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  • November 22, 2019 5:17 PM | Anonymous

    When lawmakers created a certified technology park program in 2002, they were aiming to attract technology-based startups and high-wage jobs to Indiana, while fostering innovation through partnerships among companies and researchers.

    And to encourage investment at the sites—for things like infrastructure as well as shared labs and co-working spaces—the law allowed the parks to keep up to $5 million in tax revenue over their lifetimes that would have otherwise gone to state and local governments.

    But as the program is maturing, 17 of the state’s 23 tech parks have either hit or about to hit that $5 million cap—and the people who run the sites say that puts all their progress at risk.

    “We have to maintain our momentum,” said Ted Baker, the executive director of the Innovation Connector, a tech incubator in Ontario Place Certified Technology Park in Muncie.

    That’s why the Indiana Technology & Innovation Association has put expanding revenue for tech parks on its 2020 agenda. It’s one of nine priorities the association outlined this week at a reception with tech leaders and legislators at Salesforce Tower.

    “Indiana’s technology industry is experiencing tremendous growth,” said the association’s board chairman, David Becker, who is also president and CEO of First Internet Bank. “To continue this momentum, Indiana must embrace and position itself as a leader in the technology and innovation economy.”

    The group developed its initiatives after months of work by committees and broke the list into three categories: capital, place and talent.

    Some of the initiatives are aimed at lawmakers—like the proposal to boost the tax revenue diverted to tech parks—while others don’t need legislation, such as urging Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration to negotiate more non-stop domestic and international flights in and out of Indiana.

    The tech park proposal falls under the category of place.

    That effort actually started several years ago, as the first parks started reaching the $5 million cap. The administrators of the sites proposed that lawmakers let them keep up to $500,000 in tax revenue per year—money that, again, would otherwise go to the state and local governments.

    Baker said that would allow the parks to continue building and updating infrastructure as well as administer incubators and co-working spaces where many new businesses get their starts.

    “The $5 million helped get the parks established,” Baker said. “The $500,000 keeps them moving into the future. It’s propelling those tech parks that are in existence.”

    Ontario Place, for example, is home to more than 40 companies that employ more than 900 people, who earn an average of $68,000. Most of the companies, though, are small, Baker said, and need the services the park provides.

    But tech folks have struggled to persuade lawmakers of that need.

    After setting the proposal aside for two sessions, lawmakers this year agreed to give parks that have hit their caps up to $100,000 in annual tax revenue. But lawmakers also changed the calculation that determines what revenue the parks are eligible to collect, a move that significantly reduced the amount of money that could be available.

    Here’s how: The 2002 law set a base year for determining the revenue available for parks—with the goal of ensuring that only the taxes generated by new investment and activity could be captured.

    For example, say a community created a tech park in an area where a company or companies already existed. Whatever tax revenue was already being generated within the park’s boundaries would continue to flow to state and local government coffers. That amount became the baseline.

    In the following years, the parks were allowed to collect any additional revenue over the baseline—taxes created as new companies moved into the park or existing companies expanded and hired new employees—up to the $5 million cap.

    But this year, when lawmakers expanded the amount available to the tech parks by $100,000 per year, they set a new baseline. The results is that the parks can only capture the taxes paid on growth that occurs after they hit the $5 million cap.

    The change allowed the state and local governments to begin collecting revenue that had been diverted for years to the tech parks.

    But Baker said it’s just not enough revenue to maintain the work the parks and the incubators are doing.

    So in 2020, the association will ask lawmakers to reset the baseline to the original amount—and let tech parks collect up to $500,000 annually.

    “We believe that this would very beneficial to many, many communities,” Baker said.

    But it may also be a tough sell in a non-budget year. Lawmakers approve the state’s two-year budget in what they call long sessions, which occur in odd-numbered years. In even-numbered years, like 2020, they meet for less time and shy away from legislation that spends money or reduces tax revenue.

    That’s why most of the proposals on the tech association’s agenda for 2020 would not require new spending. The list does also include initiatives the group wants to pursue in 2021.

    “We were trying to narrow in on what we can accomplish in this legislative session but still be planning ahead,” said Jennifer Hallowell, the association’s manager. “We want to build toward the budget session in 2021.”

