Building Indiana » Building Indiana | Diagnostic Radiology: The Importance of Managing Costs and Quality Fri, 31 Jul 2015 20:02:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Diagnostic Radiology: The Importance of Managing Costs and Quality Fri, 31 Jul 2015 20:02:47 +0000 When an employee is injured or suffering from a medical condition, the number one priority is to provide immediate and proper medical treatment, so they can recover to good health and return to work as quickly as possible.

Diagnostic tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans have revolutionized the way physicians detect, diagnose and treat diseases and injuries. These scans produce detailed images of organs, tissue, the vascular system, abdomen, and bones. Imaging can serve as the critical first step to ensure patients receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate medical care. Scans are particularly important in workers’ compensation, where work-related injuries are often muscular or skeletal in nature, and require imaging for assessment.

However, unprecedented growth in the use of diagnostic radiology has contributed to rising costs. The Association of Health Insurance Plans reports almost $100 billion per year is spent on diagnostic imaging in the U.S. Inflation in this area contributes to spiraling costs in workers’ compensation and group health, making savings a top priority.

In addition, studies show that if quality standards are not in place, scans may fail to provide necessary information. In some instances, poor quality images and/or misinterpreted scans can cause confusion. For instance, an MRI can ascertain the nature and extent of an injury, but a quality image and credentialed radiologist must be part of this equation. Otherwise, the injury may be misdiagnosed, become worse, and delay the employee’s return to work, or result in a permanent disability.

How can you manage cost and quality of diagnostic imaging for your company?

Many companies have chosen to partner with a specialized diagnostic network that ensures both quality and savings. Such a network can enable a faster, more efficient resolution for the patient, providing them with an optimal level of care, service and convenience. As a result, savings are delivered in four key areas:

  1. Returning a worker to the job promptly and safely, reducing the time and costs associated with prolonged absence
  2. Administrative savings realized via the network’s coordination of appointments and results
  3. Quality standards that ensure tests are done right the first time
  4. Discounts that deliver significant cost savings per scan

These benefits are achieved with the following strategies:

A managed referral process to maximize savings for employers and insurance programs.

There are generally three types of providers that perform diagnostic imaging: hospitals, physician offices, and freestanding imaging facilities.

“We often find that employers and their programs’ administrators don’t always know where to send workers who need radiology procedures, such as MRI and CT,” said John Stanzi, President of Diagnostics at One Call Care Management. “Injured workers may be directed to a hospital, not realizing that the same test can be performed with the same great equipment and equally qualified clinical staff at a more cost-effective freestanding imaging facility.”

A specialized diagnostic network will have a database that contains thousands of provider profiles, including freestanding imaging facilities. The network utilizes a quality-driven referral process that ensures employees are placed with the best, most qualified providers each and every time.

According to an analysis performed by One Call Care Management, in-network referrals have saved an average of 55.4% per imaging service within the state of Indiana. Employers and their insurance companies reap savings without having to dramatically revamp their programs or transfer costs to employees.

Rigorous credentialing ensures patients utilize quality imaging facilities.

A diagnostic network contracts with and provides access to only highly qualified and credentialed imaging facilities. To be admitted into the network, imaging centers and radiologists must undergo a rigorous credentialing process. The network employs standards that meet or exceed those used by organizations, such as the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). It also consults resources, such as American Medical Association (AMA) and National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), to verify a provider’s credentials, licensure, and memberships.

The network keeps track of providers that maintain American College of Radiology (ACR) accreditation, and when necessary, will perform additional audits to ensure providers meet quality guidelines and clinical standards. The network also balances a variety of other quality factors, including age of equipment, software updates, strength of an MRI determined by magnet strength, expertise of the reading radiologist, assurance that facilities adhere to quality protocols, and feedback on patient service.

An advocacy program to assess and meet specific patient needs.

A diagnostic network offers a call center staffed with care coordinators to help patients schedule appointments often on the same day, and identify conveniently located facilities that have the appropriate equipment. Patients receive compassionate, personalized service and can rest assured, knowing they have been referred to a reputable facility.

“We feel imaging centers should strive to deliver quality care and a superior patient experience,” said Julie Bieszczat, president and owner of Northwestern Medical Imaging. “Patients should be made to feel at home and taken care of, as soon as they walk in the door. Engagement in the Indiana community is also critical in helping to educate the community about medical conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, where radiology can aid in diagnosis and treatment.”

Scan of the Future: Quality Matters

Innovations in diagnostic radiology have led to many advances in healthcare. However, without careful selection of an imaging center, quality can often be a concern, and costs can spiral out of control. Your organization can easily improve results by leveraging a specialized diagnostic network, which will refer your employees to only the best, most qualified imaging facilities—focused on giving your employees the care and attention they deserve.

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Moving Logistics Forward One County at a Time Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:57:25 +0000 Six Regional Logistics Councils Identify Regional and Local Logistics Needs

In a global economy, continuing Indiana’s success in growing existing businesses, attracting new businesses and creating jobs depends on maintaining and strengthening our renowned ability to move supplies and products around the state, the nation and the world. The Conexus Indiana Logistics Council’s (CILC) 2010 strategic plan, Phase I: A Plan for Indiana’s Logistics Future, and its 2014 sequel, Delivering Indiana’s Logistics Future, paved the way toward achieving those goals.

The plans have been developed by a group of 50-plus statewide logistics industry leaders who, as vested members of the logistics industry, know first-hand what steps are needed to strengthen our logistics leadership position. Their collective voice was heard, and many of their recommendations served as the springboard for the public and private sectors to advance a number of infrastructure projects, public policy solutions and workforce/talent development initiatives that when combined will improve how goods move through Indiana leading to business growth and employment.

