EchoChamber, the podcast of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, brings you insightful interviews with Indiana leaders in business, education, technology, politics and more.


  • Elliott Parker: Innovation at a High Alpha Pace

    Elliott Parker: Innovation at a High Alpha Pace

    07/07/2020 Duração: 33min

    Large-scale enterprises (think big companies, leaders in their fields) are built, in Elliott Parker’s words, to execute at scale. Start-ups, he says, are designed to learn, pivot quickly and move fast. Bringing the two together is the focus of High Alpha Innovation, with the goal of launching 100 start-ups within the next five years. It’s a venture studio playbook that High Alpha has used in creating its own portfolio of successful start-ups in recent years. Now, it’s bringing the advantages of existing companies to the mix with a co-creation approach. Parker first came to Indiana for an internship with Roche and returned two-plus years ago to join the High Alpha team. Learn more at

  • Elaine Bedel: Building Indiana’s Brand

    Elaine Bedel: Building Indiana’s Brand

    23/06/2020 Duração: 33min

    It began with 2019 legislation to shift tourism efforts. It’s expanded to telling Indiana’s full story – to also attract and retain businesses, students and talent. It is the Indiana Destination Development Corporation (IDDC), being led by Elaine Bedel, former Indiana Economic Development Corporation president. Bedel talks about starting with a clean slate (pointing toward a July 1, 2020 debut), seeing the world change beginning in mid-March and adjusting to meet today’s needs. It’s all about changing the external view of the state from “no perception” for too many to a predominantly positive outlook. Partnerships, funding and more are all part of the equation. The success of the IDDC will be critical to the state’s future.

  • Bruce Mehlman: What today’s reality means for tomorrow

    Bruce Mehlman: What today’s reality means for tomorrow

    09/06/2020 Duração: 38min

    Bruce Mehlman possesses a wide variety of experiences in business and government. He uses those to help deliver insightful analysis into national and global trends in business and politics. His quarterly updates are viewed by thousands of followers – more than 110,000 for the most recent version on COVID-19 and its impacts. He talks Congress (the only thing Congress likes more than the way things are done is the way things were done), the race for president (fear of a second pandemic wave and the intersection of public health with politics), technology, disruption and much more. In the end, he gives examples, notes that our country “majors in comebacks” and states that there are reasons to be positive. View the latest (with prior editions on last slide):

  • Nick Smarrelli: Success in tech and beyond

    Nick Smarrelli: Success in tech and beyond

    26/05/2020 Duração: 34min

    Nick Smarrelli touts balance and flexibility. Yes, that includes running ultramarathons and endurance races, while he and his wife embrace careers with travel obligations and caring for their three young children. On the business side of the equation, Smarrelli says he’s a big believer in saying “yes”, especially espouses one of GadellNet’s core values in “no excuses” and has the company investing in the recruiting and training of top people in the technology solutions space. Hear how the organization strives to set itself apart and what it did to earn 98% employee retention last year. Learn more at

  • Ali Cudby: It’s all about keeping your customers

    Ali Cudby: It’s all about keeping your customers

    12/05/2020 Duração: 34min

    That’s the name of the book – literally – as in Keep Your Customers: How to Stop Customer Turnover, Improve Retention and Get Lucrative Long-Term Loyalty. The launch came during the current pandemic, but it’s author Ali Cudby’s career journey and lessons learned that are so important today. She calls herself an “accidental entrepreneur” based on a bra-buying experience in London. Today, her company is Your Iconic Brand and her work involves clients in a number of industries. Spoiler alert: Don’t forget the little things and try to ensure the “ripple effects” are positive ones. Learn more:Your Iconic Brand ( Your Customers book (

  • Rob Martens: “ ‘Peak’ing around the corners” of the future of business

    Rob Martens: “ ‘Peak’ing around the corners” of the future of business

    28/04/2020 Duração: 39min

    He’s not the first to note this, but he says it well. “We really know how to build things here. Silicon Valley is very focused on connecting things. There’s a gap in the marketplace for taking those big, complex physical things (that we build) and connecting them to the application layer, with that software layer. This is a huge opportunity for us.” Rob Martens is chief innovation and design officer, among other roles, for Allegion. His job involves taking the door and security functions that have been part of the company for more than 100 years and “futuring” their applications. The Allegion Ventures venture capital firm, the new Pin & Tumbler Studio and more are part of the equation. Learn more:Allegion ( Ventures ( & Tumbler Studio (

  • Max Brickman: ‘Venturing’ Into New Territory

    Max Brickman: ‘Venturing’ Into New Territory

    14/04/2020 Duração: 30min

    At age 28, Max Brickman is managing director of Heartland Ventures, a South Bend-based venture capital fund looking to connect Midwestern business strengths with coastal technologies. He founded his first successful business at age 15 and led two more start-ups while a student at Indiana University. Thus, he brings entrepreneurial experience of his own to his company’s efforts. It’s a somewhat unique approach that Heartland takes. Max explains how it works, why he remains bullish on Indiana and the Midwest, and what sees in the months and years ahead. Learn more at

