dialing procedure?

To complete local calls, the new dialing procedure requires callers to dial area code + telephone number. This means that all calls in the 812 area code that are currently dialed with seven digits will need to be dialed using area code + telephone number. The same dialing procedure will apply to telephone numbers assigned to the new 930 area code.

When will the change begin?

Beginning February 7, 2015, you must use the new dialing procedures, as described above for all calls. After this date, if you do not use the new dialing procedures, your calls will not be completed and a recording will instruct you to hang up and dial again.

Reprogramming of alarm equipment should take place between March 1, 2014 and February 7, 2015. This period allows either the old or new dialing procedure to be used to complete calls. All chamber members must make their programming changes during this period.

To enable you to verify that equipment can complete calls to the new 930 area code, a special test number, 930-930-1930, will be in service beginning July 7, 2014 and it will remain active through April 7, 2015.

Beginning March 7, 2015, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers using the new 930 area code.

What will remain the same?

• Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change.

• The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the overlay.

• What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed.

• You can still dial just three digits to reach 911.

• If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 are currently available in your community, you will still dial these codes with just three digits.

Who may you contact with questions?

Customers with questions about the dialing procedure change should be directed to their local service provider, or they can visit the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) web site.

Fraud Awareness Week: How Much Do You Know About Cybercrime?

This week has been coined “International Fraud Awareness Week”, and it didn’t come any too soon. Organizations worldwide lose an estimated five percent of their annual revenues to fraud, according to a study conducted by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).

Old National Bancorp- a proud member of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce- is joining companies throughout the world in an effort to educate and raise awareness about fraud to proactively fight fraud and help safeguard business and investments.

 “Banks are on high alert for fraud associated with cybercrime, including malicious emails, malware, phishing attempts, zero day exploits, or card breaches at retailers,” said Old National Chief Risk Officer Candice Rickard. “A recent study by the American Bankers Association indicated that more than two thirds of cyber security incidents were the result of phishing attempts.”

 Here are some fraud prevention tips from Old National’s online security center:

 Mobile banking precautions

  • Log off of your Mobile Banking session when finished and close your browser.
  • Do not use the Password Save or Auto Complete function in your browser.
  • Do not save your user ID or password on your phone and don’t share them with anyone.
  • Do not use your mobile device to connect to unsecure networks.
  • Protect your device against theft and/or use by others.
  • Use anti-virus/anti-malware software on your mobile device.

 Social media tips

  • Do not choose usernames and passwords that are the same or similar to ones you use to access your online banking.
  • Never share personal information such as user IDs, PINs and account numbers.
  • Never include information that can help thieves steal your identity, such as your address, phone number or even employment information.
  • Always use privacy settings to limit access to your information, but realize that information posted on social media sites is permanent and may still be accessible.
  • Never announce on social media sites when you will be out of town.

  Monitor your account information

  • Look over your bank statements as soon as they arrive.
  • Sign up for Old National Online Banking so you can view your account history and transactions 24/7. You can also set up eAlerts to receive notification of certain activities on your accounts.
  • Regularly review your credit report for suspicious inquiries, unexplained accounts, incorrect balances and typos. You are entitled to one free credit report per year from each major consumer reporting agency – Experian, Trans Union and Equifax – under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. To order your free reports, go to the official site or call 1-877-322-8228. Avoid companies that ask you to pay for a copy of your credit reports.





President Jeb Conrad Talks I-69 Summit Success

Your Chamber was proud to be the lead organizer for the I-69 Regional Summit…Driving Opportunity here in Bloomington on October 20-21. The Summit brought together more than 350 representatives from various sectors including business, government, higher education, defense, economic development, tourism, agriculture, trade and logistics to examine ways to enable collaboration and leverage the new and existing I-69 corridor from a statewide perspective.

The Chamber conceived the Summit for a series of reasons, but most importantly to have a forum for strategic discussions with respect to the impact and opportunities this new major infrastructure project will have on the business environment locally, regionally, statewide and nationally.