    Among the other proposals on the 2020 list:

    – Require state entities that invest in Indiana business—such as Elevate Ventures, which administers grants and programs for the Indiana Economic Development Corp.—annually report the amount of money they have invested in companies owned by women, minorities and veterans.

    – Add vendors of smart-technology products to the state’s list of contracted vendors to help local governments access the equipment more easily and affordably.

    – Encourage the state to develop cybersecurity guidelines and best practices to serve as a resource for local governments and help them access vetted cybersecurity products and providers.

    – Expand and update the state’s Next Level Jobs program—which provides training assistance for in-demand jobs—to include more technology occupations and certifications.

    – Allow companies that receive skills and training grants from the IEDC to use a portion of the money to pay relocation expenses for highly talented workers.

  • November 20, 2019 5:16 PM | Anonymous

    INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Technology & Innovation Association has released its 2020 Policy Agenda. The organization’s priorities include investing in more non-stop domestic and international flights to help connect Indiana businesses with industry leaders, recruiting and retaining talent, and supporting a statewide cybersecurity initiative.

     The Indiana Technology & Innovation Association is a statewide association of Indiana’s technology-driven companies and partners. The ITIA includes more than 120 technology companies throughout Indiana.

    “Indiana’s technology industry is experiencing tremendous growth. To continue this momentum, Indiana must embrace and position itself as a leader in the technology and innovation economy,” said David Becker, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Internet Bank, and Board Chair of the Indiana Technology & Innovation Association. “Our technology leaders have spent several months working on a tech policy agenda to expand access to venture capital, train and attract skilled talent, and make Indiana an attractive and supportive place to live and work in tech. We look forward to partnering with Indiana’s policy makers to advance this agenda and help Indiana’s technology industry and our state succeed.” 

    The ITIA’s 2020 Policy Agenda can be found below:  

    CAPITAL 

    • Innovation Research and Technology Transfer Grants: ITIA supports expanded efforts to promote the state’s 50% match of the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants, to provide support for entrepreneurs to help them navigate the application process, and to assist SBIR/STTR grant recipients with raising additional funding and commercializing their technology.
    • Investment Reporting: ITIA recommends that state entities that invest in Indiana businesses, such as Elevate Ventures and the 21 Fund, record and report annually on the number of investments and the amount of money invested into women, minority, and veteran-owned companies to encourage a focus on diversity.

    PLACE 

    • Nonstop Flights: ITIA supports continued investment in adding more non-stop domestic and international flights to help connect Indiana businesses with major industry hubs. 
    • Certified Tech Parks: ITIA supports the expansion of high performing Certified Tech Parks (CTPs) by increasing the maximum allowable CTP capture per year from $100,000 to $500,000 and removing the automatic reset of the CTP base year once the initial $5 million cap is reached. 
    • Smart Cities: ITIA supports a dedicated effort by the state to add smart technology products and providers to the state’s list of Quantity Purchase Agreements to help local governments access and implement these technologies to more effectively and efficiently deliver city services. 
    • Data Privacy: ITIA supports the adoption of federal data privacy legislation to protect consumer data, rather than a patchwork of state-by-state regulations in order to provide certainty and consistency to both consumers and businesses. 
    • Cybersecurity: ITIA encourages the state to facilitate the development of cybersecurity guidelines and best practices as a resource for local governments and help them access vetted cybersecurity products and providers. 

    TALENT 

    • Next Level Jobs: ITIA supports efforts to update and expand the Next Level Jobs program to ensure that the definition of in-demand jobs and trainings that are eligible for grant funding includes the technology jobs of tomorrow and to increase the number of IT training providers of high demand credentials (i.e. Comp TIA A+, Security+ and Network+) available to applicants.  
    • Talent Recruitment: ITIA urges the state to incorporate talent recruitment as a core tenet of economic development similar to how traditional strategies have focused on company relocation, and implement targeted and data-driven approaches to attract tech workers to relocate to Indiana.  
    • Relocation Costs: ITIA supports updating existing tools and incentives, like the IEDC’s Skills Enhancement Fund which provides assistance for employee training, to include employee relocation costs to assist in bringing high-value talent to Indiana, in particular for smaller employers.  