Building on that successful framework, Conexus Indiana helped establish six regional logistics councils to zero in on specific local and regional opportunities that buttress the state plan and provide a roadmap to strengthen the logistics industry on a microscopic level. Formed at the request of the Indiana Department of Transportation, Indiana Economic Development Corporation and the Ports of Indiana, the six regional councils include more than 200 members comprising logistics executives, chambers of commerce, economic development groups, and other business- and community-focused organizations. We now count more than 225 industry leaders who have come together with one goal in mind: to strengthen Indiana’s position as the “Crossroads of America.”

The Southwest Regional Logistics Council (SWRLC), made up of 38 members representing an 18-county region from Terre Haute to Evansville, launched the first regional strategic plan in June 2015.  Five additional regional plans will be launched through the next six months in North Central, Northeast, Northwest, Central and Southeast Indiana.

A Plan for Growing Southwest Indiana’s Logistics Sector reflects the infrastructure, education, and public policy needs of the region, and follows a proven strategy of taking the lead from business leaders who identify precisely what is needed to move logistics forward in their communities.

Southwest Indiana has significant logistics assets – 11 regional airports, 2 public ports, 45 private ports, 7 locks, an intermodal facility, 2 Class I Railroads, 8 Class II and III Railroads, 6 major highways and 3 major Interstates – and has a great deal to build on as do each of the other 5 regions. With those assets as the foundation, the Southwest Regional Logistics Council identified 80 infrastructure projects that, once implemented, will decrease transportation bottlenecks, increase direct rail service to Indiana ports, increase the use of regional air facilities for freight and improve mode-to-mode connectivity. Council members also underscored the importance of ensuring federal, state and local governments do not regulate barriers to the safe, efficient and innovative movement of goods and resources through the region and, equally important, ensure adequate funding to support those infrastructure priorities.

The importance of these plans cannot be overstated. The logistics industry adds $1.3 trillion to the U.S. economy – more than twice the impact of information technology – with Indiana ranking among the top ten states for logistics jobs. The State is #1 in interstate highway access, in the top ten in railroad miles, and in the top 20 for freight shipped by air and water. Manufacturing plants from more than 29 countries dot Indiana’s landscape, employing more than 100,000 Hoosiers. Indiana is a stronghold of advanced manufacturing, and logistics is essential to the movement of those manufactured goods.

Indiana’s logistics excellence is the result of its dedicated logistics sector and of the public/private partnerships working to continue Indiana’s tradition of ensuring the safe, efficient movement of goods and resources through the state, adequate funding to support infrastructure, and innovative education programs to increase employment prospects and upward mobility for Hoosier workers.

The Council’s next steps are to share the plans widely with state and local government leaders, local constituents and residents, as these plans will serve as the blueprint for how we grow our logistics advantage in every corner of the state. Nothing like this has been done before, and we are encouraged by the thousands of hours of thought and deliberation that have gone into these plans by our most trusted logistics industry leaders.

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Indiana Banks: Helping to Build a Better Indiana Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:53:38 +0000 It takes a team to build a community. Planners provide guidelines, builders erect infrastructure, officeholders garner support, and scores of others unite to synthesize efforts. Critical to the mix is the banking community, which offers not only the capital to make projects become reality, but also contributes business guidance and community support to ensure success.

In Indiana, approximately 140 banks and thrifts serve the financial needs of Hoosiers. Of the banks operating within the state, 119 are Indiana-domiciled. The Indiana Bankers Association (IBA) is a trade association representing the Indiana banking community. The mission of the IBA is to advocate for and sustain an environment in which banks can succeed. Within that mission is the goal to help member banks build better communities.

Financial support. The main contribution of banks to communities in general and to the business arena specifically is capital, the lifeblood of any project. Whether helping consumers with their housing, education and other long-term financial needs, or assisting businesses as they grow and expand, banks offer the financing that makes these goals attainable.

Nationwide, banks in 2013 financed $1.5 trillion of business loans, covering a range of purposes, including project-based needs, business expansion and the hiring of additional staff. Of that financing, $287 billion consisted of loans to small businesses, the economic backbone of the United States.

Some bank lenders are generalists, and others specialize in specific industries, for example agriculture. Because much of the wellbeing of Indiana can be attributed to its robust agricultural industry, the financing of agriculture is essential to Hoosiers. Banks clearly are major providers of agricultural lending. In fact, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., banks in the United States held over $155.2 billion in farm debt as of third quarter 2014.

Business guidance. Beyond financial support, the banking community works with businesses of all stripes in an advisory capacity. Particularly for small businesses, which generally lack the benefit of in-house business consult, expert advice provided by bankers can make the difference in helping a business to thrive.

Many small business owners meet regularly with their bank relationship managers to review cash flow, sales performance and projection assumptions. In turn, bank relationship managers often confer with the bank’s full senior management team for an added level of support. Banks provide guidance on topics ranging from commercial operations, to small business logistics to agricultural production and more.

Community outreach. The banking industry also assists efforts to build Indiana through community support. Since availability of human resources is proportionate to a community’s quality of life, these community service projects provide a significant boost to the Hoosier state.

Bankers work within their local communities to help a wide range of organizations. Individually, bankers frequently bring their skills to the table by serving as board treasurers or on finance committees. They also do “hands on” work by building homes through Habitat for Humanity, delivering food through Meals on Wheels, mentoring youth through Big Brothers Big Sisters and a host of other options.

Recently the Indiana Bankers Association surveyed its members regarding community outreach in 2014. Survey results revealed that, last year, 23,979 Indiana bank associates performed community service, devoting 518,618 man-hours and raising $45,543,225 in corporate contributions. Bank associates raised an additional $951,123 in staff contributions through dress-down days, car washes, etc.

In the area of financial literacy, associates from Indiana banks made 8,163 presentations in 2014, reaching 47,425 adults and 126,140 youth. All levels of financial literacy teaching is provided, from the most basic lessons about saving versus spending to more complex messaging, such as affordable housing options and how to save for a down payment.

