Interview

Ravi Kumar S., President, Infosys, interviewing Eric Holcomb, Governor of Indiana and Jim Schellinger, Indiana Secretary of Commerce

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Transcript

  • Ravi Kumar S.
    00:12
    Ravi Kumar S.

    Hello everyone. My name is Ravi Kumar, President at Infosys. Welcome to the next version of Trailblazers. Today I have two very exciting guests on this show, dear friends of mine. The Governor of Indiana, the 51st Governor of Indiana, Eric Holcomb and Jim Schellinger, the commerce secretary of the state of Indiana. Thank you so much for talking to us. I am so excited to have you both on this chapter of Trailblazers. We have been doing this for the last one year and this is about individuals who are making significant impact to the societies we live in and the industries we represent. I have to say this - I meet a lot of governors and government officials across the world, but I can never compare what I get in Indiana with any other state or any other government across the world.

    Eric Holcomb: That’s very kind.

    Ravi Kumar: Thank you so much. Thank you so much for all the partnerships. So, Governor, you know, I have seen from 2016 so much you have, kind of, progressed in the state. Next Level Jobs is an initiative, Next Level Roads, I love the Next Level Connections, how to bring Hoosiers, who are not served on the digital highway for internet, to roads, to airlines. It’s been such a phenomenal journey with intensity. The one thing which kind of, really stands out is the statement you made - Bringing Indiana to the world and bringing the world to Indiana. What did you precisely mean by that because I have not seen any other state saying this?

  • Eric Holcomb
    01:59
    Eric Holcomb

    Well, we are, number one, a welcoming state. We are known for our hospitality,our Hoosier hospitality. And we mean that. And we are a state that, kind of from our very beginning, forged our way out of the forest, you know, a couple of centuries ago. And we’ve been welcoming folks to this land since the very beginning. And then, therefore innovating our way to tomorrow with company by company, generation by generation and when you look through the evolution of Corporate America, you can really find companies, world class companies, whether it’s in the auto industry or life sciences or in agriculture, you pick it, you can find it in Indiana. And then you find companies who have survived and thrived because they’ve had this global outlook. I would say we want to grow “glocally.” We want to grow locally and globally. And simultaneously. And we know as you get around the world, the world gets smaller and smaller and smaller and time goes faster and faster and faster when you are addressing mutual problems. I was talking with, and Secretary Schellinger was there, we were talking with Prime Minister Modi about mutual challenges in my state, and his nation, two democracies, his happens to be the largest in the world. But we have the same challenges - nutrition, healthcare delivery, education, higher education. What does higher education mean today? And that’s why we are just so excited to have Infosys here in the state of Indiana because you are a corporate beacon of innovation. And truly to take your company, our state to the next level, we have to do it together and we want as much brain power, as much innovation, as much energy as we can pack inside our borders. And for a state like Indiana which you and I have talked about, that’s 83% still former forest. A lot of terrain out there is feeding the world, by the way. We can expand our playing field as long as every Hoosier, every guest feels connected not only to one another - on the street, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, but connected to the world. And that’s why we are making these investments in our infrastructure, and our greatest asset, our people.

  • Ravi Kumar S.
    04:43
    Ravi Kumar S.

    Thank you governor, that was so powerful what you just said. Switching to Secretary Schellinger, I have seen you, one of the few rare individuals who straddled from the corporate world to the government and you have done that with such seamless ease. And you have got so ma ny accomplishments in the corporate world. Like the airport in Indianapolis, the JW Marriott hotel, great design milestones for the state. 2018 has been a phenomenal year for the state of Indiana for jobs. 300 companies, 31,000 job commitments. Tell us quickly about the quality of these jobs and which industry they span across?

  • Jim Schellinger
    05:36
    Jim Schellinger

    Oh they are very, very productive, very high paying jobs in all industries. Much in manufacturing, but none larger than the tech industry that you’ve added so much to Salesforce and to Wipro, who you work with, I know, constantly. It has been magical for our city and our state. And it all comes down to, Ravi, as you know, from our first visit when I came over to see you in India. We have a story to tell. It’s all about the state that works. We are now on our third major consecutive governor that has a vision and it’s all been upward trajectory. And so the team, we follow the leadership, right? So, when we get out in front of anybody domestically or out front of people internationally, we tell our story. Our batting average is really high because we just have a story to tell, we’re in the heart of the heartland crossroads of America. And everything is intersecting here, in Indiana.

    Ravi Kumar: And it is across industries.

    Jim Schellinger: Across industries.

  • Ravi Kumar S.
    06:32
    Ravi Kumar S.

    Great! You know, of all the states and the state governors I have met, you are the one who speaks most about skills and workforce of the future. The Markle Foundation partnership you did to skilling Indiana and bringing the citizens of the state, the kind of skills needed for the future of the businesses here. Give us a view of how that is going and how that is uniquely positioned for the state of Indiana.