     


  • November 20, 2019 9:58 AM | Anonymous

    Indianapolis, IN – The Indiana Technology & Innovation Association announced its 2020 Policy Agenda today during a reception with tech leaders and legislators at Salesforce Tower, hosted in partnership with TechPoint. 

    The Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA), which launched on Organization Day last year, is a statewide association of Indiana’s technology-driven companies and partners. ITIA represents more than 120 technology companies and partners across the state, and Indiana’s fastest growing industry.   

    Technology job postings in Indiana increased by 85% over the last year, with more than 184,000 new tech jobs added to our economy (CompTIA Cyberstates 2019). Indiana tech employment is projected to grow nearly 7.6% between 2018 and 2026; more than Illinois (5.1%), Michigan (5.6%) and Ohio (4.6%) (CompTIA Cyberstates 2019).  

    ITIA’s policy priorities address three core pillars critical to advancing Indiana’s technology industry – Capital, Place and Talent. 

    Indiana’s technology industry is experiencing tremendous growth. To continue this momentum, Indiana must embrace and position itself as a leader in the technology and innovation economy,” said  David Becker, President and CEO of First Internet Bank, and Board Chair of the Indiana Technology & Innovation Association. “Our technology leaders have spent several months working on a tech policy agenda to expand access to venture capital, train and attract skilled talent, and make Indiana an attractive and supportive place to live and work in tech. We look forward to partnering with Indiana’s policy makers to advance this agenda and help Indiana’s technology industry and our state succeed.” 

    ITIA’s 2020 Policy Agenda includes the following priorities: 

    CAPITAL 

    • Innovation Research and Technology Transfer Grants: ITIA supports expanded efforts to promote the state’s 50% match of the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants, to provide support for entrepreneurs to help them navigate the application process, and to assist SBIR/STTR grant recipients with raising additional funding and commercializing their technology.
    • Investment Reporting: ITIA recommends that state entities that invest in Indiana businesses, such as Elevate Ventures and the 21 Fund, record and report annually on the number of investments and the amount of money invested into women, minority, and veteran-owned companies to encourage a focus on diversity.

    PLACE 

    • Nonstop Flights: ITIA supports continued investment in adding more non-stop domestic and international flights to help connect Indiana businesses with major industry hubs. 
    • Certified Tech Parks: ITIA supports the expansion of high performing Certified Tech Parks (CTPs) by increasing the maximum allowable CTP capture per year from $100,000 to $500,000 and removing the automatic reset of the CTP base year once the initial $5 million cap is reached. 
    • Smart Cities: ITIA supports a dedicated effort by the state to add smart technology products and providers to the state’s list of Quantity Purchase Agreements to help local governments access and implement these technologies to more effectively and efficiently deliver city services. 
    • Data Privacy: ITIA supports the adoption of federal data privacy legislation to protect consumer data, rather than a patchwork of state-by-state regulations in order to provide certainty and consistency to both consumers and businesses. 
    • Cybersecurity: ITIA encourages the state to facilitate the development of cybersecurity guidelines and best practices as a resource for local governments and help them access vetted cybersecurity products and providers. 

    TALENT 

    • Next Level Jobs: ITIA supports efforts to update and expand the Next Level Jobs program to ensure that the definition of in-demand jobs and trainings that are eligible for grant funding includes the technology jobs of tomorrow and to increase the number of IT training providers of high demand credentials (i.e. Comp TIA A+, Security+ and Network+) available to applicants.  
    • Talent Recruitment: ITIA urges the state to incorporate talent recruitment as a core tenet of economic development similar to how traditional strategies have focused on company relocation, and implement targeted and data-driven approaches to attract tech workers to relocate to Indiana.  
    • Relocation Costs: ITIA supports updating existing tools and incentives, like the IEDC’s Skills Enhancement Fund which provides assistance for employee training, to include employee relocation costs to assist in bringing high-value talent to Indiana, in particular for smaller employers.  

