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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Indiana State University Board of Trustees approved a plan on Friday to request $66 million to renovate and expand the more than 40-year-old Technology Annex Building on the Terre Haute campus. The funding would be considered as part of the biennial budget from the Indiana General Assembly in next year’s legislative session.

The university says the project would modernize space in the building, which was built in 1980, to create a Center for Technology Engineering & Design. It will include a two-story, 30,000-square-foot addition, as well as the demolition of about 17,000 square feet of space.

ISU says interior improvements to the adjacent Myers Technology Center are also planned.

“For Indiana to compete on a global scale, it needs a strong, well-educated, and highly skilled workforce,” ISU President Deborah Curtis said in written remarks. “This institutional priority is in complete alignment with the state’s goals. With our incredible record of serving the state, ISU will work hard to use this investment to make Indiana even more competitive and prosperous. And, in the long run, our fellow citizens throughout the state will greatly benefit.”

The board also approved naming the Nursing Skills Lab at the College of Health and Human Services after Rich and Robin Porter, who gifted $300,000 to the university to establish the Rich and Robin Porter Endowed Master’s in Nursing Scholarship.

Rich Porter is graduated from ISU with a degree in business management and is the chair of the ISU Foundation Board of Directors. The couple previously donated $250,000 to create the Rich & Robin Porter Cancer Research Center on the ISU campus.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The creator of a southern-themed restaurant took top honors in Thursday’s Pitch Black competition hosted by Launch Terre Haute. Tawana Hemphill was awarded a $2,000 cash prize, in addition to a variety of services to help her get Kiss of the South up and running. LT Thompson, Black Business Alliance coordinator for the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, says the event saw a great turnout as the city looks to shine a spotlight on Black entrepreneurs.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Thompson said having a chance to change the lack of awareness about the Black business community.

“Sometimes that comes from just not knowing in our Black community of the business resources available,” said Thompson. “So it was extremely important that we took the opportunity to shine a light on Black entrepreneurs and provide a platform for them to meet with the business advisor, hone their pitch, and put together a competition where they can go before a judge panel and have an opportunity to win some pretty cool prizes to help support and launch and help their business be successful.”

In addition to the cash prize, Hemphill will also receive $1,000 in promotional materials from Terre Haute-based Tabco, logo and website design services, a consultation with Kemper CPA Group LLP and a one-hour coaching session from talent development firm Global Perspective Culture Co.

Hemphill says she is now looking for a space from which to launch Kiss of the South. She says she hopes to open soon and employ 5-10 people to serve the community.

“They can expect home cooking, food cooked with love, great hospitality and be welcomed with a smile,” she said.

A total of 13 entrepreneurs applied to be part of the competition with six ultimately completing the requirements to pitch at Thursday’s event. Thompson says the success of Pitch Black will hopefully lead to more events in the future.

“I think this event just gives an example for possible other entrepreneurs that maybe they’re have been sitting on their business or an idea and it gives them the motivation or inspiration to say, hey, look at Tawana Hemphill. She won the pitch competition and maybe that gives me opportunity to reach out to the West Central Indiana Small Business Development Center and schedule an appointment with the advisor and see where if their dreams can come true if they have an opportunity to to launch their own business.”

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Terre Haute-based Thompson Thrift, a commercial and residential real estate company, has named Daniel Sink chief financial officer for its Thompson Thrift Development division. He succeeds CFO Ken Howell, who recently announced he would step down this summer.

Sink will oversee the finance, accounting, and capital market areas.

Sink brings 33 years of experience to the role. Recently, he was the chief executive officer for a $1.3 billion investment and development company in the Cincinnati area. He also spent 19 years with Indianapolis-based Kite Realty Group, where he served as executive vice president and CFO.

“Dan has earned a reputation as a ‘hands on’ leader and an excellent collaborator. He is well-equipped to work with our senior executive team as we continue our focus on delivering long-term value across our portfolio of multifamily and commercial developments,” said Thompson Thrift CEO Paul Thrift.

The company has offices in Terre Haute, Indianapolis, Houston and Phoenix.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Economic development leaders in the greater Terre Haute and Vigo County region have developed a new regional planning initiative they say will help the region be better prepared for an economic crisis, like a global pandemic. Thrive West Central has unveiled the economic recovery plan called Resilient.