Other Indiana-building benefits. The Indiana banking community helps grow opportunities for Hoosiers by lending to government services for public improvements such as education, water and sewer lines, roads and public health facilities. Additionally banks play a major role as buyers and sellers of Treasury securities, which are vital to financing the operations of the federal government.

Banks also contribute financially through the taxes they pay. In 2012 alone, banks paid approximately $60 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. Finally, banks are a valuable source of employment, with nearly 17,000 Hoosiers employed by banks in Indiana.

As Gov. Mike Pence observed about the Indiana banking industry, as quoted in the November 2014 Hoosier Banker magazine: “At its very core, the banking industry is the leading source of capital that keeps Indiana business moving.” Members and staff of the Indiana Bankers Association are proud to work toward helping to build a better Indiana.

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Construction Industry Bullish On Growth Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:48:15 +0000 Landmark New Study Shows Construction Industry Bullish On Growth, Concerned About Labor Supply

Column Sponsor: Dewey Pearman, Executive Director, Construction Advancement Foundation
Article and study written by: The Association of Union Constructors

A major study on construction workforce levels finds that many contractors, labor representatives and owner-clients are optimistic about growth opportunities in the industrial construction and maintenance industry in 2015 and beyond – but at the same time, they are concerned about finding enough qualified union craft workers to fill the expected demand.

These are just two findings of the wide-ranging study released by The Association of Union Constructors (TAUC) and produced in conjunction with the Construction Labor Research Council (CLRC). It is designed to give construction professionals an in-depth understanding of the current state of the union construction and maintenance labor supply throughout the United States.

The report utilizes a rigorous scientific methodology to analyze nearly 1,000 responses to a 10-question survey sent in February 2015 to a cross-section of contractors, union representatives and owner-clients. The large sample size and carefully worded questions combine to make this one of the most useful union craft labor supply reports available.

In addition to overall findings, the study also features numerous data cuts based on several demographics, including respondent categories, geographic regions and specific industries. Data are presented for 14 crafts individually, as well as aggregated, including both actual 2014 staffing levels and projections for 2015.

Highlights of the study include:


  • More than 70% of respondents believe there will be growth, to varying degrees, in the construction and maintenance industry (union and non-union combined) in 2015.
  • Of that percentage, 20% believe there will be either “strong” or “very strong” growth.
  • A significant number also envision strong levels of growth lasting four years or more.


  • Respondents reported that just three of the 14 building trades crafts (Sheet Metal Workers, Teamsters and Insulators) are expected to have a surplus of craft workers in 2015.
  • Respondents further reported that the remaining 11 crafts are all expected to experience shortages of various levels in 2015. Of those 11, the Boilermakers and Carpenters are forecasted to have the most severe shortages.
  • Furthermore, a full 65% of survey respondents believe the current union craft labor force is too small.


  • Nearly 70% of respondents said they believe that union apprentice classes are currently too small; however, roughly a third said the classes were the right size. (PAGE 40)

“TAUC is pleased to make this groundbreaking study available to the industry at large,” said TAUC CEO Steve Lindauer. “The depth and breadth of the analysis is, in a word, impressive. Our sincere hope is that it will foster a new level of informed discussion between our tripartite partners, and better prepare the entire industry to face a number of workforce challenges in 2015 and beyond.”


Download the full executive summary here: TAUC Labor Study – Executive Summary

Download the full report here: TAUC Labor Study – Full Report


ABOUT TAUC: The Association of Union Constructors is the premier national trade association for the 21st century union construction and maintenance industry. Our more than 2,000 member firms include union contractor companies, local union contractor associations and vendors in the industrial maintenance and construction fields. We demonstrate that union construction is the best option because it is safer and more productive, and provides a higher quality and cost-competitive product. For more information, log on to


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Behind the Scenes of Major Disaster Events Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:00:51 +0000 National Disaster Response Group Holds Training Event in Indiana

Editor’s Note: Recently, Building Indiana was given exclusive access to several of the experts from Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team (DMORT) Region 5 before one of their annual training exercises, which was held at the Sage-Popovich Hangar at the Gary International Airport. We would like to thank DMORT Region 5, and their federal oversight agencies, for the unparalleled privilege of sharing this topic with our readers. Several names and photographs have been excluded from this article to protect the integrity of the sensitive work DMORT conducts.


Indiana has always been a state that takes disaster preparedness very seriously. Groups like the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and the Northwest Indiana Information Sharing Security Alliance have established a solid foundation for how the state will react before and after a catastrophic event occurs. But, being fully prepared means looking beyond our current capabilities. How will recovery take place if our infrastructure is overwhelmed? Specifically, how will authorities process the remains of victims if our mortuary facilities are filled beyond capacity?

Situations like those require a very different kind of preparation and training – much like the kind that recently took place at the Sage-Popovich, Inc. hangar at the Gary International Airport. There, members of the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team (DMORT) Region 5, which consists of medical experts from six different states, gathered together to conduct training exercises for instances of mass casualty.

Disaster is Always a Local Event

When a major disaster occurs, it is always considered a local event. Local authorities take the lead in terms of all disaster responses, and they are the ones that hold jurisdiction. But when the emergency infrastructure surrounding the disaster is overwhelmed, and more assistance is needed, a chain of command for additional support becomes activated.

Initially, local agencies reach out to their state for support. If the state needs additional assets beyond that point, they can reach out to other states or contact the federal government. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) usually serves as the in-point for federal support, and distributes the request to the appropriate federal department.

Often, that’s where the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) comes in. NDMS is one component of the federal emergency response system housed within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). NDMS is called when there is a disaster that taxes the medical infrastructure in any part of the country, or abroad, if needed.

“The federal government has divided the types of resources we can provide into functional areas which we call emergency support functions,” said Elleen Kane, Public Affairs Specialist within the HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). “There’s a department in charge of each functional area. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services leads public health and medical support.”

DSC04900HHS pulls together and coordinates all of the public health and medical assets federal agencies have to help the impacted area. These assets could come from the U.S. Public Health Service, the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the Department of Defense. ASPR takes the lead on this coordination.