    To download ITIA’s full Policy Agenda which contains 2020 Agenda items and Looking Forward policy priorities, click here  

    The Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA) is a statewide association of Indiana’s technology-driven companies and partners. Our member companies put technology at the heart of what they do. ITIA is Indiana’s premier voice for technology in the public policy arena. For more information visit www.IndianaTechnology.org 

  • August 14, 2019 5:28 PM | Anonymous

    Indiana Technology & Innovation Association officials visited Fort Wayne late last month for an Aptera-hosted event explaining the organization’s mission and how the region’s tech community can help shape public policy.

    Hundreds of industries have organizations at the Statehouse representing their interests, but until ITIA was formed in Indianapolis last year, the technology industry did not have one, Jennifer Hallowell, ITIA manager, said during the visit.

    Techpoint works on the development of Indiana’s tech ecosystem, helping it build community and attract talent and resources, but it doesn’t get into government advocacy and lobbying. Instead, it supports ITIA efforts along those lines, she said. Mike Langellier, Techpoint’s president and CEO, serves on ITIA’s board.

    To maximize ITIA’s impact, “it’s really important to have voices from all over the state of Indiana — not just central Indiana — advising, guiding, shepherding, changing, fixing, educating our legislators on what we need in all parts of our state,” said John McDonald, Clear Object CEO and ITIA board member.

    “The people who make those policies, the state legislators, need to hear from them about what’s important to them. And, if they’re not there, their voices have not been heard,” he said.

    The regional tech community’s involvement with ITIA also is important as a means of keeping up with new resources and opportunities that become available through the organization’s advocacy for the technology industry, McDonald said.

    Discussion at the event included a review of programs “that are available through the state to assist technology companies and unfortunately, very few people that were here tonight knew about them, let alone knew that they were for them,” he said shortly after the event.

    A 2019 legislative recap the organization presented boasted ITIA helped secure $3 million per year in state funding for the Next Level Computer Science Program, which will make sure every school in Indiana is offering computer science education by 2021.

    It also helped restore $30 million per year in state funding for the 21st Century Research and Technology Fund, which supports tech-related entrepreneurship and research as well as academic technology transfer.

    “There were a couple of different times during the legislative session that some of those funding mechanisms were challenged. So, when the Senate version of the budget came out, there were cuts in computer science education for schools and cuts in the 21 Fund,” Hallowell said.

    “Our members mobilized and worked to get the funding levels restored to what they originally were,” she said.

    ITIA also advocated successfully for legislation that made venture capital investment tax credits transferable to third parties, which was designed to help Indiana attract more out-of-state venture capital investment.

    Other legislation and initiatives receiving ITIA support included those providing tax incentives for data centers, Gov. Eric Holcomb’s $100 million rural broadband initiative and a bias crimes law allowing judges to increase criminal penalties for hate crimes.

    ITIA also supported the governor’s initiative to double funding for Next Level Employer Training Grants and Workforce Ready Grants designed to upskill Indiana workers in high-wage, high-demand fields.

    https://www.fwbusiness.com/fwbusiness/article_7d7240f8-a386-5529-b6cf-0acbeeaa1804.html

  • July 29, 2019 5:30 PM | Anonymous

    Fort Wayne technology leaders and entrepreneurs will gather at a downtown business Tuesday evening for a “call-out” meeting that could influence policy talk among Indiana lawmakers.

    The Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA) will meet from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Aptera, 113 W. Berry St., according to a Monday media advisory.

    The association officially launched in November 2018, representing an industry it says is Indiana’s fastest-growing sector. The association has recruited about 115 technology company members across the state.

    “Leaders involved in the Fort Wayne technology scene will meet to discuss ways they can get involved and shape Indiana’s tech policy at the Statehouse,” the advisory said.

    The association’s policy priorities include better preparing the workforce for technology jobs, increasing access to venture capital and attracting tech talent to Indiana.

    http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20190729/WEB/190729877
  • June 12, 2019 2:52 PM | Anonymous

    Indiana startups might soon have an easier time attracting out-of-state investments thanks to a change lawmakers made this year to an instrumental tax incentive program.

    The state has offered the venture capital investment tax credit since late 2003 as a way to make investing in startups a little less risky, but it really only benefited Indiana residents because it applied to an individual’s state tax liability. That meant investors who didn’t pay Indiana taxes were left out.

