A Dream Comes True in Indiana

Indianapolis Star business columnist John Ketzenberger found lots of good news to report in today’s paper, highlighting Cummins’ expansion plans in the state, President Joe Loughery’s leadership, and the Dream It. Do It. campaign. What a nice column item:

Cummins President Joe Loughery is a tall man who looks a bit like singer Kris Kristofferson. So it was a little surprising to see him near tears last week at a celebration of Cummins’ decision to build its new diesel engine in Columbus.

Why the moist eyes and cracking voice?

Because it dawned on Loughery as he stood before a couple hundred people that his effort to boost education in southeast Indiana was about to pay off.

People were paying attention to his message that a high-school education isn’t good enough anymore to work for Cummins or Honda or Enkei or ArvinMeritor. Gov. Mitch Daniels had just said so, and proved it by putting up state money to start a new education effort.

But it was another pet project airily named “Dream It, Do It” that really choked Loughery up. It’s his baby, as chairman of the Manufacturing Institute, a not-for-profit arm of the National Association of Manufacturers.

The rest of the story follows below.

“We’re short-selling ourselves on the future of manufacturing,” Loughery said.

“Dream It, Do It” sends people into high schools to tell students that manufacturing’s alive and well. The program also emphasizes the need for education to get those high-paying jobs. As the program’s catch-phrase notes, “This isn’t your granddaddy’s world. It’s yours.”

In that moment, as he stood in the bright television lights to talk about good jobs for southeast Indiana, Loughery realized people are getting the link between education and manufacturing.

No wonder he was choked up.

The Star previously highlighted the coalition formed among business, government and education to encourage Cummins to build its new diesel engine plant in Columbus. It’s a heck of a story, too.

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