  • Ronald Rochon (USI): ‘I Love This Place’

    Ronald Rochon (USI): ‘I Love This Place’

    31/03/2020 Duração: 34min

    Ronald Rochon terms the University of Southern Indiana campus on the west side of Evansville as a “hidden gem.” Beyond the aesthetic beauty, he says visitors will see an “immediate approach in how people respond to one another. We are a campus of choice, a campus of care and a campus of compassion. I love this place.” Rochon notes USI is home to many first-generation students and large numbers that come from Indiana. While the goal is to prepare them to achieve on a global basis, a significant majority makes the determination to stay close to home in our state. Learn more at

  • Gregory Hess: Wabash College’s Focus and Ambition

    Gregory Hess: Wabash College’s Focus and Ambition

    17/03/2020 Duração: 30min

    Wabash College provides what President Gregory Hess calls an “intentionally intimate liberal arts experience.” It is one of only a handful of all-male higher education institutions remaining in the country – a status it is safe to say is not going to change. Hess says a clear mission with a focus on excellence of students allows the college to make a difference. It also prompts alumni to give back at historic levels and in many ways, including a formal network for finding students/graduates a place to stay if in a new community for a job interview. Find out what class Hess loves to teach, his take on the passion for football and other sports on campus and beyond, his favorite athletic teams and his goals moving forward. (Note: After our podcast recording and before its release, Hess announced his departure from Wabash at the end of the current academic year for a position as CEO of IES Abroad, providing study abroad and internship programs). Learn more at

  • Deborah Curtis: Indiana State University’s strategic approach

    Deborah Curtis: Indiana State University’s strategic approach

    03/03/2020 Duração: 34min

    Indiana State University President Deborah Curtis doesn’t think the college residential campus will ever go away, but acknowledges that the growing “some college, no degree” market requires a pivot in serving those students. ISU boasts unique programs ranging from packaging engineering technology (the only accredited program in the nation) and construction management to insurance/risk management and RN to BSN (for nurses). Curtis discusses the large percentage of students who come from – and remain in – the state. “Our mission is to serve the workforce needs of Indiana,” she says. She focuses on enrollment, communications and fundraising and identifies her two favorite days of the year. Learn more at

  • Talkin’ Trades: Reaching Out to Students

    Talkin’ Trades: Reaching Out to Students

    18/02/2020 Duração: 33min

    If you’re experiencing challenges finding the workers you need – and who isn’t – you certainly realize that simply “complaining” about the lack of talent isn’t going to get the job done. Part of the longer-term play is reaching out directly to students to educate them about careers, including in the trades. Holly Ward of Irving Materials Inc. (aka the “Rock Lady”) and Jesse Johnson of Metal Supermarkets are going above the norm. They passionately advocate for career opportunities in the rock/materials industries and the welding profession. They visit with students; they donate materials; they help schools and teachers meet their needs. Most of all, they provide a path to career happiness for many – and convince a few parents along the way. Learn more: Irving Materials Inc. ( Supermarkets (west Indianapolis location now open): (

  • Kevin Brinegar: Indiana’s 20-year success story

    Kevin Brinegar: Indiana’s 20-year success story

    04/02/2020 Duração: 33min

    Modesty is a good thing – most of the time. One of the exceptions might be when it comes to “selling” Indiana to those who might not be as familiar with the many attributes the state has to offer. We’re not going to recount those many qualities today – you know what they are. Chamber President Kevin Brinegar will share the journey, however, that has propelled Indiana from economic depths in the early 2000s to a Midwest leader and national competitor as we launch into the 2020s. It’s that success that helps produce the many positive things we should be proclaiming across the country and beyond. Learn more: Indiana Chamber: Top Policy Victories in the 2000s ( Vision 2025 economic development action plan (

  • Ray Boomhower: Explore the past to inform the future

    Ray Boomhower: Explore the past to inform the future

    21/01/2020 Duração: 32min

    Yes, the start of a new decade puts us in a forward-thinking mode. But we couldn’t resist one more look back at Indiana business history in the current issue of BizVoice® magazine. To accompany those features and stories, we offer this conversation with Ray Boomhower, senior editor at the Indiana Historical Society Press and author of a soon-to-be 18 books. Among his many subjects: 1968 and Robert F. Kennedy’s impact in Indiana; business – from the auto industry to manufacturing’s wartime role; president Benjamin Harrison; and World War II heroes. He talks about the important role history plays in our society. Learn more: Indiana Historical Society: www.indianahistory.orgRay Boomhower:

  • Krista Skidmore: Taking leaders to a whole new level

    Krista Skidmore: Taking leaders to a whole new level

    07/01/2020 Duração: 31min

    Leadership is not easy, and it potentially gets a little more difficult as time goes by. Krista Skidmore of FlashPoint Leadership Consulting brings more than 17 years of experience to the mix and helps clients cope with the many ongoing changes. The prior year brought an emphasis on longer-term experiences and an increased focus on measurement (part of the firm’s brand promise). Trends for the new year are expected to be a rise in the importance of teams and the ongoing development of millennial leaders. We talk engaging employees in training, sustaining the lessons after the advisors are gone and more. Learn more:Krista Skidmore and FlashPoint Leadership Consulting (including a January webinar on 2020 trends): www.flashpointleadership.comIndiana Chamber’s Supervising and Managing People Workshop (offered six times a year):

  • Emily Bermes: Consulting, coaching, executive onboarding and more

    Emily Bermes: Consulting, coaching, executive onboarding and more

    17/12/2019 Duração: 34min

    The leader of her own human capital consulting firm says 50% of first-time CEOs are not successful in that role. Why? Among the leading reasons: Not reading the company culture correctly. Bermes & Associates strives to fix that, with executive onboarding the fastest-growing portion of its business. And with a financial cost of at least two times the executive’s salary (to recover, recruit, hire again, etc.), it’s best to do everything possible to avoid those failures. Bermes brings her background in research and evidence-based solutions to the table. She talks about effective teams, healthy conflict, a different take on gender disparity and more. Learn about Emily and the Fort Wayne-based company (with a Chicago office) at

  • Indiana Workforce Recovery: Solutions Through the Employer Lens

    Indiana Workforce Recovery: Solutions Through the Employer Lens

    03/12/2019 Duração: 34min

    The complexity of the opioid (and other drug) epidemic is enormous. A sometimes overlooked – but vitally important – component is the impact on the workplace and the role of the employer. Enter Indiana Workforce Recovery (IWR). In less than two years, IWR has shifted the conversations and provided pathways for organizations to invest in their employees and offer solutions. Jennifer Pferrer of the Wellness Council of Indiana and Mike Thibideau of IWR are deeply involved with a variety of partners. They talk survey numbers, changes that have taken place, the still enduring stigmas and some of the next steps that need to take place. Learn more at

  • Ryan McCarty and Marcie Warren: Cultivating Your Company Culture

    Ryan McCarty and Marcie Warren: Cultivating Your Company Culture

    19/11/2019 Duração: 37min

    He’s a co-founder of the Culture of Good. She’s a leader with Ingram Micro Mobility. They are working together to implement the former at the latter with an ultimate goal of Ingram Micro being a company that “not only delivers products but delivers hope.” Or, in other words, making both the workplace and the world better places. It’s a proven process that helps organizations find a cause that aligns with their business strategy, incorporates key “promises” and makes the effort sustainable. Culture of Good is more than a program or an initiative; it’s a feeling that takes employee engagement and organizational success to new levels. Indiana Chamber members receive a discount on Culture of Good in a Box. Learn more at;

  • Katie Ittenbach: In Charge – On the Job and Off

    Katie Ittenbach: In Charge – On the Job and Off

    05/11/2019 Duração: 32min

    She’s 33 years old. She’s the president of a 36-year-old market research and insights organization (SMARI) started by her father. Her home is a ranch, where she takes care of a growing family of animals (delivering a calf at 3:00 a.m. and leading a high-powered business meeting a few hours later is a classic). Meet Katie Ittenbach of SMARI. She talks millennials, leadership, moving up the ranks from starting as an intern, how the research game is evolving, company culture, work-life balance (the television set falls into the rarely used category) and more. Learn about SMARI (

  • Julie Benezet: Change is Here Quit Fighting It

    Julie Benezet: Change is Here; Quit Fighting It

    22/10/2019 Duração: 34min

    Julie Benezet gave up a law career to enter real estate development and later was an early executive at Amazon. Both provided valuable lessons in overcoming the unknown – “we lived change every hour of every day” at Amazon – and adapting to evolving circumstances. Today, she coaches executives and guides companies on making the most of the rapid change that is taking place. Benezet shares best practices from her book titled The Journal of Not Knowing: How 21st Century Leaders Can Chart a Course Where There is None. Learn more:Julie Benezet ( Journey of Not Knowing (

  • Joe Santana: Lifting Up Your Employees

    Joe Santana: Lifting Up Your Employees

    08/10/2019 Duração: 36min

    When it comes to boosting the skills of your workforce, Joe Santana uses an old story to advise "look nearby before you go to a far off land." In other words, do all you can to build up current employees. Employee networks are an important ingredient, along with properly using diversity and inclusion to address challenges. Santana shares insights learned during his business career and consulting work. Learn more:

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