    Senate Bill 563, authored by Republican Sen. Travis Holdman and signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb, changed that. Starting in 2020, investors will be allowed to transfer the tax credit, which means out-of-state investors can essentially sell the credit to someone in state who can take advantage of it.

    Leaders in the tech community say that is a big win for their industry, because it will help motivate out-of-state individuals—who regularly ask about the tax credit—to invest in Indiana startups.

    “It’s certainly not the only driver when making the decision about whether to invest in a company,” said entrepreneur Mike Simmons, who is now executive chairman and president of Sharpen Technologies. “But it certainly makes it a much easier decision.”

    The change could also have a ripple effect for regular in-state investors. If startups’ pool of potential investors grows, local investors might hear fewer pitches.

    “There are 15-20 people that probably get hit on pretty regularly for investment,” Simmons said. “The more we can broaden that out, it’s definitely better for the community.”

    The VCI tax credit program allows someone who invests in an early-stage Indiana company to claim a tax credit worth 20% of the investment. The credit is capped at $1 million.

    An individual who invests $500,000 in an eligible startup, for example, can receive a $100,000 cut in the income taxes he or she owes the state.

    Eligible startups have to register with the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and set a venture capital fundraising goal. Investors then can receive the 20% credit until the company hits that goal, which is capped at $5 million.

    In the program’s first 15 years, 778 startups have been certified to use it, but only 39 have reached the $5 million cap.

    In 2018, more than 100 companies used the VCI tax credit program, and investors committed nearly $60 million to qualified startups.

    Scott McCorkle, who used the credit as part of his strategy to attract investors to his software-as-a-service firm MetaCX Inc., said the program definitely helps.

    “It makes for more aggressive investments, so a higher level of funding,” McCorkle said.

    Investors have five years from making the financial commitment to claim the tax credit.

    The IEDC is limited to awarding $12.5 million in tax credits every year—but the total credits have never reached the cap.

    From 2014-2018, the approved credits totaled upward of $10 million, nearing the cap. Before that, totals were $6 million to $8.5 million annually.

    “Only in the last few years has that [cap] become a concern,” IEDC President Elaine Bedel said.

    Mike Langellier, president and CEO of TechPoint, said the credit has been “a really important instrument in the startup finance ecosystem” because it can be difficult to convince investors to take a risk on an idea or new company.

    The companies involved in the program are typically in their first round of funding, and investments could take a long time to materialize. The credit essentially makes the investment 20% less of a risk.

    “What’s so great about it is, it provides virtually an immediate return on investment,” Simmons said.

    It’s not clear how much money Indiana startups have missed out on because the tax credit wasn’t transferable, but tech leaders say they know dollars have gone elsewhere.

    “It’s real. I absolutely see it,” Langellier said. Investors “have tons of options to prospectively invest in. A big part of that decision is the risk/reward trade-off.”

    Simmons said allowing the credit to be transferable will “definitely broaden the investor base.”

    Now, Hoosier startups might have an easier time targeting wealthy individuals in bigger markets like Chicago, Louisville, Seattle, San Francisco and Boston, for example.

    Some states, like Kentucky, already allow the VCI tax credit to be transferred to another individual. But the move by lawmakers this year does give Indiana a leg up over Illinois, Michigan and Ohio, where the credit is not transferable.

    “It just gives us a bigger platform to tell the story of all the great things that are happening in the state of Indiana startup scene,” said Scott Dorsey, tech entrepreneur and investor who helped found venture studio High Alpha.

    The IEDC is still working out the details of just how the transfers—or most likely sales—of tax credits will work. The state will not be involved in determining how much an in-state investor will pay to buy a tax credit from an out-of-state investor, but the parties will have to notify the IEDC.

    Bedel said the price might depend on whether the buyer could immediately claim the tax credit or would be saving it for a year in which he or she has a high enough tax burden to apply it.

    “I see it as a real win-win for the state of Indiana,” Bedel said. “We’re just bringing more money in to help start these small businesses in Indiana.”

    Langellier said he thinks there is a large pool of potential investors among out-of-state alumni of Indiana’s colleges and universities since they already have a connection to the state.