Highlights included a panel luncheon with Congressmen Todd Rokita, Larry Bucshon and Todd Young, who are all members of the I-69 Congressional Caucus, moderated by Gerry Dick of Inside INdiana Business. Keynote speakers Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann and Becky Skillman, President and CEO of Radius Indiana, shared their vision and perspective.  Attendees participated in breakouts and panel discussions on topics including trade/logistics, land use planning, understanding P3s, site selection and economic development. Other highlights included a tour of the Section 4 project and an evening reception at the IU Memorial Stadium.

The Summit provided a forum for interested parties and experts to come together, learn of the progress of I-69 in each of the corridor states, understand the global influence of its future and a chance to make new contacts. I was amazed at the significance this interstate will have for enabling trade and logistics from Mexico to Canada, and opening new avenues for connecting our region to the world. It is easy to see the local challenges and opportunities as the road pushes through, but a realistic view from 35,000 feet is necessary to be well prepared and take advantage of the opportunities the infrastructure brings to our region.

The State of Indiana also sees I-69 as the most impactful project for the tourism industry. Having interstate access to the State’s unique assets that attract visitors, is expected to generate new ways to capture travelers’ dollars in Indiana, expose a broader audience to these assets, and attract new business opportunities in this industry sector.

Locally, I-69 will bring safe and efficient connectivity for our businesses, employees and customers between Evansville and Indianapolis, not to mention Crane Naval Base. This will open new doors for employers to operate more effectively in the region, expand their employee base and capture additional business and residential investment.

The Summit was an excellent way for our Chamber to showcase our local businesses, connect them to other key contacts and open the door to see what Bloomington, Monroe County and the region have to offer.

It was a huge task for us to take on, but with the support of a great Committee, key partners like the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Hoosier Voices for I-69, and our sponsors, this event puts us on the map on a broader scale as we move forward. A public thank you to all those who made this event possible and we look forward to hosting again in 2015, our Chamber’s 100th Anniversary!

If you are interested in more information from the Summit, you can access such at or our Chamber website.




Fall into Celebration

hello octoberIt’s October! And time for pumpkin flavored everything. The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is as excited as the next guy about the crisp fall air, beautiful colors and the return of the pumpkin spice latte. But we’re even more excited about our 100th anniversary. Only three months until we ring in the New Year and twelve months of celebration for the Chamber’s centennial.

Since 1915 the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce has been dedicated to creating better business and a better community. In fact, it’s our tagline. Adopted in 2003 after a rebranding initiative, “Better Business. Better Community.” captures the belief of our founding members almost a century ago.

As The Chamber prepares for our next 100 years of service to the business community (and an even bigger celebration), we will leverage our current strengths and recommit to raise the voice of business in Bloomington. It may be getting colder outside but the business climate is hot and we’re here to protect it.

We’re not saying you have to dance on your desks and hang piñatas around the office like we did, but get excited, big things are coming in 2015.

Start Strong: Indiana Business Taxes for New and Small Businesses

The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is pleased to share this opportunity with our area businesses.  If you are a new or small business, we encourage you to attend the September 4th presentation offered here in Bloomington.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently offered a sobering statistic for anyone following their business dreams: forty-nine percent of businesses fail in the first five years.

download (1)One factor that can contribute to business failure is failing to understand taxes. When new and small businesses have difficulty with taxes it is often due to not understanding regulations regarding filing and paying Indiana taxes.

To address this issue, the Indiana Department of Revenue is partnering with the Indiana CPA Society to host three free presentations throughout the state. The presentation, Start Strong: Indiana Business Taxes for New and Small Businesses, discusses pertinent tax information for new businesses, and attendees will have the opportunity to have questions answered by an experienced business tax auditor and network with community business members.

Register for a free Start Strong presentation on Sept. 4, 2014 in Bloomington, Ind. here.

If you’re interested in attending a different Start Strong presentation, or hosting the presentation for your community, visit

Chamber Board Chair Reflects on the Past Year

William Stephan Indiana University - Vice President for Engagement

William Stephan
Indiana University – Vice President for Engagement

It has been my pleasure to serve as Chair of The Chamber’s Board of Directors for the past year. As that term comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect on the progress and the impact we have made. As the voice of business for our nearly 1,000 members, The Chamber has continued to advance the interests of business in our community. At the heart of this effort are our many volunteers, members and staff who are committed to building better business and better community for the greater Bloomington/Monroe County area.

