Infosys ribbon cutting touts Hoosier jobs, jabs Trump trade policies

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – “Our vision is to make this innovation center the technology Taj Mahal of Indiana,” said Infosys CFO Rava Mavinakere as he prepared to cut the ribbon on his company’s 35,000 square foot hub headquarters at 1 American Square in downtown Indianapolis.

Governor Holcomb, Mayor Hogsett and Cummins Inc. Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger looked on, confident that Indiana’s drive to lure Amazon and other international high tech companies to the Hoosier Heartland would not be derailed by doubts about the state’s workforce or President Trump’s recently announced penchant for international trade tariffs.

“Trade matters and it’s key to our future,” said Holcomb. “I wake up every day and try to take Indiana to the world and try to bring the world back to Indiana and that means imports and exports in that relationship.”

Linebarger, who just returned from inspecting a Cummins plant in India, called out the president’s policies, though not Trump, and warned that Indiana-based industries, “don’t take trade for granted.”

Hogsett agreed but downplayed the president’s surprise announcement last week to impose steel tariffs to protect American companies and workers.

“The back and forth that often times dominates discussion in Washington, we’re gonna continue to keep doing what we do well here in Indianapolis and in Indiana and I think it will serve us well in the long run.”

In the short run, Indiana and Indianapolis recently made the top 20 list of possible locations for Amazon’s second North American headquarters.

Other states, such as Maryland, are prepared to offer $5 billion in incentives to entice Amazon to expand with its promise of 50,000 jobs paying in excess of $100,000 annually.

“Some states may be mortgaging their future to a point they can’t afford,” answered Holcomb when asked about Indiana’s still secret bid package. “Fortunately in the state of Indiana we’ve got a balanced budget, we’ve got a triple A credit rating, we’ve got a healthy surplus to help us weather through those ups and downs should they come and so that’s what makes us so attractive to a company like Amazon, our predictability, our certainty, our stability, and sometimes you see the competition writing checks they might not be able to cash. Fortunately in Indiana, we do and that’s what makes us so attractive.”

Key to the Amazon bid will be the suitability of Indiana’s workforce and access to higher education programs to train high tech employees of the future.

“The schools and colleges from where we build our talent pools are world class,” said Ravi Kumar, Infosys President, “so if somebody asked me for a recommendation, I would strongly recommend if you want to look at the schools and colleges for millennial talent.”

Infosys has already hired 150 employees locally to serve clients in the financial services, manufacturing, health care, retail and energy industries.

The company expects to employ 2,000 Indianapolis workers by the end of 2021 as it utilizes cutting-edge technology, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, user experience, emerging digital technologies and cloud and big data access.

“Indiana is a great state with great schools and with a good set of clients around it,” said Mavinakere. “Infosys is actually a pioneer in building talent pools from schools and colleges.”

“Indiana is a state that offers the best of corporations around, the academic institutions and the location in terms of the middle of the United States.”

Infosys has already committed to underwriting the ongoing education of 800 science teachers at IU Bloomington this coming summer in an effort to raise the overall tech savviness of the Indiana workforce.

“We have over 200,000 employees in about 30 countries and the United States is one of the principal markets,” said Kumar, “so the purpose of this center is to develop and embrace local talent into our operations.”

Hogsett hoped that the significance of the Infosys ribbon cutting and word of its commitment to central Indiana was not lost on any other international firms putting Indianapolis on their short lists of potential headquarters or hub sites.

“I think anybody out there listening or watching ought to be paying attention because Indianapolis is on the map.”

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