“The federal government can send personnel – doctors, nurses, paramedics, EMTs, veterinarians, mortuary or forensics experts, food safety inspectors, disease detectives, etc. – and material, like caches of medical supplies that travel with our teams or stockpiled drugs or vaccines needed for the disaster response,” Kane explained.

Within NDMS, there are four different types of teams that serve to provide a variety of medical needs. When a situation occurs involving numerous deceased individuals, the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Teams (DMORT) become activated. DMORTs were developed to provide victim identification and mortuary services in the wake of a major disaster. Their responsibilities include a wide array of identification and mortuary services, and the teams are comprised of a highly-specialized set of medical, anthropology, and pathology experts.

Nationally, the DMORT teams have three mobile morgues that are stationed in California, Texas and Maryland. Indiana has one of its own as well, stationed in Indianapolis, that mirrors the federal mobile morgues by design so they can be linked together as needed. They share the same floor plan, have similar telecommunications capabilities, and all of the emergency professionals train on the same equipment to build familiarity. Additionally, the mobile units are equipped with their own forklifts and generators to serve as self-contained, readily-deployable infrastructure in times of emergency.

Recently, when DMORT Region 5 held its training exercises at the Gary International Airport, Sage-Popovich, Inc. provided space for deployment of the Indiana mobile morgue, and allowed use of one of its B737 aircraft for training purposes.

When asked why the company volunteered to host the event, Sage-Popovich President Nick Popovich said, “As part of the Northwest Indiana Information Sharing Security Alliance (NIISSA) group, we have certain assets to put into play for use by public-private entities, and it’s our responsibility to help where we can.”

“I think it’s important to be ready for any and all types of crisis situations, whether they’re man-made, or natural disasters. A big part of preparation is hands-on training, so that’s why we donated the B737 and allowed use of our facilities,” Popovich said. “Also, several friends at the airport allowed us to store some of our mobile equipment and aircraft in their facilities, and allowed the DMORT teams to park in their lots. It was a very minor interruption for us, and very beneficial for the group. I’d like to note that most of the individuals who came to train did so on their own time and expense. Training dollars are short these days, so if we can offer a space at no charge to help, why not?”

“God knows, I hope we never need to activate this team for any reason. But it’s good to know they are ready if needed,” he added.

DMORT Teams are composed of experts such as:

  • Funeral directors
  • Medical examiners
  • Coroners
  • Pathologists
  • Forensic anthropologists
  • Medical records technicians and transcribers
  • Finger print specialists
  • Forensic odontologists
  • Dental assistants
  • X-ray technicians
  • Mental health specialists
  • Computer professionals
  • Administrative support staff
  • Security and investigative personnel

Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

True Compassion

In speaking with several members of the DMORT staff – one thing becomes readily apparent: the experts who come together to process remains of disaster victims share an uncommon bond in their compassion for the work they conduct. Although they are often faced with some of the worst devastation and horror that one could imagine, they consider their mission sacred, professional and humanitarian.

“In any kind of disaster, when local infrastructure is overwhelmed and help is needed, we’re here to help,” said Dave Walters, DMORT Region 5 Acting Deputy Commander and Safety Officer. “The jurisdiction still belongs to the local authorities – for example, local officials will still be the ones signing the death certificates – but we provide our equipment and specialists to assist the recovery process in whatever capacity is needed.”

He added that the team also assists in disaster recovery operations that take place beyond America’s borders.

DSC04927Walters said, “In Haiti, we helped identify the remains of numerous individuals during the earthquake of 2010. There were many people there with dual citizenship, American and Haitian, so it was important to appropriately identify their remains and return them to their families.”

Donald Simpson, a DMORT 5 Mortuary Officer, IMERT Co-Commander, and Evansville-based Funeral Home Director, explained that on occasion the DMORT teams have to help manage a wide array of varying kinds of recovery operations.

“It’s not always victims of disaster that we’re working to process and return,” Simpson said. “For example, during the flooding in New Orleans during the hurricanes, many cemetery vaults were uprooted and in disarray. So we helped positively identify these remains and return them where they belonged.”

“At times, our work can be very challenging. But ultimately our mission is about compassion for these people and their families. So it’s very rewarding,” Simpson said.

Another funeral director from the central Wisconsin area added, “This is really a sacred mission. There’s a great deal of responsibility and legality involved with what we do. Declaring someone deceased is a big deal, legally and spiritually, and we have to be absolutely proficient at what we do. Fortunately, we have a group of incredibly special people on this team.”

Due to the rather extreme nature of the work that DMORT professionals are faced with, mental health experts are incorporated into the team to assist members in coping with the stress of their mission.

One mental health professional, who first joined the team during the Oklahoma City Bombing of 1995, said, “The level of compassion that this team has for these victims and their families is tremendous. What we do is often behind-the-scenes, and these experts – doctors, forensic specialists, and others – they do all of these efforts without want of recognition or the national spotlight. They’re amazing people.”

Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Teams (DMORTs) were developed to provide victim identification and mortuary services in the wake of a major disaster. Their responsibilities include:

  • Temporary morgue facilities
  • Victim identification
  • Forensic dental pathology
  • Forensic anthropology methods
  • Processing
  • Preparation
  • Disposition of remains

Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Staying Ahead of Disaster

Currently, NDMS and other HHS officials are prepping their resources to remain one step ahead of disaster. Through several new programs and methods of approach, NDMS officials are adopting new strategies to minimize the time it takes to respond to an emergency.

“Our goal: within hours of a request for help, be on the ground or have dispatched the requested resources. For disasters that are predictable like hurricanes (or sometimes floods), we can pre-stage what’s likely to be needed so the assets are available quickly,” Kane said.

DSC07470“In 2006 local, state and federal agencies established a structure and defined roles and responsibilities,” she explained. “It works well. After a devastating tornado in Joplin, Missouri, we deployed DMORT quickly. With Hurricane Sandy in 2012, we had doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel accompanied by medical supplies in New York City setting up medical tents in hospital parking lots within four hours of the request.”