    John Hanak, managing director of Purdue Ventures, said its donor network is predominantly alumni, so the impact from the change could be huge.

    “There’s definitely been a market need for this to happen,” Hanak said. “It’s just another in a number of growing factors for investors to look at Indiana.”

    Langellier also said the tool could convince startups to locate in Indiana, because access to capital is typically a top consideration for entrepreneurs.

    But the measure’s significance, he added, will depend on key details like how easy the process is to use the credit and how well the startup community markets it.

    “We shouldn’t see it as a ‘build it and they will come’ kind of strategy,” Langellier said. “It’s not going to happen to be successful on its own.”

    One unchanged aspect of the program is the cap on how much the IEDC can award each year. That will stay at $12.5 million, but tech community leaders are likely to push the state to increase it if the credits start reaching that level.

    Bedel said hitting the maximum would be a good thing.

    “That would mean we have more money coming in from outside the state,” she said.•

    ... Read more

  • June 12, 2019 2:49 PM | Anonymous

    To hear state officials, site-selection experts and local tech execs tell it, a new tax break has made Indiana an instant player in the national data-center scene.

    State lawmakers last month passed a much-ballyhooed law that exempts sales taxes on equipment, infrastructure and electricity costs for sizable data centers constructed in Indiana.

    Those tax breaks could amount to $1.75 million to $10.5 million in savings for each Indiana-domiciled data center that qualifies. While a portion of the incentives—namely the forgiveness of sales taxes on electricity—would come over a number of years, facility operators would see much of their savings at the front end of a project.

    Some of the law’s provisions take effect July 1, though others are retroactive to Jan. 1.

    “Indiana was not in the game before this legislation,” said Larry Gigerich, executive managing director at Ginovus, a locally based site-selection firm that works with clients across the United States and Canada. “It is now.”

    According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Indiana joins at least 25 states with similar incentives for data centers, which house computer systems, servers and digital storage.

    Indiana is “not playing catch-up anymore,” said Tom Dakich, a local attorney and partner in a massive data center project under construction in Hammond. “In no way is Indiana less than a top-five site in the country for data centers after the passage of this legislation.”

    Indiana is already attractive—tech experts and officials for the Indiana Economic Development Corp. say—due to its proximity to underserved areas of Chicago and Louisville as well as a pent-up demand to have the facilities in central Indiana. In addition, the state is known to have relatively low electricity and water rates, key needs in running a large power-intensive data center.

    The tax-incentive bill garnered wide bipartisan support, clearing the House 95-1 and the Senate 46-0. Gov. Eric Holcomb, fast becoming a darling among local tech companies, eagerly supported the bill and signed it into law.

    “Data centers can be billion-dollar projects that greatly enhance the economies of the cities and states they locate in through the creation of jobs and strong investments in the community,” said Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, who authored the bill. “In order to encourage development of this caliber in Indiana, we have to make ourselves competitive and give these companies a reason to choose us over another state.”

    But the impact of the bill is somewhat unclear—partly because the future need for goliath data centers is uncertain, tech experts told IBJ, and partly because the state’s prize will be difficult to quantify since data center operations, and locations, in many instances are cloaked in mystery.

    There’s good reason for some secrecy, according to data center operators. Most centers contain data and servers that are vital to the operations of transportation, finance, health care and other crucial sectors. Some data centers contain large caches of classified digital information.

    “Many data centers are thought to be significant targets for terrorists,” one local data center operator told IBJ. “Crippling the country’s data centers could be catastrophic.”

    In the chase

    So counting the data centers in Indiana is a tall task. Most familiar with the local industry say the state has a handful, although none are the size of those run and occupied by giants such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook, which sometimes occupy more than 500,000 square feet and cost $500 million to $1 billion.

    Locally based Lifeline Data Centers runs two local data centers, including an 80,000-square-foot center at the former Eastgate Mall. A number of smaller centers are near Lucas Oil Stadium; and Hammond, Fort Wayne and South Bend each have one.

    “Our data center inventory is not very robust right now,” said Dakich, whose company, Digital Crossroads of America, plans to open a 100,000-square-foot data center by Nov. 1. “I would not be surprised if we didn’t quadruple our present capacity within five years.”

