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George Vlahakis
University Communications

Last modified: Wednesday, January 26, 2011

IU Business Conference to focus on the role of government intervention in a market-based economy

Jan. 26, 2011

EDITORS: Reporters interested in interviews with speakers should contact George Vlahakis at 812-855-0846 or

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- One of the most hotly debated issues related to our current economic climate is the appropriate role of government intervention in a market-based economy.

Diane C. Swonk

Diane C. Swonk

Print-Quality Photo

What role, if any, should government play in directing taxpayer resources to encourage the creation of new technologies and industries? What role should government play in bailing out companies that are in trouble? What role should it play in our capital markets?

Are there times when government assistance to U.S. companies should be used to level the playing field with their international competitors?

These and other economic policy issues took the forefront of discussions in our recent elections and continue to make front-page news. Presenters at the 65th annual Indiana University Business Conference will present some Midwest perspectives on the interface between government and business, often based on their companies' experiences.

"These are folks like us who are playing on major stages," said Stephen Hayford, professor of business law and ethics and the conference chair. "They are dealing with national issues on a local and regional plane. I think the theme is particularly timely, in light of the current debate as to the proper nature of the business-government interface on the national and state levels."

The conference, "Rethinking the Relationship Between Business and Government: Free Markets and the Greater Good," will begin at 9 a.m. on March 4 at the Indiana Convention Center, 100 S. Capitol Ave., in downtown Indianapolis.

Gerry Dick

Photo by E. Anthony Valainis/Indianapolis Monthly

Gerry Dick

Presenters will be Charles Gassenheimer, chairman and chief executive officer of Ener1 Inc.; R. David Hoover, chairman and former CEO of Ball Corp.; Kevin T. Kabat, president and CEO of Fifth Third Bancorp; and Derica W. Rice, chief financial officer and executive vice president for global services at Eli Lilly and Co. Gerry Dick, host of "Inside Indiana Business," will moderate the discussion.

They will be joined by Diane C. Swonk, senior managing director and chief economist at Mesirow Financial, who will speak at lunch.

The registration fee is $150 by Tuesday, Feb. 17, and $160 afterward. Table registrations are $1,400 for 10 people or $725 for five people and include all conference sessions with reserved seating at lunch. Information and registration are available at or 812-855-6340.

Registrations also can be mailed to Annual Business Conference, Kelley School of Business, 1275 E. 10th St., Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405-1703. Credit card registrations can be sent by fax to Conference Registrar, Kelley School of Business, 812-856-7018. Make checks payable to the IU Kelley School of Business Alumni Association.

Diane Swonk

Swonk, senior managing director and chief economist for Mesirow Financial, a diversified financial services firm based in Chicago, is one of the most sought-after economists in the world. She frequently is called upon by policymakers and business leaders from Washington to Tokyo.

She joined Mesirow Financial in 2004 after 19 years with Bank One Corp. and its predecessors. She began her career with the First Chicago Corp. in 1985 and quickly moved up the ranks, proving herself as one of the top regional economists in the country. During her tenure with First Chicago, Swonk published several nationally acclaimed studies as well as her first book, The Passionate Economist: Finding the Power and Humanity Behind the Numbers.

She sits on several advisory committees to the Federal Reserve Board, its regional banks and the Council of Economic Advisers for the White House. Most recently, she served two consecutive terms on the Congressional Budget Office's panel of economic advisers. She is one of the most quoted economists in the financial media and also serves as a clinical professor for DePaul University's highly rated evening M.B.A. program.

Swonk is past president of the National Association for Business Economics, a title that Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and several other Federal Reserve presidents have also shared. Swonk was the youngest person to serve as president in the association's history and continues to dedicate much of her time to improving the quality and timeliness of economic data, a critical aspect of policymaking.

She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in economics with top honors from the University of Michigan as well as a master's degree in finance and strategic planning with top honors from the University of Chicago.

Charles Gassenheimer

Charles Gassenheimer

Charles Gassenheimer

Since 2006, Gassenheimer has been CEO and chairman of Ener1 Inc., a leading energy storage systems company and manufacturer of large- and small-format lithium-ion batteries for automotive, electrical utility grid and consumer electronic applications.

Under his leadership, Ener1 has been listed on the NASDAQ, grown from approximately 100 to 700 full-time employees and expanded operations abroad from the United States to Europe and Asia. In 2010, the company was ranked fifth in Deloitte's Technology Fast 500 Program ranking of the 500 fastest-growing technology companies in the U.S. and Canada.

As transportation electrification became a top U.S. federal policy goal, Ener1 was first to mount commercial-scale production of automotive-grade lithium-ion batteries in the U.S. in 2009 and received a $118.5 million grant under the Recovery Act. Since 2006, Ener1 has raised more than $250 million in equity capital.