“We can help hospitals and nursing homes evacuate by air or ground; and we now have a whole network of hospitals willing to take evacuated patients,” Kane added. “There is a system in place to track where the patients go, so families know where they are.”

“While we’re exceptionally proud of our DMORTs and health response teams and of the advances being made in responding to disaster health needs, we want to minimize the impact on health up front and that requires advanced planning,” she said. “Health departments and emergency management offices at any level of government can’t do it alone; health security takes a whole community. It’s important for businesses to get involved in planning for emergencies not just for the community’s benefit but because protecting employee and community health also can help disaster-proof the local economy. Plan for the health impacts on your business and conduct drills just like our teams do.”

Unrivaled Humanitarianism, Without Recognition

The men and women of the DMORTs, in conjunction with their partnering agencies and federal departments, conduct operations with the utmost professionalism and compassion, typically without recognition or attention. Together, they face some of the most extreme examples of horror that mankind or mother nature can create, and they do it all just so that victims of disaster can be returned properly to their loved ones. Their mission is unlike any other, and should be regarded as a true example of unsung heroism.


National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) Response Teams

  • Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT)
  • Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Teams (DMORT)
  • International Medical Surgical Response Team (IMSURT)
  • National Veterinary Response Team (NVRT)

Source: NDMS


DMORT Teams:


Source: NDMS

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Opening Doors for New Business Ideas Fri, 31 Jul 2015 16:32:52 +0000 New Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center is a Catalyst for Regional Economic Development

Purdue University Calumet has laid the foundation for what could be a major catalyst for economic development in the Northwest Indiana region with its new Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center. The new facility, which officially opened in spring of 2015, is intended to foster entrepreneurial ideas and technological transfer.

The new, 18,000 square foot center offers two components of business development for emerging innovators. The first component focuses on advancing new manufacturing opportunities through cutting edge training and technology transfer (manufacturing excellence); and the second will focus on the commercialization of local entrepreneurs’ new business ideas and products (commercialization). Essentially, the new facility will act as a proving ground which will enable companies to test their ideas, and learn how to grow and remain competitive well into the future.

IMG_3577“This center will enable Purdue Calumet and ultimately Purdue University Northwest to positively impact regional economic development by advancing new manufacturing opportunities through state-of-the-art training and transfer of the latest technology,” Purdue Calumet Chancellor Thomas L. Keon said. “It also provides a venue for commercialization of new business ideas.”

“We know our manufacturing friends can’t easily shut down their plant to try new equipment or a new strategy, so that’s what our facilities provide: a place where industry, faculty and students can work together to solve problems. On the commercialization side, we want the Center to be active in creating and bringing concepts and ideas to market,” he said.

The center’s first phase, manufacturing excellence and prototype development, is already being implemented. Funding for this initial component was made possible through support from Carlisle Companies Inc. and its Chairman, President and CEO Dave Roberts, who is also a Purdue Calumet alumnus.

Purdue Calumet has selected Niaz Latif, Dean of the University’s College of Technology, to serve as the Executive Director of the new center. Among his added duties, Niaz Latif is overseeing renovation and development of the center.

“The center will provide opportunities for Purdue Calumet faculty and students to commercialize innovative ideas resulting from their research or other intellectual endeavors,” Latif said. “It is a facility that will make a difference in Northwest Indiana advancing economic development.”

“Our objective is to enhance the lives of people who are unemployed or underemployed,” Latif said. “These people are loyal and committed individuals, and when provided with additional training and skills, they will be able to grow and become successful within many different types of companies.”

Latif has already secured federal grants for workforce development that will be put to use at the new center. Most recently, his office brought in a $2.74 million award from the U.S. Department of Labor to support advanced manufacturing training for up to 300 qualified individuals under the “Project: AWAKE” program. Enrolled individuals receive free training through a 21-week program, followed by a 4-week unpaid internship.

IMG_3581“Project: AWAKE provides a good connection between theory and the real world, through a great deal of hands-on learning,” Instructor Dave Shike said.

Debbie Blades, Placement and Internship Coordinator, said that students are already working their way through the program and moving on to promising careers.

“One of our students was an army veteran who was having difficulty finding a career because she needed training to compete in today’s advanced manufacturing industry,” Blades said. “But, after spending some time here as an intern, she quickly moved on to a career working with AutoCAD.”

“We’re very proud of our ability to grow the type of candidates that companies are seeking,” she said.

The center will also enable faculty and students to engage with local business and industry. Students will benefit from experiential learning opportunities occurring with center clients.

Purdue Calumet’s Assistant Vice Chancellor for Advancement, Wes Lukoshus, said, “Let’s say a local company has acquired a new, technologically advanced piece of equipment. We want to be able to give these businesses the space to use these new technologies and train their workers or students who will benefit from real hands-on learning. We can turn this into jobs and opportunities, and that’s why we think it will be so important to Northwest Indiana.”

IMG_3585Additionally, the training facilities at the new center will emphasize workforce development in advanced manufacturing for achieving technological solutions and entrepreneurship. Short term space also will be available for entrepreneurial community clients and employers to design, develop and test prototypes for innovative initiatives.

More than 20 companies are engaged with Project AWAKE training. Also, Hammond radio station WJOB (1230-am) has relocated its broadcasting and streaming media operations to the center, while also instructing and employing university student interns and alumni.

A business development center of this type is something that Northwest Indiana has needed for quite some time; an element to bridge the gap between education, innovation, employment, and long term growth. Purdue University Calumet is renowned for its ability to educate, and the region’s workforce is well-known for its dedication to hard work – putting the two together just seems like a great idea for the continued success of the entire area.

