New blog client now public

sharilee tent.jpgI’m pleased to announce that I’m assisting Mooresville small business owner Sharilee Gray with her blogging efforts. Sharilee manages three separate family businesses , including Gray’s Carpet Cleaning Service with her husband Charles; she devotes many hours helping home buyers as a RE/MAX realtor; and she has created her own line of natural soap bars and lotions as Mother Nature’s Bath & Body.

Sharilee is clearly pretty busy, so she and I have partnered so I can help grow her social media presence. You can learn all about Sharilee and see the new space I helped create for her on the web here. While you are looking around, please consider supporting Sharilee’s businesses.

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Hoosier Energy “Gets” Ag Businesses

The following was written for Hoosier Energy and appeared in the July 2016 issue of Business Facilities. Recreated here with permission.

poultry-farmWith more than 14.7 million acres of farmland, Indiana is a leading producer of corn, soybeans, hogs, poultry, popcorn and tomato products. Indiana agriculture contributes roughly $31.2 billion to the Hoosier GDP annually, with approximately 107,500 Hoosier jobs supported by the ag-business sector.

Ted McKinney is the Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and the Director of Agri-Business Economic Development for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. McKinney noted that ag-business is booming. “For the first time ever, Wal-Mart is investing in their own dairy processing plant, which looks to be one of the largest in the nation, and they’ve chosen Indiana for that plant. Krone Equipment, a producer of heavy farming machinery, will move its North American Headquarters from Memphis, TN to Shelbyville.”

Looking at Southern Indiana and the Hoosier Energy service territory where it is the electric provider for 18 distribution cooperatives (REMCs), McKinney credits the company for how they understand the industry at a fundamental level. “Modern ag production is highly automated. “When you are looking at a lot of machinery to churn commodity products, you need a reasonably priced, reliable energy supply. We can offer that. I can’t state enough how important it is that Hoosier Energy is there early on to answer questions.” McKinney added, “Hoosier Energy just ‘gets’ agri-businesses. They walk the talk and understand the needs of the industry, and that goes a long way.”

Grain Processing Corporation (GPC) is one major company Hoosier Energy and Daviess-Martin County REMC have helped in several ways. GPC is a global distributor of grain ethanol products. GPC plans to invest $70 million to expand facilities at their Washington, IN, campus over the next two years. When completed, they will double production from 17 million pounds per month to 34 million pounds per month. According to Renee Campbell, the Hoosier Energy Key Accounts Manager for the territory, GPC creates grain product through wet-milling, a process that results in high purity. “GPC is the largest producer of Maltodextrin (AKA Maltrin®), used in personal care items, food and ethyl alcohol. They produce a corn oil and corn germ used in pet foods and high gluten nutrition products.”

ledHoosier Energy and their member/owner, Daviess-Martin County REMC, have worked with GPC at several levels since the facility opened in 1997. “GPC owns their own power substation and we advise them on the maintenance and service of that substation. On the expansion, we’ll work to make modern LED lighting an affordable option and also discuss advanced lighting control so they’ll be operating at maximum energy efficiency as soon as they open,” said Campbell. “We know that, with this expansion, they will need a lot more corn supply. So this is a huge opportunity for corn growers in Southern Indiana.”

Mike Owens, another Key Account Manager at Hoosier Energy, believes that nurturing good ag-business doesn’t stop at the large company accounts. “The family farms of today are the large ag-producers of tomorrow,” said Owens. “Rose Acre Farms is one of America’s largest egg producers with 17 facilities in six states. They started as a family farm in Jackson County, Indiana. Any of the family farms can end up being my next major ag-producer.” Owens referenced a “smaller” client, Riverview Farms in Orange County near Orleans, IN, a family farm which currently produces “200,000 chickens, 70,000 hogs and 250,000 tom turkeys every year.” With recent expansions, they’ve added a $4.2 million pullet barn (for raising turkey hatchlings) and a $12M feeder mill. “They’re diversifying and want to pass the business on to the next generation. They may be my next major ag-producer.”