Previously, Gassenheimer held a number of leadership positions in Wall Street financial institutions and was responsible for sourcing, structuring and managing hundreds of debt and equity investments in both the private and public marketplaces. He was managing director and portfolio manager of Satellite Asset Management with $6 billion under management and held top posts at Tribeca Investments, Citigroup Global Investments and Credit Suisse First Boston.

In 2010, he also became chairman of the electric car maker THINK, which currently has more electric vehicles on the road than any other manufacturer in the world. Gassenheimer earned a degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

R. David Hoover

R. David Hoover

R. David Hoover

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Hoover, chairman of Ball Corp., has been with the company since 1970 and served in various corporate planning and development and finance positions until 1980, when he relocated to Colorado and became director and later vice president, finance and administration, of the company's agricultural systems division.

In 1985 he was named vice president, finance and administration, of the company's aerospace systems group. He returned to the former Muncie, Ind., corporate headquarters in 1987 as assistant treasurer and was elected vice president and treasurer in 1988 and senior vice president and chief financial officer in 1992. He was named executive vice president and elected to the company's board of directors in 1996. In 1998, he was elected vice chairman and given strategic responsibility for Ball's aerospace subsidiary, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., in addition to the role of chief financial officer.

Hoover became president and chief financial officer of Ball Corp. on Jan. 1, 2000, and was named president and chief operating officer in April of that same year. He was elected president and chief executive officer in January 2001. In 2002, he was elected chairman of the board. He served as chairman and CEO from Jan. 1, 2010 until today (Jan. 26), when he retired as CEO.

Prior to his career with Ball, Hoover was a corporate financial analyst for Eli Lilly & Co. He serves on the boards of Ball Corp., Eli Lilly and Co., Energizer Holdings Inc. and Qwest Communications International Inc. He is a member of the board of the National Association of Manufacturers and is a member and past chair of the board of governors of the Can Manufacturers Institute.

Kevin T. Kabat

Kevin T. Kabat

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Hoover is a member and past chair of the board of trustees of DePauw University and serves on the Kelley School of Business Dean's Council. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics from DePauw University in 1967 and an M.B.A. in finance and real estate from IU in 1970. He also completed the Advanced Management Program of the Harvard University Graduate School of Business in 1988.

Kevin T. Kabat

As president and CEO of Fifth Third Bancorp, Kabat is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction of Fifth Third Bancorp, a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati. The company has $115 billion in assets, more than 22,000 employees and operates 18 affiliates in 12 states.

He assumed the role of CEO in 2007, after having been appointed president a year earlier. He previously served as executive vice president of Fifth Third since December 2003, and led both retail and affiliate banking since August 2004.

Prior to this role, he served as president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank (Western Michigan). He was the vice chairman and president of Old Kent Bank, which was acquired by Fifth Third Bancorp in 2001. He joined Old Kent in 1982.

Kabat has a bachelor's degree in behavioral science from Johns Hopkins University and a master's degree in industrial/organizational psychology from Purdue University.

Derica W. Rice

Rice was promoted as Eli Lilly's executive vice president, global services and chief financial officer on Jan. 1, 2010. He also is a member of the company's executive committee. Prior to becoming Lilly's CFO in 2006, Rice had been the vice president and controller since July 2003.

Born in Decatur, Ala., he received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Kettering University (formerly the GMI Engineering & Management Institute) in 1988 and an M.B.A. in 1990 from IU.

He joined the company in 1990 as an international treasury associate. He held various assignments as a sales representative, manager of global financial planning and analysis for the medical devices division, and global planning manager for pharmaceuticals. In 1995, he became finance director and chief financial officer for Lilly Canada. In 1997, Rice was promoted to executive director and chief financial officer for European operations based in London. In 2000, he was the general manager of Lilly United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

In 2009, Rice was selected as one of the "Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America" by Black Enterprise magazine and he was selected as one of Diversity MBA magazine's "Top 100 Under 50 Executives." He serves as a member of the board of directors for Target Corp., IU Health North and The Center for Leadership Development. He also serves as a member of the IU Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Conference Gold level sponsors include: Ball Corp., BKD LLP, Deloitte, Eli Lilly and Co., FedEx Corp., and Kimball International. At the Silver level, sponsors include: ArcelorMittal USA, CenterPoint Energy, Citizens Energy Group, Duke Energy, Ener1, Inc., Ernst & Young LLP, Hillenbrand Inc., Johnson Ventures Inc., Mesirow Financial and The Pampered Chef Ltd. Fifth Third Bank and Hanesbrands Inc. are Bronze level sponsors.