    It’s been just a few weeks since lawmakers approved the data center tax breaks, yet already the Indiana Economic Development Corp. has had multiple “official and unofficial inquires,” said David Roberts, IEDC’s chief innovation officer.

    “I would be surprised if we don’t see at least one $500 million-plus project within the first year,” he said.

    The lack of tax incentives until now has put Indiana behind in the chase for data centers, especially the much-coveted mega centers being built in strategic locations across the country—including in some neighboring states.

    Iowa and Ohio have become leaders in luring data centers. Both already offer sizable tax breaks and have low electricity costs. Iowa, Des Moines in particular, has become a data center powerhouse, with most or all of the nation’s largest tech companies building operations there over the last decade.

    Other data center hot spots are in parts of Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Washington state. Data center operators are keen on regions not prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and blizzards. That, Gigerich said, knocks out many locations on the East and West coasts.

    A look inside

    So what exactly is a data center and what is pushing the growth?

    In some respects, data centers are nothing more than massive warehouses full of digital storage with precise environmental controls—state-of-the-art heating and air conditioning systems are essential—and a high level of security. Many are gated, some are bomb-proof, and all are guarded 24/7.

    “Data centers are weird animals,” said Alex Carroll, co-founder of Lifeline Data Centers. “On one hand, it’s a real complex world. On the other hand, it’s just about keeping the electricity on and the computers up and running.”

    Dakich said once his Hammond project is completed, he and his partners will rarely set foot inside the facility, explaining that operations are best left to companies that rent space in the facilities and technical experts.

    Data centers are generally filled with rows and rows of servers and other computer hardware that enables internet connectivity, streaming and other functions of cloud computing.

    Carroll explained his data center infrastructure in plumbing parlance.

    “If you think of the interconnectivity that connects all computers to the internet and the cloud, you could think of the pipes in residences or even many businesses as being a few inches” in diameter, he said. “You can drive a truck through the pipes of a commercial data center like ours.”

    At its two central Indiana data centers, Carroll’s company has 20 generators, about 100 HVAC blowers and 15 uninterrupted power-supply devices.

    “If you’re not already in the data center business, you’re probably not going to get into the data center business,” Carroll said. “It is extremely capital-intensive to launch a data center.”

    The growth in data centers over the last five to 10 years has been pushed by the explosion of ever-more-advanced mobile data devices, increased demand for cloud computing, and the swift growth of the internet of things—which is essentially devices connected to the internet, anything from household appliances and lawn mowers to HVAC systems and traffic lights.

    Data centers vary widely with respect to occupancy. Many boast multiple occupancy, like the ones run by Dakich and Carroll, in which several companies share the space. Dakich hopes to have seven or so occupants at his Hammond center, maybe a few more when it expands to its full size of 400,000 square feet.

    Lifeline Data Centers at Eastgate has about 150 occupants, Carroll said.

    ... Read more

  • May 09, 2019 2:54 PM | Anonymous
    INDIANAPOLIS - Some of the biggest names and businesses in Indiana's tech sector are coming together to launch an organization to advocate for the industry with state leaders. The Indiana Technology & Innovation Association says it will push for policies to ensure the state has a strong infrastructure for tech companies to start, enough capital for them to grow and enough talent for them to sustain and scale. 

    http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/Clip/14693797/group-to-bring-tech-voice-to-statehouse#.W_iwZAbrT6E.twitter

  • March 06, 2019 2:43 PM | Anonymous

    Indiana tech industry leaders say the lack of a comprehensive hate crimes law is a barrier to attracting talent.

    Those leaders say they’re ready to engage with lawmakers to advance the issue.

    Many in the business community want a hate crimes bill with a list of victim characteristics. And they were upset when Senate Republicans eliminated that list earlier this session. Clear Software CEO Jon Gilman says if House lawmakers don’t add it back in, they’ll give Indiana a “black eye.”

    “Just simply reaffirms the reputation of Indiana as being socially regressive and essentially not inclusive,” Gilman says.

    ClearObject CEO John McDonald is on the board of the Indiana Technology and Innovation Association. He says he wants tech companies to dispel the myth that Hoosiers don’t care about the hate crimes debate.

