Business briefs – December 30

County’s development director honored by state association

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Economic Development Association recently presented Skip Kuker, the executive director of the Hancock County Economic Development Council, with its excellence in leadership award.The award was created in 1999 as a way to recognize an association member for their contributions to Indiana’s economic development and leadership within the state organization.

Kuker was presented the award in early December by Bill Petranoff, a senior economic development manager for Duke Energy who sits on a Hancock County Economic Development Board.

Unemployment rate falls to lowest point in 15 years

INDIANA — Indiana’s unemployment rate decreased by two-tenths of a percent to 4.2 percent in November, marking its lowest point since 2001, officials said.Indiana’s total labor force stands at over 3.3 million and the state’s 64.7 percent labor force participation rate stands two percent above the national rate, according to a press release.

“Indiana’s unemployment rate continues to drop while private sector employment continues to grow, which are positive signs for Hoosier workers and jobseekers,” Steven J. Braun, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, said in a press release.

Braun added that initial unemployment insurance claims remain at the lowest point in more than 30 years.

Gary Pence
Gary Pence

Local businessman honored with company award

GREENFIELD — Gary Pence, operations director at Pence, Brooks, Bolander and Shepherd Insurance in Greenfield, was recently honored as the company’s Operations Director of the Year.The award was presented at the company’s annual Christmas party and meeting by CEO Dave Shepherd.

“Gary is to be commended for his exemplary performance in directing the operations of one of our most profitable branches,” Shepherd said, according to a press release, while siting Pence’s participation on the board of directors for the Professional Insurance Agents of Indiana as part of his dedication to the industry.

Shepherd Insurance has 14 locations in Indiana, Kentucky, Florida and Arizona. The Greenfield office is at 802 E. Main St.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.