Our mission to provide leadership through member engagement, business advocacy and civic partnerships to strengthen our community and business environment is an ongoing effort supported by several strategic goals. I’m proud to say that we have continued to advance this mission and make progress in each of our strategic goals.

One of the most direct ways that The Chamber represents its members is in the area of advocacy and public policy. The Chamber staff, Advocacy Council, Legislative Council and various committees, all serve as the voice of business at the local, state and federal levels.

Perhaps no issue reflects our commitment to Bloomington’s future more than the ways in which we have helped lead, facilitate and manage negotiations related to Section 5 of I-69.  Brokering discussions among INDOT representatives, local elected officials, and business and community leaders has enabled constructive dialogue and progress consistent with community expectations for reasonable and beneficial outcomes.

The Chamber is also leading the way on broader discussions as we plan for the I-69 Regional Summit this October. This event will bring together representatives from the business, government, higher education, defense, economic development, tourism, agriculture, trade and logistics sectors to examine ways to enable collaboration and leverage the new and existing I-69 corridor from a statewide perspective.

Chamber leadership on downtown parking issues has offered an opportunity to engage in collaborative discussions with stakeholders and influence decisions by City leaders as more permanent policies are established.  We continue to carefully monitor issues related to downtown building and signage along with the full array of regulatory and zoning matters that impact our members. We will continue to participate in discussions surrounding safe and civil city initiatives and other broad issues that impact our members and the vitality of our community.

The Chamber’s ongoing leadership with the Franklin Initiative—our education retention and attainment program–remains one of our most significant efforts and one that has dramatically impacted the lives and futures of scores of Bloomington area students.  We remain especially grateful to our supporters, such as AT&T, Smithville Charitable Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County for their generous support that has enabled program success and continuity.

Honoring our community’s leading educators earlier this year at our Educators of the Year Awards dinner was both heartwarming and a compelling reminder of the commitment our teachers and counselors make to our youngsters and the impact they have in their lives and on our community.

Events are one of the primary ways we provide opportunities for our members to network with peers, potential customers, community leaders and elected officials. This year, we were able to bring in some very influential and well-known speakers. Hosting former US Senator Evan Bayh as the keynote speaker at our Federal Focus Luncheon was a Chamber highlight, as was our annual Governor’s Luncheon featuring Governor Mike Pence in IU’s newly refurbished Alumni Hall.  These two annual events are just a couple of ways the Chamber provides a forum for our members to hear from our federal and state elected officials.

And in August, we will hold our annual Health in Business luncheon with G. William Hoagland who is a senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. Hoagland will share insights on the impacts of healthcare reform for employers and carriers, and discuss the effects of the political climate in Washington on healthcare reform.

Finally, just a note of sincere thanks to my fellow board members, whose commitment to a better Bloomington cannot be overstated.  Their dedication and spirit of volunteerism is truly inspirational and so indicative of what makes Bloomington a truly remarkable community and a great place to do business!

HJR-6: Understanding Why The Chamber is Considering a Formal Position on This Issue

As we approach the 2014 Legislative Session, there’s been a great deal of speculation about which issues will be addressed by the Indiana General Assembly. One issue is known. This is the state constitutional amendment called House Joint Resolution 6 (HJR-6). This piece of legislation has prompted much discussion, confusion and debate in the media and in communities around the state.

The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce has not taken
a position on HJR-6, and it’s possible we won’t.

 But there are several key questions about this amendment that make it deserving to be vetted through our thoughtful advocacy process. Our Legislative Council, Advocacy Council, Executive Committee and Board of Directors – a diverse group of volunteers who represent our 1,100 members – are reviewing and discussing HJR-6’s potential impact on businesses, our members and our region’s ability to do business. It is a discussion on how our legislators spend the next session and how to protect our community, region and State’s business climate.

The Questions
With the growing debate come questions: Why have Indiana’s major employers like Eli Lily and Cummins, higher education institutions like Indiana University and Ball State, and chambers of commerce like the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce come forward in opposition to HJR-6?