    “Get engaged with their local legislators and help them understand the importance of this issue, not on a sort of a wide scale but specifically, in that district, to those companies,” McDonald says.

    House GOP leaders are not supportive of a hate crimes law with a list of victim characteristics, though Gov. Eric Holcomb has advocated for one.

    https://indianapublicmedia.org/news/tech-leaders-lack-of-hate-crimes-law-black-eye-for-indiana.php

  • March 06, 2019 2:39 PM | Anonymous

    INDIANAPOLIS, Ind - Several CEOs from Indiana technology companies are calling for Indiana lawmakers to pass a hate crimes bill that specifically lists protected groups, comparing the discussion to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act controversy of 2015.

    Members of the Indiana Technology & Innovation Association held a Wednesday news conference in the Statehouse atrium and argued that Indiana’s lack of a hate crime law is hurting their efforts to recruit talent from out of state.

    “Technology is Indiana’s fastest growing sector, but we are in a death match for talent with other places and other states,” said John McDonald, CEO of Fishers-based ClearObject. “There are not enough skilled workers to fill the jobs that we’re creating every day. And so we can’t afford to have anything be a barrier to that talent and recruitment.”

    “Passing a watered down unenforceable bias crimes law just simply reaffirms the reputation of Indiana as being socially regressive and essentially not inclusive,” said John Gilman, CEO of Zionsville-based Clear Software. “It really makes it difficult to run a technology company when we have this reputation because talent is our number one need.”

    Last month, the Indiana Senate passed a biased crimes bill that allows a judge to consider bias as an aggravating factor when sentencing a person convicted of a crime. The bill did not include a list of specific characteristics such as race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. Critics called the removal of the specific list a watering down of the legislation. Senate Bill 12 was passed to the House and assigned to the committee on Courts and Criminal Code.

    Members of the coalition said passing a bias crimes bill without the specific list would do nothing to improve Indiana’s reputation on social issues.

    “I’m worried that if we don’t do this, we will have another RFRA on our hands,” said Anderson Schoenrock, CEO of Indianapolis-based Memory Ventures. “But this time it could be worse because it will be a second black eye on the state.”

    Schoenrock said when he moved his business from California to Indiana, his company’s COO refused to make the move because of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act debate.

    Avon Republican Representative Greg Steuerwald, who authored the House version of the bias crimes bill and signed on as co-sponsor for SB 12, says the comparison to the 2015 debate is off base.

    “No, that’s not a fair comparison at all,” Steuerwald said. “What we’re trying to deal with here is making sure that every form of hate is covered, and that’s exactly what we intend to do.”

    Steuerwald says the language in his bill, House Bill 1093, allows a judge to consider all types of hate without excluding any particular groups. The bill states a judge can consider bias as an aggravating circumstance if a person commits a crime “because of the individual's or the group's real or perceived characteristic, trait, belief, practice, association, or other attribute the court chooses to consider.”

    “Worked very hard to make sure no form of hate is excluded,” Steuerwald said. “The judge is empowered to consider every form of bias under House Bill 1093.”

    The comments come as Governor Eric Holcomb is traveling Europe in an effort to bring new business back to Indiana. Last week, the Governor said the Senate version of the bill would not be enough to get Indiana off the list of five states that do not have their own bias crimes law. The Governor said he wants lawmakers to pass a bill that includes specific list of specific groups. He suggested using language taken from federal hate crimes law and inserting it into Indiana law.

    “And I say that coming from A, it’s the right thing to do,” Holcomb said February 27. “And B, it does, in terms of our business community, matter.”

    Members of the ITIA say they appreciate Holcomb’s efforts, but they don’t believe the federal language would be sufficient because it does not include age discrimination.

    Steuerwald said he couldn’t predict whether Representatives in the House will eventually insert a specific list.

    “There’s pretty strong opposition to it at this point,” Steuerwald said. “I don’t know where we’re going to end up, but I do believe that the common goal for everybody is that there’s no form of hate excluded.”

    https://fox59.com/2019/03/06/ceos-of-indiana-tech-companies-call-for-specific-bias-crimes-law/
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