Rep. Jerry Torr, son of Kenny and Bev Torr of Greencastle, and Sen. Carlin Yoder were honored by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce at the organization's 23rd Annual Awards Dinner Thursday evening.
The Chamber also cited the Indianapolis community for hosting Super Bowl XLVI, along with the CEO of a marketing software giant.
Rep. Torr of Carmel and fellow legislator Sen. Carlin Yoder of Middlebury wanted to see Indiana bring in more jobs and protect the economic well-being of Hoosiers. During the 2012 General Assembly, the pair turned their vision to action by authoring the critical right-to-work legislation that now is state law.
Torr first looked at the right-to-work issue in 2004, when a schoolteacher from Northern Indiana brought it to his attention. He came to see that it would be "a jobs magnet for Indiana."
"I never shied away from an issue because I thought it was tough," Torr explained. "I think Sen. Yoder will attest: You first come in and you don't seem to have that mindset of 'I have to get re-elected over and over.' You come here to do something. I've always felt that way."
Yoder ran on the platform of doing whatever necessary to bring jobs to Elkhart County, and saw the right-to-work issue continue to come up.
"I was convinced we were losing jobs because companies weren't coming into the state of Indiana simply because we were not a right-to-work state. I did what Rep. Torr did, started looking at numbers and studies, and it became abundantly clear that by becoming a right-to-work state jobs would flow into Indiana," Yoder recalled.
Through early October, 83 companies had communicated to the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC) that right-to-work is a factor in their decision where to locate current projects. Sixty-six of those projects had advanced to the pipeline stage, with 26 having accepted the IEDC's offer -- bringing more than 3,100 projected new jobs and more than $414 million in investment to the state.
"From this early evidence, there's no question that right-to-work will be a home run for job growth and economic prosperity for Indiana," Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar offered. "Rep. Torr and Sen. Yoder are to be commended for their tireless perseverance in carrying out the legislation that has made Indiana the 23rd right-to-work state in the country and only right-to-work state in the industrial Midwest."
Torr is a sixth-generation Hoosier, growing up on a family farm in the heart of Putnam County. In 1987, he moved to Carmel where he currently resides. In 1996, he became the state representative for House District 39.
During the 2005 legislative session, Torr authored the Daylight Saving Time (DST) bill that called for Indiana to finally observe DST. Indiana was one of only three states in the U.S. that did not observe DST.
A client executive at the Hylant Group, Torr was formerly a commercial casualty general adjuster with FCCI Insurance Co. in Carmel. Rep. Torr formerly served as the director and president of the State Adjuster's Association.
Torr attended Hanover College where he studied music, philosophy and physics. He graduated from the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, Calif., in 1978 after studying guitar performance, music composition, arranging, orchestration and film scoring.
The Greencastle native has been honored with numerous awards, including the 2005 Chamber of Commerce Government Leader of the Year Award and the Small Business Champion Award, also given by the Chamber of Commerce.
A crowd of approximately 1,400 business and civic leaders attended the event at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis.
The 2012 Indiana Chamber honorees also included:
Business Leader of the Year: Scott Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of ExactTarget, Indianapolis.
"Scott Dorsey and ExactTarget are a shining example of Indiana's growing technology community and what this state has to offer," Brinegar said. "Scott's humble leadership style and business acumen, along with the desire to foster his employees and the local community, has made the company what it is today."
Though marketing software company ExactTarget is now widely known, it began like any other technology startup -- with hard work and support from family and friends -- when Dorsey, his brother-in-law Chris Baggott and another partner, Peter McCormick, launched the firm in 2000.
Community of the Year: Indianapolis.
For the second time in the 23-year history of the statewide community award, Indianapolis has earned top honors from the Chamber.
Indiana Chamber President Brinegar on the selection: "Super Bowl XLVI put Indianapolis center stage internationally and marked the pinnacle in a long history of events and developments that have made it a continuing success story.
"The capital city has a varied and growing list of cultural amenities, business diversity and vibrant neighborhoods, as well as strong leadership and a powerful spirit among its residents. This honor is deserved on so many levels," he emphasized.