One way Hoosier Energy and their distribution cooperatives helps family farms is by offering incentives to upgrade their lights to modern, energy efficient LEDs. “The typical barn may require as many at 220 light bulbs.” Modern LED lights run on 10 watts, are very durable and can last up to 20 years. Hoosier Energy offers family farms a rebate on LED upgrades that can result in a savings from almost $8 per bulb down to $1.89 per bulb. This can mean an average reduction of 15 percent in their overall power usage.

From the family farm to the global food producers, Hoosier Energy “gets” ag-business. By supporting farms and businesses of all sizes, Hoosier Energy and their member/owners REMCs are nurturing the growth of ag-businesses throughout Southern Indiana.

To read the original article, click here and scroll halfway down the page.

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I-69 Keeps Rolling Along

The following was written for Hoosier Energy and appeared in the May 2016 issue of Business Facilities. Recreated here with permission.


bf-mj16_logistics_udwi_i-69_500x330-300x198Interstate 69 runs north-south through the Midwest United States. Sometimes called the NAFTA Superhighway, the interstate starts at Port Huron, Michigan and is envisioned to run south into Texas with the goal of being the primary economic north/south route in the United States.

Indiana completed the 156-mile northern route of I-69 in 1971. Since its groundbreaking in 2007, construction along the southern sections of I-69 has rolled along steadily. The route was divided into six sections of construction starting with Section 1 near Evansville and proceeding north until Section 6 connects to I-465 in Indianapolis. Four sections are now open to travelers. Currently, I-69 connects to State Route 37, so businesses have four-lane access to downtown Indianapolis and beyond. Section 5, currently under construction, goes to the edge of Martinsville and upgrades the route to interstate standards. Section 5 is scheduled to be finished by June 2017. Section 6 will join with I-465 in the years to follow. But as I-69 construction rolls along, Southern Indiana and the communities that stand to most benefit are investing in their infrastructure with the assistance of Hoosier Energy’s member electric cooperatives to take full advantage of these future logistics opportunities.

Location advantage: The completed southern expansion will span 114 miles from Evansville and I-64 to Indianapolis and Interstates 65, 70 and 74. Southern Indiana offers commuters easy access to two international airports, which house the major hubs of two air package delivery services: FEDEX in Indianapolis and UPS in Louisville. In addition to the air transportation advantages, 65 percent of the United States is within a one-day drive of the I-69 corridor.

Defining ideal logistics: Tim Feemster, the managing principal of Foremost Quality Logistics with over 40 years of experience as a business site advisor, explained what he looks for when considering sites for logistics companies: “My rule is ‘five to 55’— trucks should be going 55 miles an hour within five minutes of departing.” Other important factors include an abundance of certifiable “shovel ready” sites and an infrastructure with a low risk of power interruptions. The numerous interchanges tying into the I-69 project in southern Indiana open up a variety of new opportunities to hit “five to 55.”

I-69 is a couple of years from direct freeway access from Evansville to Indianapolis. However, Feemster points out, “if a company invested in a brand-new site today, allowing for 18 months of construction, the freeway will be close to completion by the time they open.”

Washington, IN invests in infrastructure: Jeff Quyle, President & Chief Operating Officer of Radius Indiana, observed that the opening of I-69 has helped many businesses near Washington, Indiana. “Grain Processing Corporation (GPC), a processing plant of ethanol-based alcoholic beverages just outside of Washington, is located a short drive from I-69. The freeway provides a benefit to GPC, both for receiving raw materials and for shipping finished product. The interstate also comes to the front door of Naval Support Activity Crane, a weapons production and development facility with over 5,500 employees.”

Westgate, a new technology park adjacent to Crane, is developing several new commercial business sites. “Both Westgate and Washington are taking advantage of the opportunity that I-69 offers. They are investing in a quality industrial, commercial and retail development on several hundred acres of land right off the interstate, with rail access and a shell building already under construction.” Thanks in part to infrastructure investments by Hoosier Energy, these sites will come pre-wired and power-ready. And the local electric distribution cooperative has offered zero-interest loans to assist in upgrading infrastructure.

Bloomington plans for growth: Bloomington is the site of Indiana University’s main campus and several local medical, life sciences and technology companies that ship their goods primarily by truck. “Since I-69 opened, the local workforce has a dramatically faster and safer commute,” said Lynn Coyne, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation. “Once Section 5 is completed, Indianapolis will have easy access to Bloomington, which will enhance the educational opportunities for students and visitors.” Coyne credits Hoosier Energy for proactively preparing shovel ready sites and for marketing those sites.