More importantly, why is the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce considering taking a position on HJR-6? Why would The Chamber enter what appears to be a moral issue? Shouldn’t The Chamber’s focus remain on business issues? All good questions that I hope to answer, while beginning with a quick overview of what this amendment is.

Background on HJR-6
Since 1997, Indiana law has stated that same sex marriage is prohibited. HJR-6 would convert the current state law defining marriage to an amendment to the State’s Constitution. What HJR-6 would do is put the prohibition into the Indiana constitution, a status which would be very difficult to change and to do so, would take another completely new constitutional amendment process. It would not only prohibit same sex marriage, as the statute already does, but any “legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage.” The Indiana General Assembly will consider this amendment for the second and final time early next year. If the legislature approves the amendment, Indiana voters will be asked to vote on the amendment in a statewide referendum in November 2014.

Now that we know what it is, let’s address the bigger question:

Why is The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce
considering taking a position on HJR-6?

Possible Impact to Business
The issue being debated by the business community is not the moral aspect of this issue. On the surface, HJR-6 appears to be a moral issue involving same sex marriage and where individuals stand on this issue. But, HJR-6 has far-reaching ramifications for businesses currently operating in our state and those that we might attract to set up shop here in the future.

Efficiency in Government
The Chamber is the voice of business and, through our 2014 Legislative Survey, our members have let us know the critical issues for our local businesses remain: Education, Workforce Development, Regulatory Reform, and Infrastructure. These concerns will be overshadowed by the political capital expended discussing an issue that already has a law in place. The Chamber believes in efficient, effective government at all levels. With a law already in place, HJR-6 is redundant and a strain on law makers’ time and taxpayer money.

Ability to Attract & Retain Workforce Talent
Along with being the voice of business, The Chamber also works to protect a favorable business climate to retain and attract jobs, talent and commerce in our community and region. Indiana has made great progress in adding business-friendly laws to the books, such as corporate income tax reduction, investment in roads and infrastructure, and in workforce development, with more always needing to be done. In addition, more and more businesses and institutions now offer, or are considering adding, benefits specifically for those with partners or same-sex spouses, stating that these benefits are necessary and assist with their talent attraction/retention efforts. Those major Indiana employers who have stepped out in opposition to HJR-6 have stated that certain provisions of HJR-6 would limit their ability to offer benefits that they currently provide to their employees and could inhibit their ability to attract a talented workforce from around the globe, thereby negatively impacting their ability to compete. Eli Lilly & Co. and Cummins, two of Indiana’s corporate heavyweights, have been very vocal about the amendment’s potential effect on their ability to recruit talent and stay competitive. Our community’s largest employer, Indiana University, echoed the same concerns with their opposition to HJR-6.

Legal & Policy Quagmire
With several states – including our neighbor Illinois – passing laws legalizing same-sex marriages, other businesses have stated that adding such limitations to the Indiana Constitution gives the perception that we are not a progressive, business-friendly state. The Indianapolis Chamber, in opposing the amendment, suggested it could affect employer-provided domestic partner benefits, municipal human rights ordinances, legal contracts and other legal protections for unmarried couples, gay or straight. This then creates a legal and policy quagmire for our businesses and institutions.

The Process Going Forward
We are reviewing the legislation through our due diligence process. We are listening to feedback and concerns from our members. Our volunteers that serve on our Legislative Council, Advocacy Council, Executive Committee and Board of Directors are asking hard questions, ever mindful of the role they play in representing our membership. There are no easy answers when debates involve personal beliefs. But The Chamber and its volunteers are looking at HJR-6 in the context of business and the effect it will have on business. That’s our role as the voice of business in our community.

How to Communicate Better at Work

This article is from We take no credit for this. It is written by Susan Adams a member of the Forbes staff. 

The title of Karen Friedman’s new book isn’t exactly subtle. Shut Up And Say Something: Business Communication Strategies to Overcome Challenges and Influence Listeners lays out her no-nonsense philosophy about how to best get your point across, drawn from her 35 years of experience as a professional communicator. As a TV news reporter, she worked at local stations in cities from Milwaukee to Huntsville, Ala. For the last 15 years, she’s headed up Karen Friedman Enterprises, a communication coaching firm in Philadelphia.