IMG_3597 IMG_3596 IMG_3587

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Electricity, Smarter Fri, 31 Jul 2015 16:11:57 +0000 New Amazon Fowler Ridge Wind Farm Coming This Year

Project financing has been concluded for a brand new 150 MW wind farm in Benton County. Siemens has been awarded an order from Pattern Energy Group Inc. (“Pattern Energy”) to supply, support installation and provide long-term service for 65 wind turbines for the Amazon Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge) to be located near Fowler, Indiana.

Installation of the wind turbines is scheduled to begin in July of this year, and initial construction is already underway. The project is expected to start generating power in the fourth quarter of 2015. The wind farm will generate nearly 500,000 megawatt hours per year (equivalent to the amount of power used by approximately 46,000 U.S. homes in a year) and will be used to power both current and future Amazon Web Service Cloud datacenters. Amazon and Pattern Energy Group have entered into a 13-year PPA to supply electricity to the grids that service the centers.

“Amazon Web Services Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge) will bring a new source of clean energy to the electric grid where we currently operate a large number of datacenters and have ongoing expansion plans to support our growing customer base,” said Jerry Hunter, Vice President of Infrastructure at Amazon Web Services. “This PPA helps to increase the renewable energy used to power our infrastructure in the US and is one of many sustainability activities and renewable energy projects for powering our datacenters that we currently have in the works.”

Siemens Financial Services (SFS) led the construction financing for this project, committing $150 million. SFS’s involvement in structuring a financing solution was integral in closing the order and allowing Pattern to move forward with the project. Siemens also partnered with Pattern Energy to supply 67 state-of-the-art Mount Generation Step Up (GSU) Transformers for the Amazon Wind Farm.

“Siemens is proud that our ‘Made in America’ wind components will be used at the Amazon Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge). Wind power is an increasingly important part of our nation’s energy mix, and this project is part of a growing trend we see in the U.S. of technology companies and leading corporations investing in wind power,” said Jacob Andersen, CEO Onshore Americas, Siemens Wind Power and Renewables Division. “Our goal is to provide the most efficient and reliable equipment to ensure that wind energy is both sustainable and affordable. We’re pleased to continue our long relationship with Pattern Energy, and Siemens technicians will work to ensure optimal performance of this equipment.”

Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy, said, “Our partnership with Siemens on the Amazon Wind Farm is supporting jobs throughout the life of the project, from manufacturing through construction and ongoing operations. This project will use new Siemens wind turbines with blades, towers, nacelles and transformers that are made in America.”

New Amazon Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge) Uses U.S.A.-Made Components

  • The nacelles and hubs for the project will be assembled at the Siemens facility in Hutchinson, Kansas.
  • The blades will be manufactured at the Siemens blade facility in Fort Madison, Iowa.
  • The transformers will be manufactured at the Siemens’ transformer facility in Richland, Mississippi.

There are three key reasons why this project is so important for the state of Indiana, each of which has a direct impact on the state’s economy. For one, construction jobs will be created during the implementation phases that could have a very positive effect on Benton County. Two, the carbon emissions for the state won’t be affected by the new infrastructure, which is completely clean. And lastly, Amazon Web Service representatives have stated that they plan to expand their operations in the area in the future. Taken as a whole, the positive implications of this new wind farm are tremendous for Indiana business and longevity.

Facts about Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is inherently more environmentally friendly than traditional computing. Today, individual companies often operate one or many corporate datacenters to meet their internal IT requirements. Even with broad adoption of virtualization technology, most enterprises still struggle to achieve moderate utilization rates for their data center infrastructure (typically lower than 20%). The result is a significant amount of unused server capacity and wasted energy consumption to power all of this unused or underutilized infrastructure.

Source: Amazon

Facts About the Amazon Wind Farm’s Infrastructure

  • Power produced at the site of the 150-MW project will be purchased by Amazon to supply electricity to the electric grids that service its Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) datacenters.
  • The project will feature Siemens SWT-2.3-108 wind turbines, each with a power rating of 2.3 megawatts (MW) and 53-meter blades.
  • The Siemens SWT-2.3-108 wind turbines are part of the company’s G2 platform of onshore geared products – the workhorse of Siemens’-installed portfolio with rotor diameters optimized for all wind conditions. The G2 platform features highly-engineered, designed and manufactured components, exceptional reliability and low operational costs for an optimized return on investment.
  • The new wind farm will generate power equivalent to the amount used by approximately 46,000 U.S. homes in a year.

Source: Siemens

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Know Your Targets Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:41:07 +0000 Identifying Your Biggest Threats Helps Plan Ahead for Potential Workers’ Compensation Savings

Knowing which enemies your troops will be facing is a key element when beginning any battle strategy. The same notion rings true when considering your company’s approach to workers’ compensation insurance. Familiarizing yourself with the typical kinds of injuries that occur among Hoosier workers will help you develop a proactive approach to safety regulation, thereby reducing the number of claims submitted to your workers’ comp insurer.

According to the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Information Portal, a resource developed by the attorneys at Klezmer Maudlin PC, an Indianapolis-based workers’ compensation law firm, the following items constitute the most likely injuries that befall Hoosier workers:

  • Back Injuries – Back injuries are one of the most common work-related injuries and can also be one of the most serious. Many times a single event, such as lifting a heavy box, will result in a back injury. Work that requires repetitive motions like bending or lifting may also cause back injuries. Most back injuries are successfully treated with conservative methods like medication or physical therapy. Surgery is sometimes required when these types of treatments are not successful.
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSD) – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSD), also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), is a chronic neurological syndrome which involves severe burning pain, tissue swelling or extreme sensitivity to touch. RSD develops in response to an event the body regards as traumatic, such as an accident or medical procedure. RSD may follow up to 5% of all injuries. People with RSD may see an average of five physicians before they are accurately diagnosed.
  • Tendonitis – Tendonitis is usually seen after excessive repetitive movement with which the tendon gradually becomes tighter until the fibers that make up tendons start to tear. Workers whose jobs include tasks constant lifting, pushing, pulling, or squatting may overuse their muscles, which may lead to the development of tendonitis. The most common tendon areas that become inflamed are the elbow, wrist, biceps, shoulder leg, knee, ankle, hip, and Achilles.
  • Stress Fractures – A stress fracture is an injury that results from overuse and occurs when muscles become fatigued and are unable to absorb added shock. Eventually, the fatigued muscle transfers the overload of stress to the bone causing a tiny crack called a stress fracture. The most important treatment for a stress fracture is rest over a period of weeks.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a medical condition in which nerves in the wrist are compressed. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include a burning or tingling sensation in the fingers, numbness, difficulty gripping or making a fist, dropping objects, and general weakness in the hands or wrists. In the United States, carpal tunnel syndrome is the biggest single contributing factor to lost time at work.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury – A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can significantly affect many cognitive, physical, and psychological skills. It is sometimes difficult to understand the immediate impact of a traumatic brain injury, since the effects of this injury are very different in every person. However, a traumatic brain injury will often require life-long medical and psychological care.
  • Toxic Mold – Toxic mold has been called the “new asbestos” because of potential health risks from exposure, the cost of care, and the risk of lawsuits. There are several different varieties of mold that can cause health problems, including—but not limited to—chronic bronchitis, learning disabilities, mental deficiencies, heart problems, cancer, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue, lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple chemical sensitivity, and bleeding lungs.
  • Joint Replacement (shoulder, knee and hip injuries) – Injuries to joints, especially knees, shoulders and hips, occur in workplaces every day. Joint injuries may be the result of repetitive motion activities or an aggravation of a pre-existing condition, like arthritis. If pain cannot be managed through medication and physical therapy, some workers may be candidates for joint replacement.
  • Chronic Pain – Chronic pain is generally defined as painful symptoms from the work-related injury that remain with the worker for at least two (2) months after the work-related injury. For workers with permanent chronic pain (pain that will probably never go away), the worker may be entitled to a settlement under the Indiana workers’ compensation system. For more serious cases of chronic pain, the worker may also be eligible for future medical care.

Experts agree, virtually across the board, that developing and implementing a culture of safety among your company’s employees is the number one way to prevent injury and reduce costs related to insurance claims and lost productivity. Recognizing and focusing on these aforementioned injuries is a great way to begin your safety preparations, due to the fact that they are statistically the most likely threats your staff members will face. Knowing what to look out for will help you protect your workers, and your bottom line.


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Evansville’s Lucky Four-Leaf Clover Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:31:08 +0000 New U.S. 41 and Lloyd Expressway Interchange will Improve Indiana’s Logistics Capabilities

When it comes to keeping commerce moving, Indiana is definitely one of the top states in the nation. As part of an ongoing effort to continually improve this notion, the state is currently upgrading and redesigning the U.S. 41 and State Road 62/66 (Lloyd Expressway) interchange in downtown Evansville, IN, into a full-cloverleaf interchange design. Officials predict that the results of the project will produce reduced traffic congestion and travel times, as well as an overall increase in safety for the thousands of motorists who pass through the system every day.

“The U.S. 41 and Lloyd Expressway interchange is one of the busiest intersections in the state of Indiana, and building a full cloverleaf has been a top priority of our administration because of its significance as a regional transportation link,” said Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke.

INDOT has announced that design plans for the project will cost roughly $19.1 million and will take about a year to complete, with traffic remaining open to the public throughout all construction phases. Currently, work is progressing on-schedule and is expected to be opened to traffic in the fall of 2015.

“To avoid long traffic delays and disruption in the area, the INDOT has developed a shorter construction timetable with practical design elements added that will produce long-term savings for the project. Those savings will benefit both the state and our city,” Mayor Winnecke said.

Jason Tiller, INDOT District Communications Director, said, “The project at U.S. 41 and the Lloyd Expressway is ultimately going to improve mobility throughout the City of Evansville. By removing stoplights in the area, traffic flow and safety will be vastly improved. We anticipate easier movements and reduced crash rates once the work is finished.”

Purpose & Need for the U.S. 41 and State Road 62/66 (Lloyd Expressway) Interchange Redesign

  • Enhance safety and traffic capacity within the corridor
  • Construct a full cloverleaf interchange with roads on Lloyd Expressway at U.S. 41
  • Eliminate at-grade intersections and traffic signals on Lloyd Expressway at U.S. 41

The primary need for this improvement is due to the following factors:

  • Delays on Lloyd Expressway caused by the signalized intersections at two ramp junctions
  • Number of traffic accidents experienced at or near the ramp junction intersections

Source: INDOT

Builders will be eliminating two at-grade stoplights from the Lloyd Expressway, which will provide a free flow of traffic throughout the interchange. The pavement on S.R. 66 will be lowered to increase clearance for the bridges on U.S. 41 and INDOT is also partnering with the City of Evansville on a multi-use trail that will include a new pedestrian bridge over the Lloyd Expressway.

INDOT has described that along U.S. 41, the project will include pavement and bridge rehabilitation. Current lane assignments will be maintained, including two through-lanes in each direction on the south leg of the project, and three through-lanes in each direction on the north leg of the project.


On S.R. 62/66 (Lloyd Expressway), the project will include pavement replacement. Current lane assignments will be maintained, with three through-lanes in each direction. New entrance and exit ramps and connector and loop ramps will be added in each corner of the interchange.

Cumulatively, these improvements along the two highways will enhance the interchange’s traffic capacity. The City of Evansville has planned to have storm water runoff collected in dry detention ponds inside the loop ramps and conveyed through a new storm sewer pipe once the project is completed.

Overall, the project is expected to have a positive impact on Evansville and Indiana as a whole. In a state that’s designed to facilitate the shipping and transportation needs of all types of industrial and civilian demands, redesigning one of Indiana’s busiest intersections is a great step toward enhancing the state’s overall logistics profile. Improving the flow of traffic and augmenting transit safety will keep commerce flowing throughout Indiana for years to come.