“It’s still early,” said Anne Bono, Executive Director of Hoosier Voices for I-69, “but the potential is clear. When I-69 is complete, trucks will drive from Indianapolis to Bloomington in 38 minutes (about half the time of the current commute).”

Petersburg Invests in the Future: Fifty million people live within a 500-mile radius around Petersburg in Pike County, including Nashville, Atlanta, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Detroit—significant markets that I-69 will bring closer. “We are developing a mega-site of 8,000 acres, starting with 340 acres about a mile from the interchange and are working to get those sites shovel ready,” said Ashley Willis, Executive Director of the Pike County Economic Development Corporation. “We’re positioning ourselves to be an attractive location for agribusiness, logistics and manufacturing industries. We’re investing to be a significant competitor in the future. Utility partners like Hoosier Energy are helping Petersburg take steps so that its available sites have water and electrical infrastructure to support the demand.”

As I-69 rolls along, Hoosier Energy and its partner rural electric cooperatives will help their business communities develop sites that best take advantage of the economic opportunities of tomorrow.

To see the original article, click here and scroll down about halfway.

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Copybob’s Sci-Fi and business writing worlds collide!

lyte poseMy sci-fi and business writing worlds have collided! I recently joined the marketing team of Noblesville, IN filmmaker Demetrius Witherspoon of DV Entertainment Pictures and am helping him promote his Indianapolis-based sci-fi film! I’m doing this as my R.J. Sullivan author persona but it falls strongly into my business and promotions skillset.

Here’s the site where you can see the first few blogs I’ve created.

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Portfolio page added

Digital_PortfolioI’ve never had the greatest website, and where I have particularly failed is having the graphics talent, time, or expertise to add a good digital portfolio that truly represents the array of my work. Now technology has made this possible by letting me put all my files into Dropbox so all I need to do is share the Dropbox link on my website. (and yes, I realize that this trick has been available to me for a couple years now–sometimes I’m a bit slow recognizing the possibilities).

So here is my new, revised portfolio page that spans highlights from my 15+ years of experience, plus my resume and letters of recommendation.

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New Case Study: Merkley Meats Upgrades

I drafted a new case study for Hoosier Energy that went up on their website a few days ago, this on on how efficiency upgrades for a south side meat processing plant in Jasper County were made more affordable through a Hoosier Energy rebate program.

Meat-Packer Uses REC Rebates for Efficiency Upgrades As energy usage enters the 21st century, the trend in technology is towards blending higher efficiency equipment with “green” Earth-conscious energy-savings. This trend, paired with increasing government regulations that require businesses to practice energy responsibility, means companies have more to think about when carrying out routine replacement of aging equipment. In some cases, the cost for such upgrades can make some business owners pause, or even balk, in their plans to move forward. But fortunately for many businesses in southern Indiana, Dubois REC and other local rural electric cooperatives, in a partnership with Hoosier Energy, have created a monetary rebate program available to qualifying businesses interested in such upgrades.

Brad Merkley, Operations Manager and third generation butcher for Merkley and Sons Quality Meats of Jasper, Indiana, is going forward with several upgrades in his family’s food processing business thanks for the REC rebate program.

Click here to continue…

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Hoosier Energy MV-WEB Meter System

Today’s case study spotlight looks directly at a service offered by Hoosier Energy and their partners to help their corporate customers better monitor their energy output.

For decades, Hoosier Energy, a wholesale electric energy provider for rural electric cooperatives in southern and central Indiana and southern Illinois, has monitored the monthly energy consumption patterns of their member systems’ large- and medium-sized industrial and commercial customers to help with their energy bills and prevent any “surprises” regarding their electricity costs. Two primary software tools involved in this customer support are known as MV-90 xi and MV-WEB. MV-90 xi collects and maintains data from the meters, while MV-WEB, a load presentment system, provides an update, via the web, of numerous customer loading parameters.

Through use of these tools, Hoosier Energy analysts Holly Nethery and Pam Raisor have learned to do more than simply create accurate monthly power bills. …

Click here to read the rest of the article.

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