  • Eric Holcomb
    07:06
    Eric Holcomb

    The Markle Foundation, I asked them when we became the second state in America to join as a skillful state, why Indiana, after the deal was done and they said because you are doing and not talking. And that requires some focus. That requires some courage. That requires that if you want a different end result, you have to probably yourself do some things differently. Whether it has to do with your structure, the goals that you set, how high you do aim, the amount of resources that you are willing to in a joint exercise bring to bear. So we looked at population scarcity, how we attract talent from the outside of our state to grow as critically important to where we are going to be 10 years from now. And we can do the math, we are not mathematical deniers. And we know how many baby boomers are out there. We know how many are incarcerated, 27,000 in the state of Indiana, and because of workforce development programs, our recidivism rate has gone down by 4% just since 2017 because they are getting good jobs and because the jobs are there. And so if we are going to continue on this trajectory as the secretary mentioned, we know that whether it’s in precision, agriculture, life sciences, aerospace, aviation, auto, manufacturing, advanced manufacturing, whatever the sector is, we know that we are going to have to skill up folks who are already the 1.1 million, who are in our K-12 pipeline right now. We have to make sure that there are no leaks in that pipeline and that they are leading to progression in one’s life, and to the next step and the next step to the next step. Stackable credentials and certificates that lead to degrees, when the person and their passion align to taking that next step. And we are going to continue to fund programs and value policies that work for people. We always say we are a state that works and I always say we are the state that ‘works, for all’. No matter what your background is – rural, urban, suburban – we want to make sure that you are aware and that you have access to an opportunity where you get to determine your own destiny. And in a state like Indiana, in the heart of the heartland we are going to express our heart in the process.

  • Ravi Kumar S.
    09:48
    Ravi Kumar S.

    Terrific! That’s terrific! That is so compelling, what I just heard. In fact, one of the things which fascinated me as we set the center up here is two-thirds of the people who we get in the center are actually from adjacent neighboring states. And there are two parts to that; there are some who come to study here and they were going back looking for jobs elsewhere, they are continuing to stay with us. And there’s some who were actually studying elsewhere, who do not know Indianapolis and the state of Indiana, once they come in here, I think they find it very attractive. The big challenge is to bring them here. Once they come here, they are okay with it. Are you doing anything to make this a magnet for attracting talents from other states?

  • Jim Schellinger
    10:39
    Jim Schellinger

    For sure, in this the governor is very modest. His and the First Lady’s Last Mile Program is coding and these guys are getting out with a job. It’s a big deal. It might be something that we can partner with Infosys as well. Because they are being trained in your likeness in many respects. But we have a lot of things going outside the state. IDC, we are constantly advertising in every state of our state that works and when the governor was first elected, he appointed a secretary of career and talent attraction and Secretary Blair Milo’s full time job – he directly reports to the governor – is getting the word out to first, keep them here that are already here, but the second, bring them in. And I think the governor’s progress has been effective. 31,800 people migrated to Indiana last year for jobs you mentioned at the podium today, and that’s not by chance and that’s by design and by strategy.

  • Ravi Kumar S.
    11:29
    Ravi Kumar S.

    Absolutely. In fact, yesterday I was with the Salesforce guys in a meeting at the World Economic Forum and I was telling them about how we are in this mission together to build Indiana as the tech-hub of the Midwest. The fact that 50 of our clients, 40 of them actually are not from the state of Indiana who are executing work here. It is your vision actually about making this bold statement of ‘can this be the tech hub of Midwest’? What’s your view? Where do you think we are in that journey and how much do you think we need to achieve to get there?

  • Eric Holcomb
    12:12
    Eric Holcomb

    Yes, well, we are moving in the right direction and we are gaining momentum every day and as I have said, success attracts success. So one when employee or employer is talking to their cohorts around the country about, in Indiana they no longer will tax your state income if you are in the military, your pension, or in the state of Indiana we are reaching out or trying to scrape alumni roles that may have gone to Notre Dame or Purdue or IU or Hanover or Ivy Tech; if they left the state of Indiana we are reaching back out to them. Our companies themselves are reaching out around the world. You, Salesforce… Salesforce mentioned to me that they knew it was working because they got a guy to move to Indiana in February from Honolulu and they thought that was a really good sign because you are right, we become sticky when people arrive here and they understand the true definition of quality of life. And no congestion and whatever speed you are looking for, cost of living, world class higher education institutions in your backyard, access to them.

    Ravi Kumar: Tightly integrated academics, governments and corporates.

  • Eric Holcomb
    13:41
    Eric Holcomb

    Yes, and our philanthropic wing, which has been with us from the very start as well. So companies that have done well, are giving back. Lilly Endowment to name just one. But there are our foundations, our associations, whether it be the Chamber of Commerce or the Manufacturing Associations or the NFIB. Everyone looks at a challenge and seeks the solution and so we really do come together shoulder to shoulder. Some people in the back pushing, some people in the front pulling and everyone’s moving forward in lockstep. And that’s because we have a plan, we are very transparent, we turn our cards face up and we say, here’s where we want to go, are you with us? And our problem usually is, okay we got, we can only put five guys on that floor, at the same time or nine on the fields, you pick it, or 11. And it’s making sure we are getting the right people at the right time and we are stepping in and we are moving down the field together and that’s a special recipe when you have all the ingredients and we will …

    Ravi Kumar: It's not about you.

    Eric Holcomb: That’s exactly what it is, it’s that ecosystem maturing at the right scale and pace.

  • Jim Schellinger
    15:05
    Jim Schellinger

    I have time to meet with those 40 companies to get them to come to Indiana so if you make that introduction you give me that list, I am there.

  • Ravi Kumar S.
    16:14
    Ravi Kumar S.

    Absolutely. We are so excited about the ecosystem. In fact, today has been a great day, the beam signing for the corporate training university. It will be the largest in corporate America. It’s a national facility for us. And the ease at which we got to this point almost talks about how easy it is to do business in Indiana. Bring a set of very diverse stakeholders together for a common cause and a common purpose, so we are very excited about what the future looks like for Infosys orchestrating out of Indiana. Thank you again Governor, for your time today. Thank you, Secretary, for spending time with us. Thank you so much.