Construction Partners for the U.S. 41 and State Road 62/66 (Lloyd Expressway) Interchange Project

  • Beam, Longest and Neff Inc. – Designer
  • Ragle Inc. – General Contractor
  • Paving Sub Contractor – E and B Paving
  • Indiana Sign and Barricade – Maintenance of Traffic
  • Rivertown Construction – Misc. Concrete Work
  • HydroTech – Hydro demolition
  • Flame On – Beam Straightening
  • Central Painting – Bridge Painting
  • CA Fulkerson – Erosion Control, Seeding, Planting
  • Snyder Construction – Trenchless Pipe
  • Bunn Enterprises – K-Drain
  • Fort Wayne Reinforcing – Tying Steel
  • Starnes Trucking – Transport

Ragle Inc. Project Team

  • Ragle Project Manager – Jason Ragle
  • Ragle Project Superintendent – Tim Dewig
  • Ragle Construction Engineer – Dean Drees
  • Ragle Project Engineer – Mike Runion
  • Ragle Grade Superintendent – Luke Rohleder

INDOT Project Team

  • INDOT Project Manager – Kimberlee Peters
  • INDOT Area Engineer- Curt Schum
  • INDOT Project Engineer/Project Supervisor – Patrick Craig
  • INDOT PE/PS- Robert Kirchgessner
  • INDOT Highway Technician – Wayde Ivers
  • INDOT HT – Terry Font

Source: INDOT

All photos were provided by the Indiana Department of Transportation and Ragle Construction.


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Construction, Without Closing Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:12:20 +0000 Indiana Project Wins National Award

When it comes to construction projects, collaboration is essential for success. Great things can be achieved when owner companies and contractors work together to bring projects to life.

A great example of this type of project-based relationship took place just a few months ago, at ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor Basic Oxygen Furnace (B.O.F.) facility. There, builders from The Pangere Corporation and Iron Workers Local #395 worked closely with ArcelorMittal officials to remove and replace 33 crane runway girders without stopping the steel production lines operating onsite.

Things went so smoothly during construction, the project earned two distinguished awards. The first was the Construction Advancement Foundation of Northwest Indiana’s award for Maintenance/Service Contract Work Project of the Year, and the other was a national Project of the Year award presented at the Ironworkers International and Ironworkers Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT) conference in Las Vegas. The project was selected among 10 North American finalists to win the Project of the Year Award for ingenuity in construction and achieving outstanding safety in a complex environment.

Throughout the project, contractors from Pangere attended ArcelorMittal’s production meetings to ensure safety and productivity as the facility continued operations.

Project Manager Anthony Pangere said, “Communication was key between ironworkers and plant operators to avoid the dangers of hot metal splashes and moving equipment.”

Pangere had to conduct all of the necessary pre-work to allow the structure of the B.O.F. facility to accept the new girder design, and all of the additional column jacking. The 33 girder replacements took place in both the “charge” and “teeming” aisles of the facility, creating a unique set of circumstances each time the girders were replaced. The teeming aisle girder changes occurred in front of three steelmaking vessels and were sequenced to ensure that two of three furnaces could remain operational while Pangere performed the work.


Each set of girder changes was given a tight window for completion, allowing only 24 or 36 hours depending on the location in the aisle. Once the clock was started, work crews had to arrange equipment, cranes, girders, perform the work, and demobilize to return full production capabilities to the owner.

Iron Workers Local #395 Business Manager Ron Ware said, “The girder replacement project was a difficult one in terms of logistics and safety due to continuing steel making operations.  The Iron Workers, Pangere Corporation and Arcelor-Mittal’s supervisors did a great job of communicating hazards and daily activities with each other to ensure a safe and productive project.”

Joe Boyce, ArcelorMittal Project Manager, described some of the difficulties and dangers that the construction partners faced, saying, “The work conditions and hazards involved working at heights around large moving cranes and equipment, ladles with 300 tons of liquid steel and live crane conductor rails. The work required weeks of preparing each runway section for replacement. Pangere diligently prepared layouts showing the positions of mobile cranes and girders in tight areas.”

“The B.O.F. crane runway girder replacement project was a huge success due to Pangere’s performance,” he continued. “The project was safely completed under budget and ahead of schedule with all new girders properly leveled and aligned.”

Pangere personnel closely monitored a number of factors that were continuously changing as the plant continued operations during the work; including ladle transfer cars, overhead crane movements, the use of ladle treatment stations and the vacuum degasser. In order to effectively monitor these operations, a team of iron workers was formed to remain exclusively dedicated to safety. This team was responsible for communicating overhead crane and production movements and to make sure crews would not be exposed to hot metal splashes or moving equipment.

2There were other safety concerns that Pangere had to identify and correct throughout construction. For example, the company discovered a buildup of highly flammable magnesium powder in the charge aisle that was located under a work area that was difficult to notice and access. The result was the removal of as much powder as possible as well as an increased fire protection plan which included equipping the site with Class D fire extinguishers. While pre-emptive measures were taken, the overall culture and dedicated workers were the greatest reason the project achieved zero injuries.

“The girder replacement project highlighted the value of continuous safety training and our investment into maintaining a strong culture around safety. It’s not simply enough to train workers on hazards, they have to be involved in the identification process, which the Ironworkers were very proactive with. A great reason for our success was the open discussion environment between field personnel and supervision; conditions changed and everyone was prepared to adapt,” Anthony Pangere said.

This girder replacement project signifies the outstanding things that can be effectively completed when contractors and owners work together toward a desired outcome. Considering the inherent dangers of replacing essential components inside an active steel production facility, it’s amazing to witness a project of this type culminate without any major incidents, ahead of schedule, and under budget.


Construction Partners for ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor Basic Oxygen Furnace Girder Replacement Project

The Pangere Corporation – General Contractor

ArcelorMittal – Project Owner

Iron Workers Local #395 – Structural Iron Work

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