The organization says Resilient aims to combat regional challenges that were caused or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thrive West Central says the plan has a specific focus on issues pertaining to population decline, lagging economic growth, and an aging population.

“We hope to have weathered the worst of the pandemic,” stated Ryan Keller, executive director of Thrive West Central. “Resilient identifies gaps in our systems, and this is our opportunity to prepare for future economic crises by reinforcing our strengths and seizing opportunities in workforce development, healthcare, quality of life, and education.”

Keller says the organization spent the past 18 months developing the plan through community conversations, regional surveys and data collection and analysis to establish priorities.

Thrive West Central says as part of the process, it looked to identify the most pressing resiliency-related challenges and opportunities in the region and to find public, private, and nonprofit resources that leaders can utilize in pursuit of addressing these challenges.

“Our team and community partners determined the main themes of Resilient through outreach, research, and analysis. Within each theme, Resilient establishes action items to move our regional planning efforts forward,” said Keller. Implementation of the 90-page Resilient plan will begin this spring.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — An Indianapolis-based commercial printing company is adding to its footprint with a new facility in Terre Haute. EZ Mailing LLC has invested nearly $2 million to open the new location, which does business as City Press, and add a small number of jobs.

President Kevin Bennett, who lives in Terre Haute, says the expansion is the result of increased demand.

“We had expanded into doing large format [printing] in Indianapolis and we didn’t realize how well it would take off, and it took off like crazy,” Bennett said. “We ran out of space in Indy. We bought the lot in Terre Haute and built a brand new building to house our new facility.”

City Press focuses on large format and digital printing. Bennett says they’re already looking toward future growth.

“We’re getting a lot of growth. We’ve got new capabilities. We’ve automated some of our processes so we can do more things,” he said.

EZ Mailing started as solely a mailing company and in 2018, the company acquired Haywood Printing in Lafayette. The company then moved its newly-purchased printing services to Indianapolis.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce has tapped a local business owner to help Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs in west central Indiana. LT Thompson, co-owner of Wellness Box in the city’s downtown, will serve as the Black Business Alliance coordinator for the chamber.

In his new role, Thompson will be responsible to building the Black Business Alliance, which will be designed to provide guidance, connections and growth for Black business leaders throughout the seven-county region.

“I was attracted to the position immediately,” Thompson said in written remarks. “Its goal is to strengthen outreach services to underserved communities, in this case, Black/Brown communities, to ensure the many free resources available to small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the region are accessible and being utilized. As a black small business owner, I know firsthand how hard it is trying to navigate starting up, launching and operating.”

Thompson will serve in the role on a part-time basis while continuing to run his business with his wife, Bonnie Thompson.

“The Chamber has been looking for opportunities to expand our reach and encourage more business and economic development throughout the region,” explained Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kristin Craig. “LT is a great fit for this expansion, as a small business owner he is well-equipped to understand the needs of businesses throughout the region.”

The position was created with the help of the West Central Indiana Small Business Development Center, which received a $1 million grant from the Small Business Administration aimed at strengthening outreach services to underserved businesses in the region.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The developer of the new casino in Terre Haute is proposing a new location than what was originally planned. Kentucky-based Churchill Downs Inc. (Nasdaq: CHDN) has filed to rezone nearly 50 acres near I-70 and State Road 46 to build the Queen of Terre Haute Resort.

Churchill Downs was named the operator of the casino in November. In its original proposal, the company planned to build the casino on 21 acres on the city’s west side near the Haute City Shopping Mall and the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

However, many people, including Mayor Duke Bennett and Vigo County Commissioner Chris Switzer, had hoped the project would be built on the city’s east side near the I-70 interchange.

“For months, people from across West Central Indiana encouraged us to build the Queen of Terre Haute on the east side of town,” said Jason Sauer, senior vice president of corporate development for CDI. “We listened, and today we’re excited to start down the path to groundbreaking on a nearly 50-acre site that’s easily accessible from I-70 and State Road 46. With continued oversight from the Indiana Gaming Commission, we look forward to taking the final steps in order to make this project a reality and we are prepared to deliver a true destination casino resort to Vigo County.”

The Queen of Terre Haute will feature a 400,000-square-foot casino building with 56,000 square feet of gaming space that includes 1,000 slots and 50 table games, as well as a 125-room hotel. The project is expected to create 500 jobs and generate $190 million in annual economic impact.