How does she apply her ideas in the workplace? Her No. 1 rule, gleaned from two decades in the TV news trenches: “It is absolutely critical to be as direct, to the point and concise as possible,” she says, in a lively, forceful voice with a Philadelphia tinge. Vagueness is all too common in the workplace, she observes, and you easily remedy it by following the newscaster’s drill of spelling out who, what, where, when and why.


“Bosses often say, ‘Can you have that report to me? It’s really important, and I’d really like to have it,’” Friedman says. A more effective way to deliver that message: “Can you please get that report to me? I’d like it on my desk by 5 p.m. Friday.”

Another strategy Friedman draws from newscasting: Hit the headline first. Too many of us are just plain long-winded, she says. “People don’t need to know everything we know,” she explains. “Think about what the single most important point is that you need to make, the central idea. If your computer died or the fire alarm went off, what would be the one thing they needed to hear?”

Your attitude while talking is also important. “It’s not just your words that convey a message,” Friedman says. “It’s all of you.” If you slouch, jam your hands into your pockets, shuffle your feet and avoid eye contact, people will get the impression you don’t want to communicate with them. Pry your eyes and thumbs away from your electronic devices, she admonishes. “Pretend that your colleague is your adorable five-year-old who you would drop everything for if she walked into the office,” she suggests.

Remember that the world doesn’t revolve around you. For Friedman, this was a tough lesson to learn, coming from the ego-driven world of television. If you open yourself to other opinions and perspectives, you’ll find it much easier to get your own message across. “Take a poll at your next meeting,” she suggests. “Draw the other people out.”

Do ask open-ended questions. They can buy time, clarify where another person is coming from and prevent misinterpretation. For instance: “I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying, so could you give me an example?”

Friedman is also fond of the bromide that if you can’t say something nice, you shouldn’t say anything at all. “Don’t talk about other people. That identifies you as a gossip and someone who can’t be trusted,” she advises. You may think you’re being entertaining or engendering closeness, but “you meet the same people on the way up as on the way down.”

Another Friedman rule: No bull. If you have bad news to deliver, lay it out plainly. It’s difficult to talk about layoffs and belt tightening, but if you’re in a situation where you have to convey that sort of information, your employees and colleagues likely already know something is up. It is far better to be straight with them than not to communicate at all, even if you can’t give them the answers they’d like.

Always deliver bad news in person. It may seem easier to convey negative information via e-mail, but imagine how you’d feel if you learned electronically that your best work friend had been sacked, vs. hearing it from another human being.

Finally, don’t be a naysayer. Even if you think your colleague or boss is completely wrong about something, you can counter with an open-ended question that shows respect and a can-do spirit. One possible response: “Have you had a situation where that strategy worked?” Says Friedman, “You can learn from the answer to that, and not be a negative Nellie.”

Make Sure Your Customers Can Find You!

How many times have you attempted to contact a business or a specific person at a company, only to find the information is incorrect?  Remember the frustration you felt?  Now, think about your own behavior…Did you continue to look for the correct information or did you simply move your business to a new vendor?

Most people will not put the time and effort into trying to figure it out. It’s easier to find someone else to work with — whose contact information is correct.

That’s why it’s important for our members to keep their business contact information up-to-date!  The Chamber website is the most trusted source of business information and the place most people turn to in order to find products, services and businesses.

Now is the time to double-check your information as The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce heads into the production of its printed Membership Directory.  By taking a few minutes to check your business listing on our website, making any necessary edits – your customers will always know how to reach you.

Check out my #constantcontact newsletter for more information on how to do this easily!

Superintendent Glenda Ritz At Our 2013 Education Forum

Glenda RitzWe are excited to announce that the Chamber will have Democratic School Superintendent Glenda Ritz  here in Bloomington as part of  our 2013 Education Forum!

Since we scheduled Ritz back in April, many issues have come up regarding our state’s education system.

These include the dropping of the A-F grading system in the state of Indiana, Core Competencies  regarding  the most effective ways to teach our youth , and our most recent issue regarding Grade Transparencies.

Attendees of the forum will be able to have a Q&A session with Ritz.

She will be here on October 1st from 4-5pm at Deer Park Manor.

For more details, click here