CDI says the Queen of Terre Haute project will remain unchanged with the new location, but having the additional property could allow for future expansion.

The rezoning proposal would change the property to a C3 Regional Commerce District. The Vigo County Area Planning Department will consider the proposal before sending it to the city council. The Indiana Gaming Commission must also approve the location change.

The approvals could come in early March.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Colorado-based Bolder Industries Inc., a recycler of used tires, has purchased the former Pyrolyx USA facility in Terre Haute with plans to invest $40 million to restart the plant. The 66,000-square-foot facility ceased operations after about two years in operations of shredding tires.

Bolder says it will retrofit the property in Vigo County with its technology that takes end-of-life tires and converts them into sustainable raw materials used by the rubber, plastic and petrochemical industries.

The company says it will add more than 40 new employees to operate the plant when it becomes operational in 2023.

Bolder says in its recovery process, 98% of the tire’s materials are utilized and 75% of the solids and liquids make their way back into new tires, manufactured rubber goods, and plastics.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A professor of English at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology will be in the national spotlight this week.

Julia Williams will take part in the inaugural “Jeopardy! Professors Tournament,” in which 15 instructors from colleges and universities throughout the country will compete for a $100,000 grand prize and a spot on the show’s Tournament of Champions. Williams, who says she has tried to quality for the show for the last 10 years, will appear on the show Thursday.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Williams said she is happy the show decided to do something special for professors.

“I think ‘Jeopardy!’ has been very much a part of the lives of lots and lots of people. New arrivals in our country, they learn English often through ‘Jeopardy!’ Kids watch it with their parents or grandparents to learn about science and geography and presidents,” said Williams. “So, I think the fact that they were willing to create this new tournament event for professors just shows how much ‘Jeopardy!’ appreciates and values education and wants to promote education inside the United States.”

While she can’t give specifics about her performance that will air on Thursday, she says the experience was surreal, exciting and terrifying all together.

“The lights are very bright. You have to time hitting your buzzer and know it’s time for you to answer and get the right answer. It’s a lot of things that kind of happen all of the same time and so I’m interested in watching it to see, okay I remember it this way, so what actually happened?”

Williams says she wasn’t allowed to tell anyone what she was doing when she went to California to tape the show. But since the taping, she has seen a lot of excitement from her colleagues and students.

She says the variety of competitors is also important to the tournament.

“[There are] different professors, different disciplines from different areas of the country, different institution types,” she said. “It’s just a beautiful representation of the variety of educational opportunities in the U.S.”

On Thursday’s show Williams will compete with Ramon Guerra, an associate professor of English, literature and Latino studies at the University of Nebraka-Omaha, and Ed Hashima, a professor of history at American River College in California.

“I hope everybody will watch it,” said Williams. “It’s really exciting to see professors out of their classroom or out of their research lab and into a Hollywood studio. There was a lot of makeup, a lot of hair styling, which we’re not quite used to, but once we got up there to play the game, we had a really good time.”

Rose-Hulman says the daily champions from throughout this week, along with four wild-card non-winners, will advance to the semifinal round of the tournament.

BRAZIL, Ind. (WISH) — Indiana Sheriff’s Youth Ranch in December will host a new “Breakfast With Santa” event for students in kindergarten through Grade 6.

The nonprofit training retreat will provide clothing, toiletries and food for youths. Selfies with Santa will be encouraged, the ranch said in a news release. The free event will include a meal of pancakes, cereal, turkey sausage links, juices and milk.

The event will be from 9 a.m.-noon Dec. 11 at the 62-acre ranch about 2 miles south of Brazil at 5325 N. State Road 59.

No reservations are needed, but guests are asked to “respect one another’s pandemic precautions,” the release said. Face masks and social distancing are encouraged when possible.

For more information or to donate to the ISYR Chaplain’s Fund, call 317-460-4242, go online to Indiana Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch GoFundMe page or write to the ISYR Chaplain’s Fund, 5325 N. State Road 59, Brazil, IN 47834.

Organizers of the event include Clay County Sheriff Paul Harden, Greene County Sheriff Michael Hasler, former Marion County Sheriff John Layton, Owen County Sheriff Sam Hobbs, Parke County Sheriff Justin Cole, Putnam County Sheriff Scott Stockton, Sullivan County Sheriff Clark Cottom, Vermillion County Sheriff Mike Phelps, and Vigo County Sheriff John Plasse.